Wednesday, December 31, 2008

look for these

in the shop in about one hour from now! (which means around 7pm philadelphia time.)

Monday, December 29, 2008

something wonderful this way comes...

oh, oh, oh!

this is exciting news indeed.

for the past few months, i have been half-heartedly searching for some sort of clothing tags or something along those lines to sew onto some of my smaller zipper purses and things. mostly i had been whole-heartedly hoping for something to magically fall in my lap because every time i tried to search for some, they were super sadly mass produced in lots of places, none of which were located in america. i wanted something simple and understated, yet unique.

i was somehow lucky enough to randomly stumble upon roberto's etsy shop a few weeks back, and those gears in my brain started turning right away. he makes wooden things, you see. and i love wooden things. and i love buttons and i love tags, as anyone who has ever met me or has purchased something from me can easily tell.

do you see where this is going?

wooden buttons, and wooden tags!
i asked him if he would be able to make the little tags he makes with some extra holes, and even though i am not always the best at making my ideas go from my brain to someone else's in a very organized way (especially through the internet waves), he sent me a little package of samples and i sort of couldn't believe how completely and absolutely perfect they were!

you, see, i have this mother. she is somewhere in ohio and she has these wrists. these wrists are so very small. and so i have these wrists that are so very small. and being a waitress for ten years and a stitcher for nearly five now, my little wrists have developed some repetitive motion stress issues.

and sewing up the storm that i have been recently has made me a bit concerned. sewing the madebyhank freehand onto each of well over five hundred bags and zipper purses and clutches is beginning to take its tole.

and so, i will still stitch it onto most of the things that i make. but this way, i can offer some smaller zipper purses and such, finished with these little wonders.

each one is engraved with madebyhank. this is terribly fancy and exciting to me, and so i wanted to share this with you.

please visit roberto's shop. it's called bullfrog laserworks. he not only makes beautiful wooden things, but is is also a very sweet and kind person too.

he literally made my dreams come true. now that just doesn't happen every day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

oh, and some fun stuff i forgot to share...

the b2 bazaar bonanza was a smashing success. it was so nice to be in a room full of good people. we went home with some pretty sweet stuff, too.

benna made me a bracelet, which may well be the best piece of jewelry i have ever owned. (benna is five)

james ulmer was doing five-dollar sharpie portraits. of course manny and i took full advantage of that.

and to go with those, two polaroid portraits in the faux forest by zoe strauss. note my zombie eyes. the result of not sleeping for about two weeks prior to this photo. i tried to make a scary face to match them.

and here are two that we took of each other a few months back (pre-beard manny). these were taken with his camera that i have absolutely no idea how to use (you have to match up two images in the lens and you really have no idea what you are photographing. i will stick to my little sewing machine, and leave the cameras to him). we were outside of the photo place and he wanted to develop the roll and had two exposures left. so he took one of me and i took one of him.

our tree. we stopped by greensgrow to pick out a tree on sunday, and as we were walking up, we saw the sign that told us they closed at 4pm (it was around 3:52pm). but the best thing happened. we turned around and there, right in front of us, was the most beautiful, most perfect blue spruce. we were just going to get a little guy, but were both glad this one found us instead. and the nicest man i have met in a very long time helped us wrap it up and even carried it to the car for us.

and what could possibly be better than this very perfect tree (which makes our place smell soooo good)? a handmade stocking, sewn for me by manny. i made one for him last year, so this year he made one for me. he assured me he knew how to use my machine, and so i was to stay on the other side of the room, so i would not see it until it was finished. approximately four minutes later i heard bbbbbbbbbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. which was the sound of one million threads building up underneath the machine, because he had no idea he was supposed to put the presser foot down. for those of you who sew, you know that is a pretty important step to take.

he even wrote my name in glue and finished it with fuschia glitter.

i hope everyone is enjoying their holidays!


oh, and thank you everyone- the clutches i posted a few hours ago are sold and will be sent on their way to their new homes shortly!

i'm still here!

hello, hello there!

after a few days of much needed relaxing, re-organizing, re-grouping and recuperation, i am back and ready to spend some serious time in front of my little sewing machine.

i just added a few small clutches to my shop, and will be working on a new batch of tough ruffles purses, so look for those this week!





