Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloween Parade

Luau puppy
Last Saturday was the Passyunk Fall Fest, a combined craft show, costume parade for kids and dogs, and all around fun day out in South Philly.

Although the kids' costumes can be cute (though how can there be that many girls who want to be Elsa?  I counted at least 35), the dogs are my favorite.

Dogs have little enough dignity to start with.  Once you dress them up, it's over.

There was a white French bulldog in a pink tutu, but I didn't get a photo.  I think he was too embarrassed; every time I raised the camera, he slunk behind something.  Other dogs weren't so modest (or perhaps self-aware).

Edward Scissorhands

My favorite kid costume was the brilliant version of Edward Scissorhands, complete with gloves that rattled and clanked every time he tried to move.  But he wouldn't pose for his picture without them -- or without the Tootsiepop lodged firmly in one cheek.

It was a good day, sales-wise, but even better after several days of rain, it was bright blue and sunny and breezy.  A perfect day to spend outside.

The family that costumes together . . .

Everybody Loves Lucy
Dino Dog

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Get out of your own way

I had coffee with a friend tonight.  We haven't had much of a chance to catch up lately, just exchanging Facebook messages and the intention of getting together, which is pretty bad for two people who only live a few blocks apart.  But life gets in the way sometimes, right?

We talked shop a bit (she makes jewelry and we do a few shows together), and caught up on each other's news.  I told her that I had gotten an agent for my book, and how hard it had been to take a chance and send out those query letters, and how good it felt to not have that fear holding me back anymore.

One thing I realized as we spoke -- we've known each other for five or six years, and during that time, I've gone from single and working a job I didn't particularly like, sewing for myself, and with a book hidden inside my computer, to married, (mostly) self-employed sewing for others, and with an actual honest-to-god literary agent.

If anyone had told me at 45 that my life would change this much in 5 years, I wouldn't have believed it.

Sometimes you just have to get out of your own way.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just a bit of news

Katie is unimpressed by my news.
Remember this post?

Well, apparently (surprisingly?) taking action can bring results. 

In other words,


That doesn't mean I have a publisher, but it's a start.  I found someone who liked the manuscript enough to want to pitch it to publishers, which is more than I could say a few months ago.

It's a process, though.  There will be some edits, I'm sure, probably not until the beginning of next year, but I've already started thinking about them.  Along with what comes next.

Did I mention, I'm EXCITED?????

This is what happens when you finally face down the fear that what you've done might not be good enough.  What's the worst that could have happened -- rejection letters?  I got a number of those, but I also got one that said "yes."  And that makes all the difference.

Friday, October 10, 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . . Christmas?

Yes, already.

One of the stores I deal with in Philadelphia was kind enough to let me know far in advance that she wanted about 20 Christmas stockings for the holiday season. I sent her links to the stockings I had in the Etsy shop last year, and she really liked the vintage quilt ones.

Thankfully I recently scored another damaged quilt on Ebay, so I was set there. She and I talked about embellishment on the stockings, and while she liked the “Joy” ones I did last year, she asked if I could do something to resemble the LOVE statue in Philadelphia – she said that everything in the shop with that logo practically sold itself. Merchandise that sells itself? I’m so there.

I played with fonts on the work computer one day and enlarged them until I got a good size for a stocking embellishment, then I traced it onto cardstock and cut it out like a stencil.

I got exactly 20 stocking fronts out of the quilt before it turned into scraps for bear construction. The back of the stockings are red denim (don’t tell Mario that it’s the denim for the jeans I keep promising to make for him), and I used the scraps to cut out the stenciled letters.

Originally I was going to do L, V and E in red, and use random fabrics for the O (making it look like a Christmas ornament), but that turned into way too much trouble so thankfully there was enough red denim left to cut out the O. (But nowhere near enough to make those red jeans someone wanted after seeing them on our last two European vacations. Oops. Bad wife).

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Inspiration in strange places

So it was a busy, productive and profitable weekend.

I had shows on Saturday and Sunday, and rearranged my work schedule this week so I could take Monday off and recover and make some new pieces.

Saturday's show was a fall fair at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church, an annual community event that had invited outside crafters to participate for the first time this year.  Saturday dawned rainy and gray, but the organizers had emailed the night before and said they had scored pop-up tents for everyone and to look on the bright side -- historically, the event had been better for everyone on rainy days, because other things would cancel and everyone would end up there.  I'm not sure if that's what happened, but it was busy from start to finish, and the rain knocked off by about 10:30, so by noon we were even pretty warm and dry.

Shows are always interesting.  There's always one thing that sells better than everything else, and it varies from week to week, so it's hard to anticipate and make enough of what you think the next big thing might be.

The other day I was thinking I could slow down on the little dresses until spring, because I had a decent stock and they probably weren't going to sell that heavily in the fall.  And then I sold 8 of them Saturday, and 1 more on Sunday.

Sunday's event was a shorter one, with bright, beautiful weather.  This was at the Cynwyd Station Cafe, which is a great little Victorian tearoom right outside the city.  It was the tearoom's 6 month anniversary party, with vendors and food and drink and a tiny circus.  Mario stayed and hung out with his laptop, my cousin who just moved to the area stopped by for a while, and a good time was had by all.

But the keeper for the weekend for me was this display setup I photographed on Saturday.  The ceramics vendor next to me admitted that she trashpicked this set of steps by the side of the road.  I doubt I'll get that lucky, so I might have to go to Home Depot sometime soon.  But can't you just see it stacked up with stuffed animals?  It would be so perfect for shows with limited space - the ability to go vertical is very valuable then.

Friday, October 3, 2014


I put some of my childhood memories up on Etsy today.  It should be hard, but it really wasn't.

The first, a set of two ceramic Tiki-style mugs, decorated my mom's kitchen from the time I was little.  She never drank out of them, but she rooted plants and had vines growing from them that wove all around the kitchen ceiling.  Philodendron one time; sweet potato vine another.

The second is a set of Christmas ornaments that probably came into the house about the time I did.  I loved them.  They're styrofoam treated to look like gingerbread, and considering their 50ish years, they look pretty good.

When I first took these out of the cabinet, I thought they'd be really hard to get rid of.  And then I thought about the fact that they've been in a cabinet for the 15 years I've been in my house, and put away for most of the time before that.  I haven't had a Christmas tree in 30 years; I've never drunk out of the mugs either, and I don't do house plants.

So why, then?  Why keep them?  Why not just take nice pictures so that I can remember them, and let them go out into the wider world to make their way.

So that's what I did.