Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Jane Market Bag

I recently purchased Alicia Paulson's Jane Market Bag pattern. This was the first project I've ever sewn from a pattern before. Sure I've sewn a quilt and tablecloths, but I've always just kind of made things up as I went along. I have been wanting to practice sewing and when Alicia posted about her Jane Market Bag on her blog, I knew I just had to make my own.

I used fabric that I had taken from my mother's stash a couple of years back when I sewed my first quilt. I won the handwriting fabric through a giveaway on The Black Apple blog some time ago.

Unfortunately the fabric I used was a bit too small for the project. I had to shorten the bag and the straps by a couple of inches.

I love the result and I cannot wait to make more of these adorable market bags. Living right next to Kroger, the hubby and I make quick trips to the store all the time and I am getting tired of the plastic bags piling up around my kitchen. I hope to get a few more of these made so that I can forever avoid plastic bags.

Strawberry Kiwi Sorbet

As I mentioned in my last post, I did some yard sale shopping this past weekend with my mom and hubby. Fortunately the hubby and I were able to find a great set of matching bedside tables for only $5 each! We have been desperately needing bedside tables since we moved into our apartment last October. Now that we finally have them our bedroom looks a bit more polished. Aside from the much needed tables, I have to say that my favorite find of the day was a Waring Frozen Dessert Maker which I scored for a mere $2! I have been wanting an ice cream maker for some time and was seriously considering begging for one for my upcoming birthday. I was beyond excited when I found the Waring model in great condition.

I brought it home and washed it up and immediately put the cooling unit in the freezer so it would be ready to use the following day. I knew I wanted to try making some sorbet first, but I wasn't sure what kind. I was interested in making some watermelon sorbet, but didn't want to spend $5 for a Kroger watermelon. Instead I opted to use the strawberries and kiwis we had setting in our fridge from the previous week. The sorbet turned out to be the perfect way to use up the fruit, as it was past its prime. I was extremely excited to set up and plug in my new (used) maker and see that it worked great! In 20 minutes time the ice cream maker stopped churning, signaling that it was finished. I decided to put the soft-serve consistency sorbet in the freezer to let it firm up a bit more before enjoying a bowl. A few hours later I dished some up for the hubby and myself and, man, it was good!

Strawberry Kiwi Sorbet
serves 4-6

2 1lb. containers fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and cut in half
6 large kiwi, peeled, diced, and cut into fourths
1 cup vanilla sugar
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat vanilla sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Refrigerate for 1 hour, or until cool.

Using a blender, puree the prepared strawberries and kiwi. Strain to remove seeds, if desired. Whisk the cooled syrup, fruit puree, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Sorbet will be a soft-serve consistency and may be eaten immediately or placed in an air-tight container in the freezer to further harden.

This sorbet was perfectly refreshing and was a great first recipe to try with my new ice cream maker! I am planning on making some vanilla bean frozen custard in the next day or two. I am so thankful for such a great find. I have really missed baking since it's been so dreadfully hot, and now I have a new toy that allows me to enjoy time in the kitchen without dying from the heat of an oven.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mayfest Revisted

I cannot believe it's been over a week since my last post! I got distracted with this and that, and towards the end of the week my mother came into town for a visit and to attend a graduation party my mother-in-law and husband threw me. My mom got to see my apartment for the first time, which meant I went on a crazy two-day cleaning spree before her arrival. On Saturday, my mom, hubby, and I went yard sale shopping and found some great things (more on that in a later post). All in all, it was a great week.

I had mentioned before in my first post on Mayfest that I was hoping to share a few photos of my booth taken by a friend. He has uploaded his photos from the event to his flickr account and kindly granted me permission to share them with you here.

Remember that you can click on the photos if you'd like to enlarge them. Also, kindly ignore all the silly expressions on my face. I was running on about 6 hours of sleep for three days, wasn't wearing any makeup and hadn't done a thing to my hair. Did I also mention it was hot out?

