Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On that note, HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all!!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So, on the more crafty end of things, I've been hearing about people unraveling sweaters and reclaiming yarn for a while. I've never been one for patience when it comes to thrifting, but while out searching for a horrible holiday sweater for a party this weekend, I figured I'd take a look at some other sweaters to give recycling the yarn a try. I found a nice cabled sweater in a cream color. The fiber is a wool/cotton/acrylic blend and it was $5.99 at the local thrift shop.
With a little help from this tutorial, I have so far removed one sleeve, which came apart pretty easily. There were a few knots and breaks while unraveling the first sleeve, but overall a quick and easy experience. The yarn appears to be about fingering weight and I have no idea how much yardage so far, but the ball I made is about 4 inches in diameter. That's just from one sleeve! I'm going to be able to make a lot of socks with this I think...and I also think it's going to encourage me to experiment with dying the yarn. Yup, I might be out of control!
Monday, December 22, 2008
He's been trying to guess what his gift is for the last week since I snuck it in the house, wrapped it and shoved it in the downstairs storage closet. Seeing as first anniversary is traditionally a paper gift, I keep telling him that I wrapped a 24 pack of toilet paper for him. I don't think he believes me though. On the other side, he got me something "shiny", which I'm pretty sure is jewelry. Pictures of my new "shiny" gift to follow!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Of course, having found the hole this morning, my first thought was to check the seams to see if the yarn can be reclaimed and I'm completely in luck! I can't bring myself to rip up the sweater and recycle the yarn just yet, but I'm so happy to know that I have that option available to me. When I can finally bring myself to do it, I'm going to have a ton of pretty orange and cream lace weight cashmere to play with. Just like the clouds outside right now...there is a silver lining.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Although the laws were created to increase regulation of imported items, those of us in the handmade line of work will be directly affected by this as the way the act was passed did not address the impact this ruling would have on the safer items made in the U.S. The certification testing that this regulation requires involves a cost of $300+ per batch. A batch is considered to be a group of a single product that all where made using the same material lot - therefore if you make handknit baby blankets, they would need to all be made from the exact same yarn and dye lot to be considered a batch. The manufacturer of the yarn is not responsible for testing, only the maker of the end product. Given that those making handmade items for babies and children are generally making something that's one of a kind, or at least in limited amounts, this would essentially put stores making handmade items for children out of business given the financial repercussions of compliance. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines and possible jail time.
If you'd like to read up more about the regulations going into effect, here are a few helpful links.
FAQs on the CPSC website
Handmade Toy Alliance
GK Law Article
Fashion Incubator Article
Whether you are the maker of handmade children's items, or someone who enjoys buying children's items that are handmade here in the U.S. with care, this will affect you. Those of us who handmade things for children and babies ask that you look into this law and contact your congressman, the CPSC, local media outlets, or take a few minutes to sign the online petitions regarding this ruling.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I am finally getting around to photographing and listing in my Etsy store the items that are left over from the vendor fair, starting with the scented sachets I made. It brought a smile to my face this morning when I opened the storage tub and the fragrance of lavender and mulberry filled my nostrils! It also made me laugh a little to think about when I brought home all the sachet pellets and the entire house was filled with "girly smells" (as my husband described it). I can't describe how fun the fragrance is through the computer screen, but take a whiff. =)
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I am very proud of my craft(s) and it's certainly an honor to be able to share that with the outside world and get a concept of what the general public thinks. After all, while I certainly appreciate my husband's opinion (and thankfully he's very good at being honest), it's also nice to know what a complete stranger thinks.
After yesterday, it's been confirmed in my mind that there is something to be said for an appreciation of the art that goes into handmade. I was one of 6 vendors that attended the fair - three of us selling our handmade wares, the other three were offering mass produced items (namely purses, framed posters and holiday cards). This was really a true test of handmade vs. commercial in my mind.
