Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Wool Embroidered Buttons

I just finished this set of black wool embroidered buttons for a custom order. I love their whimsical nature. I am really enjoying freestyle embroidery - choosing different color combinations - each one its own little piece of art. I'm working on getting some more buttons finished for the website before the holidays as well as some that I am making into ponytail holders - very cute. If you are going to be joining us at our Connecticut show this Friday, I will have some there.

If you are looking for a great comprehensive embroidery book, I would highly recommend The Embroidery Stitch Bible by Betty Barnden. It is available at Amazon and I would assume most book and craft shops. The book features over 200 stitches that are photographed and illustrated with step-by-step charts. It is just a nice reference guide of the basic stitches and you can let your creativity take you from there. Another nice feature of the book is that it is spiral bound so that it lays flat while you are working.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Gudrun Sjödén

I love a little window shopping and web window shopping even more. Gudrun Sjödén is a unique home and clothing company out of Stockholm, Sweden. Their designs feature colorful printed and embroidered textiles typical of Sweden and Swedish folklore. Their website and especially their catalog is full of beautiful photography. They photograph their products in unique settings with natural lighting giving the consumer a sense of quality of life along with their quality products. I love these red and white embroidered table runners and pillows. I bought all of my Christmas wrapping this year at IKEA (another Swedish company) from their ISIG line - with a very similar red on white and white on red design. I also bought some some beautiful red ornaments to dectorate the packages with. Now I just have to do some shopping and sewing...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Look What I Found Under the Christmas Tree

Jason and I decided to share our Christmas present this year and bought it for ourselves a little early. Our new Cannon digital SLR camera arrived yesterday and is quite photogenic. :) We took some shots with it last night and it is incredible. I am so excited to take the next round of product photographs with it for SimplyJune. Having so much more control over focus and lighting adds so much more depth to the photographs. I actually studied photography in college as an Art Minor, but have just fallen into the rut of using my point and shoot digital and doing my best to improve lighting and color in Adobe Photoshop. I have been pleased for the most part with my results and certainly would only use a digital camera for my website photos because of cost and ease. However, there is really a limit to what I could do with my previous camera. I will have to say that the best advice I can give when taking product photos is to get yourself a nice lightweight tripod and turn off your flash. I also use the timer on my camera for taking photographs so that I can step away from all lighting (so as to not cause shadow) and not move the camera while actually taking the photo.

I really enjoy taking product photographs and styling the photos - also a great exuse to to go to auctions and antique malls. I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before, but if you are in the Boston area you must check out The Massachusetts Antique Cooperative in Waltham. They are a really nice antique mall with over 125 dealers tucked away in an old factory building. This is the perfect destination for a rainy afternoon - though I would definitely go without little ones. You could literally browse for days in this place before you had explored every nook and crannie and discovered your favorite treasures.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

SimplyJune Newsletter - Holidays 2006

Our Holidays 2006 Newsletter went out today. If you did not receive it, your e-mail address may not be on our Mailing List - take a minute to update your information today. We have some fun surprises coming up that will only be available to those on our mailing list.

Hope that everyone had a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My Adoption Thanksgiving Prayer

It was a year from today that we we received our adoption referral for our son Nikolai. It was a special day that we will never forget and I have feebly tried to put in words some of my thoughts about it. Nikolai has been home for 7 months now and he is the reason for so many wonderful blessings in our lives. Nikolai we love you and give thanks for you this day!

It was a year from today that we first heard your name
Saw your face
Heard your laugh
Allowed ourselves to dream...

In those days and weeks before we held you in our arms
Before we saw your face
Heard your laugh
Held you close and warm

We thanked God for His children
For the son he gave to us
Born half way around the world
Clearly meant for us

We thank God for you on this THANKSGIVING DAY
And we pray for the others that are still waiting today
That their forever families will soon hear their name,
See their face, hear their laugh and allow themselves to dream.

Karen Grant 2006

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

SimplyJune and Lisa Gaumond - One Unbelievable Night of Holiday Shopping!

Simply June is joining together with artist and jewelry designer Lisa Gaumond for an evening of holiday shopping in Andover, Connecticut. This will be the one-stop place to do all of your holiday shopping. Come, relax with friends and finish your shopping before the Christmas rush begins!

