Tag Archives: Business

Mirror, Mirror

21 Mar

Remember me telling you I had to take the vanity out of our bedroom to make a spot for Baby’s bassinet?  Well, because the vanity was 50+ years old and in baaaaad shape (think: badly peeling veneer that would require professional help to make it look nice again), we ended up donating it.  We couldn’t, however, find it in our bones to part with the vanity mirror:

The mirror measures 36×38 inches, and since the part that actually attached it to the back of the vanity busted about ten years ago, we didn’t feel bad separating the two.  Space being at a premium here in the high rise, there was really only one place to put this awesome guy… right smack in the middle of the living room.

Hey! Someone put a vanity mirror in the living room!

The good news: we can now see the planes at Reagan National taking off from a whole new angle.

The bad news: it looked like we took the mirror out of our bedroom and put it in the middle of the living room.  <sigh>

The interesting news: my moM came for a visit to help me get the nursery set up and suggested…


I’ll admit I was skeptical, especially when we priced out said tiles and estimated the cost of upgrading the mirror to be around $50.  THEN we found these tiles in shades of blues, whites, and creams.  They weren’t tagged, so we asked a lovely man named Raaj how much they were.  He took one look at us – my giant belly and I, my moM, and my godMother, and said, “For you?  One penny!”

SCHWHAT?!?!  Turns out we’d inadvertently chosen a discontinued style of which there were only four slates left.  Turns out Raaj actually walked us to the check-out, then handed the cashier a nickel out of his own pocket, saying, “Who says a nickel doesn’t go far today?” Turns out Raaj is the nicest Home Depot Guy in the universe!  Hooray, Raaj!

Thanks, Raaj!

After we thanked Raaj about a zillion times he wished us luck and we were on our way.  Wherever you are, Raaj, you have excellent karma!  =)

So, for the price of some gas and a few swollen limbs (which calmed themselves down after a few large glasses of water and some rest), we were in business!

The original plan was to glue each tile to the mirror individually to avoid grout, BUT…all those teeny glass tiles are actually connected to each other via a mesh backing, so instead of having to place and attach each tile individually, I just cut the mesh to the size “frame” I wanted, which ended up being 3×3.

The up side of this strategy:  it only took a few minutes to arrange and attach the tiles (versus what I predicted to be HOURS had I glued each tile individually)

The down side of this strategy: My next choice was to either live with visible mesh backing or invest in some grout, which I doubted Raaj was going to donate to the cause.

Simple White Grout.

Turns out grouting tile is fast, easy, and super fun. I had a bit of trouble with the edges, which I’m still tweaking, but after watching a few You Tube videos I was a grouting champ! The most difficult part was the timing – I had to be careful to wait long enough for the grout to set between the tiles, but not so long that the grout would set ON TOP of the tiles.  It made me nervous to see all those pretty tiles covered in drying grout, but as you can see they cleaned up nicely with just some hot water & a rag.

Here’s what the finished project looks like:

Would you look at that?!  Instead of a bedroom mirror, Husband and I now have a living room mirror!  I wish we had a fire place mantle to rest it on, but until then it looks pretty good to me.  The best part is that the tiles not only match the living room, but they also match our bedroom colors, so if I ever decide to put it back in the bedroom it’ll still work!  Yay!  There’s a small, nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me I’ve traded my bedroom mirror for a swimming pool mirror, but I think that’ll pass once I get used to looking at it.  All in all I’m happy with how it turned out, and I’d do it again!

Total investment: $15 for the grout, a few days of a giant mess on the dining room table, and some cranky cats who got banished to the back room during the grouting process.  Worth it?  Definitely!  (Plus, when a girl’s fingers are so swollen she can’t crochet she’s got to do SOMETHING, right?)


What if it’s rainy AND cold?

22 Feb

Why, then, Baby Boy will have to wear this sweater now, won’t he?

I think I might be growing a Hobbit baby...


This was my first attempt at making an actual piece of clothing rather than an accessory, and I was surprised at how easy it was!  The most difficult part was lining up the button holes (and that’s not rocket science, friends).

