Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas to Me!

I noticed something these past few weeks while I have been trying to get my orders out.  I have been fighting with my Husqvarna and I didn't realize how much it has been struggling to sew through multiple layers of canvas.  She is only a year and half and I have been concerned that I was going to break it, so I decided to accelerate a purchase I was planning for later this year or next.

I have been looking at him for the past year and a half, and then on 12/24 I had the day off and went to my local Sew&Vac store to ask some general questions and look around at machine accessories.  I walked in and there he was, I don't know when they received him because last time I was there, they had other types of machines.  Of course I got to try him out, it scared me , he's very powerful...but the temptation was too much.

And today, DH brought him home, here it is, my Juki 1541s....

Not only can this bad boy sew through multiple layers, but also leather, therefore look for some changes in my designs in 2011... 

 I was able to squeeze it into my studio, but it is tight in there now.
Of course I have no industrial thread to play with, so now I wait for my thread order.  Perhaps I will clean my studio and do some reorganizing.     

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have You Tried the New Taste Test Tool?

Hooray, another Etsy Treasury!

Have You Tried the New Taste Test Tool? by CreationsbyEileen, features my Mini Gray Messenger Bag.  

It's made with a dark gray micro suede fabric and lined with a heavy weight black cotton canvas that has a subtle pebbled texture.

 Don't let it's little size fool you...

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Should be Sewing but...

Okay, things have been a little swapped here at HMMills. I sold a few more messenger bags and my poor Husqvarna is struggling to keep up with the layers of canvas. However, I decided to take a day off, (yes I know, I hope my buyers aren't reading this), but only because I had too.  Last year three of my friends and I got together for an afternoon to make some Christmas cookies and this year I decided to host it at my house.  Therefore, I needed to decorate the house, get a tree, etc. etc. So about 23 dozen cookies and 8lbs of fudge later....

Okay, now back to work...

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide For The Super Savvy Buyer

One of my iPad Covers has been included in another Etsy Treasury, this one called, Holiday Gift Guide For The Super Savvy Buyer by AllisonTMorgan.  Hooray!

 iPad Cover - Tiny Dots Brown & Tan

The cover is made from a cotton print, with a color palette includes brown and tan dots and lined with a matching brown twill cotton.

I used a recycled button for the flap closure.




Thursday, December 2, 2010

Recycled Buttons

When I was in the midst of indecision regarding a closure for my iPad covers, the one thing that I was sure of was that I was going to finally utilize the stash of buttons sitting on a shelf in my studio.  The buttons are a mix of buttons that I have collected over the last 20 years as well as buttons that were found in the sewing room of my ex's grandmother when she passed away in the late 80s. I had written a post about them long ago and I always had great intentions to do something with these old buttons.

My husband commented as I was sewing this last batch of iPad covers that he was amazed how I was able to find just the perfect button for each cover.  As he was digging through the stash, he guessed the age of some of them...not quite vintage, but some do appear to be from the 1970s and 1980s.  I call them recycled, because many of them still had the thread that originally held them to whatever garment they were salvaged from and as a survivor of the The Great Depression it appears that she saved everything. 

I guess her thriftiness is my windfall.

I've been featured...

The kind folks at Know the Art Scene have featured me in there blog.  Please take a moment to visit Kathleen McGiveon's Blog, as she interviews aspiring creators as myself.  Kathleen is a visual artist who is compelled to produce large works. She enjoys working with clay because the material allows her to form any shape that plays in her mind...

Below is the interview conducted by Kathleen McGiveon. 

December Christmas Special...know hmmills

1. Tell us about yourself?
Oh where to start, by day I have a semi-stressful career in Corporate America, however at night I am the workhorse behind HMMills. My father has always told me that my true calling was to be an artist or designer, so HMMills is my creative outlet. While I am at work I am always thinking about I can work on once I get home. I have little notebooks filled with jewelry and handbag bag doodles. I am constantly drawing out bag shapes or earrings and necklaces. I do a little of everything, I make glass beads to incorporate into my jewelry designs and love to work with sheets of metal and wire and recently I have reactivated my addiction to fabric. 

