Minnetonka, Baby!

It has been said once or twice that I have a shoe problem. This may in fact be true, I do have an entire section of my overflowing closet dedicated to all things “sole” ful.  While the sheer truth is I would rather go barefoot- it isn’t quite socially acceptable in most cases. Therefore, when I must wear shoes- I wear really awesome shoes. I am not a sneaker girl, I hike in flip flops and spend the majority of my spare time in steel-toed boots – running EMS. My soft spot is for boots, ankle length, knee hi, cowboy cut, furry, suede, leather… I love them all. So when Heidi said we had some customer interest in carrying Minnetonka Moccasins I decided to do some investigating. What I found was simply amazing.

Minnetonka is a company that has been around for quite a while, since 1946 in fact. They have perfected the moccasin and in my humble opinion are spot on with their boots as well. From soft deerskin to supple moosehide to fantastic suede, their materials are top of the line and the products well crafted. I fell in love with the suede front lace hardsole knee hi boot- this shoe screams adventure! Many of the styles offered are unisex, and Minnetonka carries a wide variety of women’s, men’s and children’s shoes. There are also a couple of killer handbags- yes I am just as addicted to handbags as well. (They have a Hobo Fringe Bag that is screaming my name.)

Have no fear, we are not turning into a shoe store. One of the reasons we choose Minnetonka is because we can carry a small amount of their merchandise in the store and are able to order anything a customer wants from their catalogue. It’s a no-brainer! Come on in and check out your next favorite pair of shoes since it’s official . . . THEY ARE HERE

Artist Interview: Michelle Powell of Sew Girlie!!

What do scraps of Ribbon and a MacGyver Challenge in ReadyMade Magazine have in common? Stumped? The answer is none other than our new artist – Michelle and her creations – and they’re stunning! Her eye for matching color is wonderful and the workmanship that goes into each bag is beyond words. She benefits from a bit of the creative ADD gene, so she’s got everything to show off from jewelry to ribbon bags to collar kercheifs for your pups and even a fully up-cycled teddy bear, too! Take a read through the interview below so you get to know her a little and then take a peek at her goodies – they’re better than you can imagine! When you come in, ask us about her article – we have a copy here for you to read (and we know you’ll fall in love with the magazine, too)!

Name:  Michelle Powell
Age Group: Cherry Blossom
Business Name: Sew Girlie!!!
Art Medium: Ribbon

ALBH: How did you get started turning bits of ribbon into beautiful bags?

MP: Several years ago, a friend asked me to replicate a purse she had seen.  (The first one was a disaster!)

ALBHWas the process hard to learn? It looks amazingly tedious!

MP: I made it up as I went along.

ALBH: Your bags are quite intricate – is there anything special we need to know about taking care of them?

MP: I do not tack the lining specifically so that, if your 4 year old gets Red Brick lipstick by Clinique on it, you can pull it out and hand wash the spot.  Otherwise, rain’s okay, but I do not recommend washing.

ALBH: So we already know you make a variety of items – why don’t you list a few for the readers?  

MP: Yes, I love custom designing purses for someone who loves a particular color combination– pink and black, for example. Each purse is a mixture of satin and grosgrain; printed and solid; wide and narrow ribbons.  And no two purses are ever alike! I love to sew, so I make clothes for myself and kids; curtains; quilts; recover/repurpose lonely, foundling chairs. I also dabble in jewelry. 

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

MP: World Domination?! Seeing my purses on the arms of starlets?!  Really, I’m just here to have fun and provide beautiful purses to light up the lives of women everywhere.

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

MP: A hippie is someone who’s laid back and tries to embrace the world around them.

ALBH: What advice do you have to offer other artists?

MP: Secure a patron first!!

ALBH: What’s your least favorite part of your craft?

MP: Hands down, my perfectionism.  I don’t offer anything I wouldn’t be proud to use or wear.

ALBH: There is a TON of work that goes into each of your pieces – how long does a typical bag take you to make?  

MP: 5 hours from concept to finish.

ALBH: What’s your inspiration?

MP: I love to repurpose things.  And I love to find new uses for old things.

ALBH: If a bag takes you 5 hours, you run a family and a household, what in the world is your typical day like?

MP: I do three chores, I sew until lunchtime, then I nap!  (In between, I clean up messes the mini-doxie makes while I’m being inattentive)

ALBH: What do you do for fun, outside of your art?

MP: I’ve read all the books in the Bedford County Library System. Now that I have a Kindle, I’m out to read every book known to man!

ALBH: What is it about your bags that keeps you coming back for more and continuously creating?

MP: I’m a very linear person; I love seeing the lines created when making my ribbon purses! I love the random match-i-ness of combining the ribbons.






Artist Interview: Amanda of Quirky Forest

This month, we’re so excited to be featuring a seamstress as our artist! I know I’m ecstatic about every feature we have (do you blame me? I LOVE folks that rock the hand-made), but you HAVE to see Amanda’s work. She’s dressed a few of our mannequins and has some of her bags and “plushie wishes” on display. The dresses she has on our shop girls are just the best things ever – ‘colorful’ as a description doesn’t do them justice and they have the best little ruffles on the back of the dress. There are no details spared in her pieces – I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her work just as fast as I have. In the meantime, read through our interview with her below, check out her links and then make time to swing by and see it in person. You won’t regret it!

Name:  Amanda Abajace

Age Group (under 15 is Pussy Willow; over 15 is Cherry Blossom): cherry blossom

Business Name: the Quirky Forest

Facebook Page: the Quirky Forest

Website: thequirkyforest.blogspot.com

Art Medium: mostly cotton fabric and wool yarn (sewing and knitting)


ALBH: How did you get into your doing what you do?

QF: I started sewing in college to make dresses for concerts

ALBH: You’ve got quite the talent for matching colors and the assembly aspect of your pieces. How long have you been at this?

QF: I’ve been sewing for 15 yrs and knitting for 5 yrs.

ALBH: As a buyer, how would I care for one of your pieces?

QF: All dresses are machine washable, bags are washable too or spot clean, depending on how dirty they are.

ALBH: What is the difference between your items?

QF: All items are unique due to different fabrics but I also like to play around with new ideas and patterns. I also tend to get bored making the same thing over and over again so I have about a half dozen different staple items but with lots of variations.

ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?

QF: To be able to have a sustainable small business and provide some income for my family

ALBH: What does the word “Hippie” mean to you?

QF: Someone who values kindness and creativity  and appreciates handmade items

ALBH: What’s both your favorite and least-favorite part of your craft?

QF: I LOVE the design process! My least favorite piece is trying to figure out what a fair price is based on the amount of time it takes to create each piece.

ALBH: How long does a typical piece take you to make?

QF: Generally 3 hrs but it depends on the item.

ALBH: Where do you find your inspiration?

QF: I find inspiration everywhere: nature, cartoons, magazines, internet

There are a couple other things I would like to point out after talking with Amanda this morning. When you fall in love with one of her dresses – try it on! If it doesn’t quite fit – she doesn’t charge to alter her items! Since they aren’t “fitted” dresses, it shouldn’t be an issue – but she did mention that sometimes the straps need to be different lengths depending on a person’s height. ALSO – her dresses aren’t for sale anywhere else yet so we were able to haggle with her a little on the pricing. Keep in mind that these dresses are HAND-MADE and will be priced closer to $150 once she has them listed in her shop. But to create some interest and encourage her first couple sales we’ve convinced her to price them well below that in our shop only. Awesome, right?? So hurry up . . . you’ve only got 30 days to check her out and your countdown starts now!


UPDATE: We’ve already sold one of Amanda’s dresses!! Which means there are only 2 left in the shop so make sure you hurry to come take a look!