Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Twas the night before Christmas, I'm glued to the tree. I'm wondering what Santa brought just for me. Could it be cardstock or kits or lace? Or a Chopper, I said, with a smile on my face. And that's when I heard him, "Hi Santa" I said. "You know....good little girls should be in their beds." "I know I should Santa, and now I've been caught, But I was just so excited to see what you brought." "Well, let's take a look in this room where you work." He shook his head quickly, and left with a jerk. I heard him exclaim as he put it in gear. "You've got enough crap, I'll see you next year!" Author Unknown
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Well, I've certainly been MIA on this blog! It's that crazy time of year, but I've finally finished up my November shows, and yesterday, I sent off my goods to an all month show here. I calculated that I made up 80 new scarves, and 20 new hats for this year, and quite frankly, I'm really tired of sewing up those! Back to primitives and making my favorite...snowmen! But before I can sneak back into my studio, it's time to get that holiday shopping for the little one taken care of. This year, it's all about Legos! Yep, my girl has a secret love for Legos. Have you checked out these lately? Legos has creative and detailed kits that build up houses and have 3 different designs in the same box. They're really quite fun to put together! Well, this year, I discovered a couple of newer designs, one which is a detailed toy shop, and the other a really cool bakery. Love the baker dude taking out that large loaf of bread out of the oven, so cool! The wonderful thing about these kits is that they teach your children about following directions and beyond that, being incredibly creative. My daughter has taken the kits she has and created a coffee shop (LOL, she has my passion covered!) and homes enough for the entire neighborhood now residing on our coffee table. They don't consume a lot of space, are fun to create, disassemble, then re-create, and there is so much more detail to these that ever before. And finally, Lego is developing more creative ideas that appeal to girls, so it's not just about Star Wars and Bionicles anymore. So, this Christmas, it will be fun to create a whole little community together. Who knows, maybe we can put together a little storefront with lots of primitive snowmen and santas and dolls, oh my!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
When I first ventured in to the world of selling handcrafted items 7 years ago, I designed and created my own line of scarves and reversible hats and hit the small show circuit. Customers flocked to see my product, and I sold more than I could possibly have imagined. It was such a wonderful way to start out, knowing that my idea was so well received. Every single year since that first one, my scarf and hat sales have increased.
Recently I learned that my major fabric supplier is closing for good. I buy their fabric at about 1/3 of the cost of getting the very same thing elsewhere. So, I stocked up , and have enough now for about a year, but after that I will either have to drastically raise my prices on these items or stop creating them all together. Neither option sounds good to me.
I understand that nothing lasts forever; it's just sad that so many good, local businesses are fading away. They take the time to get to know their customers, and provide the best customer service around. And, like a good friend, we count on them to always be there. So, goodbye my friend, this long time customer will miss you!
Monday, October 18, 2010
It's here! Time for the OFG Winter Holiday Celebration! Wow, there are SO many items for this celebration, and they are so unique and beautiful. Find them all by typing WHCOFG into the search bar on Etsy.com. I have put together a collection from the celebration on this treasury this morning: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4cbc6a5856068eef347bed6b/santa-baby-hurry-down-the-chimney. Hope you'll take a peek! There is so much incredible talent in this group!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Gosh, it's been a while since my last post. I've been stitch'n away the hours in preparation for an upcoming craft show and OFG celebration. These pics are just a few of the items I've been working on. It doesn't take much time to get them done; however, when you're making several of the same thing, it can feel like it takes forever!
It's such a wonderful time of year with the autumn leaves changing, cool crisp mornings, and the rain. Oh yes, the rain! I love those days, as I don't feel too guilty about hibernating in my sewing sanctuary with a wonderful apple spice candle flickering about, hot coffee, the pup snoring on his bed, and the hum of my sewing machine in action!
