Monday, November 26, 2007

The Last Thread

I ran out of black and white thread last night. Five Steelers totes in one week was obviously my limit. Let's say that's what lead to my emotional breaking point yesterday, yeah let's - and not the other stuff - hormones, beckoning holiday stress complete with money woes, that my son is going to be 21 in a few short days...

After a tearful day (sorry guys!) the final straw was the last black thread running out when I was this close to finishing bag six of the black&gold at midnight.

In defeat, I decided to do a tote that I really, really love for someone that I really, really love.

A long time ago, my wise friend Lorna made the astute observation that I was not going to do well in a sales venture. She pointed out that I was not motivated by money. Yep, she was right. I have never done anything in my life solely for the sake of making more money. Yes, I've worked two jobs to support Vince, but I never married for money, never took a job that would have required me to sell stuff to people who didn't really need it just to make the deal. Is that a bad thing? It feels like it when you start adding up the holiday expenses and wonder why you didn't go back to work and send your kiddos to daycare so you could buy them really great presents. Or that trip to Disney that everyone in 1st grade seems to be taking this month. Did I mention that I loathe Disney? Yep, I still do.

An early morning pep talk from Dana and Liv's joy at her new tote were nice reminders of what's important. Not shipping the girls to daycare today, hanging out with them & still in my jammies at 1pm - yep, those things matter. I'm not a money making machine any more. I'm not gone 50 hours a week at work. Even my totes... well, I make them to make me happy - I put more time and materials into them they're currently selling for, thus worth, gotcha Frank - I realize that, thanks for the daily reminders.

Here's Liv modeling her new dance bag, complete with bed head, pink jammies, rose colored glasses and Cinderella's glass slippers. Now that's priceless.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Vintage Christmas Handbag

At an outdoor antique show last summer, Dana and I were elbows deep in vintage fabrics. It was the kind of haul that you wish you had much, much more money left in your pockets. Even though the vendor was selling his wife's stuff, was good stuff, and the prices reflected that. We were able to buy some separates and miss-matched pieces from the piles of heavy old drapes.

One of my favorite pieces was a tiny, valance in a 1940s graphic floral pattern with deep reds and greens. I'm pretty sure the red ticking strip is newer upholstery fabric, and the nubby green&red tweed is from a vintage suit. For fun I added a leather string of buttons, baubles & beads that bounces happily. I love that it's seasonal without being obvious!

I have used the very last piece on this Christmas-y tote. Knowing it's the last of this fabric, I may keep this tote. Sshhhhhhhh...that'll be our secret.

UPDATE: It's a keeper! I needed a little pick me up today and this tote was the answer. Love, love, love it. If you see it out and about the local thrift stores, antique malls & Joanns- you'll know it's me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

One less at tomorrow's dinner...

This is the first holiday without Gramm. Everything feels different... usually I'm in psycho mode of cleaning, shopping, baking, cooking but this year we're going to Sandra & Eric's house. No MIL or SIL visiting this year. Not even Vince. He's going to Caitlin's parents' house for Thanksgiving. No pies baking, no turkey thawing, no leftovers. It's soooo peaceful and quiet here at the moment - and for that I'm quite thankful.

I made this memory book last year, it keeps the recipes that I scramble for at the last minute and some special memories of Thanksgivings past:

Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s house in Cecil… the adults gathered at the dining room table and the kids and cooks were in the kitchen. The food was always buffet style at the island counter top, but due to the cramped quarters the women served the food (and barely ever sat down!). Papa’s spot was at the head of the table, of course.

It was usually the same group – Grandpap & Grandma - Mom, Dad, Kim, DeDe & me – Aunt DoDo & Uncle Buzzy, Donald & Michael – Auntie Ei & Sandra – some years Aunt Carol & Uncle Dom, Craig & Chris - Aunt Nini & Uncle Joe & his sister, and others.
The list doesn’t seem so long now.

Family gatherings were such special occasions, and Thanksgiving was the prelude to Christmas, complete with the “Grab Bag Drawing” for Christmas day. The food was abundant but my memories are more of the excitement. When I close my eyes & remember – I can hear the voices, the laughter, the heated discussions, the telephone ringing, the general loudness – until the guys retired to the living room to nod off in front of the TV & yell at us kids to stop running. And the women took to the dishes, where they washed & dried and talked in bits & pieces - whispered or s-p-e-l-l-ed out their secrets & stories, and mingled over coffee, until the guys & kids were ready for dessert.

