Store-bought or Custom..which is better for you?

Yesterday was a great day. A customer asked me to make her two quilts for her kids. I told her how much I was going to charge her. Her reaction… “Great. Sounds good! When do we start?” You have no clue what a relief it is when someone says okay to a price, when someone knows that what they are getting is worth paying a little more than you would at the store.

This last week I have had two customers back out of a project because of the price. Now please, don’t get me wrong, I know what it’s like to not have a ton of money (hello, stay at home mom here) and I am not mad at anyone for not being able to afford something. My gripe is that I think people assume that they are going to get something for the same price as they would if they were to go shopping at a regular store like Target or Walmart. So here are some comparisons.

The photo on the left is an example of a canvas you can pick up from Target for the low price of $20. Cute right? Yes. But it is also not personal. It’s mass produced. It is not hand painted. It’s generic. It matches countless others in other little kid’s rooms.

Now look at the canvas on the right that I painted. The little boy who this was for has a personal jersey from his favorite football team. It has his name on it. It has the Chargers logo as well as the NFL logo on it. It is one of a kind. No one else will have one that looks exactly like this. Yes it costs more than the one you can buy at Target, but that’s when you need to decide which you prefer.

Another thing I would like to tackle is what you are paying for when I make something for you. First, you are paying for the supplies which include canvas and paint. Next, you are paying for shipping which includes the actual shipping of the items plus the supplies to ship like bubble wrap, boxes, brown paper. Last, I charge you $25 per hour to paint. Now, being totally open and honest with you on this one. Some of the canvases I have painted take me a good 30 minutes. Anything simple with some palm trees and background doesn’t take me long. But I am still going to charge you for one whole hour. Now, for other projects that involve more details or more than one canvas (like a character per canvas), I will usually estimate an hour per canvas. Most of these do not take me only one hour. I first have to talk with you and draw things out to make sure I get exactly what you want. This takes time. Then I have to go out and buy supplies and spend time and gas to get everything. Then while I am painting, I am also being a mom and a wife. I have to stop painting to help with homework and chores. I have to stop painting to make dinner and read stories and give baths. I have to stop painting and tell my daughter that “I can’t do that right now because I have to work on this project.” I have to give in to TV and movie watching to occupy my daughter so that I can finish without interruptions.

Now please don’t take this as complaining because I am not. I am just stating that while this started out as a hobby and I would paint for friends, it is rapidly turning into a source of income. When you pay me to paint something for you (or make anything), I am using this money to buy groceries, school supplies, a babysitter so my husband and I can go on a date. This is a job for me, it’s not just fun.

To summarize, I absolutely love doing projects for people. If I could do this forever I would. It brings me happiness to see the look on your face when something comes out great or to see your kids reaction when I paint them something they love. But please, when you ask me to make you something, don’t assume it is going to be cheap. Remember that it is custom to you and is personal. If you want something inexpensive and cute but not personal, head to the store.

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Wine a Little

Pinterest is not even close to being the only place I find inspiration. Everyday life is a great inspiration and so are stores. I mean, sometimes I go into stores and fall in love with their items and have no problem paying for their merchandise. But let’s be honest…sometimes you go in a store and love something and think, “Why the heck would I pay that much when I could make that?” This happens to be quite often an as long as I can find the materials, I prefer making things before buying them.

So a couple months ago I was walking around a little store in St. Pete, Florida and I came across something that was insanely cute. A coaster for your wine glass that looks like a flip flop. Well, if you didn’t know before, I have flip flops tattooed on my ankle. I only wear closed toes to run. I LOVE flip flops. I don’t however like wine too much, but most of the people I know do. So I was reaching down to grab not just one but a couple to purchase and then I saw the price. $6.95…Each. What? For a coaster? No thank you. Didn’t think anything of it after that.

The next week or so I was in San Diego in a cute little store and saw the same thing. And how much might these be? Just the same. What is up people? I get that you need to make a profit but c’mon. It’s a coaster. So I inspected it a little closer and decided then and there that I would make these and they would  be awesome and I would charge half the price.

First set. Simple but awesome. I made this pair for my grandma. If you’re interested in a set, I sell a set of 4 for $12 (including shipping). They are listed on my Facebook page and I am thinking of putting them on my Etsy page as well. Below are the ones I have for sale.

A Christmas Set.

A set for a fun, hip lady. Also great for a bridal shower or bachelorette party gift.

And some of my fave.. a set for the football fan with your favorite team colors. Displayed is Chargers colors. Remember I’m from California. These are special order for your favorite team. I have all kinds of ribbon and all kinds of colors so let me know what you want. I just made a few as examples to give you ideas.
Happy Wednesday!!!

My Thumb is Green! Part 2

Again I will say that in my opinion, gardening can be art too. It takes a certain amount of patience and creativity to be a gardener and to enjoy it. If you missed it, here’s the first blog I wrote about my garden. GREEN

Now just to recap, I have some veggies on the back porch, some plants in the front, and I also made a garden downstairs in the front. The garden in the front is my favorite.

