Sunday, May 6, 2012

May Fabric Preview

We spent Cinco de Mayo thrift store hopping for fun new fabrics for the end of spring. Here are a couple previews of what you can expect to see in our shop.
This is a fun vintage floral cotton in bright orange, mint green and lavender, paired with a remnant of lavender polka dot cotton.
Another great vintage print, forest green with white, red and yellow tulips paired with up-cycled royal blue and navy cotton.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Drapes of Wrath Hits 100 Sales!

Today we hit 100 sales in our shop, and we just wanted to give a big thank you to all of our readers here. To all of our customers. To all of our friends and family who've been cheering us on.

To celebrate this milestone we're having a sale in our shop. You can use coupon code: 100SALES25OFF for 25% off all orders for the next week. April was a great month for us, at a record 13 sales, and what better way to start off the month of May than with a celebration! So share this with your friends and family. We appreciate you all so much.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Treat Yo Self!

When we started Drapes of Wrath almost a year and a half ago, we had no idea we'd still be going at this point. It's an awesome feeling of pride and success. And all throughout that time we've been constantly striving to improve our workmanship, come up with fresh designs, and really put 110% into our work. Recently we finally broke down and admitted that if at least a third of the time you spend sewing an apron is spent ripping stitches because the bobbin jumped the track, or tried to eat the fabric, something has to change.

We'd outgrown our sewing machine, not that it hadn't served us well. But it had become like the grumpy old cat that crosses the whole linoleum kitchen to hock a hairball on the carpet out of spite.

Enter the Singer 160 Limited Edition sewing machine. We'd been eying it longingly for a month or so since it came out when it finally went on sale. The price was equivalent to our online shopping when the shipping cost isn't an issue, and we could take it home that very same day.

This was our Treat Yo Self moment, as you can tell we're big fans of Parks and Recreation, and we weren't about to let it slip away. We bought the machine, and after an unbearably long "instructional" session with the representative at the store, we brought it home.

This machine is a thing of beauty, both literally and figuratively, starting with the sleek black design with gold trim, reminiscent of the original singer machines. It has a large sewing area with a lot of room to move fabric around, which is invaluable when we're working on our suit aprons.

If it's physical beauty weren't enough of a selling point, this machine sews like a dream. It's incredibly smooth and rarely steps out of line.  While it's not a super robotic embroidering machine, it had a wide selection of stitches that more than meet our needs. All of which can be easily switched to, or adjusted with the touch screen panel.

We've actually had it for a while now, but honestly we've been to busy playing with it to stop and take photos for the post. We even got a special attachment used for ruffling and pleating. My personal favorite function is one of the decorative stitches which makes a little vine pattern with leaves. It adds a cute and fun touch, and is no more difficult that sewing a straight line.

 When it comes down to it, we're not only treating ourselves, we're treating all of our customers. When you have good tools that make your work easier, and more enjoyable, the quality improves as well. We've been able to create high quality pieces that we are more than proud of as we head into the uncharted waters of internet small business.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Portland Iron Chef Apron: Put A Bird On It

We recently were invited, through the Pacific Northwest Artisans Team on Etsy, to participate in a silent auction in Portland, OR. The auction will be held at the 11th Annual Portland's Original Iron Chef event, benefiting Children's Relief Nursery. We were drawn to this event initially because, being from Oregon, we like to give back to our home state. But also, how perfect an opportunity to give an apron up for auction at a cooking event!

All of the fabric used on this apron is up-cycled, with the exception of the heat resistant batting used in the potholders. We wanted to keep the design simple and size-friendly, but we still wanted to add a touch of personality. For this we were inspired by a skit from the show Portlandia, where a couple take over an entire shop in Portland putting birds on everything. We finished off the theme by making the potholders egg shaped.

The event is Friday April, 20th and we can't wait to hopefully see some pictures of the event and maybe even hear from the winner of our apron. Did you see that apron before? I didn't. Now it has a bird on it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mandy's Bytes: Dulce de Platanos

Today's recipe post stems from our new project on YouTube, You Can't Handle the Fruit! in which we try various fruits and veggies that may be intimidating because of their appearance or just fear of the unknown. After our first video featuring dragon fruit, we got a request for plantains. Since plantains need to be cooked we decided to use this recipe for Dulce de Platanos from Epicurious.

Dulce de Platanos
(Sweet Plantains in Buttered Rum and Coconut Sauce)
2 very ripe (brown to black) plantains
1/2 stick of butter
2 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
First cut the ends off the plantain and peel them, then slice into diagonal slices, unfortunately for our dish the plantains we found were no where near as ripe as they should have been.

