everything under the sun so get comfy Q&A

I intended to whip this post up a little sooner but I’m going to be quite honest. I’ve been procrastinating a bit. While a Q&A post is likely the easiest to write, this one addresses my textile line and I’ll get to why I’ve been rather hush hush about it in a moment.
{Every post is prettier with pictures, so I’ll be sprinkling in a glimpse of a project that I finished this weekend and a photo of my little guy playing football!}
On with the Q&A…
Why am I truncating my feeds? What is a scraper? What is truncating?!
For those of you who subscribe to my feeds in a reader or via email {thank you!}, you can no longer view an entire post without clicking over to my blog. What you see is shortened, or truncated. That is because of scraper sites that like to steal the creative content of others in order to make their sites fancy and increase traffic with little work.
(I hit the honey hole on vintage tool boxes a couple of weeks ago.)

They are different than feature sites that will feature a photo or two of a project with a link back to my site. The “aggregate” scraper sites steal entire feeds, often without a link back to the original source. When they do link back, there is absolutely no reason for a reader to visit the original source because everything is already there. Not only are they violating creative copyrights, these site take traffic from me and so many other bloggers without anything in return.
One more boring technical explanation: Google does not like duplicate content (the same content on two different sites) so it hurts us in search engines too.
I try hard to provide fresh and original content so I appreciate your understanding and going through the extra click to see an entire post. I hope with all my heart that you think my content is worth it!
What is your favorite dye?
Rit Dye. But, it’s the only one I’ve ever used. If any of you want to chime in with a dye that you love more, feel free as a bird.
How do you balance family with blogging?
Trick question. I’ll actually be addressing this next week in a feature post.
Why did you join an advertising network?
In a nutshell: I need a new camera and lenses, Adobe Illustrator, a Wacom Bamboo tablet (for my textile line)…and other things that will help my creative dreams become a reality. It took me two whole years, but I finally joined a network {BlogHer} last month.
I have tried to keep my sidebar relatively clean and clutter free, supporting only small handmade businesses. You may remember that last year, I had the lovely vintage market where creative folks could advertise their handmade businesses, Etsy shops, etc. Given the irregularity of my posting schedule (that started on or about the time my twins turned two!), I stopped accepting shops into the vintage market last September.
I have plans to resume the vintage market and make it even {lovelier} than before, but until then, advertising in a network allows me to save up those nickels for the things I need without feeling the need to post content daily. I work hard on my blog and it just makes sense to enable the tools that allow me to grow. Aesthetically, a clutter-free sidebar was lovely. Financially, it wasn’t.
I considered pitching my creative business dreams on kickstarter, but I’m not one to ask for anything, even with such a supportive bunch of readers. Saving up my ad network revenue will get me the things I need eventually!
Yeah. So what about that textile line dream?
I am often asked about my line and while I’m fine with sharing my thoughts via email, I haven’t been comfortable with writing this online. Simply put, if I don’t have anything nice to say, I prefer to say nothing at all. But, you are all so supportive and part of this dream and I want you know what’s going on with it.
The bottom line is,
I intended to use a custom fabric printing service that many love, but I didn’t.
There. I said it.
I want to explain this gracefully so I’m not mentioning the specific company name here because I do think it’s a truly creative and unique service that has allowed several amateur and professional designers, including other bloggers, to bring their beautiful textile creations to life. But, when it boils down to my dream and what I personally love about laundry, it wasn’t working for me.
I have always been far more in love with the way a fabric {feels} than the design itself.
I’m a texture girl.
Plain and simple.
I have certain expectations when paying $18-$28 for a single yard of fabric and while I totally get that I am paying for the cost to have my designs printed without a significant initial investment in entire bolts, etc., I really have to love it.
And I didn’t.
I loved the voile…
…but that was it.
The fabric didn’t feel like I want it to feel, the whites weren’t white enough, and the printed designs varied in clarity and color across swatches of voile, a cotton linen blend, and cotton poplin. On voile, my design was clear and a true gray, but it took on a purple hue on the others.
