Sunday, December 16, 2012

May the Karma Be With You...

Well, the Durham Farmers' Market had invited the Durham Craft Market's vendors to set up during the market yesterday (just a two hour market, 10 am till noon).  The weather looked like it would be good and so I decided to go, and I talked my friend, Dawn, aka FireWithN Pottery, to go, too.  She had not made much at the previous week's Holiday Market or at an event that I helped her with the weekend before that, so it was kind of hard to convince her.  I told her that my husband and I would help however we needed to, as she has a ruined knee and is in pain all the time (will be having knee replacement surgery next month).
She was already at the park when we arrived, and had not been able to finish setting she was talking to a nice older couple that bought several pieces of pottery from her, her second customers of the morning, even though it wasn't even 9:30 yet.
We started unpacking and setting up, and she finished with her customers, and turned to me...she was thanking me for convincing her to come out, as she had not been able to pay her insurance (she is a veteran on disability and fixed income).  She called and paid it over the phone while I was still setting up, and I could feel the load being lifted off of her shoulders.
So we set up, and an hour passed, and one of my favorite customers came by with her pooch to say hi and we were able to hug and wish each other safe and happy holidays, etc.  And a few other dear folks came through, sharing warm bread, telling little stories...just a wonderful morning!
And in the last half hour of the market, I had my one and only sale of the day, a top that I wore occasionally (free advertising) and decided to bring along at the last minute.  I felt that cool connection with the customer, knowing that I would see her again, and that she would spread the word about what I do.
It was a good bit of setting up and taking down and unloading and loading and time and gas and on and was exactly the day I was supposed to have...and I was just grinning as I looked over at my friend, most of her pottery packed up, when a couple came by and found the perfect gift for someone dear to them, a pretty blue coffee mug....grin, grin, grin!!  And peace to you....

Monday, December 10, 2012

Last Market of the Year...

Well, the hoopla is over for now.  With the exception of a fast trip to Durham to set up during this coming Saturday's Farmers' Market, I will only be selling on-line and to the local people that know how to get in touch with me.  That is okay, at least for now, because I'm tired.  Saturday we had a good, though not great, turnout for our DCM Holiday Market.  I did pretty well, better than some, worse than others, but it was worth my time and trouble.  I toyed with the idea of going back this coming Saturday for another Holiday Market put on by a different group, but in the same location as ours.  It sounded like a great idea at the beginning of the day, and not so much at the end of the day, when the exhaustion came knocking.
Funny, though, I still haven't fully discounted the option.  I will see how I feel on Friday, or even Saturday morning.  That is the extent of my ambition at the present time.
I will start next season as the holiday/special events chairperson for the craft market.  I have no idea what I'm doing but somebody had to do it, and I already saw a huge amount of room for improvement - assigned spaces in lieu of first come/first served - as the two most represented groups, pottery and jewelry, were mostly clumped together, rather than spread evenly throughout the room, so I don't think individual vendors were given the browsing attention they would have had they been evenly distributed around the market.  I want to change this....some will like it, some will not, but I think I have a valid point and one that is of benefit to all of us, including the customers.
Another thing I will be responsible for is coordinating art/craft demos on the 3rd Saturday of each month at the Craft Market.  I think this is a great way to sell, capturing the attention of the passersby and in some cases, allowing input to make something 'just for them'.  It also is a chance to show the customers just how much thought and sweat and love and skill goes into the making of an item, much less keeping up an inventory.  I saw very little participation from the crafters this past year, and I hope to get more to participate and see it as a beneficial pain in the butt, not just the pain part!
So I have the wheels turning and have the winter to consider these things, as well as looking into extra events that we could participate in throughout the year, and perhaps some 'themed' Saturdays that correlate with holidays and local happenings.  I think it will be a challenge for me but I am going to do the best job that I can and hopefully infuse some new ideas.
So today I will get my studio put back together and start making a few gifts that I want to give to different friends.  Hopefully I will get a few custom orders as well.  But I am ready to do something; after all, I took a WHOLE DAY OFF yesterday, spending most of it lying on, if not in, the bed...reading, gaming, napping, was hard work to stay away from work.  I will take a couple of other days off this week, too.  Now that I remember how much better I feel the next day!
I will keep you posted on the holiday happenings and have a few pictures for you, as well!!
Keep the peace all around you, let it hug you gently and carry you through these turbulent days the holidays have become for most anything but a "holiday".  Take your peace with you wherever you go...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Getting Ready....

Well, sorry I haven't been blogging, but I have been busy with holidays and kids and travel...and taking a little time off from sewing in the process.  It was really nice to have a break, and not take my work with me on my mini-vacation/buying trip...a first in a long, long time.
Yesterday I spent much time in my studio, straightening, refolding, culling, reshelving...I am probably half-way with the reorganization.  It is amazing how messed up things can get, and how many things I forget that I have until I start going through things again.  I have a little less than two weeks until our Durham Craft Market Holiday Market, so I will be working pretty much non-stop until then.  So I guess I have been getting ready to get ready for the Market.
Its hard, I straighten things out I see even more things that I want to make, knowing that I can't make everything I want to in two weeks.  But I'll be putting stuff on as well, so I can keep my creative stream going indefinitely.
So I just wanted to check in and let you know that I'm still here.  I will post some pics later this week of what I am working on at the time.
Hope you all shop small business and local business and give unique gifts this holiday is my livelihood, but also, it is the backbone of our nation, and we all need to remember that, and remember that there is usually little thought given to a gift from a big box store or chain, much less any originality.
Thanks for checking in with me...much peace and love to you...

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Universe Smiles....

