It made me happy to see a photo of President Obama and his daughters shopping on Saturday at an independent bookstore in Virginia. That's the kind of support that Small Business Saturday needs! Amazon is convenient for buying books but sometimes you don't know what you want and just want to browse. I miss real bookstores for that.

Yesterday's show turned out well—a very good turnout for a first-time event. And I hear they have plans to make it even larger next year, expanding out from the ballroom to other parts of the Masonic Temple building. It's a big building, too! If you're interested in 1920s architecture check out the video about it's history.

I'm hoping that the customer who purchased a mini wallet from me at the show reads this blog. Someone found your package lying on the ground and returned it to me. He (and I) had no way of contacting you because you paid with cash. So, if you were missing a package when you got home last night, please contact me. I'll be happy to pop it into the mail for you. And I will hold it for a while just in case.

Don't forget the Cyber Monday sale on my website today. Enter discount code MONDAY when you check out for 25% off your purchase total!


show some love to small business this holiday season

I love Thanksgiving for the food and for getting together with friends. For shopping? Not so much. In fact, I don't think I've ever gone shopping on Black Friday. Ever. I hate crowds, to the point where I get a bit claustrophobic, and there's no bargain (in my opinion) that's worth standing in line for an hour or more. I usually plan a nice day at home and try not to go out at all.

However, I will go out in support of Small Business Saturday tomorrow. So what is this all about? Small Business Saturday was started three years ago by American Express to make consumers aware of how important it is to shop at and support small businesses in your local community.

As a consumer you play a key role in helping small businesses to survive. When you shop or dine at a small business or local restaurant you're helping to keep 68% of each dollar you spend in your own community. Small businesses provide jobs, pay local taxes, and help your community to thrive. They also offer unique merchandise that you can't find at the big-box stores and personal service (also hard to find at large chains, especially on Black Friday). Visit www.shopsmall.com to learn about ways you can participate.

Another way to support small business is to shop their websites on Cyber Monday. The big stores will have deals, of course, but so will most of the small ones. Start with mine. If you visit Primrose Design on Monday, November 25th, use discount code MONDAY and get 25% off your order total.

And, if you're out and about this Sunday, don't forget the Buy Local Holiday Marketplace at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple on Washington Avenue from 11-4. At last count there were 50 vendors and there will be free gift wrapping for your purchases courtesy of ScrantonMade.

Buy Local Holiday Marketplace poster


picking myself up again

So, after my not-so-good experience with my last show and several days of soul-searching, I've dusted myself off and I'm ready to plunge back in. My next show is the Abington Community Library Holiday Marketplace in Clarks Summit next Saturday, November 10th, from 10 am to 4 pm. This is my third year and I've been "promoted" to the front room so you'll find me almost as soon as you walk in the door.

I spent some time yesterday planning my table setup and I'm going to make use of the ClosetMaid wire cubes I bought at Target recently to add some height. It's really amazing how quickly a 6-foot table fills up; sometimes the only way to get more space is to go up. And, because these are open, I'll be able to tie signs and hang products from the wire.

I'll also be a vendor at the Scranton Cultural Center's Buy Local Holiday Market on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 25th, from 10 am to 4 pm. This is a new show, with sponsorship by ScrantonMade, which is both an online shop featuring Scranton area artists, crafters, and designers and a creative business community and collaborative resource for those artists. They featured me in their Vendor Spotlight series yesterday so you can read more about Primrose Design here. They've already featured some of the other artists and will continue to do so throughout the month.



Well, the show I did this past Saturday was not a good one for me. After an hour of no one stopping into my booth I had a bad feeling that things were not going well. I sold four things all day, not enough to cover the booth fee, the item I was required to donate for the gift basket raffle, and probably not even the gas it took to drive there.

I made a couple of mistakes here, and maybe you can learn from them. I'm certainly keeping it in mind for the future.

#1—I listened to other crafters who said they'd heard it was good show. And I shouldn't have. Like people's opinions about restaurants, movies, and good places to vacation, that's very subjective. People have different tastes and are looking for very different things. For me, this show was too country craftsy, with too many hobby craft vendors with low-priced items. I just didn't fit.

#2—Not checking out the show beforehand. Had I skipped the idea of being a vendor this year I could have attended the show as a customer and I would have known immediately that it wasn't a good fit.

#3—Making too much stuff. Because I thought the show would be good I made a lot more items than I would have. Now, having too much inventory isn't necessarily a terrible thing provided you have space to store it. I have two more shows coming up in November, one of which I've done before and know will be good. I can send extra product this month to the shops where I consign. And I can take a much-needed break, too. Maybe catch up on paperwork.

Even though the show was a bust, it wasn't all bad. I met a woman who has a bunch of vintage handkerchiefs to sell. Several people took my card and promised to visit my website to do some holiday shopping (the discount code I gave them may provide some extra encouragement). And I met a young girl who excitedly told me that she'd just learned to cross stitch and loved vintage transfer patterns. You go, girl :)


see you Saturday

This Saturday is the Luzerne County Community College Alumni Association's 23rd Annual Fall Craft Festival on the Main Campus in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, from 10 am - 4 pm. There will be 150 artisans scattered throughout the Campus Center, Gymnasium, and surrounding courtyards—all selling handmade quality items. 

