retrorufflesandrust's Blog

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February 19, 2013 Journal Entry –

February 19, 2013 Journal Entry –

Well things are moving right along! Retro Ruffles And Rust has been open for just a few days shy of one month and as of this morning I’ve made 5 sales. Three of the five sales have occurred over the last three days. From everything I’ve read that seems to be a pretty good start for a brand new Etsy shop. 

I will tell you I have put in work though! Besides working on crafting my items which in itself is time consuming I am also on this laptop several hours a day trying to make an internet presence for myself. From Etsy’s Team sights to Twitter I am making contact and trying to get known in every aspect.

As I’ve told you before I live on a farm, I have nearly 25 animals to care for each day. No matter what I have going on they always come first, especially my horses. Horses are not like dogs and cats.You can’t just feed them each day and leave them to their own devises like a cat and they wont be content following you around as your companion like a dog would be. A well cared for horse requires at least one to two hours of exercise each day. On top of that they are smart and need stimulation, a bored horse means trouble!

Needless to say with my time dedicated to my animals and since I’ve started dedicating so much time to Etsy my house is falling apart! OK, not literally but it’s a mess! I am kind of a neat freak. When I was a kid my room was a mess like every other kid but I was weird I didn’t like to live in a mess so I would sleep out on the couch because I couldn’t stand to be in my messy room. I would clean my room and start sleeping in it again and then as it started to become a mess I would move back out to the couch. Well right now I have that feeling again but now my living room is a mess too so I’m contemplating sleeping out on the lawn. OK I’m joking plus it’s raining outside so I guess I need to put the computer down today and clean house.

As for my blog, for those of you following I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m a little all over the place still. One post will be talking about my kids, the next will be updating you on the progress of my Etsy shop and then the next will be a deep look into myself and a very telling historical family story. Well I like to write about all of those things and as you get to know me better you’ll see what a major roll each of them play in my life. I ask you to bear with me please? I am trying to figure out how to seamlessly write about all of those things. The purpose of me starting this blog was to share my experience starting Retro Ruffles and Rust and give you a peak into my home life with my family. I’ll get it figured out. 


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What Inspires You? What Makes You Who You Are?

I was working on my Etsy Shop’s about me page, I broke down the name, RetroRufflesAndRust explaining what it means and how I came up with it. This is what I wrote,

“The Retro comes from my obsession with retro/vintage style. I think it comes from my admiration of my Grandparents. I am obsessed with the 1940’s. Ruffles comes from my love of sewing. Rust comes from my habit of dragging home old junk (sometimes rusty) and recycling/upcycling it into something fabulous. You can see bits of all of those things as you look through my eclectic creations I have for sale in my store.”

This got me thinking just how much of an inspiration my grandparent where to me and how much they influenced my life. It’s not that I had never known it but I don’t think I had ever realized the extent. It’s not until very recently that I put two and two together that the vintage items that catch my eye also strongly remind me of my grandparents.

What inspires you? I am not talking about the song on the car radio that fits your mood for the day or the feel good story about the disabled girl who took life by the horns on the Lifetime channel,  I am talking about what really inspires you. Let me rephrase the question, what part of your life sets deep rooted inspiration at the very base of you? What inspirations have taken hold over you and molded you into who you have become?

I am fascinated with the 1940’s. I love the style of the time, the “look”, the way people dressed, decorated their homes, the music and the way life was lived and it all goes back to my grandparents. In the 1940’s my grandparents were in their twenty’s. They belonged to what I believe was the one of the greatest generations in history.

My Grandfather Albert or Al as he was called was born in San Francisco in 1920 to Italian immigrants, he was the oldest of two boys. Coming from a home where the only language spoke was Italian my grandpa started school not knowing any English at all, it took him until the third grade before he had learned enough to be able to communicate with his teachers. In 1923 my Grandmother Marie was born in San Francisco to an Italian mother and a Portuguese father. She was the oldest of two girls.

Al and Marie lived across the street form each other. They grew up together and they went from childhood playmates to high school sweethearts.


This picture was taken on December 6th 1941 in Yosemite. Al was 21 and Marie was 18. Look at the smiles on their faces, they were both so happy! Little did they know that in less than 24 hours from the time this picture was taken their lives would changed forever. The next day December 7th 1941 was the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.


Just as many young men at the time Al enlisted in the military within weeks of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he chose the Navy. He began his training to be a Navy Radioman in 1942. He was very lucky and was not shipped out to the Pacific until 1944. While he was stationed in Virginia during his training Marie boarded a train with her Aunt and headed across the country from San Francisco to Norfolk and on February 15th 1944 she married Al. The picture below was taken on their wedding day.


