Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And then there were pins...

Just added to the jill2day shop are pins! These little brooches are made from bases covered with my sweater knits, and vintage buttons that I have gathered from various sources.

These pins are great for giving; to sisters, to teachers, to hairdressers, to buddies, or to yourself! They will decorate your hat or purse, they will hold your scarf from flying in the wind, they will add a little pizazz to you plain old coat!!

If you really want to make a statement you can add a jill2day ring to go with your pin - or to wear on its own. Made with the same eco-friendly materials  as the pins, but scaled for your hand. A great little bauble for your upcoming holiday parties!!

Now is the time to go to the new "brooches and rings" section and take a look!

Monday, August 22, 2011

End of summer sale!

I love fall and winter.... can never wait until we are done with this summer nonsense! To celebrate the first hint of cool in the evenings, and the sumac starting to turn red, I decided to give a 30% off on all my tshirt tunics between Wednesday this week and Sunday at noon. After that, they will be taken out of the shop and it will be all sweaters for the fall and winter seasons.

Take a look at my Etsy shop and use the coupon code "NOSUMMER" to deduct the 30% discount when you check out. Check out all the tunics in the Tshirt Tunic section. You can still use these tunics all fall and probably well into the winter... but I will be happily working and offering sweaters!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

August is here and Mama Nature is preparing

The Queen Ann's Lace is past its prime, and the Coneflowers are in their heyday... that can only mean that summer's apex has been reached, and fall is almost here. For some of you that may be melancholy, but for me it is pure wonderfulness. It might still be 80+ degrees out, but the sun is just a little more golden and not quite as harsh at 8:00 AM. The baby birds - even from the second nestings - are in flight and on their own.

And every where I look I can see the flowers give way to the seeds and nuts and fruits. Each of these have their own unique form and point. I love the swirly seed pods and the milk weed pods that will soon explode with "fairies". The nuts will soon be buried in little mounds all over our yard. and the birds will find the berries for months to come. Ahhh fall in Wisconsin!

 The preparations for winter survival are well on the way. I have always loved fall. It is my inner clock's New Year. While others find hope in spring, I love the crisp and clean breath that is Autumn. It is a glorious romp of color and bounty before Winter sets in. It is a lesson in preparation. It is the end of summer slothfulness.

And, most importantly, it is the beginning of sweater season for jill2day!! And so I head to the studio to start serious reconstructing of afghans and  sweaters; to wander through the bulky and the cashmere, to imagine the warm cuddle of a selected grouping, to sew new and fabulous garments for you!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Challenging "Scrappy" stuff

One of the teams I  belong to on Etsy is doing a challenge this week. We are trying to use up scraps in new and different ways. I have done three items so far.

The first was this reconstructed pillow I made with upcycled fabrics. It is the first pillow I have done for jill2day, but probably will not be the last! It was really a fun project and would go so nicely with my afghans and blankets that I am now listing in my reconstructed BLANKETS section.

I picked up some more pillow forms this week, so I am sure more pillows coming soon. You can see more views of this one by clicking here.

Today I made a lamp! It is made on a lampshade and lamp purchased at a thrift store. It has four different animal skin sweater fabrics for the shade, and tons of decorative buttons from my stash of vintage buttons. I am not putting this in my shop. I want to test it out in my own home, to make sure that the glues are stable and will hold. But I really like the idea, and if you agree let me know... Always looking for new ideas to make with my reconstructed sweaters!

Lastly I tried a clutch bag. This was a fun projects, but again will not be in the shop. I am not a bag maker, and really have no idea if my interfacing and seaming will hold up, so I think this will be my own little treat for myself until I decide to up my expertise! 

This has been a very fun way to get me to "think different" and to break out of the creative rut that can occur occasionally. However, I do think it is time to get back to my sweaters, scarves, skirts and tunics.... with a couple of afghans and pillows thrown in for good measure! But you never know what the spirit may move me into next!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reconstructed afghans; New product introduction today!!

I have just listed four new blanket afghans in my shop. Two of them are inspired by crazy quilts, and contain small pieces from 20+ sweaters... These are designed to keep yet more sweater knits out of the land fills and on a special place on your sofa.

This item can be found in the new reconstructed BLANKET section of my shop. It measures 58" x 56" and is made of a wide variety of fabrics... but is washable, dry able and very soft and cuddly!

