Wednesday, July 18, 2012


The Burlington City Arts Market (in conjunction with the Burlington Farmer's Market) is now in full swing. Come by every Saturday from 9-2:30!

This is my new-ish studio space. The other half is shared with the dudes who run Angioplasty media and downstairs is a woodshop! It's at 180 Flynn Ave and I am open to public by appointment only right now. Feel free to e-mail me if you want to come check it out 
I'm hoping to have a little soft opening sometime in August and then open to the public for Art Hop!
photo by Erica Fkiaras of love erica photography.
Also! I took part in Where Designs/AngioPlasty/MSR fashion show styled by sound (Barbacoa played!) at Main Street Landing. Don't the girls look beautiful? Most of these dresses are available for sale in my etsy shop: I had a ton of fun! 

These are one of the popular items this season, the color block dress! Modeled here by Jennifer Kahn  of Jennifer Kahn Jewelry (thanks Jen!) and myself. The orange and pink combo has been a hit at the market! I have enough fabric to make a few more! They are also available on my etsy site as made to order in your size here

Also, I've been really into styling photo shoots with my dog and sunglasses. 
If you wanna see more photos of the stuff I make and lots of pictures of my dog, follow me on instagram @ nicolesthreads! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Etsy Workshop

Today I had the opportunity to give an Etsy workshop, to share tips with my fellow Vermonters in hopes of having some of them better their internet selling experience. I spoke in public in front of about 20 people. I haven't done something of the like since high school. Easy it is to hide behind this computer and talk but having all of your idiosyncrasies out there for everyone to see - well that is something! I practiced by videotaping myself. Um.. do I roll my eyes a lot? I mean nothing by it! I didn't even know I did it until yesterday. Do I say like, like way too much? Yeah. Well, like.. um... yeah.. woops. It's easy to edit and re-edit all of my internet doings but having no filter was a rather new experience for me. I play music (not as much as I used to) and the part that I hated most about playing out was having to say things in between songs. What to say? I don't have anything to say. Well it turns out that I do!

 After writing a power point, making lots of notes and practicing I have come up with some tips that I'd like to share.  Lots and lots of questions were asked and hopefully answered. While practicing, I worried that I wouldn't fill my time slot with all of the information. Quite to the contrary, time was running out and lots of questions seemed to remain. I hope that my workshop gave you a needed push in the right direction.

Here are some notes from the presentation for those of you who weren't able to make it or for those that would like a re-cap.


What do you want to sell? 

Choosing a shop name. Brainstorm with friends. Write a list of descriptive words. Pick out a shop name that is catchy and not in use. 

Decorating. Develop a brand or logo and use this for your shop banner.  Create an avatar with a photo of an item or a picture of yourself. I would recommend not having your avatar be of an item that has been sold and cannot be reproduced.

Stocking your shop. The more, the better. But keep it organized and in sections so that it is easy for your customer to navigate your shop. 


Use natural light whenever possible. Cloudy days or shade is best. Direct sun can create unwanted shadows and glares. 

Avoid flashes.

Use live models. Everyone likes to see what something will look like on a real person. If a live model doesn't apply, try some other sort of props but be sure that it is absolutely clear what is for sale in the photo and reiterate that in your items description. 

Use all five photo spots that Etsy offers. 


What is your cost of materials? 

What will you pay yourself per hour/day/piece/etc.? 

Do not undervalue your work. People come to etsy to buy unique and handmade items. Don't compare your prices to factory mass produced items because they are not the same. 

Some quick calculations for pricing are: 

Cost of materials*2+labor= Wholesale price
Wholesale price*2= Retail price

Listing an item

This link provides step by step instructions on listing an item. 

Bringing potential shoppers to your site

-Exhaust all social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.) 


-Join a treasury or other etsy team

-Etsy search ads. These haven't worked much for me but try it out! 

-Coupon codes. Offer coupon codes for a repeat sale, to your facebook, twitter or other social media outlets. 

Customer Service

Etsy Conversations & Internet Etiquette It can be hard to infer that you are always being friendly on the internet. When in doubt, just use lots of !, smiley faces and positive words. 

Keeping in touch after a purchase. Let your buyer know when you shipped your item out, or if it is something that is made to order, keep them up to date on how long until they should expect it. 

Thank you. Include a thank you note with each order. 

Angry customers? Take a chill pill before responding to them. Wait until you are calm enough to be nice, even if they are a jerk. 

Shop policies. These are important. These dictate whether you take returns and your conditions, etc. It is also a good section to put whether you insure your packages, provide delivery confirmation, etc. 

I hope the workshop/blog post was helpful and I wish you the best of luck in your etsy adventure! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

my first quilt

I made my first quilt! Can you believe it took me this long to actually do it? I have been saying for years that I would make one.  For every winter since I learned to sew in fact.  The hardest part about it was starting. I am not one to follow a pattern when it comes to this sort of thing. I am too inspired by lots of colors and patterns mixed together to create a bright and cheery piece. 

I have used lots of patchwork and quilting techniques in my clothing. But there are so many steps to completing a quilt that the project was still a bit foreign. I hadn't ever made my own bias tape, had no idea how to begin with mitered corn haven't had any experience with quilt batting, or which kind to buy, and I wasn't certain whether my machine could handle topstiching such a big piece.

