Saturday, April 25, 2009

Inspiring Fabrics

Between Group and Private lessons, I'm wiped out by teaching for 7 hours today! But what fun we all had. The kids in the afternoon class just didn't seem able to settle down to sew their various projects, so I gave each of them a piece of fabric (all different) and drawing paper and set out tons of colored pencils. They spent the rest of the class designing by the inspiration of the fabric. They moved from garments of all sorts into bedspreads and curtains to redecorating their rooms based on what they saw in the fabrics. The stuff they came up with was amazing. Sarah had a sapphire brocade and designed a dress with brass details going down the side in a very updated chemsong. Jenny did a dress and then her room while Jadah focused on combining fabrics to use the flowers in one fabric as 3-D appliques on another for a bedspread. Morgan was inspired to create a flowing top and then sketch out her plans for a sewing room at home.
Man, I love these girls! They are absolutely fearless in what they attempt to do and the results are always impressive. And I love the way these girls have bonded and encourage each other. Gives me hope for the world.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday night...

So, here I am at the Studio taking a break from winding and labeling the yarn I plan to sell at the Main Street Festival which I'm doing as I run the printer to print out copies of the Studio's brochures to take with me when I go next Thursday to be the speaker for the Sigma Beta Phi Dinner and for Main Street Festival.
The day started with meeting Kristina and Tami at EZ Storage to pull costumes for Cyrano so I came back here with a ton of garment bags and bins of shoes and hats to sort thru and start arranging fittings for.
One of the prom dress girls came in for a fitting today and unfortunately didn't have the undergarments needed to really do a fitting. We scheduled another fitting for next week with strict instructions about going to see Mary at Bra-La-La for these necessities. Shoes, too!
After all that, I worked collecting the stuff I plan to sell. I've got so much yarn and fabric and I'm running out of space! So, I've been sorting, measuring, labeling and deciding what to sell.
And the bags and boxes I ordered for the Kids Craft Kits arrived today! I love it when my suppliers ship UPS because the guy on my truck is so nice.
Okay, I guess I need to declare this break over and finish the yarn project while another 100 sewing lounge brochures finish printing....then I'm going home to eat! I'm starving.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spirit of Baltimore Cruise and Synergy

I'm excited! I signed the contract today with Sharon Harris to be one of the experts/vendors on the Women's Health and Beauty Cruise she is organizing. I've spoken with her on the phone a couple of times but today is the first time I've actually met her. She's a real dynamo and we hit it off right away.
So when's the Cruise? Saturday, May 16th! Tickets are $60 (group rates available) and there will be Speakers, Vendors, Fashion Show, Freebies and much more! We'll board the ship at 11:30 am from 561 Light Street in Baltimore and Cruise from Noon till 2 pm. Book now! Space is Sharon at 443-545-4901!
Hooking up with Sharon was one of those syngery things. I had a dentist appt and on the way out afterwards, I picked up a free copy of the Women's Journal. When I got back to the Studio I started flipping thru it, cut out her ad and called. She said she'd love to have me on the cruise as the fitting expert and wanted to see my Studio. She came today and loved the space, the peace, my designs and we brainstormed on some things. Just goes to show you never know which way a good thing will come to you. If I hadn't gone to the dentist I might never have met her and I see lots of good things coming from this for both of us.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Etsy Seller Showcase!

I'm so excited! I was just at my on-line Etsy store ( ) and was browsing around the site and realized that the golden denim pants I listed is part of the Seller's Showcase!! Here's hoping that someone loves them as much as I do and buys them!
I have great hopes for my Etsy store and my first sale was for a wrap skirt that I shipped to England! Learned a lot about customs shipping that one! And, best of all, a satisfied customer and a 100% positive feedback rating!
Gotta go, working on costumes for Cyrano!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Busy Days Tidbits...

This has been a week of meetings! I've barely touched a sewing machine all week!! But, all the driving time has been productive with ideas springing up and some new design concepts and business possibilities coming to mind while I auto-pilot.
The Laurel Board of Trade had a Business Forum on Monday night and yesterday Tim Gelles from the PG Gazette called to interview me about it. Glen Garnes had done a presentation about a new program he is trying to start called It has good possibilities if done right and could be a win-win for local consumers as well as the participating businesses.
Tuesday I met with Peg Silloway of Silloway Press about some ideas I have for sharing my skills and expertise with everyone and that was followed by a meeting with Chad at Ranazul about going into their art gallery. That looks really promising and I'm looking at a time frame of somewhere between September to November for mounting the show. I'm planning lots of goodies for that.
Someone at Business Women's Network thought it would be a nice change of pace to have a breakfast meeting! I am NOT a morning person so getting there at 7:30 am was a challenge but I'm glad that I met it. The meeting was great and informative. And from there I had to rush to the Laurel Board of Trade Ex. Bd meeting back in Laurel! Most of the discussion was about the upcoming Main Street Festival and the annual Farmer's Market that will begin in June.
And of course, if you do it once, you can do it again, so I went to the Business Seminar hosted by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce so I could learn more about Constant Contact. Much as I hate early morning meetings, it was well worth the effort. Gina gave a really informative presentation.
Altho it was only Thursday, I was feeling pretty TGIF by last night when I attended the Baltimore City Community College Fashion Design Advisory Board meeting. Sue Lenderking was there so we talked about the upcoming Dress Form workshop she's going to do here at the Studio and the possibility of adding a pants class early next year..maybe sooner. I'm happy to report that the ups and downs of the program seem to have steadied and the program is now thriving.
Today really is TGIF and I only had one meeting, sales reps came to the Studio to show me some of the most delicious embroidered silks. One of them triggered a design in my head and hopefully I'll be presenting it to you soon!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes, Yuck!

