Complete Control

Complete control – I wish that’s what I had over my time during the day. I start out each day with a firm plan for what I will accomplish. Today, there were four totes that I was determined to finish. How many of them did I actually finish? One. sigh. 

It turned out that one of the linings I cut was too small for the tote. Which meant cutting another one. Luckily I had enough fabric left to make the new lining.

I then was going to add handles to a second tote. Turns out that sewing the fabric rights side together works out much better than sewing the right side of one piece to the wrong side of the other. Ripping out would have gone much faster but I was working on the un-sewing as I was talking to a friend from my old job. She wants my help on a project, which is lovely. I neglected to determine if this was going to be revenue generating for me, which I suppose should have been my first question. We’re meeting for lunch next week. If she pays for it, I’ll know better if there is money in it for me. If not, then I’ll know what to expect in future from this potential “client.”

I also got to talk to my BFF who also wants my help. She’s insisting on paying me, which is good for my purse. But she knows I’d do it free so it’s lovely that she’s not willing to take me for granted. One more reason she is my BFF.

When all was said and done, I finished and posted this tote to Etsy:

Jack O'Lantern Tote

I did manage to finish and post my first tutu tote yesterday between watching football – Yay Panthers with a 2 – 0 record!

Tomorrow I’ll be out of the house all day so I don’t anticipate any sewing being done. But maybe I’ll surprise myself and accomplish more than I think. I certainly didn’t surprise myself today, except for how little I actually got done. Ah well – tomorrow is another day.


Crying is what Etsy may be doing very soon. I found this article on Etsy since its IPO very interesting. In brief, it says that Etsy’s stock is declining and shows no end to the downward slide. This does not bode well for the company or those of us who sell through its site.

The article is a bit dated but I think it’s still pertinent, especially with Amazon’s Handmade on the horizon.

And it turns out, there is no official launch date for Amazon’s Handmade. The only launch date anyone has seen is November 30, 2035. Even if the year is a placeholder, let’s hope the month and day are not correct. The last day of November is far too late to launch with any hope of capturing Christmas and holiday sales.

Interesting indeed.

For What It’s Worth

I was “invited” to be a part of Amazon’s new Handmade initiative. I say “invited” because I’m pretty sure anyone who said they’d like to be a part of it was issued an invitation.

I have to say that so far, I’m not overly impressed. I’ve been on Etsy (off and on) for three years. It isn’t perfect but it’s fairly easy to navigate and it was clearly designed for people who make art, not write code. Amazon Handmade has some kinks that still need to be ironed out. One of the problems, I’m sure, is the size of Amazon. They think in the millions – millions of products, millions of customers, bazillions of dollars. Artisans think in singles – one more pillow, one more necklace. We can’t mass produce our items because if we could, they wouldn’t be Handmade.

For the first year of the Handmade roll-out, Amazon is waiving the seller fee which is normal $39.99 per month. If a Handmade member sells more than 40 products in one month, they will reinstate the seller fee. I’m sure there are plenty of artisans for whom the $40.00 (rounding up) each month would not be a problem. There are many more artisans for whom $40 could be more than they make in a month. And if I was going to pay $40 per month, I’d pay for a sparkling website all of my own. Etsy charges $.20 per listing plus a percentage of the selling price (I honestly can’t remember what that percentage is.) Amazon charges 12% of the selling price for items sold, and does not charge a listing fee. But if they reinstate the $40 per month seller fee in one year, as they say they will, I won’t be able to afford to stay on Amazon.

One of the upsides to Amazon, of course, is the built-in audience. The downside is the millions of products they sell. They don’t currently have a way to navigate directly to the Handmade section. Maybe that’s coming. They haven’t said. Etsy was originally only handmade items. Even now you can sort your search to exclude items which are not handmade. And it’s easy to find the store of an artisan you admire. On Amazon, finding the “Storefront” seems to be broken. I clicked on my storefront link and it showed I had one product in stock. I actually have five products in stock. I don’t know what happened to the other products that should have appeared on my storefront.

I would have six items in stock but I was trying to customize one of my items and couldn’t get the process to work. I’m not a coding genius by anyone’s definition but I know my way around html. I can figure out how most websites want you to enter your information. But on Amazon, I kept getting an error and couldn’t determine where it was. I put in a help ticket for it to see what it was I doing wrong. It should be more intuitive, to both post the items and make customizations.

The listing process requires that you include at least one photo of your item, which makes sense. (They allow for a lot more photos of each item then Etsy’s five photos which is a plus on their side.) But when I click on the link that appears on my inventory manager, the listing pops up with “no image available.” How is that possible? The manager doesn’t allow a posting without a photo. How then does the photo disappear once it’s live?

