Friday, February 28, 2014

Our OneSpark: Sally Ann's Sewing Lounge

Okay, so you're wondering, what is One Spark?

One Spark is the world's largest crowd funding festival, and it just happens to be here in Jacksonville. It is the second annual One Spark this year, with over $300,000 in crowd funding to be dispersed to small businesses and big ideas, and over $3 million in potential investments. This year, we are submitting an amazing initiative. We want to open a local sewing lounge. Read more about it below, and how you can help out!

About Our Project

My name is Sally Keiser, and I am a Jacksonville based clothing designer. When I first moved to Jacksonville in 2013, the creative scene blew me away, with creative spaces for artists, but none dedicated to sewing. This shop would offer sewing machines, tools, cutting tables, dress forms, lessons, rentable machines, and everything necessary for any sewing project. A one-stop shop for all things sewing, with a local fair-trade feel, setting itself apart from the big chains stores. Even a communal fabric area, to recycle unused fabric. A coffee house / creative sewing space feel for locals to drop-in, sew, collaborate, chat, receive sewing lessons, rent machines, buy and trade fabrics and notions, and build a community presence with sewing. Offer locals to teach sewing lessons, giving back in their own way, as well. Sewing is quickly becoming a lost art, but at the same time a sought after skill with social media sites like Pinterest reigniting interest in sewing and home decor with young women. We will bring the digital presence to the shop as well, with iPads at each station, to refer back to online favorites. 

Project Showcase Proposal 

A 1973 Shasta Compact, my mobile boutique, with a few tables with sewing machines out front, with small scraps and little sewing projects for attendees to sit down and sew. They will see just how easily they can sew, building interest in sewing and lessons.

What sets your Project apart from what is currently available? 

 There are no sewing studios in the city. Sewing is quickly becoming a lost art, but at the same time a sought after skill with social media sites like Pinterest reigniting interest in sewing and home decor with young women.

Why are you and your team the best people on the planet to handle this project? 

Sally Keiser, a seamstress of 20 years and designer of handbags and clothing. Working exclusively for myself for the past 6 years, I am very knowledgeable in sewing and business. I am very passionate about paying it forward with knowledge and skills. I want to be the go-between and teacher, bringing people together and teaching others how to tap into their creative brain. I have been a mentor and sewing instructor, a bridal seamstress, a self-employed designer, and more. 

View our project here, and learn more about One Spark here. The festival takes place from April 9-13, 2014 in Jacksonville, Florida. Interested in being a part of our team? Email us at or comment below. Ideas? Suggestions to make our project better? Let us know what you'd want from a sewing space!

More into coming soon! We are SO excited to showcase this year!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The "No Poo" Method

Since shaving my head last May, I've completely changed my hair regimen. It's a little unconventional, so keep an open mind. I'm so excited to share my gradual transition into, get ready for it, NOT washing my hair. That's right, I don't wash my hair anymore, and before you judge, read on. I swear it's not gross.

It all started when I shaved my head. My hair has been super long and paper white blog and I absolutely loved it. The maintenance, well that was another story. Naturally dark brown hair, the blonde was about $150/ month to maintain, and that was getting a very great deal from the best salon in Augusta

Then Matt and I got the news we'd be moving to Florida. We were beyond excited to start a new chapter in our lives. Because of his new job, I'd be able to quit my part-time bartending job to be able to do more than full-time at design, and Matt would be moving up in his career. Win/win. Well then I had to think about my hair. Continuing with blonde was extra money I knew we wouldn't want to have to spend, so I went magenta and short. Spontaneous Sally got antsy and that didn't last more than a few weeks before taking to Matt's clippers 6 days before we pulled out of Georgia. I woke up one morning and the pompadour that I had cut my bob down to was really annoying me. Bam. I shaved my head. I didn't even tell Matt I was going to do it. He was surprised to say the least.
Common sense can even tell you, it's quite silly to wash a shaved head with shampoo. I'd use a pea sized amount of shampoo a few times a week, no conditioner, if I even remembered. It honestly wasn't even worth the time to do that. Sometimes I'd use Matt's pomade. Since we had moved, I did a giant purge of hair products, giving a friend literally ALL my hair products and tools save one or two brushes that I really adored. 

As my hair start to grow, and even retain the littlest bit of water in it after showering, I'd start playing with it. I'd chop at the back of my ducktail here and there, letting the top continue to grow. When the time came for a flat top, I was so excited and happy with short hair. Not to mention being in Florida with no hair in the summer, it was phenomenal.

Well as it grew, I was still only shampooing it once or twice a week, all the while holding off on the conditioner. My naturally thick and slightly corse hair was loving it. It was full of body and movement and like a sculpture on some days. It started to feel like it had it's own mind and personality.

