Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Sewing Tools

Skipping right over the obvious needle, thread, and sewing machine, here some of my absolute, must-have, how did I live without, essential sewing tools:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer 2011 Handmade Gift Exchange ~ Giving

Discovering the fabulousness of the crafty blogging community has been an awesome experience. There are crazy numbers of groups to participate in, events to enjoy, giveaways to enter, and products to peruse. I get so engrossed in the activities and stories that I keep forgetting to post my own. Lists to keep track of it all are definitely in order… another area of my life that needs a major reorganization rehaul.

In May I signed up for the June 2011 Handmade Gift Exchange. I researched the feedback and photos from previous Exchanges and everyone seemed to enjoy it so much. My name was submitted to the mix (or perhaps an excel spreadsheet?) and I was matched with lovely Emily in CA. Emily, owner of The Biggest Princess on Etsy, and I exchanged a few emails trying to gather just enough info to figure each other out without revealing what our surprise gifts to each other might be. I learned that not only is Emily a dear person, but that she enjoys 40’s and 50’s vintage styles, decorates wedding cakes as a second, joyful occupation, and has an upcoming wedding herself with a country-vintage feel incorporating blues and pinks. My mind immediately went to the apron category. And I just so happened to have a retro-repro apron pattern in my stash that I needed an excuse to try out.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Handmade Gift Exchange and More Projects

So many WIP's right now!!!
(work in progress)

I'm almost done with my prezzie for my Handmade Gift Exchange Partner.  (Too late to sign up for this session, but Craftaholics Anonymous will have another at the end of the year.)  I ended up taking a simple project and using it to practice a few skills that always give me trouble. Hope it works out in the end!  : D

Thursday I will have my first Gypsy Thread photo shoot with a beautiful young lady modeling new wares. Very excited! And yes, that means new items will finally be added to Etsy. I still have a few skirts and aprons to finish before then. Yikes!

And there are always projects in the que for family members... like finishing a jacket for my mother and fixing some work pants for my bro-in-law. (Why are even grown men so hard on their clothes?)

However, today I will be taking care of my WONDERFUL, ADORABLE, FABULOUS nephew instead!

First Birthday Mickey Party in March
First Birthday, First Cake - March 2011

Maybe we'll get some better pics in the backyard today with the world's best nephew and the world's craziest dog chasing each other today. And maybe my hands will be steady enough to take them!

How many WIP's do you have on your plate?

Hope you have a great Monday!

~ Carey

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Happy Dad’s Day…

To all the Dads in our lives…


                             Whether big or small…

             Biological or adopted…


                        Grandfather, Uncle, or family friend…

Single Moms taking on roles of both parents…

                        Thank you, all of you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Where Were You Wendesday

Not you. Me. Where have I been? Today I only went to CVS, where I found my bank card had finally quit on me. (Too much swiping?) No, I'm not talking about today either. It's a general statement/question to myself... Where the heck have you been? Obviously not writing on my blog.

Thank you Graphics Fairy

As you may or may not have figured out from my previous postings, photography is not my strong suit. Frankly, I stink at it. So picture taking is never at the top of my list and therefore never inspires a blog post from me. Projects for Gypsy Thread keep piling up. I never have enough energy to get to all of the lovely items on my to-do list. (Sound familiar?) Then there's life in general always pushing blogging to the bottom of the priority list. And recently my beloved laptop decided to stop cooperating. This is a great travesty. A moment of silence would be appreciated if you're hearing this for the first time.
It's ok, I'll pause.
Thank you.

Now that I've spent a good part of the past week organizing, writing things by hand *gasp*, and re-prioritizing, I've decided that paying attention to my blog should be higher on the list. I don't have to write a novella every time. Sometimes just a, "Hi, how ya' doin'?" works when I'm reading other blogs... or just a pretty picture... that I will obviously have to borrow from someone else. It feels good to send something out into cyberspace. It's a task accomplished, a goal set and reached. Kudos for me. Right?

The new-and-improved blog to-do list has already produced (finally) About Me and Shop pages. I've also linked up some online nice stuff that I'm signing up for. And get this... I already have 5 new posts started. Please don't expect them all in one week, though. Baby steps. Can't overdo. I might pull something.

