Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflecting on 2011 {Welcoming 2012}

Pin It
Hello Friends! How exciting it is to be greeting you on the last day of such a great year.


2011 has been a year of growth and learning for my handmade business, SoChick Handbags, this blog, and myself. 

[Looking back] This year:

~SoChick! Handbags celebrated turning 1 year old.
~I Committed to Blogging, which has been a blessing
~SoChick was Fox Small Business' "Tweet Business of the Day" and featured twice on their site; Here & Here.
~I was named  "Scatter Girl of the Month" in November
~I was featured on many blogs, of which I am SO grateful.
~SoChick! became a vendor at our local Farmer's Market

[Numbers]:

265 Followers on Twitter - 339 Likes on Facebook - 101 Blog Followers via GFC - 2600 Avg. page views per month here on the blog!


SoChick!, the business and this blog have grown so much in 2011 and I can't thank my family, friends, and customers enough for the love and support!



I have goals and dreams for 2012, and high hopes that it will bring even more growth here, on the blog, as well as in SoChick! the business.

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year, may 2012 be a fantastic year for you!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Organizing for the New Year

Pin It
We had a nice Christmas, spending time with our family.  My girls were so pleased with the gifts they received... now it's time to find a home for everything and bring some order to our home for the New Year.





From my experience, the New Year brings out the Organizing Issues in the magazines... and so I'm inspired to get organized.  It also helps that my little chickies are with their Grandparents this week! {True Story!}




I tend to over-do my Organizing To-Do list the first week after Christmas when the girls are away.  Here are two of my biggest "Personal" Organizational Goals for the week:


The Goal: Designating an "office space"
  We have a 3-bedroom home and I use one of the rooms for my studio.  Needless to say we have very little space... but we make the best of it.
The Plan:
  To paint the upstairs hall and move a small desk, which is currently in my studio collecting 'stuff', to the space.  I hope to store everything within the desk so that the space stays tidy and organized while providing a place for bills, business work and Homework... which will be much better than taking over the dining room.


The Goal: De-clutter the Girls' room to fit their new 'stuff'.
The Plan: [This week]  Sort through and organize their closet and bookshelves... possibly paint (this is the over-doing it).  I would eventually like to get them a loft bed for my older daughter, in hopes to free up some floor space... any input on that?


Here are some great sites for Organizing inspiration and tips:
Better Homes & Gardens
IHeart Organizing: Free Printables
Real Simple

And of course there are endless possibilities on Pinterest.com (Here is my Personal Organization Pin Board)


Aside from this I'm also prepping for major sewing of new inventory, anticipating the arrival of new fabric and prepping for tax-time (gag).


How do you plan for the New Year?  What are some of your biggest Organizing Goals?
XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from TheSoChickChick & Family

Pin It
From our family to yours, for whichever Holiday you celebrate, we hope that it is filled with peace and love.

XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Minute Tips for Decorating your Workplace Work-space {A Guest Post with Maire of Eat, Breathe, Blog}

Pin It

The darling, Maire, is guest posting for me again today with some last minute tips for decorating your workplace work space. 

If you missed the last Guest Post from Maire, you'll want to check it out when you're done with this one!  It's all about caring for your Handmade Items



{Via}


Holiday cheer for your office!

Now that Christmas is but days away and Hanukkah has already begun, your office is likely aglow in holiday cheer. If you're still putting up decorations or looking for ideas about how to make your workplace festive, read on for some design ideas for office and cubicle decorations.

The rules:

  • Know about office etiquette so that you don't misstep when it's time to decorate. There's little sense in being disciplined for something that can easily be avoided. If management has banned blinking holiday lights or noisemaking decorations, take their directives to heart.
  • If you think something you're about to display might offend someone, think twice about putting it up. All sorts of holidays are celebrated at this time of year, including Hanukkah, Winter Solstice/Yule, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and even Festivus.
  • Keep your work area clean. Don't let decorations impede your progress at work. You don't want to regret decking your cube or get in trouble with management.

Let's decorate!