I’m *trying* not to be stressed about the sizing; I made the biggest size the pattern included, so hopefully by the time the weather turns it will fit my little hobbity son (who is currently practicing his roundhouse kicks on my bladder. Neat).  If it doesn’t fit, well, no worries – It only took me about a day and a half to work up, so I’ll just make another one!

I can't make a sweater without a tiny dragon on it, now can I?


So… I’m now off to create more dragony things for the boy (with my feet up and a big glass of water next to me, of course).  Hooray!

Pink Hat is Pink!

2 Feb

It was no less than 70 degrees and sunny here in Washington, DC yesterday, but it must be winter somewhere, because I just completed a custom Etsy order for this little hat:



It’s an ear flap beanie made of a light pink, machine washable wool, and topped with a confetti bumble (size 12-24 mos)!   I have to say – I’m utterly in love with this pink yarn – it *seriously* looks delicious enough to nom (and that’s not just the pregnant girl craving food, either).

I realized too late that most of the pictures I took were from the same, vaguely alienesque angle, so please forgive the lack of… err… perspective.


Under the chin tie detail


Is it winter where you are?  Stop by A Happy Little Shop today & order a hat of your very own!

Headbands A Go-Go

23 Sep

So I was going to do a craft show this October, and actually made several items in advance, but then discovered a conflict and had to back out.  Boo.

The bad news: I have a small apartment, and it has very little room to store pre-made items.

The good news: You’re about to get some awesome deals at my Etsy shop!

These headbands, usually 3/$20USD, are on sale now, 5/$20! Awesome!

Head on over to my Happy Little Shop today & check out the savings!

Itsy Bitsy Snoopy

24 Aug

I finally finished my teenity tinity Snoopity doll! Hooray!

Snoop, there it is!


You can snag the pattern from My Etsy Shop for a few bucks, or send me a message if you’d like the little guy in finished product form.

The pictures didn’t turn out so great; I blame autofocus. I’ve already given little Snoop here to Brother (Huzzah!  He got his entire Christmas present in under a year!), so I’ll have to remember to take better pictures next time I make one.

I don't know...there's just something about teeny tails that makes me squeeeee!


This whole MySpace picture thing is getting to be a regular thing with my dolls... tee hee!


*Whew!*  2010 Christmas Gifts = DONE.  Now for 2011…



Nicholas the Bunny

21 Aug

Did you know you can request a custom item from my Etsy shop?  Claire wanted Nicholas the Bunny, the star of Richard Scarry‘s book, “I am a Bunny.”

I looked at a few pictures of little Sir Nicholas, turned my thinking cap on, and got started.

This is Nicholas's MySpace profile pic - he's such an Emo little guy.


Turns out no two pictures of Nicholas have *quite* the same detail, so I had to use my super-duper decision-making skills (and ask Husband, my mom, Chibi, and, you know, pretty much everyone I’ve seen in the past few days) to decide what to put in and what to leave out.

Adorable, no?


Here’s what the finished product looks like:

I literally cannot STAND the cuteness.


look at his cute little bunny tail! Awwww!


This is Nicholas’s Linked-In profile shot; it’s much more respectable.



Turns out that despite my previous pattern design projects, Mr. Nicholas here finally convinced my darling Chibi that I can actually invent crochet patterns, and she has subsequently asked for a Sailor Moon doll and that magic screwdriver thingy Dr. Who carries around (I’ve never seen the show, so please forgive my ignorance).  Since I finally finished my teeny Snoopy pattern (you’ll be seeing him in the very near future), it looks like I have my next few pattern projects lined up!


Have an idea for a project YOU’D like me to design?  Visit my Etsy shop (ferabeth.etsy.com) and send me a message today!

I Work for Peanuts.

3 Aug

A thing happened this weekend involving a very needy customer, several e-mails, an emergency trip to the craft store, and – you guessed it – a no sale in the end.  I’m in a unique position with my crafting – I really DO do it just for fun (I’m fairly certain I’d never see black if I was trying to run a business) – but the whole situation got me thinking…


How Much Money Does a Crafter Really Make?


