Sitting, ever faithful, my mascot. I noticed her across the way here today, and it struck me how beautiful and appreciated she is. She models my earmuffs and hats. She has been responsible for so much of my success.
I chuck her around and implement her without too much thought, usually. She serves me. She serves me well, with her unique, cartoonish, art deco, and yes, in-your-face beauty. She is Isab-elle.
I adopted her in 2012 at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. She is definitely the best $60 I ever spent.
–That’s what occupied my time and my heart this weekend.
As I worked, CNN was queued on the TV — “drowned out” a bit by the rat-a-tat-tat of my sewing machine. I marathon-ed 7 gorgeous pillow covers since Friday and all the while, my thoughts and best wishes were with everyone affected by the storm. I am pretty amazed at how cool the people of the state of Florida are (and Texas too, for that matter); their composure, organization, grace and resilience. I have no doubt that they will be back on their feet in record time.
I hope that you will all be home-sweet-home and settled in again soon.
It takes me about an hour and a half to take apart a coat and get it ready to make something. I prepped two coats today. One is a medium brown beaver coat and the other is a geometrically-cut mahogany mink fur coat. I’ll be making two pillow covers from each. See some of my other recycled fur and faux fur pillows here. I’ll definitely be making a couple of teddy bears too.
There is sO much going on inside a fur coat, and I have to take my time and a lot of care to not cut what I’m not supposed to cut! And since I don’t have a studio with a giant table, the floor it is. So..ow.
I started making these stuffed, faux fur cat shaped pillows in 2012, inspired by our much-loved black Persian cat, Oscar.
Since then I’ve sold countless versions of the elle Vintage Cat Pillows, in black, white, greys, grey and white, pinks, blue, red, browns and leopard prints. See them all here.
Some of the versions I’ve created and still stock, are the result of custom order requests. A few years ago, a customer emailed me and asked me to make a grey cat pillow, with a fluffy white belly, to look like her cat. I made it for her and she loved it, so I made more and listed it. It’s now my third most popular cat pillow, after black and white.
Might its appeal have something to do with the coincidentally similar Totoro character?
I’m often asked, “Where are the eyes?” Well, they don’t have any because they aren’t stuffed animals — they are actually functional, practical and remarkably comfortable, what are essentially 10″ x 18″ pillows. They measure about 25″ in full length with the fluffy, stuffed tail.
Cat lovers and children love them. They really look like actual cats, nestled on the couch, adding interest and whimsy to the living room decor, or as a fun bed pillow in the bedroom.
Many of my customers have purchased one because it reminds them their lost cat and so they can be very comforting. Our dear Oscar is no longer with us, but each and every time I make a fluffy black cat pillow, I pause to remember him and how much we loved and miss him. It’s a nice feeling.
I’m always reading articles about how to market your online shop. Along with the usual product and sales feature suggestions and guides, another common suggestion is to show a little behind-the-scenes imagery. The idea is to give our audience a break from the “buy this!” posts, by showing the day-to-day inner workings of our home businesses.
Well, I have always thought that this suggestion shouldn’t apply to me and elle Vintage, since, well, it’s hairy embarrassing!
But I’m just back from vacation in the beautiful nature of Northern Ontario, doing nothing but spending time with family and family that I haven’t seen in years — and enjoying meeting new family members. So the change of scenery has relaxed me to the point that the image of the elle Vintage behind-the-scenes is actually striking me as very funny today.
So here it is, a typical day here, in all its glory.
Below is this same room… at this moment.
But not for long. I’m about to open up shop again to make the orders that came in while I was with the sun and the swimming and the lolling around, being waited on hand and foot…