Wow!  I don't know where to start, other than to say that the universe is still very much in attendance in my a good, good way, of course!
I received an e-mail from the wonderful woman that bought the top that was the subject of last week's blog.  It didn't fit....she was crushed, I was crushed...but she didn't want a refund, she wanted a credit, because she  said she 'loves what I am doing' and she thought she might get a bag or another top or something, either for herself or for a gift.  I saw her crossing the road Saturday morning, on her way to my booth, with such an aura of kindness and happiness, I knew it was her before I really recognized her.  She had wrapped the top in tissue paper 'to protect it', and handed it over so that she could do some browsing.  She looked and looked but then she saw one of the bags that I had just completed, jewel tones, clay buttons, long and soft straps, and she knew it was for even trade.  We chatted for a bit before she left, and I know that she will become a regular customer and will promote my shop and what I do long into the future.  It feels so good, knowing that there are people like her in the world.  I can't wait to see her coming toward my booth again!
There were other special folks that crossed my booth's threshold on Saturday...a nice woman, petite, treating herself to a 'new' top, dark teal with Indian Silk....that fit her just right.  Another woman, needing a plus-size, who was very attracted to the red top with the African dashiki fabric.  She proved to me that my idea for the pluses, my embellishments on the sides of the tops, does take attention away from a poochy belly or bubble butt (I have both myself these days!) in a flattering way.  She was short in height, and the top made a tunic on was just right.  So I had the opportunity to see my designs and theories in action, or come to fruition, or however you want to say it.  I continue to be amazed in that moment when someone pulls one of my pieces over her and it fits like it was made just for her.   It is its own reward for me.
Now, the boho top, the one that was the subject of last week's blog and was returned this past Saturday....
well, two other women tried it on, but it didn't fit them well or right...wasn't meant for them.  Then along came a good friend of mine that lives in Durham and believes in buying local. She comes to the market a couple of times a month, usually for veggies and such, and always stops by to say 'hi'!!  She saw the top in question on my display girlequin and she was like, "this is the perfect present for one of my old friends' of our stipulations for our gift-giving is that the gifts be locally made and artisan-made, and this is just right for her, her style, her colors...."
So that top is off to its new person....I don't remember where she lives, but I have great hopes that it will be a good home for it!  Finally!!!
And as a special ending to such a nice day....when I got home and checked my email I found that someone had purchased a top through my shop.  What a wonderful of my favorite tops is on its way to live in Florida!!
I appreciate all of the people that I met on Saturday, too. It was a beautiful day and there were tons of people out and about, and I enjoyed having people consider my art, my craft, my is good!

Peace to you, and the universe will smile back at you!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I Never Cease to Be Amazed....

Yesterday was a Saturday, so I made the trip to Durham early on a cold morning to get set up, along with my fellow artisans, in hopes of having a good day.  The weather has made it a little harder to attract buyers, that is for sure.  I didn't go to the market or the Food Truck event last weekend, as Hurricane Sandy's winds and spits of rain didn't seem like any fun to me.  Unfortunately the artists that braved the weather sold little or nothing for all of their trouble.  I am glad that I stayed home.
So, back to yesterday.  For probably the first two to three hours of the market, which goes for four hours, there were sparse sales for any of us.  I kind of figured it would be that was a beautiful sunny day but the wind was cold and the air was cold at the start of the market, and people were moving along briskly, not interested in browsing and freezing in the process.  Couldn't really blame them for that...we were all seeking patches of sunshine to stand in to feel some warmth.  Eventually it warmed up enough for people to feel comforable enough to shop.  I had someone start looking at my bags, and then she said she had to go and get her credit card and would be back....I gave this about a 70 to 30 percent chance of being true (bad for me to be so pessimistic, I know).  Well, she was good with her word, and she returned after about 15 minutes to shop seriously.  She purchased three bags from me, some pottery from my neighbor, and on down the line...picking out unique presents for friends and family.   When she departed the market, she was definitely weighed down with all of her purchases, and we all appreciated her not just for her dollars, but also for her choice to buy from us rather than hitting the mall or going to  And we all know from experience that the receivers of these gifts will cherish them as well.  So everybody wins!
Now, the truly bizarre part of my morning...a woman stopped to look at my boho styled tunic, just loved it, and said she was going to get her mom or sister or friend and would be back.  I had a less pessimistic feeling about that.  She returned with an older woman, her mom?, and another around her age, a sister or friend?, and showed them the top.  They agreed that it looked like 'her' and she decided to try it looked wonderful on her, was her color, style, fit....she was ready to buy it.....THEN...
THEN, something UNBELIEVABLE and RUDE and INSULTING occurred...she looked at the price, which was $34.99 or $39.99, I don't remember which....and had no problem with it, given what she would be getting, a one-of-a-kind original piece.  Her mother, however, looked me in the face and asked...'will you take $20.00 for it?'  I just looked at her, didn't allow my jaw to drop and the words that were sitting on my tongue to fly out of my mouth.  I said, 'no', she said 'how about $25.00?', 'no', '$30.00?', 'no', I said, 'I feel that this top is fairly priced and worth what I am asking for it...', and she said 'oh, I know its worth it, I just don't want to pay that'.   I just shook my head, keeping that mouth of mine zipped.  I held out my hands to receive the top and the younger ones were like, 'we are going to walk around and think about it'....I was like 'you do that'....
A short time later, as I had been sending out an open-hearted message to the universe to send me a different person that would be attracted to this top....and it happened.  A really nice woman took one look at the top and was just in was her color and her style and she wanted to go get her credit card to buy it...I remained optimistic, understanding that the universe was in control of everything at this point and I needed to just allow....and she returned....she was a dear woman, said she had had a rough past few years and was finally financially able to buy gifts for the people that stood by her and helped her when she had little or nothing and was in such a bad place.  She ended up buying two tops and two bags, and was just delightful to talk to and was so nice to me, complimenting what I do.  It was such a wonderful example of how people are supposed to conduct themselves, and how coming from a place of gratitude and appreciation is what it is all about, on both sides of any transaction.
By the way, I did give a discount to my two buyers, giving them my gratitude and appreciation, a gift...something they didn't ask for or was for me to give, you know!

