Friday, June 4, 2010

Farm Chicks -- Here I Come!

Headed to Farm Chicks this weekend!
Can't wait to see what fun things there will be to see (and buy)!
Are you going?
(my camera is......)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Letterpress Hangtags

You may have noticed in my last post about the Farmhouse booth, that we had new hangtags on our items for sale. These hangtags were made on a vintage letterpress -- a machine I had not seen before going to help make these tags. A very generous woman and friend, Sue Mellor, stopped by my house a few months back with some samples of hangtags she had made for my shop.
So, one evening a few weeks ago, I went over to Sue's letterpress shop (actually her garage) to take part in the making of these tags. Sue was very lucky to obtain a functioning letterpress from the 1930's (approx.) She told me there are few left as they became relics of newspaper printing long ago. Above, the red rollers are where the ink is applied-- they spin to ink the "stamp" as the paper is rolled and pressed over the stamp. Hard to describe, and I'm probably slaughtering the correct terminology. (Guess I'm not a good reporter, sorry). The little red object you can see in the upper left photo is the floral stamp you see on the cards. The stamp not only inks the paper, it also debosses the paper at the same time (pushes the image below the level of the paper). Sometimes, Sue uses the stamps without ink to "dry deboss" paper.

Trying my hand at the letterpress...... I'm a lot slower than Sue. This letterpress machine is manual, in that you have to turn the handcrank to roll the paper over the press.

Old letters on wood blocks, gears on the letterpress, inks

Sue had the awesome idea to punch holes in the bottom of the tag with a sewing machine needle so that the bottom portion (where the price is written) can be torn off and the item can be given as a gift. She's an inventive lady, that one. (I secretly wish I had thought of it....)

Here are some examples of cards Sue has made.... I really like the tree.

More examples. Really, the options are limitless because now you can design any image using Adobe Illustrator and have a stamp made (in the reverse of course), and viola.... you can make cards, wedding announcements, baby announcements, business cards, etc. Sue may be adding some note cards to my little shop in the near future, just for your purchasing pleasure.

Here is another fully automated (but yet to be fully functional) letterpress that Sue also has. She and her husband are rebuilding it and hope to have it running soon. I changed the color of this photo in Photoshop Elements. It looks to have stepped straight out of the early 1900s.

I had a really good evening, and am thrilled with the hangtags..... now about those business cards..... (thanks Sue)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May Booth and A New Partner!

Finally..... some new wares in my (our) booth at Grady's Corner (above the Hen House Chicks shop). It's been a busy couple of months and the booth has taken a back seat unfortunately. But, now our little booth is movin' up in the world!

The majority of the new wares come from my new partner Paula Laurens. You can visit her gorgeous blog, Tattered Gold, {here}. Paula not only has a beautiful way with words, she is quite the talented lady, AND she also has a vast collection of vintage cups, saucers, creamers and other floral china. I'm so happy she has agreed to join me as her items so beautifully fill a large gap in my little booth. I have added a few new things as well, and hope to add some more in the next few weeks.

Aren't these shelves lovely? This is a set of three -- the largest shelf has antique door handles for hooks.

Paula made these beautiful little pillows -- fabric and ribbon flowers, lace, and buttons.

Altered bottles from Paula's talented hands....

.... more treasures....

..... and still more ....

See, I told you Paula is a talented lady.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A conversation: me and you

This may be one of the most boring posts ever, but please keep reading...... I have a little business to mention.... but first: a little make-believe conversation between me and YOU!

You: Oh, hello! Long time no see! Did you drop off the face of the earth, get eaten by wild, hungry red-headed children, or simply decide ENOUGH with the blogging and decide to slowly fade away?

Me: Ha! You are so funny! (but a little right on all accounts)

You: So, what have you been up to then?

Me: Well, a little child rearing, a little home painting, a little (or a lot) laundry, a little photography, and a little sewing (believe it or not!). Actually, I'm so glad you asked ... serging is one of the things I have been doing a lot of lately. It is a sort of mindless labor -- feed the fabric through the machine, push the foot pedal, and cross my fingers that the thread doesn't break. (my industrial serger can be a little touchy sometimes and when the thread breaks -- it is a REAL pain to rethread. I wonder -- are all sergers such a pain to rethread?) Sometimes I also wonder what I did before I had a serger.....and then I remember --Oh yeah, stringy threads all over the place!

You (rather hesitantly): Oh, well....... that's nice. Why have you been doing so much serging?

Me: Oh, I thought you'd never ask! I have been sewing pillows and window seat cushions for a lady...... a real, bonified paying customer. And although the covers may never be taken off and washed (as she has such an immaculate home dirt would hesitate to invade), I sergered all the edges to make things tidier inside.

