Tag Archives: new jersey

Shop Spotlight: Susan Knittman on Etsy

knit-8 copy

Susan and I officially met in the spring of 2012. She was hired to be the newest Assistant General Manager at my job, which meant she would be my direct supervisor. From day 1, we immediately connected and really hit it off. We both eventually said our goodbyes to the ice rink and embarked on new professional journeys. We have always kept in touch and still remain friends.

In January, Susan decided to open up an Etsy shop, Susan Knittman, and sell handmade knitted goods. While in between jobs, it was a great way for her to keep up with her long-time hobby and also make some extra money in the meantime. From scarves, to headbands, to napkin rings, her shop has it all. With business booming and her shop on the rise, I wanted to share Susan’s shop with all of you.

Susan and I talked over coffee and got to catch up last week. I purchased custom napkin rings from her and I was super excited to see the finished products. They were absolutely adorable and incredibly creative! You don’t see knitted napkin rings every day!

knit-5
I love the buttons on these! So adorable! (photo belongs to Joanna Maruca)
knit-10
These remind me of Christmas time! They look like a pair of elves socks! (photo belongs to Joanna Maruca)

Joanna: “When did you first learn to knit?”
Susan: “I was probably around 12 years old and my mom taught me. First it was needlepoint, then knitting.”

J: “When did you open your Etsy shop? What prompted you to do so?”
S: “January of this year. So 2015. It sounds funny, but every winter I would keep my hands busy by knitting. I would start a new scarf every year. First I started with arm knitting and then needle.”

J: “What types of products do you typically make and sell in the shop?”
S: “Scarves, baby bonnets, blankets, napkin rings, hats, headbands. A little of everything. My best selling items are scarves. I have these really cool asymmetrical scarves that have a few buttons on the side and wraps around. It’s my best seller. “

J: “Have you considered making this a full-time thing (expanding beyond Etsy), or is this just a hobby? Would you eventually like to turn this into a standalone business?”
S: “Personally, I don’t think I have the stamina to do this full time. I did it while I was in between jobs. I am looking to expand and attend craft shows in the fall. There’s some local ones I want to look into. I’ll start small at first. Knitting will stay a side business for now.”

J: “What products are you hoping to add to the store, if any, in the future? Is there something you are hoping to perfect and offer to your customers?”
S: “I want to do a lot more, but I’m not sure of the demand for certain items. I have these antique Parisian buttons that I would like to do more with. They are actually from Paris and they were purchased by a family friend in the 70s. She gave them to me. I would love to do more baby bonnets. I did a custom Batman hat for a friend. It looks like there is a lot of superhero-type items in demand. I’m going to start working on Harley Quinn and the Joker hats too. I am very open to custom orders. It’s just about finding the patterns. My brother wants to add some items to his comic book shop too. I did a Batman baby headband so far. It looks like I’ll be doing a lot of superhero items, but I will do whatever is asked of me, and with little turnaround time of course.”

knit-7
                         Custom Red & White Striped Napkin Rings (photo belongs to Joanna Maruca)
knit-1
             Custom Pale Blue & Ivory Chevron Stripe Napkin Rings (photo belongs to Joanna Maruca)

The possibilities are endless. Susan was kind enough to make our napkin rings as a custom order. I was able to choose the colors, styles, & buttons that I wanted. She is willing to do whatever necessary to meet your specific needs. There is a warm knitted gift for everyone! All items are proudly made by Susan in the USA and can be hand washed. I wish her all the best as her business continues to grow! Susan’s products will soon be available for purchase at her brother’s comic book store, East Side Mags, as well. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the Montclair, NJ neighborhood!

You can browse Susan’s full collection of custom handmade creations at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SusanKnittman.

