DIY All-Natural Lip Balm

A few years ago I was battling cold sores and started doing some research. I ran across some claims that color dyes can cause lip irritation. Then I realized that the Vaseline lip balm I had been using had yellow dye in it. That may not have been the source of my issue, but I figured it was worth eliminating.

I really like a thicker lip balm like Vaseline so I set out to try to find a DIY that would make a good replacement.

Young Living essential oils are therapeutic grade so they are safe for use on the skin and many have great healing properties (particularly Lavender which is said to have antiseptic and antifungal properties making it a great oil for lip balm!).

Today I’m sharing my favorite lip balm recipe! The great thing about this recipe is that it can be customized using any essential oil or blends that you prefer.

diy lip balm

The consistency of this balm is a bit more solid than petroleum jelly, but it is still on the “soft” side so I recommend using a jar for storage [rather than the twist tubes – I’ve got another recipe for those so keep reading!].

Speaking of jar, I recycled a Mary Kay loose powder container for my balm. Once it was empty it was easy to pop the sifter out. I cleaned the container by soaking it in hot, soapy water with a few drops of Lemon essential oil (it helps with removing stickers and other gooey residue from contains) for about a half hour and then scrubbed it really good.

The recipe below makes enough to fill the MK jar. While I realize not all of you will have an empty powder jar to use, here are some alternative ideas for containers:

  • You may have a little empty space (you could try doubling the recipe), but you could also use a 4 ounce jelly jar (like these)
  • An Altoids tin (don’t have one? Ask your friends. I did that once on Facebook and several people shared their empty tins with me)
  • Several of these cute little sample jars (just ordered some & they’re great, but teeny tiny!)
  • Small baby food jars
  • Or really any small [clean] jar with a lid

If you are planning to use a Citrus essential oil (like Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, etc.), I recommend avoiding plastic containers because the citrus oils can breakdown some types of plastic over time.

Rather than using a fancy double-boiler and making it forever slimy from the oils, dig through your cabinet for an unloved, empty mason jar (or recycle a marinara / salsa jar – just clean it really good using the same method I used to clean the powder jar above and/or run it through the dishwasher). It’s tough to get the jar clean once you’ve melted the oil in it so it’s best to reserve it for your oily projects.

To create the double boiler, put some water in a pot (no more than half full) then place the mason jar upright (lid removed) into the pot. You’ll add the ingredients into the mason jar while the water in the pot boils around it which will melt the ingredients. You will want the ingredients in the mason jar to be below the water line so it will melt your ingredients evenly.

I don’t bother stirring the oil as it melts because it will just dry onto whatever you’re using to stir and make a mess [warning: don’t ruin your silverware]. You can pick up the jar (use oven mitts!) and gently swirl it a few times during the process if you’d like, but it’s certainly not required.

You will want to wait to add the essential oils after you remove your double boiler from heat.

You may also want to wear an oven mitt when pouring the mixture into the tubes or jars. During the heating process, the glass mason jar can get quite hot and we want to avoid DIY-induced-injuries! If your oven mitt doesn’t have grips, the jar could slip out of your hand so be careful.

Supplies

  • Clean container(s) for your lip balm
  • Glass jar to combine ingredients (don’t use a fancy one you plan to ever use again 😉 )
  • Small sauce pot
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Beeswax (I ordered pellets on Amazon, but I’ve heard you can get beeswax from local beekeepers which is a wonderful option if you know any)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Almond Oil
  • Essential oils for scent (I used 4 drops of Thieves essential oil)
  • Stir stick (this can get messy so keep that in mind – do not use your fine china. Chopsticks or a plastic straw work great.)

Directions

  1. Clean the glass jar you will use for your “double boiler” and the container(s) you will use to store your balm. Dry them completely (I recommend letting them air dry overnight).
  2. If you are using pellets, skip to step 3. If you are using a block of beeswax, grate it until you have enough (2 TBSP).
  3. Fill the small sauce pot half full of water and place over medium-low heat. The water should simmer slowly.
  4. Set the empty glass jar upright in the pot. The water should surround the glass jar, but no water should be coming into the glass jar.
  5. Add beeswax and coconut oil to the empty mason jar and heat slowly until both are melted.
  6. Once the beeswax and coconut oil have melted completely, remove from heat. Using your oven mitt, remove the glass jar from the hot water/pot. Do not pour out the hot water yet (you could leave it on the stove to keep it warm or just set it aside in case you need it to remelt your balm).
  7. Add olive oil and almond oil to jar and stir using your stir stick. Then add essential oils and stir again.
  8. Slowly pour mixture into your container jar(s). If the mixture begins to solidify, place the jar back into the hot water (just like you did for the double boiler) until it melts again.
  9. Leave the balm uncovered so that it can set for a few hours before use. I have 2 dogs who shed like it’s their job so I covered mine with a paper towel to avoid pet fur contamination. If you want to cover the balm while it sets, I recommend using a paper towel or lightweight cloth so that the balm can cool without condensation diluting your recipe (like it may if you use the container’s lid). 
  10. Label your balm container and enjoy!

