Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shop Feature: Rowhouse14

One of my favorite things about being an online seller are the people I've met--my bloggy friends, as I call them. The talented Heidi of Rowhouse14 is one of those neat people. She makes stationary, she blogs, and she's a full-time teacher. She was nice enough to stop by today and answer a few questions, so class, let's say hello to Heidi!

1. Rowhouse14 is your Etsy shop. How did you get started selling cards and stationary?
I started selling my cards and stationery on Etsy a little over a year ago. I was complaining to my fiance about teaching and how I felt it was sucking the creative life out of me, and how glad I was to be in DC that weekend enjoying creative things-- art, music, food, etc. He came up with the idea that I should apply everything I've done in art and make cards as a creative outlet. The following weekend, I literally went out and bought a bunch of different types of paper and cardstock and got started. A few days after that I got an updated version of Adobe Creative Suite. And a week after that, I opened my Etsy shop.

2. What inspires your work?
You may notice just by looking through my shop that I have quite a diverse selection of cards and stationery. To be honest, that has a lot to do with my what has inspired me at the point in time of creation. Some inspiration comes from living in the city of Baltimore. Some from fashion magazines. A bit from art and music. I also love typography in a bit of a nerdy way, so I have some of that mixed in there as well.

3. Do you have any long-term goals for your shop?
Just in the past year, I've been more successful than I ever could have imagined. The ultimate goal is to continue to build on that success and be able to design full time rather than teach. I'm hoping to participate in at least one larger craft show this year, set up my own website outside of Etsy, and start selling cards to retail outlets on the East coast. It's a lot to get done, but I've been enjoying what I'm doing so much that I'm quite determined to get there!

4. You also write a blog and you have a big project for 2012 called Year of the House. What's in store for that?
We bought our first house about a year and half ago. It is an old historic row house that was completely rehabbed in 2007. While it was nice and completely move in ready, there are quite a few things we've been wanting to change to make it more our own. Right now we have painting projects in process, a bathroom re-flooring and redecorating project in progress, and a room transformation from a guest bedroom to a studio and reading room. I'll continue documenting and giving updates on the blog, so if your a sucker for room transformations, I probably won't disappoint you there!

5. When you're not Etsying, blogging, or teaching, what do you like to do?
I love music, travel, and good food. I spend a lot of time cooking and baking and also exploring new restaurants and bars in Baltimore. We also go to a lot of concerts and try to get out of Baltimore frequently even if just for the weekend. We love Baltimore, but also love seeing new places. It's also nice to spend a lazy day once in a while in your sweatpants with absolutely nothing to do. :)

6. Let's throw in a random question for fun: what's your favorite book and why?
Currently, my favorite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It's such a fantastic novel with quite the creative concept for narration, as the narrator is death. It takes place during the Holocaust and is focused around a young girl and her experiences and relationships with others. I fell in love with this book so much that I wrote a grant to get copies for my students. I have now taught this novel three times and I don't want to give anything away, but I most definitely recommend it for reading!

Adorable stuff, right? To see more of Heidi and her work, you can find her on Etsy, her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How to Choose a Craft Fair Display

Indie Wed was a blast! I was paranoid for nothing! Helper-Hubsey and I met a lot of lovely vendors, chatted with happy brides, and even booked a few custom orders. Typically wedding expos will get you business in the future, so those were a nice surprise.

I'll have to report back later with more on the business-y side, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share my experience with choosing a display setup. One thing I appreciated on Saturday was that nobody's table looked remotely close to anyone else's--which is good. I've done shows where several vendors had shabby-chic decor items, and I seriously couldn't remember who was selling what.

So tip #1 is to do your own thing. My "thing" (or, in reality, my cheapness) is to use a bunch of stuff I found at GoodWill, including plates and a curtain panel:

Tip #2 is to have enough stuff on your table to make it look full. I can't believe I'm about to post this, but here's a picture from my very first show ever (weird!):

See the difference? How it's all just... floating around? It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just find a way to organize your items and fill your space. Believe me, it will look MUCH more professional.

Tip #3 is to give customers information. This picture has two things you might want to consider: a price list and a portfolio.

I haaaaate tagging items individually, but I also hate not seeing prices, so instead I post a list of categories with a range of numbers for each. And then I have a little picture book of additional work down there in the corner. You never know what somebody will want, so it's good to have options.

