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September 2012
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November 2012

another week

Another week flown by. I found out that there was some miscommunication between the card company and the spinner company so my spinners have *still* not arrived. Hopefully next week. Because I'm quite sure that two card spinners will solve all my space issues. Ha ha.

The Christmas ornaments and other window elements have been filling up the shelves in the back hallway. A couple more weeks and then I can face up to the challenge of displaying it all. In the meantime, the big news was the arrival of our shipment of paper from Italy. I spent a day on a major reorganizing project - hauling out all the boxes of backstock, sorting by color, labeling...

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And after well over a year of occasional nagging, we are excited to introduce our Wisconsin map wrapping paper. The person we get our other map wrapping paper from intially told me that he didn't think there was enough of a market but we'll show him.

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Apparently the theme of the week is paid-off nagging as Deandra also delivered another shipment of her great repurposed scarf/necklaces with fun mixes of t-shirt knits. And she *promises* that my commissioned yo-yo shirts are coming soon, along with some great embroidered portraits (she's still working on Viggo's stubble... swoon).

Newwarriv 009Other arrivals include a new Wisconsin t=shirt, more notecards for the spinners that aren't here yet, repurposed embroidery earrings and bracelets

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And our latest print, made just for us:

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Sachi and Pamela got a kick out of the thought of Margaret Mead actually saying "cheeseheads."








CAN we disagree without being disagreeable?

I read a blog post recently from a marketing/PR specialist: Brands and Politics Don't Mix and I have to confess that I've kind of been stewing about it this week.... while making buttons ;)

Of course, part of our brand has become our protest buttons so that might automatically exclude us from the topic of conversation. And maybe, even though we are brand, we are a brand of just two sisters, unlike, say, something like Chic-Fil-A which is so much more extensive. Maybe it works for us to state our views because it's just the two of us, and what I say does apply, for the most part, to both of us. It is harder to imagine that any statment made by a big corporation actually does speak for every single employee. And yet, we are essentially assuming that the weight of the proclamation comes from the size of the corporation: Chic-Fil-A speaks and it is speaking for all consumers of its product, all its employees, all its shareholders. Ah, yes, I can see how brands and politics become a tricky thing.

Still, there's no doubt that politics were not nearly as much a part of our brand in December of 2010. That we HAVE mixed politics with our brand.

I do realize that I am spoiled to have grown up in Madison, to live in my little island (as some people like to call it). In February last year, it felt like we were taking a tremendous risk to devote our table and our window to protesting the actions of the Governor. In other places, such a risk may well have been punished. The media is filled with tales of boycotts, smashed windows, stalkers and barrages of vitriolic emails... At the same time, we felt very strongly about taking a stand and about supporting our customers, many of whom we expected to feel close-to-immediate and negative results of having Scott Walker for Governor. It was a personal matter (as politics are) but it also felt like a business matter. Ultimately, as a small business owners, we are always thinking about our actions and how they necessarily relate to building our business. For us, it seemed that anything that would have an effect on our customers WOULD have an effect on us and was therefore not something we could be neutral about. I will return to the notion of neutrality later.

Our actions were not without consequences, mostly some under-the-breath mutterings; a few scoldings and some people turning on their heels and walking out the door. I am sure that we lost some sales as a result of our position. Meanwhile, the consequences of an increased connection to many of people, a sense of gratititude and solidarity - these have been very positive results of the risk-taking, not to mention the thousands of buttons we have sold and the many new customers we introduced ourselves to. Since last February, I have had more Union men come through our doors than I ever would have believed possible (there have been many Union women, too, but there's something about this store that seems to present particular hurdles to men - sometimes they stop dead in their tracks in the doorway and refuse to even step inside, and not just the 4 year-olds). So, yes, I am very much aware and grateful of the fact that what seemed like risk actually ended up being a pretty great business move. I am well aware that what seemed like a risk was taken in an environment which really wasn't that risky - like when I deliver the children's message at church when public speaking makes my heart race but I know that I am presenting to a receptive audience, to people who love me even if I do fumble and lose track of what I was saying. For us, Madison is that receptive audience, it is our home, it is our family, it is certainly well within our comfort zone. So perhaps it wasn't such a risk after all.