I found that I certainly received a lot of "oh, you're so talented" or "oh, your things are so cute" comments. I received admiration and comments about knitting being a dying craft, but this somehow did not translate into a lot of sales. While I did make a few sales, most people would squeal how adorable one of my items was....then go purchase a purse from the booth next to mine. I may not be the best salesperson alive, but the commercially made bags sold themselves, whereas I found myself constantly explaining my craft, what inspires me, why I love it as much as I do.
The kicker truly came when a nice looking gentleman in an expensive suit and tie came by and was looking at my 5"x7" matted photography prints. He noted how nice the prints were and inquired how much I was selling them for. I told him that they were $20 (which I still consider to be under priced but I had to go with my anticipated audience on this one) and that, as the artist, I would be happy to sign the print if he'd like. He exclaimed "$20?!!" as if I'd just asked him to hand over his soul and scurried off into the distance. At that point, I didn't know whether to cry a little, or laugh. The vendor next to me sold over 20 framed generic reproduction posters (he sold an amazing number of Kobe Bryant posters) with a price ranging from $35-$65 in a little over an hour, while I quietly pondered the value of my art.
It didn't improve when another person came over and asked me how much it costs to make my notecards - I believe the comment was "I mean, this can't cost you more than 50 cents". My husband told me later that the correct response would be a pro-ration of the $2000 camera, the travel costs to the different locations, the time taking the photographs, downloading them, organizing them, picking the perfect shots, uploading them to the printer, costs of the prints themselves, the shipping, the cardstock and the time taken to mount each one by hand. When you think of it like that, the notecard being sold for $4 is a steal. My husband's answer may have been the more direct approach, but I found myself justifying how I shoot my photographs and the time I take to carefully compose each shot because I'm not much of a believer in post-production (hence my business name). The man seemed surprised that I don't just hold down the shutter button and click about then see if I got a good shot later. I eventually gave up trying because I didn't feel like I needed to explain myself to him and remembered to not take it personally - although it's a really hard thing to do.
When I returned home slightly disillusioned by the day, I started looking at the humor of it all. While the masses may not appreciate the skill involved, I can be happy with myself knowing that I can create and do it well. At the very least, I regained the cost of my materials and I am now able to move forward with a supply of holidays gifts for my friends that are already made, and of course a month's worth of Etsy listings for my shop!
Monday, December 1, 2008
While knitting and crocheting up a storm, I realized that my hands might fall off, so next thing you know I'm sewing scented sachets, eye pillows, purses, and doing holiday penguin rub-on transfers to candle votives. I'm very proud of my insane achievement though and excited to get to show it all to a bunch of strangers on Wednesday!
One last thing on the needles for now and then mostly organization and sewing on buttons to finish everything off. Of course, many pictures from the show to come.... The good news is that the husband and I just started the planning for our bathroom remodel and of all goes well this will be a nice head start on paying for the floor tile!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The real question here is how many would be a reasonable number to make for a building that has 2500+ coffee drinking tenants....
Monday, November 17, 2008
The big difference is that her fair involves being in the lobby of her high rise with 2500+ tenants there to potentially purchase my wares. Imagine the look on my face when she told me that my table space is 12ft!! First thought was - what the hell am I going to make that will fill 12 feet of space?! Once the mild anxiety attack passed, I immediately got to crafting, which is what I've been doing ever since. So far I'm 3 pairs of baby booties, 1 scarf, 1 neckwarmer, 3 hats and am nearly done with my second crocheted edging on the fleece baby blankets I bought. I also bought a ton of photo mats, with photographs on their way from the printer to be either matted and sold as prints, or turned into notecards. I am also lucky that Hollylynne has agreed once again to partner with me on this one and send over some of her jewelry.
It's been 4 days since I found out about the fair and my hands already hurt. I think it might be time to bust out the sewing machine so that I'm not in crochet fever and can give my palms a break for a little bit. I don't know if I'm going to make it the next 16 days without having a seizure of sorts because even outside of the crafting, I need to make tags, price charts, finalize my display etc. I just hope to make enough money that I can book a massage!!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I know I previously mentioned the booties that I'd been making and last night I separated some to donate to a local children's charity through my work and started photographing others to go up for sale. First up are this super cute pair that I am tempted to make in adult size for running around the house. I sense that I wouldn't do so well on the hardwood floors in our new home though - this is based entirely on watching my husband slide around in his socks very "Risky Business" style (a/k/a when Tom Cruise wasn't crazy).
