Saturday, January 18, 2014

January Birthday Cakes


.
January is generally a quiet and cozy month here.  We settle into resting up after the holidays and new year organization.  It's the only month that I really give in to the early sunset and snuggle up in pj's and quilts and watch too much TV. This third week of the month, though, is always time to celebrate a January birthday for the husband. The kids like to make the dinner plan, and I like to make the dessert! 
.
.
In December, I spotted a caramel frosted cake that looked delish, but I totally lost the link and had to put my own best ideas together to hopefully get it right today.  I decided on my favorite Southern Living Buttermilk Pound Cake and Caramel Icing.  Alas, in my attempt to bake the recipe in two rounds rather than the bundt, I left the cakes in the oven too long and felt they were too brown and smelled a bit burnt. One can't give a burnt birthday cake, so I decided to make another cake but different recipe (I didn't have another six eggs!), see below. Meanwhile, I trimmed off all the too-brown edges and bottoms of the pound cakes - mustn't waste the beauties.  I made the cooked caramel icing, so easy!, iced cake #2 with the glazey stuff, and then I added about a cup or more of powdered sugar, more butter, and milk to the rest of the icing and changed it to a frosting for the pound cake layers.  Wow!  Dense, rich, and marvelous!  
.

.
Cake #2 is the Buttermilk Birthday Cake with the Caramel Icing.  The recipe looked like it would make a nice moist cake, and it did.  It's really a just-the-right size cake, not too big, and nice and fragrant.  In my excitement over the pretty cooked caramel icing just made, I didn't trim the top off the bottom layer, so the top layer slipped a bit.  Sheesh!  I was so busy working all last year with practically no homemaking that I obviously lost some baking skills.  A few well placed tooth picks stopped the sloping.  Let's just call it rustic happiness.   

Camille and I made quick little flags in my studio to decorate the cakes.  Fabric rectangles folded and glued over wooden skewers thanks to Posie Gets Cozy. Sweet!  Just right for Dad and a cheery simple embellishment.    

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

piping and zippers

.
Early this summer, I met Daniela of Aesthetic Oiseau, an interior design blog. Lovely style!  She sent a client project my way for custom bedding and an appliqued pillow cover.  Boy, she pushed me outside my comfort zone.  The bedding included a duvet cover with piping with a buttoned panel to close as well as standard pillow shams, two-sided, with piping AND hidden zippers.  Piping and zippers, piping and zippers - together in the same seam!  
.
..
My skill set had sort of peaked at handmade piping and envelope backs on my pillow covers, but the need to step it up had arrived.  Thanks to a google search and a good tutorial by I Can Sew Kauai, five pillow shams later, I've got it down.  How I love all the bloggers willing to share.  Do you know a tutorial that explains sewing piping on with the serger so the edges are bound?  Next skill to check off the list. 
.
.
In other "The Monday Market" news, an Ultimate Carry All from my new product line arrived today.  This is a big basket type tote sized at 21" x 10.5" x 11".  Such a reasonable price, too, at $34.95, plus shipping.  A fun design option is the snap-on exchangeable panel on the front. You can personalize the panels as you like. "The Monday Market" is embroidered on this matching chevron panel, and I ordered a second panel in solid black which is waiting for a holiday design with plans to snap it on at Christmas when toting around holiday treats and gifts.  Today while carrying the tote around to show off to friends, it occurred to me that it's a good size to keep in the back of the car to hold groceries so they don't roll around.  

The other blog tutorial I need is "how to upload your csv file of products to your web shop!" Actually, those exist, but I still don't understand, so I'm off to a web design guy who has agreed to teach me on Thursday.  There's a possibility my product line will be uploaded by the weekend.  Until then, though, take a look through The Monday Market catalog at the link, and orders can be taken by e-mail at themondaymkt@gmail.com.  

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A New Label: The Monday Market

.
Six months, no post!  I still keep up with a couple of hundred of you, but there never seems to be anything more to chat about on my end other than what new pillow cover design is on the machine.  My pillow cover clients have been very good to me! 

Today, though, there is something new to tell.  calicodaisy handmade has got a brand new label:  The Monday Market

The calicodaisy handmade label bloomed from my blog name but doesn't really translate out well for items not specifically girly.  When knowingly sewing items meant for guys and pillow covers for boys' bedrooms, I have just sent them out label-less rather than attach a calicodaisy tag. 
.
.
So, a new label to design.  Something friendly for both guys and gals but something meaningful at the same time but nothing that ties my label to a specific product line.  I do love the name game… 

