Friday, May 22, 2009

Spring Ruffle Top


I so want to make this top. I've been obsessing over it for days. Check out the free pattern.

Does anyone else have any good top patterns to share? I'm looking for some fun frilly tops to wear with my skirts. I love blouses with big necks and no button up fronts. Fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Log Pillow Kit

Don't ask me why.. but crafters are obsessed with logs and woodgrain. I want these pillows so bad.. must make my own! You can too.. just buy the pillow kit.

In the future my house will be decorated with logs, birds and mushrooms. It will be awesome and fantastic.

Also in love with their website. So much crafty goodness!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick And Easy Sketchbook!

Check out this super easy sketchbook tutorial by Susie.

I definitely want to try this out with some of my scrap paper I have sitting around the studio. You could even make your own custom cover with your own artwork! neato.

Friends and Heart bursting with happiness

This is a happy person. This is a person living a dream. This is someone who works 7 days a week 10 hours a day, barely sleeps and pushes herself to the limit every day. This is someone who once was very sad and alone, and now is someone who has the greatest friends and support network she could have ever hoped for. This is what happiness looks like. This is what living should be about. These small moments in the sunshine, spending the day around creative artists, people watching all day and chatting my head off. This is the life!

Also Molly is awesome. And her mobiles rock. When I first moved here and visited the market Molly was here. I talked to her all the time when I visited. She doesn't remember me but I remember her. Someday I'm going to have that impact on someone else's life. Isn't that amazing? Now I sit by Molly and chat with her all day. I never thought this was so possible. Living the dream folks, living the dream.



Anything is possible. That is what my life has shown me. If you stick with something and don't give up, it happens. The pieces fall in place.

It makes me wonder.. will that happen to other things in my life? It's definitely possible!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My view at the market

I am so glad I came back to the market today. It was sunny and bright out. I got a good spot and great neighbors. Also a few of my special items were taken home by some very special people. That always makes me happy above all else. I have so many new ideas that are just flowing out of my brain. I wonder if I'll ever have time to do them? :)

Here are some videos from my booth!

video

video

Also ice cream plushies and Popsicles now available in my store!



Spring is time for skirts!

The weather is getting warmer and warmer and I have skirts on the brain. The horror of my limited collection of shorts looms above me. I want to be flowy and free and feminine this year. I've been collecting some patterns and getting ready for my next sewing project, a wardrobe refresh! This is what I have collected so far.



The A-line Skirt. Tutorial here and make your own pattern here.

Angry Chicken's 5 minute skirt.

Skirt made from a bedsheet! Tutorial here by PolkaDogCottage

This skirt I definitely want to try. Ruffle skirt by Sew,Mama,Sew! - see her tutorial

more here: linkage

Now should I stay up till midnight making a new skirt or not? hehe.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Things in my studio




My little studio is getting filled up with different art projects. Here are a couple things I've put up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Green Thumb Returning?

This is the view from my basement window. I get to look at at the backyard patio at our little patch of garden. It's such a fabulous view and I'm looking forward to returning to work down here again.

When I first moved here to Portland I had a major green thumb. I had a car full of plants that drove all the way from Grants Pass to Portland Oregon. I moved away from tending my mom's huge garden and into an apartment dwelling. I've since lived in many places in Portland but never really had that garden again. Bit by bit my plants died off. I did give some of the baby starts away and my friends still have these plants so I don't feel like they were entirely lost.. but here I am 8 years later and I only have ONE plant to show for it. What happened? I think I lost my green thumb.

It's surprising how much of an affect things in your life can affect your love to nurture and create and grow. I felt that I could only take care of myself and didn't have anything left over for anyone else.. or anything. I think my love of plants returning is a good sign that I'm on the right path. That I'm becoming happy again and feeling secure enough in my life to start taking care of something else again.

