shop news

Blowout Pillow Sale!
I'm running out of space, I want to get started on new designs, I'm just plain sick of looking at them. Time for a blowout pillow sale! All pillows are now 30% off. Including this floral one made from a gorgeous vintage Waverly print and vintage ball fringe.

Two new embroidery patterns have been added—a design of a bird with strawberries that would be really pretty embroidered on a tea towel (the picture shows just the top part) and a cute 1930s-40s baby bib design.

You've got to see the original that the baby bib design was traced from. Isn't this little guy cute? I love the tinted areas (hopefully they won't wash out when I clean this after finishing the embroidery) and the beets. Although the one hoisting himself out of the ground is kind of scary. I love that children's designs from the 30s and 40s often have a slightly sinister quality to them. A little sweetness goes a long way in my opinion :)

beets bib

beets closeup

Don't forget that all patterns are Buy 1 Get 1 Free during the month of June.

And finally, I've been investigating ways to offer my patterns as pdf downloads. Selling to crafters in other countries has always been a problem because the shipping is so high. Heck, it's high here, too. Pdfs would solve that problem. More on this when I've figured out the details.

Happy summer! I totally missed the fact that Friday was the first day of summer. Probably because it was rainy and in the 60s and didn't feel much like summer :)



I don't often talk about the rest of my life here on my blog. One, because I'm a pretty private person, and two, because you all come here to read about Primrose and crafty-related things. My worlds are colliding today.

I've been busy this week finishing up the July/August issue of the magazine I design. I've done this magazine for four years now on a freelance basis, along with another magazine for the same company, different division. Together they make up about three-quarters of my graphic design work (and annual income). And this will be my last issue. I knew this was going to happen eventually but I officially got the axe yesterday. My job has been outsourced to India where they make about $3 an hour. Never mind that a large part of designing a magazine is having a good command of the English language. And never mind that the people that will be working on it are not really designers. Doesn't matter—the parent company (who is not located in the US) thinks it will save money.

As a business person I understand the need to keep costs down, but I have a real problem with the whole outsourcing concept. There are plenty of people here in the US who need jobs. Next week, I'll be one of them. As will all the in-house people they've laid off in recent weeks. And then there's the whole issue of quality. "Good enough" just isn't part of my vocabulary.

So, I've been polishing up my resume and working on my design website. And I'm officially spreading the word that I'm available. Logos, catalogs, brochures, magazines, newsletters, books, and websites—I've done them all. I'd love to stay freelance just because a regular full-time job won't leave me enough time for Primrose. Or blogging. Not that I have a lot of options for full-time jobs where I live anyway.

So, if you hear of anything, are starting your own business and need some help, or know of someone who is, please let me know. I'll post a link to the new website when it's up and running.

If nothing else I'll have lots of free time this summer to work on projects. Like painting my kitchen table and chairs. Stripping the wallpaper in the kitchen and downstairs bathroom. Cleaning the garage. Keeping the garden weeded. You know, making headway on that running "to do" list we all keep.


happy father's day

A few pictures of me with my dad who, unfortunately, is no longer with us. Going through all the photos to chose one for today's post got me remembering how much fun we had together when I was a kid. And you can see where my early gray hair comes from. He was in his late 20s in these pictures and is already halfway there. I don't even know what color his mother's hair was—it was pure white the whole time I knew her!

dad and me

dad and me

Happy Father's Day!


botanical art tote bags

sunflower toteRemember those lovely seed packages I showed you a couple of months ago? I got an email from the company a few days ago announcing that they're using some of their botanical paintings on eco-friendly reusable canvas grocery bags. What a great idea!

They've started selling reusable bags at the grocery store where I shop but they're pretty ugly. So, I've been looking for an alternative. I usually don't buy huge amounts of food at one time so a bag like this would easily hold my purchases—they say they'll hold twice as much as a plastic grocery bag. And it will be perfect for the farmers market when it opens next month.

