Back in the Other Saddle

Florida Scarf

My sewing business has spent these deep months of winter in hibernation. I’m sure you are aware that I moved. But now I am settled, the Etsy Shop is open, and I am back to documenting my experiences here as well as on my Creative blog and my Globetrotting blog.

Welcome back reader. Thanks for staying tuned.

I think we all know that I love sewing just as much as I love painting. I wish it was easy to do them both at the same time. But for obvious reasons I must complete one project then move on to another. It would be a real nightmare if I cut out a bunch of scarves, got them all ready to sew, and then accidentally spilled paint on them. My life would probably be a bit simpler if I gave one up for the other. But I don’t think that will ever happen so I am forced to switch hats every so often. Although arranging a single room back-and-forth between a sewing room and a painting studio can be a bit labor intensive, it is also a great opportunity to continue to clean up after myself and keep all of my supplies insanely organized.

Last week I wrote about a new painting I was starting. In the midst of begining this new painting however, I got a request for a special order scarf through my Etsy Shop. So the painting was to remain a white canvas for the next couple of weeks. I quickly switched the painting room to a sewing room, dusted off my machine, and was back in the sewing-saddle in no time.

Late Winter ScarfIt isn’t terribly often that I get special orders online. For obvious reasons they can be very tricky. The customer and I have never met, I try to interpret their desires and wishes, they may have special needs, I have no idea what their neck looks like, fabric doesn’t photograph terribly well, they don’t see the project until it is complete, etc. Despite all of these hurdles I embrace the online special order as a unique challenge for myself. One that I eagerly work on until both the customer and I are satisfied. The end result of one of these collaborations is always something that pleasantly surprises both of us.

This new special order came from a fellow Etsy seller, Carol of Portland Seacoast. Carol lives in Maine and is a recent thyroid cancer survivor. Carol’s main concern was that the scarf cover her scar. I was confident that the scarf would cover the scarf, so my main concern was that Carol have a scarf that she loved and was happy to wear all throughout the chilly months in Maine. My first instinct was to look into Carol’s Etsy Shop and get a sense of her style. She was also great in describing colors and other details for the scarf that she would like. Fueled with this information I was able to put together some really fabulous (if I do say so myself) compositions for Carol to choose from. With the options that I create for a customer I always try to present a range of possibilities from simple to elaborate, soft to bold, and practicle to fashion-forward.

In the case of Carol, she wasn’t able to choose just one, and she went right for my most elaborate ideas. A blessing and a curse. It’s quite satisfying when I push my creativity to the limit on a fresh idea and I get to see it through. It’s an absolute curse when I don’t foresee all of the troubleshooting that a new idea may require. After a few extra hours of Tendering Loving Creativity I was able to satisfy these new ideas and build two scarves that were absolutley perfect for Carol. The scarves are on their way to Maine as we speak. Both of the scarves meet the criteria we inicially settled on, but I can only hope that when they arrive they excede her expectations.

Navy Scarf with Charms and Half Moon Wood ButtonA couple of Carol’s colors were blue and white, so I used one of my navy fabrics paired with a creamy faux fur. This particular fur is light and incredibly soft. Everybody loves it. Given Carol’s geographic location, and the themes in her Etsy shop, I couldn’t help but want to capture a nautical aesthetic in her scarves. Not nautical like slap an anchor on it, but nautical like big stary sky, combing the beach for shells and sea glass, and treasure washed ashore from a faraway land. So this scarf features a handmade half moon wooden button (from Etsy Shop A Remark You Made), some vintage buttons, shells, and beads in a celestial array, and a removable charm set that I made with vintage buttons, an old bell, and a camel’s tooth. In addition to the half moon button, this scarf also has a handmade clay button. This button is visible in the first photo of the post.

gray plaid scarf with hand beadingThe second scarf has an ocean vibe much like the first, but a character all its own. This scarf is a bit wider and longer. Its most striking feature however, is its hand beaded small sea glass and shells. I love the way this beading looks, but I have to admit that it was almost the death of me. I originally collected these beads from a necklace that had broken. I naively assumed that since the beads were once strung as a necklace that they would easily be strung and sewn to a scarf. I was slightly mistaken. This article is not a tutorial on how to bead a scarf with shells so I will spare you the painstaking details. Let’s just say that it took a bit longer than expected and leave the description at that. This scarf is the reason that when asked how long it takes to sew a scarf, I tell people 2-7 hours and they look at me funny.

purple scarf with polymer clay buttons This scarf is also reversible. When you plan on wearing an accessory a lot, it is quite convenient when it features a different look on both sides. That paired with the fact that there is more than one way to wear the scarf, and the style possibilities are endless. On this side the scarf is purple velour and lavender cotton, and has three handmade polymer clay buttons. (from Etsy Shop The Polymer Clay Box) These three buttons are lined up perfectly with the buttons to fasten the reverse-side of the scarf.

And that is that. In the event that it isn’t obvious, I am terribly proud of these scarves that are my first of 2015. They are also the first two scarves out of Florida Scarf the Texas Edition. I  am thrilled to have had the opportunity to make scarves for a fellow artist. Also, it is rewarding when my scarves can satisfy the craving for a new and unique fashion accessory, but also serve a specific need like covering a scar and keeping you cozy.

Well, that about wraps up this creative adventure. Now back to that painting.