Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Back to School Bag

Finished the book bags for my nieces. Here's the last one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I Built a Hanging Pantry

I needed a spice rack. The cabinet war between medications and spices was an issue of overpopulation. The story in pictures:

(The phone jack remains to be dealt with.) Yes, I did it all myself.

Sewing Space

*To see notes on these photos, peek at my Flickr page.As much as it humbles me to look at snapshots of super-organized studio space splashed with natural light and coordinated decor, I have affection for my basement workshop. It could certainly be lighter and prettier,but I so thoroughly enjoy my time in this area that it's always a welcome sight.I suppose this open space suits me more than a magazine-worthy studio anyway. There's promise in unfinished areas. *To read notes on some of these photos, peek at my Flickr page.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Stunt Jumper

My son launches his body at the couch from a perch atop the coffee table. Perhaps it's poor form to be unconcerned about this, but I find his mini-daredevil streak endearing. He's not much of a risk taker or thrill seeker (afraid of slides, even) so I'm glad he finds pleasure in performing this feat a dozen times a day. He even comes up with comic-book style onomatopoeia and dialog to pronounce before, during, and after his jumps!
"Up, up, and AWAY!""To infinity, and beyond!""Look out below!"

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Made to Order

I recently treated my nieces to their first fabric store experience. They each chose fabrics for messenger bags they want for school. The first one is complete and pictured here.
My second niece, a third grader, proclaimed, "we should go to New York and shop at Mood!" I'm going to work extra hard on her bag!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summer Treats

The fruits of my labor:
An old spice jar filled with perennials.

An olive oil jar with perennials and nine bark leaves.

I always try to fill this hanging vase beside my kitchen sink. Flowers are such a treat, it's worth all the weeding. Home made bread is also worth the labor. (Pardon we pajama-clad bakers!)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Packing and Shipping

Re-using boxes for shipping does not always translate to "ugly". I find clean, undamaged, plain brown and white boxes all of the time, inside other packaging. This box came inside a commercial box that held a file cabinet dolly ordered for work.I certainly overdid the stamping on this one, but usually keep it to one of each of these three: a "thank you," my business logo, and the reduce-reuse-recycle slogan. The rough corrugation on this box made it tough to get the stamps to look clear and even, which lead me to keep going, and going. (Address removed to protect customer privacy)
On the inside, I avoid layers of plastic, tissue, popcorn, or any other unnecessary filler. A simple ribbon, personal note, and item tag with care instructions is all I include.

I know there are many who feel my style is too minimal and therefore lacking panache or taste, but when I receive over-packaged items it is a major turn-off. I don't like having to recycle or re-purpose all that garbage, I don't like thinking about having paid extra for that crud, and I don't like sorting through a package of miscellaneous whatnots like cheap samples, piles of unrelated business cards, or promotional junk just to find what I bought.

That's my mind, and it's not changing! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fabric Belts

Today, I was inspired to create cute belts from fabric and pretty O or D-rings. Whenever I have what seems like a new idea, I search Etsy to see if it's already been done. Turns out I'm not an original thinker, but few Etsians are offering newly made fabric belts.
MountainAshDesign offers 6 "sustainably handmade" belts to make you say "wow".
Among the handbags and accessories, MelissaMoze's shop offers 14 groovy belts embellished with vintage pins, or flowers.

Katwhitt offers Amy Butler fabric belts in her adorable tote, handbag, and accessory shop.

CBStitches offers 30 different belts in an array of cute and mod fabrics.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Friend's Book Has Been Released!

Check it out: Playing with Matches, by Brian Katcher, is now available in bookstores! It's my friend's first book.

If you enjoy looking back at adolescence with a sense of humor and some psychological bandages for the painful truth about the choices we make at that age, check out Playing with Matches (or better yet, purchase it)!

(Brian, I hope it's okay that I shared your MySpace page with the blogosphere!)

Sunday, July 6, 2008


It's vacation time! See you next week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Neither Star-Struck nor a Stalker

Etsy offers some startling realizations.

1. There are a lot of people much like me.
In spite of all my loner-qualities, I feel a sense of community when I read interviews with and profiles of Etsy artists. This is a rare and precious sensation for a happy misfit like me! (Hmmm, HappyMisfit...that'd make a decent shop name.)

2. Common ground.
The lists of favorite music, movies, and websites for featured artists frequently match my own. When not, they provide fun discoveries.

3. A strong sense of geography.
Although I get a "we could be such great friends if we were neighbors" feeling with crafty folks from east to south to north, I am oddly connected to those in Washington and Oregon. It's a belonging I've felt while traveling there. The connectivity continues: most of my sales are made to that zone, and many of my hearted items were made there.

4. Inspiration.
Stories of passion for creating, strong DIY backgrounds, and willingness to try new things are empowering. For example, although I believe in (and work in) public schools, the many Etsy sellers who have a tribe of home-schooled kids growing gardens and learning life-skills along with academics day-to-day make me dreamy. It's something I admire, but know I couldn't do well year-round.

5. Raising the bar.
Featured sellers are nearly always role-models for item photography, marketing, item descriptions, and a sense of personality in an online shop. The combinations of these factors are great to observe.

6. Occasional eye-rolls.
Once in a while, I am left wondering, "Huh? That stuff sells?"
And who doesn't enjoy a tiny, short-lived sense of bewildered superiority?

Please leave a comment with your own observations on this topic.
(Sorry for the lack of pictures; don't you hate blogs like this?)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Today's Etsy Search: "Rollercoaster"

My family is about to leave for vacation, and all my son will talk about are roller coasters. We have spent hours watching YouTube videos of roller coaster footage and he is pumped!
This has got everything I look for in a roller coaster-riding day! Buy the print from the aptly named screamingphotography.
This somewhat ominous print of an oil painting is available from eveshen's shop.
I love how kellylynraspa's shot offers a colorful peek at fun against gloom.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Self-Portrait Thursday

Closed eyes and goofy grins for the Flickr group.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sewing and Item Photography

After deciding my self-taught innovation could use some informed technique, I tried using a pattern (my first since junior high). Of course, I couldn't leave it alone and made numerous improvements, such as an extra five pockets. The result is this babe in the gorgeous fabric.
My re-arranged sewing space in the basement led me to create a new indoor photography area. I'm not happy with it, and will need to reinvent the space again soon. I'm finally getting a smidge better at white balance, but much experimentation is still needed.I keep getting blue/gray tints around the edges of my photos and will have to read up on remedies for that. Shadows are another trick. I have to move my lights around to minimize shadows and sometimes I forget (see below).
The butcher paper roll that I hung from the joists above is not wide enough for large shots. I think I'll end up painting part of the wall, though it will mean covering up a mural that holds good memories (see post on my basement walls)