Introducing … Heirloom Variety

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Every venture starts with a seed. Watered and warmed by the sunshine of encouragement, that seed soon becomes a seedling and—if all goes well—brightens the world with a flower.

I had one of those seeds this year.

It started out innocently enough: knit a pair of flower earrings from leftover bits of yarn and a simple pattern, shared through the generosity of knitter Eileen Vito. I didn’t think much of it, until I wore the flowers out into the world for the first time.

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People couldn’t stop commenting on them. In fact, not only did women in my workplace ooh and aah, but when I spent ten days in Chicago and Portland I got stopped everywhere—from street corner to street car—with one simple question: “Where did you get those earrings?”

As if I hadn’t taken the hint (yet), a woman at a conference I attended there flat-out told me: “you need to share your flowers with the rest of us.”

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So as of this weekend, Heirloom Variety opened on aftcra.com, an alternative to Etsy (born and bred in Milwaukee, no less) that features only American-made handicrafts.

The shop title, “Heirloom Variety,” takes inspiration from my passion for all things old-fashioned. After all, “heirloom varieties” are particular breeds of flower, shrub, fruit and vegetable that were popular in Victorian times and still available today.

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The world of handicrafts is new for me, but I made a few promises to myself on this venture:

  1. Each pair of flowers would only be crafted from hand-dyed yarns, whether dyed by me (more on that in an upcoming post) or by another independent artisan. The first “batch” of blooms feature Three Fates yarn.

  2. Each pair of flowers would feature an extra “touch,” whether a trio of sparkling glass beads, or a miniature leaf, or even a tiny butterfly perched on one petal.
  3. Whenever possible, I would use the Victorian color language for flowers—yellow for friendship, red for romantic love, etc. If they desire, customers can select a gift based on the message they wish to convey to the recipient.

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Will others fall in love with these flowers they way I have? Will they be as excited about them as the clerks, waiters and daily passersby I meet, who never fail to comment and ask where I got my “blooms?”

We’ll see.

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It’s nervous, exciting and scary all at once to share one’s art with the world. But what is art, if not for the sharing?

In the days ahead, I’ll be experimenting with more styles of Heirloom Variety flowers, including more steampunk-inspired pieces, necklaces and even rings.

If you’re looking for a unique, old-fashioned holiday surprise, why not give the gift of flowers that never fade? And if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for, please contact me to discus a custom order.

After all, no matter how much the cold winds of winder may blow, flowers truly are never out of season. Thank you so much for your kind words, inspiration, and encouragement on the journey.

Heirloom Variety is here. Blooms away!

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