Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We're shooting for Thursday

It looks like Thursday is a realistic day to open.  Johanna and Martha bossed me around all day to get the place organized and ready.  It's looking pretty good.

We also had tons of help from Mike, David, Kathy, Irene (Nicola's mom), Laurie, Tiana and Torii.  Thanks to all for folding t-shirts, tagging things, painting, nailing, moving, assembling, dis-assembling, photoshopping, etc etc.

Also, thanks to Genny and Mandy and Johanna for this awesome ad:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Almost there.

We're getting really close to having the construction done, and I am getting a little nervous.

What was I thinking?

The house is over-flowing with merchandise.  I sure hope people still have a lot more Christmas shopping to do, because we have gifts.  And cards. And Christmas ornaments. And fun books. And jewelry. And a boatload of very cool t-shirts.  All we have to do is tag 'em, carry everything over, set it all up, open the doors, and see who walks in.

What could possibly go wrong.

I just started a Facebook page, and I am working on the website.

Here's what it looks like inside:

And here are some earlier stages of constuction:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I have been sewing costumes for the high school plays since my daughter was a freshman 8 years ago.  It's so much fun.  I get to make really big sparkly over-the-top things and people want them and go ooh aah and I get to see them on stage.  That's the good part.  The bad part is looking for the right pair of shoes at the Goodwill for someone, or making ten indentical tunics, and even that's not so bad.

I also got hooked up with No Square Theater - Lagunatics, which is a local theater group that does a summer show and a spoof about Laguna Beach in the fall.  I did Rocky Horror Picture Show for them, and a bunch of other things that involved goat costumes, aliens, nude statues, elephants, a rhinocerous, etc.

Turns out my husband David is REALLY GOOD at making props, too.  He made a magic mirror for Beauty and the Beast, a dead deer for A Lie of the Mind, and now he is working on a magic cane.

Here's a club he made out of a stick and foam. It's going to be used by Jack in the Beanstock to kill the giant.

And here's a dress that Cinderella will wear to the ball.  I added the sleeves and blinged it up.  This dress started out being a quincanera dress that someone donated to the high school, and when our daughter's friend Genny saw it on the floor she said, "Hey, that's my old dress!  I sold it to someone at a garage sale."  I guess this is a really small town.

Also, the witch's dress.  It started out white, I dyed it blue and added a bunch of bling.

Last but not least, I made this "Beatrice hat" (from the royal wedding) for a guy to wear in the drag number in Lagunatics.  When he came out on stage the first time wearing it, I heard someone in the audience whisper, "Beatrice" so at least someone got it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I love these bags

So, I quit my job as a programmer on Friday in anticipation of becoming a retailer.  As I was cleaning out my desk I came across a post-it with two adages that I had written down for some reason, which I will share.

One is Muphry's law, that says "if you write anything criticizing editing or proofreading there will be a fault of some kind in what you have written".   This is a play on Murphy's law, of course.

The other one was Sturgeon's law, that reads "ninety percent of everything is crap". 

So, I was thinking about this ninety percent rule, and I'm not sure about the exact ratio, but there certainly is a lot of crap out there, something I am really going to try to avoid having in our store.  We'll see how that works out, but that's the plan. 

In that light, I want to sing the praises of these bags we are going to carry.  Each is hand made, has incredible detail, and is definitely the opposite of crap.  I love just looking at the amazing work by this woman who makes them.  They come from company called Totem, and it's basically this one woman making these bags.  I keep trying to buy more from her, but you can only get a couple at a time.

Here they are against the cinderblock wall in the store, which has since been sandblasted.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

More fabric!

This was such a great find at the Santa Monica flea market.  I came across a booth where a woman was selling bags of rayon from the 40's and they were just beautiful.  Then, as I was pawing through the fabric, I realized that I recognized the fabric, because I owned a dress made from one piece.  It turns out this woman had a shop on Melrose in LA, where she sold these beautiful, handmade dresses.  They were REALLY pricey--even the one that I bought which was on sale.  Well, she closed her shop, and here was all the fabric!  Score!

I have a lot of ideas but right now I am in the process of making some things for a local play called Lagunatics.  I'm making a hat like the one Beatrice wore to the royal wedding for a drag queen number.  Photos coming when I finish.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fabric and bias tape

I have been on a fabric jag for a while.  Especially vintage rayon from the 40s.  Then I realized that 50s cotton is so pretty, and even 80s big flowery prints are fun.  So I have a whole assortment of fabric that eventually I am going to make a bunch of things out of, like skirts, tops, dresses, you name it. 