I'm definitely going to be listing more of these over the next few weeks, and of course some things for us adults too!
Friday, November 7, 2008
So today, I continued with the tradition of helping to organize our annual holiday craft fair at work. It was a much quieter event than in past years, but unfortunately it sounds like that's the way things are right now. I was happy to make a little extra cash over my lunch break, given the insanity of my crafting over the last week in preparation. My biggest thing has been making tons of little booties. I think I was inspired by my nephew, Ethan, and once seeing just how cute the darn things are, I made a LOT of them! I was also happy to be selling jewelry on behalf of my buddy Hollylynne, who happens to be betrothed to a co-worker of mine.My booth, with knit/crochet accessories, handspun yarn, photo notecards, and Holly's jewelry.
Here's a few more pics of some of the wonderful vendors we had join us.
So, at the end of the fair, while trying to help people break down their booths, the next thing I know our head of security very quietly came in and told us to evacuate the building. I'm wondering what on earth that is about and trying to figure out how to get the vendors out without them having to abandon all their goods. I guess 4 years as a fire warden and my CPR training did teach me something though as I managed to work some magic and get everybody out of the room safely.
I'm wondering what on earth is going on when I find out that there was an anthrax scare on the other side of our building, which we share with various radio stations. Apparently it was in relation to the Prop 8 issue here in California (although I don't know for which side) and the radio station had received a threat of some kind involving some powder. If the fire department, police, helicopters and hazmat trucks outside were anything to go by, it was a pretty freaky situation but thankfully was a scare and nothing else.
Just another Friday I guess...now off to photograph all my goods to be put into my Etsy store!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Thanks to everybody who checked out the delightful items being donated to this worthy cause!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
|From Kays Krafts:||Breast Cancer Awareness Memory Board - $24.99|
|From Wags Creations:||Give Hope ....Coaster Set - $15.00|
|From Liebling Designs:|| Pretty In Pink Necklace - $25.00|
|From Coasters And Cards:|| Stamp Out Breast Cancer Card - PIF|
|From Lonesome Road Studio:||pow dominOh effect pin - $8.00|
|From Buster and Boo:|| The Pink Ribbon, a scrabble tile pendant - $6.50|
|From Four Dog Day:||Nancy's Rose of Inspiration Fundraising Card - $3.00|
|From Fervent Butterfly:||Candy Flower - Red Flower on Water Fine Art Photo Print - $10.00|
|From Bead Brat Originals:||Think Pink Cotton Candy Pink and Sivertone Slider Bracelet - $28.00|
|From Whats That Smell:|
Pink Sugar Soy Tarts - $5.00
100% of the sale price to be donated
Seeing as this is a giving thing, let's get some sales going to assist with donations! Lanae Photography has graciously donated a 4"x6" copy of the print shown below as part of a contest. All you need to do is find a store on Etsy that is donating part of the proceeds from an i tem to Breast Cancer Awareness, and post a link to either the store or the item in the comments here. The only rule is that it can't be a store already shown here!! On November 1, a winner will be chosen and this print will be yours.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
It was a 3 day process because attempting to cut and sew a 90" length of fabric that's 54" wide and doesn't press (which is something I wish I'd thought of before going the microfiber route) takes a while. In the end though, I am extremely proud of what is my biggest project to date and one that we look at every day so I can only imagine how much it would have sucked if I'd royally screwed it up! Anyway, here's a picture for you which also shows our pretty new dining table and the centerpiece my mother-in-law gave us a while back that's never had the perfect place to be shown before.I have to love the fact that the sun is poking through in the middle of a hot So Cal October....