I feel nurturing again! I think it's finally time to start up my plant collection again. It's really sad that I only have one left but I know I can start more! I still have all of the knowledge and experience of the past. Did you know you can make starters from your houseplants you already have? That's how I got most of my old plants! That's also how they carried on with other people because I gave them starters years ago and now they have huge plants to show for it. It's so easy. All you have to do is cut off part of the plant and soak in some water. If you look closely at your plant you will see little nubs, those are potential roots. Most houseplants are the crawling type and send out little shooters to try and find land to create a new plant. It's much how ivy works. Most plants have these little nubs or beginner roots showing. With other kinds of plants it get a bit more complicated on how to propagate but it's pretty easy once you read the directions! I found an easy tutorial here.

Here are my little starters collected from my housemate's plants. I'll take a little bit of them with me.. and I want to start collecting more! Does anyone else have an interesting plant they want to share? Maybe you want one of mine?

Check out these videos I found as well.





leaf cutting! Plants from a leaf! Isn't life fantastic?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My first Blog award!

I'm honored to be included in this little bloggy award. My friend Amanda over and BreadAndBadger nomimated me. Now it's my turn to pass this award on to some of my favorite blogs. I have so many so this is going to be hard choice!

The nominees are (in random order)

1. Soto Softies by Maritza Soto
2. mmmcrafts by Larissa
3. BugsAndFishes by Lupin
4. One Red Robin by Jhoanna
5. Roaring Design by Theresa
6. Yummy Pancake
7. Bakerella
8. How About Orange

Monday, May 11, 2009

Curry Stew


I made a batch of this curry stew tonight. Mine didn't come out as wonderful looking at this photo but it does taste and smell delicious! I'm working on recipes that are using up what's left in the cupboard. I had a can of coconut milk in there and some extra veggies that needed using up. Check out the recipe and try your own version!

yum stew! I never thought curry could be so easy. The secret ingredient really is that coconut milk.

yum yum yum!

Any man that ends up with me better love his food. Oh man I wish my housemate was here so I could torture her with these lovely smells.. mmm.. oh yes.. mmmm.. so gooood..

New Pincushions!

New pincushions available in my shop!

Many colors available in mushroom and cupcake style. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Business Frustrations


This year I set out to really focus on my business. To turn it from a hobby into a full blown real business. I have really been working hard trying to make this a reality. I gave up my weekends to do the Saturday Market, invested money in tables, tents and fabric, and wore myself out physically. It's been a learning experience that's for sure! I'm not willing to give up yet!

I'm at the point right now where I can either chose to shut this whole thing down and go back to just doing crafts for fun, or take the next step and start to make it a bigger priority in my life and start to work my day job less. That is so scary for me! I am working there mostly full time and the hours shift around from week to week but I need to make a clear schedule and take whole days off. This means less $$ for the bills but maybe an opportunity to grow more? I have reached the point where I can't grow anymore with the time I have, I have to make that next step and step in with faith that my business will take care of me if I invest more in it.

I really do love my day job and being a graphic designer. I just need a more creative job to let myself loose. My creative job is becoming more of a priority in my life and the design job is fading away. I still want to do design and I think I will keep it on the side because it's a nice way to get out of the house. The way this is going though looks like I'll be working more at home soon! Exciting right? Scary as hell!

I'm also reading this book: "Craft Inc" again, I never did read through the whole thing before. The writer is speaking to people just like me who are frustrated and unsure of which direction to go. She really lays it out and makes the path seem so clear. I skipped out of the Market again today because I ended up staying up till 5 in the morning trying to finish things. I didn't even get to screenprinting or tagging my new shirts. I still have to do that this week! I am at a burnt out stage.. so it's time to refocus and figure out what I've been doing wrong. I have been reading all morning, posting new items on etsy and planning for the future.

It's hard doing this by myself. I love talking to my mom about it because she gives me some real world advice and that is much needed to a creative mind. I always want to try and do everything! There is no one here telling me NO!! I need to focus myself and not work on things that have no real value and do what I'm supposed to be doing. As a creative it's so hard to focus! My mind is so scattered and just buzzing with ideas and new creations.

You should see my sketchbooks! sheesh.

