Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Birth of the White Rabbit

*While planning The Looking Glass, I decided I wanted a giant
White Rabbit in front of my shop to greet shoppers. It didn't take long for me to realize that there weren't many giant White Rabbits around, so I set out to make him.

*I enlisted the help of my creative daughter Katie who was a senior in high school at the time. We started with a big plywood base to which I attached a 7 ft. 2"x4" in the center. Then we started stapling chicken wire to the base and began molding the rabbit's body. We problem- solved along the way and had a great time deciding what he would look like. The rabbit form stood in the middle of our family room for several weeks because we were studying him to be sure that we had the right shape.

*My husband Jeff never asked what we were up to (probably because he was accustomed to unusual objects in our home!) One day, however, he came home from work and said, "Is that a giant wire rabbit?" Katie and I celebrated because the rabbit was obviously ready for his skin.

*I wrapped him in quilt batting and then began covering him in white muslin. I hand stitched his body cover onto his frame, adding fiberfill to soften his form. I made his giant ears with a pink lining and stitched them in place on his head. Katie painted his eyes on fabric, and I carefully cut out and appliqued his eyes and nose. She also fashioned his wire glasses and added broom straw whiskers.

*One day when Katie came home from school, we made an exciting trip to the fabric store. She had a vision of the clothes the rabbit should wear, so she picked out the fabric. She chose a purple/black houndstooth for his jacket, a green shiny fabric for his vest, glittery gold for his bow-tie,and black satin for his gloves.

* I made up a simple paper pattern from newspaper and began stitching by both hand and machine. Once he was dressed, I added vintage buttons to his bowtie and his double breasted vest and jacket. He also got a special vintage pocket watch and chain that Katie picked out.
I also realized he would be difficult to move in and out of the store, so I added wheels to his base so I could just roll him out everyday. After six months (now that's a long labor!), he was ready and so was The Looking Glass.

*The White Rabbit has had several repairs in his five years, including wheels with brakes because he has a tendency to go flying down the street when the wind picks up, but he goes in and out with ease. Everyone knows that when he's out, The Looking Glass is open.

*Look for the White Rabbit and join us for tea!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Looking Glass Green

...the continuing story...

*Once I found a spot for my shop in Buda (I had to wait a year for the building to be built), I set to work deciding on a color scheme. Since every store I knew was doing a white Shabby Chic theme, I immediately looked for an alternative color. I decided on a pretty soft green. Just as in nature, the color green--that is the right green-would be a great background color.

*I started by getting samples of green paint and painting swatches on plywood strips. After twenty shades of green and a lot of frustration, I noticed a "Welcome to my Garden" sign (a gift from a neighbor!) hanging on my garden room door. The background green was perfect! I took the sign to the paint store and had them match the color.

*I spent the summer before I opened painting about fifteen pieces of furniture "Looking Glass green". I reasoned that it would be easy for my customers to see that any green furniture was display only, while the antique furniture for sale would clearly stand out.

*I've been happy with my choice of green for years now--With the giant real ivies that grow along the walls, I feel that I'm in a garden room!

*Unfortunately, I have no idea where the green paint cans went, so when a friend wanted to paint some displays in her shop Looking Glass green, I had to loan her my garden sign so she could have the color matched. If you ever need to borrow my garden sign to match the green, just let me know!

Jo Ann