Friday, October 17, 2008
To find out more about the Ornamonkeys, visit Recycled Ideas on Etsy where you can see more species that are available or join the Monkey Of The Month club (spaces will be available starting in November). Also, click on the "win a monkey" bug on this page to find out how you can win your own monkey. Now, that's not a phrase I use every day! =)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Monday night...Desk #1 - Got it home and found there was a big chip in the top of it. Popped it back in the box to take back to Target.
Tuesday night...Desk #2 - Took the first desk back to Target, explained the problem. Left a few minutes later with a replacement. Husband gets the desk home, starts building it and comes up the stairs cussing up a storm to ask my opinion on why one of the pieces doesn't fit. Realized it was definitely drilled on the wrong side/upside down. Now, for those of you that have built your own furniture, you know that if the holes don't match up, there's no hope!
Wednesday morning - Called Target's guest services department. Very nice man tells me that he's going to call my local store and have them pull a replacement piece out of another box for me and that I should just go over there with the one that's messed up to exchange them.
Wednesday night...Desk #3 & #4 - Arrive at guest services in the store to pick up my furniture part. Very helpful associate pops off into the warehouse to go get me a "correct" one. Comes back with a desk box, opens it up and pulls out the piece...which is also drilled backwards. Tells me to stick around for a minute while he pulls the last one they have in stock (which of course means that I have to use that time to buy toothpaste, dishwasher soap and browse some jewelry...after all, I'm in a Target store!) The guy returns from the warehouse with the last desk in that color, opens it up and yes, you guessed it, it's drilled wrong!! Yeah, big ooops. Fortunately, they had the desk in another color, which I opted to take...on the condition that they opened it up and checked that the piece was drilled the right way around (which it was). Thinking all was well, I'm then told that I actually have to go home and get the half-constructed parts because they need those to give me the exchange. Grrrr! Stupid stoned factory dude putting holes in the wrong side.
This morning...Desk #5 - Shoved all the half built pieces into my car and made the security guard help me carry the desk into the store at 8am this morning when they opened. Desk #5 had my name written on it in Sharpie and was waiting for me. It's sitting in the back of my car now just waiting to be built tonight. I guess time will tell if we've closed that particular chapter of desk buying!
At the same time, I did use this as an opportunity to build my karma points by calling Target, and the furniture manufacturer, to let them know that there was a manufacturing problem with the desk and both customer service people were so incredibly grateful that I brought it up. So, if you see a desk recall notice in Target, think of me. =)
As much as I love that store, 4 times in 36 hours seems like it might be pushing it a little bit don't you agree?!
Monday, October 13, 2008
Given that Joann was having their Columbus Day sale, all their red tag fabrics were 50% off, and they were having a $0.99 sale on Simplicity patterns. This of course was entirely too much to resist and I had a lot of fun rummaging around for some great deals (which isn't hard when you can buy super cute fabrics for under $2/yard). It was especially gratifying to be told on the receipt that my savings for the day were $46!!
During my search, I discovered that I have really developed a love for brocade fabrics. The history of these fabrics is just as rich as the look of the fabric itself. They have been used as an indication of status and to signify ceremonial events. Perhaps it is my Chinese heritage, or the huge Indian culture where I grew up in England, that makes me love the style of fabric. Either way, I am very drawn to them and came home yesterday with three different styles of brocade fabric - a red and gold, a turquoise and gold, and a baby blue (I forgot to take a picture but the picture here is really similar to what I purchased). I have a couple of tops planned, although these are the kinds of fabrics were I get nervous using them in case I mess it up!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
As much as Kenley drives me nuts, you can't say the girl doesn't have a style...even if parts of it appear to have been "inspired" by another designer (see the design by Alexander McQueen below left, by Kenley below right). One thing that bugs me, apart from her whining, is that she can't seem to get out of her niche. That being said, I think she'll do really well within her niche.
