Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Hey there people. I'm sporting my dino costume today.. totally went to work with it. Got so many stares from people at Safeway this morning as I stopped in to buy some cookies for work. Oh yeah.. dino in public. So far I'm the only one I've seen in costume.. sad but true. I'm letting my freak flag fly. I really need to get better photos of this costume to show you guys!

So here is a little lovely treat for you. Some Halloween rap!




Thursday, October 29, 2009

100 mile diet

I've heard a lot lately about the 100 mile diet and the 100 mile challenge. Then last week I caught this great series on the green channel about the 100 mile challenge they did in Canada. I have been feeling the push all year and I never really could do anything about it. Well this next month I'm going to make an effort to learn about my community and see what resources I can find that are local.

To read more about the 100 mile challenge you can go here: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/100-mile-challenge/
To read more about the 100 mile diet go here: 100milediet.org

There have been a number of things bothering me lately. For one I watched the movie Food Inc that just grossed me out all over again. You think I would have learned my lesson from the movie "Supersize Me". Ok so my biggest problem is what am I supposed to do? I have a really limited income and I can't afford the expensive foods. I can't go off and buy a whole cow or anything. I'm just a single girl with a limited budget. What options are available to me?

So I have decided to tackle it one problem at a time. This has also been fueled by all the reports of ecoli and mad cow disease. My first task? Finding local beef. I need me some hamburger people. I'm a bit freaked out that what's in your burger comes from all over the world and they can't even trace it back to the source. GROSS! So I took a trip to Safeway to see if anything local was available (I didn't really expect to find anything but was curious) There were three different levels of hamburger. First was the really low cost option that didn't even bother to list their sources (This is the last one I bought.. I KNOW.. I know..) The next one was the regular priced version with contents from Oregon, Idaho, New Zealand. The next price level up had the same thing. NEW ZEALAND?? I would like to know if the higher priced one would be safe. There is a meat department attendant but I was too grossed out to ask. Any info on this guys? What do you think? Safe to eat still? The meat color was DRASTIC from the cheap version to the expensive one. The best one had a deep red color and less fat for sure.

I was too grossed out to ask and just decided to try the local hipster fancy store. So I braved the hippies and finally enter into New Seasons. I've never really shopped here.. I'm on a budget people! I knew this was the place that I could find the good stuff though. These people should know what they're doing right? Then I felt bad for thinking bad of their customers because everyone was so nice and happy and helpful. Ok hippies are harmless and the ones at New Seasons are totally nice. There was a group of guys right behind the meat counter and they were happy to answer my questions. I received a whole spiel about the beef they sold. It is a local owned company that has beef from Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. (Hawaii for real?) They grind their beef in the store and everything is under strict watch and quality control. It didn't cost that much more than the mid priced beef ($3.99 a lb) and it's worth it in the long run. Better for me I'm sure and less danger of being poisoned by some horrible slaughter house. I'm not becoming a vegetarian guys.. I can't do that.. I'll just be smarter about where I get my food.

My next step is checking out the local farmer's market (can you believe I've never been before?) www.orcityfarmersmarket.com

I'm going to try and replace slowly all the foods I usually eat and find local sources for them. I want to eat local fruits and veggies (support the farms in Oregon and Washington) This will involve visiting some farms this fall. I really want to explore the bounty that is the Sauvie Island. I eat a lot of eggs.. I need to find a farmer to supply that. I would also like to find local bread and a bakery.

I think I know where most of these things are already.. I am just going to give myself the opportunity this next month to explore it all. It's going to be fun! That's what this is about.. having fun and in the process supporting local farmers and getting to know your community. Fall is here and time to bring in the harvest! I wonder what awesomeness I will discover in my backyard. ooooh yum!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Costume preview


Here is the first shot of my finished halloween costume! I designed it to be versitle enough that I can wear the vest and hat in public on normal days (that are not halloween) It is warm but also can be matched with other pieces so I can be cooler or warmer depending on where I am. Also a test to see if I want to make full body apparel for the costumes. Answer? YES! I absolutely want to make versions of this to sell and for the kids and adults alike. My version of the classic hoodie dino.

More photos to come later when I have assistance. It's hard to take photos of it by yourself.

