Friday, January 27, 2012

Feature Friday: Upcycled Pocket Squares

Zelma Rose has been a hub of activity lately!  I've been working hard on getting my studio back in tip top shape after the holiday rush, organizing my taxes and paperwork for 2011 and looking into new systems, apps and equipment to make my business run as smooth as butter in 2012. 

One of the many goals I have for 2012 is to incorporate recycled and upcycled materials into my current designs.  A perfect match for this mission are my Pocket Squares.  Being that they were the hot item in the shop this week, I thought I'd share some of my new upcycled designs with you.

Each new pocket square design is made entirely from an upcycled men's dress shirt.  The basic design is the same, don't worry folks, you will still get a perfect beautiful fold with the signature zig-zag stitch and fabric design on both sides.  The difference you will notice is a lovely relic from the shirt's past.  I include a button from the dress shirt used to make the pocket square in the corner of each finished design.

The feedback from all of you about the new designs has been wonderful to hear.  One customer said that he had fun waiting to see how long it would take before someone at a party commented on the button detail peeking out of his blazer breast pocket.  Time to beat? 15 minutes!!

I'm looking to collaborate with customers on these new upcycled designs.  Have a sentimental shirt or heirloom that you want to honor?  Let's create something beautiful together!



Friday, January 20, 2012

Feature Friday: Cross Stitch Witchery

Welcome once again to Feature Friday!  This week I have been mostly working in cross stitch.  I love just about everything about cross stitch.  The embroidery thread, fabric and very small scale.  Sometimes I like to challenge myself to see just how small I can  stitch!  

My cross stitch designs are a favorite around Valentine's Day and they certainly make a lovely gift for that special someone.   I think there is something about the look and beauty of cross stitch that evokes a romantic vibe.  They are definitely some of the most intimate pieces to work on as a designer.  Each piece starts are a small two inch piece of cross stitch fabric that I then stretch on a small embroidery hoop.  

It is a very quiet process for me.  I tend to work on the actual cross stitch part of the necklaces at night, just enjoying the calm of the evening.  Unlike most designers, I do not use a set pattern or even draw out what I am going to stitch on the fabric before hand.  I like the freedom of making stitches into something that is clean and blank and starting from scratch each time means that every piece is made just for you!

Hope your Friday is beautiful!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Feature Friday: Chalkboard Locket

Welcome to Feature Friday!  This week I have been thinking quite a bit about the Zelma Rose Chalkboard Lockets.  

I adore these lockets and they are truly a labor of love.  Each locket is created 100% from scratch, by me.  I start with fabric, create two covered buttons and then through a series of about 7 steps create a locket with a magnetic and chalkboard surface. They have been a customer favorite since their debut at Renegade Craft Fair back in July of 2011 and I wanted to say thank you to all the locket fans by launching some new designs in 2012.

My favorite part about the locket is hearing back from customers about how they are the conversation piece of the party!  "No one has ever seen anything like this," they say.  True, true, it is most certainly a rare find.  

I have been tweaking the design a bit for 2012 and while the locket itself will remain the same, I have designed a much longer chain.  Twice as long actually.  This will favor layering the lockets, a request I have gotten from several customers and also allow for the locket to be worn both at the neck and at the waist.    You can see how it hangs from my oh so glamorous pic below.  It definitely adds a higher element of glamor and will surely be a flattering length for everyone.  It will lengthen the look of your body for sure! 

Additionally you will have the option to use both chains or one chain.  I played around a lot with different clasps and loved the way the lobster clasp looks as a design element.  Your biggest conversation piece just got more fabulous!  

What else would you like to see from ZRDG in 2012?



Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life Under the Spotlight


This week debuted the release of Spotlight on Handmade Crafts, a new craft marketing super tool.  Spotlight on Handmade Crafts, branded as "the shopper’s quick guide to Etsy," is the brainchild of marketing guru Jerry Hocutt. Jerry's resume is impressive and he has helped Fortune 500 companies such as the Ritz-Carlton, New York Life and Kinko's build their customer base.  I'm so excited and honored to be a part of the small number of shops participating in the Spotlight on Handmade Crafts Beta test run.  Below is the Zelma Rose Spotlight on Handmade Crafts page. 

I did some looking around on the site today and so far, I have to say it's pretty darn neat.  I'm all for ways that we as crafters and small business owners can broaden our customer base and improve our business skills.  One of my favorite parts of the site is a members only area called Sales & Marketing tips.  The first post in this section really caught my eye, "How to Sell Your Shop in 25 Words or Less." Sound advice for all business owners is to keep it simple.  (Check out an Awfully Grand guest post by Lightbox SF's own Genevieve Brazelton for more on this).  One of the requirements of Spotlight on Handmade Crafts is that Etsy shop owners submit a 25 word description of their shop.  Currently mine reads:

I'm not completely sold on it's simplicity, but it's a start.  From what I could tell at first glance, it looks like Spotlight on Handmade Crafts promises to offer Etsy shoppers and Etsy sellers equal benefits.  Etsy shoppers will be more easily able to find exactly what they are looking for, through advanced search tools, concise shop descriptions,  and a feature called Concierge Service that promises to locate handmade items that will fit your needs including time frame that you need it by.  From the seller end, the site offers reasonable advertising, post cards and sale reminders to send to customers as well as opportunities to increase your visibility by writing posts for a section called:

All in all, it is refreshing to see a site dedicated to helping both buyers and sellers.  I am also pleased by the overall feeling that as a seller, you get what you put in.  I'm excited to be a part of it's launch and I look forward to continued success as a seller and seeing all the wonderful things Spotlight on Handmade Crafts can do for my customers.  I'll keep you all posted! Check out the site and let me know what you think!



Friday, January 6, 2012

Feature Friday: Wedding Pocket Squares

Welcome to my very first Feature Friday post!  Expect to get a special peek inside my San Francisco studio every Friday for photos of what I have been working on that week, successes, failures and everything in between. This week I have been working on, among other things, a custom order of  Zelma Rose Dry Goods Pocket Squares for a very special wedding.  

All hand stitched and ready for the signature ZRDG zig-zag stitch border.
I can't say enough about what an honor it is to be making something for a customer's wedding.  I work with customers to create pocket squares for all sorts of special occasions.  Everything from weddings, to proms, business events, and even awards shows.  When I think about the careful thought I put into what I will wear to an important event or special occasion I am so very humbled by the trust and appreciation of my customers.  To be a very small part of a person's special memory is simply awesome.     

ZRDG Pocket Squares are double sided to provide a perfect fold.

First round of zig-zag stitching.  I love the grey!
This particular order called for one of my favorite fabrics.  A beautiful black and brown patterned Japanese cotton featuring bunnies in motion.  I adore the print and the cotton is just a dream to work with.  I sell this pocket square ready made with a rosy pink accent stitch, but my customer requested grey on this very special order and I have to say, it looks great!  My customers have the best taste!

Zig-zaggin with my trusty Singer

All zigged and zagged

I'm often asked, "Why are ZRDG Pocket Squares double sided?" It is unusual, I'll admit.  As far as I know, I'm the only one makin 'em that way.  Traditional pocket squares and handkerchiefs are one piece of fabric with a rolled hem.  Handkerchiefs are primarily made to be used and fit slenderly in the back pocket.  Pocket squares, traditionally made with silk, are meant to be worn as an accent piece and add interest to a wardrobe.  I think that if you are going to choose a pocket square to accent your wardrobe, then accent it with something that is really special and created to stand out from the crowd.  Why not?! Using two pieces of fabric creates the perfect surface for a really well crafted specialty fold, sure to get noticed.  (For all you wondering about different pocket square folds, I love this Brooks Brothers tutorial).  I want you to look your best, it's as simple as that!

All set & ready to go!

Gosh this fabric is gorgeous!

