Wednesday, June 29, 2011

178 Sleeps, 13 Hours, 7 Minutes until Christmas

reniebritenbucher on etsy

Here at TNT, I've been starting to grind my gears and getting ready for the holidays. Already?? I know, its not even July yet- but I am hoping to get prepared early and hopeful that I'll have a successful and non-chaotic/stressful shopping (er... sewing) season. I'm already starting to feel a little frenzy tickling my bones- besides Preparation H (H is for the Holidays) I will also be preparing for 2 first time events. July 31st TrashN2Tees will be featured on the run way in Louisville, KY at the Summers End fashion show and Aug. 6th we'll be groovin at the Heartland Wood Music Festival.

I've been working on stream lining my packaging and product/packaging tags. Last week I included a freebie produce bag and a few days later I had a message thanking me for the soap shirt. (You're very welcome though!)  Uh oh- I learned a valuable lesson there, my product packaging per item needs to be clearly labeled. I'm also testing out a new tag idea- I've always included a handwritten inspirational quote on recycled tag since the beginning of time. Same concept only a small twist- my tags now are stamped with "Recycling is smart and so are you!" and include a handwritten factoid -example: Honey bees can fly at 15mph. 
Did you know that? 

A few other things I'm working on now to reduce the stress later: 
-building up stock 
-gathering tshirts like a squirrel 
- you may have noticed some fall and holiday items already listed 
- i will be limiting custom orders during the holiday season and offering incentives to those who shop early (look for it!) 

 I'm extremely excited for all of the new adventures ahead, and shaking in my britches all at the same time. I'd love it if you have any pearls of wisdom to share regarding Preparation H (makes me laugh every time!), my first booth/show, or feel free to share any random factoids!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yoga Pants Prototype

 I have a confession to make, I possess secret powers. Think of it like x-ray vision... only I see a t-shirt and automatically these red (cut along the) dotted lines appear. Not all shirts are created equally and differences are more than thread deep. Quality, material, colors, graphics... I'm sure those come to mind for a lot of people. Textures, embellishments, seams, shape, size (length, width, area), sleeves, hems, placement all factor in a well.

I've had Mama Yogis on my to do list for 10 months now, since I debuted the TrashN2Tees kids Pantalones- and I promised to design an equally comfortable and cool pair for us ladies. The problem I keep running into with this idea is the original shirt measurements have to be just right in order to get a good length and width from the same tshirt- I could always take the easy way out and make 1 pair of pants from 2 tshirts I suppose. I'm still tinkering with my pattern for these but wanted to share what is in the works- they're not available yet. But here's a tutorial to make your own. Another thing I'm working on is honing my super secret powers to laser cut along the lines- that would save me so much time cutting! ((squinting my eyes and making laser noises now))

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dying Elastic (and my hands!)

 One thing I haven't mastered yet (note: I haven't tried though either) is tie dying. I love the look but I've been refraining from exploring in the world of brightly colored dye because quite frankly there aren't enough hours in the day for all of my artistic en devours. So here I am standing on the edge of the kiddy pool, dipping my toe into dying techniques. I confided in some of my pals at CDN and my amigo Kara from Piper's Closet to see if anyone had a good dye recommendation for me to dye thick elastic (to be used as a band for TrashN2Tees Mama Skirts) and the consensus was that it probably wouldn't turn out well unless I used a specific dye for polyester. Alas I did not give up and made my happy google clicking way over to Made. where I found a circle skirt tutorial which included just what I was looking for- dying elastic how tos!

Yeah, I kidnapped one of the boys buckets for this project- it worked. I mixed up my dylon dye with salt and water as instructed. Dropped in the elastic and it was looking a bit lonely in there so I threw in a white tshirt, and then I threw in another white tshirt after that. (The instructions clearly state that the dye amount/color for only 1/2 lb of fabric which is ONE large tshirt but I um, figured they were more like guidelines and any color would be better than white!) My little yellow bucket was practically stuffed and I just left it sit on my back porch for a few hours while I ran errands- no, I didn't stir it every 45 minutes.
And, here is the final product. This has been rinsed and washed. I'm pretty happy with the color and didn't notice any blotchy or speckled coloring from using the powder. I'm sure you're wondering what else I had "stuffed" in my bucket as well-

I think that middle V-neck is destined to become a dress. The little bit on the end will either be bags or yarn... and I really have no idea what I'm going to do with the light houses. In conclusion, dying has been easy peasy and I'm looking forward to experimenting with some more projects this summer! I did manage to have smurf hands but after washing 2x and showering 1x they're returned to normal.

Monday, June 20, 2011

How much is enough?

