Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Some Studio Treasures

     Looking forward to showing February the door and welcoming March in. I read someplace that Florida and Hawaii were the only 2 US states that did not get snow this winter. And the bitter cold...that is the hard part. Pipes are freezing, cars won't work, mind and body doesn't want to work. Time for some flowers and bird songs.
     Here are some of the latest SRS studio treasures. All three sets of these pillows are made from vintage 1950's textiles. 
     Have a stupendous day. Be sure to tell someone how special they truly are.


PS: Be sure to stop by my Facebook page and join us.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A New Year Means New Projects

     I always feel so fresh and alive at the beginning of a new year or a new season. It is a chance to start again, to it right this time, to try something new. Well, I have decided that I need to be a good Grammy and make my grandchildren lap size quilts this year. Nothing fancy,  just some old fashioned patterns with colors that represent their personalities. Good year long project. And though my heart is always based in the old fashioned basics, I will not be hand quilting these. I will be using the quilt as you go method. This is where you quilt your blocks or rows individually, then sew them together. I am hoping this will make things go quicker and more smoothly. You see I have 4 quilts to make. This is besides the sewing business and two Etsy shops. Whew, I am going to be a busy gal. But, I am really looking forward to being able to give them something to treasure. Kids these days don't understand how important it is to have pieces of your family history to cherish. They are too busy with their noses in their electronics. I just feel the need to keep some of out past skills alive and hopefully pass them on. 
    Here are some pictures I gathered of quilts that touch my soul. My wish is that the ones I make this year touch someone else's soul.

Fill Each Day With Joy!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Little Bohemian/Gypsy Love

     December has come and the countdown to Christmas has begun. I am anxious to deck the house in all it's holiday glory. One of the greatest pleasures to my soul is to sit on the couch in the dark with only the small lights of the Christmas tree on and a mug of hot chocolate in my hand. Just listening to the silence and letting my mind and body rest. 

     Our pop up shop in the mall is looking fabulous. Everyone that steps inside has great things to say. The foot traffic isn't where we wish it was, but the marketing budget was small, seeing how this was our first attempt. We are learning as we go for next year. 
     I have been busy at the sewing machine, creating and cutting and stitching. So many ideas keep popping into my head that I have to force myself to stay focused on finishing what is started. As with most creative beings I have many many uncompleted projects tucked away in totes and boxes. So while I am searching for that buckle or that applique, I am finding all of those unfinished projects. Once found they beckon to me to pull them out and work on them. Again I have to stay strong to my task. 

     However I did come across these little gems that were completed but waiting for that certain something to make them wonderful. They were created when it was popular to wear a fabulous tiny bag diagonally across your body as an accessory. As I looked at them the other day I thought they would make great holders for a gift card. So many prefer to purchase gift cards these days and it just never seems spectacular enough. An unusual container of some sort makes it just that much better. And that is when the gypsy song inside me began to sing. I pulled out my tassel trimmings box and got to work. This is the result. The bags are so very Bohemian. I absolutely love them. I delivered them to the shop this morning. I hope that there are others that think they are just as marvelous as I do. 
     We are down to just 19 more days. Such a short period of time. I don't know how much more I should make at this point. Sales aren't where I wish they were, making uncertain of what to do. I am not worried about the stock that is left after Christmas, as it will all go into the two Etsy shops I have; Victorian Seamstress and Simply Rebecca Studios. It will all sell eventually, so nothing is lost but time. I will pack up the holiday things and save them for next year. I won't lie, I am a bit disappointed. Not discouraged, but disappointed. There are many reasons for the low sales and I have made note of them so that next year will be much better. The biggest one is product. Because this adventure was presented to me just a month before opening, I didn't have time for a clear thought process. Therefore my product was not right for this venue. I will give much more thought the next time. The other issue is price point and except for the occasional promotion during the season, I will not lower my prices just to sell something. My prices are fair and to not make any money on an item defeats the purpose of a business. I have a file folder filled with notes and I will continue to fine tune things. I love this concept of the pop up shop of local businesses. We are a very talented group of men and women and we mesh quite well. I certainly plan on doing this the next time. No doubt about it. 
     I hope each of you is taking time to enjoy a few special moments here and there. Please don't let the hustle and bustle and stress consume you. There is so much wonder that should not be missed. The smile on your child's face as they see the trees light up. The crunch of the snow as you walk in the sunshine after a storm. The music..there is music everywhere now. The pretty packages with ribbons and bows. The smell of the fresh greens that deck your doors and windows. The smell of cookies baking in the oven. The greetings of friends and neighbors. The deer that wanders into your yard, nibbling on the grass as it passes through. So much to see, hear and feel. Don't miss out on it.
     You are all special to me. Thank you for following Simply Rebecca Studios. 


