Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vintage Motel and Restaurant Signage

Alas, my scanner has died. I have stacks of vintage books sitting patiently, waiting to have their spines cracked in order to be shared with the world. Their spines will just have to remain intact for now and let photos do the talking.

vintage motel sign

I have a serious crush on vintage signs and typography. On my various travels around the west I’ve taken snapshots of some signs that are just totally lost in time. Unfortunately, most of them were taken from a moving vehicle, not the best method of getting a good photo. Lucky for me, I’m after the general shape and style of the sign than a beautiful shot.

vintage motel sign

This “checkmark and post” style is everywhere. I don’t know if it started out as a trademark for a single company or if it was just popular. Was Motor Lodge a company too, or just another word for motel? Dunno. The two signs above were within 2 blocks of each other.

Same style, different state. When I see these dynamic shapes I always wonder how I could incorporate them into my work.

vintage motel sign

I love the free-form blobby shape surrounding the trapezoid! I may have to design my business card like it.

vintage motel sign

I could see this shape as a business card or hang tag. I could even punch holes to simulate the lights.

vintage motel sign

We’ve seen this shape before! A little less flashy but just as dynamic. Hey, I wonder if I could make a booth banner that shape! Both eye-catching and directional.

vintage motel sign

Too bad this one is such a poor shot. Great font style and I love the stacked shapes.

vintage motel sign

This is a great example of efficient design. Two shapes, two colors, two fonts. Simple, bold and conveys frugality to the budget conscious traveler.

vintage motel sign

I love this sign and I wish I had a better shot. I adore the swirly “motel” shape and simple font. It wants to be a pillow, or an appliqué on something fun.

vintage motel sign

But why should motels have all the fun?

vintage restaurant sign

vintage car wash sign, Seattle

I suspect that this one is a reproduction, not truly vintage but I like it anyway.

retro sporting goods sign

I have many more but they are scattered across two hard drives and it’s getting more and more difficult to manage them!

I can’t wait to take another road trip and capture more lost-in-time signage!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

I wanted business to pick up. Now I barely have time to blog. I wish the money were coming in as fast (are you listening, universe?) but that too, will come in time.

I’ve gone on and on about how much I’m enjoying the Farmer’s Market so I won’t say it again today but here is one of the reasons why. Big special orders! This is what I was working on all last week. Three 6 foot table coverings, in oilcloth, with removable sides and back access.




These babies were a bear! I thought it would be simple. It looks like they should be simple, right? I’d never made them before so I was lucky I had a table the same size to fit them to. Trying to sew 9+ feet of rather stiff material was more of a challenge than I expected but after ripping out only a couple seams and mitering the corners I arrived at a good fit.

And just look how adorable they turned out!


The perfect backdrop for Auntie M’s Cupcakes! She knew exactly what she wanted and that helped a great deal. We were booth neighbors on the first day of market, the first time at market for both of us, and we hit it off ever since. Just look at these delicious little gems!




Displaying them under glass cloches is genius and truly sets her booth apart from the other bakers.


Even though working on special orders takes me away from my regular work it’s actually a good thing. It’s a guaranteed sale. That’s a good thing too because market that day was terribly slow but my sales were outstanding due to special orders! (I also made up some sand bags for the market managers booth.)

And now Auntie M has asked me for sand bags too (notice the kitty litter buckets? Ew, not with cupcakes!). And more coverings for 2 end tables. And a cover for the water cooler. And eventually, 3 more covers for 8 ft tables! Now that the hard part is over (engineering them) they will be much quicker. Then the second part of my wish will come true too!


Friday, June 19, 2009


Ah, summer! I am truly a solar powered gal. When the sun is out and shining I am up and at ‘em, full of energy and motivation. When it’s cloudy and grey I’m dragging my feet and procrastinate. Needless to say I love the long summer days!

Here in the northwest we get a lot of those grey days but when summer rolls around the long 16 hour days make it worth the wait! Alas, things just start getting warmed up when solstice arrives (this sunday) and the days get shorter again.

I am greatly looking forward to this summer. This year I am doing the Farmer’s Market, which I adore. I get to travel with my sweetie and see the country. I live on the water (surrounded by it, in fact) and get to admire it’s beauty every day. Summer means more parties and gatherings, sandals and skirts, eating outside, whether on out own deck or the local pub’s. Swimming, hiking, gardening, walks on the beach. Cheese burgers, cold beer and lemonade. Arts and Crafts festivals, flower festivals, boat festivals and farmers markets.

