Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Blank Slate

Hello! Hope you are having a restful weekend. I had a migraine today, which forced me to lie down a lot of the day, but I suppose, in a way, that's good. But I did take some photos this afternoon of something I have been wanting to show you but had to finish first! I finally did the writing in it last night and am excited to show you.

It's my own Silver Bella 2008 book! I saved special bits and bobs from the event and set aside vintage goodies that worked with the theme. I am a girl who likes the idea of scrapbooks but has always been dissatisfied by the end result when I have made them in the traditional way. But this was a different story! This is "my thing" and every page was simple, fun and turned out better than I'd imagined. Now that's my kind of project! I want to add some photos of my friends and I in our prom dresses, too, which I only just remembered right now as I was typing...need to do that.

Before I show you the book I made, I want to tell you about the "base" book I used. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you know that I make fabric heirloom books from scratch. They don't look much like this...they are larger, for one, and they are "quilted." This is a simple little 8" x 7" canvas book that I am happy to tell you I am going to be selling from my etsy shoppe. I am delighted with how they work. I can easily sew both fabric and paper to the pages using my sewing machine. It's a "doable" size, too, so if you're like me and get overwhelmed with big blank books, you'll be happy with this fact, as well. You can find these blank books HERE.

So here is what I made with my blank book!
I covered the outside cover with a really sweet, vintage-looking netting. I made the cover design as a separate piece, hand-stitching a photo printed on fabric to this yummy quilted scrap and then adding some vintage pretties here and there. Then I sewed the whole piece to the front cover of the book.

Inside I sewed vintage wallpaper, scrapbook paper and even a piece of muslin to the pages as writing surfaces. I was delighted that I was able to pretty easily write on the muslin with a ballpoint pen! I incorporated vintage wallpaper, muslin scraps from a bag Andrea gave me with my name stamped on it, sketches of dresses by Natasha, a beautiful photo that Jennifer gave all the Bellas and even my ticket for the vendor faire the night of the "prom." I added a little "friend" card I bought on etsy from oneripepeach. It was so fun to finally put all these pieces together! I added in some vintage photos of girls in prom dresses and other sorts of dresses, too, which I have started collecting and can't get enough of. You'll notice that I used a lot of the "decorative" stitches on my sewing machine. I love doing this, especially when sewing on paper.

So that's it! I hope you feel inspired to make something that chronicles a special event, memory or even dreams for the future. If you don't like working in a medium, DON'T! Pick a medium that you LOVE, that makes your heart beat faster when you think about it and that you enjoy every step of. And if you don't know what that medium is, experiment a little! Look up "altered art" on etsy or even Google. Pick up one of the many Somerset magazines in the bookstore or online.
There are as many different ways to create something as there are people in the world, so find what works for YOU!
Have fun PLAYING!

Monday, January 26, 2009


She clutched Elizabeth to her chest and buried her face in the doll's head, inhaling the familiar scent that made tears spring into her eyes, at the same time that it filled her with a deep comfort. Many nights she had sat at Mother's feet, stitching her own little sampler, while Mother carefully embroidered Elizabeth out of fine linen and tatting thread, rocking and humming a haunting tune from the old country. Now as she pressed her nose against Elizabeth's softness, she could just catch the scent of the lavender Mother had kept in her linen chest, the sweet aroma of Mother's hand soap and the home fire by which they had stitched together each night.

Meet Elizabeth....

She's been in my mind's eye for literally months and I'm so pleased with how she turned out. A friend gave me this amazing embroidery pattern and I was immediately smittened. Equally detailed front and back motifs were already "doll-sized" and needed only to be transfered to a lovely piece of ivory linen. I hand-embroidered each stitch with heavy tatting thread, just like the Mother in my story above, a little while each evening for a couple weeks.

Elizabeth holds a charming little bouquet of vintage millinery flowers, vintage velvet millinery ribbon and a bit of almond-colored antique lace. Her dress has a bit of antique tatting lace around the collar and she wears a ribbon on her head, adding a dimensional quality to her appearance. Elizabeth stands about 14" tall and is stuffed firmly.
Don't miss the details of her back...even down to the part in her hair and buttons made of French knots!
If you are interested in adopting Elizabeth, visit my etsy shoppe, Stitching a Dream.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sweets for Sweeties!

Yay! It's the weekend!

