New blog address! You can find all of my blog posts past, present and future at my new stand-alone website: www.chickenbootsusa.com
New blog address! You can find all of my blog posts past, present and future at my new stand-alone website: www.chickenbootsusa.com
Today is so special since it's my mom's birthday. Someone who means more to me than I ever express (not being a mushy person myself); my mom is more of an influence on me than even she probably knows!
Hence, why you are here... Today is also special since I, along with other wonderful designers, am a part of the Sew Red Blog Tour celebrating the book, Sew Red, by Laura Zander and featuring projects made by designers inside (including mine!). And my mom was a big reason why I participated.
My design is a Jewelry Case to hold your precious items when you travel-especially to keep your necklaces tangle-free! You can buy a kit to make one here (but you still need the book for the pattern and instructions). This design uses many unique notions and since you need only small amounts, the kit comes with the essentials at a wholesale price. You can buy it with or without the wonderful fabric designed by Rubydoor (Stacey Derome) on Spoonflower where you can design your own fabric too!
I will have a video tutorial on how to attach the zipper soon.
I would love to go on and on about all the aspects of being a part of this book (very flattered to be a part of it, very important cause, thrilled to even BE in a book, delighted to know Laura Zander, etc). But I think I'll leave with a photo of my favorite and essential sewing tools becasue I love seeing other people's (not pictured is my 4' x 8' table with full size rotary mat which I LOVE):
From left to right: Chaco Liner (I've had mine for 15 years), small sharp scissors, awl (I use this like a pointy finger while binding but a seam ripper can work too), scissors for trimming. All waiting for me on my beloved Juki. And I still use a seam ripper too!
Today I am vending at Stitches West with my line of accessories for knitters and crocheters called Chicken Boots and I will have the pleasure of having Laura Zander sign copies of the book at my booth!
Thanks for stopping by. And feel free to share your favorite tools!
P.S. When I was learning to sew, my mom said, "Now Emy (that's what my family calls me), my favorite tool when I sew is the iron." My response: "Mine is the seam ripper." She gave me a look I'll never forget.
And I am part of a wonderful project using my sewing skills to LOVE YOUR HEART! Coming out in February is the beautiful new book, Sew Red by Laura Zander featuring tons of fun and cute projects by prominent designers in the sewing, quilting and knitting industries to raise awareness about heart disease- a very common ailment. One in Four women suffer from it!
And I'm one of the designers in the book! Can you believe it?! It is an honor and very exciting to boot. Laura Zander also wrote Knit Red-another lovely book that is beautiful and inspiring with tons of great projects to knit or crochet.
Here is a sneak peek of Sew Red:
Sew Red by Laura Zander, published by Sixth&Spring Books. Jewelry Case Photo by Marcus Tullis copyright © 2012 by Sixth&Spring Books/Soho Publishing. Used by permission. Jewelry Case by Saremy Duffy (me!).
The Jewelry Case is designed for travel and meant to hold necklaces, earrings, and other small items. The necklace holder helps keep your valuable treasures tangle-free! The entire case zips shut to keep things secure tucked away. This pattern and instructions plus many others will be available in the book.You can also check out Stitch Red to learn more about the entire campaign. You know my little Red Owl Notions Case? It's for Stitch Red!
More to come on this exciting project! Sew Red is available February 5, 2013 and I will have fun things happening so keep an eye out!
We try and try to keep things simple but it is a constant battle!
I am reminded of this in particular during the Fall. School fundraisers, costume making, holiday prep, house chores, school festivals and functions, extracurricular activities, oh, and my life. Work, creativity, sanity. Sanity? After all that?
My philosophy right now is to try and say no to most things unless it improves the quality of life for me or my family. Example? Sometimes I do not have to say yes to: Every playdate (yes, hard to say no sometimes especially if you have an only child but it is not always a recipe for success), shopping for something my daughter wants (diverting ourselves by shopping is not one of my priorities), school events and fundraisers (Yes, it is ok to say no to these! They do not all hold our best interests at heart).
