Thursday, February 27, 2014

Most Adorable Baby Girl Dress

I missed Shameless Commerce Tuesday this week (it was a TAX-ing Tuesday) -- so I'll call this post Friendly Friday.  My Etsy friend, Jen Hagedorn of Tie Dye Diva Sewing Patterns has designed the MOST ADORABLE baby girl's party dress pattern (Size 0-24 mos)  -- perfect for Easter, or family get-togethers on Mother's Day or a family wedding.   The PDF is only $7.95 (with a discount for Tie Dye Diva Facebook fans).

I have used several of Jen's patterns.  They are always true to size and include fool-proof instructions.  Best of all, she allows Etsy sellers to sell items made using her patterns on the condition that you acknowledge the pattern source.

I know some of my readers are grandmas (or soon-to-be great-grandmas) of baby girls, so I just had to share this wonderful little dress pattern.  Don't you love those cute little puffed sleeves?

Click on the link on the upper right corner of my blog to see this and other wonderful patterns from Jen's shop. AND, you can follow her on Facebook for a daily dose of cuteness (and a discount on this pattern).


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Treasury Thanks

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a big


to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in treasuries during the past week.  

This week's treasuries were eclectic and artsy, with hints of Spring.

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my green chevron oven mitt in her green-themed treasury, Shades of Green.  Natasha's Irish shamrock garland would be a wonderful St.Patrick's decoration -- festive and easy to store.

Olena Kriuchkova of HandyHappyTeddy featured my baby boy preppie bib in her baby boy treasury titled simply #2.   Olena's fatsy petsy stuffed toy would be a perfect baby shower gift.

Paige of OhNostalgiaDesigns featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Love Colors. Paige's shop is on vacation as she prepares to launch her interior design business.

Linda and Jigger from Retroburgh featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in their aqua and orange treasury, Based on Scubamouse.  I'll have to admit, I'd not heard of Scubamouse, but I love this artfully curated treasury.  And I REALLY loved browsing through Retroburgh -- a treasure trove of Danish modern and mid-century modern vintage accent pieces.  Perhaps that's because I'm mid-century vintage myself.   It was so difficult to pick just one feature, but I finally decided on this mid-century lamp in turquoise.  The same lamp is available in bright orange BTW.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Birthday to Pasque Flower Creations!

My Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, is three years old today!  Time flies when you’re having fun. 

It’s been an interesting journey –a learning and growing experience. 

Here's a brief Etsy biz retrospective.

I started as a clueless Etsy newbie.  I’d never heard of SEO (search engine optimization), and I relied on my hubby to upload and edit photos because I hadn't a clue how to do that.  I went months before I made my first sale.  Thanks to Etsy Newbie Chats and the former Lost In The Crowd Team, I survived that first year and had 88 orders by the end of 2011.

In my second year, as an Etsy toddler, I began to find my own shop identity.  Like a good two year old, I learned to say “NO!”, increased my shop inventory, improved photos, and I embraced a new logo that more accurately portrayed my shop’s vibe.  I almost tripled my prior year orders, with 260 sales in 2012.

Last year I toddled off to record sales with a clearer sense of direction for my Etsy business.   In a webinar I attended on February 19, 2014, hosted by Melanie Duncan of Entrepreneuress Academy, I learned that 50 to 70 percent of start up businesses fail within the first 15 months.  But I’m still here—alive and kickin’!!   Although my sales in 2013 increased only 15% over 2012, my revenues grew by almost 33%.  I learned to cut my costs of goods sold and shipping costs without sacrificing quality, and I increased prices.  I ended last year with 301 sales.

As I enter my fourth year, I’m now a preschooler, anxious to learn more about photography, marketing, and product development – skill sets that will help me progress (I hope) to 1,000 sales before the end of 2014.  (I’m at 778 and counting.)  And I continue to seek out ways to monetize scraps.  So far this year, despite a rather sluggish February, my revenues are 15% ahead of where I was at the end of February 2013. 

My Etsy shop is not growing at warp speed, but I’m trending in the right direction, and I’m having a lot of fun and making new friends along the way.  


Monday, February 17, 2014

BBA February Challenge Post - What I Love

Each month the Blogging Business Artisans Team poses a challenge to its members.  This month's challenge is from Sharla of Beaded Tail:


Love is celebrated this month, so show us what you love!  Whether it's time with family, Spring around the corner, food, or fur babies, create something that shows us what you love!

My initial reaction was to make something depicting my hubby, children, grandchildren, and Tux the cat -- the ones I love most, along with my brother and my dear Aunt Jan.  Here is my rough sketch.  (Keep in mind that FABRIC is my medium -- so I am WAY out of my comfort zone when I'm trying to draw or paint!!)  I also intended to incorporate the words of I Corinthians 13: 4-8, typed at the top of the page.

