Saturday, April 30, 2011

Business Plan!

Here's a look at just some of the fun tablecloths that we created this week for our great Modern June customers. By Tuesday we will have made 32 custom tablecloths for the month of April. I find that totally amazing, in part because I've never really kept track of the numbers before. Isn't that a horrible thing to admit? During the four years that I've been making tablecloths, I've only made a few at a time, each week.

But, in March it became clear to me that there had been a real shift in Modern June. Writing my book, Sewing with Oilcloth, changed my goals for my business and for my family life--I found it impossible to balance writing, manufacturing and mothering--after months and months of trying. By the time I turned in the last chapter of my book, my family was very unhappy and I had a severe case of burn-out. But on the upside, I found that I really liked writing patterns and I didn't want that to end with the book.  

After a well deserved break from Modern June I knew we needed a new plan of attack. We started by limiting our wares. I spent a weekend tracking which products sold best each month, and by going through years of sales I found which three to six products had to stick around each season. For example, Spring and Summer is all about dining al fresco and decorating the porch with fun oilcloth goodies! I knew we would continue to make our custom oilcloth pillows, placemats and tablecloths for the warm weather seasons.

The new plan had to carve out more time to spend teaching my homeschooled kids, and there needed to be blocks of time for me to move farther into the world of publishing. Each bit of this plan meant that I would spend less time cutting and sewing product, so my team of Junies and I agreed to a new production schedule. We would only create our pillows and placemats during the second week of the month and we would make all the tablecloths at the end of each month. Sounds good, right? Well "best laid plans" as they say!

I must admit creating all these tablecloths has made for a long and tricky week. The number one problem was that we've never sold 32 tablecloths in April before, sales were up about 35% over last year (don't get me wrong, I know that's a good problem). Second, getting all the materials we needed can sometimes be a challenge--our supplier didn't have three of the prints we needed, so we didn't meet our deadline on a few orders (this totally bummed me out, I hate being late!). Then, my poor stitcher was sick all week and she was only able to come to work on Friday. She was real trooper, she really shouldn't have come in at all as she was still feeling totally rotten. I felt so bad for her, but she did save my sanity by coming in.

So, what lesson's did I learn during my first month on the new plan? 
  1. Keep a running list of the orders as the come in and order oilcloth early! 
  2. Set a cut off date for when tablecloths have to be ordered by. Our tablecloth production period  now runs only until the 25th of each month, after which additional orders are delayed until the following month's period.
  3. Remember to order two bolts of each oilcloth and laminated cotton during spring and summer months to ensure having the material needed!!
  4. Have Kathie (The Shipping Junie) come in for an extra shipping day at the end of each month to handle the high volume of packages going out at on time.
  5. Realize that "things" happen and that caffeine is a good thing!
  6. Communication is key--informed customers are so totally cool and understanding!!!
All and all, this month was much better than the last six. Even if I am totally exhausted right now, I have had more time with my family. I started working out, and I started a very exciting new project that will impact Modern June for years to come. (No spoilers!)

I want to thank my Junies for all the support and effort they have put forth for making Modern June a great place to work! I love you all!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mood Board: Studio Makeover

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Treasury Tuesday, Sewing Studio

A little room to sew in! Here are a few things that I think every sewing room should have, some fun retro love! Please head on over to Etsy and click your way through some things that I treasure.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Going Vertical

I am so in love with every bit of this before and after project that was featured on Design Sponge earlier this month. I have found a kindred spirit in Linwood Avenue, she loves vintage fabric, collects milk glass and she makes aprons! Sounds a little familiar, doesn't it?

Anyway, I was totally inspired to pick up these three wall shelves and to recreate her lovely piece. I'll combine the vintage fabrics that I bought on-line a few days ago with some oilcloth. I am thinking I'll need some Pyrex to add into the mix!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

fleurs and a feline

Saturday, April 23, 2011

vintage fabrics

Turquoise for my studio walls was a clear favorite with you all. I wasn't so sure until I throw up a piece of fabric up on the wall to see it with the beech book shelves. It's great, I am sure I'll love it! But before I go out shopping for paint I knew I needed to get my fabrics purchased. I need fabric for roman shades and to line the book shelves that will be under the cutting table and on the wall.
Here's what I purchased for the Roman Shades, it's a sweet Bark Cloth! I bought it from Teaworks Cottage on Etsy (of course). The listing refers to it as Aqua, I may need to flexible on the wall color, we'll have to wait and see!
I also picked up some Chenille bedspread cuts, these are all odd pieces that I'll use for some wall art pieces. LOVE!!! I got the first two pieces from Alora's Adorables and the last one is from Chenille Bliss! (heaven)