This was how my booth looked for about 2 hours straight on Sunday. It was one sale right after another and the booth was packed. It was fantastic. And exhausting.

In the left of this picture you can see what my packaging looked like. I purchased white Chinese take out style boxes and designed a That Winsome Girl logo for the fronts and decorated them with coordinating tissue paper and ribbon bows on the handles (which you can't see in the photo, unfortunately). They were a big hit.

This was my section of rings, brooches, hair pins, and base metal earrings. The adjustable rings are always so popular, I made sure to put them at the very front of my display to catch everyone's attention. It worked! I have decided that I like keeping my least expensive items in the front of my booth so I don't sticker shock someone who wonders into my booth. While I do have single items that are over $100, I also have tons of great pieces that are well under $10.

My necklace busts ended up extremely empty both days. To recover my stock after Saturday I spent my night hurrying to make as many new necklaces as I could. I decided to make multiples of anything I could, so my busts on Sunday featured lots of necklace pairs, as you can see here.

And here I am, looking rather exhausted wearing the blouse I posted about previously as well as the earrings I designed for myself a year and a half ago when the hubby and I got hitched.

So there you have it, folks. Mayfest revisted, with much better photographic evidence, thanks to Mr. Keith Reed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

New Pieces at Isle of You

I took twenty or so new pieces to Isle of You in Lexington this past Saturday. I was hoping to get more designs made for the occasion but simply wasn't able to. I will, however, be adding more new pieces to my collection there soon.

Click to view larger.
I must apologize as these photos are rather blurry. I have a small assortment of necklaces only currently offered at Isle of You as well as a number of earring designs, a few studs, and some rings and brooches.

I am crazy about the necklaces I have available there! The necklace in the middle is one of a kind and features a vintage skeleton key to which I have wire wrapped a gorgeous strand of freshwater pearls in 14k gold fill. Every time I see the necklace at the Isle I just want to take it home with me and hide it all for myself. I must say that I am almost equally in love with the new necklaces I brought on Saturday. The blue, pink and orange roses you see are very rare 1950s celluloid roses which I have transformed into pendants for some very unique necklaces. I am mad about the necklace to the left of the key, which features a vintage mesh brass bow and a vintage brass locket with cameo. I want them all!

At any rate, there are a lot of great pieces currently available. There are some colorful pieces, perfect for summer, as well as the usual whimsical pieces. If you're in the Lexington, KY area you should stop by Isle of You and check out the That Winsome Girl offerings!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Inspirations

I am always so inspired by the before & after posts on the Design Sponge. One of my favorite projects I've seen are made over vintage telephone benches. These charming pieces of furniture are great for entryways and I've been dying to find one of my own to refinish for the rather empty hallway/entryway in my apartment.

This telephone bench was refinished by Elizabeth of Quest Twenty Eight. I just love the uniqueness of telephone benches and how fantastic they look made over with modern colors and fabrics. I'd love to find a few pieces of unique vintage furniture to make over during the summer. I have actually spotted a "cute end table" on Craigslist that I believe is a vintage telephone bench. I am so tempted to jump at the opportunity to purchase it, but I have a feeling I'll have to convince the hubby of it's fabulous potential.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a Name?

Last night I added a new necklace to the shop. I named it The Beauty and the Beast necklace, because I had a sort of dichotomy in mind when I designed it between traditionally feminine details and more urban or fierce details. With the pink rose pendant and the vintage animal print beads, The Beauty and the Beast was the first title that popped in my head. I'm not totally convinced that it's the right name for the necklace, however. Any suggestions? I'm always so awful at coming up with relevant but creative names for my designs.

I'm pretty crazy about this necklace. Strangely it's probably something I'd never wear myself, but I am just mad about the soft pink with the cream and brown. It has a delicate, feminine quality while still being chunky and quirky. I think it would be perfect paired with a simple tank top with a skirt or jeans for summer. I love the look of bold necklaces with simple tanks for summer.


