Category Archives: shop

Shop Update (Part 1)

Another quick announcement post to let you know I’ve completed part one of the week’s planned shop update, listing all the pockets I’ve sewn recently. So currently in stock are some sweet whimsical flowers…

(They’re also available in blues and purples.)

…chickens are back…

…and there are several nautical themed pouches, inspired by my Rhode Island summers.

I’ve also added some large pockets, and I’m well stocked on pencil pouches in time for (I can barely even type this, sorry, I know it’s July) back-to-school shopping.

Part 2 of the update will happen within a few days–I have some hand-printed cards and notebooks to add. But I promise the next post will be about what I’m making and doing, not about what I’m selling. (I’m uncomfortable with the salesperson’s hat on, can you tell??)

An Announcement or Two

sketching irises at amyhoodarts.com

G and I drawing and painting irises in the yard this weekend.

This is the day I’d planned to have Issue Four of Art Together available, despite spending half of March sick with a bad cold and losing a week in April to the flu. But last week I became sick again, and it turned out to be strep, and that was the last straw. So I requested a week extension from myself, and Myself listened, weighed the facts, and granted it. Mainly it’s just the tech stuff left to do, which does, in fact, require me to be conscious. I had no idea strep was more than just a bad sore throat! I could barely keep my eyes open for a while there, but antibiotics are lovely when you truly need them, aren’t they? Like magic.

Speaking of Issue Four, which focuses on mixed media + collage, if you’re interested in a review copy and/or giveaway, drop me a line at amyhood at amyhoodarts dot com and we’ll discuss.

And finally, if you’re in southern Rhode Island this summer, you can now find my pockets and cards in Thrifty Sister in Peace Dale. This is a great consignment store that also carries work by local artists. (It also happens to be an excellent source of interesting found paper for mixed media and collage.)

First Craft Fair

craft fair table at amyhoodarts.com

So Saturday I attended my first fair as a vendor. It wasn’t a craft fair, not really; it was a school fair with some vendors. People don’t necessarily attend because they’re looking to buy things. (For the kids, it’s a mandatory school day.) As you can see, the weather was beautiful, despite initial forecasts of heavy rain. I completely forgot to have my husband take a picture of me at the table, so this is the picture I have!

I looked at this event as a trial run of attending a fair, from what to bring, using the technology, setting up and breaking down, and what sold. My goal was small: I wanted to at least make back the cost of being there, and I did. I had items priced in a wide range, from $3 to $30, but all my sales, except for two cards, were of zippered pockets.

As for nuts-and-bolts details, if I’m going to make a habit of attending craft fairs, I will want a real sign and a better way to display the cards and notebooks, I think. I got a chance to use the PayPal Here card reader and learned to connect it first thing, because it took a bit–but then it did work. I enjoy talking to people whether they buy anything or not. I like what I do and like to explain what inspires my designs, and it’s a pleasure to talk to someone who’s interested. We were able to set up and break down fairly easily and quickly, but I was glad my husband was there to do most of the work with the tent.

So it was a good learning experience and my modest goals were met. And it’s fun to sell to people in person, to see someone decide that they really want to take home something I’ve made. I sold one of my favorite pouches, the one with a design inspired by Western Salsify embroidered onto Japanese cotton:

Salsify (1)

As I’ve said before, I choose the linings carefully, because I want the inside to be as pleasing as the outside.
Salsify (3)

When the customer unzipped the pouch to look inside, she exhaled, “Oooh.” Yes. That is exactly what I’m going for, and I think the ability to witness it in person is a good reason to make a point of selling at a fair every now and then.

DIY Paper Bag Binge

A couple of days ago I realized I ought to have merchandise bags of some sort if I’m selling at a fair. There isn’t any place that I know of locally where I can buy 25 or so flat paper bags, and I decided I didn’t want to pay for shipping, which can quickly get steep because of weight. So I figured I’d just make some. Several places we ordered from for Christmas use brown kraft paper as box filler, so I cut it to size and sewed up some bags.

sewn paper bags at amyhoodarts.com

I don’t have many things that need even that large of a bag, though, so I only made six of those. I made twenty paper bags out of map pages, though.

map paper bags at amyhoodarts.com

Turns out making these is like eating popcorn. It was hard to stop. The Internet has many tutorials for these; I happened to use this one at Urban Natural History. The paper is from a road atlas that Dawn sent me when she was cleaning things out before her latest move. Its pages are the perfect size!

I’ve no idea how many bags I might need or how many sales I may make. This is a big experiment. My 9yo thinks these bags are fantastic–and I have to agree with him. A big plus is that all these bags used materials I already had in the house. Perfect!

Craft Fair Announcement + Some Making

For those of you who are local, I’ll have a table at The Compass School’s Eco-Fair. Relevant info is on this flyer.

