Project: Plates

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The blank chartreuse wall in my kitchen has been begging for some life since I moved in months ago.  It wasn't until today that I discovered the remedy for the boring lifeless walls.  Inspired by my mother, who hung a collection of blue and white porcelain plates in her yellow living room, I went shopping.  I went on a whim after work today, determined to find my own vintagy hodgepodge of plates.  To my wonderful advantage, I discovered six very different yet beautifully cohesive plates.  Some of them are reprints of classic patterns or inspired by vintage textile designs. My luck continued when I went to Target, who, being the amazing retailer that it is, had plate hangers in stock!

Once I got home, it was just a matter of stretching the plate hangers over the back of the plates (although I had more difficulty taking the things out of their packaging than completing the project itself), figuring out a harmonizing arrangement and hammering nails into the wall.  It made such a difference in my otherwise sterile Ikea kitchen. I love the depth and color the collection adds. It's just lovely.

I bought two blue and white plates in honor of my original source of inspiration, my mom, Laura. In fact, I feel a little more at home after it was all said and done.  Maybe because it reminds me of my parents home in Florida, or maybe it's because the plates' vintage designs carry such history and depth that it brings a little sense of history and depth to my new NY home.  Either way, I like the idea of both.

 You too can have your own wall o' plates, just follow these simple steps:

Pick your plates.
I picked mine up at Marshalls for four bucks each.  But Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Fishs Eddy, antique stores, or even stoop sales may have what you're looking for.  Mix up your colors, prints, and sizes for an eclectic look.  Or go for a color theme, like red and white, to have a more cohesive collection.  An odd number of plates is usually more asthetically pleasing.

Don't forget to get plate hangers, wall anchors, and nails.
I found some a local hardware store and Target.  Home Depot and Lowes should also have them.  Make sure the size of the plate hangers will fit your plates.


Plan your design.
Clear off your table or a space on your floor and lay your plates out.  Move them around into an eye pleasing form where color, silhouette, and size are balanced. I did 3 columns of 2, with the middle column offset.

Hang your plates.
Start with the center plate. Nail in the wall anchor and hang the first plate.  Then take a plate that was next to the middle plate, position on the wall and mark.  Nail in the anchor and hang the plate.  Continue until your design is complete.


Production Day

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The sewing machine joins what the scissors have cut asunder, plus whatever else comes in its path."  -Mason Cooley

It's a calm, drizzly day in Brooklyn.  We sit above the street in a room of glowing lights with nothing but the sound of sewing machines and rolling tires sloshing across wet pavement to soothe our ears.  The pile of raw fabric cuts slowly dwindles as the pile of the stitched and turned grows in number.  It's a production day here at SewMoni.

Steph and I chit chat during our short lived breaks to pin or turn out the freshly sewn aprons.  Strangely enough, our middle school days come up in conversation amongst other, more serious topics like past Halloween costumes, fabric prints, and music.  It's enjoyable talking about nothing sometimes.  We pause for a drink.  Steph has her tea, and I stick to my heavily sugared coffee I bought at food cart parked outside the subway station.  The coffee is getting cold, but still carries a nice kick.

As we work with Moni's machines, it's like getting to know a new friend.  Figuring out how to wind the bobbin, changing stitch length, reversing the stitch, etc, your basic friend stuff.  I'm excited to see what more will come with the collaboration between Moni, Steph, and I.

Sew on people, sew on!

Cooking 36 at a Time

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Our week closed with the welcome of sickness :( Boo, sniff, BOO!

Being sick in Brooklyn is rough. Our recent weather has been quite unpredictable. Random rain storms with afternoons of humidity and night breezes are why I am sick. I think it's secretly May.

However, aside from illness, there are many things to be excited about; more specifically, an invitation I received to participate in a recipe exchange this month! This may sound 1940's at first, but after a little thought, it's all to much and très generation-X. With one email sent by Drofa Speak, sew MONI will now be apart of a mini thread which will result in 36 NEW recipes!

This invite has entered my life at a great time because I was just thinking that my current food menus could use a make over. My staple baked chicken with asparagus and mashed potatoes has kissed my Anthropolgie faux china one too many times this month. Why not mix it up in the kitchen?!

That being said, please find Drofa Speak's email below for reference on how you may initiate a recipe exchange via your friends. Now, it's time to decide what to submit.



Position One: Email 1
Position Two: Your Email

Hello all!!

You have been invited to be a part of a recipe exchange. I hope you will participate. Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don't know them). It should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now. Don't agonize over it; it is the one you make when you're short of time.

After you've sent your recipe to the person in position 1 (and only to that person), copy this letter into a new e-mail, move my name to the top and put your name in position 2. Only my name and your name should show when you send your e-mail. Send to 20 friends. If you cannot do this within 5 days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It's fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas. The turnaround is fast as there are only 2 names on the list. You only have to do this once.

Happy cooking!

Coughing Gets Old

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I already have a cold and I'm sick of it. My old time remedy of whiskey and tea is not working and the raspy-ness of my throat is loaded.

BUT, I am still sewing today in preparation for our next Peddler Craft Show in Corpus Christi Texas! Whoop!

Craft shows are my absolute favorite. I live for freshly popped popcorn and homemade hot fudge within arms reach. Scouring multitudes of booths to find that perfect gift is invigorating for me. Shows generate a buzz that is alive and happy, a break from our economic pot hole. And, random dialog between shoppers and vendors is a treat because your reminded that the world is not so big.

