Monday, November 3, 2008

Pictures from Northwood Boutique

Here are some pics from my little 6x10 space at Northwood. I did fairly well here, and of course the LuRay hankies were one of the most popular items. Another favorite was my variety of aprons (pics of those later). I have a medium sized white Christmas tree, but it takes too much room so I got this smaller size. It turned out to be just the perfect size, and when it's lit up it has a pale pink tinge to it. Several folks asked me if it was a pink tree, and everyone loved it!

The lavender sachets and stocking sachet ornaments were also popular as they usually are this time of year. They look pretty on your tree, or so sweet as a gift for your best friend. I was also scouted for an invitation only event in December, so that is always a nice compliment. That's all for now!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Northwood Boutique was Yesterday!

Well, yesterday was the Northwood Boutique. I've done this show many years ago, and it's very obvious that the current economy is having an impact on folks shopping. Attendance was down, and alot of the people attending were looking, but not necessarily buying. I can totally understand this as we are all being very careful with what money we do have.

A bright spot is that I think I did better than alot of vendors who were there. It was a fairly successful show for me and I got to meet some incredibly nice people. I also had a large variety of items selling, but of course, the LuRay hankie line is always a favorite!!!

I took some pictures of my booth and will post them later tonight. Have to get back to my economics homework now...yucky class! Not my favorite subject :-)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Machine Scare!!

So...the same night I cut my finger...see previous machine started binding up. I have an Elna 7200 which I just love. However, a few months after I got it, it had a catastrophic bobbin case and hook/shuttle failure which required many $$ and specialized expertise to fix. Ever since then I've been really nervous when something binds up. So...I'm running transparent thread, and it's running just fine. For some reason, it's just starts binding up. When I pull the bobbin plate off, the entire case is shifted. Now I'm worried the timing is off again. Holy cow, what else can happen??? So...I pack it up and get it ready to take in.

However, do you remember me mentioning I have a show? So...out comes the old reliable Singer 301. Gotta love her...tried and true. My son asked me why I was using it and I told him I was going "old school" and he said "sometimes old school is the best school"...he's building a '55 chevy truck, so you can see why he would say that. This is my faithful machine that was given to me by my grandmother over 23 years ago. In fact, I picked up another one a few years ago as a second backup. I even learned how to service and oil this myself. we go on the 301.

Now, here is my Public Service Announcement for quality thread. I took my machine in two days later expecting the worst, and it turns out the old Coats and Clark cotton thread I was using was causing me issues. Apparently according to the store staff, it's made in Mexico and is not high quality. It has high and low spots, leaves lots of lint in your machine, and ball up (that is when it's not breaking). If those balls get in your tension discs, they throw everything off and bind you up. Inez (the manager) put some high quality thread in from the store and she ran like a champ. I went straight to the fabric store and bought several large spools of the good stuff. How was I to know I was using the bad stuff? It looked good...come to find out that is because they put a coating of wax on it to make it look good. So...USE GOOD THREAD!! Your machine and your projects are worth it!!! the maching is baby burp cloths for my holiday show. Aren't they just the cutest?

Rotary Cutter + Finger Tip = OUCH!

So...I was sewing like crazy last Saturday, trying to get things done for a holiday show coming up in a week. I was cutting through some very thick webbing with my rotary cutter, and like a dummy, I was using my small ruler. Of course a small ruler makes you place your fingers closer to the cutter. I'm cutting away, and I grazed my finger. Nothing big, just enough to shave the outler layer - made a little shiny spot. I think - whew, I could have really cut myself.

So...I change rulers, right? No, of course not. I thank my lucky stars and keep on going. Then it happens...ouch!!! Cut halfway through my fingertip with the rotary cutter. Actually left blood on the cutter! So, I grab my finger (don't want to look) and I run downstairs. My husband is watching football or some other sporting event and I calmly ask him to help me. I can't look at it. We wash it off and I have to keep pressure on it and keep my arm up. I tell you what, I have a very high tolerance for pain, and it still hurt like heck!!! So, lucky for me it was a new blade, and the cut is very clean. We hope for the best, otherwise it's off to emergency on a weekend night..not a good experience. Here is a little pic of my beautiful finger the next day. Just looks like someone drew a line on my finger with red marker. It's now a week later and it's looking better. The wierdest thing is that my finger tip above the cut is still numb...cut all the nerve endings. Only time will tell if I get teh feeling back right there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Is it Friday Yet?