The Compass School Eco Fair flyer at amyhoodarts.com

I’ll be selling zippered pockets, of course, along with stamped Moleskines, stamped/printed blank cards, and possibly some matted prints. I sewed quite a few pockets last month, so this past week I’ve been busy with other things.

bunting + stamped notebooks at amyhoodarts.com

Up top is a portion of a bunting I stamped and sewed. It has eight of those triangles altogether, each with a different summery stamp. This is ultimately for the slider in our dining room, which right now is decorated with felt spring flowers on a crocheted vine. I like to change it up seasonally, but last year those flowers stayed up all summer. But I’m also going to use this to decorate my table at the fair.

Below are some small stamped Moleskines. I carved the house stamp a while ago but I don’t think I ever shared it, so here’s a close-up.

hand-carved house stamp at amyhoodarts.com

Finally, I’ve been painting rocks. I thought it would be nice to have some low-priced items that might appeal to kids, since it’s a school fair. These aren’t quite done yet. They’ll all get a coat of gloss acrylic varnish.

painted rocks at amyhoodarts.com

I’m not quite sure what to charge for these. Materials cost next to nothing, but of course they do take time (and very, very tiny brushes). Any ideas?

It’s in the Details {Shop Update}

I’ve added some new pencil pockets and basic pockets to the shop, some of what I’ve been working on the past couple of months, here and there. For instance, when I bought some manic-fish fabric for my 9yo’s jammie pants, I bought an extra yard to play with. I decided to use it as embellishment, like so:

The lining is the same fish fabric. That’s one of the details I like to pay attention to–the fabric I use to line the pockets. I want it to match, to complement the outside, to be inviting in its own right. Lining this denim pocket with the fish was an obvious choice, but even when the choice isn’t obvious, I take my time with it. This green batik fabric goes nicely, I think, with this embroidered tree.

Many years ago, before I began sewing, I ordered a custom-made project bag using adorable elephant fabric. (I love elephants.) The seller never mentioned lining fabric, and I didn’t know to ask. When the bag arrived, the lining was a floral that I didn’t like at all, and it didn’t even match the outside. I have never used that bag–I just don’t like unzipping it and seeing a pattern I don’t like. All my shop photos show the lining. If you buy a bag, maybe you’ll be the only one to see the lining, but you need to like it. You should unzip your bag and smile.

In the photo above you can also see the top-stitching next to the zipper. That keeps the fabric where it belongs, instead of catching in the zipper. This is something I learned from making pockets for myself. I love a good top-stitch. Such an important detail.

I also hand-sew the opening in the lining. When I machine-stitch the bag together the right sides are facing each other, and I have to leave an opening so I can turn it right-side out. I could machine-stitch that closed, too, but it leaves a little bit of a fold line. It’s obviously different. And yes, it’s on the inside, and you won’t notice it unless you know to look, but I think it looks nicer to hand-sew it.

sewing by hand

The stitching is impossible to find when it’s complete. It’s a small, invisible detail, but it looks nicer to the only person who’s ever going to see the inside, and that’s the person using it.

My sales are still small. I have the time, while I’m creating, to think about the eventual (hoped-for) owners of what I make. Because I’m crafting by hand, it feels like creating a gift. The same care goes into it. Why? Because I think we all deserve it.

superstar at amyhoodarts.com

Because you’re a superstar (yes you are): Superstar basic pocket at amyhoodarts.etsy.com

“Sick of Winter” Sale

Truth be told, I was Done with winter a long time ago. We’ve got one last week of February to get through and even though I know March is a heart-breaker…at least it’s not February. So to help make it through, I decided to have a sale. Until the end of February (that’s this week only!), use code THINKSPRING for 25% off in the shop.

Find yourself something springlike. Maybe this spring tree?

green tree 1

Or this daisy-printed notebook?

daisy notebook (1)

Or a cute daisy pouch? Either wallet- (shown) or pencil-sized.

small daisy 3

I know I need a little something to get over that last hump before spring. If you do as well, 25% off is my winter blah-busting gift to you.

Making + Listening::5/2014

I’ve been very busy making this past week. First priority was a custom order for Dawn, for a pouch for her son’s Kindle. She also wanted it to be protected against wetness. After talking about her son’s interests, this is the design we came up with.

photo 1 copy

For the uninitiated, that’s a Minecraft cake block.

I lined it with PUL, the fabric that’s used for cloth diapers and wet bags.

photo 2 copy

It’s on its way to Dawn and her son now. I always put my own good intentions into what I make–even when I don’t know who may end up buying something, I make everything as if I’m sewing a gift for a friend. But when I do know who will be getting it, that’s even better, because then I’m thinking of them all the way through. Which is to say, I enjoyed making this for Ander!

Also this week I’ve been working to put together the next issue of Art Together. I am so excited about it. As part of that process, I made my first gelatin printmaking plate.

gelatin plate

Photo by V. Hood.

The kids and I spent Wednesday morning experimenting with it, and we were back at it after lunch on Thursday! I have a stack of gelatin plates in my fridge right now (I cut the large one down into smaller ones). Because this is a completely normal thing for some of us, to have ink-stained printmaking plates hanging out in the fridge.