If you are looking for lip balm that will make a cute gift, you could use the recipe above in small jars (like these tiny pots I ordered on Amazon recently. Be warned: they’re super tiny!) or you can make a sturdier balm for twist tubes.

Lip balm tubes are super easy to find online and are pretty cheap (I ordered these and they work great!).

Making the balm is exactly the same as above, but the recipe will be slightly different. I followed this recipe for Lavender Honey Chapstick from Practically Funcational and it turned out great!

chapstick

homemade chapstick in the cooling process

Before I made this balm, I heard that having a small funnel was key so I ordered this one. I used it at first, but it made the process more frustrating because when I removed it, the oil would rise up and overflow the tube. All that said, I ended up pouring [very carefully] from the glass jar straight into the tubes and it worked out just fine.

Because I was feeling fancy (and I knew I’d be gifting these), I ordered sticker labels for my chapstick tubes:

balm label

It was easy to find labels on Etsy. I ended up ordering these stickers from Chickydoddle and having half of them printed. Winnie (of Chickydoddle) was super easy to work with – she sent me proofs before printing and I received them quickly thereafter. I am really pleased with the quality and will certainly order printed labels from Chickydoddle again! I also ordered these 1-inch circle stickers – they fit perfectly on top of the tiny balm jars I ordered.

I gifted the lip balm tubes with a handmade lotion bar. I used this recipe from Wellness Mama that a friend recommended and added 10 drops each of Lavender and Ylang Ylang.

lotion bars

lotion bars while cooling

I just so happen to have 2 of these heart shaped silicone molds which made the perfect shape for the lotion bars. The heart makes a great shape for these because the indent at the top is perfect for rubbing over knuckles!

Lotion bars might be one of my favorite new discoveries. I love rubbing the bar on my hands and feet before bed. They are so easy to make and are incredibly effective at moisturizing!

If you’ve never used a lotion bar: you rub it on your dry skin like you would a bar of soap. Your skin will melt a thin layer of the lotion onto your hands, feet, whatever it touches. You just rub it on and leave it (when I describe the application like soap, everyone always asks: “Do I wash it off?” and the answer is no – let is soak in to your dry skin and enjoy!). I now prefer the bar to regular slimy lotion. Can’t get enough of it!

**Disclaimer: Links in this post are not affiliated with me in any way and I would not benefit from your purchase. I just wanted to share sources for ease of replicating the recipes. Enjoy! 🙂 **

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Environmentally Friendly Holiday Gifts

As you know, I’ve been on a mission lately to reduce my waste and impact on the Earth (I’m currently participating in the #icareaboutwaste challenge hosted by Sew in Love & Sustainable Wraps). That said, I’m sharing some gift ideas with you today – some to make and some to buy – your choice!

{Bonus points: wrap your gift in fabric with this tutorial}

To Buy

 1. Beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps are a great way to replace your use of plastic wrap – use them to cover dishes, wrap cheese, contain snacks, pack a sandwich, etc.

Buy: Sustainable Wraps

 2. Wool Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets are not only wasteful, but toxic. I love my wool dryer balls and have been using them consistently for a few years.

{Click the image to read about how to use wool dryer balls and why you should}

Read more about how to use wool dryer balls here.

Buy: Woolzies seem to be very popular, but you can find dryer balls from many different shops (like Amazon).

 3. A reusable mug or water bottle

By now, everyone likely has a reusable mug or water bottle, but not everyone has invested in a high quality version that will last them for years to come. Rather than treating them to a bottle whose cheesy quote will rub off on their hands before next Christmas, pick out a glass or stainless steel mug/bottle.

Buy:

  4. Locally Made Soap

Stop by your local farmer’s market and you are bound to find a local soapmaker to support. My local favorite (and good friend!): Penny’s Naturals.

Pictured here: “Carolina Coast with real ocean water. Wadmalaw with green tea from SC’s tea plantation. Palmetto Rain made from rainwater.” – Penny’s Naturals

Buy: Shop Penny’s Naturals online here.

 5. Glass lunch container

The Hubs and I switched over to using glass containers to pack our lunches in a few years ago and they are great. This frego container is on my wish list – the silicone sleeve is the selling point for me (the Hubs has dropped and broken one of our glass containers already and it also protects your hands from the heat of the glass).

Buy: Shop Frego containers here. {You can find more ideas in this list of Best Reusable Lunch Containers from Mindful Momma}

More gift ideas:

To Make

 1. Reusable shopping bag

Here’s an easy tutorial from Sew In Love on how to make a shopping bag from a pillowcase.

 2. Reusable sandwich/snack bags

I really like this tutorial because it doesn’t require any extra hardware/closures (no zippers, velcro, buttons, etc.) so you likely have all you need already in your stash.

Here’s a great article on how to choose food-safe fabric for your bags (also, cloth napkins from the thrift store are a great source!).

 3. A catch-all bag

Technically, this is a sock knitting project bag, but the size is super handy. I made one with oilcloth as the interior fabric to use as a wet bag for the baby. The tutorial includes an option for two fabrics on each side of the bag so it’s a great scrap buster.

I’ve made several version of this bag (including the one above!) – you can read about another one I made in this post.

