Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Crunch time has arrived...
less than two weeks til my first holiday show!
It will be my first time doing Crafty Balboa and I am anticipating a great show with lots of other talented artists!

I will also be making the rounds with the Traveling Wares Holiday Show, my fourth year in case you are keeping track!
You can find me at the 700 Club and Dirty Franks this year ONLY!

DECEMBER 12th - Dirty Franks
347 S. 13th St.

DECEMBER 18th - 700 Club
700 N. 2nd St.

I'll be selling my usual (or unusual, if you like) array of handbags, clutches, scarves, headbands, hair clips, wallets, newsboy caps, and hats.
Here's a preview:

I've got a new item perfect for eye glasses, pencils/pens, money/checkbook, etc:

And I've FINALLY settled on a winter wardrobe item...CAPES!!!

I don't know if its the wool or the vintage patterns, but I'm finding them quite sophisticated and charming. I made this pattern back in college...and I actually found it...all the pieces...on one pattern hook...UNBELIEVABLE...a miracle of sorts...not that I am unorganized per se...but have you seen my workspace?! A little overwhelming at times, especially this time of year. Sooooo, yeah, total win on that one! My dear friend, the beautiful and talented Erin B., helped me decide on the pattern and also modeled the capes! She's the best! Check her blog for all things crafty!

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel.

Recognize some of this fabric?! In the past year I have been generously given so many materials that I cannot even begin express my gratitude.

I'd like to specifically thank Aunt Helen and Michelle for all the wonderful fabric. In addition to the fabric and just as appreciated and valuable to me was hearing my Aunt Helen tell me that my grandmother (THE Jean of phea jean) would be thrilled to know that I was sewing and very proud of me. It is not often that people tell me stories of my grandmother (who passed away when I was 3 years old), but most times it is in correlation to my sewing and being creative because she was definitely all of those things and more. So, thank you for your kind words and hopefully the time will not be long before we see each other again!

I also had the privilege of meeting a very special lady, Victoria Andresen, over the summer. Victoria has known my father for over 10 years and he put us in touch a few years ago when I started making handbags because she, too, made handbags. Like so many crafty people, Victoria had acquired quite a stash of fabric, buttons, and other notions which she no longer needed...I was of course interested when she emailed me asking if I wanted these items! Never having met before, I arrived at Victoria's house and we instantly clicked! We talked for hours- she had so many good stories (about crafting and life in general) and her house had so many interesting items that had a lot of history to tell. We were having such a fun time, I almost forgot she was going to be giving me sewing materials! The stuff she gave me was AMAZING! I couldn't believe it! I'm still in awe of this stuff even now, months later. Really, the whole experience of meeting Victoria was so cool and the materials on top of that was a bonus! I hope that I can be that great when I am older! Thank you, Victoria, for being kind (and a straight-shooter, my favorite kind of person!) and welcoming me into your home and sharing your creativity! I am glad that we are now friends!
Now that Victoria has retired from the grueling craft show circuit, she has found a new creative outlet: KNIT A BEAR

The book includes easy to understand instructions on how to create these little friends!
She also makes these cute gifts for babies!!!
I would also like to give a hoot and a holler to a lovely member of my famiglia, Nico and her blog Up Gemini -where she photographically captures the wondrous world!
Well, as you can imagine, sewing doesn't happen on its own, so back to the machine! I must say that I got a good start this year and am not too crazed at the moment.
Hope to see you at the upcoming shows!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fall is here!
I love the cool breeze, the colors, the smells, everything...LOVE LOVE LOVE the fall.
Not to mention the occurance of my favorite and only holiday that matters in my mind...HALLOWEEN!!!
No, it's not too early to be thinking about a costume.
The point is, now that I'm done sweating my ass off and have motivation to do other things that don't include submerging my entire body into ice cold water, I'M EXCITED (in case you can't tell by my overusage of capital letters)!
Summer wasn't that bad...I did manage to make some pretty awesome summer dresses, if you didn't get one, sorry friend, you'll have to wait til next year!

And some clutches... I also organized some buttons! Seriously, is this not one of the most amazing things you've ever seen?! Pretty much brings tears of joy every time I look at those babies all color coordinated and sorted. This was the result of many days spent inside when I got the August. I'm better now, thanks for asking.

And on a personal note, I brought the mohawk back! But not before the peacock feather and other fun hair designs!
HUGE shout out to the lovely and ubertalented Erin Anderson, owner and stylist of Fringe Salon for hooking me up with all the hair do's. Go there! And then visit Elissa Kara at Nice Things Handmade across the street and buy some cool digs. East Passyunk Avenue is where it's at, in case you didn't know.

So what am I working on now? Good question.
I've made a few goliath wallets by request. Super tricky, I promise.
READY? okay, here it goes...

These puppies can fit A LOT of stuff!!!! Man, I have to make one for myself!