And the other ladies didn't return, which at first I thought would have been good enough for them, but then I realized that they came through my shop and my life to remind me that while I am just a tiny speck in the universe, the universe takes care of its own, and karma takes care of itself....peace to you, my friends and followers....I appreciate you more than you could ever know....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Its Been Humbling...Its Been Rewarding..

Last weekend was the first time at the craft market that I didn't sell anything.  It was humbling for me to leave with as much as I went with.  I know it can't always be stellar but usually I sell at least a couple of things each week.  So I was a little shocked.  And the sucky part, it was the coldest morning yet, and we set up in too much of a shady spot so our booth never got warm, and neither did I.  But I made it through, and I know that it happens to everyone...I see it all the time.  It was slow.
Today was also a cold morning, but I felt very prepared for that - set up in a sunnier area, better general mood, lots of layers.  Well, by 11: 30 I still hadn't sold a thing.  I was starting to feel a little cursed...silly, I know.  Had a few lookers and questions which hopefully will turn into orders, but that was it.  Then along came this nice woman, looking at the girls' clothing for a grandchild, but not finding the size she needed.  She started looking at the ladies' clothes and fell in love with a top...the top...the first top that I made when I started GoodKharmaReThreads...the one that I made and was so pleased with and proud of back in October of 2010, then looked around and realized I needed to make a whole lot more clothes, that one top was just not going to be enough!!
Well, she bought it!  I could tell that she didn't usually buy things for herself....her husband was encouraging her to get it.  It was so sweet and I told her the story of the top and that I was so thrilled that she bought that most special piece.  I felt like it was a good omen, too!  Still makes me smile...this is that same top, with me modelling back in 2010.  I look at it and I feel so blessed and so humbled, yet again....peace to you...
Photo: Welcome....hope you'll visit my website!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

How Many Sewing Machines Does It Take to Make a Bag?

I have had to wrestle with this question again....and I hope this time I have purchased the solution.  That is a lot of pressure for an inanimate object to have to take on, I realize, but I just want to be able to sit down to make a bag and not have issues with a machine, even one that claims the title "Heavy Duty"!  If I were of unlimited means, I could purchase a $1500.00 machine that says it will do the job.  The $150.00 one could not perform consistently, even though "heavy duty" is part of its name.
So, once again, I have purchased a new sewing machine, closer in price to the $150.00 than to the $1500.00, made in Japan rather than China, with a wonderful reputation, wonderful reviews, and the exciting inclusion of 'leatherwork' needles...surely it will be heavy duty enough to make bags without coughing up thread all of the time.
And I have to admit, as I was deleting pictures from my camera yesterday (it had hit the full mark), I did realize that I have made and sold a good number of bags, and clothing pieces, that were all created on that lesser "heavy duty" machine.  I guess it deserves to get put in the shop and repaired....I worked its mechanical ass off, and pushed it when I should have stopped and gotten a sharper needle, or an unbent needle, or a different gauge needle (needles are much more important and in ways that I didn't consider before making sewing my business).  I have definitely learned a great deal from the needles, and I am much more attuned to when I need to change them, and why, and what can happen if I ignore the signs and keep on sewing.....bad things, very bad things, I tell you!
I suppose, given the amount of sewing that I do and the wide, vast variety of fabrics, textures, straps, thick layers, etc. of 'raw materials' that I use for my pieces, it will serve me well to have four machines...two for apparel and two for bags or other "heavy duty" projects.  I am looking forward to receiving my new machine this week.  I will run back to my studio and plug it in and see what I can do....I am running low on bags and have not been able to make more...I can't afford to risk ruining my apparel machines by asking them to do a task that they are not able to do.  It's exciting....I've never invested such an amount of money for a sewing machine...and I'll be expecting a lot in return.  I will be sure to post pictures of my sewing machine posse and let you know how the newbie stands up to its reputation, save the longevity thing.
Until then I will make clothes and finish getting the bags I have completed into my online stores.  Its not like I could ever run out of things to do....I bid you peace and plenty, love and light....none of which you can get from any machine, not even a "heavy duty" one!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Working, Working, Working....

I have been a busy one, and sorry that I haven't had the time or energy to update you before now.  I hope to go to the Craft Market this coming has been two weeks now and I miss it!  I have been diligently working...girls' tops, ladies' tops, plus-size tops.  Hope to have a couple of dresses by the end of the week as well.  
.   I have a couple more tops than those in the pictures...and I intend to make more as the week goes on.  I need to make some bags, really, really do.  I am running low.  I will dedicate a day or two to bags.  It seems I'm never caught up.  I have put most of the clothing in my etsy shop and need to do the same with the comleted bags.  Just need to take some pictures.  So...if I just didn't have to sleep, I could get it all done!
                                                      I will keep you posted on my progress.
Right now I am making picture frames for a project I am doing with for their upcoming auction. I'll be back later in the week....I am humming with desire to get back to work....keep the peace...peace is awesome!!!                                                   

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Sucker for the Little Girls...

