Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Tisket, A Tasket

A little yellow basket.

Well, not really. It's silver. With pretty flowers.

A client's son is getting married soon. This pretty basket will be skipped down the aisle by the flower girl. The blushing Mother-of-the-Groom (MOG for those of you in the biz) asked if I could make a fabric something-or-other for the bottom so the rings don't fall out.

Of course! I'd love to!

The MOG had a vision of the rings hanging from the top of the basket on a pretty ribbon. A very nice idea, until the flower girl starts to swing the basket and the rings are waving in the air like a wild amusement park ride.

I liked the idea of the rings on a ribbon, so I suggested the ribbon be long enough to pool the rings at the bottom and they can nest in the pillow of fabric I make.

And so it shall be.

I'll work on this over the holidays and post pictures once I'm done.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Craft Show Pictures

Saturday's craft show was entertaining, if nothing else.

At about eleven o'clock, the bar opened. Shandell pointed out that this was the first craft show we'd been at that served. She also suggested that we bring a designated driver next time.

Good idea. I immediately texted Chris to pencil him in.

At one o'clock, it became clear that the bar wasn't open for us. It was open for the dart league.

That's right. A dart league. We're hard core crafters.

Not surprising, Shandell was hit on by a tipsy bald man who shamelessly flirted with her. They may have a date for next weekend. I'm a little fuzzy on the details.

I can't wait for next year. Shandell may get a proposal.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Inventory

I have a craft show on Saturday:

I have enough tote bags, but I need more Tooth Fairy Pillows and bookmarks.

The pillows are sewn and waiting to be stuffed. They look a little sad when they're deflated.

This is what the bookmarks look like before they're turned. What you see is the back, or wrong side, of the fabric. They're sewn right-sides together, with the elastic inside, leaving an opening on one side for turning.

After they're turned, the corners are poked out. They're waiting to be pressed and top-stitched now.

Bookmarks will be top-stiched and Tooth Fairy Pillows will be stuffed and fluffed tomorrow. It's my company Christmas party tonight. It's quite possible the top-stitching on the bookmarks will be a little crooked.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reduce. Reuse. Regreet.

What do you do with all those Christmas cards from last year? Well, as many people suggest, you cut them up, punch a hole in them, and use them as gift tags. Great idea, right? Of course it is.

But who has time for this? Well, Urban Contessa does.

While watching TV last night, I used pinking shears to cut up dozens of cards, punched a hole in the corner and wrote To: and From: on the back of each.

Each package of gift cards will have ten ReGreets with ten pieces of gold ribbon for the low, low price of One Dollar. That's right. One Dollar.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And he recycles Christmas Cards.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Event Drapery - Part 2

It's here! It's here! It's here!

The drapery arrived today from Susan Murray and it's absolutely decadent. The fabric feels like satin; it's heavy and thick and so luxurious!

I have a craft show next Saturday, so it came just in time. I can't wait to use it!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Event Drapery - Part 1

I just ordered table drapery for my craft shows. The drape will cover a nine foot table and will have the Urban Contessa signature on it:

I flipped back and forth between a black or white drape. The display I'm designing will have dark-stained boxes and accessories. And as many of my fabrics are dark, the white linen will work best.

So white it is, with a black signature.

When Ryan, from Susan Murray, sent me an email saying that I'd have the drape at the end of this week -- next week at the latest -- I was bouncing off my chair. I replied with "Yay!" and apologized since it was silly for me to be so excited about drapery. He assured me it wasn't silly at all. "Being excited is the only way to be. How boring would life be otherwise?"

Indeed, Ryan. Indeed.

I promise to post pictures as soon as I get it!!

Catching Up

Honestly! My life is whipping by at light-speed!

Since my last post, I've organized -- ORGANIZED I tell ya! -- and attended The DRCC Craft show on November 12. Talk about a great time!

The view from my table:

Then I promptly left for Cuba. And when I say promptly, I mean promptly. Craft show Saturday. Cuba Sunday morning. It was a well-deserved vacation.

On the way home from the airport a week later, I began to receive text messages to attend a sale on November 26. I did quick mental inventory check. Sure. Why not?

