December 20, 2010

And...scene!

What a weekend!

I spent Saturday manning my table at the Winnipeg Folk Festival holiday craft sale. The traffic was fairly slow, although there was never a time when there wasn’t someone shopping (or, rather, browsing). It definitely wasn’t as busy as last year, but I had several small sales and managed to get two sock monkeys stuffed and stitched up. I didn’t come out of there with a pimp-wad of bills, but as far as days go, it was fun and productive. Plus, it gave the mascot a chance to take the bus downtown and hang with his mom for a couple of hours.

On Sunday afternoon, I made my way down to the shop and crammed my section full of everything for our Open House and sale (aka “Get stuffed!) Besides the collective members, we had a few consigners and guest artists (some of whom are now new consigners!) and the store was chock-full of unprecedented levels of handmade goodness. It turned out to be a fairly successful sale for me, but the real bonus was getting to spend 4 hours in the company of some of my very favourite gals. It was less like work and more like a fun holiday mixer....and it was a great chance to get to know some of the ladies a little better. And there were cupcakes, courtesy of Pam at Cakeology. ‘nuff said.



So, I guess that wraps up the craft sales of 2010. I definitely learned a lot this year, but there is still tons more to figure out and make sense of. If I took one lesson from 2010, it is that predictions are generally futile. What works one year isn’t going to work the next, and the best thing to do is just keep developing, refining, and taking cues from your customers. I don’t think you can ever do too much of that; they are, after all, the reason for all of this nonsense. ;-)

December 15, 2010

...and my two front teeth?

What do I want for Christmas?

To quote Steve Martin, "If I had one wish that I could wish this holiday season, it would be that all the children to join hands and sing together in the spirit of harmony and peace. If I had two wishes I could make this holiday season…”

Ah, that never gets old. But, seriously, if I were forced to make a list, it would read something like this:

- A trip. To anywhere - across the globe, across the country, or across the river. Heck, I'd settle for across the street.
- Something shiny.
- Shoes for spinning class. (Edit: you’re too late…I bought myself a pair last Sunday.)
- The new Steve Martin book.
- The new Amy Sedaris book.
- A subscription to Bust magazine.
- Kirby’s Epic Yarn for Wii.
- A 2011 pin-up calendar.
- Sirius satellite radio (for home and car).
- Command Start.
- A work bench.
- A big, rolling tool kit.
- A bigger gym bag, to accommodate all of those shoes!

That said, I spend most days feeling almost overwhelmed by my good fortune and really don’t want for anything. ‘cept for maybe time. More time to enjoy the things I have (and the people I adore) would be good.

December 14, 2010

Pants on fire.

Yes, I said I was finished making stuff for the season.

Yes, I promised my child that I would put away my sewing machine so that we could reclaim the dining room table.

Yes, I had every intention of hanging up my brushes and returning the crate of paint cans to the sketchy room under the basement stairs.

Yes, I have lied before.

Watch for fresh, new blackboards, corkboards and dry-erase boards, making their debut this weekend at the Winnipeg Folk Fest Holiday Craft Sale and the Mozy Rue ECO Collective “Get stuffed!” open house and holiday shopping party.

December 13, 2010

Can you spare a pair?

Donate new, warm socks and gloves and enter to win a handmade "Everything is ticketyboo!" sock monkey.



Socks and gloves can be dropped off at the Mozy Rue ECO Collective, 531 Osborne St. during regular business hours* until Dec 19th. The draw for the sock monkey will take place on Monday, Dec 20th.

*Mon - closed, Tues/Wed - 12-5, Thur/Fri - 12-9, Sat/Sun 12-5. **The store will be open until 7pm on Dec 19th for the "Get stuffed!" holiday shopping event.**

December 7, 2010

Certainty is uncertain.

If there’s anything that is certain about being in the crafty business, it’s that nothing is certain. Even events that are “sure things” can sometimes turn out to be disappointments or not quite what you had built them up to be.

Take this craft-sale season, for example. The applications were sent on time; the jurors gave their nods of approval; by all accounts, it was looking to be the best one ever for my crafty friends and me. Everyone had their strategies, but, generally speaking, we were all going for the tried and true, heavy traffic sales and made gobs of product based on past attendance at those events. With weeks of preparation and boxes of freshly-minted goods, we were ready.

The buying public, however, had other ideas. What those ideas were, I’ll never know, but suffice it to say that coming out to sales wasn’t one of them. Perhaps I set my sights too high; all I know is that out of 4 craft-sales, I haven’t had one that made me say “wow, that was awesome”. Instead, I had 4 that made me say “WTF?”

My only saving grace has been that I’m not alone in my confusion regarding the poor attendance. Literally everyone that I have talked to post-show has been just as baffled. Seriously, though…where is everyone? Is the public shopping online? Have they returned to the malls? Or are they just plain crafted-out?

And, for the record, I do not mean this as a whine. I am absolutely grateful for the sales that I have made and the opportunities that I have had to meet new people and put myself out there. I think that I, like many of my friends, had perhaps set my sights a little too high. Because, really, I have done pretty good this year….and it’s not over yet!

December 3, 2010

TAYGCS – 2 sleeps

Reminder: the This Ain't Your Grandma's Craft Sale is this Sunday at the Park Theatre.

If you're not from Winnipeg, it's not too late to buy a plane ticket and join us!!

Bellybutton!

It’s funny how the universe works; yesterday I was right in the middle of starting a post about my favourite new necklace, when I received a message from Em and Corina, the lovely and talented duo behind jake + cleo and the makers of said necklace. Apparently, as great minds often do, we were thinking alike and blogging about each other’s wonderfulness.

I have actually been meaning to write about my necklace for a couple of weeks, ever since I won it in a contest on the jake + cleo blog, during a particularly good streak of luck*. My failure to blog has been entirely about my current time-crunch, though, and shouldn’t be seen as an “out-of’sight/out-of-mind” situation. In fact, since receiving the necklace from the girls, I have worn it practically every day.



My “bellybutton” necklace is just like the one pictured above, but on a black linen cord. If you want one, too, you can buy one from the jake + cleo Etsy shop. Just remember, though, like all handmade goodness, yours will be OOAK (just like mine!)


*That same week, I won a Kindle and some cupcakes. More about that at a later date, but go me!

November 29, 2010

TAYGCS – one down and one to go!

Well, we survived the MCC Handmade Holiday/TAYGCS sale at the West End Cultural Centre on Friday night. I say “we” because the mascot was in attendance for the entire evening. (It’s amazing what a kid will do for Cakettes and popcorn!)

The traffic was good and the overall mood was festive, but the event lacked the frantic chaos of the TAYGCS Park Theatre shows…which was probably a good thing. With the real TAYGCS sale coming up in 6 short sleeps, I don’t know that I could handle too much more excitement. As it was, it took me a good half-day to recover from the snowy load-in/out and late night Subway dinner.

As far as the actual transactions went, I am happy with my sales, but, once again, I was surprised with which items were the hot-sellers and which were (for lack of a better term) the duds. This time around, the jewelry and pins flew off the table; the racks and stationary not-so-much. It just goes to show that these events are as unpredictable as prairie weather.

The good news/bad news is that while I would’ve loooved to have sold all of the racks, it’s actually a bit of a relief that I don’t have to high-tail it out to Habitat in ST B for supplies to whip-up* a whole new batch.

So, for the next few days, I’ll be putting all of my energy into sewing t-shirt pillows (remember the 35 shirts that I bought in August??), making another 4 dozen pins and (hopefully) figuring out my table display. I have a larger table this year, but I am losing the row of theatre seats that proved to be oh-so-useful for display at last year’s sale. Ideas?

*Isn’t it cute how I say “whip-up” like they don’t take 4 days to make?

November 26, 2010

Hoo needs sleep?



With my life-o-the-party days behind me, there are only a few things that will keep me up all night – crafts, crafts and crafts. Despite the fact that last night was a school night, I stayed up until almost 2 am* finishing five jewelry racks and two new Scrabble board mirrors for the big sale at the WECC tonight.

I think I have mentioned it before (oh, maybe about 764 times!), but this one is so big that it bears repeating. Tonight’s sale is a joint-effort between the Manitoba Crafts Council members and the fine This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Craft Sale sellers. (Technically, I fit into both, but tonight I will be there as a TAYGCS vendor.) It is the first time that the two groups are getting together to put on an event, and I think the partnership will be an interesting one, with TAYGCS bringing the funk and the MCC providing the class. (Now you see why I’m leaning one way, rather than the other?)

