Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Little Photo Shoot

The lovely Shanon from My Fine Garden came over last week for a little photo shoot. I have been drooling over her prints for quite some time and finally purchased the Buttons print, the perfect piece for a sewing room, don't you think? I also downloaded the free wallpaper for my laptop from Kindred because I am so fond of it. You simply must check out her Etsy shop to see all of her other lovlies. Her prints show details of the simple things in life we may pass over each day. When I see them it reminds me to stop and admire the beauty that surrounds us in the everyday, fast-paced lifestyle we live in.

The photo shoot was for our post on Etsy's blog the Storque! If you have not read the Storque, make sure to add it to your reading list. They have excellent posts on how-to's, interviews with shop owners, and a wealth of other informative articles and videos as well. Please click on over and you will read about another exciting project that we just finished working on! I will tell you more very soon...

p.s. A big THANK YOU! to Shanon for working her magic with us!

all images by Shanon of SLGdesigns

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Friday!

I just wanted to drop a Happy Friday note to everyone! The sun is shining and new fabric has arrived, what more could we ask for? I'm busy in the studio with Country Mouse this weekend working on some exciting projects that I hope to share with you soon. I hope you enjoy your Friday and have a wonderful weekend! xo, Jamie

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creative Ways to be Green

In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to list a few creative ideas for being green.

1. Repurpose. I love seeing items get a new life by being transformed into something different than what they were in their first life.

2. BYOB. Bring your own bags to the store. There is no reason not to use your own bags when you go shopping. Keep them in the trunk of your car or your back seat and you'll always have them available when you make a quick stop at the store.

3. Investigate some natural laundry and cleaning supplies. There are ways to make your own (just ask grandma). Or check out the many options available from Etsy sellers.

4. Hug a tree. Or plant one.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Day at the Exhibit

Last weekend Country Mouse and I attended the Apron Chronicles exhibit at Ironworld in Chisolm, Minnesota. We carved out some time from our busy marathon sewing weekend to learn about the historical perspective of one of our favorite items: the apron.

The exhibit features 200 vintage aprons and the stories and history behind them and the women (and men) who wore them. The stories and photos give life to aprons that surround you in the exhibit. Viewing the aprons and their history was fascinating and inspired us to think about the aprons we create and the people who will wear them. We love hearing stories from our customers such as a special baking tradition that they will wear their apron for or the special person they are giving the apron to.

Unfortunately we can't share any photos of the vintage aprons which are in the traveling exhibit. I started snapping away at the entrance of the exhibit and security was on me immediately. I honestly did not know we were not allowed to take pictures. Note to self: ask before pulling out the camera. I was told, however, that I could take photos of the vintage aprons which were brought in for display by the Ironwold employees.

You can see more about EllynAnne Geisel - the woman behind the aprons and when the exhibit will be near your area here. It's a fun outing to do with a girlfriend or your mom or grandma.

Country Mouse was very excited!

And so was I!

One of the many things I learned so far from Holly in the decor8 blogging course: it is best to ask before snapping away. If only that topic had taken place before our trip to the exhibit! Another lesson I have learned from the course is to take time out of your busy schedule each week and do something to explore your passions and creative side. It is so easy to lose yourself in the rat race of life, so dedicate some time even if it is only once a week to try something new (a craft, a class, yoga, anything!) and you will see improvement in your well-being.

What will you do for your once a week break from the rat race?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Fresh New Look

I wanted to share a little behind how the name of our shop came to be. Growing up I lived in the country (with a horse and many other animals, but not really a farm) and went to school in a small town. I moved to the city to go to college and after graduating I decided I wanted to stay in the city. I go back to visit my mom often and she claims I give her a hard time for her country way of life. So we joke around and call each other names to match our different lifestyles - mine being a "City Chick" and my mom's a "Country Mouse."

We always knew we wanted to have a business together, but nothing ever seemed to fit exactly what we imagined. Until we discovered a wonderful fabric shop that had the most unique fabrics that we had ever seen. Our interest in sewing was renewed with these gorgeous fabrics and we could not stop thinking of all the possibilities for our creations.

