Sewing Spool Photo Holders

spools and photos

Vintage spools and vintage photographs make a great display. And the man has perfect timing. Andrew spent the last few weeks in Florida. Since he knows that I’ve been working on Craft Party, he picked up these three cute little vintage photo cards at a garage sale while he was down there. I’m working on cheap and cute Craft Party decorations for the tables, and the host for the Craft Party at RNest posted a pic of this great idea for using old spools.

All you need is some vintage sewing spools (or new wooden ones), a paperclip, and a photo on cardboard. Since I didn’t have any paperclips, I used some mini clothespins that I had picked up at the dollar store a while back. I’d recently gotten these cute vintage wooden sewing spools at a local yard sale. I now use them for my embroidery thread.


This DIY is as easy as putting the clothespin into the hole at the top of the spool and putting the photo in the clip. If it’s a little loose, just add a little folded paper at the back and you’re good to go. These will look cute with the pin-cushion mason jars that I’m attempting to make today!


For our actual party, I think I’ll use copies of the photos that we’re including in the DIY kits and just mount them on cardboard or foamboard.

A Craft Party and a Wedding

photobooth embroidery Where have I been? So many new things have been going on in my life and I want to share them all on here at GoodAfternoonan. I have been so busy! This update is such a long time coming. First of all, in March, I joined a new team at Etsy. Now instead of traveling all around the world, which was wonderful but exhausting, I’ll be staying here at home working with sellers through the Seller Education Team.


My first big project is Etsy Craft Party, a global celebration that happens on one day all over the world! You can read a little bit about it in a couple of blog articles that I wrote for Etsy. For one such article, I actually got to host a small pre-party with three local NY Etsy sellers. Julie Pinzur of Mokuyobi Threads, Erin and Corey Flanagan of Harp and Thistle Stitchery, and Jane Odartey of Mawusi came by the office, and we spent a whole half day embroidering together. That may have been my best Etsy day yet! If you’re in NYC, come down to our party next Friday, June 6th under the Manhattan Bridge Archway in DUMBO. AND, if you live anywhere else, look for a Craft Party near you.


embroidery dogs

Needless to say, embroidering photographs (this year’s DIY) has been occupying a lot of my time. I’m a bit obsessed. I’ve been embroidering when I wake up in the morning and on the weekends. I’ve been taking my embroidery to Prospect Park for picnics and to friends’ apartments for movie nights. I started out embroidering copies of some old photobooth pics that I had found at the estate sale earlier this year. Then I moved into more GoodAfternoonan territory with dog photos. My favorite so far is this big ol’ English bulldog.

embroidered dogs

My second huge bit of news is that the man proposed to me right after my birthday back in March. And the wedding is this July. Our goal is to have a stress free wedding in Maine and so far so good. I got a beautiful vintage 70s wedding dress on Etsy from Renegade Revival. We will have a very small ceremony on the beach followed by lobster rolls and a few more weeks on the coast. I cannot wait! I’ll share pics of the dress after the wedding. Stay tuned. I love it.

Organizing and Taking Stock


Remember when I mentioned the amazing estate sale I went to a few weeks back. I finally got around to using all of the jars and boxes that I found there to organize in my studio. First I hung up floor to ceiling Algot shelves. Almost everything I put on these shelves was found in yard sales, from jars for buttons to boxes for my completed button packs.

At the estate sale, I had picked up a bunch of jars. Some were canning jars, but some were these amazing mayonnaise jars that I think are probably from in the 1960s. They are really thick with measurements on the glass. One of them has a very slight blue tint. I love them so much. They are a little small so they are holding my button mylar covers and some overstock one off buttons.


I also got a great little boombox to replace the huge one that I used to use. I listen to the radio a lot, but I am also a fan of using the old speakers for my ipod. Who needs a new ipod dock when you can just hook it up to a pristine boombox.


After hanging the shelves, I decided to take stock of all of the inventory that I had. I had lots of buttons made, but no packs already put together, so I spent some time getting my shelves stocked. I feel like I’m making some progress on transforming the shop and making my process more efficient.


Friday Favorites: Oh Hello Friend


Happy Valentine’s Day. There’s no better Friday than this one for some packaging love. One of the things I enjoy so much about shopping on Etsy is how sellers put a lot of care into packaging up their shipments. A lot Etsy sellers put the handmade personal touch on everything and really do spend a lot of time making each sale feel special. I love looking at pretty packages, but I struggle so much with figuring out a nice way to package up my items. For the most part I add a doodled handmade note and a cat sticker or button and call it a day.

I browse a lot of Pinterest boards to get packaging ideas. This week, though, I found a new blog obsession to satiate that packaging envy. Over a Oh, Hello Friend, Danni has a whole section dedicated to pretty packaging. These photos are just a sample. Check it out. It’s not just my Friday favorite. It’s been my favorite all week.


Burnout, Confessions of a Crafter


I have a confession to make. In the last month, I hit crafter rock bottom with my Etsy shop. After months of preparing small promotional campaigns and larger ones, such as logacat, I got a huge and naively unexpected return over the holidays. I was unprepared.

