Sunday, April 27, 2008

thrift score

This is my score from a bi-annual thrift sale I went to yesterday. This picture does not do justice to the wonderful colors and high quality of the fabrics. They will be great for quilts, Hotholders, and other projects. I scored a few interesting vintage pieces - some skirts and even "new" fabric remnants. I've started looking with an eye towards what I can use in baby quilts for boys. I think I'm going to have to stretch out of my tendency towards floral prints and "pretty" colors, though florals seem to be okay for boys if they are hibiscus or have a beach/Hawaiian vibe. I really don't want to fall into the primary colors thing, so I'm exploring other colorways.

It's rather competitive shopping this sale. Last fall there were at least 25 people standing out in the cold and the rain for 20 minutes waiting for the doors to open at 9am. Most people are looking for clothing for themselves and it is quite the toney neighborhood so the donations are along the Brooks Brothers line and the deals are great. I head for the men's button down shirts first and then the linens. I got a sweet linen dish towel with 6 owls on it - just the right size for HH and billfolds.

After the business shopping I look around for clothes for me and the family. I usually find something good. This time I got an stellar boys high tech ski jacket I'm going to wear snowboarding and a couple of preppy t-shirts I can wear now that my new glasses give my look a bit of an edge (it's been hard to wear pale colors with short white hair and not took like a grandma); a few one dollar t-shirts my boy can get holes in this summer, and some maternity wear for my best bud.

Friday, April 25, 2008

They're back!

They're back! These retro beach boys started my line of HotHolders in 2006 and inspired their slogan, "Because you're not the only thing in the kitchen that's hot(tm)." The company that makes the fabric hasn't had this available since then and I wasn't able to find it from any retailers. I finally found a source while at the New England Fabric Show last week. One of the reps also has a retail store, Portsmouth Fabric Company and I bought the half bolt she had left.
The beach boys are featured here on my new checkbook covers (coming soon to my online store and the large display case at the Howe Library in Hanover), but I have beach boy HotHolders(tm) in the works also. Just so you know, checkbook covers come in styles not exclusively with men on them. I also have loteria cards, storybook firemen, western scenes, graphic florals, birds and more. Wouldn't your mom like one of these on May 11th?

Friday, April 18, 2008

Free Press + baby chicks

Look what appeared in yesterday's weekend section of the Burlington Free Press: Chad shouldering that thick post through a strawberry patch surrounded by other artists' work from repurposed materials. An Earth Day showcase.

Where can you find Chad and his cohorts? At the following fine establishment in Vermont:
Frog Hollow in Burlington
Frog Hollow in Middlebury
Art on Main in Bristol
Blinking Light Gallery in Plainfield
Northeast Kingdon Artisan's Guild in St. Johnsbury
Also I'll have stalls at the Mad River Craft Fair in Waitsfield August 30 and 31,
the Norwich Farmers Market July 26 and September 6, 20 and 27,
and Sunday Craft Fairs at the Norwich Farmers Market on July 6, August 3 and October 12.

To learn more about the galleries and vending events check the links to the right.

Here's a little homestead update. Or maybe I should say 100 little updates. Our chicks arrived! Edie and I went to the Bradford post office to pick them up Wednesday evening. We're raising Kosher Kings this year. They are supposed to be hardier than the cross breed we've raised in the past (which grow up to be basically huge chicken breasts on legs, without enough brains for self-preservation). They sure are cute with their little yellow rumps and spots on the tops of their heads. I'm sure they'll be very tasty this winter ; >

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Seven Days + green bunny in the onions

Woo Hoo! Here I am in this week's Seven Days, "Vermont's Independent Voice." Except this week their tag line is "What a Mother." Must be for Earth Day. Anyway, 7D: think the Village Voice, only out of Burlington.

It's a really great article, fun to read, lots of (_!??!!_) quotes. He didn't quite understand me about the apron market, but oh well. Here it is, with a broader photo:

My friend Charen said, "You're gonna be so famous you won't have time to wipe your nose!" I don't know about that, but it is exciting and certainly good exposure.

If you read Patrick Mullikin's article about me in Strictly Business, it is very interesting to see how very differently the same subject is handled by him for this paper, which, he kept telling me, "is a completely different animal."

I was out of town early this week on a fabric buying trip (more on that in a separate post) when 7D was frantically emailing me for product photos. It didn't happen*. But if you are here on my blog you have access to lots of nice pix so you can get an idea of my work, which is even better in person, by the way.

*does this mean I have to invest in a laptop now, lug it with me everywhere, know where all the hot spots are, and be at work 24/7? I've heard that's what owning your own business is about. I am definitely starting to feel it this week - so much happening.

And on the homestead front: I thought I'd share this picture of Richard's onion seedlings which are taking up a lot of space on our kitchen counter right now. There's a little green paper Easter bunny Edie made that hiding in there.

Stay tuned for more press...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

wish you were here

Here are some sketches for my spring postcard mailing, in which I'll be announcing my summer vending events, current retail outlets and my online store

The design will be based on what you see at the left, only with the faded out paisley below as a background instead of plain white.

I'm not good enough at photoshop to put that together for this post, but don't worry: I'll have it right when it comes time to send it to the printer. If you think you'd like to receive this amusing little piece of snail mail but I might not have your address, send it to me at sarahogreen-at-gmail-dot-com

Thanks to all of you visiting my blog who read about my wares in Seven Days (April 16 - 22), the Burlington Free Press (April 17), and Strictly Business (all April long)! If you don't get these papers, you can see them online:
Seven Days:
Burlington Free Press:
Strictly Business:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are simple pictures best?

