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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Customer Appreciation

I Love You Guys!

In the last few months, I have been really touched by how much you all have been sharing my little business with your pals.  One customer, Danielle, who shares her homemaking tips, meal planning strategies, and grocery store hauls on You Tube as Cozycakes Cottage featured her recent DLD cash envelope order on her channel:

Another customer, Ellie, who blogs over at Blessed Little Family, shared about a cash envelope set and a Custom Designed Epi-pen bag I did for her. Her family suffers from several food allergies and her blog is a place where she talks about her story, encourages other families in similar situations and provides recipes that work for her family's specific needs. 

I hope you consider visiting both of these women's sites and seeing what they're all about - they even have similar taste - same color scheme!

Denise, who happens to also be a pal of mine, recently posted her new DLD pillow on Facebook and it sparked several pillow cover orders and a whole slew of ideas for a new line of DLD stuff!

Do you love DLD? Whether you have 1 or several of my items, have just found me or have been following along for a while, waiting to jump in - I want you to know I appreciate you! I love hearing from you - your ideas, your feedback, your questions, your comments. Most of all, I love hearing about you using something you've purchased from me, or received as a gift from someone and I love seeing my things in your hot little hands. 

I would love to see more of how DLD is working out in your life, and I would like to reward you for sharing!!! If you are on Instagram feel free to post your DLD goodies and tag me @daisylanedesign when you do. You can also use #dldfanluv. This is a brandy new hashtag that I'm hoping will get some lovin'. Every month, I will put all the names of all the people who shared or tagged this way in a hat and do a drawing for a $20 DLD gift certificate. My little way of saying thank you for sharing my business with your pals and followers. Not on IG? No problem! You can share on FB too. Just make sure you tag me @daisylanedesign so I see it, or you can post it right to the Daisy Lane Design FB page. 1 winner will be drawn from all the posts in both places. These three ladies will be our first three entrants :)

Update: a few rules. These types of things need them I guess.
The $20 gift certificate is good on any DLD product I make worth $20 or more.
If there are no posts on a particular month, no gift certificate will be issued.
One gift certificate per person in a calendar year - to spread the love around.
If your post isn't public or doesn't tag me, and therefore I can't see it, it cannot be entered.

Please know I'm just trying this out in good faith as a way to say thanks and the rules are there to just cover everyone. :)

I can always pay for advertising on these platforms and others, but I would rather pay you! Will you join me? 

In the spirit of sharing about small businesses that we love, I'd like to brag on my new "pal" Amy from Forage Workshop. She is also from New Jersey, and makes the most darling magnets and ornaments and other wooden bits from foraged items in NJ's wild places. Her designs are adorable, and she has lots of ones with little hearts, perfect for Valentine's day. Not to mention that her packaging is half the reason I love her so! Go visit! And tell her I said hi!

:) allison

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Products for February

Happy February!

Did you catch last week's handmade Valentine tutorial? I hope so! I need to sew up another one so that I have one for each kid. They're kind of used to me making one of something to show all of you, and then never getting around to the other one, but I'm not going to win any Mother of the Year awards that way, am I!?! Eek!

I would like to kick off the new month with 2 new to the shop items so I hope you have a few minutes to visit with me today :)

New Item #1:
Home Is Where The Heart Is NJ (or any state you like) Tote Bag. Based on the very popular cosmetic case of the same name comes this denim tote, featuring webbing straps, a huge outline of NJ (or again, any state you like) in a fabulously bright yellow plaid and a heart...wherever you like. I live on the Jersey Shore, but picture your state/your town here and you get the idea. This tote is mine, so if you see me around town, stop and say hello! Totes will be available unlined and lined with an interior pocket. Unlined tote: $28 Lined tote: $38. More color combinations to follow.

