Thursday, June 25, 2009

It Didn't Rain on our Parade...

Or at least not on our Arts Market, and if you live in New England, you know this was a bit of a miracle. I did another show last Saturday, and had a wonderful time as usual. I only tweaked my display a little, but here is a picture anyway...

I had a wonderful spot right up front in the center aisle, so it was easy for folks to move around.

I have to talk up a couple of local NH sellers that do amazing work. First, my fellow Etsy seller, Erica Walker; I love her silver jewelry. She has some beautiful earrings that totally appeal to me because they are so versatile. And you must check out her new Mod Ring design. Too cool for the tragically hip.

The second is Becky Oh! Handbags. I first stumbled across Becky from Trunkt shortly after I was accepted. Her aesthetic is so similar to mine, and we could’ve talked fabric all afternoon had we not had to man our booths. I ended up buying my own Becky Oh! Handbag, and I couldn’t be more pleased. She makes her own patterns, and her color choices are sublime. The workmanship is topnotch, and I can’t wait to bring my own little purse out on a layover. Thanks Becky!

The last New Hampshire gal that I want to mention is Patty from L&B Accessories. If you want a beautifully made wallet (or handbag for that matter), Patty is your girl. Her stitching is perfect (trust me, I looked on my own wallet), and she is now doing her own embroidery designs, so they are unique. We miss Patty at the Market, but she has been busy in her Etsy shop, so that’s a good thing!

In other craft show notes, I was just accepted to the SOWA Market in Boston, and couldn't be more excited. I have no idea which Sundays I might go just yet, but I'll keep you posted.

Sad news, it appears as though a bear or raccoon has disturbed our poor mother Robin's nest, and the eggs are gone. I'm happy to have my truck back, but sad that we couldn't hear those little baby birds waiting for their mother to return with some food. I'm hoping she has enough time to make a new nest in a safer spot, and lay a new clutch of eggs. We haven't broken the news to our daughter, but she has been pretty good about these sorts of things in the past. We do live in the woods after all, and these things happen.

Written from our mosquito infested patch of forest in New Hampshire,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Oodles of Fabric Goodness

Dateline Los Angeles-

I’ll answer your question right now…no famous people on my flight today. I swear though there was one guy that looked a whole lot like “Benny” from L.A. Law, but I don’t think it was him. The hair was all wrong.

But what I really want to write about is FABRIC! What else? I get very excited when I receive an especially large shipment, even if I’ve already seen the fabric in person. But this was even more fun than that because I ordered some things I hadn’t yet seen with my own eyes. I know we’ve all had the experience of ordering online, only to be completely disappointed with the colors when the yardage shows up on our doorstop. Gladly, this was not to be.

I am trying to put together my line for the fall, and it isn’t coming as easy as the Spring/Summer collection. I think it’s because summer has barely started, and I’m trying to use more somber colors and richer jewel tones. Ordinarily I have no problems with color saturation, but the fabrics that I’m dying to use are not exactly ‘kid fare’.

Two of the fabrics I am working with are from Kaffe Fassett. I seriously have a weak spot for his fabrics, but they are a little tricky sometimes. The two I’m talking about are the bubble bloom colorways of dusk and teal. I am deeply in love, and yet I have “designer’s block.” I think if I just sit with them for awhile, and ponder the possibilities, something fabulous will come…

Meanwhile, Etsuko Furuya’s new fabrics are on their way, and you may have already seen my preview on flickr. I decided to do a reversible asymmetric with her fabrics, coupled with some new Alexander Henry on the reverse. I love the heavier weight of Etsuko’s fabrics for the fall. Just throw on a turtleneck and some leggings, and you’re set.

Finally, I am completely inspired by the brown and gold polka dot from Anna Maria Horner. It’s not new, but it’s new to me, and I am smitten. I’m thinking it’s going to be a great accent for some new designs I have percolating in my brain.

Being the tactile/sight driven person that I am, I have to see a fabric first before I know what I want to do with it. There are so many possibilities (and so little time!), but having these in hand is making it much easier to figure out what to do with them. Happy designing!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Robin's Egg Blue

As soon as you read my title, you had an image of the color in your mind, didn't you. That gorgeous color that isn't quite blue, isn't quite green. I suppose I had seen an actual robin's egg somewhere along the line, but in my mind's eye, it wasn't quite so vivid.