 4. Gifts in a Jar

I absolutely LOVE gifts-in-a-jar! To make this gift environmentally friendly, use recycled jars (save your salsa/marinara/jelly jars, remove the labels with hot water+soap+lemon essential oil & a good scrub, then run them through the dishwasher). Buy your ingredients in bulk for extra environmentally-friendly-credit!

When reusing jars, you can paint the lids with chalkboard paint to disguise any labeling (& make the space usable for the future).

Inspiration:
For more ideas, check out my Gifts in a Jar Pinterest Board!

 5. Lotion Bars

Making your own lotion bars eliminates packaging entirely! Bonus: Make a drawstring bag (that can be reused!) for the lotion.

{Click the image to view the tutorial from Melly Sews}

Here is a tutorial from Melly Sews for lotion bars and a drawstring bag!

Looking for more DIY holiday gift ideas? Check out my guide from last year!

The Making of Baby RBG: A Halloween DIY

It started out innocent: I was picking Andy up from daycare a few weeks ago when one of her teachers said they were going to have a Halloween celebration and the babies could dress up. At first I shrugged it off. Halloween has never been a real source of excitement for me so I was thinking I’d just put her in a festive onesie and call it a day.

BUT THEN I REMEMBERED I SEW (Ha! As if I’d ever forget). And that the internet exists (thus, “quick and easy” costume sewing tutorials would be in abundance…and they were).

Inspiration

I sent some ideas to my sister-in-law (because she always entertains my craziest ideas).

Initial costumes considered: Rosie the Riveter, a ladybug, a cookie sandwich, Cookie Monster, aerobics instructor, Iris Apfel, Frida Kahlo, Tina from Bob’s Burgers – we had some serious choices to make.

Ultimately, the vote was for Ruth Bader Ginsburg!

Originally I thought we’d go with a black onesie and a fabric doily (easy-peasy), but I decided to use what I already had on hand (aka: over-complicate this seemingly innocent costume adventure) with the picture below as inspiration:

Material

I’m really proud to say that I did not buy a single thing for this costume!

  • The black fabric (crepe I think – donated from someone’s attic) for the robe was in my stash (as was the fabric used for the bias bindings).
  • My Mom gave me a stack of vintage handkerchiefs a few years ago she got from an antique shop (I used some ivory rayon challis fabric [similar] scraps from my stash for the body of the bib).
  • A friend let me borrow some snaps (for the front of the robe & the bib closure) from her stash.
  • The glasses belong to the Hubs (no prescription – they are blue light blocking glasses).
  • I made the bow a few weeks ago for a separate occasion (tutorial).

If you are looking to make your own RBG costume you might be surprised at what you already have that could work. Any type of black fabric (a bit of drape/flowiness would be preferable) can work for the robe. The costume just needs a black “backdrop” so alternatively you could use a black onesie or solid black outfit of any kind.

Rather than making a separate bib, you could just safety pin a vintage handkerchief or some lace to the front of the onesie/outfit (that was my original plan) or pin that to an existing bib (try to stick with a light color/no print so you don’t distract from the detail of the “collar.”

A toy gavel would be a great addition to the costume.

The Pattern

I was limited on time so I immediately decided that the robe would be kimono style with no set-in sleeves. To get the “pattern,” I used a jacket she had that I knew fit her currently. I laid half of the jacket on top of the black fabric along the fold.

When cutting, I added space around the jacket for seam allowance. I wanted it to have a little extra volume (like an actual judge’s robe) so I graded out a little extra in the body. I didn’t include extra space on the length of the sleeves because I didn’t want them to be too long (and, again, to more closely resemble the fitting of an actual judge’s robe).

For the back of the robe, I cut on the fold. For the front of the robe, I cut the fabric on the fold the same way, but then cut up the fold afterward to create two separate pieces. I knew I wanted the front to open so it would be easy to get on a squirmy baby.

Since finishing a Dress No. 1 recently, I’ve been on a bias finishing kick (great tutorial from IndieSew here). I knew I wanted to – at least – use bias binding to finish the neck. After cutting the pattern out and sewing the front to the back, I tried it on Andy and realized that I didn’t want to lose much length. So, rather than flipping-and-stitching the hem, I decided to bias bind the bottom too.

Sewing the Costume

The Robe

I considered French seams (because you know I love them), but ultimately decided to use the overlock stitch on my machine to eliminate the extra step.

I stitched the shoulder (& sleeve) seams together at the top and then the front-to-the-back (including the underside of the sleeves) down the sides.

This is where I stopped and tried it on Andy to see about the fit.

Then I used scrap fabric to create bias binding which I used to finish the bottom hem > the front closure (like a faux button placket) > and the neck – in that order.

Last, I attached the snaps every 2 inches.

The collar

Because of the laciest part of the handkerchief as at a corner, I wanted to make a bandanna style bib to show it off. I traced a bandanna bib Andy already had that fit well and used that as my pattern (if you do this, be sure to include an extra 1/2 inch around the edges for your seam allowance…or you can use this tutorial and pattern).

The rayon challis scraps I was using for the bib base were [obviously] super slippery. So, I used a tip I heard recently on the Love to Sew podcast and laid the fabric on top of some terry cloth (a towel would work) to keep it from slipping while I cut. That worked so well!