New Item #2:
Home Is Where The Heart Is NJ (or insert your state here) pillow covers. This is the first in what I hope will be several pillow form covers coming to the shop soon! I made this one for a friend who recently moved from Hammonton, NJ (of last week's "Sonic Boom" fame) to VA. She picked the fabrics and colors, and you can too!

 Back of the pillow...

Zips closed for easy pillow form insertion and removal if you want to wash it. Machine wash cold with like colors, air dry...

Fits an 18" x 18" pillow form, found in most craft stores but not included with the purchase. Your cover will arrive as pictured below...

Pillow cover price for an 18x18 size: $25-$30 More sizes and designs to follow.

Since both these items are brandy new and there are only these two to take pictures of, we need to have a pre-order sale...don't you think? Open to the first 10 interested customers....20% off the "Home is Where the Heart is" item of your choice: 

-18"x18" pillow cover
-Unlined denim tote
-Lined denim tote

Only one per person though. Don't want just one person scooping up all 10 slots! 

Comment on this post below to claim your spot.

:) allison

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hand-Stitched Valentine Tutorial

i love you!

I love hand written notes. I recently found a birthday card from my Pop from back during the high school years. It wasn't long or full of Pop wisdom. It just simply had my name and his and a wish for a great birthday, but since my Pop passed away when I was in college, seeing his handwriting made me stop a minute. And even though I came across it on a cleaning and purging mission, I stuck it back in the Keep pile...of course!

That's the great thing about handwriting. It's a piece of that person, completely them. You recognize it, even years after the fact, even without their signature. No matter what you think of your own handwriting, your loved ones love seeing it, trust me. Why not take an hour or so and make something completely you to give to them - perfect for Valentine's Day or any occasion. This one I'll tuck into my daughter's lunchbox, long after Feb 14. She's still into this mushy Mommy stuff.

What you'll need:
-one piece of muslin, any size. I cut mine 7" tall and 6" wide
-one piece of flannel, same size as the muslin.
-one piece of quilt batting, slightly smaller than the other two pieces. Mine is 6" tall and 5" wide.
(if you don't have quilt batting, you can use a double piece of flannel, just cut the second piece slightly smaller)
-Some DMC embroidery floss in the colors of your choice. I used a charcoal gray and a red.
-A disappearing ink pen. But if you don't have one of those, a pencil is just fine too.
- A piece of notebook paper.

You do not need a sewing machine for this project!

First fold your notebook paper to about the size of your piece of muslin. A close approximation is fine. Doesn't have to be perfect. Then write your note out in pencil, however you'd like it to look. I just chose "i love you", but you could make it personal, an inside joke, a sweet sentiment, whatever. This just helps you to visualize where your words will go on the muslin, work out any kinks, etc.

Next, fold the muslin into quarters to find the center point. Using the folds as a guide, write your first word. I chose to work from the center out. As you'd probably suspect the disappearing ink disappears as it dries, so one word at a time is best. Once you have your first word written, place the muslin on top of the batting, so that the batting is centered behind the muslin. You can pin the two pieces together.

Cut a piece of floss. The DMC floss is 6-ply. You can use all 6 layers, or you can untwist it to use 3 layers at a time. I used 3. 6-ply would create a thicker stitch. Put a knot in one end and thread a hand-stitch needle. Poke the needle from back to front at the start of your word. Make about a 1/4" stitch.

Pick a point about 1/4" from your first stitch and come up for the second stitch. You'll try to go back into the work right where the last stitch left off.

Continue on, following your written line. When you come to the curves, make your stitches a little shorter. That will help make the curves as even as possible.

When you come to the end of the thread (about 6" left), or if you are at the end of the word, you'll have to make a knot to hold the stitches. Turn to the back of the work. poke your needle through the back of the work, making sure it doesn't come through to the muslin layer.

Let's take a minute to talk about my hands in the next few pictures. Either you weren't ever going to notice and now I'm drawing attention to them, (wishful thinking) or you were going to sit there and be totally distracted by them - Bingo! Let's just say that I'm totally aware of how dry and beat up they are. Yes, I use lotion. No, it doesn't make a difference.

