2.26.2009

you can never have too many cats

I've been really good about staying away from Ebay lately. Not that I don't still look but I'm more careful about what I bid on and how much I'm willing to spend. I lose more auctions, but that's OK. Sometimes my patience pays off and I win something great. Like this super cute stamped-for-embroidery linen towel.

teacup kittens

One thing I've learned is that I can always sell pillows with animals on them, especially cats and dogs. Three kittens sailing in a tea cup with a spoon for an oar—no problem!

This towel uses the Colortex process where the lines to be embroidered are printed in color instead of black (or blue). The idea was that you knew which colors to use for embroidering each section. I find them too limited and like to do my own thing when it comes to color. I really don't have time to complete this right now so I'll be setting it aside for a while. It's sure going to make a cute pillow though!

2.21.2009

coyotes

I've been reading The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming by Shreve Stockton about her adventures raising a coyote pup. I've had a fascination with coyotes since the summer after we purchased our house. That's when we first heard them in the woods out back and down near the creek across the road. They have a wide range so it's sometimes several weeks before they come back around but they're fairly regular visitors. They really do howl and it's the eeriest sound you've ever heard.

While we hear them all the time, seeing them is a much rarer thing. Last summer around dusk two of them ran across the road in front of my car but it happened so fast that I could almost convince myself that it didn't happen at all. I'd given up hope of ever seeing one up close and personal. Last weekend it finally happened.

I was driving to the grocery store that's about 4 miles from my house and there was a truck stopped in the opposite lane. I stopped, too, because that usually means a deer is going to run across. Believe me, you don't want to hit one if you can help it—they can total your car. The guy in the truck pointed over to the field and there was a coyote standing there. He must have just crossed the road, and was walking across the field. There was no one on the road behind me so I sat and watched him for a few minutes. He stopped, looked back at me, then walked along the creek at the back of the field. Gorgeous golden fur and a bushy tail and, even though they're in the canine family, you'd never mistake it for a dog.

Anyway, the book is pretty interesting and the author is a photographer so lots of cool photos. The cover shown here is courtesy of Amazon.com where you can purchase the book if you'd like.

Coyote hunts are a popular sport where I live. I'm not sure how I feel about that because they're beautiful animals and they were here long before we were. I do understand that the population can easily get out of control and hunting helps to keep their numbers manageable. I was happy to hear that hunters are cooperating with local researchers who are studying the coyote population and physiology. At least some good comes from it.

I still hope to see coyotes on our property but I'll take what I can get.

2.19.2009

for the birds

In spite of the two inches of snow we got yesterday afternoon and last night, it's 40 degrees today and the snow is quickly melting off. In my studio it's already looking very much like spring. I didn't set out to do a bird theme for my spring pillow line but, as I was going through my linen stash, birds kept popping up. I think they were trying to tell me something so, OK, it's not a bad idea :)

I have quite a lot of things that still need to be embroidered—I'll get to them next—but, for now, I'm concentrating on using up pieces that are already ready to go. I finished four pillows yesterday, two with bird themes. And I have several more tops done! Will finish the backs later today.

This little guy is from a pillowcase I bought last spring at a flea market for $3. It had a very stubborn yellow stain running across the front right above the bird so I had to cut it a bit closer than I would have liked. Sometimes you have to work with what you've got.

closeup

bird pillow

Likewise for this one. I used this piece for a pillow a couple of years ago but I was never happy with the result. And, when I photographed it, I noticed a yellow stain that I hadn't seen while I was making it (note to self—always check linens outside in natural light). I threw the whole thing in my reject pile (yep, I've got one of those). Yesterday I revisited it, took the whole thing apart, then cut off the stain and ended up with a narrow piece.

closeup

And this is what I ended up with (still need to do the back). Much better the second go-round!

bird pillow

Which just goes to show that there's no right way to design something. And that's also why I don't design multiples. It would be easier, sure, just because anything done in production-line fashion takes less time. But I'd rather take matching motifs and create something completely different with them. Like this pillow that uses half of an embroidered vintage runner.

two birds

The other end is exactly the same, but I'll do a different design with it. Not sure what yet but there are some pretty blues and purples in the birds and I might go in that direction.

closeup

All of the pillows I'm working on now will be listed in a few weeks. It's been a while since I've done new pillow designs and the older ones are still on sale at my website. If they don't sell soon, I'll be taking them apart for reworking. It's hard to know why something doesn't sell. Poor design? Not connecting with the right customer? Bad economy? Who knows? But, judging from my recent redesigns, whatever they become next will probably be better than they were before!

2.17.2009

read all about it

I did an interview a few weeks ago with a writer from HomeStyle, a bimonthly syndicated publication of a company called Content That Works. They provide lifestyle/special interest content (in this case, home-related) to more than 500 newspapers and media outlets (radios stations, Web sites, independent local publications/magazines, etc.) throughout North America.

Thanks to my weekly Google Alerts email (a great way to keep track of your company on the internet by the way), I discovered that the article ran in the Evansville (Indiana) Courier & Press last week. It's about mixing vintage linens from the past with modern pieces from the present, and the author used several of my quotes and a couple of my photos, too. You can read it online here.

Since the content just came out, it's possible that the article may get picked up by other newspapers over the next month or so. I'll be watching my alerts carefully :)

2.14.2009

Dr. Duck says...

Happy Valentine's Day!

valentine duck

Artwork from a vintage valentine card that I bought recently.

2.06.2009

hearts

4 heart sachets

I'm cutting it close for Valentine's Day but, now that my camera is back (yay!), I spent most of yesterday photographing products and have added a batch of heart-shaped sachets to my website. You can see four of them in the picture above. The one shown below is going to go to the lucky winner of my next giveaway! Leave a comment and I'll chose a winner on Sunday morning. If you get back to me in time with your mailing address, I'll get your sachet into the mail on Monday and you might even receive it in time for the holiday.

heart sachet
A recycled section of embroidered (pretty stitches!) towel with crocheted edging layered over a new pink stripe cotton and accented with a pink and white vintage button stack. Stuffed full with lavender and buckwheat hulls.

Look for more handkerchief sachets later today, and lots more buttons next week.

2.02.2009

more buttons

Wow, February already! At least that means that winter will be over faster :)

I've been keeping track of my camera's progress—it's been received and they're working on it—so I should have it back soon. I was going through withdrawal but then I stopped worrying about it. I had taken a bunch of pictures before it left and I've been processing those. And working on new items—lots of sachets coming soon!

I would love to show pictures of the buttons I purchased last week because they truly are spectacular. They were from the estate of a seamstress in Albuquerque and she had wonderful taste in buttons. They're all in near mint condition and many are in very large sets. I often have people on my website try to order several sets of buttons (they haven't read the fine print) and I just don't have more. Now I'll be able to offer some options. I know what it's like to find vintage buttons that you really love but there are six and you need eight—or whatever. Some of the buttons are the same style but different sizes so there will be that option as well. There are slightly more than 1300 individual buttons, most on cards, so it's going to be a very big job getting them all ready!

VB779bIn the meantime, I've added about 50 new plastic button listings to my site. I know some of you who bought buttons last month were wondering when I'd have more. I do! Since I hate posts without pictures, here's a closeup of a pretty gold plastic button with a green jewel in the center (1950s-60, one card of six available).