2. Where did you train/learn your practice?
Sewing: I started sewing as a young girl (before the age of 10), making dresses for my Barbie dolls with just a few lessons from my mom. In my twenties my roommate, who was a true seamstress, expanded my sewing skills by making me sew tailored clothes for myself. About a year and a half ago I pulled my sewing machine and serger out of the closet (after ignoring them for years) and made a handbag. Now I can’t stop sewing. (I do hope that Santa upgrades me to an industrial sewing machine this year, although the Viking Husqvarna I received for my birthday last year is very much loved.) 
Jewelry: I took basic wire class years ago, but I am mainly self-taught. A few years ago I worked in a bead shop a couple Sundays a month just so that I could hang out with other beaders and taught several wire technique classes. That experience led me to attended classes at an art school for metal-smithing and lampworking to expand my skill set. 

3. What are some of your goals as an Etsy Seller?
Sometimes I want to be one of those Etsy Sellers that gets reviewed in the Etsy “Quit Your Day Job” feature. However with that said, I thought I would start small this year:
• I would love to receive 100% positive feedback from all my customers, (so far so good). I want my customers to truly love the item once they receive it. I have been disappointed from some of my online purchases through the years and I never want that for my customers. 
• Another goal was to have 50 items available in my shop by June (missed that, because customers kept buying things, LOL) and 100 items in my shop by mid November so that my customers have stuff to look at!

4. What do you think differs your Etsy store from others?
I believe that I am similar to many other Etsy sellers in that we all put in a lot of thought and time into our creations. Therefore, what would make me different, (well, when I do have items in my store,) I think would be the diversity of my items. I love accessories (you don’t want to know how much jewelry, handbags, scarves and shoes I own); I guess what girl doesn’t love them. 

5. Are you making any thing special for Christmas?
That’s a good question, one that I have considered in the past, but each time I always decide no. Each season there are trends, which I try to maneuver around, but as for holiday items, I don’t want to limit my items to a specific holiday. (However my mother-in-law would love it if I would make her some Christmas pillows for her sofa.) One trend I couldn’t resist this season is Plaid (which could be consider holiday-ish). I recently purchased a ton of Plaid and tweed fabrics that I intend to use for some of my bags. Last weekend I was experimenting with my Messenger Bag and made a Mini, so I can’t wait to use some of the new Plaid for that design as well. 

6. Will you be having any store sales or specials for the holidays?
I am debating between a discount on a second item, a shipping freebie or shipping discount. 

7. Will you be packaging any differently for Christmas?
I typically wrap my items in white tissue and teal ribbon. Packing can be tricky during the holidays because of all the different faiths, so I may continue to wrap in white but can see a gold or silver ribbon making an appearance. 

8. Do you sell anywhere other than Etsy?
Yes, I sell on 1000 Markets and Zibbet. I also sell at various Street Shows (in NYC) during the summer months. 

9. Give your shop a Christmas Jingle!
LOL...I have nothing...

10. What else would you like to say to KathleenMcGiveron.com’s viewers?
Just that this is a great site and that I hope that your readers continue to support it, as well as thank you for the opportunity to talk about me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Playing with Textures - Distressed Look

Okay, the other week I told everyone I was getting bored with the Messenger bag design and that I wanted to do something different, at least start with the flap.  So, as I started making another messenger bag with a recent purchase of red/burgundy cotton twill...  

I decided to added a strap of fabric down in front of the flap, then I frayed the edges and sanded the flap in spots to give the bag an overall distressed look.

As with all my messenger bags, the interior is lined with 10oz cotton canvas in natural for extra durability.

Under the flap - you'll find a two deep exterior pockets while inside contains a zipper pocket and a split pocket to hold your keys, cell phone and I-Pod, etc.

The adjustable strap is long enough to wear across your chest or if shorten to carry as a tote.

You can find this beauty here: Messenger Bag Distressed - Red Twill

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Sale

Hi all,
Hope everyone enjoying Cyber Monday.  HMMills is also having a Cyber Monday Sale, all messenger bags in the shop are 10% off!

Come see these wonderful bags, a great way to carry your laptop in style.

Click here to go to the shop: Messenger Bag Sale

Sale ends at midnight!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

10% Off Coupon

Hello everyone, hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and is surviving the holiday shopping.  For my loyal readers (all 38 of you) LOL, I am offering a 10% discount on every item in my shop. 

Visit the shop today to take advantage, just type BlogReader during checkout and receive 10% off.

