DIY Lounge - Showcasing The Best in Craft Culture

Showcasing the Best in Craft Culture, Online Videos and More

Archive for May, 2011

I am a sewing machine and more

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

I thought it might be interesting if I posted a week in the life of Jen Neitzel.  When people say to me, what are you working on right now?  Most of the time I want to answer, “What am I not working on?”  I have a tendency to jump head on into projects and worry with details like time later when I’m knee deep in a project.  I always get the job done if it’s within my power, but I can really struggle at times because I have too many plates in the air at one time.  Sometimes I think that I shouldn’t commit to as many projects as I do, but ultimately I really like to be working on new and challenging projects and I don’t think I have as much of a need for down-time as the average person does.  I came out of the womb with an insatiable curiosity.  Learning and growing is way more interesting to me than down-time.  Not to say I don’t get any down-time, just maybe not as others require.

The biggest thing I’m spending my time doing at the moment is sewing and sewing and sewing.  I am a sewing machine.  Good thing I love to sew.  It’s very relaxing to me generally, but recently I’ve been so busy that it’s hard to feel that relaxing, meditative feeling that sewing usually brings me.  I thought it would be interesting or perhaps maddening to list the things I’m working on right now so it’s more obvious what I spend my time doing.

1. Sewing: I have been sewing tons of skirts with my friend Jocelyn.  We’ve started a line of skirts that are now available online on our Etsy shop.  If you want to see photos or learn more about us check out our blog on Tumblr.

2. Branding: Jocelyn and I have been working on branding for the new skirt line.  We order 3×5 postcards which we are using as hangtags on our skirts and as business cards/flyers at the moment.  We are making a sign for our booth and having a logo designed so we can incorporate it into business cards, letter heads and more.

3. Production Schedule: Jocelyn and I put together a production schedule for our sale so that we would be able to produce skirts in a timely fashion for our next sale at First Thursday happening June 2nd  from 5pm-10pm.

Jocelyn laying out our tree skirt design

4. Sponsors: I’ve been working on creating a sponsorship form for Bargain Hunting, so that we can offer businesses sponsorship packages in exchange for great online and print material marketing.  The form is really a collaborative project I’m working on with Angie Heiney and Julz Nally the other two organizers of Bargain Hunting.

5. Bargain Hunting Systems Management: I put together a graphics standard for us to use so that we’d all know the font, color, etc to use when creating graphic for Bargain Hunting.  I gathered all have the information and put it into a Google Doc. {Google docs are magical.  I don’t know how I ever worked with a team before them.}  We also created a Flickr page for Bargain Hunting.  I’ll be adding photos soon.

6.  Marketing: I’ve been working on stepping up my marketing knowledge for my various businesses and projects.  It has occurred to me recently that although I know a lot about marketing there is more that I could learn and should learn so that I can be as knowledgeable as possible.  The other reason I’m stepping up my knowledge around marketing is that there is always a new format, new information, new tricks out there, so staying up to date on what the new trends are is really important.   I’m working on adding a section to my website so that people could receive support from me around marketing or event planning, which are areas I have a lot of experience in.  Also, I really like helping people.  It’s sorta my thing.

7. World Domination Summit: I’ve been helping Chris Guillebeau, who writes for the blog The Art of Non Conformity with various aspects of his event, the World Domination Summit.  It looks incredibly amazingly cool and I can’t wait to attend!  Just recently I helped Chris line up a venue for the after party and next I’ll work on the Alberta Craft Crawl.

8. Video Editing: I’ll admit I haven’t had enough time to really work all that much on the encaustic video.  I am hoping to get back to work on it this week, but I have been working on some fun editing projects for friends and family to continue growing my editing skills.

9. Competitive Craft TV Show:  As if I wasn’t already busy enough, I was contacted by a company, I’m not going to mention them yet, because it might be a little early, but they are working on a competitive craft TV show and asked me to be involved.   I’ll just say I’ve been doing some things to help them out.   More on this soon, but I’m pretty excited about it.

10. I Heart Art – Mixer Match: I am in charge of all the food for the I Heart Art Mixer Match this Wednesday.  Mixer Match is basically like speed dating for artist/crafters and galleries/boutiques.  I’ll be prepping the food tomorrow and setting it up in the evening.  As if that weren’t enough I am also planning to make a digital flipbook for the Mixer Match, which involves me taking tons of photos at the event and this time I’ll bring an audio recorder too.  I’ll add some of the audio tracks and music and other sound effects to the photos (I will be shooting continuously/rapid fire) so that the video captures the event in a sort of artistic, moody way.