The necklace is currently one of a kind. I do not have any more of the pink rose pendants or animal print beads left in my stock and are not sure I will be ordering more. It is likely that this will be the only version of this necklace available.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

New Earrings in the Shop!

I have two new pairs of earrings listed in my Etsy shop and many new items will continue to be added throughout the coming days. As quickly as I am able to design, photograph, edit and list, I will be adding new items.

The first of the two new items are my Vase earrings. Featuring matte powder blue vintage lucite beads and brown lucite flowers, dangling from large circular sterling silver ear wires, they remind me of little vases.

Simple and lightweight, these are a great pair for spring and summer!


I have also listed an antique brass version of my "I Love You" Post Card earrings which I have had available around Lexington in various boutiques for about a year. This is the first time they've been available in my Etsy shop, however. I will also be listing a bright brass and a sterling silver version of the earrings soon.

Playfully romantic with a great vintage inspired look.


These earrings are always such a hit and I never seem to be able to keep them in stock.

I am busy working on some custom orders as well as creating designs for my shop. I'll also be taking some new pieces to Isle of You this weekend, for all you Lexington folks!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mayfest Chronicles

Having taken my last final Thursday afternoon, I am now a college graduate! A bit to my mom's dismay, I did not walk at graduation. I was never too excited about college graduation to begin with. As an Arts & Sciences graduate, my graduation would have been large and very impersonal. While my high school graduation was very meaningful (I was valedictorian), I just wasn't excited to be a part of my college graduation. So, some time ago I realized I really didn't care to participate. Then I hopefully applied for Mayfest (which overlapped with my graduation). Once my acceptance letter arrived, I knew I had made the right decision! After the stunning success of this weekend I think my mom agrees.

I am still a bit flabbergasted at how wonderful this weekend truly was. For days prior the stress of finals and preparations were wearing on me and I was in a state of panic. As Saturday morning came and the hubby and I were making our short drive downtown to set up, my heart was pounding as I was so worried about the outcome of the weekend. I was terrified I would let everyone, including myself, down. That morning as the hubby and I were setting up, a family friend spoke blessings over us, 'I hope you sell out today.' I nervously laughed it off. Later that morning after everything found a place, my husband suggested I take some much needed (for future applications and the like) photos of my booth. I disagreed, thinking I would take them on Sunday, that I would have a few more pieces made then and that it would be better timing. And then, low and behold, the blessings of our friend came true and by Saturday afternoon my booth was looking quite desolate! So, Saturday evening, I came home and found a few hours of sleep and spent the remainder of my evening designing, measuring, wire wrapping as fast as my little hands and modest tools would allow. Let me mention that I managed to forget my tools at Mayfest and had to make a 2am trip to Wal-Mart to purchase some extremely inadequate tools to recover my stock. At any rate, I was able to create quite a few new pieces and by Sunday morning my booth was looking happy once again.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Sunday, after the unimaginable success of Saturday. Many folks who had experienced Mayfest previously said that Sunday was ususally the busier day. As the day began and a couple of hours passed, I was afraid everyone had been wrong. Then the crowd started pouring in and and things didn't stop! Purchase after purchase was made, my husband handling the money while I was busy packaging jewelry in That Winsome Girl cellophane bags and my lovely new take out box gift bags. It is such a joy to see and hear so many wonderful remarks about something I poured my heart into. Needless to say, Sunday, despite a slow start, turned out incredible, even more busy than Saturday!

I attempted to take some photos of my booth on Sunday after we had set up. At that point folks had already started shopping and it was incredibly difficult to snap a photo without random people passing in front of my booth. The ones I was able to take didn't turn out well as they were rushed and I wasn't able to see my LCD in the sun to see if they were clear. A good friend stopped by and her husband was armed with his amazing (I'm totally jealous) camera and snapped lots of photos. Hopefully he'll share them with me and allow me to share them with you! In the mean time, here is my rather lack-luster evidence of a busy weekend. You'll definitely want to click on them to view them larger.

