Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Trend? Floral on Black

Christopher Kane Fall 2010.
I'm a big fan of Christopher Kane. He takes an idea and runs with it. He sets trends. I loved what he did with gingham!
So I was skimming through the runway designs at and was stunned when I saw this.
Collective consciousness at work?
I'm sure.
Are some of us on some big cosmic highway of inspiration? Yes.
Do some of us scour the internet for ideas?  Yes

Kathleen Crowley and Jon Weiss:
Its a good idea. Jon and I did this project 5 years ago or more. We wanted to make clothes with this floral on fabric idea and this was our floral on black experiment - but we were broke and couldn't move forward to take it into fashion or the next level. Story of my life. I'm not bitter or anything. Really - I'm not! (I cant do designering like Christopher Kane - oh no I cannot) I cant get ahold of my friend. I hope  he will not be upset if he ever sees this. The idea would not have taken hold at the time anyway. Its all about $$ and timing, now isnt it.

This happens all the time. Good ideas are everywhere, but not everyone can carry that idea off, and some can do it better than others. I love what Jon and I made, and I like what Christopher Kane did too. I wish I could protect some ideas better, but thats the breaks. In fashion, you just cannot. At least in the U.S.A.

Artwork (hand painting on fabric) Jon Weiss
Model: Samantha Emanuele
Photo: Kristine Adams

Monday, July 26, 2010

RIP Darlenes' Fabrics

Another fabric store closed its' doors today. I did a lot of business with them and they used to give me great deals when they could. Darlene's on Mission Street is gone. I guess they will still sell down in San Jose, but I dont get out that way often. That will have to change, I guess. And I will be depending on buying supplies in LA more and more. This isnt a bad thing, its just not as conveniant as running down the road and buying that ivory lace that I just  ran out of. But what am I saying........I'm leaving town anyway!

So buy fabric. Sew. Use that sewing machine. Its a skill that you have to practice, like dancing or throwing a basketball. Just do it. If you don't, we will have nothing but cheap, ugly clothing at Ross to buy. I'm serious. There is nothing more satisfying than wearing something that you made and having someone come up to you and ask you where you got that skirt/dress/hat/pants/whatever.......

There just are no excuses. The stores have great sales - get on their mailing lists! The styles nowadays are not so difficult that with a little determination, you can make yourself a cute little dress. The pattern books are full of basic patterns that you can learn to work with.

This reminds me that I will offer sewing lessons to anyone willing to come out to Crockett. Maybe I could make it like a day long workshop thing so that you feel like you actually accomplished something. Light bulbs have clicked on over my head - can you seeeee the glow?

Now I have to go cut out the last bit of lace that I have and pray that I can find more somewhere. I will, but  this sucks.

Go wander the aisles of your closest fabric store and see if anything stirs your imagination. Feel the textures. Soak in all the hues and tones of the color pallet!  Hold the fabric up to your face and stand in front of a mirror - discover what colors suit you. Maybe you will get inspired!

If you dont buy it, it will all go away.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We're A Happy Family

We're a Happy Family
We're a Happy Family
We're a Happy Family
Me, Mom, and Daddy

I FINALLY got a chance to go visit my son and his new little family Sarah and baby Ivy.  They are a really cute threesome and I wish them much happiness and longevity in this crazy world. Maybe Ivy will save the world. They say certain things skip a generation, so she may just give them a run for their money. Well, they always do anyway, don't they.

So this was a whirlwind trip. Kristine wanted to drive up to visit her family and I just have not had the funds for traveling this year, so I hitched a ride. We didn't get much sleep, so I was basically brain dead. But we did it. And I'm glad we did, because I have no idea when I'll get the chance to go up there again - maybe not until next year. I would like to do Cues and Tattoos in the spring if possible!
                                                                  Handsome Haydn

Of course, every baby is the cutest baby in the world, and although I'm not one of those people who gushes over babies ( I like them when they become little conversationalists and can entertain me)   I think we understood each other - they say a lot with their eyes.

Movin Out To The Studio Of My Dreams

Look at all this space! 

