Thursday, March 31, 2011

Have You Met Amelie?

New In Shop: Amelie Vintage Wine Leather Wristlet
This newly-added wristlet was inspired by the contours and stitching on some vintage purses I've seen and loved over time; the color of leather and hardware alone are reminiscent of vintage Etienne Aigner purses that were the rage when I was growing up.

Amelie features a buttery, lightly distressed leather, antique brass hardware, and copious amounts of favorite part of the process!  I love making this style, as it can be effectively reincarnated just with the change of color and different vintage button accents.

Antique Brass Hardware, a vintage button, and lots of top-stitching

I'll be bringing some of these bags to my shows.  What color is your favorite bag, and what color will you be wearing on your arm this spring?  Do you prefer classic colors for your everyday bags, or do you follow the current trend?  I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

What Do You Want, Just For Today?

It's like the Universe blew this opportunity to start the week off right...right into my path!  Like she pressed this grubby thing into my palm and asked, "what do you want, Sugar?"

Well, for starters, I want to be warm! Where is spring??? I want my nose not to be cold! I want to be prepared for what's ahead of me and present enough to enjoy it.  How about you?  Just for today, what do you want this ticket to get you?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello, Spring ... It's Show Time!

I heard a knock on my door and it was spring.  She’s a welcomed guest who never arrives empty handed; she always comes with bags full of expectation.

Like, the sun will be out more; therefore, so should I!  Goodbye cuddling on the couch under plush faux fur lap throws! Goodbye!  She comes with bright energy…outdoor activites…like festivals and craft shows!  Spring is perky as hell.

Oh, alright, so she wheedled me out of my snug comfort zone and before I knew it, I had applied and been accepted to two juried shows.  And I’m not gonna lie—I’m anxious.  There’s been lots of deep sighing, nail nibbling, and bags of innocent crunchy things devoured in front of the computer.

The last big show I did was over 20 years ago!  I was still in college and had discovered the wild wonderful world of millinery, making quirky hats from fabric sample headers rescued from a huge clean-out of my university’s Interior Design Department.   Nothing gets my creative juices flowing like the words “free supplies”!

As apprehensive as I was about doing something new, I never forgot the excitement of seeing customers’ reactions to what I had created.  There was such big joy in watching them have fun with my stuff.  So, while I am flying by the seat of my pants to prepare for these two upcoming shows, I’m also looking forward to the festive atmosphere.

White tents and flying banners get me high.  They do!  People milling about from tent to tent, being surrounded by artisans and art lovers, people who know the value of a handmade item and who appreciate the un-mass-produced…the oohs and ahhhs when they’ve discovered something neat are like classic rock to my ears.

I hope you’ll wish me luck!  I’ll be reading all kinds of tips for preparing to have a good show, and I hope that in my frenzy I won’t forget to bring my camera so I’ll have some fun pictures to share.  And speaking of sharing, here are some photos of what’s on the work table at Urban Heirlooms.  Happy spring!

Leather Steamer Bi-fold Wallets-to-be...little four-eyed creatures with tails
These beautiful old keys do make the most unusual clasps!
I'm road testing the new long-line Genteel style!
I'm switching to antiqued snaps for a more discreet entrance.
How I like to close this wallet: holding it in the palm of my left hand, i slip my thumb under the tab, then use my right hand to slip the key inside.  Easy-peasy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How To Get Things Done By Procrastinating

What do you do when you’re working on an important project and you come to a bump in the road?  Maybe the “bump” is that your numbers don’t add up on your tax form, your sewing machine is having tension issues, or the homemade bread you’ve always dreamt of making and finally got around to weighs five pounds and can only be cut with a hacksaw—after all that work, too!

When this happens to me, I tend to procrastinate…except  sometimes I actually do something I’ve been putting off for months but in comparison is far more attractive than solving the critical issue at hand:  I cleaned my refrigerator!  And I did it well.

Flash back to circa 1990 or so, and you’ll find me doubled over the bathtub of my college apartment at around 11:30 pm, scrubbing the devil out of a hubcap I picked up on the side of the road while walking home from a party one night.  I was gonna make that sucka shine like it came off the showroom floor!  (Yeah,  my found objects obsession was pretty intense back then.)  My roommate, having gotten used to my antics and avoidance behaviors) passes by the bathroom and does a double take. 

