Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fun with hats and family

So lucky to have my brothers in my life right now. They are both so much bigger than me but I am still their big sister!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FREE is always the best price

The last few months I've been focusing more and more on finding what I need through ways that did not involve buying something NEW and maybe re purposing what I already had. When you start to think of "used" instead of always new you find a lot more options. Especially when it comes to things that are hobby related. A lot of people will put money into a hobby that later they never have time for or decide to upgrade to a better piece of equipment.

For my biking I've been able to find used gear at Next Adventure here in Portland. I found bike pants for $12, bike seat bag for $4 and of course my purchase of high end hiking shoes for only $30. Space this out and I'm shelling out very little for very healthy leisure activities. Fun for cheap! Last night I found a sweet hiking jacket for only $12.00 that I'm going to upgrade with some reflective fabric and make an awesome biking jacket.

I've also started to use freecycle to pick up some new gear. I picked up a pair of saddle bags for FREE that I've been using all the time now. They are so handy! I save $20-$30 or more on that deal. I've been making sure I gift back things I'm not using (like a nice black front basket that I don't use) I love the idea of giving away something that you are not using to someone that will love it and really needs it! Then you can find what you need and this extra stuff in your life is with the right person.. not just taking up space somewhere in your closet. Things should be used! It's a shame to see anything stored and gathering dust.

There are a couple things that came into my life that were previously gathering dust. First is my new laptop computer that was given to me for FREE. It's a hand-me-down and with a bit of labor and extra laptop parts my brother and his friend were able to piece it back into working order! It's not perfect.. still need a new battery and has to be plugged in all the time. It also has a slow CPU so I can't watch videos yet. I'm just happy right now to have mobile internet and be able to check my email anywhere I have electricity! The other small problems it has will be fixed. I still have my desktop to do my design work and photo editing. Inspired by the geek community that was responsible for fixing up my new laptop I told them about Free Geek and suggested that my brothers check it out and maybe volunteer. The other day we made a trip down there and I got to finally check out the store. I'll have to do another write up about them but the short story is that they take old crappy computers no one wants and makes them awesome and gives them away! You can even earn your own computer but volunteering! How great is that? I got my brothers to start volunteering and hopefully they will have fun and learn some new tricks.

My next great find was my new sewing machine. It's a Morse brand - which has a reputation for being very strong and almost industrial strength. They are supposed to be able to handle leather, fur, canvas. That is great for me! This machine I found on CraigsList from a yard sale post. The lady couldn't figure out how to thread it or make it work so instead of selling it to me she just gave it to me to figure out. I got it working! Thanks stranger!

So this week, new laptop, new sewing machine. New tools for my business! I need another sewing machine for a backup now that I'm going into working full time. I'll be taking in more this year as I want to start repairing them and set up a sewing workshop here in my house. I want at least three at my home and I want to be able to take others and give them to friends that need them. These poor machines are just misunderstood and need some loving! Sewing is complicated and until you and your machine bond you will feel scared using it. It takes some use but eventually you learn how to thread it right. It can be so frustrating though. It's sad that it's the problem that gets these machines locked up and never used again. I'll take them! I'll make them work!

I'm loving all this FREE stuff. Thanks everyone! I'll make sure that I give back some useful things I'm not using as well so I can make someone's day too!

Free Tax Help!

I found some help to get my taxes done this year. I'm so glad I found this service because I wouldn't have been able to afford the help on my own. In the end I owe money but at least the service was free right? Part of the difficulties of being self-employed for part of the year. This year is going to be even more crazy!

At least it's OVER. Check out CASH if you really need help. They have some great volunteers that will do their best to make sure you are taken care of.

I can check something big off my list this week!

Friday, February 19, 2010

I've got a new model

It's my little (Biggest) brother Jake! Welcome to the lolly-tots crew of male models. haha!

My little brother Jake is here in Portland with me. He's moved here from across the country to re-unite we me and my brother Pat! This is amazing for all of us because the essential part of our team was missing. You see I'm the motivator and creative director, Pat is the music and stunts, Jake is the one that knows how to edit videos (tons of experience). When we are all together the pieces of our ideas merge into one force and MAGIC happens. I can't wait to get some videos going and finally started on some projects that have been on the back burner for months. Lollytots TV and pranks! wow this is going to be so fun!

Both me and Pat have no idea how to edit video and no desire to learn. Pat is the one with the tunes but Jake can just bring it all together. I just want to be a part of it and add the costumes and be the one in front of the camera. Yeah fun times!

I'm big on family and having two of my brothers here is just rocking my world right now. I've lived on my own with friends for support and companionship but it's nothing to having family close by. There is no one that would truly know me more than my own brothers. There was definitely something missing in my life before they were here with me. I feel safer somehow even though I'm supposed to be the one that takes care of them. I have a feeling they are here to take care of me.

