Just enter the discount code when you check out for 20% off your order total! The code is good until midnight on May 10th.

The sweet vintage artwork is by one of my favorite 1930s children's illustrators—Lucille Enders.


lost weekend +

I was doing so well with posting again and then I got the flu. I haven't even had a cold for something like 10 years so it's been particularly unpleasant. High fever, chills, headache, the works. It's now Day 5 and I'm just starting to feel better, although still very drained of energy. I don't usually get a flu shot, and, with this new strain of flu, I'm not sure it would have mattered anyway, but I'm seriously rethinking that. You forget how bad it can be. So, all is well—I'm on the mend and will be back soon.


down on the farm

hillside mercantile

Primrose Design products are now available at Hillside Mercantile in Shavertown, Pennsylvania (near Wilkes-Barre)! The Mercantile is just one of the many places to visit at The Lands at Hillside Farms, a 19th century, 412-acre non-profit educational dairy farm. Each year the farm welcomes thousands of regional students and even some international ones—the last time I delivered products to the shop they were hosting a group of students visiting from France.

hillside farm mercantile

When you visit, you can tour the dairy barns (where you'll find Jersey, Holstein, and Brown Swiss cows) and visit the farm animals (including pigs, chickens, dorset sheep, alpine goats, Sardinian donkeys, and barn cats, of course). There's a gardening shed and greenhouses, too. Afterward stop at the dairy store for their famous ice cream and dairy products (from those same cows) and for other locally-produced foodstuffs (greens, breads, free-range eggs, honey, and maple syrup, to name just a few).

cute pig

The Mercantile is housed in a 19th century barn behind the dairy store. Under the direction of Noelle Mozloom, the shop is now focusing on locally-made products and crafts (artwork, soaps, candles, knitwear, children's items, and jewelry). My offerings include potholders, tea towels, sachets, wallets, zipper bags, key fobs, and a few pillows, like the Down on the Farm one shown here (actually there are two available). Featuring a vintage embroidered farmer with vintage carrot-themed fabric and carrot-shaped buttons, how perfect a fit is this for a working farm?

Down on the Farm

The Lands at Hillside Farms, 65 Hillside Road, Shavertown, PA 18708, (570) 696-2881


even sweeter

I've been making my lavender-filled sachets in a new, smaller size—just under 5" square. I've found it's a great way to use up the remaining corners of the handkerchiefs after I've made the larger sizes. They're cute and small and sell for a lower price point, too.

Hanky Sachet

The one shown here is available on my website but it's the only one you'll find right now. There's a pile of at least 2 dozen on my work table as we speak. I'll be sewing and filling them today and tomorrow and, if the weather cooperates, I'll be able to photograph them and get them listed by the weekend. Mother's Day is fast approaching and these make sweet gifts. Even sweeter than the larger sizes!


seller beware

I've been struggling about whether to say anything about my recent experience with selling in a local shop again. It didn't work so well the first time I did it, and my second experience wasn't any better. In fact, it was much worse. Honestly, I won't do it again unless it's my very own store. Maybe some day :)

With this kind of arrangement, the vendor pays monthly rent and possibly gets a reduction if they agree to work in the shop a certain number of hours every week. With enough vendors, the owner gets their rent and expenses paid and doesn't need to hire sales help. The vendor gets to keep all of their profit from sales, minus a small percentage if the customer pays via credit card. Sounds like everybody wins, right? Maybe, maybe not.

In my ten years of doing business I've found that selling in shops is very hit or miss. Some places will be a good fit for your products; some won't. The problem is that there's no way to predict which way it will go. And, if you've locked yourself into a contract and your sales aren't good, you're stuck. That's what happened to me. I lost hundreds of dollars because I had to pay rent every month that my sales did not cover. And that's not counting the hours I volunteered. And it isn't enough to just break even anyway; the whole point is to make a profit.

I was going to suggest that anyone considering such a deal should do their research. But, unless you can track down current vendors to hear of their experiences or vendors who have left to find out why they did, you're relying on the shop owner to be truthful in answering your questions. It's their job to find vendors so it's understandable that they'd paint a rosy picture of how things might be.

I'm currently in another local shop (well, sort of local—it's in the next county over), but it's a consignment situation. I know many people will say not to do consignment either (and there are some potential problems with it that I'll save for another discussion) but it's been mostly a good experience. This shop is a perfect fit for my things and I've made more in the four months that I've been there than the entire time I was in the other shop. And that's including the commission that the shop takes.

My point is, though, that if it wasn't a good fit I could just pick up my things and go. I'm not locked into a specific time period and I don't have to spend time volunteering—hours that I could be creating new products.

I took a very long hiatus from blogging (almost a year and that's partly because of those lost hours spent volunteering) but I'm starting to feel like I have something to say again. No promises; we'll see.


Arts on the Square

arts on the square banner
As in Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton this Saturday, July 27th from noon to 8 pm. It's the first year for this event but it's going to be huge! And it's not just a craft show but more a celebration of the arts in our city. There will be art and performance events throughout the day and music by local favorites The Coal Town Rounders, Rogue Chimp, and Gypsy Jazz Quartet. All on three stages (Spruce, Linden, and N. Washington Streets). The fourth side of the square (Adams Avenue) will host an Open-Air Studio with art-related events.

Read interviews with some of the artists, musicians, and craft vendors here. See the day's schedule here. And check out this cool promo video—

I'll be one of the craft vendors but I can't tell you yet exactly where to find me. I'll edit this when I receive that information. Besides me and my vintage-inspired creations, there will be soaps, candles, children's clothing, accessories, photography, painting, and jewelry. In other words, a little bit of everything. I don't know about you but I love to get some early holiday shopping done at summer craft events. It's a great way to find unusual gifts and to support your local community at the same time.

I'll be debuting not one but four new items (crazy, right?—I've been sewing like mad for weeks)—vintage button magnets, vintage fabric pin cushions, simple beach tote bags made from vintage heavyweight fabrics (some authentic bark cloth), and needle books sewn from vintage fabric scraps with felt pages inside to hold pins and needles. I'll have a little of everything else in my product line, too. I hope you'll stop by and say hello.


celebrate Mom

I hope you'll join us on Saturday, May 11th, from 11 am to 1 pm for an Open House Party at Willow Tree Shop in Clarks Summit. This event will celebrate my becoming a vendor at the shop and give customers the chance to meet me and to become more familiar with my designs. I'll be bringing additional merchandise just for the day and you'll receive 20% off any Primrose Design purchase during the event. Oh, yes, and there will be snacks! Baked by yours truly :)

lily of the valley sachet

Don't forget Mother's Day on Sunday. My lavender sachets made from vintage handkerchiefs and buttons, like the one shown here, make sweet gifts. The scent of these lasts and lasts so Mom will be able to enjoy them for years to come.