Also listed today are a copy of more specific color designs. One is a "chocolate sundae" design in vanilla, white, tan and chocolate brown. It is 74" x 52" and is a great combination of textures and fabrics. take a closer look by clicking here. There is a lovely blue and gray lap blanket as well. It is very soft and although a bit lighter weight than the others, it is very warm, due to a high wool content. To see all the info on this patchwork sweater quilt, click here.

Like all jill2day items, these are  washable and can be put in the dryer. All the fabrics for these afghans, have been purchased from charity based stores, and the entire blanket has been pre-washed to prove the seams and to soften the fabrics.

And as always, keep your eye out for new reconstructed tunics, made from recycled t-shirts and upcycled sweaters - both cardigan and pullover styles.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Heads Up: going up this weekend!

This is just a quick taste of what is coming up new in the shops this weekend. I will be posting on Facebook when they are actually listed and where you can find them. I will also add the links to this posting. All items should be up by Sunday evening, many before that.

lavender and blue scarf
I was notified that my new was in my first ArtFire collection this morning, Take a look at it if you want to see some beautiful lavender items... you can almost smell that wonderful scent! This scarf is what was featured. click here if you want to find out more about it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Art Institute of Chicago today!

I had a great day today with my friend. We drove down to Chicago in her spiffy new little Honda Fit (flashy bright red, of course). We spent the day at the Art Institute of Chicago

I have been there a zillion times, and it is always a wonderful adventure of new found friends and inspiration. Before I go, I have to make the big decision. Do I visit all the old friends, Monet, Sargent, Degas, Picasso, Cassatt, or do I run with a new crowd.

Today I started with the African room and the Folk Art, here are three of the new friends I made. The left and right are African sculptures, and the center one is a ship's masthead sculpture. Just loved all three of these pieces.

Then I really took a leap. For years I have heard about the Thorne Miniature Rooms, but I have never set foot in them. Today I did. They are amazing. Tiny little room after room of historically correct and detailed reproductions of European and American design. All are lit beautifully and are complete down to every crystal on the chandeliers! So glad I finally wandered in.

The real reason we went was for the Spider weaving. You must check this out- click here.
This is a weaving done entirely with threads spun by the Golden Orb spider. The color was the most beautiful yellow I have ever seen. It was the natural color of the thread.

I always just love visiting the building. The original building has always been elegant and classic. Now there is the new Modern Wing, too. It is a magnificent piece of architechture, and I can't figure out how the two areas can be so totally different, and blend so well. The way the new wing looks over the sculptures in Millineum park is perfect. It seems like the museum just continues right through the windows.

There was an exhibition of Avant-Garde art in the modern wing. I stumbled upon this exhibit, and all the wonderful players of early graphic design. Piet Zwart - you are genius. El Lissitzky's work is awe inspiring... typography as it is meant to be.

A good friend, some ancient art, perfect weather, some old acquaintances, and a spider's work, who could ask for more!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Spring Green was great!!

Last weekend was the Spring Green (WI) art fair. This is a show that, as a customer, I have loved to go to for many years. I was very excited to participate as a vendor. They have a great set up, a wonderful organizing committee of volunteers, and a wide variety ofartists juried into the show.

We have been having less than  optimal weather this spring, so wasn't sure what to expect, but both days were perfect. There was a great crowd! I think people had been waiting for a good day to get out - and they did!
I had a brand new booth to use. It is HUGE (10x20) and very high and spacious. Plenty of room for my garments, a changing room and for groups to congregate and commiserate while trying things on.

I had practiced setting it up at home, so it set up went well until a bungee cord attacked me... so I had a beautiful purple eye for the weekend!
The show was so fun! I met so many new people - both customers and fellow artists. Carol Broadley an Etsy potter and fellow exhibitor was there with her beautiful pottery. A couple of other Etsy sellers came by the booth - nice to meet you Copperheart! The jewelers next to me will be at the Holiday show I will be doing in Madison, so it will be great to see them again.

There were an amazing number of well behaved dogs at the show also. These two "lions" napped in front of my booth for a while enjoying any coolness that the asphalt provided.
I introduced some new reconstructed skirts at the show, and they went over very well. They are mostly waffle weave cotton knit, and so soft! I have added them to my Artfire shop that I just started to populate. Some cotton knit summer scarves are there also - take a look!