Right when I really need it I have everything I could have hoped for. Amazing things are happening and I'm just trying to keep up. More to come and stay tuned!

What craziness will come of this colliding force of creative minds?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Husky Hat is leaving

I've been working on this Husky Hat for a month and it's finally finished and ready to be sent to it's new owner. I'm kinda sad for it to go! I'm glad I got to enjoy it for a while and it seemed like an act of fate for me to run into a Husky at my last craft fair.

Goodbye Husky Hat! I'll miss you!
I really must make more of this style!

This was the first one I made (see below)

It's changed that's for sure!

I'm out Zoo-Bombing

Riding bikes down the rolling hills of Portland, in the dark, with mini bikes, tall bikes, scooters, skateboards and road bikes. I'm totally in love with cycling all over again and having a blast meeting new people just as crazy about it if not more.

Totally felt like a kid riding down that hill. Some of these riders are kids, most are guys in their 30's. There was this awesome guy with a mini bike all decked out.. he had to be in his 50's. I had no idea this group was so welcoming to all kinds of riders.

It's all about enjoying life and having fun just playing around.

I reverted to a 6 year old tonight. It was awesome.

Bike gear and helmet covers need to be prototyped asap! I need to do bike gear. Costumes makes this even sillier.

Having fun with my bike, getting in some bonding time and meeting new friends. That's what Portland means to me. Hells Yeah.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I don't have problems, they're just challenges.

I'm a big fan of Tony Robbins. I soak in his words of wisdom and watch his videos when I feel that I'm off track and slipping into a dark area of my mind.

What I have experienced in the last couple of weeks is such an overwhelming sense of peace and purpose. I've been so happy inside. I know there are many challenges ahead and I don't know if I'll be able to handle them and juggle all my responsibilities. All I know is that I'll try as hard as I can and try to grow from all of these "challenges". I have shown progress over the years and I'm sure I'll grow more this year as well. The main point is to always keep moving FORWARD. Never stopping, always getting back up and no matter how slow it feels.. you must be moving forward.

The progress of my business has been so slow to me! It drives me crazy sometimes. I just have to keep pushing myself and not give up. Because sooner or later I'll break through and the life I've wanted to live will be my reality.

It does change your mindset to think of things as not problems but as challenges.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The World Belongs To Those That HUSTLE

If you want a good kick in the pants read this article from the Art Of Manliness Website.

Here’s the deal. Most of us are average. Average intelligence, average athleticism, and average looking. And most of us have had some setbacks in our life that can serve as a disadvantage. In short, we’re pretty much on the same playing field as millions and millions of people. And yet despite our average minds and builds most of us believe deep down that we are destined for something extraordinary, that we’re special. But most men really aren’t. But not because they’re average. Because they won’t hustle to get what they want.

A man’s reasons for not hustling run the gamut from laziness to fear of failure. I think a lot of time men think, “I want what that guy has but I just don’t have his x,y, or z.” But while we don’t have any control over the number of natural talents and gifts we were born with, we do have complete control over how much we can hustle. You can’t control where you were born, how crappy or nice your parents were, or how homely or handsome you are. But nobody determines how hard you hustle but you. Wherever you are in life, you can hustle to get where you want to be.

Mom you were always a hustler and you inspire me every time I talk to you. That woman will survive no matter what is thrown at her! The world is your oyster if you have perserverance and keep on going. Your competition will slack and they may give up entirely. What will shine is your inner desire and passion. If you have that spark than you can do anything. I feel more than average when it comes to other people. I've never felt that smart or talented. I always know I'm in the middle and there are people far more talented than I am. I was born into a poor family and not a very happy one at that. It could have all turned out so differently! I love my family now and we are stronger for what we have gone through. I've learned to budget and make things for myself. I've learned that you don't have to be the best at what you do, you just have to do clomp on through and do the best you can. I'm not the best sewer and I'm terrible with staying focused. I know what my faults are and I don't use them as excuses, I work at them and keep on trying and crying and cursing until I've made myself better.

It's not easy doing this! I do this because I have to. I am fighting for the life I want to have. Inside my heart I can't just settle, I can't give up. I must be a born hustler. haha!

Read that article and get inspired! Then get off the couch, turn off the tv and work on what you've been putting off. Either shut up or get started!


Time Warp of Tax Time

This is all I've been staring at for the past couple of days. Or at least that's what it feels like. I can't remember the last couple of days.. I can't believe it's already Wednesday!

I'm spending hours sorting receipts, formating excell documents, counting up mileage and trying to remember and find records of things I've completely lost. I've learned I need to take better records and keep up with them. It's so hard to go back over a year of crap that needs to be sorted and recorded.