Thanks for joining me in the studio for Feature Friday.  Post your questions and ideas below, I'd love to know your pocket square thoughts! Stop by next week to see what I've been up to!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Awfully Grand: The Backstory

I'd like to formally introduce you all to my newest little seedling,  Awfully Grand. A new blog project for 2012, our mission at Awfully Grand is to be a beacon of light for the aspiring creative professional. This blog project will document the success, failures, celebrations, rants, inspirations and realities of the lives of myself and my partner in crime Sarah Deragon, as we strive to do what we love and love what we do.    

It has been oh so much fun planning and dreaming with Sarah! 


Little did I know when Sarah and I met this past July, we would become each other's most enthusiastic cheerleaders!  To put it simply, Sarah is the friend who puts a fire under my ass.  She inspires me to keep at it on the days when I have a teething toddler on one hip and only five minutes at a time to devote to my Zelma Rose to-do list.  Oh and did I mention she shares my love of early 90's slow jams?  Bring on the Montel Jordan! Not only is she brilliant and totally gorgeous, she just happens to be San Francisco's most kick ass photographer

Dear Musketeer

Letter Happy

Looking back, I find it surprising that the idea of creating a new blog came so effortlessly. So few endeavors often are! Sarah and I met and soon realised that we were both at the same crossroads with our businesses.  Sarah wanted to start the transition from her 9-5 to being a full time photographer, and I was getting ready to be able to devote more time to Zelma Rose, and less time to breast feeding! We both knew we needed support and felt that there were not many resources out there that chronicle the ups and downs of following the dream of doing what you love for a living.  Don't get me wrong, there's no shortage of great blogs about how to increase sales, market yourself with tact, define your target market, but Sarah and I wanted to tell a different story.  What does it feel like to go for it?  What are the daily obstacles, the minute by minute joys and challenges to putting it all on the line? And most importantly who are the people we rely on to help get us through the tough times? I'll be posting more ab out our new endeavor throughout the year.  Next up will be the story of how Sarah & I met, followed by, just how do you start a blog anyway?! So, I invite you to follow along with us this year as we cheer each other on to realize a life that is Awfully Grand!  Are you with us?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bring It On 2012!

Well what can a girl say, 2011 was just about the best roller coaster ride I have ever been on!  It was my first full year of Motherhood, enough said there, right? My best year yet at Zelma Rose Dry Goods and probably my most creative year on record!  

When I stop to take it all in...okay, truth be told, I don't really want to many ideas, goals and aspirations for 2012 I just can't wait to get started.  So what does all this mean for me?  For you? For us? Well, first things first, I've heard from fans and customers that you guys want to know more about my design process, so I'll be posting regularly about what I'm working on in the shop.  Also, I'll be writing about my DIY craft projects and happenings about town, as a monthly post called Maven of Make. 

If that's not enough, I've got a few other projects I'm really excited about.  My friend, and fierce photographer Sarah Deragon of Portraits To The People, and I are debuting a new joint project called Awfully Grand.  

This blog project kicks off in January 2012 and will document the success, failures, celebrations, rants, inspirations and realities of the lives of Sarah and I as we strive to do what we love and love what we do.  Think of it as a chronicle of our adventures on the road toward full time creative businesswomen.  We promise great guest bloggers, fantastic photos and of course, lots of fun.  

Also new on the 'ol resume, is my gig as Craft Correspondent for IndieMade.  IndieMade, of course is the all encompassing and uber user friendly website platform for creative entrepreneurs.I'm working on my brand new ZRDG site at IndieMade as we speak!
As Craft Correspondent for San Francisco, I'll be blogging about all the big SF craft events and visiting with local craft rock stars, creative entrepreneurs and brick and mortar store owners and devotees. Out-takes and behind the scenes goodies will appear here, but for the full story on events like Bazaar Bizarre and my interview with Co-Founder and Director of Renegade Craft Fair, Sue Daly, Click on the link to my IndieMade Blog to the right. Headed to an event you think I should cover? Shoot me an email!

Well that's all the news that's fit to print.  What are you up to in 2012?  Anything Awfully Grand? Here's to an incredible 2012 filled with love, laughter, and a whole lot of fun!