Friday, December 30, 2011

The book that will make you giddy

The book that will make you giddy because you can win it! Storey Publishing has generously offered to send one of my readers a free copy of their new release, Fabric by Fabric. In this author interview, Trish Hoskins mentions the challenge of taking a variety of designers projects and translating them into one voice for the book.  My licensing experience with Simplicity prepared me for someone looking at my patterns and rewriting them, so I think it is great. My contribution to the book is my simple kitchen chair slip cover. The book version is different from the PDF version that I sell, so it's all good. I am really excited to have a project in the book (because it makes my mom proud of me all over again.) It is so well done and attractive (read this review for the full scoop) I think it will be a best seller.

A couple of the projects that intrigue me are the lingerie project - I have a bunch of knit fabrics that will be perfect for these. 

And my daughter wants a hat exactly like the one shown below. I think I will help her make it herself.

The book really does have something for everyone. It is the perfect gift for anyone just getting into sewing. It will expand their thinking about what kinds of things they can sew.
1. You must have a mailing address inside the US
2. Subscribe to my blog or follow it, and let me know by leaving a comment. (Make sure I have a way to get in touch with you.)
3. If you already subscribe or follow this blog, just leave a comment here. Tell me about your favorite fabric and what you did with it or plan to do with it.
DEADLINE Monday, January 2nd at  6PM Pacific time.
I will choose an entrant at random and announce the winner here by 7PM Monday.
Good luck!
Here is a list of all of the contributors to the book who have blogged and are blogging about it:

12/13/2011 Craft Buds

12/15/2011 Nifty Kids Stuff

12/16/2011 Nom Nom Nom

12/17/2011 ikatbag

12/17/2011 Two Brown Birds

12/18/2011 Sharon Sews

12/19/2011 LBG Studios

12/21/2011 Craftzine

12/21/2011 Neuroses Galore

12/21/2011 Emily Steffen

12/23/2011 Spincushion

12/27/2011 One Inch World

12/28/2011 Sew Sew Etc.

12/30/2011 Studio Cherie

January ‘12 Lu Lu Carter
January ’12 Fiberosity
January ’12 Zuhause
January ’12 Obsessively Stiching
January ’12 No Bad Days
January ’12 Craft & Cackle
January ’12 AfricanKelli

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The book that made my mom giddy

Or maybe it was the mimosa she drank before she called me... Fabric by Fabric, sequel to the very successful One Yard wonders book - I signed one for her. She loves it - even before she noticed my inscription and that my slip cover is in there. It is so packed with great projects, anyone who sews will love it. Here is a fabulous review of the book. And here is a great interview with the authors. I will be doing a book giveaway in a few days - 12/30. Tune back in here for your chance to win. Meanwhile, enjoy reading the review and the interview.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More on Framing a Landscape View

Thank you for the nice comments. I am glad my last post is helping some people. I wanted to follow up with all of the options, as I see them. I chose 2 things that are common on Etsy and hard to frame in landscape. Skeleton keys and party dresses. Row one of these examples shows how to back up from the subject and leave room around it. Row 2 depicts giving the item an angle that fits a landscape frame. Row 3 shows another option - using a detail shot. You might consider doing some of each in your shop to find out what works for you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Portrait vs. Landscape

white linen
Letters are written with portrait orientation. Magazines are pages and pages of portraits. People are usually vertical when we are interacting with them. "Why," many of us ask, does Etsy insist on landscape orientation for our product photos? It's a bit of a burden for those of us in fashion. It's an adjustment for anyone new to Etsy. We just don't think in terms of landscape. And it is hard work to bend your leggy model like gumby to fit into a wide frame. Why can't I just let her stand there and look beautiful?  I think the real answer is that they just weren't thinking when they designed the site layout. The fantasy answer is much more fun and useful for me.  Perhaps landscapes make us linger.

A landscape view is sexy.

With a landscape view, online shoppers see more of your shop on every page.

Our computer screens are landscape (this is probably the source of the real answer,) so we need to adjust and make the best of it.
This is how I crop and size my photos so there are no surprises when I see them in my Etsy shop:
If your subject is vertical and you want to capture the whole subject, your first option is to shoot in landscape, farther away than usual, and leave room on the sides for an interesting background.
Slipcovered Chair 1
The perfect sizing for Etsy is 1000 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall. If your original is too small for that, 750 wide by 600 tall also works.
If you do want to upload a vertical shot to Etsy, just know it will get cropped into these proportions - the width will remain untouched and the height will get cropped to width divided by 1.25. The crop will be centered. So I uploaded another version of the photo at the top of this article, and on Etsy it looks like this:

The bottom line is that if you want to make sales online, the most important thing is your presentation. You can have the most gorgeous product in person, but if your photos don't look as good as the real thing, they will not sell. I hope this article helps you frame every product shot like a work of art.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My giraffe bootsocks

My giraffe bootsocks
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I received so many compliments on my "cute boots" at the Handmade Holiday Show on Saturday that I had to do a photo shoot to show them off here. My "boots" are actually bootsocks sewn from my pattern and worn with my Born mules. I have several pair in different colors and I wear them all of the time. I always get compliments. And the best part - my feet and legs are always warm! The socks are super easy to make from my pattern. Toddlers up to Mens sizes included in one pattern.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Handmade Holidays Trunkshow