If you are interested in receiving an invitation and directions, please sign up on our Mailing List.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Magnet Tins are now in the SimplyJune Online Store

Check them out now in the SimplyJune Online Store. as these little sets go fast. These fun glass magnets are great for hanging those favorite photos or helpful reminders on the fridge. They have a heavy duty magnet and will hold your things in place. Each tin of 6 is unique. Designs are hand picked from all types of printed material. These make a great gift.

A set of 6 comes packaged in a SimplyJune tin and retails for $7.50.

We are keeping busy in the SimplyJune studio photographing products, working on custom orders and preparing for our next show - stay tuned for details especially if you are in the Connecticut area!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nataliya Bags now up in the Simply June Online Store

The Nataliya Bag is named after our son Nikolai's favorite caretaker at his orphanage in Moscow. She took especially great care of our son and loved him dearly. Special people inspire creativity and I can't think of anyone more special than Nataliya.

Nataliya bags feature three interior pockets, triple stitched corner and handle seams for durability and a magnetic clasp. Bags measure 12"l x 6"h x 3"d; Strap measures 24"l x 1"w and retail for $50.00

Check them out in the Simply June Online Store...

* Shoulder Strap Tucked In Bag For Photograph

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Petticoat Note Cards are Now in the Simply June Online Store

Our collection is growing and we are updating new items every day for the holidays! Take a look at all of the new goodies in the SimplyJune Online Store.

These adorable dresses are cut from a sketch I made after seeing a cute vintage dress in a magazine. The wool part of each dress is cut from the pattern I made. I then sit down with a pile of my vintage trims and bits and baubles and make each dress unique. All of the beads and trims are sewn on by hand and each wire hanger is shaped around a bead to coordinate with the dress. Each card comes packaged in a cello sleeve with a coordinating envelope and the back of each card is stamped with our SimplyJune logo. A piece of mailing wrap is also included in the envelope to protect the card in the post. The cello bag is sealed with our SimplyJune sticker. They make a great note card for any occasion and are cute enough to frame!

Cards measure 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" and are priced at $5.50 per card.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Simply June Handbags Now Updated in the Online Shop

Stop by the SimplyJune Online Store to see many new bags. As I have mentioned before and as you can read on our website, there is a story behind how these stylish handbags came to be. In the summer of 2004, my husband Jason and I decided to grow our family through adoption and recently brought our son Nikolai home from Russia! These handbags were originally designed as a gift to thank all of the wonderful women working in our future child's orphanage. We have now had the honor of presenting them with these small tokens of our thankfulness for loving and caring for our son for the first 20 months of his life.

Flapper Hats are Now in the SimplyJune Online Store

I have now photographed the hats and they are available in our Online Shop. We are dealing with extremely rainy weather here in New England this week, so I'm not as pleased with my lighting as I would like to be. The first picture of three hats was taken at an earlier date and gives a much better representation of the Moss Green and Plum Peruvian Wool I have been using. The Turquoise, Slate and Chocolate hats are made from a super soft blend of Merino Wool, Microfiber and Cashmere. These are great cozy and stylish hats for this winter and also look great as an accessory to a cute outfit. I made a chocolate one with a pink and chocolate ribbon for myself!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Antique Textile Block Gift Cards are now in the SimplyJune Online Store

I was hoping to wait for some better weather and therefore better natural lighting, but the weather forecast calls for gloomy skies all week long (stress the long). So, I got a little creative with my lighting and now have the Antique Textile Block Gift Cards up in the SimplyJune Online Store.

These unique cards are hand stamped with an antique textile block making each card unique. Hand carved wooden textile blocks were traditionally used to print beautiful fabrics. Each set includes 6 gift cards with matching envelopes and "Antique Textile Block -" is hand written on the back of each card. Cards measure 2 5/8" x 3 1/2". Each pack of six retails for $7.50. They make a wonderful stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Open Studio - Holidays 2006

We had an incredible first Open Studio. My dear friends Karen and Monica as well as my husband Jason really helped me pull off this wonderful event off. (THANK YOU!) We had so much fun with old friends and new!

Here are a few photographs of SimplyJune Open Studio before everyone arrived!