I like to eat. I like to eat at this joint called Jimmy Johns. While noshing on my #4 I read this sign on the wall. I like it so much that I wanted to share it with you. The author is "unknown"
WilliamDohman Etsy
 How Much Is Enough?

The American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, only a little while.

The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "but what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat, and with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then?"

The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?" asked the fisherman, "Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evening, sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos!"

Finger Knitted Upcycled Tshirt Tutorial

Remember a few weeks ago when we took that 11 hour road trip? I had the worst right arm tan/burn ever- and the best part about it all was the band of white around my wrists where my colorful upcycled tshirt fuselets had been. I wish I had taken some time to snap a picture and share but I've since evened up. 
Stop by V and Co. for this nifty no sew tutorial and make you own, just remember to wear sunscreen!  *she uses new jersey knit fabric here but I would absolutely improvise with some upcycled tshirts!
All you need! *tshirt/scissors/and some digits. 
I also want to throw out there, that I completely forgot the art of finger knitting that I had once mastered in elementary school. I might need to hang out with the local Brownies to see what other cool craft magic I can rekindle.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"It used to be a Tshirt" Attack of the Craft Contest

When I saw the announcement that my friends over at Attack of the Craft were holding a "It used to be a Tshirt" Contest- I had to stop in and see for myself! I used to frequent the AtoC forum often and give complete and full credit to Cindy @ AngryGirlGear for schooling me on importance of SEO and some how tos. It is an amazing community full of spunky, talented DIYers, and indie artisians, and they even offer a marketplace to pimp your goods. Entries for the "It used to be a Tshirt" contest need to be in no later than July 15th @ midnight. 

And there you have it- my TrashN2Tees upcycled tshirt wallet. Its made using 5 different shirts. (Not pictured red tshirt (scraps) and the dress shirt cuff... which actually came from the Repurposed Mens Dress Shirt Halter Tunic project. I had purchased some interfacing to add some structure but opted to use a mens shirt cuff (see inside) which offered stability and a fun little contrast.

Friday, June 17, 2011

15 Inspiring Examples of Blogs Run by a Little Biz

What is not to like about that tag line? "Helping busy mums kick ass with their little home biz idea" I could spend hours on this blog and continue to discover some valuable tips/ideas/inspiration! Then what do ya know- I got a message the other morning from Karen saying that the TrashN2Tees blog was included in her post: 15 Inspiring Examples of Blogs by a Small Biz. I'm pretty sure I jumped out of my britches with excitement- and I'm honored to be in such talented company.

Here are a few of my favorite posts from Build a Little Biz and I hope that you'll enjoy them as much as I do.

46 random tips to help you price your stuff

understanding the rules: the CANs & CANNOTs of facebook

{social media} twitter: everything you need to know to get started

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

10 Ways to Remember Your Reusable Bags

Reusable Produce Bag
How many times have you stood at the checkout stand wishing you’d remembered to bring your own bags?   Recent studies show that 50% of Americans want to use their own bags, but only about 25% remember to do it. We are up against our own habits and, let’s face it: at the end of the day, there is often more on our minds than reusable bags.  But we shouldn’t be disappointed if we don’t change our habits overnight.  As Mark Twain said:  “Habit is habit and not to be flung out the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.”  

Here are 10 ways to help coax reusable bags into your shopping trips where you can use them.
1.  Put your bags in the front seat of your car before you start out for the store.  That way, you will see them and remember when you get there.  You are more likely to forget if you put them in the trunk.

2.  Hang them on the garage doorknob after emptying them so you remember to get them in your car.

TrashN2Tees Reusable Peace Sign Bags
3.  Take them right out and put them in your car when you empty them.  Less clutter in the house!

4.  Write “REUSABLE BAGS” at the top of your shopping list as a visual reminder

5.  Get one or two small pocket sized bags like TrashN2Tees Upcycled Tshirt bags to keep in your purse for emergencies and impulse buying. 

6.  Invest in bags that you actually like.  You are more likely to use them if you like them.  

7.  Put bags on your mental list of things you want to take when you go shopping.  For example, ask yourself, do I have my keys, my cell phone, my shopping list, and my bags?

Farmers Market Bag
8.  Get bags in different colors so you can make the shopping bag part of your look for the day.   Who says you can’t go green in style? (linked up to some of my favorites)

9.  Have a few extras in your car in case you leave them at home.

10.  Decide that if you forget to bring the bag into the store, you will go out and get them before check out, or put items back in the basket and bag them yourself at the car. It won’t take more than once or twice to train yourself to bring them in the first time!