So I went to the MaMi Shoppes' A Country Christmas in Solina. For a small town (and just about the cutest town ever!) the sale was very well attended and the UC booth did very well. Far better than I expected.

As always, Tooth Fairy Pillows and our one-of-a-kind bookmarks were the big sellers. Believe me when I say I don't have nearly that many bookmarks left. I have a lot of sewing to do this weekend!

This sale did make me realize that my table is boring and I need to step up my game.

See what I mean? Boring.

So I'm going to create a better display and I've placed an order for a table cloth with the UC logo on it. It may not be ready for the next show -- which is December 10 -- but it will certainly be ready for The DRCC's Spring Marketplace.

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Craft Show - November 5, 2011

If you're in the area tomorrow, Saturday, November 5, 2011, stop by the Vaughan Willard Public School (1911 Dixie Road, Pickering) for their annual fundraiser. Urban Contessa will have a booth. Be sure to say hello!

Of course, Shandell, my crafting partner (or is that 'crafty' partner?) will be beside me, selling jewellery by Dellzines. And we'll be finalizing the floor plan for The DRCC craft sale next week.

Hope to see you tomorrow. If not, I definitely want to see you next Saturday, November 12 at The DRCC Craft Show!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Upcoming Craft Shows

Busy! Busy! Busy!

We have three...count 'em, THREE!...craft shows coming up.

This is your opportunity to get a jump start on your holiday shopping. At each craft show, we'll be carrying our usual line: elegant placemats, oversized napkins, washable tote bags, tooth fairy pillows for the kids and, as always, our one-of-a-kind bookmarks (which, by the way, make great stocking stuffers).

Swing by our Events page for details on dates, times and locations.

Be sure to stop by and say hello!

Sunday, October 2, 2011


My back hurts and my cutting hand is throbbing. Life could not be better!

You'll recall that I had a large stash of remnant fabric when I made a batch of tote bags. Well, I finally found the time to cut some bookmarks for the November 12, 2011 craft show I'm organizing with Shandell.


That's a lot of bookmarks!

The frightening thing is, I still have this much fabric to cut:

I should probably stop blogging and get back to cutting.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

House Warming Gift

A blogger friend recently moved. I asked him to send me his address, once he was settled in, so I could send a housewarming gift. He has teased me in the past about my fabric napkins, so I'm sending him some of his very own. An appropriate gift, as he's an environmentalist.

I did stipulate one thing. He couldn't blog about my napkins if he hated them. I can take criticism, but national humiliation I can't. I'm shallow that way.

I like to brag about my napkins. Each one is hand-sewn (alright...I use a machine) using heavy twill fabric. What I'm most proud of are the mitred corners. Napkins that you buy in the store have corners that are folded over. To me, it's cheating. And lazy. Mitred corners are much more time consuming--one napkin, from cut to finish, takes about forty minutes--but the result is decadent.

Here are a few highlights:

Three metres of fabric, ready for cutting. Yes, that is a pattern under there. You'd think a square product wouldn't need a pattern, but there is more information on a pattern than just the size.

Cut and ready to go. Whoever invented the self-healing cutting board and rotary cutter, should be canonized. Eight twenty-one-inch squares of fabric cut in minutes!

After pressing the seam allowance, the corners are sewn, trimmed and turned over. Then the seams are topstitched.

One final press and they're ready to go.

Sorry, my friend, but the plate and placemat stay here.

Soon, I will create a post that shows the time and care taken to create these napkins. It will explain why I charge $35 for a set of four napkins.

I also thought of a way to use the leftover fabric. There isn't enough to make full-sized napkins, but I thought of creating a set about half the size, to be used when having friends over for tea and dessert. You use delicate tea cups, and smaller flatware and china, why not have dainty napkins to go with it?

But more on that on a later post.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Celebrate Ajax by the Lake - 2011

Some day I'll win the lottery and spend my days preparing for and attending craft shows. In my spare time, I'll write. That's the dream, anyway.

Until then, I'll drag my sorry self through my days as a legal assistant, get my writing and sewing done at night.

It does make craft shows that much sweeter.

The Artisan's Market Place at the Celebrate Ajax by the Lake festival was so much fun. I have yet to attend a craft show that isn't. Crafters are happy people, so the vendors I meet are always nice. And craft Buyers are equally happy and love to chat. It's really a win-win situation.

