Friday, August 29, 2008

i officially have a crush on wiksten

i was wandering around blogland the other day and somehow completely unintentionally and completely magically stumbled upon wiksten. i have been drooling over this blog ever since. i am sure that everyone probably already knows about this, but i fell so instantly in love that i need to mention this treasure anyway. she makes beautiful clothing and the photographs are just so pretty. everything is just so perfectly simple in this very comforting and inspiring way.

and she is so cute, too! (see photo below for proof)


i cannot thank everyone enough for their support of my little business that seems to be growing and succeeding.

yesterday jaci of cravejewelrydesign messaged me to let me know that i was featured in an etsy article called the storque. i was so excited just to be in the article, and i had to do a double take when i realized that julie chesler of vain and vapid was the one who wrote it.

this is one lady with a very good eye for all things stylish and lovely, so i felt very flattered to say the least when she picked one of my bags. she makes beautiful handmade clothing and names some of her very charming dresses after the lisbon girls from the virgin suicides, which happens to be one of my favorite books. she has a blog also, which is where i first found her. thank you, julie!

kasey spain of kasey spain photography also wrote so many very kind and enthusiastic words about me yesterday, on her blog. thank you, kasey!

i kind of feel like the slightly nerdy girl who one day the popular girls ask her to sit at their lunch table, but they actually want her to sit with them, and not to play a joke on her.

i ate mint chocolate chip soy delicious ice cream for breakfast because it is my favorite and because i am a grown up so i can certainly eat ice cream for breakfast and because i am so so very happy that people like the things that i sew.

thank you everyone, again and again.

oh, and ps- i am still trying to figure out what to make for the giveaway, but keep leaving comments on the previous post and i will post photos of what the lucky winner will win very soon!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

when i was a teenager...

...and i had only recently moved to this lovely city called philadelphia, i worked in a very terrible restaurant owned by very evil people that i do not care to mention. but one of the few good parts about this job was two of my favorite customers, joseph and jay.

now that i am a grown up, joseph and i drink beers and talk about life and encourage each other to stop being idiots. we figured out the other day that he is my oldest friend.

eight years later joseph has a very different haircut, but the very same very great job. joseph and jay are serious grown-ups and OSBX is a company they started back then. it has since made the pair very successful and they have had lots of adventures along the way, which i very much enjoying hearing stories of.

anyway, joseph told me about a commercial they were making for bassetts ice cream about a guy who loves bassetts ice cream so much that his girlfriend suggests he should marry it. so he commissioned me to make a [literally] pint-sized veil.

and here it is...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


while i was out running errands this morning, i sold my one hundredth etsy bag!

so george burns and i decided to celebrate!

actually, that is george burns at 100, and me at probably 9. in third grade, i think. wearing hot pink shiny leggings in all my jazz hands glory.

what i really did to celebrate was make some yummy black bean soup and got right back to work!

as promised, i will make something extra special today to send to one lucky madebyhank blog reader. just leave a comment on this post any time between now and september 3rd and i will i randomly select a winner using if you do not have a blog, make sure that you leave contact info with your comment so that can let you know if you win!

i will keep you posted about the something special. i need to work on filling some orders and then i can set to work creating something splendid for one of you lucky readers.

thank you everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the frank is alright! ruffles! schmruffles! and a clutch or two!

we woke up around dawn this morning, in order to get to the vet in time for a walk-in appointment for frank (my dog). after about four hours of waiting and one needle full of frank blood, she was declared perfectly healthy, even though the strangest of things happened last night. her legs did not work for about 6 hours. she would barely move and could hardly stand. but today she seems totally fine and is running and happy and her normal frank self and i am very relieved, but slightly skeptical.
in celebration of her good health, a very hilarious photo of post-surgery frank trying to eat a bone a few months back.

after the vet, it was back to the studio for some sewing and tag-making and then outside for some photo-taking. and back inside for some uploading and etsy-listing. and here it is, a little past midnight, but

i just finished updating my etsy shop with some new bags. lots of tough ruffles!

i will be sewing up a serious storm the next few days, so stay tuned for a serious update this monday.

and wish me luck in my preparations for the renegade craft fair. i am most totally excited and completely terrified about this event. and hopefully something magical like a few extra hours in each day until then to prepare will fall out of the sky!

my favorite place in this city

i cannot even remember how i stumbled upon this wonderful and magical place. in all the beauty that is the parkway central branch free library of philadelphia, this room is the most very splendid of them all.

it is the prints and pictures department. in this room, you can write words on a little sheet of paper and the very patient and knowledgeable folks who spend so many hours in there will provide folders of images pertaining to your chosen topics for you to browse through for as long as you like. you are even allowed to check out individual images. there are drawers and drawers full of old magazine and newspaper clippings, photographs, pages of books, all sorts of things.

this is where is find a large part of my inspiration for my little sewn drawings that i make. i have been itching to create more of these lately. but i am so focused on preparing for the renegade craft fair in chicago (in just over two weeks!) that i have not had the chance.

hopefully one day soon i will be able to spend the better part of a day in this room, and the better part of a month creating some new sewn drawings.