Tip #4 is a little harder, but still needs to be done: Make sure your display has the same aesthetic as your products. Let's zoom in on some necklaces.

This works because the white china is simple, and so is my jewelry. Solid white plates are also classic, which goes with the vintage-inspired feel a lot of my pieces have. Similarly, a vintage picture frame-turned earring holder works well with a filigree headband and Art Deco-style earrings:

Think about how crazytown it would look if I went with a bright pink table cloth and black velvet mannequin heads. Not awesome.

So, to recap: do your own thing, fill up the table, provide information, and have a consistent look. For my fellow show-doers, is there anything else to add? What's your display like? Have you seen any that are especially cool?

[The lovely Heidi at Rowhouse14 did a little write up on my shops today. Pop over and say hi!]

Friday, January 27, 2012

Countdown to Indie Wed!

Indie Wed is tomorrow. And I'm nervous.

I've done plenty of shows before, but this is my first "real" bridal expo. It's a lame metaphor, but I feel like a baseball player getting called up to the big leagues. Or--this one's better--I feel similar to how I did when I started high school: kind of excited, but mostly nervous about how I'd fit in with the bigger kids. I'd rather not be the outcast tomorrow, if ya know what I mean.

Anyhoodle, I need to go quadruple-check the vendor email to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of my messy office:

I'm kind of impressed. I don't think I could get one more thing on that desk if I tried.

What are you up to this weekend? Anybody else have a show?

[P.S. If you follow me through Blogger and the new posts aren't showing up on your dashboard, try un-following and re-following. That should do the trick.]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pinterest: I Tried It (Gallery Wall)

[Looking for Final Clothes-Out? You're in the right place! We just went through a name change.]

Isn't it funny how you go onto Pinterest with the intention of finding a project to do, and then all of a sudden it's an hour later? And you never picked a project because you ended up laughing at Handmade Ryan Gosling for 45 minutes?

So maybe that happened to me yesterday. Ideally I'd like to do one Pinterest project a week, but it keeps pulling me back into its image-y web and I never get anything done. The project I'm showing you today has been done for two weeks and I haven't finished one since. Whoops.

Behold, a couple of new things were added to the frame wall:

If you look at my decor board, you'll see 9,539 picture clusters and gallery walls. It was hard to narrow it down to a few favorites, but what I like about these three is the variety of elements. All of them include little items that aren't "just" pictures:

Taking another gander at the wall in our house, we have shots of the Golden Gate Bridge and Palace of Fine Arts, a 3-D topography map of San Francisco, the Library of Congress, one of our wedding pictures, a map of Manhattan, and an embroidered Illinois canvas:

I'm leaving it alone for now, but it will probably keep expanding since we buy art the way normal people buy food. Case in point: in April there were only two things on this wall. Now there are seven.

Have you done any house updating lately, art-related or otherwise? Anybody else obsessed with gallery walls and frame clusters?

Linking up to By the Book Paper:

life by the book

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Color My World

[Looking for Final Clothes-Out? You're there! The name is just different. More on that here.]

The weather has been pretty dreary around these parts, and I think I've been drawn to bright colors to compensate for the slushy puddles in the parking lot. These finds also have kind of a childlike feel, which is funny because the Hubs and I realized we both still use the phrase "when I grow up" even though we're clearly adults.

A quirky butcher's diagram of a little piggy is $25. Hubsy is into butcher diagrams and I like pigs, so maybe when we have more wall space in the kitchen... after we move...

This pair of blue and white love birds is $36. They're plush, so I'm thinking they'd be really adorable pincushions.

Not that we need more art around here, but this funky orange "bonjour" print is $32.

A sea monster valentine that encourages tentacle tangling is $4. They also look a bit like they're high-fiving, which would still work if you're kind of anti-Valentine's Day.

I've never tried a gin and tonic (are they good?) but this made me laugh. $29.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I also found an orange dress, a yellow purse, and an elephant wall hook. In fact, let me show you the picture of that one:

Total awesome sauce. I'm buying it.

So what have you been digging lately? Bright colors? Tangled tentacles? Elephant hooks?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Welcome to Little Nostalgia!

If you're confused and looking for the blog that had this...

...you're actually in the right place. It just went through a name change. Same content, same weird girl writing it (that would be me--hello!), but with a different look.

