Where else you can find me

11.04.2018

Leather & Wool Slippers DIY

Confession: I love slippers. Actually, both me and my husband LOVE slippers. No matter what season, if we're home, we're wearing slippers. My sister gave me this book a few months ago and I was instantly drawn to a section that talks about the Japanese culture of Wabi Sabi and how it is custom to remove your shoes when entering someone's home. Most homeowners have a basket of house slippers for guests to make them feel comfortable while they're visiting. I love this line: "Silly as it may seem, wearing the same footwear as everyone else can provide that feeling of belonging we often crave." 

As soon as I read it, I knew we needed a basket of slippers like this. Per usual, I turned to DIY. I stopped by a local leather shop and browsed their scrap section and got 2 large scraps for $5 and then bought a yard of synthetic wool. I imagine these materials will be enough for 10 pairs of slippers, so far I've made four in various sizes. 


 Materials: Leather scraps (approximately 3 sq. ft.), Synthetic Wool, Contact cement, Paper, Sewing Machine with leather needle or awl and thread to sew by hand.

How To: Trace a shoe on a piece of paper to create a pattern and cut out the shape. Fold a piece of printer size paper in half and cut a half-moon shape. You'll want the sides to extend 2.5 inches past your shoe shape on both sides. Trace these patterns on your leather and back side of the wool, turning the patterns over to create the opposite foot shape. Glue the leather and wool pieces together and line up the moon shape to the shoe and sew around the edge. Cut off any excess wool and thread.








 As the temperature drops and the holidays inch closer and closer, I hope these slippers help friends relax while they're here.


10.31.2018

Master Bathroom Reveal | Before & After



It is about time I compile a before and after post for our master bath addition we did early 2017. I've put off this post for so long because some details like styling were never finished. But a whole year and a half later I've come to terms that they won't be finished any time soon and I don't have to keep putting off this post. 

To catch up, here are the before plans, part one of progress, and part two.  

Our home was built in the 1930s and our bedroom was a large addition added later on by the previous owners. It is an abnormally large room that we knew we could divide into a master suite. With adding a bathroom, we knew this would add equity to our home value. A home in our area with two bathrooms is a big selling point. 

Here is what the room looked like before. Note that large king-sized platform bed is making the room seem proportional. When we removed the bed, we had so much space to work with. We decided to work with the two windows instead of drywall so the bathroom would get ample natural light. 



Jordan and I saved up for a couple years to pay cash for the bathroom and started by writing down our must-haves. Of course, we started with a Pinterest board and ran from there. Our contractor started construction while we were on vacation since we didn't want to be living in it while the messy parts were going on. I believe it took around 3 months to complete since our contractor lived a couple hours away but we are in love with the outcome!

 Adding a room is always hard to photograph since you're making something out of nothing but in the photo below you can see the opposite wall to the one above.

The floating vanity was built by our friend and local craftsman, Jake Fowler. You may remember he also reupholstered our living room chairs.  The sconces are from Amazon ($37!) and I love the mixing of metals here.

We are still learning how to keep the glass on our shower clean but I think the trick is to squeegee the glass immediately after showering. At first, I loved the matte black penny tile but it has stained (shown in the photos) so I can't recommend it for a shower. We've tried so many ways to clean it up but have had no luck. Any tips?
I love the quality and look of the Delta Trinsic Line we used in the shower and sink faucet. We will probably use this in our small bathroom renovation in the future! The floor to ceiling subway tile is a nod to the kitchen tile to tie the home together. 

For the windows, we used a privacy spray paint and it's worked beautifully!

Originally, we planned to add a sliding door to separate the bathroom from our room but after living with it for a year and a half I actually like how the spaces are open to one another. Although we have the hardware, I think we will keep things open for now. I'm sure that isn't a popular decision but I like the suite feel it has. 

I think what I've learned from this is to live with your home. Add and take away things that aren't fitting quite right. I've had different mirrors and rugs in here and ultimately took them away to allow breathing space. That's my favorite thing about decorating and renovating, always changing things to fit your family's needs and lifestyle. 

Overall, we love our bathroom and I learned a lot going through my first big renovation. On to the next bathroom reno!



10.22.2018

Silobration 2018: Prep work & Building a booth!

This past weekend my business, Shop Always Rooney, had the huge opportunity to be a vendor at the Magnolia Silobration. I've never done anything like it before so going into it I was a little intimidated on how everything worked. Of course when we arrived, the team and all the other vendors were extremely welcoming and helpful and made us newbies feel like family.

When prepping for the vendor fair, I had SO many questions and I feel like it is something people are not transparent about online. I thankfully had so many friends and family helping me out that made me feel prepared but I know someone may come across this that feels as I did in the beginning: overwhelmed and intimidated.

