Category Archives: balancing act

in the weeds: show prep & recovery

I am well into my fall show schedule, and I’m happy to report that I am getting much more sleep than I did during the spring shows. Unfortunately, that also means that my apartment is more of a mess than usual, and frankly, I do not predict that changing any time soon! I have nearly given up on making my apartment look like a place where someone normal lives, and not like a gigantic work room/storage room/sweatshop. I swear that for a few weeks during the summer, everything is neat enough to actually invite people over…but I digress.

Although I have complained in this space many times about how tense the 2-week interval between shows can be, the reality is that I really enjoy the frantic schedule. I’m one of those people who gets more done when I have a lot/too much to do. It helps (a lot!) that by now, I have gotten much better at predicting what my inventory should look like for any particular show, and that makes getting ready so much easier…I don’t waste time making things that I don’t need, or making too many of one thing at the expense of something else. Also, I’ve gotten better at preparing for shows in general (there is a TON of non-sewing preparation, believe me), so that makes the last few days less hair-raising as well! The best part, however, is that I am finally happy with my booth set up/display. It only took five years!

This is from Art on the Avenue a few weeks ago. Something just clicked, and everything came together for the Art on Belmont show in September, and since then I’ve been feeling very happy and confident about my booth set up. Of course, this weekend’s show in Philadelphia (Squidfire Art Mart) will test how well the outdoor, 10×10 booth look translates to an indoor show, where I’ll only have a 6 or 8 foot table.

This is a shot of the obi belts at the Art on Belmont show. I am on the lookout for a nicer dress form, but beyond that I’m happy with how this looks. The good thing about this form is that the stand is removable, so it can sit on a table, which is how I will use it at the Squidfire show this weekend. It’s nice to be able to see the belt “in action,” although maybe for some future shows, I’ll put an apron on the dress form instead, we’ll see!

The best thing about the upcoming Squidfire show and the Handmade Market is that I’ll be inside! The indoor show is such a cakewalk compared to the drama of the outdoor show. I’m really looking forward to putting away the tent for the season…

Anyway, it’s nice to see tangible evidence of learning from experience. There was a time when I was still frantically sewing, bleary-eyed, at midnight the night before the show, and packing up the car at 2 am. No more! These days I finish days in advance, and go to bed early the night before. Not that I don’t need a gallon of coffee in the morning, but that’s par for the course, regardless. 🙂 This time around, I managed take a few “recovery” days off, fill in inventory, plan for future shows, beef up the Etsy shop, AND plan for my novel writing adventure, all since Art on the Avenue on October 3! Good times.

For now, I am not quite finished with my sewing for the Philly show, so I will stop writing about preparing and actually go do it! Coffee in hand, of course.


three years later…

You guys, I finally did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo! I’ve completely lost my head. I’ve wanted to do it since 2005, but have always managed to let November creep up on me, or talk myself out of it at the last moment. What makes this year any different? I have no idea. I certainly don’t have any more time in November than I did back in 2005: two out of town shows plus the DEKKA trunk show plus the new travel collection plus prepping for the holiday show plus traveling for Thanksgiving and that’s not including the day job! Something just grabbed a hold of me last week and made me take the plunge. Then I had a flash of inspiration for a story, and that was the last straw. Actually, I still don’t technically have a “storyline” per se (something has to eventually happen in a novel, right?); more like a general theme, plus a few fully formed characters jumped into my head and have refused to leave me alone. Perhaps later in the month I will feel brave enough to share my idea. 🙂

Anyway I am weirdly excited about it. I’ve been trying to recruit all of my friends and family, but so far only a few have taken the bait. I think it’s going to be an amazing challenge and a really great creative exercise – I love the emphasis on creating without looking back, without stressing about making every little thing perfect. I think obsessing over details can sometimes get in the way of progress and creativity, and that sometimes your inner critic/editor/whatever does you more harm than good. Certainly the ruthless deadline and the seemingly-just-out-of-reach word count goal (50,000 words by November 30) will go a long way in quieting that annoying voice! In the interest of accountability, I have installed the word-count widget to the sidebar! Let’s hope for the best, shall we? 🙂 If any of you out there are doing it, comment with your WriMo user name and we can be writing buddies!


random thoughts vi

fall collection!
Check it out, y’all, the fall collection is finally ready! I really think this is my favorite collection so far. I am absolutely in love with every single one of the eighteen new looks for the wristlet, classic, and envelope clutch. Yes, that means in the past I haven’t totally loved all of them. I confess! This paisley just about killed me when I first saw it in the store:

You’ll notice there’s a good bit of paisley, wild botanicals, and bright colors in this collection, plus my not-so-new favorite thing, embroidery on wool. I’ve also done a few things a little differently, including the use of applique on the envelope clutch above, but I’ve also made my own patchwork fabric for the first time!

I got this fabric from Purl Patchwork in Soho this August; I was very drawn to the odd combination of colors and patterns. I knew immediately I wanted to make this into patchwork. I wanted the wristlet to be all dots and stripes, so I didn’t use the solid color squares or airplane-patterned squares. It was way fun and not as much extra work as I thought it might be!

clearance sale!
Of course, when a new collection comes along, there’s also a clearance sale, and this month is no different. Newsletter subscribers (as always) got first crack at the sale this morning, and you’ll see that a few things are already sold out. It pays to be an insider, people, I keep trying to tell you. 🙂 You’ll notice that the passport cases are on sale as well, including several that have never been available online before. I am cleaning house because the next travel collection (planned for next month, we’ll see…) will feature an all-new passport case, so the old ones must go. Enjoy, and be advised there’s only one of each colorway left!

project runway
Sigh…I just always seem to lose interest once fashion week rolls around and I actually see their collections. I’ve missed the last two episodes, and the mis-match between what goes on on the show (zomg! only three of us get to go to Bryant Park, oh noes!) and reality just rubs me the wrong way. You know what else rubs me the wrong way? Kenley. SHUT UP AND GO AWAY, KENLEY. I feel much better now.

new york fashion week
Speaking of Bryant Park…you should go to New York Magazine online and check out the shows of all your faves, or at *least* the Project Runway shows (there are also slideshows from London, Milan, and Paris fashion week for Spring 2009). It is painfully obvious which of the Project Runway kids belong and which do not. Speaking of fitting in, you MUST check out Christian Siriano’s show…it is absolutely gorgeous. I thought his collection was way better than many of the established designers showing in New York…really.

Part of the reason that I have been neglecting the blog (in addition to getting the fall collection together) has been the preparation, anticipation, and recovery from the big show at the day job. I spent all of last week recovering from the conference, which actually went very very well. Still, it was completely exhausting. My coworkers and I all have funny little stories about silly things we’d done over the course of the week due to sleep deprivation. I learned one important thing, though: I *love* Seattle! It was totally gorgeous the whole time we were there, and the air is cleaner there, I swear it. My sinuses have never been so happy. My theory is that although it is rainy there, it is not humid, and thus lacks the swampy moldiness of the DC area. Anyway, I hope to go back one day soon.

do the right thing
It’s nearly that time! If you haven’t registered to vote, there is still time. I am proud to say that I have voted in every single state, local and federal election for which I have been eligible to do so, since I first registered to vote in my 12th grade government class. Voting is serious business and our Constitutional right and responsibility, that should not be taken lightly nor for granted! So just do it. Here are links for you locals: Virginia, DC, and Maryland.