Monday, July 25, 2011


Detour with me for a moment. I bought these shoes.

Pretty hot, huh?

So hot that they were almost sold out and only available in half a size too small and a full size too big. Weird, how things work out like that, right? I crossed my fingers and bought both.

Turns out the only saying is true: I can only wear ONE pair of shoes at a time.
Which means one pair, size 10, is now available: $40.

If you're interested, email me: Washington, DC area only. Please bring your own little socks to use in trying them on.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red Velvet and... Skippy!

So here's the better news on that sad bit of red velvet:

The project recovered well. I hand-embroidered this (on a fresh piece of velvet) over the course of a couple of days and now, I genuinely prefer the hand-embroidered red velvet. The lettering is about the same size, but has a more intimate "Old Fashioned Family" feel to it, in my opinion. What do you think? The project is about two-thirds complete at this point and I'll post the update when it is up on

To use with the red velvet, I had a lovely silver fox coat.
Well, it was lovely when I started. I sliced it open at the hem and did a nosedive in. Here's what I found.

In case you can't tell, that's a dressmakers pin and a needle, still threaded, from the original maker. The furrier left her sharp tools in the coat!

This was a very high quality fur coat. The internal work showed a skilled furrier who knew what he (or she) was doing. Many furs are absolute works of art, with support stitching and needlework that compares favorably to fine tapestries. This one was very well done, but the woman who owned it wore it for years before letting it go to a Canadian reseller who offered it to me at a tidy price.

The lesson here: if you've ever wondered if your clothing is sticking it to you, the answer is, could be...

This was how it looked after I removed all lining, interfacing and hardware. It all came down to this pile of fluff. So soft. So luxurious. Beautiful stuff, fox is.

Next I want to show you this lovely jacket. It appears to be some sort of spotted sheep.

I refer to it as "Skippy the Goat Coat." Yeah, it's been in the work closet long enough to get a name. (It's so distinctive that I couldn't stop myself. I named it.) I thought long and hard about what best to do with Skippy. It was difficult because the person who sold "Skippy" used photoshop to change the color of the coat. (It's not as white as this photograph makes it appear.) I decided on two lovely pillows. As it happened, I got three.

I've photographed them on my overstuffed leather chair, but I've decided what is really needed is a nice cozy afghan to really set the scene. So I'm going to borrow one to put under the pillows and rephotograph them. Then I'll post them on I have to say, considering my thoughts on the seller's deceptive photos, these pillows are quite wonderful.

They look good, yes? They really are so soft and inviting. But I'm going to rephotograph and then invite them to go hang out in their wrappers on a storage shelf until needed again. Happy July Fourth!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Handmade means HANDS ON!

This is what happens when you don't take responsibility for your stuff.

Okay, perhaps not every time. But when you are making "handmade treasures," people deserve HAND-MADE.

To explain, since I'm making the odd-20-or-so items by hand this summer, I thought "Oh surely you want to have 'Merry Christmas!' embroidered professionally on them." I mean, each one of these buggers takes a couple of days to get together. Shouldn't I be entitled to a little help?

Turns out the original rule applies: if you want something done right, DO IT YOURSELF. Pitch in, roll up sleeves and do it yourself!

You might not be able to see it, but the machine operator pulled the velvet so hard, trying to avoid puckers, that... well, you can see it. That odd-shaded part to the right of "Christmas" is her palm print. She pulled so hard that the nap laid down.

Then she tried to restore the nap by putting water on the velvet.

For those of you interested, water and velvet do not mix. Steam? Perhaps, but only with a needle board.

The stretcher bars for the embroidery machine also laid down nap and thus we see the demise of velvet at $25 per yard.

I will tell you that the next piece of velvet, hand-embroidered in gold metallic thread, is flawless and without any problems in the nap. Not a finger or thumb (certainly not a full palm!) print on it. And it has now proceeded to the next step.

Wait and see! It's turning out beautifully!