Who knows what these two lovelies will become, sometimes you just have to buy them and wait for inspiration to hit ya. I got the quilt piece from Chenille Bliss (at 4 bucks, it need me) and the vintage feed sack from Kimmy Made.
So what about those shelves I want to line? Oilcloth to the rescue! After all, I am the Oilcloth Addict! I like the juxtaposition of mixing oilcloth with bark cloth, chenille, and feed sack material. It's all from the same era but not used in the same part of the house! Fun, right?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's talk wall color!

I am just about to reach the day when I have money and time to redo my studio! (the two don't often meet!) I've only planning this major make over since I Christmas so I'm really ready. I mean REALLY ready for a change! So... let's talk about wall color!

Right now I have a weird soft yellow that eats light instead of being cheery and bright. How did that happen? Bleech!

Soooo..... How about white walls?
Espana's Photography Office I just love how the color pops off the white walls!
Emma Lamb's Studio of sweetness! 
I am sorry I don't have a proper photo credit and link for this picture. I think I spy oilcloth on that desk, don't you? 

Now for some turquoise inspiration...
Jenny B. Allsorts flickr page is filled with all kinds of creative goodness! The Turqoise wall's are great with the red and white. BUT... I have these Billy Bookshelves in Beech to work with and I'm not so sure it'll all mess together well.
Alicia Paulson got really cozy in this gorgeous room for years! Again she has all white wood. That's my sticking point with this color isn't it? Darn beech cabinets! I can't even use them, they're filled with the cute hubbies stuff. (Once upon a time this was his man cave, sore subject!) ; ) 

Amy's little house studio is darling in Tiffany Box Blue! 

What to do... what to do? Ya gotta help me, leave me a comment with your vote! White or Turquoise?

My Favorites Page...

... makes me really happy! It's filled with stuff I want to organize my studio with, some of which I now own!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My FAB new bag!

How much fun is my new bag? I am totally in love with it! I got it from Alex from Hello Bluebird at the Spring Bada-bing show!! I was so excited to see her again, we meet two years ago at the BMAC when she opened up her brick and mortar shop in Reading, PA where she offers lots of goodies made by her community of talented artists!!! Her mission statement makes me giddy, they are truly words to live by!!

How cute is this shop? Notice anything familiar? Alex says that the party banners are still hanging up! LOVE IT!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Silk Rainbow Goodness!

Here's just one of the fun finds that I found at yesterday's Spring Bada-bing show!!! It's a darn good thing that I know where to find my friend Crystal, I really regret not getting one of these Crystal J Silk scarves! (Mothers Day Hint: the skinny scarf in aqua was my favorite!)

I've got more Spring Bada-bing treats to share so come on back soon!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Its Spring Bada Bing time!

Its Sunday, April 17th, and that means its time for Spring Bada Bing! If you are in or near Richmond, come on down to Planet Zero today to view and buy the latest beautiful/cool/neat/exciting things in the crafts scene today!

There is a ton of free parking, and 64 vendors bringing their own unique jewelry, toys, clothing, perfumes, art, and other one-of-a-kind gifts for you to buy for your Spring holiday celebrations.

Make a day of it, and get a bite to eat at the wonderful Planet Zero Café while it is open all day during our show.

See ya there!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

crafting homeschool style

This is what craft time is looks like when you combine a Zelda obsessed boy that loves to build with a mom that loves to make patterns. (I think that this counts as an introduction to Geometry, don't you?) 
My boy-child has been reading the Legend of Zelda series for about two weeks now and he is totally obsessed with all things Zelda. After days of intense research he's decided to make a Mask of Truth. You know how that turned out right? I made the mask and he art directed. What a cleaver boy!
Someday we'll cover this with paper mache and paint it, but for now, he's making a set of wings to go with the mask. He's on his own for that project. ; )