It all started with "M," of course - for Michele, and "Market" had to be involved.  A list was compiled, including Monday.  A thought sparked when mulling over The Monday Market.  Often big announcements are made over a weekend visit with family – an engagement, a new baby … and then mothers and daughters start the planning.  Monday morning, the calls and designing begin.  So, The Monday Market. 
.
.
A specific direction is intended for The Monday Market, but, while the long-term details are still being perfected and the snazzy website designed, the time has come to just get on with things, show off the new label for my custom handmade designs, open the new web shop, and announce ... my new line of lovely personalized manufactured items!  Finally, I'm able to fulfill requests for personalized items that I can't possibly efficiently create myself.  (My hands are tired!)  
.
.
Just this week, a number of items from the new line arrived, and the quality is beyond my expectation.  We are just over the moon excited!  We being … me, all my friends who must listen to me gush, and especially my longtime, dear friend, Leslie, who has totally jumped in as my Creative Advisor/Wisdom Whisperer/FB Post Mistress/& Customer Service Rep and who got her quick game on learning PicMonkey and creating some marvelous albums for The Monday Market FB Page showing off everything that is ready to go!  We've been friends since 1985! and have always dreamed of working together creatively.  Happily, all the stars are aligned and the time is right!  Stay tuned, much more to come!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

JUMBO Applique Monograms

.
JUMBO applique monogram letters on BIG pillow covers.  Shop requests have upped the dimensions to letters that individually fill the embroidery hoop.  The machine has reached its limit!  So graphic and bold; however, calluses on my scissor-cutting fingers aren't as pretty as the pillow covers.  
.
.
The 16" x 20" cover is filled to the brim, and the letters on the standard sham make nearly the same impression.  
.
.
These seem to be favorites for decorating boys' bedrooms among my shoppers.  The set above is two of three shams that will decorate a room shared by three boys.  Nice to have something for the boys, though now it might be time to make a change on the calicodaisy label to something less flowery.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Kiss Me! Double Layer Chocolate Cake ...

.
I'm not Irish and I don't wear green that often, but I am totally willing to celebrate the day with a green sugar dusted Farm Chicks chocolate cake.  Yep, I don't change too much.  If a cake is needed, this is the one for me.  
.
.
Spring Cleaning -- One room completely dusted, walls washed, sorted, and staged.  Before company came to ruffle it back up, I snapped a photo of the long lumbar 14 x 28 large monogrammed pillow cover against the matelesse linens.  Once a year - or so, everything comes together.  

When the company leaves, will I spend at least an hour a day spring cleaning through the house? I can only hope.  Meanwhile, there's a piece of chocolate cake calling me ...      

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Bolsters!

.
The best moves forward to new products in the shop are generally initiated by client requests, and now the custom bolster with optional design features is in the house!  The first set ordered is created to match a set of the Veronique applique pillow covers (as seen here with my own monogrammed version).  This bolster cover is photographed on a bolster 2" too large, thus the ends at the seams don't look very crisp here, but the pillow form was the closest I could find to the requested bolster cover size.  
.
..
The client chose a ribbon bordered design with drawstring closure, 6" x 18".  There are a number of sizes in the bolster world.  Here is a mockup, though, of what the bolster might look like with a monogram.  Instead of ribbon, one could choose piping at the ends.  We could do closed ends and a zippered closure along the bottom seam.  Applique.  Lots of choices!   

The shop is on hiatus right now while I move through a treasure trove of orders and try to mix in spring cleaning and my "day job."  With all that on my plate (and all I really want right now is a large piece of fudgy chocolate cake on that plate), it will probably be Friday evening or Saturday before the doors open again if I can get to the scheduled target before the weekend.  
.
.
Another client request created but not listed in the shop yet is a monogrammed / appliqued tissue box cover.  I love it but am working out the details.  What details could there be to consider on a tissue box cover?  You'd be surprised ... or maybe I'm just surprised because I get worried over the littlest of choices - oval tissue opening or slit, lined or unlined, worth the effort for the competing price (?); sometimes it takes all my energy.    

I'll be thinking and making a list of bolster options to be ready for new ideas that come my way for these.  One task I should complete this week is staging the guest room and adding proper lighting so I can take photos of these custom bedroom decor items set up in their proper setting.  My personal home decor has sure taken a big backseat to business building these last few years.  Renew and refresh this spring should be my mantra. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

calicodaisy on the porch!

.
Just in time for new spring decor, there's an outdoor fabrics option at the calicodaisy shop both with and without embroidery.  The range of outdoor fabrics is nearly as marvelous as inside home decor.  Shown here is the classic calicodaisy look in solid shades of outdoor canvas.  

Outside of choosing solids for pillow covers, custom orders will require the client to choose fabrics from online shops, send me the link of fabric desired, and then we will go from there.  With embroidery, without embroidery, piping, no piping, zippered closure ... etc.  There are a number of factors to take into consideration regarding the outdoor decor options.  

Regarding embroidery on outdoor fabrics, there is a brand of embroidery thread that touts "colorfast and fade resistant."  I can't guarantee the strength and length of that promise, but I imagine those who put the investment into an embroidered item for outdoor decor most likely plan to keep that item in a covered area.  I'm looking forward to finding what new ideas come my way by client request!  

Due to marvelous sales this early 2013 and the need for a good spring cleaning around the house and studio, the calicodaisy shop is on hiatus this week until Thursday or Friday.  I am here working and available through shop convos and through e-mail, so if you have a pressing idea or want to get an order started in the next few days, just contact me either way, and I'll be in touch.  Please stop by the calicodaisy FB page to keep up with new happenings around here and to contact me as well.