Let’s say you see this little guy, a 3″ ornament sized Charlie Brown doll, for sale at my Etsy shop for $18.00US.

 $18 for a teeny little ornament?  Well, yes.  Check this out:


Materials for 3″ Charlie Brown:

– yarn in yellow, skin, black, and brown : The kind of yarn I buy costs around $5/skein, so that’s an initial investment of $20 plus tax.  Let’s say one set of colors will yield about 10 dolls, so we’ll put the total yarn cost at $2.00.

-safety eyes: I purchase my eyes from this Etsy seller, who sells them in sets of 10 for $3.50 + $2.00 shipping.  So, $5.50/5 dolls (cuz I like my dolls to have two eyes, yo) adds another $1.10 to my supply cost.

– fiber fill: You can get about 20oz of this stuff for under $3.00, and as I really don’t measure how much of it I use, I’ll add another $0.05 to my supply cost.

– crochet hooks: You can get a decent set of crochet hooks for about $10, and since I acquired my hooks years ago and have no idea how much I paid for them, I’m going to add only another $0.05 for general wear-and-tear on the hook (yes, they do wear out – sometimes they snap in half. It’s unpleasant).

– pattern: I designed this pattern myself, which I sell for $1.10 at my Etsy shop, and which, all-told, garners me $0.60 profit each time someone buys it.  I don’t pay myself whenever I use this pattern, but let’s pretend I do, because I really ought to.  What’s that rule of owning your own business?  Pay yourself first?  Hmm…  Anyway.

-Etsy fees: Etsy charges me $.20/listing and another $.30 at the time of transaction, so let’s add another $.50 to the cost column. Awesome.

So far the total supply cost for little Charlie is $3.70.


Need another shot of Charlie?  I thought so.



Now let’s talk time.


In a perfect world I can make little Charlie here in just under two hours. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that I always make Charlie perfectly and never have to stop working.  The current minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25/hr, so my work, for two hours of hookery, should earn me $14.50 (minus taxes, which I’m not even going to get into here).


SO. If I already have all of the supplies I need, don’t make any mistakes, and pay myself minimum wage to crochet this ornament, it will cost me $18.20.




PROFIT: NEGATIVE $.20.  Rad. I have the best business plan EVAR!


-The time it takes to acquire supplies (either driving to the store or purchasing online)

-The time it takes to photograph products and create listings for them

-The time it takes to prepare items for shipping (and the boxes/packing materials)

-The time it takes to actually ship an item (have you ever been to the post office when there wasn’t a line??)


Now then.  I don’t mean to be a whiney poo-poo with this post; like I said before, this is not my “for profit” job  (For profit I work HERE – see if you can find my blog posts!).   Often, though, I think about people for whom crafting is their main source of income – people who spend hours and hours making things for us, and for minimal profit.  Well, you might say, crafters like what they do, so they should figure that in to the cost analysis. Oh yeah?  Have you ever had a job, like, EVER that paid you on a sliding scale according to how much you enjoyed the work?  Yeah, uhm, no.


YOU: “Hey Boss, I LIKE MY JOB $700./hr-much!”

YOUR BOSS: “Good for you.  Now go chop those onions.”

In the end I suppose this post is about trying to encourage a certain amount of thoughtfulness. When you think about all of the costs that go into creating, say, a graduation quilt, or a hand-painted seascape, or a carved stone bracelet – isn’t part of the item’s value the fact that it was made by two hands instead of a machine? Shouldn’t we “factor in” the value of knowing personally the guy who built our kitchen table? Shouldn’t we crafters charge you a $10 flat fee for “peace of mind” on every item?  (Tee hee – just making sure you were still paying attention).


Maybe you disagree, and that’s okay too; here’s something you might be interested in.   See?  I’m a People’s Blogger. *grin*


What do you think about the cost of  hand-made items?