Friday, September 26, 2014

Etsy Favorite Friday: Spool Stool, Tailor's Gauntlet, & Yeti Head

It's Etsy Favorite Friday ! 

This week's Etsy finds are some amazing items that I really love, but can't justify spending the money on myself! (Although the Tailor's Gauntlet may be a justifiable splurge, since it would come in handy for sewing on the go! It's a business expense...yeah...that's it!)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Artist Row 2014

Artist Row is an annual craft fair they have at the Rochester Public Market.  It's held on a Sunday, since the regular farmer's market is on Saturday.  This was my first time ever doing Artist Row.  My friend John from RNEST has been trying to get me to do it for years, but there was always some reason I couldn't do it.  But this year, I took the plunge...and was glad I did!

I've started saying "You know it's a good show when I don't have time to take a lot of pictures!" That means I had a lot of customers and sales and was kept pretty busy!  I made a little sign for this show to encourage people to take pictures and tag me on Instagram.

Technically, it's proper etiquette at a craft show to ask the artist if you can take pictures of their work. Some artists don't like people to take pictures of their booth or their work, because they're paranoid that people will steal their ideas/designs. I can understand this if they are a photographer or painter. I've heard stories of people taking a photo of someone's work at a show, and then printing it out at home to frame instead of buying a print from the artist.  I agree...that's pretty shady.  But there are other artists, like jewelers, who are afraid that the people will go home and try to make the item themselves... or worse, make it and start selling it.
 But I personally don't give in to that kind of paranoia.  I'm secure enough in my work that I know no one can make my stuff exactly like I do.  And if I can encourage people to make stuff, I'm glad to!  Sure... if someone started making and selling my Nubbin design, I probably wouldn't be too happy.  But I don't want to let that fear make me into one of those people who forbids picture taking.  And if someone wants to make something for their personal use... I don't care! Besides, sometimes when people try to make stuff themselves, they realize just how much hard work it is and that it's just easier to buy it!

And... I love seeing the pictures that people take of my stuff at shows!  Sometimes (like at Artist Row) I don't get a lot of time to take pictures myself.  Plus,  I consider it free promotion if they share them! I encourage people to share pictures on social media and tag me.  As long as I'm credited, I'm happy!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Full Disclosure: My Living Room

Full disclosure. This is how my living room looks right now. 

I fought the urge to make it perfect before snapping these pictures on my cell phone.  But then it wouldn't be full-disclosure, would it? I have the trunks/suitcases arranged for photographing Sweater Monsters for Etsy listings.  Sweater Monsters and Owls have taken over the couch.  An A/C unit that my husband is meaning to bring upstairs.  My pile of craft show stuff.  Could be better, but could be worse!
My husband just hung that poster of "The Wave" on the wall, since we finally got around to buying a frame for it this weekend!

Sweater Monsters and Owls I have so far...

Scheduling a Balance...

I've always had trouble finding a balance between housework and my craft business work.  I tend to completely focus on one and ignore the other. So I am finally buckling down and decided to give myself a schedule to help me find a balance.

Coffee helps motivate me when I clean!

 I've had people suggest to me before that I schedule times of day for  housework and craft work. (for example: Housework from 9am-noon, craft work from noon to 5pm)  But trying to adhere to that kind of schedule stresses me out for some reason.  I think it's because I get into a groove. I hit a stride and then get frustrated when I have to stop... or I forget to stop.  So instead of assigning times of day, I'm assigning days of the week.  So then I have a whole day to devote to what I want to accomplish.  And a night's sleep makes for a nice, natural reset button.

 I always do my grocery shopping on Monday mornings and tend to spend the rest of the day cleaning the house after the fun/chaos of the weekend.  And I noticed over the last couple weeks that Tuesday through Thursday tend to be my most productive sewing days.  And then by Friday, I feel like the house needs to be tended to again.  So I've decided that my schedule will go like this:
  • Monday - Housework
  • Tuesday - Sewing
  • Wednesday - Sewing
  • Thursday - Sewing/Computer work (Etsy updating, photographing new monsters, etc)
  • Friday - Housework 
And these are not set in stone.  But I'm fining it helpful to have a rough outline.  For example, I am babysitting kids for two different friends tomorrow (Tuesday).  One set I'm watching in the morning, and the other set I am watching in the evening, so I will most likely not get much sewing done tomorrow.  But I love my friends and want to help them out. That is the joy of working for myself at home (well, and having my husband's income to support us!). 

A scented candle also helps motivate me when I'm cleaning!  "Mulled Cider" makes me feel cozy and domestic!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cat Calendar?

I feel like I could do a calendar with all pictures of Terra. She's such a photogenic cat!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Babysitting Hijinks: Sidewalk Chalk Photo Fun

I had a ridiculous amount of fun yesterday taking these pictures while babysitting my friend's kids! 

I had brought some art supplies and sidewalk chalk to do an art project with the kids.  After they'd done their projects, they wanted to play outside, so I let them use the sidewalk chalk on the patio.  All of a sudden, I remembered this idea I'd seen on Pinterest that I've always wanted to try.  So I started drawing some balloons and called the kids over and explained what I was doing and told one of them to lay on the ground and act like they were holding the balloons. Of course, after that, everyone wanted a turn!

Oh no! He's floating awaaaaay!  


I didn't even need a ladder, since they have a small back deck overlooking the patio that was perfect for me to stand on to get these overhead shots.

But I couldn't stop with the balloons!  We made the kids into flying superheros next!

He got a little bit of chalk on his butt while he was trying to get into position!