ROOARR!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A lot to think about

I hope that my readers don't mind that I write a lot about my growth as an artist and business person. I find the blog gives me a way to express myself and maybe my stories and struggles will resonate with someone else out there that is trying to start their own business. This is my life, I am my art and this is my process. I hope someone out there gets some value from my ramblings.

The biggest thing on my mind lately has been debating career or business ownership. I my mind it's almost like there has to be a choice between the two. That to continue my career I must keep working for someone else and get a different job eventually that is more design related and will further me in my career. This would entail working for someone else and maybe taking on full time hours. If I continue working part-time hours I will be more limited to my design job choices and in the long run it may hurt my long term career growth. But do I even want this as my career?

Do we have to make a choice as business owners? What happens if you give it up to work for yourself. Does that count against you on a resume? I guess I am factoring in failure because if the business took care of my financial needs I wouldn't need a job and that would be my job. Maybe I still want my security blanket in case I need to fall back on lean times and I would be able to get a job in my field. What I am worried about is if taking time away from my career if that will hurt my chances when competing for a future job. Does it hurt your career to take off time for yourself and growing a business?

I guess what I'm worried about the most is that I am making myself unemployable. That I will appear too independent and headstrong. I think companies want a worker bee, not someone that wants to run the company. Maybe then I need to find the right company?

I think this fear is slightly valid but also I am not counting in my other options. Like what kinds of opportunities are opened up for me on this different route. I could be a freelance illustrator. I could teach classes or workshops. I could work part-time for a business that maybe I meet through my own networking and perhaps they will LOVE a person like me and need my skills.

It's hard for me because I invested so much into my education in Graphic Design and I don't want to feel like it was for nothing. I do use plenty of design in my own website, marketing materials, illustrations and packaging. Perhaps I need to stop thinking like a worker bee and let the business woman in me blossom. To think outside of the 9-5 box and into the world of investment, grants, loans, and untaped resources available to me.

I do love my current part-time design job. I am allowed to get in some design time and handle customers one on one. It has helped me with my confidence in speaking to people and talking on the phone. I manage my time a lot better, I feel a sense of accomplishment from a job well done. I enjoy having structure to my day and coworkers.

The question really is. Do I want to work for someone else and put my own fate into their hands? Or do I want to make my life my own and work entirely for myself?

What's holding me back? FEAR.

Fear about paying bills, insurance, medical, dental. What if I get sick? What if I want time off?

Tonight I attended another class at the Mercy Corps NW here in Portland. WOW was it intense. We went straight into cost breakdowns and projections and all that scary math. It left my head spinning. This last week I've had vacation off from work and I used it to work my ass off. I've been sewing, fulfilling and shipping orders and trying to be a superstar to my customers. I FEEL AWESOME. I'm also overwhelmed.

But you know what I found out? I LOVE THIS. I love running my own business. Instead of being stressed out about how much time I was spending sewing I told myself that eventually I'll have helpers and someone to do shipping and this is just the beginning. I LOVE making these hats. I LOVE selling them. I can't wait to get them out to real people at craft fairs and markets. I found the key ingredient that was missing. I found a product I can stand behind that I'm proud of and love to create. I will still keep doing children's clothing but I realize that it's all part of a huge plan that is coming together. The big deal that finally hit me (that who knows how long will take to finally sink in) is that this is the REAL DEAL. This could be my life. This is really happening and it's going to totally take over.

I have a lot to think about, a lot to calculate and plan, a lot to ponder. I feel that this is the coolest job I could ever have and anything else pales in comparison. I make giant fuzzy animal hats. What could be cooler than that? I draw and illustrate and make the coolest kids clothing full of dinosaurs and robots and guys and gals both love it. I think everyone is looking for something more.. above the generic bland world of supermarkets. Something that connects with them on a personal level. I feel this is my way of speaking to the masses and it has brought the coolest people in my life. I LOVE my customers so much and I LOVE making them happy!

I'm proud of every item I sent out this week and I know it's going to last for a long, long time. It brings out a playful nature full of imagination and links right back to childhood. THAT is exactly what I have been trying to tap!