I constructed the bib by sewing RST, leaving a few inches unsewn at the neck, and flipping to WST. Before top-stitching, I placed the handkerchief where I wanted it on the front of the bib. I folded the top of the handkerchief by the neck since there was no neat way to get it to fold over the curved edge. I top-stitched around the bib like normal which held the handkerchief down without any extra (messy) stitching.

Here you can see where the handkerchief was folded over and how only the edges of the bib are top-stitched. This held the handkerchief on perfectly and once around Andy’s neck, it looked much more unified.

I tried the bib on Andy before attaching the snap to see if I needed to adjust the placement of the snap before attaching. Then I added the snap.

Lying flat the bib looks a little wonky, but you can see here how the handkerchief is attached.

Accessories

The glasses

Originally I had asked the Hubs to buy some baby sunglasses that we could pop the lenses out of. Our local Target only had bigger kid glasses according to him and the two he brought home weren’t quite right (though one pair would have been perfect for Iris Apfel so I’m saving them for the future!).

On that note, I remembered that he had some blue light blocking glasses that could work!

The bow

Obviously, RBG doesn’t wear bows, but I needed something to hold the glasses on so the elastic band bows I’ve been making came in quite handy.

You can see the elastic from the bow holding the glasses on here. (Also, please excuse the dinosaur feet. This was on our wear-pajamas-all-day Sunday).

More inspiration

We are certainly not the first to dress our baby up as RBG – check out these others:

I was also excited to see Alex dressed as RBG on this week’s episode of Modern Family:

I especially love the necklace!

Not gonna lie, when I see Kate McKinnon slide on the screen during SNL‘s Weekend Update, it makes my day! Her impersonation is so funny.

Rock your RBG inspiration all year long

If you love RBG and want to stay inspired beyond Halloween, I found these super cool gifts (just in time for the holidays if you have an RBG lover on your list!):

What I’m Lovin’ in October

Libra season is officially over (le sigh), but I was really feeling it this year! Proof: I purged my sewing room to the point of justifying a formal destash, I started reading The Curated Closet and have been thinking way.too.much. about “my aesthetic,” and unsuccessfully attempted to start a meditation routine.

1. We need changing tables. Everywhere. For everyone.

Last month I told y’all about my brilliant idea that all changing tables need a coat hanger for your diaper bag.

BUT what we really need are actual changing tables... In places where everyone can use them.

Proof: This Dad

2. These tips for great photos

This post is super comprehensive and has tons of wonderful photography tips.

3. This gorgeous {FREE} cowl-neck hoodie pattern

The cool weather lately has me really feeling this hoodie!

4. French seams

Not a new discovery, but I love French seams. And I appreciate this tutorial from In The Folds on how to sew in-seam pockets with French seams (because I also love pockets!).

5. Serial is back!

Somehow I totally missed that Season 3 of the Serial podcast was happening! My sister and stepmom told me about it last weekend and I’ve been binge listening ever since.

So far, the discussion has me feeling really fired up. I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

6. Science says we need crafts

The research in this article about why our brains need craft more than ever is fascinating.

7. Destashing

In case you missed it, I shared all about how to host a destash on Instagram!

I’m a firm believer that by freeing up physical space, we free up mental space (for creativity!).

 8. I passed a big milestone

It’s my birthday month & this year I passed a big one! You can read a quick snip of my reflections in this post, but also–this:

LOL.

9. Shopping local for the holidays

One of my favorite things to do as the holidays approach is stock up on local, handmade gifts! My sister and I will be selling handmade bags at an upcoming market – if you’re local, come visit!

My husband said he was confiscating my wallet the morning of the market (Ha!) – he knows how much I love to support my fellow vendors at events like this 😉 Hope to see you there!

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

How to host a destash on Instagram

I recently hosted a destash on Instagram. While doing some research in preparation for the destash, I was surprised at how little information was out there despite how popular destashing is these days. That said, I’m hoping this post will be helpful to others!

This post is heavily based on hosting a sewing supply/fabric destash because that is my craft of choice. However, most of these tips are universal.

Steps to hosting a destash

 1. Do your research

Here are some places to start: this is a list of great tips for a successful destash, here’s a post with destashing tips that go beyond hosting a sale on Instagram, and this step-by-step guide is from a paper crafter but her tips are super useful.

Ask for advice

I have a friend who hosts regular destashes that I reached out to immediately when I decided to host one of my own. She gave me lots of good advice and was there to answer questions as they arose. If you’ve got a friend who’s hosted a destash before, ask for their advice! If you don’t, find someone on Instagram – I received a private message from someone I have never met asking a question because she was in the process of doing some research to host her own destash. I happily shared what I learned in real-time–and, to be honest, she is the inspiration for this post!

 2. Gather the items for your destash & determine a schedule

Limit on maximum posts per day

I was not able to find an official statement from Instagram, but according to others you are limited to 100 posts per day on the platform.

Take this into consideration when planning your sale – you may need multiple days.

Separate into categories

When the declutter bug bit me, I started gathering items I was ready to part with and quickly realized that everything fit neatly into 4 categories: Books, Fabric, Patterns, and Supplies.

