Thursday, December 13, 2012

Change is in the Air for 2013

It's that time of year, again!  Small business owners everywhere are beginning to look into the new year and figure out their goals and new directions for the new year.  Some will continue down the same path that has led them to success in the past, but CUTEure Creations will not be one of them, this time.

While this change won't affect my local customer base, my online customers will notice a change.  Starting in January of 2013, I will be focusing primarily on pattern sales online, rather than finished product.  There will still be times when I take orders for a limited time, but I will not take too many at once.

There are a few things that led me to this decision.  First of all, my wonderful customers and boutique owners have given me some opportunities for very large orders that have made it difficult to keep up with order production.  Secondly, my desire to do craft shows and branch out into wholesale accounts will benefit greatly from the extra attention I'll be able to devote to that part of my business.

There are other reasons for this, too, of course.  One is my health.  I've fought recurring carpal tunnel and tendonitis for years, in addition to other nerve damage in my arms, which is starting to make it difficult to complete my orders in an appropriate time.  I just can't keep up with the crocheters that can finish 10+ orders a day, every day.  Between that and the need to spend more time focusing on my family and less time focusing on my orders screen, I decided that a focus on patterns was the best happy medium I could come up with.

Besides, I really love the design process.  I love coming up with a new idea and making it work.  In the past, I haven't been able to spend as much time coming up with new ideas, because I have just been struggling to keep up with the orders in queue.  So, this is actually a bit exciting and sad for me at the same time.  I'm excited to branch out and focus on the parts of my business that interest me the most, but I am saddened because my orders have taken me so far! I can only hope that my original designs and patterns will continue to carry me forward, so that I can continue to help support my family the way I have over the past 2 years.

If you are a crocheter and want to know where to find my patterns, they will still be available in my etsy store.  In addition, you can find my entire collection, both for sale and for free, on Ravelry.  By following my page on Facebook, you'll be able to keep up with new pattern releases, testing opportunities, deals, and contests.

For those of you that don't know how to crochet and want to hang around for my order periods, that will also be announced on my Facebook page.  I cannot say how often these will occur because I don't know what 2013 has in store for me, but I will announce it on Facebook every time I can fit in orders!  I will also try to occasionally have some items (specifically seasonal) ready-to-ship as gifts that I will post on Facebook.

While I'm here, I wanted to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of my wonderful customers, both locally and those around the world.  You all supported me through some pretty rough times in the last few years.  Because of you, I was able to keep food on our table while my husband was looking for work.  Also because of you, we were able to save the money we needed to buy our first house last month!  If it weren't for the added income all of you have supplied over the last few years, who knows where we would be right now.  So thank you, all of you, for getting me here!  I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy new year!

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Oh Wait!

It's that time of year again! Summer is half way over, the temps are sky high, and despite trying really hard, people are beginning to turn their sites towards the beginning of the school year and even the holidays!

As a special treat to my customers, and to break up the monotony of 100+ degree days, I decided to bring back my annual Christmas in July sale!

Starting tomorrow, everything in my etsy shop will be 20% off!  I only do this sale once a year, folks, so eat it up!

Do it!

This is a great chance to grab winter gear for your kids, back to school accessories, or even gifts for a new baby.  Stock up now and avoid the hassle of tackling busy stores this fall.  You don't have to do anything but visit the shop between July 7th-24th and the prices will already be marked down.

Just a heads up to those of you not following me on Facebook, I have been known to add a few extra deals over there, so be sure to visit and see what's up!

Happy Ho-I mean....enjoy the rest of your summer!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crochet Legwarmers

The time is finally here! There have been countless times that I have been asked to please create a leg warmer pattern.  Well, I one-upped about two leg warmer patterns?!

That's right...not only did I give you a leg warmer pattern in plenty of time to whip some up to go with those fall dresses...I gave you two different options!  The first is your basic crochet leg warmer pattern for kids.  I love to create this look with stripes and other embellishments to make them fun.  Or, add a little lace to a plain set to spruce them up.  The possibilities are endless!

Buy Set Here

The second set, the crochet ruffle legwarmers pattern has also gotten great reviews from my testers.  With a little ruffle on the bottom and a little flower on the top, these are just a great way to make your leg warmers unique!

So, why should you choose CUTEure Creations crochet patterns above others?

First off, I am dedicated to regularly producing new, unique designs for you to crochet. I also get each size of my pattern tested by experienced testers so I know there won't be mistakes once the pattern gets to you.

For sellers, I charge no cottage fee, or selling fee what-so-ever!  I love it when you link back to my shop in your descriptions, but do not require it at all.  In fact, I encourage the selling of work made from my patterns so much, that I even include a suggested retail price to take the guesswork out of it for you!  This keeps the market fair so that we aren't undercutting each other.  It is a disservice to others when we are all unable to charge for our time and creativity when selling our crochet goods.

So, there are my two newest pattern releases for you! Enjoy making your leg warmers! I know Addie will have a few pair for this fall.

Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Build a PVC Frame for Craft Show Displays

This past weekend, I participated in the Funky Finds Spring Fling event in Longview, TX.  Before the show, I spent countless hours planning, building, and perfecting my display.

I spent several months designing my booth by pinning ideas to my Craft Show Board on Pinterest. I figured out exactly what I wanted and went from there on how to make it happen.

Once I figured out that my first few shows would be indoors,  I began researching different ways to build a frame for my booth, rather than using a canopy frame indoors.  I stumbled upon this diagram which looked perfect! Unfortunately I couldn't find any sort of blog or forum post that gave step by step instruction on this frame, so my husband and I figured it out ourselves and put it together.