   20 of my best friends on Etsy will be gathering to do a collective trunk show of our wares on Saturday, December 3rd. We found a great location for the event in Spokane, the Service Station, which is a popular Northside coffee shop. If you are in Spokane, I hope you will come to the show and say "Hi." All of us will have special items that you don't see in our Etsy shops. Everyone who brings a food bank donation will be entered to win a gift basket full of wonderful items from all of us.
   I am busy making up reading glass cases, key ring zip pouches, fingerless mitts, and other small stocking stuffer items to sell there. I will also have my jackets from Brandybuck and my menswear.
   Yoga is now taking up my blogging time, so that is why I have been away from posting so long. We will be in Seattle for Thanksgiving and checking out the hot yoga studio that is near my sister's house. I will post about that adventure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fleece Jackets

Handy pockets
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
Having fun with my jacket pattern. I am using the same pattern I drafted for the jackets I have at Brandybuck - with a few changes. Loving the in seam pockets - which also creates a secret inside pocket. And the full zipper. Rory pointed out that I used Howard Johnson colors on this one. I laughed and thought maybe I should name it the HoJo Jacket. Maybe the HoJo look will get me a spot on Regretsy. Really, I think it is a stunning jacket and would be great for a runner. I will have to pull out the day-glo yellow with that in mind. When I can carve out the time, I will publish this one as a pattern. Taking orders for the jackets themselves at Brandybuck. In your color choice of course. Maybe there is a classier motel you would like to match? Although when I think of the Anaheim HoJo, it's all good times.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sewing Class at Gonzaga University

These 9 enthusiastic young women were sewing like mad yesterday when I visited Summer Berry's studio at Gonzaga University. They are using my fast fingerless mitts pattern to make fingerless gloves for the homeless in Spokane. Learning to sew and learning to give to the community - this is what we all love about Summer Berry - her great teaching and her caring heart.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quilting Basics

I have had a few questions lately from people who want to make my travel duffle sewing pattern and they have never quilted. The quilt for the duffle consists of three layers. The bottom layer will become the lining of your bag, I use kona cotton muslin. You will need a large craft table to layout the fabric. You will be using pins, so you don't want to scratch your dining table.

First you press the muslin so you do not have any creases, and you lay it out flat on your work surface. Some people even tape the edges down to keep from getting even the smallest pucker in their quilt back.

Second, put the batting on top of the muslin.

Third, lay your feature fabric on top of the batting.

Fourth, pin the three layers together with safety pins about every 6" apart.
Here is a video showing the pinning process and a really great tool I am going to have to get myself!

The reason you use safety pins: Getting a large piece of fabric quilted on your home machine will require rolling it up from the right side as it gets to be too much to fit through the arm of the machine. If you use straight pins, you will get stuck by them even if you are careful.

After your fabric layers are pinned, you run the fabric through your machine, using a walking foot. I don't quilt them much for the duffles. I just run 4 wavy lines down the length of the fabric. I have seen beautiful duffles made from my pattern with more detailed quilting on them. If you want to take more time with the quilting part, you certainly can stitch more.

I hope this helps!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spokane River

Spokane River
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I picked up a batch of fabric for boot socks, made mock up sock tops (because I make each pair of socks to size) and loaded up the photo gear and Rory. We are so blessed to live near the Spokane river. As you can see it is a picturesque location for us frequently. Four or five kayakers went by in the middle of our shoot (one of them upside down - which scared me, but she was smiling as she rolled out of it.) Rory got really excited when this one guy came back upriver to play in the current. Thank you kayak man! Thank you Rory. Click on the photo to see the other fabric choices and boots in my Flickr photostream.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The boot socks pattern is finally ready!

Womens Size Fleece socks
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I think I mentioned in a few places that the sizing was mucho tricky on these, but I prevailed. I decided that people deserve to have these fleece socks in specific sizes for their feet, so they are not too baggy nor toe schrunchy. The sewing pattern includes sizing from pre-school shoe size 4-13, kids sizes 1-6, women 4-9, and men 8-13. All in one pattern! I am also selling the socks as a made to order item, so people can specify their color and size. Of course, if you buy the pattern, you can sell them too. The leopard print fleece is great quality - nicely stretchy - I got it at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Simplicity Pattern Coming

twirl dress and petticoat
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
In the Summer 2012 catalog, you will find my girls dress pattern and the cute play skirt I made for underneath, which is a fun thing all by itself too. The skirt is a very easy project with a different way to incorporate tulle and fun embellishment ideas. Yay! Simplicity. Thank you. We are currently hunting for fabrics to feature on the pattern cover. Let me know if you have any ideas. Preferably it will be a fabric line that is fairly new and will still be available when the pattern comes out next Spring.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yoga Journal

