Previous month:
April 2009
Next month:
June 2009

things to make with tiny scraps of fabric

Because I needed more things to do, right?  No, not really.  But there are all these scraps of fabric.  I have packaged some up in what Emily is calling "fabric carrots," for people to purchase. 

 Wednesday 006

I'm sending a batch out to Valley Ridge and have some here at the store.  Super tiny little scraps... what I used to consider "too small to sew" but which I have since used to stitch onto paper, tie on the edges of books...  People who make dolls might like the little bits of fabric for projects, also artist trading cards...  Also good for decoupage - we use them on mirror frames from IKEA and we used them to decorate paper eggs at Eastertime.

I searched on etsy and found many different things to make with fabric scraps, including these cute little circles, fabric wreaths... pretty much all you have to do is type in "fabric scraps" and you'll get a wealth of ideas, and Emily sent this link for making ping pong ball beads covered in scraps of fabric.  So maybe this will tempt you to take some of those scraps...  There's no end of ideas.  As my former boss said, "ideas are a dime a dozen, it's follow-through and time that are in short supply." 

Meanwhile, I've been using our fabric button maker and making larger buttons for the store. 

Fabric buttons 004

AND, I started making tiny fabric-covered buttons.  Michelle makes these into hair accessories and cute little posts.

Fabric buttons 001

They can also be made into brads for scrapbooking or tacks for your bulletin board.  I'm going to make some fabric-covered button bracelets

Fabric buttons 003

and I made this little charmer. 


I have to get more supplies - but I think these will be sweet little charm bracelets and also possibly necklaces.  I just have to cut out the circles.  And the scraps from that?  Time to let them go, unless I suddenly hear from someone that they want a box of little fabric shreds.  I just don't have enough space.  or time.  I think that cutting button circles out of headband and quilt scraps constitutes enough thriftiness.

any ideas for what to do with lots of fabric?

All right, here's the deal: I went a little crazy there for a while, cutting, ironing, sewing and the result is lots of quilts, and lots of scraps.  I have bits and pieces - little almost-squares or almost-triangles, strips, pastel, bright, cool...  It's more than one person can possibly use, even in a few lifetimes, and I don't have that much time.  So, does anyone have any ideas?  I'm sure we can negotiate some sort of bargain.  I suppose this might be the push that gets me into the etsy world, but in the meantime...  Do you have any suggestions?  Do you know anyone who makes dolls? sews fabric onto paper?  makes some other sort of wonderful creation who could use some fabric scraps?  I can think of tons of things to do with fabric scraps but I simply do not have enough time for all the fabric that I have so I think it is time to lighten the load a little bit.  Any thoughts?

good news about twinkling watercolors!

So, I have to confess that for a few months now, I've been sitting on the news that Luminarte Inc, the company that makes our favorite sparkling watercolors, was going out of business.  I managed to get one last order in, for over a year supply, and some part of me really felt that they couldn't go out of business.  I know, that's Pollyanna and all that in these tough economic times, but, I don't know, I just refused to believe it.  After they broke the news, there followed a period in which they were swamped with emails and phone calls.  Apparently, before they made the announcement, they had already cut back on staffing and started to wind down production.  They quickly sold all of their remaining stock and had to start production again.  So there were a series of emails telling me to be patient; they were working on orders but with a reduced staff or with suppliers that had run out of supplies...  I kept thinking that with that sort of demand, SOMEONE had to step in and say that "the show must go on!" 

And they all lived happily ever after...   Today I got an email that they have decided to restructure and remain in business!  Hooray hooray!  Hopefully they will soon work their way through their backlog and we can restock.  We have plenty of some colors but the reds and yellows have been dwindling.  This is wonderful news in so many ways - but most of all because who couldn't use more sparkle in their life?!

children's books

A little excitement in my purchasing world.  I have long been a collector of children's books.  I know, it might seem like a silly thing for a grown woman who is not a parent but it has always been a weakness of mine.  Various children that I babysat came to know (and hopefully love) the tradition of reading books with Laura and I am hoping that the adorable girl will come around as well.  But I also love children's books for my own entertainment, and there are some good ones out there.  It is a major disappointment of mine that children are fed these corporate and commercialized "stories" whose main purpose is to sell the dolls/TV shows/movies/accessories that go along with them.  I really don't think anyone is too young to ever start appreciating fine illustration and creative stories.  And I think that goes along with our general mission to facilitate creativity.  SO, one category that I have always imagined for our store is a collection of children's books.  It has taken longer to work out the details.  Several of the big companies are a challenge to deal with - they require pages of paperwork and have been less than responsive, or had only one or two titles in their offerings.  Finally I did what I've done with all my creative books (before we opened the store, I wrote down titles and publishers from all the books in my collection and then it was very clear which publishers I should contact).  I sat down two nights ago and went through my entire collection.  Certain patterns emerged and I managed to find some small publishers, including one in Minnesota, just down the street from where I went to college (which suddenly explains why I got those great additions to my collection from small Minnesota book stores).  I've already heard back from one of them and am excited that we will soon be able to carry some of the children's books that I love.  The catalogs are on their way...

