Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oh My! It's October Tomorrow!!!!

It is October tomorrow and I have much to do! Now that I am done with my custom order computer bag, I will be doing a bit of celebrating one of my favorite months of the year.

First thing is to get some wild Halloween decorations to put up around here. I found a bright purple plastic skeleton to hang on our door so now I need some decorations to compliment it. I am thinking that blinking eyeball lights and fuzzy spiders would be lovely!

Then I need to start Ciaran's costume, he is going to be a little devil in bright red fleece! I found a great little hoodie/pants pattern to use, so the kiddo can wear his costume all winter long. I am also attempting to make him a pair of red booties out of wool and leather, I have cut out the soles of the booties, I just need to cut out and decorate the tops.

I will of course be working like crazy on my various projects to get them ready for our upcoming holiday season. I just found a whole bunch of ornaments to solder and put together that I made when I was pregnant with Ciaran. All new designs too! Those and the ones I made over the last few months should be enough for our two shows. Yay! I still have to solder the seams and make stone settings for them but if I can get back into the groove, I can do a bunch at a time and spend an evening or two setting all the stones. Lots of work ahead but I am feeling quite fearless and ready for anything. I am getting myself up early these days so I have a couple of extra hours for work. I get up and work with my old and frail fuzzy beast Humbug quietly purring away next to me. I am sure she would rather I just snuggle her, but she seems content to hang out and watch me work.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sleepy Saturday

Indecision is killing me, I am finishing a custom order and I can't quite figure out the last part of the applique design I am using. I had planned out something I thought was fabulous and then Mark took a look at it and said that he thought that I didn't need to go so ornate. So now I am full of indecision about it. It is supposed to be a cross. I had designed the cross to fit the area of the bag that it will be appliqued on, which I still think is fine, but now I keep going back and forth about making it more simple. Oh well, I am going to go with my gut on this one and pray it will work for my customer.

So I am spending my sleepy Saturday working on my leather projects and hoping for a good ghost story on t.v. That or a good zombie flick. I need some creepiness and blood and guts to keep me going. Caffeine is simply not enough. A nap would be great but then I wouldn't get any of my work done. I remember when I used to nap all the time. It was one of my favorite hobbies. Now I can't bear to shut my eyes! I just keep thinking of all the stuff I could get done while the kiddo is sleeping. Today may be the exception though. I am fighting to keep my peepers open!

Friday, September 26, 2008

All Done!

All done and sooooo happy! I think this one has some Autumnal character going on. Now I need to think of a name. The inspiration for this piece was my Etsy avatar "Tripetta" so I guess she is a she, but what name do I give her that represents her as best as possible. I guess I could go with "Autumn" that would be sufficient but not personalized enough for me. Oh well, I will think on it and get back to you all when I figure it out.

So this was my first real opportunity to mold leather. I was really happy with how it turned out. I am thinking I would like to make a few more masks with metal and leather. I think the two go together very well. It was fun and kind of messy but I got good results. I also got to have fun with color and texture. The only thing I really hate is the scraped, dry, and sore hands that come after the work is done. Last night I got hot sauce in one of the many tiny cuts on my hand and I nearly cried it hurt so bad. Ciaran thought it was great because mommy was dancing and singing in the kitchen. I was dancing and ....um.......singing, with tears in eyes, but it was from pain, not happiness. It was really funny because he started dancing too. Twirling and doing the famous toddler sway. Too funny.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whistle While You Work

So, I am working my butt off on various projects and so far......so good. I have a couple of these little wristlets cut out and ready to put together. I had so much fun doing the two custom pieces that I decided to make a few for my shop and my upcoming shows. I also want to try an oval shape, perhaps in a ladybug pattern, just for fun.

I have decided to look for clothing that would work well for lining my pieces. I keep finding shirts and skirts that would make great lining for my wallets, the trouble is finding something that isn't stretchy or slippery. I also ran across a piece of cotton that I dyed a while back that I will be using for my pieces. I was super excited about hitting the thrift stores today but once again my head is pounding with the change in weather. Sinus problems are so frustrating! I am researching some natural remedies for sinus problems other than snorting salt water which really just messed me up big time. It hurt like hell and I couldn't breath right for a couple of days afterward. So herbs, teas, etc. are the next road for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bird Poop and Big Shows

So Ciaran and I are walking home from downtown and as we near the fire station I check out the wires to see if there are any birds hanging out up there. Of course every bird and his or her mama is hanging out on the wire cheerfully chattering away. Usually we walk around but since I had a lot of stuff and Ciaran was walking along side me I didn't want to cut into the street to get around them. When Mark and I take Ciaran for walks when the birdies are out we usually scream "CLOACA!" and dash into the street covering our heads. That way it scares the birds enough to fly the other way for a couple minutes so we can make it through the treacherous pass without being pooped on. No such luck, I decided to try and make it at a quick pace with stroller and Ciaran in hand and I managed to make it halfway through.....then...........PLOP!.........and there it was all over my shirt. A big purple bird splat right on the boob! Not only did the little jerk poop right on my nice blue shirt, but left a purple stain there as a reminder. All I have to say on the subject now is that my little son's first phrase is probably going to be "F'ing Birds!" and that, at this moment, is quite alright with me.

