October 30, 2014

We Moved!

The blog can now be found at www.agirlnamedkatie.com/blog
Everything  A Girl Named Katie related is rebranded and now all together on our official website!
Please continue to follow us over there :)

Be Blessed,

September 24, 2014

Updated Look + Website

Hello there! It's me again.
I have been taking a break from blogging to spend sometime focusing on myself a little.
I felt like I have been struggling to feel confident in my work lately and needed some time to get re-inspired and work on some of my skills. When you run a business, you tend to feel rushed and like you need to just take a picture of anything and throw it out there to show that you are working on something. But as I was doing that, I felt like I was not representing the best that I could do and that by taking more time to capture the best image is better than just getting one out there as soon as possible. My goals for myself this fall are to slowww down and take my time. Quality is better than quantity.

My first project was to reshoot the products for our new coffee line.
I posted the images just in time to announce the new fall flavors: Chai, S'mores, Bacon, and Whiskey.

We now have an official website: www.fellowshipcoffeeco.weebly.com

Also, I have been working to consolidate all of my webpages onto one website.
In a few weeks, I will no longer post on this blog. The new blog will be part of my entire website and can be found at www.agirlnamedkatie.com/blog

One last thing,
My mom is currently in the hospital and today we find out whether she will be allowed to go home, or if she will need surgery. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you + Blessings,

August 12, 2014

Announcing: Fellowship Coffee Co.

 Josh and I have started a little side business selling freshly roasted flavored coffee.
The flavors we are offering for spring are: Lavender, Coconut, Blueberry, and Rose. 
They are delicious and make wonderful iced coffee!
 We launched Fellowship Coffee Co. on August 10th and already sold out of our coconut coffee!
(You can preorder your jar from our next batch!)
The coffee is fresh and sweet with just a hint of flavor.
(It is so good I don't even have to add cream and sugar to my coffee)
We are offering two sizes, a 16oz jar which makes approximately 50 cups of coffee and a 8oz jar which makes about 30 cups. Whole beans are packaged in mason jars.
They make a perfect gift for a friend or a great treat for yourself!

A little about the company:
Fellowship Coffee Co. is founded by a husband and wife duo that loves to spend time chatting and dreaming over a good cup of coffee.

On a late honeymoon trip to Seattle + Long Beach, WA, the couple visited a lavender farm. They were introduced to the taste of edible flowers and herbs, they decided to blend those surprisingly delicious flavors with one of their favorite drink and pastime. 

A name involving "fellowship" was the only option, as coffee is always better when enjoyed with someone else. The brand revolves around the idea of fellowship and what that use to look like in the eras of 1950's and 1960's when coffee was enjoyed around the living room from cups and saucers. 

Fellowship Coffee focuses on freshly roasted coffee in flavors that are meant to be savored. Flavors that can be perfectly paired with dessert and good friends. 
Enjoy your coffee again.

Check out the shop here: www.fellowshipcoffeeco.etsy.com


August 6, 2014

Life Lately.

As you have probably read in my last post I am making some changes on this blog and narrowing my focus. I have been taking my time lately thinking of what that will look like and preparing to make the blog a better asset to my fashion line. I would like to improve on the photography of my handmade wardrobe. I feel like I do not have a good place to take pictures of my outfits. We live on a farm, in an old farm house we rent, in a small town that has a very limited amount of buildings to photograph at. And as lovely as modeling with cows would be, I feel like it just won't fit the vibe I'm going for.

For the last couple of weeks I felt like I was in design school all over again.
I broke out the pattern making books and survival guides and got down to business studying them and challenging myself to sketch 2-3 ideas a day. 
I made myself comfortable on the couch, surrounded by open books, notepads, my laptop, and a glass of fresh meadow tea. And I think I can say I finally designed my first spring collection!

I am quickly learning that designing it is not the hard part, despite it feeling like a giant accomplishment in itself. The next few weeks I will be in my studio working on patterns and samples. After one partial failure (it's cute, but it's not perfect!) I have discovered getting the pattern just right and getting the fit correct is going to take a couple attempts and several cups of coffee and tea.