Until I write again, or you decide to write to me...

~ Carey

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wanna Win a Gypsy Thread Goodie?

Not being able to pursue my creative endeavors for several weeks has left me feeling very antsy. Hopefully now that I've fixed a lil' medical snafu I'll be able to restock my Etsy shop soon. Until then I'd like to say thank you to those who have been sooooo supportive of both Gypsy Thread and my personal life. What better way to say thank you than to give something away?!?!?!?!

Gypsy Thread Giveaway ~ a cute pink and brown paisley wristlet!

On Saturday, May 7 @ 8pm EST, Tiny Tots Resale Shop, a FaceBook based shop specializing in fun handmade and up-cycled items for the kiddos, will be hosting a Fan Appreciation Game Night on their FaceBook Page. Tiny Tots Resale Shop recently hit their 4,000 fan mile marker and is celebrating with many of their regular boutiques and shops participating as freebie sponsors.

How can you win one of these fabulous prizes? Simple...
Like Gypsy Thread on FaceBook and like Tiny Tots Resale Shop. Then, log into your FB account on Saturday night, watch the Tiny Tots wall, and play along with their live games. If you'd like to win prizes from any of the other participating sponsors (at least 10 I think), make sure you like their FB pages too.

On Thursday, May 12th Gypsy Thread will also be a featured shop for a Tiny Tots Game Night. On Game Nights they play the Mine Game. Basically whoever comments with "Mine" first gets to purchase the super discounted item. I'll have all new stuff only available that night on Tiny Tots for the price stated. Any items not sold that evening will be listed on Etsy for their full retail price the next day.

I'm so excited to be participating with a great group of other handmade artisans AND to be giving away a freebie to my friends and supporters.

Thank you!!!

~ Carey

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My First Flower

Big news for me. Possibly mediocre news at best for you.
I finally tried making a certain type of flower embellishment and succeeded on my first attempt! Yay me! So proud of myself. What do you think? Perhaps a pretty something for a new purse?

Why have I waited so long to try out making these simple, melted petal beauties?
This one was made with a poly satin, scraps that I just couldn’t seem to throw away. (Great, like I need another reason to hold onto small pieces of fabric.)

And how did I do it, some may ask? Easy peasy. Here were some of my tools.

I traced two different size circles onto my scrap fabric. In this case these circles came from the top and bottom of the same kids’ cup. Then I very informally doubled/tripled over the fabric and cut out the less than perfect shapes.
Here’s the tricky part. It involves fire! Holding the edge of the fabric circle close to the flame of a small candle (tea candle in this instance) I watched for the fabric to begin melting, curling, and/or changing shape. If you hold the fabric too close, it will catch on fire – FYI. You only need the heat, not the flame. I did cut some burnt edges off and then re-melt those areas, but some edges I kept “crispy” on this off-white color because I liked it.

Once you have a bunch of circles properly melted, a process that prevents fraying as well, stack the “petals” starting with the largest, flattest one as your base. Arrange with the smallest circle on top. To hold these petals together you can choose to glue them or put a simple stitch or two through the center of the stack. I went with the thread and needle method. Super easy.
Centers of the flowers can be anything. You could continue to cut smaller fabric pieces and crinkle to your heart’s delight. Perhaps you want to sew in some beads or sequins. For me, a vintage earring with the back removed (reason for the pliers) worked great… glued in with that heavy duty glue stuff.

There are lots of sites and blogs with more detailed directions, options, and ideas if you’re looking for more info. Feel free to check out any or all of these:

Off to make some more beauties!


Friday, April 15, 2011

I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Pattern!

That’s it. Start the day off with a lie. Great policy.  Well, this isn’t the true beginning of my day so perhaps I’m safe? No, a lie is a sin regardless of the time it was told. I must confess… I do sometimes use patterns.

Sewing or crafting patterns are incredibly useful tools. Contrary to the belief of certain individuals (like my Mom who tries to sew) patterns are must-haves for beginners. They teach you so much! I like to have basic shapes on hand for whatever project I’m working on, whether just to refer to if I’m stumped or as a refresher course if I haven’t sewn a particular item in a while. With complex items, for me that means super tailored clothing, I always use patterns.  (Disclaimer – most of the time I do end up making stuff up as I go along, for better or worse.)