If you missed Open Studio, don't worry! We are going to be photographing and adding many new products to the SimplyJune Online Store this week and in the coming weeks.

Mailing List and Free Gifts for those who brought friends!

Dishtowels, Petticoat Note cards, Antique Textile Block Note cards, Crocheted Hats and Embroidered Buttons

Flapper Hats

Simply June Handbags

Please Inquire About Custom Orders for the Holidays

Antique Textile Block Gift Cards

Child's Oilcloth Aprons

Glass Magnet Tins

Glass Magnet Tins

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Craft Revolution - Indie Business Profile

Check us out on the Craft Revolution website. They are currently featuring a profile about me and Simply June!

New Indie Business Profile: Simply June

Meet Karen Grant, the designer behind Simply June, an online boutique that offers lovely, handmade items from handbags to embroidered buttons and crocheted hats.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Open Studio on Saturday!

I am so excited that Open Studio is this Saturday, November 11th. If you are reading this and haven't received an invitation or did not receive an e-mail reminder with this photograph, please sign up on our Mailing List and we will send you all the details!

This photograph is just a taste of what you will see at our Simply June Open Studio. We have over 150 items ready for your holiday shopping! Including our original Simply June handbag, Nataliya Bags, Children's Oilcloth Aprons, Dish Towels, Magnet Tins, Petticoat Note Cards, Embroidered Buttons and Antique Print Block Gift Cards! We also have some great free gifts if you bring a friend along!

Just a payment option reminder, we will be accepting cash, personal checks and Paypal account payments during our Open Studio.

So, please join us. We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fall Goodies / Simply June Online Store

I'm working away here like a little sewing elf - just two weeks until Open Studio! I will be sending out a newsletter and Open Studio reminder next weekend after we have transformed our Dining Room into a Studio Shop. There are tons of new products to see that won't appear in the Simply June Online Store until the following week. But, don't despair. If your are not local, there will be plenty of items available to you after the Open Studio, so keep visiting us. The Simply June Online Store will also be closed November 11th for our show.

Pumpkin bread, cooking magazine, spicy scented candles and harvest colored napkins make up a yummy bag of Fall Goodies from my dear friend Karen. I had a wonderful evening out with two of my dear friends at a favorite restaurant last week. If you live in Boston or the greater area check out the Aegean Restaurants in Watertown or Framingham. If you love traditional Greek foods as I do or just want a menu with a delicious selection and a beautiful, but relaxing atmosphere, you have to check them out. It is becoming somewhat of a tradition for our girls night out. If you go, the Stuffed Grape Leaves with Lemon Sauce are a must. Trust me. Yum. I literally have to restrain myself from licking my plate.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gift Packaging Has Arrived

I placed an order last week for shopping bags, tissue and my new SimplyJune stickers at Nashville Wraps. They are a great company with a huge selection whether you are ordering for your business or your own personal wrapping needs. I ordered three sizes of the Kraft Paper bags for my Open Studio and the light blue tissue to keep with my colors. Don't these bags just make you want to take a peek inside? I designed the new Simply June stickers based on an antique textile block that I have and am pleased with how they turned out. Custom printed stickers are so expensive, so I had to settle for single color ink for now. All these little details are coming together and I can't wait to see all of you in just two weeks! I'd better get back to sewing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

"Miss" Cloche

One of the many reasons that I started this blog was as a form of creative accountability for myself. It is easy to jump from one project to the next and not finish things up. Who doesn't have that secret stash of partially knit sweaters, quilt fronts waiting to be quilted, patterns cut but never sewn. Okay, maybe you don't, but I forever do. This blog not only motivates me to finish up projects I have started, but for me to document them and tell you what I have been up to creatively. So, one would naturally think, while reading my blog lately that I have been in hiding and accomplishing nothing. But, I promise you, it has been just the opposite. I have been working like mad for my Open Studio and haven't had a speck of time to photograph or write. So, here is a little taste of what I have been up to. I have been crocheting "Miss" cloches until my arm screamed mercy. This photograph shows you a sample of some of the colors and ribbons. They are so cute and cozy to wear.

