Coffee Pots & Market Totes

Yesterday we had some friends over and Kacey is all about babies so I was able to pass Oliver off to her. That gave me a chance to sit down at my machine and put together a market tote for someone.

I used Melody Miller Coffee Pots Fushcia

With Oliver in her arms I was able to get it done in 15 minutes

Cant wait to get this off in the mail!


Interview | Picking Daisies | August 2011

Last year I had the opportunity to interview the lovely ladies over at Picking Daisies for another blog that a friend and I ran together. Lately they have been going through some changes and I wanted to interview them again to showcase the new direction they are moving in. I’ll be drafting up some questions this week and heading into their darling shop soon after to see what daisies these ladies are picking now.

Until then, enjoy my first interview with them.

Kay Porczak and Dede Bruington own a darling little shop in The Creamery in San Luis Obispo, CA full of napkins made with amazing fabric. You can purchase or rent napkins as well as browse their other adorable little handmade creations.

When we started up this blog, interviewing was one of the many ideas we had and Picking Daisies was at the top of that list. When we asked them if we could interview them they happily agreed and so we had the pleasure of doing so.

Ashley was able to sit down with these ladies in their lovely shop and talk business, fun, and alcohol. Here is what transpired…..

Ashley to Kay: When did you start to sew?

When our sister, Ann, first came up with the idea for this business, I had never, ever sewn in my life, never took it in high school, I had never owned a sewing machine or even had an interest. When Ann said, ‘I have an idea for this business, let’s make napkins..’ I bought a sewing machine. So that was about five years ago. But the funny thing is, I feel like I was born to sew!

Ashley to Dede: Do you sew?

I don’t sew. I was a home ec major at Cal Poly and I took sewing and I was terrible. 

What part do you take in the brilliance of Pcking Daisies?

I focus on display and merchandising. 

How did Picking Daisies come about/Who’s dream was it? 

Ann was the one who came up with the idea, but it wasn’t really her dream to have a store; she just wanted to sew and sell the napkins at Farmer’s Market and do an online web store.

So who’s idea was it to open a store?

Kay: We realized we needed a space to sew the napkins and were looking at a lot of industrial spaces. We were getting phone calls from people who had found us online and wanted to buy our napkins – we were seriously meeting people in parking lots with bins of napkins – and then we had to figure out if they were at Dede’s house or at Ann’s. So then we just figured it would be easier to just have a space to sew the napkins and store them, we can just meet everyone there. But this store ended up being so far from what we were thinking.

Dede: And we ended up here because in order to sell at Farmer’s Market you have to have a retail space open downtown minimum five days a week, five hours a day so we thought that’s perfect.

Kay: Since this spot in The Creamery was a lot cheaper than a lot of industrial places we were looking at, we thought well we could be open the minimum, but we certainly didn’t really embrace all that it could be.

Does Ann still contribute any?

No, but she planted the seed for this and we {Dede & Kay} let it grow. As we grew and continued to get busier, she decided to step back and let us take over.

When did the shop open?

We had our grand opening in October of 2008, but we were open in a bit of September of 2008.

Dede to Kay: And when did we start making napkins? 2007?

Kay: No, in 2006

Ashley: To get everything started?

Dede: We started, actually, at craft fairs, then by word of mouth.

Ashley to Kay: How do fabrics inspire you? 

Oh my gosh. I can’t get enough of fabrics! I guess they inspire me in a way as following every great fabric blog I can find and every fabric designer, so when I do see fabrics I immediately categorize them home decor, napkins, clothing, etc. In the next year, we want to go to one of the Quilt Marts where they launch all the new fabrics!

Do you have a favorite designer?

Dede: Anna Maria Horner. Oh and Alexander Henry makes some of the best novelty fabrics around. I really love novelty fabrics.

Kay: I think Anna Maria Horner, but not only because she makes the best fabric, but because shes so inspirational. She’s got kids, she designs fabric, sews, shes so creative, but yet so nurturing and is just amazing.

Ashley: She just has everything well balanced.

Kay: Exactly. And then theres designers like Kaffe Fassett who designs amazing fabric, but I keep hearing snippets about him that I don’t agree with.

Dede: But it is our best selling napkins.

Kay: I know, but guy needs to change his judgements. But I don’t know if I can say I have a favorite.

Dede: Top four

Kay: Top four: Anna Maria Horner, Laura Gunn, Kaffe Fassett – that’s about it. Everyone loves Amy Butler, but I wouldn’t put her in my top favorites.

Ashley to Dede: How about you? Do fabrics inspire you in any way even though you’re not one to sit behind a machine? 

I tend to go to novelty and at first we didn’t do any novelty, but then we tried christmas fabric and it was a good hit, wouldn’t you say Kay?

Kay: Mmmhmmmm!

Dede: So then we added the apples and owls {at which point Ashley’s eyes widened because she LOVES OWLS!!!}.

The conversation trailed off a bit to talking about novelty fabrics that have turkeys with football helmets on them. Dede just had to show me….. WTH?!?! 

Ashley to Dede: You have kids – do any of them place an inspiration on your passions?