Right now I try and say yes to those things I do not do enough...family bike rides, frozen yogurt excursions (ok, I say yes to this everytime), messy crafts (or unassisted baking), and just sitting and enjoying morning coffee on the patio. Ok, laboring over my daughter's Halloween costume sort of drives me nuts since SHE is the designer and I am the sweatshop. But I figure those are the things we will look back on fondly...I hope!
We get this message a lot...to slow down. But it is something I, in particular, have trouble doing. I would rather be working or knitting. Read: keeping my hands busy and productive. I recently pledged to myself to examine each request of my time and energy, even if it is a brief assesment, and decide if it is worth it. Worth the ensuing bad food choices due to lack of time, worth the crankiness due to exhaustion, worth the expense and yes, worth the loss of our precious daylight hours! It is a tremendous effort, but planning a nice sit down dinner, maybe a game or family movie, a long walk or bike ride, even a drive to see something new...it all sounds so cliche! But as Americans, it is a luxury. One I often feel guilty about. And I am getting betterand better at saying no, thanks.
It has been a busy summer. From Stitches West in the Spring until now there hasn't been much time to rest....and all of it culminated in a big move for our family after my husband got a new job!
CHICKEN BOOTS now lives in Chico, Ca and Chico couldn't be more different than Blue Lake! We are enjoying it very much although there are still a few boxes lurking in corners. But what's my motto everyone? That's right! Chip away at it.
It is sandals and skirts weather every day here, my sweaters block overnight (it took a few days in Humboldt), and I had missed iced tea! I drink it every day now. Can you tell it wasn't very warm in Blue Lake? It was lovely and green though.
I guess now is the time to fess up: our chickens are still back at our old house. Yep, my chicken boots are not getting much use right now. But they we miss them and hope to find a way to bring them over in the next year. I think 4H is in my future.
I have been working though! And knitting! I finished two sweaters and finished a long anticipated design: Interchangeable Needle Case! I am also working on some crochet specific items as well as a long term project and a new website! It long past time to have one!
There are some great new fabrics coming out this month...Butterfly, Birds, Foxy and Night. Bees, Garden and Drops will stay in the line too! New clear Wristlets will be posting soon and the Pattern Holder is the top seller at the moment.
This weekend I am off to the Natural Fiber Fair in Arcata, Ca for some 'my ol' stomping grounds' fun! I had a great time last year and it was a well attended event. You know what I'm really looking forward to? The food. Yep. They have this lovely group of women who come and make a variety of dishes and all you hear in the dining area is folks marvelling over how yummy their lunch is. Seriously.
Hope to see you there!
And if not, check out our new Ravelry Group!! I am super excited about it!
Oh- And if you pick up the Fall 2012 Sockupied you'll see us in there too! Lots of exciting things happening around here! All thanks to you.
Until next time...happy knitting, crocheting and spinning-or drinking iced tea.
Ahh...the lull before the busy season! It's good to feel rich with time-and time is certainly my currency. While previously scrambling to get loads of stuff done for Stitches West, I now feel queenly in dictating to myself what I can 'choose' to do each day. Basically I am in denial because I still have loads to do!
This is the time before we order our baby chicks for the season, the students are in a mad dash to finish their lines, my taxes are due and I am frantically sewing for two major events.
I have been waking up each day this past week asking myself, Should I work on that new design?, Should I work on my taxes?, Should I cut and sew Pattern Holders or Clear Wristlets? Should I figure out an easier way to sew my Pocket Buckets and Project Bags? Should I set up that computer to make pattern printouts? The true answer is yes to all of them! Because wouldn't my life be easier in the coming months if I got a little bit of this done now? All in good time....
Of course I want to do the fun stuff.....like the new Interchangeable Needle Case design and an idea I have been asked to re-visit: Notebook Pages that hold needles in a binder. When I go on a run ('if' is more like it lately), I usually like to mentally design things as I jog. I used to listen to audiobooks but now I love sewing in my head-something I also do to fall asleep.