But I abandoned that plan and went to ... Plan B.

I am a member of The Curiously Gorgeous Sisterhood -- a program designed to inspire, support, teach, connect and gift women -- created by Sarah Leonard of A Cat-Like Curiosity.  Included in the CGS package is a 52-week e-course, Journal with Purpose.  Each week, for a full year, I will receive a little note from Sarah filled with journaling inspiration and ideas.  As Sarah says, "Journaling with purpose is powerful -- and the purpose is to achieve the kind of clarity you need to create your perfect life."

Since my word for the year is FOCUS -- Clarity seemed to be a likely helpmate to Focus.

The Week 1 word of the week was (what a coincidence!) -- LOVE!

The prompt was:  For this page of your journal, first of all think of the things or the people you love.  The kind of situations that can lift you, no matter what mood you may be in.

After writing a list of the People I Love (many of them pictured in the sketch), and the Things I Love, I decided to create a simple visual depiction.

I am sitting under a weeping willow tree near a lake on a warm, sunny day.  There's a quilt on a clothesline and I am reading a book.  It is late afternoon and the sky is full of color.  Although I didn't try to squeeze my family into the painting, it does include several other things I love:  Spring and Summer, big shade trees, babbling brooks and prairie lakes, sewing, reading, and awe-inspiring skyscapes.

Now -- if I can only remember to link up near the end of the month!!  (I forgot to link my January Challenge post.)


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Treasury Thanks

This week I'd like to extend a huge


to the curators of treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Aunt Pheba's Vintage and Pasque Flower Creations, during the past week.

Valentine's Day is behind us, so we're on the downhill slope of Winter, heading towards SPRING!!  I am SO ready for warmer temps and sunshine!  And it appears I am not alone.  Many of this week's treasuries were bright and cheery, or full of Spring-y pastels -- an antidote to the cold and gray of Winter.

Pixielandfarm featured my pink glamping oven mitt in her treasury, In Glamping We Trust!  Pixieland has no current listings.

Natashalh of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Dreamy.  If you're dreaming of sandy beaches and warm, sunny days, this sailboat Bermuda sloop necklace would be a perfect accessory.

Nitzan Linton of bellegemsjewelry featured my vintage Art of Chokin trinket box in her treasury, Pale Pink Love.   I love Nitzan's amethyst jewelry, and this feminine purple sisters necklace is one of my favorites.

La sa (buyer only) featured my red flourish oven mitt in her treasury, Happy Valentine.

Neslihan nalbantoglu of butterflybynes featured my red, white, and blue chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Hey, Sailor!  This square bracelet is one of the unique jewelry pieces available at butterflybynes.

Larkin Hathaway of larkinhathaway featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Poppies.  This cute love half apron  reminds me of an old commercial -- "Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven..."

Thanks, again, curators!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Wordless Friday (OK -- I'm 2 Days Overdue)

Full Moon by Linda Riesberg 
(Linda is one of my quilting buddies.)
Lincoln, NE - February 13, 2014

Thursday, February 13, 2014


With fleece fabrics on sale at all my favorite big box fabric stores, I couldn't resist the latest pattern released by Jen Hagedorn of Tie Dye Diva Patterns.

Jen's downloadable PDF pattern, Cozy Coat – Reversible Fleece Jacket with Hood or Collar – 2 to 12 Years, would be perfect for a beautiful "midwinter thaw" day -- or, dare I say it?--- Spring!

Tie Dye Diva has over 25,000 sales on Etsy and almost 7 years' experience selling PDF patterns all over the world.  Jen also has over 10,000 Facebook fans.  Her pattern line includes over 70 easy-to-sew and easy-to-wear sewing patterns for babies, children and adults.

I have personally purchased several of Jen’s patterns, and I’ve found them to be perfectly sized with clear instructions.  AND – she grants permission to in-home sewers to sell handmade items made using her patterns in limited quantities as long as the maker indicates the item was made using a Tie Dye Diva pattern. 

Click the link in the side bar of my blog to see this and other Tie Dye Diva patterns.

Listing photo credits:  Zabree Couture, A Hope and a Wish Photography, Nany Mary's Creations and pattern tester Elizabeth.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Celebrate Team USA

The Winter Olympics are under way.  I haven't had an opportunity to watch many of the events.  It's still tax season.  But I've caught glimpses on the internet.  I  LOVE the colorful Sochi 2014 Olympics patchwork banner!

As I child, I remember watching the Olympics with my brother on our little black and white television.  I especially loved the ski jumping, giant slalom, and figure skating competitions.