  • Wrap the Whirlpool refrigerators in the break room like a present. Cover the front of the fridge in gift wrap, add a ribbon and an oversized bow.
  • Display a miniature Christmas tree on a table or filing cabinet. Invite your coworkers to bring in ornaments.
  • Put out fake plants like poinsettias, which provide color and seasonal cheer but require no work to maintain.
  • Offer holiday treats for your coworkers to enjoy, such as snowman-shaped cookies or a selection of hard candy. Keep in mind people who might be dieting or diabetic and consider including some sugar-free treats, which are widely available at most retailers.
  • Display a menorah and blue-and-white items (Hanukkah), set out a decorative bowl of earth elements like pinecones and evergreen (Yule) or dried ears of corn and decorations in red, black, and green (Kwanzaa). Consider hosting a Festivus party.

In your cubicle:

  • Choose one of your cubicle walls to be 'holiday central.' Display cards you've received, 'wrap' the wall with gift paper much like you did with the fridge, hang a small wreath, or string lights around the top of your cube. Be careful not to overdo it; a small decorated space can easily become cluttered.
  • Be careful about burning candles. You might be in violation of a fire code and scents like pine, cinnamon, or sugar cookie can overpower your coworkers easily.
  • Gift wrap your office supplies, like the pencil cup or stapler. Don't gift wrap items you need to use every day unless you're careful to maintain their functionality.
  • Align bows atop your monitor.
  • Change your computer's screen saver. Burn a Yule log, sit under the stockings by the hearth, watch harmless candlelight flicker, or write a holiday message that coworkers and clients can see as they pass by your workspace.
  • Decorate with winter elements like snowmen and snowflakes.
  • Hang candy canes from your cubicle wall and invite people to take them.

The most important thing to remember with decorating is to have fun. Adding holiday cheer to your office should be carefree and enjoyable and an activity that everyone in your office can enjoy. Happy Holidays!


Maire blogs on behalf of Sears and other quality products. She also enjoys crafting, treadmill running, and eating peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon.



XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Machine Embroidery Makes me Happy

Pin It
If you follow me on Twitter then you have to have seen at least one of my many machine embroidery-related photos or Tweets over the Holiday season.


Not to mention embroidery-related posts here on the blog:
~Happy New Year Tumblers
~Holiday Handtowels

Meet my lovely Singer, my partner in crime stitches.

(If you do a search (to the right) you can come up with some other stitchy-related posts.)


Today I want to share one of my favorite sites for Embroidery downloads, Urban Threads.


Here are some designs I've used from their site:


Aaaand, I have like a ton more that I will stitch, one day.


So you see, in the middle of making pretty bags and accessories, I'm completely hooked on stitching fun and funky stuff, too.


Here is a project I'm dying to try...


Embroidered Winged Drape Cardigan


... I'm adding as my 1st crafty goal of 2012. 


Check out their site at UrbanThreads.com. It's sew fun!




XxOo~ Melissa

Weekend {And then some} Wrap-Up [Holiday Hustle & Bustle]

Pin It
I'm here!  


After a mini-hiatus whilst I cranked out Christmas orders, I'm back... and it feels good.  


Here's what I've been up to:

I ordered, and received, this adorable mini-canvas from Lindsay of Aisle To Aloha.  You need to check out her shop... way cute, bright modern art.
 I need this sewing machine in a larger piece for my studio... maybe on a round canvas.

I also put the finishing touches on my Christmas decor... I almost always forget the garland on the staircase... but am so happy when I remember it, because I love it:

Can you see how I've hung our cards above the tv? I love seeing them up there.

 Finally, I delivered the last of my orders for 2011... *sigh* another holiday season under my belt.  

These perfectly pleated pouches were so pretty, I almost didn't want to give them up, but that wouldn't make for good customer service. And honestly, what would I do with all the extra pouches? Wait, I know i'd find something!

 I did these tumblers and was so SO happy with them... how cute are they?!
  You can't tell from my photo, but I did a zig-zag stitch in gold metallic thread to applique the white embroidered fabric to the base polka dot fabric.  Machine Embroidery makes me happy.