If I write this experience down on a piece of paper, it is likely I will never see it again. I want to remember what this feels like. I believe there are a few of you who can be encouraged from my experience too. So if you don't want to read a yoga journal, skip this entry. I will write more about sewing of course. I do have some fabulous sewing related news that I will post here tomorrow.
Hot Yoga - Bikram inspired yoga. My goal is 30 sessions in 30 days.
Day one - I wrote about it. It was hard and scary. Heart pounding, hard to breathe scary.
Day two - I thought I knew what it would be like, but it was still a very new experience. Not as scary, but still very hard and heart pounding. Felt pretty drained afterward.
Day three - Fear of it is gone, but it still requires a lot of effort. I am wondering if this is for me. Wiped out and going to bed early with a headache. My appetite is greatly changed and diminished. I want more veges and more water. Less sweets and meat.
Day four - I talked to the instructor before class. I commented that I didn't have a favorite part yet. It was all like some form of torture. She said that she focuses on how strong she is and tells herself how well she is doing. I did that throughout class and I did feel strong and proud of myself for sticking with it. Still tired early in the evening. I am more aware of my skin and it feels good.
Day 5 - I asked before class about getting any kind of added energy benefit from the practise and was told that everyone is different. I will find what there is in it for myself. I went into class ready to tell myself how strong I was again. I did that a lot, but I also felt as though I was going to spontaneously combust. It was very difficult to stay with it for 90 minutes, but I did. My heart rate was not as uncomfortable and breathing was easier. I was just extremely hot.
Day 6 - Major breakthrough. I found the joy. After the initial breathing exercise and during the first series of asanas (I think that is what they are called - I don't want to say "poses" because I don't think of them like that) the instructor, Justice, said "squeeze your biceps with your ears." That cracked me up and I laughed all through the first series. I cannot even describe the feeling of laughter mixed with the physical practise of this yoga. It was like a magical combination. Instead of my sweat feeling like a gross toxic bath, it felt like a beautiful cooling shower. I felt a love and acceptance for myself. I was able to deepen some of the moves. I felt glowing and beautiful and I was hooked. I felt pleased and happy afterward and not tired like the previous 5 evenings.
Day 7 - I went into class prepared to focus on feeling strong and joyful. I was able to do more than before. Toward the end of class I felt like some new pathways opened up. Like the inside of my body was having a party. All of my cells are bubbly and sparkling inside. A new energy source is revealed inside of me.
Day 8 - For the first time, I felt that this practice - even in the heat and the demands of 90 continuous minutes - can be relaxing. My breathing was easy, my heart rate steady. I feel a kind of heat and energy inside my body now and a cool, clean sensation on my skin. I see how people want to do this everyday. I feel like this is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
Here is where this is all happening: Yarrow Yoga.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hot Yoga Made Me Cry

I cried a little bit. I think I should have let myself cry more, but I rolled over onto my back and just let myself breathe for a minute before rejoining the class. Yes, it is that hard. I don't know what the poses are called yet. There is a pose where after sweating profusely for about an hour, you get to put your face, including your mouth on the mat. Breathing deeply through my nose, I was taken back to the tunnels under Jerusalem. Claustrophobia. Rather than bawling and throwing up (like I actually did in a Byzantine church in Bethlehem) I rolled onto my back. The floor was hot, but the ceiling was high which relieved me somewhat. I wanted to leave. I wanted cool air and sky, but I had decided to stay.  Ara, the instructor, had told us our first goal was to stay in the room for the entire 90 minute class.  We will be going back to this hot yoga class everyday for a month. Day one, my body felt like a sponge full of toxins getting wrung out. Glad to get it out. Let's see what a month does...

Friday, September 2, 2011


Yoga is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I thought it was all lolling about on a mat and stretching. Toward the end of a class the other night, holding a pose just beyond comfort and not in pain, soft music, dim light, in the company of other quiet people, I heard my body say "Thank you. I am so glad you brought me to this place."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to Benefit From the Etsy Finds Even When You are Not in It

The Etsy Finds refers to a number of opt-in email lists you can subscribe to on Etsy. As a seller, it is a good idea for you to subscribe to all of them. I will show you here, by using today's email, how to use them to help with your Etsy marketing.
First, subscribe to the Etsy Finds. I subscribe to all of those under shopping and all of the newsletters.
When you get the shopping emails, they look like this:
All of the words in blue take you somewhere. Spend a little time to see where they go, and take note as they apply to your shop. I will walk you through how I see this email.
The first linking words, August's Hot Topics, goes to treasury lists that are tagged with August Trends. If you are going to make a treasury anyway today, include something turquoise and items from your friends and teammates that could have made this email but didn't, then tag it August Trends. Your treasury will get extra activity over the next couple of days as people open and explore this Etsy Finds email. Your friends will love you for it. You can't really do anything for yourself directly with the treasury links. Indirect benefits of making treasuries include: you may find more people adding you to their circle if they like your picks. There may also be sellers who appreciate the feature and give you a feature in return.
The second link, turquoise, goes to turquoise items. If you have relevant items, you can renew them since there is still a row of recently listed items at the top of the page . From the looks of my screen shot here, renewing affects your relevancy too. I see 2 of the recently listed items showing up as most relevant as well. Do make sure you have relevant titles and tags and descriptions before you renew.
Turquoise links to a huge number of items on Etsy, so if you are already in the top ten pages on that link, you are doing great with your titles and tags. I have a turquoise pillow cover, but I don't think that turquoise is the most important thing about it, so I am not going to try to get in on the action here. I will leave this link for you jewelry sellers to battle it out. You will be able to see that relevancy has nothing to do with the quality of photos, so that is where your items can stand out. Take a look at the titles and tags that the most relevant items (those start at the second row.)  Check them against yours to see how you can improve your ranking. The items with the best photos probably get the most clicks. As a buyer, I am willing to flip through a number of pages to find something that catches my eye.
Here is a good way to figure out which item to work on from your own shop - Click on the link in the finds where you know you have something. There are several in today's finds that apply to me (personalized, men, dresses, and Christmas.) Let's look at dresses. I click on the link and then go to the local results to see my most relevant items.
Apply the info
Oops, my mens dress shirt shows up in dresses. I don't like that. I will check my shop stats to see if anyone is finding me by searching mens dress shirt. I will also go to google and check to see if anyone searches mens dress shirt. If it is a popular search, I will leave it. If not, I will take dress shirt out of my tags so I am not showing up in the dresses. I am pretty sure I do not have dress as a stand alone tag on that item, but I better make sure. My most relevant item looks to be my girls dress pattern, so I will renew that today and probably sell it and relist a few times. Also, when I click on men in the finds, that same shirt is my most relevant item, so I will be looking at it and renewing it - sorry in advance, if it keeps showing up under dresses.
Do I spend time everyday doing this? No. If I had a marketing person - this would be one of their daily jobs. I think having 4 potential hits in this one email, and a treasury I was going to make anyway sitting in my Brandybuck favorites folder, makes today my day to jump on it this week.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thank you for the treasury love

