Thursday, April 29, 2010

Unique Los Angeles Spring Show, April 24-25

Unique LA was once again, loads of fun, tons of work, and the impetus for a slew of new products. All the proceeds from product sales are going to the sewing center in the village of Okurase in Ghana. (See for details.) Enjoy the images!

Laura and Rhion before the show on Saturday morning

Bags and clutches

Our booth

Flour sacks made in Ghana

Cade and Powerful, a native of Ghana - the drumming was amazing!!

Rhion and her son Cade, who sacrificed his entire weekend to help us

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sewing as a Contact Sport

I think I have the sewer’s equivalent of tennis elbow. Getting ready for the Unique LA Trade Show, I have pricked my finger tips with hundreds of needles, I have a callous on my index finger from cutting with large shears, and my right arm is actually sore, stiff and slow! (Since I’m left-handed, I think my right hand doesn’t get as much of a workout as it’s been getting. And believe me, pushing huge needles through thick African mudcloth is a workout!) In addition, my neck is sore, my back hurts and my fingers are stiff.

As if that weren’t enough, I broke (or seriously jammed) one of my toes when, rushing around the sewing table, I ran into a metal base chair. From now on, I’ll be wearing shoes in the house.

Who knew…? I never ached this much when I was dancing Bob Fosse three times a week!

Just for the heck of it, I google’d “sewing injuries” and found a great article on sewing safety: Safety in the Sewing Room

Rule #1 is worth re-printing:

"Rule Number One: Only cut or sew when you are awake, aware and able to focus. If you are tired, distracted, anxious, upset, rushed or tipsy, you are putting yourself at unnecessary risk of injury. If you insist on being in the sewing room anyway, restrict yourself to tasks that do not involve cutting, sewing or ironing."

I might add another rule: SLOW DOWN
(after the trade show, anyway)….

Monday, April 5, 2010

Preview of products

Here's a quick look at some of the products we'll be selling at Unique LA, to benefit the village of Okurase in Ghana. I'm sewing non-stop until April 24 (when I'm not singing)!

My friend Jaime modeling the travel bag. This bag is made from African mudcloth from Ghana, and the large rings attached to the straps are actually 19th century brass curtain rings!
I made clutches in various sizes out of the mudcloth, with metal twist-lock clasps (which were special-ordered and not easy to find, believe it or not).
The new and improved cuff bracelet! I think we've finally perfected this one. There is a stiff plastic, bendable insert sandwiched and glued inside between the fabric layers, and the metal twist-lock clasps make this bracelet very sturdy and durable.

Check out the inside of the clutch. I added a pocket. This interior fabric is actually from Rwanda and purchased in Ghana. I've been told this is the fancy fabric that the village leaders wear. It's a sheen weave with gold filagree on one side. I hated cutting into it...!

Here's the inside of the large travel bag, with that fabulous interior fabric. There are two large dividers inside the bag, and since this photo was taken, I've added two magnetic snaps to keep the two interior panels together. There's a ton of room in here for clothes, socks, papers, books, etc.
And here's a full view of the travel bag.

It's really been exciting to work with such unique fabric, and there's so much more we have planned. I just received a box of amazing batiked fabric in a myriad of vibrant colors. Stay tuned...!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Unique Los Angeles Design Show - We're in again!

I'll be in the United Link booth again, for the Unique LA Spring Show, April 24-25, in downtown LA. We'll be selling unique products designed and made from African mudcloth and beautiful dyed cotton fabrics - all from Ghana. Proceeds go back to the village of Okurase. The November show was very successful, and this time, we expect sales to go through the roof. In addition to our belts, cuffs and coasters, we have now added keychain fobs, overnight bags, purses, totes, clutches, cuff bracelets with hardward (for the men)...and more. Here are the details:

When: April 24th & 25th, 11am – 6pm both days
Where: California Market Center’s Penthouse (110 East 9th Street – Map It)
Cost: $10 at the door or in advance (kids 12 and under are free).

Your admission includes:
• Free drinks & a hosted bar (IZZE, Honest Tea, water, beer, UNIQUE cocktails)
• Unlimited re-entry for both days
• Your very own collectible tote bag, exclusive to each show… The Spring tote is designed by LA graphic designer Keith Scharwath! Sweet.
• Free eco workshops and cool handmade activities all weekend, brought to you by Your Daily Thread and Quayside Publishing
• Family/Kids creativity zone and seating area
• Access to giveaways and door prizes all weekend long
• Souvenir copy of the Vendor Directory + Mini Magazine