For The Man Who Has Everything

A colleague of mine with a penchant for fancy socks is retiring this year.
To honour him, I was commissioned to create a bouquet of…. socks.

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It was exactly the kind of challenge I love!
I spent a week or so thinking about how to go about it and then I sat down and got started.
I had six pairs of socks, so ended up with twelve “blooms.” Each sock became a single flower. After some trial and error, I ended up using some embroidery thread to gather each sock, using a running stitch along the bottom of the sock and pulling it tight. You can see in the photo where I stitched each one, indicated by the red dotted line.

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Once each sock was gathered, I just wrapped the gathered edge together, using the toe as the centre of each flower. A few stitches secured each one in place and soon I had twelve rosette-style flowers.

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What do to for stems? I decided to use a black button for each flower’s centre, securing it to a paper straw with a dab of hot glue (I stuck the shank of the button into the opening at one end of the straw). Then, I slid the straw through the centre of the rosette; the button stopped it from falling out. A few more stitches of embroidery thread through the paper straw and the sock to hold each flower together and, ta-da! Twelve sock roses!

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Next up, I used garden twine to make a French-tied bouquet and then tied on a jaunty polka-dotted ribbon I’ve been saving in my stash for just such an occasion.

When he is ready to wear the socks, all the recipient has to do is snip the embroidery thread (I was sure to use contrasting colours so that it would be easy to see) and unfurl each sock. The perfect bouquet to extend the length of time between loads of laundry!

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My colleague was delighted with his bouquet, I am happy to report.

Hop To It

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Recently, I was overcome by the NEED TO SEW SOMETHING. It had been far too long since I had made anything from scratch and I was longing to get out my sewing machine and some fabric. Serendipitously enough, I stumbled upon this post about Mandi‘s home-sewn bunnies.  Aren’t they adorable? I couldn’t wait to make a few of my own!

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I put my own spin on the size and shape, but I really loved the mis-matched eyes and the quirky personalities of Mandi’s bunnies, so I made sure to give my funny bunnies similar.

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These ones will be making their way to some little ones I know and love. This weekend will see me whipping up a few more in order to get them off to their destinations in time for Easter.

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What are you up to this weekend?

Wares

The final installment in my little retrospective of my crafty wares stall of last weekend is a look at both the most and least successful of my products.

So, the memo boards? HUGE, ENORMOUS success. First of all, I priced them (low) to make them affordable to students. And they went nuts for them. It started with the boarding school girls, all of whom hang white boards on their bedroom doors (remember doing that in residence at university?). They LOVED the memo boards. They spread the word. Which then took hold like wildfire. Of 40 memo boards, I have 3 left. Will definitely do them again.

Not a hit? The MAGNETS! What? Hello? I have no idea why not– little bits of sweetness, I thought they’d sell out. I suspect that a weird psychological thing (yes, that is the medical term…) happened: I priced them too low and, thus, instead of thinking, “Hey! What a deal! Those’d be great stocking stuffers/look awesome on my fridge/locker, etc.”, people thought, “Those are so cheap they must not be any good.” Either that or they thought, “Ew. Those are hideous.” But they were rhapsodizing over how cute they were, so I just don’t get why they didn’t really buy them…. Guess what everyone I know is getting for Christmas?! 🙂

A few people bought my sweet little gift tags, but not many. I love these– I loved the ones I made with 1920s slang sayings on them, in particular (after they failed to sell last year, I have been using them on gifts I’ve given over the past year).

What the market wants– it’s a mystery. Go figure. 🙂

Have a great weekend; Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks!

Go Figure

Every year (for the past 5 or so, anyway), I make aprons to sell at my little stall. They have, historically, been a HUGE hit. They are made from tea towels and pretty grosgrain ribbon and look very sweet on, while simultaneously being very hard-wearing. I think the latter is an important factor in an apron; I have a growing collection of darling vintage aprons, but I am always a bit afraid to wear them, as they are far too precious to ruin by getting cooking mess on them! The tea towel aprons solve that problem as, if they get dirty, they wash and dry like a dream.

People buy them by the bunch, stocking up on them to use as hostess gifts and stocking stuffers, birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. In preparing my wares this year, I found I had only a very few aprons left from last year, so I made sure to make about 40 more aprons.

And hardly any of them sold. Not very many people wanted aprons, not even my regulars. Not even people who told me they couldn’t wait for my stall so they could lay in their yearly supply of aprons…. Weird, no?

Oh, well; I won’t make any new ones for next year– I already have a good stash on-hand!

I also sold some of the bias-tape bracelets and vintage button hairbands and barrettes I made during my sabbatical year (when I had time for hours upon hours of hand-sewing!).

The bias tape is made by Liberty of London (insert swoon-fest here) and I bought it in France at La Droguerie, a store that delighted and gutted me at the same time; the former because it was so gorgeous and full of beauty and inspiring ideas and buttons and buttons and buttons and every kind of perfectly divine notion, the latter because it would never fly here in North America because we are so unwilling to pay what beautiful things are worth…

(Please excuse the blurry photos: bad lighting + cell phone camera = not the clearest pix.)

First Fig

Here are a few pictures of my attempts to make a little corner of a very ugly and unwelcoming space look cozy and inviting, a fitting home for my little wares this past Saturday.  Setting up the display is half the fun for me, and although I find the hideousness of the space frustrating, I try to see it as a fun challenge, rather than a liability.

Or so I tell myself. 😉

The sodium arc lights are ghastly and make everything look horrid, so I thought I’d bring a bit of my own mood lighting this year. It didn’t really work, but it made me feel a lot better; at least I knew I’d tried!

Button Up!

Ever since I was about 12 years old, I have had a thing for fabric-covered buttons. I still love them. When I was doing my desk space make-over, I wanted some way to carry the fabric into the accessories. I had some magnets (from the dollar store!) hanging around and some coverable buttons left over from an earlier project, and since I knew the buttons would be crazy-pretty covered in the Lily Ashbury fabric, I just fiddled around until I had something I liked.

Here is a wee how-to, in case you want to make your own.

I had so much fun that I made 40 sets of 3 to sell next weekend at my annual little booth at our school fundraiser!