For now, I will work on a little of this and a little of that. My motto is Chip Away At It (best to learn this when you become a parent)! Then everything eventually gets done.
I'd rather not scramble!
This past Fall, I closed my pattern and design service business of eleven years. It was a tough decision as there is no shortage of work and in today's economic climate, I'm a fool to turn away from work, right? Well, call me a fool.
My plan was to work on this little invention I have that corrals stuffed animals, keep having fun with my line of knitting/crocheting related accessories and other fun items and also create a line of copyright-free patterns for the designer who has no pattern drafting experience. The patterns would come with instructions on how to manipulate a pattern to a desired design. This last idea is very well-received and alas, I have not allowed any time to work on it as of yet. Once I made the decision to close Master Pattern and started sewing for the Holiday season, I realized that I'm not hopping to keep on doing so much engineering. Plus- the graphic part of it (the most important part: the instruction booklet) was/is intimidating me! After all, this is the crux of the entire project and I want to do it well.
As the Holiday months approached I sewed like crazy to make things for a few Holiday fairs and I had so much fun. It was also so nice to feel like I was 'allowed' to do it as I didn't have as many clients to work for and I have always felt that it was distracting to their projects to work on my own. I do have some client work left on my plate- and I was developing 'senioritis' towards the end of the year- but I am happily working on it in tandem with my current projects.
You know, I went to design school to be a designer. While I have focused more of my resume on becoming a pattern drafter, I still do a lot of designing through my pattern work but it hasn't been entirely my own work but for a few periods in my life. I've amassed this crazy amount of skills and I was beginning to wonder- 'what would it look like if I was designing whatever I want?' Working with the AAI students has given me great inspiration and I think has helped me return to those initial roots. After all, I was their age when I decided to become a designer. There is nothing like working with young people while in their prime of dreaming big to remind you of that period in your life and realize that you didn't quite take that path the way you planned. I have absolutely no regrets- I hope it doesn't sound like I do. I LOVE the math-y side of things and I can geek out on a pocket design for an outerwear jacket for months. I have also very sincerely LOVED working clients to help them make their vision a reality. I've learned a ton from this experience! It did not matter whether I thought their design was a good one or not. I think that was something that felt the best- doesn't anyone want that chance?
Unfortunately, in today's USA, domestic manufacturing is almost gone and while I think there has been a mild backlash for this, it will not be back in my lifetime the way it was in the 80s or 90s. This makes it extremely tough for any new designer to get their product in the market place. I can go on and on about this topic. How about a separate preachy blog post for that topic?
What a meander...where was I?
Why aren't I designing clothes? Yes, why aren't I? Most of my skills are devoted to this but like I said, there is limited manufacturing available and most also don't realize that the State of California has an antiquated law on its books preventing ANYone from sewing clothing in their 'home' or paying someone else to sew clothing- in any place- without a Garment Manufacturer's License. Don't get me started on this (yes, I know tons of people do it but I also know a few who have been shut down for it too-it's very risky) Another reason I am not making clothing is the fact that each clothing design comes in more than one size so you have to have a lot of SKUs in a clothing line. This can be very expensive and limiting. If you had a small line of five garments, and each came in five sizes and three colorways, you just made a line of 75 SKUs! That's a lot to sell, make and keep track of.
So, here I am, making accessories. It suits my technical outerwear skills perfectly, my love of knitting, my love of cotton and color!!, and my love of making functional things. Oh so that's why I make these things. It's even good for me to see it in writing! I re-named my business Chicken Boots and am focusing solely on accessories for knitters and crocheters. I have a habit of picking niches.
I'd love to talk about starting a completely new business and will soon. I NEED to write about it- I need some therapy about it and hopefully that will help :)
Today, I continue to prepare for my first official sales trip to the SF Bay Area to visit yarn shops and sell my line. I love preparing for this although I am nervous and excited! But like I said to a friend recently, I am ready too!