Wednesday, December 17, 2008


It doesn't all go as planned.

The Bust show was great. Lots of interesting vendors, creative products, and good friends. The days surrounding the show were a little less perfect.

Friday 9:21am

Because we are leaving for NYC my roommates and I decided we should have a house pancake breakfast. I put on my slippers, start to go down the stairs and in a looney-tunes-cartoon moment I am layed out going down the stairs on my right hip/ass/back (whatever that region is called). I decide it isn't enough to go to the doctor, but just walk it off (this *may* have been a mistake)

2:30 pm. Car packed, headed to NYC with the roomies. Ass pain is growing with every moment I sit in car. Bruise is approximately the size of Montana, my ass approximately the size of Texas.

As the weekend goes on, my ass/hip/back start hurting more, and the humor in the situation gets less and less as my ass/hip/back continue to swell (or maybe it was all the NYC pizza?) and turn AMAZING shades of fuchsia and purple.

Broken ass aside, the show was lovely. I had a fantastic team of cheerleaders in from all over New England, and even one in from plain old England. My friends (as always) supported me in every possible way. I even had my own piece of sweater-meat at the show. Side Note: The moment you first get to watch a guy realize he is the equivalent to a bikini-girl at a car show is worth it's weight in gold. It was a glorious moment of self realization. I'm happy I could be a part of it.

Sweater-meat was pretty good at smiling at the indie-rocker girls and getting them to part with their hard-earned-indie-cash. When he had to run to his next gig, my dear friend EJY came and helped. She is also a great smile and chat kinda friend, and now indie-rocker-boyfriends bought gifts for their indie-rocker-girlfriends from us. Additional Note: Always invite/bribe/beg attractive friends to help at your craft table. It ups sales...

Did the show go as planned? well no. I didn't sell out, I didn't even sell half, but in the economy as it is today, I did a little better than breaking even, so I call it a fantastic success.

I left NYC on the bus on Monday morning with my left-overs bungee corded to my suitcase and headed back to DC. My butt/hip/back still really hurt, but it was starting to feel a little less like a major injury, and a little more like a pratfall gone bad.

I arrived in DC, made my transfer to the train. I was exhausted. I had one more event that night, and was bound and determined to make it a great one.

I got off the train, and disaster.

My bungee slipped. The hook (with all it's superb elastic momentum) came flying off the container and with the accuracy of an angry interrogator at Gitmo it slammed into my finger. I'm pretty sure I heard/felt a snap. Part of my nail shattered, and I don't really know what I screamed, but I'm pretty sure it was something equivalent to shitdamnmotherfuckerwhatthehellohmyeffinggodthathurts The next train off-loads and 4 military guys offer to help, and suggest in the nicest, calmest voice they had, that I should "consider getting that checked out, ma'am" I didn't have time, so I did a little self evaluation, headed to the CVS bought a finger splint and took my broken ass and finger to my last craft show of 2008.

So when people ask me about the Bust show, I tell them it was an adventure. And I offer to show them my busted ass or shiny finger splint.

Who says you can't have a crafting adventure?

UPDATE: Both ass and finger still hurt, and are slightly swollen. I doubt I really broke either, but I will continue to use the "my ass is swollen" excuse for as long as possible.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This week I have lots to be thankful for.

My father is feeling better after heart surgery last week, and the rest of my family is healthy.

My parents, after many years of not-quite saying the right thing, said the exact right thing to me when I got in the the show. "Heck yeah!"

I have a job- even if it makes me nuts sometimes, it is still a steady job in the arts, and that is more than lots of people I know can say.

I have amazing friends who send me boxes stuffed with plastic bags and dark chocolate :)

I have my health, or at least I can still see and touch my toes, so I guess I'm doing better than about 1/2 of all Americans.

