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!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

how do you say when you protect yourself?

i just wanted a small break. i have been cutting and cutting and cutting since 8:30 a.m. (and i did not go to bed until 4 a.m. last night). so i decided to wonder in blogland, which something i have not done for quite a while, because i cannot be trusted in blogland. what starts as a ten minute break always turns into three hours later.

but not today. i hopped over to swissmiss first, and found exactly what i needed. this video is pretty much the best thing that i have seen or heard in a really long time. it is a bit lengthy, but gets better and better as it goes on. so grab a cookie (or three!), and listen to this amazing tale.

Once upon a time... from Capucha on Vimeo.

oh, french babies.

Friday, November 14, 2008

wood you believe how much i love these

i accidentally stumbled upon these little wonderfuls somewhere in internetworld the other day, and immediately scooped one up for manny. he has been looking for just the right business card holder for a while now, and i knew right away this one wood be perfect.

i had intended to save it as part of his set of holiday gifts, but when i opened the package, i had a hard time waiting an hour, let alone a month or so! seriously people, these are so great. the craftsmanship and quality is amazing. it arrived lightning fast and perfectly packaged. i was very impressed.

i choose zebrawood, but he also makes them in ebony and white oak and australian lacewood, among others.

oh, and they are fifteen dollars, which is less than a sandwich and a beer these days!

new roundy-bottoms

new roundy-bottomed zipper purses in the shop today

i know that i promised a giant shop update, but instead there will be three installments between now and tuesday, as we get things photographed.

i just finished adding a new set of roundy-bottomed zipper purses. they are officially in the shop.

more coming soon, some of these guys...

coming soon

coming soon

coming soon

...and also some purse size purses and clutches.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


not one, not two, but five very sweet ladies sent me messages (thank you!) to let me know that i was i was mentioned as exemplary listing of the week in an email (etsy success: tips & techniques) from etsy etsy.

the text reads: Using models, and staging them well, can bring life to your item listings! madebyhank, keeps their handbag the main focus of this shot, while using a model, quite nicely!

this is a bit exciting and just a little funny, because mostly the photos are just quick shots, taken outside because we don't get much natural light in our place. also because each bag is different, each bag has to be photographed (which can become quite time-consuming), so usually i just hold them because it is a bit quicker/easier (and sometimes they look a bit lonely without a person). also, i detest having my photo taken , but my feet don't mind at all!

edit: i also want to say that 99.999% of the photographs are taken by the wonderful manuel dominguez,jr. he is amazing and loves me even when i make him take 75 photos of handbags every other day or so (and even when i am cranky and impatient about it- which is also about 99% of the time!).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

just a few

i just finished listing a few new tough ruffles purses in my shop. they are all small in size and grey in color.

i am working on a [fairly] giant update for the end of this week (including lots of new roundy-bottomed zipper purses!). i will keep you posted.

animal crackers

i just thought i would share this with you. one of my favorite songs of all time. it always makes me happy, even when i sew through my index finger again, and even when it takes me a second to take my foot off the pedal, so this time the needle went through three times. at least it didn't go through my fingernail this time.

Oh, eat your animal crackers
'Cause my mother told me so long ago,
If you eat your animal crackers,
The children in Europe won't starve anymore.
Ha ha hahaha hahaha.
Oh, once I went on a diet,
A carbohydrate diet ain't nice
'Cause you can't eat animal crackers.
So, I'm gonna stay a fatty for all of my life,
Ha ha hahaha hahahaha.
But some people think that fatties are nice, yeah.
I love eating ice cream,
Chocolate, vanilla and butter pecan,
But I best love animal crackers
'Cause I love helping my fellow man.
Yeah, I really do.