That is, until someone wakes up refreshed and ready to play! Hope you have an enjoyable week, and keep checking in my shop for new items. I'm listing something every other day, and these will all be new items never seen before at Happy Valley!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Are you afraid of color? So many people are afraid to paint a wall anything other than white. My hubby was like that, until he saw just what one can do with the right color. Now my choice of color isn't very traditionally primitive, but I propose that looking at color on your walls and what it can bring to your decor be done outside the box. Saying that, I'm now confessing to my choice for my kitchen and family room...purple. Not bright or even dark, but a soft medium tone that balances out the wonderful wood tones of our cabinets and furniture. At night, the lighting casts a darker greyish tone that adds to the soft character of the room. And warmth...well, this is a color that really makes one feel cocooned in pure tranquility. And I can't find a color to accent in this room that doesn't look great with the purple. When I made this transition, I was actively involved in a MOMS group, and had many get togethers with this group at my home. New in this home, I was always painting a room anything other than white. So many of these women were taken back at the idea that I would actually choose purple as a base color, but once they saw it, they wanted to change their own homes. So many were just too afraid to try a color on their walls. But, this is the easiest, and really most inexpensive change you can make to your home. And, it's reversible! If you don't like it, change it again! Decorating gurus will tell you that the right shade of black on the walls will have the same effect. The dark subtle tones of your walls can really bring out the beauty of your furniture and surroundings. It's an amazing transformation. So, if you're looking to accent your beautiful primitives and furnishings with a backdrop that is fresh and different, consider purple. I've had it in this room for about 7 years now, and I haven't grown tired of the color at all. It works, it's versatile and it's me!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Just wondering if there's a place out there where crafty folks go that have lost control. As I sit here in my sewing studio, I'm facing the dilemma of having more than a few "collections." One of these makes any new visitor to my santuary gasp in, well, I hope it's awww, and not...this girl needs an intervention! I literally have a wall of buttons. What doesn't fit mounted to my enormous cork board is tucked in pretty decorative jars and when those got full, I moved on to baby food jars. Then there is a box in my cabinet stocked full of vintage buttons still on cards from long ago. Oh, and a paper mache box is full of odd buttons too. Wow, maybe I do need help.
I've tried to use them up. I have a button framed message board above my computer, as well as one for my business card collection in my studio. These are super easy to create and take on a style of their own. So if you have a few buttons that need a home, why not try this idea.You will need a cork board with a frame, any size will do. I find these a lot at yard sales for next to nothing. Now find that beautiful piece of fabric that is too small to make much with. I had this paisley cordoruy remnant, and would recommend that you not use too thin of fabric, since you'll be pushing pins into it a lot. Remove the cork from the frame and wrap the fabric around it so that the front is straight and has no creases. You may need to cut out the bulk in the back corners to get the smooth look on the front and to fit the cork back into the frame. Then either staple or use heavy duty tape to the back of the cork to secure the fabric. Now take out your glue gun and get ready! Dump out those buttons, all sizes, shapes, textures and colors. Hot glue them around your frame covering the front completely. Don't work too hard on color selection, as it looks better if you just put this together real randomly. I also built up the buttons in a few spots to completely cover the wood frame. Pop back in the cork and hang your message board up! Super easy!
And one last thing, if you look closely on mine, you will see a few empty spots. Well, I'll admit that this message board has been the perfect place for me to find just the right button for a project now and then...cause maybe like shoes, this girl just has to have just the right look! LOL!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
I'll admit...I actually really enjoy being a vendor at a crafts show. Last year, I did over a dozen, some weekends with two at a time! While it was hectic, I really enjoy presenting my products to the public. Folks are still just as wonderfully friendly, and they reinforce my commitment to delivering a quality product at a fair price. One thing I actually spend a LOT of time putting together is my booth. Presentation is so important in drawing in a crowd, and since the Pacific NW doesn't have too many primitive shops, it's really vital to grab their interest quickly. I've read just about everything I can find on how to present your products, but I do have a bit of a quandary. I sell a diverse grouping of products, and sometimes I even get together with a friend or two to have a larger booth full of different items. The best method I can think of is to separate the items with stand alone areas so as to give the shopper more of a 'store' like experience. Scarves/hats over here, bags there, and primitives everywhere else. This year I'm venturing into selling more ornaments, as I have a couple of shows that seem to do well with inexpensive items. So how shall I display them? In the past, I've put out my alpine trees and themed them. Last year, one had only snowman ornaments and one had Santa, reindeer and related items. Sometimes when I didn't have so many ornaments left, I merged them onto one tree. This seemed to work at some shows, as it kept the items at about eye level. However, this year, I'll be having a larger variety of ornaments and am trying to figure out the best way to show them off. Build a display piece with hooks and keep them all together? Put them in baskets around the booth? Or stick with my tree idea. One thing I know I'm changing is to put bed risers on my tables to elevate them. Nothing bugs me more than having to bend down to see something, since my knees are weakening with my advancing age, LOL! Anyway, if you have a great display idea for me, please share! Sometimes a fresh set of eyes can really help a girl out!