And as for neutrality, well, there are an assortment of quotations one can find if you search for "silence" and "neutrality." I am quite sure there are those who will say that I am exaggerating the seriousness of the situation if I compare silence and neutrality over who will govern the state of Wisconsin, or even our nation, to the neutrality of Switzerland to the Nazis (though I'm pretty sure that most citizens of Switzerland actually DID have an opinion one way or the other).

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." Bishop Desmond Tutu

In any event, I'm feeling rather skeptical about neutrality. I have a hard time believing that a person really could be neutral or impartial. I can believe that a person can see valid points in both sides of an argument, might choose not to enter into an argument with certain people, might see shades of grey when others are asking them to speak in black and white, but I'm not really sure there's long-term good in taking a so-called neutral position. Maybe it would be possible if our world was different but for the most part inaction and neutrality do confer a certain judgement upon a situation. Even the newspapers with their so-called neutrality: do they not have employees? customers? are they not then invested in how much they have to pay their employees? how many customers will buy their papers? how many businesses will want to advertise? I doubt their neutrality and, frankly, I'd rather know where someone stands so I can judge for myself what sort of  bias might exist. My old boss used to say: more knowledge is always better. And even though sometimes I like the "ignorance is bliss" approach, I do think that the more we know about each other, the more we find the ways that we are living in common, the more we learn of each others' joys and hardships, the more we know that we're really all the same even as we are each totally different.

I think in the business world it is common to try and maintain neutrality - there is a sense that picking sides will cause you to lose customers from the other side. And yet, there are no end to the instances of businesses sticking their noses (and wallets) into the political world. Just because their silence gives off an air of neutrality doesn't at all mean it is genuine. Have you seen how much money is spent on lobbying these days?! Ultimately, every decision we make involves picking one side or another, involves including some and not others: we are not a hardware store or a sporting goods store and thus have already narrowed our demographic. Even though as a business you might like to think that you appeal to everyone (100% of the world is your demographic and a potential customer), I'm more of the mind that if you try to please everyone all the time, you will fail; and thus you should just do your very best, commit your full heart to your vision and your journey, and the people who appreciate your work will find you.

In any event, I do question that any person or business can be neutral. But, WHAT IF we could learn to work together DESPITE the different sides we are on? I'm just not sure we do a service to ourselves and to others if we are not living our full and genuine selves. If we cannot come to a point where we say, I don't like his politics, but I do like his donuts. Do we really want to be the ones who dismiss the 47%, the 10%, the 88% who don't agree with us in this one particular (though big) respect?

I have had a few people on Facebook inform me that my political views mean they will steer away from our shop. In the small term, that is my loss because I won't get a sale from them. In the larger term, they have just lost the opportunity for both of us to learn that Democrats and Republicans might actually be able to find other things in common - a shared interest in creating things, or in supporting local artists. I am fortunate because I have had the chance to learn that, to experience the wide range that exists between the person who storms up to the counter and scolds me for my politics, and the people who have had tears in their eyes as they tell me how much they appreciate our actions. In that very wide in-between ground there might not be any news stories but I think that is the place where we will find the ability to do more than just yell back and forth at each other, or be like the Zax, remember them?

Honestly, I feel that for much of our country, the dialogue, the media, has been hijacked by extremes on both sides, by people jumping to conclusions and generalizations, and doing so in rather vitriolic ways. It's perhaps a more interesting story to present only conflict and the idea that there are only two sides and n'er the twain shall meet. But I'm not really sure that's useful. Everyone knows Dr. Seuss' story of the Zax: one going North and the other going South, and there they stand in each other's way, to this day, unbudged in their tracks. Is that what we really want for this country?

If we decline to discuss politics because we are afraid of negative repercussions, then it seems less likely that we are the land of the free and home of the brave, and more likely that we have ceded to the terrorists of speech who lurk within our own lands. In another country, if we saw that people were not speaking out because they were afraid of repurcussions, we would pity them and think about sending in our military.

And then there's the matter of silence, which I have been less and less inclined to adhere to. Naturally, when someone has some rigid ideas that are opposite of yours, speaking up is unlikely to change their mind. And there's certainly no need to speak out in ways that are antagonistic or hateful. Yet in many cases, people seem to take silence for agreement. For myself, I find it grating when people presume to speak on my behalf ("small businesses feel x, single women are thinking y, 40somethings must be wanting z"), especially when the statements are exactly opposite of the way that I feel. My resentment is when silence is responded to with assumptions, when mostly (for me) it just means that I couldn't think of the right words fast enough (the bane of an introvert's existence).