I am not giving up on the market and I shall return soon. I am going through some "growing pains" right now and getting re-focused and re-energized. What I learn right now is so valuable! I plan on updating my website and etsy shop so if you don't see me at the market you can still find everything online. That project is on the list of many things I need to accomplish this week. I'm getting there! I also have the goal of posting 100 items on etsy. I'm up to 48 items! (take a peek)

At this point I don't know if I can even do the Alberta Art Hop or crafty wonderland or First Thursday. All those fees are too much for me right now. I will keep on putting along and do what I can and have faith that the customers will come and that people will like my artwork. I have to keep on believing in myself and just do what I can and not get so frustrated that I can't do everything that I want to do. I have to accept my limitations and celebrate my accomplishments.

one small step at a time.

Happy Mother's Day!


Check out these great articles on Craft Magazine Blog about Crafty Moms!

* Shawn Connally and mom
* Becky Stern and mom Bette Stern
* Diane Gilleland and mom Pam Harris
* Jennifer Perkins and mom Fredda Perkins
* Maura Madden and mom Pam Madden

I come from a long line of crafty chicas. My grandma was a very talented painter and seamstress, my two aunts are painters and sewers as well. My mom was a big influence on me during childhood. It took me quite a few years to realize how different my childhood was from other kids. I remember how angry I was as a kid that we never had money for toys and that the other kids always had newer clothes than me and all the coolest newest gadgets. As a kid and especially a teenager I resented not new things. My mom was always really cheap, but what really she was just thrifty. She taught us to make our own toys. I learned sewing from an early age (10 or so) and was sewing my own dolls and doll clothes all by myself. I turned old socks into all sorts of creatures and played with those more than the store bought ones. She taught us how to make our own playdough and let us play for hours and hours building houses, creatures and making a big mess.

She didn't like doing stuff for us, she always wanted to teach us how to do it for ourselves. If you wanted to cook something she would show you where the pots were and the materials to make it and would pull out the cookbook. If you wanted to build something.. here is the wood, some nails and a hammer, have at it! It was so annoying as a kid to always get that response because you just wanted it NOW and no you didn't want to have to do it yourself. Isn't that the mom's job? What she taught us though was to be responsible human beings. All the kids are independent, smart and very capable of taking care of our own needs.

I learned how to sew, crochet, cook, woodworking and so much more from my mom. I didn't realize it till later on in life how much I did learn through my childhood. I learned how to make things with my own hand. I learned the joys of play. I learned how to recycle and use the materials around you. I learned to be creative and problem solve. I learned how to do things for myself.

My crafty mama now started up her own business sewing aprons (lynnsdesigneraprons.etsy.com) a couple years ago. Now we can share stories and she gives me a lot of moral support for my own business. She was the one who gave me my sewing machine and still mails me fabric and felt she finds at yard sales. Our shared love of craft has rebuilt a rather rocky relationship. It has brought us closer as mother and daughter and healed the many fights and screaming matches we had during the teenage angst years. Now I find myself becoming like my mom more and more.. and for once in my life I'm actually proud of this.

So did you have a craft mama that got you started down your creative path? What is your story?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Friends

Featured on Akane Designs Blog!

Check it out guys. Little Mardbert the Panda Gnome was mentioned on Akane Designs today!

Thanks for the mention Christina!

Mushroom Spindle Case Recycle

I made this from a tall CD spindle case! Can you believe it?

Here are the directions.

Materials:
- Tall CD Spindle case
- Glue gun and sticks
- Foam core (or thick cardboard)
- Felt or fabric
- Paper to line the base with (ordinary copier paper will do)
- Polyfill for padding

Take the top of the spindle and trace a circle shape about two inches bigger than to the top. Cut out of foam core. Glue the spindle case to the foam core. It helps to draw a circle first to place the top into when you have the hot glue.

Trace a circle in the felt that is one inch larger than your foam core piece. You want enough fabric to fold over the edge. Cut circles from the white felt.

Lay down the large red circle. Arrange the polyfill in an even layer. Top with the CD spindle top and hold down gently on the table as you go around the edge and glue the fabric to the foam core. Watch out for hot glue!

You can finish this off with another piece of fabric but I left mine unfinished. I also added some fancy fringe. Add whatever you want! Glue on the white circles on the top.

