Important Brown Dog Studio Tidbits

Saturday, May 17, 2014

...a piece of the past

Last summer I bought a darling friendship quilt. It was in pretty rough shape and my intention was to "cut the heck out of it" (a quote from family members who routinely comment on what happens to the majority of my finds!). 

I'm fascinated by the labor of love the quilt represents. I also have a bit of "quilt-envy," not having one of these in MY history! I admit that the missing portions around the edge shown in this photo are a result of my eagerness to harvest a few of the hand-embroidered signatures RIGHT AWAY. It was only AFTER I'd done a bit of cutting that I thought I might have enjoyed keeping it, despite its flaws, especially because the green and yellow pattern is so happy!

What I don't know...WHO were these women? WHY did they (all 90+ of them) make this quilt...was there an event, a marriage, a church fundraiser? WHO kept the quilt all of these years?
What I DO know...The date on the quilt is June 1932. SOMEONE loved and used this quilt, evidenced by the worn spots, many of which saw careful repairs. A great deal of care was taken to piece together all of the signatures into blocks that used (I think) feedsack cloth in dozens of patterns.  I can't get over how perfectly the background fabric of the embroidery has aged, whereas the stitching remains colorful.

I am utterly intrigued with the embroidery...the styles are so varied. Most women worked their first and last names, but about a dozen used the Mrs. title followed by a husband's first and last name. 

The styles range from over-the-top elaborate detail, hard to distinguish from modern-day machine embroidery, to a very simple running stitch. Most women chose to use a signature version of their name, whereas a few used block letters. I LOVE the women who added the very bold statement of a PERIOD to the end of their "signature," almost an "I was here" kind of flourish. 
I ask myself, how would I have been represented for the past 8 DECADES if I had been part of this quilt...were these women happy to contribute their time? Was this something they did routinely? Or did it signify sacrificing precious time in an already busy day?

I LOVE the names...oodles of Marys, a few named Grace, Anna, Maggie and Jennie...but then, Pearl, Edith, Harriette, Minnie (2!), Vera, Hazel, Ansty (!), Jessie, Doris, Martha, Thelma and Amelia...Sadly, I don't remember the first handful I harvested last Fall :(
I'm so happy to be able to offer these as a piece of wearable history...I don't think most of us will find our name to wear...no Sarah to be found! But maybe a mother or grandmother or favorite great aunt?

I think I might just choose a great old name as my own...which oddly enough brings back a sweet memory from my college days and may be the REAL reason I was drawn to the quilt...one of my dearest friends and I always gave each other "nursing home names" and we were routinely "Pearl," "Mildred," or "Bertha". When we stumbled across each other on Facebook after a few years of scattered written correspondence , we were "old lady" friends all over again!
I've made a few dozen names for all of my upcoming "junk" shows. I still have over 50 names in reserve and will continue to add to the collection as needed. You will be getting the actual name, cut and encased in glass according to the size of the signature..."Frances" holds the title of the LARGEST of the charms...She really filled her allotted space with her name and I had to cut a wider strip of glass than I originally intended to use! I'm thinking about offering initials on request, keeping in mind that using initials will deplete the pool of old-fashioned names.
AND...I have odds and ends of the quilt reserved for some bunting and other surprises!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

If you're looking for my next Lincoln event...this is it! The gals at Simply Bungalow, just north of 48th and Normal, are hosting my Mother's Day Trunk Show April 10-12, after we had so much fun with Valentines...hearts and glitter you know! 

I'll be taking special orders like always, along with oodles of pretties ready for purchase on site. THIS time, your order will be ready to ship...either to you or to the giftee, in time for Mother's Day, OR you'll be able to pick it up in person at the Patina Market, held on May 10 at Simply Bungalow.

I'm excited to be vending again at the Patina Market...you should come see ME, of course, but then you may find some really great treasures the vintage dealers bring along. I ALWAYS do! Last time there were over 20 vendors, and Heidi has been working on super-secret blueprints to squeeze in MORE!!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pop-up Studio?

Raise your hand if you headed off to the studio this past weekend and wound up staring at a sign on the door telling you to go to the studio's NEW Pop-up location? (You're not alone; one sweet, honest shopper admitted as much to me on Thursday) 

If you've been shopping at Brown Dog Open Houses over the past 8+ years, you've stepped into an extension of  my studio (or garage, etc), which resides in my home. What a joy to have welcomed so many of you into my homey studio! It made sense..If I needed something, I just popped right back into my work area. Because I had regular open shopping hours during the week, I usually left the studio set up most of the time...when I was doing maybe a FEW shows a month.

But the times have been a-changing! With 45+ shows a year (at last count), the studio stays in pack-mode so that I don't spend literally HOURS each week on extra packing when I could be making pretties for the studio. I also lose workbench time setting up one-on-one appointments in the studio. 