On that note, I decided to break my destash into 4 parts to post across 4 days:

Alternatively [if you have fewer than 100 items], you could post them all in one day, but separate them into categories by creating “divider posts” announcing that one section is done and you are posting the next (similar to how I posted at the end of each day – example).

Post across multiple days

I highly recommend considering it if you have a lot to post. It creates some additional anticipation for your followers and also gives you time to catch up so you’re not too overwhelmed.

 3. Develop a shipping plan

First, decide whether you want to offer international shipping.

Due to my limited experience shipping overseas, I decided against offering international shipping for my first destash. If you are comfortable shipping overseas, go for it – it’ll immediately expand your pool of potential customers!

Second, decide WHO will ship the packages.

This goes back to your shipping experience. I have had great success using my local USPS for shipping packages so I knew they were the carrier I would use.

Third, decide HOW you will ship the packages.

Options:

  1. Purchase your own shipping supplies. You can do this on Amazon or reuse boxes/folders/envelopes you already have (just be sure to remove any labels from the previous contents or wrap in Kraft paper to avoid confusion).
  2. Use flat rate envelopes/boxes. You can have the USPS ship flat rate shipping supplies directly to your home for free (so convenient!). Then you just pay the postage when you ship the package(s).

I chose to use flat rate shipping. The legal flat rate envelope was my most-used size. It was great for fabric and patterns. If you will be shipping items more delicate items, you may want to get some padded envelopes and/or boxes (medium, size 2 worked best for me).

If you have a scale to weigh your packages, you can calculate the shipping online pretty easily. Honestly, if I were savvier, I would have done that. The cost of shipping deterred at least 2 purchases that I was made aware of. 😦

Flat rate shipping is more costly for the buyer but more convenient for the seller – there are pros & cons for each option.

Fourth, determine shipping costs.

Once you have decided on your carrier, search their site for a shipping cost calculator. Here are links to a few: USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

For reference if you are using USPS Flat Rate shipping:

     ** shipping costs noted are current as of the time of this post (October 2018).

Other options to consider:

  1. You could include shipping in the price you list for the item.
  2. You could add shipping estimates to each item individually (this sounds really time consuming, but you do you).
  3. You could provide shipping estimates based on the amount purchased (based on yardage if you are just selling fabric or number of items if you want to encourage larger quantity purchases, etc.).
  4. You could calculate shipping after the order has been placed (so you can combine all items the buyer requests then have one shipping estimate for everything they choose).

Whatever you decide, specify clearly either in each individual post, your profile bio, and/or in a separate shipping post – make the information easy to find and understand.

Fifth, decide WHEN you will ship packages.

If you are hosting a multi-day destash (like I did), I would recommend shipping after the final day. So, my destash was Monday through Thursday with posts each night. To give enough time for customers to shop and for me to sort/package orders, I shipped the Monday after my destash began.

If you are posting your destash all at once, you may want to ship within a certain time-frame (example: within 3-5 days of payment received).

Last, draft your shipping “rules” to post.

Options:

  1. Include brief shipping information in your bio.
  2. Draft a separate post only about shipping (if you have a lot of shipping details you want to provide, this is a good option).
  3. Include your shipping information in your general rules post (this is good if you want to keep the important/pertinent information condensed to one post).

If you have an iPhone, use the “Notes” app on your phone to draft your shipping rules. Alternatively, you could use Canva or a similar program to create an image with your shipping rules listed (like this one).

 4. Create your RULES

Every destash needs rules so customers know what to do to claim the goods.

Take a look at destash accounts you already follow and/or find some to check out – examples:

  • MINE (pictured below)
  • @whatkatiesews_destash – she posted multiple images to flip through for the rules. I really like this idea – it’s so creative and really great for visual people/people who refuse to read long posts 😉
  • @kelbysews_destash
  • You can list your rules entirely in one image like @iamlunasol_destash.

This needs to be THE FIRST post so be sure you have it drafted and ready-to-go as soon as you create your account.

Create an image that stands out so that when followers visit your profile, they can tell immediately that it’s not a post of something for sale. I created a graphic in Canva and included “READ ME” in the image so it was obvious.

 5. Organize and track your inventory

Create a method that works for you to track your inventory/destash items. I created a Google Sheet for ease and accessibility, but an Excel spreadsheet or even a paper notebook (just don’t lose it) would work just fine.

Below is a screenshot of my “inventory” spreadsheet:

I created columns for the category, item for sale, description, price, buyer’s info, and dates.

If you have receipts from your original purchase of the item, reference those for pricing. While you hope to generate money from your destash, do not expect to profit. You are reselling items not selling brand-new inventory. Price your items to reflect that.

If you are not sure about how to price an item, do a quick google search to see what it’s selling for online. For fabric, you can find information about the designer and collection on the selvage so use that information in your search and again in your post (i.e. listing for the customer).

 6. Take photos of your inventory

Try to use natural light – if you have a table or clean space outdoors, that’s a great option. You could put a white sheet on some grass or your driveway to protect the item and provide a neutral backdrop. Or if you have a well-lit room/clean space by a window, that’s a good indoor option. Just do your best to accurately capture the color of the material and condition of the item (take close-up/detail shots of any “blemishes” and convey in the listing).