I had a short discussion with a long-time customer of ours early on in the protests. Basically, I posed something political on Facebook and she simply replied that she felt different from me. We CAN agree to disagree. I don't at all think that everyone needs to think exactly the same as me. I don't demand that people who disagree with me read all of my opinions and posts. I don't necessarily enjoy hearing dissenting opinions, but I consider that part of living in a democracy. Just as I feel it is important to state my beliefs, I do not begrudge that customer the right to state hers. It is when it gets into hostile, threatening and abusive language that I am troubled. But there is a lot of space between silence and arguing. Additionally, I think if we are silent, there is the risk that a person (myself included) will just proceed on the assumption that everyone thinks the same way. Of course that's oversimplifying, but I think if would be better if we were all not silent, not hostile and concerned about our own egos, but also always open to the differences between us, and learning how to still get along and be a part of a functioning community.

So, I'll just have to agree to disagree with the author. Because I think policis and brand should mix.


30 hours/3 days

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mmm.... I'm slowly coming back down to earth. I feel like I was totally absorbed and outside of myself and my usual life. Thanks, yet again, Valley Ridge Art Studio! I left early on Friday morning for the drive out to the west, enjoyed the colors of the changing leaves, and that sense of departure and transition as I left behind the chores and the shopgirl life for a brief moment. I even left behind my usually diligent record-keeping/photographing habits....  So, apologies, but I took NO pictures of the process!

We had three marvelous days with Michelle Ward as our instructor, Katherine was her usually wonderful hostess and we feasted at noon on meals provided by the Cook's Room. My classmates were inspiring on their own - that is one thing that I really love about in-person workshops as opposed to online learning; I get as much from seeing what other people do, seeing how we all start with similar supplies or techniques and then run in completely different directions. This was the last workshop at Valley Ridge in its current incarnation, though I already see workshops on the schedule and tempting art getaways as well so I have no doubt that the art and the inspiration and connection will go on.

Michelle led us through a series of exercises and shared so many techniques. The general idea was to take three pieces of paper and turn them into a book, using punched holes to guide us as the book developed. I really enjoyed making collages and trying to meet the challenge of remembering to consider what would show through the holes.

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In addition to circles, the general theme was moon & sun & stars so I spent quite a lot of time the week before gathering images and song lyrics, even making up little packets for my fellow classmates. Moon & stars might be my most favorite topic. I did decide that I might branch out from just blue and purple. The yellow/gray combination that is so prevalent has finally worn down my resistance to yellow so I also spent the week before mulling over colors, checking my Pinterest boards (on sunshine and grey sky days, nothing but blue skies, lavender and lemons), thinking about gold and silver, navy & plum.

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And even though it is pretty close to my usual, the addition of gold is new for me; I'm quite pleased with myself. Of course, it was fun to use the gold scraps that I brought from the shop (as well as those shared by my tablemate). I've always been more of a silver person, and was quite a stickler when I was younger, but I do love the warmth that it added.

Much of the workshop focused on the painting techniques but of course I had to jump into collaging, even if I only used a small fraction of the pieces that I had brought with me. And the very day that I came back to work, several other pieces arrived (tissue paper used for stuffing had interesting pathway/map markings on it, and constellation paper arrived from Italy. Maybe I'll have to make another book).

Vr 006I sure do love Golden's ultrafine bronze paint. And I used another dark grey that had some little grittiness from glitter mixed in. Michelle mentioned using metallics sparingly but I'm not sure I could comply with that.

Interestingly, someone commented that my collages are really full - that they are deep with lots of layers to look at, and I realized that pretty much describes my merchandising style as well. Regularly people tell me they have to go back over the store a couple times to make sure they see everything. Guess no one will ever accuse me of being too minimalist.

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On Friday I worked for about 12 hours, with a stop for lunch and dinner; and then ditto on Saturday (though, since dinner was a leisurely dining/celebration, the 12 hours took me closer to midnight). On Sunday I worked for another 6 hours. What a treat to be able to work on art and nothing else!
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As usual, I can't sustain a single project for that length of time so I brought other things to work on. I didn't work at all on the brass/enamel necklaces that I need to restock for the holidays, but I did get one step further along on my batik papers. Now I just need to iron the wax off. I'm still in the learning/experimenting phase, but I think I managed to create some pages that will stand on their own in a frame; there are others that will just be "scrap" and will work better as book pages. Every holiday the book arts group that I am a member of exchanges 2" x 2" books so I will be using some of these pages to stitch into small accordion books.