Thank goodness it's Friday! I'm going to be busy sewing again for my show in two weeks. But...before I can get to that, I have to do my homework. In addition to my day job, and my little business here, I am a full time student. I am suffering in an economics class. While I want to understand the economy more, I just don't see why I need to know the slope and the curve and all the mad calculations you need to get there!!

Stay tuned for new pics of the studio this weekend. It's finally totally installed, my back was killing me though. Now I'm trying to put stuff away and work at the same time. I must say I love having a seperate desk and sewing station. I can pop over to the computer every now and then in between seams.

Ok, off to bed now...what a week!

Friday, October 10, 2008

New LuRay Hankies are Here!

I've just had a visit with my lovely friend Carolin, the creator of the Luray Collection. She releases limited production runs of the most gorgeous vintage handkerchief designs. I've just picked up a new batch of them and will be adding them to the site in the next week. Of course there are gorgeous roses and other florals, but don't forget the fabulous Christmas hankies. I just love them! Here is a picture of some of them...and don't forget the hankie pillowcases! These would be great gifts for teachers, friends...anyone!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Ok, so I know I'm a bit late on this...but I discovered the show "Heroes" this week. I came down with a cold and found myself not feeling at all energized. Since I was taking a quick break from school, I decided to check out the show and see what all the hype was about. Thanks to the wonder of the internet and episodes online...I'm almost through season one! I find myself drawn in. I won't say it's my absolute favorite yet, I reserve that for 'Alias', but I do have to say I'm hooked. Ok...that's my sidebar for today :-)

Finally...I have a label!

Thanks to my dear friend and fabulous designer, Ali Regan, of Miss Alis (, I now have a great label!! Between the little hearts, there will be a colored rhinestone. My buddy Tami from 3 Barrels Up ( is my crystal benefactor. She has all the prettiest sparklies! So, in two weeks, I will have professionally woven labels on all of my items.

What have I been up to? I am on a three week break from school right now, so I'm trying to use my nights to get my studio finished and get sewing!!! It's Friday night and I'm finally feeling motivated to get in the studio, so hopefully I will have a productive weekend. I've been away lately due to a very stressful two months at my day job (these are the busiest months of the year)...but I'm excited to 'get back on the horse' so to speak!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

What happened to July and August?

Thanks to all of you who've emailed to see what the heck happened to me! I am doing just fine, but have been so busy with the rest of life. I haven't been able to spend alot of time on the business lately. However...I will be ramping up over the next few weeks for the holiday. I'll be posting pictures from the studio as I work like a crazy woman!

So...why have I been preoccupied? Lots of things. We've had some medical emergencies in our family that we've been focusing on...sending lots of positive energy that way. My day job (marketing) has been insanely busy and will continue to be through the end of the year likely. I'm not complaining...this is one of the things about marketing I like! Of course there is school. I'm a little over a year away from completing my bachelor's Christmas I'll be home free. Of course there is my wonderful family. I try to spend all my extra time with them. My boys are 15 and 17, and growing up so darned fast. Gotta stop to smell the roses before they're gone.

A fun side husband and I took our first "no kids" vacation in over 14 years. We went to Las Vegas. I get to go to Vegas for work, but it's always trade shows, and it's so much work that once you are done with customers, booth set up and tear down, etc, you just collapse. This time we went just for fun and had a great time. We had such fun just hanging out with each other, and when our 2 1/2 days were up, we decided to be spontaneous and booked new flights and stayed two more days!! We had such a great time, we're going back again in December between Christmas and New Year.

That is all for now...will be posting again regularly. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful support!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where's Susie??

You know, kind of like "Where's Waldo"? Well, it's been a crazy busy few weeks since I last posted. The studio is still in chaos, but working it's way back to normal. In fact, I'll be mounting some cabinets tonight. In the midst of all this chaos I've had to hunt for supplies to fill orders!