Anyway, as I was saying, I had to pull an (almost) all-nighter to get ready. With Sunday’s sale at Crescentwood nearly cleaning me out of racks, I wanted to be sure that I had a few more on-hand for tonight. I can’t guarantee that they’ll sell, but I’d rather have too many than miss any opportunities for sales. Any “extras” that I have will be taken to the Park Theatre sale on Dec 5th and/or the WFF sale on Dec 18th, or (god forbid) given as Christmas gifts. That’s a worst-case scenario, though, so fingers crossed that they all find homes tonight!

See you at the show!

* I would have been in bed about 2 hours sooner, but I was filling-in for a fellow Mozy Rue ECO Collective member who was feeling under the weather…and what weather it was!

November 25, 2010

So busy, so busy, so busy...I would go crazy if I had the time.

November 22, 2010

Monkey in the Middle

Who was the monkey? Me.

What was I in the middle of? The Kiddlebug Shop and jake + cleo's tables at the Creative Collection Craft Sale at the Crescentwood CC this past Sunday.

How much fun was it? More than a barrel of monkeys, that's for sure.

This was my second year as a vendor at the CCC sale and, once again, it was a gooder. Had it not been a blinking winter wonderland outside, it might have even been an uber-gooder. Traffic was ok, especially compared to last week's show at the FMCC, but it still seemed like it could have been busier. I've heard it through the grapevine that other crafters (including some that were at other shows) were feeling the same way, too.



That said, I still managed to make a pretty good day of it. I left with some cash in my wallet and a much-lighter load to cart home. The big sellers were, again, pins and jewelry racks, so I have been busy making more of both in preparation for the big Manitoba Crafts Council/TAYGCS sale this coming Friday at the WECC. (It's a good thing I stocked up on supplies when I did!) It was good to see the jewelry racks get such a great response...kinda makes me think that I might be on the right track...

And, once again, thanks to the lovely Corina from jake + cleo for taking the candid picture of me (above)! You can't see it in the shot, but I was proudly wearing my jake + cleo "bellybutton" necklace, which I won (yay me!) on their blog.

November 18, 2010

Picture Perfect

I used to be really good at taking pictures of my craft sale set-ups. As soon as my table was perfect, I would proudly snap a few shots of it for posterity. Fast-forward a year or so and I am already slacking in that department. Now, I grab those few quiet moments before the doors open to refill my coffee and/or make a bathroom-run.

That’s why I am so glad that Corina of jake + cleo took the time to document our tables at the Bling show last weekend. Not only was this my experience sharing a booth, it was the launch of my new jewelry line (and the fabu spinning display that I made for it) and the debut of my new, racks. Take a look:



Thanks to Corina for letting me “borrow” the pic. To read about jake + cleo’s day o’ Bling, check out their blog.

November 15, 2010

Nice Rack(s)!

As I mentioned in my last post, the much-blogged jewelry racks were a hot-seller at the Bling show…relatively speaking, that is. The response was fantastic and I was thrilled to sell three of the nine that I made. (Just imagine if we had been busier!)

In fact, feedback on the racks was so good that I popped over to the Habitat ReStore on my break and bought a few more drawer-fronts and knobs. If the racks sell well at Crescentwood, I’ll need to quickly make more for the TAYGCS WECC show on the 26th. With the way my schedule for the next 5 days is shaping up, though, there will be no time to go all the way back out to St B to buy supplies.

Following the "if it ain't broke" credo, I am not going to change the design of the racks, but I am going to save myself some work by using a really good, high-adhesion/high-hiding primer*. I picked some up last night and even had a can of it tinted to match my perfectly creamy, melted-vanilla-ice-cream-coloured paint (which, incedentally, I have decided will be my "signature colour"...and not just because I'm lazy).

*Yeah, yeah, yeah...I should have done that for the last batch. I have learned my lesson.

All Blinged Out

Minus 1 sleep; the 2010 Bling show is all but a glittery memory (on farmed butterfly wings, no less)...



So, how did it go? Ever the optimist, I am going to say that it went GREAT. Sure, traffic could have been better, but what craft-sale vendor has never said that*? So, lack of customers aside, allow me to summarize what was good about the day:

1. I shared a booth with Emily, Corina, Ruth and Marlene. There was no hair-pulling and we all left as friends. Success!
2. I sold enough to pay for my spot and next week’s trip to Costco. Success!
3. Of the 9 jewelry racks that I brought, I sold 3! That’s what I consider…success!
4. Pins! Pins! Pins! It’s so nice to see people get excited about my pins again. As much as I love having my stuff in the shop, I really miss the fun of watching people discover the domino pins. Success!
5. The day was a good way to ease into the season, plus I got to see my new jewelry rack in action. If nothing else, I came out of the event with a solid plan for next Sunday’s set-up...and now I’m already packed for it! S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

What didn’t work? I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, but I would have to say that the show could have been advertised better, the lighting suuucked (thank god we had clamp-on table lights. Thanks, Ruth!), the $4 admission was a little (ahem) steep, and the mix of vendors/layout didn’t really suit our funky, “green” thing. We should’ve been next to dConstruct, instead of across from a cosmetics "home party" company. Just sayin’.

Would I do it again? Ehhh...maybe? Everyone that I talked to in the bathroom (which, incidentally, is where all the vendors dish at this things) was not happy, but then vendors in bathrooms rarely are. It’s hard to judge a first-time event, though, so I am going to leave it at “maybe”. Or, as they say at the Franco Manitobain Cultural Centre: “peut-etre”.

*Ok, I lie. I definitely did not say that after last year’s TAYGCS show.

November 12, 2010

A day late and a hanger short.

You know what cheeses my biscuit?

When I buy a package of 6 of something (let’s say, heavy duty picture hangers, for argument’s sake), get it home, and open it to discover that there are, in fact, 5 items inside the package, rather than the promised 6. It’s especially annoying when it’s 11pm and I just want to finish my project and get to bed.

On a related note: guess who’s going to Home Depot tonight to buy another pack of heavy duty picture hangers. C’mon…take a guess. I’ve already given you a hint.

Grr.

2 sleeps!

November 11, 2010

Enough with the racks already...

How does that song go? "Tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen..." But, instead of pouring myself a cup of ambition, I grabbed a brush and gave the back-sides of the jewelry racks a second coat of paint. (Yay me...but it was 5am. I am really getting bad at sleeping in.)

At 10am, I popped the top off of the can of paint (again) and turned my attention to the rack fronts. (I think that makes 3 now, which makes me wonder if I should be embracing the concept of primer.) I also sat down with the big bag o' knobs and decided which ones will go on which racks; a task that I had been avoiding due to my tendancy to overthink stuff like this.

Tonight will be all about putting on the final coat of paint (I swear!) and getting the holes drilled for the knobs. I think I am going to stamp my logo on the backs at some point, too, but there's plenty of time for that...

3 sleeps!

November 10, 2010

Yvette

When I first saw Yvette in the Grumble Toy booth at Comic Con, I wasn't sure if I should be smitten or a little freaked-out. There's just something about her eyes.

That something was probably the reason that I couldn't shake her from my head and had to go back to Grumble Toy (after an hour of blissful, child-less wandering around) to buy her. Isn't she lovely?



She now lives beside the big picture window in our living room and shares Nana's chair with a Raccoon from Sew Dandee and a felt owl that I made in a MAWA stitch 'n' bitch workshop. According to her hang-tag, Yvette is quite an accomplished baker, but we have yet to see evidence of that.

To meet the rest of Yvette's Chimian family, visit The Morninglori Vine.

The Early Bird

Who was that in her nightgown painting jewelry racks in the kitchen at 6 am? Yup. That be me. I was up for an early run and I figured that I would get in 15 minutes of work before changing into my sneakers. Besides, I had to move everything from the counter to the table so that the mascot could get in to make his breakfast and pack his lunch.

Today's to-do list: another coat of paint on the racks and 4 sewing-themed square mirrors.

4 sleeps 'til Bling!

November 9, 2010

Show-vember

Well, we're 5 sleeps from the first show of "the season" and the state of my dining and coffee tables are living proof of that. The jewelery, packaging and random projects which are destined for my upcoming shows, have started to spill out of my craft area and are threatening to take over the house. At this point, only the mascot's bedroom and the bathroom are safe, and I'm not making any promised that it wil stay that way.

First up is the Bling show on Sunday. I'll be taking my new jewelry pieces, domino pins, domino and scrabble pendants, notepads, mirrors and my fabulous* new upcycled jewelry racks.

*At least, I hope they will be fabulous...right now they are only about a quarter finished. Yikes! Tonight is all about slapping on carefully applying a couple coats of paint and then they'll be ready for knobs and hangers tomorrow. Or Thursday. How many sleeps do I have?

November 1, 2010

Awesome Possums

Two years ago, the mascot and I attended our first Comic Con and discovered Grumble Toy.