Include identifying information in the photo (optional)

Not only does this help the customer, but it will help YOU when you start drafting your posts.

I used pieces of scrap paper – below is an example:

the note beside the fabric includes the dimensions for reference

Take detail shots

If you have an item with a special detail (or flaw), take a close-up photo and include it as an additional image (Click here to learn how to share multiple photos in one post on Instagram).

A “detail shot” to show off the metallic print

PS: You don’t need a fancy camera for photos – I used my iPhone. While you want to take the best possible pictures, you are not opening a professional store. This is a DESTASH – think of it as a sophisticated garage sale 😉

 7. Create your account

Choose your handle

Most people just add “destash” to their current Instagram profile name so that it’s easily identified with them. Add a period (.) or underscore (_) before “destash” to separate visually.

My personal account has a somewhat long handle (@jordanslicemet) so I condensed it a little for my destash handle and just used my first name: @jordans.destash.

Write your bio

Information to include in your bio:

  • Who you are (name/personal IG handle) – You can link your personal account so people can click over and get an idea for your aesthetic.
  • What you will be destashing (i.e. “sewing supply & fabric destash”)
  • Basic rules and shipping information (there’s a character limit so keep it short)

 8. Promote your destash!

Share about your destash on your personal Instagram account and with all of your sewing friends. You may even want to share on Facebook or other social media platforms.

Unless you have a large following on your destash account already, I would recommend sharing and promoting your destash for a few days before you launch the sale (I wouldn’t wait any longer than a week because people will lose interest/forget).

Share about your destash AFTER you have 1) created your account so you can link to it, 2) posted your RULES, 3) posted your shipping “policy.” I would also add a photo after your rules & shipping with information about WHEN the sale will start or include the dates/times in your bio. (I recommend separating your rules post and your sale dates so that when the sale is over you have the option to delete the post with your dates but keep the rules posted.)
Share sneak peeks

Leading up to the start of your destash, try to share sneak peek photos (example: I shared the photo below of my daughter with some of the fabric we were measuring in preparation for the detash).

To stay “relevant” (aka: active/in your feed), you could post related quotes, memes, etc. Just make sure they are relevant and [obviously] not offensive (stick to your topic at hand – no politics or opinions about things other than how great your destash items are).

Example: I shared this post in the days leading up to my sale.

 9. Load your posts as DRAFTS before your sale

Mega-time saver!

After you have your photos, start loading them into your Instagram account as drafts.

Click here for the official instructions, but below is the jist:

  1. While logged into your account, click on the + icon in the middle of your screen to start a post.
  2. Select your photos and proceed.
  3. Enter your caption then click the backward arrow in the upper left corner of the screen.
  4. Click the arrow again and click “Save Draft”

As you navigate backwards, you will get the option to: Save Draft (which saves the post as a draft), Discard (which deletes the draft), or Cancel.

I have not been able to find a limit for the number of drafts you can have loaded at one time. However, I’ve had over 20 at a time with no issue. To note, only 4 drafts will show when you click the “+” button to post. If you click “Manage” (see image below), you can then access all of your drafts – this is helpful if you are trying to post in a certain order.

Include relevant hashtags in your posts!

When drafting your posts, be sure to include destash-related hashtags. Below are a few I used:

 10. Post your items

The moment you’ve been waiting for!

I advertised that I’d be posting at 8:00pm EST (I picked this time because I could guarantee my hands would be free since it’s after Andy goes to sleep 😉 ). I set a reminder on my phone to go off at 8:00pm to remind me to post for that day (I also set one to remind me to construct the draft posts).

Because I already had my posts saved as drafts, I had everything posted within minutes (no staying up late for me!). HERE are official instructions on how to share posts saved as drafts.

I highly recommend creating a post to notify followers when you are done (so they’re not waiting around to see what’s coming next).

Because my destash spread across multiple days, I posted an “end” photo each evening (example). This was also good as a visual separation since the days were chosen by the type of item – so, followers could go to my profile and scroll between each of the “end” images (they were consistent visually) to see a particular group of items.

Include information in your “end post” relating to when buyers will receive invoices (or if they already have) and when to pay, when to expect packages to ship, or any other remaining information (you could even offer a discount on anything that is still available).

Click the image to view my “Thank You” (end post) in Instagram

 11. Track purchases.

I created a second spreadsheet within the same workbook I used to track inventory called “invoices” where I tracked information for items that sold.

In this worksheet I tracked the buyer’s name, items for their invoice, costs (I built formulas in some of these cells to sum/total for me), PayPal email address, dates, address, and tracking number for the package. I have blanked identifying information in the screenshot below. The yellow cells indicate information that I needed/did not have.

At minimum, I highly recommend tracking purchases including all information for the buyer that you need for invoicing and shipping. This is good to have on hand if you ever need it for reference (at least until the package has been confirmed as delivered).

 12. Send invoices & collect payments.

PayPal is the most popular method for destash payments. It’s very easy to “request money” from someone as long as you have their email address.

I sent the invoices as requests for payment and included a list of the items they purchased in the notes area for reference. Alternatively, you could create a more formal invoice.