I don't know, I guess just the fact that I had two sons and no daughters, makes me enchanted by little girls.  It has become a great joy for me to see them want the clothes that I have re-created, not to mention when I get to see them try something on and fall in love with it!
Today at the market I met four young/little girls.  Two were local, and two were visiting from out of state.  So the youngest of the two out-of-towners picked out a top and her mom bought it for her.  She was having a fit to go to the bathroom and change so that she could wear it immediately (more feeling good for me!!!).  The two local girls' mother wasn't around, so they had to watch as their friend got such a nice present.
Well, they went on their way, and I was a little shocked when they came back  Apparently the girl's bigger sister ended up with the top, she liked it and actually was wearing it at this point.  So they were back to get the last girls' top that I had for the younger girl.
So as the mom was writing me another check, I decided to offer the girls their pick of the gift bags that I had displayed in a basket on the table.  Well, the two local girls came into my booth and saw their friends getting these little bags, and were asking how much they cost, their parents were not around.  I decided that the best thing for me to do was to let them also pick out a bag and it was my treat!  They were so taken aback.  It made me feel so good, and also I think I realized that there are a lot of people, young, old, and in between, that are so unused to an act of kindness and generosity.
I had another opportunity at generosity today, as someone was looking for a gift for a friend, but didn't have much to spend.  She asked me if I had any less expensive bags.  Well, I started talking to her about what her friend liked, what she did for a living, and such, and we looked at some bags that I thought would be a style that she could use in her work.  I gave this nice lady a deep discount so that she could get a nice gift for her friend.  It was uplifting for me to get to do something nice for someone who was trying to do something nice for someone, too.  I am not trying in any way to be boastful.  I'm just relating the importance of being open to the universe, letting the love and light shine through you and share it with others in whatever ways you can.

It was a good day, a special day.....a day at the market...I'm still smiling!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Good Things...

I guess only a perfectionist (not me) or a masochist (not me) or me would consider more work, considerably more work, than the original task a good thing.  I am working hard this week to get my store and my website store up to date with my actual inventory, much of which has never made it past the craft market or my Facebook page. In this process I am measuring, describing, and photographing all of these items.  What a great time to go over each item and look for things that need a little repair here or there, or a little wash, or in some cases, a complete resewing (removing hand stitches and replacing with machine stitches (smoother and stronger).  A couple of items will just disappear, as the base garment has developed a major issue, making it wiser just to strip off the embellishments and find them a new home, and recycle the base garment into a bag lining or handle or whatever.
So I have my work cut out for me.  I have finished the pre-listing processes for all of the garments and will get the pics edited and all put on etsy today, tonight, tomorrow.  I will also start working on the repairs.  Hopefully will have it all ready to list on by the end of the week, or Monday, at the latest.
I also have to do the same thing with the bags.  I will start on them tomorrow.  I'm sure I will find a few things that need fixing with the bags, too.  They are probably less likely to need much, since they are mostly newer and also made to be used...rough and tough...and pretty!  They are, unfortunately, much harder to photograph than clothing.  So capturing each bag and all of its unique features will be the booger here.  I'm in a good place with it all, though.  Felt resigned at first, but now just peaceful and grateful and glad to be taking this time out to do these not-so-fun but important labors of love.
I will let you know how it goes...and when you can see everything on line!!
Maybe I'll document the deconstruction and reconstruction of an item as I take it from its original hand-sewn place to the much neater and stronger machine-sewn condition.  Could be interesting....peace to you till then!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hot Times in Durham...

Didn't know I hadn't published this posting.
Yesterday I did the Durham Craft Market.  The weather was sunny and humid and hot...oppressive.  This kind of weather doesn't agree with me...I feel like all of the air, water, energy, and motivation have been sucked out of me.  But I can't change the weather, can I?
Today I'll be back in Durham's Central Park at their Food Truck Rodeo.  I think it will be even hotter than yesterday, and we'll be there all afternoon instead of being finished at noon ala the Craft Market.  I guess what I'm saying is....send me some mojo of good cheer and cool breezes, clouds at least.  I have to remember it's just four hours of my life, and I'm taking fans (the electric kind).  I think I can make it....I just hope business is better than yesterday....sold one top.  I'm not all evens out....but given the get my point, I'm sure.
I spent the past week making bags; I had spent the previous couple of weeks making clothes, and at the same time, people seemed to be buying bags left and right, so my supply on hand was getting a bit low.
To update, I had a small heat stroke at the Food Truck Rodeo.  I was ill for a couple of days and have had a hard time getting going, but I'm doing better.  I had decent sales....there was not a lot of buying, unless you're talking about the food...the people were there to eat!
Yesterday (one week later - Durham Craft Market - Saturday morning) was the first time that I didn't sell anything at the market.  I could live with that, but there was going to be a pig pickin' that afternoon and the 'cooks' started with their smoking and cooking of meat, which made me unhappy.  I moved across the sidewalk trying to get away from the smoke (hickory smoked garments - maybe not a good idea), which was a pain in the you know.  So not a very fun time overall.
Of course, we were the last ones to arrive and both spots we were in during the course of the morning sucked....our week we will be there early enough to pick the spot we want, even if I have to go there and sleep in the truck (not really!)

Slowing Down for Some Down Time....

I have made clothes and I have made bags.  I have a decent inventory and I have brought out my fall/winter things.  This week I plan to work determinedly to update my Etsy store and my website.  I will make something if I feel like it.  It will be hard for me not to sew; I'd much rather be doing that than the computer stuff (which is why it is so behind now), but the time has come to get it done, get it current and manage it from that point forward on a regular basis.
I will keep you posted on how this all plays will be restful I hope...hard to say....stay smiling and I share with you much peace.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Okay, Enough Clothes....

I feel like I am a real fashion designer...hahaha!!! I have been remaking clothes for a couple of weeks, and hopefully I have enough for a couple of weeks, and for next weekend, when I'll be at the Durham Craft Market on Saturday morning, then be back to Central Park on Sunday as a vendor during their Food Truck Rally or Rodeo or whatever they call it.  There will be 45 food vendors and thousands of is quite the rage and quite a show to watch. Check out the food truck rodeo info at:
Food Truck Rodeo at Central Park
So it will be a long weekend, and I will be working on bags all this week to have inventory for two days of vending.  I have sold a lot of bags lately, so my supply is low and I really need to concentrate my efforts on all kinds of bags.  I have tons (literally) of awesome 'raw materials' to choose from...I am getting myself excited thinking about it (which tells you a lot about me, I guess!). If you look at the background in this picture you can see a portion, just some, of my palette for bag-making.  I will try to make grocery bags, totes, gift bags, handbags, and hopefully a couple of weekenders (duffle bags).  If I have time I will even do a prototype for a diaper bag, something I've been rolling around in my mind for quite a while, just haven't gotten to it yet.  Oh, I can't forget a few yoga mat bags...bags, bags, bags!

