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.