I am so excited to launch Collard Green Dogs! This Mother Nature loving endeavor sprouted from our other business, Collard Dogs, which I started in January 2010.

Don't get me wrong - I love Collard Dogs and the fabulous pieces I produce. But, I feel a twinge of guilt when I purchase nylon webbing, and when sourcing fabric, I long for more unique prints.

One day, shortly after a trip to a favorite Detroit Salvation Army thrift store, I was reading a post on a favorite crafty blog,http://craftingagreenworld.com/, about upcyling. Inspiration struck. I could create totally unique, eco-friendly collars, using hemp webbing and upcyled fabric. My idea-engine started smoking as I thought about the great tablecloths I'd just passed by at the thrift store. And what about all the vintage fabric stores I love to surf when work is slow?

The next morning I ordered my first lot of hemp webbing from Hemp Traders and at lunch, picked up one of those nifty tablecloths. A cozy Saturday morning a week later, webbing in place and fabric ready to sew, I attempted my first Collard Green Dogs collar.

One word.     Disaster.

My little, perfectly acceptable for normal stuff machine, a Janome Sewist 500, coughed a little, sputtered and died. It just wasn't cut out to craft heavy-duty, hemp-webbed collars. I panicked. I had some orders to sew for my Collard Dogs line and really needed my machine. But then I remembered this quirky, "garden-level" Main Street Milford shop, under Suzanne's Dance Academy and next to the Milford House ice cream window... Mill Valley Vac and Sew (from now on referred to as MVVS). I gave them a buzz and ran downtown.

One word.   Savior.   Next word.   Max.

Max, MVVS's owner, took in my Janome, listened to my plight, and graciously offered a loaner machine. A National Stretch Series. Although it looked as though it was built before my birth, Max assured me it would do the job. I'd just have to jimmy up a way to operate the knee-height, cabinet-mount pedal. He lugged the machine to my car, wished me well and off I went... Once home, I hauled the relic inside, muscled it onto my Ikea-turned-sewing desk, put the pedal on an Amazon.com box and with my knee next to my chin, willed my first stitch. Though ancient, the thing cut through the hemp like a knife through room temperature butter. I sewed my first Collard Green Dogs collar. Like a true professional, I moved on to my Collard Dogs orders, but I knew I had to have this machine.

Four days later, Max called to say my Janome was ready. When I arrived to pick up what I now thought of as the wimpy wonder, I shyly asked about purchasing the National. Max thought.... "Mmmmm. Sure." I asked my next, possibly deal-breaking/heart-smashing question... "How much."

Now, I must say, I love Max. His answer, "$40."

(A year ago, I had never sewed a stich. Now, much to Will's bemusement, I owned two sewing machines and was starting two businesses that required stitching skills. Thank goodness for my mom, sewing teacher of the year!)

Armed with a great idea, hemp webbing, snappy fabric, a reliable relic of a sewing machine, I was ready to start Collard Green Dogs.

That was in August. It's nearly November. What took me so long? What got in the way? Life.

I started selling Collard Dogs collars in a great new Berkley, MI shop, Yellow Door, so was busy building inventory. I finished my last Olympic triathlon of the summer (and probably my life) in the Windy City.  I went to a great New Orleans wedding and an equally joyous one in Chicago. I traveled to Mackinac Island's Grand Hotel with Will and my mom and dad. I worked. 

But, now I'm here and I'm ready to get these great collars out to the masses! If you have questions, send me an email or leave me a comment. And, stay tuned for some great products!

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