Back to your thread...As you pull the thread through, you'll have a shrinking loop. Before the loop is pulled snug, poke your needle through the loop, making a little knot. Then pull it taut. Repeat one more time. Then cut the thread, leaving a bit of a tail.

Continue working until all your words are traced on and stitched, ending and restarting thread as needed, changing colors where you like.  When you're done, lay your stitched piece onto the flannel piece. Again, you can pin all the layers together.

Thread the needle once again with thread for the border. Separate the layers a bit so that you can catch the knot in the end of the needle in between the layers. Poke the needle from the middle to the front of the work.

From this point, you'll work through all 3 layers of the fabric sandwich.

If you push the needle from the front to the back and back to the front before pulling the needle all the way through, it makes making straight stitches a bit easier...if you're into that sort of thing.

Work all the way around, finishing with the poke, loop, knot technique - again, between the layers.
Cut your thread and you are done!

Ta-da! A little love note for your little loves! You can trim up the sides if you need to, and then it's ready to go.

If you make one, will you let me know? I'd love to see it! Tag @daisylanedesign on Instagram or use #DLDvalentine

:) xo allison

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Behind the Seams

Sometimes We Decorate.

Over Christmas break, I was determined to do something other than sew. I am not a restful person, and if I'm not doing something with my hands, I default to sewing. I wanted to try and not do too much work while the kids were home. Enter plan B. Work WITH the kids. 

My son and daughter had been asking for a redo of both their rooms for quite a few months. We decided that this year, instead of buying them a bunch of toys that they would quickly forget about, we would keep the holiday spending to a minimum, and use the bulk of their budget to redo their rooms. On Christmas morning, they each opened one special gift that they had been asking for, and a room makeover related gift. We got that turquoise light string as one of my daughter's gifts. 

Exciting Mom of the Year Award goes to......me! Ha, no. They were skeptical at best. I knew I had walked out on a holiday ledge and was extremely fearful of ruining Christmas. (Enter grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends to save the day! Trust me, these two are not hurting for anything that their little hearts desire.)

The week of break, we got to work. Here is a lovely before picture of our daughter's room. I didn't even vacuum for you. 

She lives in what amounts to a walk in closet, on the second floor. By choice. When we moved in, this was the space she selected. "It's small and cozy!" My girl. Our house is a Cape and the upstairs was converted into more living space by the previous owner. So the ceiling in her room slants down to about 2 feet high where it meets the wall. Annnnnnd.....you can see there isn't a whole lot of organizing going on. Or putting away of stuff. Or cohesion. I'm a designer you guys. A designer. Good one. 

She was forced to choose had picked a lovely soft gray for the walls. (Pause here for a moment and picture what an 8 year old girl wants. She really wanted two walls to be turquoise and 2 lime green or something like that. It took some coaxing, but I convinced her to go neutral on the walls and we could go crazy with the accessories) Her walls were already a dark country blue - most of the house is - and while it was completely livable, it made that small space dark. You can see even from this well composed picture that the paint was going to make a huge difference. Oh, and one of the wall sconces? Busted. Found out later there was a dead wasp in there breaking the connection. We're rockstars, people. 

Here are all the lovely painted walls....

 Seriously, it's a tiny room. I'm standing in the doorway, clicking 1, 2, 3....done.

Next, it was time to start shopping! She and Daddy went to Home Depot and bought some updated lighting. And right away, I hung the inspiration piece between the two fixtures. Turquoise, gray, bunting. It's amazing, but such a small thing made such a difference!