So, when Todd (Mr. Brown Dog) wondered aloud if I'd ever considered a different venue for my Open Houses, I started thinking...
hmmmm....better lighting, better parking, more elbow room, no stairs to the basement, none of my shoppers worrying about whether they could bring friends to a show, not to mention the teenagers' bathroom!

And a plan began to take shape! After a whirlwind search for open space to lease and a few disappointments, I finally (last minute) found a great, temporary site for both parts of this year's Christmas Open House and Stop and Shop. A HUGE location at 56th and South Streets, my set-up has been great for shopping and check-out. I have NOT opened a permanent location, and that isn't my plan...the studio travels too much to even consider a shop.

A big THANKS to everyone who came and found the studio this weekend. I took oodles of custom orders, which will be ready for pick-up in the SAME LOCATION, along with even more GREAT shopping in 3 scant weeks...Thursday Dec 12 (5-8), Friday Dec 13 and Saturday Dec 14 (10-8 both days).

Will I have this space again next year? Well, the leasing company probably hopes it will be rented before then, but I will plan on having locations for my Valentine, Mother's Day and Christmas shows. I've gotten so busy during June and when I usually have my Fall Open House that I'm deciding whether or not just to have you find me at one of the great shows I attend!

Pop-up studio EXPLAINED :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Getting ready for the Fall Season...and on the road!

The studio continues to stay busy and I've been getting ready for a few changes with the beginning of my crazy (and wonderful) fall schedule! Thanks for a wonderful summer, to all of you who continue to follow and support the studio and to you new friendly faces I've just met.

So...it's gotten impossible to have EVERYTHING available all of the time...words, sports, teams, schools and more. In the past, my standard reply to special requests was to encourage you to look for something in a few weeks to see if I'd had time to make it. SURE, I'd just add a particular breed of dog, song title or piece of map to my regular line-up. Now, with all of the orders that fill up my workbench, I'm going to suggest that if you would like to make sure you can have your special word, phrase in one of my inventory styles of glass or metals, you should order it, either in person at one of my shows or on-line via email or the website. Otherwise, I don't always have time to make it happen. It's still just ME making all the pretties in the studio.

I have some major over-hauling to do over the next few weeks for displays and the website, and I HOPE that will make it much easier to order standard sizes and styles of charms that fall under the category of "regular line-up", therefore being the same cost as charms you would buy off of the tables! There will be an additional cost for extra customizing. Once you order and pay for your charms, you can be sure that they will be ready for you to pick up at an upcoming show or popped into the mail (and who wouldn't like a little Brown Dog love coming through the post!).

I have an impressive fall line-up, filled with shows and many new pretties. 

I'm VERY busy creating and running around to shows, in addition to mom-duties. The studio remains in pack-mode, except when I'm setting up for an open house in the studio, which will be the ONLY times available for shopping. There's no easy way for me to set up a place to shop while I'm working, and I need to keep myself on schedule to finish the pretties! But I'm always happy to take requests for a Drop-Box Pick-Up (more details to come...)! I WILL be offering times for Private Trunk shows in the week surrounding each open house. SO...If you would really like some quiet (?!) time to gather with some friends, make sure to ask to reserve one of those when they become available. 

The Fall Open Studio will be Thursday September 26-Saturday September 28, so I foresee offering times a few days before and after the show, before I become fully immersed in back-to-back (and then some!) shows in October.

Now...I'm off to Riverboat Days this weekend with a van FULL to the brim.
See you soon!



Friday, July 12, 2013

So...obviously I haven't been on top of all of my studio commitments...mainly THIS blog!

I have been to an unprecedented number of shows ALREADY this year...when you ask if I'm getting ready for the "busy" Fall schedule, I'm telling you sweet folks that I haven't STOPPED since my wee break between Christmas and kiddos heading back to school in January.

My show availability and oh-so full studio inventory mean that the studio is usually in pack-mode and I'm frantically working to keep up with orders and re-stocking charms and CreAtInG more unique pieces. Sadly, in order to keep the creative juices flowing, I cannot let shoppers in to take a peek through the packed boxes except when I'm having scheduled open hours (everything brought OUT of the boxes!) OR you contact me for a Private Trunk Show for you and 6+ friends. I LOVE to ship, bring pretties to a show or use the drop box so you can have an endless supply of goodies, when needed!

I am busily updating my studio schedule AND am going to take a few days to re-vamp the website. The remaining booty from the Studio Garage Sale is on the studio Facebook page, up for sale...$5 apiece for the glass charms...until July 20th when it all disappears!

AND...because the Piedmont Market has closed (for a good reason...new owners are going to make something GREAT out of that area, I hope!)...I am going to open the studio 2 more times this summer...

Saturday July 20 from 10-2
Saturday August 10 (10-2)

(remember, if you don't know where to find the studio, you just EMAIL me...that way my address isn't just floating around the world wide web!)

Hope to see you soon...have a safe and happy summer!