Start by melting the butter in a large skillet, the recipe says to warm the butter until the "foam subsides." We weren't really sure what that meant at first but, sure enough, the butter got foamy. And then it subsided. The butter was also just starting to brown, this is when you want to add the slices of plantain.
The slices need to cook in the butter on each side for about 3 minutes. Make sure not to crowd them too much in the pan, we used a nice big 12" skillet. After 3 minutes flip them over to cook on the other side. One they are done cooking use a slotted spoon or spatula to scoop them out onto a plate.

Save the butter, you'll be using that next. Add the sugar to the pan with what's left of the butter and stir until it caramelizes, this will take at least 5 minutes. While this is in progress, combine the coconut milk and rum in a small saucepan and heat until warm. You'll be able to smell the alcohol cooking off.
Once the sugar is fully caramelized, remove the skillet from the heat. Pour in the coconut milk mixture and whisk continuously, the caramel with bubble and produce a lot of steam, so don't let it take you by surprise. Return the pan to low heat and keep whisking until the caramel has dissolved in the coconut mixture.
After the caramel has dissolved again, return the plantain slices to the skillet and cook, without stirring for another 5 minutes until they are warm all the way through and become tender. (Since our plantains weren't ripe, so they never really got tender, which was very disappointing.) In the saucepan not heat up the heavy cream until warm.

Once the plantain slices are tender, drizzle the warm cream over the skillet and shake to mix the cream into the caramel sauce. Then let it all cool, and serve over vanilla ice cream.

You can see our You Can't Handle the Fruit! video review of plantains on our YouTube Channel.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Fling Fabric Preview

It's been a while since we showed off any of the awesome fabrics in our stash (which is waay to big at the moment), so while were were picking out things we want to use for spring time we took some pictures to share.
We just found these floral vintage linens at the Goodwill in Monroe the other day and fell in love with them. We happened to have the perfect green in stock, also up-cycled from linens.
We've been holding onto this adorable bunny print until it got closer to Easter time.
Of course we couldn't do spring without a bunch of beautiful floral prints, this one has a gorgeous deep red that matched a maroon linen we had left over from a custom order.
This is a piece of vintage fabric that was a gift from a friend. I love these vintage floral prints that are so delicate and the combination of yellow, black and blue is very unique.
Lastly this find was so awesome, also from our trip to the Goodwill in Monroe, we bought an entire queen sized vintage white sheet just for this floral edging. Fabric hunting is easily half the fun of running our shop, it's so hard not to keep it all for our own devices. Keep an eye out for these to show up in the shop!

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Thank You Cards

From the time we started our shop, we've gone through many different ideas and techniques for our care tags and Thank You notes. Most of the time we would just grab blank card, or use a fancy card-stock page for the care tag and thank you note. But none of these looked very polished or professional. The one technique we feel really fits our style is using stamps. So when we saw a large stamp at the store which had Thank You in many different large and small typewriter style fonts, we knew it was perfect.
It matched our logo font of a typewriter style, and was just the right size for a small card. Our original plan was to use a neutral card stock with the Thank You stamp and then paste on a cut out of a bright color with our logo in the front. But as we made the cards, placing our name stamp at the bottom, they looked so crisp and nice that we decided to trust our gut and keep it simple.
Once we decided that, we realized that now we had a huge package of bright colorful cardstock that we no longer had the intended purpose for. But as the saying goes, go big or go home. We made cards of every color in addition to the neutral toned cards.
In the end the grand total came out to 76 cards, each having been stamped three times, for a total of 228 stampings. But the end result was well worth it, I love the way our cards turned out and I will feel proud using them knowing that they were made in anticipation that they will all be used.
No longer will we wait for an order to come in before making a care tag and a card as an after thought, as though we weren't really sure another sale would happen. It's time we started acting with the confidence and assurance that all of our 82 sales have shown us: we make things that people want to buy, and we should be proud of it.

So keep an eye out for one of these cards in your next order, because they were made by hand with the care and appreciation we feel towards all of our customers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to our giveaway winner Kate S.!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 16, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Sharon Swanson Glass + Giveaway!

Our featured artist this week is Sharon Swanson of Swanson Glass Designs. You can see here work on her website here or her Facebook page.

Please introduce yourself, what lead you to begin creating?
I am a stained glass artist working in the beautiful Pacific Northwest in Blaine Washington. Ever since I could hold a crayon I have been involved with one form of art. Over the years I have jumped from different art medias, but finally ended up with stained glass and stuck with it.
Sharon in her studio.
What drew me to it was how beautiful glass can be. It can look one way with the light in front and look another color with the light behind. The colors are also endless. I have had the pleasure of working with glass for over 10 years now, starting out making items for friends and selling at local craft fairs. I now sell wholesale to a few stores in our area, create commission work, participate in adjudicated art events, and donate to local causes.

