Yearly Archives: 2008

BEADS + TRIMS

We purchase many of our seed and bugle beads online from Fire Mountain Gems as they provide a selection of colors and sizes: http://www.firemountaingems.com/

In New York City, a company called Trims de Carnival also offers a wide selection of beads, sequins and other trims. I normally stop in to see what is new on all of my trips to New York:

http://www.fibre2fashion.com/trimsdecarnival/

Tinsel Trading Company is one of my favorite shops for trims in the world:

http://www.tinseltrading.com/

And, Mokuba offers the most beautiful trims in the world and has several areas of distribution. The New York Store is worth the trip. We purchase our fold-over elastic trim for our skirts from Mokuba. It is a great product that comes in lots of colors.

http://www.mokubany.com/

To make it easier for you to shop all of these products in one place, we now offer all of our special trims and notions from our online store.

SCISSOR SHARPENING

We are lucky enough to have a “Traveling Sharpener” who goes from community to community with his tools and sets up one day a month at our local fabric store to sharpen scissors.

If you did not have a sharpener in your neighborhood or local fabric store, I would check with local hair salons to find out where they get their scissors sharpened.

Additionally, there are more and more online scissor sharpening services available. We found these:

http://www.at-home-services.biz/

http://www.americansharpeningonline.com/

http://www.perfectedge.biz/

We have never tested or used these online services and provide these links just as a place to get started.

HIGHER GROUNDS COFFEE + MY ESPRESSO MACHINE

I took my flight back from New York very, very, very early this morning and, consequently, did not get to make my morning coffee before leaving for the airport. Airport coffee, no matter the brand, is just not as good as my homemade cup. The entire trip, I dreamed of my little espresso machine, steamer and my favorite cup at my kitchen table.    And as everyone in my community has become addicted to my homemade coffee, we have started selling my favorite 100% organic blends from Higher Ground from our online store. Get some Coffee Cozies and beans here.

And be sure to read Coffee: The Fragrant Cup Revealed from friend and colleague Michelle Krell Kydd. This is the best post about the smells of milk and coffee I have ever read.

CUTTING TOOLS

EMBROIDERY SCISSORS

The scissors that I prefer to use are Gingher, in Model G-4 (4” Classic Embroidery Shears) and G-5 (5” Knife Edge Sewing and Craft Scissors). They are available through our online store. You can also view the wide selection of Gingher products here: http://www.gingher.com/

I recommend that you test every scissor before purchasing. Each pair sits differently in your hand and a good pair of scissors should last a lifetime. Our local fabric store carries the entire Gingher range which is great as you can test the individual pairs to see what fits best to your way of working.

GARMENT SCISSORS

For larger cutting projects, everyone in our office uses the Fiskars Soft Touch scissors which you can find in most every fabric store or in our online store.
These scissors have stood the test of time in our office and continue delivering excellent performance without tiring the hand like conventional scissors:

PAPER SCISSORS

Use your old sewing scissors for paper scissors when you replace them with the Fiskars Soft Touch scissors (above) for cutting garments.

SEAM RIPPER

It might seem that all seam rippers are created equal; however, my favorite is this
Clover Needlecraft White Seam Ripper which is also available in the Alabama Chanin online store.

CRAFT KNIFE

Craft knives are readily available in every community; support your local merchants.

STAIN REMOVAL WISDOM TO LIVE BY

My mother taught me that it’s important to use the beautiful things in your life every day. She gave me her first set of china with the one direction that I should use it and enjoy it, not store it in a closet. I have taken her advice to heart with all of the things in my home. However, when you use textiles to enrich your everyday life (especially with a two year old), you’ll also need some of the old-wives’-tale wisdom my grandmother shared with me:

OLD WIVES’ TALE + WHAT IT MEANS

Don’t rub it in; dab it off — Blot; don’t rub it in more
A stitch in time saves nine — Get to it as quickly as possible to avoid more work
Out, then in — Start on the outside of a stain and work your way in

STRATEGIES:

Absorb: Use cornstarch or talcum powder to blot stain

Bleach: Use 1 part lemon juice or white vinegar to 1 part water
Dissolve: Use all-purpose household cleaner as solvent for grease
Soak: Use 1/2 cup salt water per quart of soapy water
Wash: Use all-purpose cleaner like dish or liquid laundry detergent

AND HOW TO USE THEM:
Protein Stains: Soak, Bleach & Wash

Coffee and Tea Stains: Flush with Bleach, Soak & Wash
Tomato and Sauces: Dissolve , Soak & Wash
Oils Stains: Absorb, Dissolve & Wash

My new motivation for everyday cleaning are these great products from Mrs. Myers Clean Day. Aromathrapuetic Household Cleaners – how good is that? I love all the Lemon Verbena products and now sell them from our online store.

You can also visit their website for a larger selection: http://www.mrsmeyers.com/

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES + A LITTLE GIRL’S APRON

My two year old daughter loves everything about cooking and the apron is her new favorite kitchen accessory. This Little Girl Apron beautifully sewn by Jane and the Ducks arrived last week in a lovely little package, complete with our own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

We play in the kitchen now every day.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
- from Jane and the Ducks

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3.4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes: remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.