On that note, I've met so many local as well as national vendors who have been "peddling" around the world for 10, 20, and sometimes even 30 years. Some are wood workers while others are soap makers. Some make garments while others tan leather. As a whole, the majority will attest that there are fewer and fewer hand crafted items displayed each year. BUT, non will deny that peddling and homemade eats always equates to a welcoming environment.


*Pictured above are Japanese vegetable peddlers.

Seamstress Blues

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

After reading the "bust" on illegal immigrants working for American Apparel, I was upset. Here is a company who prides themselves on their American Made products while all the while employing illegal immigrants to get the job done. The shear knowledge of their labor force was unsettling to me for 3 few reasons:

A. Employing illegal workers only de-values and contributes to the [already set] low wage movement of workers and production within the crafting industry: carpentry, sewing, sculpting, etc.

B. Illegal immigrant employment does not allow for those who are legal to move forward.

C. Why aren't we spending money to teach sewing or crafting in primary education through home economics classes?

Sewing is dear to my heart and everything involving it's process is sincere. Sewing takes time, it's labor intensive and requires a keen eye. Taking pieces of fabric, cutting to speck and ultimately constructing something flat into form is magical.

I understand that at the end of the day a business has to make money. This is America and capitalism is the game. But at what cost and exploitation? If continually employing illegal immigrants becomes the standard, then we are only moving backwards.

I'm proud to note that our little company has legal workers. We are few but hope to be many. And while our business goals may be capitalist in nature, we are not in the market of exploitation.  Let us sew like the wind and build a thriving sewing circle to match!



Hello, Hello! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Welcome to the SewMoni blog! I'm one of the new members of SewMoni and I'm happy to share with you a little bit about my background and why I'm excited be a part of SewMoni!

I came to New York originally to study Industrial Design because I wanted to find out how absolutely everything is made. I love creating objects by hand and being involved with the whole process. I feel attached to the objects that I make by hand and I think handmade pieces have a personal touch that is missing from mass produced products.

My mother taught me how to sew and crochet at a young age and I've been hooked ever since. I love making clothes, but my most favorite things to make are a little more utilitarian: bags, pillows, stuffed toys for children, and the list goes on.

I was thrilled when I stumbled across SewMoni online last month. I love the unique fabric choices and the feminine aesthetic. I also love that it's family-run. It's immediately apparent that every SewMoni piece is a quality labor of love. I'm so excited to be involved with SewMoni and making these kinds of beautiful, useful objects. I know that people will cherish them and they will be a part of their daily lives.

~Steph :)

A Bag full of Inspiration

Thursday, October 15, 2009

So these last couple of weeks have been incredibly exciting and exhausting.  Working part time at Gap, closing with them most nights, and working early mornings at SewMoni have left me a little drained.  But the other night, I got an email from Moni.  She told me this:

Tonight I saw a tote with the words: Dont give up.
I don't know about either of you, but the last few days at my "other jobs" have been tough.
Keep the above on the tip of your lips. Reading this phrase tonight (unexpectedly) actually made me feel motivated again & excited about endeavors to come--- if I just hold on and don't give up.

It was more than encouraging.  As all of us begin the building process at SewMoni, creating patterns, developing a new website, and pulling fabrics for next season, we're finding that the push and pull of our other supporting jobs seem to be pulling and pushing a little harder.  I like to call this resistance.  In the words of David Pressfield "It's a repelling force. It's negative.  Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work" (The War of Art).

It's with determination and encouraging words like "Don't Give Up" (that was written on a tote of all things) that we propel ourselves forward and push through the resistance.  To fight for your dream and your passion is probably one of the most noble acts you can do in your life.  So don't give up.  Press on.  It's what you were made to do.

Sew on people!

The Beauty of a Bag!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bags for the People from Michelle Brown on Vimeo.

I stumbled across an organization called Bags for the People, a non-profit organization that encourages the use of plastic bag alternatives by providing free bags they create from repurposed materials.  Anything from old t-shirts to fabric scraps get made into usable, functional bags at their "sweatshop socials" and their volunteer bag making workshops and programs.

I was really amazed, inspired, and impressed to find that a group of three people who worked in our very own Union Square Farmers Market in NYC put action to their eco beliefs.  The idea behind the organization is quite honorable and the system itself is brilliant in the least.  To think that the making of a couple of bags not only helps the environment but also brings people together, young and old, the skilled crafters and the creative novices... it truly is a beautiful thing.  Who knew you could sew AND save the world?

Get your sew on people!

As a new member...

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's with excitement and sheer giddiness that I'm writing to you as an new creative contributor of SewMoni.

As a fashion designer and recent college graduate, I moved from Florida to NY about 7 months ago in hopes of finding my fashion niche here in NY.  However, considering the economic foolishness that is going on, it's been a bit of a struggle to break into the fashion industry as companies can only afford one design assistant as opposed to three.

In my search I came across SewMoni.  I was immediately drawn in by the quirky, vintage aesthetic and its homegrown, crafting roots.  After speaking with Moni, the head designer and business owner, about the new vision for the growing company I couldn't wait to get started.

You see, I've been steeped in crafting and the arts my entire life and decided to hone my creativity in fashion.  I think if you exmined my heart closely, you would find that the muscle tissue is actually threads tightly woven together, that the heart beat is truthfully just music, and that it is really pumping creativity through my veins.  To find a company that shares the same passion for crafting, simple beauty, and design I was a little more than ecstatic.

As a new member I have to admit my excitement in being a part of the creative team here at SewMoni.



Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground