Monday, April 26

Marketing, PR and other stuff

Along with my new website I thought it was about time to have a set of professional looking business cards printed up. While I used to order them from Vistaprint, this time around I wanted something a little more stylish; cards that reflected my personality/image as well as tying in with my new site by picking up the main colours (pink and brown).
I researched both Dawanda and Etsy and finally decided to approach Etsy seller Jennifer of  Zoopri who offers really nice designs at competitive prices, plus I liked her upbeat attitude! Although the cards took about three weeks to arrive here in Germany, it was well worth the wait. The cards are high-quality, not flimsy at all, and they came nicely packaged. Along with the cards I ordered some cute Thank You stickers, which I will use to beautify my simple packaging, because although I would love to ship my products in chic boxes - 1. my budget doesn't allow for that and 2. there is the issue of the packaging ordinance which I wrote about here. So, stickers it is!
I am also currently brushing up on my PR skills :) I am initially on the shy side when meeting new people, but I do realize I can't hide behind my sewing machine forever! Speaking of sewing - my back is killing me. In the long run I will need to invest in one of those ergonomically designed chairs.

Until next time, take care!

Friday, April 23

OP ART Shoulder Bag

 note the edgy angle of the pic

As promised here is the finished bag! It's inspired by the black and white optical art popular in the 60's. The interesting thing about this bag is that the leather bag straps, which I cut by hand, are an integral part of the design.The leather is repurposed from a skirt/suit ensemble.

Here shown on my lovely 'Miss Audrey'. 
 The bag is fully lined with a black/white polka dot cotton and includes an interior zip pocket and mobile phone pocket. It has a magnetic snap closure underneath the flap.

Op Art Kitty ?
Thanks for stopping by and have a great Friday!

Tuesday, April 20

Work in progress

I'm currently working on a new bag where the handles are integral to the main panel design. As mentioned in a previous post on working with leather it's necessary to get familiar with a different set of tools than for regular sewing. That pair of heavy-duty scissors you see in the picture above is specifically designed to cut leather. On the left you see a tube of leather glue. Even though it smells horrible it's essential since you don't use pins to sew the seams on leather (holes!!!). Next to that is edge dye to seal the cut edges.
On the left you can see part of a handle piece I'm working on. Note the rounded outside edge is notched, while I've cut small slits on the inside edge. These are the seam edges which will be stuck down with glue toward the inside.
Apart from store-bought handles, all the leather that I'm using for my products is salvaged from the clothing industry: from clothing samples, to be precise.Yes, my evenings are spent carefully unpicking seams :) I probably mentioned it a few times on this blog, but for those not in-the-know I used to work in the textile business- St. John probably rings a bell with my readers from the USA, Joseph Ribkoff  is well known in Canada, as well as many European high-fashion and leather manufacturers - where I had access to end-of-season samples. What happens to all those samples, you might ask? The best of the lot either go back to the manufacturer to be archived or find themselves into employees' wardrobes. The rest go into sample sales. Maybe it's not the case with all companies, but all I know is that each season the product managers dumped the 'old' samples nobody wanted in my tiny little office where they collected dust until I eventually took them home.
Now, here's the thing - most samples come in one size - 38 - only (and I wasn't likely to grow into them), so I gave away most of the stuff to people who fit into them, while the rest found a permanent home in my wardrobe. Where they stayed and stayed until I had the brilliant (imho) idea to repurpose them into bags!
And this is where the 'exclusive' part of DB Exclusives fits in. This top-of-the-range line will consist of classic black, white and red, each a one-of-a-kind design. The all-leather bags are one-off creations and cannot be reproduced once sold! Of couse, as in the bag I'm working on above, my main line will be the fashion bags using decorator-weight fabrics such as the leaf print above accented with real and faux leather embellishments.

have a great day!

Saturday, April 17

That 70's look :)

Since I'm no longer part of the corporate world I am free to wear whatever I like! I don't follow trends. I like mixing comfortable classics with Vintage - preferably from the 60's and 70's - spruced up by customizing or adding scarves (my mom's), pins or flower brooches. When buying Vintage I look for natural fabrics such a cotton or silk and shapes which aren't too outrageous or can be altered easily. I avoid anything polyester, lycra or spandex (popular in the 80's) and only choose colours that harmonize with my basic wardrobe. If I can't find what I'm looking for I make it myself! Here's an example of a blouse I made using a mille-fleur cotton fabric and an original pattern from the 70's. For that 'special' touch I embellished the collar with a velvet and lace trim and sewed on vintage buttons that were in the stash I got from my hubby's grandma.