Unfortunatley it is nearly impossible to really see the details, or even colors, of my display in these photos. I made, or in the least painted, much of my display. The That Winsome Girl bunting sign was sewn using a vareity of vintage fabics from my mother's stash (which I "borrowed" a couple of summers ago to sew my first quilt). I added the lettering by printing, carefully cutting out, and ironing on transfers. I also made my tablecloths which was quite the adventure. I have decided that, while I love sewing, I loathe such large scale projects. It is difficult to manuver, pin, press and sew such large pieces of fabric. All my rotating earring racks, as well as my credit card info frame and business card holder were painted a glossy white from their original, dreadful black.

Here (to the far right, above the dress form) you can sort of see a snippet of the old picture frame I repurposed as a stud earring display. I painted the frame glossy white, to match the rest of my display pieces, and strung wire to hang my cards.

Here is a photo of a litte information corner, for a lack of a better description. You can see the credit card info frame I mentioned, as well as the newly white business card holder. I have my pretty mailing list sign up sheets and a flowery pen. You can also see my two new business card designs, which received lots of compliments! Overall I got tons of positive reviews on the beauty and pairing of all my packaging. I work so hard designing, printing and cutting out all my earring and necklace cards, and make all my packaging from cellophane bags to the new take out boxes I described (unfortunately I don't have a photo of them at the moment, but will be sure to take one soon). I really think that packaging and your overall appearance really add to your products and help cement a memory of you and your product in the customer's mind. It is my goal to make each and every customer feel appreciated and I like to pay attention to every step along the way of their purchase.

To sum everything up, the weekend was wonderful! Far more than I would have ever imagined in my wildest dreams. I am so thankful for the experience and so very excited about days ahead. I have already received a number of custom orders which I am so excited to work on. I am taking today off to get my apartment back in shape and to spend a little quality time with the hubby. Bright and early tomorrow I'll be getting back to work in my studio. I have lots of work to do to get my stock replenished. I am planning on getting photos taken and have many, many, many new items sprinkling into my Etsy shop in the coming days. Hopefully two weeks from now I'll have a couple hundred items up for sale, adding more from there over the summer.

I also want to say that anyone and everyone can feel free to leave comments on posts. Please don't be shy! You don't need any account in order to leave your thoughts, and they always brighten my day. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Until Monday...

I just thought I'd pop in and share two variations on what is currently one of my favorite necklace designs. These are two-layer necklaces featuring vintage cameos and flower cabochons, freshwater pearls, brass lockets, charms and settings, and 14k gold-filled findings. The first layer hits at a delicate 16 inches, while the second falls slightly below at 18 inches.

I apologize as these photos are quite lack-luster and slightly blurry. I will be adding these necklaces to my Etsy shop right after Mayfest, as soon as I can get some decent photos taken of them. I love how simple and delicate these are while still being very interesting.


I have been busy today finishing up the bunting/sign I have been sewing for my booth. (I'm pretty crazy about how it turned out!) I've also been working on hemming the table cloths I've sewn for my tables. There is still so much to be done before Saturday. My goal was to be completely finished by Thursday night so I could relax on Friday, but I will likely be finishing up some last bits and bobs Friday morning and afternoon.

I have my last final tomorrow afternoon. I've kind of been ignoring the fact and haven't even given a second thought to studying. I will likely attempt to find an hour or so in the morning to flip through my notes. I will probably be absent from updating the blog until Monday. I promise to provide lots of photos from Mayfest then!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Out With the Old, In With the New

I am such a sucker for clothes and fashion, but for a number of reasons have never really been able to indulge in my love. So many of my clothing choices the past four years have been based on what's cheap and practical for walking to and from class in the wind, rain, snow, etc. Now that I am about to graduate I am excited to be able to think beyond practicality and pick prettier pieces for my wardrobe. I am very much a believer in quality over quantity (though you wouldn't know it by my closet these past few years).