I have the start to a bitchin' craft stash for the Bust Craftacular in 19 days

I have great roommates who will take me to the grocery store when it's cold out and I'm tired. They also don't complain too loudly when I leave sushi ornaments and silk screens drying all over our apartment, or the dining room becomes a plastic recycling factory. They are also willing to let me tag along on their roadtrips, bake bread and generally are some really nice people....even if they don't really like my cat.

I am Thankful Barack Obama is the President Elect, and my reproductive rights have been protected for at least 4 more years.

I am thankful my kitty is feeling better after another ugly health problem. She is not healthy, but the final word from the vet is that she is getting old, and her health problems are a result of her age and not something acute.

I am thankful that my kitty will eat pumpkin off a spoon, and is cute and snuggly even if she is kinda farty from the pumpkin.

I am Thankful my craftshop is almost up to code, even if the workmen have been working in my shop during tech week which makes me wear my shoulders as earrings, and has stopped all work on a show that opens in a week. But I am thankful for the work being done, and the cheerful guys doing it.

I am thankful that I have such dear friends that will travel to see me in a craft show, help me prepare, offer to help set-up, run my credit card machine, and let me stay in their apartments. I am also thankful they will offer me their support and love, even when I am feeling crazy and 'frickin the frack out'.

For all these things, and many more I am thankful.

How about you?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


It's been a while since I posted, so I'm sorry to those of you who are cyber stalking me. For the rest of you who didn't hear already--

Yup. I got into the Bust Craftacular. It's been my nerdy-feminist-indie-crafter-dream to participate in this show, and I hadn't applied in the past because I thought I would never have enough product, enough time, and enough whatever to get in. So I applied. I told myself I would just apply and if I got in, fine. If not, fine too. I'd chalk it up to something I should work towards in my future....except I got in. No wait list, no maybe next year, not even a "your the last one we let in". Just in.

So I've started kicking into crafty overdrive. Luckily I had already conscripted some ladies at work to help me prep, and they are stitching plastic wallets like mad women! *note* I'm keeping my etsy stuff separate from my show stuff as to not break the rules on etsy regarding non handmade-by-me-items* I call them my craft posse, they call themselves the Stack Craft Mafia.....either way they are stitching, I'm cutting and fusing, and we are all busy and happy.

On top of kicking up my stock for the NYC show I've also been stocking up because I'm being carried in a local store now. It's called the Pyramid Arts Collective. It's the community store of a printmaking and paper arts studio. They carry all sorts of work, and the store is mostly run by volunteers who are also showing pieces in the store.

As well as the Bust show, Etsy, and the local store I'm also participating in the Side Project Artisan Market in Chicago. I can't go out this year, but I am sending things, doing the web stuff and did the graphics for the advertisements.
It's been a busy couple of weeks, and there is still a metric butt-load of work to be done, so until I come up for air again here are a couple of links and photos!
The Side Project Postcards- We had them sent out to a printer, and although I've not seen them- according to the people in Chicago who recieved them they turned out great!

The Side Project Artisan Market Website
The Bust Holiday Craftacular- the 2007 website, the 2008 is under construction Oh, and yeah. That's Amy Sedaris......she was a vendor last year.

Last but not least...
A Quiz!

Are these pictures of...
A. A very busy, very crafty night with paperclay?
B. Attack of the sushi clones?
C. An modernist representation of a good night at a sushi bar?
D. All of the above?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

All I can say is...







It is all the people who stood in long lines, dug into the depths of their patience and humanity that could allow us to elect Barack Obama the President of the United States. Things here in DC are happier than I have ever seen them. The street parties carried on into the morning, and even the police spoke kindly of the "riotous riots".

Amid all this joy I feel I would be remiss if I didn't mention the defeat to many who are near and dear to my heart. Proposition 8 was passed, thus defeating the rights of same-sex couples to marry in California. Similar propositions were also passed in Florida (America's wang- hey, I grew up there) and Arizona (the glorious state that offered us John McCain of no reproductive rights fame)
I wish we could have won equal rights for ALL our citizens, maybe someday "all men are created equal" will be true. Until then- let's embrace this victory, and work towards the next even bigger challenge- the day when rights are equally equal for all Americans.

