5.29.2009

crafty weekend

Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it to this great show but, if you're anywhere close by, definitely check it out!



The 2009 Art Star Craft Bazaar
Sponsored by Art Star Gallery
Saturday, May 30th and Sunday, May 31st, 11 am to 6 pm
Penn's Landing, Great Plaza, Columbus Blvd. between Walnut and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia

Look for Primrose Design items at the Blossom Boutique booth!

one step back

About fifteen years ago I developed a bad case of bursitis in my left hip. If you've ever had bursitis (and most people get it in elbows and knees) you know how painful it can be. We never did figure out why I had it except that I had just started exercising on the stair stepper machine at the gym I went to after work. That was the only thing we could think of.

Fast forward to this past weekend and I have it again. I was climbing up and down a ladder a lot on Saturday, cleaning the walls of our screened porch, then the tile floor, trying to get the porch in shape for the summer. All very tiring and I felt a few twinges on Sunday and Monday but there was so much that needed to be done so I worked through. I thought it was my lower back. By Tuesday I could barely move; then it all came back to me — oh, no —bursitis.

I saw my doctor's physician's assistant on Wednesday for some anti-inflammatory meds and I'm going back this morning for a cortisone injection. But at least this time my doctor ordered xrays of my hip and is trying to find out why. Different doctor, different kind of doctor. I recently switched to a D.O. instead of an M.D. and I like that he tries to find the cause of problems rather than just prescribing medications to treat symptoms. Hopefully, I'll know more later today.

If you placed an order while I was laid up Tuesday and Wednesday, your package mailed yesterday. And I upgraded everyone to Priority, too. I'm working on everything else as quickly as I can.

An update on the fawn situation. I checked the next morning in the last place I saw it but it was gone. There was a regular little nest in the grass and I suspect it may have spent several days there before the cat attacked it and I first spotted it. But, on Wednesday morning I was looking out the window and saw the mother get up from the asparagus patch at the corner of our yard and walk up the bank behind it. Although I haven't been able to walk up there and haven't seen any more movement, I'm pretty sure the fawn is hidden there. Hopefully he's not getting a taste for asparagus :)

5.25.2009

oh deer

Look at this little guy.

fawn

Found yesterday morning at the edge of my yard. I was out hanging the bird feeders (still not taking any chances leaving them out at night with the bears around) and spotted the neighbor's big white cat up near the crabapple tree. Then I saw it leap in the air, heard a scream, and saw a flash of brown and spots and flailing legs.

I ran up there, mostly to chase the cat away (what cat tries to attack a deer?), but also to see what was going on. I thought the fawn had climbed the bank and that's where I looked first. No fawn but mom was pretty upset to see me and did some snorting and stomping around. Of course, I backed off, not wanting to make the situation any worse than it was already.

So I walked around the other way, still not seeing anything, and then I looked down. And there it was in the tall grass, curled into a ball, and trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. When I first climbed the bank I was so close to it that I almost stepped on it. That's how well-hidden it was.

The photo here was taken later in the afternoon, and when I checked about 7:30 pm, it was still there. I did a little research online about deer and this is pretty typical behavior. Mom hides the baby during the day, then walks away to divert attention from it. She'll stay in the general area in case of trouble, but you won't see either one unless you look very carefully.

I haven't checked yet this morning and don't know if they've taken up residence in my yard or for how long. I love that they consider it a safe haven but wonder if I'll be able to mow the grass any time soon. Such gorgeous animals (it has the sweetest little ears) but also very destructive—they're voracious eaters of fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and perennials, all of which we have in abundance.

5.21.2009

shop update

First off—congratulations to Mandy Cowart who was chosen as one of the Happily Handmade winners from my shop's entries. Incredibly, there were about 14,000 entries in all, 445 from my shop alone. That has to be some kind of record! Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest!

Secondly, I have two new products to introduce. While I haven't been blogging much lately, I have been working very hard.

Zippered Bags

zippered bag

Cute little bags made from the same vintage and vintage-inspired fabrics that Primrose Design is known for. Each has a colorful zipper across the top and is lined with a coordinating fabric. The one shown here is made from a vintage fabric with little girls and is lined with a peach/coral and white polka dot fabric. There are six up on my website now and I'll be adding more soon, and probably some to my Etsy shop as well. And I'm happy to report that I've conquered my fear of sewing zippers! Binding is the next phobia I'll be working on :)

Recipe Cards

recipe cards

This is a natural with my aprons and vintage kitchen items and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. I've used a cool vintage black line illustration of a girl cooking and provided lines for writing and space for a title, source, and number of servings. Very cute but I really love the packaging I came up with. Twenty cards wrapped with a strip of colorful scrapbook paper, tied with a ribbon and a flower-shaped tag (the same flower found in the print). A coordinating shopping pad is in the works, too.

And this is only the beginning—my head is filled with fun ideas for new products. Finding the time to do it all is the challenge :)

5.13.2009

tea towels

Yesterday afternoon I drove to a couple of my favorite nearby antique malls. I always look for cute and unusual examples of embroidery and I wasn't disappointed—three tea towels, each with a different look and feel.