And finally, today I had the pup groomed for Christmas... (please excuse the white speck in all of my photos, a trip to the Apple store is in order to fix that)

Conrad is the youngest and biggest of our two dogs, he's a Standard Poodle and this is the first time I have let the hair on his face really grow out.  I'm really digging his fluffy wuffy teddy bear face... our groomer is a Rockstar!!

How are you faring through the holiday season?  Happy Hanukkah!!

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Stitching

Pin It
I am busily stitching some holiday hand towels this week to finish up my SoChick orders for the year. (Oh my gosh... 2011 is almost over!) 

I'm having a blast stitching up Applique Hand Towels like these (which were ordered as gifts for a Christmas Party a few weeks ago):

These towels are such a fun gift and something that can be displayed year after year... I love all of my embroidered towels, the ones I make for others and the ones I keep for myself. *wink*

Machine embroidery gives me a little time to brainstorm and catch up on email, blogging, etc.  Contrary to what folks say, I can not 'just walk away' and leave my machine unattended during stitching... because for starters, I don't have a fancy schmancy machine that will do most everything on its own (I  love my little Singer).  I still need to change thread, place applique, trim jump stitches and... you get it.  Anyway, that's why I catch up on things which require me to be at the computer and near my machine *wink*.

I will be delivering and shipping orders on Thursday and Friday this week, then I plan to get to baking!  Check out my Holiday Planning Guide to get a feel for what I've planned in the next week before Christmas.

What are you doing to prepare for your Holiday?  What are some of your favorite handmade gifts to give and receive?  Let me know by leaving a comment! 




XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, December 9, 2011

Insta-Friday {& 100 Followers!}

Pin It
[Hello Friday!]

  I kind of, sort of, kicked off the week with some instagram photos in Monday's Weekend Wrap-Up post, so today I don't have much (I've been super busy sewing, sewing and sewing...) here it goes:

Ruffle Scarves I packaged up earlier in the week:

Along with some lanyards: 

And in the midst of sewing I also got in some machine embroidery :
Looks like this Titanium needle wasn't up for the job...slacker, *wink*

life rearranged

[In Other News]
My sweet little blog is growing... I now have 100 followers {via GFC}, Yay!! And Thank You!!  I love all of your support, that you think enough of my space to follow it, and I am happy to have you here!

Be sure to check out the SoChick Handbags Facebook Page for this weekend's Sale Event!

Have a fabulous weekend!!

XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I Wore... [$10 Jeans, It's True!]

Pin It
Okay, as usual just one picture... Linking up with WIWW at The Pleated Poppy and "Real Momma, Real Style"

I went jeans shopping the other day, I really was in need of a new pair.
I tried on several pairs of skinny jeans, after swearing them off.
After the 10th pair I was feeling rather depressed and reminded myself over and over again why I will never wear skinny jeans... they just aren't for me, though I think the style is cute with big sweaters and boots and all.
I also can't justify buying new boots right now, with it being in the 70's and such.

SO, after a day of shopping, on a whim I said "lets just look in Rue21", Afterall, I purchased a pair of jeans there last year and they are my favorites... why it takes all day for me to remember this, I can't recall. *wink*.

I go into Rue21, find almost the exact jeans I already own and walk up to the checkout counter.....

"All jeans are buy one, get on 50% off... did you want to get another pair?" The lady at checkout says

Why, YES! Yes, I would love another pair of jeans for... TEN BUCKS!

And so, here are my $10 jeans....

Sunglasses [TJ Maxx]
Sweater *new* [Target... on Sale!]
Organic Cotton Ruffle Scarf *new* [SoChick!]
Jeans *new*[TEN BUCKS Rue21]
Gray Flats [Walmart, a long time ago]

I really love this outfit, and that my husband complimented me on how nice it looked. Awwww. 

P.S.- I would love for you to follow my SoChick Facebook Page... I have something exciting planned for this weekend and will be announcing it tomorrow!

pleated poppy Momma Go Round

XxOo~ Melissa

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Caring for your Handmade Items [A Guest Post]

Pin It
Today's guest post is from Maire, of EatBreatheBlog.com.  Maire is going to share some tips for caring for the handmade gifts you are giving and/or receiving this Holiday Season and beyond... enjoy!