Much love to all of you.

Oh, and since this is supposed to be a craft blog----- I'm working on some cool stuff. I'll post more once I get some sleep and can focus on my regularly scheduled programming of crafts, knitting, and my cat.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008


I don't know when it happened. It crept in like dust, or the post-collegiate 15lbs, or maybe like the roommate's boyfriend who stays over "but only on the weekend" then the weekend starts beginning on Thursday, then Wednesday, then one day you find his boxers mixed in with your laundry. However it did.

What am I talking about?

My horrible-lousy-bad-no-good attitude. I don't know when it happened, but I'll be damned if it's going to stay. I need a restart button.

This has been a great weekend. I got tons, and I mean tons done. I processed somewhere around 100 plastic bags into sheets of upcycled plastic for wallets, I started a website for one of the markets I am participating in this holiday season. I even sent out emails to local shops to get them to carry my work (one replied yes within 12 hours!) and I had 2 sales on etsy. This should have been an awesome, bad-ass, party down weekend. But somehow it was ruined as soon as I got up and left the house today.

The metric butt-load of bags awesome people have sent me to make into wallets :)

I had (by most accounts) a good day at work. I met with a designer about the next show I am working on. She is lovely. Her designs are clear and beautiful and will be fun to build....but somehow between 5pm when the meeting ended and I got home at 7:30-today went to crap.

It started, or rather ended, with a slice thru my finger with a fresh x-acto blade. Not bad enough to need stitches, but bad enough to hurt like heck, bleed like crazy, and send me home without finishing my project. Oh, and why did I slice my finger? Oh yeah, because I was preoccupied with how I just knew this week was going to be a let down after the weekend. (If that's not a PSA for shop safety I don't know what is) So I packed up and left for home. I got on the train....and it was broken. Yup. Broken. Simply-broken. We sat halfway in a tunnel for 30 minutes, when it reached the platform and I got off, it broke again. Instead of waiting for someone to get out and push, I walked to my transfer station about a mile away.

Proof the United States was founded by dudes

The walk was lovely. I walked past the national mall on a clear cold night. I should have been reveling in the beauty of our nation's front lawn...but instead all I could think about was that this was going to be a long week, and my flippin' finger hurt-WTF??! I couldn't even take a moment of joy feeling with every ounce of my being that soon Barack Obama will be the president of the United States (I'm gonna go work for him this weekend to be sure).

Our Nation's front lawn

I got home, my roommate asked how my day was, and it took most of what I had left to not burst out in tears. If I didn't know better I would blame it on PMS, or seasonal affective disorder, or depression, or some other perfectly good explanation....but that would be too easy, and a total lie. In reality- things here in our nations capitol haven't gone how I wanted them to go, and I'm getting caught up in wishing it was something else. I'm not sure how, but I need to find someway to make my time here more than just a stop-over in my life. I need a new way to look at it all. I need a restart button. I need a reboot. Or at least a good defragmenting.

Or maybe just a swift kick in the pants. As a friend in Hartford used to say to me.... Do I need to slap you upside your head? Or are you gonna do it yourself?

I'm working on it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Enough with the politics!

What about the crafts?????

Okay. Yes. It's true. This blog has gotten rather political and personal and not so crafty. So here is a blog about some of the schmancy new crafts I'm a workin' on.

The Back story (because everything has one) :

I've been working on trying to find something I could make that wasn't sewing related. I feel like I have been sewing at work and home and it is becoming something that is happening sew much (I couldn't resist) that my hands are exhausted and I am slightly bored with myself. So I started looking at other things I could make. I also started looking around my room and realizing I have amassed a small collection of vintage paper goods- with no real way to display or use them.

Then I started thinking about things I do at work and how I could use those skills in my everyday craftiness.