But I'll share with you a few pictures, some of my latest clothing creations.  The dress in the above picture is a medium linen embellished with parts from a lovely Indian tunic and a lovely matching scarf/sari. The second picture shows off the back of the dress; I covered the straps and  used the green and gold fabric around the bottom and framing the back slit of the dress.  It is really pretty, and I enjoyed making it so much; I had no idea what I was going to do with it past the front piece when I started. It is always like that for me....I have one part that I know, usually, at least, and the rest unfolds as I go.  Lots of pinning and repinning goes on, believe me.
This is a girls' size 8 top, a coral color embellished with light yellow
 Oriental fabric from a top and a cream silk sash that ties in back.  It turned out to be really cute...I don't think it will be around too long!  I had several little girls ogling it this morning...I can't wait till it gets tried on so that I can see it on a body!
The last two pictures are of plus-sized tops - the yellow is a 2X and the brown is a 4X.  They are each unique and designed to flatter!  I am so happy to offer plus-sized clothes; I have found that there is a great need for larger sizes that offer more than looking like some kind of tent....and I  know that the stores like Lane Bryant offer larger sizes, but there is nothing unique and nothing reasonably priced, that's for sure.  So I will continue to offer an alternative to the
usual fare, and also try to stay creative and make features that flatter the fuller figure.
Well, I have a lot of work to do and I will be getting busy starting tomorrow; also have picture frames to re-make tomorrow, but I can do both!  I will let you know how things are going sometime next week.  Until then...peace to you...and pass it on!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

.....and Exhale!

There are times when I catch myself holding my breath.  Yesterday, when a customer walked into my market booth to see the dress I had made for her, what one of those times.  She had picked out the base dress last weekend, and left me to the rest.  Of all the dresses she had to choose from, she picked the one that I had nothing to match in my vast closet of ethnic fashions.  So on my way home I went by a thrift store that I can usually count on in the ethnic clothing department.  And yes, I found something to match.
Matching is fine, too, but that doesn't mean that the customer will like what I do, what I envision, and how I turn that into something unique (but not scary) to wear.  So I put the dress on my dress form and threw the Indonesian robe over it, so that I could look at it while I was working on other things, and see what kind of inspiration came to me as far as putting this puzzle together.
After a couple of days, I started cutting and pinning, thinking all the while about the customer - what items she was drawn to in my shop, her build and general way of dressing, her attitude.  I don't know her on a personal level, so I was going on impressions, and trying my best to channel a little of her spirit.  And I put the puzzle together, put it on a hanger, and took it to the market yesterday.
When she walked in the booth, I was definitely holding my breath, as she had to step around a display rack to see the dress.  She took one look at the front and was so happy, excited, in love....that I knew when I showed her the back of the dress, she would really flip, as it was the true 'big feature' of the dress.  She love, love, loved it...and was not going to try it on till she returned home.  So there was a chance that it wouldn't fit, as she had never tried even the un-embellished dress for fit.
After a long day yesterday - up at 5 a.m., market till noon, errands and rain and not home till about 5 p.m. - I eventually turned on the computer to check my emails, etc., and there was an email from her.  It would have to be opened for me to know the verdict, however, so more breath-holding...well, she loves it, it fits perfectly, she's so very pleased.  And after a long day of holding my breath....I sighed, smiled, and exhaled....and with that, I bid you peace...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Modern Technology Sucks.... you already knew that, huh?  I took some pictures while on vacation, some of the sewing and some of the attempted glass blowing (we learned all about what not to do).  it was great fun, either way, since the worst thing that happened was my burned finger from picking up some hot glass.  I no longer have a fingerprint on my right index finger, needless to say!  Anyway, the pictures were taken on my phone and for some reason they simply won't load onto the computer.  I hate it because I wanted to share them with you, especially in the event that you were considering glass-blowing anytime soon!
Its good to be home, though, and I had a great day at the market on Saturday.  I keep meeting the most wonderful and interesting people.  I just love what I do, and being able to get out and share what I do with others.
The young lady that bought my first 'girls'' creation last weekend came running up to me to tell me that she had worn her new top and how much everyone liked it, how special it was to her.   That made my day right there....I'm grinning right now, just remembering!                                                                                        
I have been hard at work and will be this entire week.  I took some pictures of my studio....the first is, well, just four or five projects deep beneath the front hangers....tops on the left and dresses on the right, plus other projects on the 'ends'!
Then if you look at what all I have hanging on the curtain rod...all tops, some special orders and some just waiting for their turns.  I guess it would be an understatement to say I will never run out of work...I mean, we're just concentrating on the clothes....I sold six bags in the past week, so I have a few of them to make as well.
In light of all of this work, which I love so much and am in no way complaining...I will show you my latest finished dress and the one I will complete today - still pinned at this point! Both will be lovely inventory!
And of course, I can't ever figure out how to get the pictures laid out here, and when I finish and it is a finalized blog post, it looks nothing like what I have tried to do in process.  Technology....I don't know, it has its good points and its bad, and my biggest problem is that my learning curve is arrow straight!  Hahaha!!  That's why, with all of the fancy digital computerized interfacing sewing machines out there, I keep buying the "mechanical" models.  I would have to take a class if I had one of those fancy ones.
I will stay 'low-tech' as long as I can get away with.  I like the results of my 'mechanical' labors just fine.
Until next time, practice patience and practice peace....