Coupon will be available now through Christmas Eve.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Sale - All iPad Covers on Sale

Whoo hoo, the holidays are here and what better way to start than with a Black Friday Sale.  All iPad covers in my shop are on sale until Midnight tonight. 

Each stylish iPad cover is constructed with two layers of fusible fleece, keeping your iPad safe from scratches, bumps and smudges.  Covers are completed with a flap closure and recycled button from my ex-DH's grandmothers stash.

Made from 100% cotton they are easy to keep clean as you just machine wash cold / tumble dry. 

Quantities are limited, so hurry...

You can find these great stocking stuffers here:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

iPad Covers

Finally, decided to use some of the Amy Butler Love collection fabric that I have had on my shelf for the past few months. 
After playing around with my prototype I finally made an iPad cover using the Paradise Garden in Wine.  The color palette includes mint, yellow, coral, fuchsia and lavender on a wine background and I lined the interior with a matching lavender cotton. 

Also decided to add one to the shop, which you can find here.

I used two layers of fusible fleece, to keep the iPad safe from scratches, bumps and smudges. 

I added a front slip pocket so you can also carry your power cord, ear plugs, etc.

For a closure, I used a recycled button and loop. 

...here is a view from the back...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Working with Muslin

I decided recently that whenever I experiment with a pattern that going forward it was best not to use the expensive Amy Butler fabric.  As I write this I am glancing at the the remains of a bag gone awry and a beautiful Amy Butler fabric that will never to see the sun again.  I have been dying to make a cover for my iPad, so after drawing out the pattern, I decided to use Muslin.  What a concept.  I was watching a Project Runway Marathon and noticed another designer using muslin.  Each time I waste a great piece of fabric I think to myself, “why didn’t you pulled that bolt of muslin from the shelf.  Will I did….and here is the finished product:  

Based on this prototype, I have decided to eliminate the split pocket, as I the pockets were too tight.  Also I am going to do two styles, with and without the pocket.  I guess the one without the pocket would be considered a sleeve.  As for the closure, I may use three types of closures, the fabric loop (shown here), Velcro under the flap and an elastic loop and button.

Keep watch for the real thing....

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Playing around with Textures

Okay, I get bored easily. I receive email updates from West Elm and they  have duvet covers to die for…I love this pin tuck look as well as the gathered one.  I would love to incorporate this type of texture onto a bag and I think perhaps next week I will experiment some one.  

 In the meantime, it’s been a while since I have made any changes to the Messenger Bag, the last change was to add was added an external single and split pocket under the flap.  I have been thinking about doing something else to the flap, perhaps play around with a colorful fabric on the cover as I did with this messenger bag, but I haven’t done either…

The other day as I was busy cutting and sewing numerous messenger bags (in a Red Burgundy Twill), I found that I still had some fabric left over.  It wasn’t a lot, enough to make a small strap, when it dawn on me, use it as a decorative piece and attached it to the front flap.  So I did.  On the second one,  I pulled on the fabric to give it some additional texture and a bit of a distressed look, I may even fray the edges.  I think I like it, and I hope you will too… hope to have some photos to post later on…

Monday, November 1, 2010

Easier Navigation Around the Shop

The other day I was on a website browsing through the clothes section and as I was clicking through the site, I thought how easy it was to navigate.  It got me thinking about the Holiday Shopping season and my own site; and what could I do to help my customer navigate around the shop.   

So I added a few new sections, for my customers that need and want it now, I have added a section called “In Stock & Ready to Ship.”  For customers who only want to shop within a specific price range, I have added:
  • Gifts under $25.00
  • Gifts under $40.00
  • Gifts under $50.00
  • Gifts under $60.00
Be sure to stop back as I start filling the “store shelves.”  Until next time, thanks for stopping by the blog.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Steel Gray Hemp!

I am still playing around with all the Hemp Fabric I purchased a few weeks ago.  I have a several colors now in my collection, Plum Purple, Red Wine, Steel Gray, and two other colors that I plan to use next summer, a muted Yellow and Celery Green.

Last night I decided to make a Large Messenger Bag using the Steel Gray and if you want, you can purchase the bag here.

It is a a great bag whether you are a student or just need a versatile bag with ample interior space to carry books, documents, files and up to a 17" laptop - a new addition to my Messenger Collection.