Wednesday’s shopping excursion to my favorite fabric mills included a great score on some basic patterns for only $1.99 each. (We’re talking orig prices of over $10. Jealous?) I’ve mentioned previously that prep work is ESSENTIAL for sewing productively. Or, in my case, essential to being a creative sewer. When everything’s ready to go I am free to just create. Roadblocks stink.
This morning, after my usual routines of taking care of the dog, making coffee, checking email, etc, I decided to open my new stash of patterns get them ready for eventual projects. Of course that means turning my dining room, er, my SEWING room into something resembling this:

Is this normal? Or am I alone?

If you were a fly on my wall you may have heard phrases muttered such as, “Now why is the piece to the blouse on the page with the pants?”, “Where is 13C? I found 13A. And why is there no mention of 13B anywhere? Why skip B?”, “Did I lose that tiny facing piece already?”, and the inevitable “How the He!! do I fold all of these up?”

Seriously, unfolding those pieces of tissue are hard enough. Then you’re expected to cut them apart without tearing or cutting through anything. Um, yeah… realistic. Today I did manage to dismantle and reassemble 5 pattern sets in about 30 min without destroying anything. Yes, I’m impressed too.
After scratching my head a few times and trying to refold the various bits and pieces, this is how I like to store my tissue patterns… because we all know they’re never going t fold up nicely and fit inside that envelope… which probably got ripped anyway…

Resealable plastic bags are the BEST! Love!
(And why does “resealable” come up as misspelled in spell check? How am I supposed to spell it?)

For .pdf pattern files downloaded from various sources I usually print and assemble the paper versions as templates, keeping them all in a manila file folder. Then (the redundant step) I trace tissue copies of each piece, cut those out, and store them in the same manila folder. Why? First, it’s easier to pin tissue than regular printer paper. Second, I like to be able to see fabric through the pattern pieces. You know, for lining up decorative stuff. Third, I’m just crazy like that.

How do you store your patterns?
Are you crazy like me dismantling ahead of time, or do you cut as needed?
Any tips or tricks for keeping tissue patterns for multiple uses, especially when working with different sizes of clothing?
I’d love to hear your crazy (or boring, sane) thoughts!

~ Carey

PS – Regarding free patterns you can find and download online, I know it’s very tempting to just use someone else’s pattern for resale purposes even if they have a posted disclaimer advising otherwise. Please remember that someone else used their time and energy to create these helpful tools for you. These same people then offered their knowledge to you for FREE! In most cases you can buy patterns with a license to sell on a small scale for under $10, or you can contact the designer directly to work out an individual plan. If you’re going to profit from someone else’s hard work, you can at least throw them a couple of bucks and mention their name, right? <stepping off my soapbox>

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ah, the Sweet Smell of… Vinegar?

What? You don’t long for the pungent smell of vinegar… like the way you love to smell a freshly opened bag of coffee or a new bouquet of flowers? Yeah, me neither. But it is a wonderful, all purpose cleaner. I wonder if any other basic household ingredient is as versatile. And once the smell of white vinegar is gone, it’s gone, along with any other odors that may have been clinging on for dear life. Unfortunately, this week I realized that my cupboards lacked this basic ingredient of life. Of course you only realize these things when you REALLY need them.

Because my teenage (18) son believes he has sole custody of our sole vehicle, I rested the burden of picking up more vinegar upon his shoulders. An easy task for most, a wretched, vile, obscene request for James. My son, aka “man-child”, loathes the smell of vinegar. As a small child I actually worried that he would get sick on a few occasions because it turns his stomach so fiercely. As he’s gotten older I only worry that I’ll have to hear his ongoing rant about how much he hates it… which usually includes lines like, “How can you use that’s stuff?!?”, “That’s disgusting!!”, and “I’m gonna throw it out the window” So, I knew I was pushing my luck a little when asking him to purchase one of those large jugs of his favorite item. If the store he selected didn’t have a big, gallon jug of it his instructions were to buy at least two large bottles. Here’s what he came home with:
shaky picture of a mere 32oz bottle
So, why would a mother torture her son in this way? Like I told you, I needed it.