Summer is a grand celebration and we’re all invited!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Featured Blogger – Lazy T Crochet

Oh where has the time gone? I can’t believe another month is whizzing by so fast! But before it whizzes right into July I want to introduce another EtsyBloggers team member, Lazy T Crochet. Lazy T’s blog is a delightful read, full of this and that, with some crochet of course! Her tag line is Yarn, Etsy, Food, Friends. A perfect descriptor! LazyT has been a part of the EtsyBloggers team for a long time and has been a treasured member.

And where would EtsyBloggers be without Etsy? Don’t forget to take a peek at Lazy T Crochet’s Etsy shop for oodles of knit and crochet creations like these;

I adore the color of this Coral Wrap!

A knit bangle! How clever is that?!

And look at the delicious color of this Green Apple Cloche

Have a blog and an Etsy shop? Come join the EtsyBloggers street team!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What’s in a name

I stuck to my guns as long as possible. But I think the time has come for the Head Bitch in Charge to take a back seat and let a name with broader appeal come forward.

While HBIC has had the desired effect and fan base I intended, my product line has evolved and diversified. It’s not as “bitchy” as it used to be. I intend to keep HBIC as a line within the product family, so it’s not going anywhere, I’m just moving the soap box to the side a bit.

Luckily I still have my list of potential business names from the first time around. I need your help and input! I’ll throw them all out there because some of the ones I didn’t like my family loved, so I need opinions on them all.

Keeping in mind that I make colorful and cheerful retro-1950’s kitchen and home decor, the candidates are:

Home Deconomics

Ginger Snap

Black Cherry

Red Licorice

Come and Get It!

Rhubarb Pie

Vote for your favorite and tell me why. What name do you not like and why? Give me any opinions and feedback you like. Suggestions too, if you have any!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Good Day’s Work

What a wonderful day! I love it when I can set up shop outside on our deck under my canopy. I have a hard time working indoors when the weather is nice so I sew al fresco instead!


I even used the supports as a clothes line and dried some yardage. It’s pure heaven to work with fabric that has been sun-dried! The smell! Wonderful. I worked on a few new items that should be in my shop soon.


Here’s a sneak peek at the tortilla warmers/potato bakers (above). I was only making a few because of a customer request at the Farmers Market but I love the way they turned out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         And here is a sampling of the cotton napkins. I’ve been toying with the idea of making smaller cotton napkins for everyday use but hemming that kind of volume seemed daunting and I haven’t mastered my machine’s hemming foot yet. But I’m much faster than I thought and managed to cut, press and sew 65 napkins in 2 days, along with several of the potato bakers. Not bad!

In the heat of mid-day I took a lunch break and wandered into the garden for lunch. I’m telling you, I can’t get enough of these tasty greens! And radishes of course :)

Then it was back to work. I noticed that my companion doesn’t like to move much. Now, I hate to be one of those people who posts cutesy pictures of their pets, but she just exemplified the mood of the day.

At 11am


1 pm


3 pm


Then she finally migrated off the astro-turf because I stepped on her. But not too far!


I think she’s forgiven me after my bright idea yesterday of hosing her down to cool her off. Well, the dog likes it anyway.

Now the sun is still beating down the west side of the house so I’m hiding from the heat for a bit, then I’ll go back to my sewing table, and the cat to her turf. Then back to the garden for dinner.

I could get used to this. Oh, yes I could.

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Harvest

May here in Washington was the wettest on record for 30-something years.  My garden doesn’t get a whole lot of sun so everything in the garden was off to a very slow start. But these last few weeks of sunshine have done wonders!


Everything is still pretty small and I can barely get enough salad greens for two but, look! These spicy little gems seem to have plumped up over night! I’m so glad to finally harvest something. The expanse of dirt is finally more green than brown as everything leafs out.

Home grown greens are so flavorful I find that my salads have gone very spartan in order to appreciate all the flavors. I usually make huge chef’s salads with up to 10 ingredients. Now they only have 2 or 3 and they are ever so much more delicious!

I look forward to tonight’s salad with great anticipation! Fresh arugula, spinach, romaine, red and green leaf lettuces and my radishes! I’ll top it all off with my homemade garlic-parmesan croutons, mmmmm. Care to join me?