We flipped through their stack of Gocco prints, found Flapjack Monster and fell in love-at-first-sight. (In fact, I think our purchase of that print was the unofficial start of the "Wall of Awesome" in the eating area of our kitchen.)

Since buying our syruppy little friend, we have since added Wormrah (Comic Con 2009), Narwhallus (TAYGCS 2009) and yesterday's addition, the charming Possum Family (below).


I am trying not to make any assumptions, but I have a feeling that either The Happy Hedgehog or The Bonhommes will be joining the Wall of Awesome in the near future. That is, if the mascot shops for my Christmas gift at the TAYGCS show again this year. :wink:

October 29, 2010

Creative Collection Craft Sale - Nov 21st

Once again, I will be participating in the Creative Collection Craft Fair at the Crescentwood Community Club.
(Try saying that 5 times fast!)



If I remember correctly, last year's sale was pretty busy, despite the bitterly cold weather. Fingers crossed for good traffic and better weather this time around! If it's nice, I might be able to convince the mascot to come out and lend me a hand for a couple hours. Those sales are mighty long without a break!

(Edit: the typos in that poster are going to be the end of me.)

October 27, 2010

The Bling Dynasty


I'll be there, along with Periwinkle Designs, jake + cleo and Magination. Winnipeg Etsy Street Team represent!

October 26, 2010

How to Train Your Mascot, part 1

When it comes to stuff like Halloween, thirteen is a funny age. On the cusp of young adulthood, the line between “too old for that” and “oh, c’mon…be a kid” is often blurred with smudgy grey areas. The mascot has been trying to decide for weeks if he should dress up this year and he has finally announced that yes, he will...if just to end his Trick or Treating career on a high-note.

Looking back on his past costumes, I have to say it’s been a pretty good run. Off the top of my head, there was Winnie the Pooh, a bat, a spider, the moon, a race car, a breakdancer, Justin Timberlake (seriously), The Thing (his only “commercial” costume) and “Death”. Good times. This year, he is going to go as the kid from the movie “How to Train Your Dragon”. Jay Baruchel? No, the character he plays - Hiccup!



I figured it would be a fairly easy one to buy parts for and, once again, Value Village didn’t let us down. We found a reversible furry vest, a tunic-length olive green shirt, skinny grey jeans and a brown leather belt with big brass eyelets (tres Viking!) All that needs to be added is a pair of brown Ugg-style boots (in my size, thankyouverymuch) and the mascot’s Viking helmet.

“Fur” vest - $12
Shirt - $7
Jeans - $6
Belt - $7
Total cost (not including boots): $32

From a purely budget-wise point of view, the best part of the whole outfit is that everything can be worn or used again, so I didn’t have to shell-out for things that would get worn once and left to rot at the back of the closet. That said, I am a little concerned with just how much the mascot loooves the furry vest. Oy!

October 24, 2010

A-ha!

I've figured out how to make my necklace display spin, but I need to get my bearings.

Bah-dum-bum.


Trust me. That joke is hil-a-rious.

October 22, 2010

Board, not bored.

I mentioned yesterday that I am now a member of the Manitoba Craft Council board, but I don’t think I ever really made the “announcement”. So, um…here it is!

Last Sunday, I attended the annual general meeting of the Craft Council and was thrilled to be elected onto the board. I have only been a member of the MCC itself for a year, but I have spent that whole time wondering how I could get more involved. A couple of weeks ago, the answer to that came in the form of an email from a friend (and now fellow board member) and I jumped at the chance to throw my name into the ring.

This will be my first opportunity to serve on a board, so while I am not entirely sure what to expect, I am sure that it will be a great experience. If nothing else, it will be a chance to learn the ins-and-outs of an arts organization, which is something I have been very interested in for some time. I am also looking forward to being more active in the crafts community and getting to know lots of new creative, crafty people.


The Manitoba Craft Council (MCC) was established in 1978 to promote, develop and advocate for fine craft and its makers in Manitoba. For over 30 years MCC has worked to ensure that contemporary fine craft and the artists who produce these works are supported, recognized and celebrated for their contributions to the artistic, cultural and economic life of Manitoba.

October 21, 2010

TAYGCS 2010

Last year I had the pleasure of being a part of the chaotic, crafty fun at the “This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Craft Sale” craft sale, and this year I am ready to do it all over again! I just received word this week that I am on the list of hand-picked vendors, along with my good friends at Jake + Cleo, Sew Dandee, Just the Goods, Periwinkle Designs and Mozy Rue! Talk about a MREC reunion!

The TAYGCS (or just “Grandma’s”, as the cool kids call it) is an annual event that is held at the historic and charming Park Theatre on the south end of Osborne Street. Calling it a “craft sale” is a little bit like calling Cochella a “concert”, or calling Pretzel M&Ms “candy”. As far as understatements go, it’s a doozy. Picture an old movie theatre with a dj spinning tunes and several hundred of your closest (literally) friends snapping up the city’s hippest handmades from a couple dozen smiling (but somewhat shell-shocked) vendors– that’s TAYGCS for you!

Each year, the “Grandma’s” organizers have done a fantastic job of gathering a diverse and eclectic collection of makers who sell everything from glitz to kitsch (I fit somewhere in the middle of that). The group that they put together last year was awesome and this year promises to be every bit as good...if not better!

For Xmas 2010, they’ve upped the ante with a second sale at the West End Cultural Centre, in conjunction with the Manitoba Craft Council. I’ll be at that one, as well, and as a brand-new board member of the MCC, I am extra happy to be a part of the evening’s festivities. I’m also really looking forward to seeing how the Friday evening WECC show differs from the Park Theatre show. It’s just a hunch, but I have a feeling that might be slightly less…frantic…given the earlier date and different venue. Plus, I’m counting on the MCC people to class-up the joint a little. ;-)

TAYGCS night at the MCC Holiday Sale
West End Cultural Centre, 586 Ellice Ave.
Thirty-seven craft artists (and counting) plus live music, dancing and food = the best of Manitoba craft under one roof!
Friday, November 26th - 5-10 pm

The annual "This Ain't Your Grandma's Craft Sale"
Park Theater, 698 Osborne St.
The original!
Sunday, December 5th - Time TBA

October 20, 2010

String Bling

After much fanfare (not that much) and a sneak peek that garnered hundreds of comments (just the one…hi, Andee!), I am ready (bursting!) to reveal one of the items from my new line. As the ever-astute Andee guessed, it’s a pair of earrings!



What Andee didn’t mention, however, was that they were made from my signature t-shirt “spaghetti”. Like the shirts that they were made from, they’re soft, colourful, comfortable and timeless...and carb-free!

The entire collection is made up of one-of-a-kind necklaces, chokers and earrings. In addition to the t-shirt spaghetti, I have used metal chains and findings, vintage game pieces, dressmakers measuring tapes, hardware and found objects. Like me, they're a little quirky, a little edgy and a lot of fun.

The line will be making its big debut at the “Bling” jewelry and accessories sale at the Franco-Manitoban on Sunday, November 14th. Can’t wait!


(Incidentally, the earrings pictured above came from a vintage, tie-dyed Jimi Hendrix shirt. The rest of the shirt will soon be made into a super, squooshy pillow! If I can put down my jewelry pliers longe enough to get behind my sewing machine again...)

October 19, 2010

A sneak peek!

On Saturday, I spent a few hours working on getting my new jewelry line finished, packaged and ready for next month’s sales. I am so happy with how everything has turned out; both products and packaging.

Here’s just a tease...



Can you guess what it is?

October 18, 2010

Eat, Play, Craft

You would think that the promise (or threat) of craft lessons at a museum would be a hard-sell for a 13 year old boy, but once you throw brunch into the deal, any talk of basket-weaving can be slipped-in without garnering any protest what-so-ever.

On Sunday morning, the mascot and I attended “Made by You” at the Danalvert Museum. Hosting the event were our lovely friends from the Manitoba Crafts Museum and they did a fantastic job of putting together a fun morning of good food and hands-on demos.



After chowing down on fresh fruit, cheese and pastries, the mascot and I tried our hands at basketry (above), wet-felting (below) and Sashiko embroidery. (Well, the mascot did everything except the embroidery. It’s nearly impossible to hold a needle and cram mini-cinnamon buns and garlic sausage into your mouth.)



We really enjoyed all of the crafts that we tried, but the wet-felting was a stand-out for the mascot. I think we will definitely be doing that one again on our own. Other than the inexpensive bags of wool roving, all you need is bubblewrap, a boot tray, dish soap and hot water. In less than 30 mins of rolling, squeezing and rubbing (oooh!), you’ve got a piece of OOAK felt, which can be cut, sewn or just used as-is. I’m thinking hot-pads or coasters for Xmas gifts….