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pop-up Shop 607

     After long hours and hard work by everyone involved, the doors to Shop 607 opened this morning at 10:00. What a fabulous adventure this has been. The shop itself looks wonderful, just like an upscale gift shop/boutique. Michelle had a vision and she told me that it has exceeded her expectations. How great is that.

     There are about 12 of us artisans and inventors showcasing our products. All very talented and driven people full of fun and energy. I feel so inspired when I am around them. It is so important to keep connected to creative people. It keeps your own inner fires burning. We tend to feed off each other.
     The customer will find a large variety of gift possibilities here at Shop 607. There are great smelling hand dipped and molded beeswax candles. Beautiful pottery of all styles, shapes and sizes. Gorgeous hand painted porcelain pieces. Beautiful framed water color pictures. A great product called Living Ledges, potting system to grow your plants inside during the winter. For all you purse ladies, there is Michelle Irene convertible bags. Oh my goodness the possibilities of the pieces you can put together. We have gift baskets of all sorts and sizes. There are organic doggie treats. There are hand painted wine glasses that are lovely. Beautiful hand crafted copper and brass jewelry with rare beads. And hand made soaps and lotions. I love scented soap. Best way to start my day. And there are decorative pillows of all sorts. Victorian inspired sleepwear. Christmas ornaments and stockings. Closet accessories to make even your closet pretty. And antiques, of all sorts. All made locally. Can't get much better than that.
     I was busy busy at the sewing machine for the past month. And will not stop until December 23rd. I am having so much fun creating and designing. The ideas just keep forming in my head. So much so, that I had to do a reality check. It is important that I stay focused on a few products and keep the look cohesive. I did discover that all my things revolve around the past. Whether it is Victorian inspired clothing, or the use of vintage textiles, or things created from a childhood memory. It is funny how a theme of sorts evolves without you even realizing it.
     Here is a picture of my darling space. As days go on, it will surely fill up and blossom.

     I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Stay warm. I heard there are snow showers out there. And be sure to do something you love this weekend. It will make you feel good inside.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

New logo


     I wanted to take a quick moment to share my new logo. I am so happy with it. It is a much more sophisticated look and I love monograms. 
     I have new woven cloth labels being made as we speak. I will have new hang tags printed within the week. I can use the monogram alone as small tabs on anything I make as a little trademark. I can have it printed on ribbon. I am also thinking about having it monogrammed on the inside neck panel of my sleepwear. 
     Branding your business is so very important. A good logo will catch the eye of the consumer and they will remember you. Eventually I will also incorporate this into packaging as well. 
     Andrea Brower from Illustration and Graphic Communication down in Florida was my designer. She listened to my ideas and my color schemes and produced half a dozen options. We talked and came up with the perfect design. She turned it around in no time. A super thanks to you Andrea. 
     The sewing machine has been so busy humming along. Although I still feel I don't have enough hours in my day to spend sewing. Projects are looking good. I am looking forward to seeing the product all nicely displayed in the pop up shop in November.
     That being said, time to get back to the sewing room. Hope you all have a fabulous week. Be sure to let someone know that you care. One day it may be you that needs the boost.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Shop 607

     The days are clicking past so quickly. The hillside is covered in that golden hue as Autumn finds its way into our area. The gardens are winding down and the mornings are cool and crisp. I have thoughts of warm apple cider and apple pies. A new season is surely upon us. 
     I have been very busy getting product made for my participation in the holiday pop up shop at our local mall. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity to take my business to a new level. My fingers and toes are crossed for great success. My first month's rent has been paid. My new logo has been designed. Tomorrow I will order my new fabric labels and hang tags. 
     It has been difficult, as always for me, to narrow my ideas down to a few main focal points. My mind always tends to stray with visions of possibilities dancing in my head. I believe I have chosen a good variety to showcase my talents and abilities. There will be three main groupings; my closet accessories, my decorative pillows, and sleepwear. I want to have several price point options so I might add several styles of aprons. And I want to bring in the holiday theme so there will be Christmas stockings. I know that is a lot on my plate. But, believe me, it really did take a lot of self control to narrow it down to even this list. My sewing machine will be purring away day and night. I will share the progress with you as the days move along.
     Be sure to take time today to tell someone you love them. A warm deep hug can change someones life.