Monday, September 13, 2010
I just love shopping at thrift stores, and I'm so fortunate to have about 6 within a few miles of my home out here in the country. They are real popular in Washington, I guess, because when I lived in Oregon, your only choices were Goodwill or the Salvation Army. In my neck of the woods, we have many shops that are ran by the senior centers, and boy are they fun to look in and find those forgotten items. Plus, they are cleaner and don't have, well you know, THAT smell. Because they tend to be smaller stores, they don't have as many people shopping, which is great for grabbing up sewing and crafting items. Here I say that after posting about purging my stash, LOL. Well, I look for specific things that are rather expensive at the local craft stores here, like crochet thread. I have found the most beautiful colors of heavy crochet or tatting thread at thrift stores, on spools the size of serger cones, and often for 10 cents or maybe a quarter! I always go through the clothing section to see if someone has gotten rid of an unusual wool suit or skirt that I can take apart and felt it for a cool rug background. And just this weekend, I found a HUGE assortment of curly crepe wool (great for santa beards), unopened stuffing, wood candlesticks, fabric (uh, oh!) and more pattern books (big uh, oh there!). Filled my trunk for under $20! And I'm in heaven, happy in my own little world of being able to work on my little hobby business on a shoestring budget. Plus it just feels so good to repurpose used items into new beautiful creations. Have a wonderful, creative day!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
For over a year now, I've kicked around the idea of selling my extra and unused sewing stash online. Well, today I finally began. This is NO small undertaking, either. I literally have 6 large boxes of books and sewing magazines that I'm ready to get rid of, and that doesn't count the ones I've already donated to Goodwill. I'll admit to being an avid pattern consumer over the years; however, now that my tastes have changed, I'm really not doing so much quilting and garment sewing. My tiny craft room is bulging at the seams (it rarely looks as clean as this picture shows), so time to take the plunge! More listings to come, and after I've delved into those, I'm off to purge some of my fabric and sewing stash and even yarn too. That's a whole closet issue. I knew it was time last week when I went in there and had a bunch fall on my head...those piles are a weee bit high for me! Here's where to find my new little shop on Ebay. Hope you can take a peek...who knows what you'll find! http://myworld.ebay.com/stitchninspired
Sunday, September 5, 2010
It's time for a celebration...Halloween style! My friends at OFG have put together so many special items for this celebration, which begins today through September 20th! To check out the scariest primitive decor around, go to Etsy.com and type HCOFG in the search box. I got a sneak peak at this talented group's work, and let me tell ya, you'll be amazed at the wonderfully creative ideas that came to life! Here are just a few of the items I made for this special event. Guess I'm really into cats this season! Hope you'll check out this fun event and find something wonderful for your home!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Well, summer is slowly leaving us here in the northwest. It's always an adjustment for me to really accept that once September comes, that's it. No more scorching hot days (anything over 80 degrees here)...in comes the rain. And boy, did it rain yesterday. One day early. Sigh.