They stayed together in Virginia a few months and then Al received his orders and they returned to San Francisco where he shipped out into the Pacific. It wasn’t long after he was gone that Marie found out she was pregnant. It’s hard to comprehend but there was no communication,  no phone calls and in some cases no letters were aloud. Marie had moved back home where she stayed with her parents and sister during her pregnancy, her in laws were also right across the street. She spent the nine months of her pregnancy taking photos and saving them so when Al returned she could share everything with him. The picture below is of Marie at 6 months pregnant.


On January 9th 1945 Marie gave birth to a son who she named Donald, my dad. With no communication for months Al finally received a letter in June of 1945 while he was in the jungle. In that letter he learned he had a son. Al spent his last months of the war sick with malaria. He returned home to San Francisco in September of 1945 to Marie and his baby.


Al needed a job and he needed one quick in order to support his new family so he took the first one he could get as a temporary guard at the San Francisco city jail. That job led to a position with the San Francisco police department where Al worked his way up through the ranks and different departments to his final position as a homicide inspector. He worked on some of the most notorious cases in the Bay Area at the time like the Zodiac and the Zebra killings.

Marie worked outside of the home which was not the norm for the time. She also loved to cook and was a very talented cake decorator. She made a lot out of a little by darning socks, making and mending clothes, canning food as well as other things all while being a working mother.

My grandparents were genuinely good people. Strict Roman Catholics who attended mass every Sunday. They worked hard and spent their lives trying to be kind and trying to always do the right thing. What I have shared with you is just a tiny piece of their story which is a tiny piece of a much larger story, the story of the generation that they were a part of. You see it wasn’t just my grandparents but it was the mentality of the people from that time.

I have so many fond memories of my grandparents and I am so proud of the amazing people that they were. I believe that I am attracted to items from their time because it reminds me of them. It is not just about the physical though, it’s a reminder of a very honorable way of life. I think in life we are inspired by so many different people and different things and those are the building blocks that make us who we are. Step back and think about who and what really inspires you, it’s amazing to see just how much and what parts of your life those inspirations have influenced.


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My Etsy Store Progress Update

Here we are, Saturday already. Sometimes it feels as if my life moves faster and faster each year. It’s as if with each blink another day is gone. If you read my last post I talked about my plan to change how I am always planning out my days, yes a plan for helping me with my over planning issue. Well I can tell you I stuck with it throughout this last week and it seemed to really help. I made my list of what I needed to get done, I wont lie, I made the list mentally but that’s still making a list. I did not create a mental schedule as I normally would instead I went with the flow of things and completed the tasks as I had time. Guess what? I was able to finish every task on my mental list! It is now Saturday morning and I have awoke to a perfectly clean house just as I had so longed for a week ago!

I’ve already shared some insight into my obsessive compulsive personality and briefly talked about my wonderful children so I think today I will fill you in on what’s going on with my Etsy store.

It really feels like things are beginning to come together with RetroRufflesAndRust. Now I am not completely computer illiterate, it’s not like I’m old and out of touch. I’ve had a Facebook for several years and I’m only 33 but for some reason Twitter has been really tough for me to figure out! I know that probably makes me sound like I’m not the brightest bulb since the concept of Twitter is pretty basic but it’s really been confusing to me. Confusion aside I think I’ve got it! I’m gaining followers at a steady pace and my links are even getting re-tweeted. You can Tweet me at – Ruffles Rust @RtroRufflesRust

RetroRufflesAndRust is an eclectic mix of upcycled/recycled, handmade and sewn items because I make so many different things. I added several new listings this week. I made these wonderful cake plates and pedestal serving dishes that I am so super excited about!


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I love to sew! When I first opened my shop my intention was to sell my aprons in it, hence the “Ruffles” in RetroRufflesAndRust. I have yet to list one. Here’s one of my favorites that I’ve made.


apron 010


I haven’t listed it because I love it so much that I’m not sure if I can part with it! I should just list it, I can always make another.

Here is another that I hope to finish today. It’s made from scrap material that I had in my sewing room and a valance that I found on a clearance end cap at Target for $2.95! The best part is I have enough to make 2 of them!

apron 007


My goal for today is to get this one and a few other simple Tea Towel aprons finished and in the shop this weekend. I hear it said a lot, “I have more ideas than I have time”, that statement definitely fits me!

Besides Twitter and working on new projects I’ve also been trying to get more involved with Teams on Etsy. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful. The Teams that I’ve joined Recycle Party, San Francisco Bay Area Etsy Sellers & Buyers and a newer Team that’s just getting started but still very helpful, East Bay SF have all been great. I have been able to pull so much information from reading posts but even more than that I feel getting more involved with the Etsy community is boosting traffic to my listings. It’s a win win! As a new Etsy Store Owner I would say not just joining but getting involved with a Team or Teams is one of the best if not the best tip I’ve received.

It has been a lot of hard work getting everything up and running but I am having so much fun! I’m meeting a lot of wonderful creative people. Overall I am really enjoying starting my business.