The front has banana trees (flown here from Texas) and a few other native plants. The only plants doing well here right now are the banana trees because of all the rain and hot weather. I planted Marigolds up here too because they are hardy and when the flowers die you just squeeze all the seeds out and throw them all over and they will grow. I have a few little ones coming up now and hopefully they can make it through the rest of the summer and be good and pretty for the rest of the seasons. But the main idea here are the banana trees. I used to have these on the side of the house but they didn’t too well. Once I moved them to the front they took off.

The biggest one, closest to the driveway is the best one so far. The one in the middle started off sad and is just now getting really big. Those are our original two starter plants. The one closest to you in the photo is a pup of the big one. If you are not familiar with banana trees, they reproduce when they are happy and content with their soil and environment.

These are two MORE pups that are sprouting up. This is such great news for us. If these things start to produce fruit, we can have our own banana stand on the weekends. LOL!! The one on the left it just about big enough to replant if we want to move it. The one in the right photo started sprouting last week. These things take off like crazy. The other super neat part about these trees, frogs LOVE them. And we love the wildlife around here. So we have baby tree frogs all over these things. Way cool.

Now if you checked out the last blog you saw a little story about this guy. Started out as a tiny cactus, thought it was going to die, sort of forgot about it, started to take off. Now look at it! He’s huge!!!! This thing keeps sprouting new arms and now it’s even started to grow roots out of the arms. I need to do some research and see exactly what kind of cactus this is. But he has a new pot and he loves it.

I don’t know if I’ve shown my frustration about this to my blogger followers yet, but here goes. I LOVE avocados. If you check out my Pinterest, my food board is full of recipes that have something to do with avocado. So I need a tree of my own. Now I know that you need two so they can cross pollinate and they take quite a few years to even start producing fruit…not the point. I just want to be able to grow one from a seed. Blogs everywhere make it sound so easy. My mom-in-law told me, “Oh it’s so easy. I’ve done it a bunch of times.” Well, this is my millionth attempt. Yes I am exaggerating, but not much. I would say this is my 10th attempt. And this is my final attempt. If it doesn’t work this time, I am breaking down and buying a tree. This guy was in my window but someone had told me that maybe it was too cold in my house. So he is outside enjoying the sun, not growing. Grrrrr.

Here is our Plumeria we brought home from Maui. We came home with a branch or stalk or trunk (not sure what you call it) bought from Walmart of all places, planted it, and voila. Our own tropical beauty. I think this is the pink one but it could be white. We have another one that isn’t doing as well. I think the pot may not be draining well and it’s being over-watered. That one needs some TLC before he’s up to blog status.

Here is my baby, my pride and joy, my Money Tree. And thanks to my other love (my husband) this guy is THRIVING!!! The last time I went to CA I left my husband in charge of watering my plants. I came home to a fertilized Money Bush. There are new branches and a ton of new leaves. The only thing I am waiting for is for it to flower. When I purchased this plant the instructions said minimal water and window sun. When I see these plants around now the instructions say that they love humidity and water. Never knew they loved water until my mom (in San Diego) had a week of rain and all of the sudden her money tree bloomed. So now I am determined to get this guy to bloom.

This is the basil I bought in April time frame for $0.50 at a blueberry farm. It was about 5 inches tall when I bought it (not including the pot). Now it’s 21 inches tall. I told you my thumb was a nice shade of green.

My plants in the backyard are still doing okay. The tomatoes are done, I need to get rid of them and start new ones, but the banana peppers and bell peppers are still producing. The plants themselves don’t look too good, but there is still fruit so I can’t complain. Last on my list is this little number…

Fake but adorable. My mom crocheted this from a pattern she found on Pinterest. We are just a green and crafty family!!

Little Blog on the Prairie

A little taste of what I did on Sunday afternoon. Wasn’t super arts and crafty, but it was awesome. If you look closely, there’s a little snapshot of yours truly in there somewhere.

Happy Monday!!!

Little Blog on the Prairie.

It’s been pressed…in a fresh way

I am still fairly new to the blogging world. I tried doing it before and it just didn’t work out. Over the past few years I have seen that it’s becoming more of a thing to do and people have encouraged me to do it. So I figured I would try it. I keep this blog strictly craft related (with a little bit of motherhood thrown in) and I update as often as possible. So when I got an email the other day saying that was blog was “freshly pressed” I was like, “Okay… what does that mean?”

I have clicked on freshly pressed before and I thought that it was just a random selection of blogs that have been recently written. Like if you go on the Etsy main page, at the bottom there is a part with items that have just been put up for sale. If you click the refresh button, new ones come up. That is what I thought this was too. But then I read into it. I found out that it’s not just a random selection, that my blog was chosen to be put up there for a whole day. Whoa! The excitement started to sink in.

Last night I went to check my email and it was loaded with “please moderate” emails. What the heck? So I checked and there it was!! My blog, right there on the front page for everyone to see. And it’s still there!!! I was so excited that I took a screen shot to share with all my friends on my Facebook page.