I tallied all of the comments from yesterday and as you can see, banner #1 was the winner! Not by a landslide, but by a fair amount. For a while there I was afraid it would tie with #3 and then I would've had to throw a dart at the wall to choose. But you guys came through.

Anyhoodle, now that the name is officially different, be sure to update your bookmarks and feeds, if necessary. The new URL is littlenostalgia.blogspot.com.

I suppose I don't have any "real" content for today, except to tell you that I spent another embarrassingly long amount of time updating everything. At least, I hope it was everything. Let me know if some stuff fell through the cracks.

Thanks for all of your input over the past week. You really know how to help a girl out. Virtual high-fives for everyone! Now if you'll pardon me, my over-worked eyeballs need a little rest. I'll be back tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Okay, it probably took me way longer than it should have to get these banner ideas done (almost three hours, jealous?), but they're here and ready for your eyeballs. I've also added what I'm considering for the tag-line. As usual, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Option #1. This is my favorite. It's simple and pretty, but still kind of casual--which is exactly what I'm going for:

Option #2. I like this one a lot, too. Those pictures are just placeholders for now, and I'd put real images in there if I go this direction:

Option #3. And here's the original design I tried, just with the tag-line added. After making the other two, this one feels a tad on the fancy side, but that could just be my early-morning brain speaking for me:

I think I'll pick a banner today and then start implementing everything tomorrow. Just a heads up: the banner and URL will be the first things to change, so if you have me on a bookmark list, that can be switched to littlenostalgia.blogspot.com anytime tomorrow.

Let me know your thoughts on the banner (or anything else, really, I like to chat), and be sure you stop by to see the new look!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Name Game Pt. 2

Thanks for all of the advice I got the other day when I mentioned maybe/probably changing the name of this ol' blog! You made some good points that I hadn't really thought about before--like how I'm already going through one big transition (working for myself) so I should just do this now, too.

My sister wondered if the new name "Little Nostalgia" would make it sound like I only write about vintage things, which is a valid concern. I'm pretty sold on the name because, well, I do like old things, but also because of the connection is has to my shops. She's probably right about making it a tad more versatile, though, so I'll be thinking of tag-line ideas over the weekend.

In the meantime, I fiddled around in Photoshop!

Maybe I'll put together a couple more while I'm brainstorming tag-lines and then have you guys help me pick a banner next week. Of course, any input would be awesome. I'm no graphic designer.

Why big weekend plans? Are you working on a bloggy makeover too? Or frantically making jewelry for Indie Wed? (Okay, that one's probably just me.)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cold Snap!

Pardon me while I complain for a second. Tonight it's the belated New Year's party at Hubsey's office, and I was all set to wear a dress and be fancy. But then Mother Nature decided to send a cold snap through, and I can look forward to a low of 6 degrees. SIX DEGREES of Kevin Bacon.

So that's lame.

Even more lame is that my beloved wool coat, the one I've been wearing for five winters, is starting to wear out. I really don't want to buy a new one, but I'm also getting tired of wearing a fleece jacket underneath it on days like today. It's not so great at blocking wind anymore.

If I have to think about moving on, then I want something cool like this:

Long, military style, and a dark color. I also like that it has a dramatic collar, but that's not a requirement. $108.

And this is totally impractical because my arms would freeze and fall off, but how sweet is this cape?!

If only I lived somewhere with milder winters...

Are you stuck with this cold front today, too? What are you doing to stay warm? Anybody else doing the double-jacket thing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Name Game

I've been tossing around an idea for the past couple of months and I need some input from my fellow bloggers.

Final Clothes-Out is almost three years old. In the beginning, it was just something fun to do while I was bored at work, and back then it was exclusively about shopping and fashion. Things haven't totally moved away from that, but now there are DIY projects, tutorials, Pinterest roundups, Etsy finds, shop updates, etc. that have been added to the mix.

And I kinda feel like "Final Clothes-Out" isn't a very good name anymore.

The new name I'm considering is "Little Nostalgia," a combination of my two Etsy shop names. I'll be honest, my favorite thing about it is the vagueness. No pigeonholing myself with a shopping pun this time, folks.

Sometimes I hesitate to post things here because I know it doesn't make sense with the name, which sort of defeats the purpose of giving myself a creative outlet. I don't want to feel like I'm stuck writing about the same old stuff all the time, so I think the ultimate makeover could be coming.

