Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm featured on the 60th Georgia Blog Carnival!

Go here to check out all the bloggy happenings around Georgia!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Go Green! Buy Locally! Eat your Vegetables!

If you have been around my mother and me at all or if you have browsed our websites (check out the sidebar to the right), you have seen lots of farm-related items and especially lots of bee-themed stuff from last year (bees kinda go well with our shop name too ;) ) We have a special place in our hearts for farm stuff because we grew up on the farm. My grandparents have always been active in the local Farm Bureau as far back as I can remember, and now Daddy is an officer in the county group, and Mama is now the Chairwoman for the Women's Committee in her county and district.

All across the country, the Farm Bureau sponsors a program called Ag In the Classroom. In Georgia however, the Farm Bureau does another unique program as well (at least, as far as we know, no other state does this.) Every year, the Georgia Farm Bureau Women's Committee chooses a different commodity to promote. This year, it is vegetables, with an emphasis on being green and buying locally! Last year, the commodity was honeybees and the various products (honey, beeswax) and processes that they perform (pollination of so many crops!) The year before that featured chicken and eggs.

Even though I am not personally involved in our local county group, I get involved by default behind the scenes just by hanging around my mother ;). Actually, I enjoy these yearly promotions because I learn a lot more about whatever we end up promoting. We do quite a bit of research while making our displays, and of course, have lots of fun coming up with creative ways to feature the chosen commodity. The best part for us is giving us a "challenge" to work toward in terms of our crafting goals!

When we found out about this year's choice of vegetables, our wheels started turning. We started searching high and low for crafty ideas with vegetables, and we couldn't find much. So, necessity being the mother of invention, we developed our own patterns for appliques and "stuffed" vegetables to make some eye-catching displays for meetings and conferences.

Everyone at those meetings were so impressed with the displays that they asked where we found the patterns. Of course, my mother had to confess that the "patterns" were scribbled on the back of scratch paper, or in some cases, not even sketched at all, but just made "on the fly." She had several folks ask her to collect those ideas and put them together for the group.

And now, we have that pattern for sale in our Etsy shop! The appliqued towels and "green" grocery bags aren't listed yet, but coming soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tags, Tags, and more Tags

I recently got a request from a friend to make a tag blankie. She didn't realize that she was opening such a "can of worms" with me. Just a simple square with ribbons around the edges - easy, right? Yes, actually, the idea is so simple that it's worth millions of dollars.

You might wonder, "If it's so easy, why don't you have these listed in your Etsy shop?" Well, the simple answer is, I used to have something similar. I say similar, because I took that idea and expanded on it, or so I thought, to make it my own. My blankets were not just the ordinary square, but mine incorporated ribbons into the appliqued design, which I thought was much cuter, IMHO, plus it was more of a practical blanket size, not just a lovey.

But Etsy deactivated my listings for those blankets because they received some complaints from a Large Corporation That Shall Remain Nameless (because I don't even want any of their internet traffic, much less a paltry portion of their sales, as if a single person could compete with something like that) that owns a patent concerning ribbons sewn in a seam. It seems that this company is infamous among Etsy sellers for doing this very thing that happened to me. I did a lot of internet searching and then a lot of soul searching. I got some advice from family members. And then I basically did nothing. I can't decide whether to pursue it (I would really like to prove to them that I am not infringing on their patent or copyright or whatever, but unfortunately I don't have the means or the time) or more realistically, just get over it and figure out something better to make.

The thing is, I know that it really is a favorite among babies and toddlers, from my own personal experience. My youngest son (currently 26 months) has a blanket that I made with my own two hands, and it is his most beloved security object, aside from his favorite sippy cup, but that's another story for another time. He even has a particular ribbon that is his favorite, that he goes to, even if you hand him the blanket from the complete opposite corner.

At the risk of someone stealing my idea, I have thought of continuing in my applique designs with ribbons incorporated like before, just leaving off the ribbons from the seam/ edge.

Ideas, thoughts? Anyone?

But, in the meantime, if you were to be looking for one of these blankies, just drop me a note, I think I might be able to find one or two, I just can't tell you where they came from....

Gosh, I hate being so negative, but now it's out there. Maybe the next post will be more positive....