I am sewing slip covers this week and next, but I wanted to pop in here and thank all of the lovely people who have helped me in the last week by promoting BrandybuckClothiers in their treasuries. I appreciate you!

This one by CreativityisMessy won the treasury challenge.

Isn't that full of manly goodness?

I have to say the above treasury was a close second for the challenge. I love so many things in it.

ZiBagz is one of my favorite curators to follow, I love that she included so many teammates in this one.

This treasury I found intriguing but ultimately disturbing. Fur hat = good - black eye = bad, really bad, infact, regretsy bad.

Another great guys collection with a lot of teammates used here. Great job!

White hot - love that idea!

Thank you Maggie, I think the linen theme is brilliant!

I think Lori and I must have similar taste in men. I love this collection. I guess that makes sense. She's got her Scottsman and I have my Irishman.

That one is from the nonteam and I love it!
Thank you everyone for helping get my new shop off the ground.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Jackets are my favorite part of Fall

I do love Summer and wearing skirts all of the time, or my cotton voile lounge pants (sometimes in public.) But I think you will see that I have a special place in my heart for Fall. Look at all of these jackets! I still get those back-to-school butterflies in my stomach when I think about the season change. My jacket collection rivals my bag collection. Speaking of bags, as soon as I get some of this furniture out of the way, I will be back with some bag patterns - promise. But I have learned not to say when because I know my habit of interrupting myself and I am okay with that.

Lots of ways to go with my jacket design. Looking forward to seeing how this takes off and what people will request. I do love having the flexibility to make special fabric choices available.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thank you to PamelasJewelry for the Front Page

There is Brandon on the brick wall wearing one of my linen shirts. Looking good. I have been ignoring the blog, obviously. Not because I don't have anything to say. I simply have too much to do. I have been pattern making like crazy and sewing. I still have a back log of furniture to cover - and I am getting to it now.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Get ready to fall in love

With my mens shirts, of course. Rory and I had a blast today bringing some life to my mens collection. A huge thank you to our handsome model, Brandon. I am very happy with all of the shirts and am looking forward to putting out the sewing pattern soon-ish. You can find my shirts for sale at BrandybuckClothiers.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lessons from Brandybuck Part 1

Rory Killilea
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I have been needing this photo shoot since day 1 for the new BrandybuckClothiers shop. It was so good to finally get together with a great model and photographer to bring some life into the photos there. Just click on the photo to get to Flickr to see some of the more than 300 great shots we got. Rory and Shelby worked really well together.

My experiment with Brandybuck has taught me a few things.

Lesson one: A name that is easier to spell might have been better. Looking forward to Etsy letting us change names.

Lesson two: While dressform models seem to work well for vintage, there are very few clothing sellers who do well without live models. The bar has been set really high for photography on Etsy. So much so that I would advise people to get this part done before opening shop. I have to admit it has been a little disappointing to not have been featured in the Etsy Finds yet - since they do a fashion email about every other day. I am hoping Shelby's great modeling and Rory's photography can help with that.

Lesson three: Something I did do right because it costs a bundle to build an inventory: Make your first samples for yourself and your family. From there, your friends will see your product and if it is quality, they will buy from you. This gives you more samples to photograph and pays for more fabric. The white shirt Shelby is wearing in the photo above is for my friend Julia. The striped one is mine. The pink skirt is G's. The first tennis dress was going to be mine, but I need to get a little more ambitious about the gym before I wear one. As my friend Tera said, I can't get the butt I want by sitting on the butt I've got. (Pause typing to switch to exercise ball.)