On a happier note, I got a phone call from my mom to let me know that we have gotten into the biggest holiday craft show in the area. It is called " The Humboldt Artisan's Holiday Arts and Music Festival" Finally! this is after three years of being turned down. It is the one craft show in the area that actually brings in a crowd! So I am excited and I really need to get my butt in gear, and get stuff done! Wish me luck! ( I sure hope that bird poop was a lucky one:)

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Mom Makes Some Cute Stuff!

I thought I would take today to plug my mom's shop a little bit. She is Brendashop on Etsy. We did the Design Collective together a couple of weeks ago and I got to see some of her new pieces. She has been making little fleece jackets, ponchos, outfits, hats, and socks for babies. She started making the baby jackets and outfits when we found that the color and design for baby boy clothing is really awful and boring for the most part. I hate graphics and refuse to only dress Ciaran in blue, grey, or green. I wanted something that was still a bit boyish but had a little extra pizazz. Which is incredibly hard to find int the stores. I really love the little jacket she made for Ciaran when he was tiny, he looks so cute in it. It is a little small on him now that he has decided to grow like a weed but he will wear it until the little sleeves are up to his elbows cause it's so darn cute!!!! My mom started making fleece ponchos for adults a few years back and they just hit big time! She has become a little discouraged with her baby clothes because they aren't selling right now, I think it's just a matter of time and exposure, I am helping with the exposure part. Check out her shop if you get a chance, I am sure she would appreciate the visit.

So....The Fair

So, Ciaran and I went to the fair after his nap yesterday. I had to get another sheet of copper for a mask I am finishing and grab something for dinner so we did all that first and then cruised the fair. I guess the end of the fair is not the time to go. We saw lots of beautiful things, lots of tired vendors, and lots of sun burnt, hungover fair goers. It was pretty giggle worthy. I remember when I was teaching a few years back, Mark and I would go and hang out on the grass, drink beer, and listen to music. I was always super paranoid that one of the kids or their families would see me there and scrutinize me. So I usually took it pretty easy and had maybe one beer, followed by a cup of coffee and definitely some food, so I could keep my composure while I was there. Now I wonder why I ever bothered.......the entire town of Arcata is there and drinking up a storm. Lots o' tipsy persons wandering around. Truly giggle worthy indeed! Funny, Funny stuff, and no puke this year, usually I end up walking behind someone that has had too much sun, fun, and alcohol, and loses it all over his or her feet and everyone else near them.

Other than that I got my mask just about put together. Now comes the hammering fun! I love the hammering part but the family does not! Mark gets grumpy, the cats scramble and hide, and Ciaran runs laps around the couch shrieking at the top of his lungs. Someday, I will have my very own studio, and none of them are invited on hammering day!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back To The Fair

The two newest pieces in my newest favorite color scheme. Each also has some of the improvements I have been talking about, mainly extra storage in the pouch and a zipper compartment in the wallet. Now that I have a few pieces in this combination, I will be trying out some different colors over the next few days. I am expecting a pair of bright orange leather pants sometime tomorrow for more wallet making fun! Oh it will be a colorful and busy week, full of deadlines and surprises, Yay! keep the coffee coming!

So, my goal was to get the kid and the man to go to the fair yesterday but due to a certain man's indecision about the whole thing, we ended up staying home. I took Ciaran for a nice long walk just to get out of the house and get my grouchy grumblies out so I wouldn't have a nasty, un-fun evening. I think I would be fine with indecision if it didn't mean that everyone is effected by it. Especially since I was led to believe that the dude wanted to go, so I waited for him to go for his bike ride, then we waited for him to shower and eat lunch, then after I had gotten all ready to go...........he changed his mind. Man, I could have taken the boy while he was out riding and stopped for a cookie and a coffee on the way, hit the fabric shop, the antique shop, and the art store! Now I have to put all my shopping off until Monday! So today, Ciaran and I go to the fair, whether indecision dude wants to go or not. It is such a shame when people you love act lame! I love the man but he deserves some extra sour raspberries at the moment!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Zippers, Snaps, and Buttons