The thing that really sticks out....toxic chemicals. I use them everyday. I do all kinds of stuff that should be preceded with the warning "this is a trained professional, do not attempt this at home". So I used some of that training and started messing with polyester resin.

Note!!! If you don't know what you are doing- this can be some REALLY dangerous stuff. Read: KILL YOU DEAD, or at least make you have a square-headed-baby**. But luckily! I am a trained professional, and understand how to read an MSDS and know there are things you DO have to read the instructions on.....

So I took my craftiness added some vintage ephemera and poured on a heaping helping of resin and voila!

Ephemera Belt Buckles are born!!!!!!!

They will hit the etsy store at the beginning of November, and will hopefully* be making an appearance at the BUST craftacular December 13th in NYC! They are going to range from $35 to $50.

*Oh man, I am so excited about this show. I might be unbearable if I don't get in. I will be unbearable if I do get in!

** Note: Resin is not toxic once it is fully cured. I DID follow the safety warnings, and I would encourage all of you to get an MSDS on all your craft supplies. Only you can keep you safe.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Air Quotes.

This week I've been called a starry-eyed idealist by a few people. I'm sure there are loads of people who are sick, sick, sick of hearing about "change" and listening to me and all the other "starry-eyed idealists". I know there are lots. I've been hearing all about it this week- at work, on the train, in the media, on facebook...

Since I will only have a few more weeks to keep flogging you with my liberal elitism-

I would like to remind you of a few people who were supported by some "starry-eyed idealists" and through movements that started as ripples, then splashes, then waves that have changed many lives.

Martin Luther King Jr.- starry-eyed to many, changed the lives of millions.

Rosa Parks- could have been called an idealist.

Susan B. Anthony- not exactly popular with the status quo.

Other slightly lesser known people who have changed a few lives:

Margaret Sanger- founder of the American Birth Control League, later Planned Parenthood.

Tommy Douglas- founder of the Canadian Healthcare System.

Okay, so the last two had a little problem with eugenics... so not everyone is perfect.

Remember, it's the few who dream big that impact us in the brightest ways. Starry eyed or no, I'm proud to say I've been working/talking/blogging/putting my money where my mouth is for a little change these days....and it's not of the pocket variety.

The debates this week were one of the most eyeopening and informing debates of this election. Seeing John McCain use "air quotes" when referring to a woman's health is all I needed to see to know he is the totally wrong man for the job- I don't care what your views on my reproductive rights are.
You should read what Cecile Richards (of Planned Parenthood) has to say about John McCain. You should also hear what Colin Powell (of Colin Powell is a really smart Republican guy) has to say about Barack Obama and John McCain.

This election is going to change America.

It has to.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2 weeks worth of adventure.

6 Number of voters 2 people can register in 3 hours

4.25 Number of hours it takes to get to NYC on the bus (in good traffic)

2 Number of batchelorette parties I've been to in the past 2 weeks

4 Number of weeks I have to wait to see if I got into the Bust Craftacular

25 Number of Lbs. of clothes, shoes, handbags and toiletries it takes to travel for 5 days straight and attend a wedding.

As you can see- I have been a little busy.

2 weeks ago He came into town. For those of you who don't know who He is- He is a dearest friend I have been seeing in an on again, off again relationship *He's not my boyfriend* that has lasted almost 5 years. (He will tell you it's been 4 years, but I think his math is off). He is one of the most intelligent and politically savvy people I know and love. It's great to spend time with someone who knows all your history, is willing to call you out on all your B.S. and allows you to do the same for *and to* them. He is also one of the few people I know who I can stand beside and feel like a completely politically illiterate dolt (that's saying something). He and I spent a day working for the Obama campaign in northern Virginia. Needless to say the weekend was a blast.
It was incredibly interesting, fun and rewarding to spend a little time working on a grassroots effort for a candidate I can believe in. This election has been one of- if not the most important election in decades. The stakes are so unbelievably high- not just for the country, but for me. The issues this time are not just ones of simple foreign policy, or lowering the national debt- but questions of basic human rights, specific women's rights, the current financial disaster, 2 wars and the future of health care in America. My life and the lives of those I love are going to be directly affected by this election, and it's not because I live in DC.
After donating some money, sending some emails, writing a few blog posts, and annoying everyone I know with my "Obama this" and "my boyfriend Barack" that. It was time to put some wear on my shoes and get some folks registered to vote. We walked and worked for several hours the day before the registration cut off. We only registered 6 voters, so we headed back and hit the phones for a few hours. It's incredibly rewarding to see that in a swing-state registration was so very, very high. I'm sure it was a combination of a number of factors, but it was-to turn a phrase 'frickin rad.' If you have never volunteered for a cause you strongly believe in, try it. You will feel good about your teensy little contribution for weeks and maybe years to come.

