I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, September 15, 2014

Oh Baby

Hi guys! One of the most fun things about being a seller on etsy is making special items for custom orders. I love hearing from my customers, learning about their dreams and plans, and in my small way adding that handmade, charming touch to their party or making a special gift item, like a memory necklace or a baby quilt.

It can take quite a bit of back and forth-ing. What size, what color, what can I do and still fit their budget. But so rewarding...

The following are the creative steps that went into 40 white linen lavender hearts, made as party favors for a baby shower.

First, concept photo.

We discuss size:

I offer fabric choices. Colors?

Or antique whites?

We might spend some time [online, of course] playing with my vintage button collection.

Aren't the classic MOP baby buttons so sweet!

 Sometimes I even provide virtual handholding,lol, and photo updates for nervous grandmamas-to-be.
hearts in work
In the end the client has to trust me, my skill, my experience, my artistic vision. So far, so good, I am thrilled to report.
This person wanted party favors for an autumn museum dinner party. The lavender hearts were made of antique French striped ticking with old celluloid buttons, packaged in little cellophane bags, so the scent wouldn't distract from the food.
This person wanted a bowl of BLUE strawberries. So cute!

This is a recent baby quilt I made. It was a gift for friends, though I do custom baby quilts sometimes. I had seen this pattern by Tula Pink at a shop in NYC when I was displaced during H. Sandy. I bought it but since the shop prefers not to give out bags [who knew I had to bring my own?! what hurricane survivor packs her recyclable grocery bags?] I didn't get home with any of the patterns I bought that day.
I loved the LOVE and since these friends were also affected by H. Sandy I chose it in a reduced version for their new baby girl. This time I got smart and bought the pattern online. [yes I could have drafted it myself, but for 8.oo I prefer to the give the designer her due, both design credit and cash.]

I tried hard to make a modern design / color way for modern young parents and baby. I took the colors from the mom's wedding colors and baby shower invite/ notes colors. I used graphic grey and white ground fabrics and modern beachy batiks instead of ditsy calico for the letters.

pattern by Tula Pink

It would also make a wonderful custom etsy quilt, wouldn't it, maybe with the baby's name instead of LOVE?

This week I am making---with dear friend L's help, as my hand is still so painful---little gingham whales! For an October block party down at the Jersey shore. You can check out Carol's wonderful seaside shop The Gingham Whale here

Do you like making special custom orders? Fulfilling family and friends' requests, even when it's ''not my style"? Is it a fun challenge or just---hard?

prepy whale throw pillow
for a friend to give as a gift

How about gifted baby quilts? It's difficult to please the recipients but so fun?

Have a great week!



gone to the beach........




  1. This was a fun look into what you do! I didn't realize how many custom jobs you do for people. Lucky you!

    Those gingham whales are too cute. I really hope your wrist is feeling better soon. You know what they say, the older we get, the longer it takes for things to heel. To quote my Mom, "getting old sucks!". :)

    Have a good week!


    1. I'm afraid your mom is rright! I never imagined having arthritiiis, at least not yet.

  2. I didn't notice that tiny little lady bug button on the top sachet at first, but it's so cute!

    I don't sew much for other people anymore, and usually when I did it was clothes. I did make cute little sachets one year, though, and ended up giving nearly all of them to teachers for holiday gifts that year.

    Love the little whales! I'm sure they'll make a big splash! (ducks at the bad pun)

    I agree with Kelley's mom - getting old sucks! It just sucks worse when you get hurt!

    1. Didn't you make renaissance faire dresses for your girls? Quite a challenge!

  3. I always made my own clothes til I moved to NYC and became a designer with no time for sewing and little did I know, a severe lack of skill, compared to the professional sample makers I had. [Projject Runway baffles me as the contestants are judged on their sewing and no designer I ever knew did their own sewing...] I wasn t even allowed to sew a button on my blouse, someone would grab the needle and thread and shoo me back to the drawing board! LOL. I had always dreamed of sewing for my own kids too someday---but that too didn t happen. Lucky for me I worked with another designer who was very finely trained in sewing, belonged to quilt and needlework guilds etc, and she got me making quilts , reminded me of lessons begun with my dad. I can still hear O's voice in my head [she passed away last year] every time something isn't ''perfect'' or doesn't ''look as good on the back as on the front''.....lizzy

  4. Hahaha, seems we're all in the same boat! I used to try to convince my Mom that it wasn't that bad, but man, lately, well, you guys know!

    Thank you Mel and Liz for sharing some of your history, so interesting.



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