We took one last little camping trip up to Birch Bay, WA, about only 1.5 hours from home. It was SO nice not to be driving forever, like earlier this summer. The first evening had the most beautiful sunset imaginable. The whole family was snapping away pics in the moments before that bright spot in the sky sunk into the water. We took an afternoon to venture all around the bay's edges, up around to the tip where the dock from our side is about 40 feet from the dock to Blaine. No one has built a bridge accross this short span yet to join these communities together, which seems weird, since they're so close. They still run a passenger ferry between the two docks.
Did lots of stitching for the Halloween celebration, which will be here before you know it! Now I'll have more time to work as school started today...Yea! Yep, that's me doing the happy dance. Enjoy your last days of summer!
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Many years ago, my mother commissioned an artist to complete a silhouette drawing of my two brothers and me. Each was individually beautiful, with their distinct black profile against the light background. Back then, it was all done by hand, no computer images and the drawing software creator probably wasn't even born yet. Oops, there's my age peeking out. Anyway, I've dreamed of one day creating a silhouette of my daughter's profile, but since my drawing abilities are next to none, I've never tackled it. I was flipping through books at the library this week and saw this idea from Alicia Paulson to create a silhouette art quilt. Hey, I just love freezer paper, and since that was the main component in creating a template for the picture to paint, it sounded like something I could do.
So first I took a profile shot with my digital and then printed it on my regular printer to the size needed. I traced the outline onto freezer paper, then cut out the center, leaving the outer part of the pattern intact. Then I ironed the freezer paper to fabric, shiny side down. and applied fabric paint to the pattern's hole, carefully working around the edges. You don't want the edges to curl up, so be gentle and work from the paper's edges towards the center. After letting it dry overnight, I ironed the piece from the back side to set the paint. The kind of fabric paint I had has some puffiness to it too, so once ironed, it added a bit of dimension which turned out pretty cool. The fabrics are all torn and layered a bit skewed, and then onto a piece of wool felt that has been cut with pinking shears.
That's it. Super easy, and it looks just wonderful on my wall. Best of all, my daughter loved it too, as some day it will go to her as a memory of a time gone by.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sitting in the bleachers waiting for my little one to get through cheer practice can really drag on, so I always try to keep my hands busy. These chair pads have been on my 'to do' list for a while, as we have 2 captain chairs in my kitchen/bar area that need some help to make them look just a little primitive. Right now they squeal 1980's with their gold accents, so I really need to give them a thorough painting makeover too. However, I'm really not much of a painter (except for my walls), so I keep putting that project off.
So for now, I made these and they came together pretty quickly, since all of the details are done in black, and the stitching is easy, portable and fairly relaxing. A little batting, some machine sewing, and poof...they're ready for the usual crumbs and spills that kids dish out. And now that my daughter has a fondness for my iced coffees, that should just prim them up quite nicely!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
As we roll through August, I'm reminded of the crisp fruit that is just about ripe here in Washington. Of course, we're known for being one of the biggest apple producing locations in the US, and boy, there is nothing like a fresh juicy apple! But for some reason, I'm partial to the shape and delightful colors of a beautiful pear. While the pear isn't my favorite to eat, it is one of my favorites to create. Recently, I picked up some golden hand dyed wool with all the hues of a luscious pear. I saw this painting project and decided that I would create it in wool, and I think it looks just perfect. The size is quite small, and it fits nicely on a tiny round end table that is in my entry hall.
Add a bowl of these painted muslin pears with cinnamon stick stems and you have a wonderful August display!
Hmm, maybe now might be a good time to head to the produce stand for some fresh fruit?
Monday, August 16, 2010
I have found a new love. The love of a beautiful place to store the multitude of pins gracing my sewing room. These little gems are made with wool and are affixed to teeny tiny tartlet pans. They make a beautiful display together; however, my favorite is the hydrangea (at the bottom, left). What a neat idea for someone who does a lot of stitching! These are available on my Facebook fan page under the "Shop Now" category. I've been working up a few more penny rugs to share soon and am starting my Halloween celebration items for an upcoming promotion. Whew, and it will be nice to have more time available once school starts in just two weeks. This summer certainly went fast!