October 14, 2010

Stamperfection

For the past year or so, I have been trying to track down a rubber stamp with an image of a vintage typewriter. I have come across a few online, but never make it past the "add to basket" step. After working in a scrapbooking store with a huge cache of stamps to play with (not to mention a healthy discount), I am what you would call "thrifty" when it comes to adding to my own supplies. No matter how badly I wanted/needed a typewriter stamp, I just couldn't justify paying uupwards of $20 for one.

I knew, however, that the right stamp would make its way to me eventually, but I wasn’t expecting it to be in the bargain bin at the local big-box crafts store. And, I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be $1.50. Ka-pow! The only thing that kept it from being 100% perfect was a little quote beside the typewriter...and that was quickly taken care of with a few quick swipes of a sharp x-acto knife. Now it’s perfectly perfect (and ready to be used on my new jewelry tags!)

October 13, 2010

Shhh...mommy's working.

I don’t know if it is a matter of self-discipline or minimizing distractions or a combination of both, but I get way more work done when I’m not at home. With Craftober nearing the half-way point and motivation lagging (already??), I need all the help I can get.

So, in the interest of getting some stuff made, I dragged my supplies to the shop on Thanksgiving Monday and spent the afternoon at the counter making jewelry. To really trick myself into thinking that I was working, I set hours, wrote it on my calendar and even packed a lunch!

Did it work? Well, after about an hour of organizing and 30 mins to eat a salad the size of a manatee, I settled in and got my craft-on. For 4 blissful, uninterrupted hours, I made necklaces and earrings out of t-shirt “spaghetti” and random charms and bits (in preparation for my upcoming “Bling” sale at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre). I’m not sure what the final count was because the mascot arrived and distracted me (go fig!), but it was lots. Like, 16 sets or something.

I think I am going to try to schedule about one of these “shifts” per week until the craft-sale season is over. It takes a little bit more planning and prep to make sure that I have everything with me, but it also forces me to make better use of my time. It’s pretty hard to procraftstinate when there is no TV, fridge, internet, child, fella, book, bed, Nintendo DS, Wii or bathtub vying for one’s attention. It's just me, the radio and a big table to spread my stuff out on. Ahhh...serenity now.

October 8, 2010

I'm with the Band

The mascot’s 13th birthday party had a “Guitar Hero” theme. To carry it out, we had invites that looked like concert tickets, a band “rider” (with candy buffet), rockin' tunes and backstage passes on lanyards, which turned out really cool and made a neat souvenir of the party.

I know a couple tweenage girls who would’ve loved to get their hands on one of these babies:



The candy buffet (below left) featured 15 varieties; everything from jujubes to M&Ms. Oddly, the hot item was the candy corn. Who knew? Anyway, I remembered to pack little cello bags with the party gear and used them to pack up all of the “leftovers”. Ka-pow! Instant loot bags!



Oh, and in case you were wondering, the total cost for each laminate was just under $2 each, but would have been lower if my laminator hadn’t decided to misbehave. Having them laminated at Staples added about $3.50 to the total cost (I made 10).

October 6, 2010

Jewelry Re-dos, part 3!

Remember yesterday’s necklace? I told you the story behind the pretty bits, but I forgot to mention that the chain was harvested from an old piece, too.

When you look at the “before” necklace (below), you’ll see why it has spent the past 2 or 3 years languishing in the bottom of a basket; it’s just not good. First of all, I can’t get past the fact that the chain is gold and the flowery part is silver. To me, that’s a deal breaker. Secondly…no, actually, there’s no need to go any farther; the gold/silver thing is inexcusable.



Now, don’t those daisies look much better on a soft, stretchy cord, made from upcycled t-shirts? The made-over version is so cute that I am having trouble deciding if I can part with it or not...


…and please pardon the slightly out-of-focus pics. No time for a re-shoot!

October 5, 2010

Jewelry Re-dos, Part 2

Here’s another quick restyle from last Saturday’s upcycling spree…an orphaned earring into a simple necklace. It's a perfect project for those of us who seek instant-craftification.



The earring, in case you were wondering, was worn to a friend’s grad in *ahem* 1991. I wore it with a little black lace dress and a tasteful corsage. All of the other girls were decked out in big, poofy pastel gowns and massive wrist corsages. Needless to say, I felt pretty *classy*.

October 4, 2010

Jewelry Re-dos, Part 1

Now that I am getting quite handy with the jewelry pliers, I have started to dip into my odd baskets and boxes of costume jewelry, looking for things to restyle. It's not only a fun (and FREE) resource of materials; it is proving to be great practice for working with chains and jump rings and other fiddly things.

This necklace (below left) was given to me about 20 years ago by my step-mother. (I think it was purchased in Morocco during the 60s, but don't quote me on that.) It has since lost its chain and sustained a few crudely-executed repairs. As much as I love it, it was just way too big to wear as-is. I am slowly poaching it for parts and the earrings in the "after" shot are the first of what I think will ultimately be 4 projects from the one piece.



Stay tuned for a peek at more jewelry restyling projects...I'm on a roll!

October 1, 2010

Cleared for Take-off

If you ask for a pillow on a Westjet flight, you won't get one of these:



...yet. Once word gets out, though; watch out! You might get Bowie, or Black Sabbath, or, if you're really lucky, Bruce Lee.

But, seriously, I have been flying high since I found out that the Mozy Rue ECO Collective was featured in an article in Westjet's online magazine, Up! It was a wonderfully written piece by Winnipeg writer and gal-in-the-know, Shel Zolkowich and just the kind of exposure that we need (and deserve, gosh darn it!) You can read it here: Westjet Up!

Of course, it didn't hurt that I got a big, fat mention in the article. I immediately sent it to my mom who, no doubt, printed it out and stucke it to her fridge. At least, I am going to go ahead and assume that she did. ;-)

September 29, 2010

Mine...all mine.

I used to make stuff for myself all the time; clothing, accessories, furniture, art, you name it. In fact, when I worked at Fabricland and *had* to sew items to display in the store, I was making myself a new dress or outfit (or bag or pillow) every week! Lately, though, my purely-selfish projects are few and far between. When I do have time to sew, paint, or craft-it-up, I do it for the store or custom orders. And, it’s not that I’m complaining; I am absolutely grateful for the work…it’s just that I was beginning to make myself jealous!

So, this past Saturday, I decided to take a little time to sit down and make myself some things with the many beads, baubles and charms that I have been hoarding. An hour later, I had a nice little collection of necklaces and earrings, and the inspiration to make a few new pieces to sell!



The choker pictured above was one of my fave pieces from that session. I found the “artful” tag at a bead store in Minneapolis and had to have it (for obvious reasons.) It reminded me of the silver “Return to Tiffany’s” necklaces that I have been coveting for years, so I used it to create a slightly shabbier, copper-tone version. What do you think?

I love it so much that I am going to use the rest of the tags that I picked up to make a few more. They all have different words and numbers, so each one will be OOAK, and they’ll all be up for grabs in the shop and on the Etsy!

September 28, 2010

Thinking Out Loud

I have such a great idea, but NO idea how to make it happen.


Yet.

September 27, 2010

(The) Knitting (on) the Bridge

As I mentioned the other day, we had the opportunity to take part in "Knitting the Bridge"; a fun public-art project that was organized for Culture Days. After weeks and weeks of knitting and countless stitches, the knitting was finally installed on the bridge on Saturday night. The mascot and I took a trip out to check it out on Sunday and, wow, was it ever cool to see.



The knitting (and crocheting) stretched from one end of the Esplinade to the other, and was even doubled and tripled-up in some sections. We walked the whole length of the bridge and back to see every last piece. Of course, we spotted mine pretty easily thanks to its bizarre pickle-green colour! (It's the looovely piece that we are posing in front of in the picture below.)



As we were getting back into the car, the mascot said, "I hope we can do Knitting the Bridge again next year...and go back to Sal's for another milkshake!" LOL. I'm glad that Culture Days has had such an impact on him. (Although, I suppose Sal's is a pretty big part of Winnipeg culture in its own right.)

September 24, 2010

A Perfect Marriage

The art in our home is becoming quite an eclectic combination of store-bought prints and posters, original pieces, and found objects. Scattered among the original pieces are a few works of my own, including a somewhat “Mad Men”-esque collage (pictured below) which hangs in our living room. (See, I do occasionally keep the stuff that I make!) It's a perfect marriage of two of my favourite things - vintage self-help books and lovely ladies.



As far as collages go, it’s a pretty simple one, but I absolutely love how it turned out. I’ve used only two elements – a figure cut from a vintage pattern envelope and a dust jacket from “How to Help Your Husband Get Ahead”, a very helpful book written in 1953 by Mrs Dale Carnegie, wife of the much-quoted American author and lecturer, Dale Carnegie. (Incidentally, one of the chapters in the book is titled “Getting Along with his Secretary”. Isn’t that fabulous??)