So here is a short little series on my experience and how things came together. First up, the prep work and how we built the booth. Just a disclaimer, I can't stress enough how much you need people alongside you when doing any vendor event or anything in your business. If you're anything like me, pride can get the best of you and can make you think you can do it all (I mean, I love a good DIY) but if I've learned anything this year it is you will go further if you go together.

Building the Booth

I drew up on my iPad a sketch of what I wanted the booth to look like. I knew I wanted three tall walls that would make my 10x10 space feel like a storefront and to be a clean canvas to display my leather products. 

My friend Rachel has been working with her new Inventables cnc machine to create beautiful signs. I asked her to help out and she jumped on board with the process of cutting out "Always Rooney". It was so fun to watch and crazy what that machine can do! We used a thin mdf board, sanded down the edges and spray painted it black for a smooth finish. 

For the booth build-out, my bro-in-law Aric helped design and come up with how we could quickly and effectively assemble the booth with just two people. First, we measured the vehicle we were taking with us so we wouldn't have to rent a truck or trailer and planned accordingly. Knowing we had 8ftx4 feet to work with, Aric planned everything to be in panels no wider than four feet. 

We attached the logo to the back wall with velcro (thanks to my Mom for the great idea) which made it so easy to attach when we arrived. 

We planned where to put the shelves before-hand but detached them for the drive. The main design feature of the booth was to keep about two-three feet behind the back wall to keep inventory, shopping bags and extra marketing cards. 

I knew I wanted a mirror for the space so when customers were trying on bags they could see how they fit them. I ended up using a cricut machine and cutting out my website and instagram handle in black vinyl so if someone took a picture, they could remember where to find me!

Finally, I had a local sign company create vinyls for the side walls to give more context to the products. I am so glad I did this because it helped answer a few questions as a customer was in our space. I think it really added to the whole booth. 

Of course, I didn't just plan a simple booth because of how my brain works so don't feel like you have to go all out like we did. This was just what I chose and I loved the end product! Thle beautiful thing is your space is a blank canvas and as long as your goal is reflective of your brand and doable for you to put together, that is a win.

Marketing Materials

A big upside to having your product at a vendor fair is the amount of people that will be familiarized with your brand. When Jordan and I signed up for this event, we went in with the mindset of getting the brand out there as well as our products. Yes, a sale was nice but sharing our story and brand with people was important to us and something we couldn't measure. So we went prepared with three pieces of marketing materials we gave out. First, simple business cards. These will transfer to anything we do and so I bought a lot to carry on after the event. 

Next, we printed postcard sized cards. On the front I had a photo of myself with my products so people would remember which booth we were and on the back I had what we specialized in (personalized leather travel goods) as well as a website and social handle. 

Lastly, each customer who purchased a product on site received a thank you card and a coupon for holiday orders because we are so grateful for the support. This card also had a picture on the back of our products so they would remember what we sold. 

Our back wall with the logo became a marketing material we didn't even think about! People stopped just to take a picture which made us smile every single time. 

Everything we printed was through Vista Print! 







Inventory

Inventory. This was a big one to plan for! I probably went back and forth a hundred times over how much to bring for this event. What I ended up doing was take the expected number of attendees to the event and multiply it by .01 to find out what 1% was. I planned accordingly to imagine if one percent bought something, we would be prepared. I have no clue why I did that, but it worked! Ha. I wouldn't advise you to do the same...I'm just sharing what I did. It's not a scientific fact haha.

I also looked at the time I had to prepare and my most popular items. Time played a huge factor in my prep work. My advice is to just do what you can and make sure you have marketing materials in place for if you sell-out!

I had my parents come help (yes, they are the BEST) prepare inventory and Jordan helped do all the finishing work on every product. I couldn't have done it without them!



Staying In Your Lane

One of the most difficult things about preparing your (very small) business for a vendor fair is learning to say no to unimportant things. I'm a dreamer, so while working I had big ideas for things that we just couldn't pull off in a short time frame and with only two people working the booth. So I wrote those ideas down and tucked them away for later. It's always easy to look at other people and what they're doing and feel like you have to do the same but stay.in.your.lane. 

For example, a large part of my business is personalization. I wanted to have personalization on the spot for customers (and will one day) but for just me and Jordan working the booth we agreed it would be a lot of pressure and overwhelming. So we went with plan B and provided free shipping for orders made on the event weekend to get it to them the following week - free of charge. 

The other big piece of advice I got from a good friend was to cover the prep work and event in prayer. Asking God for wisdom and grace to walk this out. I can't tell you how much of a mental battle something like this can be and I had to constantly stop myself and remember God had graced me for this, but I couldn't do it without Him.