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Home Sweet Home and Market Sweet Market

So i got home thursday afternoon, and for the rest of the day i felt like i was still rolling (from the driving).  i was stressing about having things ready for the craft market on saturday, which translates to 'i made a mess of everything i tried to make!!', but luckily i have really awesome customers - humans that respect the fact that i am one, too.  and, despite all of my unpreparedness, the market was delightful and worth the trip, so to speak.  this coming week i have several projects, including a couple of custom orders that will be picked up at the market next saturday.  i am running low on gazzoggs of things, too.  i will try and get some pictures downloaded later and i will share with you some of my vacation creations.  hope you are having a wonderful weekend...i'm off now to start sewing....i arranged and cleaned up my studio last night so i'm ready to get down to it....practice peace and compassion...the world seems to be in short supply!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Sorry that i have not been posting...i'm on vacation but will be back in a couple of days.  i will show you the treasures i've uncovered and the pieces that i have made....yes, i work on vacation.  but i don't have my own computer so typing on a laptop is frustrating...not what my hands are meant to do.  Thanks for your patience and may peace be with you....

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls....

Yes, girls. I have been gingerly (due to my fickle sewing machine) for girls.  I have made two new girls' items - a top and a dress - and I am pretty pleased with them.  I can't wait to see how they are received at the market on Saturday.  I have more girls' clothing to make, but may not get to it this week...we'll see.
  I just wanted to share what i've been doing and some of the detail on this adorable girls' dress,  embellished with parts of a girls' everyday kimono..  It was such fun to have this piece unfold as I was pinning it together and trimming parts off, etc.
The front includes a pocket in the center; one side that comes flush to the side seam down to the waist; the other side goes up straight to the shoulder strap.  I left the embellishment's bottom hem loose (as in not connected to the dress), and completely covered the left shoulder strap from front to back.
I brought the fabric past the strap in the back and had it end in a semi-circle at bottom of strap, showing off the colorful fabric much more than it would have with just the strap being covered.  I then took the two tie straps off of the little kimono and centered them between the two waist seams, all the way across the back.  This little addition was really exactly what the dress needed as a finishing touch.
I can't wait to see it on its person, whenever she happens to come along.  Having sold a dress last Saturday, and watched its person put it on over her clothes and see that it was simply made just for her.  I think sometimes it is like when you go to the animal shelter and no matter what idea you have in your head upon entering the shelter, you are the person of one of the animals, and it will show that to you, that is your perfect fit, tailor-made just for you.  I know that a dress if not the same as a pet, but I see a similar thing happen when someone finds an item that is meant for them.  Sometimes they come back a few times before they take the plunge.
This is one of the reasons that I so enjoy about my work.  It is a great feeling to watch someone fall in love with something that I have made, a puzzle that I have solved for them.  Crazy, right?
I plan to continue and expand my "girls' clothing" line.   It is great fun for me and I think, just as with my Plus-Sized apparel, there is a void out there for custom or one-of-a-kind pieces for girls.  And there is a richness to it, when I think of a girl walking into school or a party with an Abercrombie & Fitch top (for example) that has been morphed into something original and something that has embellishments that are from another culture.  I like it....peace to you!...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cross Your Fingers, Please...

Alright, it is just about noon here and I finally have the courage to see if that sewing machine of mine is with me or agin' me today....I do so want to sew....I will let you know how it goes....

Just so ya sewing kind of works....i will baby it until my new one comes this week and i can put this one in the shop.  i think i can still get things done, just have to be keep the peaceful thoughts going as we all get ready for yet another hot summer week...stay cool, ya'll!

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Feel Like A Man Without A Country...

but really, i'm a sewing and upcycling artist without a working sewing machine...really not having a whole lot of fun...i just want to sew....all of that inspiration has been stuffed back in for is not very comfortable for me...i like to work!  well, i will let you know what husband and myself have been and are attempting to repair the machines.  i am so disappointed that i can't type in capital letters...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Machines Are Not Inspired!

Oh yes, I got up this morning thinking I would get tons of sewing accomplished.  I have a studio full of things that want to be made into other things...not today.  My sewing machine has other plans.  I have been looking on google and youtube and ratings on amazon...the consensus is that the problem I'm having is very common and I may not be able to fix it.  I have babied it and finagled it into behaving most of the time...this has happened before, but I fixed it.  I will try to perform open-machine surgery in a little while...I'll let you know how it comes out.  Hopefully the operation will be a success and I can sew...because I really want to.  Trying to stay peaceful....

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Inspired? Yeah....

Sometimes I just need to see the fruits of my labor to get me revved up to get to this case, it is seeing the birthday girl in the blingy dress...she loves it, and it is her, headband and all!  Nothing feels better...I made that for her!  I love my job!
I have managed to get a little work done in between having a little socializing time (much needed and overdue).  One bag completed and another 90% complete.  A cool maternity top on my dress form!  A wall of clothes waiting for their transformation.  Tomorrow I have my work 'cut -out' for me...I also have a whole day to myself to lose myself in the work.
I will let you know what I manage to get done between now and the weekend.  I am brimming with ideas and inspiration....can't wait....peace to you...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I had a good Saturday at the Durham Craft Market - sold a bag and two tops, on a day when everyone else was not selling - so I felt blessed.  Still feel blessed, always feel blessed, and right now I am overwhelmed with inspiration.  I want to make these awesome maternity tops, because every week I see a great number of pregnant women at the market, and I'd love to have something for them.  I want to make more plus-sized tops and need to make more small tops.  I want to make more girls' tops.  And the dresses - well, I almost shiver with desire at the thought of the dresses I want to make (or re-make, to be more precise) - all beautiful dresses.  This doesn't even take into consideration the bags.  I have bags, or the puzzle pieces that will become bags, ready to make....tote bags, duffle bags, grocery bags, handbags, gift bags, yoga mat bags, all the bags you could imagine.  Its all there waiting for me....along with the picture frames I'm trying to redo for, to frame custom haikus that people purchase to raise money for the horses.  And I have horse bags to make and dog bags and cat bags, all to be fundraisers for charities that help our fellow creatures.  I even have an idea for a ladies' bag - a cute bag to donate to Pennies for Change, which is a thrift store whose proceeds go to run battered women's shelters.
So what should I do?  I know I will get in there and just do it....probably not today, but certainly in the morning.  Maybe tonight....I'll let you know what I decide to re-make - what will be first - and maybe some pictures, too.  Until then....practice kindness and peace.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Creative Process: The Blingy Dress