Friday, September 5, 2014

     Oh my goodness, I can't believe it has been so long since I was here. I am so sorry. I promise I did not disappear. Being a caretaker of a parent is so very rewarding, but also a lot of work. And he is my top priority for the time being. This leaves little room for the things I love. I have missed you all.
     I have to tell you about my new adventure for the holidays. I have always had a vision of a pop up shop during the special seasons of the year. It would be in a barn or a greenhouse or something really unusual and with ambiance. I would invite all sorts of talented artisans from the local area to participate. We would arrange the shop like a boutique with items from all artisans mixed in amongst each other. Not separate stalls for each. All sales would be through one POS system and checks would be cut once week for each person. I knew it would be a hit.
     Well I was notified of just that very thing happening here in town. Only it will be in a big storefront in our local mall. And the organizers are planning on arranging the shop just the way I would have, with antique furniture and props. I am so very excited. The organizers have done a fabulous job of laying this venture out and have most of the details already in the works. It will be just a two month commitment, November and December. And there is a level that I can choose where I will not have to put in work time. This was a big deciding factor, seeing how I cannot leave Dad alone. Of course I will try and arrange to be there once in a while for a little bit, because I don't want to miss out on all the fun.
     How can we go wrong; Christmas time in a mall right at a main entrance. If I can't sell my things there, I might as well give this business up. Heh! Now, the big challenge is to sew my little hands off in the next two months. I have shut off my custom work for the rest of the year. I will only work on things for my doll lady as I can. She is rarely in a big hurry, and is so patient with me. So, this will work out too. It will feel so great to be sewing the things I love once again.
      I will try and keep you updated on the progress and add some pictures. For now here is the info.
Shop 607
Oakdale Mall
Johnson City, Ny
November and December 2014

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Christmas Memories

    Good morning everyone. I hope you are all well. This is the season where our busy lives become even busier with shopping and cooking and creating. We make list after list after list, being sure no detail is left out. Many of us creative creatures are peddling our wares at holiday shows, our hands busy as many hours as we can stay awake. In between we are making those special gifts for the ones we love.
    I really do love this season. I love to create and I love to give gifts. I love to bake. I love to make my wrappings as beautiful as the NYC store windows. And I love to entertain, where I can pull out all my fancy china and crystal. I love to adorn my home with greens and berries, to make it sparkle with twinkling lights. I use to live in an 8 room Victorian house, and every room, including the bathrooms were fully decorated. We had 2 or 3 trees each year, usually only one that was real. I would theme rooms, so that all the decorations would coordinate. The kitchen was usually gingerbread men. The living room was pinks and burgundies Victorian. I would use yardage of tulle to drape the tops of my curtains with nosegays or bells or wreaths at the corners. It was such fun.
    One year I had a tree trimming party. Everyone brought an ornament that meant something special to them. Then we had a delightful buffet and wonderful company. Now when I decorate my tree each year, as I unwrap each ornament, I can remember the person that gave it to me. I never rush when I decorate my tree. It is a trip down memory lane.
    Several years I hosted full blown Victorian parties. I would research authentic Victorian meals to add to my tables. The white china with the gold trim would come out. The crystal would be cleaned and the silver would be polished. The antique table cloth would be placed on the table, always risking it being ruined by a spill. I would look through books and magazines for centerpiece ideas and ways of displaying the many dishes of food I would serve. The first year was complete chaos, because as we all know, timing in the kitchen never ever works the way we want it to. Thank goodness for wonderful friends that love to cook. Each year I learned to do things easier and better. One year several of us dressed in Victorian clothing, just the women of course. A wonderfully creative friend whipped up a fabulous pink and black check taffeta Victorian gown for herself. She was the envy of all of us. I loved those parties.
    Several years I would host a cookie swap. Just a small gathering of us gals with either a light lunch or just desserts. Cookie swaps are fabulous. You figure out how many guests are coming. Then each guest ,plus yourself, makes one type of cookie. Depending on how many people are attending, you either make a half dozen or a whole dozen per person. Then you bag them up individually, some getting so very creative with their packaging. At the swap, each person shares what they have brought and you end up with a whole tray of assorted cookies for the holidays. It is a great time with friends and a great short cut to your holiday cookie baking.
    My Victorian parties were so formal, that they would be adult only. So for a few years I would host a families open house on a Sunday afternoon. A buffet would be layed out all afternoon as our friends and their children would come and go. I always had a favor for the children, either an ornament or some small trinket. One year I tried having the kids decorate cookies.

