Thursday, April 30, 2009


This afternoon I dropped into Nashville Clothing Company. Last week I had created what is known as a POP (point-of-purchase display) and I was curious to see where they had decided to place it. I was so excited to see it prominently displayed on the counter facing the entrance, beside the cash register. I think my next move is to make some sort of sign describing how the belts are created. Oh and come up with a name. Still working on that one...but getting lots of help!

I'm trying to snap pictures of some belt muses (did you know there was such a thing?). I love these amazing pattern illustrations. Don't these ladies look like they could take on the world? They remind me of the lyrics to Cause I'm a Woman: "I got a twenty dollar gold piece says there ain't nothin I can't do; I can make a dress outta a feed bag and make a man outta you!" I love those giant circle skirts from the 1950's all held together with a smart little belt.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Naming the Baby

Now that I have your attention...

I don't mean a Baby-baby -- I mean my belt baby! (Sorry, mom). This weekend, while Mitch and I were out on a road trip to Bell Buckle, Tenn, home of the Moon Pie and RC Cola, we were brainstorming names for this belt thing that I've been working on. I am no wordsmith, so the word "brainstorming" is a bit of a stretch. It was more like "brain-drizzling". Ew. See, I told you I wasn't good at this!

View of a charming cottage outside of ole Bell Buckle.

We dropped into a couple antique shops for some brand name/logo inspiration. I love both of these. I even love the fact that Virginia Dare is cross-eyed. I dare ya to mention it to her.

Today we hit a beautiful park called Montgomery Bell in Dickson, Tenn. Here are some pictures we snapped on our 3 hour tour (yes, that was a Gilligan's Island reference as I thought we were NEVER going to escape this hike!). I think Mitch thought the long hike might either inspire me or shut me up. It did neither, hence the blog post.

So, I'm going with either "Beltz R Us" or "Bible Beltz" ... both excellent names, right?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Up to my Eyeballs

Every year my school hosts an art show. Every work of art (usually about 5 pieces) that all 400 kids have completed is put on display. Okay, I know you are trying to do the math...don't bother. All I know is, it's a tremendous amount. While in the middle of preparing it, I'm up to my eyeballs in projects. Thankfully, I get a lot of amazing help otherwise it would be a total headache.

Here is the only corner in my classroom not occupied by mountains of artwork. Thanks to Fork's Drum Closet, I have this amazing kid's drum set in my room. We call it the "Clean Up Drums"...I'll pick a kid each class to play a drum beat that I've taught them which signals to the class that it's time to scram. And we studied Latin America this year, hence all the Latin American-y stuff.

A close up of a Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead) sculpture of Mitch and I. These two are actually dressed better than we did on our big day...we got hitched in a courthouse.

And a photo of the Nashville Clothing company store. I created a P.O.P. (point of purchase) display for them for the belts. But I forgot to snap a picture. I'm sure I'll be in there again soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Nashville Clothing Company

Meet Tiffany Lewis. She co-owns Nashville Clothing Company with her husband. Her shop has a great selections of shoes, dresses and now...belts made by me! I'm so excited. I mean, how many "no's" could a girl handle? When I walked into her shop last Friday with my belts, my hopes were not up. I was dragging them along behind me. She took one look at them and said "yes!". To which I replied "yay!"

Her husband created the amazing graphic behind her. My photo doesn't do it justice.
A peek inside her Cool Springs location. Her Nashville shop will be moving soon, for those familiar with the store. A lot of the clothing and accessories she carries are created by local designers. Hence the name "Nashville Clothing Company." It's great to find a shop that supports the locals, don't you think?

Belts for sale at Nashville Clothing Company!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Seriously Smokey Mountains

So, this weekend we went to the Smokey Mountains for a company vacation. Mitch and I decided to take the long way to Gatlinburg and stopped in several tiny towns along the way. We've been trying to snap photos of vintage signs where ever we see them and this one in Cookeville, TN was just too awesome to pass up.

Despite the photo, it was a beautiful, sunny weekend. In the mountains, they were doing "controlled burns" which smelled like a giant cookout. It was creepy because you could hear the forest crackling and a helicopter kept flying over.

With all the treeworks crew, we hit Dollywood. If you've never been and you're local, you should go. It's a decent park with some pretty awesome coasters and shows. My favorite part is the crafters area. This guys was blacksmithing (can I use that as a verb?) and there were glassblowers, potters, woodcarvers, etc.

I didn't see anyone making belts, so I'll have to ask Dolly if she's got room for me.

