When men were men, women wore aprons and notions were 19 cents!

Sometimes I crack myself up when I see the things I have in my sweatshop! I’m not one to throw something away if I think I could possibly use it at some point in time. But, that can lead to crowded spaces. Then again, it does give me a chuckle now and then.
Digging through my notions the other day, I found I still had some of my mother’s sewing notions. I’ve been using them – I really have, although they’re probably in the vintage category by now. Seriously, check out the prices on this stuff:

Before there was Velcro, there were hooks and eyes!

Before there was Velcro, there were hooks and eyes!

Can you see the football helmet?!!

Can you see the football helmet?!!

It's about $2 a package now!

Do they even make these any longer?

Do they even make these any longer?

Takes me back to the days when ‘men were men, women wore aprons and notions were CHEAP!’




I’ve marked down all the Halloween aprons in stock – if you move quickly, you can get one in time for this year. Ā If not, snap it up and save it for 2014!


Confessions of a Plant Junkie

Before aprons, there were flowers! Lots and lots and LOTS of flowers! I once went to the local nursery (on my daily visit) and the clerk told me, “You’re a plant junkie!” Humph – just ’cause I needed a quick flower fix, no need to call me names.
But, yeah, I guess I was. I could never decide which I liked best, and ended up getting a little of this and a little of that. Same thing with the accents – so many choices, so hard to decide.

So, what do garden gnomes, St. Francis and turtles have in common?? Nothing!! That’s my point. (I’m talking about that syndrome where people can’t decide on a cohesive look and end up with everything from naked women to frogs in their gardens!!!

I visited gardens whenever I could – Butchart in British Columbia, Longview in Delaware, even the Kukenhopf in the Netherlands. GORGEOUS, FABULOUS, AMAZING! What I learned from them was that mass plantings have far more impact than one of this and one of that. Toward the end of my gardening days, I think I had the theory down pretty well!

My primary ornament of choice became sunfaces – at one point there were probably 20 or more on the fences.

So, how does this relate to aprons? When I opened my ETSY shop of handmade aprons, I decided to focus strictly on aprons. Not because there aren’t great things out there and other things I enjoy making, but because I knew how easily I can get sidetracked – if I made ONE potholder, then it’d be a table runner, then some towels, then hooter hiders and, after that, who knows what!??!!!

How long does it take to make an apron?

The #1 question people ask me is: “How long does it take you to make an apron?” I never have an answer! So, I think I should count it up:
1) Surf the web and/or cruise fabric stores looking for cute material: we’ll say, conservatively, a half hour for each apron, more like 5 hours if I get caught up, or drive to the store!
2) Sit and think about which pattern to use: this is hard for me. Sometimes it takes weeks – it’s even taken YEARS before I come up with a plan for a piece of fabric, so anywhere from .5 to 8760 hours (1 year)
3) Find the coordinating fabrics, trims and embellishments needed for the chosen apron pattern: first search is through my own stash, which would probably takes at least another half hour – if I have to start from #1 again, it might be 5 hours!
4) Pin and cut the apron: 15 minutes or so once I’m ready to roll.
5) Sew the apron: depending on the complexity, trim and amount of handwork necessary for the apron I have in mind, this takes anywhere from .5 to about 2 hours.

Theoretically, I’m done now, but WAIT!

Now we have:
6) Press and tag apron: .25
7) Measure apron and enter description, price, size and status on inventory list: .25
8) Photograph apron – ETSY wants up 5 shots of each piece. Since I’m photographing and modeling myself most of the time, this requires me to rig up delayed shots and then run around to get in the picture!

My version of a tripod!

My version of a tripod!

If the grandkids are modeling, we’d need to add extra time while they wiggle, giggle and roll around on the floor. Then add finding props, editing photos, re-taking the shots when they’re blurry (ya think?), etc. and I’d estimate a single apron takes minimum half hour to process = .5, but could take 2 hours.
9) Post on line: about .25 per apron, only because I’ve already written the description and taken measurements.

Well, there you have it: Anywhere from 4.25 hours up to 8770.50 hours per apron!!! I think I need a nap.

A Pain in the Patootie, But Oh! What a Cutie

What has 18 pin tucks, 5 teeny buttons and yards of quarter inch seam binding?

I have a pattern I call the ‘tuxedo’ – (it’s Simplicity 2298 if you want to know) and I have a real love/hate relationship with it. It’s really not all that hard, but it IS time consuming and you just can’t cheat on this one. You can NOT cheat – you MUST put the binding on the recommended way – no shortcuts!! Anyway, if I don’t get in a rush and just take my time, it makes a beautiful apron in the end.
The finished apron!

The finished apron!

Sloooooowly I Turn

Once upon a time, I knew a joke that started “sloooooowly I turn; inch by inch; step by step . . .” Well, that’s all I can remember of the joke except that it had some ridiculously silly punchline (which remains unknown at this point). Anyhoo, the leaves are turning and that’s my signal to turn the boxes!

I might be accused of having a touch of OCD – not to the level of “Monk”, you understand, just a mild need to keep somewhat organized. I’m sure you all have a system of dealing with summer clothes vs. winter clothes. Well, mine is labeled boxes – one side is labeled SUMMER and the reverse FALL/WINTER. When I swap out the short sleeves for the long sleeves, the boxes are turned and ‘Voila!’ I know what’s in the box!

The leaves have been turning beautifully lately, the sweaters have been in use and the electric blankie’s turned on, so it was time for the semi-annual swap this a.m.!

Waning Energy

Once upon a time, half a lifetime ago, I did a few craft fairs. At that time, I was sewing Cabbage Patch clothes, since CP dolls were all the rage.

Myrtle Emma and Little Lulu in their winter coats.

Myrtle Emma and Little Lulu in their winter coats.

I still have the best dressed kids (CP) in town (I believe 8 of them still reside with me), but things have changed and now the sewing machines turn out aprons for real people.
As I prepare for a big craft fair this weekend, I can’t help but look back and compare – it seemed easier back then! Was it because the products were smaller and the models were quiet and cooperative? Was it less hassle then without tax forms and display issues? The bottom line is probably waning energy – I’m 60+ instead of 30! Thank goodness for friends and a daughter willing to help!