I’m also happy to be making time for running again. Earlier this month I was cleared by the orthopedist to start slowly, with short distances, adding only 1/2 mile or so of mileage each week. I was waylaid a bit while my husband was away last week, but I got back to the track last night and it felt so good! I’m also transitioning to minimalist shoes, on the orthopedist’s recommendation, which requires a different footstrike, too. (I know, I lost the non-runners there, sorry.) The bright side is that coming back slowly to running makes it the perfect time to transition, because you have to do that slowly too. By the time sunrise is early enough for me to get out before I need to tend to the day (my favorite running time), I ought to be able to just head out the door and go.

As for listening…it’s still the Olympics most of the time, and Pandora shuffle in the art room. What a happy thing, to listen to music and make art.

(Linking up with Dawn again this week.)

Giveaway Day!

Congratulations to Chiska, whose comment number came up on random.org as the winner of the pouch. Thank you to everyone who commented–I really enjoyed reading about your handmade gifts and memories.

It’s been a long while since the last time I participated in Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day and I’m pleased to be joining up again. I’m offering this hand-embroidered zippered pouch, with a design inspired by those found on Ancient Egyptian faience (such as this bowl).

embroidered zippered pouch 1

Pens and washi tape not included, but it’s certainly roomy enough to hold them!

I wanted the base fabric to match, as well as I could, the blue-green color usually found in faience, although the color of the objects themselves do, of course, vary. I often find inspiration in art and nature, and I’ve always been drawn to the beautiful, ancient pieces created using this process. I’ll never own any, but I can try to create something inspired by it.

embroidered zippered pouch 4

This pouch measures 8.25 x 5.25″ on the outside and approximately 8 x 5” inside. It’s embroidered with cotton embroidery floss on Kona cotton, with a lining of sturdy 100% cotton and an 8” YKK zipper for durability. Spot-cleaning is recommended for best results.

embroidered zippered pouch 2

This particular giveaway is open to US residents only (due to shipping costs) and I’m not asking for anything more than a comment in return (see details below), but I would love if you visited my Etsy shop, where you’ll find many more zippered pouches, including hand-stamped and hand-embroidered ones. Code HOLIDAY13 is good for 10% off your purchase.

I also publish an e-zine, Art Together, full of information and activities designed to inspire confidence in adults to explore open-ended art together with children. Code HOLIDAY gets you 20% off Issue One: Color, Issue Two: Line, or the bundle of both (available on either issue’s page). If you have kids or work with kids, I hope you’ll take a few moments to read about the e-zine.

To enter this giveaway, though, all you need to do is leave a comment with these two pieces of information:

(1)  Your email address! Please make sure you fill in that field. I need to be able to contact you by email.

(2) Tell me a favorite handmade gift you’ve either given or received. It doesn’t matter if it was made by you or the person who gave it, as long as it was handmade by somebody. This is a hard one for me, because I’ve given so many handmade gifts over the years, but one of my favorites is the doll I knit for my daughter a couple of years ago, which you can see (if you’d like) here.

giveaway_2013_Dec9In accordance with Sew Mama Sew’s guidelines, this giveaway will close at 9pm EST on Friday, December 13. I’ll update this post with the winner’s name and email the winner next weekend, and your pouch will be in the mail by December 20–and most likely well before that. Good luck! And be sure to visit Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day posts to see all the wonderful items on offer.

Counting Down

countdown calendar 2013 at amyhoodarts.com

With Thanksgiving being so late this year, I needed to take down our Thankful banner right after Thanksgiving and replace it with our countdown calendar. I meant to highlight that tutorial much earlier in the month, but November has simply slid right by. Fortunately, this countdown calendar design has open pockets, which is one of the many reasons I love it so much. I can slip in the activity cards as we go. I’ve said before, I know: our countdown activities are things we’d be doing anyway–getting a tree, writing to Santa, sending out cards, and so on–made extra special because each day’s activity, even the simple ones (have hot cocoa + whipped cream, for example), have an element of surprise from the anticipation of seeing what’s in the pocket. Our countdown always starts the same way on December 1–celebrating my firstborn’s birthday. And then we can begin with Christmas in earnest.

I slip some chocolate in there every so often, but overall, this is about doing simple things, together. The kids look forward to it, too, making sure I don’t forget to include their favorites. “Will we be making snowflakes this year?” my oldest wanted to know. “We can’t forget to drive around looking at Christmas lights,” reminds my youngest. I like to think that this element of simple ritual is something they’ll look back upon when they’re older as a beloved part of celebrating the holidays together.

Meanwhile, I’ve been a bit quiet in this space because I’ve been busy getting the second issue of Art Together ready for release the first week of December. This issue focuses on line, and the kids and I have had fun researching it and putting it together. The featured artist is one of my favorites, Piet Mondrian. We have really enjoyed learning more about him. I’m looking forward to sharing this issue with you (and simultaneously quieting that voice that always says, No, not quite ready, not quite yet).

I’m also counting down to Sew Mama Sew’s Giveaway Day on December 9. I’ve decided to participate this year, so there will be something up for grabs here the second week of December. So many things going on here this month! Finally, a little something for the holidays–code HOLIDAY13 will get you 10% off in the shop through December 31.

Phew. I think I’ve caught everything up for the time being. Now, I have a birthday to prepare for before coming back next week to announce the new issue!