Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kamloops Button Now in a Pendant

Our "Kamloops" button has been extremely popular and by far our best selling button.  We discovered that many people who were purchasing the original button were buying them as souvenirs and gifts for their friends.  Dave suggested I create a pendant using the same design and so now there are some available for sale at Heather's Fabric Shelf in North Shore Kamloops.

For those of you who are not familiar with the area, Kamloops is a beautiful city built around two rivers (North and South Thompson) that come together.  The main area is in a sort of "bowl" with the unique hills surrounding it.

I created the pendant in a similar manner as making the buttons.  I wanted to capture an image that represents Kamloops the best which includes the river and the semi-arid and dry looking hills.  These hills are  beautiful shades of green in the spring but as it gets hot in the summer, they slowly turn to a reddish brown and will stay that way for the rest of the year.

To create the scene, I used a stacked clay "mokume gane"  technique similar to what I learned from Julie Picarello.  (For those who have taken Julie's workshop or purchased her book, would have already recognized it, I'm sure.)

To create my scenes, I made my own shaped cutters for the hill and the river.  For my stacks of clay, I used 2 different color mixes, one for the summer and the other for winter.  I then impressed the clay stacks with  my handmade cutters to create the pattern.  I then sliced my clay stack to reveal different color and design variations so that each piece comes out totally unique and one of a kind.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

More Scarf Jewelry Delivered

With the BC Quilt show over with, I thought I was going to catch a little free time in between preparing for the Shuswap Lake Festival of the Arts coming up in July but I thought wrong.  I didn't mind really when one of the stores had called to tell us they were in need of more scarf jewelry and we had a few more stores waiting as well.  The scarf jewelry has been keeping us busier than ever which is a good thing.  Don't worry though -- I am still working on that tutorial -- it is just taking a little longer than planned.

So I am happy to announce that there is a nice supply of scarf necklaces now available at A Twist of Yarn in Vernon as well as at The Sewing Basket in Salmon Arm.  To see all of the stores that sell our scarf jewelry you can check them out on our website here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Donna's Yarn and Craft Centre

Today I thought I would blog about Donna's Yarn and Craft Centre which is located on North Shore in Kamloops.  Of all the stores that sell our work, they have the largest selection including everything from our handcrafted buttons and shawl pins to our beads and jewelry making supplies.  And now Donna's has a nice selection of our scarf jewelry along with our art beads and ear wires for the interchangeable earring system.

This is Donna (on the right) and her mom, Elsie, who is her partner and main helper.  Between the two of them, they know or can figure out any type of knitting or crochet pattern and if you are ever stuck, they are always willing to help you out.

Donna is a very talented lady and besides knitting she does sewing and alterations as well as jewelry making.   One of the reasons we love working with Donna is how we are always bouncing ideas off each other and as a result we have collaborated on several projects.

For instance these toggle type fasteners were inspired from a knitting pattern she had come across and asked if I could make some for her to sell.  They are a sort of buckle / button combination used to fasten a sweater  or shrug.  I made the larger section in a variety of colors, shapes and textures.  They are all in a solid color so that most of our buttons can be combined with them for the fastening part.

I mentioned that Donna does sewing and alterations.  She was altering a coat for a customer and requested I cover a belt buckle for the back to match our buttons she added on the front.  This was a fun project and it was the perfect finishing touch.  That is what I enjoy the most about working with polymer clay is that you can cover almost anything.  The texture I used here is one of my favorites by Helen Breil, called the Conga Line.

And remember the icebox cookie buttons we made a few months ago?  You can read the original blog post here.

They were for a project that Elsie (Donna's mom) was working on.  Here is the finished project which is a quilted casserole cover done in a cookie pattern fabric.

We also do a lot of custom made to order items for Donna's customers such as shawl pins or buttons in colors to match the yarn they are purchasing.  I blogged a while back about one of Donna's special customers, Diane.  (You can read it here.)

Diane is an avid knitter and always has several projects at a time she is working on.  Now she is learning to crochet so Donna asked if I could cover a few crochet hooks in clay for Diane and if I could somehow mark them in braille.

 -- By the way, --- Did I mention that Diane is blind?