Ordering fabric for the line is another unexpected hurdle I am still trying to overcome. Why are the colors and fabrics I want no where to be found?! I am sure they will surface of course next year, when I am no longer looking... I ordered sample fabric twice. The first time I sent 3/4 of the fabric back as it was  incorrectly described online or the quality was not what I like. The second attempt was a bit more successful, but still not quite there. I had to jump on the bandwagon for a great sale that was happening for a very short time I didn't want to miss out on, and I order some fabric for the collection I didn't get to touch yet. Crossing my fingers and toes they work out!

I have some more news on the marriage home front to tell you tomorrow!
(Spoiler: It's not a baby.)
The suspense!

Hang in there with me!

July 16, 2014


Sooo, we need to make some changes here.
Changes that will hopefully have a positive effect on my business, especially in the time department.
I love taking some time to write a blog. But I often feel like I never have enough time to give to it.
I have this problem, where I try to take on too much.
You might have a similar problem.
But in the next month or so, I am adding some more things to my life that I will talk more on later.

One of the things I was taught in art school was to find one thing you do well, and focus on that until you have become a master of that one thing. Which might seem locigal for most people, but for creatives such as me, it is quite difficult to not want to just do everything there is to do. 
You probably heard me talk about wanting to start a fashion line, which has been my dream since I was about seven. Well, I am actually going to do this thing now. After years of taking classes and sewing for myself, I feel I am prepared to give this a shot. After making handbags for the past two years and learning the market, I am going to dip my toes in the ice cold water of fashion retail. 

So what does this all mean and why are you telling us?

This blog space will become a space that just represents my sewing.
I am limiting it from a lifestyle blog, to just a sewing/business blog.
Therefore you will see more of my work. Mainly outfits from my handmade wardrobe and previews and information on my business. And less of everything else I post, included recipes, weekly updates, inspiration posts, etc.

2. Handbags are also going to be limited. I will still be making them, but they will not be the focus of my business. My business will become more focused on clothing. The longterm goal is to start a clothing line that turns into an online boutique that turns into a physical boutique in years to come. 
And so on and so forth. (Or Sew On and Sew Forth if you are feeling a bit punny)

3. I am taking a part time job position that allows me to work with local artists and grow a Christian-based cafe in our community. Despite having a lot of goals of my own, I feel passionate about the opening of this small business and I was asked to help them propel it forward with my ideas and skills. It is going to be a great asset to our little town, yet that means I will have less time to focus on my business and need to limit the things going on in my life so I can succeed.

That's about it.
Thank you for understanding and being so supportive of my journey!

July 15, 2014

Tutorial: Hemming with Hem Tape

I found the best possible fabric for a pair of shorts a few years back.
It is obnoxious, colorful, and a bit fishy.
I picked this cotton stretch sateen up at Joann's back when I use to work there. Therefore I began this project at least 4 years ago and while cleaning up my sewing room decided I am finally going to complete some of my unfinished projects, or UFO's as some like to say!
When I initially began these shorts, I cut everything out and then looked at the instructions. I was quite confused and not having the time or understanding I put them in a drawer and forgot about them.
After getting married and moving out, I came across these bad boys again. And finally, 4 years later they are complete out of desperate need for shorts this summer, because in case you haven't noticed, it is a bit hot outside and until now, I did not own a single pair of shorts since high school.

A pattern review and more pictures of fit and styling are on their way!
But for now, I will show you how I used some ribbon in my stash to hem them.

I had a spool of this hot pink ribbon in my stash and decided it would have to do as hem tape because I did not have actual hem tape in my stash and even though I could actually walk to the store and get some, I decided to save some money and time and use up what I already had at home.
Plus, I was getting increasingly excited about these shorts and did not want to leave the house until I finished them!
This pattern called for vents at the outside leg side seam. So I began by pinning my ribbon along the edge of the fabric, right sides together. 

I sewed around each leg a quarter of an inch in. 

 I then folded the ribbon over and pinned my hem in place. 

 I went around the leg twice, first at a quarter inch and then again at a half inch. 

I then tried them on and danced around the house! 

Ahhh, perfect!
More pictures soon!

July 14, 2014

Project: Blue China Dress

I can't believe my best friend Liz is married!
She was a gorgeous bride and I cried a little bit when I first saw her in the gown she designed. 
And I was so happy she was able to use some lace that I used in my wedding for her dress.
For months we went thrift shopping to gather items for her home and her wedding.
It all felt a little out of control as the day became closer and she sent me pictures of her bathroom floor covered in thrifted candle sticks and glasses. She collected a crazy amount of blue china plates for their reception. It was actually quite impressive how many blue china plates are in thrift stores!