Anyways, back to my original question. Do you have to choose between career or business ownership? Do you make yourself unemployable? Can you ever really work for someone else again? Can you really be a good worker bee after that?

Maybe it's something you gotta get out of your system. To shut up the "What if" in your head.

Maybe I'm too young, maybe I think to much. But it's hard when you have invested time, lots of money and energy into something. And you just hope that it's not for nothing. In school they don't really train you to live a life as an entrepreneur. They train you to work for someone else. Now I'm starting a whole new life. Getting my own personal degree in business. Paid for with sweat and tears in the school of life.

Career or business ownership? Maybe it's one and the same?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Magic of Childhood

Does the child within just die or does it grow up? I believe everyone has a little child inside and when you get older and deal with the complexities of life and try to take on so much burdens the child is hidden behind all sorts of walls. But I still see it peeking out, the little smirk on the corner of your mouth, the glint in your eye. You want to play too!

We get to relive our childhood when we have kids as we watch them grow from a tiny little helpless creature to developing their own personality. Then developing their own stories, dreams and magical worlds. The mind is free at this point of your life. The mind is free to dream and there are very little barriers holding it back. Who cares about the rules of physics or what can or can't be done in reality. The mind is free.

Then you grow up. Life digs away at you bit by bit. Sadness fills your life. But as a child you can cry and scream but as an adult you have to deal with it, you have to pick it all up and take care of business. You can't just tumble to the ground and kick your legs and scream. This is life.. you have to be a grownup now. Then you learn the rules about everything.. then you learn GUILT and remorse.

Peter Pan.. he had it right. Then in the end he was just hiding away from his own problems.

Childhood seems shortlived. It's always on a timeclock, eventually it's going to end and you have to wake up.

Then there is the return.

When you are a grownup and you have been dealing with life and all the problems that come with it. Then you realize no one is having any fun and everyone is miserable. Then you return, you learn to play again. You teach the other grownups how to play. You refuse to grow up again. You learn that laughter and childhood freedom is what keeps us young. It is the source of life and happiness. That once we give up our smiles we start to grow old.

Some of the wisest people I've known are the very old and the very young. Maybe the longer you are on the earth you realize that you do have a chance to return to the magic of childhood. That it doesn't matter what people think of you. That you should just be happy and make other people happy. There is too much saddness in the world. Your life is too short to worry about looking cool or being mad that people laugh at you.

Returning to childhood. Eternal youth. The magic of life and dreams.

I stopped pretending a long time ago. I accepted who I was. Then this past year I followed a dream. It has led me here. And now my life is full of magic that surprises me every day. Now I rumpus around with furry hats and send them to people all over the world so they can have fun too. I am living my goals: Create, Play, Teach. Bringing smiles to those around me. Trying to be a kid again in a grownup world.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wild Again

It seems like the highlight of my fall. Finally watching Where the Wild Things Are. All the memories of Calvin and Hobbes rushed back to me. The inner child came out to play. I just wish the monsters in this movie weren't so sad. It was a little too depressing for me at times. It's ok that my world contains monsters that are happy and play all day. My world is an escape from the complexities of life and the responsibilities of being an adult.

My brother went with me and his girl and we pranced around the Lloyd mall all in furry fuzzy hats. It was magic seeing the faces of children light up. People stopped and asked us about the hats and I passed out my business card. I was proud to say these were not store bought but that I made them myself.

I'm creating magic and monsters. It's thrilling in a way. I am making a ton of wolf hats that are going out this week to many individuals and some kids. I hope these hats make them as happy as they make me when I wear mine. I can't believe the happiness one feels when wearing them. It's delight watching the shadows and the silhouettes of my companions. I couldn't help but laugh as I sat in the back and stared at the back of their furry heads and pointy ears.

Wild again.. after three years of confusion, suffocation and then rebirth. New creativity shimmers through my body and my mind is more focused than it ever has been before. I create every day. I plan out my own life. I play every day and bit by bit the wild side of me has emerged again. I hope the world can handle it!

I feel I have found way of creating magic for myself. I love Jim Henson studios and all the muppets, puppets and creatures. I would love to work in costume design, set design, illustration. I want to work for people that have this child within them too.