ps- the photographs are polaroids that manny took a while back. he had a show at this library that was curated by karen lightner (the woman pictured in the first photograph) and took these shortly afterward. the ones he shot on film are even prettier.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

selling like hotcakes

dear everyone,

thank you for supporting my little sewing endeavors and making it possible for me to sew and sew and be very happy every day and for helping me to not a be a waitress, even if only for a short while.

madebyhank has been very successful these past three months since opening an etsy shop, and i am very grateful everyday.

today i sold my ninety-fifth bag on etsy!

to celebrate and to show how much i appreciate everyone who has said kind and encouraging words about my little business, or purchased a bag, or told your friends about me or read this blog, i plan to have a special giveaway when i sell my one-hundredth bag. i will whip up something extra special and let you all know through a post on this little blog. so stay tuned!

underthings on the brain.

i discovered this little shop on etsy entirely by accident and have been coveting her ruffled-bum knickers ever since.

and so, i finally purchased them a few moments ago and they will be on their way to me from canada soon!

i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE every last pair of handmade undies this very talented lady makes. and i could not believe her prices when i saw them. for less than a pair of department store calvins, you can own your very own lovingly handmade pair of TouchMeNot underpants. also, read her blog!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

serious supplies

in the interest of keeping my etsy shop stocked and also in preparation for the renegade craft air in chicago in a few weeks, i did some serious fabric shopping today and belt hunting today.

we spent hours in jomar searching through rows and rows and rolls and rolls of fabrics that are placed in no particular order. this makes searching twice as fun, because in looking for a particular color you inevitably come across five others that you need!

i found lots of aquas and greys and greens-- a few of my favorite picks for tough ruffles bags. i was quite happy with my finds in the end, and very grateful for the very nice man who patiently cut and folded every piece for me.

next we swung by the pennsylvania fabric outlet on fourth street to dig through the ten-for-a-dollar zipper bin. the bin is mostly full of shorties, but they are perfect for the little mini coin purses i make to send as freebie gifts with etsy purchases.

above: holding my bouquet of 130 new little zippers

the next part of the plan was to visit ALL of my favorite thrift stores to replenish my selection of belts (which i use as handles for most of my bags). but something very lucky and exciting happened-- i found about FIFTEEN excellent belts at the very first thrift store we visited. fifteen may not sound like many, but usually i find about one, maybe two, so it was a very happy moment indeed.

so we saved the trips to the other thrift stores for another day. we were exhausted and ready to enjoy some delicious tofurkey sandwiches and homemade lemonade, and so we did!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

i love these guys, i cannot help it.

above: by thom lessner

anyone who was a customer during my employment at benna's cafe is very, very familiar with my love for the musical stylings or misters daryl hall and john oates. i love them i love them i love them i cannot stop myself even though just about everyone thinks that makes me a giant nerd. i have to say, though, they cheered me up so many mornings when i had to force myself out of bed at 5:30am when it was still dark and ride my bike in the dead of winter to open the cafe in the morning. all i had to do was press "play" and everything was suddenly happy. and i often caught even those who taunted me most humming or even singing along to their wonderful tunes. you love them, too. i know you do, even if you chose to keep that love a secret. i have to say thank you to pete miller, who was the only one who would admit to also loving them.

well, i have been listening to them quite often again lately and they still make me oh-so-happy.

above: by etchasketchist

i realize this has nothing to do with sewing, but i guess it kind of does because they make me smile, which equals motivation, which equals more sewing!

* AN IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER- i just need it to be known that "maneater" is, in my opinion, one of the worst songs i have ever heard. though i love these boys, i cannot like that song no matter how hard i try.

Friday, August 15, 2008

bringin' preppy back

E T S Y U P D A T E ! ! !

i just added a few new totes to my shop.

and also this little satchel that makes me think it should be filled will notebooks with top secret plans and flashlights and binoculars and a little vintage camera. maybe a magnifying glass and an apple.

visit my etsy shop and take a look!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

if only

i have been thinking and figuring and shopping and wondering and hoping and wishing and searching for a system for storing my many many fabrics. i figured out a decent system for the smaller remnants using big white stackable bins with lids on wheels, but still need some big wall-mountable shelves for the larger pieces. right now, they are folded and piled about 5 feet high on chairs, somewhat arranged by color.

i saw this on design sponge today and actually gasped. it is so beautiful. even though, in my life, this would last little more than one afternoon. but nice eye candy and inspiration anyway.

quaint handmade, via design sponge

Monday, August 11, 2008

up until now, they have been mediocre at best.

okay, so maybe this is not a big deal to anyone except me, and that is totally okay.

but i want to share this anyway. a few posts back, i wrote about learning how to take pictures out of necessity while manny is in spain. well, i think i was happy about the first photographs because they were photographs that i took that actually worked. but today, i think i actually took decent photographs. up until now, they have been slightly blurry or dark or too blue, etc. not nearly as sharp and pretty as the ones manny usually takes for me.

so anyway, without further ado, i present to you some photographs taken by me that are actually bright and actually in focus!

ps- all of these bags are now available in my etsy shop.

ps also- if you would like to see more photos that i took today that are in focus, take a look at my flickr. and while you are there, become my flickr friend, because i don't have many.