For the past week we've had abolutely gorgeous 70 and 80 degree weather so I've been trying to enjoy that as much as possible. We've waited so long for summer to finally arrive! Tonight I hng out with my husband on our patio swing...I'm such a little kid, huh? I also have a son who is now in driver's ed, so we've been doing alot of driving as well.

As for Vintage Susie, I'm hoping to be getting some of the new Ava Rose fabric by Tanya Whelan. I absolutely love her designs. My other favorite is Heather Bailey...these gals are so talented! Today I took a quick trip the quilt shop...can't resist a sale! I got some gorgeous fabric there. Of course my normal florals, but I also happened upon this killer oriental design...big flowers...kind of Amy Butler looking.

I'll be posting new pics in the next couple days, so check back!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some Studio Pics...The Joy...The Mess...The Joyful Mess!

(I apologize for the funky spacing...I don't know why the software is doing this). Ok, so I spent some more time trying to put things away. Oh my gosh...I have so much stuff. Goodwill is going to be happy to see my trunk - I'm determined to edit and get rid of things I don't use. I know there's a much happier home for them out there!

Here is the first promised picture. Don't you just love the layout? There is my $20 sewing corner desk...what a deal! A good wash and a new glass drawer handle was all it needed. Behind it I have a snazzy little magnet board from Ikea that I've dressed up with rose applique magnets (crafted those too!) Dang, I'm in Martha Stewart mode :-)

This next picture of the continuation of the sewing's the part I made myself and then my original white desk. Again, just perfect (not by accident...I have many hours of painstaking calculating and planning to get to this place). Directly above is a bank of cabinets I pieced together from Ikea as well (love them for a budget). I actually started in the 'as-is' area and found the style cabinet doors that match my wardrobes (pictures of that side of the room later this weekend). The price on each of them was over $50 (just for the doors!!), but because they had a few bumps, I got them for $8 and $5...such a deal! I drug my finds back to the cabinet area and matched them up with the right frames. I think that whole upper bank of cabinets (with shelves) was about $100. I'm going to keep watching for those deals and hopefully put more cabinets around the other wall above the sewing machine.

See the little blue filing cabinet there? That's the one I wrote about in my previous post. It was a whopping $15 at the thrift store but was the worst 70's icky mustard yellow...this perky little Robin's Egg Blue paint did the trick! I even took the chrome off and polished it all up. I just love it.

Here is one last picture of that end of the room. I'm so thrilled with will be so functional and wonderful compared to what I had before.

The Studio...Continued (Oh...and I'm 40!!)

Ok, first of all let me say that I am now 40. Holy cow, I didn't know that the day would ever come when I'd actually say I'm 40. Ok, so I don't feel any different, just feel like I should look around and be thankful for what I have...and that I've made it 40 years! to the studio. I will post another picture soon. I have been working like a crazy woman and it's coming together very nicely. In addition to the score of a sewing table, I am using my old desk as well to make a u shaped work space. But I had trouble with the remaining area, so I made my own surface. Mission accomplished, and for a fraction of the price.

I also wanted a filing cabinet, but not one of those cheap ones that bends if you look at it sideways. I wanted a sturdy office strength one, so I stopped on by my local thrift shop and found a fabulous goldish ick colored cabinet. Had great clean lines and chrome trim. I brought that baby home, stripped it apart and put a gorgeous Robin's Egg blue color on it. A bit of polish made the chrome shine and now it's full of goodies in my space!

Ok...enough for now. I'll post more in a day or so with some pics...gotta get to work putting it all away now!!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Studio Under Renovation

Ok, this post should really be titled....I HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF! So I got this bug to reorganize my studio and make it more efficient...little did I know I was opening a can of worms. I've been shopping the past two days between IKEA and the thrift store to find what I need. I found a gorgous rose frame that will make an awesome bulletin board. The ultimate score came at a thrift store though. I was going to try to find some cool cabinets or tables to make into my machine desks. Didn't see anything at all...until I hit the last row. There it was...a white corner table with dual machine cut ins and lifts. I couldn't believe it...and for $20! Ok, you probably can't guess how excited I was, but this was exactly what I was looking for!

