26 August, 2011

red balloons for good...

...are back!
it's that time again and for the sixth year, my mama is cycling 150 miles over two days as part of the city-to-shore ride to "create a world free of MS." that's 75 miles a day and it's all for the cause of raising money and awareness toward research and a cure of MS (multiple sclerosis). my mom's pretty great, huh?

two years ago, i started stitching these red balloons and listing them in my shop as my way to contribute to my mama's fund. half of the price of each balloon is donated to the fund.

last year i had it in my head that i was going to do the 99 red balloons -- but it turned out waaaay to ambitious a project. i didn't get anywhere even close. this year, i'm planning on just stitching them up whenever i can and listing them in my shop with the hopes that people appreciate their simple charm and the chance to score a sweet little piece of home decor while contributing to the greater good.

you can read more about the beginning and purpose of this project here, in this post from two years ago.

and now, the first two of this year's balloons are stitched and photographed and listed in the shop. please check them out if you have a chance, and, actually, even more important, please help spread the word if you are interested. i'm hoping to list several more pieces in the coming weeks - and it'd be super great to see them all go and then to have a nice little sum of money to donate to the cause! here's the shop section where the balloons will be listed.

ps -- related but unrelated -- my camera has developed a spot. very annoying. it seems to be a piece of dust trapped INSIDE the lens, and now every photo i take has this spot on it. this is very uncool. does anyone know anything about this? how to get rid of it? it's a canon -- i think i'm going to call the company tomorrow. very annoying.

25 August, 2011

apple peaches pumpkin...

good news to those of you who are liking the little pumpkins i've been posting about but are too far away to make it to terrain to scoop up a jar of them; they're now available from terrain online! i love seeing them as part of the autumn harvest collection on there! here's the direct link.
but while you're there, you should really poke around the site a bit - i just noticed that they've got a recipe of the week section! and this week it's for apple spice cake?! dang! i love apple spice cake!
oooh, we've got a big thunderstorm rolling in to this little part of PA right now -- fun!

20 August, 2011

peanut, peanut butter

b and i hosted birthday brunch at our house this morning.

he and his family are all peanut butter maniacs, so i made this cake:

being not such a peanut butter person, this was new territory for me. i searched around for recipes and this one, posted over at smitten kitchen, came up looking like the best bet. oh my goodness, it may well have been the most rich cake i've ever baked.
the recipe is amazing -- super straight-forward and easy peasy, and it sure as heck makes for one deliciously intense cake.
there were six of us, and this is all the dent we were able to put in it:

phew! who wants to come over to help finish it?!!? have a delicious weekend, friends. xo.

19 August, 2011

samples stitched

little things that happened over the last couple weeks; one, i finally took a better photo for the embroider-it-yourself boyfriend-hankie kit listing in my etsy shop. the one i had up there for well over a year was terrible! a few weeks ago, i got a new batch of hankies and the prettiness of seeing them all spread out before me as i made up the kits inspired me to take a new shot:

i'm not sure if it totally shows the product -- this kit, and the cross-stitch kits, too, is kind of hard to capture in one photo!

also stitched up and photo'd a sample of the new sage green tea towels that are now available monogrammed-to-order:

and then there are the new stripes; i like these a lot!

and this one i just stitched up for fun:

i got these towels in because i love the simple retro style of them (and they are SO soft!), but i'm not quite sure what i want to do with them yet... this was the first idea... not sure if i'm going to go with it or not. comments? suggestions? opinions?

until i figure that out, though, i've got a home-sweet-home for this particular towel. lots of friends have moved into new homes lately, and i love sending out mail, so...

17 August, 2011

more in store

remember these?

i gave you the teaser for them here a few weeks ago, but now they're out; they've hit the shelves at terrain!

this was another one of our collaboration projects. they got in touch with me with the idea of doing pumpkins, like we had the mushrooms and the strawberries, and then i figured them out and made them and they did the packaging in the lovely little weck jars.

if you haven't been to terrain yet (and you're somewhat in the area), i highly recommend a visit. i love that i now live less than two miles from here. i can walk here if i want! it's a seriously great place to while away an hour or two looking at all of the inspiring cookbooks and checking out the beautiful selection of house and garden plants. i keep coming home with new ferns for my bathroom (and, last time i was there, i came home with a chipmunk door stopper for my bathroom, too -- we needed one and i couldn't resist)!
they have a beautiful little cafe, too. seriously, you should check it out! if you're too far away, though, no worries -- you can still at least browse the online shop. (unfortunately, my little pumpkins aren't on there.. it's usually only a small selection of the goods that they carry in the shop...)