Warm Regards Always,

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

Oh those Wildwood Days…

NJI am a born and raised Jersey girl. I was born in Belleville and I currently reside in Bloomfield, just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 151. New Jersey is a small state with a larger than life personality. Our state is the home to many famous musicians (Bruce Springstein and Bon Jovi just to name a few). You can find a good 24 hour diner in every neighborhood. We still have gas stations where attendants pump our gas for us. Don’t even get me started on the taylor ham and cheese sandwiches! I can talk for hours about how much I love New Jersey, but the greatest part about living here is our beautiful Jersey shore. Down the coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May, you will find roughly 130 miles worth of gorgeous beaches and fun for the family.

wildwoods
The Wildwoods welcome sign stands 17 feet tall and has become a popular spot for family photos! (please note above photo was courtesy of a google images search)

For as long as I can remember, my family has spent summer vacation at the shore. Growing up, my family had a small condo in Wildwood Crest and we would spend most of the summer season there. Even now at 23 years old, I would take a vacation to the Wildwoods (the name refers to Diamond Beach, Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, West Wildwood, & North Wildwood) over a trip anywhere else. It is my favorite shore point and has become somewhat of a second home to me.

This past weekend was the first of 3 trips I have planned there for this summer. For those of you not familiar with the island I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of the Jersey shore with you! (Believe me, what you may have seen on MTV’s Jersey Shore TV show is NOT representative of this beautiful place I call my home.)

jolly roger
My family always books trip accommodations with the Jolly Roger motel located on Atlantic Avenue in the crest. It’s a fun retro style facility dating back to the 1960s! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

The Wildwoods has a long-time attachment to the Doo Wop era which can be seen throughout every community. The resort area was built in the 1950s and is reflected in the architecture of the motels, restaurants, and landmarks. Funky colors, brightly lit neon signs, edgy designs, and retro decor is everywhere. Although most of the old motels and businesses have been since closed or turned into new developments, some of the original buildings still stand and function today. The Jolly Roger motel was built in 1960. The hotel has undergone renovations and new ownership, but still stays true to the Doo Wop roots. Just a block from the beach and a short drive from the boardwalk, this motel is the top choice of mine and my family. We love staying here and plan to do so for many years to come! (To learn more about the rich history and Doo Wop culture of the Wildwoods, be sure to check out the Doo Wop Experience Museum.)

crest beach
The Wildwoods is home to nearly 5 miles worth of gorgeous FREE beaches! There’s even a new Doggy Friendly beach too! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
crest boat
It was too cold for a swim, but a beautiful day for photos! Even the lifeguard was wrapped up in warm clothing! (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

beach waves sandy beach 1

Surfing is another popular activity! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk!
Surfing is a popular activity throughout the Jersey shore! I saw plenty of boards on the sand throughout my walk! (photos courtesy of Joanna Maruca)
doggy beach
There is a doggy-friendly beach for families to enjoy with their fur babies too! On a hot summer afternoon you will see plenty of playful pooches running around in the sand here! It was just a little too cold this weekend. (photo courtesy of Joanna Maruca)

No vacation at the shore would be complete without a trip to the boardwalk. Maybe I’m biased, but I personally consider the Wildwoods boardwalk to be the best at the shore. The boardwalk is 38 blocks full of shops, rides, games, arcades, places to eat, and fun for people of all ages. Did I mention there’s a water park too? It’s amazing! You cannot possibly tackle it all in just a day. Each pier has its own identity and it makes the boardwalk so unique. The lights on the ferris wheel can be seen from miles away at night. There’s a free fireworks display every weekend too! Hop on the Tram Car and take a ride down the boards. Grab an ice cream cone from Kohr Bros. and a bucket of fries from Curley’s! Gateway 26 Arcade has games to keep the kids busy for hours and plenty of prizes to choose from too! Don’t forget to stop at the Boardwalk Mall to pick up souvenirs for friends and loved ones at home!

The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky!
The ferris wheel and rides light up the night sky! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards!
Gateway 26 Arcade & Casino and Kohr Bros ice cream located on the boardwalk at 26th Ave! These are 2 of my favorite spots on the boards! (please note above photo is courtesy of a google images search)
curleys
Every trip to the boardwalk means a mandatory visit to Curley’s for a hand-shaken lemonade and bucket of fries! Yum! (please note above photo is courtesy of google images search)

After a great weekend away, it was time to head back home to Bloomfield on Sunday evening. I’m so glad that the storm decided to wait until we got halfway home to begin! With temps in the 70s all weekend, it made for a pleasant trip away from home for a few days. After a 3 hour drive, I was back at home and ready to start the work week and already preparing for our next vacation!

I could literally write a book about all the amazing things that can be found in The Wildwoods. I have 23 years worth of memories. Every summer there is something new. New attractions, restaurants, motels, condos, shops, and so much more. I look forward to visiting again in July with my family. I will be sure to do a follow-up blog to this one as well. The jersey shore is definitely worth visiting if you have the opportunity to do so. A trip to any shore point will be worth it! My family has formed its own traditions in the Wildwoods and I hope your family can do the same!

For more information about the island, be sure to visit the Wildwoods NJ website. You can also request a free vacation planning guide! I’d love to hear all about your experiences!

Fun fact: In 1963, singer Bobby Rydell released the hit “Wildwood Days” and it has become to anthem of the island! Take a listen!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful summer season!

Joanna

Fabric Textile Products, Inc.

Photo disclaimer: Please note that photos credited by Joanna Maruca belong to myself. All other images and photos used were acquired through a search of google images. Those photos belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.

Summertime looks for the home!

Memorial Day weekend is here and the unofficial start to the summer season has begun! This weekend will be filled with trips to the beach, concerts, BBQ’s, holiday shopping sales, and plenty of fun in the sun. Being from New Jersey, my summer season means several trips down the parkway to the beautiful Jersey Shore. (No, you will not find me “fist pumping” with DJ Pauly D or anything that MTV has led you to believe.) Each shore town has its own identity and is full of beautiful little independent shops. My favorite thing to do while at the shore is to shop for new coastal-inspired items to take home with me and decorate my bedroom with. I am a lover of all things summer. Anchors. Mermaids. Sea shells. Boats. Tropical flowers. Bright colors. I am a fan of it all!

I have compiled a list of my top coastal finds to help get your home summer-ready! There’s something to fit every budget and every interest! It will feel like summer all year round!

Maritime Coastal Collection Dinner Napkins
Maritime Coastal Collection Dinner Napkins Available in 5 summer prints. 100% cotton dinner napkins. 18″ x 18″. (Sold in sets of 4, $12.99 at http://www.fabrictextileproducts.com) Photo belongs to Fabric Textile Products, Inc.
pottery barn pillows
Outdoor Printed Decorative Pillows 100% Polyester. Assorted styles, prints, & sizes available. (Sold invidividually, $25.50 – $49.50 at http://www.potterybarn.com) photo belongs to Pottery Barn
Sonoma Sun Shine Kitchen Towels Cotton towel with embroidered design. (Sold individually, $7.99 at www.kohls.com)
Sonoma Sun Shine Kitchen Towels 100% Cotton with embroidered design. (Sold individually, $7.99 at http://www.kohls.com) photo belongs to Kohls
starfish wind chime
Starfish Wind Chimes Beautiful chimes crafted from aluminum, iron, & rope. Made in India. ($34.95, http://www.crateandbarrel.com) photo belongs to Crate and Barrel
anchor marquee light
Threshold Anchor Marquee Light – Navy  Wall mount included. Indoor and outdoor use. ($29.99 at http://www.target.com) photo belongs to Target

I hope you all get to enjoy this holiday weekend with family and friends. My family BBQ is already planned for Sunday! Summer 2015 is almost here!  And please, don’t forget your sunblock! Stay safe everyone! 🙂

Warm Regards Always,

Joanna

Photograph disclaimer: Please note photos credited to Fabric Textile Products, Inc. belong to myself and our company. All others images belong to the owners/businesses that have been credited and linked. I do not own those images. They belong to their rightful owners. Thank you.