This is a juried show and we were required to send photos with our applications to prove that we really do make our own stuff. That's great because it means that there won't be any buy-sell vendors and the quality should be high! And it really isn't too early to be thinking about holiday gifts.

It's my first time for this show and I hope you'll stop by and visit me in Booth #8 in the Campus Center. I have lots of goodies fresh off my work table (some literally, finished this morning). And I think I lucked out location wise—near an entrance, the campus bookstore, and the restrooms :)

Oh, and in case you have an easily-bored-with-shopping husband or boyfriend, there's a car show on campus, too!

Luzerne County Community College, 1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, PA 18634


vintage needlepoint

Yes, I know. I haven't posted for a month. I've had to cut back drastically on spending so haven't been visiting my usual vintage treasure hunting spots or spending much money at all this spring and summer. No hunting, not much to write about.

But I have bought a couple of things on Ebay that I want you to see - vintage needlepoint. The partially-completed kind where the motif is already done and you fill in the background with whatever color you choose.

needlepoint birds
A vaguely Asian-themed bird design

bird closeup
Closeup of one of the birds—great detail!

orange lilies
How could I resist one of my favorite flowers. And the colors are perfect!

These are both for my future dining room redo. Not sure when I'll get around to that but these will take a while to complete anyway. My dining room is actually part of the kitchen—one big room—and it's pretty basic now. A table and chairs in the center of the space. And a rug with black, cream, rusty red, golden yellow, and sage green.

There's strawberry print wallpaper from the previous owner and too much white in the kitchen area. But, there's a very nice window seat along one wall and I'd love to move the table near there and create a nook-type eating area. After I redo the walls, that is. I'm thinking light sage green for those, and possibly for the kitchen cabinets, too.

I'm picturing a box cushion on the window seat with lots of plump pillows and a few of these needlepoint cushions. I already have a bird theme going on with the framed needlepoint birds I found a few years ago (see this post). They'll be hanging nearby, too.


Primrose Design pattern sale

During the month of June, buy one of my vintage embroidery patterns and get the second one free. Just mention Stitch School in the comments section of the order form and let me know which pattern you'd like for your free one. The offer applies to both printed versions (regular shipping costs apply) and PDF versions that will be emailed to you after your payment clears.

Don't know about my patterns? I have a line of patterns that are digitally-traced from vintage stamped-for-embroidery linens in my personal collection. The originals come from tea towels, quilt blocks, aprons, and runners and the designs can be used as originally intended or in any way you choose. All designs are out of print and you won't find them anywhere else unless you're lucky enough to score the originals on Ebay. These are not iron-on transfers so you'll need to transfer the designs to your fabric yourself.

Offer ends at midnight on 6/30/12.


May Day and a sale

May Day, which is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane, traditionally celebrates the first day of summer in the wheel of the year. (The summer solstice, which we call the first day of summer, is what they called mid-summer.) Pagan festivals weren't too popular with the Puritans so it never caught on here in the U.S. and isn't celebrated much today.

A nice way to celebrate this transition from spring to summer is with a May basket. Traditionally it was a small basket that you filled with flowers and sweets. You placed it on a neighbor's doorstep or hung it from the doorknob with ribbon, knocked on the door or rang the doorbell, then ran away before getting caught. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the fleeing giver and, if they did, a kiss was exchanged.

It's a slightly unconventional holiday to have a sale but I like doing things a bit differently. So, let's celebrate May Day with a sale. From May 1-4 on my website, take 30% off your order total by entering discount code VIOLETS when checking out. Regular shipping costs apply and the sale will end at midnight on May 4th.

May Day Sale
Mother's Day is rapidly approaching, too, so you might think about getting a gift for mom. I've just restocked the website with more of the vintage handkerchief sachets, which make lovely gifts. Many in this new batch feature hankies with embroidered flowers or bouquets so they fit right in with the May Day theme!

Vintage Handkerchief Sachet


go green

Keystone College, as part of their Earth Week celebration, is hosting the second annual Green.Sustainable.Local Vendor Fair on Wednesday from 11am-3pm. Primrose Design will be one of the vendors selling natural, handmade, fair trade, recycled, and organic products and you'll find everything from jewelry and art, to clothing and housewares. Same setup as last year on the third floor of the Hibbard Campus Center. And there will be live acoustic music by Mike Dillon, too.

You can read about some of the other events planned for the week here. And if you need directions to campus, you'll find that here.



