Various & Sundries in Fairfax

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The boutique store Various & Sundries has been selling my Sheekoo items for a couple years now, but recently, they moved to a fabulous new location in Fairfax, CA. The new store is GORGEOUS, with lots of natural light, on a street with tons of other fun shops. And as always, it is filled with unique gifts, most of them handmade by local artisans. Here is Stephanie, the wonderful owner of the shop.

There's a whole area dedicated to baby gifts.

Here's a sampling of clothing and pottery items.

And of course, some of my Cork Collection and fabric items. The inventory on my Sheekoo items is a bit low right now, but my items sell very well there--sometimes, it's a struggle to keep them well stocked!


New Store in Sonoma - My Girlfriend's Closet

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Sheekoo Cork Collection is now available at a brand new store, just off The Plaza in Sonoma's beautiful downtown. It's an upscale consignment store called My Girlfriend's Closet. (I also designed the store's logo, seen on this fun sign outside.)

Here are a few of my cork items, prominently displayed behind the wrap counter and register.

Even though the store just opened, it already has a great inventory of new and nearly new items. I bought a pair of shoes there for only $24, and I have my eye on a couple of other items I saw there.

Hope you'll stop by!

My Girlfriend's Closet
539 First Street West
Sonoma, CA


Bitty Booties and My First Tutorial

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I recently made these felt baby booties as a present for my friend's new baby, using Heather Bailey's free pattern.

There are so many free patterns and tutorials online these days--aren't we so fortunate?! I've been wanting to make my own contribution to the resources available out there. So here's my first tutorial on how to make an adjustable dog collar. Cabana is modeling one of her MANY homemade dog collars here.

If you use my tutorial, I'd appreciate any feedback so I can make changes to it as needed. I'd also love to see photos of the collars you make, so please send them to me!


Featured on Martha Stewart!

Friday, June 11, 2010

No, I'm not going to be on Martha Stewart's TV show (yet)! But a few months ago, I submitted a photo of my felt sewing kits on Martha Stewart's website, and it was selected as one of the favorites! It's probably not such a big deal, but I'm still pretty excited about it.

You can see a slideshow of the "Best Sewing Projects" here. Mine is the second photo in the slideshow.


Cork Portfolio

Friday, May 7, 2010

A customer recently asked me to make a portfolio out of cork for him, because he works for a company in town that sells wine corks. He also asked me to put his company logo on it for him. Since it was an easy logo to produce, I said sure!

It took me two tries to get it right, but I was pretty happy with the result. Since I've taken the trouble to figure out how to make one, I suppose I should be making a few more to sell (albeit sans logo). Think they would sell?


No More Butter & Eggs

Sunday, April 25, 2010

No more Butter & Eggs Day, for another year at least. I always breathe a sigh of relief when a show is over--and I sleep like a log that night, too. Shows are a lot of work, leading up to that day, since I never seem to have enough inventory. And then, being outdoors from 7:30am until after 5pm is exhausting, doubly so if it's a 2-day show. But finally, I've gotten the hang of doing them, and they don't seem as daunting as they used to. I enjoy the interaction and direct feedback from customers.

In some ways, with this past show, I think I got a little too relaxed. Didn't push myself as hard leading up to it, didn't plan out how I wanted the booth to be laid out the day before, which is something I usually do. Also, my best friend Lisa usually comes to help me set up. She has a great logistical eye and usually tells me to move this rack over here, put these products in the front of the booth, etc. This time, Lisa didn't come (I told her not to, although she offered), and I lacked her discerning eye.

But the pendulum has to swing back and forth before it finds its comfort zone. After two years of getting stressed and nervous about shows, it's a welcome change to be a bit too laid back about one. Hopefully, I'll be able to find the right balance for my next show.

Speaking of which, my next show: Sonoma Plaza Ox Roast, June 5-6, 2010


New Cork Collection Photo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The store in San Anselmo that sells my products is going to be placing an ad in The Pacific Sun newspaper! So they needed a photo for the ad, which prompted me to get cracking and take this photo.

This Saturday is the Butter & Eggs Show and Parade in downtown Petaluma. My booth will be in the A Street parking lot. Hope to see you there!


Embellished Cork Messengers

Saturday, April 3, 2010

There's no doubt about it--I'm lazy when it comes to this blog! But hopefully, it means I'm being productive in other ways. Right? Well, I don't know how true that is...but I'm trying. Sewing has a way of being edged out by everything else in life.

I am pleased with these new embellished messenger bags. After I made the journals in my last post, I realized that I should be embellishing more of my cork items. Natural themes seem to pair best with the cork. Pictured above is my first leaf motif, a close copy of what I made for the journal cover.

Then, I made this straight stem motif. Both my daughters prefer this one. I have to say, I kinda like it better, too.

The embellishment is time consuming--but I find I enjoy that part best. Although I may not really be able to recoup the time spent in the price of the bag, it's okay for now. If I were making hundreds of these at a time, I might need to come up with a quicker way of doing it than cutting each leaf individually with plain old scissors--but for now, it's something I can do while I watch American Idol or Project Runway. ;)


Journal Covers

Saturday, March 20, 2010

At Staples, I happened to find a bunch of composition books for only .50 each. Since I'm often asked for journal covers, my bargain purchase made me decide the time was finally right to make some. These covers are made with light cork fabric and then embellished with dark cork that I have cut out and appliqued.