PayPal does charge a small fee so take that into account with your pricing. Despite the fee, I think it’s well worth it for convenience.

 13. Provide high quality customer service.

You are technically running a shop of sorts so treat your potential buyers/customers how you like to be treated when shopping.

  1. Respond promptly to comments and DM’s. Your efficiency at answering customer questions can impact your sales. {PS: Be sure to check your message requests in case you are not following the sender – here’s how to}
  2. Provide updates to buyers via DM. Keep your buyers updated throughout the process (i.e. let them know when you send the invoice, when you receive their payment, when you ship the package, etc.).
  3. Upsell, but don’t be pushy. Because I was using flat rate shipping, I was motivated to stuff the packages as full as possible (I always want to get my “money’s worth” 😉 ). So, I messaged customers after they chose their initial items to ask if they wanted to add anything without increasing their shipping – particularly for orders that had a lot of extra space in the package. This was helpful both for me (it helped me “move more inventory”) and for them (spreading shipping costs across multiple items is more economical). Be careful with this: Try to present this offer softly with an easy way for them to decline kindly and respect their choice.
  4. Include a hand-written note. I used to do this when I had an Etsy shop. It’s always a nice personal touch to receive a hand-written note when you order something online.

I used my pinking sheers to cut strips of fabric scraps and an old needle to stitch them onto scrap card stock. I included the buyer’s name on the front and a note on the back. {similar to this tutorial}

 14. Remove posts as you ship them.

Nothing is worse than opening a destash account, falling head-over-heels for something they have posted only to find that it has already been snagged by someone else in the comments.

This isn’t so bad if the item hasn’t shipped yet (i.e. your sale is still open/has just begun) because a person could comment to be a back-up in case the original buyer passes on the item).

Once the payment has been received and the package has been shipped, ARCHIVE the post. Archiving the post (rather than actually deleting the post), will remove the post from your feed (i.e. it will no longer be visible to potential customers as they view your profile and posts). You can do this by clicking the 3 dots in the upper right corner then choosing “Archive”:

Archiving a post is handy because you don’t lose the original post information – including comments. So, if you ever need to reference that information in the future, you have it!

To view a post after it has been archived and/or to add it back to your feed: click on your profile then click the clock circle icon in the upper left corner. When I did this, I was confused because I didn’t see the posts. If you click on the arrow at the top of the screen, you will be given the option to switch to archived posts (it appears to default on stories):

HERE is more information about archiving a post on Instagram.

Phew! I know that was a lengthy guide, but I hope you found it helpful.

If you are hosting a destash, leave a link to your account where others can shop in the comments below!

 

My 2018 Sewing Goals

I realize we are now 2/3 of the way through the year so I’m just a weeeee bit late setting annual goals, but I have been feeling a real pull to set goals lately. This was sparked by a combination of binge listening to the Love to Sew podcast (specifically the episode on Planningand feeling very scattered (both emotionally as well as physically in regards to the fact that I have many works-in-progress collecting dust).

It’s also Libra “season” so naturally (as a Libra) I’m seeking balance 😉

 1. Sew my stash

I heard about this on Episode 30 of the Love to Sew podcast, but I have had this idea (to some degree) for a while.

Over the years I have really decreased my fabric-purchasing-sprees and tried to focus on buying only when I didn’t have the right substrate for the project. However, I was inspired to push this goal further after hearing about #makeyourstash.

Goal: For the remainder of 2018, I will sew only with fabric already in my stash – no new fabric will be purchased.

2. Finish sewing my current works-in-progress

I have several projects that I’ve started and abandoned (temporarily). I would like to save these WIP’s from dying a slow, quiet death in the dusty oblivion of forgotten fabric. Even if they are never worn (but they will be), they deserve to be complete.

Embarrassingly, I have more than the 2 listed below, but these are the 2 I’m forcing myself to finish.

Arenite Pants

At first I wasn’t sure this pattern was for me.. until I saw Meg’s version!

Arenite pants inspiration from Meg

I made it as far as sewing the leg panels together before realizing I cut the front seam incorrectly after sewing (I trimmed both seams preventing me from creating the felled seam in the instructions. I have a French-seam-ish idea + sewing a smaller seam allowance to finish the sides of the pants that will hopefully allow the pants to still fit #fingerscrossed). That said, I was frustrated with my irreversible mistake so they have been sitting in time-out.

Harrington Shorts

These shorts have been on my to-make list for years (literally. I promised them to Jeremy for his birthday 3+ years ago). I pulled the pattern out after Andy was born and cut into some Essex Linen I’d been hoarding. Sewing is my love language and my husband was incredible during those first few weeks having a newborn – I really wanted to make something special for him. He’s still wonderful so he still deserves these 😉

I’ve only found one completed pair of Harrington shorts in the blogosphere, but the review sounds like they’re worth powering through. I’ve got some minor adjustments to make before I hem them (they’re really close to being done!).

Goal: By the end of 2018, I will finish sewing my black Arenite Pants and the Harrington shorts for Jeremy.

 3. Purge my closet

I recently checked out a copy of The Curated Closet from my local library and have been reading through it…making notes and doing most of the activities.

Jenny posted a really great review of the book on The Curvy Sewing Collective if you’re wondering how this book relates to sewing.