Which leads me to lesson four: I can't get the success I want by sitting on the success I've got. Etsy runs on what is new, so I am always making something new. My newest pattern is not a bag. It is girls dresses. I am just tickled with how it turned out and how easy it is for people to make and enjoy. My gym bag did not do as well as I thought it would - sales wise. I love the bag. I love how I made the bag. I am proud of the pattern. I just did not have a super photo to sell it before. With this great photo, I am looking at it as sort of a relaunch. The Harry Chair slip cover was also launched with full size pattern pieces - you need to print with a 24" wide printer. And every time I wear that patchwork skirt I get a ton of compliments, so I am looking to put that down on paper soon. My list never gets shorter, but I can do hard things.
Speaking of Jessica Swift - the artist who made that next step print. Read about how she is launching one of her dream projects.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Throw a kids craft party this Summer

I was browsing Pinterest this morning and saw this awesome watermelon shark. As I pinned it to my DIY board, I realized all these ideas (on my board) were the ingredients for a fun kids party. I am so glad I have a girl. Click on the link to the board above to see the watermelon shark and some other fun ideas.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

She is a natural

She is a natural
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
We had fun doing a photoshoot at Manito park. Four new patterns in the works. I have a lot of writing to do. See more on Flickr. If you check in on my photostream there, you will usually get a preview of my projects well before they are released in pattern form.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another designer in action

Michelle first caught my eye with that pillow. Then I read her blog and was hooked. Here is a blog post that is short and to the point about packaging. I love how she simply illustrates her point. Just wanted to share because I think this is a blog (and designer) you might want to follow. Nice variety of goods in her Etsy shop too. A trip to North Carolina is on my list.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sharing video interviews with fabric designers

Quilthome has become one of my favorite places to go online for fabric. Their selection is incredible and I get my orders lightning quick. Heidi, the owner of quilt home, did a brilliant thing at Quilt Market. She interviewed the top designers and has the videos embedded on her site. I enjoyed the interview with Valori Wells this morning when it showed up in my inbox. I think you will too. If you sign up for the newsletter at Quilt Home, you will get great coupons in addition to the video interviews.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kids Fabric Design Contest

I read about the Spoonflower kids contest just in time to mention it to Gabrielle. She drew a few rough sketches of designs. Some featuring squirrels and the things they like - trees and nuts. Some stripes and geometric designs. She was asking me which idea would make a good fabric design. I suggested she just draw and color something she really loved to draw like she was making a picture for a friend. After that, we could figure out how to turn it into a fabric. I love what she did. You know I am going to order her flower in the field fabric. If you click on the contest to see all of the great kids entries, keep your mouse hovering around the green arrow to get the photos to show up. You can vote for as many as you like. Seeing kids designs reminds me to keep having fun and make what I love.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Still in Love

This was one of my first PDF patterns, but I still love it. My friend, Laura, recently made a batch of these 4 inch frame bags as gifts, and she shared these photos with me. I love her fabric choices! Laura sells the fabrics in her online fabric shop. You can get fat quarter sets and pick outside and lining fabrics to make your bags. I asked Laura if she was taking orders for the bags themselves, and she is not - but I am. So if you would like a frame bag in any of these fabrics, let me know and I will buy the fabric from Laura and get you hooked up with cute bags like these. Or you could get the sewing pattern from me, the fabrics from Laura, and open up your own cute frame bag shop. They are fun to make. Thanks for the pictures, Laura. Great work!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I have been Summer-ized

A year ago, my friend Summer came over for coffee and a chat. Summer is the Costume designer (among other administrative and teaching titles) at Gonzaga University. She is a kindred spirit in terms of her creativity and appreciation for quality, but she has something I don't have- the "O" gene. A year ago Summer offered to help me organize my space to make it work more efficiently. At that time, I really believed that chaos was part of what made my creativity thrive. I turned her down, and she politely accepted that.
I spent the last year working in my 10' by 12' studio, winding it up like a slow motion tornado. I even enjoyed the thought of myself as akin to a natural disaster. (Tempted to analyze that right now - but I won't do it here.) Draw a pattern, cut it out, shove it aside, sew it up, scraps shoved aside - don't throw them away, save them for the crazy quilt! Fabric for the next project was handy - and often, in the way. Lots of fabric, lots of visual stimulation. Almost everything had a place, but I am the only one who could find anything. Sometimes it took me a couple of days to find a specific ruler. If I couldn't find something I really needed, I would buy another. Things that didn't have a proper place got hung on the peg board - jewelry findings, buttons, mirrors, they came packaged to hang in the store, I will hang them too. Then there was the drapery: twill tape draped on the pegboard, spools of chain, ribbons, elastic, a shoe lace, (I am not sure why)luggage tags, zippers. Anything hang able was hung there.
A whole year of making (and making a mess) passed. And then, I couldn't make any more. I began working at the kitchen table. I avoided the studio. I was still producing but not as much as I knew I could if I were organized. I found an empty box of sewing needles, but I could not find a single needle to sew on a button. That was the last straw. Finally, I cried for help. Summer was there for me. She came running and ready to work. Summer is full of practical suggestions and the sensitivity to let them sink in. I told her which piles were important and which hadn't been looked at in the last year. She sent me outside to weed the garden (We agreed it was best if I didn't watch this part.) while she hauled out 6 or 8 big black bags of giveaway and garbage (that is, my imaginary crazy quilt.) I came in, and joined her in going through boxes and being a lot more realistic than ever before in what to keep and what to toss.
We moved my big beautiful dresser out, and went shopping for shelves. It happened to be the first day of an incredible sale at Lowes on this shelving, so I spent about half as much as I had planned. Sweet! We went to lunch.