On Tuesday night I went to a great little auction hoping to score some vintage linens my local auction house had listed. Of course I wasn’t the only person there interested in the linens. I was too cautious in the beginning and lost a couple of items. However, by the end of the night I came home with most of the goodies I had hoped for plus a few gems I never expected to see. Getting caught up in the bidding action, especially when you have a determined competitor, can get both exciting and addictive… and cause you to occasionally go over your budget. Just saying.

Most of the linens fell into the tabletop variety: tablecloths, runners, placemats, napkins. Also mixed into a few of the lots were crocheted doilies, collars, and mixed lace pieces. Then there was the lot of random fabrics, some “new”, others cut off of whatever their original designation was.

The extra gems I ended up with were vintage strands of high quality rhinestones in some amazingly rare colors still on their large cardboard spools. This is where I went over my intended budget… but I wanted them so badly!

Even if I don’t use them all (and I honestly can’t see me using ALL of them), hello resale!

Items I’ve obtained from past auctions include:

A great source of information on treasure hunting, whether via thrift store, yard sale, or auction house is Ginger Moon Traders. GMT is a vintage reseller whose main presence is on EBay, but they also have items posted to Etsy and Amazon. Their blog, Ginger Moon Treasures, is chock filled with tips and tricks and know-how. THIS is an excellent blog entry for first time auction-goers. (Click on the word “THIS”.)

Now, bringing home stuff from an auction is not exactly a tidy operation. Think thrift store before it’s all sorted. DIRTY! And some of the smells… ugh. Throw into that the fact that I purchased fabric items and it’s a germaphobe’s worst nightmare. First order of business, de funk-ify-ing the lot. The best solution, a regular ol’ white vinegar and water bath. In this case it was literally a bath. I had so much stuff to de-stink and stains to soften that the tub was the biggest and most appropriate vessel to hold them in.

In went a half of the SINGLE bottle of vinegar brought home by the man-child, starting running the water, then added all of the linens. (Thank God they were so discolored. It distracts the eye from seeing the less-than-white tub.)

If you have a smaller batch of items to deal with, and a part of your home you don’t mind filling with the scent of vinegar, I’d suggest soaking your linens in a vinegar/water solution in a plastic basin/tub overnight. Just be careful when you open the door to that room the next day… or plug your nose with something… maybe wear goggles if you’re really sensitive… or torture your own man-child by having him deal with it!

After their bath all items were relocated to my washing machine (which is something else I could have, should have, used to bathe my beauties in, on a soak cycle.) I went through each item spot treating any ugly marks. Amazingly, spots that weren’t present earlier suddenly showed up. In some cases it could have been a reaction to the vinegar, but most of the uglies were revealed because the surrounding dirt and grime had been softened and rinsed away. Unfortunately, a few of the more delicate, crocheted edges on a few items did not survive the soaking process fully intact. Just getting the beauties wet was enough to unravel the last thread holding spots together. But do not fear - I still plan to re-purpose as much as possible, perhaps removing the damaged areas or including them in some purposefully tattered project.

The next step will be to use an enzyme detergent to finish cleaning the vintage messes. (I am so grateful for the hand wash cycle on my washing machine!) If spots remain, they’ll get another round of vinegar baths, spot treatments, then an enzyme detergent wash before I give up and hand them over to the world’s BEST spot remover, my Mom.

The hardest part of the whole auction experience for me is the re-purposing of my finds. I kinda feel like they’re my babies and don’t want to cut them up and use them, albeit for some beautiful end result. It’s still hard to let go. I have the same issue with some fabrics and trims I buy at regular stores too. They’re just too purrty to chop up! You’ll have to keep an eye on my Etsy store and FB page and harass me until I let go and create beauties that you’ll appreciate.

I’m hoping to head out to another auction at the end of the month. No idea what to expect, but that’s part of the fun.