This is my newest color combination: a very muted but beautiful one in sage green, lavender, grey, and black. I am finishing up a pouch right now that shows off more of the yumminess of this color combination. I am off to town later to find a couple of pieces of fabric, a couple zippers and some snaps that will work well with this combo because I am making quite a few pieces with these colors. I love our local fabric store. I can always find some little square of fabric that will work for my pieces and our local antique store has a great supply of antique and vintage sewing notions. Too cool! I am excited as well because the North Country Fair will be happening today and tomorrow so Ciaran and I, and possibly Mark will enjoy the local artisans' work, and some yummy food all accompanied by live local music.

Then it is home and back to work! Hopefully I will get the evening to work on stuff, I tried last night but the kid kept waking up so I finally gave up around 11:30pm. I hope the trip downtown, the fair, and our walk home will be enough to wear him out for a decent sleep tonight. My brain is fading after a whole week of this. I feel sort of dull, and uninspired, and I am sure it is due to sleep deprivation. The only word I can think of is "WHATEVER!" in big green letters and red polka dots flashing all around them when anything good or bad happens. Oh well, it's better than the phrase that went flashing through my head in bright violet letters last night when I ran foot first into the vacuum cleaner. I won't repeat what the phrase was, I don't want to offend anyone.

Friday, September 19, 2008

It Was Only A Tease:(

So the happy sunny day was just a precursor to a partly cloudy rainy day today. I woke up to grey-violet skies and drip drops on the deck. The sun came out to smile just once and quickly got tackled by more grey clouds. Not that I don't love the rain, I just wanted to get out today. I finally have the use of my upper body again, and I want to take stinker out for a walk. So instead I sip coffee and work on new things.

My latest color combo reminds me of a stormy day. Lots of muted greys, violets, and greens, very soft and soothing. I have three little pieces to finish up today, so the rain helps as far as planting my butt in the chair and getting things done. It feels good to work without having to take OWIE! breaks every ten minutes or so. I am still sore but able to move. Maybe my neck knows it is Friday and time to PARTAY!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hey! Where Did You Come From?

So I am just sitting here minding my own business, trying to figure out how to sip my coffee with a kinked neck, when I look outside and BLAM! The sun is shining! It hasn't been around for the last few days. All of the sudden it is super shiny and happy out there. I think that is why I love living here so much. We don't have very many sunny days, so when we have one, after a whole week of grey skies, it is like magic! Even though I can't move my head from side to side to well still, I still feel peppy and happy and ready to work.

I am working on a lot of projects at the same time and that is really stressing me out. I just so badly want to get a lot done by the end of the year. I am finishing a long overdue birthday present for my lovely sister and I feel horrible because I keep having to put it off to finish other stuff. This is the weekend to get it done though, whether I want to or not! I would describe the piece but she might read this and it would ruin the surprise, so I will post a pic and description when it is all done and sent off to her.

I am also excited about the mask I am getting ready to make for our local Maskibition. Which shows at the Ink People Center for the Arts in Eureka. It is held each year during the month of October, and it it one of the most interesting exhibits around here. I think the mask brings out a whole other side of creativity in people. The mask is such a magical and mysterious thing.....I can't wait to get back to mask making. It is a true outlet for me. I just hope my little fingers still know what to do with all that copper!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Can't Move! Part two

So my whole upper body is still cramped and sore. I can't move much of anything so far. I tried doing a couple of yoga poses to stretch stuff out but the soreness keeps coming back. Today I had planned to catch up on some sewing and a little bit of metal work but since I can't move my head or neck.....or shoulders and arms, I am out of luck once again. I am getting some of my new items listed in my Etsy shop and my icraft shop though. There is one of my newest billfolds, I love the caramel colored leather, it is so smooth and soft. I wish I had tons more to work with, but the jacket it came from was on the small side.

I guess I could work on some patterns. Since I am "improving" a few of my designs, I wasn't to improve the patterns first. Now that I have my little portable desk, I can work on that without moving too much. I just feel silly taking time off to nurse a sore neck.

I spent some time playing around with my icraft shop yesterday. I am trying to split up my work between both my Etsy shop and my icraft shop but I my original idea for my icraft shop was to showcase my handbags there and leave Etsy as my leather, jewelry, etc. shop. I would love to finish a few more handbags by the holidays. I guess if I get over this soreness and really bust my butt, I could make a few for the shows and my shop. I really like the icraft set-up, I wish I knew of some other ways to get the word out about it, I try with all my might to let others know about it, since it is less than a year old it is hard to tell where it will go, I hope it does really well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Can't Move!