At the show, I had several vendors come up to me and ask me about the display, and ask permission to check it out so they can make one themselves.  I decided to put together a "how-to" of sorts since this turned into such a popular set up!  To give you an idea of the finished product, this is what my booth looked like with the frame.

The frame is really very simple, and most people can probably figure it out just based on that diagram (like us).  Still, if you're like me, you'll probably appreciate a simple step-by-step tutorial as well as the tips, tricks, and first hand experience this post can offer.

What You'll Need

-13 pieces of 10' long, 1" wide PVC pipe
-10 "T" pieces of PVC
-8 "elbow" pieces of PVC
-4 1.5" "spacer" pieces
-Tape measure
-Jig saw or reciprocating saw
-Hand sander
-PVC cleaner (generic, optional)
-PVC glue (generic, optional)

How to Construct Your Frame

First start by measuring each piece of PVC.  You will need:
-12 5' pieces
-6 6' pieces
-4 1.5" pieces

Once you have measured and marked each of these pieces, secure them and saw each piece along the mark you made.  You've now got all of the pieces to build your frame.

You could stop there, but if you're going to spend the time and money to build your own display, you may as well do it right. Right?

So, now you'll most likely want to take a hand sander and smooth down all of the edges where you cut the pipe.  I know ours came out messy, but maybe that was a lack of experience?  Anyway, it was definitely worth our time to sand down each end to make them look smoother and fit together better.

Test Your Set Up

You can see in the diagram linked above how each piece should fit together.  Each wall will consist of 4 5' pieces attached with a 6' piece & 2 "T"pieces.  The corners will use 2 "T's", 2 1.5" spacers, and 2 elbows.

This next part was just personal preference, but we didn't want to risk losing any of our pieces, and wanted our frame to go up as quickly as possible during set up.  We decided to glue each long piece to a T or an elbow so that all of the short pieces would be attached to a longer (or harder to lose) piece of PVC.  We used a generic PVC cleaner and glue to do this.  Just make sure that you don't glue all the pieces together.  That would be a nightmare to transport! We kept ours in 5' and 6' lengths to keep it very easy for me to carry if I'm doing a show alone (I'm only 5'4, after all!)

Experience and Tips

This whole set up worked beautifully! It went together in no time and looked more professional (IMO) than a standard canopy frame, at least for indoor shows!  Even better? The whole thing cost us less than $70!  However, you may want to consider purchasing some sort of legs for the frame.  While this worked fine, and did not collapse, there were a few times it swayed enough to make me nervous. Particularly if you think there will be kids or pets at the show (and let's face it, that's a given), it would be a good investment to put legs (short legs-you wouldn't want a tripping hazard!) or corner supports of some sort on this to ease your nerves.  Another solution would be to run your tables alongside your walls, and possibly even secure them to the walls using zip ties or bun jee cords to add extra support.

The only real issue we came across, which luckily wasn't an issue at this show, was that once we had the entire frame constructed within our space, we realized that due to the way the corners are constructed, we went a few inches outside our taped area.  We'll be cutting an inch at least off of each 5' piece before the next show. I'd rather my frame be a tiny bit smaller than 10x10 than go a little outside of my space.  The next organizers may not be as easy going about this problem!

As for the "walls," we used 5' (they were actually very slightly smaller) sheer curtains, but you could also use opaque curtains, shower curtains, or even custom panels in yours.  These were just the best I found in my budget and time frame.  A few of them didn't reach the floor, so we just put some spare wooden dowels into the bottom so they'd hang straight.

Otherwise, the only other thing we'll change is that we'll consider painting the pipes. I didn't have time before this show, and it wasn't a huge deal, but you can definitely tell it's PVC pipe.  It will look much more professional once it's painted and you can't see the writing!  Now I just need to decide if I should go teal, lime green, or off white!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekend Project - Easter Peeps

A few weeks has gone by since I had a weekend project to share, but this weekend offered up a perfect project!  Crochet bunny peeps!

This little guys make great Easter gifts and look absolutely adorable propped up in an Easter basket.  I don't know about you, but growing up we always got some sort of stuffed animal-either a chick, bunny, or lamb-in our Easter baskets along with our eggs and candy.  Well, instead of buying a generic stuffed animal, make these!
Unlike most amigurumi, these are so easy.  I normally don't like making stuffed animals, but since these are worked flat and then sewn together and stuffed, it's a completely different concept and even a novice crocheter can make these.

If you'd like to make a set yourself, be sure to download your own copy of the free pattern here.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Funky Finds Spring Fling Show

I mentioned in my last post that there was a lot going on "behind the scenes," as you might have noticed.  Cryptic, I know! Really, though, there is!

First of all, I've applied to, and gotten accepted into, my very first craft show in Texas! Woohoo!

This time next month, I'll be set up at the Funky Finds Spring Fling event in Longview, Texas.

You can find any info you may need right here on this flyer.  I've heard great things about these organizers, and can't wait to try out one of their shows!

So, now you know some of what is going on behind the scenes.  If you're local, come visit me! I'll have tons of new stock, much of which will not be shown online first, and a lot of great summer products you haven't seen yet!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Giveaway Time!

Happy Monday! Sorry I've been MIA lately (I know, an awful habit to get into with a new blog), but I've had a lot going on behind the scenes!


For the time being, I wanted to tide you over with a giveaway!  Head on over to Tangled Happy and you'll see a CUTEure Creations pattern giveaway going on right now.