Kirsten Moore of Piper Ewan who is a member of the I Heart Art Leadership Counsel.

11. Fashion Show? I’m applying to have some of my work in an awesome fashion show that’s happening this summer and is hosted by 33rd Alley.  I can’t say for sure if the Jen and Jocelyn line of skirts will be a good fit for this fashion show, but I was encouraged to send in photos by one of the board members so what the heck.  Why not?

There are about a million other things I could mention that I’m working on, but they are to do with my son, house, husband, friends, dog and actually there are probably a few other business related things that I forgot to mention.  There are so many other projects that I’d love to start, like taking more photos, learning more about my camera, taking a woodworking class, reupholstering my couch and making some cushions for my basement benches and wow, I could really go on, but I’ll stop here.  OK, just one more, I’ve been thinking about piano lessons recently, but I know this isn’t realistic right now. (Do you see how my brain works?  Stopping is hard for me.)

DIY baby, gotta keep learnin’ and growing my skills. So this is a quick snapshot of what I’m up to professionally.  What are you working on?  I think it’s interesting to know what other people are working on as well.  What do you want to learn?  What do you hope to fit into your schedule soon?  Give me a moment of your time and tell me what you are learning, working on or want to learn.  Talk soon!

by: jen


Crafty Wonderland’s Spring Sale

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Saturday, the 7th of May was the Crafty Wonderland Spring Sale and it was great!  I was working the I Heart Art booth, because I am one of the members of the I Heart Art Leadership Counsel.  All of the members take turns volunteering for this program.

If you’re not familiar with I Heart Art let me tell you a little about it.  I Heart Art is a collaborative project between PNCA, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, Etsy and the PDX Etsy Team.  This program is all about offering professional development in the form of workshops and events for Portland’s artists and makers.  These workshops and events are very affordable, as in $10 or free, which makes them accessible for everyone.  I helped set up the booth at Crafty Wonderland and also worked the first hour of the sale from 11-12.  We offered a coloring contest at the I Heart Art booth as well as information about the program.   I was surprised by how many people didn’t know about this amazing program.  All were really excited about I Heart Art once I filled them in on the program.

If you’re a maker and you’re anywhere near Portland
you should really consider getting involved with I Heart Art.

OK, back to Crafty Wonderland . . . usually I sell at Crafty, but this time I didn’t have enough time to build my inventory so I decided I’d wait and do the next sale (that is, if I’m juried into it).    After I finished my shift at the I Heart Art booth I was able to walk around and talk to people – vendors, customers and friends, which was wonderful! I got to see  Susan Beal and check out her new book, World of Geekcraft, which are available online or you can find them locally at collage.  I chatted with my friend Kirsten Moore of Piper Ewan and Cynthia Lucas of Bella Sisters.

The community of makers in Portland are a special breed of awesome!


Here’s a picture of the I Heart Art booth.  One of Portland’s special breeds of awesome is my friend Shawn Collins, who makes Fuzzy Lamps.  He agreed to help me with my volunteer shift at the I Heart Art booth.

Cathy and Torie do a great job organizing Crafty Wonderland sales.  The Convention Center was packed with cool art and crafts and tons of shoppers!  When I think of community, cool and creativity I think of Crafty Wonderland.  Hooray for Cathy Pitters and Torie Nguyen and the hard work they do putting on such a great sale!

After Crafty Wonderland  I went to a Kentucky Derby Party.  Overall it was a wonderful day!


by: jen


Jen & Jocelyn: a line of skirts lovingly made in small batches

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Maybe you’ve heard me talking about the line of skirts that I started with my friend Jocelyn or maybe you haven’t and so I’m telling you now.  I am making a new line of skirts that I am really proud of.  Super wearable and stylish.

photo by Little Paper Cities

This is the skirt you can feel hot in one night, eat and drink too much in and feel fat in the next day, but you’ll still look awesome! It’s cut to flatter, with simple, stylish designs all on the same gray, a line skirt.  We have 4 different designs right now that you can view currently on Etsy.  All skirts have machine stitching and felt detailing.

We had friends road test these skirts and give us feedback on the cut, fabric, design, construction integrity and they passed the test with flying colors!  The verdict was that these are skirts that are built to last with plenty of comfort and stylish designs that works on many different body types.

We had our first craft sale last week at the Lewis Garden Fair.  Here’s a glimpse of our booth.

If you’re interested in learning more about these skirts you can check out our Etsy stop and join our Facebook page.  You can also keep up with us and learn about our upcoming sales on Twitter.

by jen