Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Puttering Along and Auntdom

Hello, folks :) It's been a while since the last post...and it seems I always start my blog posts with that sentence...

 Ah, well. It is what it is.

 So what's new with me, you ask? Quite a bit and not a lot, all at the same time. Right now my entire family is waiting with bated breath for the arrival of my nephew. He's due on the 5th and I can't wait! This little guy is the first kid of Mary & Jason's and I'm betting my bottom dollar that he will come out with a head full of red hair and wearing glasses.

 The prospect of auntdom is a little daunting, to tell the truth. I've never been one for babies and I think I've only held maybe 2 or 3 in my entire life. I don't do well with bodily functions, so this is going to be interesting. But then I think about all the fun we're gonna have together and that makes the whole bodily function thing somewhat bearable. Plus, I get to buy him ridiculously cute wee outfits. So I think this is going to be okay.

 I'll be down east for a couple of weeks with our other sister helping out the new parents when they need it and sewing my head off when they don't. Both of us are bringing our sewing machines to make nursery curtains. And maybe I will start on the quilt that I promised myself I would make in 2013. Sewing is intimidating to me, so having Leigh Ann there to encourage me will definitely help out.

 As for Whifferdill, things are puttering along. I've started a list of ideas for wreaths for holidays and seasons. I've also started embroidering again and I think I will have a few embroidered items up soon in the shop. I really like embroidery. You can find a lot of zen when you're simply stitching along in a room where the only sound is large doggies snoring and chasing rabbits in their sleep.

 Santa was amazingly good to me this year and brought me a Canon Rebel T3 and I am so excited to be learning more about photography! Kevin and I had discussed purchasing one for Whifferdill's product photography. I really wanted a DSLR and to learn about digital photography so that photos of my items would look more professional. My little point-and-shoot works just fine, but I knew that I could do better with better equipment. So I've been playing around and reading blogs and tutorials and the owner's manual. There's a lot to learn! I'm starting to get a handle on the basics, though.

 In other news, I might be starting a full-time job in addition to running Whifferdill. A friend of ours knows of a receptionist position coming open near the end of January and it sounds perfect. Answering phones, greeting people, light clerical work. Very much up my alley (I actually like customer service jobs - I know, it's crazy). I'd make enough moolah to pay the bills and would have most weekends free to be able to attend craft fairs with Whifferdill. I haven't interviewed or anything yet, so it's still a bit up in the air. But I think it's a great opportunity and I'm crossing my fingers it all works out.

 Hmmm...anything else going on? Nope, that pretty much sums it up. I think I'm going to get back to my stack of library books and then cook some dinner. This, dear reader, is the good life.

 Love and hugs,
(almost)Aunt Ru

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November Rain

Hey folks! Hopefully Guns and Roses won't sue me for using the above title. But it's so appropriate. It's a grey and dreary November day here in good ol' Durham and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and sip hot cocoa and read books. Possibly pet a dog. Maybe take a nap. Eat some chili. Sip more hot cocoa.... You get the picture.

But I shall not be a lazy good-for-nothing! I refuse. I've got a lot to do in order to get all of the new items posted up in the Etsy shop and ready to go for the holiday season. So I thought I'd procrastinate and write a blog post first :) I'm justifying this by telling myself that it's been a really long time since my last blog post (which it has) and that my readership is just dying to know what's been going on in my little world (which I am oh-so-sure you do....right?....RIGHT???).

So here's the scoop. Before this week, I've been sorta kinda neglecting the Etsy shop to try and get items made for 3 craft fairs at the end of October and beginning of November. The first two were great experiences and I met some awesome peeps. But I didn't have a lot of success with them. I'm learning that there's a trial and error process with craft fairs and I have to pick ones where I can succeed in selling a good amount of items to justify the booth rental fees. And I'm not saying that those 2 events were total failures. They were both a lot of fun and they definitely helped me ease into the craft fair world. The third fair was much more of a success for the business and it felt really good to make money off of my items. That sounds like it's motivated by greed, and for me it really isn't. It's more about the validation and confidence you feel when perfect strangers come up to your booth and look through everything you have for sale and decide to spend their hard-earned money on an item that you designed and picked colors for and stressed over and burned your fingers on the hot glue gun while making it. I'll admit that I was feeling low and kind of like a failure after those first two fairs. It's hard to constantly keep your own spirits up for weeks on end and it's a struggle some days to get past it and keep plugging away. But that's what you have to do. So that's what I did. With the boost from the 3rd craft fair, I'm feeling way better about everything and I'm excited to devote some time getting the Etsy store stocked for the holidays.