How to care for your new creations!

Crafting hits a peak in the holiday season. Whether you are making creations for yourself or others, many DIY opportunities arise. However, being able to make someone a homemade gift doesn't mean you necessarily should.

{via}

Luckily, I haven't received any true crafting disasters and I don't think it happens that often. The more common mistake, I feel, is improper use of homemade items once they are gifted. Personally made gifts don't often come with care instructions; little details like "not dishwasher safe" or "dry clean only" don't always get translated when they should. This leads to people accidently ruining the presents. Follow these steps on how to care for your homemade garments so that you can better protect your precious creations and spread the word to others.

The Right Stuff
Pay attention to your fabric selection. Go for items that are stain resistant or can go in washers. Avoid mixing easy care fabrics with difficult ones. The next owner is likely to not notice the difference and care for it incorrectly. If you do use a variety of fabrics in a project, then include specific (and realistic) care instructions. My grandmother used to write instructions on a scrap of fabric with a felt pen and sew it in the garment.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
When it comes to caring for homemade garments, construction is half the battle. Sometimes projects can take longer than anticipated and it's tempting to begin using shortcuts. This is a bad idea. Shortcuts in stitching and assembling will show in time and you don't want to be the one caught with her apron down. Don't get lazy when you're making something--you'll only have to repair it later.

The Devil in the Details
Items that have delicate bead or embroidery work can be difficult to care for especially if they are antique. The best first step for intricate/antique items is vacuuming. Cover the hose of your vacuum with mesh or a piece of nylon stocking. Begin with the nozzle an inch or two away from the object and then move closer. This should be able to remove a surprising amount of dust, especially with a strong vacuum. Before washing, figure out the type of fabric and check for color fastness. Dab a wet white cloth (or cotton swab for small areas) on to a section of the colored fabric. As you dab, look for any color transfer. If dye appears on the white cloth then the object is not colorfast. If an item is of particular value and you cannot determine the type of fabric it is made of then consult your local art museum.  Most museums have a textiles curator that can certainly help you out.

Maire blogs on behalf of Sears and other quality brands and is mildly obsessed with crafting. She can also be found constantly baking red velvet cupcakes and walking her dachshund puppy. *Read more of Maire's work here.


* * *
Here is some info on Caring for your SoChick! Handbags and Accessories:
TheSoChick Chick's Guide to Caring for your SoChick! Items


XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up [Ready for Christmas!]

Pin It
I hope you had a great weekend!  


Aside from a short visit to the Farmer's Market, we stayed around the house mostly and relaxed, which was nice to do after the Thanksgiving rush.  Since my hubs is in retail, he works his behind off, even more, during the Holiday Season.  It has become a tradition of sorts to wait a week after Thanksgiving before pulling down our Christmas decor... though I am always tempted to do so right away like most people I know, I am happy for us to do it as a family once we are all recouped from the Turkey eating.


On Friday, I made some holiday towels with machine embroidered applique... so fun!



On Saturday I made this little berry wreath using foam discs and berry sprigs, that I picked up from the dollar store, and ribbon that I already had.  It's so perfect for my kitchen window!

On Sunday, down came the decorations from the attic and Deck The Halls we did!

Our kitty, Jack Bauer, was so happy that we finally put up the tree so that he could take a decent cat nap under it, snuggled into the velvet tree skirt. I'm pretty sure he thinks this is the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year", too. *wink*  


This week will be spent finishing up Christmas orders before I start hunkering down to take care of gifts for our family and my oldest chickie's teachers, as well as holiday baking!! Yay!

What did you do this past weekend? Are you decorated for the holidays?

* * * 
[Don't forget]
  Today is the last day to shop SoChick The Shop!  I will be closing the online shop for the holidays while I restock inventory and freshen things up.  There are still some stocking stuffer gifts available: 

~Pink and Teal Ruffled Scarves (100% Organic Cotton!)

~Holiday Mini-Wristlets (perfect for the little Chicks on your list)

Use code STKNGSTFR20 at checkout to save 20% on your total purchase!