As I was the only vendor selling these products, I did very well. And since the table was free (it was, after all, the first year vendors were invited to participate), the day was a win-win-WIN.

Of course, Shandell, my partner in crime, had the table beside me. We scoped out the vendors and handed out applications for the DRCC Sale in November.

Most exciting for me were the vendors behind my table. Fellow WCDR members, Vilma Blenman and Bonnie Beldan-Thomson were selling, and autographing, copies of the anthology, A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. Of course, I bought a copy. And it's signed by both of them. I will add it to my collection of signed books. The collection is getting quite large. I should probably count it out one day. Perhaps when I win the lottery.

(In case you were wondering, my writing can be found here.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Almost Ready for August 27

I'm almost ready for the Celebrate Ajax by the Lake - Artisan's Market Place. I know...quite a title, isn't it?

If nothing else, you know exactly what you're getting. A celebration. By a lake. An opportunity to buy stuff. What more could you want for a Saturday afternoon?

The weather is expected to be nice and sunny on Saturday. Take a stroll along the beautiful Ajax waterfront, wander through the Market Place and get a jump start on your Christmas shopping. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hello.

I've been busy making tote bags.

And tooth fairy pillows.

Pinned and waiting for stuffing, these ones are looking a little flat.

But now that they're stuffed, they just need to have their bottoms sewn shut.

In anticipation of more sewing tonight, I filled a few bobbins.

And I'm ready to go.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Craft Show - Saturday, August 27, 2011

This year, for the first time, artisans are invited to participate in the Celebrate Ajax by the Lake Waterfront Festival.

Needless to say, Shandell and I snatched up that opportunity. Not only is it a chance to sell our product, but it's an opportunity to get vendors for our craft sale in November.

Sneaky. I know. But a crafter's gotta do what a crafter's gotta do.

So...if you're in the Durham area on Saturday, August 27, 2011, swing by the lakefront and take a stroll. We will have tote bags, placemats, tooth fairy pillows and our one-of-a-kind bookmarks for purchase. Remember...Christmas is only four months away. And we all know how fast that will go.

If nothing else, it will be a lovely walk. Stop by our booth and say hello. I'm always up for a chat!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Still Toting

I know you're going to get bored of the tote posts, but I have a craft show coming up on August 27, 2011 and I need to replenish my supplies. I think I'm going to keep it to tote bags, tooth fairy pillows and whatever placemats I have.

You may recall that I purchased fabric for a co-worker who wanted a black and white bag. Well, when I brought my supply of totes for the sale at work, she decided she wanted the martini glass print. Who could blame her? It's an awesome print.

I assured her that I would find a buyer for the other fabric. Don't worry about it. And sure enough, another co-worked asked if I could make a bag for her with dark colours. I said I had just the right fabric. And she liked it.


Now I just have to sew about fifty more for the craft show on August 27, and make about forty tooth fairy pillows.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More Totes

I took some time off from sewing. Just a small break. I knew I needed it. But every time I do it, and get back to sewing, I realize how much I miss it. And need it. It's right up there with writing for me.

I spent this morning cutting fabric for totes. As I've mentioned, Shandell and I are organizing a craft show for November 12, 2011 and since I know I'll be attending other craft shows before that (and after), I need to build up my inventory.

Cutting is half the work, so I'm glad that's out of the way. If I don't get to sewing them throughout the week, I'll spend most of next weekend sewing. And I just realized that my life is pretty lame if I'm excited about that.

The third pile of fabric from the right, the green fabric (it's green to me...I am, after all, colour-blind) was a remnant I bought.

When I unravelled it, I found this.

Really? What in the world am I supposed to do with that???

After a quick calculation, I realized they gave me more fabric than I asked for: two metres instead of one and a half. So I'm good. I simply cut up the centre of the zigzag stitch and I'll use the extra fabric for bookmarks. Which is what I use the leftover fabric for anyway. Waste not, want not.

After all the totes I sewed the last few months, I have a large stash of fabric for bookmarks. I don't know how I'm going to cut and sew them all, but somehow I always manage to get it done.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Storie Park Club House

When Anna (the woman who organizes the Hungarian Culture Club craft show twice a year) called me to ask if I was interested in participating in another one, I said: Sure, why not?