I have these wonderful wardrobes from IKEA that just needed some accessories, so I after two trips there, I only needed one more thing... the rest of the desk. I couldn't find what I needed so I headed to Lowes to get in touch with my inner carpenter. So, supplies in hand, I figure I better get some of the many, many, many tubs of fabric moved out so I can get right to it in the morning. I've planned two full days of hard work...yikes, what was i thinking? lovely teenage boys helped transport all my wonderful goodies to the other room. It's a much smaller room, but still a reasonable size. Of course they had to make comments along the, "wow, you have way too much fabric" other favorite was "you just need to give a bunch of this to goodwill." Of course he's talking about my $9 a yard fabric!

I have to tell you I'm just a bit overwhelmed and depressed after looking at how much stuff I have and how much work I've just made for myself. we go. As embarassing as it is, I'm going to give you the play by play pictures. If I'm not dead tired tomorrow night I'll post again with some new pictures!

The first pictures are after we removed alot of totes and such...the third picture is all that stuff in another room...YIKES!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Arlene's Apron...Cookies Anyone?

I have met the most wonderful people since opening my store at Vintage Susie. Two of those people are Arlene and Terri. Arlene (at RetroBoutiques) loves all things retro. She was especially lusting after a retro apron to wear when she hosted dinner at her house. Terri (at Artform Nails) wanted to thank Arlene for all the work she'd done on her site, so she did a sneak attack and ordered an apron for Arlene. Not just any apron...a vintage styled one. Getting to know the girls a bit, I began to hunt through the mounds of fabric I have to find just the right one. Here it is!! I used a retro 40's style blue and red with a vintage dishtowel for the pockets. Finished off with red ric rac, I just loved it...happily both Arlene and Terri loved it too! Thanks girls!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Blog Miss Ali

Don't you just love this gorgeous design? Miss Ali (Ali Regan) of Miss Alis, is the one I have to thank. She is a lovely gal in Australia who I had the fortune of discovering on the web last year. She did my initial web design and the refresh, as well as this gorgeous blog design! If you need any work like this at all (including business cards and more), please contact Ali - she is absolutely wonderful to work with - you won't be sorry!

In fact, check out some of her gorgeous creations (she sells through Boutique Mama)...I just love the Rich Chocolate...hard to resist buying that one!!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Lady...Dressed for the Ball!

The lady is now dressed properly and ready for the ball. I just love the way it all turned out. I still do not have my extra crystals...which will add a whole new drippy layer to the bottom of the chandelier, but they will hopefully be waiting for me when I get home from work tomorrow!

The shades are custom made by moi...with Rachel Ashwel fabric I bought several years ago (can't remember which it was) shabby chic! There are seven shades total and all are trimmed with gorgeous white trim too. My teenage boys don't seem as excited about it as I am, but too bad for them. I feel like such a girl in my studio walls and all. Did I tell you my husband says it looks like Pepto's actually a Martha Stewart color I believe.

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this very long story. The past two weeks have been so much fun. Now that it's done I'm on to the next project. Re designing my studio (have to showcase this baby!)

My New Baby...She's Gorgeous!

Ok, so I told you about my chandelier, right? First, let me tell you this is a long story…but oh, so worth it!!! I’ve added lots of pictures (remember those books with all the pictures when you were a kid? It was always better with the pictures!)

Chapter 1: Gem in the Junk
So, about two weeks ago my mom and I decide to venture out on a Saturday for our neighborhood garage sale (we live in a huge master planned community). It was supposed to be 90 degrees that day, so I was ready. Cash in pocket, air conditioning running in the car (too big to walk), and lot of room for goodies. So, we are about two hours in and my mom sees this chandelier sitting in a heap of cut wires and half attached crystals…totally covered in dust and grime. My mother pushed me to buy it…she knew I had been wanting one for my studio for a long time. I wasn’t very into it, I admit, but the more I looked at it I thought it might look good. I would take it apart and paint it white and then see what we had. So, for $30 I took the chandelier and a baggie of extra crystals and went on my way. My mom seemed to be much more impressed by it than I was. (By the way, the guy had two and offered them to me for $50 total for both…dang…once you read the rest of this, you’ll know why I’m now wishing I took them both). Side note…I found out that they came out of a restaurant, well known to our area, while it was being remodeled.