My own attempts at winter sports were non-competitive.  But I could have earned a gold medal in the Klutz Competition!  I remember one ski trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota with a group of coworkers from the SD Attorney General's Office in the late 1970s or early 80s.  I was on the bunny slope, but still struggling to stay upright.  I'd tumble and roll down the hill.  The young guy who ran the poma lift said to me, "Lady, you're like a human snowball!"  

I had much greater success cross-country skiing in the late 1980s.  My baby daughter Allison rode in a carrier on my back while her older brothers, Tim and Jeff,  zoomed ahead on the trails at Lewis & Clark Recreation Area near Yankton, South Dakota.  We all enjoyed the fresh air, sunshine, and glistening snow.

So today, for Shameless Commerce Tuesday, I decided to showcase two items from my Etsy shop, Pasque Flower Creations, that celebrate the Olympics and Team USA.

This baby bib would be perfect for baby's first Olympics-watching.  The stars resemble those on Team USA's controversial sweaters, I think.

And if you're hosting a Team USA party -- or decorating a classroom -- this patriotic bunting would add a festive touch of red, white and blue.

Have you been following the Sochi 2014 Olympics?  What are your favorite events?


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Treasury Thanks

I'd like to take this opportunity to extend a big


to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.  

Nitzan Linton of bellegemsjewelry featured my aqua and tan oven mitts in her treasury, Country Side.  This beautiful Malecite necklace from Nitzan's shop would be perfect for St. Patrick's Day -- or any day you'd like to add a touch of vibrant green to accessorize your outfit.

Natasha of StalkingTheWildSnark featured my aqua and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Rainy Day Comforts.  This nautical knot doormat is uniquely crafted -- a wonderful welcome mat.

Margaret of Splendid Little Stars featured my Valentine hearts baby bib in her treasury, Love Is In The Air.  This heart tie-dye long-sleeved t-shirt would be such fun to wear to a Valentine's Day party.K

Julie Phelps of jool featured my aqua chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Follow Your Passion.  This is a truly fun and innovative treasury, so please stop by and have a look!  I love this upcycled label clutch -- one of the many unique items in Julie's shop.  And it's in Husker colors, too!  Not that I'm working part-time at the University of Nebraska, I'll need to become a more loyal Husker fan.

Tanya Kleinjan of MomsGiftShoppe featured my green and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Longing for Something Green.   This lavender crocheted baby blanket would be a lovely baby gift.  

Cheryl Weaver featured my poppies on blue oven mitt in her treasury, Winter Shades of Blue.  This lovely three hearts candle mat would be a perfect Valentine's Day gift for a special someone.  

Rose Clearfield of randomcreative featured my Valentine hearts baby bib in her treasury, Celebrate Valentine's Day with Hearts.  This cheery button charm bracelet in red would be a wonderful little Valentine's Day gift -- and it's also in Husker colors.  Go Big Red!  

Nitzan Linton of bellegemsjewelry featured vintage hand-embroidered pillowcases from my vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage, in her treasury, Pinks for Valentine's Day.  I just love purple -- and amethysts -- so this beautiful amethyst and cornelian necklace caught my eye.

Bonnie Sernesky of BonniesSewCrazy featured my mid-century half apron in her treasury, Friends Gather Here.  Bonnie is a Baby Boomers Team member, so we both remember when kitchens looked like the ones in my apron fabric.  Bonnie's shop includes many full aprons.  This cheery country kitchen apron is one of my favorites.

And there you have it!  Another great week of inspiring treasuries.  Thanks, again, to all who featured items from my shops.  Please stop by and Like, Share, or Pin some of your favorites.  

Only 65 days until the end of tax season, and counting . . ..


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Acoma Pueblo Pottery

It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, and today I'm featuring two beautiful Acoma Pueblo Pottery pieces from my vintage shop, Aunt Pheba's Vintage.

These beautifully crafted Native American pottery jars were handcrafted at the Acoma Pueblo located approximately 80 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, in the early 1990s. These are monochrome pieces, with a soft coral, almost peach, design accented against a creamy white background. The inside of the pots are creamy white.

The first piece is slightly larger than the second, which stands approximately 5.5 inches high. The top is 7 inches in diameter, and it is approximately 7.5 inches wide at the widest point. The base is 4.5 inches. There is a tiny white mark on one side, and a faint white spot on the base. Otherwise, these vases are in excellent condition.

Inscribed on the base of each piece are markings: "Acoma, N.M. LC / CC." I believe that LC stands for Lorraine Concho and CC is Cyrus Concho, talented artisans whose larger pieces I have seen listed for $400 or more.

These Acoma pottery pieces would be a lovely home accent for modern, eclectic, or Southwestern d├ęcor.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Tax Tip: Home Office Deduction

Many artisans and Etsians have a dedicated work space in their homes -- a studio, workshop, or office.
If that space is used exclusively for business on a regular basis, you may be entitled to a tax deduction for costs associated with that space.