I told Hubsey about this, and he got me all paranoid with his talk of re-branding and blah, blah, blah, so now I need to know what fellow bloggers have to say.

What do you guys think? Have any of you ever changed your blog name? Or seen one that went through a mega-transformation like that? Was it weird? Is Little Nostalgia an okay option? Am I just being my usual worry wort self and over-analyzing? Some advice would be super.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Printer, New Calendar

I got a shiny new toy over the weekend!

It's my printer/scanner/copier--and also a fax machine, but I doubt I'll ever use it for that. Instead, I used it to finally take a stab at my calendar for 2012.

I decided to branch out a little and try a perpetual calendar. In theory, I could use the same template again next year because I don't have to worry about the days of the week--numbers only. This design is good for keeping track of birthdays and other major events (which is what this one is for), but maybe not everyday stuff since you don't have the days to double-check.

As you can see, I stopped at March. Neither of us has used this kind of calendar before, so I'm seeing how it goes before I bust out all 12 months. No need to jump the gun and have to re-do it in three weeks because I get freaked out by seeing less information.

If you slacked like me and still don't have a calendar, it's super easy to make your own version. All I did was print the numbers onto kraft paper, add some stickers (from the dollar spot at Target), and tie them together with really thin twine.

Did you make your own calendar this year? Or get a new printer? I didn't realize this one would be so huge! It takes up 75% of my shelf...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pinterest #14

Happy Friday! I'm surprisingly (or perhaps unsurprisingly) tired after my class yesterday. But that may have had something to do with lugging my giant t-square and drafting paper through the snow, and not so much the drawing that was involved. Note to self, the drafting paper does not like the wind.

As usual, Pinterest was full of inspiring images when I got home yesterday and needed to re-group with a pop and some Doritos.

First, this charming little piece is made from old palettes. And now we're going to have the song in our heads all day:

I stumbled upon a series of Art Deco inspired superhero posters, like Iron Man:

Using an old, and more interesting, door for your pantry:

Hello, diamond ring! Aren't you looking glamourous today? If you ever decide you need a new home, I have a great spot for you here on my hand.

I love this Roald Dahl quote. It's just so spot on.

Everybody have a swell weekend! Do you have any big plans? I'm catching up with a friend from college today, and I plan to spend the rest of the time making jewels and watching football. Probably at the same time.

See you Monday.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What I Wore: First day of school!

In the spirit of being honest, I took these pictures yesterday. But I really am wearing this right now, so let's just call it being organized instead of (correctly) predicting that I would be too frazzled before the first day of class to bother with a photo shoot.

This outfit has a couple of names: "I want to be comfy because my drafting class is four hours long" and/or "How many Forever 21 items can I wear in one day?"

tank: F21
cardigan: H&M
scarf: Target
jeans: F21
boots: F21

The answer is three. Technically four, because my under-tank (as I call it) is also from there.

And going back to the first name, yes, my class really is four hours long. Apparently all of my interior design classes are going to be block style, which, on the bright side, means I only have to go once a week, but it also means I have to surrender a big chunk of time when I do. Ah well.

Has anybody else gone back to school several years after college? Was it weird? Did you feel rusty? Were you the only non-18-year-old in your classes? (Can you tell I'm nervous?)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Indie Wed

I have my first wedding expo coming up on the 28th! I've been reluctant to do them in the past, mainly because I feel like they're just not the place for an itty bitty company like mine. "Regular" bridal expos tend to work better for big ticket vendors, so if I'm going to do one, it needs to be something a little different: 

The ladies who started Indie Wed wanted a wedding expo that felt more like a craft show. Something with smaller vendors, handmade items, and products that don't look like the same old wedding stuff you see everywhere. Too bad it wasn't around when I was planning (I was about 6 months early), because I definitely would've checked it out for myself.

Needless to say, I'm excited! And nervous. But mostly excited.

I feel like there's a never-ending list of stuff to do in the next two weeks, but I've managed to get designing some new stuff out of the way:

Now I just have to make samples of made-to-order items, work on the table setup, price everything, get tissue paper and shopping bags, paint the stands for the earrings holders...

So what are you working on lately? Anybody else doing a January/February show? Are you adding a spring line to your shop?