At lunch we talked about my sewing ADD and how maybe that was caused by over stimulation. Above is the shelving that replaced my big dresser, less stimulating and more efficient. I marveled as Summer told me about sewing more than 300 costumes between September and May. My jaw dropped when she informed me that she has over 800 patterns catalogued and stored neatly in her studio at Gonzaga. I got inspired by her efficiency, her ability and her humility.

Summer's layout of the room is so much better than the "L" shape I was using. I have more room now for everything. Just in case there is anyone reading this who finds they have worked themselves to a standstill, I want to invite you to get Summer-ized. If you are in Spokane, Pullman or in the Seattle area, chances are Summer can schedule something with you - before school starts up again at Gonzaga. I highly recommend her as an organization maven, and not just for sewing rooms. She is working with a local woman on her whole house next week. Summer has all of the right stuff and she knows how to use it. I love how my studio works. Thanks to Summer.

An organized and uncluttered peg board. Small stuff in small drawers and labeled.
My shipping area. I will organize the closet more, but right now, I am really enjoying how well my space works.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Craft Party Project

My Craft Party Project
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
If I go to a craft party, you can be pretty sure I will have a different project in mind for the craft than the one presented by the leader. I made sure this was okay with Sarah before the party, and she happily set me loose on the copper wire while she taught the class how to make a fine silver wire pendant. When I got home, I wrapped the new handle on my teapot. Now it's back to sewing. That was fun. Read more about the party at the team blog.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My thoughts on sequels

Event Tags
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
There are sequels that are so bad, they make you forget how great the original was. (I realized this when Caleb was watching The Matrix for the first time.)
Then there are the sequels that keep getting better - like the Die Hard movies. (I like that there is less swearing in the last movie than in the first. "you just killed a helicopter with a car!" I was all out of bullets.")
I did not set out to become one of those designers that puts out the same thing over and over again. I am sequel-shy. Two things came together this week that made me rethink that stance for luggage tags.
1. The craft party we are having today. I wanted to bring something for everyone, and I thought a cute magnetic name tag that can double as a photo frame for the fridge sounded great.
2. I had a customer inquiry for 120 luggage tags and I could not do them for the price she needed.
I find that if I have the need for a project, there are lots of other people who have the same need. My new Event Tags Sewing Pattern can be made up in a fraction of the time it takes to make my original luggage tags. (With virtually no materials waste- bonus.)
I think they are just as lovely - and smarter than the original. I can sell them for as little as $4 each when ordered in bulk. See the wedding favor listing. And DIY brides will be able to get this project done quickly for under $1 each.
I hope my sequel meets rave reviews and opens up the event market to more handmade sellers.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chasing Butterflies

Something clicked inside me this week that made it more okay than ever to just slow the heck down. Instead of wishing we were moving down the trail, I enjoyed the breeze and the fragrant flowers while Rory chased butterflies with the camera. I love that this butterfly lit on the rusty old gate. The yellow Iris along the Little Spokane river smell heavenly. Shoulder high grass. Cottonwood seeds fall like slow motion snow then a gentle breeze lifts and swirls them up, reminding me of fireflies. I was happy today to go slow and breathe deep. More photos on Flickr.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Listen to Your Mother Video - See me read

This is 2 stories I wrote for writers group and have published here. I was chosen to read them at this event. I just wish the videographer had been in front of me instead of so far off to the side. Oh well, enjoy the view of my hair.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coffee Sleeves, yes please

Amber of SoniaBegonia1 has convinced me that these sleeves are a must have in the glove box. Check out this info I pulled from her Etsy bio:
"I also LOVE the thought of reducing my carbon footprint at the same time. How fun is it to get to do your part by "going green" and looking fashionable. Just imagine that an average commuter gets 5 coffee's a week x 52 weeks in a year (260 PER YEAR). Now think about the fact that most often that drink is being double cupped or a disposable sleeve put on it ... or worse yet BOTH. By simply reusing this coffee sleeve there is a significant beneficial impact to our environment.
** These sleeves are made with a layer of InsulBrite that helps keep your hands cool and your drinks warm."
Amber is making a quality product. By buying coffee sleeves from her, you are supporting a Spokane work at home mom. Here is the treasury Amber made for me last week - Thank you Amber!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mukilteo Memorial Day

Mukilteo Memorial Day
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
Easy to believe: I grew up in Seattle and have been to Puget Sound innumerable times. I have walked many miles in the rain and enjoyed it. I miss it even though I am chilly when we visit. Hard to believe: This is my first pair of rubber boots. You can bet I will be packing them for every trip. They make walking on the beach even better. The boot socks make the boots better too. I think I will try to stock some in the shop this Fall.

Introducing Creativity is Messy

Tera, the woman behind CreativityisMessy, makes so many wonderful treasuries, you will be glad to add her to your circle on Etsy and watch her favorites and treasuries. She has a great eye and is always delighting me with her fabulous finds. Here are some goodies from her shop:

Notice how Tera is on top of Etsy trends in her shop offerings too. I have had the pleasure of spending a little time with Tera in person. She is just as gracious, beautiful and smart as can be. What a treasure.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Introducing Kilted Woman

Lori made that treasury for me. She is another of my wonderful Inland Northwest teammates. Lori has a passion for Scotland and makes beautiful jewelry and a fun variety of things. Here is her profile statement from Etsy:
I am married to a Scotsman and enjoy traveling to Scotland to take pictures and pick up treasures on the beach. I also enjoy highland dancing and learning gaelic. I have been a nurse for 20 years and very much enjoy making these little crafts in my free time.
I enjoy having Lori on the team. She is a supportive teammate and always nice to everyone.

