Wednesday, June 18, 2008

NYC Scenes::Part 1

We're heading back to Austin today and, though I'm happy to get back to my regular life and to my sewing machine, I am experiencing that end-of-vacation let down. We've had a terrific time here in NYC, seen some amazing work, walked through many fabulous neighborhoods and eaten some very tasty food. So, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some of my favorite images from our brief visit here.

I saw these signs all over town, but this one had an addition to it that made me smile. Underneath the posted fine someone placed a bumper sticker railing against fascism in America, a poignant addition. Needless to say, the sign and it's threatened penalty are ignored.

This is Bryant Park. Like most visitors to NYC, I'd heard quite a bit about Central Park and had always taken the time to walk through it and enjoy it in contrast to the bustling city. But I'd never been to Bryant Park. I never even knew it existed until I joined an online book club sponsored by the NPR show, Bryant Park . Apparently the show is named after the park across the street from NPR studios in New York. This park has to be the most lush, verdant, pastoral space in all of NYC. There are rows of tables and chairs tucked in along huge swaths of ivy towered over by tall trees. There's even a Bryant Park Reading Room in the park. Visitors can "check out" a book to read while sitting in the park. Just amazing!

The above are all views of the New York Public Library. This is another famous New York landmark that I can't believe I didn't make it to until my third visit. What was I thinking? This should have been top of my list the first time I came to NY. Not only was the building itself breathtaking, but there was a wonderful (and I could go on with the superlatives) photography exhibit on display as well. And all this beauty and inspiration was free, not a fact to be ignored in this city.
The exhibit, Eminent Domain: Contemporary Photography and the City, was a group show focusing on the work of 6 photographers, Thomas Holton, Bettina Johae, Reiner Leist, Zoe Leonard, Ethan Levitas, and Glenn Lignon. This turned out to be one of those unexpected jewels you just seem to stumble upon in New York. I've linked to the photographers who have websites and I'd really encourage you all to check their work out.
That's it for this entry. I'm off to pack.

I just found out that I was featured at hallmark magazine's online blog . If you get a chance check it out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Renegade and Rain

Check it out. This post has a title. Both my husband and daughter have chided me for just numbering my posts, so, despite the anxiety of coming up with a title, I'm going to do it.
Anyway, back to the actual subject of this post. I feel a little like roving reporter. Here I am, away from home, and yet still able to write about the events of the day and have that"published" here on my blog. Ain't technology grand? Sad as it may be, we checked into our hotel with two computers in tow.
But I digress. I'm supposed to be describing how the Renegade Craft Fair went yesterday. Well, good...and bad.
The day started out really well.

Having traveled by plane to NYC, I was pretty limited in the amount display items I could bring. I brought one basket and two tablecloths and that was pretty much it except for lots of string. My plan was to create multiple lines for hanging things both vertically and horizontally.

I tried to make "curtains" of hanging fabric bundles. Luckily, I'd made quite a few fabric packets so when one sold, I could just clip a new one in its place. All in all I was pretty happy with the way my booth looked. And, I really liked my banner.
The day was warm, but, being from Texas, I was unfazed by the heat. I also met some fun people. Kathy Miller from Micheal Miller Fabrics came by and I learned that she and Michael Miller are not a married couple or siblings, but that their company name is a mix of his first name and her last name. Who would have thunk it?
I also got to meet several people who I know through flickr and some really nice folks over at Etsy. There were a lot of oohs and aahs over my work and I chatted with a representative of the Craft America Shows about what it takes to do wholesale shows. Things were going pretty well.
Then the thunderstorm came. Here too I thought my Texas experience would serve me well. Thunderstorms are not uncommon on a Texas summer afternoon, so I was calm in the face of the lightening and thunder. That is until the crackling of the thunder was so loud that it was essentially overhead. I also felt like I calmly but quickly went about taking down my stuff when the deluge of rain started. But when the wind blew my canopy away, I might have been less the tranquil. Many of my items were soaked in the rain and some were badly stained. My husband helped me to collect my stuff and we headed back to our hotel(just a few blocks away) in the rain.
After the rain had slowed some(though it didn't completely stop all night), we went in search of a laundromat. Luckily there was a 24-hour laundromat just a couple blocks away.

Abi was not impressed by the bank of washers and dryers.

Though all our formerly soaking stuff is now washed and dry, there are several items that are too stained to sell. So, Renegade will be a one day show for me. It was pretty fun while it lasted and I still have 3 days to play tourist in NYC. In the scheme of things, not much to complain about. All the non-stained, unsold items will be posted in my shop this Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Everything is finally all packed. Not necessarily finished, but I'm as ready to go as I'm going to be. I'll be taking my computer with me, so I'll get to check in here and at flickr and all the other internet places I visit. I thought I'd post a few images of some of the items I'll be selling at Renegade. If you happen to be in Brooklyn this weekend and have a few minutes to spare, come by and say hello. I'm in booth #3.

Bye for now!

Friday, June 6, 2008


Sometimes making someone else happy can just make your day.
Several weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I would make him a shirt out of my hand dyed fabric. He had gone online to my store and narrowed his choice of fabrics down to two. I brought him swatches, he made a final selection, took his measurements and the project was born. I did seem to overlook the fact that his measurements indicated that the shirt would need to be sized x-large and that that would require batiking and dyeing 3 yards of fabric. I also managed to forget that I was already pretty busy with my store, getting ready for Renegade, a design project, oh, and, yeah, my kids and husband. Nevertheless I plunged into dyeing the needed yardage and sewing the appropriate seams.

I even found 6 matching vintage buttons in my stash for his shirt.
The night before I was supposed to deliver his shirt though I started to have concerns that the shirt was too big. No one in my house wears an x-large, so it just seemed gigantic to me. I had my husband try it on, but, like I said, he's a medium/large man, so that didn't do much to assuage my concerns.

The next morning I presented Richard with his shirt. He tried it on, and it fit great. He loved it. I loved it. I loved that he loved it. It was just all so good.
Having tried on Richard's shirt though, my husband now wants one as well. I'll gladly make him one, especially if it makes him happy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I've been turning down the volume lately. And not just on the radio. I've been making quilts and pillow covers in a much more muted palette. It all started with this quilt . I made it with this question in mind," What happens to pattern when the values of the fabrics are really close together?" It seemed that answering that question was easier to do if the fabrics were white or primarily white, simple and graphic. Since then I've used this idea of obscuring pattern by severely limiting the palette to create these pillow covers and coasters .
I took this idea one step further recently by drafting a slightly more complicated pattern and applying the same palette.

Actually just the fact that I drew out my idea and then created templates for that pattern is amazing. I don't think I've ever done that before. I'm used to just piecing stuff together without a whole lot of thought as to whether pieces fit together. But I felt like working so"quietly" required precision.

One of the cool things about creating these template pieces is that I can enlarge them as much as I like. In this version the individual blocks measured about 9x9", but if I doubled the size of the template pieces then they'd be 18x18" which I think would have a different kind of impact. Maybe at that size or larger the scale of the prints used would have to change? Maybe it would be easier or harder to disguise the pattern? Maybe the overall energy of the pattern would decrease? Increase? The possibilities are so much fun to think about...and try.