Holiday Crafter Squid PrintA digital print from The Hine’s World Diorama “Mr. Squid, A Holiday Crafter”, printed on heavyweight high-resolution photo matte paper (230 gsm) with a high quality Canon ink jet printer. → details
DevotionA hand carved fused glass heart necklace in a succulent red – unique like the love you share.The pendant was created from fused art glass handmade in my studio. After an initial kiln firing, the piece was shaped and re-fired to achieve a beautiful polish as well… → details
Fabric flower brooch pin – stripped grey and red fabric with vintage black buttonA lovely fabric flower brooch pin made of stripped grey and red cotton, decorated with a vintage black button.The flower is made of many layers of intersecting circles, secured with a thick cotton thread.At the back of the flower there is a small black felt circle with… → details
Birgitte of SewDanish: Since early childhood, I have been crafting and however busy life has been, I’ve always found time to do just that. Making things energizes me and makes me happy.
I love creating something from “nothing”. I often combine and incorporate recycled items and vintage fabric in my products, giving them a new lease on life.
Some years ago I was very lucky to do City and Guilds part 1 and 2 (now diploma) in Patchwork and Quilting as well as several courses in contemporary machine and hand embroidery. Pure Bliss!
I love dying my own fabrics, threads and anything else that can be coloured. I’m very excited about building up textured surfaces from lots of layers of fabric, paper, paint…. almost anything goes.
I often work a series of small numbers within a theme, exploring the possibilities. Since each item is handmade, the individual item will always be unique. Besides making contemporary wall hangings, I like making small things that can be used in daily life, like book covers, key rings, make up purses, drawstring bags, cards…
The number one question people ask me about the things I make is: where do you get your fabric? I’m happy to say that my primary source is a local chain of fabric stores with deep roots in Washington DC: G Street Fabrics.
With three sprawling stores in the DC area, G Street easily rivals the best stores in any major city with a garment district.
Founded in 1942 by the Greenzaid family, my favorite fabric emporium started out as a humble side business. Family patriarch David Greenzaid moved to Washington, DC from New York City during the Depression and sold bolt ends and various notions to the city’s tailors as a way to make ends meet. The business slowly grew, until a tiny storefront sprung up on 11th and G Streets, called simply enough: G Street Remnant Shop.
The original store closed briefly in the 1950s, but was reopened by David’s son Judah at 805 G Street. Many of the stores’ current customers still remember that storefront fondly. The original store was only 100 square feet, a far cry from the current 20,000 square foot flagship store in Rockville, Maryland. The Rockville store opened in 1983 when the DC location could no longer contain its massive collection. As the business continued to expand, second and third stores opened in Centerville, Virginia in 1994 and Falls Church, Virginia in 1999, easily matching the Rockville store’s size, as well as variety and quality of fabric and notions.
All three stores in the area now sell much more than just remnants and notions. Each store has several huge departments covering all the major fabric categories: quilting cotton, upholstery and home decorating, evening wear, denim, knits and other fashion fabrics, men’s suiting, and of course, bridal fabric.
And the abundance doesn’t stop there. G Street also has extensive collections of sewing patterns from both major and obscure pattern companies, a very well stocked sewing machine department featuring Bernina brand machines, and an absolutely huge notions department. Next time you need a button shaped like a bumble bee or tangerine ball fringe, there’s only one place to go!
The best part about G Street, aside from the incredible variety of fabric and sewing goodies, is their extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff. I shop regularly at all three stores, and employees never fail to ask me what I plan on making with the fabric, ribbon, or whatever I happen to be buying. Additionally, G Street maintains a very long and varied curriculum of sewing, quilting, and home decorating classes at all levels. Not only can you hire their experts to recover your couch for you, you can also take a class there to figure out how to do it yourself!
Judah Greenzaid and his sons still own all three stores, and “Mr. G,” as he is called, still works on sourcing fabric for the stores, and even staffs the cutting tables at the Rockville flagship. All three stores are open seven days a week, 10:00 am to 9:00 pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sundays. Visit the web site to view the class schedule and other events.
The story behind Moku Pe Pe is an interesting one. The shop owner, Kellie Crowe, spent eleven years on small sailing vessels, traveling from Europe to South East Asia. She was so deeply affected by the beauty of the islands she experienced, that she wanted to keep those memories alive in her home. What started as a mom making unique clothes and blankets for her own baby, has developed into a full collection of lovely baby blankets and yoga pants. All are hand-sewn by Kellie in her home, when she’s not working her full-time job.
I was immediately attracted to the vibrant colors and patterns. These blankets and yoga pants for babies offer a refreshing breath of island air. Perfect for those looking for a not-so-usual shower gift, or to preserve island memories of your own. And the blankets are made from pre-washed fabric and lined, either with fleece or batting, to be snuggly, warm and cozy.
I love that Moku Pe Pe’s designs are bold (definitely not your run of the mill infant gear), and unisex. With pattern names like Beach Baby, Puff The Magic Dragon, and Summer Flower Power, the infant yoga pants are lightweight and made for ease of movement and comfort, just the thing for an active crawler or toddler. The cuffs are lined with a contrasting fabric and can be cuffed at first, then let down as baby grows.
Kellie doesn’t shy away from sophisticated fabrics depicting dragons and pirate insignia, giving her work just a touch of edginess. Another nice thing is that the patterns mix well, so you needn’t worry if baby is wearing her Batik Baby pants with her Shanghai Blanket, she’ll still look like a little island princess. Stop by the Moku Pe Pe shop and have a look at all of her cute designs.
Please let me introduce you to Mika and her line of children’s clothing and accessories.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I primarily make childrens clothing, but I also tend to have a bit of crafters ADD so I sew anything that catches my eye-key fobs, rice bags, cloth diapers and wipes, unpaper towels, mama cloth and so much more!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
When I was a child my grandmother sewed, and tried to teach me but I wasn’t really interested. After she passed, I found the passion and taught myself to sew. I’ve never worked in another creative arena other than music which is a whole different realm.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I make 100% of the items I offer. My husband is the “muscle” behind the Froggy Girl-he lugs boxes, show setup equipment, machines, etc. for me and he is my #1 cheerleader. I frequently ask for opinions and critiques from my family and friends-constructive criticism is the key to moving forward.
I like to say that my fabric speaks to me. I see a piece of fabric, and it tells me what it wants to be. I then build around that piece.
Finding a work/life balance is hard for anyone, but I think most especially work at home moms. I find myself all to frequently pulled in 100 directions, and making sure that my husband and children are the first direction I go to is definitely a challenge, and something I’m working on doing better in 2010.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
Right now you can find my work primarily at www.froggygirldesigns.etsy.com, although I also maintain a storefront at www.hyenacart.com/froggygirldesigns and I’m starting to explore Store Envy as well. From about March or April onward, I try to do at least one show or fair per month. The only brick and mortar store carrying my items so far is Schneck Medical Center in Seymour, Indiana. They carry a selection of my monogrammed badge reels.
What do you wish I had asked you?
I wish you had asked how you (I) overcome fears and get out of your comfort zone to get your work out there. I think that’s something that everyone faces starting out, and it’s something that I’m definitely tackling in 2010.
You have to take a deep breath, and go outside of your comfort zone. Submit your work to blogs to be reviewed, take your things to local stores and talk to the owners/buyers. Have faith in yourself and your product.
Fantastic advice, Mika, thank you! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just fill out the application.