Finally I am here, with my blingy dress pics and a look into the process of creating a custom item for someone.  I happen to know the person that the dress was commissioned for (a birthday present) and so I had a clue as to her basic style.  She likes whimsy; she is in a band, front and center; she has dark hair and fair skin; she is bold and cheerful.
So I had at least some insight into what she might like; she is also a very original kind of person - very unique and very genuine - with a big happy beautiful smile!
This dress was commissioned by her future mother-in-law.  So to start the process, my first questions to her were about size and colors and lots of info about how far to go with the bling, how subtle to be, etc.

fter I found out the size (medium), which of course I had none in stock, so I started looking around during my shopping trips for a few choices.  I ended up with four very different dresses to choose from.  I then invited the 'commissioner' over to like and decide on one of these or to send me back out looking for more choices.  Luckily, the choice came down between the one on the left, a Patagonia mid-length dress with thin straps and a built-in shelf bra - and made out of a wonderful blue organic cotton and recycled spandex...a nice quality dress.  The other dress we looked strongly at was the lavender - a shorter length, with a cut-out neckline and short sleeves with super swishy 'wings'.  The other two didn't make the cut, which is okay, they will make awesome dresses for                      someone else down the line.  I let the 'commissioner' take her time in deciding, looking at the pros and cons of each dress, and she decided the blue would be the best choice for the recipient. And so the first part of the process was complete.

From here, all of the creative choices regarding the dress and its embellishments were left solely to me.  As luck would have it, I could find nothing from my deep, vast closet of 'raw materials' that was a good match for this dress, its color or its cut.  Luckily I knew of a thrift store that had a couple of racks of Indian tunics, saris, pants, etc.- I found a couple of possibilities and brought them home to see if they would work with the dress.  I looked at them against the dress, both inside under indoor lights and outside in the daylight.  These first two pics are of a lovely woven floral blue woven into copper with copper bling.  It just didn't match like I had hoped it would.  The color would have worked, it just wouldn't really improve the dress or give it the look I was starting to envision.  The warm-toned copper just wasn't complimentary to the cold tone of the blue of the dress.  
I did the same 'testing' with the second outfit I purchased, this one was a tunic and pants with 'bell bottom' embellishments  It was very different material from the first, stiffer and more formal, lots more 'bling'.  Where the first used copper this used silver, which went much better with the cold-toned blue of the dress.  You can see the embroidery and beadwork, sequins, and the fabricin the left-hand picture is from the 'bell bottom' of one of the pants legs. I could see that this was going to be a good match for the dress, keeping the proper tone and giving some lovely bling with some body to it as well. 
Out came the scissors....that point of seemingly no return....and then the pins.  As I started pinning the bodice trim for the front neckline, I could see that I had chosen well...the first 'puzzle piece' was fitting just right!! Yes, I was excited!  It is a good and very special feeling when your vision starts to become a tangible thing.  So I pinned and unpinned and repinned  - until I had it just the way I wanted, or maybe I should be honest....I had it just the way IT wanted to be.  I removed the dress from the dress form and hit the sewing machine!

Lovely, like it was meant to go on this dress...getting excited...what to do next?  
Well, the back seemed I thought I might add a little bit of decoration there....
I used the pieces that I cut off of the piece that I had just put on the front of the dress.  Perfect...I wend below the 'bra bottom' seam so that the embellishments would be a little lower on the back, where the back starts to taper into the waistline.  It seemed like a good place for a little shine.

Now, this all looked really nice, but still a bit plain.   I got down on my hands and knees and pinned one of the 'bell bottom' pieces to the side of the dress, thinking that I would put one on each side at the bottom hem.   The thing was, it just looked too big, took away from the neckline, and even when I made it smaller, it still seemed like it wasn't going to hang right.  I had to walk away for a little while and consider what I wanted for the dress...what would be the finishing touches, pulling the dress together.
I came back to the dress with a clear vision...I took the front hem trim from the Indian tunic and , because it was the right 'puzzle piece', it fit perfectly across the front hemline of the dress, from side seam to side seam. I brought the piece up above the bottom, so that it was kind of framed with the dress's fabric, which emphasized the blue embroidered flowers in the trim.  Easy as pie, this front part....I had a gut feeling that the back might be a little different!
It really wasn't so bad.  I just had some things to consider, such as that the bottom of the piece was frayed and worn from being at the bottom of a pants leg.  So that had to be considered and the rest of the piece brought down to a size that worked with a reduced bottom line.  I placed this 'puzzle piece' above the dress's hemline as well as I did in front.  I looked at it both ways before sewing anything on, and it looked better 'framed' by the dress.  I whittled down the upper portion of the triangle shape so that the piece was the right size, big enough to balance the rest of the dress, but not so big that it was overbearing.

  I think it came out very well.  The 'commissioner' was very pleased, and everyone who knew the recipient felt that she was going to seriously LOVE it!!  Music to my ears!!!

So the saga of the blingy dress comes to a close.  I am going to try to get a picture of the birthday girl in her new, one-of-a-kind GoodKharmaReThreads original garment that was custom made just for her.  Every one should get to have a piece that was made just for makes you feel so special, and you shouldn't have to be rich to feel that special feeling....I hope I am honored with the opportunity to do that for many more is a joy!
I hope you enjoyed this  installment of my blog.  I'll be back soon....every day, every piece is a new adventure!  Keep the positive, the peaceful, the happiness....or maybe not keep it...share it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Storm is coming...

getting ready to storm....i'll blog after it passes...must disconnect for now!!  peace to you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Little Preview....

Tomorrow I promise you a wonderful story about the dress....along with pictures from start to was a hit with the person who ordered is a birthday present for someone that I know....and I had a lot of freedom to do it my way!  I'm worn out today, though, haven't even sewn anything.  I'll be here tomorrow with my story of the blingy dress! Thanks for tuning in....have a peaceful evening and some blissful rest!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Dress...Bling in a timeless look...

Well, I'm just thinking about what I"m going to write about tomorrow.  Its too late for me to get I'll wait till tomorrow morning....hope you don't mind.
The custom order dress was just fantastic to make.  And it turned out just right.  I sure hope that its recipient likes it....I'm pretty sure she will flip, in a good way, of course.  I have documented this dress's rebirth and I will tell you about it and supply some pics that go along with the rebirth....I so do love my job.  I am truly blessed...tomorrow...till then, practice kindness, find snatches of peace and enjoy them.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Handbag for Spirit!

I spent all of yesterday (Sunday) making a bag to help a young, blind, injured and beaten-up horse named Spirit; you can catch her story on if you don't already know the details.  Anyway, I wanted to make a bag that I can sell and donate 100% of the proceeds to the NPO that has Spirit in their care.  I had posted a picture of the 'raw materials' that I would be using last week sometime, and yesterday I dedicated the day to getting the bag done and ready to offer to the public.
I thought it would be cool to take photos and take you through all of the steps for making Spirit's bag.  The first picture is basically the 'raw materials' that i would be choosing from.  I had already chosen the black shorts to be the base, or bones, of the bag, and the white with black cloth napkin for inner lining.
The second picture shows the inner lining attached
to the inside of the shorts aka bag.  I love the weight and touch of fading that the black and white cotton napkin offers to the whole package, along with its soft feel. I knew I would be adding interior pockets to the bag, thus having to cover up some of the lining.  If not for wanting more pockets I would have been happy for it to look just like this...simple and neat.
Next I decided to put the bottom on the bag.  I used a salmony-pink and white checkerboard cotton placemat.  This placemat has just the right color of pink and a nice weight and thickness for the bottom, pretty as well as durable. I also chose to sew the bottom onto the bag (I had already split the middle of the shorts and reconstructed them so that they resembled a skirt instead of shorts.) in an inset fashion so that the edges of the bag and the bottom 'rolled' together, allowing the bag to 'sit' flat when put down.
Before I could change my mind about putting pockets on the inside (since I so love he black and white lining and hate covering it up) I went ahead and devised a couple of pockets with the salmony-pink and white colors.  The first pocket I made was from a pair of baby girl's seersucker gingham- checked  'panties'.  I sewed the little leg openings together to close the bottom of the pocket, and used the waist as the top of the pocket.  The elastic in the waistband should work to hold items in the pocket, at least to some extent.  I would be happy to add a piece of velcro to the top of this pocket if it were requested by the buyer.
The other inside pocket was made from a pair of our special salmony-pink with white polka dots (big dots) in a soft but sturdy terry cloth.  I closed the leg openings to use as the bottom of the bag, and then I sewed up the middle of the bag so that it splits into two pockets, with mild elastic tops.  Each side also has a small outside pocket (like a back pocket) for stashing the little things.  I made sure that even with the added pockets there was still plenty of the black and white lining to see (yes, I am enamored!).
 Probably the most difficult part of designing this bag...the horsey part!  I had an adorable little girls' cotton knit skirt to work with...white with the salmony-pink (a bunch) or black (a few) horses doing various things, from trotting, cantering, rearing, etc.  It also was topped with a wide white knit fold-over waistband....i ultimately decided to cut the waistband off of the skirt, as it just didn't look like it belonged.  I cut the skirt in half at the side seams, and at first pinned the pieces to the front and back of the bag.  Well, it really didn't look right, and when I pinned a strap on to see how it would look when being carried, I knew that it was just not right that way.  I re-pinned the two skirt pieces to each side of the bag, with the center of the piece lining up with the side seam of the bag.  I pinned on the strap and went back to the mirror to see how it
looked....big improvement....really cute.  This also gave me a place to
add two outside pockets, one front and one back, in between the skirt
pieces. So everything finally fit together like it should.  I had managed to put this oh-so-cute puzzle together, for the most part.

Of course, the bag would not be complete without some type of closure at the top.  I took a black scrap of fabric and made the two pieces for the two parts of  a magnetic snap closure.  I attached the snaps to the fabric pieces, and then sewed them onto the bag so that it could be snapped shut instead of gaping open while being carried or while sitting around.
I had a hard time deciding on the handle/strap for this bag.  Ultimately I went with the leather-look woven belt with buckle, as it was soft and infinitely adjustable.  The daintier belts I had to choose from were simply too short to be anything but a handle, and I know most people these days want a bag they can sling over their shoulder or over their head and shoulder and just go.  Once I got the belt attached to the bag and had a look in the mirror, I realized that it didn't detract from the bag in any way.....yay!!!
Lastly, I sewed in the GoodKharmaReThreads label and whew!!! I had completed the Bag Full of Spirit for Spirit!
As I have posted elsewhere, I am asking $50.00 for this bag, and 100% of the price will go to the Beauty's Haven Farm and Horse Rescue as a donation toward the ongoing care of sweet little Spirit....
If you or someone you know are interested in purchasing the bag, just message me on facebook or google+ or e-mail me at  Would make a great gift....thanks & peace 2 U!