a little bloom to go with the chirp

Saturday, April 30, 2011

With the Art Star show coming up, I've been frantically trying to make as many coin purses as I can. I noticed the designs I had were almost all birds after about the 40th purse. I needed some flowers! I am "chirp & bloom" after all.
After fooling around with several different rose designs in Illustrator, I came up with this one. It's not so easy to reduce a lush, detailed flower like a cabbage rose down to two colors with pieces simple enough to applique.
I tried a few different shades of red & pink trying to find just the right contrast. Half the time, the fabrics I think will work don't have quite the right contrast once the pieces are cut & laid out.
The one think I was sure of is the linen background. I've been wanting to use it for a while and now I have even more ideas for linen-background things. For the lining, a recycled striped dress shirt.
My favorite part- getting down to business with the appliquéing. Just a simple zig-zag this time.
I should buy stock in Warm Company, the company that makes Steam-A-Seam Lite, my new favorite fusible web. It's essential for the type of appliqué I do. I iron-on my pieces and the web acts like glue during the applique process and after washings too, so the edges don't need turning under.
My least favorite part is assembling the pieces and gluing the frame on, but it has to be done. I'm always afraid I'll get glue on all over it and ruin my hard work. A purse takes about 3 hours to make!
I went ahead and did a few more colorways for variety and listed them in the shop. Cheers!

mothers day ideas from etsy & beyond

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

click picture to enlarge
Have you gotten your mother anything for Mothers Day yet? I found ideas galore while searching for my mom's gift online- no time to leave the house while preparing for the Art Star show. Heck, I'd like any of these for myself. I'm a mom too, come to think of it!

clockwise from top left:
-Large recycled coffee bean bag tote- WoodstockBeanbags -an ecofriendly shopping tote with character
-SunBRELLI  umbrella by Pamela Zonsius- MoMA Store -handmade in a family owned factory of renewable, sustainable biodegradable plastic, bamboo, and cotton
-Apple Green Decorative Trivet- AmyGeerDesign -heavy cast iron with a vintage patina
-Spring Bee Letterpress Boxed Notes, set of 6- DingbatPress -designed and made by a fellow mom
-Hills Tea Towel- leahduncan -hand printed on fair trade cotton
-Bushnell H20 10x26 binoculars- EMS -birdwatching anyone?
-Custom Mommy Necklace- peacesofindigo -handmade by a fellow Curation Nation teammate & stay-at-home mom
-Hens & Chicks print- anopensketchbook -just plain delightful next to the potting bench
-Sarah Midda’s In & out of the Garden book- Amazon -irresistible reproduction of a watercolor sketchbook

Less than 2 weeks left....

geocaching along the northern delaware greenway

Monday, April 25, 2011

It was looking like Easter weekend was going to be a bust weather-wise. Then the sun came out Saturday afternoon just as my brother was arriving with his brood for the weekend. Perfect weather for a hike along the Northern Delaware Greenway which cuts through our neighborhood.
But how to get the kids on board? Our children are at the age where they want to be on the computer all the time, even on a nice day. It's a challenge to get them interested in something else without whining. My brother's solution: Geocaching. I'd never heard of this before, but it's been going on for years. Using a device with a GPS such as an iPhone, you hunt for hidden "treasure" by setting off on foot and tracking a route to the treasure with the device. Using the iPhone app, we determined there were 3 within easy walking distance in Rockwood Park. There are over 1 million of these treasures all over the world, hidden well enough so to not be found by accident by someone not in on the game, but not so well that kids can't find them with a little help.
The "treasures" are small low-value items like key chains, silly bands, and the like.
If you take out an item, you're supposed leave something of similar value behind and sign the log book.
The first cache we found had been placed in its hiding spot in 2004 and had a long list of visitors. The GPS said it was 8 feet away when we were right on top of it. So it's not accurate down to the last foot, but accurate enough.
The Mayapples were up. I love these little umbrellas underneath the trees.
The cold storage house at Rockwwod.
Doing a circuit around the manor house at Rockwwod. Get them outside on an adventure and they can run for miles. Hike for hiking's sake- not so much.
The final cache was a small bottle with tiny rolled up log inside. The kids were thrilled with the whole adventure.
Such a pretty time of year here in northern Delaware!