I wish you and yours a Thanksgiving filled with people you love. Kelley

Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will find the pathway home.

-Wilbur D. Nesbit

Never say Never

When I started making totes last summer, Frank said, "wow, you could do Steeler ones and they'll sell like crazy".

I tried. I really did. I bought the black & white graphic brocade with those intentions, and then paired it with everything but. 'Cause my love & motivation is the vintage fabrics, not sports stuff, or much to his dismay - not even making money. Just like I mentioned that I loathe Disney mass merchandised stuff - well, add black & gold stuff is high on that list. And I won't tell you what I think the black & gold fleece that'll blanket our city this winter... shudder.

Then, a good junquey friend offered a tin of vintage buttons in exchange for some mini-totes for her grandbabies. Yep, I sold out. Just like I tell my dear son, Vince, who's in school for graphic design, "you have to do stuff you don't like, that's life". (how's that for pearls of wisdom!)

So, I'll be making more of these cute boutique bags and offering them on ebay. At least I put my own unique, junquey touch to them...

Monday, November 19, 2007

my totes & purses

Great gifts for the holidays (If I do say so myself!!) :

My handmade purses/totes are being offered on Ebay through the holidays. My blog friends get a 10% discount off the auction closing price. Be sure to email me if you win before paying!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

M-I-C-K-E-Y mouse!

Did ya know it's his birthday tomorrow? Well, if you have a child in preschool you might. Liv's teachers celebrated yesterday - and the kids were encouraged to wear Mickey attire. Perfect opportunity to tell you that I loathe the Disney store?

And pretty much all mass produced stuff? (unless, I can get it at a thrift store and it's not some walking billboard advertisement!)

So, to avoid a trip to the mall and since I was already at Joanns (busted again!) I gave Liv the job of helping find some Mickey fabric. Luckily, it's almost Christmas 'cause this is the only fabric they had in stock. I had a sketchy idea based on the oodles of OOAK boutique outfits on ebay.

I used a pair of capris that were going into storage for the winter and a cheap white tea from J's and started embellishing. These outfits sell for $50+ on ebay, but my cost was less than $10 - how cool AND I'll be cutting those buttons off when she's done with it. Since the material is Christmas, she might even get another use.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

glue, glitter & girlfriends

Yep, I've been MIA. My longest blogging break ever. I've been busy, busy, busy! Last weekend, we kicked off Craft Season 2007! Nothing like glue, glitter & girlfriends! We dined on yummy veggie soup & pumpkin bread, and Dana's husband put a fire in the fireplace to keep us toasty. The incomparable Darly was too busy with the tedious life stuff, but Dana's mom, Marlene, took her maiden voyage into our creative world. Hot glue held us all together as we laughed and teased each other. We hung our creations on a sad little tree in Dana's antique booth. I also sold seven totes, and have been busy replenishing my stock.

So, what happened to my 100 post give-away? Loyal friends, I'm working on it. I have the best intentions to make it a good one. Just too scattered to make it happen. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Great Pumpkin

Until I get the film developed, here's one I snapped with my cellphone with Liv, too. Her stuffing was a bit squished by then, but that's what happens when you insist on wearing your costume ALL day. She was just a banana short of being Carmen Miranda, dont'cha think??? That's what happens when I get a hold of a hot glue gun - watch out!

I'm coming down from a T-O-T hangover. What an event here in suburbia - Liv's preschool even rented a bouncy thing, had a pinata, parade... Truly, this was up there with Christmas in the amount of planning and activities. Add chocolate and sugar and it's not pretty!

I've been snuggling under a blanket on the sofa all morning. I never, ever do that. Wish I could do it all day, lol!

By the way - this is my 99th post. Hmmmmmm... shall the 100th post bring something fun? Maybe a give-away? Maybe. I promise it won't be a box of all the cheapo TOT leftover candy. You'll have to come out of the closet and leave a comment though. Stay tuned.

Pretty in pink...

Cotton shirts.  Love 'em. Usually can't wear 'em.  Too tight. Pull at the boobs.  Or, shrink in the first wash.  And being a plu...