Monday, August 30, 2010

Aprons Are Not A Thing Of The Past

I found a box of aprons that I had made a while back (ok - several years ago). I had sold a lot of them, but then moved on to other things. I didn't want to make aprons for a living and it wasn't catching on like I had envisioned. But since then I have seen several adorable ladies wearing aprons over their capris and dresses  - one in particular was wearing hers at our Salome's Suitcase trunk show this August. I wish I had taken a photo.

So now that I have a wall to shoot photos against, I pulled them out of the box, ironed them and started a little photo shoot. I could only get to 4 aprons so I guess its just going to have to be a slow process. I started putting them up on Etsy at a lighter price. There was a lot of work that went into some of them, but hey, its an apron. And I need to clear them out for new stuff. They will be great for Christmas and birthday presents!
You can wear them with your pants and with your skirts. I used to wear mine with tassels over my dance skirts because they are so long and full. They really worked well for a certain gypsy-esque look and it made me happy! But as you can see here, Sandi Ball of Hi Beam Bindis is looking pretty happy and snappy in hers! Ok - snappy is kind of an old lady word, isn't it. Phat. They look phat. No that doesn't work, What is the new slang.........snappy. They look snappy.
                                                                        Cute. Very Cute!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Settling In

Ive been in my new space for almost 15 days now and for some reason I thought this move would go smoother than it actually did. It wasn't a horrible move, I just moved a lot of stuff - a whole lifetime of stuff all at once. Denial is a wonderful brain tool sometimes because if I had actually remembered previous moves in the past, I rarely did it all at once. If I had actually remembered how very stressful it is, I might have reconsidered waiting it out a while longer. No - what am I saying! I HAD to jump on this place when I saw it!!!!!!!  The days of loading everything I own in one car are loooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggg gone. It was hiring a big truck and movers and enlisting the help of friends. In fact, I still have some stuff back at the Albion house that I need to go get pretty soon. I still have more stuff!  Geese.........but the worst is over.

So Ive slowly been getting set up again and putting things where I want them to be - at least temporarily. I would like to paint this place, but white will have to do for now. Its more important to be up and running and getting my work done - getting a flow happening again.

I am very aware that I have back orders to fill and that my workload gets the best of me sometimes - almost there though.  It is the nature of this custom beast and the dance of the dressmaker/designer/costumer. Some orders take much too long. Some are easy to fill. If I rush, I make mistakes. And thats why things go wrong in production - everyone has to sew as fast as humanly possible. Mistakes happen.

Its been a very rocky year. Yeah, like THAT is news to anyone! When the economy shut down, it forced me into an awkward position of trying to do way too much all on my own and keep an income coming in.  If the economy had been able to remain in a somewhat steady place, my business would be running at top speed and orders would get filled quickly, new merch would be put up on Etsy more quickly, and I would have my patterns  out on the market. It has been very hand to mouth in KathleenLand - as it has been for most businesses these days. I have had to do things that I don't want to do - like raise my custom prices for certain items, not hire help, and search for new sources of materials because much of what I used just disappeared overnight it seemed.  It doesn't seem right - and its not. But that's the way the world works right now and I'm very grateful that I have a business that is still supporting me and a community that supports me as well!

It really worked well when I had my last little sale. I just shut it down when I felt I had taken in a few new sales and commissions - because this time I knew better than to keep it going for a whole month! So keep your eyes peeled for a sale now and then. I know it helps to save a few bucks these days!

I am still in shock about how much room I have to walk around in all day. I'm bruised from moving, but not from bumping into things that I shouldn't be bumping into. I go to sleep and sleep most of the night. I'm not woken up by bagel makers in the shop next door at 4 in the morning, or people fighting , or the girl upstairs stomping around at 3am, or people waking me up when they wake up.  I don't have street people bothering me on my doorstep or people peeing in my driveway. I have a lot of good memories of living on Albion Street. It was a lot of fun quite often there. We had many  people over and I liked living with Kristine and Spike and having Jessie pop in all the time, but now I clearly see how impossible it has been for me to focus and get things done in a timely way. I don't know how I did it at all. It was kind of madness in a way. You just cant work when sleep deprived and squished into too small of an environment. I know it made me very depressed, which I fought...........but this stuff affects everything.

So now, here I am with crickets and train whistles and good friends who share the same interests. I'm feeling organized. I think I know where everything is again. And I hope the universe forgives me for the last screwed up year and helps me to make my business prosper. Thank you everyone who has supported me in this endeavor to make nice garments that don't fall apart and that serve you well.