Need help finding an auction in your area? Try AuctionZip.com. That’s where I found The Estate Market Place and all of these goodies. If that site doesn’t work for your area, then simply Google “auction” along with your area.
Happy Hunting!! 
~ Carey

Monday, April 4, 2011

Scraps are for the Birds!!

No, really. I’ve given my scraps to the birds. Fabric, thread, hair, fur, twine, cotton balls, yarn, string… all that stuff. It’s gone outside, out of my house, a cleaning process for me and potential building materials for our feathered friends.

In some parts of the world birds are already very busy building their spring nests. Here, in partially frozen New England where we just had an April Fools snow storm, birds are still figuring out where they’re going and how long they have to get there… which means I’m not too late!  Actually, birds continue to add to and rebuild their nests until their babies are grown sometime in the mid to late summer. This means it’s not too late for you either. Yay!

Next to my sewing machine in my sewing room (aka the dining room) hangs a plastic grocery bag filled with all sorts of odd and ends clipped right from my various projects. Although it contains mostly thread and fabric scraps, random pieces of plastic wrappers, staples, tape, broken chopsticks (I’ll explain that another day), and other assorted items are discarded there while I’m being oh so creative. This last grocery bag was stuffed and I really needed to throw it out in the trash. Alas, one pretty, almost spring morning, a bright cardinal sat in the dead-looking bush outside my bedroom window and inspired me to give back to nature. The birds were back and needed their own decorating supplies.

In years past I’ve simply left things outside on the porch or railings or chairs (or even in the lawn) for birds and other animals to come and collect. This year I wanted to invest a little more effort and hang stuff in trees. There are lots of ideas in cyberspace and written publications about what you can use to hold your birdie bits in, including, but not limited to:

Vegetable bags (think onions and/or oranges)
Wire suet cages
Grapevine balls or wreathes
Light bulb cages (hardware store)
Commercially made nest material holders
Open topped berry baskets
Mesh wrapped around a wire coat hanger

Some people are creative and thoughtful enough to design their own birdie stash holders.
Look at what Karen from SewManyWays created:

Or how about Amy from Amy Cornwell Designs artistic and functional sphere:

I opted for the middle ground and used items either destined for the trash or gathering dust for my fowl offerings. Reduce, reuse, recycle, right? Once my mind was in gear I immediately thought of a decorative, metal lantern once purchased on sale for some unknown use. It’s only use for the past decade has been to sit on top of my refrigerator gathering cobwebs. Lucky lantern, it now has a purpose!



This container was a bit too big and the holes actually a bit too small. Solution that will hopefully work, fill the inside with cardboard, toilet paper tubes. (No, I didn’t bother removing the scraps of tp. If the birds can get at them they’re welcome to those too.) Then I stuffed shreds of junk, er, I mean lovely scraps around the outside of the tp tubes pulling a few out here and there to let the birds know what they might find inside… should they bother to wander over.


My other nesting packages were made from red-orange, plastic netting originally fastened to the tops of clementine crates. For some reason these crates were still over in the recycling/trash area even though it had been months since I purchased said fruit. (An ongoing dialogue between myself and 18 year-old son. This time the lack of removal was to my, and our feathered friends, benefit, but we won’t tell James that… will we? Promise… or I’ll stop this blog right now. Thank you.)

Notice how my dog disliked being left out of the project. (He thinks he’s my second child, always wanting my attention when I’m not paying attention to him, but wanting nothing to do with me should I want to say… take his picture.)

I just folded the plastic nets in half, laced through some strands of a shredded burlap sack on 2 of the sides, filled with LOVELY ITEMS, and then closed it off with more burlap stuff.  Attach a ribbon to hang in the trees, and viola!

Now, all of this stuff… trash, clippings, up-cycled goodies… did require a little bit of consideration and prep work.  These are the items that are GOOD to put into your birdie stash:

Yarn            String         Fabric scraps         Thread          Wool
Batting             Pet fur           Horse hair          Human hair
Cotton Balls             Dead Leaves          Dead Twigs 
Dry Grass           Plant fluff           Feathers          Pine Needles  

Yes, you read correctly. Hair and fur are actually great items. They’re items collected naturally anyway. Please note that any bits of string or hair or fabric should be kept to less than 4” in length. In addition, fabric strips should not be more than 1” wide.  Why? Because long strings are likely to tangle around little birdie feet and necks and do serious damage. Not so pretty. Plus, what size birds are you hoping to cater to? The sparrows in my area aren’t likely to be seen carrying around a fat quarter sized scrap.