April 15th, taxes due! It's unbelieveable how much data entry, tracking, analysis, thought, worry, concern, angst and time goes into keeping books for a business. If I were a larger business and had a finance dept, maybe I'd feel different about it, but being the chief cook and bottle washer as well as CEO, CFO, Admin Asst., and boss lady, I burn a lot of midnight oil trying to not get too far behind on it. Needless to say, 4/15 is marked as a red letter day on my calendar but not in a good way.
For those of you starting out, here's a piece of advice I paid $150/hour for....get QuickBooks Pro in whatever the latest version is. Then, find an accountant or bookkeeper who doesn't trigger your gut reaction alarm and who is affordable/knowledgeable and a whiz with QB. Not all accountants are, so you really do have to ask them if they are truly competent with the program. If they are QB Certified, even better. It's worth the price to have them set up your Chart of Accounts so you can get off to a good start from the get-go and not have to go back and correct a year's worth of data. If you are opening a business like mine, it's considered a non-traditional business and there are special considerations that affect how the chart is set up. Feel free to ask me any questions....I've already paid to get the answers.
Whatever accounting program you use, even pencil and paper, will require a learning curve to get it set up and use effectively. I've been using QB since 2005 and finally was forced to upgrade to the 2008 version and I'm still learning how to do things. But, as frustrated as I get with having to do it at all, I do get good information from it and it does print out beautiful, informative reports. Which does make filling out the tax forms easier.
But it's still not on my list of favorite things to do!
As compensation for doing all this accounting stuff, I've promised myself I will do something FUN!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day Before Easter

Just finished shopping for little doodads to put in an Easter basket for my little Samantha...her first Easter! Now to get it all together and pretty! I plan to wrap the handle in ribbons and then put a small spray of flowers in the center of the bow. And of course, artistically arrange everything in the basket.
Gone are the days when I made all the chocolates for the baskets and dyed and decorated dozens of eggs. I really miss those days, especially now when I'm so busy all the time running the Studio that everything seems to be a blur and I'll suddenly realize that someones birthday or a holiday is only a day or two away and I don't have time to do all the little special things I used to do. So, I seem to scramble a lot to come close to what I want to do and feel guilty that it's not exactly what I wanted to do, but all I had time for.
I emailed a friend the other day and said I was trying to be more focused in planning and doing for my business, no more pinball. She emailed back that I'll always be a pinball. Now I have to prove her wrong!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Crowns and Jessica

My daughter, Jessica, invited me to go with her church group to see Crowns at the Lincoln Theater in DC this past Sunday. Wow!! what a show! The cast was fabulous and the music got your toes tapping; the energy flowing back and forth across the footlights was, well, energizing!
With all my involvement with theater over the years, I find when I go to a show I watch it on several levels and so sometimes miss things as a result. The set design for this show was simple and set pieces seamlessly flowed around the stage. The lighting was intriguing and created moods to suit each scene. Of course I spent a lot of time focused on the costumes and thought I recognized a few Butterick/Vogue vintage pieces. I loved the color choices and the style lines of each. Makes me wish we still dressed like that. I remember the elegance you felt when you put on a hat and gloves on a Sunday morning and truthfully, I miss it. The disposable clothing of today just proves that you get what you pay for and constantly replacing cheap clothes gets expensive over the long run. But I digress!
At times I watched how the lighting design changed the mood on stage, others I focused on the hats and costumes. Then I would watch how they moved the set pieces to change the scene. A couple of times I missed things in the plot because I was watching the lights.
The women in Crowns are based on black Church ladies and their hattitude as presented originally in a book of photographs and stories by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry. If you are looking for a great show this should be on your list to see.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

It's been a while since I've had the time to write on my blog. I guess that's a good thing, means I've been busy. So far the first 3 months of 2009 have been a blur of Inaugural gowns, costumes for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company....Country Wife is eligible for a Helen Hayes Award and we're all crossing our fingers for a nomination! Lots of little and not so little jobs and now I'm into Prom season.
I'm working with several girls to create the prom gown of their dreams; and these girls can dream big! The gowns will be gorgeous when completed and I'll try to teach myself how to put photos up here for you to see.
I've been working on items to add to my Etsy store and with Jessica's help, a few of them are now up. Guess what!? My first Etsy sale was to a lovely girl in England! I learned all about customs shipping that one out. And now with my son in Iraq, I get to fill out custom forms a couple of times a month.
Since it's almost 3 in the morning, I guess I'd better go home and get some sleep. I promise not to take so long to write again.
Happy morning!