Destash Update

As I previously mentioned, I have been trying to figure out what to do with myself lately. And I think I need to start all over again.

Sort of.

With so many awful changes on Etsy, since last year, I would be lying if I did not realize that it has contributed to a steady decline in shop sales, in my Simbiosis shop. My shop, that has been around since 2006 has been slowly dying off. My husband told me that he "thinks" that the problem was that I opened up the supply shop.

Well, yes....and NO.

Dividing my time between handmade and re-selling was hard, but I found a way to make it work.

What he did not understand, and what the Etsy forums where full of, is the fact that a shop, does not become irrelevant overnight.

THAT is what happened.

My shop became a death zone.

It is like I ceased to exist.

I am not going to say my shop is the one that sold THE most gadget covers.

Not at all.

I have eyes. And I have been well aware of other shops that have done it just as long, and better, and kept at it. I have also seen a shop start after me, and surpass me. Which is fine ( what can I say, really?) and kind of mind boggling, in the simple fact that I have seen quiet a few pictures that have been posted on social media of customers showing their purchases...and uh....I guess all my effort into sending perfectly rounded corners, straight bottom seams, and top stitching for all these years has pretty much been in vain.

I guess the faster (and a bit sloppy) I can turn out gadget covers, the more my sales would have increased.

Well, OK then.

So what happened?

I can think of quiet a few things.

I can not compete with shops that have HIGH daily "Etsy Ad Budgets".

I was helpless to stop etsy from getting rid of a front page.

It was not my idea to stop categories from being easy to understand.

I never wanted a NEW person to etsy to look around, and see ONLY "suggested" items.

I would not have used "relevant" as opposed to newly listed, as what a person is shown when "searching" for something.

I have no control over what page I (or rather--- A---) gadget cover shows up on. Do I wish my cases where featured on every single page...including several cases a page, starting at page 1?

Yes.  That would have been helpful. But I guess that is reserved for other shops.

So what should I do?

Retake all my pictures?

Re-do all my shop tags? (did it)

Change my descriptions? (done it)

Charge a lot less for my work? (nope)

Open up 2-3 stores selling the exact same thing?

Give up?

Well... this option is the one that has pretty much been the most appealing to me, if it where not for one tiny thing.

THIS... my shops..is how I make a living.

How I pay for my half of the mortgage. How I buy groceries. How I pay bills.

And let me tell you, that it has been a bit scary lately, but I am chugging along...barely.

So it comes down to me finishing feeling sorry for myself ( not quiet there yet, but with the shitty year I have had so far including the loss of my Mother in law in January, I am allowed to self wallow in some misery for a few more days ) and maybe a fresh start.

Now I just need a bit of seed money and motivation.

If you sew... or know someone that does, I would really appreciate you letting them know that I am selling a bunch of sewing supplies.

I have listed a ton of new zippers and some quilting things I never used. I am going to start listing fabrics this week, but the zippers took up more time than I thought.

They are in my destash shop:  www.pinkowlfabric.etsy.com

Yes, this was a whiny post, but I think everyone is entitled to feel this way, when they see something that they have spent years, and hours into..pretty much fall apart.



As you may have noticed, the SBJ shop has been closed for over a week now.
I am still trying to figure out if I should keep it as it is, or go back to to selling only small, ready to ship items.
If I am brutally honest, I no longer have a love of sewing. I lost it when I became a maker of the same item over and over again, and not to mention gadget covers that are lost in an ocean of complete look-alikes, are not fun to make.
I am a creative person. I like making things that are useful and pretty. I honestly do not like being told what to do, and this is how the Simbiosisbyjulia shop has felt like to me for the last 3 years.
I went from being a creator, to a one woman sweat shop.
I don't want to be that anymore.
I am still doing some soul searching, but as much as I would love to continue on this way, I have to make a living. Most likely, I will be selling off ALOT of fabrics and sewing supplies in my destash shop:www.pinkowlfabric.etsy.com starting next week and I will be let you know when I re-open the simbiosisbyjulia shop.


This was a LONG time coming. I honestly kept this blog only because it was a part of my Bio in the Zakka book I contributed a project to. As far as actually wanting to blog in the proper sense of the word, the last time was around the time we purchased our home. But I honestly never wanted to share personal things on the internet, and as much as I would have LOVED to be a "craft/sewing" blogger, my Etsy shops have me on a working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, and my few hours, and days off, I just want to be with my amazing Mele, my four-legged kids and enjoy life.

I am still going to be around. Sort of. My Simbiosis shop FaceBook page will be updated, when there is something worth posting, and that will include when I do one of my fabric de-stashing sales ( which I have one coming up, next month ) and when I update the shop, or have a sale.

I have a instagram account that is fairly new, but I am pretty active on it, and have a little bit of what I love ( sewing / my kiddos / decoden / daily life ) posted.

