Learn. Make. Sell. All about clutches.

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?


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.


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

The nautical look in HCMC?

What do you know?  This classic nautical look is here in Vietnam, of all places!  While shoe shopping with my daughter, I saw some cute shoes.  So many cute shoes, but I only managed to snap a couple of pics.  Me and my camera always gets shut down.   I always go shoe shopping when the rest of me is a little bit bigger.  Can’t fit into my fat clothes, but I can fit into my shoes!!!  🙂  Really, who moves to Vietnam and gains weight???  LOL.

Hayley said "Mom, take a pic of me next to these purses!".

Hayley said “Mom, take a pic of me next to these purses!”.

Ummm, how cute are these?  White capris pants, navy shirt, red scarf, red bag, and either of these shoes?

Ummm, how cute are these? White capris pants, navy shirt, red scarf, red bag, and either of these shoes?

Hamming it up ... posing like the model in the poster!

Hamming it up … posing like the model in the poster!

Love these wedges.  This is more subtle is better suited for my tastes.

Love these wedges. This is more subtle than the heels, and I love the leather trimming and stitching.

I wear the nautical look every year.  I know, it’s a bit preppy to some, but it’s classic Americana to me.  Love it.  Check out my shop for my nautical themed clutch kits.


6x3 Tea Time Clutch - with chain.

6×3 Tea Time Clutch – with chain.

April 14, 2013 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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)!


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

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

How to sell your clutches with an in-home crafts fair.

I get all sorts of emails from my wonderful and loyal customers, and sometimes there is great information that I think other customers can benefit from.  Like Erin who offered her great tips about selling at arts and crafts fairs so that others could benefit from, Susan of Lulu Caswell has graciously offered some tips for you to have success selling clutches at your in-home crafts fair.

With two years of selling her clutches at her house, Susan has wonderful helpful tips.  In fact, she sells the majority of her clutches off the Net!  Here are some tips:

1. Invite other craftsters to display their goods in your home.  More will come when you have a house party for handmade clutches, jewelry, and quilts (for examples) than just clutches alone.  Susan sold nearly $1000 in clutches on one Sunday from 12-4pm!  With this, she was able to pay off her husband’s tuition for one month.  GO Susan!!!

2. Promote amongst your friends via your social networks of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc…  Be sure to ask them to come (don’t be shy!) and to share the post with their friends.   How about “Hey, I would love for you to come.  I would really appreciate your support and would love to see you and catch up over some munchies while you check out all the goodies!  If you cannot come, I would appreciate your support by sharing this post on your Wall with your friends.”

3.  Go on to Etsy and solicit other local craftsters/artisans to display their goods at your in-home crafts fair.  Susan didn’t know most of them, but that didn’t deter her from asking them to participate in her second year.  She had 6 other vendors join her at her home and about 40-50 guests who came, even some customers from the previous year.  These things build so hopefully she will have even more attend next year.

4.  To get more foot traffic and eyes, create a flyer and post them at local churches, at the kids’ schools, and at the local community hall.  Ask the other vendors to do their share of posting the flyers and promoting the event to their network of friends.

5.  For a smaller, intimate affair, do an evening show with just your clutches and serve wine and cheese.  Email it to ALL your girlfriends and ask them to pass the email to a girlfriend and to bring a girlfriend!

Selling your clutches at your home is just another avenue for you.  It is one that costs very little (take out that folding table and throw a nice sheet to cover as table linen!) yet is one that will allow customers to get to know you.   People buy from people, and this direct selling has worked for the biggest companies like Avon, Mary Kay, and Lia Sophia.

Take a look at some of the pictures from her last in-home craft fair.

Susan's sumptuous table of clutches.  Look at all the variety of colors and textures!

Susan’s sumptuous table of clutches. Look at all the variety of colors and textures!

This paper maker did really well.

This paper maker did really well.

This craft fair was held before the holidays.  These would make great gifts for a little girl!