Korto has a great personality; very down to earth and I think that reflects in her designs. While I do think she missed the mark a little with her wedding dress last night, I have enjoyed her previous creations. The dress shown to the left is one that I like, despite being someone who's not much for crazy prints. I thought her bridesmaid dress was nowhere near as bad as the judges made it out to be, although given where they are in the competition I think they wanted her to find a happy medium between the over and under whelming that they kept talking about.
Finally, Leanne is my favorite to win right now. Apart from anything, she has an Etsy store!! She has such a classy style that is well structured, yet flows beautifully (see the dress inset right) and I really enjoy her humble nature - the absolute every day kinda girl. I'm really excited to see her final collection because the hints we got in the show last night looked really interesting and so well designed. The wedding and bridesmaid dresses were beautiful and I would be happy to wear either.
Of course, waiting another week will be torture to find out who made it, but it'll be an exciting finale this year for sure!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The winner is The Giving Tree on Etsy. I was really happy to check out her shop and see that she is donating proceeds from her October sales to charity on account of it being Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Thank you to my co-worker, Karen, for picking a name out of the hat.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
So, here's what I have for you. Post a comment here telling me what photographic images you love to see on notecards. Next Wednesday, (October 8) I will pull a name out of the hat for someone to win this set of floral notecards, featuring my photography! The photos are mounted on blank notecard stock so that you can write your own message inside, and can easily be pulled off and framed too. Each card comes with a matching envelope.
Please don't forget to leave your name and a method of contact so that I can let you know if you won. =)
Monday, September 29, 2008
Seeing as I haven't had much opportunity to take pictures of things recently, I was more than happy to oblige when my sister in law asked me to do a photo shoot of the baby for his birth announcements. Naturally, my camera was buried somewhere in the new place so I needed to use their little camera and some creative natural lighting with adjusting the horizontal blinds, but I think they came out well. Ethan was particularly well behaved and slept through the entire thing!
Monday, September 22, 2008
This has been a favorite show of mine for a long time (including a crush on Ryan Stiles, who is just too lovable!) When a co-worker shared this video with me, I was in tears and my face hurt a little from laughing. Mondays mornings are definitely a good day to need some manic laughter, so I had to share...enjoy!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I've got 6 yards of a beautiful microfiber just waiting to be turned into curtains and I can't wait to take care of that. I'm excited to try sewing curtains and I'm also very hopeful that it's as easy as it is made out to be on the videos I've been watching on you tube. In addition to that I'm thrilled that I'm going to be gaining a dedicated craft space, and creating a couple of stairwell galleries for my photography. =) For now, I will continue putting things in boxes and living out of my suitcase (seeing as we sold both of our dressers in anticipation of our new bedroom set.)
Secondly, I am happy to announce that as of this morning I am officially a U.S. permanent resident. Almost exactly 11 years ago to the day, I got on a plane out of Heathrow to start my new life at UC San Diego. I'm truly happy to say that, while I love England (check out the picture of my local pub back home) I'm really excited to be staying out here as a very proud Brit in California. After all the trials and tribulations of staying out here legally through student and work visas, walking into my green card interview and trying to show someone that the last ten years of my life with my new husband are truly legit is definitely an experience that brings you crashing back to earth. When the official said "Congratulations, I'm approving your petition," it took a lot for me not to jump around the desk and hug him.
So, to sum it up, I certainly wasn't expecting to find the love of my life a couple of days after getting off the plane but if you have an 18 year old daughter who meets a cute guy in the dorms that's willing to give her and her friends a ride to a frat party, don't discount the fact that 10 years on they might be happily married and with a new house purchase on their hands. =) It's been a rocky road but I know if we can support each other through the last couple of weeks we've had and still maintain somewhat of a sense of humor, it will be getting better from here.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The difference between Tunisian crochet and regular crochet is that loops are created and pulled up onto the hook, then the piece is worked back and forth without turning the work. It creates a pretty cool woven effect, which I love the look of.
A double ended cro-hook (which is what I have) has a hook on each end and is similar in technique to Tunisian crochet, but is great for working two colors. Essentially you work with one color from each end. Check out this information from www.crochetcabana.com if you'd like to know more!