Growing and Expanding

Posted on March 05, 2013 by 1 | 0 comments

[caption id="attachment_356" align="alignleft" width="150"]Designing a Hang Tag Designing a Hang Tag[/caption]

As Jack and Mary Designs continues to grow and expand I look for more efficient and cost ways to do things without losing site of my core values.

Throughout this journey I continue to value being a female owned handmade in Maine company that designs and creates artfully crafted accessories from recycled materials.
When I first started making mittens from recycled wool sweaters, I would trace the mitten pattern onto a sweater and hand cut each pair.  Now I supply a Maine Mill with sweaters and they die cut our mittens. I used to buy all of my sweaters individually from EBay and now I have resources to buy used sweaters in bulk. The buttons for my mittens used to come from my personal button stash, then my mothers and then my mother in law. Now they come from a variety of resources. My first labels were embroidered on a sheet of 20 by a local seamstress and then cut apart with pinking sheers and costs $1.00 a label.  Now I have my labels made in bulk (5,000) and the cost about $.12 each.
It is now time to redesign my hang tag. I want to design a tag that will work well with all of my products. I used to use a full business card. Then I went to a glossy 1/2 business card created by www.Moo.com.   They work great as tags but they have to be hand whole punched, strung and hand tied onto products.
My current project is to redesign my Hang Tag.  A lot of information has to be conveyed in a small space. I am in the process of working with a graphic designer to help me create a new hang tag. I really like the designs he created and now I have to make a choice or modify one of his designs. Then I have to chose the card stock for the tag and find someone to print the tags.

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What's Your Style?

Posted on February 01, 2013 by 1 | 0 comments

It’s January 2013, the beginning of a new year for Jack and Mary Designs.

I have a new studio and am looking forward to another great year.  I feel like I am organized but I know I am also messy. So is Organized Messy a style? I decided to do some research to help me become a less messy and organized person. 217580225716939076_AwcDaZa9_cFirst I needed to figure out what causes me to be messy. There are hiders and seekers. Some people like everything in drawers, tucked away and not to be seen by the human eye unless you are working with it. Then there are seekers, who like to be able to see most things and with a visual scan of the room know where everything is.   I am a seeker. I do not like to look for things. Once something is tucked away in a drawer it is out of sight out of mind for me. This is not a great way to run a business. I need constant visual reinforcements to remind me of tasks.   In my new studio I decided to use open shelving and open storage tools. I went to Target and stocked up on clear plastic containers – lots of them. I also located my trusty label maker. I organized all of my tools and materials into clear bins and labeled their content. I love the way my studio looks. We are 3 weeks into 2013 and so far the seeker open shelf/clear container concept is working for me. I will post an update later in the year. Happy New Year!

Posted in Blog & News, Jack and Mary Designs mittens made in Maine what's your style?

"Hookers" Take Scraps

Posted on January 26, 2013 by 1 | 0 comments

[caption id="attachment_329" align="alignright" width="211"]Sweater Scraps Sweater Scraps[/caption]

Jack and Mary Designs produces a lot of sweater scraps.

Most of the larger scrap pieces are created into a product or part of a product – the Flower Pins, dots for the dot scarves and flowers for the fingerless mittens. Even after all of this recycling I am still left with a large volumes of sweater scraps. I have saved the scraps hoping to come up with an idea to incorporate into a new product. No luck so far and I am beginning to look like a hoarder. I decided to post my dilemma on Facebook to see if someone had a useful idea. Wow, I hit the idea Jackpot. The ideas ranged from a patchwork scarf, school art department, humane society, bird nesters, an art project, coffee cozies and Rug Hookers. I decided to start with the “Hookers” as in rug hookers. I learned that some rug hookers use wool scraps to create rugs. The woman I spoke with was personally interested in four bags. She was attending a Regional Rug Hookers meeting and was going to make an announcement about Jack and Mary Designs bags of wool scraps to see if others were interested. Once I hear back from them I will follow up on the other suggestions.  Thanks Facebook and thanks to all responders.

   

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Say Yes to Hats this Winter

Posted on December 27, 2012 by 1 | 0 comments

Most of your body heat escapes through your head. True or False? I believe that this statement is true. I am a hat wearer and love the cozy warmth and protection from the elements a hat provides. fade-hats2I recently read an article that partially disproves my theory. The article states that an experiment was done in the 1950's in which soldiers were sent into subzero temps wearing survival suits - and no hats. Shockingly, they lost a lot of heat through their heads! A hypothermia expert states that you'd lose just as much heat or more if you put on a hat and left, say, your left leg bare. So, my theory is to cover up everything including your head. There are a lot of great Hats to wear! www.JackandMaryDesigns.com

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F*** the Tree

Posted on December 18, 2012 by 1 | 0 comments

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Last fall I spent a great weekend reuniting with a fabulous group of southern women that I had not seen in 15 years.

We arrived at a NC Beach House over the course of a day and by evening we were all settled in sharing sharing stories, mostly laughing, a little crying, sharing good food and tasty beverages. We all met many years ago when our children attended High Park Church Pre School in Fayetteville NC. They were all from the south. I was an Army wife whom they so graciously invited into their group. We kept in touch over the years but children, husbands, careers and life got in the way. One thing I learned from these Southern women while I lived amongst them was they know how to decorate, entertain and look good - always. Their homes always looked amazing and were decorated to the hilt especially on holidays. So, flash forward 15 years - we were sitting around talking about what we had given up over the years. As we went around the room sharing each one of these Southern Women shared a story about being too stressed out at the holidays and how they had forgone the Christmas Tree - me included. Thus the phrase F*** the Tree was coined.

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Fall is Here

Posted on October 19, 2012 by 1 | 0 comments

  Fall is here - Chilly mornings, cooler days and earlier evenings. Fall is flying by, but now we get to pull out all of our  fall/winter accessories that we packed away last year. If haven't tried them, Fingerless Mittens are a great option for cool fall days.   Fingerless Mittens are a hybrid of glove and mitten. which contains open-ended sheaths for the four fingers  and  an additional compartment for the thumb. Fingerless mittens can be warn both inside and outside. They provide just the right amount of warmth and also leave your fingers free to drive, text, and anything else where dexterity is required. www.JackandMaryHandbags.com

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Favorite Free App Blast

Posted on August 19, 2012 by 1 | 0 comments

  I want to give a shout out to Songza, a free music streaming service. Songza is different from other music streaming services for two reasons: the playlists on Songza are made by music experts and Songza helps people find playlists by personalizing the Songza experience based on the time of day mood or activity. This morning I logged into my Songza App and was greeted by the following choices -  It's Sunday Late Morning, play music for; Working Out, Waking Up, Summertime, Recovering from Last Night, Reading the Paper, Cooking Breakfast. I decided to go for a run and chose work out. I was then given 6 choices from Pop, Rap, Eclectic, Classic, Rock and Electronic. I chose Pop. I then had a choice of 3 selections - Drop-a-beat, Today's Dance Club Hits and All-Pop Workout. I chose Drop -a-beat and had a continuous play of 61 songs including; Adele, Pink, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Havana Brown, no doubt, The Wanted, Rihana, David Guetta and much more. If you do not like the choices you just scroll back and chose another genre. Give Songza a try if you are looking for - Crisp audio -A Music Concierge that presents music based on time of day - Numerous themed lists, including community-curated playlists - Solid recommendation engine - No audio ads. www.songza.com  

Posted in Blog & News