Here are a few other options from TrashN2Tees for upcycled tshirt reusable bags


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Introducing The Soap Shirt

This little project has been in the works for a few weeks now, I posted a teaser letting telling everyone that TrashN2Tees and The Coconut Crush were in the talks about working together for some product packaging. After snipping, sewing, scrubbing, squishing, scrunching, and small amounts of sleeping (we're both moms) we're excited to share w/ you the collaboration
Introducing The Soap Shirt!
Wondering what is a soap shirt? Basically it's your run of the mill soap scrub, soap saver, wash cloth, and soap on a rope all in one... only this one is made using recycled clothing! This listing is special though- because your getting both the Trashn2Tees Soap Shirt aaaaand the nose pleasing calm of The Coconut Crush Artisan soap!
Soap Shirt Upcycled Tshirt & Artisan Soap Collaboration Soap Shirt Upcycled Tshirt & Artisan Soap Collaboration Soap Shirt Upcycled Tshirt & Artisan Soap Collaboration Soap Shirt Upcycled Tshirt & Artisan Soap Collaboration Soap Shirt Upcycled Tshirt & Artisan Soap Collaboration

Saving the planet, and saving your soap. Waste no suds with the TrashN2Tees soap shirt- Fits any standard size soap or several soap slivers and doubles as wash cloth. The tshirt offers enough texture to scrub and exfoliate but is still soft enough to use on sensitive skin and they come in fun and funky colors or just plain jane. Soap lathers throughout the shirt. Scrub scrub scrub!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Green" Your Packaging

It's really important for me, that my packaging reflects my product. It should be important to you as well- after all how you package your items have a lot to do with your shops brand. Here are some tips to "green" your packaging and add to your customers buying experience.  
 I started out shipping in handmade brown paper bag envelopes, they offered just the touch I was looking for. They were affordable, eco friendly, but not water proof or durable enough to handle the rigorous routes of the USPS. I suppose I should mention that they can get to be a tad bit time consuming when your shipping out several packages a week. Soon after opening up on Etsy (and running low on glue sticks) I decided to explore other shipping options. 

Boxed Up:
  • Right size your boxes! Choosing an appropriately-sized box for your product saves energy, cushioning supplies and reduces carbon emissions. You can also make smaller boxes out of bigger ones with a mat knife and a little packing tape. Get creative with green shipping!
  • Find cardboard boxes made from recycled content – ask your shipping supplier for options. Recycled boxes are as strong as their counterparts, and by using them, you save trees, water and energy.
  • If you can’t ship your products out in the same boxes you received them in, find another local business that can use them. You may even find a source for boxes to package your own merchandise
I also found out about Life Box  its  a cardboard box that contains approximately one tree seed per square inch, so whether you send a Life Box or receive a Life Box, you could be responsible for starting a brand-new ecosystem. (Oh, how I wish they made envelopes! So neat!)

  • Use shredded scrap paper or crumpled newspaper.
  • Use previously-used peanuts for your green shipping endeavors. If you don't need the peanuts you receive for your own shipping needs, call the Peanut Hotline at 800-828-2214 to find a drop-off location near you. Drop-off locations may also sell you the used peanuts they collect.
  • If you need new peanuts, buy recycled or biodegradable. The ones made from cornstarch dissolve in water!
  • Use recycled or recyclable bubble wrap and ask about take back or recycling programs offered by the manufacturer or your municipality. Even better, find a replacement for bubble wrap like cushioned craft packaging wrap.
  • Regift” what you can’t use! Many shipping storefronts will happily take used packing materials for future use.
  • Using bubble wrap? Give it another chance- try using rubber bands to hold it in place instead of tape.
  • Help your customers reuse and recycle. If you are using recyclable, reusable or biodegradable materials in your shipping, include a small note in your package or packing slip that instructs people how to reuse or recycle the packaging.
Green Field Paper Company
Don't forget to include a handwritten note on plantable paper! 
If you've already gone green with your packages tell me how. Need help brainstorming ideas? Ask- I'd love to help you incorporate some eco-initiatives within your handmade business.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Repurposed Mens Dress Shirt to Womans Halter Tunic

After spending hours on the road the boys were itching to get outside and run wild, do you blame them? I try to take work outside when I can, and after being loaded down on the trip with several bags of TNT "trash" I sat on the porch and got to work cutting up tees. There were several mens button down oxford shirts (is that the right name for them?) and while hacking off the cuffs for wallets I decided on whim to design a womans halter shirt from it. There are some alterations I might make, including adding pockets on the front and trimming the sleeves but its something I just whipped up in a matter of 20 minutes. Oh and it certainly could stand to be ironed. Let me know if your interested in a tutorial and I'll get one up for you. I even thought this might be a really cute idea w/ huge apron like pockets in the front to wear at craft shows or farmers markets.
also pictured is the vintage upcycled mens tie cuff bracelet (available on etsy)
 Wondering how the shirt cuff wallets turn out? 


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