You: Oh, well....... that's nice.

Me: Right...... told you it was pretty mindless work! (I think it addled my brain a little! he he).

You: Hmmm.......

Me: Oh, and I also made this cheerful little apron for the Whitman County Library Reading Bear! Isn't she a pretty bear? Making the apron was lots of fun! I sort of had to come up with my own pattern -- so I guess that de-addled my brain a little.

You: She IS a stunning Reading Bear.

Me: That she is, that she is. Well, nice to see you! Stop by anytime! Oh, hang on! One more thing! If you'd like to see more of me you can stop by {my other little spot} and visit with me nearly everyday. You see, this blog is kind of my "other home" -- and I don't get to visit very often. I'd love to see you there! Toodleloo!

You: Toodleloo, too!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And the Winner is..........

......... #7 -- Paula!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations Paula! I will get the ruffle pants set out to you in the mail tomorrow! I hope your little friend enjoys them.

Thank you everyone that entered the giveaway. I am honored to be able to inspire anyone! (Welcome, Sarah -- glad you entered!) If any of you would like a similar set of ruffle pants drop me a line and we'll get something set up. I hope to open my Etsy shop back up later this spring and am planning on selling the ruffle pants in sizes 6 mo- girls 8 (as well as other items -- I have an idea for a cute ruffle bags -- just a little rounded shoulder bag with ruffles....... I need to get it worked up.

Have a wonderful Easter!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spring Sewing and a Ruffle Pants GIVEAWAY!

I have been having a hard time trying to find time to sew, as the warmish weather has been beckoning me to join the birds and the violets outside. Having two little kids home everyday and three most days, also contributes to the lack of sewing. It is very important for them to get out and enjoy the great outdoors --they are happier, and Mom is happier, and that makes EVERYONE happier!

The thought had occurred to me to take my sewing machine outside to try and enjoy the day and sew at the same time. But since I am currently {tickled pink} to be borrowing this sewing machine.....

....a Bernina 440 QE, I had better not take it outside! You see, {my Beast} is in the shop for a tune-up and the lovely lady Emily let me take home one of their shop machines to use while mine was being fixed. Emily is the owner of {Becky's Fabrics in Lewiston, ID}. Isn't that wonderful? I equate it to taking a new car for a spin (which I have NEVER done and am not really interested in doing, btw) -- so, BETTER than taking a new car for a spin. I think Emily knew I had been drooling over this machine. She is a good saleswoman, that one.

But sadly, there is no $$$$ in the budget for a new machine -- at least at this point. (Mr. Obama, sir ..... would you mind lower taxes on us poor, small business owners? Then maybe I could help out this poor economy by buying a new sewing machine.... just saying.) I'm not sure if this is the exact machine I would purchase, but it is pretty nice to sew on. So, anyway.....that's what happening in my sewing world. Now for the fun part!

Remember this set? Funny thing..... we ended up winning back this ruffle pants set at the auction that I donated them to. No, we didn't bid on them. But evidently, someone wrote our name, or wrote scribbley enough that it appeared to be our name, so we won the ruffle pants set! I don't mind. But, since my little Nona can only wear so many ruffle pants in one week, I decided to pass them on to some lucky winner! They are sized 12-18 months-- the top is a onsie.

So if you have a little girl or know a little girl that would look absolutely adorable in this set, here's what you have to do to enter the Ruffle pants giveaway:

  1. Leave a comment on this post -- anything you feel like saying -- about spring, about sewing projects, about the economy, whatever!
  2. In your comment make sure there is some way I can contact you if you are the winner
  3. To enter twice -- become a follower, and leave another comment telling me you are now following this blog.
  4. The giveaway will end on March 31st at 9PM PST.
Good luck and have a great week!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Slipcovered Wingback

I wanted to be a part of the slip-cover party over at the {Pink Polka Dot}, so here are a few pictures of a slip-cover I made right before my little Winona was born.

The willing subject: a wing back chair and ottoman that I did for a client over a year ago. (Sorry for the rather bad photography.) Underneath this slip cover is a beautiful late -Victorian wing-back. Just gorgeous. I told the owner of this chair that if she accidentally forgot to pick up her chair, I wouldn't be heart broken. For some reason, she didn't forget!

I added some ties in the back to take up the slack of the extra yardage needed for getting the slip-cover over the chair. I also took the time to serge all of the raw edges underneath to keep strings at bay.

This chair was rather a challenge for me, but fun none-the-less. All of the curves certainly make life interesting....

The pleated ruffle was just long enough to cover the upholstery underneath, but short enough to flirt with the curvy front legs on the chair.