I hadn't done anything like that before and was fun to see if my experiment worked.  Diane's face totally lit up when she discovered the numbers done in braille (on the side at the end) and could actually figure them out.

Photo bottom left shows the numbers in braille.
Donna's is one of the many fascinating stores that make my work a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Overview of Our Time at the BC "Everybody Loves Quilts" Show 2013

The BC "Everybody Loves Quilts" Show went by so quick and we cannot believe it is already over.  It was a great show that was well run and organized and a pleasure to be in.  It was fun to see a lot of familiar faces and meet many new ones.  We were really happy with our booth set-up and was nice to hear so many comments from others how much they liked it.

Since we started selling wholesale, we have been doing less shows but it is so nice to do some every so often  so we can meet face to face with the public and the actual customers that purchase our work from the local stores.  It is the best way to get some honest feedback and see what types of items get ooohed and aaaahed over the most.  To be quite truthful, it gives you a real lift at the end of the day after getting your ego stroked so many times!

So here are some photos and highlights of our past weekend event:

We did our initial booth set-up the day before minus our product.  It made it go much easier the next morning to get everything ready.

Here is an assortment of the wide range of buttons we make with our newer designs featured in the center.

Our jewelry was on the opposite side of the booth featuring our quilt patterns and interchangeable earring system.  We found these shutters and spruced them up with some paint and fabric for a fun display for pendants on cards.

Our shawl pin display showing off the different styles.  I had a table set up next to it (on the right) for demoing but there was so much talking that I really didn't get much claying done.

We had a mannequin display set-up in front on each side.  I show how you can make these using a simple sweater and hanger on a previous blog post (click here).

This is the display on the other side.  We had the posters made up at Staples in their print department and couldn't believe how gorgeous they came out and how affordable they were.

We try to use photos and props whenever possible.  This is a favorite photo of our niece modelling one of our Bargello style necklaces.  She just had a new baby (girl Emma) over the weekend so she was on our minds.

Our scarf jewelry was front and center and of course one of the main attractions.  We had a wide range of styles and colors available and were a big hit.

This is one of our new Crackle Medallion styles with the matching earring beads shown.
Jan, the owner of The Sewing Basket in Salmon Arm was there with a large booth as well.  Here she is trying to decide which color of scarf jewelry she would like.

She decided to go with the Bargello style in turquoise and blue.  It is one of my favorites and looks really elegant on her, doesn't it?  The Sewing Basket has some of our scarf jewelry available for sale and will have more of our new styles within the next week or so.

And at a quilt show, there are of course, ... quilts ... more than 300 of them!  This is my friend Sharon with the quilt she created for a button challenge and received an award for (came in first).

She also made this cool bangle using vintage buttons.

What made this quilt show even more interesting is that along with the local quilters guilds, other types of  fibre groups were invited to take part such as The Spinners and Weavers, Embroidery and Needlework Guilds.  This  is my friend Kathy Kinsella.  She was invited to be the featured fibre artist and was given a space to display samples of her work.  

I blogged about Kathy before (here and here) where I shared a bit about her work and how we collaborated with making some buttons for her to use on her gorgeous felted cuffs (shown above).  You can see more of her beautiful art in her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Doing the Happy Dance!

We are frantically doing last minute preparations for the BC Quilt Show that is this Friday and Saturday.  We like to do a practice set-up in our home to be sure everything is going to fit just the way we want it.  Dave already started packing the car as he wanted to be sure everything will fit and there won't be any last minute surprises.

We have had some really good news this week so have been doing the happy dance.  One of the things is that Heather from Heather's Fabric Shelf informed us that our Kamloops button has again almost sold out -- a week ago she had only 2 left in stock.  I was totally blown away and could hardly believe it.  This is by far  our best selling button with no signs of a drop off in the near future.

We have been busy making more and will have them for sale along with some of Heather's "River's Edge" bag kits at the Quilt Show.

The other good news was our Floral Collar necklace was featured on The Daily Polymer Arts Blog today which was a real honor.  If you haven't been following Sage's blog, I definitely recommend it as she has some real inspiring stuff.  You can sign up and receive it directly to your e-mail on a daily basis.