50s plastic earrings

If you grew up in the 1950s and 60s, or just like to dress in vintage clothing and accessories, you'll recognize these plastic earrings. My mom, who went to college in the 50s, had tons of them. By the time I came along she didn't wear them anymore and I used them to play dress up and as part of my usual gypsy-inspired Halloween costumes.

lavender round

Anyway, I found a bunch of these last summer for a great price. I always intended to resell them since I have pierced ears and can't comfortably wear them. So, check my website for more—$7.50 a pair. All are in (at least) good condition with some tarnishing on the hardware in back, most are very good condition.

green square

Aren't the colors pretty—like candy?

peach "kite"


hello spring

welcome spring
Happy first day of spring! My studio is blooming with pretty, flowery fabrics and the website is fully stocked with products. I'm a bit low on lavender sachet stacks (thanks to a customer in Minnesota who recently bought six!) but I've got a dozen more on my work table as we speak—look for them soon.

I'm going to try to find some time today to get outside—maybe take a walk—and say "Hello Spring"!


what to wear?

My last post was about spring cleaning, and what better way to celebrate spring than with a new apron. Well, really an old apron because these are all vintage. I've added a few pretty ones to the website...

appliqued apron

This is a very cool bib apron with gorgeous detail. Her skirt is appliqued pink and white gingham (also used for the binding and ties) and outlined in black embroidery. There are embroidered flowers on her bonnet, bodice, and skirt—all expertly done. I'm thinking this is from the 1960s—the illustration style looks very familiar. It's one of those on-the-tip-of-my-tongue but I can't quite remember things :)

appliqued apron detail

embroidered apron

The next one was probably done from a kit. Heavy cream cotton with cross-stitch embroidered flower packets—rose, daisy, lilac, and tulip—and a geometric border. Very spring, as our thoughts turn to getting our flower seeds ordered and planted. Although, to be realistic, you don't grow roses, lilacs, or tulips from seed.

embroidered apron detail

feedsack apron

A simple design for this next apron—a floral feedsack in red, pink, and a touch of blue that I haven't seen before. The scalloped bottom border and three tiers of creamy white rick rack are what make this one special!

feedsack apron detail

yellow floral apron

Last, but not least, is a reversible apron in a pretty yellow and blue floral with sheer yellow layer, bright yellow binding, notched bottom edge, and a row of rick rack on the pocket. So pretty!

yellow floral apron detail


spring cleaning

I've been doing some fine-tuning to my website the past couple of weeks—a spring cleaning if you will. After a few bad losses at the post office, I needed to update shipping costs (yes, the post office raised their rates again recently and I hadn't gotten a chance to update mine). I've also adjusted prices down on some older vintage things, adjusted up a little on some of the handcrafted things (unfortunately, the price of materials has gone up, too), and added some new products to existing categories.

I consolidated the tea towels into one section. I don't have time for the embroidered ones these days so deleted that category. If I do decide to offer them again they'll be mixed in with the other towels. I've deleted the buttons hairpins, too (they weren't selling) but will continue to offer them in some of the shops that feature my products.

And I've been going through my vintage fabric collection—reevaluating what I like and think I'll use and deciding what I can part with. And I've added about 30 of them to my vintage fabrics category (you'll see a few examples in this post). Lots of florals, fun stripes, and even a few feedsacks.

Next up, an overhaul of the buttons. Oh, yes, my house, too :)


nice ice


Starting tomorrow and continuing through President's Day weekend is the 8th Annual Clarks Summit Festival of Ice sponsored by the Abington Business & Professional Association. I'm mentioning it because the local shop where I sell Primrose Design products, Cloe & Company, will be open special extended hours during the festival. There's a parade Thursday evening at 7 p.m., live music, and live ice carvings (the main feature of the event) with more than 50 finished results expected. Like the one shown here from last year's festival!

This festival has been voted Best Seasonal Event by the Abington Journal Reader's Choice poll and is always a good time. Hope to see you there!


love is in the air

The winter seems so long and unbroken by holidays, except for Valentine's Day, that is. Not a get-off-work holiday but a nice break anyway. It's also a great time for a sale!

Valentine's Day Sale

Take 25% off your order total on the Primrose Design website from February 1-13 by entering discount code LOVE12 when you check out. The discount will be taken from your item total (regular shipping rates apply)—it's that simple.

Sachets make great gifts as do any of the small accessories I make. But maybe you want to do some shopping for yourself—that's OK, too :)

I'm working on a few new products (think aprons and electronics covers) but they're not quite ready to make their debut. I'll let you know.

FYI, the art I used to announce this sale is an actual vintage valentine's card from my collection. Vintage cards are a great item to collect—they're relatively inexpensive and easy to find at antique malls, and they lend themselves to creative displays, too.


a new year

Wow, 2012 already. Happy New Year! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

I've seriously neglected updating my blogs this past couple of months. The reason is that I've started to take on more freelance graphic design work and I'm having trouble balancing all the things I need to do in a day. Blogging, sadly, has slipped down the list. I would love to sit in my studio all day sewing and embroidering and making new products for Primrose. But the simple truth is that I'm not making enough money doing it. With the poor economy, people aren't shopping as much. And prices for everything (except, strangely enough, my garbage collection, which is $3 less per month - yeah!) have gone up dramatically.

Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I still make occasional antique mall buying trips and will have cool things to show you. I'm going to try out a few new products this winter—things that will be on my website this spring if they work out. I may talk about other things, too—who knows?