I knew I wanted to make a blue china plate inspired dress to wear to her wedding at an adorable bed and breakfast near by. I mentioned this project in my June Fabric Haul video, so it is finally time I reveal it to you!

I used Simplicity Pattern 1418 and this blue floral cotton sateen from Fabric Mart.
I went on quite the hunt for this floral fabric and finally found the perfect one after searching several local fabric shops and four rooms of fabric at Fabric Mart. 

So there it is!
I absolutely love this dress. I felt awfully classy!
I see it making some reappearances at a tea party or two in the future.

Congratulations, Jeff + Liz!
I wish you the happiest marriage and the best success in your life together!
And now that the wedding is over, I am totally stealing my best friend back for coffee, asap.

July 8, 2014

One Year Wedding Anniversary

I can't believe it has already been one year since we got married!

Here are a few pictures from our first year of dating:

And our wedding day:

Happy Anniversay, Joshua!
I love you more than I can find the words to say.
the Mrs.

July 3, 2014

DIY: Quick Crib Quilt for Nursery

As I mentioned in my June Fabric Haul video (there will not be a July video because I didn't get to finish everything from June! But there will be a August video, I promise!) I was going to make a quilt to gift to a friend who is expecting this month. They are having a baby boy, but I chose fabrics that would transition well between genders so they can keep the same look in the nursery, but have a different crib quilt print for either. I purchased these materials at Fabric Mart after they bought out a quilt shop that was going out of business. I picked them up for just $4 a yard and the cotton batting I had on hand for some reason... I think I used 1.333 yards of each print. I found the ombre first and then cut the floral to match the length because the ombre was the last of the bolt!

 Here is how you can make your own quilt in just a few hours! You can do this even if you are not a professional at sewing, all it takes is the ability to sew a line!
Layer your fabrics, prints facing out and batting in the middle.
Starting at one selvage, pin the edge and then pin occasionally as you work your way across the fabric, smoothing it out as you go. Cut off the excess fabric making sure all 4 sides are straight and matching.
I first used the ombre stripes as my guide to sew across the quilt.
I decided I wanted diagonal lines going across the quilt, so I laid my quilt out on my studio floor and used 1/4" quilter's tape to mark diagonal, starting at the corner, making a straight line across to the opposite corner. I then worked my way out from the center every 4 inches. 

 Sew right along the edge of the tape.
Remove the tape after you have sewed along each strip.
It's already looking like a quilt!
Just need binding!
 I had some of this blue quilt binding in my stash I picked up at my local Good's when it was in the clearance section for I think 50 cents a pack. It matched the floral print perfectly!
Open up your binding and flatten out the folds, but do not press!
Pin your binding tape matching the edge with the quilt edge.
One side of the binding will have a fold that is closer to the edge than the other, us that side to pin along your quilt.
Pin the first side of your quilt.

Begin sewing the binding using the fold as your guide like the image above. When you get to the corner, sew almost to the corner, stopping a quarter inch away. Pull your quilt out of the machine. Take the loose tape and fold it across the pinned tape making a 90 degree triangle on top. Holding the triangle with your fingers on the opposite hand, fold the tape over itself and your fingers towards the side without binding. Remove your fingers from under the tape and hold the top of the folded tape. Now you can pin the next side. Place back under the machine and continue along that side starting at the edge. Do this for all four corners.

If you run out of binding, leave yourself about 3" and make a seam with the next package of tape.
After you have completed the first step of sewing the binding you your quilt, fold the binding over matching the center fold of the binding with the edge of your quilt. Fold under the tape at the fold and pin around the quilt. Sewing on the side that you already stitched your binding to, stitch in the ditch (the seam line) all the way around your quilt.

Check the other side and make sure the binding is getting caught in your stitches like the image above.
This is the opposite side of the fabric, you will see stitching unlike the side we stitched in the ditch where the stitching is hidden. 

I had to do a little hand sewing here and there were my binding was not completely caught in the stitching. I also stitched the corners so they would lie flat.
And that's it! 
A homemade quilt perfect for your baby's nursery, your children's room, or to give to a friend. 

Let me know if you have any questions about the process.

