Monday, July 19, 2010


Is your neighborhood like mine, stray, feral cats everywhere? I support a wonderful organization called Best Friends who run a huge facility for lost, abandoned, problem animals (dogs, cats, horses, rabbits - lots of different animals) on a ranch out west, and they prefer the term "community cats" rather than stray or feral, and promote the community to help these animals.

There are four cats who live across the street from my apartment building, next to the post office, in a parking lot of a school. There are several women, including myself, who help take care of this little pride. I met these other women while bringing food to the cats, and learned they REALLY take care of this pride, and have spent hundreds of dollars on trapping, spaying and neutering, and other health issues. When the cats are ready to be released - they cannot be domesticated - their ears are clipped so the animal is marked as being spayed. Me, I just bring food, and was amazed at the dedication of these women.

There is one old male I call Tomcat that incredibly is still alive. I have been feeding him for several years and am always amazed to see him. "Tomcat, you're still alive?" I say to him, looking at his poor eyes, rough fur and many times, terrible wounds. He is the leader of this little pride, and is dearly loved by one black female and two of his offspring, which I believe are both female also. They have all been spayed, Tom was neutered, and they just loll around the parking lot waiting for someone to come feed them.

I make it sound like the life of Riley, lolling around, but you know the street is a very hard place to live. I wish I could take better care of old Tom. When I was talking to the other women they told me the vet did as much as he could for him, cleaned him up, treated wounds, did medical stuff on his eyes, and he looked pretty good for a minute. Now of course, he looks awful. He knows me now, and lets me get somewhat close to him, within a couple of feet while I'm putting out his food, but he will never let me touch him. Poor ol' Tom.

If there are cats in your neighborhood, try to take care of them. Get them neutered and spayed so they can't reproduce, make a shelter so they have protection from rain and weather, monitor their health so they don't spread diseases. It isn't necessary to kill them, all life needs to live its life, but we can try to make another's life as comfortable as possible, and food is the best gift you can give. All religions say so. Being able to feed another being is a gift from God. You know all the gods will bless you when you feed another being, even the strays in your neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shipping Charges

Yes, yes, shipping charges, that forgotten expense. You find something online you want to buy, then realize the shipping charges are as much and sometimes MORE than the cost of the item!!! What's up with that???!!!

I'll tell you what's up with that for my shops, Nancy's Fabric Shop and Custom Designs by Nancy. I learned the hard way how the shipping expenses can reduce my profit to nothing, and sometimes even go into negative territory, after I did the math. First, my goods are heavy. The shipping isn't minimal as it can be for jewelry, it can be quite serious, especially when sending a comforter or bedspread. And then there are the etsy and paypal fees. Etsy may only charge $.20 to list, and 3.5% doesn't sound like a lot until you do the math on a $50 piece, which is $1.75, plus the .$20 and paypal's fee and we're over $2.00 in fees and I haven't packaged and shipped it yet.

I know there's always a lot of discussion in the forums about how to price your pieces. I want to be competitive, and to tell the truth my material costs are minimal. In Custom Designs by Nancy I want to be paid for my labor. Even simple potholders or placemats can take time to make, and my etsy stores ARE my day job. So I use the shipping charges to pay the etsy and paypal fees, figure about $.60 for the packaging (envelopes or box), and guesstimate how much the post office will charge to ship to Alabama (whereever) from New York.

For example, I sent a potholder to Georgia in May. The potholder itself sold for $5 and I charged her $2 for shipping. The actual post office cost was $1.56, the envelope cost maybe $.30, the paypal fee was $.50, the list fee was $.20 and etsy's 3.5% was $.18, totalling a$2.74. So, out of the $7 she was charged, I actually received $4.25, and it took maybe 1/2 hour to make the potholder.

I don't mean for this to sound like a rant. I'm just putting it out there into reality. Because of my own experience I don't question people's shipping charges, and I realize that free shipping from a seller is a big deal.

Maybe I should increase my prices to include the fees, and offer free shipping...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paypal and Two Stores

My, I didn't realize the contortions and acrobatics I would have to go through when I opened my new shop, Nancy's Fabric Shop. Little did I know I would have to open a new google account and a new paypal account, which meant I needed to open a new checking account as well! And all on a hot Sunday. Whew! All because a lovely patient woman wanted to buy one of my fabric pieces,

and her paypal payment did not get into my existing paypal account, connected with Custom Designs by Nancy. Thank goodness I already have an online savings account, and was able to call them and quickly establish a checking account with them. Of course, then she had to cancel the original payment, and resubmit so it would register in my new paypal account. Oh my, but all's well that ends well, as the bard said. This has sure been a learning experience for me, and I hope you will learn from this little episode, too. At least now I'm set up completely (cross my fingers) to do business as Nancy's Fabric Shop!

And just in time for Christmas in July! From now to the end of July take 10% off any piece in either of my stores! I will adjust the price as purchases are made, and we should have no issues with paypal!

Friday, July 9, 2010


Let me tell you about Sunbrella fabric, the copywrited name of a high-quality functional fabric manufactured by Glen Raven Mills in South Carolina. Using a high-tech process, Glen Raven produces a unique proprietary acrylic fiber that is designed to be sun-fast and fade resistant, the perfect outdoor fabric for your boat, patio and decks. Extemely durable, Sunbrella fabrics far exceed the lifetime expectancy of conventional cotton canvas. Also, Glen Raven Mills is recognized as an environmentally conscious company by The Skin Cancer Foundation and Greenguard for the sun protection the fabric offers, and for being a very low emitting interior product.

Often used to make awnings, umbrellas and ATV covers, I made tablecloths which are great on a picnic table, or spread on the grass while you're at an outdoor concert.

I have several pieces of Sunbrella for sale in my shop, all around a yard long and 54" wide. This material would be great for totes or cushions, or make your own tablecloth, or even a hammock!

I really like the bold colors and patterns available, and the tropical theme works so well during the summer, outside...ah, I can feel the breeze off the ocean, smell the salt and coconut suntan oil, hear exotic birds in the jungle. Now all I need is a long tall cold drink...

Green Palms

Blue Coral


I hope I have inspired you to make something sensational from this wonderful material. It is versatile and easy to work with, and I am sure you will be very happy with the results of your project.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Welcome to My Blog

Hello everyone out there in cyber-land and welcome to my new blog, Nancy's Fabric Shop. I will be discussing fabrics and showing off my extensive collection, for sale at Nancy's Fabric Shop on etsy. I used to work at a well-known distributor of gorgeous fabrics to the interior design industry, and as an employee I had access to their overstock and discontinued designs, which I collected and sewed into various pieces like bedspreads, tablecloths and pillows, which I sell on my other etsy store, Custom Designs by Nancy. However, I can't sew fast enough to consume this MOUNTAIN of materials around my little studio apartment, so in the interest of de-stashing, I am offering my fabrics to you, for your projects.

Here are a few pieces I have for sale right now, ready to ship. First, some lovely silk embroideries:

I also have tapestries, which I love:

and lots of pretty flowers:

These are all quality goods, manufactured around the world, at very competitive prices. I try to be thorough and honest in my descriptions, and all my clients have been very happy with my services, saying:

Absolutely beautiful fabric! Can't wait to start on my project! Thank you!

Beautiful piece of fabric, now have to figure out how best to use it. Packed with care and lagniappe, shipped fast.

Very, very beautiful fabric; lovingly packed, shipped fast. Just as described in photos and text

I hope you enjoy browsing in my store. If you don't see what you are seeking for your particular shop, please contact me and we can discuss my inventory - there are lots of pieces I haven't listed yet! - to find the perfect piece for you.