Throughout November and December, Etsy orders rolled in daily. For a custom seller like myself, this can quickly snowball. With even one back-ordered custom portrait on my plate, I feel the pressure of time. I never imagined having 4 or 6 or 25 on my plate at the same time. I can comfortably create one custom pet portrait in an evening after work, but I did not imagine that I would have a backlog of 3 weeks of evenings filled with working on custom portraits, and yet, that is what happened from early November through mid-January.


As a result of this wonderful holiday season, I hit complete burnout. I removed listings from my shop, took a few weekends off from all drawing or shop activity, and took a few weeks off from this blog. This is a response that I do not want to repeat, and in the weeks since Christmas I’ve been reworking prices and reexamining the structure of my shop to see what I can do to continue GoodAfternoonan’s growth while maintaining a balance in my life. I don’t want to lose the enjoyment around drawing animals, and I don’t want to give up marketing either because I really enjoy displaying my work.

I’m still not positive about how I’ll grow GoodAfternoonan, but I do know I need to do a few things right now to get on track for a very different year in 2014. These are the changes I’m making right now to avoid burnout.

Shelve Custom Orders

For the time being, I’ve deactivated all custom pet portrait listings in my Etsy shop. Part of what overwhelmed me over the holiday rush was that every order was a custom request. I set my shop up that way because that is what sold the most, but I have spent a great deal of time recently thinking about ready to ship inventory. I want to go in that direction in my shop. In order to develop that inventory, I have to put the custom listings on hold, at least for now, while I design and start making new items. This is why the shop is slowly being rebuilt with dog breed button packs.

Structured Saturdays

I usually spend a good portion of both Saturday and Sunday “working” on my shop. Working includes a lot of time thinking as well. I’m probably guiltier than most of allowing myself to become distracted on the internet during the weekends. I’ve decided to remove Sundays from working on my shop and force myself to truly use all of the time that I have on Saturday instead of wasting a lot of it with mindless browsing. To do this, I will structure my Saturdays as a full GoodAfternoonan workday. This means starting the day with a shower and breakfast before sitting down in my studio. I will no longer stretch the morning in PJs into the afternoon. Symbolically I must turn my Saturday shop workday into something more professional and get more sh*t done.

Learn to say No

Perhaps it’s less about learning to say no and simply more about forcing myself to say no. I am going to have to decide to pass on some of the opportunities that come my way this year in order to get my shop to a balanced place. I want to grow the shop, but for the time being, I’ve decided to say no to trying to do wholesale. Once I’ve built up more product lines, I will revisit this, but for now I’m not even going to research the possibility anymore. That research has become ripe with internet-browsing procrastination. Right now I am just saying no.

Sunday Shopping: Valentines

valentines gift ideas

After a short hiatus, I’m back with a few recommendations for next week’s holiday. Although it might be a bit late to order something custom, here are some great ideas for a unique gift.

One Valentine’s Day, when I was about nine year’s old, I came home in the evening after my Irish Dancing lessons to find a surprise. The day had been a typical grade school kid’s Valentine’s Day. I’d brought a stack of cards addressed to each kid in my class to school. They were corny cards that we’d picked up at Target the weekend before. I’d eaten some candy hearts. I’d gone on with the rest of the day as normal: recess running around, after school activities with my friend Sarah, evening dance lessons. When I walked in the front door, however, I was greeted by a red-haired russ troll doll. He was standing on the coffee table, smiling with arms outstretched holding a heart. My mom had picked him up on her way home from work. It was such a surprise and still stands out as the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had. So, although i think Valentines is an annoying commercialized holiday, there are great memories that can be created with funny surprises. Frivolous, funny gifts can make anyone smile. Here are some great ones:

  1. Victorian puzzle from steelbrush
  2. bleeding heart with banner from likethepastry
  3. love monster figurine from WhimsyCalling
  4. bear and wolf mook love from ilovegreyskies
  5. X files valentine set from waitominute

Sunday Shopping: Estate Sale Finds

estate sale finds

After college, I moved from Texas to Missouri, where I lived for a year before heading up here to New York. I was living in an apartment without roommates for the first time. During that year one of my biggest hobbies was to go to weekend yard and estate sales in my first attempt to furnish my apartment. I found everything from a desk to typewriters to bookshelves to a full danish dining room set. Those early Saturday mornings were thrilling. After moving to New York, I had to give up the thrifting bug because the deals weren’t as good and I couldn’t get out of the city.

Fast forward ten years, and I am living here in Brooklyn with a car, some free time, and a few friends who share my enthusiasm for an early morning vintage hunt. Last weekend, for the first time in my decade of living in New York City, I went to a real estate sale. And it was worth the wait! Despite having little room to house my new treasures, I came home with everything from vintage zinc topped canning jars to cow bell wind chimes to a walk-a-matic. I’m slowly stocking an imaginary vintage-filled Etsy shop. Everything pictured above is a version of something I came away with. I can’t wait to sell some stuff, make some room, and head back out to thrift.

  1. vintage french egg basket from RattyandCatty
  2. antique giant scissors from thejunkhaus
  3. window tacks from Iprefervintage
  4. birdcage from othernessdesign