Friday, June 14, 2013

Donna's Yarn and Craft Centre -I-

Today I thought I would blog about Donna's Yarn and Craft Centre which is located on North Shore in Kamloops.  Of all the stores that sell our work, they have the largest selection including everything from our handcrafted buttons and shawl pins to our beads and jewelry making supplies.  And now Donna's has a nice selection of our scarf jewelry along with our art beads and ear wires for the interchangeable earring system.

This is Donna (on the right) and her mom, Elsie, who is her partner and main helper.  Between the two of them, they know or can figure out any type of knitting or crochet pattern and if you are ever stuck, they are always willing to help you out.

Donna is a very talented lady and besides knitting she does sewing and alterations as well as jewelry making.   One of the reasons we love working with Donna is how we are always bouncing ideas off each other and as a result we have collaborated on several projects.

For instance these toggle type fasteners were inspired from a knitting pattern she had come across and asked if I could make some for her to sell.  They are a sort of buckle / button combination used to fasten a sweater  or shrug.  I made the larger section in a variety of colors, shapes and textures.  They are all in a solid color so that most of our buttons can be combined with them for the fastening part.

I mentioned that Donna does sewing and alterations.  She was altering a coat for a customer and requested I cover a belt buckle for the back to match our buttons she added on the front.  This was a fun project and it was the perfect finishing touch.  That is what I enjoy the most about working with polymer clay is that you can cover almost anything.  The texture I used here is one of my favorites by Helen Breil, called the Conga Line.

And remember the icebox cookie buttons we made a few months ago?  You can read the original blog post here.

They were for a project that Elsie (Donna's mom) was working on.  Here is the finished project which is a quilted casserole cover done in a cookie pattern fabric.

We also do a lot of custom made to order items for Donna's customers such as shawl pins or buttons in colors to match the yarn they are purchasing.  I blogged a while back about one of Donna's special customers, Diane.  (You can read it here.)

Diane is an avid knitter and always has several projects at a time she is working on.  Now she is learning to crochet so Donna asked if I could cover a few crochet hooks in clay for Diane and if I could somehow mark them in braille.

 -- By the way, --- Did I mention that Diane is blind?

I hadn't done anything like that before and was fun to see if my experiment worked.  Diane's face totally lit up when she discovered the numbers done in braille (on the side at the end) and could actually figure them out.

Photo bottom left shows the numbers in braille.
Donna's is one of the many fascinating stores that make my work a lot more fun and enjoyable.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Overview of Our Time at the BC "Everybody Loves Quilts" Show 2013 -I-

The BC "Everybody Loves Quilts" Show went by so quick and we cannot believe it is already over.  It was a great show that was well run and organized and a pleasure to be in.  It was fun to see a lot of familiar faces and meet many new ones.  We were really happy with our booth set-up and was nice to hear so many comments from others how much they liked it.

Since we started selling wholesale, we have been doing less shows but it is so nice to do some every so often  so we can meet face to face with the public and the actual customers that purchase our work from the local stores.  It is the best way to get some honest feedback and see what types of items get ooohed and aaaahed over the most.  To be quite truthful, it gives you a real lift at the end of the day after getting your ego stroked so many times!

So here are some photos and highlights of our past weekend event:

We did our initial booth set-up the day before minus our product.  It made it go much easier the next morning to get everything ready.

Here is an assortment of the wide range of buttons we make with our newer designs featured in the center.

Our jewelry was on the opposite side of the booth featuring our quilt patterns and interchangeable earring system.  We found these shutters and spruced them up with some paint and fabric for a fun display for pendants on cards.

Our shawl pin display showing off the different styles.  I had a table set up next to it (on the right) for demoing but there was so much talking that I really didn't get much claying done.

We had a mannequin display set-up in front on each side.  I show how you can make these using a simple sweater and hanger on a previous blog post (click here).

This is the display on the other side.  We had the posters made up at Staples in their print department and couldn't believe how gorgeous they came out and how affordable they were.

We try to use photos and props whenever possible.  This is a favorite photo of our niece modelling one of our Bargello style necklaces.  She just had a new baby (girl Emma) over the weekend so she was on our minds.

Our scarf jewelry was front and center and of course one of the main attractions.  We had a wide range of styles and colors available and were a big hit.

This is one of our new Crackle Medallion styles with the matching earring beads shown.
Jan, the owner of The Sewing Basket in Salmon Arm was there with a large booth as well.  Here she is trying to decide which color of scarf jewelry she would like.

She decided to go with the Bargello style in turquoise and blue.  It is one of my favorites and looks really elegant on her, doesn't it?  The Sewing Basket has some of our scarf jewelry available for sale and will have more of our new styles within the next week or so.

And at a quilt show, there are of course, ... quilts ... more than 300 of them!  This is my friend Sharon with the quilt she created for a button challenge and received an award for (came in first).

She also made this cool bangle using vintage buttons.

What made this quilt show even more interesting is that along with the local quilters guilds, other types of  fibre groups were invited to take part such as The Spinners and Weavers, Embroidery and Needlework Guilds.  This  is my friend Kathy Kinsella.  She was invited to be the featured fibre artist and was given a space to display samples of her work.  

I blogged about Kathy before (here and here) where I shared a bit about her work and how we collaborated with making some buttons for her to use on her gorgeous felted cuffs (shown above).  You can see more of her beautiful art in her Etsy shop.