“Ummmm…what are you SUPPOSED to be doing right now?”

“Studying for an exam?” I answered sheepishly.

We both burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

At that point, I did acknowledge that I was just procrastinating because I was anxious about the upcoming exam, and I did buckle down and get to studying.  I don’t remember whether I did well on that exam or not, but it was a helpful habit I learned, this calling myself to the mat, that stops my procrastination in its tracks.   

So, maybe the pride I felt yesterday over my newly gleaming refrigerator had just enough feel-good power to boost my confidence enough for me to go back and tackle the glitch that derailed my abandoned project in the first place.  When it was all said and done, not only had I completed two tough tasks, but I also found my favorite lip balm, which I’d accused my husband of eating because it tasted so convincingly of butter cream frosting.  Where was it, you ask?  Why, rolling around in the side door of my refrigerator, of course!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Rainy Day...Is About to Get Real Sweet!

It's cold and dreary.  He just ran out to get hot cross buns.  It's about to get real sweet! ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

"Antique Keys .50¢ ea."

found objects
waiting to become necklaces
I can be curious. I open lids. Sometimes to my detriment, but this time I found fortune and utter delight:  A pile of antique keys aged to perfection!  Too charming. Romantic, mysterious, symbolic and utilitarian all at once--Mine!

They came in a humble, grubby little paper box with a brown water stain and fading label and postmark on its lid, and a slip of linen cardstock stapled to its side, with "Antique Keys  .50¢ ea." carefully handwritten inside a fancy ink-stamped frame.

I don’t remember what I offered for the whole batch—it was only a few dollars—but I thank my mom for having taught me the value of haggling, and I was thanking the seller for being so unattached to the keys and willing to let them go for an insignificant amount. I mostly thank art school where I learned what wonderful pieces of art can be made from found objects.

I hung out with that box of keys for a few years, not knowing what I wanted to do with them. It’s likely that I tied them on a string and hung them in plain view because that’s what I always do with things so cool I don’t want to forget.  Out of sight, out of know--The Hoarder's Creed?  Eventually I would pair those keys with some leather reclaimed from thrifted vintage coats and make a pretty simple wallet, as quirky and imperfect as you please!

Sometimes I blush a little when I see the very first ones I sold online—not to mention the documented evidence of knowing nothing about photography!  But I also glow with pride a bit when I look at how far I’ve come from that serendipitous day at a neighborhood flea market where I took some things nobody wanted and turned them into some things that quite a few people have cherished.  I call them Urban Heirlooms. 

What’s the neatest thing you ever found? What did you do with it?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rambling Roses

If my life was a map it would be dotted with shiny red pins on many a territory,  from fashion student to milliner's apprentice to childrenswear designer to graphic designer, with some mind-numbing stints at some painfully corporate offices (trademark research? Muzak dispatcher?  Division of Motor Vehicles? Really?), but also some memorable training on how to be the best receptionist that a budding fashion designer could be, learned from the world’s best secretary with a heart of gold, a deep southern accent and a torrid history with acrylic nails…

Well, all the design stuff did stick for 17 years.   (The rest was just a means to an end) But as the fashion industry changed, I found that so had I.

So here I stand on the brink of something that could be as wonderful as I’m willing to make it.  Working for myself!  It was 7 months ago when a co-worker and I exchanged knowing, sympathetic glances across the parking lot and he looked questioningly at the plant I was holding.

“Don’t ask,” I laughed. “I’m taking him home.  He’s outgrown this pot-- he’s rootbound.  He needs to be re-potted.   I think it’s a metaphor for my life!”

Well, I did leave that job to invest my time in something I felt passionate about-- my leatherwork, hunting antique skeleton keys, designing, creating, collecting, and conceptualizing—all the things that make me giddy.  This blog will be like a garden that will grow and develop as it pleases.  If I water and nurture it and keep it in a sunny place, it will ramble like a rose.   As will I. ;)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...