As with all my messenger bags, I lined the interior with a 10oz cotton canvas in natural for extra durability.

Under the flap - you'll find one large deep exterior pocket while inside contains a zipper pocket and a split pocket to hold your keys, cell phone and I-Pod, etc.

The adjustable strap is long enough to wear across your chest or if shorten to carry as a tote.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yea! Another Treasury

I've been so busy, I forgot to mention that I received a convo that my Sage Wildflowers Clutch has been included in a Treasury.  

I have now been in three Treasuries within the past few weeks, for a total of four.

Now if only I could get to the front page!   You can see mine clutch on the bottom row...

Please visit and enjoy the smartly titled, Bags, Purses, Clutches and Totes Treasury, by StoneFeather.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Messenger Bag Straps

Well, it appears that the weather is getting cooler up north, and based on last week snows, it seems some states have already had snow!  The closest I get to cool weather and warm clothes is when I go to the Hockey games, (yes, South Florida has a Hockey Team). 

Living in South Florida, if you don't pay attention, you will miss the seasonal fashion trends, as most of the year, I find myself in a pair of cargo shorts, light top and flip flops.

According to the Etsy Merchandising Desk,  "Classic and modern interpretations of autumn and winter holiday color schemes: Rusts, browns, reds, oranges, yellows, whites, greens, blues, and purples. On a more general front: Blacks, grays, camels, teals, aquas, rich earth tones, mustard, deep purples berries and wine, and muted shades of green."

As the holiday season is just around the corner, I have been busy cutting and sewing, I thought I would stop and snap a photo.  On this day I was preparing the large and mini messenger bag straps for sewing.  Lovely shades of grays and deep purples...  

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Sisters...

Everything came to stop a few weeks ago, when my sister announced she and her long time boyfriend were getting married. Well you can plan a wedding in five weeks or less.  She was married on 10/9/2010, in New York...the weather was fabulous and the bride looked beautiful.

There is something about watching a younger sister get married, I cried all morning long as we slowly watched her hair and make up get done.  I cried when the flowers arrived, I cried when I helped her get dress and cried as Suzy (our mom) put on the jewelry.  Now there are just two more sisters to go...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I've been up to...

It’s been busy here at HMMills. 

I have been cutting fabric in preparation for the holiday season. My goal this season to have a quantity of pre-made bags in stock, therefore I have added a new section to my Etsy store,  “In Stock & Ready to Ship” Now customers can easily pick from an assortment of pre-made items for a faster delivery that doesn’t include production time.  Speaking of production, this past week I have been working on the larger messenger bags in the gray and purple hemps as well as the cotton red twill fabric. Hopefully I will have time to photograph and post in the shop by the weekend.

In addition, I have also become a contributor blogger on the Etsy Carried Away Team Blog.

I am responsible for a weekly feature of Etsy Interesting Finds as it’s related to the team theme which are bags.  What I love about being a member of CABTeam is that aside from the charity donations funded through the team shop that we do for those in need, it's what the team gives back to its members. CABTeam offers a lot of sharing and support for each other as each member makes their way in the business world.”

Until next time, thanks for stopping by the blog.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Larger Messenger Bag in Purple Hemp!

A few weeks ago a customer requested a custom order using the Purple Hemp fabric for the Larger Messenger Bag.   

Of course I had used the last of the fabric on another Messenger Bag custom order.  Luckily (for me) my poor customer waited for my supplier to ship me more fabric before I could start on her order.  Around the same time, the light bulb went off in my head that I should take some of photos of the item and actually list it in my shop.   

Genius I know.  

I wasn’t sure at first if the Hemp fabric would be a good fit for the Messenger bag, but the 10oz canvas interior and stiff interfacing gave the bag its strength and the hemp fabric gave the bag a nice feel to the hand. 

As with all my other larger messenger bags, it's a great bag whether you are a student or just need a versatile bag with ample interior space to carry books, documents, files and up to a 17" laptop.  You can find it here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Orange" You Glad Fall is Almost Here! Treasury

Another pleasant surprise today, my Tapestry Clutch was featured in a Treasury.  My third Treasury!

The treasury, "Orange" you glad fall's almost here!  by
tpbakery features a collection of Fall inspired items in warm hues of orange.  I do love orange.  

Tapestry Clutch - Bottom row, far left