I looked thru my post's, and easily deleted the majority of them. Maybe one day, I'll find a way to become the crafting/sewing blogger, I always wanted to be, but for now, I'll keep this silly post up, and the tutorials.



Easy Camera Strap Tutorial

Being in desperate need of a camera strap, for my trip to the quilt show this weekend, I not only finally used some of my precious (using golums voice) monsterz fabric, but I took it one step further, and decided to write up this tutorial as well.

Camera Strap Tutorial:
Sewing level: easy/beginer

Materials needed:

1- FQ of fabric or a quick dig thru your (or a friends, when they are not looking) scrap basket
1- Piece of Pellon 911FF Fusible Interfacing
2- 1" Swivel Hooks 

Measure your swivel hook! I used an approximately 1", so if you have a bigger or smaller one on hand, be sure and adjust the measurements to suit your needs.

Since I am using a FQ, and a print that goes in one direction, I cut out two, 2" wide x 21" long pieces of fabric.

Why this interfacing?

Because it is very flexible and has a nice thickness to it.

Iron interfacing to wrong side of fabric. 

 Trim off any extra.

Fold straps in half, and steam iron.

Since my print is one directional (yes, I already mentioned it) and if you use something along the same lines, stitch both pieces together, to make one long strap. (1/4" seam) 

Now, do a quick stitch along the bottom of both ends of the strap.


Back to the ironing board: Press open your top center seam. Now fold and press 1/4" along the entire length, on both sides. (see photo bellow) Then press the strap one more time (folds on the inside) while folded in half.

I know that there are funny looking, skinny metal doo-hickeys that one can use to turn fabric right side out, when your sewing a thin strap, but this method here, is how I make my thin straps. Mainly because once you turn the fabric right side out (with the doo-hickey) not only is it wrinkled, and starting to fray, but there is no way to press your seam open. My way is a bit faster (or it seems so to me, since I have been doing it for years) you seams stay nice and ironed, no fraying, and no metal doo-hickey contraption is required.

 And now we do the top stitch all along one side, and then the other.

Slip on your swivel hooks, then end is near!

Fold in about 1/2" over the hook, and stitch back and forth a few times, you want to make sure that sucker isn't going anywhere!



If you are using a all-over print fabric, cut one 2" x 44" length of fabric, and skip the center seam part of the tutorial.

Step-by-step instructions where given, because we all started sewing wanting to know in detail, how and why something is done.

My padded mat is almost done, and it looks so cute! All I need is to buy some binding this weekend, because those blanket stitches of mine, left alot to be desired.



Patchwork placemats / coasters ( a semi tutorial )

because i did not make a "proper" pattern, nor did i write anything down. but for those of u, that are like me ( aka sewing rebel ) and like to make something, just to see " what happens ", here is a step by step on a easy-peasy little set, that is also a scrap buster.

yes.. i know some of the fancy quilting blog lingo

pick your fabrics!

proper way: prewash everything, make sure they all match, and are what all the cool quilting kids are using.

julie way: have no patience to pre-wash, make sure they go together, and that they are not too girlie (for you know who).

-pencil, paper, ruler
- cotton fabrics
-quilt batting
-rick rack
-hot cup of coffee

using legal size paper (i have no idea where it came from, but i have alot of it) i drew up what i wanted the placemats to look like.

normally, you figure out your seam allowance, and adjust measurements, so they all match up, perfectly.

i cut out 2 of each in my fabrics, and did not add seam allowance. i love to live on the edge :)

sewed them all together, trimmed of the little bit of excess i had, and pressed open my seams. i ended up with little placemats, rubbed my hands together, and did my evil laugh... the plan is working!

cut out some 2" strips of linen, added one of my printed fabrics to the end of each, and attached them on the outer edges of placemat.

ta dah!

i left the linen plain, but if ever i was to make more of these, i may add some hand stitching details using some embroidery floss, or maybe machine stitched lines, in different colored threads.

using the finished placemat, i cut 2 more out of linen ( backing ) and of course the center layer of quilt batting, because i had some handy, or else a fleece alternative would have worked nicely.

machine stiched some vintage jumbo rick-rack all around. i prefer to use vintage trim, since the new rick rack is stiff, and way too polyester looking for me.

once rick rack was sewn, i sewed the top part of placemat, to the backing ( right sides together ), and left a 3" opening, to turn it right side out, did one more machine top stitching around the edge, done!

ok, almost done.

for the coasters, used 3 each, of 2" wide strips sewn together. i made them round, using the lid of one of my old vintage cannisters as a template.

 make sure to press open your seams, or they will look icky!

quilt batting, rick rack and linen to finish them off, just like the placemats.


so pretty. so easy. and lots of fun to make, when you just wing it, and see what happens.

oh yeah, and the curtains i mentioned?

they are still, draped over one of my dining room chairs.

tsk.. tsk.. tsk..

fabrics in this little project came from here  ( omg... this quilt shop is utterly amazing, and i cannot believe i had never been there before ) and here.