And then she and I went shopping. She had a pre-determined budget and that was it. I wanted her to feel a sense of ownership over what she purchased and how it all came together. We shopped at places like Home Goods and Target. She weighed her options, looked for deals, picked through clearance bins, and showed amazing restraint if something was cool but not quite right for the room. I was truly amazed! She settled on and purchased a bedding set that included sheets, comforter, sham, and accent pillow all in her colors...a turquoise lamp...and a dark turquoise throw. She asked me to make some curtains with lime fabric we had found and then said that she would ask for some lime accessories for her birthday which was coming up in a few weeks. Bless her heart.

Things I learned from this experience:
1. Kids can paint. Sure they get some on themselves and sure there were some drips and oopses along the way, but she absolutely loved helping out. And getting her first layer of "work" on her project clothes.
2. Kids can appreciate the value of a dollar. Especially when they are the ones making the decision and they know the budget. Normally when we go shopping, there's a lot of "Ooh, I want that". When she knew she only had a certain amount to spend and once the money was gone, that was all she was going to get for the room, she slowed WAY down. Did the math. Really considered if what she was interested in was worth the money. Calculated how much that would leave for other things. It was a fun process to watch. 
3. Having a cohesive and beautiful space makes you want to keep it that way. Reminders about making her bed since the make-over? Zero. She wants to do it, because she loves the way it looks. And so do I! Perhaps I will steal this idea: Make it beautiful - keep it neat.

The boy's room is next!

:) allison

Sunday, January 10, 2016

6th Annual Customer Design Contest

6th Annual Customer Design Contest and Giveaway!

It's everyone's favorite time of year - the design contest! Last year the design contest's winning idea was the Travel Cord Wrap. Submitted by Steph and voted on by you, this quickly became one of the shop's most popular items, selling out of every ready to ship one that I made as well as being ordered as a custom request several times.

And now it's time to do it again! For those of you who are new to DLD, every January I ask for new and exciting design ideas to add to the shop. Customers submit ideas, and customers vote on which idea they like the best. I develop the winning idea into a prototype, with the help of the person who submitted it, and I make two identical versions of the item. The person who submitted the winning idea gets one of the completed prototypes. The other one is given away in a customer contest.
Excited?! Then read below how to submit your idea!

Design Contest Entry and Rules:
1. Submit an idea for a new Daisy Lane Design item in the comments section of this blog post by Friday, January 15, 5 pm Eastern. It can be anything I don't already make. 
  • If you're not familiar with my shop click on over here and take a peek around.
  • You can also see lots of what I do on my Facebook page or my Instagram feed.
  • One idea per person - if you have lots of ideas, pick your favorite and share below! Then write the rest of them down somewhere so you remember them for next year ;)
There aren't size rules this time, so let the creativity flow.
If two people submit the same idea, whoever leaves the idea first gets credit.
Make sure you leave your name so I know who to give credit to.

2. Once all the entries are in, I will compile a list of all the ideas submitted.
3. Voting will happen on the ideas themselves, without prototypes. All voting will be done on my Facebook page, via "likes"
4. The winning idea will be developed and two will be made. 

Two people will win!!! One will be the person who submitted the idea - so make sure it's a good one!
More on how we'll decide who wins the other one later. ;)

Hope you're as excited as I am!
Can't wait to see what you come up with this year!
:) allison

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cash Envelope Tutorial

If you know anything at all about DLD, you know I make cash envelopes and cash envelope sets and systems. A lot of them. All the days. And I mail them out all over the country and as far away as Australia. But I still run into people who have no idea what they are and what they can be used for.

Simply put: you put your cash in them. :)

For those of you who are practicing cash only (or mostly) budgeters, this makes total sense. You probably have a set of envelopes somewhere, labeled, organized, full of money goodness for whatever you're saving for. 

For those of you who mostly use credit cards or debit cards, you are looking at me like I'm a crazy person. That's ok, I'm alright with that. Truth? I use credit cards a lot too. When you have a husband that travels a lot for business, a card that gives you miles is a necessary tool. 

But everyone has something that they save for...plan for...budget for.
Maybe it's travel...

 Maybe it's a specific kind of travel...

Maybe it's for projects around the yard or home...