    All during the season, the carols and Christmas music would play in our house. My husband was such a clever man. He recorded all our remember records right?...onto a VHS tape. Hhmmm do your remember VHS machines? Boy am I old, heh! Anyways, those tapes held a lot of info and we were able to record all our favorite albums in one continuous loop. Even the albums we loved as children. You never had to change records or tapes. It was wonderful.
    In between all my entertaining and planning and cooking, there was sewing and cutting and gluing. I use to make every single one of my gifts. Well, no that isn't true. There were a few men that a made gift just wasn't going to work. Men are the hardest to create a handmade gift for, don't you think? I would sew right up and past Christmas day. My neighbor's house was very close to ours on one side and she would say; "I went to bed Christmas Eve and you were sitting at the table sewing. And I would wake up Christmas morning and you were still at the table sewing." That would be me! I will even admit now, that sometimes I would be hand sewing in the car finishing up a gift for the person we were on our way to see. As my daughter got older, she swore "she" would "never" do that. She hated it. Well she now has 4 wonderful children and works a full time job, and yes, she is doing things last minute in the car. We say it is tradition, heh. 
    Another tradition with the women in our family use to be wrapping gifts on Christmas eve. Well, we all were so busy with other things that the wrapping would get left to last. My mom would stay up all night wrapping gifts. She would slip into bed just long enough for us kids to find her Christmas morning. That seemed to have carried down to myself and my sister and my daughter. And might even travel down to my granddaughter. Time will tell, she is only 14 right now. I remember all us kids gifts from Santa were always wrapped in the same paper every year. When I got older and was sent to the attic for something, I came across this huge roll of Christmas wrapping paper. Yup, you guessed it, it was Santa's wrapping paper. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed. As us girls got older we would stay up with mom and do our wrapping together. This became quite an event. We had snacks and lots of wine. Yes, we had lots of laughs too....oh my lots of laughs. Dad would stay up for a while with us, but he was the smart one and decided sleep was more important. As each gift got wrapped it would find its way under the Christmas tree. By morning that tree was overflowing with gifts spilling out into the room. We would marvel at the sight, take a picture and "always" say, "we did too much again this year, next year we have to cut back".

    We all spent Christmas day together, so we all spent the night at Mom and Dads. Well at least until the families grew too big to have enough sleeping room. When Grammy Savage was alive she would spend the night at Mom and Dads. She would sleep on the couch in the living room where the tree stood. Well, she really didn't sleep either, she was up with us girls. But she would lay down so that the kids would find her first the next morning. We were allowed to gather our stockings filling over the tops from the stair railings and bring them to our rooms. This gave the adults time to open their eyes from the one hour sleep they had gotten and grab a cup of coffee before the mayhem started. But Grammy was a dear and usually let us curl up near her to share the little treasures that our stockings held. Sometimes those little gifts were more fun than the ones wrapped under the tree. And of course there was always lots of candy in the bottom of those stockings. I remember gold wrapped candy coins and candy canes. We had Hershey Kisses and later Hershey Hugs. No wonder Christmas morning was mayhem, we were all on sugar highs. We still all carry that tradition of overstuffed stockings filled with special little treasures. Great care is spent on finding just the right things. Of course you always got a toothbrush and deodorant and chap stick. Those were guaranteed. Oh and those great Lifesaver Storybooks, filled with 8 different rolls of Lifesavers.  

    Christmas would last forever. We had other families to visit, Grammies and aunts, brothers and sisters. More gifts and more wonderful food. And more traditions, like sitting at the kids table or wearing the special aprons. Traditions that we looked forward to becoming adults for like Boule (a wonderful white wine and Madeira marinated strawberries punch) and sitting at the grownup table. New traditions like Christmas brunch and Italian Christmas dinners. As children we had a whole week to look forward to of new toys and new clothes and new fun. As parents we had a whole week of taking a deep breath and a much needed rest and not worrying about messy houses.
    Many of the traditions carried over after we got married or moved out on our own. Many new traditions were added. As time passes, children move too far away, life changes. We hold onto our memories like precious treasure. The holidays don't feel like they use to, but that doesn't mean they aren't special anymore. It is up to each of us to take up the torch and create new memories for ourselves, our children and our friends. Christmas is about sharing; our love, our hearts, our food, our gifts. It is about being with others; family, friends, neighbors, strangers. It is about music and lights. It is about a feeling inside your heart. So please make some new traditions, share them with someone new, and let those lights shine brightly. Don't ever let anyone tarnish your tinsel.

All of you are very special to me.