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.

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.

Monday, September 29, 2014

One from the vault

I've been cleaning out a lot lately.  The amount of aunt and previous homeowner clutter started to get to me, and then I realized how much of what was bothering me was actually mine.

So I started cleaning out that, too.

Boxes have gone to the thrift store.  And that's just the stuff that I can't list on Etsy, or cut up into more interesting things.

I pulled this out tonight, and spent a half hour ironing and swearing at it, and remembering both fondly and with horror how long it took me to make this.

This was made about 20 years ago for a costume ball.  I went with my closest friend (who was dressed as Marie Antoinette), and another friend of ours.  He wore black leather, and not much else.  We entered the costume competition as "Two Dead Queens and a Live One."  We didn't win, but our friend got a few dates out of it, and I had a guy ask if he could wear my dress.

Sleeves with faux pearls and fabric roses;
shoulders and waist are outlined in
drapery cord, with gold roses, gold braid
and two kinds of lace.
This is so far past my wearing that I can't even get it on my dress form.  I remember it being a bit of a squeeze at the time (even with that oh-so-historical back zipper), but it wouldn't go on the form at all.

I made the mistake of trying to get it on me and got stuck.  Like really stuck, and no one was home to get me out of the dress.  Not that I would have asked -- I would have rather torn it trying to get out than ask for such humiliating assistance!

I can't remember how long this took to make, but it was every night in front of the TV, and portions of it went to work with me - especially when I was hand sewing on the ropes of faux pearls to the sleeves.

Looking at it now, I wish my sewing skills had been better then.  But on the other hand, if the work was as good as the idea behind it, I'd have a really hard time letting it go.

A few detail shots, just because I'm still proud of it.  And for the right size 6(ish) person, it's available here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Next Sunday!

How great is the poster for next Sunday's 6 month anniversary bash out at the Cynwyd Station Cafe?  

If you' re local, or anywhere near, you should check this place out -- great coffee, tea, pastries and homemade ice cream, floats, milkshakes, you name it.  And lots of lovely things to see and buy.  Including mine.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Social History

Believe it or not, I'm still cleaning out stuff from my aunt's apartment.  Considering how many carloads went to the thrift store, and how much more just went straight into the trash (and you know how I feel about throwing things away!), there is still a metric shit ton of this stuff.

I didn't keep a lot of her books.  Most of them were either "old people" books (staying young, prescription drug interactions, vitamins, healthy cooking), saccharine book club romance novels, and random religious tracts given to her by visits that she was too polite to refuse (she had 6 family bibles; I think that was enough even for her).

I kept a few, this being one of them.  I know Edith Head as a Hollywood costume designer, and I'm not particularly surprised that she wrote a book, but this is a serious piece of social history, in addition to a book about clothes.

Check out the heading on Chapter 2:  "How to Dress to Get a Man . . . and Keep Him."  

Actually, a lot of the advice (other than that man-getting bit) is still pretty spot on.  

And I love the illustrations.  If you want your own piece of social history, it's available here.