So for some reason, I can not move my upper body this morning. I don't know what happened but my neck, shoulders, and the middle of my back feel like they will break if I move at all. So instead of working my butt off today on wallets I will be trying everything under the sun to get rid of some of this discomfort.

I did happen to finish my first button/zippy wallet last night. I really like it! I am hoping that the zipper compartment will come in handy, I always find a little extra storage helpful. I have quite a few others ready to go but no such luck until I can move my upper body again. The next color combo is a lovely sage green with black, lavender, and grey appliques on it. I think it's going to be yummy but we will see when all is said and done.

Yesterday, we went for a nice walk downtown to the post office and to Mark's work. Mark was sweet enough to get Ciaran a whole bunch of balloons to play with and I ended up having to tie them to the stroller and bring them home. My last adventure with balloons nearly got me killed. I got a huge balloon bouquet from a co-worker many years ago and they all flew in my face while I was driving home from work, and almost caused me to lose control of my car. Luckily, I was driving late at night and there was no traffic, so I would have been the only victim of the balloons. The only rotten thing that happened with the balloons yesterday, was getting all tangled up in the balloon strings here and there and would have to untangle myself. It got to be pretty tiring by the time we hit our corner. I was ready to set them all free but I just couldn't do that to my little son. That would make me an extra mean mommy. I am only mean sometimes.....usually Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 to 10:30 am.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sleepy Sleepy Day

So here I am waiting patiently for my bright orange leather pants in the mail so I can make some more lovely things from them. I didn't get much sleep last night, Ciaran was once again with us and spent the night tossing and turning, talking, and climbing on top of my head to get comfortable. This morning he has a ton of energy and is also a little on the cranky side which doesn't match up well with my tiredness. Luckily, the neighbors' tabby cat has come to visit and Ciaran is getting a kick out of watching the kitty frolic about on the deck. If I was more awake I would be enjoying the antics more. It is good for a little giggle though for sure. Our cats hate it when the tabby comes to visit and I think the tabby knows that by the way he does his theatrical rolling and pouncing while looking in our window the whole time.

After kitty antics are done, we head downtown to mail off some more goods and search for zippers and ingredients for our big pot of chili. I may also sneak in a trip to the thrift store and the art store for a few little special treats for myself. More wool sweaters, cotton shirts, leather, who knows! The last visit to the thrift store ended up in the purchase of a new toy boat for Ciaran for twenty cents. It was the little boat or a huge rubber lobster. Ciaran picked the boat and I thank him for that. It was way easier to carry home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back to Work

So the Design Collective is over, I took the day yesterday to clean-up a little bit and improve some designs and now I am back to work. I have started listing some new wallets and I am making more day by day. I love the color combination in this one the bright raspberry pink with black and pumpkin orange. It stands out! I have decided to make my travel wallets just a smidgen bigger to fit a check book and more cash! I think it will go over well. I just want to design and make things that are pretty and practical. I think I am on the right track.

I am trying a new pouch design in sage green, lavender, and black that I think will look wonderful when done. I am going to be adding two zipper pockets, and a lot more slip pockets to the design to make it super usable. I am excited! I love the process of creating, you never do know what you'll end up with but the learning experience from the process is the key. That to me is worth it. Even if the project doesn't work out and you have to scrap the whole thing, at least you have learned what will or won't work.

Today we head downtown for a few errands. The weather seems to have changed into its more Autumn like appearance. Overcast and colder, with a tease of sun at the very end of the afternoon. I love it, but it definitely bugs a lot of the people around here, they so wanted more of a Summer. I can't say I blame them, but I still like the idea of bundling up in a nice warm sweater, hot cocoa, coffee, and a nice long walk. No more sandals, I guess I have to wear real shoes and socks. Not my favorite thing to do, but, I will give in for the sake of my poor chilly feet.

So back to work I go, hopefully I will have some good sewing karma and some amazing stuff will come out of that. No holding breath or crossing fingers though, it will be what it will be, no flipsy-changos!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Getting Ready For The Show!

My first Design Collective is tomorrow night and I am actually a little nervous about doing it. I have done a few craft shows over the years, mostly the same ones year after year, but this is the first one of it's kind. I really like that the show will be featuring local designers. I look forward to seeing some new faces and reconnecting with some familiar ones.

So I have been preparing for this show and working on a few other side projects, my house is a mess, my son is a wreck, and my Mark is just putting up with it all. Thank goodness for his laid backness. I so appreciate being able to just do my thing and have him not give me grief about it. He and Ciaran will be hanging out tomorrow night while mom enjoys the crowd, has a glass of wine, listens to some live music, and hopefully sells something. (No holding breath or crossing fingers, I know how these shows work) Then the weekend is MINE! Take care everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm Finished!