Can't wait to do this show again next year. The only problem came when I went to leave, and couldn't find my keys anywhere!! Turns out I had dropped them on the way from my car Early in the day, and someone had turned them into the police. So all ended well! (Lesson learned!)

Hope to see you all at a show sometime soon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Virtual Studio Tour!

This weekend I will be participating in the open studio tour for the Mount Horeb Area Art Assocation. I have been frantically cleaning and organizing my studio, so that visitors can see exactly what a real fiber art studio looks like! Ha Ha! While it has this moment of almost perfection, I thought I would also let you take a peek!

"Sasha", my mannikin, is my only employee, she is confidant, and uncomplaining comrade. She has resided in various locations around the house, but is presently located here by the back  door where she can catch beautiful light at this time of year and welcome anyone coming in the door. On the left is the door into the room where all the magic happens!
Looking into the studio you will see my ball/chair both ready to roll and, also, to occasionally buck me off. I would love to say that it is there for my exercise program, but actually I have just found it the easiest chair to kick out of my way! On the right is my main serger and my back-up; they overlook the backyard through the window. The little radio/CD player gets a real workout with all the audio books, and the pottery vase holds my retired paint brushes. The bundles on the shelves are t-shirt tunics waiting to be made!
The second shot shows some of my sweater "stash" (more is hidden away) and the "three sisters" who help me size and sculpt my garments. The vintage laundry card holds extra sleeves from previously cut sweaters. The license plate, "SIQUIS*", is a souvenir from long ago. That was the name of my graphic design business back in the day, and the plate was on my sporty little Mazda RX7. 
The third photo, shows some of the sweater bundles that are ready for sewing. There are about 90+ more of these hiding in other storage areas! The shorter pile is a group of skirts ready to have waistbands added to them. The top two drawers are filled with my thread cones.

Please also note "Mr Cat" by FranieFran . She is both a customer and a fellow shop owner on Etsy. Mr. Cat brings a smile to me everyday.
So there it is... lint free and organized. I am scared stiff to go inside! I am very lucky to have this space, and for the customers who help me to be there every day. Thanks to all of you and I wish I could sit and have a cup of coffee here with each of you.

*Si quis means "if anybody" and was the name given to some of the first advertising bills displayed  ancient rome.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

T-shirts: tomorrow at noon, and more on Saturday at 8:00AM

This is just a few of the new T-shirts that will be going up tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. Some long, some short, some large, some small, some hoods, some pockets...Come to my shop, jill2day, and check out these reconstructed T-shirts made from recycled shirts!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Houseful of Creative Construction by Hand!

We are having a much delayed remodeling project done in our home right now... It is fun to hear the sawing and hammering and drilling going on while I am elsewhere in the house sewing and cutting and sculpting my T-shirts! Lots of creative construction happening in our home!

The contractor we are using is also a "reformed" graphic designer. We were talking the other day about how we went into GD when it was still a "hands on" craft. Back when you cut and paste type, used markers to draw layouts, and glued presentations together for mock-ups. Now it is all on the computer. We agreed that much of the tactile joy was sucked out of the process (but also admitted to the glory of the "undo" "redo" abilities of the computer!).

We both find so much more satisfaction in the tangible construction that is now part of our process, and feel so lucky to be in occupations where we use our hands as well as our heads. (The lack of cubicles is also a plus!)

But to be a real craftsman, I might have to get myself this tool apron!

Monday, April 25, 2011

MAY DAY the Tsirts will appear!!

I am sewing away on new Tshirts for this spring and summer. Here are three - one in progress and two finished. I have some done already, ranging from small  through 3X...hopefully something for every one!

I will be photographing these later this week and plan to have them all available in my Etsy shop next Sunday, May 1.... If you are on my facebook fan page, I will be posting the exact time later this week. There should be at least 15 or more available at that time, with more following weekly! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Some thoughts and answers....

Just want to let you in on my plan for the next while... many of you are asking where are the Tshirts and other new things. I am new to doing shows, so still working on how to manage inventory for those and keep Etsy supplied too! Here are some of my thoughts and plans:

What have I been doing lately?

I needed to buy a lot of supply stock now, to work with this summer, so that I will have inventory for fall. I have now been around for a couple of seasonal cycles and am finally getting close to the "make in summer to sell in winter" model! But it takes a while to get to this cycle! When one chooses to use 'found' materials like I do, I also have to get them when I can.