The trip to NYC and Connecticut for the wedding this weekend was fantastic. The bride looked amazing, the groom was adorable and the day couldn't have been prettier if they had payed off God himself. To top off an already lovely weekend, my bus ride was easy-as-pie and cheap, cheap, cheap. I arrived home and was feeling so confident about my week and my life I applied for the Bust Craftacular. It's one of the biggest and best indie craft shows in NYC, and if I can get in I feel certain it will be a very busy, very merry holiday season.

Oh, and on the political front if you haven't seen this yet. You should.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Strained Peas.

I (along with many? most? all? people in their late 20's) am in the middle of a wedding and baby boom. Currently I know 6 couples who are getting married in the next year and at least as many who have either recently welcomed or are about to welcome their first baby. This leads to many, many parties, deep introspective thoughts, and even a few moments of "Holy Sh*t! What am I doing with my life?". This week was a little of one of those weeks.

I've been in dress rehearsals for a show that deals with love and relationships as a glorified chess match, prepping to go see 2 dear friends in Connecticut make it official, and my favorite Chinese dumpling is about to turn 2.

I've always stated I never wanted to have kids, and generally have thought I wouldn't even want to get married, but simply co-habitate and I believe the phrase is 'live in sin'. In the past I have always viewed marriage and children as something women of a previous generation did to secure their lives. You did it because you were supposed to- no real choice involved. You finished your education, got married, changed your name and became someones wife. As I get older and see friends pair up like animals getting on the ark I have started to re-think my former opinions.

Today my roomie and I made a trip to a local indie craft market, Crafty Bastards (lame name, good show). I was thrilled to learn Mariam of The Hand Of Fatima was going to be there with her latest jewelry and her latest fancy craft to date- her 5 month old son. Her work is stunning, her children are beyond gorgeous and her husband is absolutely fantastic. Everything she makes has a great story- and her children are no exception. I met her while doing the Brooklyn Home Show, she was literally due to have her baby any day and working as hard as ever. She is my kinda lady. The kind who doesn't let a little something like birth at any moment slow her down.
As my roomie and I were walking away from the show I said something that I NEVER thought I would say before, and it was totally true:

"Mariam has everything I want in life".

That's not to say that her life isn't a challenge or that it is easy by any means, but she has it all. She is an independent artist, she makes her living with her craft. Her husband clearly is her greatest cheerleader- working the credit card machine, feeding squished peas to the baby, and helping her become a successful businesswoman, mother, and artist. I don't know what the intricacies of their relationship are, but from the outside looking in- it's pretty rad.

On our train ride home roomie and I were discussing life, and how funny it can be. Right out of college I made fun of people who got gooey over property ownership, couples who got married and popped out babies in quick succession. 4 years ago I was so worried about how I was going to pay for groceries I couldn't think past my next paycheck. Now I find myself using terms like 5-year-plan, and 403 (b). I'm looking to the future, sometimes that future is next week, and sometimes it is 10 years away, but either way it is a future involving more than next paycheck.

