Crayons….It’s How I Roll

 Open Crayon RollI recently had a request from my great-niece for a crayon roll for her two-year-old.  Since I had made crayon rolls for our great-granddaughters a few years ago, I agreed to the request.  The only problem was that I didn’t remember how I made those crayon rolls.

Once again, Google to the rescue!  With one click of my mouse, I found a plethora of tutorials for crayon rolls.  The one I chose was a simple design that was intended to hold sixteen crayons.  My crayon roll holds fifteen crayons.  My bad.  Measuring has never been my strong suit.  Crayon Roll with Crayons

To get started, I chose a colorful cupcake print for my crayon roll.  Then, I used a coordinating stripe for the crayon pockets.  I’ll bet you’re wondering how I remembered to add one of my tags.  The tutorial actually reminded me to do so.  Crayon Roll with my Maker's Tag

This elastic hair tie makes a nice closure.  If you’re going to try this, be sure to use a quality hair tie.  The dollar store ones don’t hold up well in sewing projects.  I speak from experience here.

Don’t Forget About Safety:

Some tutorials suggested using a button with the hair tie to keep the crayon roll closed.  I opted not to use a button since buttons can be choking hazards for young children.  A button would render this project non-compliant with federal safety standards.  Rolled up crayon rollBird's Eye view of the crayon roll
If you’re looking for a quick and easy sewing project, I highly recommend trying one of these crayon rolls. This would make a cute gift for anyone who likes to color.

I hope it’s not too much of a problem to decide which one of Brinley’s sixteen crayons will be omitted from the roll.  If it were up to me, I’d toss the white one.  That’s how I roll!

Easy Peasy Peasant Dress

One of my favorite things to sew is clothing for children.  Last winter in the midst of my busy poncho season, I found a fabric that I knew would be perfect for my granddaughter and maybe even my grandson.  Like any good fabric addict, I purchased the fabric even though I had no idea what I was going to make from it.

This spring, when I had a little time on my hands, I pulled out that fabric.  I wanted to make something for my granddaughter that she could use or wear often.  I considered a pillowcase but opted to make a dress instead.  This is my granddaughter Aaliyah modeling her Easy Peasy Peasant Dress that I made her using my “Lily” fabric.

Aaliyah has a dog named Lily, and you can see from the picture below why I had to buy this fabric.  This is Lily:

The dog on the fabric looks exactly like Lily does right before she goes to the groomers.  I thought that Aaliyah would like the fabric, and she does! 

The Easy Peasy Peasant Dress is a pdf pattern available from Tie Dye Diva Sewing Patterns.  As the name implies, it’s an easy project.  No buttons, no zippers.

Aaliyah’s little brother Jayden likes Lily, too.  It’s a good thing Lily is a good-natured dog.  Some dogs wouldn’t tolerate all of this affection.     
I had enough fabric left to make a little Lily project for Jay, too.  But that’s a blog post for another day.  Stay tuned!

Selling Licensed Fabrics

Licensed fabrics that have favorite TV and movie characters on them are quite popular especially with children.  I often receive requests to make ponchos or bibs using licensed fabrics from Disney, John Deere, NFL teams and other companies.

The Facts About Licensed Fabrics:

If you’ve ever bought licensed fabric, you may have noticed that the selvage (edge) of the fabric is usually printed with these words:  “For home use only. Not intended for commercial use”.

That warning means just what it says.  Those characters, phrases, and even color combinations may have been copyrighted by the original owner.  Using those for business gain is not legal.  Some small business owners believe that a multi-million dollar corporation is not going to concern themselves with a small business’s infringement of their intellectual property.

The truth is that Disney, Marvel, and other companies HAVE filed suits against small business owners who have used their images, color combinations, and copyrighted phrases without first purchasing a license to do so.  

My Policy:

I have chosen not to sell items made from licensed fabrics.  It is so tempting to bend the rules to make a poncho with Ana and Elsa, Minions, or Minnie Mouse fabric.  But the bottom line is that I am not willing to jeopardize my standing with Etsy by infringing on the rights of other businesses.

It is perfectly legal to make gifts, donations, and personal items with licensed fabrics.  It is also legal to make items from licensed fabrics if my customer purchases the fabric and delivers it to me.  In that case, I’m performing a service, not selling a product.

Just this morning, I made this Paw Patrol bib for my sister’s granddaughter.  While I was happy to indulge little Brinley’s obsession with Paw Patrol characters, I can guarantee that you will never see licensed fabrics in my Etsy shop or in my Facebook group.  I’m playing it safe with my business!

Fleece Scraps Become Beautiful Blankets

 

Fleece scraps sure can create a big mess!  After making more than 240 fleece ponchos in my Etsy shop in 2016, my small storage room was overrun with fleece scraps.  I had a huge mountain of mixed up fleece scraps that was threatening to flow out into my sewing area.