September 23, 2010

Hooray for Knitting the Bridge!

Last night, the mascot and went to the Salisbury House on the Provencher Bridge to take part in the final meeting of the “Knitting the Bridge” group. You may be asking yourself, “Why on earth would a 13 year old boy want to go hang out and watch a bunch of chicks knitting?” Here are 5 reasons:

1. Two words – Salisbury House. The promise of a milkshake and/or fries is usually enough to get him out of the house on a rainy evening. The promise of a glimpse of the “million dollar toilet” clinched the deal.
2. Since he’s not a knitter, he had the choice to play his DS or to blog. He chose to bring the netbook so that he could blog about our latest North Star Drive-in experience.
3. One more word – chicks. Who says knitters are all blue-haired biddies? The ones I know are young, hip, smart, funny and, well, kinda hot.
4. What can I say, the kid’s a joiner. This project in particular caught his attention, so he was right on-board from the get-go. I mean, come on…a 250 metre scarf? Coolness!
5. Did I mention the milkshakes?

Needless (or needle-less, as the case may be) to say, we were both rather excited to take part in the evening’s activities. It was great to see so many ladies out knitting, eating, and chatting together. We met a few awesome gals (including Andee’s mom…hi, mom!) and I managed to crochet a piece 11 stitches wide by over 6’ long. (Gotta love those fat hooks!)

It has yet to be confirmed, but I think Jen mentioned that as of last night they had met their goal and would have enough length to cover the bridge. I suppose we’ll see on Saturday night, when the installation takes place, starting at 7:00pm! I know it’s just a small contribution, but it’s nice to think that somewhere along the span, 2 metres of bridge deck will be adorned with my chartreuse handiwork.


Knitting the Bridge is a colossal cooperative effort orchestrated by artists Kristin Nelson and Jennifer Smith in conjunction with Culture Days and Nuit Blanche Winnipeg 2010. The goal of the project is to knit across the 250-meter long Provencher Bridge that separates St-Boniface from downtown Winnipeg.

Knitting the Bridge has scheduled public meets dedicated to knitting together. Anyone can participate. These knitting the bridge meets will take place at the Salisbury House on the Louis Riel Esplanade every Wednesday starting August 18th from 6-8pm. On Saturday September 25th at 7pm, Jennifer and Kristin will begin installing the work from opposite ends of the bridge making this the longest and most collaborative knitting project in Winnipeg.

September 22, 2010

Good things come...eventually.

After years of searching (seriously...years), I have finally snagged a vintage stained glass window. Oh, sure, there are tons of them around, but most of the ones that I have seen are upwards of $100, regardless of condition. I wasn't about to give up, though. I knew that I would fine one that would fit my budget if I just kept my eyes open. Did I ever think I would get one for $15? Hmmm...nope...and that's what makes this find even sweeter!





















This one, which I picked up at the Habitat ReStore last weekend, is not what I would call “pristine”, but to me it is perfect. And 6 of the panes are pink. PINK! Can you imagine living in a house with pink windows? It would take the whole idea of “rose coloured glasses” to a whole new level.

Right now, my precious window is safely tucked into a corner of my living room. I would love to have it in a place where the sun could shine through it, but that’ll have to wait until I can coordinate hooks and eyes and chains and anchors and a drill...you know, the more I think about it, the more I like it where it is.

September 20, 2010

The Suitcase Desk

To make a long story short – I bought a new (tiny) laptop and needed a new (tiny) desk.



With limited open real estate on our main floor, the desk had to meet the following conditions:
- it had to take up very little space
- it had to be easily moved or tucked-away
- it had to provide storage
- it had to be cute

I had mulled over a few options, including narrow bookcases with shelf extenders, folding wall-mounted tables, and re-purposing my already re-purposed antique sewing machine/dressing table. Nothing seemed exactly *right*, though, so I kept searching.



As it turned out, the solution was right under my nose all along. Or, rather, it was at the bottom of my stairs…in the form of my Nana’s old hard-side suitcase. Small? Yup. Portable? Uh-huh. Storage? Yes’m. Cute? And how!



Once I decided that it would be my new laptop desk, the conversion of the suitcase itself was a fairly easy and inexpensive process. I already had an IKEA folding table to sacrifice for its legs, so all I needed to purchase was a few short lengths of pine for the inner structure, a piece of ¾” MDF for the desk top, angle brackets, hinges and some paint.



With measurements in hand, I made one short (by my standards) trip to Home Depot where I was able to pick up all of the things on my list AND have my wood cut to size. Back at home, all I had to do was remove the legs from the folding table and attach them to the “deep” side of the suitcase, and build the desk insert. By using a few time-saving techniques (hello, angle brackets!), I was able to complete the entire project (including painting!) within a couple hours.



I think it turned out pretty darned cute and I am over-the-moon by how functional it is. Not only is it the perfect size for working, it keeps all of the computer cables and junk tucked away and easily accessible, thanks to the hinged desk-top. As a bonus, it closes up to hide my laptop when I’m not using it and can be locked-up to keep all of my secrets secret! The only thing that I plan to add is a small notice-board in the lid to organize notes and photos…and then it will be *perfect*.



I think Nana would be proud.

September 17, 2010

'tis the season...already?

All the signs are there; the chill in the air that makes you want to pull on thick socks, the sound of geese as they begin to make their plans to head south, the sudden changing of the leaves. With only 4 "official" days left in Summer 2010, it's definitely beginning to feel like fall is soon to be (if not already) upon us.

To some, fall means picking pumpkins, getting lost in corn mazes, and packing up the garden tools. For me and my crafty friends, however, it means buckling down and coming up with the goods that we need for all of the craft sales that we started signing up for in July.

This year, I'll be taking it "easy" and focusing my attentions on the shop, custom orders, and a few carefully-chosen community club and gallery sales. So far, I am confirmed for a Scattered Seeds "Bling" show in St Boniface and the Creative Collection sale at the Crescentwood CC. I also have an application pending for the Cre8ery annual open house/sale and I am watching for announcements about the Grosvenor School sale and the "This Ain't Your Grandma's Craft Sale" at the Park Theatre. (I did the TAYGCS show last year and had a BLAST, so fingers crossed for that one.)

To go along with the KISS (Keep It Simple, SRSLY) theme, I am going to be concentrating on pins, pendants, pillows, notepads and cards, mirrors, altered altoids tins, wallets...oh, who am I kidding? Simple just isn't in my vocab. ;-)

Let the fun begin!!

September 7, 2010

Classy!

This Thursday, I will be holding the first in my series of eco-friendly DIY classes at the Mozy Rue ECO Collective store!



"In this fun 90 minute class, Rebecca will guide you through the steps that it takes to create an expandable “faux mesh” tote (pictured above) that will amaze and delight cashiers everywhere. (Well, that might be a stretch, pun intended; but we guarantee that once you’ve made one bag, you’ll want to make more!) And, for those who skipped home-ec class, we’ve got a no-sew version, too. If you can hold a pair of scissors, you can make this project!"

To (hopefully) accomodate a variety of schedules, I will be offering the class twice in September; Thursday the 9th at 7:30pm and Sunday the 26th at 1:30pm. The $12 fee gets you 90 mins of class-time and a take-home instruction booklet with bonus project (You’ve gotta use those sleeves for something, right?). The class is "BYOT" (bring your own tee) or I can supply one for an additional $3. Other than that, all you need is a pair of scissors!

To register (or for additional info), shoot me an email at zenbecca@gmail.com or call the shop at 477-1900.

August 31, 2010

Fun With Weather!

I declare!

It wasn’t my intention when I set out, but my Minneapolis sojournthis past weekend ended up being an impromptu buying-trip of sorts. Two stops at “Savers” (the US version of Value Village) in Fargo, ND and Burnsville, MN netted me 30 (yes, THIRTY) t-shirts to upcycle and 22 vintage patterns for my stationary line and collage art. Talk about a haul!

The t-shirts are too numerous to list (plus, I don’t want to spoil the surprise), but off the top of my head, I can say that there’s Star Wars, Mario Bros, SPAM, Bruce Lee (another one!), and vintage Winnipeg Jets in there. The discovery of the Jets shirt can be credited to my awesome and ever-patient fella, R, but the rest were the result of flipping through racks of literally hundreds of shirts. Ah, it’s a labour of love, that’s for sure.