Soaking in OxiClean whitened the cotton poplin up a bit (You can see a comparison in the last two swatches on the right.), but I also experienced fading of my printed design, despite ironing beforehand as recommended. I want my laundry to look faded and worn and wouldn’t mind the slight fading after the first wash, but when it comes down to it, I don’t want to launch a line and cross my fingers that it doesn’t fade too much and you’ll love it. I want to know that you will, from a quality perspective.
I want to love it, too.
I thought about tweaking colors (especially grays) for the different fabrics, buying yardage myself, ironing it, washing it and then selling it in my shop, but that would ultimately mean a higher cost per yard and it still won’t fix the way the fabric feels. I even considered whipping my line into pillows, etc. and sell a finished product.
That’s not my textile dream though.
My dream is, in addition to pre-made pillows and wares,
pretty little bolts of faded and worn linen all in a row,
that you can buy yards of and use for whatever your creative heart chooses.
In my mind, I’ve always pictured a vintage chic shop like the Oelson’s Mercantile (only whiter) in Little House on the Prairie. Do you remember it?
Caroline would walk in with Laura, Mary and Grace and there the bolts would be, stacked up in darling little layers. Harriet or Nellie would usually make a snarky remark and Laura (or Nels!) would hand it right back to them. Loved it!
I remember the blue floral that Caroline chose for Sunday dresses and bonnets, and how Harriet neatly folded and wrapped it. (Yeah. I was an attentive child.)
I just realized the little sign says, ”Fancy & Plain.”
I still have a lot to learn as a designer too, so sourcing someone who can print my designs on dreamy cotton and linen isn’t the only holdup. I feel like I need more training on how to bring a thought or sketch to graphic design life on fabric more organically. Even if I have to hire someone. My prints tend to have a geometric quality to them as far as pattern repeats go. So, everything is still a work in progress. Maybe my pretty little bolts of faded and worn fabric all in a row don’t need to be printed. I’ve been working on two unique collections that aren’t printed at all. I’ll be sharing my “Softly Spoken” collection soon.
I just tell myself that Rachel Ashwell (Shabby Chic Couture) and Christina Strutt (Cabbages & Roses) didn’t know a darn thing about textiles at one point too. And, I’m pretty certain they didn’t announce to a group of friends that they were launching a textile line and roll it out two months later, solo. Maybe like me, they initially thought it would be as easy as flippin’ pancakes. ;)
I mention Rachel Ashwell & Christina Strutt often because they are such inspiration. Their stories are quite different too. Rachel was a single mom and launched the Shabby Chic brand when her children were little. Christina stayed home with her littles and waited to launch Cabbages & Roses. Two different paths. Both successful. You can read my interview with Christina Strutt here. You can read a bit about Rachel’s path in her books or on these sites here and here.
These words stood out in the Huffington Post interview:
“The most important element in an entrepreneur, I believe, is to have a service or product that you fully believe in–one that you think is unique and needed. Business is hard and passion drives the engine when money is scarce. And unexpected challenges occur. Start small but strong and don’t over invest — start with the bare necessities. It’s always easier to grow than to shrink.”
- Rachel Ashwell
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through blogging, it’s that it can take you places that your little dreams never even thought of. I want to be confident and prepared (at least with the “bare necessities”), following the advice of those before me.
I can honestly say that I’d be pleased as punch selling yards & bolts of fabric out of a little shop in my hometown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want pretty little bolts of faded and worn fabric sitting all in a row in a shop in London. Who wouldn’t?!
I might seem like a mess sometimes, but I have a lot of thinkin’ going on in this messy, red head of mine.
Just not always sure how to turn the thinkin’ into reality.
Thank you for sticking by my side
(and hopefully enjoying the textile journey with me!) while I figure it out.
My make and model didn’t come with GPS. ;)
(And my favorite ice cream flavor is a toss up between Butter Pecan and Pumpkin Spice.)

Yes. I left-justified my text so the wordy post wasn’t 3 miles long!


  1. Anne says:

    I enjoyed reading this! I truncate my posts.So I understand all of that.How exciting to be planning a fabric line! I know with your talent it will be beautiful.And you will know when the time is right too! Boy I wish I could sew.I envy all of you that can!