Then, I had to start collecting vintage patterns to go with the vintage fabric.  I even found a pattern on Ebay that my sister Kathy and I both sewed in the 70s.

Finally, I got a ton of bias tape, because I like the colors, and also because it's easier than cutting out facing. 

Why is it so much more fun to buy the patterns and fabric than it is to sew?  I guess that's how I ended up with so much beautiful untouched fabric.  Even if I don't sew it all, I just like LOOKING at it, and folding and re-folding it.  They just don't make stuff like this anymore.

So far I have made several dresses and skirts, but they are all summery, so I will have to wait till Fall and Winter are over to bring them out.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Homage to Coco Chanel

Genny was the photographer, and Mandy modeled in this photo which is an homage to Coco Chanel (yes, I used the word homage).  The jewelry and the hat will both be available in the store.  I think the picture is very cool, but SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOU.  Ok, but this was the 40s when they didn't know any better.

Monday, September 5, 2011

You saw it here first

You'll never guess what this is.  It may look like an old door, but it's actually a card rack (minus the paint for the stand, and the acrylic J-trays that will be screwed on at the end.  David is busy making the stands out of plywood in the garage, then we'll paint them a matching color, and I am going to make sand bags out of vintage fabric to make them more stable.  I am pretty sure we are the first people to do this.  I could be wrong, but it seems likely.  So, if you see these somewhere else in a couple years, you know the idea started right here.

We actually have 3 of these old doors, and the other 2 are cooler.  One has glass panes and a brass backplate with a glass doorknob, and the other has a curved top and multiple colors of paint showing.

I've been working on fixing this necklace I got at a flea market, that was broken in several places.  I replaced the string with silk string and just sort of fixed it up.  It's pretty cute.

We also got some things from a guy going out of business (old wood salvage) in Orange.  The place was pretty interesting, filled with old wood precariously stored on two levels in a rickety old building.  We got a bench, an old milk crate, and a gate.  I think we're going to make a table out of the gate, because it's a nice color, and nice old wood (tongue and groove).

I waxed both the bench and the gate 3 times already, and I think I am going to add a few more coats.  It really makes a nice finish.  In fact, I think I am going to try the wax out on the old antique door in front of the store.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

See you soon at Twig

My husband David and I are in the process of remodeling our shop at 1175 South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.  For locals, it's the old Asian Antique shop right next door to the Sandpiper.  If you go way back, it was originally built for the United Lodge of Theosophists, back in the 60s.  Turns out it was designed by an interesting architect at the time--Gregory Ains.  Ains worked for Richard Neutra, a well-known modern architect, in the 50s.  It's not a fancy building at all, just cinderblock and concrete, but the one interesting design feature is a room with a pyramid ceiling, and a skylight in the middle of the pyramid.  It's pretty cool.  We're going to remove the paint on the cinderblocks, drywall the ceiling, sand the floors, and pretty much leave it very simple.

Then we're going to fill it with gifts to sell.

Now, I have never sold gifts before.  Neither has David.  In fact, neither of us have ever worked in retail, unless you count the vegetable market (me) and McDonalds (David) where we worked way way back before college.  However, I have read the book "Retail for Dummies" from cover to cover, so what go wrong?

Also, I like to shop, especially for vintage things.  In fact, I go to flea markets whenever we travel.  I have a tole lamp hanging in the bathroom that I carried home from a flea market in Paris, and every time I visited my daughter at school in Boston, I would go to the flea markets there (the best!).  Now our son is in college in Pennsylvania which has awesome flea markets, yeah! 

But not everything in the store is vintage.  But even the new things harken back to days gone by.  I really love jewlery from the 40s (and jewelry in general) so there will be lots of that.  Also, lots of lamps (tole!) and some industrial age lamps that remind one of Jules Verne.  The cards, tshirts, books, pottery, etc all have some element from the past, particularly the 40s and 50s.  And the colors look like Bauer pottery--aqua, pale green, creamy yellow, that type of thing.

Here's some idea of what we're talking about:

And this:

We've also been to gifts shows, and I have been poring over catalogs and websites, looking for things that will amuse and amaze.  For instance, I found the candles I think we will carry, simply by googling "What is the best scented candle?"   I got a few that I am trying out, to see if the reviews are right.

We probably have a month or so of renovation, so we're looking at September/October to open.  I am really excited about this.  David says that it has always been his dream not to have a giftshop, so that's a bummer for him. (He's kidding...sort of.)  But he has been very supportive and is even sawing and sanding stuff in the garage that we'll use as fixtures.  I think he's having fun, and I am for sure.

More to come...