As for the patterns, I am STILL pinching myself. Had I bought them on Ebay or Etsy, they would have cost me upwards of $150 plus shipping; not to mention the hours of searching, watching, bidding, waiting. These ones, however, were in my cart within minutes seconds and cost me about a tenth of that. I have barely looked at them, but two that stand out for me are “two dudes in robes” (always a favourite) and a very odd 70s wrap-jumpsuit that oddly reminded me of Andee from Sew Dandee. She’s getting the second one, but the rest are for meeeee. And you, eventually. ;-)



Footnote: can you believe that all 30 t-shirts fit in my front-load Kenmore washing machine??? Just sayin’.

August 27, 2010

A Peek Inside the MREC

Last week, I dressed up in my cutest dress and sat down in front of the Shaw cameras for an interview about my involvement with the Mozy Rue ECO Collective. It was very nerve-wracking (Am I going to say enough? Will I talk too much?), but kind of exciting (Mr DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up!).

I did a demo and talked-it-up for about half an hour and, along with Jody's segment and the shop-tour, they managed to trim it down to a nice and tidy 2:49.

Click here to watch!

The piece is long enough to make us look like we know what we're doing, but not so long that people will be reaching for the remote. I'm really happy with how it turned out...and I am not completely horrified with how I look/sound. (Really? I sound like that?)

Anyway, I think it's just enough of a taste to make people want to check us out. Adding to my 15 minutes of fame aside, that's what it's all about.

August 19, 2010

Does this banner make my butt look fat?

To go along with the exciting* changes to our Etsy shops, I figured I would create a little excitement* of my own and design a new shop banner. What do you think?



Back when I joined Etsy, it was as a buyer rather than a seller. At the time, I chose my username based on my email address. It's been fine for the year or so that I have been a seller, but now that I have registered "Everything is ticketyboo!" as my official business name, I feel that there is potential for some confusion; especially now that the brick and mortar store is open and I am trying to formally brand the business.

So, rather than start over with a new username (and zero sales/feedback), I have decided to integrate the "ticketyboo" name through my shop graphics, packaging and communication. I've seen other people do a similar thing and I don't forsee a problem. It's not like either name is all that common anyway...and yes, you can still call *me* zenbecca.


* Excitement is relative. As this is a slow news week, I am genuinely excited by this. Ask me next week, though, and I might just respond with a "meh".

August 18, 2010

Ready for My Close-up

I just dropped off 5 new pillows to the "Everything is ticketyboo!" shop-within-a-shop at the Mozy Rue ECO Collective and just in time, too; my section desperately needed a shot of colour (much in the same way that I could use a shot of gin right about now). I was down to greys, beiges, and more greys, so in went a green Moog, a brown Smokey the Bear, a brown "Gimme My Timmies*", a yellow Bob Marley and a red Sonic the Hedgehog. Fair warning - they're all exclusive to the store for one week, and then they'll go up in my Etsy shop. (So, go get 'em!)

And, speaking of the store (and why i could use some gin, thanks for asking), Jody and I did an interview with Shaw TV which will air in the very near future. I think I spazzed out (especially during the demo), but we'll see....it could still be saved in the editing. The interviewer seemed ok with it, though, and might give me a call sometime for a piece on my stuff. I offered to take her on a hunt for treasure, which I think would make for some very exciting reality TV, don't you?


(*no, really...you can have your Timmies. I've got my 'bucks.)

August 16, 2010

Girls with Glasses

When I first found the image of this cute little hairbanded, bespectacled gal (below), I was immediately smitten and knew I had to have her for my new line of stamped Scrabble pendants.


I think she looks a little bit like Lisa Loeb:


...a little bit like my girl-crush Tina Fey:


...and, ok, a little like bit me:


But, resemblances aside, it's her bored/bemused expression that kills me. Maybe it's because I spend 79% of my day with the exact same look on my face (and the other 21% rolling my eyes), that I feel a certain kinship with her. And, hopefully, someone will see her in my Etsy shop, feel the same and be compelled to buy themselves a pendant...or to pick up one for their favourite "girl in glasses".

(Speaking of my Etsy shop, check out the new "Pocket Shop" widget by Craft Cult to the right of this post. That thing is rocking my world!)

August 12, 2010

Everything is ticketyboo at Mozy Rue!

X-posted from the Winnipeg Eco Craft Collective blog...

Goodness, I've barely had my morning pail of coffee and I'm already starting in on the bad rhymes. I'm a poet and I...oh, nevermind. ;-)

Seeing as I will be working in the shop tonight, I thought I would make today's post about me, myself and me. And, seeing as I am the only one with the password to this blog, no one can stop me! I'll keep it brief, though, and just share with you a couple of the things that I have in my little section.

The two things I want to share with you have a couple of common threads (pardon the pun)...can you spot them? First of all, they both share a bit of an Asian influence; a style that I am always drawn to, which is no doubt due to my 8+ years living on the West Coast. Secondly, they are both "upcycled"; the pillow spent the first part of its life as a t-shirt, and the wood and silver pendant once graced a Scrabble board. Thanks to a little stitching, stuffing and stamping they are ready to decorate your couch or your cleaveage (I'll let you dedide which is which).



David Bowie "Serious Moonlight tour" t-shirt Pillow - $25



Cherry Blossom Scrabble pendant (with black cord necklace) - $12

~ Rebecca

July 27, 2010

Lucky Finds



I just returned from a mini-vacation to my fella’s parents’ farm, which (much to my surprise) turned out to be a working-vacation of sorts. I’m not complaining, though; since my crafting time is at a premium these days, getting to work on some stuff for the store was a much-welcomed bonus (and one that I took full advantage of!) As a result of a Saturday afternoon spent crafting (and bonding) with R's mom, instead of showing up empty-handed at the store for my shift on Thursday night, I will be arriving with 17 (seventeen!!) new spaghetti necklaces. Some of them are the “classic” multi-strand design, but I’ve added a couple new styles to the mix – with beads and clasps and charms, oh my! I’m so excited to get them up on my wall!

The other big excitement of this past weekend was getting to dig through a wagon and two sheds on the farm in search of rusty stuff. I would’ve needed a u-haul to even make a dent in what I found, so I kept it to what would fit in one rusty bucket. Ok, two rusty buckets. Some of the stuff is too precious to part with, like the butter churn bowl and horseshoe, but some of it will be upcycled and put up for sale in the shop and on the Etsy. First up will be a collection of dragonflies made from salvaged metal and rusty nails…just as soon as I buy a good pair of tin snips!

July 19, 2010

Alchemy

Just when I was about to give up on my Etsy shop*, I received an awesome Alchemy request – 17 custom domino pins for a buyer in New Jersey. It’s a rush-job (they need them by the 28th of July), but they are willing to pay for express shipping to get them there by the deadline.

I am always happy to receive an order, but the timing couldn’t be better for this one. I am all caught-up on stuff for the store and have everything I need to immediately get started, except for the little quotes. One quick stop at Staples to print them on the way home, and I am good to go!

Can you tell I am excited about this project?


*No, not really...I'm not throwing in the Etsy-towel. I still heart the Etsy.

July 18, 2010

The Return of Shop Girl.

As part of our membership in "the collective", we each have to work a certain number of hours in the store. For me, that means two Saturdays (12-5) and two Thursdays (5:30-9). To be honest, at first I thought that it was too much of a commitment for me and the 20 or so hours per month would be time that I could spend doing other stuff.

It turns out, though, that the two shifts I worked this week were 10 of my most-productive hours, as far as crafting time was concerned. I brought my 75% finished pillows with me on Thursday night and managed to hand-stitch them all shut and attach their hang-tags. And, as I finished each one, I just walked over and added them to my display and by the end of the night, I had quite an impressive stack.

I didn't add anything new to my display yesterday, but I did manage to organize a bunch of stuff, finish some necklace cords, make a few new scrabble tile pendant bases, and fix 3 necklaces that have been dogging me for ages. If I had been home, I never would have done any of that...the lure of the lawnmower, dishwasher, laundry room and (ok, I'll admit it) couch would have been too great.

That said, I would have been just as happy...or even happier...if I had been too busy with customers to work on stuff, but that'll come in time, once word gets out.

July 15, 2010

Preparation is everything!

Last night was a pillow party at my house!

The other day, I arrived at work an hour early and had a rare chance to spread my stuff out on the big warehouse tables. In less than 60 mins, I managed to cut (and pin*) a dozen pillows from my latest cache of pre-loved t-shirts. I can’t even tell you how much of a difference it made to have that part of the job behind me when it came time to sew last night. All I had to do was grab my little stack (organized by colour for better thread-changing efficiency), sit down at my machine, and GO! An hour later, I was back on the couch with my pile of pillow covers, happily stuffing them with fluffy feather forms. I didn’t get the openings blind-stitched before bedtime, but I am planning to do that while I mind the shop tonight.