  2. Jane says:

    Hi Jami, thanks for sharing your thoughts (totally get the truncated post thing – you’re worth the extra click!). I’m glad to hear you’re still pursuing your fabric line, but taking the time to make sure it’s right. I admire you for that!

    Thanks for the great inspiration.


  3. Hey Jami…I started truncating my posts too. I don’t think anything has been stolen from my blog but I felt it was still the right thing to do. Good for you on following your textile dream and making it come true on your terms. I have not signed up for BlogHer but seeing it on your blog makes me think it might be OK. The pop ups just drive me nut though. :o)

  4. I’m the nut. I meant nuts.

  5. SuzyMcQ says:

    It may sound trite, Jami, but don’t sell out. You have a vision, you have talent and drive and it will come….with patience and continued hard work, but it will come. In addition you have an incredible amount of support in all of your loyal followers…the wind beneath your wings!

  6. Angela says:

    I ..think…you…are…awesome! Sending big virtual hugs :)

  7. The Moerks says:

    Jami, it sounds like exciting times! It is clear you are firm about what you want and have appropriately high expectations. Fantastic, stick to your dream, I am sure it will be wonderful.

  8. :) This was a fun update Jami! Hope the fabric printing comes together for you cause I know if you get fabric you love the feel of I will love it too! And I’m with you – it has to feel right!

  9. awal.ny says:

    I have read on several different sites about the pirating of posts and that is just not right.
    I am sure that you will do great at whatever you choose to do, just have fun doing it.
    On another note, I just found out that YOU are going to be at the Purple Painted Lady Barn sale Sept 22. I found out about this sale through a vendor in my home town. I was already planning on trying to make it to the show but it would be even better to meet a blogger that I so enjoy reading. Hope to see you there.

  10. sigh. . . you know, Jami, anyone who references LHOTP (books OR tv show) is a kindred spirit to me. And let’s not forget the fact that Ma picked out those yard goods (deep sky blue with a tiny flower pattern) for HERSELF – and then decided to make dresses for Mary and Laura (to wear to the the exhibition at school where Laura “read” an essay that she did not write because she only knew small words).

    Ma is good.
    She cooks.
    She sews.

    is what she really wrote. . .
    See what happens when you mention LHOTP around me?
    As far as your textile line goes. . .I’m glad that the final product will be something YOU will really love because I know that we will love it in turn.
    I loved this post – now maybe I can go write one of my own!

  11. chris says:

    Love you and your dreams…pure and simple.

  12. just heard of the bamboo tablet the other day!! it looks awesome! good for you for knowing what you want and sticking to it! :)

  13. Alima says:

    Totally worth an extra click to read your posts! Doesn’t bother me a bit – I can’t imagine that it would for anyone.

    I didn’t know about your fabric line, but it sounds amazing. Pretty little bolts of faded linen sounds perfect! Take your time. The right opportunity will come along. No need to settle with something you aren’t in love with!

  14. Suzy says:

    Jami, you have a dream, a plan and the right attitude; stick to it, don’t compromise your dream for someone else’s.

  15. Jane says:

    Oh Jami, you gorgeous girl. I am so over-the-moon excited for you and your dreams! How fabulous. I can’t wait to see what evolves. And yes, I used to adore seeing that fabric on the telly, too! J x

  16. Marian says:

    So interesting to hear about this journey! I am always amazed where I find myself as this little world of barn saling takes me to places I would never have imagined myself. I am so proud of you for sticking to your guns about quality and the “feel” of things. I agree. Feel is everything with fabric. That’s half the fun of making stuff. So yay for you. You’ll find the right manufacturer, I’m sure. Just keep looking and learning. It will all be useful sometime.

  17. Olde Tyme Marketplace says:

    I think this was my favorite.post.ever.

  18. HRH Sarah says:

    I’m with you on Pumpkin Spice ;)
    Loved the post, and so happy to hear in detail about your dreams for you “Laundry”. Can’t wait to see where it takes you! xo

  19. HRH Sarah says:

    YOUR laundry, sorry- typo

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