For the base I tried two methods. First I tried a shelf liner paper that went on the outside of the base. It's a bit tricky to get on so I did it in pieces. The base is not perfectly straight, it is bigger on the bottom than the top. The second version I put a white piece of paper inside and taped it down. You can also glue on fabric around the outside. Be creative! Oh and also adding a face is a must for me.

I removed the spine from the spindle and put a piece of felt on the bottom to cover up the hole. It came off really easy!

What are the uses? Well the first one holds all those little panda gnomes. The other will hold something secret. Maybe it would make a good bank? It can keep your craft supplies nice and safely stored.

If you make one please post a link! I challenge you! Make your own mushroom today! No sewing and glue gun awesomeness.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Hats!

check it out. Finally added the dino hat to my store and a couple other ones as well! Browse all the hats in my store here.



Hats in Etsy shop


New hats available in my shop today!


Monday, May 04, 2009

Yard Sale Treasures

On the way to my friend's house on Friday I zoomed on by a yardsale sign. The urge hit me deep in my stomach.. turn around! I fought it.. then another sign showed up. I couldn't take it. I had to turn around. I'm SO glad that I did! I found some incredible treasures and ended up only spending $24 total. Sweet! Check out what I found!

This torso was only $5.00 and the owner mentioned that the rest of her was "somewhere" but that's all she could find. PERFECT for me and now I have a new hat model! She's a little beat up but I think she's beautiful. I have a ton of wigs that she can wear and maybe someday I'll find her some arms and legs. For now.. she has a new home and new job. She has already modeled my whole line of hats and new photos to come. She poses very well and is very versitle. I have yet to name here. Any ideas?

I tried to startle R. my housemate and set her up on the coach. She came home just in time to catch me and was more weirded out than scared. Damn!

I love this new garment rack that I nabbed for only $2.00. Can you believe it? I was just thinking I need a new display for Last Thursday that didn't involve a tent setup and then I found this. I had it in my head to find a new garment rack. SO happy with this! Look it folds up and everything!



Plastic clock frame. Perfect for a shelf/frame for my wall. I have plans for this. Notice the cat ass hidden in the back. She refused to be photographed.

Trivet with 70's flowers. I love the colors, sooo going in my kitchen when I have my own. Sweet!


Vinyl paper for drawers. Check out the vintage patterns! I love the wood grain. I have a perfect project in mind involving a stump and cardboard. :)

Shower curtain toppers. Has anyone seen anything like this before? It goes on the top like the top of a window curtain. So odd. R. wants to put one up on our shower. hehe. I'm sending them home to mom to make aprons from.

Neato crafting table. It opens on the top. I don't know.. I love it. I want to paint it. It's weird but it's cute and I want it in my new house. Perfect for tv watching and stashing crafts when company comes.

Top treasure! This is a vintage 1970's poster. I LOVE the neon colors and the line work on this piece. It was made by a company called "hole in the wall". I can't find info about them anywhere. This may be worth money.. I don't know. If you know anything about this please let me know. Check out the detail work!



You never know when you are going to find treasures!

10 Steps to Follow Before You Start a Crafts Business

Handy tips from About.com - (link)

Being self-employed is the dream of many people running that daily 9-to-5 treadmill. If you’ve been mulling over the possibility of starting a crafts business, check out my ten recommended steps to follow before starting your business.

1. Think About Why You Want to Start a Crafts Business
Maybe you want to turn a hobby into a moneymaking business. Perhaps you’re just fed up with your day job and want to make the transition from working for someone else to working for yourself. Are you spending too much time at the office and feel a home-based craft business will give you more time with your family? Whatever the reason, and you might have more than one, sit down and give this question some serious thought.

2. Get Good Practical Experience
Opening a crafts business, especially if you plan to use it to replace your day job, isn’t something that you just wake up one day and decide to do. If you want your craft business to be a success you need to have experience ranging from basic design to complete construction.

3. Go to School if You Need to Hone Your Craft-Making Skills
It’s never a bad idea to take a class in your field of arts or crafts to advance your basic skills. Watching the instructor and your peers just may show you a better way to set up your workbench, perform your craft or you may get a referral to a fantastic vender. It’s also a great way to network, which can be helpful when growing your craft business.