My faves: Bruce Lee (seriously) and Mario, of Mario Brothers fame.

* yes, I finally bought new, sharp pins.

July 12, 2010

Nailing jello to a tree.

Today I wrote on the Winnipeg ECO Collective blog that getting artists organized is akin to nailing jello to a tree. It conjures up a hilarious mental image…just as long as you are not the one holding the hammer. I can only imagine how frustrating it can be, but try as I might not to fall into the “jello” group, in this case I was definitely one of the wigglers! See, the thing is, not only am I generally over-scheduled, but I am a chronic procraftstinator. I’m sure that I drove Jody positively mental in her efforts to get me to meet with her and commit to the collective; then, as the opening date started to loom, getting me to come in and set up my stuff.

Jody was persistent, though, and I have to credit her for not giving up on me! 8 hours (!!!) before our invite-only preview on Saturday night, I was in the shop getting my shelves hung and fluffing my pillows. (I’m sure that if I had left it any later than that, Jody would have attached me to the wall and left me there as art!) What can I say? I was having issues with my display materials and the opening coincided with an inventory count that was called at short-notice at the day-job. Gah!

Excuses (and a few new grey hairs) aside, I think I can honestly say that we pulled it off. By the time R and I arrived at the shop on Saturday night, it was full of smiling, champagne-drinking people who had nothing but wonderful things to say about the shop and all of the amazing goods on display. After making the rounds, it was fun to stand back and watch people say “wow!” when they came through the door, and then “ooh and ahh” as they made their way around the shop. Granted, they were “friends & family”, but they looked like a fairly honest, unbiased bunch.

I suppose the true test will come tomorrow when we open the doors to the public. We’ll see if I sleep tonight at all, or if I let my excitement/nerves get the better of me. Of course, if that happens, I can always use the time to make a spaghetti necklace to replace the one I sold during the party!

July 7, 2010

El Cheap-o Display-o

One of the biggest challenges that I have been faced with since starting my crafty business is how to display my product effectively and affordably. While there are hundreds of commercial display options out there on the market, most are prohibitively priced; especially when you are trying to *make* more money, not *spend* more money. Spinners, racks and stands all add up to a big expense and are often a gamble for a crafter who is still trying to figure things out and who is faced with the challenge of different table sizes/set-ups at nearly every sale.

The opening of the shop is proving to be an interesting exercise because it is forcing me to come up with something that not only follows my esthetic, but that of the store itself; plus, whatever I come up with has to be both fabulous AND frugal. Thankfully, “my colours” (black & white) are the same as the shop colours and Jody has all sorts of things for me to appropriate. So far, I have ganked a bench, 2 empty frames, a magnet board, a curio cabinet, a towel bar (for hanging t-shirts) and a shelf…at least, I *think* there’s a shelf.

My only big headache (so far, knock wood) has been trying to find something to go inside the frames to hold my pendants and pins. My first thought was to upcycle a bulletin board or two; they’re everywhere, right? Wrong. Then I went in search of new cork, which turned out to be both frustrating and expensive. Ceiling tiles? Homosote? Nope. Nope. I finally decided on peg board, but only on the condition that I could avoid using big, ugly pegs. I came up with the brilliant solution of using machine screws while wandering the aisles of Home Depot last night. The #10s fit the holes in the peg board *perfectly* and I can use them two different ways – head-out for the pendants and shaft-out (ooh, that sounds really inappropriate!) for the carded pins. Total cost for pegboard and screws for two frames? Less than $15.

July 6, 2010

Holy shirts!

With the mascot away at the lake, I have been making more frequent visits to Value Village in search of cool, upcyclable goods. As with any thrift store, sometimes you luck-out and sometimes you leave empty-handed.

Thankfully, my last couple of visits have been of the lucky variety. Last night I scored 2 awesome t-shirts, 2 boxes of rare, vintage dominoes (double 9s!!), a couple old books, the original “Careers” board game, a weird stock exchange card game, and a vintage Ouija board* (which I was almost afraid to bring into the house…).

Anyway, I was so excited by my haul that I raced home and got straight to work cutting up a pile of t-shirts that will (hopefully) be fabulous, smooshy pillows by bedtime tonight. Or, at least by the time the shop opens on the 13th…

*Fun fact: did you know that Ouija boards were made in Salem? Heh.

July 2, 2010

What?

July already? How did that happen?

For the past 2 weeks I have been telling everyone that the shop will be "opening in July", and, even though I am fully aware that July follows June, for some reason it seemed like such a far-away, abstract concept. It's a whole 'nother month, for pete's sake! Now that we are two days into it, though, July is very, very real and I am *this close* to calling a craftemergency. Or, at the very least, red-flagging everything on my "to-do/to-glue" list...

Gah!

June 29, 2010

Small Changes

I can't tell you how excited I am about moving into our new shop on south Osborne. I stopped in there this past Sunday to scope out my space and I have to admit I have thought about little else since. Right now, it’s just 8’ of blank, white wall, but in less than two weeks it’ll be full of Tickety-goodness. My mind is literally swirling with ideas – frames, desks, stands, baskets, shelves, drawers – it’s getting rather crowded up there!

In preparation for the “big move”, I am doing a little general tidying-up and rearranging. Since purchasing my domain name, I have had ticketyboo.ca redirecting to my Etsy shop. Now, as of today, it brings you right here to the blog. There are a couple of reasons for the switch, but it’s mostly just to make it easier for people to contact me and keep up on what’s new and exciting. Plus, with most of my energy going into the collective for the next 6 months, I won’t be updating my Etsy shop as often. (Not that I have been lately anyway, but that’s a whole other story…)

June 25, 2010

Big News...really.

Sometimes I wish I was one of those just-this-side-of-twee uber-bloggers that post stuff like:
“Oooh! Something divine is in the works, but I can’t spill the beans just yet. Hold tight, my darlings…I’ll be back with an exciting announcement soon! In the meantime, look at these adorable kitten-heel slippers! Smooches!”
Of course, a non-announcement of that magnitude is then followed by 187 comments which range from "Squeeeeee! Can't wait! Hugs!" to "Squeeeee! I need those slippers! Hugs!" I know, I know. It's exciting stuff. It's a wonder that more monitors are not ruined by the 187 low-fat, extra-hot caramel macchiato spit-takes that I assume accompany such outbursts.

As you may have guessed, I’m NOT one of those bloggers. Don't get me wrong; I can be twee. I can even be a drama queen at times (just ask my fella). Generally speaking, though, if I have news, then I’ll tell ya. If I don’t have news, I’ll stay mum; allowing my poor blog to collect cobwebs and dust bunnies from sheer neglect.

:brushes away the cobwebs:

So, my…uh…darlings, I have news! After much mulling (thoughts, not wine), I have decided to join an “eco-craft collective”. I’m still vague on a few of the finer points, but I can tell you that the group will be comprised of some very clever/creative/crafty chicks, the shop will be located on Osborne in the old Ken Segal Gallery space, everything for sale in the shop will be eco-fabulous…and it’s opening soon. Like, really soon. Like, I-gotta-get-busy-and-make-some-product soon. (I think July 10th is what we’re shooting for…)

I’ll have more details and updates for you as we get closer to the opening date, but, like I said, I have to get my craft-on. Wish as I might, those domino pins ain't gonna make themselves while I sit here thinking up ways to make people "squeeee".

On that note, here are some fabulous, kitten-heel slippers to look at while you wait…



Smooches! (I couldn’t resist.)

June 15, 2010

Sharing Craft - Wednesday, June 16

I'm really looking forward to this event, which is happening tomorrow night at McNally Robinson. I'll be bringing my Domino pins and pendants, new Scrabble pendants, and upcycled t-shirt "spaghetti" necklaces and bracelets.

I think it's going to be a really interesting mix of items, as all of us are a little bit left-of-centre when it comes to jewelry-making, and definitely worth checking out!

The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library invite all crafters - the veteran and beginner - to drop in between 7:00-9:00 pm in this casual and creative environment where you are encouraged to share your craft challenges and joys with skilled crafters from MCML. This is a special session dedicated to the art of jewelry making featuring Rebecca Hadfield and her creatively recycled and whimsical creations, environmentally friendly jewelry courtesy of Ruth Schulz Smith, Studio Lune’s own Melanie Welsey who is known for jewelry made of everything from beads & charms to leather, and leather and feather creations from Sigourney Burnell. MCML is dedicated to the study, preservation and an understanding of craft and to the promotion of the work of craft artists. Sharing Craft has become a great way to meet those goals.

Sharing Craft Wednesday Jun 16 2010 7:00 pm, McNally Robinson Grant Park in the Travel Alcove

Re:mix Re:cap

I must've been flying high after the Stitch & Bitch because I totally forgot to come back here and blog about how it went.