You'll also want to be sure to like SoChickHandbags on Facebook so you don't miss out on fun stuff while the shop is closed... *wink*
* * *
Tomorrow I'll be sharing a how-to guide on [Caring for your SoChick! Items],  as well as some tips on caring for other handmade gifts via a guest post, be sure to check it out!



XxOo~ Melissa

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cozy Christmas Thoughts {via Pinterest}

Pin It
December is here and with it has come cooler weather for eastern North Carolina.  Now that its actually a little chilly outside, I feel like it's safe to have warm and cozy thoughts of Christmas... without breaking a sweat! *wink*


I have been working on Christmas orders this week and started my Pandora Christmas Radio station yesterday.  I love, love, LOVE, the old classic Christmas music.  Sure, I like some new stuff, too... but more the old traditional.  I like the nostalgia it brings.


~Dean Martin singing 'Baby It's Cold Outside'


~Lou Monte and 'Dominick The Donkey' (if you're not from up North... you may not know this one, but it's a classic!)


~The Home Alone Soundtrack!!


~Frank Sinatra ~ 'I'll Be Home for Christmas'


~Elvis and... well, any Elvis Christmas song will do, thank you!


Here are some Pinterest Pins that also give me warm-fuzzies for the Holidays:


I am 98% sure my Nan had these mugs!



Source: flickr.com via Melissa on Pinterest

I can hardly wait for my little chicks to be old enough to bring to NYC for Christmas.. I'm not a fan of super cold, but I could totally suck it up to show them the beautiful sights of the city at Christmastime... I have a lot of great memories of growing up north of the City and visiting during the holidays:

Yummy treats for your hot cocoa and all the joys of Holiday baking:
















Of course Rudolph makes us smile:


The Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.. a great memory of mine, I can't wait to take my girls one day...
Source: squidoo.com via Melissa on Pinterest


What gets you in the Christmas spirit?  Share with me in the comments...


XxOo~ Melissa

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Reminder: Holiday Shop Closing [& A Thank You!]

Pin It
I have planned to close The Shop for a few weeks (Dec 6th- Mid-January) to allow myself time to re-stock and refresh my inventory over the Holidays.

I am really anxious for this closing, but super giddy with excitement at everything SoChick! will have to offer in 2012!!  I'm also really enjoying stocking up on delish fabrics, planning new products, and other fun sewing good-ness that will happen over the next few weeks....


This year has brought a great amount of growth for my little business as well as my dream of sewing and sharing my passion... I can't hardly wait to see what 2012 has in store!  


Source: craftykitty-thecraftycat.blogspot.com via Melissa on Pinterest

Thank you, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to everyone who has been there along the way.  Every one of you who now owns a piece of SoChick!, my readers, FB fans and Tweeps... you are an awesome, awesome bunch and I enjoy sharing this adventure with you!

Note: I will still be blogging while the shop is closed... don't you worry!! 

* * *

Monday, December 5th, will be the Last Day to place orders via The Shop... don't forget to save 20% with the discount code STKNGSTFR20 at checkout!

Enjoy!

XxOo~ Melissa

Monday, November 28, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up: Thanksgiving & [Stocking Stuffer] SALE!

Pin It
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were able to make it through your Monday after the long weekend!  



  Every year I get more excited to make Thanksgiving Dinner.  This year, after following my own Holiday Planning Guide, I am happy to say that I am super pleased with how well I pulled it off!  My photography skills, however, not so much.


  I wore my Dear Damsel apron (which I made with some adorable Michael Miller Fabric a while ago and couldn't bear to sell!), and my 90 inches of pearls from a Premier Jewelry Party I attended a few weeks ago.  I was armed with my coffee, hugged by one of my Cafe Wraps, and a planned out time-schedule for cooking... not to mention I prepped a few items the night before, which made things easier.


  Pretty much everything we ate this year, aside from the Dressing, Gravy, and Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Jelly (with its can ridges) (and pie, which my Mom brought), was from the November Southern Living Magazine.  Yeah, have I mentioned how much I love Southern Living?  If I haven't, which I'm sure I have... I do.. I love it... L-O-V-E, Love!  I may have grown up in the North, but I'm all about some southern cooking and my little chicks are a pair of GRITS, so I may as well help them along, right? Right!