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And then I got home and started to think about moving on from where I'd left off (going to the thrift store to find an iron for the batik paper since mine fell off the ironing board and broked into lots of little pieces), momentarily forgetting all about my bed quilt which I need to finish up by Oct 22. Once I remembered that, it was back down to the basement sewing room. Mom helped me for a little while so I'm out of panic mode but still just on the edge. It's going to be a bit of a push to get this done. Today has been rainy at the shop and I'm glad I brought the squares to trim. Tomorrow I don't have to work late so I'll deal with the final seams, find/wash/iron/cut/sew borders and backing, it might be a late night on Friday and Saturday, too. And, yes, I realize I am not expanding my color palate much at all - but since my bedroom used to just be blue, adding purple and aqua and green IS an expansion.


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and oh yeah, we're still making buttons

Two nights ago, I watched the Independent Lens show "As Goes Janesville." (Which I should add was on PBS - that and This American Life and Bill Moyers - those are excellent shows that have inspired and challenged me in ways that reality TV never will. PBS is way more than just Big Bird.) And I have to say that I found the show rather discouraging. Maybe all of these events are too fresh for us to have any concrete evidence to support my sentiment that the political actions happening now are going to have disastrous consequences. I think I was expecting a little more cause and effect type of explanation, some sort of rebuttal of paths taken (and not).

The main thing that I have been turning over in my mind since watching the show, was the role of an M&I bank executive (a business I happen to know donated a LOT of money to Governor Walker's campaigin). She begins with the concerns over the high number of foreclosures in the area and ends up spearheading a business booster effort to bring more jobs to the area. That all seems well and good, and yet she seems to be accepting the idea that any job is a good job and while that seems true when you are unemployed, I have my doubts that lasts too long if your job doesn't bring you much further above national poverty levels. In a similar way, the efforts of our Governor seem less concerned with the quality of jobs created. Anyway, I've been stewing about this woman and what I am coming to call short capitalism. It is short-term and it is short-sighted. I feel that job creation is one part of a complicated picture, which has to include a solid educational system, healthy people and environment. Without looking at the entire picture, you can get economic success for a few, but it will come at a cost to others. I think there's a better way (incidentally, I'm glad I'm not alone in this and am so glad to be a part of the Wisconsin Business Alliance).

Most notably, as I watched this bank exec pander to executives who were pretty blatant about their intentions to create low-paying jobs, I wondered... how is this going to help her with her foreclosure problem? On the whole, I find such short-sightedness puzzling, and yet it seems a pervasive attitude in today's economy. Businesses promote the message that they need lower taxes and less regulation to be successful, but when push come to shove, they do little to change the stagnating worker wage situation that we've had for so many years. They say they aren't hiring because they are worried about consumer demand. But how can there be consumer demand if workers aren't earning a decent living?

Well, anyway, as you can see, I've been stewing. Luckily we have button therapy...

 

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Sachi's latest series is the Sesame Street series which has caused a renewed round of laughter at the button table. It did get me into a rather lengthy discussion with someone on Facebook. He was upset that we were focusing on trivialities.

And yes, I agree the Sesame Street thing is a triviality. But it is a rather amusing one... and so we had to make buttons. I have many other more serious reservations about the prospect of Mitt Romney as President. I think he is guilty of short capitalism which will continue to hurt our economic recovery; I think he will sacrifice the greatness of this nation (its human and natural resources) for the personal gain of a few people; I think he is likely to draw us hastily into war which will neither further the cause of democracy in the world nor improve the conditions of our own nation; I think he considers people who are not like him to be sub-par, and that includes women and minorities and the poor; I think he will only expand the national debt; I think he will use the budget as an excuse to pursue a social/religious/moral agenda which I totally disagree with and find unAmerican and unChristian; and I think he is stuck in a past way of thinking about what is valuable and what is success, a way of thinking that can no longer work in this world that we have now, and I think he is not suitable to carry our nation forward.

But the trivial comment about Big Bird also speaks to me about a manner of couldn't-care-less-ness which I find unPresidential.