I found a bunch of aprons that I was trying to sell years back and I think I'll be putting them up on Etsy again to see how they do. They would really make great Christmas presents - and aprons are so NOW!
I have a big bag of Pasties that my friend Suzanne and I were making a long time ago - those should go up too. And of course, now that I found another source of lace and pretty knits, I'll get new things up on Etsy soon. But Ive got to tackle those back orders at the moment and get them sent off. Just trying to be honest here - its a one woman show these days. And sometimes Ive had to bite off more than I could chew - not on purpose!

I kind of put a bit of a halt on vending at events for a while (except for the three I did in August), but as I'm now feeling more inspired, I think I would like to do more of this on my own as soon as I get wheels - and with Salome's Suitcase, of course! We have Shadowdance lined up for the fall with a fashion show.........and Halloween is coming! I can feel it in the air! So much to look forward to!

One more cup of coffee and its back to work for me today. I'll be cutting out some new sampants with lace I think, Maybe a couple skirts. And if I can manage two Fluffie orders a day, I should be caught up in no time. I think I can.......I think I can........I think I can...........

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Almost Went Down The Rabbit Hole Today

 I had quite a fright this morning. But it all worked out in the end.

I'm all moved in and my cable is back on. Wow. Its a mess in here - but I love my new studio so much and its just going to take time to get it how I want it. I just have to be patient. My dear friends Lee and Katherine Summer have been helping me out and letting me use computers etc. til cable got installed this morning. The cable guy got me all worked up because he said he couldn't get a signal and that I would have to get written permission from the landlord to have them go under the house, put in a new line and drill another hole in the floor. I almost passed out. So I frantically called the new property manager guy to get ahold of the owner and of course, nobody called me back. Ive not been able to conduct my business properly for too long now and I could feel myself starting to teeter over the edge of the rabbit hole..............but then my cable installer miraculously got a good signal and I have faster speed than ever before. I just hope they gave me the right package.

Anyway, now Ive got to answer a million emails, put out fires, sell, sell,, sew, sew.........Moving sucks and it wasn't the easy move that I had anticipated. I was pretty organized, but helpers flaked, the movers were careless - all my orders were tossed around and it took forever to find things, they lost a big rug and a ladder. How do you lose a rug and ladder? Well, I guess you get what you pay for. And I didn't hire the best. I'm here, though. And  now that I'm here, I'm here for a long time. I'm not going anywhere. I'm putting down roots. This is it. The buck stops here. I'm home.

I get to hear the hum of the sugar factory across the street. Its a pleasant hum and it keeps that ringing in my ears at bay (use your earplugs, kids!) The train rolls by on the other side of the factory and blows its long, mournful horn. Its just far away enough that it doesn't shake the house, but close enough to be pretty loud. I LOVE it! I sleep like a baby! Its far enough from the fray that I almost feel like I'm out in the sticks somewhere, yet close enough to the city that I'm there quite a bit. Its great!

Not having a lot of access to the Internet was a bit eye opening. I didn't have TV. Just a crappy little cd player that skips if you play it at half volume. :( 
I answered what messages and emails that I could. But checking orders and invoicing was almost impossible. I have a lot of catching up to do.

So what did I do? I sewed. I finished up what orders I could, I went to the post office twice, I climbed out of boxes, I stocked my pantry, I vended and crafted, socialized with my friends, explored the neighborhood and found out that the main drama is the parking war with the sugar factory. YAWN - these people don't know what parking drama is....................and I came up with a new system for keeping track of orders and bettering the flow. I'll be putting this into practice soon. And I cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!

There are still a lot of boxes to open - things to put up on the walls.......things to put away.  But that can wait. Now I have room  to function. So I had better pull myself up off that edge of the hole and get to work!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Silent Sirens Theatre

There is a beautiful new show about to happen.When I first heard about it, and found out who was involved in producing it, I knew this was going to be a gorgeous peice of work. So you had better go see this one!

Salome's Suitcase will be vending at Silent Sirens Theatre  on August 25th  at the Brava Theater. The Brava  is  a wonderful old refurbished theater that lives deep in the heart of the Mission District. I know that this show will be wonderful anywhere it travels to, but the Brava is one of those relics from the past that we are still lucky to have with us. Ive been to many shows at this venue, so I can attest to what a great place it is to watch a show!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moving Sucks

Where did I keep all this stuff? Oh yeah........I was constantly bumping into things! I cant wait to spread out - even though I'll fill any space up pretty fast! I move on Sunday. So I'll have no internet for a few days. I'll have to go visit my Salome's Suitcase neighbors and check in to see what Im missing! I cant believe that three of us will now be living in the town that time forgot. I'm thinking that this will mean less distraction and more creativity to be had. Maybe thats why its a town full of artists.

