Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Profile: Lemon Cadet

Many of my cousins and friends have been having babies lately, so I have purchased gifts from several sellers who make things for babies and children. All of those purchases exceeded my expectations, so it was difficult to choose my favorite shop in the “baby clothes” category. In the end, I chose Lemon Cadet because her designs are completely original and unlike anything you might find at a chain store. Also, she received some extra points for her Yeti Panties, which are some of the most laugh-out-loud-funny products for sale on Etsy. The onesies are very soft and the little creatures, beans and snow monsters are well made of beautiful fabrics. Even if you are not in need of baby clothes (or sexy/cute panties – that come with their own comb!!) you should stop by Beth’s shop to read her item descriptions. Each creature has a name and a little blurb describing him or her that will make it difficult to leave her shop without a purchase. Beth (the person behind Lemon Cadet) and I are both going to be vendors at the Arts Market in Lancaster, PA this summer. I can’t wait to meet her in person.

Wine or beer?
I don’t drink very often. I’ll have a bottle of Rolling Rock every now and then but I like the idea of wine better, if that makes any sense.

When did you learn to sew? Who taught you?
I’ve been hand sewing as long as I can remember. My mom taught me. She also taught me how to use a sewing machine.

I also learned the majority of my curse words from her. She used to come up with really interesting combinations of curse words while sewing in zippers. She hated doing it and always ended up ripping them out a couple of times before she got it right. I notice these same combinations come out of my mouth when I screw something up and have to rip it out. It’s funny because I’ll never say these words at any other time – and neither does she.

I’ve taken a couple of classes in pattern design and quilting over the years. I’ve been able to teach her a couple things too (not curse words – things like to change your needle more often). My mom is the biggest critic of my work. She gives good craftsmanship advice. I get my attention to detail from her.

What inspired you to start making the little creatures?
I’m not sure. They just came to me. I knew I wanted to work with felt because it doesn’t fray. I knew I wanted to use cool prints so I made their bellies really big so I could get more of the pattern in there. Honestly, I just started sketching and cutting one day and they were born. I’m not very good at rendering, although I can draw well from real life. I work much better with a loose sketch and a sharp pair of scissors. Now that I’m using the machine to finish the appliqué, I have a lot more freedom with fabrics.

What happened to the pillows mentioned in your blog?
I have a few fronts made. And I have a pile of pillow forms taking up space in my studio!

The problem is that I don’t like the way my labels look sticking out of the pillow. I’m in the process of working on a label design that will work well folded and stitched into the seam of a pillow or flat and tacked onto the inside of a onesie or t-shirt. I have to order 1000 so I’m making sure it will be perfect.

How did you come upon the idea for the yeti panties?
Again, I have no idea. These things just come to me. I had made a bunch of yeti t-shirts and onesies and then got the crazy idea to make the panties. I ran out to a store and bought a bunch of panties retail and got to work. It was frenzied. I was cutting and sewing so fast because I was dying to see how they would turn out. I love that feeling you have when you know you’ve come up with something great. I didn’t know if anyone would like them but I knew they’d be hilarious. They’re an odd mix of crafty cute and naughty. I have a blast making them. I seriously crack up every time I finish sewing in their little teeth. Sometimes I’m able to give them lots of teeth – that’s the best.

I found a bunch of miniature combs on Etsy. Now each yeti comes with his/her own little comb.

What is your favorite part of your process?
Wow. That’s a tough question. I love coming up with new designs. I really love the process of deciding which blanks are going to work well with which fabrics. I love working with color so I spend a lot of time choosing the solid color that will be the nicest contrast to the pattern.

Of course I love doing the hand embroidery of the faces. My little guys make me smile.

If you hired an employee, what would you delegate first?
Sewing in the labels. I hate sewing in the labels. I don’t know why. I think it might come from my having sewn them in by hand when I first started. It carried over to the machine work.

Next I’d make the employee take the photos and edit them.

I can’t imagine having someone else cut out the designs or do the stitching. I have gotten help from friends though on the little things like stringing the ribbons through the hangtags and adding the safety pins. I’m always asking for advice on slogans.

Are there any other crafts you enjoy doing?
I’m addicted to paper – ephemera, college elements, found objects. I’m also addicted to fonts. I love letters. I have tons of alphabet stickers, rubber stamps, metal letters, old price tags.

I used to really enjoy making Art Trading Cards, art journals, and altered books. I’d work with words a lot. I have a degree in English and teach technical writing as my day job. It’s really hard to be able to combine my two passions – visual art and words. Bookmaking was the perfect outlet.

Since Lemon Cadet is new, I’ve had to devote most of my free time to it. I’m looking forward to working with my non-fabric elements soon. But as long as I’m able to be creative I’m healthy.

Are there any other crafts you would like to learn?
I’d like to be able to make resin jewelry. You know, where you cover images with resin and then polish it. I don’t even know what it’s called. I wouldn’t want to invest in all the supplies and stuff. I just think it would be fun to take a class or two.

What is your favorite Etsy category to browse?
I like the Time Machine 2. I know it’s not a category but I love it.
I really loved when the category page had little thumbnails of the three recently listed items in each category on it. I miss that but I think it’s for the best because I did too much impulse buying that way.

I check out the Treasury a lot too. I think I have Checking-Treasury OCD.

I don’t browse jewelry. That’s dangerous. I guess there isn’t one category that I do a lot of browsing in. I like going through my favorite seller pages and seeing what’s new.

Do you have any advice for people who are about to start doing craft

Yes. Don’t freak out. Just be prepared and do the best you can.
Make sure everything has a price. Have fun. Remember how much fun you have when you are a shopper at a craft show and make sure you keep that same energy up all day.

Before you go, make lists so you don’t forget anything. If you forget something, don’t worry about it. As long as you have change and your product, you’ll be fine. You really need change and obviously, you need your product.

I’m still new myself so I don’t feel like I can give tons of advice. But the one thing I learned from my last show is to have your stuff organized before you get there. You don’t get a lot of time to set up so you don’t want to waste it searching for stuff.

List three things you enjoy doing that are unrelated to your craft

1. Photography (taking pictures and looking at pictures). My favorite artists are photographers: Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Gerhard Richter.
2. Walking to the local farmer’s market every Saturday morning with my husband (I like eating vegetables.)
3. Traveling. I love visiting new places.

Check out the Lemon Cadet blog and Etsy Shop.


msbelle said...

Very cool! I love Lemon Cadet's work. It's so cute and original. (I like eating vegetables too!)

Beth Lemon said...

Vegetables are the best! Thanks so much for the feature. That was a challenging interview but I really enjoyed thinking about those things.