 


midweek check-in

Hmm... where to begin? I have mostly been working on my own bed quilt (which I find probably needs to be four times larger by October 22 - no pressure or anything) and preparing for my workshop out at Valley Ridge Art Studio this weekend (which means gathering moon/sun/star lyrics and patterned papers, pondering color combinations, fun stuff like that). That is distracting me a little bit from the other tasks I should focus on: restocking my own creations for the holidays, nagging other artists to restock, trying to find room for everything. That last task is getting a little crazy - I did buy a lot of things for the holiday window so now I'm just stashing everything in the back office and hallway. I have a feeling that I have more than one window's worth. Thankfully the fire inspector came and went without too much comment. Well, I mean, there IS a path...

I'm still waiting (impatiently) for the card spinners to arrive. There's a space cleared for them, and plenty of new cards still arriving - some lovely letterpress (we love letterpress so much) and even some photo cards made by our dad from his rocks and water series.

 

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We enjoyed a little burst of excitement when the President came to campus last week. He didn't come strolling down State Street, unfortunately, but Sachi really enjoyed hearing him speak, and we appreciated the lively group atmosphere.

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I *have* been accomplishing some chores: cutting felt Wisconsins for other people to sew into ornaments, sorting enamels and putting together clusters for necklaces, unpacking and rolling prints into cardboard tubes.

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Meanwhile, Sachi installed the Halloween (but mostly Day of the Dead) window. I know, people come in and ask for Halloween decorations and whatnot but I just haven't found products that really inspire me. I'll keep looking. We also received some lovely letterpress prints, which Sachi puts on colored cardstock so they have a little more...presence. I love the way the colors compliment each other. I'm pretty sure that nest necklaces are next on her list.

 

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In terms of other new arrivals, we received some lovely double-sided sheets of wrapping paper. The patterns are quite lovely... hmm... maybe I need some to take out to Valley Ridge. The yellow-gray color palate that is so popular is finally getting even to me (the girl who disliked yellow for a long long time). The sun-moon-star theme of the workshop should lend itself to yellow/gold and gray/silver... with some navy and purple thrown in. For a while I thought I was challenging myself to work in other color palates, but I'm fully throwing myself into my favorite blue-green-purple at this moment between this workshop and my bed quilt.

 

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Other new arrivals include new patterns of washi tape (including some really fun designs with vintage bottles, switches and pins which should be interesting additions to collages), mini colored pencils (are they so cute?! I totally remembering loving a little set like this that I had when I was a kid), spools of tinsel, delicate ceramic necklaces and earrings, and some more really great charts including this huge and amazing chart of rap artists which I might just have to get even though I barely know any of the artists - it's the categories themselves that I find highly entertaining... sigh. .. I need more wall space...  Even if you don't think of yourself as a chart person, or don't think the topic is interesting, I do recommend taking a closer look at these prints. We think the Brooklyn artists who made them are quite clever.

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From our local artists we have more Wisconsin onesies and napkins, some new knitted coffee cup cozies, and the promise of many more arrivals coming soon. Many of our artists have their own holiday shows to prepare for but they have promised to send some goodies our way too.
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newsletter: Autumn 2012

We hope you are enjoying the gorgeous weather and fall colors.
You might not be considering Christmas, but here at Anthology we are unpacking daily shipments and plotting our holiday displays. We've also been busy with craft parties at our table and craft programs at local libraries. While setting up for a workshop on garland and book mobiles Sachi realized that she had been in the same classroom to learn about starting a small business more than 5 years ago!

The Dane County Farmer's Market continues each Saturday; below are other upcoming events:

Friday, October 5th is Gallery Night from 5-9PM. We will stay open late and feature photographs by Jenna Pope, who captured many of the Capitol protests and Overpass Light Brigade actions.

Friday, October 26 is the Downtown Trick or Treat from 2-5PM. This has quickly become a HUGELY popular event for families; the UW Homecoming Parade starts at 6PM that same evening.

Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving will be a 2-day Downtown Holiday Open House with trolley rides and treats.