Chapter 2: Bath Time!
So…after a full Saturday of garage sale bargain hunting, I came home with some fun stuff… crocheted doily, some great racks for my ribbons, and this hunk of brass and glass. My husband couldn’t quite understand it. He didn’t see the potential beauty that my mother and I had. So…as he went off to work that evening, I set about putting all the extra crystal on. I realized that some were missing to I strolled over to the next neighborhood only to find the other chandelier had sold. I thought that I could at least use the extra pieces. So…I took it all apart and started the first bath of the crystals. All I can say is WOW. Even after just one bathing, these were gorgeous. Where I thought there was rust from cheap pinnings, I found that it was just grime next to brass pinnings. This was looking like a quality piece as I got farther into it. Next I grabbed a washcloth and thought I’d get the brass clean so I could paint it. Holy cow…the brass underneath was like brand new. In fact, by the time I was done, it was so pretty and gleaming. There was no way I was going to paint this one.

(pic of crystals on towel)

Chapter 3: Who Made This?
I love to know the history of an item. In fact, I think it’s incredible therapeutic to take something apart, give it some TLC and lovingly bring it back to life. Of course it appeared that I would need to rewire this. It had the old cloth covered wiring, but couldn’t be too old. My guess was 1970’s or so. As I looked at the wiring I saw the name Schonbek in the canopy. I don’t know much about chandeliers, but I did know this wasn’t on you’d get on sale at the local hardware store. So, I looked them up. Wow! These chandeliers are top of the line, in fact, the company has been in business for 130 years and was bought my Swarovski last year. I did a little more research and found that if you call their parts department they can usually provide replacements. So…now I’m really intrigued. I finish cleaning up, and decide to call Schonbek as soon as I can.

Chapter 4: The Diamond Emerges
I email Schonbek and find out that they do indeed carry the replacement wiring I need. In fact, the person I was speaking with (Brian) said if I took some photos and sent them in they could verify whether or not it was one of theirs and get me some info. So…I “dressed” it in all the crystals I had (took an hour) and then shot the pics. I emailed them that night…with a list of questions. And as if by magic I woke up the next day to find a PDF of the original paperwork for my baby. So incredibly pretty on the drawing, and too cool to see all the crystals and where they go. In fact, I found out that my chandelier is from the “Orleans” collection and debuted in March of 1979 (I was right about the 70’s!)

Chapter 5: It Cost What?
Next it was off to the parts department to speak with Shauna. What an angel she was. She did a little research and found out that if my chandelier were to sell today, it would probably be in the neighborhood of $1,400! Can you believe that? Yikes!! In fact, I found some similar to it on the web and they were more than that. I know that if I wanted to (and I don’t) I could put it up on Ebay and get at least $3-400 for it. Shauna tells me that it is indeed Orleans model #1638, seven arm brass chandelier. She then tells me how much for all the replacement crystals. So…I order the wiring first…have to rewire it. That arrives over the holiday weekend. I take it all apart and bathe the rest of the pieces on the center of the piece and put it all back together. Ok, now we’re talking…she’s coming back to life!

Chapter 6: What do I need?
So…now I take a full inventory of what crystals I have (against my paperwork) and realize I have too many of some and not enough of some (remember the other chandelier the guy had…I guess I got some extra from there and not enough too). So…I take some of the extras and see what I need. In a very McGuyver like way, I take those apart and very carefully repin and create some of the missing pieces…dang, I’m good :-)! Saved myself some cash there! So, now I place my order for new candle slips, some crystal beads and 12 crystal pieces…three of them are biggies and have three pieces to them. I actually paid 2nd day air to get them here by this Saturday…wow, I guess I’ve changed my mind on how much I thought I would originally like this. It was meant to be I think.