I've been a busy little bee! New dessert boxes, the new fabricaholics bags I showed you in my last post, some Sugar Shelves and Spool Cakes. And I just got a new shipment of fabric from Paris Bebe. Sooooooo yummy! I'm going to work hard to get those listed this weekend, so be watching my etsy fabric store and the website, Confections Fabric.

Dessert boxes...1/2 yard of each of 2 fabrics in each box. Sugar Shelves and Spool Cakes!Cupcake Ribbon...

Off I go, back to work!!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Hopefully I'll be back with pics of new Paris Bebe prints... :)



Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Attention Fabricaholics

I just put 3 new "Fabricaholic Bags" in the etsy shoppe. The first one flew off the shelf and I got several requests for more, so here you go!

Fabricaholic "Birthday" Bag


Having fun, listing fabric and playing with flickr toys! :)
If you'd like to get a closer peek at anything you see here, check out my etsy store, Confections Fabric!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something New....this is a long 'un

Well Hello, Sweets! What a great weekend and an extra day in it! Tons to do in the house now but first I thought I'd pop on and tell you about something I'm doing that I'm really excited about.

So as you know, I love pink and aqua and all things "cupcakey." I really do! I actually feel like the prints I sell in my fabric store, Confections Fabric, are "yummy" and seeing them stacked next to one another in my studio or combined together in a project truly does give me a feeling I can only describe by saying "That is soooooo yummy!" If you are like me and love these colors and vintage/whimsical prints, you know exactly what I mean!

But there is another side of me, which some of you who have been reading my blog for awhile have probably gotten a glimpse of. I really love the ivory/white/cream/taupe colors and my living room is in those tones. I especially love those tones combined with sherbety pinks and greens. And if it's antique and has a certain "other-worldly" look about it, even better.

I explained this feeling a few months ago here on my blog but I'll give you a re-cap: Sometimes I see something, usually made by another artist, that my soul just responds to. It's a very distinct feeling and one that I can only describe as being slightly "spiritual." I know...sounds a bit corny, but I am certain somebody out there understands exactly what I mean. The reason it feels "spiritual," I've decided, is because there is something about it that expresses truth or communicates an emotion of some kind that is one I've felt deeply myself. Nicole Sayre's dolls, Beth Quinn's jewelry and art pieces, Heather Kowalski, Andrea Singarella and Tiffany Kirchner's vignettes, certain photographer's work that I always look at and "favorite" on flickr, everything that I've ever seen that Lauren Mumford has made, pieces by Holly Abston, many of the pieces by DollfaceDesign, handmade clothing I drool over by Bonzie and so many more. If you browse through those stores and sites you will get a feel for the types of art I love and the feeling they elicit. Perhaps you will feel the same way?

When I made this heirloom fabric/mixed media book for a customer-turned-friend, I had my first real experience of actually making something myself that gave me that feeling. It wasn't so much how it LOOKS to me...more the feeling I had as I was making it: as if all the elements Kimla sent me to incorporate into her book and all the elements I collected for the book had always been meant to become this book. It felt as though each object, each piece of lace, each doo-dad and each piece of fabric had been always moving toward their ultimate destiny: to be part of this new thing. Working on the book felt....well, if it weren't really ME putting things together but rather following some muse or direction. I know...goofy-sounding. But totally true! Those who know me know I don't usually talk like this and that I'm a very down-to-earth kind of person, so it's even more remarkable that this feeling was so strong and so real for me.

One of the favorite one! Fast-forward to October and November of last year....

As I prepared my goodies for my vendor tables at Silver Bella, I quickly realized something interesting: I was going to have to have two very distinct, very different tables on Vendor Night. One would be my pink-and-aqua-cupcakey-yummy table and the other would be an ivory-vintagey-heirloomy table. There was no way to "reconcile" these two very different "sides" of me. There was no way to make them work together or somehow blend into one another.

But as I made things for both of my two tables, I noticed that making things for the ivory table was more....ME. The pink and aqua stuff was fun, cute and yummy...I had a blast making the cake slice boxes, dessert boxes of fabric and everything else I sold on that table. But making things for my ivory table was far more artistic and came from my heart and soul.