5 or 10 years ago I would have never thought the highlight of my weekend would be holding a curly haired baby at a craft market- but it was. I'm not saying I want children, but I do want a partner. A person who is my biggest cheerleader, someone who would run the credit card machine at my craft market, and who would let me run their credit card machine too. A few strained peas in my life might not kill me either.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Being a stereotype.

A couple of weeks ago I was riding the train with some work friends. We were talking with the 'new' girl, telling her about the different neighborhoods and each trying to convince her ours was the best. When I finished describing my little town just north of Washington DC she looked at me and said:

"Wow, you really are a liberal stereotype."

Now I don't necessarily consider that a bad thing, but it did sting a little to be labeled so easily (and she isn't wrong).

Fast Forward a couple of weeks:

This week I finally decided that it doesn't make sense for me to own a new car. I've had The Staxi for 4 years. I literally almost never drive it.. It is/was a constant source of worry- was I going to be able to afford to fix it if something went wrong? Where was I going to park in when it snows? What if someone hits it while it is parked on the street (the fate of my last car)? When am I going to get my next flat tire (3 in 2 years) Combine all this paranoia with high gas prices, a rising cost of living, and my desire to move to NYC and suddenly a car just sounds like a bad idea. So I sold it.
I've had a wee-bit-of sadness over selling my car. It was a quick and easy way to get around, it gave me a huge amount of freedom that non-car owners don't always have, and I could put lots of stuff in it. On the other side, I can rent a car when I need it, and not spend $450 a month on payments, insurance, and gas.

This morning I walked to the local farmer's market with my canvas bags. The market specializes in organic and locally grown produce. I was wearing a handmade headband and purse made from re-purposed plastic shopping bags with a sweatshop free tee-shirt. Suddenly I realized--sh*t, I really am a stereotype.

I considered the possibilities.

I could catch a taxi, eat McDonalds and buy some elastic waisted pants at Walmart or I could embrace the moment, buy good food, reduce my carbon footprint, and hope my lifestyle is one small part of a bigger movement.

I finished my marketing, came home and started marinating a locally produced eggplant while reading a feminist blog. Later, I sent off an email to the Obama Campaign to become a volunteer.

Because if you are going to be a stereotype, you might as well do it right.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Excitement all around.

Barack Obama sends me emails almost everyday. It's really nice of him to keep me in the loop and give me the chance to help him change the United States. One email he sent this week was especially important, as it provided a link to help people register to vote. Here is the email:

Katie --
You'd be surprised by how many people you know who aren't registered to vote.
Registration deadlines are coming up soon, and we need every single vote we can get to win this election.

Tell your friends, family, and neighbors to check out our new one-stop voter registration website. Instead of tracking down the right forms, all you need to do is answer a few basic questions and you'll be ready to vote.

You can also:
Confirm your existing registration

Apply to vote absentee
Find your polling place

If you don't know your own registration status or you'd like to learn more, take a minute to visit the site right now.

This race is too close and too important to stay home on Election Day.
If you take the time to register and vote -- and make sure everyone you know is registered as well -- we'll be able to turn the tide of the past eight years.
It's people just like you who will transform this nation.

If that isn't the nicest email I've ever gotten from a politician I don't know what is. I tell you, that Barack Obama is one nice guy. I'm happy he is going to be in DC. I needed some better neighbors.

This week I also sent out a whole smack of fused plastic pouches to The Green Show taking place in Connecticut hosted in part by The Space and The CT Etsy Team on September 20th at The Space. Sharon of Morganstreet Soaps is going to be selling my pieces for me. She has a line of handmade soaps, lip balms, and body butters that will make you swoon and cry. Her Lemon Ginger body butter is my favorite (she seems to be out of it right now!), but her lip balms are a close second. The show will also have an amazing selection of vintage clothes and accessories. Be sure to stop by and check it out.
The Space it is a great community venue owned and operated by a lovely couple and their adorable daughter (she runs the place). Go support small business owners, artists and crafters by starting your Christmas shopping early. You'll feel much better knowing your gifts were made by people who are making a living wage as well as helping boost your local economy!

