Car-Free Week

Me and my bike!

Car-Free Week starts this coming Sunday – are you ready to rock and roll on your bike?!

With the temperatures cooling down and a crisp breeze in the air, it’s the perfect time of year to ride your bike to work. I know I tend to defer to public transit on hotter days, by these beautiful fall mornings mean I have no excuse! So consider ditching your car from September 22nd-28th and opt for a fossil-fuel free commute!  Continue reading

Keeping Things Cool

Feet photo by Lydia KrupinskiI don’t know about your neck of the woods – but things have been quite steamy here in Chicago the past few days. We’ve been bouncing between thunder storms and high temps – making it not only sweltering, but stuffy as well!

So how do you keep cool without the help of an energy-sucking, heat producing air conditioner? Here are some ideas:

Bust out the ice. Seems simple enough – but keeping a tray of ice cubes at the ready is not just a good idea for a late-afternoon lemonade. Try filling a bowl with the oh-so-cool cubes and placing them in front of a fan. You’ll find yourself lounging in a cool breeze in no time!

water photo by Lydia KrupinskiStay hydrated. It goes without saying that making sure you’re getting loads of water will help your body feel better overall. But especially in summer months when the temps are up and your body’s a perspiration machine – you’ll need extra H2O to make sure you have what you need to stay cool.

Freeze some fruit. A great mid-day snack, freezing some watermelon, strawberries or other in-season treat is a great and tasty way to cool things down.

Dress to impress. And do it in light-weight, airy natural fibers. I’m a big proponent of cotton, but anything that will allow a loose fit and sweat absorption will help you stay comfortable. And to help you sleep through a hot night – make sure all your bed gear is made of natural materials too! Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Design Process

Pierogi Picnic: Design Process

Designing a new garment or revamped vintage clothing item is always an adventure!

I’ve used many methods over the years. Some involved intricate illustrations prior to creation. Others were more stream-of-consciousness, just cutting and sewing and making things up along the way. Still, in other situations I’d find myself with some general ideas of what I was looking to present and forming the vision in my mind before take scissors to fabric. No matter what the method – coming up with a new design can be the most exciting, and conversely, flabbergasting thing! Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Making a Look Book

Pierogi Picnic Look Book shoot

This past Saturday I embarked on my first look book adventure!

Gathering together a group of talented creatives and the Pierogi Picnic modeling gang, we orchestrated a fun-filled shoot in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. With loads of brightly colored designs and props in hand – we snapped and shot hundreds of photos to show off the latest Pierogi Picnic creations – orchestrating an urban picnic in one of the most vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods in Chicago.

Pierogi Picnic look book teaser

Now that the actual shoot date is behind us, all that’s left to do is sift through the shots and do some fine tuning! We’ll keep you posted on when the final product is ready for it’s debut to the world. But in the meantime – here’s a peek into the planning that went into making the shoot a success. Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Photo Magic

Pierogi Picnic: Made in Chicago Clothing & VintageAs I sit at my computer late on a Monday night I realize that I am way way way overdue. Not for returning my library books – but for writing a post on running an indie biz! So here’s my much belated installment – and it’s all about photo editing.

Let’s say you’ve developed a beautiful new line of products and are ready to introduce your creations to the world. You’ve painstakingly planned the shoot, took the time to set up quality lighting and have captured a great set of photos to show the masses.

Now what? 

Don’t even think for a second that once your photos are logged and stored on your SD drive that you’re free to frolic about. Your next task as a handmade business owner is to make those pics magical. And I’m not talking pseudo-well-done they get a passing grade magical. I mean stop-em-in-their-tracks, make-heads-turn, kind of attention. Sure – paying a pro to do the dirty digital work can seem promising – but there’s nothing more fulfilling than empowering yourself to take that DIY step to enhance pictures on your own.

So before I sit back to tackle the 300+ photos I snapped of new Pierogi Picnic gear recently, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite tricks and short cuts for photo editing on the fly. Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Making a List

The holidays are just around the corner and I don’t want the busyness of the spirited season to distract me from business or pleasure this year. So what’s the best way to keep myself focused? Why – making a list of course!

Sitting down and ‘planning’ your holiday approach for your indie biz is intimidating, daunting, and for some, down-right unpleasant. But without a plan you can only go so far. To trick yourself into concocting a strategy, sit down and first answer these questions.  Continue reading

An Indie Biz: Sign Me Up

Every year I promise myself I’ll stick to last year’s show display plans – but then I start dreaming and become distracted by possibility. So I have once again undertaken the creation of new signs for my fair booth.

Last season I painted horizontal and vertical displays on balsa wood. The finished product was nice – but not large enough to catch someone’s eye from a distance.

So this year I’ve gone back to working in the medium I know best: fabric. Continue reading