I get a tiny taste of the thrill of magic and creating a smile on a child's face.. just by being silly.



Somethin filled up
my heart with nothin,
someone told me not to cry.

But now that Im older,
my hearts colder,
and I can see that its a lie.

Children wake up,
hold your mistake up,
before they turn the summer into dust.

If the children dont grow up,
our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up.
Were just a million little gods causin rain storms turnin every good thing to rust.

I guess well just have to adjust.

With my lighnin bolts a glowin
I can see where I am goin to be
when the reaper he reaches and touches my hand.

With my lighnin bolts a glowin
I can see where I am goin
With my lighnin bolts a glowin
I can see where I am go-goin

You better look out below!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sit Chair




Check out these awesome chairs! It's a suitcase.. then a chair! I don't know how practical they would be but it sure would impress people.

Maybe great for if you have limited seating in your house and need some cool fold up chair? Maybe it doesn't fold up at all. I can't tell from the website. Either way it's a conversation piece.

Found via: link.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My mom the apron lady


lynnsdesigneraprons.etsy.com

This is the woman that raised me, the woman that encourages me when I'm down and inspires me through her own success. She sells aprons over in Southern Oregon (I'm in Portland clear across the state). My mom and dad had a long history of selling all sorts of things. My dad was always coming up with new money making schemes and my mom learned from him the tricks of the trade. He was a jack of all trades. Back when I was a kid I remember him having an upholstery shop. She still tells me stories of their rambling ways. It must have stuck with her though because all my life she's been that way. As a single mom she used every means she could to cut corners and save money. She always cooked all our food and we made all our own toys. She learned to be creative and fast with the sewing machine.

For over 10 years she's been working as a florist for Albertsons and about 3 years ago (I think it's been that long) she made some aprons for Christmas presents for her friends. She caught the sewing bug that winter and couldn't stop making them! Soon she made enough to take to a show, then another, then another. Now she's almost living off of her business and aprons have taken over her life. When I visit her she's always showing me her new creations. She took over the extra rooms in the house and has one room FULL of aprons and fabric. Then there's her sewing room which has all the new ones and aprons in progress. She takes custom orders and has an apron for every person. They are all different and unique. From the crazy odd to the hip retro styles. Some of her patterns come from vintage designs and she's brought them back to life to be used by a new generation.

Now my mom is on youtube.

Well this is the lady that got me going. She gave me the sewing machine I sew my hats on. She taught me to sew and crochet even though I cried and cursed and swore I was giving up.

You go mom!

Check out her shop here: lynnsdesigneraprons.etsy.com

Make it yourself - Porcelain Pottery



Found here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wolfy Hats all over the world


I've been making tons of hats recently and been swarmed with requests to fill by Halloween. It's so exciting to be the one who designs someone's costumes. It's almost an honor for me. I also know that these hats are better quality than anything they could buy in department stores and I know they will be used for many years to come.

I'm taking next week off from work and just going to sew, sew, sew! I filled up my supply of fleece this week and going to get to work on making my new line of toddler fleece hats. I can't wait for my photo shoot. I've set up one with a friend of mine and that's something to be revealed in the future. You will have to wait!

I am also very excited to receive photos like the one above and below. This is from a customer of mine who posted photos with her daughter in her new hat here, and here. How cute! I love receiving photos. It's the best part of my day and it helps bring closure to the job. I send off these creations and sometimes I never hear back. It's nice to see that they fit and look great and I get a sense of accomplishment from it.



Monday, October 12, 2009

Studio Update

There is a lot going on this week and I've been a really busy lady. This Tuesday I meet with the owners of Frock for consignment of my scarves. Last week I met with the owner of Union rose and I have 7 of my scarves in her shop now! This is for me a way to force myself to start talking to shop owners and getting my work out there. So far it's only scarves but this will be a bridge to other pieces in the future. Small goals right? The little victories encourage me to continue and make the process seem less intimidating. Also means I get to know shop keepers around my neighborhood.

