Thursday, January 31, 2013

Congratulations Becka!

The random number generator says #25 so my winner from the Grown Your Blog party is Becka from Girasole Farm.  Congratulations, Becka!  I was happy to meet you and I had, in fact, already added you to the sidebar on my blog before I even knew you were the winner.  I am looking forward to following your posts.
Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello and leave a comment!

I have few updates to share, as well.  Betty left a comment on my last post letting me know the handwork on the doily on the right side is made using a combination of cornation cord and crochet.
  Thank you so much, Betty, for helping us all learn!
I mentioned at the beginning of the month that I was going to sign up to take credit cards and offer international shipping in my Etsy and said I would update you other Etsy sellers on the results.  The recent increase in USPS prices has been DAUNTING to say the least but I will soldier on because the changes easily increased my sales by at least 50%.  If you haven't done it yet - go for it!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Battenburg, A Mystery And A Confession

I mentioned Battenburg lace the other day and said I would post a piece so here you go.  The doily on the left is Battenburg lace, which I think is also called tape lace.  Or maybe not.  After this post a kind reader named Betty (no blog) wrote me and confirmed the bobbin lace and the hairpin lace.  She is very knowledgeable and I so appreciate her help!
The piece on the right is a mystery.  This is the second one I have found and I sold the first one in my Etsy last Spring.  My MIL is pretty knowledgeable about handwork but her specialty is knitting and crochet.  All she could tell me about this technique is she thinks it is worked over ribbon.  I haven't been able to spot anything similar in my new books.  Can any of you tell me anything about it?
Now about that confession...  I am an authentic doily geek.  I USE them.  Always have.  Always will.  Yep, there, I said it.  My easy chair even wears the exact same arm covers and anti-Madagascar that my mother used before me.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My First Big-Girl Phone!

Forgive my interruption of the usual vintage junk and my attempts at being artsy but I have to tell you about a major milestone. Yesterday I FINALLY, at long last, stepped up to a long overdue big-girl smart phone.  My old phone couldn't even text.  This one can find my way home!  There is much to learn but I am so excited to be walking around with what I consider a little computer in my purse.  WooHoo!  Do any of you have favorite apps you want to tell me about?  I would love to hear.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lacy Things I Wonder About

Those of you who follow my blog know I wonder about things.  You also know I feel compelled to rescue every darned beautiful doily that gets in my path.  I have tried to stop.  Really.  Since I can't I decided I should try to learn more about what I am buying.  I bought two new reference books:  "Collecting Antique Linens, Lace & Needlework" by Frances Johnson and "The Complete Guide to Vintage Textiles" by Elizabeth Kurella.
Oh!My!Gosh!  There is so much to learn.  I already recognized tatting and fillet crochet.  I can now recognize Battenburg lace (not in the photo above but I will find a piece and show you).  I THINK the large doily in this picture is a form of bobbin lace that was made for export from China.  Butterflies were the most common motif.  But it also resembles pillow lace and Saxony Guipure.  Or maybe they are all really pillow lace....
I do not have a clue how you distinguish hand embroidery from machine embroidery.  I always thought those scalloped edges with the fine satin button-hole stitch along the edge were surely machine made but now I know there were women who could actually do that by HAND.  Amazing!
I also learned about Normandy Work.  I have never seen a piece in "person" but it is like crazy quilting made from scraps of lace - who knew and kind of intriguing.
I think that small doily at the bottom of the picture is hairpin lace.
I will keep you posted as I learn more.  Does anyone know how to recognize machine work??

Friday, January 18, 2013

Grow Your Blog Party - Welcome Friends!

If you are here from the Grow Your Blog Party, WELCOME!  My name is Kathy.  I have been blogging since 2009.  I feel so very fortunate that, through blogging, I have met a wonderful world of like-minded folks.  We share ideas, encouragement, art and crafts, vintage finds and vintage rescue.  It is a wonderful world, indeed!
I make my living as a Business Analyst.  I make my joy by shopping for vintage junk (and I do mean junk!), making things, running an Esty shop and blogging.  I love vintage buttons, sewing notions and paper.  Other things I collect on purpose are hammered aluminum trays and vintage bird figurines.  I'm embarrassed to list how many things I collect by accident!  If you would like to see the creative space I call my "art room", you can click here.
My other hobbies include my garden, genealogy and reading.  I have been married to the same man since 1975 and I have two grown sons and an 8-year old granddaughter.
This Valentine inspiration kit you have been reading around is my gift to one lucky reader.  Just leave a comment on this post and I will announce a winner on Friday, February 1st.  My give-away is open to anyone, anywhere.
A big thank you to Vicki at 2 Bags Full for hosting this party!
Thank you for visiting my little corner of the Internet!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Play Time In The Altered Book

