Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping up

Debra from Monnie Bean's Folk Art asked how I keep up with keeping ahead of the seasons.

It's not always easy and I work differently from a lot of designers and crafters. As many of you know, I advertise in Country Sampler magazine and the ads must be placed 6 months before the issue reaches the news stands. Because I have to make items to send in for the advertising, I always make at least one extra of each item. If I'm not tremendously busy filling orders at the time, I mentally stay in that season long enough to cut out and do the machine sewing on at least a dozen items for that same season. I might get a few finished but my goal is simply to start them. That way when it's closer to the right time to finish them....I have a huge head start and it seems almost easy!

During the last 10 days, I finished 2 witches and 4 pumpkin people and I still have several scarecrows, a wizard, and 3 more witches started BUT I have to wait to finish them because......

I have to have 3 items to finish for a Country Sampler ad so they're ready to mail by July 25th. These are for the Dec/Jan issue so I'm planning on an angel and 2 snowmen. I'll be working on them this weekend and as soon as they're done, I want to cut out clothing for some of the 11 Santa bodies I have finished and sitting naked in a box in my studio. I made some of these bodies back in January, 2 in February, and the rest when I was making the dolls for my Oct/Nov (which is the Christmas issue) Country Sampler ad. As soon as the clothing is made..I'll go right back to Halloween (because that's the next holiday), get the started items finished and 8 to 10 more cut out and the machine sewing done....then I'll switch gears again and get the Santas dressed. Why do I jump back and forth? It seems less like production sewing when I do that. I've also noticed I dress them more creatively when I don't do them all at one time.

How do I work on Christmas and Winter items when it's so hot outside? I have several tricks. My studio is air conditioned but before it was--I'd turn on 2 window fans on opposite sides of the room--both directed at me. I'd tuck an ice cube in my bra and I kept a bowl of cold water and a wash cloth handy to wipe my face...often. I was chilly enough to believe it was winter. Playing Christmas music and even having a Christmas tree nearby help a lot too.

The snowman and lady in the photo are made from a felted wool sweater (remember when your favorite wool sweater got tossed into the washing machine by mistake?). I've just listed them at Country Fried Primitives. Hope this answers some of those questions and feel free to ask more.......It helps when I don't know what to write about!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Meeting a new friend

I received an email earlier in the week from a lady from Ohio that listens to Prim Sisters Talk Radio. She and her husband were traveling from Chardon, OH to St. Paul, MN for the holiday and a family reunion and was wondering if the trip would bring them close enough so we could meet. We arranged that she would phone me when she was within 100 miles and We would meet at Country Spirit, a shop in Tomah, WI. We spent about 45 minutes together and had a great visit. Both her husband Tim and my husband Tom were there and talked almost as much as we did.

The photo on the right (took a lot of retouching to make it even visible--my husband took it and must have had his finger over the flash but......)is Carol on the left and me on the right.

The photo on the left is Carol's shop in Ohio. Carol owns Farley's Country Store in Chardon, OH. She makes the most amazing folk art creations. She was taking gifts to family members in Minnesota. You should also keep up with her blog...she's promised me she'll post photos of her wonderful dolls and critters. Her blog is listed on the left...Butternut Creek Folkart.