Clutch-Me.Com

Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

Sad start to Summer

I hope you all are doing well busy with summer holidays and bustling with activity!  Is it just me or is summer as a grown-up is just not the same as it was as a kid?  So much responsibility and if you have kids, it’s all about them, isn’t it?  Thank GOD for teachers!  It’s this time of the year when you whole-heartedly know that they are underpaid.

With end-of-school events and activities, I have been the busiest I’ve ever been.  Living an expat life means you get to meet amazing people and develop these friendships that are temporary by nature of the situation we are all in.  There have been many goodbye parties and many hopes that I will see these wonderful friends whom I’ve met.  My family and I are still in Viet Nam for perhaps another nine months or so.  Our path ahead is unclear.  On top of that, I’ve been sick.  I don’t know if it was by some Grand Design, but I got dengue fever therefore missing out most of the tearful goodbyes.  It felt like I had the flu for 4 weeks, but with worse headaches and body aches!  The flu would have been a walk in the park.

Then my paternal Grandmother just passed away this week.  No, this is not the maternal Grandmother who raised me and whom I visit weekly and whom I blog about.  My paternal Gram, “Ba Noi”, lived in Da Nang and we visited her twice a year.  Nonetheless, in the short time that we’ve been here and the times my kids got to spend with their Great Gram of Da Nang, she really enjoyed them and they loved her.  They were quite sad to hear she had passed but I had prepped them in the previous visit regarding her condition.  They handled it quite well.  My son Ethan summed it up best, “Well, at least she had a long great life”.

So this afternoon, I will board the plane to attend the funeral for her.  But I will go knowing what Ethan had told me.  I will be with a lot of family, many aunts and uncles and dozens of cousins and nieces and nephews.  So I’m okay.  The beach will have to wait for another time.  And I will be back to blog about clutches soon enough.  🙂

In tribute, here are some pictures of her.  RIP Ba Noi.

Ethan has an amazing love and connection with older people.

Ethan has an amazing love and connection with older people.  Here he is communicating with his Great-Gram.  He doesn’t speak Vietnamese and she doesn’t speak English.  It works somehow.

BN 1 IMG_1284

Since I’m always the one with the camera, I wasn’t able to take a great pic. But this captured the love just as much. Here she is kissing my hand.

From April, 2012.  Hayley, Noah, Great-Gram Khuong, Ethan.

From April, 2012. Hayley, Noah, Great-Gram Khuong, Ethan.

Hope you and yours have a great weekend.

xo Winn

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June 28, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A creative break from making clutches.

Sometimes you just need a break from making clutches.  As wonderful and exciting as finding new fabrics and the creative process, once you do it for a living, just like all things, you need a break some times.  One of my customers reminded me of that when she commented on a blog post that she was getting back into making clutches after taking a much-needed break.

Speaking of finding new fabrics, look what I just got.  I’m working on some new patterns right now.  It’s a lot of refinement, but I’ll get there.

blue, white, green fabric

Beautiful fabrics in blues, greens, and whites.

Oh, do you guys remember me mentioning about this amazing fabric below?  This is a skirt.  For a 20-year-old.  I’m not 20.

blue sequins skirt

NO way am I getting into this! Maybe – maybe – 20 years ago. That’s a big maybe.

Well, I had envisioned this on me, but as a cross-body clutch.  Here’s a preview below.  I’ll post about this soon to come.

blue sequins clutch

Much better!

This clutch is a hit with all my friends especially with summer coming up.  I still have some more of this fabric and will be working with it to make an 8-inch clutch.  Oh what was my point?

With fabric strewn about the house while designing and pieces of thread hanging from my *ss, I just needed a break.  Obviously my mind is quite loud and disorganized — unorganized (?) – so I needed a break.