July 1, 2014

8 Things I Have Learned from My First Year in Business

I have officially been in business for 1.5 years now making handbags for my line A Girl Named Katie.
Business is tough. I was told a billion times when I started my business. And they are right. It is really hard. 

I make all of my products by hand.
This means that I must pay myself an hourly wage to make it worth my time.
However, I have learned that getting other people to pay for your time is really hard.
There is a lack of understanding of the time that goes into any type of fashion work when fast fashion companies can sell it for almost nothing.

A handmade business is not fast fashion and you will get what you pay for.
You are paying for someone to 
1. source the best materials for you, 
2. to create a pattern and make samples to test on models, 
3. and to photograph, market, and list on a website 
4. and then package it like a gift and ship it to you. 

And most times when it comes to small businesses on Etsy, 
that someone is one person who spends every hour of their day 
1. dreaming about their business, 
2. designing new products, 
3. cold calling shops, 
4. packing and traveling to shows, 
5. and being the customer service rep for the line.

It is a lot of work. Think of what you do at work every day. I am sure you do a lot too. Now think about what you get paid. You deserve that money for all the work you do, right?
Yeah, so do we!
We are every position of the company.

Here is a great article on why small businesses might cost more and why you should still seek to make purchases from them: http://www.sophiestargazer.com/stargazer-qa-usa-made-expensive-care/

So if you are thinking about starting a business in the near future that you want to eventually make your career, here are a few things I have learned in my first year of business:

1. Be prepared to spend all of your time making a go of it. And when it gets hard and you want to give up, it is ok to take a break and hit the drawing board again. Slow and steady wins the race. Take a day off once in a while. Grab lunch with a friend. The places that surround you are your best inspiration.

2. Not everything you make will be a hit. Know when to keep pursuing it and when to let it die. Do your research. Watch your customers, are they even looking at that item anymore? What are they looking for? Can you adapt your item to fit their need? But do not be quick to let it die, let it slowly die. Trends change and maybe it is not a hit right away, but in a couple months you might sell out!

3. You might have to make some things you particularly do not love to make in order to bring in money to pay the bills. It is a part of life, sometimes you have to do what you don't want to. But as your business grows, you will either be able to hire someone else to make that item, or you will be moved onto a different customer base that will appreciate the items you want to make.

4. Do not make anything too complicated that you cannot ask for help. Also, know your price range and do not make something that will take too much time and you will not be able to sell. This one has been the dead ringer for me this year. Sometimes simple is better, but not so simple that anyone can make it!

5. Know what your time is better spent on and what to hire out. If you are not tech savvy, do not spend three months designing something someone else could do in three weeks. Your time is money and sometimes it is better to ask for help and have it done right the first time than waste your time and have to have it redone later.

6. If you choose to invest in hiring out, do not go for the cheapest route. Take time to make a good investment. For example, if you need to hire a photographer for your product shots, really look at their work. Talk to other people who have used that photographer and make sure they are professional and timely. Do not hire someone for little and then receive blurry and dark images that will not help you sell your work. That is a waste of your time and money. Take the time to hire the right person that is going to help move your business forward. It is worth more than money and a good investment.

7. Make friends with other small business owners. They are probably going through or have gone through the same things you are dealing with in your business. Be open with them and ask questions about their company. Be supportive of their business, look to promote them in any way you can and make their friendship a priority. Growing in business is about who you know and who is there to support you with loving word of mouth.

8. If you are a small business owner, make yourself stand out. Build friendships with customers or followers. Create a blog or other social media outlet to include them in your life. They want to get to know you and it will keep them coming back! Know what to keep private and what to allow them to see. But be honest. Do not create a fake persona. Let your personality to attract them.

I hope these lessons I have learned can help others who are starting a business. 
And maybe those who are not, can appreciate small businesses a little more. 
Think about shopping small the next time you need a gift, a new outfit, or a place to eat!

Share your website, blog, or facebook in the comments!
I would love to check out your business or blog!


June 30, 2014

How to Clean Your Oven with No Harsh Chemicals + Weekly Update

So, you might have noticed that I have not been posting much lately.
To say I have been busy is an understatement. I love summer and I am fully taking advantage of all it has to offer this year. Taking inspiration from the women in my life, I decided to do some flower planting of my own this year, get into picking fruit fresh from the garden and orchard, and venturing out to some all day auctions to score some pieces I have been searching for. 