On top of all that exciting news I got an email this week from a national fashion and accessory blog that they want to do a story about me and my work. So exciting, the only catch- they don't link off, so I will need to get a local boutique to carry my work. I'm planning to attack it full force in a couple of days and get someone here in the DC area to carry me. Wish me luck, and if you know (or maybe you are a small business owner) that I should contact please post a comment and give some leads.

Hope everyone has a great week, and while you are making plans- go see Romeo and Juliet and The Shakespeare Theatre Co. I have it on good authority that it's going to be a heartbreaker.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I love Samantha Bee

Kinda makes it all seem a little clearer....doesn't it?

Yeah, I thought so...

This one is pretty good too...

Did ya register to vote yet?

Personally I'm about ready to start stockpiling birth control...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Climbs upon soapbox....

Get ready because here it comes.

Anyone who is not responsible to make basic birth control methods available to their own daughter, and instead relies upon the unrealistic and ridiculous abstinence only sex education plan is not responsible enough to ever consider running for any political office. I feel sorry for the young woman. I do not feel sorry for her mother.

If you have no idea of what I am this, and this.

Climbing off soapbox...

If you haven't considered registering to vote, now would be the time and place to do so.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Woot Listing!


These last few months have been a challenge. I haven't had the majority of my stuff, I'm in a new city, and have a new (and very challenging job). This combo leads to a lack of creativity, etsying, and joy. Over the last couple of weeks I finally removed myself from my creative slump and have been making some stuff! woot. Special thanks to my mom and dad for finding and sending me my camera cord.

Here are the latest plastic wallets, and there is more to come. Many of them are already listed on etsy, and I am working on finding a couple of markets in the DC area. If anyone knows of any that are coming up, please send me an email! Also, if you have a cache of interesting plastic bags, please let me know. I am finally coming to the end of my stash!

Here is the link to my plastic fusing tutorial in case you are feeling a late summer surge of craftiness. Remember to use a properly ventilated workspace.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Chasing wild geese

Life is full of challenges. Sometimes they make you stronger, sometimes they make you stranger, and sometimes they just make your brain hurt. These last couple of weeks have had a mix of all three.

I've been living in DC without the majority of my stuff for almost 4 months now. Some days I feel I should sell it all and become totally portable, a theatre gypsy. Sometimes I feel like I really, really, REALLY miss my stuff. Let's just call it a dichotomy of emotion. This week I was missing my craft supplies- in a big way.

So far I've realized I don't have- an awl, hammer, mini-screw driver, zipper foot, the cord to connect my camera to my computer, a photo set up, many thread colors, sand paper, an x-acto knife, and someone to date. In the grand scheme, these things are all attainable via either a quick trip to my storage facility-date excluded-8 hours away or a 4.5 to 10.75 hour trip to NYC where I can get it all (most likely date included). Instead of interstate driving I decided to try to find what I'm missing right here in DC. I even scheduled a real live date with a real live guy in my real live city.

It would seem to me that in a city as large as DC I should be able to take care of my list and still get home in time to shower, make myself beautiful and head out the door for a long anticipated date. This plan was flawed. Almost as flawed as the US plan to invade Iraq, just with less civilian casualties.

I figured I could get my list taken care of at a fabric store, a home store, and Ikea (extra points if you already see the flaw) and still make it home for a shower.

Never, never, never go shopping anywhere the weekend the dorms open. These words should ring true as "never get involved in a land war in Asia". It's similar to slamming your head in a door, realizing it hurt, and then doing it again-just to make sure it really hurt. Anyway I'm getting off topic. I made it thru the stores. I didn't find half of the items on the list, bought something I'm pretty sure was called "Fukit" at Ikea, and headed home for my date. Almost as soon as I walked in the door my iCrack buzzed and the date was canceled.

