Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just a bit of news

Katie is unimpressed by my news.
Remember this post?

Well, apparently (surprisingly?) taking action can bring results. 

In other words,


That doesn't mean I have a publisher, but it's a start.  I found someone who liked the manuscript enough to want to pitch it to publishers, which is more than I could say a few months ago.

It's a process, though.  There will be some edits, I'm sure, probably not until the beginning of next year, but I've already started thinking about them.  Along with what comes next.

Did I mention, I'm EXCITED?????

This is what happens when you finally face down the fear that what you've done might not be good enough.  What's the worst that could have happened -- rejection letters?  I got a number of those, but I also got one that said "yes."  And that makes all the difference.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inspiration in strange places

So it was a busy, productive and profitable weekend.

I had shows on Saturday and Sunday, and rearranged my work schedule this week so I could take Monday off and recover and make some new pieces.

Saturday's show was a fall fair at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, an annual community event that had invited outside crafters to participate for the first time this year.  Saturday dawned rainy and gray, but the organizers had emailed the night before and said they had scored pop-up tents for everyone and to look on the bright side -- historically, the event had been better for everyone on rainy days, because other things would cancel and everyone would end up there.  I'm not sure if that's what happened, but it was busy from start to finish, and the rain knocked off by about 10:30, so by noon we were even pretty warm and dry.

Shows are always interesting.  There's always one thing that sells better than everything else, and it varies from week to week, so it's hard to anticipate and make enough of what you think the next big thing might be.

The other day I was thinking I could slow down on the little dresses until spring, because I had a decent stock and they probably weren't going to sell that heavily in the fall.  And then I sold 8 of them Saturday, and 1 more on Sunday.

Sunday's event was a shorter one, with bright, beautiful weather.  This was at the Cynwyd Station Cafe, which is a great little Victorian tearoom right outside the city.  It was the tearoom's 6 month anniversary party, with vendors and food and drink and a tiny circus.  Mario stayed and hung out with his laptop, my cousin who just moved to the area stopped by for a while, and a good time was had by all.

But the keeper for the weekend for me was this display setup I photographed on Saturday.  The ceramics vendor next to me admitted that she trashpicked this set of steps by the side of the road.  I doubt I'll get that lucky, so I might have to go to Home Depot sometime soon.  But can't you just see it stacked up with stuffed animals?  It would be so perfect for shows with limited space - the ability to go vertical is very valuable then.

Friday, October 3, 2014


I put some of my childhood memories up on Etsy today.  It should be hard, but it really wasn't.

The first, a set of two ceramic Tiki-style mugs, decorated my mom's kitchen from the time I was little.  She never drank out of them, but she rooted plants and had vines growing from them that wove all around the kitchen ceiling.  Philodendron one time; sweet potato vine another.

The second is a set of Christmas ornaments that probably came into the house about the time I did.  I loved them.  They're styrofoam treated to look like gingerbread, and considering their 50ish years, they look pretty good.

When I first took these out of the cabinet, I thought they'd be really hard to get rid of.  And then I thought about the fact that they've been in a cabinet for the 15 years I've been in my house, and put away for most of the time before that.  I haven't had a Christmas tree in 30 years; I've never drunk out of the mugs either, and I don't do house plants.

So why, then?  Why keep them?  Why not just take nice pictures so that I can remember them, and let them go out into the wider world to make their way.

So that's what I did.

Monday, September 29, 2014

One from the vault

I've been cleaning out a lot lately.  The amount of aunt and previous homeowner clutter started to get to me, and then I realized how much of what was bothering me was actually mine.

So I started cleaning out that, too.

Boxes have gone to the thrift store.  And that's just the stuff that I can't list on Etsy, or cut up into more interesting things.

I pulled this out tonight, and spent a half hour ironing and swearing at it, and remembering both fondly and with horror how long it took me to make this.

This was made about 20 years ago for a costume ball.  I went with my closest friend (who was dressed as Marie Antoinette), and another friend of ours.  He wore black leather, and not much else.  We entered the costume competition as "Two Dead Queens and a Live One."  We didn't win, but our friend got a few dates out of it, and I had a guy ask if he could wear my dress.

Sleeves with faux pearls and fabric roses;
shoulders and waist are outlined in
drapery cord, with gold roses, gold braid
and two kinds of lace.
This is so far past my wearing that I can't even get it on my dress form.  I remember it being a bit of a squeeze at the time (even with that oh-so-historical back zipper), but it wouldn't go on the form at all.