And here's an example of customizing. I was very lucky to have found this Vintage 70's coat in a solid brown for next to nothing.

 It's in great condition, none of the buttons were missing and all the seams are nicely piped. There was just a tiny smudge at the hemline which I took care of by shortening the coat to knee-length. It was too long anyway. I also gave it a good wash to get rid of the slightly musty smell ;-)
But there was still something missing...until I was inspired to appliqué the pocket flaps with my beloved heart-fabric, which some of you may remember I used for this bag and frame purse.

I get a lot of appreciative (and sometimes jealous) looks when I wear this coat! So much more fun than the basic black suit, don't you agree?

Have an inspired weekend!

Wednesday, April 14

Mini cherry blossoms

Just when we thought our miniature cherry tree hadn't made it through winter...
Aren't the blossoms just beautiful? The tree is in a pot on our terrace. I can watch it grow from my little home  office window. It's a refreshing sight.

Friday, April 9

Taupe Roses Fashion Bag

When I stock up on fabrics I tend to gravitate to rose prints. They seem to be popular as there are a multitude of rose-themed fabrics out there to choose from, so I always have to remind myself not to buy up the entire range ;-)
Nevertheless, one or two rosy prints always sneak in to my shopping bag along with unusual, graphic and strong prints that I think might look good made into bags. I recently finished another fashion bag using a very large rose print in a mellow taupe on a soft blue background, which doesn't show particularly well in the photo. You just have to trust me that this print really is lovely :) I was lucky to find a polka dot fabric that matched the roses perfectly. This I used to embellish and strengthen the corners as well as the lining. I sourced a pair of slim handles in a cognac brown which I think go well with the two main colours. These I stitched on by hand which, considering the solidity of the front and back panel, was quite a challenge!

Tuesday, April 6

Hello Sunshine :)

Hello everybody!

Yesterday was the first sunny day of the year, so no wonder the whole town was out and about! You cannot imagine how good it felt to have a little warmth touch my face. Naturally, the cafés were packed.

Above is our little market place (picture taken from official website) and what it looks like in summer. And left is my favourite café where I meet friends and clients alike. Usually, in summer, they set up tables outside which is great for people watching :)
Well, the Easter holiday is over and it's back to work for me. I have a busy week ahead and I'm very much looking forward to Saturday, when we'll be going to see the musical Wicked which made its debut here a few weeks ago!

In other news, Dawanda is having a special promotion now through Sunday 11th: 12% off everything in the participating categories. That means 12% off EVERYTHING in my shop too, but only on the chosen day. This will be indicated on the left upper corner on each item. Although I wasn't informed exactly which day this week bags will be on sale, but I have a feeling it might be tomorrow!

Have a beautiful day!

Friday, April 2

Wishing everyone a nice Easter holiday!

Easter decorations done by me
Happy Easter, Frohe Ostern, Joyeuses Paques, Vrolijke Pasen, Feliz Pascua, Glad Pask!


Easy Carrot Cake

Grate 250 gr carrots into a bowl and mix with 2 tlsp. lemon juice. Preheat oven to 180°C, grease a medium square baking tin (or 28 cm dia. round tin) and sprinkle bottom and sides with fine breadcrumbs. Mix 250 gr ground almonds, 50 gr flour and 2 tsp. baking powder. Separate 6 medium eggs. Beat eggwhites adding 160 gr sugar little by little until stiff. Add yolks to flour mixture and stir in carrots. Gently stir in the beaten eggwhite mixture. Pour into the tin and bake approx. 40 minutes on the middle shelf. Remove cake from oven and leave for 5 minutes. Then remove from tin and let cool on a rack. Mix 200 gr powdered sugar with 2 - 3 tlsp. lemon juice and glaze the top of the cake. Decorate with store-bought marzipan carrots if desired.