Thursday, January 19, 2017

Favorite Things

Another random corner of my house -- this time, the living room.  The art is all by an early 20th century commercial artist named Haskell Coffin.

Most of it is advertising  art -- calendar girls, movie star portraits, etc. -- but the one in the center is my favorite, and the first piece of his that I bought.  She's a cut-down WWI-era poster for war saving stamps.  The poster originally read "Joan of Arc Saved France -- You Can Save Too."

I've seen the whole poster on Ebay, and it's not that expensive, but this is how I found Joan, and a friend framed her for me, so that's how she'll stay.

All the art in the living room is by the same artist.  I love that era of commercial illustration, and for a while he was very easy to find.  (Not so much anymore, possibly because I acquired most of it).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Zero Waste

I share a lot of recycling art and random eco-friendly things that interest me over on my shop's Facebook page (every Tuesday, if you're so inclined to check it out), but this one was interesting enough (and long enough) to also put it here.  (Source is Huffington Post).

This is an amazing business model, using every single thread of fabric that other manufacturers have already discarded.  What would the world look like if more businesses operated like this?


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Now We are Six

This photo is from our second anniversary dinner (four years ago), shortly before I broke the news to Mario that I wanted to quit my job in April and try doing my own thing.

I was wearing my wedding dress (which I am not certain still fits, and I'm not trying it on tomorrow to risk hurting my feelings; besides, it's cold).  Mario was wearing the aqua shirt that I made for the wedding, as well.

He was looking particularly curly that night, which means as part of my anniversary gift, he let me scrunch his hair up and resisted combing / brushing / pulling his hands through it and straightening the curl.  At least until after the waiter took the picture.

Now that's love, people.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Favorite Things

My godmother's secretary desk, filled with random
 relative treasures that I can't part with, topped
by two taxidermied ravens. Because why not?
I'm trying to put more time into developing my vintage Etsy shop this year.  It's been around longer than the handmade shop, and has consistent sales, but up until recently it's had no Facebook presence.  As tired as I can get of social media, it does help with sales.

In some respects, vintage is easier, sales-wise.  People know those things exist, they just have to search for them.  With handmade, you have to anticipate not only what people will want, but how they're going to search for it.

On the other hand, it's a lot easier for me to do Instagram or Facebook about the handmade shop, because I'm more invested in the products -- I make them, after all, and I like to talk about them.

So a new feature on the vintage shop's Facebook page will be a Favorite Things post, photographs of vintage items in their natural habitat (i.e., my house).  That way it's not all product placement -- which Facebook's algorithm doesn't push at people, even if they follow the page -- and it's more personal.  Plus, I do love my vintage pieces, and I like to talk about them.  So maybe this is a way into it for me, as well as others.

Plus, you all get a disjointed tour of my messy house this way.  (I don't know about you, but I love snooping into people's lives, so . . . )

Monday, January 9, 2017

New Girls

Amazing how long it takes to make the simplest changes sometimes.  I've had my embroidery machine for a few months now, but every time I made a batch of dolls, they went right out the door to a craft show and then most of them didn't come home.

Which is a very good thing, but when I'm supposed to keep up with Etsy as well as in-person events, not so much.  The custom doll listing still had the photos from when I hand embroidered the faces, and after explaining to several buyers that the dolls no no longer looked precisely like the photos, I knew I had to get myself together and update my pictures.

Problem solved.  I had a few girls left post-Christmas and just made a new batch to drop off to stores this coming week.  I also did something logical and added a photo showing the 3 skin tones available for dolls, instead of just explaining that they can be made in light, medium or dark.  It's easier to say that hair is available in light and dark blonde, red, brown and black (plus fun colors), but everyone's idea of skin tones can vary.  This will hopefully clear up most questions.

Is there any other information you think should be included in the listing?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snow Day

I'm not sure how much exercise I would ever get if this place wasn't in my neighborhood.

Thursday, January 5, 2017


My favorite orders are always the custom ones.  I love seeing what people come up with -- the thing they could never find, or a recreation of a long-lost toy.  Recently I was contacted on Etsy by someone who wanted a specific doll for her daughter.  A doll that isn't made.

Her daughter is in love with the grandmother character of a cartoon show that I've never even heard of.  There are dolls of the major characters, but Abuela didn't get a doll.  And that's who her five year old daughter wanted for Christmas.  When Christmas came, she was disappointed.  And then her mom thought to try Etsy, to see if anyone could make one.

The mom sent me a photo of the character -- which I'm not going to put up because it's licensed and I'm not and it's not an exact replica anyway, just an "inspired by," but still -- and I got to work.  The only fabric I didn't have on hand was light gray for the hair, but luckily the thrift store down the street had a pale gray men's shirt on the dollar rack.  I used the lower portion of the sleeve, so I still have a whole large shirt left for other projects.

I'm really loving my machine embroidered faces.  The hand embroidered ones had a different feel, but even when I was really moving, I couldn't do ten faces in a day -- and in busy season, that sometimes is what needs to be done.

All the other fabrics I had on hand -- the bright pink was the pocket from a skirt, the paisley was the back half of a vintage skirt that I'd cut up ages ago, the lace was two separate bundles of hem lace that probably arrived in a cookie tin from one or another elderly female relative.

She went to the post office on Tuesday, in time to arrive for a special birthday party this Saturday.