Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Contest Winner

We have a winner in our "Give My Hamster a Voice" contest! It was hard to chose, but Genevieve is a HUGE Def Leppard fan so in the end we decided on ButterflyDesign1's quote "Pour some sugar on me..."

Thanks to you all who participated. Just for fun, I thought I'd tell you how the decision process played out. I chose the top three answers, then my 12 year old daughter, the actual hamster owner picked the final winner.

Our top three answers were:

1. Pour some sugar on me...
2. One hamster or two? - by Lissa
3. I is not a sugarcube! - by AmyJosCreations 10 year old daughter

As promised, our winner will be receiving a $25 gift certificate from The Recycled Jeans Company. Thank you all again so much for participating. We'll have another fun and exciting contest coming up soon, so stay tuned.


Friday, October 31, 2008

New Contest - Give My Hamster a Voice

Anyone can see this is a witty hamster. If only she could speak, there would already be something funny and/or profound in that bubble. Since she can't, I'm asking for your help. Tell me what YOU think she's saying. The person with the best answer (as chosen by me) will win a $25 gift certificate from the Recycled Jeans Company. Entries will be accepted from November 1 - 30th. I'll announce the winner on December 1st.

Please... no profanity. Although my hamster does have a political affiliation, she doesn't wish to make it public, nor does she wish to offend any of the misguided souls who don't agree with her, so no political statements either.
Don't forget to include an email address or Etsy shop where you can be reached if you're the winner.
The winning entry will become the property of The Recycled Jeans Company and may be used in future products and/or advertising. No further compensation will be paid.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Boo-ti-ful Halloween Treats!

Hot off the sewing machine... Rummaging through my stash I found several super-cool Halloween prints that got my creative juices flowing. Combining these with a few new cottons, I created what I think you'll agree is a whacky, wonderful line of Halloween goodies. I've just listed several trick or treat bags, which are actually my travel pillowcases done up in spooktacular style. They'll make great loot bags now and can be used as pillowcases or laundry bags later. I also have drink cozies, and a scrappy little mini tote, so hop on over to my store to check them out.

BTW, if you're a fan of the kitty cat fabric, I have more drink cozies and mini wallets coming soon in that pattern, and I have lots more of the Flintstones fabric if you have any special requests.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Etsy Treasury

For those unfamiliar with Etsy, members are allowed to curate a collection of 12 photographs of fellow Etsians' work. Each list is added to the treasury for 2 or 3 days. Many of the lists are stunning pieces of art in and of themselves. Here are my latest efforts.

Milkshakes - To Drink or Not to Drink

BLATANT ADVERTISEMENT! Ya’ know what… it’s not PC to drink milkshakes anymore, especially when you’ve got an ass like mine. I know I need to lose a few pounds, but I shouldn’t feel like I’m going to get arrested for having a little dairy treat every now and then, know what I mean! With the current climate of hyper-health consciousness, I feel slightly guilty every time I walk away from the Baskin Robbins counter. So I’ve hit upon the perfect solution! I cover up my occasional snack with a coffee cozy from The Recycled Jeans Company, fooling the masses into believing I’m having a frappuccino. And that’s great because coffee is totally cool – even the blended frozen ones you suck through a straw – which, I mean, come on – really aren’t that different from a milkshake now are they?

So, if you too have a milkshake habit you can’t kick, don’t fight it. Just get yourself a full-sized drink cozy from The Recycled Jeans Company. As an added bonus, the cozy keeps your hands warm without melting your shake. When you think about it, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain – including a couple of pounds. But that’s YOUR business.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm a Dorcas

I love to sew. I love everything about it, from designing the project, to choosing the colors and fabrics, to putting it all together. But one of the things I love best is the silent time I have to myself to sit and think.

Sometimes my thoughts are of such mundane things as what to cook for dinner or how the light bulb in the hallway needs to be changed. Often, I plan my next sewing project. Occasionally my thoughts ramble down one random path after another until I get so lost in my head I can barely find my way out of my studio at the end of the day. But, once in a very rare while my cognitive process leads me in a more edifying direction. Yesterday I was mulling over a Bible passage I stumbled across about a year ago...

The story concerns a woman named Dorcas, a disciple "who was always doing good and helping the poor." Acts 9:36 By the time we meet her, the poor woman has become sick and died. As it so happened, Peter was in a neighboring town at the time and was summoned at once. Upon his arrival, "all the widows stood around him crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them." Acts 9:39 Can you feel the love, the pride, the grief in that one sentence?

There were several things about this short passage that resonated with me:
  1. Dorcas loved the people around her
  2. She showed her love by sewing for them
  3. They accepted her gifts for what they were - an expression of her affection
  4. They had an abiding love for Dorcas in return

Although I'm not always "doing good and helping the poor," I felt such a kinship with Dorcas at that moment I too mourned her passing. It made me think of my own grandmother who sewed a mountain of clothes for me throughout my childhood, and of my husband's grandmother who pieced the most beautiful quilt tops. I considered the love that must have gone into each and every stitch and I was humbled and honored. And I felt a sharp pang of longing to see them just one more time.

Further, it gave greater meaning and purpose to my craft. My sewing IS more than an artistic endeavor. It's an expression of my love for my family and friends. My hope is that they will feel that affection on some level, and that my stitching will create a legacy of love that will outlast me.

Your craft may not be sewing. And you might not be a Christian. But as an artist who is also a mother or daughter, sister or friend, I'm sure you understand what I'm talking about. When you create whatever you create, you're creating more than a tangible item. You're crafting love. You can read the entire short story of Dorcas in Acts 9:36-43. By the way, the story does have a happy ending.

If you're a Dorcas too, I'd like to hear how you became one and why. If you'll send me an email I'll share your story in a new monthly feature. And for my Etsy friends, leave a comment and I'll include you in my next treasury.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From the Scrap Basket

So, we recently moved into a house after living in our motorhome for a year. Upon receiving our household goods, I was shocked and dismayed to see the amount of fabric I not only had in storage, but also had accumulated over the past year. Piles and piles and piles of material. I'll NEVER use it all, not even if I sew 8 hours a day, every day until I reach 93 and a half years of age. Maybe, just possibly, if I live to 93 and three quarters...

I have three distinct categories:

1. yard goods
2. recycled clothing
3. scraps

My plan of action to tame this beast is:

1. pillowcase/laundry bags with the yard goods and
2. these adorable totes and mini totes with the scraps.

You can expect to see lots more of these products in my Etsy shop, http://www.recycledjeans.etsy.com/, in the next few weeks. If not, call 911. It means I've been buried alive under a mountain of cotton.

I know I'm not the only fabric-aholic out there. How big is your stash and what do you plan to do with it? Show us your pics...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Immortal Utterances of Children

Every family has a cache of stories involving their children and the surprises that issue forth from their sweet little mouths. I was reminded of this the other day when my children got into an argument as they played in the pool. My oldest daughter was trying to grab hold of the little one who shouted, "Leave me alone. You know I have issues!" I could only shake my head and tell myself, "I've got to stop letting them watch Oprah."

Here's another story from my own childhood. It was Sunday afternoon. Church had let out and everyone including the preacher was gathered at my Mamaw Johnson's dinner table for a feast of fried chicken, roast beef and a truly impressive array of vegetables, breads, and pickles. My mother, being a good mom, was encouraging me to eat my English peas. And I, being a three-year-old, naturally didn't want them. The battle was on. I don't know how long we argued, but finally I had enough. All conversation halted when the angelic toddler in the sweet pink dress shouted, "I don't WANT any damn peas." I'm sure it was nothing worse than the reverend had encountered before, but I KNOW my grandparents and mother were mortified. The story got told and retold until it became a family legend.

I'm sure you have at least one good story to share, so let's hear it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Creating a New Work Space

As I mentioned earlier, we recently moved to San Antonio and I'm in the process of setting up my studio. (I use this term loosely. It's really an extra bedroom.) I don't know about you, but I'm always interested in the work spaces of other artists and crafters, so I decided to document the process for you. As you can see, I have a LONG way to go before this is a well-functioning space.
As the work continues I'll be posting new photos. Stay tuned, because I have an exciting contest planned as well. View the "before" pictures.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Three Cheers for Etsy

My newest obsession, http://www.etsy.com/, is a virtual marketplace for all things handmade. Going into it's third year on the Internet, Etsy now has over 1 million listings, so you're SURE to find something you like.

There are many reasons to buy handmade:
  1. You'll be getting a one-of-a-kind creation
  2. In most cases, handmade products are of superior quality
  3. You'll be supporting individuals, families, and the U.S. economy (there are other countries represented on Etsy, but the vast majority is U.S.-based.)
  4. You won't have to fight the crowds at the mall

I enjoy selling in my Etsy shop, http://www.recycledjeans.etsy.com/, but I've also purchased some GREAT items. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yeah, San Antonio!

Who's been to San Antonio? I just moved here, and IT ROCKS! Despite the 100-degree heat, I'm really enjoying it. Having spent the past year in El Paso, it's so refreshing to see trees and grass and flowers! The Riverwalk is beautiful. I was walking along it the other day and there was a little water snake swimming along. I was highly amused that no one besides my family noticed it. And the baby ducks... you would need a hard heart indeed not to be enchanted by baby ducks. Anyway... San Antonio is great and if you haven't been, you should definitely give it a try.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Inspired Design!

I'm so excited about our newest, original design - the Lunch Bag. This adaptation of our popular Pixie Pouch skips the drawstring closure in favor of two side ties that thread through grommets and make the bag expandable. Pull the handy wrist strap through the ring on the front of the bag to secure the contents quickly and easily.

We're calling it a lunch bag - and it IS great for that purpose, but it has many other uses. It's the perfect size for the "little lady" in your life. Kids love the petite proportions and colorful ties.

It's also handy for those of us who are more mature - in years if not in attitude - when we're traveling light! Just the right size for one of our mini wallets and a few other necessities.

As always, this product is made from at least 50% post-consumer materials!

Check it out at our Etsy storefront: http://www.recycledjeans.etsy.com/

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Old Sorehead Trade Days

I can't tell you how much fun we had this past weekend at the Old Sorehead Trade Days in Stanton, Texas. Our next-booth-neighbors, Judy and Glenda of Juda's Creations based in Archer City, kept us laughing the entire weekend. (Thank you ladies. It was a rare pleasure.) I was tempted to spend my entire profit on their beautiful jewelry. I did spend a goodly portion on the scrumptious food at the fair. The deep-fried Twinkies intrigued me. Have any of you tried them? In the end I settled for homemade ice cream, which was delicious.

Our Raggedy Ann dolls, which sported dresses made of vintage fabrics, were a big hit. In fact we sold out. There was also a lot of interest in our coffee cozies. One nice lady opened up an entirely new marketing avenue for these handy items. She planned to use hers on her mixed drinks. And why not! They insulate from the cold just as well as the hot. She inspired me to try one on my Diet Coke bottle and it was great. No more cold hands while I'm enjoying the elixir of life! I had to ask myself, "Now why didn't I think of that?"

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Java, Ahhhhh!

I never drank coffee until I was in my 30s (and that's all I'm prepared to say about my age!). Now, I do... a LOT! So you might say my latest product line came about through necessity.

It's (ta da...) the Coffee Cozy. I've seen others out there, but mine is a little different. It covers the whole cup for one thing, and it's made from at least 50% post-consumer materials. I sized it to fit a Starbucks Venti, but you can turn down the cuff to fit your beverage of choice - on most cozies.

The best part is, it keeps your coffee hot - and your fingers NOT!

Friday, March 21, 2008

My First Blog

I've been designing websites for ten years, but I must confess...this is my first blog. Will it be fun? Will I sound corny? I don't know, but I'm willing to find out if you are.

Hmmm! I guess I should start by introducing myself. I am a Christian, an Army wife, and a homeschooling mother, among other things. Besides designing websites I've worked as a copyeditor in Japan, a real estate agent in South Carolina, and a PartyLite consultant in California. (I'm easily bored, and besides, I move a lot.)

My latest and most exciting venture is The Recycled Jeans Company. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to create things, especially when I can reuse something that's been discarded. As I tell my customers, I hate to see a bad pair of jeans go to waste. Luckily, this is a career I can take with me wherever I go, which is a good thing because I'm moving again in May, to San Antonio this time. Yeah, I've never been there.

I love moving around and seeing new places, but my heart is in Alaska. I'm looking forward to the day my husband retires. I'm going to ski, eat the salmon my husband catches, watch my mountains, and sew... yeah, that's what I'm going to do.