I did it. I got my storefront/live/work space and Im moving out of San Francisco after 20+ years of hard living! I'm heading to Crockett, California next month. Im done with hard living. I want deer and quiet and a big place to work with a community that cares for its' surroundings. While there is a lot to be said about city living, Im tired of a lot of it, and I'll be coming in for socializing, dance classes, and supplies quite often. I just get to go home to peace. Thats the plan anyway. I have not met the neighbors, but I hear that they are nice. It will be a bit of an adjustment, but Ive been wanting this for a long time. Of course, reality is never how you picture it to be, but Ive got two of my Salome's Suitcase sisters in town with me there. One on each side. Stitchin, Bitchin, Coffee, and maybe a trunk show or two. Why not! You know you'll want to make the trip - its such a cute little town and nice little road trip! At any rate, the place isnt huge, but I think it will be perfect. I have room to make this work. I'll be more creative. The price is right. Its charming,  Ive got a washer and dryer and a yard. I can make it really sweet in here.
Yes, I can make this work just fine. A little paint. A little love. Workshop in the back. Salon in the front.
Fabric, mirrors, artwork and merchandise. I simply cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sitting On The Fence Sale!!!!!!!

If you have been sitting on the fence, thinking about having a pair of Sampants - or one of my Fluffie things made, I am taking 15% off of my Custom Etsy goods for a very limited time only.

The last time I had a sale, I got seriously overwhelmed - that's not going to happen this time. This 15% will just knock the price down to about where it was before I had to mark them up. But a mark down is a mark down and if this helps you make a decision, then, GREAT!

I'll only take a limited number of orders on each item. So go for it!

Please read all info carefully when you order. Wait time is the same.
Thanks! XXX

Dancer: Brenna Crowley

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Road Trip!

I'm taking a few days off and heading up North to finally see my Grandbaby, Ivy Skye.  I am pretty excited about this as its hard to get away and she is 6 months old already. Kristine and Spike and I will be driving through the night - we will both be doing our own separate family reunions..........I have to leave a few orders hanging as I couldn't get them done before I leave - but I'll get back to it on Monday. Ive been cranking out the work for the last two weeks - furiously. "Careful Cranking", I would say, as I hate to use that term. I'm not doing production. I'm sewing up some odds and ends that I cut out ages ago or using up some fabric before I move, but no production.

I think it must be confusing to people at can I be working on all these orders and then work on other stuff???? Well, to be honest, my Gemini brain needs constant stimulation. Call it ADD, call it being a Gemini, call it what you will.........but I seriously need to keep my brain from getting bored. And when I do the same thing over and over, I get depressed. If I put down one project to work on another, I'm making my brain happy. And then when I complete all these projects, I really feel like Ive accomplished something. I fought this process for years. But when I came to peace with it, I was happier. There is no one right way to do anything.

Now this can get out of control, and it seriously has a few times. Ive juggled so many things that I accidentally drop a ball now and then. An order overlaps another order and they both have to be done at the same time . Things like that.

My goal now is very obvious to me. I have about 10 designs that are marketable to several demographics, and I need to start putting them into production and making them more available. About three of them can be sold as patterns for the sewer. Ive known this for a long time, but I felt like my hands have been tied with no forward movement available to me. So I'm taking baby steps. And that's all I'm saying on the subject for now. I just mainly want to design and oversee and free myself up for some sample sewing and custom sewing. Now that this is so obvious to me, we'll see where I go with it.

But first, I'm gonna go get some baby kisses.

And if any burglars are reading this......our cats will kill you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Be Careful For What You Ask For .....................

Because when you are begging the Universe to give you a much deserved break, It might actually be listening.............

I have not signed the papers and handed over any monies yet, but I am going in and doing so next week. I got my Live/work storefront..........I am so happy and grateful, but I dare not get excited until everything is signed, sealed, and delivered. I still have to cough up a lotta dough. This may not have been such a huge issue a while back, but as most of you know - the economy has hit us all pretty hard under the belt. If I didn't think that I would be able to grow and prosper in this new workspace, I would lie low and hibernate for a while. I would carry on as Ive been doing. But the bottom line is that I do not have enough space, I cannot work as long and as hard as I need to each day (thin walls, ceilings, and floors = sensitive neighbors) and I have not been nearly as productive as I absolutely must be. So it will be a win/win situation! Its in the cards - the cards say its a green light/go opportunity!