During the summer months it is tough to get sweaters, so I have been off the machine and doing major supply buying the last couple of weeks. Once I have the material inventory, it is really efficient to make up my "bundles" right away rather than put everything away and then drag it out again later to do so. (My family has this thing about wanting to actually use our living room for a living room now and then!!). So I have also been doing that. I now have about 150 bundles ready to start producing sweaters during the summer for fall shows and Etsy.

Where are the Tshirts?

But what about those summer weight Tshirts you all love? Well I do have some bundles ready to go for those also. Now that my sweater bundles are in order, I will be starting some Tshirts next week. I will start stocking them in my Etsy store on May 1rst. I had almost decided not to do Tshirts this year. They are not as fun for me to work on as the sweaters, but I know many of you really love them, so I decided I will offer them again both as shirts and dress length. I can't say that I will be doing them full time though. last year I did that, and it really hurt my sweater inventory when fall came.

My plan is to keep offering and making Tshirts while also building up my sweater inventory, so when September comes, I am prepared with tons of goodies for you. Then, hopefully, during the fall and winter this year, I can start building up the Tshirt stock for next spring. Then I will really have the timing and production on track for both seasons.

List in waves or often, that is the question!

Then there is the timing of listing garments for sale... I go back and forth on this one. The most efficient thing for me is to make a bunch, photo a bunch and then list a bunch... but that makes for waves of new items, rather than new items on a more frequent basis. I could hold the listings and dole them out a couple at a time, but I get so excited to have them for you I just want to list as many as possible! Hope that is okay for you!

At the shows recently, I have realized that I am not the most efficient maker on the block. if I had standardized patterns or jobbed out the sewing, I could be much more proficient. But my items would be far less unique and far less fun to make. There would also be more waste in my process. Right now the materials usually dictate the design and often the size, so that I can use as much of the fabric as possible without providing more fodder for the landfills. Again, not necessarily efficient, but in step with my ideal. So my road to efficiency is the wave approach to making and listing.

FInally, shop affected by shows

My Etsy customers are my 'first born' and I feel an intense loyalty to each and every one. However, shows are a very important part of my sales base. One of the great parts of shows is that while there is travel and displays and numerous other factors involved, there is no photography of the items, description writing, uploading or shipping of the individual items involved. So, I see many people that have separate inventories for show and on-line, or have very little of their show inventory represented in their on-line venues.

I have tried very hard to put up the vast majority of my show merchandise in my Etsy site for at least a short time before taking it to the shows. I hope to continue this, even though it does require a lot of photos and time to list items that would probably sell at the show, and not need this effort. Like I have said, my Etsy customers are very important to me, and I do not take it lightly that they are willing to buy and trust from the internet, so making sure they have the best selection of my inventory is important to me.

Other on-line venues coming up?
It is never a good idea to have all of your eggs in one basket. So beyond Etsy, I have been doing the shows. But so far Etsy has been my only on-line outlet. I do have stores in both Zibbet and Artfire, but as of yet have not put any inventory into them. I will be trying some of these venues out as the year progresses. I may just put scarves and cuffs in those, or may put sweaters in some... I really haven't decide yet. Again, I love Etsy and hope to continue with it as my main on-line venue, but am also open to expansion ideas. I will certainly keep you posted if I do anything.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Madison WI politics, an update

As many of you may have heard, we in Wisconsin are in the heart of political news at the moment. I posted about this in March, but thought I would update a bit. There have been weeks of protests here in Madison, odd phone calls, senators temporarily moving to other states, strange ballot counting and recall petitions (for any and every elected position holder) on every corner.

just another day at the rallies
I have my views and have participated in my way, but generally try to keep those opinions separate from jill2day. But, I thought some of you might like to see some of the more fun photos I have taken. I have posted a few of these on my facebook, but some are also new.

Yesterday Sarah Palin was in town, and this sign on the left just  about summed it up for both sides of the rally!

I took my niece's Flat Stanley to the rally, and he met one of the WI state troopers - who was a real trooper when asked for this photo posing with Flat Stanley. Speaking of the troopers, they and all of the law enforcement officers involved controlling crowds of up to 100,000 people, have been exemplary. They have bee both cordial and professional - a fine line for them considering the politics involved and their unionized status.

Another memorable day was a flashmob singing of the song from Les Mis "Can you hear the people sing". If you want to see/hear it I have posted it on youtube. Click here.

The Capitol is probably my favorite building in the universe, so to witness this event in the three story rotunda was awe inspiring!