Cajun Fried Turkey

Homemade Gravy in my Nan's China :-)

Happy that finally I was able to have a yeast dough recipe work for me!
And I  will never again make Green Bean Casserole with condensed soup!
  I had everything hot on the table within 10 minutes of our planned time to eat... WOOT!
We enjoyed ourselves, though my hubs had to work for Black Friday... the girls and I stayed home, which is traditional for us... no crowds for me thanks.


On Saturday I went to the Christmas Carol Craft Show at the Farmer's Market... I didn't take a single decent photo of my holiday towels, but if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you saw some sneak peeks... Here is one terrible iPhone photo:
I sold all but two of my towels and am so completely grateful to all of the customers who supported my Small Business on Small Business Saturday!


* * *
If you 'Like' SoChick! on Facebook (What? You don't? Well, you should! *wink*) you may have noticed that I added an album with Fabric Winter 2011... these are all of the miscellaneous fabrics I have left over from this year.  If you see something you'd like used for one of my items... don't hesitate to email me (melissa@sochickhandbags.com) about a custom order.  ***Any Custom order placed now will not ship until after Christmas, but, if there is a fabric you'd really like used in a Handbag or Accessory (as long as I have enough of it for a given item)... you should get it before it's gone!


Last but not least...  
  This week is the last week to order from SoChick TheShop before I close through Christmas and the New Year!  SoChick TheShop will be closed from Dec 6th through the end of January so that I may update & restock inventory... Be ready for fresh items, fabrics and designs in 2012!
  I have added some items that will make perfect Stocking Stuffers and are 'just right' for the Holiday Season... I will add more Ruffled Scarves this week, in new colors, so be on the lookout for those as well!  
  No more Items will be added to the shop after this week and it will close for the Holidays on Dec 6th!!  Head on over to SoChick TheShop now to take advantage of some reduced pricing as well as an additional 20% off your purchase now through Dec 5th (at 11:59pmEST)... Use Code STKNGSTFR20 at checkout to save!!


* * *
P.S. Did you see that I made Scatter Girl of the Month?!? I DID! Check it out HERE... I am So super honored!  XxOo and Thank you!


XxOo~ Melissa

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SoChick's Small Biz Guide [Shop Small on Small Business Saturday]

Pin It
This Saturday, Nov 26th, marks the Second Annual Small Business Saturday!!  This weekend is considered one of the busiest shopping times of the year.... I mean, if Black Friday, Cyber Monday and whatever else didn't give that away. *wink*


Small Business Owners are a BIG part of our economy!  Small Businesses don't only come in a bricks and mortar shop, the Small Business you shop on SBS can be a handmade shop online, a home based business and your local farmer's/handmade market.


Why shop Small? 

-Awesome Customer Service: Small Business owners are really good about remembering and connecting with their customers... we want you to be happy, we care about what you think and we want your return business (and that of your friends and family!).


-Quality Products: Because Small Businesses are keeping a massive inventory, they want to be sure that what they do have is of the best quality.  After all, we like our customers and know they only want the best (see above).


-Sense of Community: Whether shopping locally or online, you are still a part of a community when you shop small.  You have an appreciation for quality work/locally grown products and can absolutely relate with others who feel the same!  


For Small Business Saturday I will be at the New Bern Farmer's Market for the "Christmas Carol Craft Show" from 8am- 4pm in Downtown, New Bern... If you are local, I'd love to see you!


If you're not in the area, or even planning to stay in for the weekend, you can still shop Small Businesses online, it's true!  


Here is the First Annual SoChick Small Biz Guide for Small Business Saturday...  Enjoy!!




--> Super cute handmade outfits and accessories for your little gal or guy! (New Bern, NC)
thumbprint designs 









--> "Upcycled artwork for your home." Handmade in Louisiana






--> Free Shipping on All orders, plus save 20% with Code: NOVEMBERHOLLA at checkout!




-->Signs and gifts handcrafted at Eventually Cottage in Upstate, NY!
























Check out these talented gals and remember to Shop Small on Saturday, Nov. 26th!


XxOo~ Melissa
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...