Goal: Condense closet into 3 categories outlined in The Curated Closet: Basics, Key Pieces, Statement Pieces to identify gaps in wardrobe. Purge pieces that no longer fit my style.

 4. Make a PLAN for sewing in 2019

Sometimes I feel a little lost when I finish a project. I have so many ideas of what I want to sew next running through my head at all times that once I finally reach the point of being able to start the next project, I feel too overwhelmed to make a choice. Then I get stuck in the planning phase trying to decide what to make next.

Developing a sewing PLAN will help my indecisiveness and hopefully help me stay on track with my goals (and maybe even be more efficient!). Basing this plan off of what I discover based on Goal #3 above will be helpful to keep me focused on pieces I need and will undoubtedly wear and enjoy for years to come.

Goal: Use my Colette Sewing Planner to map out 6 garments to make in 2019.

Do you set goals? Do you stick to them? Share your tips with me!

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Random Things I’m Lovin’ this Month

1. Flow Space Fitness’ Blog & Embracing moments of FLOW

Some friends of ours have opened a pop-up fitness studio and through the process they have both been sharing incredible posts on the blog.

Earlier this month, Zach shared about the state of FLOW. This can often be a buzz word, but if you dig into the science it is so neat.

Photo credit: Flow Space Fitness

I also loved this post from Erica about how she lost weight.

2. These 5 ways to stop comparing yourself to others

I recently set up a Flipboard account (which I totally recommend – it’s like Pinterest for news/blogs). A post called How I Finally Stopped Comparing Myself to Others – And 5 Ways You Can Do It Too came up on my feed and I immediately clicked over.

My favorite quote from the post:

Be more of who you are, rather than trying to be more of someone else. The former is exhilarating; the latter, impossible.

3. A Mediocre Life

I am really feeling Libra season approaching – seeking balance and harmony. I ran across this article shared by becoming minimalist on Facebook and it was just what I needed to hear.

4. Hearing how others incorporate self-care into their lives

love hearing how others are incorporating self-care into their lives. Not only is it refreshing to hear others talk about prioritizing their own happiness (you can’t pour from an empty vessel), but it sparks new ideas for my own life!

Sharnice from The Garden of She recently posted some ideas for Self-Care September.

PS: If you’re interested, you can read about how I balance creativity, self-care, & motherhood in this post.

5. Reading

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. Right now I’m reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown – I’m also on my library’s waiting list for Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection (I think I’m mistakenly reading these out-of-order, but hopefully that won’t matter). I’ve heard really great things about her books and am excited to dig into these.

I’m also reading and implementing the activities from The Curated Closet. This book is incredible if you are craving a simpler wardrobe and/or honing in on what “your style” really is.

Andy helping me read.

If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them!

Motherhood

6. Public Restrooms with a Coat Hanger Beside the Changing Table

RANDOM I KNOW, but any parent who has held their dirty-diaper-wearing-baby while debating on a clean spot to set the diaper bag that will be within reach once the wiggly baby is naked on the changing table is clapping right now.

When Hurricane Florence looked like a monster barreling in to eat the Carolina coast, we debated using it as an excuse to visit the in-laws in Atlanta. Finally, we decided to go. The Hubs had to work and was going to bring the dogs so Andy & I were on our own for the 4-ish hour drive.

We stopped often and not once did any of the bathrooms have a hook beside the changing table (if they had one at all) and I kept thinking how great that would be. The next day we were at Zoe’s Kitchen for lunch and guess what I found beside the changing table?! So handy. And such an easy, cheap solution.

7. Reminders to soak up the littleness while I can

Andy is changing so fast. The cliche saying that “babies don’t keep” is totally true. What’s also true: time moves at lightning speed once you have a baby. From the beginning I have tried so hard to soak in the little moments and not wish any of this time away. But I’m human. And I find myself wondering and wishing for future milestones. Reading this beautiful post about soaking in the littleness was a real perspective-changer.

Share the article with your mama-friends. It might be just what they needed to hear.

Sewing / Creativity

8. Love to Sew Podcast

I saw a spike in blog traffic at the end of last month and realized Helen’s Closet was to credit (thank you, Helen!). Then I fell down the rabbit hole of the podcast she hosts with Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics called Love to Sew.

So far I have loved every episode I have listened to! My very favorite so far was Episode 34: Intentional Making with Aidan Owen.

9. Jess’ honesty about sewing & body positivity

I really appreciated Jess’ honesty in this post. She admits that sewing your own garments does not equate to high body-positivity which I think is a really good point.

Photo credit: Jess Sews Clothes

10. Kicking Libra Season off with a Destash

Libra Season has me feeling motivated so I purged my sewing stash! Starting on Monday (10/1), I’ll be posting sewing books, patterns, fabric, supplies and other sewing-related goodies that are looking for a new home on my destash account on Instagram: @jordans.destash.

Follow along for some stellar deals!

PS: Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts for your warm embrace and responses to my last post. Sharing my family’s story was scary, but I am so very glad we did. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of your heartfelt comments, messages, and thoughts – you are amazing.

What have you been lovin’ this month? Let me know in the comments so I can jump on your bandwagon!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}