I want to pull my hair out! I hate numbers! I hate records! I hate crunching data day after day. I will do it though. I will do it because this is my job as a small business owner and hopefully it will only be a small part of my job because I sure as hell want to get back to sewing and designing and riding my bike in the sunshine.

I will conquer you Taxes! Once and for all! I will have a stupid annual report and quarterly reviews. Damn straight!

Holy crap I hate formating Excell documents so much.
I have so much data to sort. I am figuring it out though! I'm more organized and sorted and I'm figuring this out. The system I get in place will be better this year and the year after that, and the year after that. It's the only way to learn!


they have stolen my life..

Curry Chicken

I finally tried out this awesome curry recipe this week. YUM!

Mondays at my house are set aside for food shopping and cooking. I made a HUGE batch of curry and it filled the house with yummy smells. Curry always reminds me of my grandpa. It was his specialty and it seemed like that was the most common meal for dinner when you went over to the grandparent's house. Grandpa was always hunched over the stove stirring the magical concoction.

I'll remember him that way. Always cooking up something in the kitchen. He was the master of the stove and always the one that cut up the turkey. He was the man of family that consisted mostly of women and single mothers and my crazy three younger brothers. He was their Dad and our Grandpa. He was always giving out advice if you wanted it or not. Lectures about saving or brushing your teeth. The teeth one would often end up with him pulling out his dentures and laughing at our shrieks. Grandpa has subtle humor. He always had a smile at the edge of his lips but he pretended to be stern and serious.

Now when I visit my Grandma there is rarely curry in the house. There are no fried banannas. There is no one to cut the turkey. I'll miss ya Grandpa and your curry.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Stay on the Road

Climbing hills has always been a part of my life. It always seems to be a constant climb to the top. You go around every bend thinking that the hill will start to taper off and head down again. Sometimes you just pray for it to be flat so you can have a rest. But NO the hill keeps going and going around every turn. Sometimes a giant of a hill that threatens to push you to your very limit and you fight within yourself to find that last bit of strength to make it through. Sometimes the hill is sloping on and on and that can be more difficult because you have to learn how to maintain your speed and not burn out. You learn to save your energy for the long haul.

I would say the last couple weeks of training have taught me a few things about life. I wouldn't call myself a well seasoned cyclist but I'm not a complete newbie when it comes to riding. This year I took it upon myself to get my butt back on my bike and get some real riding in. I didn't have grand ambitions when I started out but all it took was joining a biking group and I was hooked. I've met some awesome people that are very supportive and encouraging and they won't let me quit or slow down! They have taught me a lot as well and I find myself trying harder because I want to make them proud of me. I feel that I can't let them down and I find myself pushing harder and harder and going further and further.

The kind of people that cycle are really driven. They have insane focus and can power on and on for hours. The riders I've been cycling with are much older than me by 20 or 30 years. Yet here they are taking the hills like they are nothing. I'm the slow newbie of the group and I trail behind the others. There is always someone that trails behind me and keeps me going and talking to me. Even though I can't speak they just keep going with "you can do it! You are almost there" and today I heard a lot of "Just get to that sign post, ok good, now get to that telephone pole, you're doing great! No you don't need to stop, you can do it!" I cursed at them under my breath but I kept going past the point when I would have stopped if I was on my own.

Your mind goes to a weird place when you are pushed this far. I kept staring at the road before me and just tried to shut my brain off and disconnect from the pain. It's weird what pops into your head when you try so hard to clear it. Here I am staring at rock after rock and cursing the hill then these mudane things pop into my head. I wonder if these thoughts are somehow significant because they came at time similar to mediation. I thought of the love I have for people. I thought of my art and my new job. The worries about money, bills, and the future just melted away. What stuck with me were things I believe were the most important to me. In this zen like state of pain I thought of the ones I loved and how blessed I was to be here in this moment on this hill.

There are great rewards after every hill. The grand slope down! It's an awesome rush going that fast on human powered speed. The wind rushes by and I thought I was going to crash and die. The adrenaline was awesome! This is the thrill of success. This is what it's all about. This is what keeps you going up the next hill, and the next hill. I live for that crazy ride down that straight road. Where the air is clear and there is nothing to stop you, no stoplight, no stop sign, no cars. Just endless road.

I feel like every hill that I conquer by bike makes me a little stronger to handle the challenges of my own life. I take on challenge after challenge and find myself so impatient trying to finish this task. I have to remind myself constantly to STOP and be in the moment. For the hills will keep on coming and the last one I come riding down.. the final one.. that will be the end of my life on earth. So I learn how to enjoy the struggles, the misery, the pain and the great rewards. For this is the beautiful gift of life and there is happiness interwoven in all of it.

I don't know what will happen after I get over this hill. I don't know what is around the road because the trees are hiding my path and you never know what is coming. I'm just focusing on this spot right her in front of me, this little bit of road. Every now and then I gotta remind myself to take a look around and enjoy the scenery and the ride.

There is always another hill.. just stay on the road and keep on going.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hip Happening - February Show 2010

Lots of love at the Hip Happening Valentine's day show. I got a kiss, chocolate, new earrings and lots of hugs. Thanks to everyone that stopped by and all the cute people that posed for my photos.

Moment by Moment

Worry does not empty tomorrow of it's sorrow.

It empties today of it's strength.

Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.

- Corey Ten Boom

Friday, February 05, 2010

Floating World Comics

Finally took some time to check out Floating world comics here in Portland, Oregon. I've heard so much about them and also I was curious if I could track down a section dedicated to Portland Comic Artists. Yeah baby I did! Such talent!

If you want to check out Floating World Comics you can visit them at They are located right downtown and the staff is friendly and helpful.

I'm supporting my brother Pat and trying to motivate him to keep drawing comics. It's not about making money or fame (although both those things are nice!) but really about following your passion and seeing where it leads you in life. I can only guide him and he needs to make his own decisions and figure out what he actually likes to do. So far we have worked on starting up a Web comic meetup group (link) and he has been hard at work drawing for his webcomic Dinomytes.

I'm happy to join in and offer my support. I've always been a fan of comics and artists. I don't have goals of doing that myself but being around those type of fun weird people is always entertaining and inspiring. Plus I get to vist comic book shops and show off my weird hats.

Who knows where this will lead. All I know is follow your heart and do what you love. I think we all might have too much focus on work and trying to look grownup that we forget what we really love to do. Be a kid and have some fun playing! It's just as important as your job and maybe if you play hard enough it will become your job. haha!

I Heart Art

Etsy just announced it's partnership with the Portland Etsy team. Read more here on the Storque blog. I am so honored to be a part of this team. There is going to be so many exciting things happening this year and I'm going to get be right in the middle of it all. How awesome is it to be a crafter in Portland right now! My friends are awesome for pulling this together. It's been talked about since the Etsy team first visited Portland. Back then it was just an idea of what we could do. Now it's becoming a reality. All thanks to the hard work of the Portland Etsy team.
I Heart Art: Portland -

I am so proud to live in Portland and be one of the makers that make this city unique.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Robo Dino Home Edition

More of my dino on wonderful glassware from BreadandBadger.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Taking Chances

Photo by Acksaw via flickr

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained.

Yesterday it became official. I've been let go from my day job.

It's been a long time coming and it's really for the best. The work simply was not coming in and it was time to let a designer go. It's been so slow for so long and I was surprised we made it through the holidays. The slow economy has really hit some businesses really hard and they are being forced to make some tough decisions.

I have decided that I would take this opportunity to finally put my plan into action. I will be looking for more part-time work but my focus right now will be primarily on my business. For months and months I've been prepping for this. That doesn't make it any easier though.

At the end of this week I will leave behind a job that was the best place I have ever worked. The people I worked beside were more than coworkers, they became my family. We went through a lot over the last couple of years and I am honored to have worked with them and shared my life with them. Yesterday I was so overwhelmed with a sense of loss. Everything reminded me of the life I am leaving behind. All my work clothes that I won't be wearing, my alarm clock still set, my lunch box. I'm going to be working for myself now but it will be nothing like working at an office. I'm entering into a whole new way of life.

I'm also saying goodbye to my design career. For the last 5 years I've been a graphic designer. 4 years before that I set off by myself to go school and finished with a Bachelors degree. Now I'm making another big change in my life and who knows where this will take me! For the next two years I have made a commitment to my business to focus all of my heart and soul into making this succeed. I am setting off to follow my dreams.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
-Henry David Thoreau

In one month my life will shift into normalcy. I will wake up early on weekends when everyone is sleeping and in the early morning light I'll be outside with a warm cup of coffee in my hand standing by the signup booth at the Saturday Market. I'll watch the sun come up as I set up my booth. I'll smile all day long and be part of a thriving buzzing community of artists. All around me will be the people of Portland with all their crazy, colorful personalities. My weekdays I'll wake up early, put the kettle on the stove and plan out my day of sewing, shipping, emailing and planning.

Maybe this transition will be an easy one. I am certainly prepared for this life. Everything has been leading up to this point. I am following my happiness and my heart tells me it's the right thing to do. I have faith that the rest will fall into place.

I'm throwing my cards on the table.. let's see what happens.
Let fate lead me, I am yours.