We were familiar with Etsy and thought it would be the perfect place for our new business. My mom decided we should name it after our nicknames for each other. The title was a bit too long for the allowed number of characters. So we shortened it to "City Chic Country Mouse."

Thinking about our image, we felt we needed a chick and mouse to represent us. We came across this shop and loved this little chick. So I asked if she would consider giving us a mouse to go with the chick and she came up with
this. Too cute, right? Whitney was kind enough to work with us on creating a new Etsy shop banner, blog banner, and business card. I highly recommend her Etsy Shop - Whisker Graphics for your personalized stationary and paper goodies.

And now you know the story behind City Chic Country Mouse. ~p.s. the photo of us was taken at my wedding in Jamaica last year by the talented Tracy Kumono.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Exciting News!

I am so thrilled to share with you that I just started an online blogging course "Blogging Your Way" led by Holly from decor8! AND our ironing board cover was mentioned on the decor8 blog Happy Weekend post last Friday!

Holly's blog has worldwide audience with almost 25,000 readers a day. She is a contributor to numerous magazines including Real Simple, Domino, among many others. My online classmates are from around the world - Canada, Australia, England, Germany, France, Holland, Malaysia, Austria, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland! Wow!

Needless to say, I'll be glued to my computer for the next month or so.

Mmm, shiny by rvnix

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Tutorial for Flower Napkin Ties

Here is another easy tutorial to use up some of those scraps. This is my very first tutorial, so if anything is unclear please let me know!
Fabric scraps
Needle and thread
12 inch ribbon
Yo yo
Doll Maker Needle or one that has a eye
Button (optional)

1. Cut five 3 x 3 squares and five 2 x 2 squares. Get creative - use a mix of fabrics. I used Amy Butler's Happy Stripe and Clematis.

2. Fold the squares into triangles, wrong sides together, and press.

3. Sew a straight gathering stitch over the open ends of the triangle (I started with one of the 3 x 3’s)

4. Pull the thread and gather the fabric to make a petal.

5. String on the next 2 x 2 triangle.

6. Pull the string and gather the fabric, now you have two petals. Repeat using every other sized triangle.
7. Now arrange the string of petals spiraling so that one layer is on top of the other. This is the hardest part. Simply play with the petals to arrange them how you think they look best, it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful!

8. When you have the petals arranged how you like them, sew through a few folds to hold in place. Then stitch the starting petal into place. Add a few more stitches if needed.

9. I used a yo yo that I made with my mini yo yo maker. If you don’t have one, you can follow the directions here to make one. Get creative – add a vintage button or something else fun.

10. Use your Doll Maker Needle to pull the ribbon through the yo yo and back out. Pull the ribbon through the center of your flower so that ribbon ends are both out the same end.

11. I pulled the ribbon tight to give the yo yo a few little creases to match the petals. Tie a knot and you’re done! Easy, wasn’t it? Now you can tie your ribbon around your folded napkin. If you are in the mood for some more flower tutorials, go check out the Sew Mama Sew blog here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter Eggs

When I saw Kim's (retro mama) Easter Egg tutorial over on her lovely blog, I just had to make them! Kim is very detailed with her instructions so making these cute little eggs is a breeze. It's a perfect way to use up some of those scraps that you just can't part with. I used some of my bright colored Park Slope and Amy Butler fabrics. If you make some, be sure to submit some pictures to the Retro Mama flickr group here.

I hope you have as much fun making these as I did! Happy sewing!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wishing for Summer

It's been cold and slushy here in Minnesota. I keep telling myself to be patient, Spring will be here and Summer will eventually arrive! Even though I woke up to the white stuff outside. I guess it's Mother Nature's April Fool's joke. Not funny. So I felt the need to treat myself to a new summer outfit. Or should I say dream about a new summer outfit. I created one over here.
Summer Dreams
Summer Dreams - by City Chic on