16 August, 2011

sweet home dreams

one of my current favourite pieces made it into an etsy treasury this morning:

and i realized/remembered that in that listing, there are sneak peak photos of my studio! but... (whisper whisper hush hush) they were set up to not look like a studio, but rather, just a regular old bedroom:

but here's what that side of the room usually* looks like:

with my beloved vintage ironing board "shipping station" pushed as close up next to the bed as possible and my stitching chair over in the corner by the window, under the wall that i set up to house my current collections of work, as they wait to be shipped to new homes.

see, when we came to look at this place, i was psyched that it had three bedrooms. two of them are exactly the same size, exact mirrors of one another, and then the other is a little bit smaller and has a closet in it for the washer and dryer. originally i planned to have my studio in the smaller room, and then the other bigger room would be the guest room-slash-b's-extra-space room. once i started moving boxes in, however, i realized that the light and layout in this room is better (it has two windows, the other has one), so i opted to take this one and put the bed in here anyway. (*to be honest, the bed is usually piled high with ironing that needs to be done and fabric that needs to be folded and put away. but friends, whenever you're ready to come on out to visit, just let me know, i'll have it cleared off and magically transformed into the happiest little guest room you ever could want.)
the other side of the room is strictly business, but it's still not photo-ready... it's getting there, though.. you'll see it soon.

and, since we're on the subject of home-sweet-homes - here's another sweet little treasury that popped up today, featuring one of my home-sweet-home kits:

i've been enjoying setting up my home-sweet-home. it's nice to have one again, and to have my two biggest inspirations, home and love, all happy and right here in one place. (finally!) makes me a happy girl.
so - my newest home project is a quest for rugs... i love this one, and i've found a lot on etsy (like this one), which is great, because i love shopping as much a possible from etsy, knowing that i am supporting a human being and filling my home with quality handmade goods. but does anyone have any suggestions for other place to look for simple, not-too-pricey rugs? let me know if you do! happy tuesday!

15 August, 2011

let's hear it for new york

friday morning, i took the bolt bus from philly up to nyc. my first order of business was to check the 14th street and 6th ave urban outfitters store to see if they had the chez-sucre-chez pieces; they did!

i was very happy to see that they looked great. the quality of each piece was better than i expected and there were even a few great surprises -- like the stand that was affixed to the back, making them not strictly wall art, but also a piece that can be displayed on a shelf or table-top. i was thrilled with the quality of the hoops they used and the way the fabric was secured within the hoops -- it wasn't flimsy at all. each individual piece (besides the samples on display) is packed flat and wrapped in plastic. i was afraid maybe they'd just be open and that they'd easily get damaged on the shelves from a lot of people handing them - nope; even the samples look great, and i assume that they've been picked up and handled more than once or twice.
i was also thrilled to see how they had done the tags. they really did replicate the way that i do my tags! hip hip hooray!

they really looked great and it was definitely exciting to see my designs in the store along with all of the other hip urban outfitters products. there in the store, they were still full price ($18 each), but on the UO website, they're marked on sale -- I'm going to order a set as soon as i finish this post. maybe you'd like to do the same?! (if you were just going to go for one, i recommend the deer one -- it looks particularly great. the owl one is the largest and the squirrel one is the smallest.) ordering info is here.

then, after meandering the streets of a city that i used to call home and thoroughly enjoying a day to myself with no agenda and no pressure to get work done, i met up with great pals claire and jeremy for the opening reception of the "these friends" show at the ace hotel. that, too, was a smashing great time.

the show, and all of the collective pieces that comprised it, fit the space perfectly. (sorry my photos aren't so good...) the ace is charming as heck and i got to see a lot of really good friends.

the show is up for a month, so if you're going to be in nyc, stop by and check it out! more info here and here.