According to The Crafts Report, if you ask the "well respected" "high quality" craft fair juries, they don't want to see anything in your product photos other than a single object against a graduated grey background.

But if you are newspaper photographer Stefan Hard, your wife is a weaver so you understand textiles, and your current subject is another textile artist, it seems you want to get as much of her work and materials into the shot as possible.

The results are shown at left.

Stefan came by to take photos for my recent press in Seven Days and Strictly Business.

I didn't know what the papers would want in terms of settings, subject (other than yours truly), etc., other than the reporter, Patrick Timothy Mullikin, suggesting a shot of me "cutting up a shirt." I happen to have my current inventory of aprons on racks in the living room after a recent photo shoot so I tidied that area and arranged the aprons just so.

But what about an action shot in my workroom? It was a great opportunity for me to feng shui my creative space. I am so glad I did! I moved my sewing machine to the other side of the table and it opened up an ironing station I didn't realize I had room for. I reorganized several bins of material and shoved stuff I know I'm not going to be using into the attic. Two-thirds of the room still needs a once-over, but the most active areas work so much better now.

When Stefan arrived I showed him my workspace and the racks of aprons and my idea for a pose with scissors and about-to-be-transformed shirt in hand. He went for the aprons as a backdrop and wanted to add the baby quilts he saw on my work table on a third rack plus a bin of raw materials (shirts) to block the window and a few unfinished HotHolders in the foreground.

While he was shooting the pictures he kept making comments like, "This had better be in color," "All the prints on the fabric are taking up a lot of memory," and "Wow. There is just so much fabric in this shot it's hard to see the person."

"That's why I wear solids," I told him.

Stefan was easy and comfortable to work with. It was an only slightly glamorous undertaking for me though, as I was also the props person, hair, make-up and stylist and I had to run off after 40 minutes to drive the carpool from school.

When I got home an hour later I was still so excited I called Richard to tell him about the shoot.

"Simple pictures are best," was his only reaction.

This is a little bit of nuclear family culture. We have this wonderful children's book we used to read to the kids a lot. It's by Nancy Willard and illustrated by Tomie dePaola.

In the story a late 19th century photographer tries to shoot a silly couple on their first anniversary. They keep wanting to add personal objects to the shoot to show how rich and varied their lives together are.

"Simple pictures are best," is the repeated warning of the long suffering photographer, consistently ignored by the couple every time. You know how some children's books have a repeated refrain that is the rhythm and heart of the story. This one's fun to read aloud because you get to give a dramatic pause and then say it with a slightly snooty, exasperated voice .

I hadn't yet told the kids about Stefan coming over so that night at the dinner table I described the whole scene.

My theatrical 10 year old daughter paused at me from across the table, gave me a slightly exasperated look and said,

"Simple pictures are best."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

some recent developments

Recent developments now give me the opportunity to make a few exciting announcements:

My Etsy shop is up! You can now purchase Mountain Ash Design creations online. It's easy, just go to

and click, click, click. Pay with PayPal or even send me a check in the mail. HotHolders, sweet aprons and brand spankin' new belts and billfolds like the ones pictured here all could be yours. Take a peek anyway. You get up to 5 different views of each product. I've also been working on some small quilts and hope to have them finished and in the shop soon.

Mountain Ash Design will be getting some good press in the monthly Times Argus publication, Strictly Business, coming out tomorrow. This was a very fortuitous opportunity. Patrick Mullikin, the reporter, called asking for Richard. Patrick writes the "Made in Vermont" column in Strictly Business and wanted to do a story on Richard's handmade paper business, Langdell Paper. He had already emailed Richard, gotten no reply, and when he called Richard was away doing book conservation at Dartmouth College, which he does 4 days a week. Richard can be pretty hard to pin down for an interview, and after 19 years building the top production hand made paper mill in the US, he's selling the business so he can focus more on book conservation and gardening. [Could this be your new career? Check it out and contact Richard to find out more: ]

I knew Rich wouldn't want to do the interview, at least not this month. Now here's where it pays to have your 30 second pitch down (thank you Alyson at!). After apologizing about Richard being so hard to get a hold of I told Patrick about sustainably creating sewn housewares and accessories from mostly recycled materials and it sounded interesting enough for him to schedule an interview with me the very next day. Stefan Hard, photographer for the Times Argus, came over for a photo shoot last week and everything. That event and my family's reaction to my telling about it deserves an entire separate post of it's own. Once I have the pix.
I just discovered it's available on the web right now so you can read the issue online and check for distribution where you live in Vermont. Look for my picture on the sidebar on the cover.
Click above the photo of the paper to read it in pdf format, select page 7 on the left, then click on the page to make it big enough to read.

Mountain Ash Design has three new galleries in Vermont. Look for my products in the Frog Hollow galleries in Middlebury and on Church Street in Burlington and at Art On Main on Main Street in Bristol.

This post started off with the title "finding my way and The Jury." I was going to write about being in the midst of figuring out where my diverse markets are, what they want and how to reach them, and the variety of jury processes I've experienced (and am currently experiencing). I hope to get to these topics sometime this month so Stay Tuned!
Meanwhile, check out my online shop: