Sunday, March 23, 2014

See us on Etsy!

We opened an Etsy shop!

It has taken us a few weeks to get it ready, but it's been a really fun and interesting process.  We're starting small, and we haven't got all the kinks worked out, but we've learned a few things along the way that we thought were worth sharing.  And, within 12 hours of opening we had our first sale - whoopie!

We had a good reason for opening the shop - we decided that we had amassed too much crafty goodness!  We love our stash, but we just have too much.  We kept thinking - wouldn't a craft swap store, a place were you could sell craft supplies that are great but just aren't getting used  - be a fab idea?  If only there were such a store...ok, we'll open one then!  And we thought it would be wonderful to have a place to share our creative efforts - patterns and kits and the like that we created.

So, What's in a Name

Milleseme et Mercerie.  What does this mean?  Why did we choose it?

This picture was taken last summer - towards the end of a fabulous trip we took to England and Paris.  This picture, in fact, was taken in Paris, on the Pont Alexandre III:

So, Mom likes Paris - and French!  We liked the notion of a Mercantile, or a Dry Goods Store, and we liked the notion of Notions.  We love things that have a vintage feel - and are actually vintage. We spent a few days tossing around words and ideas, and then came up with the idea of putting these words into Google Translate (total aside - as a teacher with a HIGH population of ELL students I found this invaluable!) and our store name was born - a vintage haberdashery!

Detour to Paris

Speaking of fabulous haberdasheries, if you are ever in Paris, we STRONGLY recommend you go here:

Why didn't I take any pictures in this store?!?  Oh, I know...because I was too astounded by the store to do anything but SHOP!!!  Here are some of the goodies:

There is so much more...they also sell their yarn by weight - I love that!  The interior of the store is lined mountains of yarn, bolts of beautiful fabric, baskets, glass bottles, and wooden cabinets full of buttons, feathers, felt and findings.  GO!!!

Back to our shop!

We are slowly building up our inventory - by combing through our stash and saying - oh, someone else will love this!  Each entry takes a bit of time - the pictures have to be just so, and the wording as well.  We are practicing our Search Engine Optimization - choosing the best search terms so that people can find our shop.  As it turns out, when Google sends it's little search bots out into the ether, they only look at the first 40 characters of a listing.  Who knew?  As it turns out, Tim Adam knew! We've read his book on opening an Etsy shop and we found it very useful.  If Etsy selling is in your future, I would recommend reading it.  Did I mention that we made a sale in less than 12 hours?

Here is a sampling of some of our current inventory.  Please check back from time to time, and see if we've added something new that just HAS to come live at your house - until you turn it into something beautiful!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Button Addictions

Various Dorset & Thread Wrapped Buttons, made into a brooch

My daughter and I took a Jane Austen trip to England last summer, Jane Austen +1.  I had read, probably in Piecework Magazine, about a button exhibit in Macclesfield and asked Kathy to see if it could be added to our itinerary if it was not too out of the way.  It wasn't, just a couple short train rides on a travel day, and we spent the most wonderful afternoon in Macclesfield.  This small-ish industrial city was home to the silk industry in England, and there are several sites and museums definitely worth a visit!  We had a really interesting tour of the Paradise Mill and watched our guide operate several of the restored Jacquard looms.

The reason for our side trip to Macclesfield was to see the 300 buttons submitted by fiber artists from around the world, and although the exhibit is history, you can read about it here.  It was a very colorful and interesting exhibit, and we each purchased a button from the exhibit, to be mailed to us after the exhibit came down.  It was so fun to get a package from the UK after we got home!

In the museum gift shop I purchased a book called Buttons: A Passementerie Workshop Manual by Gina Barrett.  The book covers all types of thread buttons, including the Dorset, which I have been making and teaching to friends.  I also ordered a DVD from Gina, which really helped as I couldn't quite grasp the technique by reading the book only. 

This Saturday I am teaching members of my EGA chapter the basic Dorset button, and attached is a Google document of instructions that I have developed, click here

Assorted Dorset buttons made with (clockwise from pink button) crochet cotton, lace weight yarn, poly crochet thread, nylon/wool sewing thread, Lizbeth tatting thread, hand dyed pearl cotton, and sock yarn.  You could even use worsted weight yarn, to match a sweater you are making, but you would use only one ply.

I really like the linen embroidery floss, below.  I think I used two strands to cover the ring, and one strand for the center.  I was experimenting with trying to make a spiral design, right, but haven't figured it out yet.

Earring experiment:
Key chain and a cell phone charm (as though a cell phone needed a charm....):

When Kathy was visiting I showed her how to make Dorset buttons one afternoon, and she went to town!

So far people seem to like this one the best!

In my next, advanced class, we're going to tackle Morning Star (left) and Death's Head (right) buttons:

To view a good tutorial (lots of photographs) of Dorset button making, visit

Visit my Pinterest page for more Dorset button inspiration:

Eek, I can't stop making buttons!  Every time I see a new thread I think, hmmm, how would this look in a Dorset button!