I wish this photo could do the giant skillet justice. Can you believe how thick that baloney is? It came with a side of pork rinds and served on Wonder Bread. But that goes without saying, doesn't it?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What a Reject

So, that's how I'm feeling. Like a reject. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want your pity, or your pats on the back, just hear me out. Selling stuff, especially stuff that you've made and believe in, is a total nightmare. Especially when you've heard "no" a half dozen times. Since I'm coming up with little to no sales on etsy, I thought I'd go to some local shops in downtown Franklin to try peddling my belts. It was a no-go. I tried to be open-minded and just listen to their reasoning and think of it as a learning experience. But it was like being a student in a Charlie Brown cartoon and all the teacher is saying is "no, wah-wah-wahwah-waah". Total bummer.

But, I'm just going to have to get over it. Just, take a deep breath (without cursing under it) and try again. What else can you do? Giving up and giving in would make me that reject, right? Sure, okay, whatever...
(Ceramic tile paintings created earlier this year when on a ceramic-tile-painting kick.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

I went back to school today. I teach art at a local elementary school and we returned from our Spring Break. Honestly, I was not looking forward to it. I've really enjoyed having some time of my own to create which is pretty limited with work. But it was a great day. The kids were excited to be creating -- it's fun to see them enjoy something that I also love so much.

One of my students drew this amazing poster for me which I keep hung in my sewing room. I did "give up art" for a while -- right after I graduated from college with a painting degree. It was hard, hearing all those voices from my professors in my head every time I picked up a paint brush. It took a long time (and lots of therapy and meds ... kidding ... only about the meds, though!) to get over it. I eased my way back into creating...and decided to do what felt right for me and made me happy. It turns out sewing, working with clay, and occasionally painting is what suits me. I also love flipping thru the occasional Art in America and seeing that art does not fit into some neat box -- it's absolutely anything an artists wants it to be. How freeing is that?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Redneck Roadtrip

On most Saturday mornings, I walk with a good friend at Radnor Lake. This morning was cool and damp but beautiful. Flowers are starting to bloom everywhere when just days before the ground was covered in dead leaves and dirt. Usually we see a couple dozen deer out eating breakfast but this morning there were none. Maybe they are still recovering from the storms.

Mitch and I decided to drive to Dickson, Tn. today to hit their Goodwill. We took the winding country roads for a change of scenery. The highway is just so...boring. Before hitting the road, we went to Leiper's Fork and had a snack at Puckett's.

Scenes from the long and winding road to Dickson and back. Kinda spooky, right? I was dying to go exploring inside the house. And although I was also dying for a restroom, I decided to pass on the convenience store. Eww.

Back home, I put this here belt up on

And here's a peek at my vintage pattern collection. I don't even know how to sew from a pattern, so I collect these because...? Well, because of the amazing illustrations of course! I mean, who can resist the masquerade mask girl? Not I!

Friday, April 10, 2009

What I did over my Spring Break

My husband and I have been Redneck Road Trippin' on the weekends for a month now. We'll glance at the map, mapquest some thrift stores and hit the road. It's been a lot of fun and ... eyeopening. You don't have to get too far outside of town before the landscape changes pretty dramatically. It's like stepping back in time -- which has always been my secret fantasy. I desperately want to go clothes and fabric shopping in 1952 ... but until that happens, these little road trips are the next best thing.

Pictures above are of a defunct junk shop, a long-been-closed cafe and the cover of a cookbook I picked up in Lewisburg, Tn. Don't you want to go to that dinner party?!

I've also been sewing up more belts. My goals for my break were: sew more belts (check), set up an etsy store (check: and go to some local shops to see if they'd be interested in selling my belts (oops, chickened out...). I thought that I'd put some things on etsy and they'd magically sell in a matter of minutes. It's been days. No bites. I'm thinking etsy is so huge now that I'm getting a little lost in a sea of crafters. It's going to take some more work that I thought...any suggestions would be appreciated.

Okay, time to make the donuts...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I have no idea what I'm doing...

Like that isn't obvious. I know that I'm a secret blog stalker and with a little Spring Break time on my hands, I thought I'd attempt one of my own...we'll see how this goes. My fingers are crossed which is kinda making typing difficult, but whatcha gonna do?

So the picture is of my sewing/craft room. Or my "Arts and Craps" room, as my husband calls it. I can only show a small view as the rest of the place is a disaster. Empty coffee cups, candy wrappers and a fabric explosion on the floor. As it should be, I say.

The other picture is of my latest craft endeavor. I've been making these belt buckles from clay, usually pressing a texture into the clay. Like lace or doilies or whatever is on hand. I've been messing around with different glazes to see what kind of result I can get. The belts have been sewn from my vintage fabric. I just posted a handful of them on etsy (see

Okay, that's it for my first post...I hope I do another, it seems painless.