Buy Handmade

One day while driving down Main Street in the city where my kids attend school, I noticed a new shop’s sign on a long-empty storefront. An artists’ market. I was so excited, it took everything I had to not pull over and peer through the window. Of course, it was 6:30 a.m. and nothing was open, and I really needed to get home so my husband could get to work. I made a mental note to check back later.

It was about two weeks before I could stick my head in the door and scope things out at Leasa: Life’s Work. And what I saw made me a bit giddy. Cool handmade goods. Some other neat gift-y things. A cool workspace for classes. Best of all was Leasa, the owner, who’s been making and selling handmade cards forever. I loved hearing about her work and her vision for her new shop. I think it’s a great thing for our area and I can’t wait to support it and the craftsmen who are selling their wares there.

I’m also excited to be offering some of my things there. I’ve already taken three Miss Madeline dresses adn a couple of wristlet bags.

Miss L watched me take the dresses into the shop and was so sad to see them go. Of course, they’re all too small for her and it’s not like I can’t sew her others. (In fact, I’ve already made her a different dress with the Heather Bailey and Dena Designs fabrics, so I’m not sure what the deal is.) And I always love sewing with Paula’s Flights of Fancy. It always makes me smile!

The wristlets are my own design and feature embroidery from Urban Threads of two lovebirds. I thought it added some interest to the little bags and I especially love the repetition of the Park Slope fabric with all those cute little birds.

Camp Goodies

Can I brag on my campers one more time? They were such awesome girls and I had so much fun with them last week. They also were amazingly prolific during the course of camp. Clothes, bags, quilt blocks. You name it, I threw it at them and they knocked it out. Out of the park, even! LOL!

Friday was our last day and they came in that morning and whipped up their fourth A-line skirt before tackling the big final project: crazy log cabin blocks. Because I only had two girls in the camp, I could let them work on different projects so one girl chose to make a little bag and the other a pillow.

They used 7″x7″ pieces of muslin for the blocks and I had them foundation piece their log cabins. Why? Well, I think it’s easier to keep the shape — especially when using different sizes of strips — if there’s a little something to help guide the block formation.

The girls kept me busy cutting strips. One decided to use only the fabrics she’d sewn with all week for her blocks while the other was willing to dip into my stash for hers. Of course, she also wanted to use her favorite fabric — Paula‘s Par Avion from Flights of Fancy — for the centers of all her blocks, so I spent some extra time fussy cutting them.

I could not be more proud of their finished projects and they were so happy with them, too. And they promised me they were going to wear and use everything they made (in fact that’s why one pair of PJ pants is missing – they were worn the night before at a sleepover!). Also missing from the photos are the gifts they made their moms as a thank-you for enrolling them in summer camp: another wristlet and a tote-style purse with pre-made handles (which I hear were much appreciated).

Pssst! Live in Atlanta? I’ve got a second week of sewing summer camp in August.

Handmade’s Last Hurrah?

I decided to take part in the Boutique Felony launch on Ebay this week. While the name is a little tongue-in-cheek, the topic is really anything but lighthearted. I’m sure everyone has been reading about CPSIA and the requirements placed on makers of children’s goods.

As the Feb. 10 deadline approaches, it’s looking more and more likely that the custom children’s items I’ve bought (and sold) will start disappearing from sites like Ebay, Etsy and Hyenacart. I know that I won’t be able to meet the requirements for lead testing and expect to no longer be sewing and selling children’s clothing if things don’t change.

My biggest regret involves my web site. I shipped this week what likely will be my last tutu orders. Four years of playing with tulle and making little girls’ dreams come to life is ending and that makes me a bit sad.

But I can’t stay sad for long when I look at my daughter wearing the outfit I’ve listed on Ebay. It’s made with Paula Prass’ Flights of Fancy fabrics (Michael Miller) and it really does make me smile. This is the outfit Paula asked me to sew for her booth in Houston, at the International Quilt Market. A photograph of it was included in her brochure promoting the fabric line, and there was a beautiful modeled picture of it up in her booth. I’m optimistic that it will find a fabulous new home where it will be worn and loved.

Taking Flight

Just a little peek at what flew in and out of my sewing room this weekend. I had the pleasure yesterday of playing with some beautiful fabrics, delivered into my hands courtesy of Paula Prass.

Paula is amazingly talented and will be debuting her first line of fabric, Flights of Fancy, at Quilt Market later this month. It was an absolute delight to lend a helping hand with her preparations for Market and create an outfit for her booth and promotional materials.

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t intimidating. Oh my word! “Nervous” doesn’t cover it! I had only a limited amount of fabric and could not afford to mess it up. It’s not like I could run to the quilt shop and buy more! Fortunately, everything went smoothly and I even managed to leave some nice, big pieces to send back to Paula with the outfit.

A big, big “thank you” to Paula for letting me be a part of her big Michael Miller debut. I know everyone is going to be crazy about your fabrics! And many thanks to Patty, as well, for connecting me with Paula so all of this could happen.

I can’t wait to see Paula’s modeled shots with the outfit, as well as seeing the sample on the floor at Houston later this month! (Yes, I am attending Market!)