Here are the two tables at Silver Bella so you can see the difference:

When I returned from Silver Bella, I was burnt out. Late nights for months beforehand, hardly any sleep while there and the feeling of Christmas already being upon us was overwhelming. I took a break and enjoyed it thoroughly. But while I was having my break, getting ready for the holidays and spending time with my family, the whole "dichotomy" of my work started to bother me. I had these two very different sides...was that a problem? Would it affect my ability to be successful with the fabric store, since my SOUL is really in the fabric books and other more artistic endeavors I do in this other style?
I had a couple special order for fabric books right before Silver Bella and then another one I am working on now, with still another after that. This is the work that makes me happy. It comes from deep inside. When I look at my life as a whole, I see me as a child, making little patchwork quilts, reading L.M. Montgomery and feeling I had been born into the wrong era, just about SWOONING when I first found "Victoria" magazine as a teenager, buying a set of christening clothes as a 16-year-old and writing a note to my future children on the outside of the box, folding away precious things from my grandmothers into my hope chest.... I could go on. But it MAKES SENSE that these books are my BLISS, you know? It makes sense that when I sit down to make art it would be more ivory and vintage-inpsired than pink and aqua.

But what to do about this realization...

So I'm opening a new etsy shoppe. Hopefully someday it will be a website. I'll tell you more about this in just a minute....

But first let me explain what happened inside of me.

As soon as I came to grips with this whole "this is me" idea, I had a tremendous amount of peace and what had been all confusion and tumult became so clear and so obvious....

I have a Business.

I have an Art. And it's o.k. that those are totally different from one another!

It's o.k. that they don't look well next to one another.

It's o.k. that I love both.

It's possible to do both and do well at both.

So I've been busily filling my new etsy shoppe. Oh it has been so fun. I feel like I've been playing. At the same time I've been working on a fabric book order that is both "so me" and also a big challenge creatively. I can't wait to show it to you when it's done. I really hope the sweet lady who commissioned it loves it, too!

But all in all, I feel like something new has been born. I am re-doing my studio. It's not going to look like a bakery anymore! I have an antique wedding veil covering my studio window with tiny lights strung above it. I'm working on clearing a spot for a long table so that I can put the tablecloth I made for my ivory Silver Bella vendor table on it. I'm going to put all my artful goodies in candy jars on the table so that I can see everything I have to work with when I create. It all feels so right.

What about Confections Fabric, you may be asking?

Well this is really the surprising part for me. As soon as I let that other part of me "free," the ideas and the inspiration for my fabric store began to flow, and is still flowing, in a way that is truly shocking me. I am energized to make new things. I felt excited to list new things. I have TONS of new ideas in my head. Hence all the prolific blogging lately and new products listed.

And do you want to know something almost EERIE? As soon as I started putting things in my new "ivory" etsy shoppe, my fabric store has been more successful than it has ever been. I know this is totally connected to my excitment about Confections Fabric and the drive I've had to list new things, sell them in creative ways, etc. It's been breathtakingly exciting.

So before I show you my new etsy shoppe, I'd just like to say one more thing:


Like many of you, I have to be practical. I can't just buy thousands of dollars of fabric one day and then willy-nilly decide "oh never mind...I'm not in the mood anymore." Confections Fabric is my business. I am committed to it and to making it successful. I'm starting small with dreams of greatness, like many of you. And I love it!

But I've learned in such a joyful way that it almost makes me teary to say it:
Following your heart and your creative bliss will ALWAYS, always, always be successful. Maybe not Martha Stewart successful...or at least not right away! ;) But if we treat our own hearts as tenderly as we do our children's hearts, validating, nurturing, celebrating and supporting what is most dear, deep and real, it will feel just as joyful to see our hearts doing what they were made to do as it is to see our children following their hearts.

That's my word for 2009. Heather, who I met at Silver Bella, said she chooses a word each year as a theme/goal/resolution/focal point. Mine is "Play." Play with my kids. Play with my husband. Play with my friends and sisters. Play with my surroundings. Play with my business. Play with my art. And that doesn't mean all fun and games! For me that means a joyful abandonment to what is basic, true and happy.

O.k. so without further ado, I am thrilled to announce the opening of my new etsy shoppe:

And here are TONS of photos of the things that are in there now! I have lots more in the works and LOADS more in my mind. But here it is for now.
Valentine sachets....

Art packs, both for fabric and paper art....

Vintage pretties....
A one-of-a-kind heirloom baby layette....
A "smaller" of my fabric art books....I made this before Silver Bella....

So that was a gigantic post! Thanks for listening to me! I am so happy to have people who "get" me that I can share this with. :)

Off to PLAY!