Tuesday, December 16, 2008

a new batch

i just listed nine new tough ruffles purses. just wanted to let you know.

they are in the shop. you can see them here.

just thought i would let you know!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

madebyhank herself

hello, hello!

i wanted to tell you about thursday. this thursday. december 18th. from 6- 9 pm. that's right, for three hours only, i will be selling bags and things. in person. at a lovely little cafe called B2. B2 is owned by nancy trachtenberg, who is the mother of benna, who is about to turn six. i was benna's nanny back when she was just starting to talk and was really into avocado sushi. and i worked at nancy's first cafe, benna's cafe, for a bit a while back.

they are having a lovely event called the B2 Bazaar Bonanza, which will be held in the cafe, this wednesday and thursday, from 6-9 pm. please stop by if you can! (i will be there thursday)

oh, and ps- i added a few elephant zipper purses to the shop. bigger purses coming very soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

something quite exciting happened yesterday...

joy mentioned madebyhank on her blog!

thanks joy! i love your blog and the things that you make. (and we are both philadelphians)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

a haiku, a sidenote, and another haiku

just wanted to say
i added some new zippies
to my little shop.

some of them have appliques ((like the ones martha stewart just loves) and some of them have little clips on the side.

just thought that i would
let you all know about them
and now back to work

Monday, December 8, 2008

the gift of hank

i also added some gift certificates to the shop.

i am kind of excited about these, because they are pretty fun to make. each one is made by hand (my hands, of course), and can be personalized with the person's name who will receive it. (the sample one is for my little dog, of course, because i am a nerd).

this way, if you do not see exactly what you want in the shop in time for the holidays, you can still give the people you like and/or love the gift of hank. and they come in a little box!

zero to 38 in twenty seconds


the shelves of the madebyhank shop are no longer bare! i just added some new roundy-bottoms, a few tough ruffles purses, some classy totes, and a few others. so head on over to see if anything catches your eye.

i already have a new batch in the works and they should be in the shop toward the end of this week!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

something quite chilly and something rather warm and fuzzy

yesterday morning started extra early for me, and i sadly misjudged the warmth of my tights. they did not keep me quite so warm as i had hoped while i rode my bicycle on a few errands, and once i am cold it takes a while to warm up. especially when i am sitting fairly still at my sewing table, and my poor fingers get so cold.

but when i checked the mail, the very best thing happened. a madebyhank customer who happens to also be a very sweet person sent me a very thoughtful gift. i was very touched. my eyes even welled up a bit. it was a box and inside was a copy of zoe's book. i had mentioned in an earlier post that we arrived a little late and so i missed out on a copy at her party last weekend. and you read that and thought of me and sent it to my home and your timing could not have been more perfect. thank you, pamela. it is so much more than a book. the thought behind this kind act warmed my heart. thank you so much.

and now i am going back to working on new bags for a shop update in the next day or so! stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

a series of fortunate events (and an overwhelmingly wonderful response)

first, thank you everyone for being completely wonderful. for finding my little shop and taking the time to read my blog and for your excitement and encouragement. it's funny, because just a few months back, when i was still stuck in waitressworld, i just kept thinking (and saying, over and over again)

i just wish i could sit in a room by myself and sew and sew and sew all day long.

and now, that is exactly what i do. i sew and i sew and i sew. when i am not cutting and cutting and cutting and ironing and ironing and ironing and packaging and packaging and packaging. and i love doing all of these things. and i want to continue to love doing all of these things. which is why i want to tell you a little bit about madebyhank, and how things operate.

my name is katie henry, as most of you know. i am only one person. i have only two arms and ten fingers (which is fortunate or unfortunate at this point, depending upon how you look at it). i have one small sewing machine, that works very very hard with me and i am very grateful that it has not given up on me yet. someday i will overcome my fear of industrial machines (have you ever seen the size of the needles on those things? holy crap. and i have sewn through my fingers enough times to be a bit weary), but for now, it's just me and my little home-sewer.

each of my creations are one-of-a-kind (though i have made a handful of close lookalikes). this means that i think up each shape, color/fabric/textures combination, hand cut each one, prep them, set the snaps if need be, sew them, iron them, and finish them. and because each one is different, each one must be photographed (every day, i am more grateful for manny's help with this. madebyhank would not exist without him), a description must be written, and each one must have the photos uploaded to etsy.

i put great care and detail into each of my bags, and take great pride in what i do. i work at a certain pace and i am trying to get a bit more organized and speed up my process in small ways. i realize that the holiday season is here and each day seems to evaporate more quickly than the last. i am trying my best to keep the shop stocked in time for the holidays.

one decision i have made in order to do this is this:

i cannot accept any more custom or special orders until after january.

my inbox is exploding with requests upon requests upon requests. i want everyone to be happy, and i wish i could fill each of these orders in time for holiday gifts, but unfortunately i can only do what i can do. i have been cutting and sewing in batches to speed things up a bit, and in order to reach my goals, i have to turn many of your requests down. please do not take offense to this or think that means i do not value your business. its just that i am me and i can only do so much, and like i said before, i refuse to sacrifice quality for quantity.

