Alpacas are one of the softest and cutest animals out there. Their fur makes exquisite high quality products too so when I learned that there was a brand that made socks from alpaca fur I knew I wanted to try them. Not only is their fluff soft but it also has insulating superpowers to keep cool in the summer and warm in the winter. While I did read reviews and some people were unamused that the socks are not 100% alpaca made, it is still the main ingredient. I believe in transparency though and believe that the company should in fact make the percentages public on the website so people are not misled. It is smart marketing though as they are not technically promising all alpaca either so I get the reasoning.
At the bottom of this post you will find the video review for the socks from PACAS but here on the blog I wanted to share my review on their customer service/ order experience. Upon making the purchase I did as most of us do, checked the reviews where there were thousands of five stars raving about them. After that we purchased the socks for Christmas gifts, on December 4th. The website states a 2-7 business day turn around which meant it had plenty of time to get here by Christmas. By the second week we reached out to the company thinking it was merely a holiday slowdown that caused them to fall behind. Once the third week came and went with no reply from their “customer service team” I took to social media. At this point the thought that this company was a fake started to loom around.
The next step was to head to their social media accounts, Facebook, instagram etc. to message them directly. This is where the reviews were that were below the five stars of folks voicing similar issues. Some had success months later and other were forgotten. After spending $100 on socks one would expect a simple reply from the company to put their mind at bay. With no reply in sight I wrote to them via their socials since they appeared to keep posting to promote customers to buy. Why have a social team promote business you cannot keep up with though. It makes no sense to have a large base of customers if you cannot provide the services to the amount of people you are attracting.
Yet again no reply, by now Christmas and New Years had passed. I emailed the company and requested to cancel my order but still there was no reply. There was one option left, the Better Business Bureau. Pacas has a three out of five with most of the complaints filed getting solved. Instead of writing out a complaint I called the number and was told that I would be getting a refund. There was no real dispute as so many other customers had the same issue previously. Months later we had forgotten about the socks fiasco and suddenly they appeared at the door. To ask the company what had happened would be yet another frustrating matter as they had never replied to the previous attempts. We kept the socks and well they are great to say the least. My father loved his so much that we decided to create another order. This time we were ready to wait however long it would take now that we knew that they were in fact legitimate. However, within about a week the socks had arrived. This was at the end of February. My advice for those who are wanting to try this company is to do so but know that if you order near the holidays it may be a while. I never received a reply but I assume that the company got backed up after Black Friday sales and spiraled from there. My hope is that they have adapted and learned from it and are back and better than ever on the sales front.
Let me know if you’ve tried alpaca socks and what you think about them? Check out the sock review below.
When it comes to embroidery it is assumed that fabric is involved. The mere definition of embroidery is to embellish a cloth. While it may seem possible when thinking in the scope of patch projects they too are usually created on a fabric base. Upon starting my journey with the Brother PE550d machine I noticed that a couple ofthe designs in the guides contained designs that were as “free” designs. In other words the base is water soluble and thus will disappear after it is created.
Most water soluble stabilizers are used to stabilize fluffy fabrics so learning that the product can be used on its own is a rather weird concept to grasp. Although I have had my embroidery machine for a few years now I am still learning / trying new things all the time. This is my first “free” of fabric projects which means the expectations were extremely low. It is in a way a 3D printed thread project that uses an embroidery machine instead of a 3D printer. Watch the video below to see if my first time trying a water soluble stabilizer only design worked or what went wrong.
Have you tried a “fabric free” embroidery project?
Currently we are in the era where more and more people are becoming sustainable conscious. From paper straws to plant based alternatives it can be hard to trust in alternatives to the traditional plastic products. Trash bags and sandwich bags are perhaps the most used plastic products in the average household.
Although there are products that address this issue such as washable bin liners and fabric bags some (meaning me) cannot stomach the idea on washing my trash liner. This is where plant based bags come in to save the day as they are better for the environment than plastic, yet not revolting for the majority to adapt. A simple switch of bags is all it takes to make a difference. This year California has adapted new rules of no longer allowing residences to throw food scraps in the trash bin. Instead they are required to go in the grass compost bin pushing households to switch to more sustainable choices. The only thing that is left up to us is finding products that actually work well and don’t seep all over the house on the way to the bin.
The second plastic go to is the sandwich bag. Did you know it takes over 1,000 years to break down a plastic ziplock bag? Even after the 1,000 years it never truly breaks down either. Hold On’s plant based alternative breaks down in just a couple of weeks rather than years. Yes, there are other options that are “greener” such as fabric bags but often convenience wins over sustainability. A simple switch in brands is easier to convince someone to do than adding a load of reusable bags to the laundry. Plus, getting little ones to keep track of bags at school sounds like a nightmare. Not to mention the fact that the fabric bags often make food stale by lunchtime. Watch the video below to see if this brand of plant based bags works just as well as the plastic options on the market.