This craft fair was held before the holidays. These would make great gifts for a little girl!

The woodworker also sold really well!

The woodworker also sold really well!

I can smell these scents through my screen!

I can smell these scents through my screen!

The woodworker, the baker, and the candlestick maker?  :)  The baker brought her goodies, too!

The woodworker, the baker, and the candlestick maker? 🙂 The baker brought her goodies, too!

I want to thank Susan for her generosity in sharing these tips with her fellow clutch makers.  If you are a fellow artisan in the Fall River, MA area, be sure to contact Susan at her shop to plan the next in-home craft fair.  You’ll be glad you did!

January 22, 2013 Posted by | Helpful Tips, SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Cutest Coin Clutches

Just in time for the holiday gift giving.  As seen as a featured seller before, Wendy continues her exemplary work.  Her stand-out clutches are perfect gifts!

Hand embroidered button on this darling coin clutch!

Hand embroidered button on this darling coin clutch!

Red linen and crystal coin clutch.

Red linen and crystal coin clutch.


A little "I Love You" reminder.

A little “I Love You” reminder.

Great for Brits and anglophiles!  How adorable is this Union Jack coin clutch?

Great for Brits and anglophiles! How adorable is this Union Jack coin clutch?

Go check out Wendy’s shop.  She currently has 25% until Dec. 31!  Enjoy your holiday shopping.  🙂

December 23, 2012 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dupioni Silk clutches

For handcrafted clutches with exquisite dupioni silk in vibrant colors, look no further than Karina’s shop SimplyClutch.  Karina lives in my one of my favorite places on Earth, San Diego!  My most favorite place in San Diego is the Torrey Pine GliderPort.  I love sitting at the outdoor cafe having lunch and watching the hang gliders.  If you are not in San Diego any time soon, no worries since Karina has an online shop on Etsy.

I love this bright pop of color!

I love this bright pop of color!

The dupioni silk clutches come in many colors!

The dupioni silk clutches come in many colors!

All are made with beautiful eye-catching silk lining.

All are made with beautiful eye-catching silk lining.

Karina also makes bridal clutches.  Looking for something blue?

Karina also makes bridal clutches. Looking for something blue?

I simply love Karina’s careful work from using the best silks, to offering embroidery, to hand-sewing the silk flowers.  Her work is top notch!  Stop by her shop and take a look!

December 21, 2012 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Opulent Clutches

Opulence accurate describes the gorgeous clutches made by Barbara at Clutch Chic.  Known for her wedding clutches, Barbara has a wide selection of holiday and wedding clutches for the winter bride.  She even does custom requests for everything including the outer silk fabric, the inner lining, and even the purse frame!  That makes your gift a truly One-Of-A-Kind gift.  She even mails up to 4 swatches for free!

This is one of several opulent clutches that are limited editions.

This is one of several opulent clutches that are limited editions.

Classic red clutch with beading for extra pizzazz.

Classic red clutch with beading for extra pizzazz.

My friends could have totally used this for the Scottish Ball this year!

My friends could have totally used this for the Scottish Ball this year!

How awesome is this clutch?  Twinkling lights hand-sewn using Swarovski crystals!

How awesome is this clutch? Twinkling lights hand-sewn using Swarovski crystals!

She has many more in her shop.   No clutch is the same.  I hope you will find something of delight for your holiday gift-giving or winter wedding!

December 16, 2012 Posted by | SALES and PROMOTIONS | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tips for your digital camera

I get asked questions about how to improve many shop’s listings and product photos.  I have helped several shops make improvements on their photos and their sales have increased.  While my talent in photography lies in close-ups of jewelry, I continually work on developing my other skills.

One of my favorite shots from my jewelry shop. So sparkly.

However, I currently only use a simple point-and-click digital camera that is about 7 years old.  It’s a little dented and is not fancy but does the trick.   It’s not doing justice to my wide shots, in low-light conditions, or shots with any movement since I have no shutter speed to work with but for a straightforward, non-moving target, I get a lot out of an old cheap camera.