There it is!! See it? On the top next to the photo of Simon Pegg!! I went to bed very happy last night.

I woke up this morning and there were almost 130 new emails!! “So and so is following your blog. So and so liked your post. So and so commented!” I cannot contain my excitement! This is just way too cool. I am finally able to branch out and have more people following what I do. And a few of my new followers have also liked my Facebook page which is way, way cool too because that is updated more often. So, thank you’s are in order.

Thank you to WordPress for choosing me to represent blogs on the front page.

Thank you to everyone who has and will comment on my blogs. I appreciate every single one of them!!!!

Thank you to my new followers. I hope you will continue to follow and comment and see what new things I create.

Thank you to my new Facebook fans!

And just thank you to everyone!! You are why I continue to be able to do what I love to do; be creative!!

Love to all of you!! You’re awesome! Happy Thursday!!!!

Pin Pin Pinterest

First, if you are not doing Pinterest, you need to start. It is amazing! Especially if you are into arts and crafts because sometimes you have an idea but you just need a boost. Or more often, you didn’t know such ideas existed and usually they are awesome and you already have all the supplies. Anyway, I saw this yesterday and I love it.

It doesn’t describe me exactly because I have made a TON of stuff I’ve seen on there, but it still works because I think we are a small group…people that actually use Pinterest for ideas to use. So, I saw some cool things recently and like I said above, sometimes you already have all the supplies. I did! So here goes.

I love to paint. Duh. And I’ve tried painting on glass with just regular acrylic paint and it works, but it doesn’t stay on if you wash it. So I was on the lookout for glass paint. Found it! But while searching on Pinterest, I saw that you could draw on glass or ceramic with Sharpee markers and cook it and it would work the same. Um, that is way cool and super easy. So I did both, paint and Sharpee.

These are the Sharpee glasses before heading to the oven.

Here is the piece I painted. The left photo shows what it is. I got 3 of these in a pack for super cheap at Old Time Pottery. They are bottles used to preserve food but I am going to use mine for dish soap. (Why not?) I just took off the top metal and plastic pieces and painted it. I let this dry for about an hour (I did the next craft) and then it was off to the oven for all three pieces. Instructions for the Sharpee art were the same for the paint and were listed on the bottle of paint. Let dry and then cook at 350 for 30 minutes. But, you have to do it this way; put the pieces in the COOL oven. Then turn the oven on to 350. Start your timer when you start the oven so it’s 30 minutes total. Once the 30 minutes are over, turn the oven off and leave the stuff in there to let it cool. I took a nap for a bit so my stuff stayed in the oven most of the afternoon, but it was cool so it was okay. Took it out and….

Voila!!

I know what you’re thinking…they look exactly the same! I know! It’s great. They came out perfect!! I don’t have anything bad to say about the painted soap dispenser. But I have a few things to say about the Sharpee glasses. First, the yellow burned off. Second, you can see the pen strokes, but I think that just comes with using a Sharpee. And third, I love the way they came out, but I think it’s better to do this on white glass or ceramic, not clear. It looks cool, but in the picture, I put a napkin in each glass so you could see. Most blogs I have seen do the Sharpee thing for writing on mugs or keepsake plates for birthdays and parties. So just keep that in mind.

So while these were drying before the oven, I did another pinned craft.

Food coloring, glue, and a vase. What the heck am I going to do with those. Add a drop of food coloring to a cup with some glue, mix,  paint onto vase. What?!

You can see the streaks a bit but wait, it has to dry.

Oh my gosh! So cool!! A simple vase from a store-bought flower turned into an adorable sea glass sort of creation. I love it! And it was so simple.

Note: don’t move the vase with wet hands. 😉

The AVENGERS

They are done!!! All 7 canvases commissioned by Shari for her son’s new Super Hero themed room.

Again, I can’t take credit for the original designs…Shari found some examples while browsing around on Pinterest, but I did add a little of my own flavor to each and each of them are hand drawn and painted. I think what is super cool is the idea. I didn’t realize until I was halfway done that I was doing only HANDS. I mean, I noticed but it didn’t click that each super hero has a special thing they do with their hands. Way cool!!

I LOVE the minimalist one. One of my faves.

Captain American and Hulk

Thor and Iron Man. My favorite canvas is definitely the Iron Man one.

Hawkeye is the biggest one. Dokken’s favorite.

This is how all of canvases are going to be arranged on the wall. It’s going to be a gallery wall. Way cool! This has been such a fun and fulfilling project for me. Thanks so much to Shari for asking me to be part of her son’s room. It’s awesome. Once she is done, I will post pictures of his finished room with some of the items she made also. If you want to see them now, check out my album on my Facebook page.

Christmas in August

I decided to do a deal for this month! I have been away from really promoting for a while because I have been out of town a lot. So this month, on  my Facebook page, get 20% off your entire purchase for $15 or more. Restrictions are listed on the coupon.

Use coupon code XMASAUGUST in my Etsy shop for the same great deal.

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