March 20, 2022
I’ve had a business venture bubbling for a while now and want to share it.
After my dad died, I wanted to do something creative with all of the shirts in his closet. He was an old-school cowboy. He wore button down cowboy shirts every day, usually with a plain white t-shirt underneath. I didn’t want to donate them or thrown them away. And almost every shirt in his closet held a memory for me.
I took a few months and did some online research for ideas of how to re-purpose a loved ones left behind clothing. I settled on several different options: I made a blanket for each of my boys, my mom, and myself; stuffed animals for everyone; and ornaments.
I came across some designs for non-sew, quilted ornaments. They are made with a Styrofoam form in the center and fabric rectangles pinned in distinct patterns. Once done, they look like they are quilted. I thought that would be an awesome idea for how to use my dad’s shirts for a remembrance of him. Every one chose a couple of ornaments that first Christmas after his died.
My boys thought it was a fabulous idea and Cyris thought I could make and sell similar ornaments. Not out of my dad’s shirts, but out of other fabric. And that gave me an idea. I cut up some remnants of fabric left over from various sewing projects. And I started making some ornaments.
Pretty soon, I created ornaments for different holidays: not only Christmas, but also Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter eggs, Halloween, Mother’s Day, spring, summer, winter, fall. I discovered patterns for heart shapes, eggs, and lot of options for round balls. I love putting colors together, embellishing them with ribbon and beans and colorful pins, and making something that is handmade and unique each time. Every ornament is original.
Sylvis helped me set up a merchant page on Etsy, and I started my own online business. Montana Mama Mementos. https://www.etsy.com/shop/montanamamamementos
It’s been slow. I finally made my first sale about two months ago. I’ve only sold a handful of ornaments. But I’m getting more visitors to my site and the reviews have been stellar.
Just last week, a visitor to my site sent me a message, asking if I’d like to attend a craft show in Alberton the middle of July. It was a serendipitous message. I have been thinking that I need to find some craft shows, if I want to increase my visibility and make my business a little bigger.
So, I filled out the application form, was approved, and am on their vendor list for their craft show. And now I figure I’d better get a bigger inventory built up in the next four months. Once I got my work done on Friday, I started making more ornaments. I finished ones I had started. And I have close to thirty new ornaments. My seed stash for the show.
The ornaments aren’t hard to make. I usually pick one pattern, then make many of that pattern all at once. But they take a fair amount of time to make. A couple of hours per ornament.
As you can see from the pictures, the end result is fun. I add a western charm to each ornament, just for a bit of a Montana twist.
I know that anyone could make these and create their own ornaments, but I’m hopeful this will turn into an income stream over time. I don’t do well sitting still. So working on these gives my hands something to do when I’m watching a movie or not able to get outside as often as I like during cooler weather.
So, check out my merchant page on Etsy. And let me know if there’s something different you’d like in an ornament. I’m willing to do custom orders, providing I can find the right fabric I the right pattern.