Then I met a fellow vendor at Riverside Arts Market that sells natural plant based soaps and lotions. Her shampoo was next on my list to transition into a natural regimen. Around that same time, Matt ran out of pomade, and I thought agh, what the hell, I'll just not wash it everyday and rinse it with hot water, and see what happens. 

Still blow drying it everyday to be able to control some of it's wild nature, my hair was getting better and better. Eventually noticing a slight buildup from the natural shampoo, I cut that out two weeks ago. I haven't washed my hair since. I simply rinse it with hot water everyday when I shower, and it's good to go. I shared my method on Instagram the other day, and received an overwhelming response from internet friends that are on a similar path as I.

Some people may be grossed out by the whole thing, thinking unwashed hair is dirty, oily, unclean. Well think about the other, 'normal' method that most take to. Using a detergent (shampoo) everyday that strips the follicles of their natural oils and protectants, to then douse it with a lotiony goo (conditioner) to put some semblance of oils and moisture back on the hair. Seems a little silly right? Unless you are using a ton of product, how dirty does one's hair really get everyday. It's like reading the label of Chapstick to see that it has drying agents in it. Lotions that contain alcohol. So many products on the market are designed to make our bodies need them. Use antiperspirant so you don't stink or sweat,.. but when happens when you quit using it? Your body's levels will readjust and you will stop smelling when you sweat (I also quit antiperspirant a few years ago). Same goes with hair. 

My hair's chemistry is a world away from what it was when I was shampooing everyday, and I mean when it was long and natural, not just blonde and chemically altered. My natural curls are back and my hair is still short. I never would see these curls until my hair would grow more.

In the past two weeks, I've used baking soda to give my hair a good scrub just once. I placed about 1/2 cup of baking soda in a custard cup and scrubbed my roots in the shower. Now that was an interesting experience. Maybe I won't stick with it forever, well that I don't know. I'm just enjoying the transition into something different, and exploring new options. It is definitely something I will stick with while I can manage this crazy main being a short coif. I think it may be more difficult as my hair grows. 

What's does my hair feel like? You know what hair looks like in period movies, when it just kind of falls into place, curls seem more coarse and defined… that's what it feels like. I don't currently use any product in my hair either, aside from baby powder late in the day to give it an extra oomph if we're going out.

While the "no poo" method isn't for everyone, I encourage you all to step back and reevaluate your beauty method and routine, opting for more natural and chemical free products. It's amazing what the human body can accomplish all on it's own.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Amelia Island

Oh Florida, I truly love you. I don't mean to boast or brag, but this weather lately has got me really loving life and the plans for our future. Matt and I spent the day yesterday in Amelia Island, a super ritzy island north of Jacksonville. It's wild to think something so different than our everyday life is so close by. A quick 45 minute drive and we're in another world. I swear we were the youngest people on the island, aside from people that work there. It's mostly older wealthy retired people and the community that works to support it all. 

We shot a video for his job (MattAboutJax) in the morning while hang gliding, oh man it was so amazing, and then spent the afternoon exploring the downtown area while coming to some great conclusions about out career that have been lingering in the forefront of our brains for some time now.
Surrounded by retired people enjoying their days with absolutely nothing on their agenda, you'd think we'd be thinking, "hmmm, better start thinking about setting up a retirement." Au contrare. If you think about it, most people work 30+ years to be able to someday, maybe, retire in to nice warm place. 

With money in the bank, kids grown and moved away, and little worries, retirees are able to spend their days how they please, dining in open-air restaurants in February, eating ice cream on the sidewalk, and debating weather or not to go to the beach. Well we decided, why wait? Why work and save and then enjoy ourselves? I don't wait to be 60 and then experience places like Amelia Island. We're going to do it now. A dream not feasible for most, Matt's job would be the vehicle for that. And the potential for a nomadic lifestyle a few years down the road seems an idea too good to be true. But it's a dream we're hoping to make a reality.
Cliche, yes, but life is too short to spend behind a desk. And we will not. I mean, look at this view ^^. Just another Wednesday for us. Check out Matt's videos for a little look at what we've been up to lately, and add it to your bookmarks. With about 3 per week, there's always something new and exciting. When you watch his videos, you can always assume I'm behind the camera, as I'm shooting Matt getting into some shenanigan's and showing off our fair city. Also, I am now writing for another blog, about Jacksonville, called JaxSpeax, where I'll show you what's good in town. Even if you aren't living in the area, check it out. 

Now time to dive into my OneSpark planning. We're getting off the ground with opening *fingers crossed* a drop-in sewing studio in Jacksonville. More soon on our plans. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

And we're back!