I think the leaf is my favorite. A standard sized composition book slips easily into the slots and can be replaced with a new one.

There are two ribbon bookmarks for keeping your place.


Dark Cork Wine Totes

Monday, March 1, 2010

Wine totes are a unique way to give wine as a gift. Hopefully, the recipient will re-gift the wine tote so it gets many uses. But I've had many people tell me that they plan to bring the wine in the wine tote, but then take the wine tote back home with them. Sort of like a casserole dish, rather than as part of the gift!

I decided to make some wine totes out of dark brown cork fabric. Previously, I only used the light colored cork. The dark cork has a leather-like feel and weight. The handles are made of bamboo grown in a neighboring town, but I also made some with birch, from a large tree branch that fell down in our yard a month ago in a rain storm. Now that's upcycling!

Any preferences on number of stripes? One, three, or none? The stripes are pieces of natural colored cork fabric.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Border prints take me back to high school (or maybe even junior high school). I always loved skirts with border prints, but border prints on short girls is a "Glamour don't". Plaster that black rectangle right over my face, why don't you!

Maybe that's why this brown floral border print purse makes me so happy. You can be short or tall, and it doesn't matter. It looks good on just about everybody!

I have made a few purses in this o-ring style, and they have all sold well. It's not a big purse, but it's deep, which gives a snug feeling of security to your possessions. This style takes 4 rings, which can get pricey. But I recently found a good source for them, so now I'm ready to make them in earnest.

Click here to see this purse in my shop.


Black Cork Sling

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm excited to introduce a new color for my cork bags--black! Technically, it's not a true black, more of a brown-black. I know that I personally favor black bags, so I had to make one for myself right away.
This sling style is really versatile. The strap is long enough to wear cross-wise, if desired. The zippered pocket on the outside provides easy access to your cell phone or keys.

Best of all, it's made of cork, which is eco-friendly as well as water- and stain-resistant. Although similar to leather in feel, no animals are harmed in the production of cork fabric. And it was handmade--by me! In my own sweat shop (except that it's too cold for any sweating right now). Now I need to get my rear in gear and add it to my website.....


I Love Mushrooms

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I so clearly remember being about 10-years old, sitting at the dinner table with my family. My mother had made something with mushrooms in it, and my sister was gobbling the mushrooms up, while I stockpiled them in the corner of my plate, hoping to slip them into my napkins and throw them away.

My sister said, "Mushrooms are so delicious. I love them." So I tried one (I think I had never ventured to put one in my mouth previously), and what do you know, they WERE good! "Hey, Mikey!"

I have loved mushrooms ever since. And I had great fun making this 'shroom eyeglass case. The polka dots are made of sequins, and I used actual blush on a Q-tip for the cheeks!

I took lots of photos of things I've made in the past week--but the photos all turned out crappy. Oh well, I'll try again tomorrow!


Window Seat Cushion

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some friends asked me to make a window seat cushion with matching pillows for their daughter's bedroom. They chose this gorgeous black and white medallion fabric. What a fabulous choice!

In the photo, it all looks so small, but this cushion is actually 77" long. That means that my 6'5" husband could lay across this window seat with his legs fully stretched out!

Although the easiest way to cover the cushion would have been to "railroad" the fabric (run the yardage lengthwise), I felt the medallion pattern would look like it was "sideways" if I did it that way.

So, I laid the fabric out widthwise instead. Because the cushion was 77" wide and the fabric was only 54", I had to have a seam. I carefully matched the pattern in the fabric, though, to make the seam as inconspicuous as possible. I bet you can't tell where the seam is!


The Perfect Pouch

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Please click photos to view larger.

I'm quite pleased with my new pouch design! They have an appealingly rounded shape to them and are the perfect size for putting into a larger purse or for carrying alone. The wrist strap makes the zipper easy to pull open and closed, but the bolt snap makes the strap detachable, if so desired.

They measure 9" wide by 4.5" high, a good size for most makeup brushes or pencils. Or slip in your cell phone, some cash or credit, and your keys--and you can travel light for a short shopping trip or lunch with a friend.

I'm working on adding these to my website now--but it will probably take me a day or two to get everything photographed and listed. From now through the end of February, The Perfect Pouch will be just $10 each (regular price $14).


Blaming It On the Dog

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dogs get blamed for a lot of things. "Hamlin ate my chemistry homework." "Tara chewed my soccer socks." "Poppy ate the pizza." "Cabana kept me from updating this blog."

I don't know about the other accusations, but the last one is true. After our puppy Cabana came to live with us, I stopped updating this blog--over a year ago!! I spent my blogging time on her dog blog instead.

But now I'm back, and hopefully with frequent updates and photos.

Here are some recent felt eyeglass cases I made. They are made mostly with recycled/upcycled 100% wool and have a spring-frame closure. All the embellishment is done by hand, with the only machine work being the top flap that encloses the spring frame.

eyeglass case with circles, shown with glasses beside
assorted felt eyeglass cases with heart motifs
assorted felt eyeglass cases with leaves, birds, and geometric shapes


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