mondays are never this happy!

today started like most days.

but then i took a break from sewing to check the mail, and something so splendid happened.

i received such a lovely package all the way from canada from a very happy customer. we chatted back-and-forth quite a bit when we were planning her bag i made especially for her, and discovered we both love dinosaurs and riding bicycles and eating waffles.

i cannot explain how much this brightened my day and how much it made me smile. she sent me a little card with a sweet note, a small bag from somethings hiding in here, and a bag of her favorite tea, with a little scoop and two small reusable tea bags. these will come in very handy in my considerably-less-coffee phase of my life. i love everything! thank you so much, carly!

and now you should all listen to nancy sinatra sing "sugar town", so you can feel as happy as i do!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

madebyhank available at poppytalk handmade

from august 11th through september 5th, madebyhank will be part of the school days back-to-school & fashion market. don't know what this is? go to to check it out. each month they have a sort of online craft bazaar where different makers-of-things feature their goods on a virtual table.

poppytalk handmade is the brainchild of jan and earl, creators of one of my favorite blogs, poppytalk. they are from canada and are lovers of all things handmade. they have excellent studio tours and artist features. go look now!

ps- if you want to look at my "table", go here.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

tough bunnies

a sneak preview. i will be updating my etsy shop tomorrow with some new tough ruffles bags, including this little lovely

i have also been working on bringing the bunnies bags back. this time small-ish dark grey bags with white rabbits. i think maybe they are quite handsome.

so check the shop tomorrow and in coming days!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

top secret so far

i have been focusing most of my energies on making bags these past few months, but there is this other thing that i do as well. i make little sewn drawings, mostly inspired by old photographs, of people with animal heads.

i have not written much this past week because i have been working on two secret projects. i cannot share images of the actual projects yet, because one is a wedding invitation that has not yet been mailed out. and just in case anyone actually reads this blog, i would not want to take away the surprise.

the other project is designing the cover and track list for the mural and the mint's new album. the mural and the mint is a musical project started by mike kiley. they are amazing people and musicians. you can listen to mike tell you a bit about the project here. you can (and should!) listen to their music here.

i promise to share the results as soon as i can!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

the company i keep

i want to say thank you to the folks who have kept me company lately.

first, of course, my trusty sewing machine

this is not my actual sewing machine, but it is the same model. purchased as an emergency about one year back, when my old machine gave up the night before i had to hang my show at benna's cafe. it cost less than eighty dollars and it is the only machine i own. i have sewn through layers and layers at a time, leather, book covers, and all sorts of things for hours and hours and hours at a time, and it has lived to tell about it. eventually i will overcome my fear of industrial machines, but for now, i will continue to love my basic little machine that has served me so well so far.


next, marc bolan, and all of t.rex, whose songs i have played over and over and over lately.

i get on kicks where i want to listen to the same songs for weeks at a time, and since manny is away right now i can indulge without driving him crazy. and they have so many albums with so many songs that i love to listen while sewing and sewing and sewing.


i recently discovered the fiction podcast, a monthly reading and conversation with The New Yorker’s fiction editor Deborah Treisman.

thanks, deborah. (i especially love one with a bullet, where t. coraghessan boyle reads tobias wolff’s short story “bullet in the brain.”)


and last-- but certainly not least-- this american life

thanks, ira. i listen to you more than anyone else. (and i also think you are sort of a dreamboat.)

among my favorites...

"houses of ill repute", about an old man in brooklyn who invites some homeless prostitutes into his house on a cold winter night. they never leave. plus other stories about houses, such as the united states congress, where the inhabitants don't always act as they should.

"act V", which tells the story of inmates at a high-security prison who rehearse and stage a production of the last act -- Act V -- of "Hamlet." It's a play about murder and its consequences, performed by murderers living out the consequences.

"matchmakers" (i especially love the story about the lee middleton dolls)

"accidental documentaries", stories made from old tapes found in various places--recordings found in attics and thrift stores.


oh, and thank you also to my little dog who is a girl named frank. she is endless entertainment and a great friend.

lately, she likes to sit on my feet while i try to sew, which is both completely endearing and slightly annoying.

more totes.

totes. you know, for toting purposes. i updated my etsy shop just now with some new totes. i will be updating and re-stocking the shop quite frequently this week, so check back often. the totes i added today have tons of pockets for snacks and electronics and books and toys and everything you need during your busy days at work, school or play.

and can i just say that i am quite proud of myself for learning some small bits of technology recently. the boy in my life is visiting family in galicia, spain for three weeks. up until now i have been so spoiled. he does most things for me that involve technology or electronics, and he takes all of the photographs for madebyhank, because he is quite handy with cameras of all sorts. just before he left, he gave me a one-hour tutorial on how to format a disk for the camera, take a photograph, upload it, and get it ready for etsy.

that's right folks. i had no idea how to do any of these things until last week because i am pathetically behind the times. but in the interest of keeping the shop updated, i learned. which means i actually took the above photographs! by myself! (well, in all fairness the camera is set to automatic and i only know how to do about three simple actions on photoshop, but for me that is HUGE.)