antiquing in lucketts, va

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mom & Brenda
This weekend was spent visiting with family back in Virginia, where I am from. My brother & his wife were in from Chicago and in the mood to see sights. Mom & I decided it was time to take Brenda antiquing in the town of Lucketts, VA since she is a Luckett now. (Yes, that's my maiden name). We like to think ancestors of ours founded the town, but we haven't researched it enough to be sure if we are related. My Dad's family is out of Kentucky, so who knows...
stately home in Leesburg
Lucketts is located 6 miles north of Leesburg on Rt 15. Leesburg is a gem of a town in itself. It has retained it's colonial flavor with its brick sidewalks and historic row houses and homes lining King Street & Market Street, the main drags. It's become fashionable with the younger crowd and nicely curated antique shops, cafes, and restaurants have sprung up lately.
click to enlarge map
The store we like to go to in our namesake town is The Old Lucketts Store. It's a one-stop-shop for antiques, vintage, and architectural salvage with a few new items thrown in. It's a mall set-up with many different vendors inhabiting what was once the general store and post office run by the Lucketts, who have since left the area.
The family lived upstairs in the rambling building.
There are so many vendors now, that they've spilled out into the yard into free-standing sheds, each with it's own personality.
Some salvage.
So me I can hardly stand it!

On the porch.
New upholstery.

New accessories, nicely displayed.
A vintage cast iron soap dish that I bought for holding business cards at craft shows.
Salvaged knobs.
Lots of great light fixtures...

More salvage.
Can't ignore the linens of course!

There are other antique stores nearby, but we were experiencing sensory overload and opted to head back to Leesburg for lunch. We found parking on King Street directly in front of a charming cafe called  Shoes Cup and Cork Club which inhabits a former shoe repair shop.
Inside, it's chalkboard menus, rustic finishes, & mismatched tables & chairs reminded me of a cozy cafe tucked away in the West Village of New York City.
It'll definitely be worth a trip back to check out all the antique stores we skipped and have more chai tea lattes.

the rainbow connection

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I've had this sweet song in my head for a few weeks now. I seem to be into rainbows at the moment. They are so cheerful and remind me of my 1970's childhood. I am compelled to make some rainbow purses. (Just listed here in the shop).

The great thing about an indie handmade business is that whatever is percolating in my mind, I can make, bring to market, and get a reaction to in a relatively short time frame. There is no having to predict whether rainbows will be a valid trend a year from now, no justifying my rainbows in meetings with executives, no waiting weeks to receive the first of many prototypes, no risking of other people's money to see the idea through. The immediacy of handmade is so so freeing!
The rainbows are fabulously satisfying to lay out and appliqué.
With this batch, I tried a new fusible web and am completely sold. I was using Heat 'n' Bond Lite, but I've switched to Lite Steam-a-Seam 2. It's lighter weight, making the finished appliques less boardy, yet still has excellent staying power. It also has a slight tackiness to the backing that allows appliqué pieces to stay in place or be moved around before ironing them permanently in place.
The indie biz down side: making my own production runs. Since I have my first craft show coming up, I need to build up some stock. By working in batches, I hope to save at least a little time just on the cutting. Still, I have the constant interruptions of stay-at-home-mom life, so it's hard to measure.

More delicious rainbows found on Etsy...
clockwise from top left:
rainbow bunting- therainbowroom
rainbow clippies- allthingsgirly
vintage 70's rainbow dress- stylebook
vintage 70's rainbow tote- jessamity
nebula mobile- thewonderlandstudio
vintage rainbow suspenders (nanoo-nanoo!)- forestdaydream
children's rainbow stacker bowls- applenamos
rainbow stack of books- thevintagecup


a very etsy birthday

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I celebrated a very nice birthday last week starting off the morning with one of my items being featured in a front page treasury on Etsy!
I've become easier to buy for now that I've been making treasuries and bombarding my family with them. Mom & Dad gave me this card from a sweet little Etsy store called {paper & type}, which goes nicely with the pretty poppy tee they gave me.
It's from another Etsy shop called Uzura. I had featured the shirt in a treasury a while back, so they knew I would like it.
Then I kind of bought myself something... these hand block-printed birds from Anna See on Etsy as well. To make these muticolor block prints requires several blocks, careful registration, and skill by the artist.
I had bought the robin a couple of months ago and loved the texture of it and the little details. She inspired my robin coin purse. After I got it, I knew I would have to buy a few friends for her. My intention is to create a sort of aerie using the birds in our attic guest room once the repairs are finished.
This is the "before" of the room. The futon bed has to stay because of the narrow turned staircase leading to this room. I'll keep the side tables too. I'm thinking of making a padded headboard and hanging the birds above. I'll have to think of a cool way to frame them so the deckle edge of the paper shows.
But first these leaky window wells have to be repaired once the weather warms up a bit more. This will be our 4th try with yet another contractor! It's always something with an old house. Hopefully they will be fixed by the time I am done with the Art Star show and have time to devote to the project...