Friday, August 6, 2010
Sometimes knowing that a friend is always there for you, no matter how little you get together or chat is worth so much. A dear friend of mine, Marie, is just that person. We've been through a lot together, growing at each stage, but there is one thing that Marie does for me better than anyone I know (other than my hubby!). She supports my desire to create in every way. Marie is a beautiful, creative person herself, and certainly could make most anything, as she continues to shine in her successful crafty businesses.
A while back we discussed a wool piece to reflect her three little lambs (aka girls). One who is 11 and 6 year old twins. I came up with this piece and finally completed it for her. It's made with hand dyed wool and the little lambs have been needle felted. The pink flowers are to resemble forget-me-nots, which have little stars in their centers (didn't know this until she pointed them out in her yard). Hope she likes it!
If you'd like to see Marie's work, check her out on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MarieR). She makes beautiful glass beads and art pieces that are known world wide!
Monday, August 2, 2010
As some of you know, my paternal grandmother was a big influence in getting me interested in hand embroidery. She is now 87 years old and still makes the most beautifully stitched tea towels. For years I have treasured the two sets in my possession, using one and keeping the other in new condition. As we embarked on the incredibly long journey to visit her a few weeks ago, I had forgotten that I had asked for a new set from her a year ago. Imagine my delight at receiving this beautiful set!
Now, Grandma doesn't just whip these up. She is VERY particular about the quality of fabric, size of the towel and makes sure that the threads are pulled before hemming to ensure a straight towel. These babies are starched and pressed to perfection after washing. The stitching is exquisitely perfect in detail, as beautiful on the back as it is on the front. Grandma often muses about the times in her early life that she was in awe of her own grandmother's talent at making these towels. What an incredible history of loving care. And as I listen to her talk of times past, I'm reminded of those afternoons spent stitching with her as a young girl myself. Her kind attention and encouragement always made me want to do more. They represent a special place in her heart and in mine.
Here's to you, Grandma. And if you're curious as to how she achieved noteriety as "Grandma with the red lips," well that's thanks to my daughter who remembers this very special lady by the beautiful smile she always has. Grandma just relishes in being known by this, as she's got a tale about her very first tube of lipstick that'll make you just giggle...times were different then for sure, but this lady is timeless to me.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
As a newer member to a great group of talented primitive artisans, I am just in awe of the beautiful items now available in our Autumn Celebration promotion. I hope you'll take the time to check out these by typing in ACOFG in the search section at Etsy.com. You won't be disappointed!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Well, I'm really kinda shy about tooting my own horn, but it's hard not to get excited when I get to create something cute and share it with everyone. I made this little fat Santa ornament for a Christmas in July themed tutorial at OFG, and hope you'll give it a try. My nine year old daughter enjoyed making these together and took most of the photos, since my hands were a little busy! Imagine a bunch of them on a festive holiday tree. Guess it's time to get busy and use up some more of my red fabric. Any reason to go through my immense stash is a good reason to get more, right?Find the tutorial at: http://oldfarmhousegathering.blogspot.com/. They are super easy and fast and don't have too much sewing involved. Hope you'll give them a try!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Well, we're back from a wonderful week along the Oregon Coast! What perfect weather and outstanding state parks to camp in. There are so many new things that the parks offer, like continual educational programs for children and activity books that teach about that particular area's wildlife and habitat. I'm sure they wouldn't like that we hand fed the wildlife, but the deer there were so tame. This brave buck gently took as much of an apple as he could. Nicole just loved the whole experience, and probably biked 100 miles by week's end. Of course, she never did get tired. Makes my old bones wish for that kind of youth again!
I took a tote bag full of stitchery projects, and only finished two, as I found myself enjoying those bike trails just as much, as well as walking on the beach. Nothing is more tranquil than that!
Now, it's back to reality and perhaps, payback. As I anxiously awaited returning home to a very ripe patch of sweet nectarberries, alas, the deer here made themselves at home during our absence. I managed to get enough picked before we left for one pie, but it looks like that may be all. Oh well. They did leave the rest of the garden to grow nicely while we were away.
