some changes

At the beginning of this year I moved my website to a new hosting company. That means that any links to embroidery patterns that you may have bookmarked will no longer work. You'll now find the patterns here.

They're available as PDF digital downloads so you no longer have to wait for me to email your patterns to you. After your payment goes through via Paypal, you'll be able to download the files directly to your computer. Just print them out and transfer the designs to your fabric as usual.

A very cool feature of IndieMade websites is the gallery. I've made one called Vintage Embroidery and it has photos of completed designs that use my patterns, including several pillows I've made for Primrose Design, a baby bib, and blocks from a quilt that I made for a friends first baby. Most use the vintage stamped-for-embroidery linens that were the originals of my patterns. You might get some ideas for cute things to make. There's also a copy of the one-page Embroidery Stitch Guide that I used to mail out with my printed patterns.

I'll be adding some new designs very soon. Hope you'll stop by.


sign of spring

I always know it's May because the lilacs are blooming. Even though I lived in an apartment complex as a kid, and you wouldn't expect nice plantings, we had pretty nice landscaping. Including a big lilac bush in the green space behind our building.

My mother's birthday was May 18 and she could always count on a bouquet for that day and usually for Mother's Day, too. The bush was huge and I could pick armfuls and never make a dent in the blooms.

When I finally bought a house of my own I was happy to find a big lilac bush growing there. And under the bedroom window. On warm nights with the window open, their spicy scent fills the room.

Later, we took down a row of very ugly pine trees along the end of our property and replaced them with lilacs of various colors, including this deep plum with white outlined petals.

I picked some this afternoon and filled a vintage glass vase I bought last year. The photo was taken on my screened porch but they'll come inside tonight. It's going to be cold again; it was 34 degrees this morning!



mystery birds

I've recently gotten interested in needlepoint again, especially designs with birds. I scored these two vintage beauties on Ebay. Both are what's called pre-worked, meaning that the design is already completed in the center of the canvas, and the buyer fills in the background with a color of their choosing. I haven't decided that part yet!

The first has two red birds. The seller called them cardinals but clearly they're not; the female is too bright and they don't have pointed heads. This is a vintage Bucilla brand, which is a very common brand for needlepoint.

vintage needlepoint - red birds

The second one is my favorite; Madincor brand, made in Madeira, Portugal. And that was a clue in my search for the identity of the bird, which has unusual coloring and a very long beak. It's not North American! Can you guess?

vintage needlepoint - European Bee-Eater

It's a European Bee-Eater and you can see him in the following photo taken in Spain. Yes, they really do eat bees; they snatch them right out of the air.


I can't wait to get started on these and they're small so they should go quickly. The bee-eater is just 8" x 8", the red birds are a little larger at 13" x 13". I haven't found a local source for tapestry wool for the background so it looks like I'll be shopping for it online.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.


Happy Valentine's Day!

A vintage Valentine's Day card from my collection. And one with a cat - how cute is that?

vintage valentine card


cats and elephants and bears, oh my

These are easily the cutest thing I've ever purchased on Ebay. And can you believe that I was the only person bidding? It's a set of 18 animals printed on fabric (pretty sure they're 1930s) and designed to be appliqued onto quilt blocks, then embroidered, then everything put together to make a baby quilt. There were no instructions included but I've seen enough of these kits to make a good guess.

A calico cat

There are three each of a cat, elephant, rabbit, puppy, pig, and bear. Some of the fabrics are prettier than others but they all coordinate well together and there are a lot of blues so it won't be too girly when finished. I really love the yellow floral and polka dot print, although there are only two animals with that pattern—the cat shown above is one.

And a pink gingham elephant

I'm going to scan and trace these so I can share the pattern. I think they'll be really cute with more modern fabrics. Not sure if people will be turned off by the applique part (maybe that's why no one bid on them?) but they could just be used for embroidery patterns, too.