Many of the scraps were good-sized pieces of fleece, and I couldn’t bear the thought of wasting them.  My husband Jack urged me to just throw them away.  I just couldn’t bring myself to do that! Instead,  I turned to Facebook to offer my fleece scraps to any of my local friends who could come and pick them up.

One of my Facebook friends responded saying that her mom would be interested in making blankets from my fleece scraps.  The next morning Amelia stopped by my house and Jack and I loaded her car with boxes and bags of fleece scraps.  Her plan was to turn the scraps into blankets to donate to Christian Aid Ministries, a non-profit Amish-Mennonite organization that works to meet physical and spiritual needs around the world.

Just last week, Amelia stopped by again to show me what she was able to do with the fleece scraps that I had given her.  Jack and I were both impressed with the beautiful, colorful blankets that will soon be bringing comfort and warmth to someone in need.  

 Thanks to Amelia’s hard work, those fleece scraps that just barely escaped the fire, are going to help someone in need.

Here’s one last picture of Amelia and me holding the blanket that I like best.  We are the poncho maker and the blanket maker who joined forces to help warm the world!  All of my customers who ordered ponchos have a share in this, too.

Which blanket do you like best?

What’s So Great About Bibs?

Bibs.  Either you like them or you don’t.  Allow me to share three good reasons why I think kids should wear bibs for all messy activities.

No bib kidToddler BibBibs save you time. 

Foods like peaches, apples, and chocolate can permanently stain fabrics.  The best way to prevent these and other foods from landing on your kid’s clothing is to use a bib that covers all or most of his shirt.  Granted, it can take a few seconds to tie a bib on your hungry little one, but it can take minutes to treat stains before laundering clothing.  It can take hours to work long enough to buy new clothes to replace the ones that are ruined by food stains.

Bibs keep your kids comfortable. 

Soggy clothing is not comfortable!  Would you want to spend the afternoon wearing a wet, sticky shirt?  I know I wouldn’t want to, but I’ve seen plenty of kids walking around with shirts that are soaked with drool or milk or juice or food.  Yuck!

Save your kid the aggravation of a soggy shirt by tying a bib on her before she starts to eat or drink.

Bibs are cute!

Bibs come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of pictures and cute sayings on them.  Some bibs, like the ones I sell in my Etsy shop, are cute enough to be considered clothing.

If you’ve got young children or grandchildren, I urge you to make a habit of tying on a bib at mealtimes.  You’ll be surprised how much better your child will look and feel with clothes that are clean and dry!  You’ll feel better, too!

What’s your opinion on bibs and kids?

 

What’s in a Name?

Logo-WEB

What’s in a name?  If the extent of my agonizing over whether or not to change my online business name is any gauge, then a name is pretty darn important!

Last month, I made a big change in my online business.  I made the decision to re-brand my business using my own name, and I hired a graphic designer to make a logo that suited my business.  I’m very pleased with the work my designer did for me, and I’m pleased that my business name is consistent locally and online.

 

 

I have three main reasons for changing my business name, and here they are:

 Number One:

My official business name, the one that I use on my tax return and on any official paperwork is “Elaine Searer, Sewing & Alterations”.  I chose that name, not because it’s cute or catchy, but because it’s free.  In Pennsylvania, I do not have to pay a fee to use my own name as my business name.  If I choose a fictitious name (like My Grandma Sews), then I have to pay to file that fictitious name with my state.

Number Two:

Because I never paid to use the name My Grandma Sews, it wasn’t really mine.  I had no legal claim to it, and if another businessperson wanted to go into business using that name, I would have no recourse to stop them or to protect my use of that name.  I considered it highly unlikely that I would ever get into a business fight with anyone wanting to use that name, but just the same, the possibility was there that I could work to build a brand and then have it snatched from me. Some people might ask why I didn’t just register that name.  I could have done that, but I’m already operating a successful local sewing and alterations business under a different name…you guessed it!  Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations.  What are the chances that my local customers would ever begin to refer to my business by a fictitious name?  Slim to none.

Number Three: 

The last reason is just that the word “grandma” was not the image I wanted to portray to my online customers.  I like being a grandma, but I was concerned that the using the word “grandma” would make potential customers think “old-fashioned”.  While I do consider my choice of patterns and projects to be classics, I do not consider them old-fashioned!

My other concern is that while the word “grandma” seemed cute to use for a business that makes children’s items, it would not suit me if I decided to list items in my shop that are not for children.With the help of my graphic designer, I made the decision to brand myself with the business name that I already own and use:  Elaine Searer Sewing & Alterations.

Some people have mentioned that they miss My Grandma Sews, and I miss that name a bit myself.  I am, however, convinced that I made the right decision for me and my growing business.

If you’d like to see the rest of my new graphics, please visit me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elainesearersewing and www.facebook.com/groups/elainesearer  and my Etsy shop at www.elainesearer.etsy.com .

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