I really encourage that – taking a break.  When I take a break, it usually involves any or all of my 3 kids.  Can’t just leave them at home to fend for themselves… not for another 8 years!  🙂  A lot of my breaks from work involve traveling.  And you know that while we spend our money on having experiences (through travel) and not through accumulating things, vacations are spendy.  So a cheap mental break for me that I also have found to ramp up my creative juices is painting figurines with my daughter.  It costs me a dollar — one dollar — per figurine for some creative bliss.  In the moments that I paint, I cannot focus on anything else but the painting itself.  All the other noises seem to fade.  It takes me many hours to finish one figurine, so I get to stretch my dollar even farther — further (?)!  (Grammar Police can feel free to comment below.)  I usually paint for a 45-minute stretch.  That’s all I have time for, but it’s still 45 minutes, so I’ll take it!

This is what the figurines look like before they are painted.

paint figurine bear camera

For $1!  The “before” look. Kinda boring …

paint figurine bear camera

This is the “after”…. after hours of painting and layering the paints.

Most of the time, I do what I call “rescues”.  Rescues are the figurines that my daughter painted but no longer wants.  She just turned seven, and is improving her skills, so let’s just say her figurines need a lot of rescuing!  Instead of throwing them out and spending another dollar (OMG, I am tight with money), I use her painted ones and try to fix them up.

Here’s another “before” of the original.

paint figurine bunny rabit water can

Cute bunny watering into an empty basket?  And it has no discernible mouth.  Poor bunny rabbit.

Well, Hayley decided to paint it bright pink, because now that she’s out of the tomboy phase, she loves all things pink, princesses and tiaras.  Of course!

paint figurine bunny rabit water can

I did the best that I could. This bunny is really pink! Incidentally, I had made a little mistake with the black paintbrush and it made a mark by the eyes. I went ahead and did that to the other eye, and it makes the eyes look more alive.  The use of brown to soften the pink and to provide depth really made a difference.

So why I am blogging about painting figurines?  Well, it’s just my cheap mental escape from work that also fuels my creative fire.  When you are in business for yourself, you can get lost in just work, and you can work untold hours.  I’ve done it.  I know you’ve done it as well.  Whatever way you can find to get a break, do it.  You’ll feel better and more refreshed.  Enjoy this creative break.  🙂

Winnie the Pooh figurine

This was another rescue.

That “heart” was a chip in the figurine. I decided to highlight it by painting it red like a heart. Doesn’t it look like it’s either a tattoo on Winnie the Pooh, or like he’s puckered up like a geisha or Betty Boop?

geisha

One way to get that puckered up look …

Betty Boop

I think Winnie the Pooh’s reminds me more of Betty Boop’s pucker!

bears figurine balcony

Awww, love these cute bears!  I don’t love my color combination so much…

Santorini house

This could have gone a completely different direction. It could’ve been a pink castle as the hearts and flowers indicate, but I saw Santorini instead.

santorini

What do you think?  Santorini is on my bucket list just so I can see the blue!

Red labrador and puppy

And my favorite figurine is this one. Look at these two guys! I made them to be reb-brown Labs. If this figurine comes back in again, I think I’ll try a lighter look on the dogs and house. How cute are the eyes of the top dog?

Now go and enjoy a break!

May 15, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Prom clutches!

This is such a fun, fun post to do!  Prom time and if you are in need of a clutch, I hope these will give you great ideas.  They are all made by Sellers and you can see what’s all available in their individual shops!  These clutches will either go with gowns such as these shown, or they are reminiscent of some of the gowns based on the color or style.  Enjoy!

May 7, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Time for the yearly nautical look!

This nautical look never goes out of style.  Check out this Etsy treasury.

It's a yearly classic look at this time of year.

It’s a yearly classic look at this time of year.

You can get this look with clutches for your outfit.  Complete kits to make clutches at the shop WhileBabyNaps.Etsy.com.

Timeless classic clutch handbags!

Timeless classic clutch handbags!

I am sold out of one of these kits, but all the others are still available.  Do you have a clutch with a nautical look?