There have been a number of artist centered events, and fiber artists have been well represented. Here is a beautiful quilted protest sign!

So it is not hard to guess my politics, but the more important thing to me is that we all look at the issues and take an informed and respectful stand for whatever side you may be on. There is a lot or rhetoric and fear right now, but we are all wanting what is the best. It is guaranteed not to be your way, or my way, so some how we have to find that which is common ground for all of us.

Yesterday at the rally and counter rally, the man next to me was in direct opposition to my political hopes. However, when the National Anthem was sung, we both sung with all our might. After the song was done, we each continued with our partisan chants, but hopefully will also find some way to find bi-partisan ground.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Thoughts on Production and Shows

Hello from my mirror!
I had a great time meeting the people in Maryland while doing the Gaithersburg show. It is so different offering my garments at a show than it is on line. On-line I get great feedback from my customers, and occasionally a photo, but often never really see the garments in action! At the shows, it is so fun to watch people try things on, twirl and check it out in the mirror. Sometimes a garment gets tried on several times, but then just the right person comes along and BINGO it is "made for them"! So fun.

I also get a kick out of the varied of reactions; "Oh, I would never wear pink" vs "Oh pink is my favorite color!"; I really like the way you make things longer in the back" vs. "It is beautiful, but I like even hems"; "Wool!-never touch the stuff" vs. "can't have enough wool to keep me warm"! When I first started out on Etsy someone told me that if you leave something up long enough, there is a buyer for everything! Thank goodness we all have our idiosyncrasies and likes - that is what make life interesting and my work fun!

Let the sorting begin
I have also realized that I am one of the few garment makers at these shows that actually make the garments from beginning to end. There are many who buy "blanks" and then paint/stamp/print them (weavers and other reconstructors may be exceptions to this!). Others who have designed the patterns and picked out the fabrics, but have seamstresses who actually sew the garments. And other multi-person means of production. It also accounts why they start the show with many more garments than I usually do!! I respect their process, but I can't imagine not doing the creation myself. (Okay in true disclaimer, my son does cut scarf parts for me now and then). Because each of my items is unique, and from unique materials, it is not possible to hand over the sewing to someone else.

Here is a peek at my the early stages of my process. I purchased a hundred-plus sweaters the other day, and then brought them home for the sorting, sifting and bundling. My living room was quite a mess as it was the staging area for the sifting and winnowing.

The color coordinated bundles each contain a group of sweaters for the constructions of 1-3 sweaters.

Well I better get to work now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

We've got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day!

It is cold and overcast and not very spring like today, but we still have sunshine yellow! The Finches have made their transition from drab winter neutrals to the brightest yellow and the daffodils are bobbing in the chilly breeze!

Actually this remind me of a yellow and gray sweater that two customers where "fighting" over at the Sugarloaf Craft Fair in Gaithersburg last week!

But, never fear, I picked up some more yellow fabrics yesterday, so there will be more yellow coming from the studio too!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Home to the Pasque flowers!

For me, the first sure sign of spring is the appearance of the Pasque flowers. They come sometime between the big melt and tax day every year - seemingly out of nowhere. One day the blooms just cover the hillside near our house, and are followed later by the leaves. I was sure that I would miss them this year because of my two weeks out east, but here they are waiting for me to get home!

After almost two weeks of city and highway life, it was glorious to be back in our rural home. While I really love visiting urban life, I did miss my birds and earth!

Once a year Mother nature allows us into the woods behind our house. The rest of the year it is too full of brambles and other ankle eaters and pant rippers, that we let her have her privacy. So today I went to check out this year's changes and occupants.

We see many birds at our feeders, but it is also fun to see where they spend the rest of their time. The woods and surrounding territory is governed by our resident red tail hawk. This is the only time of year the nest is visible in the tops of the trees. The feather in the second picture is probably a leftover from a recent dinner at the hawk home. The right photo is the condominium project in the woods. I can't even imagine how many woodpeckers are living in this one tree!

Along with the Pasque flowers, I found these little blue beauties (sorry I have no idea the real name of them) They are so tiny that from a distance they are just a blue blur amongst the neutral dry leaves and underbrush. They are beautiful, and I don't remember them here last year.

Then there is the evidence of those who didn't make it through the winter. We have many deer around us here, but it looks like one of last year's fawns didn't make it, and some little bunny lost some fur, if not his life, recently.