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Weekend Plans

As with every weekend I had big plans. Friday was going to be cleaning day. A good scrubbing of everything. I wanted to wake up to an amazingly clean house Saturday morning, then finish a few sewing projects that I had been working on, ride both of my horses who are in desperate need of a good run, get my twitter account up and running for RetroRufflesAndRust (my Etsy shop), get a bunch of twitter followers and then work on my blog and getting a bigger audience. Sunday was going to be my relaxing day, I was going to make this rice recipe that I’ve been wanting to try and some chicken and then sit down relax and watch the 49er’s win the Super Bowl………. Well in case you live in a bubble you probably have heard the 49er’s didn’t win the big game, well that wasn’t the first of my weekend plans that didn’t go as I had envisioned………..

Looking back I can see where it all went wrong. Friday morning when my boys were getting ready for school I told them to invite some friends over for the weekend. I haven’t had my boys home in three weekends and figured the best way to ensure spending some time with them was to let them and their friends hangout here. Oh How I wonder how different my weekend could have been had I never uttered those words?

Instead of waking up Saturday morning to an amazingly clean house I woke to the mess left by the three 14 year old’s and three 11 year old’s the night before. I did get my Twitter up and running as planned but instead of the hundreds of followers I was planning on getting I got 3. I found myself in the same boat with my blog. The horses got their exercise but it wasn’t the hard workout I had wanted for them, instead it was more of a bareback romp around the property. I made two 1/2 inch hems on one of the aprons I’ve been trying to get finished. The rest of Saturday was spent cleaning and feeding my brood of growing boys. By the time I sat down at 8:30 I was so tired I spent the next few hours before bed in some sort of trance like state.

Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday, I was sure it would go as planned. Yeah right! I cooked a big breakfast and by the time I finished cleaning up from that and straightening up the rest of the house it was after 2:30! I have no clue how that happened. I was able to try out the new recipe which was delicious and I hung out on the couch with my husband, his best friend and all the boys to watch the Niners loose the game.

My weekend was not a bad weekend at all in fact I enjoyed having all the kids here. They are a good group of boys and fun to be around. As for my blog and Twitter plans if nothing else I learned that my goal to gain hundreds of followers in one weekend was pretty much ridiculous. The horses still got their needed exercise. The Super Bowl didn’t go like I wanted but the Niners didn’t get blown out and they played a great game. So things didn’t go as planned but do they ever? I think sometimes I build unrealistic expectations for myself in my mind and instead of fulfilling them I just set myself up for disappointment. So I’ve come up with a new plan! This week I’m going to make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish and instead of planning in my head a schedule of when I will do those things I’m just gonna go with the flow and do them as I have time, checking them off the list as I go, Its worth a try.

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Creating a blog

When you open an Etsy store and start reading on how to drive traffic to your shop everything you see seems to say, start a blog, start a blog, start a blog! I’ve never thought of starting a blog before. Who would be interested in reading about my life? What would I write about? Well look, here I am two weeks in to my shop being opened and I am starting a blog. 

I wrote down several ideas of what I could write about. I could write exclusively about my store, telling my readers about new items and sales and such? That seemed not only boring but I don’t have an assembly line so I could see running out of items and things to write about pretty fast. I could write about how to make all the items I make and give tutorials on how to do it yourself at home? But that pretty much defeats the purpose of opening the store to begin with. While I don’t mind giving out pointers and advice or even sharing ideas if I were to give out DIY instructions for my items then why would people buy them when they could make them themselves?

The list of ideas went on and on but I finally settled on what my blog would be about, me! My life!  As I mentioned before my initial thought was, who would want to read about me? Well I still don’t have an answer for that question but I’ve decided it doesn’t matter. I am not going to write a blog and write about things just to capture an audience, I would much rather write about the things I care about and if there are people that are interested in reading it that is fantastic, if there is no one who wants to read it then so be it at least I am remaining true to myself.

I will use my blog as a journal of my day to day life. In it you will here me talk about my Etsy store, RetroRufflesAndRust and my trials and errors as I try to turn it into a successful online business. I will share my current projects, items I’m creating and ideas that I am trying to make for the first time. You’ll hear about my family life. My husband Mike, 14 year old son Dominic and 11 year old son Roman. The joy and frustration of trying my hardest to raise this teen and preteen into respectful young men. You will also here about my animals, my dogs, cats, bird, pig, chickens, goats and horses and what its like to raise them and run a small ranch. Between all of those things it can be quite a juggling act which I think for you as a reader could end up being very entertaining. So there it is I am handing over my journal to you so that you may sit back read and hopefully enjoy it. Who knows maybe we’ll both end up learning a thing or two. Be sure to check back in with me from time.

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My Etsy shop, RetroRufflesandRust

To See My Etsy shop, RetroRufflesandRust


An Eclectic Mix of Upcycled, Handmade and Sewn Items

Check it out!

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