Author Archives: Betsy

About Betsy

Spongetta is about looking at the world just a little bit differently. My goal is to meld the elegant with whimsy. Sometimes we use traditional techniques with a nontraditional fabric. Other times, it is the color that is a surprise. My favorite thing to do is create a patchwork from rich fabrics such as velvets and silks, but then relaxing them a bit with cottons, burlaps and denims. Classic patterns such as paisley, fleur de lis, Jacobean, and houndstooth embrace a kitschy feel that is both retro and modern. This is the place where misfit fabric finds a home.

Color My Christmas!

Let the holidays be bright! This year’s selection is available at the Earlville Opera House or in the Spongetta shop on Etsy.  Some highlights of the wild ones!

Green velvet with a cream stripe cuff and plum lining.

The softest chenille plaid with a black fuzzy cuff and lime green taffeta lining.

a riot of a flower garden in bold neons with a black fuzzy cuff and hot pink silk lining.


Cool colorblock with a green velvet cuff and magenta lining.

Argyle sherbet.  What is better than that!


Stockings, stockings, stockings!

This year we are taking the stocking business seriously.  With my mother’s encouragement and Sara’s sewing skills our goal is offer over 160 heirloom stockings.  The mix is wonderful as far as elegant, modern, rustic and whimsical combinations.  Lots of gift options for the newlywed and for a baby’s first Christmas, especially to celebrate a not so traditional holiday season!

Handmade Large Modern Christmas Stocking - Blue Velvet - Heirloom Holiday Decor
Handmade Large Christmas Stocking - Magenta Leaves - Heirloom Stocking for Woman
Handmade Large Gold Jacobean Christmas Stocking - Modern Rustic Heirloom Holiday Decor

The perfect pair of Christmas stockings for the new couple.  One is silk, the other velvet! Destined to be heirlooms. Use coupon code PERFECTPAIR to save $6.00 on a pair!





Peas and More Peas

Rob is more of a fussier eater than he usually admits.  Although I can usually sneak some vegetables in, there are few he really likes.  Peas is one that makes the cut, but only peas still in the pod.  So this year we doubled our production and have frozen 18 pounds, or just under a bushel, of sugar snap and snow peas.  This does not count the two pounds in my favorite bowl that slipped out of my hand and flew across the floor.

The steps are easy.  Pick, sort, trim, blanch (don’t forget the ice bath!), dry and bag. We use them primarily in stir fry or to blister in sesame oil and ginger.  This is a big part of making summer flavors last through March.

The Summer Role Obsession

When Em visited last, she wanted to make sushi.  At the look of panic on my face, my husband helpfully suggested summer roles instead.  Now we are obsessed with rolling everything into rice wraps.  Kind of like putting out the pretty pitcher of water with lemon or cucumber slices in it to trick us into drinking more water, the rolls help me gobble down salad.

There are so many options out there.  This recipe was my guide.  Today’s special is lettuce, cucumber, radish and carrot with a sesame ginger dipping sauce.  How simple is that!

Demystifying Dehydrating

We finally pulled the free dehydrator out of the basement.  It intimidated me.  I will admit that.  The chives, oregano and sage all loved the rain so much even the weeds did not stand a chance.  Yesterday I clipped the masses and found my tarragon and thyme again.

I started with the sage.  Half dried over night.  The rest is finishing off now.  The kitchen smells like Thanksgiving!  AndI’m officially hooked.  Let’s dry everything!


The steps were simple.  Cut in the morning, pick off the good leaves, rinse and dry and in the salad spinner, lay on the shelves and let it go over night.  Two tips I have are to preheat the dehydrator and to rotate the shelves a few hours in.  This is the best resource I found to take the mystery out of this process!

A New Look

A handmade beaded clutch repurposed from a placemat.

A handmade beaded clutch repurposed from a placemat.


A gorgeous purse created from a remnant of tie silk.

A gorgeous purse created from a remnant of tie silk.