Ashley: Because, you know… Henry is a photographer and does film as well so does any of what he does inspire you?

Dede: I don’t know so much about for here. I don’t know… I’d have to think about that.

Ashley: What about Annie?

Dede: I don’t know. I feel like they’ve become more inspired by me by having this business and now they love it and have opinions and they care about it.

Ashley: Annie works here when she’s back home, right?

Dede: She does, she loves it. And now all of her friends and friends in college and their families are into the napkins and the store, and our website, and the blog…. so its great to have that support. 

Ashley to Kay: Ellen, your daughter, is a very artistic girl – does her artistic abilities stem from your crafty nature? 

You know its funny because I would have never, and still don’t, consider myself as creative. I think I’m a good engineer and that’s how I used to be. Like, I love the whole engineering in sewing, but other than reigning Dede in on the novelty fabric {we all exchange laughs on that comment}, I really defer to her in picking the fabric because I completely trust her. I know what I like, but I always give her sort of ‘final call’ cause she knows whats going to work and what will sell. 

Dede: Our dad was super creative and our mom was a sewer and sewed quilts and sewed clothes when we were little so when friends come in here that have known us since we were little, they don’t peg it as something we would be, but more of a combination of our mom and dad. 

Kay: So maybe Ellen gets that from them, not from me.

Ashley: Even though you’ve made that tunic you’re wearing and shorts for Richard?

Kay: But that was with a pattern, so it’s all about the engineering of it for me, not the creative side. I like the challenge of a pattern and the instructions and seeing it all put together.

Dede: And I have such a hard time following directions. I think thats why I wasn’t a successful sewer in taking classes at Cal Poly. 

Ashley to Kay: What project is currently on your machine?

I don’t have one. Once I start something I kinda just can’t stop. So I don’t have like three projects going at a time. Well, the only exception to that is when I had sewing class I would kind of sew to a point where I got stuck and then go to class to move to the next step. But since class, I’ve only sewn two projects – that shirt and an eyelet skirt, but those were done over a weekend. I’m kinda a ‘one project at a time’ kinda person. 

Do you have any other crafts you do, or would like to try?

No there isn’t. I don’t cook, so really this is just my passion right now – to just sew. I was talking to someone one day and told them I was sewing napkins and they said ‘but it’s your day off’ and I said ‘I know’ and thats all I wanna do and I love it. I mean, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing. There’s just something so satisfying about sewing a product and then people give you money for it… I’ve never been so satisfied. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself, maybe outside the world of sewing and business owning? 

Ashley: Well, we already know what you like to do, Kay – sew. So Dede we’ll start with you. {laughing occurs}

Dede: I used to garden. See there were a lot of things we used to do.

Kay: We kind of have this imaginary bulletin board of all the things we used to do, but it isn’t a bad thing. 

Dede: We do love hanging out at coffee shops. I don’t really have any hobbies. I like watching baseball…

Ashley: How about family stuff?

Kay: Dede and I were both stay at home moms so that really defined us for about 15 years of our lives. And really towards the end of those 15 years we were sort of joking saying ‘what the eff are we going to do? we are going to be writing poerty at Linneas.’ {the ladies start laughing about that comment as its in reference to their kids growing up}

Dede: A lot of what we did was yoga, coffee, and gym…

Kay: But this is sort of our hobby. I don’t know, I guess I just never really felt like a well defined person until now. {Dede mmhhmmm’s in agreement.}

Dede: And I think our kids have more of an interest in us now, then when we were a stay-at-home-mom. 

And then we trailed off into talking about how Kay was never really domesticated. She doesn’t cook, didn’t like to clean… it was actually quite funny how opposed to cooking she is. But she mentioned her daughter, Ellen, loves to cook now so she gets a good home cooked meal regardless. 

What’s your advice for crafties who want to open a business?

Kay: Well, I think Etsy has opened up opportunities. Like I would say we should have done this years ago, but I don’t know how successful it would have been, but Etsy..

Dede: And Kickstarter. You should really check it out.

Kay: Yes, its great! Its for people who want to start a business and they propose their idea and try to get people to fund it. But those two sites have really opened up a world of possibilities for people as opposed to twenty years ago where the idea of having a small business was you’re either 100% or not at all. Where as now, anybody can test the waters with Etsy and you may grow beyond that or you may not, but it’s a great place to start. 

Since you’ve opened, your product has grown a bit as far as adding aprons, pillows, and other little goodies…. Do you plan to expand the business in goods even more? 

Kay: Very minimally. Like last christmas we introduced lavender sachéts as something fun and they were a big hit. Now that I’ve figured out how to put our label on them we have decided to continue selling them and are already thinking, ‘what can we do for next holiday season?’ So yes and no, but I don’t want to get to the point where we can’t manage it all. 

And of course, what is your favorite alcoholic beverage to consume while sewing or crafting?

Kay: White wine. A few months ago I was really loving chardonnay, but right now I like sauvignon. In the winter, though, I would switch to red wine. I really love wine.

Dede: My favorite is pinot grigio, Santa Margarita label is really good – it’s my favorite white wine.  