I'm also thinking about doing a booth at the Raleigh flea market at the fair grounds one Saturday in December. Maybe the 2nd Saturday? Hmm. We were there a couple of weekends ago and it was crazy busy. Not sure how many folks are out in December, though. I guess it would depend on the weather. The good thing about the flea market is that you can book it just 2 days before, so I'd have a good idea of what the weather would be like. I think I'll keep it in my back pocket for now and concentrate on Etsy for the next couple of weeks.

Sorry for the rambling on - welcome to my stream of consciousness, folks. Come on in, the water's fine!

So that's what is going on with Whifferdill! As for just little ol' me, other than crafty stuff, I'm really looking forward to Christmas! I know, I know. We haven't gotten through Thanksgiving yet. And don't get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving too. But that holiday is really my sister Mary's forte. She is cuckoo for cocoa puffs for Thanksgiving. That girl lives and breathes for turkey and dressing and mashed taters and fall-themed table linens and pumpkins and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. And I love her for it. But my holiday is Christmas. Baking and wrapping presents and singing carols at the top of my lungs and decorating trees (That's right - plural! We're having TWO trees this year!!!) and watching Christmas movies and drinking hot cocoa by the light of said trees.... Man, it doesn't get better than that! So yeah. Pretty excited. If you couldn't tell :)

Okay. I have to stop procrastinating. Time to Photoshop and crop pictures of brooches and get them posted up! Oh what I wouldn't give for an assistant who did this part for me....especially on dreary November days when the couch beckons with its siren song of comfyness. Alas, alack. Off I go into the wonderful world of editing photos!

Lots of love and hugs,

P.S. Only 39 days until Christmas!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fear and Doodle Therapy

Hello, hello!

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I've slacked on the blog posting. But I'm back to blogging now, so you can stop gnashing your teeth and wailing in misery (please satisfy my ego and pretend you were, please...I beg you...).

So...I'm just gonna dive right in and start chattering your ear (eyes?) off. I've got 2 craft fairs lined up for the end of October. Back to back. One right after the other. Who's insane? Yep, you guessed it. I am. Who's freaking out hardcore? Yep. That's me. Who's terrified that she overextended herself and there's no way to make enough items to fill a booth on a Friday night, much less another booth on Saturday night? Uh huh. Me. Yeppers.


(There's always a 'but'.)

While all these fears and terrors and worst-case-scenarios are playing themselves out in my head, I also know that it's going to be worth every bit of it. I'm excited to get out there, sell some items, hand out my business cards, and meet some fantastic people. I've loved coming up with a booth display that I think works. "What does it look like?" you ask? Why, let me show you...

Here it is, in all its glory! I've still got quite a few items to make to fill in the gaps, but I was excited to see it come together. Kevin had the absolutely brilliant idea of using 2 old bifold doors to display my wreaths. He kitted them out with hooks and curtain rods and it looks fantastic!

Oh, and I've added a new section to the Etsy shop - Hair Clips and Brooches. I really enjoy making these little felt flower accessories. And sometimes you just need to work on something small that you can accomplish in a relatively short amount of time. I can make several of these in an afternoon, while it usually takes that long to make one wreath with felt flowers. Wanna see what they look like? Well, you're a lucky duck today since I'm in a photo-sharing kind of mood!


I'm still working on the brooches, so it'll be another couple of days until I have them ready for their closeup. Oh, and I totally enjoy making the wee cards these guys hang out on all day. It's really soothing for me to sit with my pen in hand and just kinda doodle along. And I realize that it's probably too time-consuming to continue to make these by hand. I foresee a day in the somewhat near future filled with scanning and photoshopping. But not just yet. I'll continue to draw these by hand while singing along to Motown hits on Pandora. It's fairly cheap therapy. And I sure could use some therapy right now.

