Preview: Primetime Emmys Celebrity Gift Lounge Products

Choosing the ‘right’ fabric can be easier said then done! So when I decided to do celebrity gifts for the 63rd Primetime Emmy’s Celebrity Gifting Lounge, I ended up spending WEEKS trying to decide which fabrics to use for those products! I needed smaller prints that would work well on 4″ balls, and I wanted to get a variety of fabrics from various manufacturers so I found myself spending hours on etsy & manufacturer websites looking at options. I also went fabric shop to fabric shop around Boston looking for the perfect prints. But, after weeks of drooling over fabric, I finally narrowed it down to just a couple:
I knew right off that Alexander Henry‘s 2D Zoo in Chocolate was a MUST HAVE. Anything I’ve made from it has sold quickly in the store… If it’s a customer favorite, then I’m sure the celebrities would love it too, right?
We got a new local fabric shop, Gather Here, in Cambridge a few months back. So I was psyched to find 2D Zoo tiny in their shop since typically I have to order it online and pay for shipping. So I combined 2D Zoo with Amy Butlers  full moon polka dot (in lime and tangerine) for some of the balls!
I was in New York City a few weeks back, since my daughter was modeling for Masala Baby‘s spring line, so I had to stop off at Purl SoHo before heading back to Boston!
The store was awesome, so I had to pick a fabric combo for a few more balls!  I found these awesome Metro Living Dots from Robert Kaufman Prints and knew these were the one! So I paired it with a couple of Kona SolidsI  also needed 10 gifts for the press present at the gifting lounge so I thought I’d alter my elephant pattern (designed by retromama) a bit:

I also love Riley Blake Designs fabrics – I use them frequently in my shop so I had to choose one of their lines to include for the Emmy’s!
XOgigi, one of my favorite etsy shops for fabric got in Alphabet Soup by Zoe Pearn Designs for My Minds Eye/Riley Blake Designs shortly before I needed materials so I ended up choosing this line since they had some great small prints that worked well with the size of the balls, plus they are bright and colorful! It was a fun material to work with! 
I have a few of their other prints  from Alphabet Soup as well! I plan to play with those over the next few weeks So keep your eye out for new Alphabet Soup products in my Etsy shop!

Another favorite fabric line was Cloud 9 Fabric‘s 2010 line: My Happy Nursery! I saw it last year and HAD to have some – even though I wasn’t sure what I “needed” it for – so I bought a bag of scraps with this and and their My Happy Garden collection included. Of course you can only do so much with fabric scraps, so I splurged and bought a few bigger pieces!

My Happy Nursery is part of Cloud 9’s  Premium Collection. It’s silky smooth 100% certified organic cotton. I love Cloud 9’s  environmental commitment:

 Cloud9’s immediate goals are to use only 100% certified organic cotton in the manufacturing of our base cloths and eco-responsible low impact dyes for printing and dying. Cloud9 Fabrics’ organic cotton and goods are imported from the India subcontinent, where they continue to make great strides in the development of eco-friendly fabrics and finishing techniques. Our aim is to work closely with mills who foster the practice of organic cotton farming and eco-responsible print and dye methods.

The prints were the perfect size for small balls, and looked fantastic as elephants too, of course!

Birch Fabrics are 100% organic cottons, or as they say: treated with love not pesticides! Since our products are {handmade with love} it seemed like their materials would be a good fit for us, right?
Their newest line, Storyboek was another MUST-have from the moment I saw it! It was due to be released in July but there was a shipping delay so it didn’t arrive in the US til the first week of August. I was totally stalking Gather Here for it, but the East Coast got it later since it was shipping UPS ground from California, but as usual, Lela at Cedar House Fabrics saved the day and got me some shipped out from Oregon to Boston via priority mail so I could still use it for the Emmy’s! :)
Once Storyboek arrived, I went to work very quickly since it was the last of my fabrics to arrive! I needed 2 more gifts for the media so I thought Storyboek was a great fabric to make whales with so I altered a pattern I got from Happy Sew Lucky to make 2 whales!
And last but not least: my favorite pick: Monaco by Monaluna! I fell in love with it last fall when I first saw it! In fact, I re-did my daughters nursery in it because I loved it that much! (photos here!) I needed one display item and a few more press gifts, so I decided that Monaco was perfect for a couple more elephants and my display!  I also did a few balls out of them too!
Like Cloud 9 & Birch Fabric, Monaluna is also made in India from 100% organic cotton and printed with AZO-free dyes.
For the display piece, I made a stacking ring toy with an altered pattern from patternplay.  Instead of using traditional polyester fiberfill, I used a blend of 50% rayon fiber made from bamboo and 50% premium polyester fiber. I loved working with it, and I loved how the rings felt once they were stuffed! I will be offering this blend in the near future in toys made from organic fabrics for customers looking for more eco-friendly options. :)
Once the balls were completed, I packaged them up and shipped them to California to The Artisan Group who is representing me at GBK’s Primetime Emmys Gift Lounge.
The stacking ring toy will be on display in the gift lounge on Friday September 16th & Saturday September 17th with 25 other artists products, and the balls will be distributed to the 63rd Primetime Emmy’s Nominees.It was a fun project and The Artisan Group was easy to work with! Now stay tuned for photo’s of Little Free Radical’s products at the event!