I have been and am putting a lot of things up on Etsy as time really is simply a matter of finding the time to do it all. I'll have skirts and pants, aprons, zil bags, pasties: New things that Ive made and have not had the time or desire to list and older things that have been in storage and will be sold for a song..........some will make great Xmas gifts. (And please dear Universe, don't make me have to haul this stuff around any longer!)
I have prices listed, but the higher ones are not necessarily fixed in stone. I am willing to dicker and if we can come to a happy place price-wise, its easy enough for me to take the item down and invoice you through paypal instead.

Consider it a bit of a clearance sale. I was thinking about putting the custom items up for sale in limited quantities - but that may have to wait until I move and settle in. It really got out of hand last time I had a sale!

I hate moving. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it - I love my roommate, I love Spike, I still love San Francisco, so for me to move AGAIN before 2 years are out means that things are just not working for me here. And if it isn't working for me, I cannot be efficient. And it means that I love where I am going........

So if you have been waiting on the fence to purchase something from me, I am in dickering mode at the moment. Please know that your purchase will bring me closer to my goal: to be efficient, to step up processing time on orders, to have room to grow and be creative, to help keep local, Indy business alive and well!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cleavage Next Time

 I'm trying to show how its really important that a corset fit you properly. I put this one up on Etsy because I love it, but it doesnt fit me. I weighed more when I made it and I never really did fit it to myself  properly. I needed a rush job corset. And thats what I got. Although I enjoyed making it - every step of the way - I'm supposed to have cleavage. At least some. The back isnt supposed to meet like this.
 Someday, someone will love this. This person will buy it and he/she will be transformed. Until then, I'll have it on my mannequin and stare at it lovingly. And when I do find time to make myself another one, I'll do it right.
 Sometimes the iphone camera does a good job. It makes me all fuzzy and I like that. But I really need to go get a camera.

A Day In The life Of KCCC

My perfect day would be to wake up refreshed every morning, have a good piping hot cup of coffee as I sit down and answer all my messages and emails. This would only take an hour. Then I would have each hour blocked out - sewing time, packing time, phone calls, shopping time, lunch, dinner, stop at 6pm and then have time for a relaxing evening.

Well, this never pans out. It never works out this way. Ive tried and tried and tried. Its just the nature of my business to be chaotically organized. I work til I'm too tired to work and I work 7 days a week if I have to. ( ok - its called being a workaholic - I admit this!) I AM actually very organized. Just trying to do the work of 5 people at the moment is all, and this can make me look disorganized. But I know where everything is. I know who needs what, I know when orders are due - and I try to be very honest about how long it takes to make things. Its a "custom" garment biz that Ive going on here - and a ready to wear - and a Bridal. I love it all. And it all overlaps at times. It has to. But when I'm focusing on YOUR item, I really need to focus. So sometimes we have to wait until these two talented hands can complete something nice for you. I had a friend not so long ago tell me that she never thought of me as an organized person until she saw me getting ready to go vend somewhere. Um yes. You must be very organized. So if I appear silly or goofy or laid back........I am also very aware and very serious about what I do. When I win that lottery - WATCH OUT WORLD!!!!!!
Reality: I have a mountain of work to do. I have to get new orders. I'm behind in some of my older orders. Ive got a bag of packages that need to be sent, I have patterns to draft, merchandise to sew up for Etsy and SF Mecca, supply orders to make, shopping to do, patterns to clean up for production,  places to be, people to see, admin, admin, admin..........and I sometimes wonder why I do this to myself. Why do I want to be trying to run a business all by myself - especially in this awful economic climate?