April 12, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Our 10,000th Etsy cart winner is ….

… a university student!   Who here doesn’t have starving college days that they can recall?  Man, I used to make it work for the weekend when my cheap meal plan didn’t cover it.  I’d get a rotisserie chicken for $3.99, a lime, and a cucumber and make it last for all my meals for the weekend!  That’s $5 for food for the whole weekend.  I just remember being hungry during all my university years.

I couldn’t be happier for her because she was timely and also “played it” well.  Knowing that the shop was within sight of hitting 10,000 Doryn went ahead and bought many different frames to try out along with the PDF, thereby securing her spot!  Her cart totaled $145 so she got the 10,000th item – the PDF! – free as well as $100 off her cart.

And wouldn’t you know it, but Doryn is from New Jersey!  What a coincidence.  I had asked some questions about Doryn, so read our Q&A.

Q:  Can you tell me a bit about you?

A:  I am studying environmental law and policy.  The curriculum prepares me for law school if I decide to become an environmental lawyer.  I can also become an environmental consultant for a company and then my job would be to ensure the company is functioning within current federal and state environmental regulations.  I’ve loved Star Trek for as long as I can remember and I’m also a Patrick Stewart fangirl 🙂 I’m naturally more of a ‘thinker’ than a ‘doer’; I’d rather ponder over ideas and theories than test them. I’ve also been told that I’m highly analytical, though I don’t think that’s true (I’m just good at pretending I am, ha!)

Q:  Do you have a shop?

A:  Not yet, but I do plan on launching one within next few months.

Q:  Do you like to craft?

A:  Love it, it’s nice to let creativity flow. In addition to sewing, I knit, crochet and draw/sketch.  I’m relatively new to sewing, I’ve only been sewing for a year and a half. I find it to be therapeutic and I use it as a way to de-stress and focus when my mind is jumbled. I also love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I’ve finished a project that is unique and completely me. I will be using these frames to make bridesmaid’s clutches for my cousin’s wedding and prom clutches for my younger friends.

A wristlet by Doryn.

A wristlet by Doryn.

Doryn made this pen roll.

Doryn made this pen roll.

Q:  How did you hear about WhileBabyNaps?

A:  I was searching for frames that I could use to make the bridesmaid’s clutches for my cousin’s wedding. I came across your shop on Etsy and I saw how much pride you take in your items and the amount of work you’ve put into making these frames top-grade. When I realized you supported those businesses who use your frames, that you were a jeweler, AND from New Jersey, I knew I had to have them!

Q:  How did you hear about the 10,000th item promotion?  

A:  I’ll admit I’m one of those people who puts tons of items in their cart, and leaves them there so I can mull over the possible purchase. I was finally preparing to checkout when I decided to look over your shop again and I saw the 10,000th item banner! It was an opportunity too good to pass up! Thank you, Winn!

I like her spunk!

I like her spunk!

Congrats, Doryn.  I hope you enjoy making your clutches for your cousins and friends.  We all look forward to seeing your shop of sewn good and crafts.  My thanks to each and every customer on Etsy (and from the webstore)!

~Winn

April 10, 2013 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

We did it! 10,000th item on Etsy sold!!!

It’s been 12 years since I started my LLC and my businesses, and it’s been a little over 3 years since I’ve been on Etsy, but I just hit the 10,000th item sold!!!  We’ve got a winner ladies and gents.  I could not be any happier to celebrate this huge milestone with you all.  Details will come soon on the winner.  🙂

Thank you, thank you, to all.

Thank you, thank you, to all.

April 7, 2013 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Get some swag – $200!