Hope you get a chance today to enjoy the fruits of your labor in some special way! Mine will just have to be vegetables. :O)
Friday, July 16, 2010
This week has just flown by. I will see my little girl, Nicole, this Saturday, and am so excited as I've been really missing her smiling face each and every day. She is such a positive and caring young lady, and I sometimes wonder what I did right to deserve such a treasure. As we prepare to see her, I am thinking of the person who has been shaping my little girl's life these past two weeks, her Grandma, Linda. Grandma has been busy shuttling Nic to daily swim lessons as well as teaching her the techniques of riding a horse that has been specially raised for her. All this in an environment where it's been at or near 100 degrees every day! Goodness, that's a lot for a Grandma to do, in between handling her own daily work at their ranch. So, I thought it would be nice to put together a little something in appreciation for Grandma's hard work, patience, and understanding. This is an idea that utilizes a technique that I have ventured into lately and really enjoy...needle felting. I painted the clay pot a toffee color, then crackled it with a black top coat. The focal piece is blanket stitched osnaburg fabric with a layer of batting behind it. I needle felted the flowers all different colors and the pot in shades of turquoise and white. Some hand stitching for the stems and buttons, and then jute was tied to secure it around the pot. I found a beautiful striped miniature rose for the pot. Grandma will probably be able to grow this inside her house for a while (she has an incredible green thumb). Then I imagine a beautiful indoor cactus growing in it. She has those everywhere.This is a photo of one in bloom at our last visit. I have many special people who have helped to shape the development of my daughter to thank. Grandma Linda is just one of them. May you be blessed with many special people in your lives too!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Ahh, Monday. Hope you had a great weekend! Mine was productive shopping, working in the yard and, of course, sewing. Well, the sewing part wasn't so productive. In fact, it was down right frustrating. See this cute little mouse? Well, my intentions were to make several, so I got busy chain sewing those body parts one, then another...man I was just cruizing! Whew, now to turn them out and stuff away. A great job for TV time. Here we go...okay, um, try again, and once more, again (I don't give up easily)...huh? My itty bitty tweezers that have gripped and turned many a doll part could not make anything happen. The material I used was too stiff to turn these tiny parts. GRRR. I had to throw away all of it. Sigh. It's not easy to toss out an afternoon's work.
Now did I really want to make the darned thing at all? I'd already done up the candy cane, so I tried again with a more flexible material that managed to work. Got one done, and I think he looks great. I'm plugging away at the others now, and I still have a problem...they're all turning in such a way that they are now lefty's! Guess that's not so bad, since I'm a lefty!
Today is a special day though, as my sweetie and I have been married 23 years. Time has sure gone fast, but I'm so blessed to have this wonderful guy with me. May the people that surround your life bring you as much happiness as mine do! Have a great day!
Friday, July 9, 2010
Hello! And welcome to my new blog! I'm Ilene, and I have a little business known as Happy Valley Primitives where I create and sell my handmade stitching designs. Like to take a look at what I offer? Check me out on: http://www.happyvalleyprimitive.etsy.com/.
Today is, well, obviously, my first post. And as I sit here typing, I'm trying to think of what my next project will be. It is already time to work on the Christmas holiday items for my upcoming craft shows, and it'd sure be nice to feel like I'm ready for them this year. It's always a crunch to get just one more item made before a show. Guess I have that mentality because that last item made usually is one of the first sellers for a show, so it makes it worthwhile to stay up and get 'r done!
I'm a stay at home mom (SAHM), and, ahhh, enjoying a few weeks without my little girl as she spends some quality time with her grandma and grandpa at their horse farm. Don't get me wrong, I miss her a lot, but it's sure nice not to have to handle both of our schedules, shuttle her here, there, well, you know!
I'll leave you today with my latest table mat just listed in Etsy. I love making these as I can take them anywhere to stitch and they come together fast. Enjoy!