These are just a few of our new favorite things at Anthology:
Neckties imported from Detroit (gnomes, hops, wind turbines & typewriters)
Laser-cut wooden earrings and pendants featuring patterns found in nature
Jewelry made of vintage beads & buttons
Origami Crane earrings
Aprons made of men's buttoned shirts
Day of the Dead finger puppets, figurines & tissue paper garlands
Journals made of vintage recycled books (Nancy Drew, Dr. Seuss, Golden Books)
Vintage Fabric balls--perfect for pillows & play
Hand-carved stamp blocks (butterflies, birds, flowers and animals)
Halloween-themed rubber stamps (pumpkins, skeletons, bats)
Cards featuring Laura's photography as well as our father's images
2013 Calendars and planners (Art from the London Underground, Charley Harper, Nikki McClure, Snow & Graham)
Presidential pins ("Beer Drinkers for Barack"/"Brats Beer Barack")

Stop in and see what's new!
Laura & Sachi

week(s) in review

Hmm... Is it really possible that a whole week has gone by since I said I was going to get caught up on this blog? And now it is October. Eek. This Friday night is Gallery Night, the twice-annual event during which galleries around town will be open into the evening showcasing their wares. As soon as I clear off part of the back table, Sachi is going to set up our assortment of Madison photographs. I have some photographs from various artists which I've been hoarding for a while. I'm hoping to at least get them in cello sleeves for display. Nothing like a deadline to get you moving.

We are also a little giddy this week because President Obama is coming to Madison. I'm entertaining myself with visions of selling an Obama button to Obama, but I have a feeling the Secret Service will not let him walk down State Street.

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In my personal art life, I've been preoccupied with quilt making. I found out suddenly that my machine quilter is retiring so I went into a bit of a tizzy, deciding that I really ought to have a quilt for my bed. Which is a good thing because I can finally move forward on my vague thoughts of new wall paint and an EKRA rug for my very own (I had been waiting for a tax refund but also having a hard time making up my mind about colors. I love her jumble rugs with the little bits of lots of colors but needed to make some decision about the exact combination of purple-blue-green). Anyway, I knew that I had one last machine quilting appointment but thought it was perhaps October 1, which meant two days of frantically sewing and cutting and ironing and washing, until I heard back from my machine quilter, who said that my appointment is October 22. Breathe. But don't relax too much!

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The quilt is, for me, a rather complex pattern which I have created recently. I love the way it looks but it requires keeping track of where everything belongs from the beginning - I'm accustomed to pretty much just winging it as I go. But the finished results are worth it. Now I just have to hold all those purples, blues and greens in their place.

As far as the shop is concerned, we're in full Christmas-prep mode. We have a few more weeks of orders and arrivals and then we mostly settle in to customer service and keeping the store looking presentable.

We are getting a nice array of fall accessories so we cleared some space for all of them together. I particularly love the yo-yo scarves made from silk scraps. I'm expecting more armwarmers and t-shirt necklaces/scarves, but kind of kicking myself for passing up the lovely felted wool scarves that I saw at so many booths on my Atlanta trip. I do love scarves.

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In other silk news, we got some lovely skeins of silk sari ribbon. I guess the sari-making process generates a lot of scraps because I've seen a lot of different ways they've been put to use. A women's cooperative in India takes the little strips and sews them together into continuous skeins so you could use these to knit or crochet, though I've also seen some lovely necklaces made from them.

Sari

I installed a new protest window, with prints. Nikki McClure always lends herself to the subject, but I also made some various quotation prints, in response to the crackdown on people exercising their freedom of speech in our State Capitol. As someone who has spent most of my life having unfettered access to the the Capitol building, I have grown up thinking that it truly is the People's House, so I find it maddening that Governor Walker & Co. continue to try and limit what happens there.  

 

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I'm slowly gathering pieces for our Christmas window. There will some lovelies too, but I couldn't resist a few whimsical elements. I sure would have loved to have a kid's room to decorate in a forest theme with this toadstool footstool. And the terrarium miniature pieces that I got will have a few little Totoros to go with them, which won't be so visible in the window so I got just a few bigger Totoros for accents. Judging by the reaction amongst my Facebook friends, I did not order enough.

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Other new arrivals include more "Midwest is Best" t-shirts and more "represent" onesies, still more notecards (I had to order a lot but then I qualified for a free spinner... and we all know I need more spinners.  I rearranged the shop a bit and am impatiently waiting for the spinners to arrive. It will be nice to have a little more space for all the lovely cards).

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And other than that, it's all about the buttons. We're in high gear now for the Obama campaign buttons, but Sachi's latest series has also been very popular (sluts vote, hussies vote...). And we've had some custom button work as well, including this fun favor for a wedding.

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And that just about wraps it up. For the moment. There were a fair number of companies with 10/1 ship dates so every day brings something new.