I am also on my second week of my business foundations class with Mercy Corps NW. So far I've learned a lot about myself. I learned that I do have a lot of knowledge from all the business books I've been reading. It's great to go over the same material I've been reading about for a couple years. I learned that with this back knowledge and with my experience selling at the Saturday Market that I have a better view of where my business needs to go and what I need to grow. I can ask really direct questions and get the help I need. Instead of general advice and general tips I can get info for exactly what I need. This is so valuable! I accept my limitations and I am embracing my strengths. I know I fear math and finances and I hate making spreadsheets. I met someone at my first class that helps set up small businesses with financial planning and bookkeeping. I am finding people that make this big scary thing look really easy and they will hold my hand and guide me through the process. How awesome is that! I'm excited about this class and what it means for my business growth. I would highly recommend this class to anyone here in Portland that needs business help. It's worth it.

I've been sewing hats like crazy. I have a few new designs I'm working on and setting up a photo shoot with a friend of mine for all the kid designs. Fun times! I don't know if I'll have everything done this winter but it will at least set me up for next year. Gotta look at this as working ahead and not being behind. So I keep on sewing and sewing with the knowledge that I have a Christmas show coming up and that these hats will add to an inventory that will eventually sell. It's hard to spend hours working on something you will be using months later.

I spend all weekend living like a hermit hiding away in my basement. I'm covered in fur and fleece and hyper on coffee. It's a secluded life. It's different than I was years ago but I'm happier this way. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

I do get out now and then. I went out with some of my brothers friends the other night to the field of screams which is a big corn field maze that had a bunch of spooky scary things jumping out at you. I forced myself to not work all day.. I was trying to take a break. You know what? I couldn't stop thinking about my sewing pile. I was anxious as they relaxed and meandered. I always wanted to get going to the next place. They were so slow! Maybe I was too fast. I don't know if I can handle people still. I think I'm over it. Only in small doses is what I can handle. Too much burnout from previous friend groups. It just brought back bad memories.. and also I remembered.. I don't like this.. I don't like groups.. I don't like crowds.. I'm not guilty about it anymore! I shouldn't feel bad for staying at home all the time. I remember the reason I do is that I don't care about being social. It's not as fun for me.. it's kinda a pain. I can handle it just fine every month or so and I can try and hold my tongue and be nice. But maybe it's good I'm locked in a basement most of the time. I reminded myself I was there for a reason.. I was happy. And I'm ok with being social a small part of the time. I'm ok hanging out with my brother. I'm ok using all my visiting time up at craft fairs. I'm happier this way. I'm not forcing myself to be something I'm not.

Sometimes I wonder though.. are all crafters really antisocial people? Do we use all this extra time to craft? Is that how it starts?

Can extroverted people that are out all the time really ever get any work done?

That is why most of my friends are crafters.

Accepting what I am, learning how to be a better person, building my business one day at a time. It's an exciting week and I feel very productive, happy and centered.

Owls

These would make the cutest little ornaments! What a great idea from Merwing.

Fabric Alphabet Tutorial

Check out this cool tutorial to make this fabric alphabet. Great idea for a gift (Christmas is coming!) Or as a teaching tool to help your kid learn the alphabet and letters.

View the tutorial here. By Chez Beeper Bebe

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Nightcap

I wear a nightcap to bed. I don't know how many other people do this or if it's simply old fashioned. But I do it out of necessity.

Whenever I think of a nightcap the image of scrooge pops into my head.

why is the idea of a nightcap such an old fashioned thing? It might be because now we have central heating and houses are warm and comfy. Everything is all sealed up and pumped up full of heat. NOT MY HOUSE. We live in an old house with old doors and old windows. This house has gotta be a hundred years old and at least built in the 1900's. We have a drafty cold house full of cracks and leaky doors. IT'S COLD IN HERE.

So when I go to bed and turn off my electric heater I slip on my night cap and snuggle into bed. Overnight a drafty cold house will start to creep in on you and freeze your head off. It's similar to camping when the rest of your body is tucked in a sleeping bag but your head is left out in the elements.

