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Owner of fabric art shop feels in the pink

Debbie Roberts’ bra purse “Don’t Ruffle My Feathers” was inspired by the Pink Dragon Ladies cancer survivor dragon boat team. The shop features other whimsical and colorful handbags and handmade items by other artists.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

Debbie Roberts’ bra purse “Don’t Ruffle My Feathers” was inspired by the Pink Dragon Ladies cancer survivor dragon boat team. The shop features other whimsical and colorful handbags and handmade items by other artists.

Like the works of art they will become, a rainbow palette of threads decorates a wall of Pink Florida Threads.

The threads are the heart and soul of Debbie Roberts, whose lifelong passion of creative sewing has taken her to a new venture as a business owner. The store opened in early November.

She learned garment sewing from her mother and embroidery from her grandmother before she was out of elementary school.

"I fell in love with hand-stitching," she said. "I've always loved anything that's detail-oriented. It's attention to details that makes the difference between ordinary and outstanding. For me, it has to be quality, it has to be just right."

What was function for many years — handmade clothing for herself, her dolls and then her children, as well as drapes and furniture covers — now has become art.

"Fabric as art, that's what I'm playing with now and I can't stop — I'm lovin' it," said Roberts, who was a single mother with two children when she moved here 29 years ago from Nazareth, Pa.

Since then, she married Joel Roberts and they have a 19-year-old son, Jeremy.

The shop features Roberts' funky, whimsical and colorful handbags, pillowcases for every season and even sick days, pillows and quilts made of personal clothing that become family heirlooms, seasonal chair covers she calls bibs, photographs of unspoiled Florida waterways and hand-decorated velvet wine bottle covers.

Handmade items made by other artists include handblown glass bead jewelry, gift cards, gift pails and decorative dichroic (two-colored) glass.

What investment did it take to start the business?

About $7,000. We did everything ourselves — tile flooring, new cabinetry, painting, the construction of special areas and business cards. I already had my sewing equipment.

How did you come up with the business name?

Pink because I'm all about pink, because I love everything pink. It's my color and color describes everything I do. Florida because I love Florida. Threads because it's truly my passion.

You plan to teach classes. When will they start and what will the topics be?

The classes will start in January.

I plan to offer Sewing 101 to teach everything from sewing buttons to making pillowcases and gifts; Quilting 101 to teach making heirlooms of old shirts, dresses and other materials; and Magnetic Bulletin Boards. I made one of the bulletin boards for the store and so many customers have asked about how to make them.

Business briefs

Huntington Learning Centers, Largo, announces these promotions: Lisa Turini to assistant center director; and Sara Routhier to education director. Turini and Routhier were management trainees.

•••

Bay Area Custom T-Shirts, 1874 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater, has changed its corporate name to Big Frog Custom T-shirts and More. BigFrog.com is the Web address.

News of North Pinellas businesses and business people can be e-mailed to pcastillo@sptimes.com. We are interested in new and unusual businesses, promotions, expansions and major new contracts. Photos can be sent, but not all will be used and they cannot be returned.

Fast facts

Pink Florida Threads

Antique Alley, 596 Indian Rocks Road, Belleair Bluffs

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday.

For more information: Visit www.pinkfloridathreads.com or call (727) 474-3893.

Owner of fabric art shop feels in the pink 12/18/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 18, 2008 7:00pm]
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