Now, how to choose from all the gorgeous artwork (everything from beets to oriental poppies). Maybe I'll have to get two :)

$23.95, from Botanical Interests


scenes from the garden

I don't know what it is this year—perfect weather, plenty of rain, the planets aligning—but the garden looks spectacular. Even the grass looks great. Of course, if it stays 90 degrees like it's going to be today, it will probably dry out and I'll be complaining about that. But for now...perfect.

rock soapwort
Rock Soapwort, a new favorite—kind of low-growing and creepy and looks really nice spilling over a stone wall.

yellow tree peony
A yellow Japanese tree peony. Like regular peonies but without the ants.

mystery flower
A mystery flower—I can't remember what this is called. (Thanks to Camilla and Patricia for identifying this as Verbascum chaxii and I believe it is the 'Bold Queen' variety. There's also one called 'Milkshake' with flowers that are pure white; mine are a bit yellower)

chive flowers
Flowering chives.

white rhododendron
White rhododendrons—the wild kind—which are much prettier than the cultivated ones. This looks amazing when it's just starting to get dark—it glows.


the ducks are back

duck diaper pins
I was sold out of these cute duck diaper pins for a while but I now have them back in stock. And (shhh, don't tell anyone) but I've finally found a wholesale source after 3 years of searching. So, I should have them for the forseeable future and can offer them at a lower price. Available in packages of four pins in white, yellow, or blue. $3.50 per package.


a book you might like

We're featured in a book!
Last summer I got an email from C. Dianne Zweig asking if I'd like to contribute to a book she was working on. You may be familiar with her previous book Hot Kitchen and Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, and 50s or visited her shop “Kitsch-n-Stuff” at The Plantsville General Store Antiques Center in Plantsville, Connecticut. She had seen some of the photos here on my blog and they (and my work) fit right in with her plans for the book. Of course, I said yes.

Almost a year has gone by while the book was being written, designed, proofed, and all those behind-the-scenes things that happen in publishing. And we finally received a release date of September 2008. Preorders are being taken at Amazon—just click on the picture.

It's being published by Collector Books and here's what they have to say about it:

"In Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes, author C. Dianne Zweig offers readers a new twist on kitchen, home, and garden collectibles, marrying different periods and styles in a look which is vintage chic, country kitsch, and retro-romantic. It's all about 'cottage style,' a trendy and enjoyable way to both collect and creatively use popular collectibles, antiques, odds and ends, and treasured furnishings. This book offers readers over 900 individual and vignette photographs submitted from the top collectors out there. This fresh and exciting look at vintage cottage collectibles contains kitchenware, romantic china, pottery, French enamelware, buffets, china cabinets, tables, chairs, beds, fabric, tablecloths, chenille quilts, pillows, linens, vintage sewing projects, lighting, mirrors, frames, wallpaper, wall decor, wicker, birdcages, cottage nursery, holiday items, whimsical and flea market salvage, objets d'art, garden ornaments, tools, and other 'hot' cottage, beach, and cabin collectibles."

Sounds pretty cool to me and I can't wait to see a copy! Dianne has a links page on her own website if you'd like to visit some of the shops of the other contributors.


working with what's on hand

Except for when I first started my business and had to supplement with an influx of my own cash, Primrose has been self-supporting. That's not the same thing as making a profit, although some months that happens, too. What it means is that I have enough to buy the materials I need without having to borrow money from other sources or from myself. So what happens when things slow down? It means that I buy less stuff and make do with what I have on hand. Not necessarily a bad thing.
kitty bib
Lately I've been going back through past purchases to get them ready to sell. Sometimes, in the case of the baby sheet that I purchased already embroidered with Bambi characters, that just involves hemming the sheet. More often, it's completing the stamped for embroidery projects that I have way too many of. This baby bib with a cat holding a balloon took about an hour to finish. Then I soaked it (it was pretty dirty) and hung it out in the sun to dry. It turned out pretty cute if I do say so myself.

My current project is a set of four napkins with a flower (mums or dahlias?) in one corner of each. It's a nice mix of easy stitches—stem, lazy daisy (straight up for the flower petals and upside-down for the leaves), and French knots. I work a little bit on it each day and it's going fairly quickly. These will need a good soak, too, and then hemming.


I hope to get lots of embroidery done this summer so I'll be sharing more of my projects with you. And look for more patterns, including the balloon cat shown above, on my website soon.

What the heck—let's do another pattern sale for the month of June. Buy one pattern and get another (of equal or lesser value) for free. Just include a note in the comments section of the order form telling me which pattern you'd like.