Man it's been a stressful few months. Lots of change, endless work, shows a few times a week, work never ends and there are never enough hours in the day for 10 hours workdays. You may or may not have noticed my gradual absence from the blogosphere, and most of it is for the lack of a camera. My 4 year old Nikon D40 that has been acting up for close to a year. At first it was the shutter sticking, and with a little elbow grease it was fixed, requiring weekly maintenance to keep it working, with a tripod mount keeping the camera together, since I had to have access to a gear for greasing it. Last month, during a photo shoot with my mannequin, photographing new work, my camera finally bit it, and died. For good. It was devastating.

As a really small business, I am financially back by my boyfriend, Matt, who works full-time. Before moving to Florida, I bartended part-time, making really good money but at the expense of having less time to work. Now that I'm more than full-time, the money coming in has changed, but with pore output. It's slowly becoming more profitable, but it's always, of course, an up-hill battle. Hard work pays off, but very slowly. 

Almost every penny I make is reinvested into the company, buying supplies, clasps and zippers, repairing sewing machines, stocking up odds and ends for Shelby, booking shows, there's always room for improvement and it adds up. And when it comes to a big expense like a new camera, it is easily pushed to the back burner. 

Matt and I are not big on birthdays. Generally, we take a trip in January, the month of his birthday, mine February 12th, and since our birthdays are a month apart, it covers both of us. A card on each others birthday and something thoughtful or handmade, that's good. I woke up on Wednesday morning, my birthday. Expecting Matt to maybe make breakfast, a trip to the gym, and working all day, I didn't have huge expectations for a gift. We had plans to see Doug Benson in the evening. 

Well Mr. Sneaky brought me a huge bag bright and early, and the first thought in my head, "Awesome, I bet it's a new pair of Toms wedges!" I open the bag and Oh. My. God! It's a brand new Nikon 3200! A BRAND NEW SLR! GARHAKGHLEUNVSILDNF! What!? I started crying tears of joy, and kissed Matt and couldn't have been more thankful! I'm so so so excited about this camera. It has video capabilities and take amazing photos. So be excited. I'm back.

Expect some video sewing lessons soon, new listings in the Etsy shop (I can finally list all my new works) as well as a Kickstarter and OneSpark initiative. Big, HUGE, things coming this spring.

And enjoy the animal photos, and my make-up free helmet hair photo. Zeus is ever regal, and Clem is always getting in my way, soaking up the sunshine. I hope you all have the most amazing Valentine's Day. I know I will. Matt and I are headed to the zoo to shoot the new Tiger exhibit, huge hamster like tunnels around the entire zoo for the tigers to explore and gaze at the other animals, and then we're having a picnic of some sort. 

See you soon!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We've been featured On "Somewhere In The City"

We've been featured on the Jacksonville blog, Somewhere In The City

Click here to check it out. Special thanks to Amanda for the super kind words! I'm so thankful to be pursuing this career, and seeing myself through the eyes of others really makes me step back, and realize life is too short to be unhappy. Do what you love and love what you do. Happy Wednesday, friends!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Valentine's Gift Idea: DIY Silhouette Pillows for Him and Her

Searching for the best homemade Valentine's gift for your love this year? Instead of a box of chocolates, something edible and sweet, a fancy dinner, or something to do, why not consider something tangible that will last until March and longer? Silhouette pillows blew Matt away last year, and he loved them! It's a nice personal touch to add to your home that is easier than you think.

Using felt, a little computer magic, and a little bit of sewing, these throw pillows dress up our bedroom, and claim "my side", and "Matt's side". Felt is super easy to top stitch and sew in place. You could even use a patterned pillow slipcover and sew on top of for added pizazz.

The hardest part about making these pillows is finding a silhouette to use. While mine was easy to find, since I had been on the cover of a local publication, Matt's was a whole other story. I must have looked through every photo I had ever taken of him, and found an outtake when he accidentally turned his head while we were at the river with Zeus.

Throw pillows really make a room, I think. It's one thing that I know I neglect. Generally, I tend to go for the easier route of using slip covers I already have, instead of expressing myself creatively and make some fun things for my living room. I really need to work on sewing for fun instead of just for work and holidays. Coming soon, a novice sewing lesson on how to make a slipcover. 

Also, a little tip from my experience: if you have a black dog, don't make white pillows. Choose your fabric accordingly. He ruins these things, but doesn't mean to of course. Come to think of it, I need to make a Zeus silhouette pillow that is the size of both of these combined, since he's usually taking over! But how can I say no to that face?! 

Don't have a significant other? No shame. Make one of your furry friend, and one of you to personalize your bed and treat yourself for the holiday. 

Too busy to sew? Here is an Etsy shop that has you covered!