NOTE: if there is something you see & like here, convo me on etsy or use my custom options to order one! (Products made with organic materials will cost more then standard custom options as these materials are $16+ a yard)


The Story Behind the Little Free Radical

I remember sitting in 10th grade chemistry class, being introduced to the periodic table of elements, and staring at it thinking, “There’s NO way I’m going to remember all of this!”

As a 15 year old, spending an hour a day learning about atoms, molecules, and electrons was the last thing I wanted to be worrying about. All those carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules looked boring,carbohydrates were ‘bad’ anyways according to my mother’s newest diet book, Sugar Busters. And why should I care so much about free radicals roaming around? I was more interested in Life Sciences and Home Economics, and sat through the classes I deemed ‘boring’ scheming up things I would create back at home after school, and plotting out my next trip to the fabric store.

I finally loved to learn chemistry in college, when I found myself in a molecular biology class at Harvard. It was fascinating to sit through Professor Alain Viel’s classes, learning about life on a molecular level. Finally, the Periodic Table of Elements from high school started to make sense and I could better understand these mysterious structures mentioned in other classes like cell biology & genetics. He told me about a video he had helped to complete, Inner Life of the Cell,   where he described the molecular processes to a team of visual artists.

I’ve always had a NEED to know how everything works. So a 3D animation like this just makes me need to learn more and so the following semester I took Biochemistry. The professor would bring molecule sets to class so we could build basic molecular structures of things like Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and various amino acids. I loved the hands-on experience of learning to assemble them myself and trying to ‘see’ how it all worked.

Now that I have a better understanding of chemistry, I’m completely fascinated with it! I know now, that had I been paying attention better back in high school, I would have realized that hidden in between the covers of my basic chemistry were formula’s or instructions for how to build some of the coolest things in life. Who knew that that a repeating structure with 6-Carbons, 10-Hydrogens and 5-Oxygens (C6H10O5)n could build cellulose – which is what one of the things I love to play with the most is primarily composed of – COTTON Fabric!!! Really, how cool is the repeating fiber structure for cellulose?!? The design of the molecullar structure that compose  cellulose to make cotton is awesome enough, let alone what these molecules have potential make!

Just as molecules can be structured into amazing things, fabric can be re-structured into amazing things also!!! I remember trips with my mother to Joann Fabrics as a child, looking at the rows and rows of fabric. As a very young child, I’d be v-e-r-y b-o-r-e-d, wandering around looking at the various colors and patterns, and exploring the textures. As I would (impatiently) wait for her to make up her mind  – and it always seemed like forever – I’d start poking through pattern books. Every now and then, my mother would let me choose a new pattern and I’d watch back at home as she would cut the pieces and assemble  a new dress for me. I was fascinated at how clothes were made, as I opened up pattern envelopes to see all sorts of weird shapes that could be transformed into a dress, much the same way I would sit and look at the periodic table and molecules in my science books not understanding what they could create.

By the age of 10, I very much wanted to try out her sewing machine. After much begging, I chose a dress pattern and sent my mother all over town, trying to choose the perfect fabric and went home and made my very first dress which I proudly wore to school. From then on, I was full of ideas of everything I wanted to make!

In 9th grade I taught myself how to quilt and started competing in textile competitions and county fairs. I loved picking out various fabrics that coordinated with each other. I had also started sewing for others. I often had mothers buying fabric for me to make their daughters school clothes. And at the holidays I was busy sewing doll clothes for American Girl Dolls to sell at craft fairs, and making home-made presents for my family.

Now, a decade later, I’m a mother to a 4.5 month old girl. At some point in my pregnancy, my partner nicknamed me “the free radical” since I’d spend my days roaming around Boston “like a free radical” bouncing between doctors appointments (I had a high risk pregnancy) and wandering store to store planning for the baby’s arrival. Naturally, when Sophie was born, she became the Little Free Radical. :)

It wasn’t until after Sophie’s arrival that I finally got my very own sewing machine. For the past 10 years I’d been borrowing sewing machines from others when I had a project to do. After constantly looking at Etsy seeing things I knew I could easily make if I only had a sewing machine, my partner bought one so I could make Sophie things like my mom did for me.

Sophie is already very interested in sewing. I take her through the fabric store and we wander around looking at all the colors. She also loves to sit at the computer with me as I shop online for fabric. And she watches intently as I cut the fabric to make her dresses and toys (while being on the lookout for fabric scraps she can grab!), and smiles in delight as she watches while I assemble the various pieces into a structure just for her!

So for now, we work as a team: Sophie helps me choose fabrics that appeal to her interests, while I cut the pieces and assemble sheets of fabric into clothes, toys, and other fun things! Of course when my role as the assembler is done, it gets passed off to Sophie to test it out and approve:

Knotty tutu

Her latest favorite is tulle. If I make her a tutu, she’s sitting there grabbing at it before I’m done. She LOVES to wear ‘em and pouts when  it’s time to come off.

I keep ending up with scraps after cutting out small dresses and such, so I figured why NOT make an Etsy shop to use up my scraps, and bring delight to other small humans! Then I’ll have extra $$$ to keep buying new fabric and Sophie can watch as I put it together. :)

So, coming soon will be a variety of baby toys, baby & children’s clothes and of course Sophie’s favorite: Tutus!

note: this post was moved here from my original blog. :)