spring cleaning

It hasn't felt much like spring until today. We had snow on Monday, which would have been a nice April Fool's Day joke if it had happened a day later. What a strange winter it's been.

Even though spring is a bit late this year, I've been spring cleaning for weeks. Trying to make space in my studio and storage areas for new products. To help solve my lack of storage space, I'm having a sale on my website; no end date, just great ongoing deals.

Down on the Farm
Pillow with vintage cross-stitch farmer, carrot fabric, and carrot-shaped buttons.

All pillows are 50% off. These are older designs and pillows that I now have back from a shop that's closed. When I first started out I sold tons of pillows; not sure why they've become a slow seller for me but I want to work on some new designs and I just don't have anywhere to put them.

tissue cozy
Vintage fabric tissue cozy with stacked purple and yellow vintage buttons.

Tissue cozies are also something that sold really well for a while, but don't any longer; I'm discontinuing them and they're all marked down to 20% off.

New to the site is a clearance page. You'll find discontinued items (like my covered notebooks at 30% off), older styles (key fobs that are slightly too short to be called wristlets at 50% off), and a few zipper bags at 30% off.

I've also been destashing fabrics in my Etsy shop and moving vintage buttons from my website to my new Etsy shop—PrimroseButtons.

I don't want to sound too negative, like nothing is working. Business has an ebb and flow, customers get bored, I get tired of making some products, it's just the way things are. What is working well? My lavender sachets made from vintage handkerchiefs, buttons, and fabrics! They continue to be my best-selling product and I've added lots of new designs in time for spring. Mother's Day isn't far off and they make great gifts!


who's got the buttons?

You may have noticed a new link in my sidebar; it's for my second Etsy shop, opened in January and selling only buttons. That (maybe?) sounds too specialized but buttons were some of the biggest sellers in my original Etsy shop and I wanted to do a major destash of that section on my website, so it makes all kinds of sense.

Primrose Buttons on Etsy
I have mostly vintage buttons from the 1940s to 1970s, a lot of plastic, some metal, glass, and pearl. A few newer buttons. All are perfect for sewing (of course), crafting (have you seen some of the gorgeous jewelry people are making from buttons?), and even collecting for some of the very old and valuable ones.

Streamline Cream Square Buttons
Streamline cream-colored squares with wavy carving, $3.50

I started out buying buttons for my own work and use them on just about all my products—pillows, hanky sachets, mini wallets, and tissue cozies. And I love the brightly-colored plastic ones from the 1940s and 50s, especially the flower-shaped and pinwheel styles.

Cherry Red Chunky Buttons
Le Bouton vintage French layered green and black buttons, $14

I find them at local flea markets, yard sales, and antique malls and also on Ebay. But the best and least-expensive way for me to buy them is in box lots. And the problem with that is I end up with too many and with ones that aren't quite right for my work. That's why I started selling them. And that's why I can offer them to you at great prices.

Layered Black and Green Buttons
La Mode chunky red dots, $4

With every order you'll get a bonus vintage plastic button sewn to this cute business card.

Primrose Buttons

So check it out when you have a few minutes to spend browsing. I try to keep about a hundred listings active and add new buttons as the current listings sell. And, if you're looking for something in particular (a size, a color, or a style), convo me and I'll see if I can help. I have, literally, hundreds of buttons on hand and I might have just what you're looking for.


on a mission

"Our mission is to create natural and simple products for the home and body."—Ashley Paschke, The Post Home and Body

the post home and body
The soap offerings chalkboard, winter version.

Since late December I've been selling some of my products at a relatively new shop in downtown Scranton; I think it opened in November. Located in the 300 block of Adams Avenue, next to Eden Vegan Cafe and nearby Revival Letterpress and Loyalty Barber Shop & Shave Parlor, The Post Home & Body features owner Ashley Paschke's own line of bath and beauty products. Things like bar soaps in amazing scent combinations, bath fizzes, dry shampoo, deodorant, and lip butter.

Eucalyptus Bath Fizzies
Eucalyptus bath fizzes, please don't eat.

Home goods include Ashley's own soy candles in repurposed vintage containers made under the brand Reclaimed: A Candle Company and the work of local crafters who share her mission of creating products using natural and simple ingredients or that recycle/repurpose vintage finds. You'll find things like gourmet dog treats from Wilbur's Barkery and local raw honey from Newkirk Honey. Aprons and tote bags by Bachestinks, Tillie nail polish, letterpress signs by All Hands On, paper goods by ShantyTown, and animal framed pictures and stuffed animals by ReDo.

the post home and body
Stuffies and framed pictures from ReDo, love that fox!

You'll find Primrose Design lavender sachets sewn from vintage fabrics and handkerchiefs, tea towels embellished with vintage fabrics and rick rack, and patchwork pot holders that use vintage fabrics and bits of recycled vintage linens.

Primrose Design patchwork pot holders
Primrose Design patchwork pot holders made from vintage fabrics

If you're interested in learning how to make some of these products yourself, Ashley shares her knowledge in DIY classes she calls Maker's Sessions. Upcoming ones include candle making, soap making, and lip butter creation.

Like their Facebook page for updates on new products and events.

The Post Home and Body, 344 Adams Avenue, Unit 2, Scranton, PA 18503, (570) 955-3135. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday 11-5 and Thursdays-Fridays 11-6. Closed Sunday and Monday.


a shop update

In case you haven't visited my website lately, I've been making some of my lavender-filled sachets in smaller sizes. The vintage handkerchief sachets are now available in an extra-small size of just under 5" square for $8.00.

Small Hanky Sachet

And I'm doing sachet stacks with two sachets in addition to the original three. The Double Stacks have sachets that are both the same size and made from the same vintage fabric, and they're tied with a slightly narrower grosgrain ribbon. Selling for $12.00. The original stacks of three are now called Triple Stacks.

Double Stacks

My sachets are big sellers for Mother's Day and I think the new sizes will be a nice addition to the product line. I'll be stocking up in both categories over the coming weeks in plenty of time for the holiday.

I haven't been very active here on Blogger this past year or so. Please join me on Pinterest, particularly the Primrose Design Products board, for advance notice of new designs.


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


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.