Items to AVOID including:

Dryer lint
Chemically treated hair or fur
Fishing line

Although dryer lint seems like an acceptable nesting supply, the chemicals we use in our wash are not kind to baby birds. Additionally, it doesn’t hold up to inclement weather.  Dryer lint stays wet, harbors bacteria and fungus, and makes the nest structurally weak. Bad for eggs and babies.

Now, armed with an overload of information and ideas, are you ready to go make your own happy homemaking kit for the returning beauties in your area?

~ Carey

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back to the Basics

Years have gone by since I took my one and only sewing course. It was part of Mrs. Crabtree’s Jr High School Home Economics class. We also learned how to bake a cake and set a table. The basic living essentials, right? For extra credit I figured out how to trade chores with my classmates; I’d cook, they’d clean. Of course poor Mrs. Crabtree was mostly deaf and needed help picking out decorative pillows for her own home, but she made me her friend when trying to introduce the class to something “new”, brie. (Not new to my home at all. LOVE.)

Now that I’m making an attempt to sew or create or design almost every day, some of those basic fundamentals of sewing are fresh in my mind. For practical sewing purposes the list has been tweaked a bit for the purpose of sewing in my dining room vs. a public school setting. Luckily I haven’t had to re-learn any of these simple things, but reviewing a mental checklist regularly, to ensure these behaviors become habit, is a must.

Prep work is so important. From making sure you have all of your notions and fabrics matched up to pattern/fabric layout, the more you put into prepping your sewing creation the easier it’ll be to assemble. My soapboxes include:

 ~  Iron everything out. Washed, not washed, just iron before you cut. Please! If it’s a big piece of fabric, say 3+ yards of 60” wide stuff, you can get away with just ironing a little more than the portion you need. After cutting from a big piece, do consider giving the fabric a touch-up so that everything lies flat when you go to assemble. And when a pattern suggests that you iron a seam, just do it. Things look so much more professional and well made when pressed.

Because I work with lots of remnants and vintage pieces I’m often guessing what the fabric is made of. I really want those wrinkles out, but I don’t want to scorch (or worse, melt) anything. As long as you’re paying close attention to how your fabric is behaving with your iron you’ll be able to adjust your settings and get the results you need.

 ~ When in doubt, pin. Then pin some more. You really can’t pin too much. The fabric is going to shift. It will. Then you’ll be sorry. Especially pay attention to curves and special areas that need to be matched. Armholes and collars are so important. And pins are cheap! If you hate to pin, go ahead and splurge and buy yourself some fancy pins with colored and/or decorative heads. Make it fun. Those bright colors will help keep you from sewing over the top of them too.

~Then there’s organization. The “O” word is a big one, particularly for those who do not have a designated crafting, sewing, special place to leave their goodies in permanently. My work zone ends up occupying the entire dining room. Unless you have the funds to go out and spend money on cute, matching organizational sets, feel free to get creative. Some cosmetic supplies come in sturdy containers with lids. Plastic strawberry and/or mushroom containers make good drawer organizers (plus it’s a very Green option.) Decorate old shoe boxes if it’ll make you more likely to use them. Carts with wheels are great for moving your stash from room to room or closet.

 ~ If you’re unfamiliar with something, take the time to read about it, understand it. Whether it’s a new sewing machine or pattern you’ve never attempted before, understanding how it works will both ease any worries you may have and help correct any snafus that may (and often do) pop up. Who wants to continue to work on a project that frustrates them? That’s not fun, that’s a chore!

Don’t forget to give your sewing machine some TLC
… or at least remember the three C’s:
Clean the gunk out of the bobbin area under the plate regularly, especially during and after projects with fleece, fur, felt, and burlap.
Change the sewing needle regularly, especially when done with upholstery fabrics or before silks and chiffons. Some suggest changing the needle after every project. (I’m not that good.)
Cover your machine when not in use. If you have a storage cabinet to put it away in, great, but still use a cover to deter dust, hair, small children’s messes, animals, etc. from dirtying up your baby. It’ll save you precious prep time later.