Sometimes I can time it right and get an "action" shot.

I use iPhoto on my Mac to straighten, sharpen, brighten the shadows and the overall exposure.  Sometimes, all I need to do is hit the “Enhance” button and instant improvements are done!  However, if I start with an out-of-focus, badly lit shot, there’s not much I can do.  But here’s a sample of where a little straightening (ok, a lot), cropping and better exposure can improve a terrible photo.

Before. I was laying on my side trying to snap the view. Makes you kinda dizzy...


For your clutch shop, I recommend taking time to set up the shot before you snap.  In fact, the majority of your effort should be spent on setting up the shot with the right lighting, backdrop, and positioning.  Here’s one of my favorite shots of my clutch kits.

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 with good focus on the subject. You can even see the texture of the fabric.

I just ran across an article on camera tips so click on the pic below to get to that article.  I hope it’ll help you in your picture taking!

Click to read full article.

If you’ve got any good tips, I would love to hear them!


May 2, 2012 Posted by | Helpful Tips | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Debuting DiamondCut(TM) Brushed Antique Brass

I am quite thrilled to announce my new DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass. The feedback has been a resounding one:  it has gotten the best feedback that I’ve ever gotten on any new purse frame.  I am completely satisfied with this finish and am excited to show you here first.

It is truly unique because it is hand-finished to order.

Reflecting indoor light. Sparkling!

Orders will ship within 24-72 hours of your order depending on demand.  Since this is brand spankin’ new and I don’t know how the orders will come in, you will be notified in case it takes longer.  Orders with higher quantities will take 2 days to complete per 100 frames.  So, an order of 300 frames will take 6 days.  All will ship via Priority Mail.  All will come with my standard 30-day full refund guarantee.

This proprietary and trademarked DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass offers a 2-for-1!  2 looks at 1 price!  2 looks in 1 frame!

In natural light, it is a subtle brushed antique brass soft finish.  But it differs from the traditional antique brass in that you will see the brush textures!

I had a couple of handbag makers who mentioned that they “wished” for a more textured look, and here we are… !  🙂

DiamondCut(TM) brushed antique brass shown with natural light.

But under any indoor light (fluorescent, incandescent, halogen, you-name-it)?  It will shimmer.  It will sparkle.  You will see silken threads of pure gleam!

Imagine this clutch sitting at a dinner table in the glow of a candle!  Amazing!

Paired with my peacock feather fabric. Shimmers in the light!

Natural light:

Paired with a green brocade in natural light.

Indoor lighting:

Shimmering silken threads can be seen easily with indoor lighting. Shown reflected with my high-hat bulbs in my ceiling!

Frame only in natural light:

Beautiful sheen with subtle textures - antique brass in tone.

In indoor lighting:

Another look at the same frame with indoor lighting from incandescent bulbs.

The pricing will vary according to volume discounts.  I will have these listed for sale this weekend.  Of course, please convo me if you would like a custom listing.  I really expect these to do well as these hand-finished frames are truly unique.  I cannot wait to see all the amazing fabrics and materials that will be used with this frame.  I expect it to hit big with the bridal market as this is the high-end of my high-end frames!

On other news…

I’ve been working hard on the antique brass finish and you all have been so patient.  I have encouraged you to source your antique brass purse frames from other sellers to meet your customer’s needs.  And I’ve heard your comments about the lower quality found elsewhere.  Please know that I continue to invest and work on finding the right finisher for the antique brass.  I’ve gone through 3 production samples and am still not happy with the quality yet.  I’ll keep plugging along …  I know that you are “making due” with others, and I sincerely appreciate your patience on my antique brass frames.  As soon as I have it, you will hear about it first!

April 7, 2011 Posted by | WhileBabyNaps General Updates | , , , | 2 Comments


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