Vending at the SF Mecca Review on Saturday and then at the Mecca Bazaar on Sunday was so much fun! It is so nice to meet the ladies and gentlemen (there are men too!) of the belly dance community who buy/admire/wear our wares.  The creative buildup was intense - power sewing for two weeks just to have something nice to sell. And despite - or because of the economy, people were still buying. I will say this: the artisans in Salome's Suitcase strive to put out quality items. Not just pretty things, but good quality. And if something should go wrong - a popped seam, twisted elastic.........anything.......we do our best to make it right. Good thing that doesn't happen very often!

As many of you know, the fabric stores have not been doing very well these days. My main source for fabric was having a hard time staying afloat and finally folded. This put me in a very bad situation. So Ive been searching far and wide for more of the materials that I was using in the very beginning - and at a price that I can pass on to you. I found what I need and I am THRILLED!!!!!! So I'll see how this goes. If I can keep the cost down again, I'll lower the prices of the Fluffie pants a bit.

For those of you who have had to wait longer than you wanted to for your custom garments, Just know that they are going to look even prettier now! Most just cannot find these fabrics - and if you can find them, they are not cheap. They also cannot be reproduced the way that I make them. Just know that you are getting a work of art.

Even though I'll be out of commission for a few days, I'll be checking messages when I can and then its  back to biz - with a fresh attitude and room to grow

Thanks for all your support and patience with my growing pains!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SF Mecca Immersion and Mecca Bazaar!

Its that time of year again - this is turning into one amazing event not to be missed!

Salome's Suitcase will be vending at the  SF Mecca Review Saturday night - August 7th - so come find us!!!!! And if you cant make it to the review, you can find us at the SF Mecca Bazaar!

The 3rd Annual SF Mecca Revue
San Francisco's biggest and most elaborate tribal fusion revue! With Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Jill Parker, Fat Chance Belly Dance,  Deb Rubin, Damage Control Dance Theater, Sister Kate,  Tobias the Mystic of Yard Dogs Road Show, aerialist Kerri Kresinski of Sweet Can, Calamity Fou of Fou Fou Ha!, and more... Featuring live bohemian booty-shakin' dance music by Rupa & The April Fishes, Balkan marching band MWE, and world fusion dub electronica by Dragonfly.  Includes vending by the Bay Area's top tribal designers...
A not-to-be-missed event in the city where Tribal Fusion Belly Dance was born!

Don't miss it - get your tickets now!  Space is super limited, and this show, just as in the past two years, WILL SELL OUT.
VIP tickets include an authentic 3 course North Beach dinner, two drink tickets, VIP cocktail reception, priority seating, early entertainment, and first access to the vending.

Sat. Aug. 7th, 2010
VIP reception and dinner 7 p.m.
General doors 8 p.m.

Broadway Studios: 435 Broadway, San Francisco

Tickets and more info here:

The Mecca Vending Bazaar will be hosted by Salome's Suitcase this year at Minerva's Antenna's Studio! Come visit all the vendors and shop in Minerva's fabulous studio! Many vendors! Lots of amazing stuff! Come shopping for your Burning Man Couture!

SF Mecca Boutique Bazaar
Sunday, August 8th
Minerva's Antennae
2886 16th st. Suite B
San Francisco, Ca. 94103
Cross street: South Van Ness

Monday, August 2, 2010

Topsy Turvy Designs - The Queen Of the Hattie Frontier

I Love Topsy Turvy Designs! She is the Queen of the Hattie Frontier, her hats are amazing, and she always works with the best - the creme de la creme. So when she asked if I would provide a pair of my Fluffie Rufflie™pantaloons for a photoshoot, I jumped for joy! How could I say no! What an honor! I was thrilled! Yay!

So these are a sneak peak of the photos from the shoot. Of course they are as beautiful as I knew they would be! True Steampunk at its' finest! Look at the sweet little Hattie, the f hole belt, the finery, the model, the photography, the ..........Fluffie Pantaloons.

Go HERE to buy or order her delicious hatties. Topsy Turvy is also on Etsy.........
And so am I! Go HERE to custom order a pair of these amazing pantaloons! Just go to the custom ordering section.
or email me at:

Photos: Silent Shudder Photography
Model: Isabella Misery
Hat/Styling: Topsy Turvy Design