I had planned to get a load of mulch in our truck at some point in the next couple weeks, because I have been doing WAY too much weeding. After building our house 3 years ago, we finally had the time to put in some gardens and a lawn this year. The gardens are taking off, but need a load of mulch, and it's just the job for our old rusty truck. But there's one problem...

A momma robin has decided that the wheel well is the perfect place for her nest. My husband first noticed it this afternoon, while doing some projects outside. My daughter and I came running, and couldn't believe that this little bird would find a truck tire to be a hospitable place, but I suppose there's no accounting for reason and logic. We decided to see if there were any eggs in there, and when we pulled it out, lo and behold, three perfectly beautiful eggs.

What to do...

We need our truck, but we love the birds. I decided to do a little research this afternoon. Could we move the nest? Apparently not. When the robins are building the nest, they memorize every aspect of it; not only its location, but also the materials and the placement of them. Not unlike us! So, we've decided they can stay, and I'll be doing a lot more weeding this summer.

And we promise we won't disturb those little eggs again, even just to look at the color...tweet tweet.

Coming to you from my home in New Hampshire, ~Melissa

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Craft Show Verticality...

I've always heard, and thought too, that the best craft show displays take advantage of height. "Think vertical", they'll say. And it's really true. There is only so much space on a table, and if you have a lot of product, like me, you have to use the ether above if you're going to fit it all on that 3'x6' table. Not only that, but using various heights forces your eye to travel around and take in everything that's there.

So that is precisely what I did. I've been thinking about how to incorporate more vertical displays, but just wasn't sure how to go about doing it. When I've gone to other shows lately, I find myself getting sucked into looking more at the displays than the actual items! I get into this analytical mode and think, "Does this draw me in? Does it complement the product? What about the lighting? Is it practical?" When I see a booth that I particularly like, I try to figure out what it is about the display that appeals to me. Is it the product itself or the feeling of the booth? And hey, next time you need an excuse to go to a craft show, just say it's for market research!

A few times I'd seen these dowel structures for holding a knitted sweater, or something of that ilk up off the table. I have always liked the way it looked and decided to make a few of my own. I used two sizes of dowel, one 7/8" and the other 1 1/8". In the larger dowel I drilled a hole 7/8" in diameter right through the middle (this was more or less successful, but be careful not to go through the side of the dowel!) Then I slid it down the smaller dowel and screwed it in to where I wanted it. I then purchased 3 wooden balls and drilled a hole in the bottom of them to put on top of the crossed dowels. Perfect for hats!! I made sure to cover those with fabric just in case I sold out of my hats. I painted them up, and as a base my kind husband chainsawed six birch logs into bases that I drilled for a stand. They are sturdy and earthy and heavy enough not to blow over. Very cool. I painted just the tops of those white, and left the bark au naturel.

I also found this cute little child's chair, for a doll really, in a local antiques shop. It was the inspiration to use for my blouses and skirts. In the past I had all my skirts in the vintage suitcase (which I still love), but I wanted a better way of displaying some of my blouses with the skirts and pants so shoppers could see some of the mix and match options. It was the perfect centerpiece for my favorite outfit, "dainty daisies".

At the last minute I grabbed an old plant stand that had been my grandmother's, and some cake plates to use for my pony tail holders. I love the sort of vintage-y look of it even though it's got a bit of rust. The cake plates were great for elevating and corralling my little covered buttons (they have a life of their own), and also another way of getting those little things up off the table. The plant stand was great for a few other odds and ends like matching bloomers and a pair of pants or two.

You've all seen my antique drying rack before, but it is the neatest thing. It collapses down into nothing, is lightweight, and you can see the dresses because they face out on the rack. It's truly perfect. I found mine on ebay of all places, so maybe there's another one out there for you...

Overall, I wouldn't change a thing with my display. I was completely thrilled with how it looked. I probably need a few more weights just in case things get a little more breezy (that drying rack for instance needs some help when it gets windy). Oh, I know things evolve, and I'll probably have other ideas, but it was very gratifying to see it all come together and get such positive feedback from my customers.

P.S. Coming to you this morning from Fairbanks, Alaska. ~Melissa