Who in your life has been the biggest inspiration to your work?
 It isn't a specific person, but a manufacturing process. Years ago, I went to the local, Spectrum Glass factory to see how glass was made. They only opened up for tours a few times a year. They showed us the process from what ingredients they added to silica to make specific colors to the final glass sheets cooling on the conveyor belt. I was hooked! I now go a few time a year to Bullseye in Portland to handpick funky and interesting sheets of glass.

What is your favorite medium to work with/favorite technique to use?
Favorite medium? Stained Glass of course! It is timeless. It is just metal and glass put together to creative something that will last forever. I purchased a kiln a few years ago to try glass fusing, but I when back to stained glass. It is so rewarding, when you hold you project up to the light for the first time after working on it for days and see the light shining through it...magical!
Copper Foil Technique

I prefer the copper foil technique, the method made popular by L.C. Tiffany at the turn of the century. It involves wrapping the pieces of glass with copper foil and soldering them together along the length of the seams. This method can be used as an alternative to lead to make the window art lighter for hanging. It is also much stronger than lead when soldered, needs no putty, is waterproof, and allows me to make intricately detailed projects where the bulky look and weight of lead would detract from the aesthetics of a delicate design.

What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
My lifelong goal is to do stained glass as my full time occupation and not rely other jobs to supplement my income. But when I look back, I noticed that by working so many hours with a job and my second job (stained glass) I had very little time for housework.  The kids did their own laundry and my husband cooked and cleaned, so I really accomplished my important goal housework!

Which item currently listed in your shop is your favorite and why?
My favorite items in my shop are the pendants.  When I sell them at art fairs, peoples reactions are fun to see. They are just simple colored jewelry but people always look for their favorite color.
Melted Marble Jewelry
What fellow artist(s) have you been impressed by recently?
Kristi Thorndike-Kent, from Glassworks Northwest on Etsy.  We meet once and a while at local art events and she is always so friendly and helpful.  That is tough to do when everywhere you turn, more glass fusers are popping up!  She just keeps producing high quality art and her sales keep coming in.  I am impressed with her commitment to only puts items out for sale that are perfect and not stress about the rest.
A piece inspired by the Pacific ocean.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Believe in the quality of your work and persevere.

What are you plans for the future of your shop/work?
I am  planning to focus on larger stained glass works.  I usually produce items that I know are consistent sellers and do not set aside design time.  It is difficult to do when you are busy or always behind in production.  This year I plan to do it.

Sharon has been so kind as to offer one of her lovely pendants up to one of our readers. You can find out how to enter below the break.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Love is in the Air

Now that everyone has settled in to the new year, the beautiful reds, pink, and purples of Valentine's Day have started to seep into the Etsy scene and filling it with romantic hues. 'Tis the season to celebrate love, even if you're single and only celebrating your love of cooking. We wanted to share a few of the lovely treasuries our Valentine's aprons have been featured in this week.

This treasury highlights the rich, modern color combination of red, white and black.

I think everyone can relate to the theme of this treasury: "How Come You Don't Call Me?" We've all been there, amirite?

And last but not least this gorgeous collection features vibrant pinks and purples. We've got a couple new Artist Spotlights lined up soon, and we'll also be having a Goodwill to Good Lookin': Valentine's edition as well.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holidays are over! We made it out alive!

You may have wondered where the Drapes Girls have been since Turkey day, and now that we have made it over the river and thru the woods, we are ready to share!
The holidays are always a hecktic and dreamlike adventure for us, between working out the logistics of aligning 3 healthcare worker's schedules and making the grand trek to Oregon, Christmas often leaves us exhausted and barely willing to get out  of bed let alone blog.

This year we wanted to support only local artists in our gift giving and receiving- so here are some of the presents we gently nudged our parents towards and are now happily enjoying.

Necklace by TwistedSister Arts
Buttons By TessaAnn

Necklace By BethStone Studio

Wrap by SandMaiden


Rather than eat a simple meal and enjoy the afternoon relaxing it has always been a family tradition of ours to
1. Go shopping at the worst possible moment (christmas eve day)
2. Make an overly complicated dish  and

3. Amass such a rediculous mess in our parents small kitchen that it takes the majority of our holiday energy to clean it up!
This year it was: Aebleskivers!  Nothing like tiny fried danish pancakes to start that holiday 15lbs off in the right direction! We filled ours with a variety of things including; mozzarella, tomato and basil, fig and goat cheese, and lemon curd!

Even with all the work and driving about, we are proud to announce that it was a wonderful and joy-filled Christmas for all, brought to us mainly by the Mommy and Daddy Drapes pictured below~

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