I've also been working on newsboy hats which I personally will be rockin as the weather continues to cool off now that I've got so little insulation (hair) on my head!

Another great reason to look forward to fall is the annual Swap O Rama Rama that is going to be held this year on October 3rd from 12-5 at the Naval Yard. This is the 3rd year the swap is happening in Philly, and my 3rd year workin' the sewing machine at the event. M&J Trims in NYC has donated again this year and I will be available to embellish all the goodies you score on the floor! This years SORR is blowin up, getting huger by the day...crazy sponorships, guest speakers, workshops, VIP tickets (to include personal stylist and spa services...NO JOKE), and much more I'm not even aware of. Tickets should be going on sale this week, so do not miss out. Go to the Philly Swap's website for more information and to purchase tickets!

Hopefully this all sounds good and exciting and you will take my advice and continue to buy pretty things from me.
I'll feel happy about it.

xo Amber

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

sunny days ahead

With temps promising to be in the 80's this weekend, it will be the perfect time to break out warm weather wardrobe!
For the ladies (and some men) that means DRESSES!!!!
Just received another "shipment" of vintage fabric that literally had me jumping up and down like a little girl, I was so excited! Excitement feeds inspiration and vice versa, so you know I've been working on ultra cute dresses with some amazing prints. I'm even surprising myself with a love of these floral prints which are typically not my favorite. I guess it's different when it's vintage -real vintage- fabric. Not that there is anything wrong with reproduction fabrics, but everythings better the first time around when it comes to this sort of a thing.
Here's a taste...

Another interesting print destined for long rectangular pillows...

I have absolutely fallen in love with this batik fabric...

What do I do to deserve such amazing fabric?! Two words: Boat Cushions.
VIP all summer on the water, and I'll be looking fly in phea jean summer dresses to match my tan. Will you?!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2010

Is it too late to wish everyone a happy new year?!
Hope 20-10 is treating you all swell thus far...
No complaints on the phea jean front.
I've been enjoying a practically stress-free environment in the after-the-holidays break I've rewarded myself with.
Being your own boss is cool sometimes.

So I haven't been on total hiatus, working on some new things, semi-quietly.
You may have heard rumor of these tunic dresses. Yeah, that's not happening. At least not now anyway. I tried some patterns, I wasn't feeling it- can't force creativity I've learned. I was kinda bummed about it, but no inspiration was striking me and I'm not about to produce anything that I don't 100% love and want to wear myself, and the dresses-the sizing-grading of patterns-blah-blah-blah, totally turned me off. Being reminded of all the pain in the ass criteria that needs to be addressed when dress making also reminded me of the vast, virtually limitless liberties I can take when making handbags. Can a handbag fit a size S, M, L, XL, etc ?! ? Yes, all of the above, with ease! Does this ruffle here make me look fat? Certainly not! Horizontal stripes? No problem! Handbags ARE my main passion. Sometimes I forget, though.
I'm good at making handbags. I know how to make the patterns and sew handbags without a second thought. I whipped up these over-sized clutches in no time!

Did you hear Mew Gallery closed?!
We knew it was happening, but its officially gone now.
Mew gave a lot of local artists not only a place to sell and showcase their talents, but a "home base" of sorts. I feel like without Mew I would have had less of an opportunity to connect with so many great artists, whom I now call friends. My experience as a local philadelphia DIY business person was enhanced and broadened through my working relationship with Mew. After all, Mew was the first shop in Philly to express interest in carrying phea jean, which was a great compliment and confidence booster. I know it was time for the store to close and for L and C to move on in different directions, but I will still miss it. I hope that everyone will continue to support the local businesses and artists in Philadelphia (or whatever town you call home).

Alas, when one door closes another one opens.
Literally, in this case...
In related news phea jean will be carried in a new store!
Nice Things Handmade will be having its opening reception on Feb. 13th from 7-10pm located at 1731 East Passyunk Ave. Come by and support our friend Elissa as she begins her new adventure!
The store will be carrying new phea jean newsboy hats and handbags! SWEET!

Have you seen my new "baby"...

She's a Willcox and Gibbs sewing machine. Well, there are actually two machines dating 1878 and 1893, no shit. And this lady STILL WORKS. One of my father's homeowners gave him this machine along with ORIGINAL needles, manuals, attachment feet, etc. When my dad brought it to me I got chills. Its breathtaking; I stare at the intricacy and craftsmanship that went into this machine and know that I am BEYOND lucky to have this piece of art in my possession. Seriously they don't make anything like this anymore. The story of these machines is actually kind of interesting and here's a link if you are interested!
This is one of the raddest gifts I have ever received! Thanks Daddy!!!!!!!!
I'm pretty satisfied with this update, so I think I'll end it here...
'til next time friends!!!!
xo Amber