Thank you ladies for giving us the opportunity to interview you and for giving us great advice for the crafties out there!

Swing by their blogfacebook, and twitter, and flickr! to see what they’re up to and visit their website to purchase some goodies! You won’t be disappointed!

Happy Crafting!

~Ashley & Breana

{Thank you to Richard Fusillo for taking & providing the photos!}

Picking Daisies

Picking Daisies Newsletter

 I can’t wait to share what they’re up to now!

Whats Black and White and Red All Over?

Olivers new tag cubie!

I ended up having some left over black and white chevron (still have a teensie bit left) and turned it into a lil cubie.

Since Oliver is still a newbie to this world, his vision needs to be stimulated and black, white, red and other primary colors are incredibly helpful. Now he can strengthen his vision and play! Well, kinda; he is still an itty bitty.


Nursing Cover and Dog Bed

Today I was able to pass baby off to daddy for a nap and get a couple of projects finished; a nursing cover and a dog bed.

I’ve had some amazing fabric for a while that I originally purchased to make myself a purse, but never got around to it.

Alexander Henry Kenyan Tea Leaf in Blue

I found a great tutorial for a nursing cover over at Prudent Baby.

I am so in love with this print and look awesome as a nursing cover. Although I would have loved to have made it out of some chevron like in the tutorial…

I also was able to make a much needed doggie bed for our pup Zooey. She likes to lie behind the nursing chair while I am in the nursery with Oliver and I wanted to give her something comfy.

I made it out of some Jay-Cyn Pebble Lines Aqua and used recycled poly fill from a futon we tore up a while back.

She loves it!

Fits perfectly in the corner too! Glad I tapered off the top.

Later on tonight I am hoping to make another tag block for Oliver that is black, white, and red. Hopefully I have some black and white chevron leftover from the crib skirt!

Oh, and Oliver is just over 4 weeks old! Time flies fast!

So in love.

Small Projects

Since baby Oliver’s arrival my projects have sort of taken a back burner. I’m okay with that as I enjoy every moment I get to spend with my little man, but I feel bad that I am not blogging so much and pumping out products and projects for all of you to see and learn from.

But tonight I was able to sneak in a couple of things.

A post or two ago I mentioned finding new projects to use up all of the zippers I have collected over the past year, which is well over 100. One of the things I wanted to create was a zipper flower.

I like how it turned out, but I need to find another way to attach the pearls so the glue doesn’t show. I might sew them on with invisible thread.

Or maybe I just used too much glue?

Anyway, I really like this idea and it is fairly easy, however; I’m a bit dyslexic so when twisting and turning the zipper to how it should be, I got it all backwards. Ugh. Luckily I have tons of the vintage metal zippers because those look the best, I feel.

I also was able to sneak in 7 cuts for new wee wee huts.

They’re going to be sold in some stores, but I can’t quite finish them yet. I need to figure out the labeling for them and packaging first. Hopefully I can get that figured out soon so I can get them, along with all of my other baby products, in the store by summer time!

I wish there was better boy fabric out there for these things with out them being too novelty or cheesy.

Batting and Zippers

Strange title, I know. But those were the two main materials used in my two separate projects I worked on today.

First, I planned on making some washable nursing pads and construct a tutorial on them – fail. I’m still working out the kinks of my original cuts and need to perfect the pattern first before I hand my secrets over to the public. I used three layers of organic cotton batting and some cute fabric as the main fabric. I think I might omit the fabric entirely and just use the organic batting. My main problem; my cuts were too small resulting in a set of nursing pads that I feel don’t fully cover me. Another problem, that won’t be able to be remedied before I throw the tutorial up, is I do not have a working serger. Although the zig zag stitch works along with pinking the edges, its just not as great as a serger. But I’ll do what I can with what I have. So I will try and work on making bigger cuts and perfecting the pattern the rest of this week and will hopefully post a tutorial by Sunday.

Second project was a zippered pouch, but not like the ones I normally make. This pouch required about 10x more zippers!

The entire front of this pouch is zippers!

While browsing for a great nursing cover tutorial I came across this zippered pouch tutorial at Zipit’s Blog and decided to try it out.

She makes it look super easy and I pride myself on being excellent at sewing zippers, but let me tell you; sewing 10 zippers together isn’t as easy as it seems. Eventually I was able to stitch them all together and sew them on to an amazing Melody Miller scrap piece of fabric from her Ruby Star Shining collection.

I’m not 100% pleased with the pouch, but it was a neat little project to do. It is kinda cool and cute, but hers is much better constructed.

The blog I found this tutorial on is run by the girl whom I purchase all of my zippers from for my pouches. Over the past year I have accumulated over 100 zippers in an array of colors so now I am looking for new projects to use my zippers on. One I found is a zipper flower to use as a brooch or attach to a headband, etc. Will probably make one or more of those tomorrow.

If you have any ideas as to some new crafts/projects using zippers, please leave a comment and a link if available and I will try it out.

Hopefully I can get the nursing pad tutorial to you this weekend – just depends on how much baby Oliver will let me accomplish by then.