The first is a really nice idea. A section of red linen is sandwiched between two of white linen. Over the sewn seam is white feather stitch embroidery and at the bottom of the red panel is a mostly satin stitch bunch of holly leaves and berries. All very nicely done.

holly

The second is a cute cross stitch parrot on a perch and I love the pink and white striped border. This one isn't in perfect condition—kind of faded and with a few holes along the edge, but I think I'll be able to use it for something.

parrot

parrot

Third, and last, is a pretty blue-bordered towel with hollyhocks (I think) done in applique and embroidery. I love the use of the little circles in various shades of blue—simple in themselves but combined together to form the flower. I think this is probably from the 1950s but looks modern enough that it could have been made today.

hollyhocks

The embroidery is just straight stitch radiating out from the center to form a circle.

hollyhocks

The rest of my purchases weren't all that noteworthy—a few hankies, aprons, and buttons. Both malls aren't quite as good as they used to be and I hope this isn't a trend as I start my summer shopping.

5.12.2009

may flowers

Even if I didn't know it was May I could tell that it was by the lilacs. When I was a kid living in New York we had huge lilac bushes behind our apartment and they always bloomed in time for my Mother's birthday on May 18th. I'd pick armloads and fill a large vase with them. They were her favorite flower.

lilacs

We have a very large bush on the corner of our house and it appears to be quite old. Perhaps not as old as the house (built in 1862) but pretty old.

We also have a smaller bush near the vegetable garden that's a different variety and blooms a bit later in June. And there's another small one in front on the opposite corner of the house. I bought this one at the Philadelphia flower show six years ago. I went with my friend Jenny who lives in Philly and she'll remember that I bought a baby lilac bush at the show. The label showed a gorgeous burgundy colored flower and I fell in love. But, we'd taken the train and had to schlep back to her apartment the same way so I couldn't carry a larger plant.

Anyway, I've been nursing it along for the past six years, pruning it to a nice shape, and relocating it to the perfect spot. I was happy to see flower buds this spring for the first time and was so excited to see the unusual colored flowers. But, guess what? The flowers are exactly the same as the lilac bush in my yard! I'm so disappointed. And had to wait six years to find out!

Oh well. It's still pretty. We're planning to line the end of our property (alongside the road that leads up to our neighbors house) with lilacs instead of the extremely ugly pine trees that are there now, so, I'll get my chance for a red variety. At least I hope so :)

5.07.2009

better hurry

Just one week left to enter the Happily Handmade giveaway! Forty three sponsoring indie shops (including mine) are giving away 25 gift baskets, each with a retail value of about $300, and each chock full of handmade indie goodies. Candles, soaps and body scrubs and bath salts, earrings and necklaces, aprons and tea towels, notepad sets, tissue cozies, totes and purses, and dog collars—a little bit of everything. I know most of the sponsors since we hang out in the same places online—everything will be awesome and you won't be disappointed.

More details and signup information here. And you can see all of the gift baskets here.

Last day for signups is May 13th and the winners will be chosen on May 18th.

And just a heads up to persons who signed up on my website. Check your email for the double opt-in for my mailing list because you need to respond to that or you won't be completely signed up.

5.04.2009

sourcing vintage fabrics

Where do you find vintage fabrics—aren't they really expensive?

Yes, often they are. And, if you look in the usual places, you'll often find that vintage fabrics just aren't in your budget. Or you paid so much that you can't bring yourself to cut into it and actually use it to make something. I have a few like that :)

So, what can you do? Definitely keep an eye out on Ebay because you can still find bargains. But expect competition and don't fall in love and get into a bidding war. Serious collectors, especially of feedsacks, will pay lots of money for what they're after! But the cool thing about fabric is that tastes are very subjective—everyone likes different things. I found these two fabrics recently—one a more traditional floral with roses and the other a mod stylized floral. No one bid against me. And both are 2 yard lengths so lots to work with. I'm experimenting with simple bags and have a need for larger quantities these days.

roses

mod floral

But the best advice I have is to expand your definition of fabric. Look for tablecloths and napkins, curtains, old quilts and coverlets, pillowcases and sheets—there's a lot of fabric in sheets!

I was shopping at an antique mall a few weekends ago and found a bin of half-price linens. Mostly junk except for a 1960s orange and pink striped pillowcase with a pink edge. 50 cents! When I got it home I soaked it in Oxyclean for a bit, washed and dried it, then cut it up. I got almost a yard of fabric from the case and another nice piece from the edge. Sweet!

I always find tablecloths at flea markets and especially like the printed heavy cotton ones from the 50s and 60s. Even if there are stains, you'll still have tons of fabric to work with. At least enough for a pillow or apron or bag. Well-made curtains often have deep headers and hems. Once you let them out you can easily get another 1/4 to 1/2 yard of fabric.

And, if you're into quiltmaking or use patchwork in your designs you have even more options. Look for smaller fabric items like dinner napkins, cotton clothing, and tea towels. I got this funny fabric with houseflies from a little girls dress at a flea market in Connecticut. It had a tear anyway so couldn't be resold as a dress, but I got a nice sized piece—enough to make a tissue cozy with a few scraps left over for patchwork.

houseflies

You can certainly spend a lot of money if you want to (and that goes for most things) but there's always a less expensive solution if you keep an open mind!