Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Florals, Anyone?

Florals, anyone? All but two of these are vintage. Can you tell which two?

Adjusting my display

Here I am adjusting my display at Boson's Bazaar Bizarre last month. It was a fun show to be at, I got a lot of positive response for my products from a wide variety of people, and some good sales, too. My friend (and extraordinarily capable assistant!), Ro, and I picked up some great gifts from other vendors, including a hilarious and wonderful tiny hand bound book called 30 White Roosters by headlesspress. The chicken theme is meaningful to us. Maybe I'll write more on our homesteading tendencies in a later post.

Some more HotHolders I just want to write a bit about. If you don't want to read the stories behind the fabrics, just enjoy the pictures. These are mostly from some vintage bark cloth I've had for many, many years - just waiting for the right project to come along. Very much a "cottage" vibe.

The black and white lion is from a cotton wall hanging that was in Richard's family room growing up. His mother recently told me she grew up with it, too. I hadn't realized it was that old. I put the strawberries around him to balance his fierce grumpiness. The rooster has a similar attitude - he's really asserting himself crowing.

I'll have to take close-ups of these sometime. The details in the cowboys and firemen fabrics and the vintage prints surrounding some of them are delightful. There is a playful dalmatian in every firetruck scene and the firemen look like Tin Tin. There is a better picture and descriptive words about the little flying bull in my post, Anatomy of a HotHolder.

This colorful off-kilter grid is from a woman's blazer - very 1980's I think. It had big shoulder pads and everything. A bit more vintage bark cloth in the upper left paired with a lovely vintage-looking blue print with daisys. It gets a loop with polka dots. Surrounded by green with white dots is a large pink and orange phychelic print. And on the bottom: some strawberries from an Orvis skirt with red bandana fabric around: wholesome/preppy/outdoorsy.

Oh the Kittens. They have been very popular. And with some unlikely demographics. I used to have HotHolders with pictures of 1940's guys at the beach - snuggling up to their surfboards, strumming ukuleles, or holding giant lobsters at arm's length. They sold out, of course, to a lot to women buying them for themselves or their gay male friends. I don't know if the gay men liked the retro beefcake, but they certainly liked the Kittens at the Bazaar Bizarre. And my funnest customer at the Burlington Handmade show was a 20 year old manboy shopping with his mother. He was crazy about the kittens. If you can't tell, the kittens are hanging out on lily pads, interacting with colorful koi fish in the water and surrounded by pink water lily flowers. The other fabric with water lily flowers is a bark cloth. Both are new designer fabrics from Japan.

Next post: florals

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Winter magic

Hey! Happy winter - in Vermont anyway, (at last).
I'm still having trouble uploading pictures where I want them, but here they are. They look as good as they look, only the words I wrote to go next to them - well, they might be somehwre else in the post. For example, near the end I write about the orange calico surrounding the Red Riding Hood scene on the HotHolder(tm) in the upper left corner of this group.
I've been busy. My stock of HotHolders was quite diminished after craft fairs and incidental sales in December. My intension for early 2007 has been to start bringing my wares around to shops so I've had a lot of fun sewing up new HH for that purpose. Here are some pix of the results, plus some choice HH that have held over since the fall mixed in to the groups.

I sold out of all the HH I made from this Diego Rivera fabric of Mexican children, so here are some more. They are accompanied by these great bold daisys with a rich red background, deep brown petals, and gold outlines and what might be the last remaining HH made from the red vintage barkcloth paired with my dad's red plaid lumberjack shirt (it's a really nice quality wool from LLBean - sturdy but not too heavy, has a very vintage look).

Now I have to give a local weather report because the winter has been lousy here in Vermont until now. It's finally snowing! Nice fluffy flakes have been coming down all day. The kids headed for the big sledding hill and lunch is slowly getting underway on the wood cookstove. Sounds like a story from times past, I know, but I kid you not. This is why I moved to Vermont. It's been a pretty pathetic winter so far, weather wise, so I am really enjoying the visual out the windows of snow piling up on the branches over the brook. also in this photo: Richard's last remaining Epiphilum on the window sill plus last year's valentines from my daughter.

Okay, about the Red Riding Hood HotHolder at the top. The image on the fabric is really sharp and vibrant, even though the colors are subtle and the background is black - it's all very rich. There are little plants all around, The Wolf in Grandma's nightie lying in the bed having what looks like a completely friendly chat with Red. It goes really well with the orange calico, even though there's no orange in it (picks up the gold of Red's hair). In fact, so many of the fabrics I am working with now just look really nice surrounded by orange. Or maybe it's just my eyes - going through an orange phase? In fact, I need more orange material. If anyone out there has any calico, other prints, or smallish plaid in the orange family, please consider making a donation to your local neighborhood seamstress (me : >). Even clothing you have that is no longer worn. Please realize I love to cut up clothes (preferably cotton), and a lot of the fabrics I use, especially for the border/back of the HotHolders, were once button down shirts or dresses or skirts. I didn't always love to cut up clothes. I collected clothing made of fabrics I found interesting, and then found I couldn't cut them up because they were "too nice." So for years I made things out of mediocre fabric that I could bear to cut up and guess what? My work didn't look all that interesting. Meanwhile my recycled clothing/fabric collection just sat there. No one was wearing it or otherwise enjoying it. So I finally got over it and started to cut up those clothes-of-wonderful-fabric-that-no-one-wanted-to-wear. And the things I made from them? More interesting and beautiful and people did and do want it and get to have it in their lives and they don't have to wear it. Is this making sense? I'm talking about "old clothes." Give them new life! If you're not wearing them anymore, maybe the browsers at Goodwill won't want them either, but I can reinvent them into many cozy fun houswares ; > to cheer up your domestic experience - and that of others, too. For fabric donations my mailing address is 235 Topsham-Corinth Rd., Topsham, VT 05076. I promise to send you back something especially nice, probably made by me : >

This whole ethic about recycling pre-loved clothes into something else for the home...I want to offer custom services to those who have fabric or articles of clothing they would like to live with again, but don't particularly want to wear. For instance, do you ever think to yourself, "That was such a great shirt, but the cut/fabric is just a bit too...1997, (or 2001, or 1978 or whatever) to wear anymore - but I still love it! I wish it didn't have to stay buried in the back of my closet." ?? There is a joyful solution to this dilemma of the still loved/can't wear garments: Send them to me and I'll make HotHolders, pillows, even quilts for you out of your old clothes, even napkins, tablecloths, dishtowels. Think of the memories. Bring the old beloved out from the bottom of the drawer or that box in the back of the closet! Bring it back into your daily life as something new. Does this intrigue you? Email me for details:
Sorry to go on and on there. I get rather passionate about this recycling stuff and can't always be concise. I'll be putting up photos of more new HotHolder soon, so stay tuned!