Last year we moved into a new apartment and now that we are comfortable in our new space and it is decorated to our liking, I am focusing more on the outdoors. The back of the house has a patio area I am working on fixing up and I added some flower beds. (We rent from my in-laws.) I have been spending most of my days lately doing some business planning, which has involved a lot of praying and God bringing just the right people I need to hear from into my life. It is funny how you can go almost a year or more without seeing someone and just when you pray for guidance they come into your life again for a brief moment and have the best words of advice. 

I have been spending more time outdoors enjoying the scenery and we have been eating a lot healthier lately so I am feeling supercharged! Our vacation to Washington was just what we needed to help get us started on living out this summer to the fullest.

Here is my life in pictures from these last two weeks:
 The nursery is my new favorite place to shop!
I filled my trunk up with some beautiful flowers to fill up my new flower beds. 
I picked the brightest flowers I could find for our soon to be cheery outdoor space.

 I love cooking with citrus!
It makes every dish look delicious and summery.
I made some salmon flavored with orange slices and rosemary. 

My dad helped me put in a flower bed along the back of the house and I planted all of my flowers.
We will soon be ready for a cook-out with family back there! 

We had our last show for the spring season. It was a fun adventure for us.
We celebrated our last show with hosting an open house/chocolate party!

 I went on a date with my mom to a coffee + tea shop where we shared this incredible fresh-baked slice of black raspberry pie. I am normally not a pie person, but this is really something!

 My parents are raising chickens. These three little ladies are Scarlet, Rosie, and Ruby.
They are about 4 weeks old and love to take adventures.

 My best friend and I ate at Cafe Chocolate in Lititz for the first time.
It was delicious. Of course I ordered a crepe! Which is probably a number 2 on my list of favorites. 
Donuts being number one. 

And after all those tasty treats, here is a my dirty oven.
I hate using harmful chemicals to clean anything in my house. Especially something I prepare food in.
I cleaned my oven using just baking soda and vinegar.
The left side is after the treatment, and the right side is during.
It certainly makes a difference!

Here is my quick tutorial:
Make a paste out of baking soda and water, slowly stirring while adding a little water at a time.

I used my hand to apply the paste, sponges absorb the water from the paster and make it hard to smear across the oven. You just want to take handfuls of the paste and work it into the nooks and dirty walls.
Close your oven door and let sit over night. In the morning use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and spray down the oven. 

Let that work for a few minutes while you prepare a sink or bucket of hot water. 

Using a wet sponge wipe away the excess baking soda, rinsing your sponge between strokes. 

Spray the oven again with some vinegar and get out your handy dandy tool, a Pampered Chef pan scraper!
Scrape the walls and bottom of the oven with your tool and watch as all of those tough baked on food spots magically come right off!

Using your wet sponge again, wipe the oven clean.
Wipe it down a few times, refreshing your water if needed.
And ta-dah! Super clean oven with no harsh fumes!

After you use your oven once or twice, wipe down again with a wet sponge to remove any baking soda you might have missed originally. It will harden and fall to the bottom of the oven.

June 24, 2014

Snapshots from Seattle

We are back from our trip and hitting the ground running.
It has been a busy week and I already want to fly back out to Washington.
To celebrate our One Year Wedding Anniversary we flew out to Seattle and then drove to Long Beach, WA. The game plan was to relax! And of course see some awesome stuff and get really inspired.
We traveled for about 23 hours straight our first day, with sightseeing in Seattle for most of the day.
First stop in Seattle was Fremont Market. Familiar with Craft Markets after our spring show season, we were excited to see some different products. We loved that they had several Boutiques-on-wheels at the market. Check out: http://shopfashionbar.com/ which is just one of the boutiques that was there.

We grabbed a bite to eat at the market since everything looked delicious and then ventured to Ballard's market. 

After snooping around the markets I took Josh to see Kerry Park which is an awesome lookout point in Seattle, near Queen Anne. 

Alright, finally some pictures!

Fish Waffle!
Filled with sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and walnuts. 
I definitely need to get on board making waffle sandwiches at home! 
We grabbed some ice cream at Lick before leaving the city. 
I am now crazy about Blueberry Chai ice cream!
Yet another thing I need to start making at home!

Gosh, I just love Seattle.
And I am pretty sure Josh now has an appreciation for Seattle as well.
Mission Accomplished.

I am filled with inspiration!