So back to the 2 craft fairs. Here's the info on both of them:

October 26th - Vikings Kick Cancer Pink Football Game
6 pm - 8 pm
South Granville High School
701 Crescent Heights Drive, Creedmoor, NC
Enjoy a high school football game, vendor fair, and a Chinese auction all in support of the Pretty in Pink Foundation which raises money for people dealing with breast cancer who are either under-insured or who have no insurance. A really fun way to support a really great cause!

October 27th - Peace Church First Annual Fall Concert & Chili Cookoff
6 pm - 10 pm
Peace Church
6114 Russell Road, Durham, NC
This promises to be a wonderful night to bring the family out and taste some chili, hear a great band, shop from local crafters and enjoy homemade pies and ice cream!

If you live in the area, I would love to see you in person at these 2 events! If you have any questions, just get in touch with me via my facebook page ( or shoot me an email at


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jungle Safaris and Rolly Chair Shenanigans

Hello, all :)

It's been a busy couple of weeks since last I posted in Ye Olde Blogge. I've shipped out my first few orders for Whifferdill (woo-hoooo!!) and we've been busy setting up the new space. I am in love with the new craft room. It's bright and cheerful and there's plenty of space for storage as well as enough work surface with another table added to the mix. Now I have enough room to spread out and make myself dizzy flying around the room in my rolly chair. Fun (albeit somewhat nauseous) times!

This past weekend was a blast - Kev and I met up with friends at the Bull City Burger and Brewery Oktoberfest Saturday night. If you live in or near Durham, you have GOT to go try their burgers. Everything that can possibly be made in-house is. Down to the durn pickles. And their meat and veggies are all locally sourced. And let me tell you, it makes a huge difference. Amazing stuff. Oh, and Kevin says their beer is amazing as well. And he would know. The man is an expert on beer.

Sunday was flipping fabulous as well. Two gorgeous gals and I met up and went on a jungle safari! Well, as close as you can get to a jungle safari in NC's piedmont. Outside of Mebane is a place called the Conservator's Center. And they have cats. Big cats. And some smaller cats. Oh, and two lemurs. And I got to roar at lions per our guide's request for a volunteer to help her get the kitties to do "roll call". Yeah. I roared my head off. And the lions did start up. But then I started laughing at the end of each roar and they were like "What the heck is that? That sounds like some crazy monkey..." So, uh, it wasn't a complete success. But it was definitely a fun experience. The Conservator's Center is absolutely worth checking out.

This week has been pretty quiet. I've been putzing in the craft room and made a new wreath. It started out being a somewhat generic fall wreath with orange and red and yellow felt flowers. But I just wasn't happy with the colors and arrangement. So I tweaked it and it wound up being only orange, copper, and brown - basically pumpkin pie colors. And I freaking love it.

That's really a good illustration of my creative process. Very few times do I actually come out with something that doesn't surprise me somewhat. I like to kind of go with the flow and see what happens. Play it a little fast and loose. Sometimes it works and I wind up with an item that makes me happy. One that has charm and personality. And sometimes it doesn't work. And I tear my hair out and growl at it. Then I'll shut it away where I can't see it, but I know that it's there. Quietly mocking me. Chuckling under its breath. Sometimes I'll hear the faint call of "na-na-na-boo-boo" from inside the closet. But that's okay. Because I know that at some point I'll come back to it, tear out the parts that offend me, re-paint it, re-work it, and mold it into something that makes me happy-to-the-core.

That's right, Ugly Picture Frame. Your time will come. Soon. I'm coming for you.

Yep. I talk smack to my craft items. Don't judge.

Love and hugs,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Summer Sun

Hey all!

Just wanted to give you a quick peek at the new craft space. We're still in the midst of painting, but I'm too excited to wait to post pics of the finished project. I'm weird. I know this. I'm also impatient. I know this too. But here are some snapshots!!

I love this color. The room was a really pretty lavender, but I wanted something a little lighter and brighter. And this pale yellow totally fits the bill.

Two windows let in a lot of sunshine!

"What's this?" you ask......
"Why, it's a DOUBLE CLOSET!!!" I reply while dancing a jig. Oh, the storage possibilities....