{Here is another chair that I slipcovered that is currently in my little girl's room if you care to have a look-see.}

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For a Good Cause

If you are a local sort of person (Whitman County) -- you might be interested to know that this little outfit will be for auction this Saturday at the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds to help out a local man -- Kelvin Riebold. The benefit dinner and auction is being held to help with his recent medical expenses. The outfit is sized 18 months. The benefit starts at 5 PM.

If you really want, really, REALLY want --
I might make another set (or similar) for a GIVEAWAY next week.
What say ye?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blue's Blanket and Pillow

My oldest child, Reid, has gotten very attached to his lizard "Blue". In my humble opinion, this is the best kind of lizard to have. He has been begging and begging for some fish, and shamefully I have been dragging my tail. (However, I am hoping to get him some tadpoles from a scientific supply so they can watch the tadpoles grow. But don't tell him, it is a secret.) Anyway, back to Blue. Blue has been to show-and-tell twice, and regularly sleeps right next to my Reid. Blue gets carried around in the "{boy bag}" that I made Reid awhile back. He is a posh pet.

Blue had a birthday last month. A real, sure enough birthday. I have no idea how old he is, but he is one year older. About a week before the scheduled birthday, my son came to me and whispered in my ear (so Blue could not hear of course!) what Blue wanted for his birthday. And what did Blue want? Why a blanket and pillow of his very own. Imagine that?

Lucky Blue, he got his wish. I hope he liked his pillow and blanket. His blanket is even reversible! Reid was happy. And Blue got to go to show-and-tell AGAIN and show off his new accoutrements.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Love Fabric

Here is a sampling of some of the new fabric I got in recently. I tried to pick some fabrics that made me think of spring. I especially like the black, yellow, and white fabrics above. I have to confess, I've never really noticed before how well gray and yellow go together. Maybe the black is what helps them hit it off. This fabric is just begging me to make some bags....cute little handbags.

This fabric just screams Girly Valentines! I made my little girl some more ruffle pants from the heart and stripe fabric. They turned out really cute, but I imagine you are tired of seeing Nona all dressed up, right?

Red, cream, and blue .... not just for 4th of July. I have a couple of new bag patterns to try out, and you saw the vintage-like fabric used in the heart tutorial.

Now, for the fabric I had been dying to purchase from the day I first saw it. The fabric above and below are from {Amy Butler's L.O.V.E } line of fabrics -- and I LOVE it. Don't you? It was love at first sight for me, and I knew I had to get my hands on some. The colors are beautiful and the designs lovely. What to make?

I have my eye on this fabric next. The above swatches are from {here}.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fabric Valentine Heart Decor Tutorial

This is a really simple tutorial for making some cute fabric heart decorations for Valentine's Day -- or ANY day. Start with some fabric, any color -- you can buy some fat quarters or use scraps you have laying around. For the backing fabric I used inexpensive coordinating fabric that I already had in my stash. I cut a piece of the back fabric (about 16 X 24 inches) and ironed on some "Wonder Under". Wonder Under is used to glue the two fabrics together. Put the rough side of the Wonder Under on the wrong side of your backing fabric.

A really important step here is to follow the directions for the Wonder Under and "iron the heck out of it" -- my translation of the directions. Seriously, press the iron in one place for 5-8 seconds and then move on, overlapping your pressings. When the paper side of the Wonder Under is firmly attached and looks a little wrinkly like above, then you know you have done it right. Let the fabric cool a little and then begin peeling off the paper. The glue should stick to the fabric -- if not, iron some more.

Then arrange your face fabrics over the glue side of the backing fabric and press some more. If you are using scraps of cloth, be sure to use a pressing cloth (or another piece of scrap) to put over any gaps in the top fabric so you don't get glue on your iron. Press as directed above until the two fabrics are firmly fused together. I repressed the back side to iron out any wrinkles or bubbles.

Now the fun begins.
I used nesting heart-shaped cookie cutters for my tracing pattern.

I traced on the back side of the fused fabrics because it was easier,
and also so that I wouldn't have any tracing lines on the front of the hearts.

Some of the hearts I cut out with pinking shears,
some with regular scissors.

I then arranged the hearts over a satin ribbon, pinned them in place, and zig-zagged them onto the ribbon with my sewing machine.

Ta-da! Easy peasy. Hang the heart garland from a mirror
or a mantel as above. Simple and pretty.

Some of the other hearts I punched holes in and hung from narrower ribbon.

Then I went outside and cut some branches from one of the dormant trees in the front yard, arranged them in a pitcher, and hung the hearts from the branches. Instant seasonal decor for my buffet.