The perfect way to keep yourself warm and snuggly is wear a nightcap!
My version looks like this though.
of course.. right? hehe

Lots more info on this page.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Being an Artist


By DAR: www.darcomic.org

Reading this comic helps me feel better about my own struggles. Comic book artists don't work on the same thing as me but they are artists too working hard for their dreams. It's just that they can use comics as a way to communicate how they feel. The last panel of this comic is what I've been told by other artists giving me advice. (I had the same sober reaction)

I hope this lifestyle doesn't scare people off too much. It is a struggle though and the fantasy of it all wears off pretty quick. It's a BUSINESS. Art is a BUSINESS and unless you are wealthy or live with your parents or have a spouse.. than you have to treat it as a real business. When this art sale depends on you paying the rent or buying food, then it becomes real.

One thing I didn't do when I tried to start out this year is have an emergency fund. That is so important! It's a necessity no matter who you are or where you work. Now I have something to save for.. as I keep up my day job and work harder than ever late into the night.

At least there are other artists out there that struggle like me. I feel really sad and guilty sometimes that I can't go out because of lack of funds.. that I hardly see my friends.. that I spend every night like a hermit just sewing as I see my housemate go out night after night. I stay home, night after night. Art is my life and I have made it the top priority in my world. And you know what? After even a month of me staying home night after night I have gained so much. I sew tons of hats, I play with the cat, I cook tons of meals. I have lots to show for it in the end. What if I had just gone out all month? I would have no money and nothing to show for it. I would have hazy memories and for 80% of the time get stuck thinking I would just rather be at home sewing under a pile of blankets.

Now you're a REAL artist. hehe.

Pencil Scarfs


I just came across these really neat pencil scarfs. Reminds me of the first day of school and the cold bite of Autumn. When the weather turns cold in the first month of fall I can't help but tingle with the feeling that you get the first day of school. Excitement?

This scarf would be a great thing to add to the back to school list. I am in love with it. :)

Available here by Sara Carr

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Costume Ideas

It's that time of the year! I've been thinking of ideas all year but none have really sparked an interest.. or I didn't write them down. Should have written them down!

I'm not feeling that ambitious this year.. and don't really have the budget. My thoughts keep coming back to dinosaurs and perhaps a dino hoodie is in my future.

What are you going as? Have any ideas yet?

Here are some clever handmade ideas I found on the interwebs:




This one is my favorite. Found here and made by one VERY crafty mama. I am SO impressed and inspired!





Max costume!

Pippi Longstocking

Roller Coaster

Rebel Pilot

New Chunky Hat

I really like how this hat came out in the end. I've been staring at the fur at Fabric Depot for YEARS now and it's so soft but so weird. I couldn't figure out what I could make with it. How could I validate buying it without a project in mind?

Well finally I made something with it! It wasn't that hard to sew.. I went really slow. It has bumps of fur so the texture is really uneven and it's hard to get a straight seam. I must be getting better at sewing fur though because it was a challenge but did not stop me or frustrate me.

Sometimes I want to make plushies from all this fur but I remind myself that there is LOTS of people out there selling animals and they are really time consuming. I would rather make a hat which you can wear rather than an object sitting on a shelf somewhere. I don't know how much longer I can resist though.. I see a spur of plushies in my future.

Anyways this hat is now available in my etsy shop: lollytots.etsy.com

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sherbert Hoodie


I am in love with this hoodie from MungoCrafts. It's also made from recycled sweaters.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Friday, October 02, 2009

Furry Grey Wolf Hat


Check out this new hat I made this morning! I'm so loving this long fur, it's wild!

Available in my shop here.
Custom orders are available. Halloween is coming up folks!





New Prints available

Now in my etsy shop - two new prints available! I create my digital art in Illustrator (Vector art is one of my passions)


Thursday, October 01, 2009

Framed art at Imagekind

Check it out! Framed and everything. Imagekind is one cool site. He's so cute framed. Right? yes?

Brush those chompers!

Prints - in all sorts of sizes


I now have my artwork uploaded at Imagekind.com where you can order my paintings in any size of print you want. They even offer greeting cards!

lollytots.imagekind.com




This is in an effort to post my artwork to places that can sell it without me doing anything at all. So more of my art is in the world and hopefully it will give me a small income. Who knows right?

I am looking for more sites like this where I can share my artwork. If you have info please post a link! Thanks!

Ruffle Scarves Now Available

Check out the selection in my shop here.



New Prints Available!

Check out the selection here.