I took a time out last night to rejuvenate with some playtime in the altered quote book.  The page on the left is from my intention to make some pages inspired by the artwork in my collection of Somerset magazines.  This was inspired by the artwork of Kathryn Zbrzezy that was advertised in the Somerset Studio Jan/Feb 2013 and art by Anahata Katkin in the July/Aug 2010 Somerset Studio.  It doesn't look anything like the artwork that inspired it but that's the idea, right?
The one on the right popped into my head several weeks ago when I was flipping through some vintage magazines.  Sometimes pictures just sort of speak to me.  That is how I make my altered Altoids tins.  I flip through old photos at the antique mall and every now and then one of them shouts out to me and lets me know what it wants to be.  Goofy, huh!
Be sure to watch for my next post going up tomorrow night.  I am joining the Grow Your Blog party and there will be a Valentine-themed give-away open to anyone, anywhere.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Rest Of The Story

Several people commented on the milk glass bottles in the last post that I am using to organize my paintbrushes so I thought I would show you the rest of the story.  I bought this set of vintage spice jars years ago and used them in my kitchen for many years.  When I was on vacation in December I did a long-overdue purge of my spice cabinet.  The tops on the jars had became so corroded that I decided it was time to retire them to the art room.
I soaked off my homemade labels and taped the lids to the underside of the rack to keep the set together.  They work perfectly for organizing my paintbrushes and the set has a second life in the art room.
I have been working on my give-away for the Grow Your Blog party.  If you haven't signed up, there is still time!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Close Enough!

I didn't get my workbench 100% cleaned off and I didn't get my Etsy quite back to 200 but I gave it my best shot this weekend and I'm calling it close enough - at least for a few days.  I took one quick side trip to the VOA where I bought the sweet little seashell bouquet on the right side in this picture.  I cleaned up and re-organized this shelf while I was on vacation last month so this is "re-cluttering".
Room to breath! 
I did have my first international sale since adding it to my Etsy listings and it was a bumpy start.  The shipping label wouldn't display so I could print it.  Etsy was very responsive to my request for help and suggested the website site might have been unavailable at the moment.  There isn't an intuitive message when that happens like there is with PayPal.  I have no idea if that was the case or not but I kept going back and clicking here and there and it finally displayed and I was able to print it.  A little learning curve maybe, but still easier than standing on the line at the post office!
I had several sales but none using a credit card yet so that learning curve is still ahead.
A busy weekend and I am ready to coast for a few days!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Everything Random And Nothing Artsy

Here it is, Thursday again, and that means I have let an entire week pass without a new blog post.  I haven't been languishing, though.  I have been hard at work on my Etsy re-org.  I have added international shipping to all the listing I don't have to re-weigh.  I have signed up to take credit cards.
The Christmas tree is gone and the Christmas Cactus is back in it's usual spot.  Within a week it burst back into bloom. It's companion is running a little behind but buds are forming.  I think it is having a little pout over losing its cozy spot to the Christmas tree.
I haven't gotten my workbench cleaned off enough to actually use it yet but I have been listing on Etsy and I'm making good progress.  Maybe by the time the weekend is over.
Speaking of cozy, I am still enjoying the warm, fuzzy season.  Give me another month or so and I will be whining about the gloom but, for now, I am digging the golden glow.
I am SO ready to be finished with the big clean up because I am feeling that familiar ache when I go too long without making something.
This picture doesn't have anything to do with anything.  I just snapped it out in the art room and liked the way the word was magnified through the lens.
I signed up for the Grow Your Blog Party hosted by Vickie at 2 Bags Full.  The party starts January 19th and there is a suggestion (not a requirement) that you have a give-away.  That should be incentive enough for me to finish listing and get that workbench cleared off!  There is a button link over on my sidebar, too.  It is always fun to meet new bloggers and see what I have been missing!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crowd Control and What I'm Working On

A bright, shiny new year feels like a fresh start, don't you think?  Like many people, it puts me in the purge and de-clutter frame of mind.  Top on my list this year is my Etsy.  I recently passed the 400 sales mark and decided it is time for me to clean up the mish-mash, get some focus and make an effort to "brand" myself a little more so people know what they can expect when they go to my shop.
Men's sewing patterns just don't sell.  Gone.  (Amy, I saved the tissue for you!)
I don't know enough about vintage jewelry or beads to even describe it well.  Gone.
I am working on packaging for my inspiration kits so they make a nicer presentation instead of just a pile of stuff packed in a box.  I don't think I am ready to commit to printed headers so will probably go with sheet music fold-overs for now.  I am trying to keep them envelope-friendly to keep the shipping cost low.  All three of these are pretty big but I have plans for different sizes, meaning different price points.
I am thinking of adding international shipping to the listings.  I currently ship international but the customers have to convo me and then I add it to the listing.  I might be missing out on the impulse buys.
I don't currently take credit cards. My husband takes credit cards in his shop and quite a few of his customers have used them.  I am an admitted bottom-feeder in the world of junkers.  With most of my items under $15 I never really saw a need but now I'm thinking it might encourage folks to buy multiple items.
Do any of you have big plans for your Etsy shops this year?  I would love to hear about it!