Thursday, February 26, 2009


Shortly after starting Saks 3rd Ave., I was on a buying trip at the Dallas Trade Mart. This was during the time that the "country look" was so popular. The market was unusually busy and every place I went to place orders for my store inventory, I had to wait in line. It occurred to me that I could easily make many of the items I was purchasing.

When I went home, my housekeeper asked me if I could hire her daughter. I decided to start a manufacturing business and attempt selling at the Dallas Trade Mart. I bought a vacant building that had been an oil/gas distributorship. Olivia and I physically cleaned up old barrels and trash and she was my first employee at Two’s Company, the name I had chosen for my new venture.

Olivia and I made 12 different items and I loaded them in my briefcase and went to Dallas to find a representative. The first company I called on was Casey Associates, a rep that I had purchased from for my gift shop. Suddenly, my heart was in my throat....I had bought a building and hired an employee without means of supporting my idea. I was very lucky, Casey Associates liked what we had created and agreed to represent me in their permanent showroom. I left my samples and to my great surprise, from the first market several months later, I received $9,000 in orders.

My youngest daughter lived in New Jersey and worked in New York. I decided to go to visit her and look for a representative in New York. I took my samples there and found a representative at the 225 Fifth Avenue Showroom, Silverman & Silverman. They took my samples and I signed a contract with them to represent me. Part of my agreement was that I would personally attend their special outside shows. I had a terrible shock at the first market when an attorney came to our display and informed me that the name "Two’s Company" was trademarked and I was infringing. I called my attorney and he informed me to immediately change the name of my company - using my personal name (which cannot be an infringement). It was then that my company became "Bulls’ Country".

I was surprised when my NY rep called me one day and informed me that Spiegel Catalog company had placed an order for four of my items. I was so excited and called my husband and said, "Spiegel has ordered from me. The first order is $1,100.00". My husband looked at the order and said, "This order is for $11,000.00." I never was very good at math! As it turned out, our four little items appeared in 4 consecutive catalogs mailed out and the total orders amounted to $87,000.00. This order prompted me to hire more ladies and two men at my little manufacturing company. Here is a scan of the four hoop wallhangings that appeared in four of their catalogs. The second scan is the front of one of the catalogs this ad appeared in.

Here are some scans of items we manufactured at Bulls Country. We advertised "Bulls’ Country ABCs" - A-Add a Drawer; B-Build a Quilt; C-Change a Screen; S-Switch a Picture. Everything we made was of pine frames with changeable fabric inserts. We stated that our product carried through from Nursery to Newlyweds - simply by changing the fabric inserts. Everything could be shipped by UPS (United Parcel Service). I furnished my daughter’s apartment in New Jersey by sending her furniture through UPS.

We had approximately 12 different theme designs. We also made little decorated crates that sold well.

Here is a picture of me in my office at Bulls’ Country:

It was at Bulls’ Country that the idea of printing directly onto fabric with a copier/printer came to mind and I acquired a patent on the process. That, is another story for later.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have worked years on my design for making Plains Indian Moccasins. I have developed a pattern of 3 main pieces and a method of printing different beading designs on pre-printed kits of buckskin. Here is one example of a moccasin kit ready for beading and assembly:

If you plan to bead your moccasins, do it now.

Click to see more moccasin kits

Sunday, February 22, 2009



When attending a pow wow or ceremonial, it is important to be properly dressed. First, I will show you a traditional Plains Indian Buckskin Dress.

Here is a close up of the tab which hangs down from the bodice top skin. One can almost tell what tribe the lady belongs to by the shape of the tab and the beading design. The dangles hanging down under the sleeves are added and simulate deer legs.

Here is a close up of the skirt tab which is at each side of the skirt.

Now, to the accessories. The traditional dress has a belt with three pouches and a dragger. The pouches are 1) awl case, 2) knife sheath, and 3) fire-starting pouch. Also, hanging down is a strip of leather called a "dragger". These items were her working tools. The dragger was used to spur her horse and was also used to carry wood for building fires.

For ceremonial and pow wow dancing, the breast plate necklace was worn. It was usually made from fire polish beads and bone hairpipe beads. It was not as uncomfortable to wear as it looks because the weight is evenly distributed at the front and back.

The well dressed lady would also carry a purse.

It is customary to carry a shawl when entering the dance arena.

I am showing some moccasins I make. I have designed my moccasins so that you may wear them with or without leggings.

When Native American Women made their dresses, they often decorated them with embellishments honoring their family. On the dresses I make, I add 5 jingles (made from snuff can lids) and 15 small tin cones. The jingles represent my five children and the 15 tin cones are my 15 grandchildren.

All dressed and ready for the pow wow, including the fan that ladies carry while dancing. I am modeling a complete outfit that was sold at the Red Earth Festival.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I love making Native American regalia. I have made dozens, maybe even hundreds, of buckskin dresses. I purchase the best skins that I can find for the dresses. First, I specify that each skin is no smaller than 8 sq. ft. I order at least 100-300 sq. ft. at a time. It takes approximately 45-50 sq. ft. for a medium sized dress. My best source for deerskin is from a company that has farm-fed deerskins chemically brain tanned in Germany.

Brain tanning is a process to make the skins very soft. Long ago, the women made a soup of the brains of the animal the men killed. Soaking the skins in this soup made them very soft. Then they were smoked over a fire which gave the creamy buttery color. There are modern ways of chemically brain tanning.

I have an old book that shows various pictures of different tribal dresses. I chose as my favorite the 3-skin traditional Plains Indian Dress. This dress is made of three skins, one for the skirt front, one for skirt back, and one folded over with neck hole. Following these old pictures, I designed my own pattern for making my dresses.

Here is a sketch of my design:

Measurements I need for a custom dress:

I do use a sewing machine as women of long ago used:

Here is a hang tag of one of my dresses sold at Red Earth:

To be fashionably dressed at ceremonials and pow wows, there were necessary accessories, which is for a later post.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


My subject today is going to be about making a tepee. I felt that any Indian woman worth her salt should be able to make a tepee. So, I bought an old book that gave the instructions on "How To" and found the instructions. Native People first made their tepees from buffalo skins. When the white man came, they traded for canvas and started making their tepees of canvas.

I have already shown my prototype. But I will show it again. I made it out of light weight muslin and was challenged on how to make it so it would fit under the ceiling at the Cultural Center and yet have it the correct size around. I decided to make a 12 foot tepee. This is a popular size Indian hunters made so they could easily carry them on hunting expeditions. However, the living lodges were from 18 to 34 feet.

Here is the muslin tepee that was erected in the entry of the AICC. We invited visitors to sign their names and where they were from on the tepee. We had about a 1000 signatures from all over the U.S. and many from other countries. This tepee now belongs to the Kwahadi Heritage Museum.

Here is my second tepee made. This was a program, Gathering of the Cultures, that we had at Wildcat Bluff, a beautiful spot just outside the city limits of Amarillo, Texas.

Several of us women decided to "toss our bras" and show how we could erect our tepee in 30 minutes, which is about the time Indian women of long ago could do. I had read that when erecting the tepee, to be able to lace the front covers together, was to temporarily tie a horizontal pole between the two front poles and stand on that to lace the two fronts together. Long ago, that was the children’s job.

Here is a picture of some of the men watching us erect the tepee:

Here is another tepee I made which I donated to the Kwahadi Heritage Museum.

My challenge now is to create an ACEO card for the 3 of Spades for a deck of cards. I have something in mind....and that I will save for another post.

You might be interested in seeing some of my quilt blocks for a quilt I entitled "It Takes a Village". Click on the picture to see these quilt blocks.