Chapter 7: Installing it in the Studio
My husband says he’ll install it for me, but being the very Type A, go..go..go person that I am, I can’t wait. Heck, I’ve installed lighting before. So…I take the old light down and realize really quickly that there is no way that this thing is going to hold. The junction box is not on a stud, in fact it’s attached to a funky metal bracket. The only way I know this is because I unscrewed it (which I shouldn’t have) and now I can’t get it back together. Dang it!! And, we have that icky blown in insulation so now it looks like it’s snowing all over my fabric to boot! Well…had to tell my wonderful darling husband what I did. So…he spends 20 minutes carefully finessing the thing until he gets it screwed back in…whew! Heavy sigh of relief there. Of course it still won’t hold a fully loaded chandelier that weighs a whopping 35 pounds!! Picture a light bulb going off over my head! I get a swag hook and thankfully there is a stud close enough for me to swag it over (just enough wiring) and we’re good to go. Yippee! I add the light bulbs and pray that the socket wiring is good…flip the switch and “we have light!” I LOVE IT!! Anyone who sews knows that your iron takes a good lot of wattage, so I cross my fingers, turn it on and hope that the circuit doesn’t blow. Success!!!

Chapter 8: The Home Stretch
I decide that we probably could use one more bath before my little baby gets all dressed up, so once again I wash and air dry all the crystals. Then, I get home from work and decide it’s time…let’s put it together. So…I load them all on (with the help of my handy dandy diagram). It’s already looking so lovely. Still missing a few crystals, but I’m hoping that when I get home there will be a package for me…would have to arrive a day early, but we can always hope, right? Well, they weren't there, in fact, they are delayed in transit! argh!

Chapter 9: Delicious!!
Here she is, (minus the crystals still on the road) all dressed and ready for the ball. Only one thing is missing…custom shades. I’ll be making those this weekend and will post a picture for all to see. In fact, I think I might start offering these as part of my line too. In fact, I once did a custom tropical barkcloth set for a lovely man in Miami. So…like the Mastercard commercial says:

One Chandelier: $30
Replacement Wiring and Crystals: $97
My Gorgeous Baby Hanging in the Studio: Priceless!!

Thanks for hanging in there with me through this incredibly long story. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!!


So, my studio is just an insane mess...I get into a creating frenzy and the scraps just start flying!! So, I finally got to it and got the place picked up. There were two reasons to get things picked up...ok, maybe three! The first was to get to a place where I could actually sew again. You know, I could actually see my sewing machine from under the piles of cotton. The second is so that I could start to envision my new set up. I'm going to build in a whole new work area at the end with sewing stations for both the machine and serger. Don't know when this will happen, but I'm dreaming about it right now.

The third and real reason for the clean up is to showcase my new chandelier. vintage Schonbek chandelier I found at a garage sale. I bought it, did a lot of cleaning...hours...and now it's ready to hang. I have some replacement crystals coming, but for the most part it was pretty complete.

Watch the blog in the coming days for pictures of the process as well as the hanging masterpiece. I'm going to be making custom shades for it as for those to be offered on the site in the next month or so. I'm going to try to get some work in know, after the day job ends and in between the schoolwork! I will be glad when this degree is done!

Monday, May 19, 2008

My First Post!

I’ve been thinking about doing a blog for some time now. Several months ago I was searching for tips on an Amy Butler Weekender Bag I was about to begin making. I found a blog (can’t remember where now) that documented the person’s journey while making this bag. I say “journey” because that is what it was…it’s a love hate relationship with that bag. First I hated it (while making it), then I loved it (after using it)…and I’m almost ready to try another one.

Anyway, I digress, which is common. So…I thought it was cool that I could benefit from her experiences on the bag and avoid at least a few wounds along the way. Then I thought…how fun would it be to talk about the things I’m making…not only the items for my website (, but also those that just strike my fancy. My husband would be thrilled to not have to hear the story about the barkcloth I found and the four people who owned it before me…and so on (I love the history of things). So…here I am!

What can you find here? You can find my ramblings, my latest and greatest finds (vintage chandelier post & pics coming soon), and new products as they come to life. There might even be a few pictures of my crazy studio…which is always in a heap of fabric...and who knows what!! Thanks for finding me here and let me know what you think!