I’m trusting that these are bugs which are inherent in any new enterprise. Amazon is accustomed to dealing with megamerchants. They have to gear down to think like an individual, like artists who want to spend most of their precious time making art, not trying to figure out how to successfully post it to Amazon.

Welcome to Crafts of Note – What’s Going On

It’s 44 days to Halloween, one of my favorite holidays! Dressing up, eating candy, decorating – what’s not to love?

Although I don’t have children to take trick-or-treating, I’ve been making some tote bags. I’ve finished the first one which I think came out really cute:

Frankenstein's Monster Tote

My first Halloween tote.

Frankenstein's Monster Tote Back View

Frankenstein’s Monster Tote Back View

Frankenstein Tote Inside

Frankenstein’s Monster Tote Inside

Frankenstein Reflective Strip

Frankenstein’s Monster Tote Reflective Strip

The outside is fleece, and the inside is lined with 100% cotton. It’s available from Etsy for $27.00. I know that seems high but there were a lot of pieces to applique. It’s fully lined for durability, and there is a reflective strip around the top edge for safety.

While I’m creating my Halloween treasures, I’ve been collecting links to webpages with even more ideas. I thought I’d share a few here. There are some for decorating, some for costumes, some for food, some for other ideas.


Apothecary Labels

Chicken Wire Ghosts (a little more work but what a great effect!)

Cool Bat Pillow

Easy Treat Bag Tutorial

DIY Bloody Handprint Tutorial (for an especially creepy look)


No sew tutu skirt

21 Awesome Costumes to Make (via BuzzFeed – I love BuzzFeed!)

31 Disney Costumes (also via BuzzFeed)


Candy Corn Punch

Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse

29 Party Snacks (yes, from BuzzFeed!)

Rice Krispie Treat Witch Hats


DIY Harry Potter Wands

Fashionable Fabric Halloween Collection (fabrics you can’t find many other place)

The Old Design Shop – Vintage Image Treasury (excellent source for vintage Halloween images of various types)

Feel free to share your favorite links in the comments!

Welcome to Crafts of Note – One

Clearly there are not enough craft/sewing/DIY blogs on the internet yet. Because this is one more!

What goes on here? Who is behind Crafts of Note? What’s this about?

Glad you asked. I’m your host – Margot. Crafts of Note was the brainchild of me and my sister. She’s a nurse and I was a professional fundraiser, until I quit my job. But that’s a story for another day.

While we were working – and my sister still works – we needed a creative outlet, to take our minds away from the day-to-day world. We come from an extremely crafty family. We both learned to embroider from our grandmother, Maw Maw. (You might guess from our grandmother’s moniker that we are from the South. And that’s another story for a different day.) We learned to crochet from our aunt. Our mother made our clothes until we were out of elementary school. Being crafty came naturally to us.

Stained glass was the first craft we both tried that hadn’t been part of our family heritage. And we fell in love! Each piece of colored glass tells its own story and wishes to be made into a specific artwork. You can try to bend the will of the glass to use it in a project you want, but if the glass doesn’t feel like it fits, it will never conform.

We don’t do as much stained glass as we once did but are planning to plunge back in for Christmas. Stained glass and Christmas seem to be made for each other!

While I haven’t been working, I’ve taken back up with sewing, which I love passionately. I don’t make too many clothes because I don’t have the hourglass figure the pattern companies think are ubiquitous. I do start quilts but I rarely finish them. When I first started to make quilts, I read so many instructions about how they had to be done exactly like this or entirely like that that I kind of freaked out. I’m determined to remember some very sage advice I read recently: A finished quilt, even if it’s not perfect, is better than an unfinished quilt. This needs to be my mantra.

When my sister and I aren’t working or crafting, we are kept busy with the five dogs we share. (We also share a house – I guess I should have made that clearer earlier?) We never intended to collect dogs but when they enter your heart, you are theirs forever. Our house sits on ten acres so the dogs have plenty of room to run. We even have a dog door so they can let themselves in and out. When I tell people we have a dog door big enough for our Newfoundland to use, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind. “Aren’t you afraid someone will use the dog door to break into your house?” Well, no – we have five dogs. And if you were going to rob a house, would you choose the one with a dog door big enough for a person to crawl through? Nope, I didn’t think so.

At any rate, that’s what this is about. I’m going to post every Monday and every Thursday, at the very least. There will no doubt be sporadic posts in between. This blog will primarily be about sharing cool ideas I’ve found/ tried/ want to share, and the creations that I make from those ideas.

Hope to see you around! Have a great week.