Yep, I think this was a good color choice. Now to finish painting, and then get everything of a crafty nature moved upstairs...and then organized. A huuuuuuge thank you to my husband for spending his afternoons this week painting the ceiling and trim and painting the walls twice. He is, in a word, amazing. Thank you, sweetpea :)
I think I'll keep him around for a while longer.
Love and hugs,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Autumnal Bliss

Yes, I know it's not fall yet. And yes, I know that currently it is 91 degrees outside. But a cold front is coming through tonight and next week will have highs around 77....I can smell it coming. Both literally and figuratively since I am burning a Yankee candle called Apple Pumpkin in the living room right now and it smells like every good thing fall has to offer. Which is quite a long list of good things. Sweaters, pumpkin bread, apple cider, boots, crunchy leaves, piling more blankets on the bed, open windows, the smell of wood fires, cornucopias, mums...the list could go on and on, really. The point is, autumn is just around the corner and I couldn't be more excited! This coming week I'll be focusing on all things fall while I'm in the studio. I've got some ideas for fall-themed items that will hopefully knock your wool socks off. I will also be drinking copious amounts of apple cider and shoveling entire loaves of pumpkin bread in my mouth while trying to make these items. Should be interesting. I'll keep you posted :)

In other studio news, I've picked the color for the new studio space upstairs - Valspar's Summer Sun. It's a creamy, dreamy, buttery yellow that isn't too bright. The wonderful hubs has already painted the ceiling and trim a bright white and will commence painting the walls early next week. So hopefully I will be moving in by the end of the week!! Here's an inkling of what it will look like. Unfortunately, I had to go with a dining room for the example because the people at Valspar think that folks don't paint their offices or studios...but whatevs.

As for the 5K's been a little slow. As in pretty much nonexistent in the past 2 weeks. With the mad rush to open up the shop and the emotionally-and-physically-drained aftermath of that mad rush, I simply didn't have the time or energy to go out and walk/jog. But I think I'm fully recovered (as I sit here typing this in my pajamas at 4:55 on a Saturday afternoon...) and Monday I'll start back up with a walk after breakfast. In brisk weather. There might be the barest whisper of a nip in the air! I might even have to wear workout pants instead of shorts!! Sigh. Oh, fall. I'd marry you if I weren't already married (to an amazing, wonderful, and simply perfect-for-me dude). So we'll just keep this strictly platonic.
Love and pumpkin-scented hugs,

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Opening Day :)

Hey all!

So around lunch time today, I hit the "Open Shop" button on Etsy after months of thinking about it and planning it and making items and figuring out sales tax and hoping and praying (and more praying...). It's been a pretty momentous day for me. Lots of emotions, but the biggest one is a sense of accomplishment. And that is a freaking fabulous feeling (alliteration, anyone?)!!! The second biggest is thankfulness - to my husband, to my family, to my friends, and to a couple of complete strangers who took the time to answer questions I had and to give me encouragement. I know opening a business in this economy is probably...well...insane. But my thoughts are that if I can make it work now, when there's not a lot of extra money floating around out there, then when good economic times roll around again, it'll be that much easier. So hopefully I will make it. If not, then I chalk this up to experience and put it on my resume.

I spent the morning Skyping with my sister getting her input on item descriptions (which she was very helpful with - thanks Leigh Ann!). This afternoon will be spent cleaning up the craft room (which is a disaster area at the moment) and obsessively checking my Etsy stats every 2 minutes to see how many people have seen the shop and whether or not there are any orders. Oh, hold on...gotta go check those right quick...Oh zowee. 22 page views! In less than an hour! Good stuff :)

Oh! We are going to move the craft room from the wee space it occupies now (an 11 x 9 room between the living room and our bedroom) to the largest upstairs bedroom! I have officially run out of room for materials and finished items. And the actual work space gets cluttered so quickly (b/c there's nowhere else to put anything) and it's hard to work in the midst of all that clutter. So Kevin will be painting the upstairs room this week and hopefully next week we will move everything into the new room. I'm having a hard time deciding on what color to paint it. I'm torn between a turquoise blue and a creamy yellow. I think I'm leaning towards the yellow - a cheerful, sunshiny yellow. I could work in a yellow room...what do you guys think?

It's time to check the stats again.....29 page views!!! 7 more than one paragraph ago! So exciting. And yes, I know I'm an odd duck.


And here's the link to Whifferdill on Etsy...

Love and hugs,