I have been rather self conscious lately trying to represent myself and my business. It's difficult when you create such beautiful, feminine designs yet feel your personal look is falling apart. When I first started college I wore cute skirts nearly ever day and always made an effort to look nice. Then the past couple of years just haven't been the same. I am so excited to refresh my look!

In the next month I would like to go through all my clothes and get rid of things I don't wear anymore. I have so many things I bought on clearance throughout the years that I never worn or only wore a time or two as I never found the perfect place for them in my life. I found a local consignment shop I'm going to try to sell some of my new and unworn clothes to. I would be so happy if I could clear out the things I don't wear, perhaps make a tiny bit of money from them, and make room for some beautiful new pieces. I'd be perfectly happy if I never owned another t-shirt in my life.

I was sharing all this with my mother recently and she insisted that I buy myself something nice. I found this beautiful blouse on sale on Kiyonna.com and had to have it.

I love the simple, non-fussy feminine details. The color is absolutely gorgeous and I have a feeling it will compliment my fair complexion well. The pearl earrings I designed for myself for my wedding will be stunning with it! According to the tracking information, it should arrive on Friday, which means I would wear it Saturday or Sunday for Mayfest. Perhaps I'll get a photo of myself wearing the top and earrings this weekend.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You Really Got a Hold On Me

This is unbelievably magical.

Whimsy and Romance

I'm back to share with you another new design to debut at Mayfest this weekend. I call them Whimsy and Romance earrings as I think they perfectly evoke both! These are another play on the combination of 14k gold-fill, white freshwater pearls and rubies which I have come to love. I think the pairing is so pretty, feminine and classic.

Click images to enlarge.

The earrings feature vintage brass rosettes with freshwater pearl centers, new brass leaves, hand formed freshwater pearl hoops, ruby briolettes, and 14k gold-filled findings.

The brass rosettes and leaves create the perfect amount of vintage charm and whimsy while the pearls, rubies, and gold create an elegant and romantic look. I love the structure of the top portion of the design mixed with the movement of the ruby weighted chain. These have some great drama and presence.

These are currently one of a kind and I am debating on whether or not I will create another identical pair. I certainly plan to create similar pairs, perhaps with different colored freshwater pearls or other gemstones. For now these are the only of their kind and they will be available at Mayfest. In the event that they don't find a home this weekend, I will likely be listing them in my Etsy shop.

Friday, May 1, 2009

New

I finally have a couple of photos of new designs to share. Despite being busy finishing up papers and studying for the last finals of my college career, I have been trying to produce lots of new designs to debut at Mayfest. Unfortunately I haven't been able to photograph all the new designs as I'd hoped. I am going to try to share more photos this next week before Mayfest begins. In the mean time, here are two new designs, which I have also made available in my Etsy shop.


I really love the detail on these vintage brass leaves. I have always paid very close attention to details in my designs and have been complimented numerous times because of it. I consider the impact of each detail of a design and always try to insure that even the unseen part of a design (such as a charm affixed to the back of a pendant) are appealing and unique.

I am just crazy about freshwater pearls and incorporate them into almost all of my designs in some way. Lately I have been forming them into hoops for various earring designs. I think there is something so classic and feminine about a luminous circle of pearls.


These earrings are actually a new color combination for a design I created last summer. As the name suggests, the colors were inspired by the beauty of faded, antique lace. I love soft, feminine color combinations and these are a current favorite of mine.

As Mayfest approaches, I am becoming excited and anxious. This summer marks the start of my full-fledged career as a jewelry designer. I have been updating my booth layout and trying to streamline my setup. I am hoping to have at least a couple hundred new designs to debut at Mayfest, in addition to some old favorites. Unfortunately I have been rather constrained by time and money so my offerings won't be quite as varied as I would have liked. My supply inventory is still relatively small and it becomes difficult to produce a huge array of styles without the ability to invest in more supplies. Nonetheless, Mayfest will mark my biggest and most elaborate craft fair setup to date. I look forward to seeing how busy and successful May 9th and 10th are!
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