I finished my custom order for my first ever computer bag! I had a great time working on it. So last night I celebrated by cutting out many little snappy wallets and billfolds. I am trying to get as many done as I can in the next few days for my trunk show on Friday.

I am having a hard time deciding what colors to use for the wallets. I tend to want to cut out the more sell-able colors but with the trend in my Etsy shop it seems like anything goes these days. I guess I will just go with the flow and enjoy the process. I can't see working any other way.

I just put a bid in on another green suede jacket and a pair of bright orange pants for my newest collection of wallets. The people at the auction site must think I have some sort of screwed up fashion sense. Although they both would make a lovely and warm fall outfit. I am still trying to find that perfect bright pink leather something or other to turn into something fantabulous. The last ensemble I found was a three piece stripper-ly looking thing that ended up selling for over a hundred dollars. The perfect bright pink leather, but a little out of my price range. I will just keep searching and hope to happen upon some pink leather for a more reasonable price.

Yesterday, Mark, Ciaran, and I went out for ice cream. It was so much fun. I love watching Mark and Ciaran together. They make such a cute couple! They are so alike in every way it's hilarious and scary at the same time. Ciaran lucked out in the daddy department and I think Mark lucked out in the baby department. They make it very easy to love them both.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I need to make a lot of these little snappy wallets by next Friday. That and some more cuffs. I think I may be working through the nights over the next week. That means lots of coffee and no sleep! Eek! I am already sleep deprived from getting up with Ciaran every night this week, poor little guy is still working on some teeth and has been waking up crying every night this week.

Other than that, I am finishing up my latest custom order which I am liking more as I go along. It is very " colorful and funky" according to my mummy. I still have to line it and make the strap but I am digging this new fangled thing I have made.

Today is gorgeous! One of the wonderful things about living up here in the most northern bits of California is the mild weather. The late summer is just awesome. This is when we get to have summer. We get sun and warmth with very little wind and very little fog. It is so amazing to see people out and about with short sleeves and big smiles, just happy to be out in the sun. Summers here are usually foggy, or sunny and windy, then by the end of August the sun is out and everyone is happy. A lovely ending to the season and then it starts to rain.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Favorite Little Pieces of Advice

Some of my favorite pieces of advice came from working with the kids at the school-age program I ran oh so many years ago. Some of these are from the kids, some from my co-workers but all valuable just the same. Sometimes you don't need big fancy(or ugly)words to get your point across. It is amazing how simple but how relevant to life some of these statements are:

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you have to!"

"There is a difference between being a strong person and just being a bitch."

"You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason."

"Don't go out with your hair wet!"

"Worry about your own underpants!"

"Treat your friends in the same way that you would like to be treated."

The only two words keeping you from doing that are "I can't."

"If he smacks you, and then you turn around and smack him, is that going to solve the problem?"

"They can't chase you if you don't run!"

"A little bit of embarrassment goes a long way."

"Hate is a very strong word, make sure you mean it before you say it."

"Sometimes, your opinion is only important to you."

I had to throw in the one about going out with your hair wet just because that has always cracked me up. My grandma used to scream that at us as we left the house even if it was 90 degrees out. Words to live by I tell you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Rush Is On!

I just finished my newest wallet, black leather stripes on embossed red suede with an antique button. I think it is pretty fun, it reminds me of fancy underwear for some reason. I listed this one in my icraft shop. I can't wait to make more!

Tis the season for rushing around and building up my inventory. I am finishing up one last custom order for the meanwhile and then the race is on. I need to get at least a few things finished for my trunk show next week. It should be a blast! A designer's showcase at one of our local galleries called the Accident Gallery in Eureka, CA. I haven't spent much time there so I don't know what to expect of the evening. It sounds like they have a pretty lively and fun little thing going right now which I find refreshing compared to the rest of the art scene in this area.

Mark and Ciaran will be enjoying a all boy's evening while I am peddling my wares at the trunk sale with my mom. Then it is all down hill after that. Along with wallets and bags, I am also making ornaments and a few pieces of jewelry for our next two shows in late November and early December. Boy time flies by. Each year I tell myself that I will be prepared and get a ton done before October 1st, rarely does that happen. It's very good this year because I have been working steadily and my sales have been pretty steady over the last couple of months so I am incredibly happy about that. So, the rush is on and off I go. Hopefully I will come up with some good stuff for this trunk show. The fun has just begun!