In a word: great! We had about a dozen S&B'ers out for the afternoon and fun was had by all. It was a really mixed group and I think everyone really got into it. They all left with a completed project*, so that's something! In a fabulous show of support, my good friend Ruth and her daughter came out and cranked out 3 or 4 projects between them. Had they been the only ones there, it would have been a good time, but they turned out to be the proverbial cherries-on-top of a an awesome afternoon.

The event was over at 4, but I ended up staying a little longer to chat with Tracy while she finished off her dress project. While we were talking, I think we may have come up with a plan to have another altered-clothing day in the fall. Fingers crossed!

* I made 2 halters, an empire-waist t, a skirt, a couple necklaces, and a rockin' altered Rolling Stones shirt (which turned out so good that I am going to whip up a few more just like it to sell). All in the interest of demonstrating, of course. ;-)

June 4, 2010

Remix - tomorrow!

Let's see...
T-shirts - check
Scissors - check
Sewing machine - check
Illustrated instruction sheets - check
Anticipation - check
Excitement - check
Nerves - check

Well, I think I'm all ready for tomorrow's Stitch 'n' Bitch at MAWA. I have more than a half-dozen projects for people to choose from. Ironically, only two require actual stitching. I'll just have to make up for that with a little extra bitching. I kid.

But, seriously, I have some really cool, fun ideas for restyling plain ol' shirts. Now I just have to worry about whether or not people actually show up...

Stitch 'n Bitch with Rebecca Hadfield: T-shirt Restyling
Date: Saturday, June 5, 2010
Time: 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Mentoring Artists for Women's Art (MAWA)
Street: 611 Main Street

June 1, 2010

Countdown to Remix!

Today's horoscope: You could temporarily turn into a nerd as you get so excited about an idea that you lose track of your emotions today.

Temporarily? What?


...did I mention how excited I am about leading Stitch 'n' Bitch at MAWA this Saturday?!?! The mascot and I made a Value Village run tonight. I bought 5 t-shirts for "Remixing", including a Bengals shirt that I will wear with a healthy dose of irony.

May 27, 2010

T-shirt Remix!

Look what's happening at MAWA in June!

Free! Stitch ’n Bitch
T-shirt Remix
Saturday June 5, 2010, noon-4 pm at MAWA
Facilitator: Rebecca Hadfield


Rebecca combines found objects with decorative papers, ephemera, vintage images and text to form the basis for her collage pieces, magnets and pins, which she sells online and at local craft shows. In this workshop, she will be showing us how to restyle t-shirts into tank tops, purses, belts or bags. Perfect for summer! Please bring a pre-washed t-shirt (or two) and some sharp scissors. T-shirts without side seams work best.

I am SO excited!!

May 12, 2010

XXX stitch

Things that you wouldn't know by looking at me:
#875 - I heart cross-stitching.

Don't laugh. I really do. There's something so zen about making all those neat little stitches and filling in the background with pixelated goodness. Plus, it's a fabulous way to kill time and keep the hands out of the ol' cookie jar. Or, in my case, popcorn bowl.

As much as I enjoy it, though, I haven't done it in ages. I think a renaissance is in order! It's time to bring back the aida cloth and get hooped.

One of my fave sayings is "Ha! Stitch that on a pillow!", so it seems pretty obvious that my first project should be a little pillow for the living room. I have the perfect saying in mind, too, but I'm not sharing it 'til its done!

In the meantime, have fun playing with this Alphabet Generator.
I know I did!

Have art, need walls.

If I could have just one wish, it would be for the children of the world to come together...no, wait. That's not my wish.

My one wish (ok, my one wish of many), would be to have more walls so that I could display more art and objets trouvés. Right now, there are no fewer than 6 framed pictures (photography, collage, watercolour, pen & ink) leaning up against a cabinet in my living room, waiting to be hung. Somewhere.

I have a big picture over the couch that I am definitely not married to, so that could go...I'm just not sure that the motley little group of treasures I have gathered is the right thing to take its place. What to do? What to do? It almost seems like it would be easier to move...

May 11, 2010

Tuesday, Bluesday

It's funny, after spending almost a decade on the wet coast, you would think that a little rain couldn't get me down. You would think. It's raining AGAIN and I can't seem to shake the Tuesday Blues.

So, in the interest of cheering myself up, I give you three things* that made me happy today:

- this Etsy shop: Vantiani So awesome.
- this song: Delphic - "Halcyon" So, so 80s.
- this blog post: Congrats, Brandy! Sew cool!

* besides the funny text-message exchange with my fella, which I am not posting here. Deal with it.

May 7, 2010

Sharing Craft

I am getting very excited about this upcoming event, which is being presented by The Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library.

The drop-in session will be a an opportunity to meet and discover the work of four local crafty jewelry makers (including myself, although I didn't notice until now that what I make is actually "jewelry") and to share the "joys and challenges of craft"...or something along those lines.

Not only am I looking forward to getting together with my friends Ruth and Melanie, I think it'll be a fun way to show off my "blingy" side. Of course, by "bling" I mean old game pieces and t-shirt scraps. To each his own, right?

Come out and see us on Wednesday, June 16, 2010 from 7:00 - 9:00 pm in the Travel Alcove at the Grant Park McNally Robinson store.

March 26, 2010

Garbage of NYC

Oh, we've all heard the saying "One man's trash is another man's treasure". This project by NYC artist Justin Gignac is making me ask, "Can one man's treasure be another man's art?"

"What is art?" Ask 100 people and you will get 100 answers. Some people have their mind's made up on the topic and are unwavering in their opinions; others, like me, have yet to figure it out yet, or are unwilling to commit to an answer. As I write this, I am leaning towards the notion of "art is in the eye of the beholder". How's that for vague? My one caveat, though, is that in order for it to be art it has to evoke a reaction in the viewer. And something more than "oh, that's a pencil".

That's why the "Garbage of New York City" project had me scratching my head; is it art or is it just, well...garbage? On one hand, you could say "oh, that's a beer can". On the other hand, however, you start to see the beauty in the presentation. Removed from it's environment and placed in a protective casing, it becomes a charming little tableau; intreguing in its simplicity, really.

Or, maybe I'm overthinking it. Either way, if you can get people to pay $50 for a beer can and a plastic spoon, you are an artist. Con or otherwise. ;-)

x-posted to Natch!

March 24, 2010

Like Love Itself

There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.

~John Gregory Brown

March 22, 2010

Hooray for cupcakes!

Once again, we have been blessed with Cupcake Karma. For the second year in a row, the mascot and I were winners in the silent auction at the MAWA "Over the Top" party. Last year, we took home a fancy camera; this year's prize was a huge gift basket full of things perfectly suited to a 12 year old boy, including hockey tickets, a Ticketmaster gift card, karate lessons, t-shirts, Dungeons & Dragons stuff, a funky stuffed raccoon, a stone zen cat, art gallery passes...ok, that last one was my fave out of the bunch.

As far as the rest of the event, the cupcakes were scrumptious and plentiful and I am happy to report that BOTH of my pieces sold for $90 each. Yay!

Aside from that, the really cool thing about the day for me, (besides having two good-looking escorts) was seeing so many familiar faces and feeing like a real member of the community. What a difference 12 months makes! Last year, I didn't know anyone at the party, but yesterday there was a friend or acquantance at every turn; although, it was so crowded that I only had a chance to speak to a handful of them. Oh, well...there's always the next event!

March 19, 2010

Art for MAWA

These are the two pieces that I have donated to the MAWA auction. I am very happy with the way both of them turned out and parting with them was very hard. :sigh: The sacrifices that we must make...

The first piece is a triptych collage that I made from all sorts of good shizzle, including a vintage pattern envelope and a vintage mother's day card from my "secret special stash". It's funny, though, I didn't realize until I had finished it that one of my contributions to last year's MAWA show was a lady in a yellow dress. Hmmm. Oh, and the quote is a favourite of mine from Mae West. If you ever want to read some good "lady quotes', Google Mae West. She was one sassy dame.



My second piece makes use of a bird skull (yes, a REAL one) that I have been hanging onto for almost 2 years. I was playing with it one day, and it just sorta "found" this picture of Buffy Saint Marie. I don't want to go into the signifigance of the piece as a whole or why I did what with what, but I will say that I love it ever so much. The piece of map under the picture is from a vintage Texaco map of North Dakota that I am using bit-by-bit. Nothing goes to waste! The title of the piece "She Used to Wanna Be a Ballerina", incedentally, is the title of a Buffy Saint Marie album from the 70s.



Both pieces will be up for auction this Sunday at the MAWA "Over the Top" event. The proceeds from the auction go to programming at MAWA (Mentoring Artists for Women's Art).