10 August, 2011

chez-sucre-chez for urban outfitters

yes. yes, chez-sucre-chez for urban outfitters; this started so long ago that i forgot to be checking in on it and i almost missed it!

over a year ago, i was contacted about having chez-sucre-chez designs licensed to be produced by urban outfitters. we worked out the details and in the end, i created three designs for them and advised on how to have them produced.
the original idea was to have them stitched, much like mine are, but honestly, i was really nervous about that idea for two reasons - one, i was nervous about what the quality would be like and two, i wasn't sure how i felt about having pieces LIKE mine but not mine done in a large production run and offered at such a smaller cost than what i charge. in the end, i recommended that they have them screenprinted on fabric to have the same look as the stitched pieces, but at both a lower production cost and a lower and more attractive cost to the consumer. this would also make them a different product than what i offer, so that they weren't in any way "competing."
so that all happened, the contracts were signed, the designs handed over, i received a check for my licensing fees, and then months and months and months went by and i didn't hear anything! really, i had begun to think that they maybe were over the idea and ended up just scrapping it...
and then yesterday, i got an email from my contact on the project and i found out that they've been "in the shops" for several weeks now! of course i screamed a little and jumped up and down and was ready to grab my keys and hop in the car to drive to the closest UO. instead, i looked them up on the website and found them. and then i started making calls to the nearest stores to see if they had them... which, disappointingly, they didn't. (sad face)
one of the fellows that i talked to sounded like he knew what he was talking about - and said that most of the stores no longer receive the wall art and many of the other homegoods -- that they're mostly just sold online anymore. of course i had to see for myself; i'm pretty stubborn. so i dragged b down to the main store on walnut street in philly and lo and behold, they guy on the phone really did seem to know what he was talking about... they weren't there, and it definitely looks as though the shops are indeed cutting back on the housewares department; there weren't many to be found, just a teeny little section in knicknacks.
so -- have any of YOU seen them? my friend laura says that she saw them in the 14th st & 6th ave store. i'm going there this weekend, so i'll be sure to check. otherwise, you can find them on line. and, they're on sale! (of course i don't want to see that --- i would have liked to have had them sold out the first day rather than to go on sale... but this makes it good for you, right?)
if any of you have ever wanted a chez-sucre-chez "owl love you always" piece, but at a fraction of the cost, here's your chance! of course it's not QUITE the same... but still...
all in all - my experience of working with UO was a good one. i know they get a lot of %$@& for ripping off young designers and for a bad reputation in their business dealings with people like me, but i have nothing but good things to say about how this project went (except that i would have liked to have seen the project in person!). i thought the compensation to be fair and they even notified me to let me know that they'd run more of the product than originally intended, and had me invoice for that extra amount.
exciting stuff, huh?! my fingers are crossed that i'll see some of the pieces in the nyc shop.. otherwise, i'll probably order a set! it's so hard to tell from the photos what they're really like! i do like the looks of the hoops they used, and the way they did the tag on the back (they had me send them images of how i mark/tag my work). if any of you happen to be near one of the shops, stop in and check for me!
here is a link to them on the UO site.
(phew! this was a long post!)

09 August, 2011

spread the love*

i stitched this one up last week.

and listed it in the etsy shop. i gotta admit, i'm really pleased with how my little shop is looking these days...

and, in other etsy news; two of my items have been featured in very cool treasuries this week. check them out - there's this one, with a dutch theme and the "if you ain't dutch, you ain't much" tagline:

(true, me and my z-town girls are used to using this to refer to pennsylvania dutch, and not netherlands dutch, but still, the colors and items are beautiful!)

and then there's this one, with a pretty in pink theme:

how perfectly well curated! everything is like right out of the movie. great work, sara! you've inspired me and i've been listening to the soundtrack on repeat for the past hour or so.

(*of course the title is an intentional reference to my friend melanie and her wonderful shop!)