Maybe it's for a hobby (ahem)...

Or other guilty pleasure...(double ahem - as in, I'm going twice in 2 weeks, ok 1 week. sheesh. it's 2 calendar weeks, but less than 7 days. Are you happy? I'm a pig!)...

Perhaps it would be helpful to have a visual reminder to help you save for such a thing? To squirrel away a little extra cash here and there so that when it's time to pay for that thing, it doesn't have to go on the credit card (or if you're collecting miles, it can be paid off right away) and when it's time to go and enjoy that thing, there is no guilt, because it's already paid for! This is how I use my envelopes for the most part. As long term saving and special treats.

This is my wallet. It has 10 card slots and nothing else. In it, I carry all my cards: ID, credit card, library card, gift cards, store loyalty cards...you get the idea. That there laying on top is my sushi cash envelope. Because I have a problem. And I have rules. The rules say that if you want to eat sushi, there needs to be sushi money in the sushi envelope. And by "you" I mean "me". Do you see all this projecting and detachment?

Today, I'm going to teach you how to make one of my cash envelopes for your own little self. So you can add specialty envelopes like this one to your set, or get you started on your budgeting goals for the new year. Or, just to give you an appreciation to what goes into making these at the shop.
Are you ready? Here we go!

What you'll need:
1/4 yard of fantastic fabric (or a fat quarter)
1/4 yard of muslin
All the regular sewing stuff you'd use for any other project.

Note: The total fabric needed is one 8.5" square of both fabrics, so if you have scraps that are that big, by all means, use those!

Let's talk about fabric directionality. I'm using this sushi fabric...

Instead of this sushi fabric...
Because when you fold your square in half, the back side of the envelope will look like this. If you care about such things, find fabric that looks fabulous no matter which way you turn it. If you don't care about such things then use what you like - you're the boss.

Step 1:
Cut a 8.5" square of the main fabric and the muslin.

Step 2: Place the fabrics right sides together and pin top and bottom.

Step 3: Using a 1/2" seam, sew across the top and bottom of your square. Leave the sides open.
(I used black thread to show you where the seam was, usually I just use white thread throughout.)

Step 4: Pull back the muslin and press both seams.

Then flip the fabrics around to the right side through the side openings. Lay the seams flat and press again to make those seams nice and crisp.

Lastly, line up the seams at the top and bottom and press one more time. Now you will have a clean top and bottom. Fun fabric on the front, muslin on the back.

Step 5: Using a 1/4" seam and a long stitch length, top stitch close to the top and bottom edge. This finishes off your work and will result in a more professional looking finished product.

Step 6: Bring the top and bottom together, so that you have a rectangle envelopy shape, rather than a flat square shape. The muslin will be on the inside and the fun fabric will be on the outside. Make sure the tops are even. You can press a crease into the bottom or pin if you like.  Then, starting at the bottom fold, stitch up both sides, using a 1/4" seam and a regular stitch length. Back tack several times at the top to secure the stitches well.

Step 7: Carefully trim your side seam allowances to half. It gets rid of the scraggly threads, etc.

Step 8: Flip your envelope inside out so the fun fabric is inside and the muslin is outside. Carefully push out your corners. Conveniently, a chopstick works well for this step :) I usually press everything again.

Step 9: Starting at the bottom fold again and using a 1/4" seam and regular stitch length, stitch up both sides, back tacking several times at the top.

Step 10: Give your envelope one final flip to the right side and press one last time. That little bump you see is called a French Seam, which encases the raw edges, and helps to keep your cash in place.

This is your final product!

A super practical way to save for those special occasions or guilty pleasures.

And perfect to add to any envelope set you might be already using.
Or find a new one in my Etsy shop!
Card wallet with 2 open cash envelopes.

Ready to ship cash envelope set with 6 open cash envelopes.

Happy New Year everyone!
Here's to keeping all those New Year's Resolutions!