She mentioned that Karen was one of the vendors at the Spring Hungarian show and this was to be the first craft sale she organized. Been there. Done that. I know how terrifying it is, so I definitely wanted to support her.

So, Saturday past, I was at the Storie Park Club House in Oshawa.

When I arrived, I re-introduced myself to Karen. She told me her reason for organizing the show, and I teared up. Her mother died two months ago and Karen didn't want to stay home and cry. Since her mother was a volunteer at and huge supporter of the Humane Society, Karen was donating all proceeds from the show to the Human Society. A great cause and a fabulous idea.

Given that it was Karen's first craft show, it really wasn't that bad. It could have been better attended, but it was the day before Mother's Day and it was gorgeous outside. No one wants to be indoors.

Karen was upset that it wasn't as successful as she'd hoped, but I told her this was a learning experience. I thought it would be a good idea to do it every year in memory of her mother and it will get easier each year. She seemed to be encouraged by that.

The day was successful enough for me. I can't complain. The tote bags I made looked great, if I do say so myself. And I had a few placemats and table runners.

There were some interesting vendors. Of course, Shandell was there. She made me a bauble to hold my USB sticks together. Thanks, doll!

Maxine, from The Madstone Soapery, was selling handmade soaps and lotions. I bought Cocoa & Cream hand lotion. This stuff smells so good (like fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies) it's all I can do to keep from licking my hands all day. I'm sure it doesn't taste as good as it smells.

I also bought cupcakes from Denise Reid of Deelish Cakes & Catering. So good. So fattening. So worth it!

And to top it all off, Angie came out to help out with my table. It's not that I need help, per se, but it's always great to have the company. I don't get to see Angie much now that she's moved to the boonies, so it was great to catch up with gossip and people watch.

I don't have any other shows lined up for the summer. I was planning on taking it off to focus on organizing our DRCC event in November. But if something comes up, I'll definitely consider it. Why not, right?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Totes Awesome!

As I mentioned in my last post, I don't have much inventory for the craft show on Saturday. I do have some placemats and table runners, but that's about it. I sold out of tote bags and bookmarks. Of course, these are my best sellers. Especially at a craft show just before Mother's Day.

So, what does this mean? Road trip!

It wasn't far. About five kilometres. But it's a road trip, nonetheless. To where? Where else?! Fabricland. How sweet is it that I live that close to a Fabricland?

I spent the day cutting fabric. They now await assembly:

My favourite, of course, is the martini print. Sadly, it didn't come in a scratch-and-sniff pattern.

Over the course of the week, I'll sew them together and post pictures of the final product.

The remnants will be used for bookmarks.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vendor Sale at Work

As many of you know, I'm a legal secretary by day, a writer and crafter by night. This week is Administrative Assistant's Week or whatever the politically correct term is now. I have no problem being called a secretary.

My office held a Vendor's Fair yesterday. Anyone who wanted to sell wares (or knew someone who did) was welcome to set up a table. No charge.

The sale was from noon until two o'clock, ensuring that everyone had a chance to browse during their lunch hour.

I brought my entire stash from home. All my placemats, all my totes (I'd made four the night before, staying up well past my bedtime), all my bookmarks. The only thing I left at home were the few table runners I have. The main reason for leaving them behind was space. I couldn't fit them in the one bag I was taking with me. Not to mention that fabric is REALLY heavy.

I must admit, I didn't expect to sell much at this sale. A couple of Tooth Fairy Pillows. Perhaps a set of placemats. Definitely a tote bag.

I couldn't be more wrong. I sold almost everything I have!

Now, you might think this is a good thing. It is, don't get me wrong. I'm normally a Glass-Half-Full kinda girl, but this is a Glass-Half-Empty deal.


I have a craft show next Saturday. Anna, who organizes the Hungarian Craft Show, called me up a couple of weeks ago to say that a friend of hers was looking for vendors and was I interested. "Shandell is coming," she said. Well, how could I say no?

So now I have this craft show next week and I have no inventory. What was I thinking???

Guess what I'm doing this weekend?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A New Venture

So, what have I been talking about for the last few days, you might ask.