With just a little bit of thought and planning the hassles of maintaining your creative environment become minimal. Well, that’s assuming you don’t have a toddler pulling items off of your table or a cat who likes to make a nest of your fabrics. Perhaps we can deal with live roadblocks in another blog.

I’d love to hear about your own basic Do’s and Don’ts. Maybe it’ll remind me of something I’m forgetting to do, or doing wrong.

~ Carey
Head Gypsy

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Production Projections

How long should someone give themselves to organize and launch a new business? We’re talking an online, hand-made, crafty sort of venture with one employee (me), and products to be posted/listed as they’re made. These wares aren’t new to me. I find posting online relatively easy. Plus, I’m my own boss. So, I gave myself until this weekend… apparently just less than 2 weeks. Did I mention that I’m a bit of an over achiever? Needless to say, self-imposed deadline number one is a bust. Who knew that I didn’t have the energy and time to launch several web sites, create a blog, collaborate on new logos and fine art, throw in some pre-opening marketing, scour auctions and thrift shops, AND then actually make well crafted, gorgeous, sellable items to match my emerging eclectic treasured theme? Now that I type it all out, yes, it does seem a bit crazy.

Concentrating on the projects that have been completed is a must. My neurotic and under-utilized brain needs to feel productive. A fine art line, Gypsy Rose if you will, is being created in collaboration with Sophie Paul Designs (fabulous!), custom orders are already being filled (amazing!), and I’ve finally settled on a design for product tags/labels. Pictures of said beauties…

Getting a cold water bath.
Couldn't decide on just one color.

The long to-do list will never cease. I must cut myself a little slack with the “grand opening” date. Maybe it’ll be as much of a surprise to my would-be customers as it will to me. In the meantime I’ll plug along, creating whenever I find inspiration, not cheating myself in the quality or design areas for the sake of a quick production schedule.

Monday, January 17, 2011

And so a new adventure was born…

A very lonely, yet beautiful, Princess wanted so badly to have a child of her own. One day she stumbled across a band of gypsies and somehow absconded with one of their own, either by agreed arrangement or kidnapping (those details remain fuzzy.) Her very own Gypsy princess had been added to her soon to grow royal encampment. Alas, while out traveling the world even princesses must make stops to fuel the royal carriage. During one such stop they happened upon a spaceship making a pit-stop of their own from a distant corner of the Milky Way. Inside this spaceship was a small, Alien boy who crept into the princess’s heart and carriage. The young Gypsy begged and pleaded for months for the carriage to turn around and return the small Alien, but his mischief and laughter soon mesmerized the Gypsy as well. Several years and many adventures later, the trio found themselves a bit peckish and headed for a salad bar, as none of them could ever agree on what to eat. To the Princess’s amazement, inside the large bowl of lettuce was a Baby girl. This Baby cooed at and charmed the happy trio, and so they decided to keep her. After all, no one else had called dibs or anything.

We grew up listening to tales of our existence, how we became members of our own family. Just because we were natural born children to my mother did not mean the three of us needed to arrive under usual circumstances. I was a gypsy, my brother an alien, and my sister arrived via a salad bar. These finely crafted tales evolved slightly over time, mixing with our emerging personalities, giving back-stories to each of our arrivals much more fanciful than the standard “when mommies and daddies love each other very much…” variations. For when my mother was a child, I have no doubt she imagined such possibilities for her own creation story. No, her own stories were probably much more creative, vivid, and unlikely. This imaginative soul of my mother’s has always inspired others to envision, dream, and wish for alternate creative paths.

When naming my own small business, how could I not incorporate some of the folklore that made me who I am? These stories upset me terribly as a young girl, not wanting to be anything but my mother’s daughter, but now they’re part of our family history and personality. Embracing the inner Gypsy my mother knew me to be… I give you Gypsy Thread – a collection of creations, no two quite alike, and compiled from years of wandering, searching for my own stories.