 I thank the countless videos on youtube for teaching me how to make bias tape, attach it, perfect mitered corners, and how to top stitch on a home machine. I practiced all of the techniques that I would eventually use for the quilt by making hot pads and pot holders. I love how they came out. I lined them with two layers of either felt or fleece. I used mine a few times and didn't burn my hands but I still want to test them out a bit more before I list them in the etsy shop! I also learned that there is an insulated liner that I can buy for if I make them in the future. Who knew? 
I quickly realized that if I wanted to make a regular sized quilt for my bed I would have to send it out to be top stitched. The little bit of arm space on a regular sewing machine isn't wide enough to fit the bulk of a regular sized quilt through. I decided to make a lap quilt or baby blanket (but I'm not a baby and it's for me so it's a lap quilt).  It was still kind of tough and annoying to top stitch especially when I got to the middle. If I make bigger quilts I will most likely have to hire someone else to top stitch or see if there is a place where I could rent a long arm machine. 

I used some of my favorite fabrics that I have been saving for ages for this project. Each fabric brings back a memory of where I got it, or if someone gave it to me. Some are from my old clothing or a shirt from my Mom.  I try to find fabric when I go on trips to remember them by. This quilt was heavily influenced by the Quilting Women of Gee's Bend. One of my biggest regrets was missing their exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

I am already daydreaming up new ideas for quilts. I think I will try a few more small ones before I move on to the big guys! 

Monday, January 30, 2012

back to my roots!

Over the holidays I didn't have enough time to make all of my clothing from scratch to fulfill the amount of shows/inventory I would need. (Again, reminder to self for next year: DON'T SIGN UP FOR SO MANY SHOWS!!)  I had a lot of fun doing applique to hoodies, shirts and tees but never thought it would be a main focus for me. I will be scaling down on my inventory of those items and most likely not reordering to make more.  I'll be listing them in the etsy shop over the next few weeks, so if you see something you like, snatch it up because chances are that I will not be making them anymore. 

 While weighting the pros and cons I really can't tell you how much I enjoy making my clothing from scratch but that being said, who doesn't enjoy a nice fitting cozy hoodie?  I have quite a few different sizes, styles, colors, etc. that will be listed over the next few weeks.  I *may* keep one style/color of hoodie but haven't decided if it's something I want to continue carrying. 

I'll also be working on my spring line! What are some colors you'd like to see for spring? 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mistakes and Why I'm so bad at blogging

Consistently I set a goal for myself to blog once a week. And. Well. It just doesn't happen. I don't know why I can't find the time to keep things up to date on here. I find time to look at craig's list 10 times a day, check my e-mail 20 and stare at etsy for hours on end.

I HAVE set a goal for myself for the new year: Not to bite off more than I can chew! This past holiday season year was absolutely insane. I learned a lot! I try not to look at my mistakes as mistakes but to learn from them for next year. I signed myself up for too many craft shows this past year. It left me tired, weary, disorganized, tired, unprepared, and tired. I had too much inventory. I bought WAY too many supplies that I now have to figure out what to do with.

Things I need to remember for this year and especially next holiday season:

  • Stick local during crazy times of the year! This year I traveled to Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago and San Francisco all within two weeks of each other.  I closed my etsy shops down during the busiest time of the year.  While I had a super duper awesome time, I was way too stressed out about traveling (hoping there were no cancellations), mailing my stuff to other states (and crossing my fingers that it would get there without any mishaps), finding my way around an unfamiliar city (luckily my awesome friends + Mike's family made this super easy).  Next year I need to focus on etsy, apply to local shows, and even consider renegade again if I can find someone local there to vend for me.
  • Avoid facebook! I spend way too much time dilly dallying around social networking sites.  Sometimes it's pertinent to work, most of the time I am just farting around, looking at pictures, lalalalalala and there goes an hour here, half hour there. This is valuable time that I could be using in much more productive manners. 
  • Stay neat and organized. I can't tell you how much time I've wasted looking for my scissors, tape, etc. It is so much easier to function in a clean and tidy space.  I have definitely been getting better at this since I moved this past year but I am just naturally a messy person. What can I say? 

  • Make friends.  I don't mean for this to sound as pathetic as it does. I really am not pathetic but I live in rural Vermont, you have to actually make plans and stick to them to see other people. When you work from home like me several days can go by where the only people I interact with are Mike, Liane at the post office (Hi Liane!),  and my dogs. See, I just called my dogs people.  One thing I really miss about having a regular job (probably the only thing I miss) is awesome coworkers. During the summer and holiday season I do enough craft fairs where I feel like I have coworkers. Awesome coworkers that are all super talented. I miss them. Um, hey guys. Want to come over for dinner? 
  • EatDrinkSleep Ahhhh. Winter weight and brain fog. It's definitely hard to convince myself to go outside for a walk on certain days. Especially when it happens to be -10 or so but that cold air (maybe not that cold) keeps things running!  I've noticed after several days without much exercise that not only does the the physical activity help me during these cold dark days of winter but the fresh air really helps my brain feel a little less like a pile of mush. I am signing up for yoga classes today and also physical therapy!...which brings me to my next point also about taking care of yourself. 
  • Invest in things that lighten your load. Before I do one more show, I am buying a push cart that makes sense. I remember my friends Jess and Moe saying that if you have to make more than two trips to load in or out, you're doing something wrong.  Oh.. so.. you mean my at least 5 trips unless someone is helping me could be improved? Duh. I need a push cart that holds a lot!  I need to pack my things better, but I really need a big push cart. I need to lift things properly and adjust my posture when sitting at the computer or sewing machine for hours on end. Take care of yourself.  You won't say to yourself "Oh I shouldn't have signed up for that physical therapy or yoga class" 10 years down the road but you might catch yourself saying the opposite. 
Anywho! That's it for now. I will try to blog more!