As mentioned before in a previous post, when I get asked to be a sponsor, I really have to weigh the value of what I give to what I get in return.  I’d go broke if I said yes to everything.  But as my company’s motto is “Putting Women in Business”, I always find a way to make it work when it comes to workshops that teach women a new skill.  I was asked to be a sponsor for an inaugural sewing event that took place a couple of weeks ago in North Carolina.  Though it was a small group, Sew South made a big impact for all attendees.  The enthusiasm from these ladies is amazing and you can see the skills they learned, the friends they met, and the good times they had at this sewing retreat.  Check out all photos at this Flickr group.   Here’s a snapshot of some of the photos:

Flickr_ The Sew South Retreat Pool

Take a look at the new clutches made from the attendees, most of whom were new to making clutches.

The demographics of the group that attended:
  • women of all ages  (25-65)
  • women of all skill levels (some sewing for 6 months, some for 20 years)
  • women from around the country (from California to North Carolina, Wisconsin to Florida – even someone from San Juan Puerto Rico!)
  • over half of the attendees are bloggers

sew south DSCN7836

Even though this retreat was limited to 50 participants, Jennifer, the founder, has opened up a free swag drawing for everyone — including you, my customers and blog readers.  Enter here at Sew South Retreat website to win this loot worth $200.  There will be 3 lucky winners.

sew south swag DSCN7876

Good luck and I hope one of you get it!!!  If you do, let me know.

Winn 🙂

April 5, 2013 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Printing Intructions for the Classic Day Clutch!

I was recently contacted by two kind customers who had problems with printing out the Classic Day Clutch(TM) template.  It did not print out true to size and scale than what was on the PDF file that they saw on the screen.  It printed out on a smaller scale thereby making the pattern too small for the 8×3 frame, although it fit perfectly for a 7 x 2.5 size frame.  It took me a while through several tech blogs and such but I figured out why it printed out on a smaller scale in some rare cases.  I went ahead and made the change for everyone just in case this happens to someone else.

Let me explain what happened in these two cases: Adobe did not process it correctly during printing and shrunk it to fit the page. My original file as seen on the screen when downloaded is the correct size and scale: however, when it goes to print it, it sometimes shrinks it. Funnily enough, Adobe does NOT do this for any of the other 6 templates — only for the Classic Day Clutch in these 2 instances! And furthermore, my own printer setting was on “Print as Image” so it did not shrink it for me. It always prints true when I print it on my printer so I did not “catch” it every time I printed this template out to sew and make my clutches. So all my clutches using the Classic Day Clutch template came out exact.

How do you prevent printing a scaled-down version?  (It is hard to tell that it was shrunken.)  Printing a PDF file as an image bypasses that processing by sending the printer a simple image of the document instead. To ensure the correct scale that is printed, please print the Classic Day Clutch(TM) via the following these steps:

With the PDF file open in Acrobat Reader or Acrobat, from the File menu, click Print.
In the Print window that appears:

>Windows: Click to check the Print as Image check box.
>Macintosh: Click the Advanced button, and click to check the Print as Image check box in the Advanced Print Setup window.

Click Print.

You can do this method to print out any PDF file if you want to ensure that it prints true to what you see on the screen.  I want to thank the two ladies for contacting me with this issue. By making these new printing steps for everyone, it will ensure that no one else will run into this problem. I am not sure why others, like myself, did not encounter this problem prior as it has never happened before. (?) I am not sure if the different Adobe versions or the different Mac vs. Windows platforms make a difference.  However, I do know that I feel VERY lucky that they contacted me!

I sell a lot of these kits because it's a good clutch, but also due to the photo.  It's a good angle and shows off the clutch well.

I sell a lot of these kits because it’s a good clutch, but also due to the photo. It’s a good angle and shows off the clutch well.

Thanks
Winn 🙂

February 18, 2013 Posted by | Helpful Tips, WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helping Women – getting inspiration back ten-fold

I am honored to get asked to sponsor different kinds of seminars, sewing circles, blog hops, and sewing retreats.  I have found that I often get inspired by the wonderful work that the women come up with.  Recently, Elaine of Dashasel Sews and Emily of Mommy’s Nap Time (LOVE the name!  Why didn’t I think of that?) hosted their first pouch hop called the Happy Little Pouch Hop.  I’ve been very impressed by the creativity and variety of pouches that the participants have come up with.  Here’s a sample of a few.  Click on it to get to the Flickr blog hop photos.