Did you ever hear of Alice's restaurant?
I eat at Alice's restaurant year after year.
She makes an animal cracker pizza, ha
And she gives animal crackers
out free with the beer.
Oh, let's give Alice a great big cheer.
She knows the age of the animal cracker is here.
Ah, animal crackers are in this year!
Ha ha hahaha.
Oh, lalalalala lala lala

Friday, November 7, 2008

one thing you do not want to do is miss this

Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here
November 22, 2008 – January 10, 2009
Opening: November 22nd,

Book signing: 6 - 8pm
Party!: 8-10pm starring DJ Cosmo, aka "brother"

Silverstein Photography
535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
P: 212-627-3930

Silverstein Photography is pleased to announce Zoe Strauss: AMERICA: We Love Having You Here, an exhibition featuring works from Strauss’ last eight years of photographing throughout the United States including her most recent excursions. Many of the images in the show are also featured in her forthcoming book of the same title.

please go to her show and buy her book and also read her blog. zoe strauss. that's all there is to say. zoe strauss.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

how the wu-tang clan changed my feet forever

in high school (and today) one of my favorite albums was/is the wu-tang forever album. i had almost all of it memorized and to this day, i tend to randomly repeat some of the lyrics. about four years ago, i was repeating one of the talking parts on the album. i am not sure who it is speaking, but there are a few lines where they are mocking someone. it goes something like this:

what's up with your Speak-N-Spell shoes
Fisher Price my first Timberlands
you gotta get some chuckas, fucka

at the moment i was at work, and someone in the room was attempting to win an ebay auction. so when they asked what "chuckas" were, i did an ebay search to try to explain, and much to my surprise, the best. most comfortable, warmest, loveliest, made-for-my-feet-by-magical-elves shoes came up(they were still new in the box!). three hours later, no one else had bid, so i won the right to buy them for only six dollars and ninety-nine cents (plus probably like ten dollars shipping, but who's counting). the second they arrived on my doorstep, it was love.

i LOVE these shoes. and they have loved me for so long. because i have worn them just about every day for the past three or four falls and winters and most of the springs too, they are starting to fall apart a bit. i have searched and searched for the past three years for another pair, to no avail. each year, companies tend to change their styles just a bit, and though they have similar styles, nothing compares. they are seriously the warmest most comfortable shoes (they have magical pillows inside that happen to cushion my arches perfectly), and the best part is, they kind of make me feel like i have deer hooves.

they are made by a company called bjorn (there is an umlaut over the "o", but i do not know how to type that). if anyone ever ever sees them in a size 36, please please please tell me where and i will reward you with pies and sewings and small happy gifts forever and ever.

the photos were taken by manny, the first time we hung out on purpose. if you look at the second one, you can see that i am turning my feet almost backwards. that's my party trick.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

something wonderful

hooray! hooray! we did it!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

fun times

so as most of you know, last night was halloween. we spent the better part of the morning in four different thrift stores searching for a costume for manny. i recently purchased a rabbit mask (i just really wanted one- not because it was halloween, though the timing worked out quite well!), so he decided to be a hunter. i sewed him a sweet little double barrel shotgun (in about thirty minutes, so it was a bit wonky) to complete the look.

i hung with the dimasi family for a bit (i used to be their nanny), and lila and enzo of course made me so laugh a whole lot. when we were walking to the halloween party they were headed to, i was making small talk with lila and asked her who she is voting for. without even a hint of hesitation, she said "barack obama". she is five years old. i did not actually expect a response, but the one i got made me very happy. apparently she saw a program on television where kids vote for who they would pick for president if they could.

then manny and i headed over to silicon gallery. he and kaitlin were having a closing party for their show that was up this past month, mixed with a bit of a halloween party. we called it a night pretty early, after heading over to jb's for some snacks and drinks.

above, left to right: jeff as a spaceman, kyle as a gorilla, manny as a hunter, me as a rabbit, kaitlin as a vampire (she had really good fangs!), and james as a sailor

rick thought it was completely hilarious that a rabbit was sending text messages. those beautiful photographs you see in the background were taken by kaitlin (manny's were on the opposite wall).

all of the above photos were taken by rick de coyte