Ive wondered this a lot lately. Is it worth it? Ive spent sleepless nights wondering about many. many things. I even had hives for a few weeks.
Note the circles under my eyes:
But what it comes down to is that I love my job. I love it almost more than anything. I will continue to feed it and nurture it and make it grow. I love the life that Ive carved out for myself. I love my customers - many have become my friends. While, when I'm not flush, its hard to go out and have fun. Hell, its hard to make ends meet...........but the rewards are insanely wonderful. (and I'm sure not the only one feeling the pinch these days!) And when I am flush, life is pretty damned great!

 I can sit around in pretty things (or not) and make more pretty things. I can help make people feel good about themselves, I can repair and alter garments and give them more life. I am actually helping out the planet by doing this. I can take almost every scrap of fabric that I buy and create something out of it. I can give the rest to someone else to make something . I hate waste.......... I'm proud of myself. I don't have a boss - well, my customers are my boss - and they are very good supportive bosses for the most part. They keep me on my toes. I'm very lucky and blessed by all the support.

I am loving myself and my life and wearing pretty things today (and this is my good angle):
Ive been trying to hide it, but I have not been happy with living in San Francisco. Not for quite some time. It has been for me like living with a bad boyfriend who gives you hot sex and makes it hard for you to go. but he just isn't there for you and can be abusive/controlling/manipulative. Its been a 20+ year run and I don't regret any of it. There were LOTS of good times. I could - and should write a book. Seriously. Ive had many, many, many "interesting" experiences! But its not the town it once was, and while I'm sure that I will always be surrounded by the interesting and unique experiences that life has to offer, I would like to try them outside of the city limits now. I need a change of scene.

And while I love my roommate to death, we both need more space. The deal was that when we moved into our current flat, I would go find a workspace and not work in the house. But then the bottom fell out and the economy tanked. EVERYTHING that I have looked at was overpriced and way too small. Obscenely so. And I'm tired of this, I need a good workshop. You can see by my photos that I need more space. I need room to move and room to grow. I want a beautiful shop where people want to come and have fun, not worry about parking, not worry about the "element" if you know what I mean.

And when we sat down to discuss this, it was all good and we decided to go on a road trip to Seattle next weekend. Now thats a good roommate. No, thats a good friend!

Also, a few weeks back, I had had just one too many run ins with the down and out on my block, and while, God bless em - they checked out long ago and I'm sure it wasn't always their fault ..........something clicked inside and a big voice boomed out of my mouth -"ENOUGH!!!!!!! I'M DONE!!!!!"
 Last week, I filled out an application for a live/work space about 20 minutes from the Bay Bridge. Far enough away to be away from the City Proper and close enough to run in for supplies, friends, and dance classes. It would be a win/win situation. I'm just waiting to hear if I get it. I sure hope I do. But if not, its the first step towards healthy, positive changes for myself and for my business. I'm ready for a new life. Something else will come along if I don't get this little oasis that I lust applied for.........but the Universe has told me GO and I am listening this time!  The push is ch ch cha  change are a brewin! I'll keep you posted!

In the meantime, its work and life as usual. But "as usual" is never usual. It is different every day!

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Price We Pay

“If you think excellence costs too much, wait til you get the bill for mediocrity.”
— Benjamin Franklin


And that is all there needs to be said.................. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th Of July!

I love Betsy Ross. I can identify with her. Not so much on a flag waving god bless america level, but because someone influential came up to her with a cool project. The pay probably wasnt great, but it sounded good at the time and she got her name out there.

It happens like that.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bright Feels Right

I'm so into white right now. White lace. White organza. White silk, White velvet............I'm not sure why. Perhaps I just need to fend off the darkness with a shield of white! Summer is here, people are getting married. The days are longer. White feels fresh. Bright feels right. So I'll just go with it til I'm on to something else!
Ive just posted some pretty white and ivory pants and skirts on Etsy. In between sewing up my orders, I'll make some more things to post soon. I really like having the balance of making up orders and making new things to sell. July is feeling more balanced in that way so far. I'll be vending at SF Mecca with Salome's Suitcase, so lets see what I come up with for that!
 I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday weekend. Happy Fourth Of July to all my American friends! And to all my British offense........we just needed our space! XXX