Introducing TeraBliss

Last week I had the great fortune of being the featured seller for the Inland Northwest Etsy Team. Many of my teammies made great treasuries to feature my new shop. As a thank you to these gals, I want to highlight them here, and introduce them to you.

Here is Tera's Etsy profile: Thank you so much for stopping by my etsy store! I am so excited to be a part of this amazing community. I am inspired by dancers, performers, vaudeville, burlesque, and all artists that find passion in their lives thru creating and performimg. I am a belly dancer myself and love to experiment with all styles of dance. I love costumes, jewelry, make up, and and vintage. I love beautiful things that sparkle, shine and move. I've been a jewelry and costume designer for most of my life. I am excited to finally become a member of this amazingly creative community of etsy. For me this is just the beginning!! Peace, love, and art!! ♥☺♥

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Artwork Licensing Check out this story

Cori tells it so well on her blog, I want you to read it from her. I am struck by the power of a dream. In my life it has been true that if I wonder what it would be like to do something or experience something, I often get to see that dream come true. I am not talking about a casual sort of wondering, but of those deeply felt soul urges. Read about Cori experiencing that in the grocery store.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

dragonfly knot belt

dragonfly knot belt
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
I made a couple of these belts yesterday to add to the BrandybuckClothiers shop. It is a fun way to use up the leftover jute from duffle handles. It is also a versatile waist or hip belt.  I  put this out here to see if there is any interest at all in having a tutorial for how I make them. Just let me know here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Instant banners and email signatures for Etsy shops

Some of you who know me know that I have been bannerless for a long time. One of Etsy's first big sellers, Littleputbooks, advised me quite a while ago that banners were a waste of precious space. Just get to the items and let people shop. Etsy has made a lot of changes since then. When I found this new instant banner and email signature site, and tried it out - and liked it, I checked over at LittlePut, and noticed she has a banner now. That was all I needed. If you want an instant banner like mine, do this first: renew the 4 items you want to appear in the banner, wait for about an hour, then go to and use the banner maker. The colors of your items will affect the background color of your banner. If you don't like the first try, experiment with different items until you get one that you like. The site is generating PNG files that you can save and use - that is how I have more than one below to show you.

Another cool feature on the site is a generator for an HTML signature you can use on your email that will be a photo and a link to your shop. The photo will always be the last item you renewed or listed. I think it is a nice way to dress up your email.

You just copy and paste the code as your email signature. Here is where to go to get your code.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

sketchbook 1

sketchbook 1
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
For Mothers Day, Gabrielle gave me a fancy new journal with rough (watercolor I think) paper and a beautiful fabric cover. I took this weekend off from sewing and I thought I would do something I have not done in a few years. I curled up on my favorite couch with my new journal and a mechanical pencil. My daughter and I sit down frequently and draw things we imagine, but she has never seen me draw what I physically see. The sun was setting, and as we sat in the unlit room, we talked about how we see. Also what it is to actually see and how much easier it is to make something up than to see a thing as it really is. She talked me into giving her my back up sewing journal so she could join me in drawing. It was a good exercise for me. Good times for both of us. I should find something better than a mechanical pencil for future entries.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fresh Content ideas and my next 2 weeks

My friends don't ask me - Dude, where do you come up with all of that fresh content? But they do say - I would love to blog more but I don't know what to talk about. This article is the most comprehensive list of ideas I have seen. 21 ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don't Have a Clue. I hope it helps you.
Do you want a glimpse of how I am going to carry on for the next couple of weeks? Here it is:
Writing the pattern for my travel back pack. I am really excited to launch this and jamming to get it out before the end of the month.

3 more linen shirts for my writers group friends. Everyone loves theirs so much they want another one. Just waiting for the fabric to come in.

More cute baby change pad bags. Waiting for some special fabric to come from Korea that a customer specified.

5 slip covers that will live with this chaise. This includes preshrinking 24 yards of canvas. This project will carry on through June.

Also high on the list is finding models for my BrandybuckClothiers shop. Obviously they are going to have to come to me because I have my hands full.

So if I don't practise what I preach as far as filling this space with compelling content and taking over the blogging world, I hope you will understand. Feel free to do that yourself if you like. I will probably be reading your blog around midnight on a Monday night.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spokane Spring

I am thankful for good hiking weather again. So many walks cut short this year by stormy weather. The earth is coming to life again. Different every year depending on the weather. This year we get fungus. A morel maybe? I love using the macro function on my camera. On this hike, farther on, we saw an eagles nest and thanks to a lovely older couple and their spotting scope, we also saw eaglets. Winter is over at last. My friends are gardening again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Things I do in my dreams

