Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Too good not to share

This is not really a "finder" blog, but I've stumbled across a couple of sites lately where the work is so beautiful, I felt the need to share.
A customer, Barbara, turned me on to J. Morgan Puett. I think her work is stunning:

J Moragn Puett blouse.jpg

J Morgan Puett To the Trade Only

J Morgan Puett shoes

J Morgan Puett photograph

J Morgan Puett notebooks

All of the above images are from an installation entitled Wholesale To the Trade Only. I strongly urge you to visit her site and take a longer look.

Emma Cassi creates jewelry from bits of vintage lace and trim:

Emma Cassi child's bracelet

Emma Cassi carnelian earrings

Emma Cassi black lace bracelet

Her beautiful work is rivaled only by her beautiful site. Promise me you will visit there and view the pictures of her jewelry paired with visually related images. Gorgeous.

Finally, I have been a fan of Su Blackwell for a long time. I think I first discovered her on Ulla's wonderful blog. Look at this:

Su Blackwell book sculpture

Su Blackwell Alice at Tea Party

Su Blackwell butterfly dress

Takes my breath away.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A New Year Brings Big Changes

Ann and I have been waiting for the right time to announce this, and with the beginning of a new year, it seems like the right time: Ann is leaving Secret Leaves. Since I know you will all be curious as to why, she is going back to school to take some graphic design courses. She also wants to spend more time doing this:

Ann Hirschfeld of String Buzz

Stop by and see (hear) her here. Her music is lovely and she has a good blog with news about her band, great shows she has seen and various and other sundry bits of entertainment and info.

I am sad to see her go for many reasons:

  • She has been an EXCELLENT business partner
  • We have more fun at work than should be allowed
  • She comes up with some inspired design ideas
  • She does all the bookkeeping, which I hate doing!

Having said that, I am also looking forward to what lies ahead. I plan to make some changes to Secret Leaves that I think will bring deeper personal satisfaction for me. There are a couple of mistakes I feel I have made along the way that I want to rectify. For one, I am no longer going to worry that our prices are too high (read Ann's excellent post about this here.) Our goods are very labor intensive; we make them using real old things that are fascinating and unique; our craftsmanship and attention to detail are impeccable. The truth is that they cost what they cost and folks will either buy them or not. (I hope it's the former!)

Brown moth blue cover

Another mistake I have made in the past is pandering to what I imagine a specific customer is looking for. This is unwise for two reasons: first, you can't guess what someone else is going to like or want; second, they have ordered based on what they have seen on our web site or in our marketing materials, so why not do what we do? That's what attracted them to us in the first place!

I am also completely re-vamping our web site. I have also opened an Etsy store that will feature one-of-a-kind pieces and things that don't fit into Secret Leaves' lines. I hope that you will all check back here at this blog, the web site and the new Etsy store to stay posted on my progress as Secret Leaves moves forward into this new phase.


PS. 'bye Ann--I'll miss you!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year - Old Things

Happy New Year to you! I am happily sitting here in my pajamas (it's 3pm on New Year's Day), writing this post. The hectic holiday sales season has left our studio in a state of chaos and I have spent the last couple of days cleaning and organizing. I still have a LONG way to go. Over the past few months, we have amassed several large boxes of old maps, books, postcards, vintage photos, French magazines and so much more, that we have purchased or that have been given to us by kind folk who know we love such things. I have been trying to empty the boxes and give their contents a permanent home in the studio. Here are a few of the treasures I have come across:

vintage ephemera
I believe most of the pieces in this stack were given to us by Diane Benitz, Elizabeth's mother-in-law. Thank you Diane!

French book pages
Some perfectly imperfect old French book pages. These are only 3 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches big--or small as the case may be.

Railroad Index cards
These old railroad company index cards were given to us by my sister, Sheila. We use them to create our Vintage Index Card gift tag sets:

tags in bowl

Vintage glove tag
I love the logo on this little booklet that accompanied a pair of gloves. What time period do you think this is from?

advertisement in London subway map
A super-cool ad from a guide to London shops and restaurants. I am guessing this is from the 1940s.

detail of sewn spine
This photograph perfectly illustrates why I love old things. The spine of this piece of sheet music had fallen apart and someone repaired it with a simple whipstitch. I love that tangible evidence of someone's hand having touched this and the ways that people "made do." It's so...human.

I will soon be posting more ephemera shots on our Flickr stream, if you are interested.