I got an Oliso iron and I really like it!

This is a story and a review of 2 irons, and the one I’m now using every day!

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I use my iron a lot when I work and I’ve been unhappy with the last few irons I’ve bought. Some of my complaints included the iron taking a long time to warm up to temperature, having no indicator that it is at temperature, turning itself off very quickly, having a small water tank for steaming, controls in awkward positions (one iron I had would constantly turn off because the control was right where my hand went when I picked up the iron!)… I’m sure there were other things that I’ve very happily forgotten. I was contacted last winter by Oliso to ask if I’d be interested in trying out and reviewing their new mini iron. Of course I said yes! I had never actually heard of the brand so I went to check them out. The mini iron wasn’t going to be available for a month or so, so I checked out the full size irons. I was intrigued- Pretty colors and those funny feet!

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Because I was already in the market for a better iron, I decided to spring for the TG1050 Smart Iron. I’ve been using it for 3 months now and I am so happy with it. If you want to see it in action, here is an excellent video review of the iron by Wendi Gratz and she points out all the features that I like too. She has a fancier model but everything she mentions is true on mine too. Every time I put my hand on the handle and those little feet go up, I get a silly thrill- and that is pretty amazing from an iron.

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Now, about the mini iron. Eventually I received it and began using it in my studio. I’d already had my new full-size iron for a while at this point. My mini is a lovely yellow color and about half the size of a regular iron. It comes with a silicone rest to place it on when you are using it. The iron will not stand up like a classic iron in a rest position. The silicone plate rest turns over and it clips onto the iron for storage.

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So what do I think about this cute mini iron? It turns out that this is not a tool I need every day in my studio. I will carry it when I travel though. I can see that it would be very useful when I unpack for shows and there are touch-ups that need to be done. It would also be excellent for travel teaching and if/when I take a class. Some of the reasons it is good for travel are the same as why I won’t be using it everyday in my studio.

-The water tank is very small so the water gets used up very quickly. This seems like a plus for traveling.

-The mini does not have an auto shut-off. It turns out I am very dependent on this feature. I scared myself because I accidentally left it on when an unexpected guest rang the doorbell and I forgot about it. This would not be an issue when using it in my show booth.

-It packs up compactly and the silicon rest snaps right on the ironing plate.

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I think this little guy would be fine for someone who only occasionally uses an iron or, as I’ve noted, as a traveling iron. But, oh how I love my blue smart iron!

fyi- I got my Mini Iron for free to review, but I bought my Smart Iron at JoAnns. Just so you know, the “sale” price at JoAnns was the same price (or a little higher?) as “regular” price, direct from the website, which I didn’t realize when I was shopping.

Ask away if you have any questions. I wasn’t sure what exactly you would want to know!

 

Working on my booth

After I posted some photos on Instagram of my booth at CraftBoston in December, I had a request to show more booth details so here it is!

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I have moved from doing Indie Craft Shows to Fine Craft Shows. There are lots of differences including the price of doing the show, the price of the items at the show, and the type of people who decide to walk through the door. The Fine Craft Shows need a different kind of booth than the Indie Shows: more of a gallery look is the aim. I don’t do very many shows per year so it might be a while before I get it perfected.

Doing CraftBoston was a good way to test since it is local and if I had a real disaster, I was close to home for emergency supplies. Since I knew that I’m doing 2 more shows that are not close to home in 2018, the December show was my trial run. I wanted a booth that I could conceivably set up myself (I hope I don’t have to!) and could be set up relatively quickly. I bought a booth set-up from ProPanels. That includes walls and lights. Most everything else in the booth is from Ikea.

Here are my 2 helpers, helping me set up. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get from unloading (I have one of these carts and it was invaluable) the car to this-

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This is my Ikea table top with removable legs. I will be replacing it though because it is very heavy and got damaged during the last haul around. My little tiered stands are nesting boxes from Ikea.

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My extra inventory is kept in 2 open fabric bins-

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And 3 zip-closed bins that store under the table. They are easy to pull out if a customer wants to see what else is available. The fish are in an Ikea basket.

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By the last day, the zip-bags were mostly empty and I was rearranging the open storage- mixing things up a bit.

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The dolls that are hanging on the panels are displayed on pieces of white art paper, pinned to the panels. If you have any questions, ask! I got a lot of help from friends to design this so I feel like I can pass the help along.

As an aside, I will be raising the prices of all my work as I list new pieces into my shop. Added expenses and increased demand are making that necessary. Tomorrow I start posting new dolls for 2018!

misty bird baby and October news

I love this dusty purple color- it always makes me think of an early morning mist.

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Well, what can I say about the Nashville show. It was not my best show ever. As a result, I have LOTS of great work in my Etsy shop! So, good news, bad news ;) Also, I brought 2 of these babies to work on/demonstrate and I got them both almost finished. Hurray for that!

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After I got back last week, there’s the giant pile of catching up. The regular life ones- laundry, groceries, sleeping, and then the biz ones- putting the show stuff away for now, shipping, emails, listing all those things onto etsy! Then another day trip away for a memorial service. But now I am ready to get back to work.

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I feel like this is a year for me to try new things (example- different shows) and I now have pieces in 2 galleries- The Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston and also True Lily, a shop that my doll-making friend, Nancy Wiley, is opening in Canandaigua, New York. Of course, the thing is, it is always the year to try new things. You never get it all figured out, right?!

other tools for ornaments

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I played with some new-to-me supplies/tools when I was working on the patterns. I didn’t write them into the pattern directions because they aren’t necessary, maybe just interesting.

Have you heard of Frixion pens? They are erasable gel pens. There is an eraser at the end of the pen, but much more useful for me, the marks are erasable by ironing. That sounds like magic, doesn’t it! Well, there is a problem. Yes, the marks disappear with heat but they will reappear with cold. I would never use them on my dolls, but an ornament? I don’t think it is that big a deal if the marks came back a bit. The marks are either cutting lines or will be covered with embroidery. And, you could always iron them again. The thing is, these pens work great on the felt- so much better than the water-erasable fabric pens! I got mine on Amazon but I think they are available at lots of places. (btw- that link goes to amazon and if you buy the pens, I get a teeny tiny kickback!)

Next, Clover Applique pins. Short pins that work really well for pinning all those tiny felt pieces. You don’t end up trying to sew the equivalent of a porcupine.

And lastly, Merchant and Mills Bulb pins. I have been wanting to play with these funny safety pins. I discovered that I could pin them onto an ornament to hang it, instead of a string. And, I just wanted them.

herringbone dog

I’ve got a new camera- Canon EOS Rebel T3 and I am happy so far! Yes I am in the learning stages but I’ve figured out enough to take these photos for this post. Knowing myself so well, I may never move on from there.

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In case you are interested, this was my camera choice reasoning.

-I am predisposed to Canon because that’s what I’ve been using for lots of years now and I understand what the icons stand for and other basic usage info.

-I wanted a camera with a better lens. The G10 I was using seemed fine for a long time until I started noticing the distortions at the top and bottom of the pics. Once I’d noticed it, I saw it in every photo I took.

-I no longer care that it is so big. When I walk around and take photos these days, I am using my phone. This camera will be for product shots.

-It was the same price or cheaper than any of the point-and-shoots I was looking at.

I bought it at a real camera store because I “needed” it immediately. Really, I was just completely over my other camera. I can return it if I need to (2 weeks) and I can go back and ask questions.

And, one last thing. After the camera store, I went to visit the new Land Of Nod pop-up shop in the Boston area. It was so much fun to see my doggies in person! And the mermaids too!

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buying toys, I mean tools

I have a bit of a problem when I teach in venues other than my own house. Other places have other tools and when I use them, I want them.

The latest is from the San Francisco trip- that rotary cutter in the pic-

8:13:tools I know, it looks like a regular rotary cutter. I have a drawer full. But, it is different because it is pressure sensitive- which translates to- there is not a blade cover that you retract but the blade slips down when you press it to the fabric. My problem/frustration with rotary cutters has been that when I am cutting up against a ruler, which is pretty much how I always use them, the retracted blade cover rubs up against the ruler and moves it. Gah! I am sure other people have figured out how to work this out but I never have. This cutter works perfectly for me! It seemed like a miracle when I tried out Sonya‘s at the Tiny World class.

I bought the Omnigrid 45mm Rotary Cutter Omnigrid 45mm Rotary Cutter
but it looks likeĀ  Dritz 45mm Rotary Cutter is one too.

That wasn’t all though. Someone brought an embroidery book to class. It is pretty, clearly illustrated, fun to look at, (out of print :-( so sad), and I decided I need my own copy to bring to classes.

Stitch Sampler: The Ultimate Visual Dictionary to Over 200 Classic Stitches

After teaching at Gather Here back in January, I bought myself the Gingher 8-Inch Featherweight Dressmaker Shears which I absolutely love, and a white (actually sort of translucent) self-healing cutting mat. Working on a colored surface was affecting my color perceptions- not a good thing. Anyway, I think I am seeing a dangerous pattern here!

Tomorrow I am off to Art Camp- see you after the weekend!

Sewing Machine Accessory Bible

Now, another book I have just finished.

The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible: Get the Most Out of Your Machine—From Using Basic Feet to Mastering Specialty Feet

I was shopping for books on Amazon and this book came up in one of those creepy we know what you really want suggestions. Um, yep. I did want that. When I bought my trusty Bernina 930 used, just a few short months after I started this blog, it came with lots of feet, many of which I have never even tried to figure out how to use. (I posted about it here.) Really, it is probably time, right?!

Considering the number of feet that are made for various purposes, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to match up most of mine with the ones in the book- even though most look completely different. Figuring out what feet I have meant pulling out my manual and also a separate book that is specifically about the accessories.

6:16:feet1There are some that I am still confused about though. In none of my resources are there explanations along the lines of- yes they look alike but they are different in this little way. Below are 3 feet. Two on the right are the same, Blind Stitch foot. The other is Edge stitching. ??? That one on the left has little indentations on the edge but I have no idea what they are for.

update- here is a whole blog post on Badskirt about the edge stitcher! Thanks Ryan!

6:16:feet2And, amazingly, after 9+ years, I finally put in the double needle and tried it out. First I tried it with a regular foot and then with one of the pintuck feet. I never actually knew they went together- that was worth reading the book right there!

Here are my pintucks- a mid-weight wool, a quilt cotton, a light weight cotton.

6:16:feet5And this is how many books I had open on my table to figure it out!

6:16:feet 4I can imagine I might use pintucks on something. I always thought that they were very hard to do but it turns out the right tools make it easy.

I was able to get this book out of my library which works really well for me- the due date gives me a deadline to get the book read. This book was worth getting simply because it gave me the kick I needed to pull those dusty parts out of the drawer and figure out how they work. And embarrassingly enough, I discovered I already had a foot that I bought on Ebay a few months ago and another one that I’d been planning to buy. Yikes! Clearly I needed to go through all my stuff again.