Look at the variety and the fabrics!  Love that little fish pouch!!!

Look at the variety and the fabrics! Love that little fish pouch!!!

And here are some clutches made by some crafty and artistic women.

This clutch is made by Elaine.  A little bee brooch would be brillant!

This clutch is made by Elaine. A little bee brooch would be brillant!

This coin clutch is made by Darci Bee

This coin clutch is made by Darci Bee

I absolutely LOVE this little coin clutch.  Diane did a superb design!

I absolutely LOVE this little coin clutch. Diane did a superb design!

Diane's second creation - a colorful mosaic!

Diane’s second creation – a colorful mosaic!

This is one of Diane's newer clutch designs.

This is one of Diane’s newer clutch designs.

Elaine's colorful clutch!  Would be great with color-block a-line dress!

Elaine’s colorful clutch! Would be great with color-block A-line dress!

Elaine's Oh Deer Pouch #1.

Elaine’s Oh Deer Pouch #1.

I absolutely love Elaine's Oh Deer pouch #2.  How darling is this??

I absolutely love Elaine’s Oh Deer pouch #2. How darling is this??

So hop over to Elaine’s blog and check out her amazing work.  You can also see Emily’s finished quilts at her blog, too.  Both amazing women.  I hope you get inspired by all these fabrics and designs!

~Winn

February 1, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Luxurious clutches

Got someone on your holiday list that you really want to WOW them?  I would like to highlight two amazing craftswomen who make clutches and bags from scratch by hand, much in the tradition of Hermes.  Randi of HoldFasthandbags, and Laurel of DalleMieMani work with materials that are beautiful, long-lasting, and that takes a lot of skill to work with.   Their craftsmanship just puts me to shame, and I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that!  🙂

When I first saw Randi’s post and picture of her workstation, the way she crafts her eponymous bags at HoldFasthandbags brought to mind the workshops of Hermes.  Artisans there also make one bag from start to finish.  Much like Hermes, Randi doesn’t have a production line.  She designs them, sources her materials, and makes each one by herself start to finish.  You might not have the budget for the Hermes bag — I personally don’t know of anyone who does, and Oprah does not count as a personal connection — but you might have a budget for a HoldFasthandbag bag or a Laurel Dasso Leathers clutch.

Randi’s workshop:

Parts of a bag by Randi of HoldFasthandbags.

Parts and pieces of a bag from Hermes. Photo by John Dascoulias.

Retro Rockabilly clutch handbag.

Perfect clutch for winter! Pair with your best brown riding boots to amp up your outfit.

Another example of great craftsmanship. The lining is perfectly well-crafted. Not a wrinkled stitch in sight!

The second craftswoman that you should check out is Laurel over at her DalleMieMani shop.  As the sole person behind Laurel Dasso Leathers, Laurel’s work with this material is exemplary.  Laurel’s exquisite leathers remind me of the leathers of the Hermes bags, too.  She has quite the pick of the lot as she sources the leather herself and works with the best ones!  Laurel also has a sale until Thanksgiving Day (November 22nd).  To receive 15% off your order, use the coupon code HAPPYTHANKSGIVING at checkout.

Check on this picture to see more behind the scenes at Hermes and their leather artisans.

This luscious black leather clutch handbag is an instant classic.

This is made from tan cognac brown calfskin.  Scarf not included!

And the piece de resistance is this gorgeous, gorgeous one of a kind clutch handbag with a long shoulder strap.

Didn’t I tell you all the best women use my fine frames?  🙂  Just kidding, but I am so honored that these artisans continue to work with me for their purse frame and glue needs.  Please check out their shops for these clutches and many other wallets and bags.  You will love shopping there!

November 22, 2012 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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