I made the mistake of trying to get it on me and got stuck.  Like really stuck, and no one was home to get me out of the dress.  Not that I would have asked -- I would have rather torn it trying to get out than ask for such humiliating assistance!

I can't remember how long this took to make, but it was every night in front of the TV, and portions of it went to work with me - especially when I was hand sewing on the ropes of faux pearls to the sleeves.

Looking at it now, I wish my sewing skills had been better then.  But on the other hand, if the work was as good as the idea behind it, I'd have a really hard time letting it go.

A few detail shots, just because I'm still proud of it.  And for the right size 6(ish) person, it's available here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Next Sunday!

How great is the poster for next Sunday's 6 month anniversary bash out at the Cynwyd Station Cafe?  

If you' re local, or anywhere near, you should check this place out -- great coffee, tea, pastries and homemade ice cream, floats, milkshakes, you name it.  And lots of lovely things to see and buy.  Including mine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Social History

Believe it or not, I'm still cleaning out stuff from my aunt's apartment.  Considering how many carloads went to the thrift store, and how much more just went straight into the trash (and you know how I feel about throwing things away!), there is still a metric shit ton of this stuff.

I didn't keep a lot of her books.  Most of them were either "old people" books (staying young, prescription drug interactions, vitamins, healthy cooking), saccharine book club romance novels, and random religious tracts given to her by visits that she was too polite to refuse (she had 6 family bibles; I think that was enough even for her).

I kept a few, this being one of them.  I know Edith Head as a Hollywood costume designer, and I'm not particularly surprised that she wrote a book, but this is a serious piece of social history, in addition to a book about clothes.

Check out the heading on Chapter 2:  "How to Dress to Get a Man . . . and Keep Him."  

Actually, a lot of the advice (other than that man-getting bit) is still pretty spot on.  

And I love the illustrations.  If you want your own piece of social history, it's available here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Watercolor Dress

I did something unusual today.  I finished a project . . . for myself.

I started this dress about a month ago, and I've been meaning to get it done before summer is completely over and I have no use at all for a maxi-length linen dress.

So today's technically the first day of fall, but since it's supposed to be in the 80s tomorrow, I'm wearing this bad girl to work before I can't.

The pattern is Tessuti's downloadable Eva dress pattern, available here.  I've made a few of their patterns, and while they tend toward the oversized-fits-most-without-too-much-tweaking, I do like this one.

I've not been big on the maxi dress trend, mostly because they all seem to be nothing but cleavage and skirt.  Now I've been known to put the girls on a plate a time or two (or ten), but the style just does nothing for me personally, at least on me.  Plus, being short, I tend to feel really squat in that much skirt.

Somehow, a dress that's less fitted all over doesn't make me feel short at all.  Here's Tessuti's description, which is easier than me reinventing the wheel and saying basically the same thing.   "This loose summer dress has a bodice that sits sat high waist and a paneled skirt with side pockets.  It can be made up in either a short-sleeved or sleeveless version.  The Eva Dress is designed as an oversized garment which makes it fantastically comfortable and cool addition to your summer wardrobe."

Yes to all that, but a few points they didn't mention -- for some reason, they want you to cut bias binding for the neckline, sleeve hems and skirt hem.  I did it for the neckline, because it seemed neater, but I saw no reason to go to that much extra effort for hems, especially when linen has enough flexibility to accommodate the minor curve of the skirt hem.  Also, the "paneled skirt" they mention is one of my favorite bits -- it's an upper skirt and a lower, skirt, and the upper flares out at the bottom, while the lower is wider at the top and narrows toward the hem.  It gives an interesting effect when it's on, and doesn't look at all saggy.  Check out the line drawing on Tessuti's site if my explanation doesn't make any sense.

Pluses with this pattern:  quick and easy, unless you put it down for a few weeks, like I did.  Pattern pieces that all line up, even with a fluid fabric like linen.  Inseam pockets that hang well and don't show at all.

Fabric is 100% linen picked up as a remnant at London Textiles.  I loved all the colors; I just wish they had been arranged differently on the remnant so that I could have used the aqua at the top instead.  Also, wish I'd been able to pattern match better on that aqua-to-green segment.  But I couldn't, and oh, well.  It's a summer dress, I like it as it is and summer's nearly over.

I'll try to get a photo of it on me tomorrow.