You'll recall that quite some time ago, I organized a craft show. One of the crafters was Shandell Conboy. She helped me out quite a bit and we agreed that we should organize another one.

Then life got in the way. Stupid life.

Since then, we have participated in quite a few craft shows together. The organizers know us now and put us side by side. We have spent a lot of time talking about organizing a craft show. And not just a craft show, but organizing an e-community where other crafters can get ideas, advice and answers.

Shandell and I are excited to announce the launch of The Durham Region Crafters Community.

Follow our blog, Like us on Facebook and join our community. Membership is free!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Craft Show ~ April 9, 2011

The craft show at the Hungarian Culture Club was a lot of fun. It always is.

Anna, the show coordinator, always puts Shandell and I together. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view. There's a lot of laughter in our area and it's more than a little noisy. It's not just us...our customers have a great time, too. And why shouldn't they? Craft shows are fun and crafters are friendly people.

My table started out quite full.

I managed to deplete a lot of my supply, which will prompt me to get sewing again in preparation for the November craft show.

I met two new crafters:

Saskia, of Baited Hook, makes sock monkeys. They come in different sizes, depending on the type of sock.

Michelle, of Kempton Jones, sews owls. She calls them Owlies of Ontario and names each one after a town in Ontario.

My apologies to Saskia and Michelle for the blurry pictures. Even though I had the anti-shake feature on my camera, I still took fuzzy pictures. I know it's because you were making me laugh!

I'm pretty sure that Shandell and I have convinced them to participate in the DRCC craft show on November 12, 2011.

What's that all about, you ask? Stay tuned...

Monday, April 4, 2011

My New Iron

I have an old iron. It's about 20 years old. It gets the job done, but lately I've noticed that I need a little more power.

By 'power' I mean 'steam'.

Not just any old steam, but a shot that'll smooth out the most stubborn wrinkles. The fabric I use for placemats and tote bags is drapery fabric. When this stuff wrinkles, it leaves a crease that would make military personnel proud. It's a challenge to press it out.

So I bought this beast from Costco:

I may need to buy a new ironing board cover. I mean, I can't use the old one with the new iron! What kind of Contessa would that make me?

The shot of steam this sucker emits makes my heart sing!

The fabric that I'm pressing there is what I'm using for a new tote bag template. I worked on it all day yesterday: drawing, re-drawing, measuring, re-measuring, cutting, sewing.

I wasn't happy. Back to the drawing board.

I've been so busy with my paying job (stupid job!) that I haven't had time to supplement my inventory for this craft show coming up on Saturday. I have enough stock for the show, I just wanted new items to sell.

Oh well. C'est la vie. I know it's not the end of the world. I'll set my goal to have new inventory for the craft show in November.

And what's that, you might ask? Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Bag Design

I'm getting ready for a craft show coming up on Saturday, April 9, 2011 at the Hungarian Culture Club in Oshawa. If you're in the area, drop by and say hello! Details are on the Events page of our site.

At this show, we'll be selling placemats, bookmarks and totes. I have many tote bags in stock, but I thought I should have a few more. Not to mention that I've been playing with the template and I want to redesign it.

The original purpose of the tote was for vacation. The Contessa Tote takes up the same amount of room as a shirt in your suitcase and you'll look fabulous carrying your pool and beach gear in style. When you get home, throw it in the wash and it's ready for the next trip. Which, we both know, you started planning on the flight home.

Inspired to create a new design for the tote, I went shopping on the weekend and bought some funky fabric.

A co-worker also asked me to make her a black and white bag. More black, than white. It's spring, and not surprising, black and white prints are not really big right now. But I found this:

I know if she doesn't like it, someone will.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Afghan Project

It took a while, but I finally found a pattern I like. "Like", in this instance, refers to ease of construction. I surfed the Bernat website and found this.

As I said, I'm not a great crocheter, I just like doing it. So, to keep from getting frustrated, and having unfinished projects lying about, I thought I'd go simple.

As you'll recall from my last post, I chose a multi-coloured yarn, which I think matches our sofa and oversized chair in the den. At least Chris said it did. I am, after all, colour-blind, so it's a bit of a crap shoot when I choose colours.

I only have six squares done. I probably need about eighty. But at least the project is underway. It's something to do while I watch tv at night.