ramble, ramble. i apologize for the long-windedness of this post. what i am trying to say is, i am so happy to be where i am right now, and very thankful for all of my success so far. and please, please understand that i am doing the best that i can.

so thank everyone again, and thank you martha and the gang.

one more thing. i had fun on saturday. it was the opening reception for the show at the mew gallery that i am part of right now, along with kathryn moran and james ulmer. the room was full of folks i like a whole lot and had not seen in far too long.

we also stopped by zoe's party for a bit, but we were way too late to buy the copy of her book we had been hoping for.
she did snap some sweet polaroids of us before we turned into pumpkins and had to head home.

photo by zoe strauss

photo by zoe strauss

photo by zoe strauss

frances, as usual, was the belle of the ball. she partied so hard she slept for two whole days afterward.

Monday, December 1, 2008

martha stewart and i are practically best friends

ok, that is not true at all. but we do both love whiskey and rap music.

the truth is, someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for one of the martha stewart magazines somehow stumbled upon my little website a few months back and now madebyhank is part of the body + soul holiday gift guide.

now all i need is about sixty eight more hours in each day so that i can keep up with emails and orders and keep the shop stocked.

speaking of the shop, i just added some zipper purses similar to the ones pictured in the gift guide!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

pretty letter H

a little over twenty hours ago, i added forty nine new items to my shop. there are currently only eight of those forty nine remaining.

and so, i treated myself to a pretty letter H from sweetshorn.

tomorrow will be a much needed day off and then i will continue to sew up a storm and have some new additions in the shop by tuesday, possible even monday!

i hope everyone enjoys their holiday, or their thursday, as the case may be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

bringin' purple back

mollie jane




betty lucille

i have been sewing and sewing and sewing (and cutting and cutting and cutting and ironing and ironing and ironing...

and i just finished updating the shop! i did not complete nearly as many new bags and things as i had hoped, but there will be more! very soon! but right now there are about forty new roundy-bottomed tough ruffles zipper purses and seven new clutches. bigger bags coming soon!

i know that quite a few of you have been waiting patiently for new madebyhanks, and i apologize that my shop has been completely empty for the past few days or so. i have been sewing and cutting in batches, and am very hard at work to make sure you are able to purchase something in time for the holidays.

i do not want to compromise the quality for quantity, so i am very grateful for everyone's patience and understanding. this is madebyhank's first holiday season, so i still have a whole lot of figuring out to do. hopefully i will learn to accept help at some point. i am so terribly picky when it comes to delegating even the very smallest tasks, because i need to know that every single thing is done exactly how i would do it. i did show manny how to make the tags, which, small as that may seem, every little bit is a serious help.

oh, and if you are in philadelphia, please stop by the mew gallery this saturday, from 5-9 pm. a new set of my sewn drawings will be on display, along with the work of james ulmer and kathryn moran.

Friday, November 21, 2008

where have all the handbags gone

hello, folks. you may have noticed that the shelves have been a bit bare in the madebyhank shop lately. there are more! coming! soon! i promise!

i have been very busy focusing on a new set of sewn drawings (sewn paintings? i never know just what to call them), for a show that i am part of with kat moran and james ulmer. kat does not have a website, but she is awesome, i promise. we hang the show tonight (in about seven hours, and of course i have about fifteen hours of work left to do on them), and the opening reception is the evening of saturday the 29th (of november).

kat and james are both excellent humans and artists, and i am very excited to have my work share a space with theirs. if you have seen my sewn drawings before, you know that they mostly feature people with animal heads, inspired by old photographs.

this time around, i made a few with actual human heads. let me tell you, it is very difficult to sew a tiny little eyebrow or nose. my process is sort of ridiculous and requires a tremendous amount of patience. i start by putting the actual pencil drawing together and then trace that onto very thin paper with ink (i learned the hard way that you can't leave it in pencil because the pencil gets all over the fabric!). i sew right through the paper (using a basic straight stitch on a regular sewing machine) and then remove each tiny piece of paper (please imagine if you will, removing one hundred or so teeny little bits of paper from each strand of sewn hair). the filled-in, colored parts are also just a basic straight stitch. i just go back-and-forth, back-and-forth to create the texture, which means barely having my foot on the pedal and mostly turning the flywheel by hand. basically my arms are ready to fall off and my eyes feel like they might be bleeding after this, but i love it so much. it is incredibly satisfying when they are finished.

i will post a flyer and more information about the show soon. here is a sneak peek of one of my pieces.

©2008 katie henry

and i will be sewing up a storm to have a shop update ready for next week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

shop update!









just added a new batch of zipper purses with elephants, horses and rabbits, and also a few new clutches- they are officially in the shop! more coming soon!