This girl is going to be a model.  Look at her looking into the camera with that cheeky little smirk!  

Laurel couldn't quite get the idea that she needed to lay on her side.  But it's okay... she's 3, and it's still cute!
I wish I could have done one with their 5 month old baby brother to complete the set, but he's still nursing and was out with mom and dad on their dinner date for their 13th anniversary!

Behind the scenes.  Eli decided to color in the balloons.  It looks like Lula is letting go of the balloons and falling!

Unofficial Homeschool Art Class: Bubble Drawings

I did this project with my friend's kids while I was babysitting them last night.  I was inspired by this blog post I found via Pinterest.
Top: Elijah (age 9), Lula (age 5), Laurel (age 3)
Bottom: Carlie (age 7), Liam (age 8), Kira (age 32)

The blog post said they did it with oil pastels.  I decided we'd try to experiment with different mediums and see which one worked best.  We tried crayons, chalk, and the oil pastels... and I see why the original blogger chose oil pastels, because those ended up working the best.

I've kind of decided I'm not going to be doing an official homeschool art class this year.  I want a bit of a break.  But I'm also giving myself the choice to change my mind later.  Who knows, I may get the itch later in the year.  So if I do end up doing art class at all, I definitely will be using this project in a lesson.  It's a good way to teach about reflection and transparency.  And we'd use nice black cardstock instead of the black gel-pen notebook paper!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Brainery Spectacular TODAY!

I'll have a booth at the mini Brainery Bazaar at the Brainery Spectacular today, 5pm-9pm, 1050 East Ave in Rochester. (There will be a free Yoga On The Lawn class at 6:30~7:30 pm! Bring your yoga mat!)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Letterpress Drawer Decor

This past Saturday, I helped my mom tackle the epic task of cleaning out her craft room.  She gave a lot away. I brought 3 big polyfill boxes (the ones that hold 10 lbs worth of polyester stuffing!) and we filled them all with stuff to donate.  2 boxes went to Craft Bits & Pieces, an awesome thrift store for craft supplies in Fairport NY.  And 1 box I brought to the MAAC Thrift store.  But of course, I got to bring some stuff home for myself.  It was like a free garage sale! One of my favorite things I brought home is this letterpress drawer.  I've always though they were cool and have seen them used in home decor before in magazines and online.  So I was psyched to have my very own. Last night, CJ got hardware to hang it on the wall and we've both been having fun deciding what we can display in there... and I'm filling in the blanks with my vintage thread spool collection!

I like that I finally have a good spot to display all the cool little things I have around... especially the things I've gotten from local artists I've met at craft shows. There's the "Spike Troll" and carved heart spool from Wonderful Whittlin', the felt bunnies from Moya Lazy Factory, my domino pendant from Cloud9 Jewels, my Minion peg doll from Sweet Whimsy Designs, and my felt mouse from Lumpy Buttons.  

There are 3 mice and 3 aliens in this picture.

The figure drawing model looks like a zombie.  I hate zombies, but it was the only way to make him fit in the space.  Plus it makes me giggle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Difficult Month

I realize I've been pretty absent of the blog for awhile.  I haven't written anything since the beginning of June.
  (Warning: This blog post is going to be kind of personal.) June was a pretty crazy month for me.  There was just a lot going on.  I was organizing the RNEST Etsy Craft Party and had back-to-back craft shows (I'll do some back entries with pictures of those), and then had to build up my stock to get ready for my next show.  

But the biggest thing was that my mother-in-law was sick with stage-4 cancer.  My husband and I visited her on the weekend of my birthday (June 21st) and I recognized that it was likely the last time I'd see her this side of heaven. 

I took this picture of us together right before I left.

My husband stayed for 2 weeks after that to help take care of her.  He was with her when she passed away on July 1st...3 days before my big July 4th show.  I soldiered on and did the show anyway...packing up all my product and displays when the show was over, dropping it off at home, grabbing our luggage, sending the dog home with my mom, and driving the 4 hours to Cleveland that night because the funeral was the next morning.  This was the first year I didn't get to see 4th of July fireworks (although, technically, I did see some in the distance as we were driving).

Tiny fireworks in the distance.

And my poor husband.  July 4th is his birthday.  He usually doesn't make a big deal out of it, and he doesn't mind me doing the Lyndonville 4th of July Craft Show every year on his birthday.  But I know his birthday is going to be tinged with sadness for awhile as he remembers his mom's passing each year.

I've been to funerals before, but for some reason this one was particularly hard... even though I know my mother-in-law knew Jesus and is in heaven.  I don't think I've ever cried so much at a funeral before.  I guess it was the reality of a parent dying hitting me.  Although I've been pretty okay since after going to the cemetery.  I had a lot of "anticipatory grief" in the weeks leading to her passing.  And I've read that anticipatory grief doesn't make the period of grieving shorter when the loved one finally passes, but I feel like for me it did.  I am sad I won't be able to see her again in this life and will miss her so much when we visit my husband's family at the holidays, but I am glad she doesn't have to suffer in this broken world anymore and is in glory with the Lord..

Even though I haven't cried as much since the day of her funeral, some things still make me tear up, of course.  An episode of Scrubs where the patient is dying of cancer.  Certain songs.  I don't think I'll be able to hear "Amazing Grace" for a long time without crying.  There was a bagpiper who played it at the cemetery... which was so beautiful, but at the same time so heartwrenching.

Sympathy flowers from my husband's workplace.
But ultimately, I choose to remember the good times I had with her and what an amazing, strong woman she was.  And I couldn't have asked for a better mother-in-law.