There are places I go in my dreams. My dreamscape is my alternate reality in which I dance, travel, wear nothing but a huge ruffle, fly, get weighed (yes, and it was a good dream - my weight said "worthy") sail, dance, grow things in my hair, and talk to centaurs. Sometimes I run and run in my bare feet and just enjoy the scenery and covering ground. Sometimes I run in a panic as I did in the dream where I found Caleb hiding inside a tree (I peeled the bark with my bare hands to find him inside.)I am not sure if the centaurs are people or animals, but they protect us from the wild animals all around our woodland home. Some of my houses have secrets and they make me think of the people who lived there before (like my mother-in-law.) I prefer my outdoor adventures, swimming, flying, running, floating. The cars have a nasty habit of going furiously fast. The bridges can be perilously high. I stay in a lot of hotels. I speak at conferences to which I was not invited. I join sororities.
The treasury is my entry for this weeks challenge. If you are new to Etsy, I recommend the non-team challenges as a great place to make some friends without the commitments you have on other treasury teams. Check them out on their blog.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Listen to Your Mother

We had our last rehearsal last night for the Listen to Your Mother Spokane show.  I am in awe of the women in the show and the breadth of the motherhood experience that we will be covering in a one hour show. If you are in Spokane, I hope you will come out on Sunday to listen to me and some other mothers. I will be wearing my pink slip dress and Alice is making me a shirtdress from the pattern I drew up to go on top.  So it's a mini BrandybuckClothiers fashion show too. Check out the Listen to Your Mother blog. From there you can link to the wonderful blogs of the other women in the show, and the national website too.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Boot Socks PDF on SewMamaSew

Boot Socks
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
My free PDF for making fleece socks is available through SewMamaSew.
They are easy to sew and keep your feet and legs toasty. For those of us stuck in Winter, this is good.
I will add mens and childrens sizes to my shop soon. This womens one is a freebie.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Being New Again - My First 16 Friends

Having a new shop on Etsy reminds me of how hard it is to be new. Making connections, hoping to get noticed, creating a shop full of new items including photos and descriptions. I have fresh empathy for fresh shops on Etsy. I spent a little time using pounce to see who else was new. There is really just one tip that came to mind for brand new shops: open with at least 5 items. Take the time and effort to make the first photos of those 5 items spectacular. Make it clear in the photo what the item is. Yes, that is really one tip. The treasury below was on the front page last night. Many thanks to BatesMercantileCo who was one of my very first connections in my new shop. Having one of my vintage pieces on Etsy's landing page reminds me that I have more vintage clothing to list. The sun is shining this morning, so a photo shoot may be in order.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Boutique Pattern

New Boutique Pattern
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
My new duffle pattern, written specifically for quilting shops will debut at the Spring Quilt Market next month. Shop owners will be able to pick up a postcard showing the pattern cover on one side and materials list on the other along with my contact info and pricing. The duffle shown here will be on display as well. Both will be at the Mark Cesarik booth #1941. I will be there in spirit only. In fact, I will be here working on the travel backpack pattern I wanted to do this month which is getting squeezed into May.

Monday, April 18, 2011

There is only one of me and every check mark counts

Sometimes I set crazy goals. That is what I did for April. Just when I was starting to feel stupid for doing that to myself, I received this encouraging message from sewcutebydesign. She reminded me of the thing that has saved me so many times. Here is her message:
Just wanted to send a message and let you know that I finally just completed the eye glass case from your pattern. Oh my god, it is so cute... It was so easy to do and I needed that today...It's been one of those sewing days and decided to try your pattern and I'm so glad I did!  You and your patterns are awesome! Can't wait to make more and list them.  Here is a photo she sent me. Is this cute, or what?

The message to me was twofold. First, I am doing a good thing with my pattern writing. Women feel successful when they use them. That is always encouraging to hear.  Second, when I start to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, I need to complete a small project. That feeling of completion pumps
me up to keep on keeping on.

The project I completed yesterday with Rory's help was the photo shoot I needed to infuse my new apparel and accessories shop, BrandybuckClothiers, with life. Rather than waiting to schedule with a model, I decided to go for it. It is a small item checked off of a long list, but every check mark counts. Stepping into selling my clothing designs feels like a leap. For me, it is the next logical leap.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Baby Sea Stars

Baby Sea Stars
Originally uploaded by studiocherie
It is Springtime in Puget Sound too. Exploring at low tide is one of my favorite things to do. Saturday, we were rewarded with baby sea stars, 2 eels, a hermit crab in a too small shell, sea anemones - little kids saying anemone...Every bit of it precious. If you look closely at this photo, you can see some tiny snails on the sunny side of the rock near my thumb.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

carpet making school Egypt

One of our stops in Egypt was this carpet making school. The kids who attend here have regular schooling 4 hours a day, then carpet school another 4 hours. They start at about 10 years old. They are privileged to be able to learn a trade. Working class in Egypt is more how we think of middle class. The instructor asked for a volunteer to tie a knot in the carpet. My hand shot up - no surprise to anyone. I think he was prepared for a longer lesson. I sat on the long, low bench next to a first year student the same age as my daughter. I watched as he walked her through the steps one by one, then I picked up a silk thread and made my knot in the carpet. You've done this before? he asks. Nope, I am just quick like that. After the lesson, we were treated to the showroom where all of the carpets I wanted were $12-14,000 US. Maybe next trip... I do see the work that goes into them, and it is not something I am tempted to make myself...but I could if I wanted to. After all, I had one lesson.