Pulling out a spool of embroidery thread that is not sufficiently stored can create a jumbled up mess. Although there are spools with locking bases most variety packs do not come with them. Specifically with this variety pack I did not want to invest in the larger spools (the ones that lock) as I did not know what colors I would be using the most. Thus, having a locking base is a luxury.
A few alternatives that are well known are thread nets and spool huggers. The variety pack I have came with a couple of thread nets but they were too big or perhaps too complicated for me to figure out. I have not tried spool huggers but I did not fancy the idea of making the spool bulkier. A thicker spool means that the pack of spools will no longer fit in the original box. If you have a craft room where you can have your thread displayed on a peg board this could be a great option.
The tape method is cost effective but did not work for me (as shown in the video). It kept threads organized for a little bit but after the next project the tape becomes less sticky and needs to be replaced. After getting fed up with constantly having to untangle my thread I cut the bottom of the spool making a slit for the end of the thread to be wedged in-between. This worked out the best for me and since I already had the scissors it cost me nothing. You will need sharp scissors otherwise it will take some time sawing away at the plastic base with standard craft scissors. These scissors by Westcott are linked below and are relatively inexpensive yet very strong. No more icky loose thread ends clinging to other spools of thread when they are pulled out. Let me know if you try out this hack below.
Selling handmade items can be extremely daunting especially when it comes to presenting your items to potential buyers. Making the items is the fun part which is why tagging if usually an afterthought. However, it is part of the item that is initially judged before a customer decides whether or not to purchase. For you, it can make or break a sale. The appearance of a nice tag can create the feeling of a more established brand thus elevating your company to outsiders. A proper tag makes people grasp a better understanding of your brand and can create a sense of trust.
Today I am sharing with you how I tag my crochet items for a consignment location. Prior to creating tags ask yourself the following questions: Does it encompass my brand? Is the product being hindered in any way? How will the items be displayed? Are there any practical issues I need to address? For my items the owner of the shop requires items to be protected in either a plastic sandwich bag, ziplock, or cellophane bag. The display is on a pegboard so it needs to be able to hang on a hook as well. Possible hindrances include not covering up the product and making sure that it is easy to understand what the item is. To see the complete process watch the video below!
For this face-off I am comparing the Bearly Art precision glue and the Scotch advanced tape gun for card making. Yes, these products can be used for various projects but they are both heavily marketed for paper crafts. While I have done videos in the past on the advanced tape gun and raved about it, it does have some drawbacks too. This trial was the second time using the Bearly Art precision glue, the first time was an emergency puzzle patch which worked well. There is nothing worse than pulling out puzzle pieces and the piece splits between the top and bottom layer.
When looking at machines one of the things I expected to learn how to sell was patches. That was of course before knowing anything about patches and the process honestly seemed pretty intimidating. Plus there are not many tutorials out there for creating machine embroidery patches. There are the patches that you have the border for and ones that free float. Due to the complexity of a bordered patch I decided it would be more useful to try a free float. What I mean by free float is simply that the patch is made on an alternate material that will be trimmed to size. For this type of patch I used felt since it is a webbed fiber meaning it will not fray when it is cut. Perhaps in the future I will try my hand at creating a bordered patch that is not 100% file form created to test further, but for now I hope you enjoy this first time video and find it helpful for your own projects.
In this blistery drizzly season, I thought it would be fun to show the process of creating the latest Bob sticker. For those that do not know already, Bob is my support hippo and the logo for my small business Custom Little Beasties. The plan is to add these stickers to orders for purchase as well as include random ones with purchases. Currently Bob has three outfits: a King, anAstronaut and the Duckie Rain Coat. He really brings me joy so I hope that this little doodle brings a smile to your face as well. In the video below is the speed up process I used in Procreate to create his rainy day look. If you enjoyed this time-lapse drawing, please let me know. Also, what other outfits should I create for Bob ?
Yet another thing I wish I knew prior to starting embroidery is that ability to adjust the machine’s tension. Embroidery machines have two different tensions to set and each one will vary from machine to machine. For instance, just because I have my tensions set to a certain number does not mean it will have the same effect for another machine. My biggest piece of advice when it comes to adjusting the tension is to take a deep breath, grab a relaxing tea or cocoa, take out a notebook and realize that it will take awhile.
After making a couple of items myself sewing and crochet it left me thinking about tagging the things I make. Many tags can be annoying, itchy or add to the overall item. The purpose however is to never forget where the item was purchased. Without tags people inevitably forget where they purchased the item and it can even make an item appear “cheap”. A tag is like a finishing touch which is why after researching them I decided it was time to experiment and create my own.