A fabulous double knit polyester makes a cool retro purse.

A fabulous double knit polyester makes a cool retro purse.


A sweet little upholstery remnant purse sits perfectly in a round rattan handle.

A sweet little upholstery remnant purse sits perfectly in a round rattan handle.

Sarah and I had a blast reshooting some of the Spongetta photos.  From a photographer’s standpoint, she is a dream to shoot.  Here are some of our favorites.



Today was a bad day.  Nothing special, just one of those days when nothing seems to go right.  The big cliche kind of day.

When I returned from the post office, Luna greeted me at the door, tail wagging with the garbage can cover around her neck.  Instantly everything was better!

She really is the sweetest, mellowest dog ever.  Anyone else would have been wiggling, whimpering and trying to get out.  She just waited, while I took pictures, for me to save her.


This week is my favorite when it comes to gardening. The soil is fresh, perennials are emerging and the worst weeds are crab grass and dandelions.  For the first time in years, the spinach and peas are both in the ground and sprouting.   Inside tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs, zinnias are showing their second leaves and beginning to look like real plants. Anything is possible and my head is full of big ideas!

ImageGardenBasil ImageGardenTomato

The challenges are coming.  Along with the hosta, the weeds are beginning to pop out. The three spearmint nursed through the winter need a home sequestered from anyone else but safe from the weedeater. Luna has already helped by digging in the compost and spreading it across the lawn. Rob demonstrated the new power trimmer turning our front bushes into stick sculptures.


Let the fun begin!

As the Garden Grows – Phase 1

Finally a day that felt like spring. Got me out into the garden a bit to mark some of the bulbs that are coming up in the dog corral to be moved to safer parts of the yard. Some of the efforts from last year, moving, killing and ignoring several of the bushes, is finally paying off. The dogs take up much of the prime planting real estate, but have carved out some beds for perennials, herbs and veggies. Still going to be dependent on pots for tomatoes and peppers along with the some of the annual herbs like basil and cilantro. Here are some before shots of what we have to work with along with some of my large dreams for the various zones.

When we started, the house was surrounded by overgrown bushes and a silly tulip tree in the front yard.  Rob’s one requirement was that we could see Route 20 from the porch.  Once he started the chainsaw, he kind of didn’t stop.
Since the dogs took over the logical place for an herb garden, I had to rethink  and reclaim this area right off the kitchen.  The bushes have been cut back.  Still digging up the “decorative” grass and trying to tell the Japanese iris that they don’t need as much space.Here is the last spot to be made over this year and probably the hardest to tame. It needs to serve many purposes.   So far, I have added a compost pile, dug out overgrown flagstones and planted five varieties of hosta.  The lilacs are a nice backdrop, but need to be cut back.  The neighbors plan to build a fence, so that will allow me to gain some space and rethink what we can do here.

How Google Has Changed How I Write

When I first started on Etsy, I would write the descriptions stream of conscious, not really worrying how they would be picked up by search engines. Not only did it not occur to me, I did not have to either. My first sale was within two hours of posting the purse followed by over 300 sales in two years. Then Etsy changed. The competition grew, the search changed to relevancy, and I lost my client base during a couple year hiatus. I had to pay more attention to the words I used in tags, titles and descriptions.

When it was time to update the spongetta webpage, I did not just write. Rather, I compiled a list of thirty terms that had to be included in the text. This exercise made me realize how many obvious words I have missed in the past, such as homemade and heirloom. Even now as I write this passage, I am going back to be sure I have not used an oblique term or preposition when I could use something more descriptive.

It is resume time again. Before I even started the cover letter, I identified 14 key words from the job description and am structuring my central paragraph around these terms. The writing is definitely stronger and makes for a better application package. I feared that compiling ideas so strategically would take some of the fun out of the process. Instead, being deliberate with my word choices gives me more control over the process. There is no doubt now that I have presented myself in the best way possible.