closed on Monday, Memorial Day

I know, I know...  but you were going to have a family picnic anyway and not come downtown, right?  This makes, what?  the second day of the year that we've been closed. Sachi is going to Chicago for the holiday weekend and I need to spend some serious time in my studio.  I THINK that both of those things will be to your eventual benefit.  Sachi is hopefully stopping at IKEA for some craft table supplies for us, as well as getting some ideas from window shopping in the Windy City.  And I, well, I'll be in a much better mood if I am not working 14 days in a row.  My parents are starting to talk about moving out of the house that they have lived in since I was in 5th grade.  I don't know about you and your parents' houses, but I still have A LOT of stuff at their house - my quilting studio for one thing, but other stuff as well.  And I have a lot of stuff in my house.  Since we opened the store I haven't really put it all back together.  I removed some furniture to bring to the store, brought art supplies and projects (which technically should mean that there is more room somewhere).  How is it all going to fit?!  Eek.  I'm a little nervous about it all, but I am a pro at fitting a lot of things into a small space so I'm pretty confident that it can be done, though it will require several car trips to and from - my parents, Goodwill, my sister's place (she still has things in my closet).  Anyway, spring cleaning is long overdue.  Time to face the reality of certain books and items of clothing that need to find a different home.  I'm trying to figure out a plan of attack so I don't do too much moving and re-moving.  If all the fabric goes into the pink bedroom, I might need to make room for paper and photographs in the...what? living room? hall closet? bedroom closet?

So, some major sorting and organizing and sifting and cleaning.. and Mom has kindly offered to help me on Monday so I can move my sewing machine over to my place.  OOOHHHH!  I am pretty excited about having my sewing studio at home.  I hope I don't keep the neighbors up late with my sewing, but I'm pretty sure that you will see some positive results very quickly in terms of projects for the store. and maybe a few new sundresses for me.  I have been feeling sorry for myself that I need to put money towards taxes and car repairs and not fun summer dresses.... but, wait a minute! I can sew!  And I have tons of fun flowery fabrics purchased for just these purposes.  I think I'll try to find a pattern or two and make myself a few new dresses.  After all, I deserve it, right?!  Anyway, I hope that everyone enjoys their long holiday weekend!

spring beauties. take 2.

DSC06713 DSC06736 DSC06760 DSC06853

There has to be some reward for making it through another Wisconsin winter... and this is it!  The flowering trees are especially lovely and I've enjoyed bike rides through the arboretum.  It usually seems like one group of flowering trees is done before the next one begins but there are still some magnolias, lots of crab apples, AND lilacs - so many different colors of blossoms and such a lovely scent that fills the air!  I made a blue & white dress for Lily with blueberry fabric as the skirt (that's her favorite fruit) and a little striped apron.  Here's our latest arboretum outing.
 DSC06862 DSC06878 DSC06848DSC06880

the opera comes to town


And look at the fabulous shoes it is wearing!  We've been enjoying the company of visiting artists - in town to perform in the Madison Opera's production of Faust.  If you are like me, you didn't pay attention to the message the universe was trying to tell you (a very stylish friend is working wardrobe, not to mention the delightful visitors) and you didn't get tickets to what is being called the "hottest ticket in town."  Hopefully I've learned my lesson and won't let it happen again. Three of note have been into the store almost every day while they've been in town for rehearsals and fittings and walk-throughs and performances.  Very delightful!  and very stylish, and very appreciative of our store.  It has been a real pleasure.  To you three, you know who you are, we'll see you next time you are in town and I will endeavor not to miss your performance!

wash day


There's no end to the sewing projects...  It doesn't help that I keep getting sidetracked.  I started thinking about a quilt for the store that goes with the color theme.  And even though I have plenty of fabric, a trip to the store was in order.  Once there, I got distracted with this adorable little girl dress pattern from Portabellopixie.  All I can say is that it's probably a good thing I am not a mom so I actually have time to enact all these photo-shoot visions on the adorable girl.  She loves blueberries so I am making a dress with a blueberry skirt, and various shades of blue & whites for the sleeves, bodice, and apron.  Fun!  I'm thinking, the adorable girl in her blueberry dress, frolicking amidst the flowering trees at the arboretum.  Hopefully the rain on Wednesday won't knock all the blossoms off and the cool weather will prolong the blossoming long enough for me to get the thing sewn.  Distraction, distraction.  I love the image of fabric drying on the line; this is most of the fabric for the store quilt, as well as some for knitter's pockets.  Oh, and headbands.  That said, I really should go upstairs and get some sewing done today.

highlights of the day. 5/9/09.

in no particular order:
a. waking up with new collage project ideas
b. a craft table filled with people making cards
c. sunshine
d. a dad telling me that he and his son had the most fun they've ever had on State Street, decorating a card, and the son crying a little at having to leave the craft table (not that I'm happy that he was crying, but I'm happy that he was having so much fun that he didn't want to stop)
e. working with Pamela
f. finishing SIX photo snippets and EIGHT terrace button frames
g. time in the morning to read a book in bed
h. being told by a customer that it was obvious we had put our heart into the store
i. holding the adorable girl

why not make Mom a frame for Mother's Day?

Frame 001

Just 2 days left.... the glue needs to set overnight but you can stop in Friday or Saturday with your photocopies and make buttons to glue onto a frame or bracelet.  We don't have a good printer so you need to bring your images in ready to be made into buttons: this means reduced in size and printed out onto typing-weight paper (either photocopy or print from the computer.  PHOTO PAPER IS TOO THICK!).  We have a tool that cuts the circles and then the button machine to make either flat-back buttons for gluing or pin-back buttons.  We had some customers come in with some really great black & white family pictures that they made into buttons.  I think it would be funny if you went to Mother's Day brunch and the whole family was wearing buttons with Mom's picture on it!  This frame I made with pictures of the adorable girl.  Even though I get to make buttons everyday, I still sometimes forget how fun and cool it is -- it was really fun to make the little buttons with some of the photographs from the last two years.