4. Select Your Business Entity
Every choice and necessary business action you take in the start-up phrase of your craft business can vary based upon the type of business entity you select. If you don’t have any prior experience working for yourself, it’s a hard decision. Luckily, you only have three choices from which to choose: sole proprietorship, flow throughs or corporation.

5. Identify Your Customer
Before you hit the drawing board you have to consider who your potential customers are. A starting point is the age old male versus female demographic. However, male or female is too broad - you can’t stop there. Take this further by considering exactly what type of product you wish to handcraft.

6. Narrow Your Focus
When you first start your business, don't take on too much and be all over the map with your product line. Concentrate on what you do well and with time and experience expand from there.

7. Check Out Your Competition
If you have too much competition, you don’t necessarily have to abandon your dream - develop a niche that is not yet saturated. On the other side, if you don’t have any competition, this may not be a good thing. It could be there is not enough of a market for your art or craft to make it a viable business.

8. Find Vendors
You need to find vendors that have wholesales terms so you can buy with a discount and establish terms. You also need this information because if you don’t know how much your vendors are going to charge you for the raw materials to make your product, how can you set a reasonable retail price? This also helps you figure out many items you have to sell to realize your personal or financial goals.

9. Set Up a Work Space
The great thing about most craft businesses is that they are ideally suited to operate as a home-based business. If that’s your plan, look around your home and map out where you will store inventory, take care of the business details like bill paying and make your craft product. If you’re planning to rent a shop, this expense needs to factored into your cost of doing business.

10. Write a Business Plan
Many business owners think they only need to prepare a business plan to get outside financing from a bank or other lender. Not true. A business plan is your roadmap to success. All craft businesses should have one so you can anticipate problems and come up with solutions.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Why I love Portland

I've been thinking of a new feature to do on my blog and the theme would be: Why I love Portland. There are so many reasons and I am reminded of them frequently.

Me and my trusty camera are going to head out to some local spots and report back my findings. There are so many things in Portland that make it so special and unique. I am SO in love with this city. I really don't think I could move anywhere else. Sure I could try.. but the more I live here the deeper I get and the more entangled I am in my neighborhood and my community and my Portland pride grows stronger every day.

Last Thursday is the funnest event I go to sell my wares. I love it, you can heckle people, you can be totally obnoxious. Everyone gets it, everyone's having fun. There are fire dancers and hula hoops and people walking casually by on stilts and full costumes. I spotted two guys in a chicken and frog costume, a few awesome people in furry cat hats, and tons and TONS of knotty dreadlocks. Everyone is saying hi, everyone is weird and funky, everyone is just having fun and enjoying the evening.

I stuck it out rather late because in this empty lot behind me a group of people set up a projector and started showing weird home movies. I had a whole group of people behind me and a constant flow of curious drunk folk in front of me. It was an awesome night. When those guys fired up the projecter it flashed in my head.. I LOVE PORTLAND. Random stuff like this is what I love, that people can just set up like this and everyone joins in. I feel like part of the community, part of the fun, part of the neighborhood.

Most of the people that come by my booth live a few blocks away. Even the vendors are from around the block. You are hanging out with your neighbors. You find that there is random creative things going on all around you. Random pink painted shoes started appearing on the corners of street. Musicians walk around in a small parade playing music. It's like a gypsy gathering of sorts. Some would hate it right? I love it. I was so happy. I am so inspired.

I'm going to make more of an effort to be a part of the Last Thursday planning. There's a sort of meeting going on to bring up issues and talk about what they should change or keep. I am going to be a part of that and make sure this beautiful thing is protected. Sometimes I think.. is this how the Saturday Market used to be? It's rare to find something so open and rule-less, it's important to make sure it stays that way. To make sure everyone's happy and no one's being taken advantage of. That's another way of being a part of the neighborhood.

Well anyways I recently found out some really cool places that are within a few blocks of my house. I'm going to start blogging about then and do some crafty journalism. I'm not much of a writer but I'll try! I want to spread the word about these wonderful places. So look forward to a new segment of my blog! Portland style :)

How can I ever leave this city?