I am literally eating, sleeping and dreaming Open Studio right now. I can't wait. It will be so much fun to catch up with so many of you and to meet some of your friends. Please bring them, it is going to be a really special event that you won't want to miss out on. On the topic of dreaming...I have been having the worst time falling asleep. Does this happen to you? You have so many things running through your mind - things you need to do, things you want to create, crazy people you met during the day?... whatever it is. I lie awake just thinking of all the things I could be sewing and when I finally fall asleep I have bizarre dreams such as the one I had two nights ago. In it, I am auditioning for a movie. To set the scene...I am in a dance studio with folding chairs lined up along the wall. I'm sitting next to some kid from my high school hockey team (why would I randomly think of him? - I couldn't even tell you his name?) There are a line of people behind us ranging in ages. It is his turn to audition and he does some strange modern dance in khakis and sneakers. I couldn't tell you what I'm wearing... He finishes to great applause. I then watch a number of other auditions featuring all types of talents - what kind of movie is this? There are now two of us left - me and a boy about 8 years old. We have no talents listed on our applications. Ha,ha. However, bom bom bom, we both know how to tap dance! Conveniently, I'm wearing tap shoes! What a lucky coinkidink! I Shuffle Off to Buffalo and get my Screen Actors Guild card. I seriously need to get some uninterrupted sleep...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Happy 3rd Birthday Owen!

My dear friend's son is turning 3 tomorrow and I have been having fun with his favorite thing - trains! Kolya is also into trains and is a lucky boy as he has a train that goes right behind his house! Every time a train goes by (which is quite often), Kolya runs to the window and pulls his whistle - choo choo! Before, Kolya I had honestly gotten so used to the train that I didn't even hear it anymore, but now I have my little "conductor" to announce its arrival. Back to the birthday boy... Owen just started Pre-School this year, so I decided to pull from this theme too. In high school, I spent a summer living in Germany with a wonderful family, who really made my summer special and unique. My exchange was set up through an organization called Youth For Understanding. I hope that some day when Kolya is a bit older, we can welcome a student to our home. Anyway, while I was there one of the souvenirs I brought home was a Schultuete. This is given to each child in Germany by their families on the first day of school. Families fill the cones with sweets and school supplies and other goodies. I found this great Schultuete at The Magic Cabin. What a fun tradition. Owen's Schultuete is filled with a coloring pad, special homemade multi-color crayons, Train Bookplates and a train shirt. I made the crayons based on a project on Martha They remind me of the Clowny crayons that were popular when I was young. I thought I might be the only one who actually remembered them, but I did a Google search and there seems to be somewhat of a "cult" Clowny following. The T-shirt uses some of my Michael Miller stash. I even utilized the "School Time" if you look closely. I on the other hand am much fonder of "Bed Time"... Ahh...Zzzzzz...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Are you Indie Friendly?

SimplyJune was recently listed on, a wonderful online directory of Indie Crafters designed as a guide to the best places to shop indie on the web. IndieFriendly is careful to list businesses that are personal and professional and sell high-quality items. SimplyJune is honored to be among them. So, check them out and visit and support some of the other wonderful Indie Crafters out there.

Not exactly sure what an Indie Crafter is?... Craft Revolution defines "Indie" as...

"What is the Definition of Indie?

According to the dictionary, 'indie' is an informal version of the word independent.

Although this definition is accurate, the word has come to mean more. It has come to symbolize originality and forward-thinking, especially in music and design.

By our definition, indie is any business or designer that is not associated with a large company. Indie can also define the indie shopper, who chooses to support small business rather than big-box stores."

Check out their other websites:

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Petticoat Notecards

Can I tell you how much I am loving my new stash of wool felt? I am having fun creating these little Petticoat Notecards. The notecards themselves measure 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". The dresses are cut from a sketch I made after seeing a cute vintage dress in a magazine. The wool part of each dress is cut from the pattern and then I sit down with a pile of my vintage trims and bits and baubles and make that dress unique. All of the beads and trims are sewn on by hand and each wire hanger is shaped around a bead to coordinate with the dress. These cards are not yet available in our SimplyJune store, but will debut at our Open Studio on November 11th! Each will come in a cello sleeve with a coordinating envelope and the back of each card is stamped with our SimplyJune logo. They make a great notecard for any occasion and are cute enough to frame!