08 August, 2011

scratch my name on your arm...

on sunday morning, b and i went to the brandywine river museum (just 15 minutes from our home!) and admired the collection of paintings and other works by members of the wyeth family. we walked out so inspired that we high-tailed it to the local art supply store and came home with a shared set of watercolor paints, brushes and paper as well as each purchasing our own sets of pens and inks. i got writing/calligraphy supplies and b got a new sketchbook and drawing pens and ink. as it turns out, it was just too muggy and overcast for us to be feeling so inspired to use the watercolors. so, we sat on our patio and b sketched the trees and our garden plants and my funny little feet while i wrote him love letters that i tried to make look like they were written in the 1800's (even though they were written on paint chips).
(no i'm not going to show you the love letters!) but i'm working on my handwriting -- penmanship was so much cooler fifty plus years ago. using pen dipped in ink certainly helps, as does really concentrating on the letters... i think i just need to write more letters so that i can practice. friends, do i have your addresses? get them to me. i wanna send you mail.

06 August, 2011

wildflower wishes

two things making me happy this saturday early afternoon: this bouquet of wildflowers i picked on a walk last night, and having finally gotten a shelf hung in my studio. it's all coming together.
happy weekend, everyone. i hope that yours is filled with wild beauty and pleasant satisfaction.

05 August, 2011

this land (with corn!)

b and i went out a few nights ago to get a few last shots of this piece before i had to send it off to nyc. this one was my favourite. i love living in rural PA!

04 August, 2011

supplies, supplies

happiness is a new shipment of supplies.
a fistful of zippers:

(from fleishman's tailor supplies, in philadelphia) this means that i'll be making more zippy pouches soon!

and lots of tea towels - ready for monograms!

living further away from my beloved mennonite fabric shop, wooden bridge in kutztown, PA, i deemed it necessary to do a big order of tea towels so that i don't drive myself nuts worrying about not having towels in stock and ready for stitching should i get orders for them.
they came in a few days ago and i'm thankful for this cooler weather so that i can put them all through the washing, drying, and ironing process that i do prior to stitching. it takes a stupid amount of time, but for some reason, i really really love that process, especially the ironing of each towel. am i crazy?!
i ordered a few new colors -- sage green (third one in in the top photo) and these two new stripe towels:

ooooh, i'm excited about them.
i'll be sure to post shots as soon as i get some samples stitched up with these new color options.

frustratingly, though, i learned that one of my favourite color options for these towels is now discontinued, as are a few others.
the pretty buttery yellow stripe, as seen here under these little tea cakes that i baked months ago in los angeles:

it had become my second favourite (after the red stripe, which, thank goodness, is still available). i hate when companies do that! i've got ONE left in stock -- if you want it, hop on over to the etsy shop and place your order!
also discontinued were the green stripe towels and the blue stripe towels. so mad-making!

i have a few of each of those in stock, but once they're gone, that's it; bummer!

AND - i also learned last week that the totally weird frame size that i use for my "home is wherever i'm with you" piece has been discontinued. man, oh man, that's so no bueno.

i created the pattern specifically to fit that frame size, and since it's so unconventional, (6.75 x 9 -- it was one that was made to hold two photos) i don't have any replacement options. so -- that piece is going to have to be retired. another bummer! i've got ONE white frame in this size, so the listing is up now for a white frame option only and then that, too, is done. grrrrrr!

let's end on a good note. the last time i was at wooden bridge, i got some beautiful new fabrics to make more kids' aprons. i'm hoping to be able to make that happen sooner than later and then to convince my little bella to model them for me so that i can get them in the shop.
happy day, everyone.

02 August, 2011

america and back

c'est fini!

finally, my biggest project to date is complete and i couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out. this piece has been in my head for over half a year, since my first trip driving across this big amazing land last october. i did one rendition and felt good about it for a moment, but i knew it wasn't what i intended. then on the way back across (from los angeles to philadelphia) in april, the vision became a little clearer and now that it's complete, i'm quite happy indeed.

i took it out to get photos last night, but we'd just had a thunderstorm, so the sky was a little too dark and the ground everywhere a little too wet. i was imagining a shot of me holding it in front of a cornfield.... maybe i'll get my chance today, but it's got to get mailed out!

it's headed to the ace hotel in nyc for the show that i told you about here. there's been a slight change, however: the opening reception is now on friday night (the 12th) - not thursday night. if you're in the nyc area, i'd love to see you; stop by if you can!