Historically, those expenses were claimed on a Form 8829-Expenses for Business Use of Your Home.
But beginning this tax season (Tax Year 2013), you may be able to use a SIMPLIFIED OPTION when figuring the deduction.

So what makes the simplified option so simple?

Easy math.  Determine the square footage of your studio, office, etc.   Let's say it is a 12' x 10' room.
That's 120 square feet.  Multiply 120 x $5.00 / square foot, and your deduction is $600.00.

Less record keeping required.  Using the simplified method, you no longer need to keep all your utility bills, house insurance statements, etc., in order to support your office in home deduction.  The $5.00 is a rough approximation of all those expenses that the IRS will accept without further documentation.

House-related deductions stay on Schedule A.  If you itemize deductions (Schedule A), you can deduct home mortgage interest, real estate taxes, and private mortgage insurance for mortgages originated in 2007 or later.  

Under the old method (Form 8829), all of those expenses had to be allocated based on a ratio equal to:

Square Footage of Studio or Home Office
Square Footage of House

So, if your whole house is 2400 square feet, but your office is only 120 square feet, you would have claimed 95% of mortgage interest, real estate taxes and PMI on Schedule A, and 5% on Form 8829.

Under the simplified method, you can take 100% of those house-related deductions on Schedule A -- no allocation required.  Much simpler.

No Depreciation to calculate.  Historically, if you used Form 8829, you would elect to depreciate that portion of the home that was used for business over many years.  If you sold the home, however, you would be required to "recapture" the prior depreciation deductions claimed.    Under the simplified method, there is no depreciation deduction for the home.  NOTE: You can still depreciate equipment, furniture, etc. used in the office on Schedule C - Profit and Loss from Business.  You just can't depreciate the value of the office space itself.

Why would anyone NOT use the simplified method?

300 Square Foot ($1500) Limit:   The simplified method is limited to 300 square feet or $1500, so if you have a REALLY BIG studio (I'm thinking of you, Edi and Sher), you might be better off keeping the records and using the more detailed Form 8829.

Depreciation Can Be a GOOD Thing:  Even though you might have to recapture some depreciation if you sell your home, you will get a nice-sized annual deduction for depreciation if you use the regular method.  Let's say your home is valued at $300,000.00 (excluding land value).  The value of the depreciable 5% (using the example above) would be $15,000.00.   Your yearly home office depreciation deduction would be a few hundred dollars per year -- not chump change!

Carry Over Losses:   If the gross income from your business (less business expenses) is less than the home office deduction computed on Form 8829, you can carry over the unused loss to use in another tax year.  It's not lost forever. Under the simplified method,  there's no carryover.  If you can't use your whole home office deduction because of the income limitation, you lose it.  Too bad.  So sad.

For a more detailed discussion, see IRS Rev. Proc. 2013-13, or this IRS Tax Topics summary.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Treasury Thanks

I want to extend a big


to the curators of Etsy treasuries who featured items from my Etsy shops, Pasque Flower Creations and Aunt Pheba's Vintage, over the past week.   Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and most of the treasuries centered around that theme.

Iren Jovanovic of JewelrybyFlorist featured a vintage handmade pottery tumbler from my Aunt Pheba's Vintage shop in her treasury, LOVE Selection in Blue.  Iren makes beautiful statement piece jewelry, like this Carnevale crystal cuff bracelet.  

Shani Mifano of Imelda Shoes featured my orange and gray boutique baby bib in her colorful treasury, Some Colors.   I just love these yellow flats -- a little ray of sunshine to brighten a gloomy winter day.

Andry from HandmadeCDCase featured my green and white chevron oven mitt in her treasury, Winter Collection #3.  If Valentine's Day comes, can St. Patrick's Day be far behind?   This treasury is a festival in green!  Andry specializes in handmade CD and DVD cases.  This beautiful case would be perfect for a special Valentine.  

Cheryl Weaver of the Baby Boomers Team featured my red flourishes oven mitt in her treasury, February Red Favorites From My Etsy Friends!  These small wired wooden hearts are red favorites from the shop of my Etsy friend, Cheryl.

Judy of MisterPenQuin featured my poppies on teal oven mitts in her treasury, Petals & Leaves.  I love all things purple, so this positively purple save the date book caught my eye.

Antiquity Travelers featured my retro-inspired red linen bow clutch in her beautiful treasury, Lady in Red.  These copper and howlite earrings would be perfect for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner date.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to my USA friends.  Actually, I'm hoping the Super Bowl won't conflict with Downton Abbey and Sherlock. But if it does, there's always the DVR.  I'll be spending most of the day at the tax office. (Yup, we're open on Sundays.)  But first I must dash off to teach Sunday School to some adorable K-3 children.