Normally I would blow someone off after the second canceled date (or if I sit in a bar for more than 30 minutes waiting on them to show up). This time it was the 5th date this dude has canceled with me. I'm not sure what or why I allowed him to make and break 5 dates with me, but I did. Maybe it was the angel sitting on my shoulder telling me to be nice, or maybe it is the fact that I am bordering on desperate to meet an intelligent male within 20 miles of my zip code. Either way, I've been chasing a lot of wild geese this week.

I think I'm gonna throw in the towel and head to NYC soon. At least there I know where I can buy a zipper foot.

Monday, August 11, 2008

What Makes America Great?

4.5 : Number of hours it is supposed to take to travel between DC and NYC

6.5 : Number of hours spent in the car traveling between Washington DC and NYC on Friday

12 : Number of Twizzlers eaten in car.

48.65: Dollars spent each way in gasoline and tolls

38 : Hours spent in NYC

7.5 : Amount in dollars to see the Coney Island Freak Show

10.75 : Hours spent coming back into DC from uptown NYC

2 : Number of bridges closed between NYC and DC on Sunday.

This past weekend I headed into NYC to enjoy a little hard earned R&R and spend some time with people I know and love. On Saturday we headed down to Brooklyn so I could see Coney Island for my first and possibly last time. For those of you who have never been to Coney Island: put down the computer mouse, gas up the car and go. Now. If for no other reason- Coney Island is about to be closed and torn down (or as they call it-reorganized) for high rent schmancy beach front apartments and condos.

I grew up in Orlando- the land of homogenized Disney cleanliness and niceties, so I have always thought I didn't like amusement parks. They are too clean, too fake and too nice. Disney is famous for the whole hand point (as to not offend anyone by accidentally pointing at them) Not at Coney Island. Coney Island is about as sleazy as it gets. People let the bird fly as freely as the seagulls and the booze comes by the yard.

No where in Disney can you load a paintball gun and shoot at a 17 year old kid (dressed in protective gear) who is telling you to *suck his cock*. Yup. Suck. His. Cock. Let that sink in for a moment. A day at Coney Island made me realize what is actually good about America; and it is a guy in moto-cross gear telling me to suck it.

Other things that make America great are to be found at the Freak Show where a handlebar moustached man named Johnny Vomit reminds children "never major in Liberal Arts" right before he pounds a nail into his skull...these are the messages that are not getting to children early enough. Parents: take notes at this freak show.

Additionally you can see an exhibit called the 'Waterboarding adventure" where it "Don't Gitmo Better Than This".
Yes friends. These are the things that make America Great.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bloggy blog

Howdy everyone!

Well, it's been a while and here is the update........

In the last couple of weeks I have:

Spent my first night in an airport- 12 hours in BWI to be exact. You know it's gonna be a bad night when some goldfish crackers and a second airline blanket seem like luxury.

Gone to Florida to visit my family.

Come home to no air conditioning, limited Internet access, and a very pissy cat.

Tried to schedule some dates with men I met on the interweb- sadly, my *particular* brand of humor didn't go over so well. Note to self: Never make jokes about shovels, dark alleys and quicklime before the first date.....

Since then- life is getting back to normal.

The AC guy has been out to see us 4 times in the last week to no avail.....soon I'm gonna start sleeping in the costume shop. Holy Crap. It's hot.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Holy crap it's hot chicken salad.

I moved from Connecticut to Washington DC. People said to me: "hey Katie, it's really hot in DC" and I said: "Oh sure, but I grew up in Florida, so it can't possibly be that hot"....

We can chalk this up on the blackboard of stupid statements made by Katie. It is just as hot here as Florida. I don't think (read:hope) that it will be as long lasting a heat as Florida, but until then- I'm eating lots of cold things this summer.

This is a variation on good ole chicken salad, and tastes great on spinach tortilla wraps, in a pita pocket or on top of a bed of mixed greens. It falls into the category of 'bonus boxed', because it uses bottled curry sauce. If you are feeling a little more advanced substitute your own homemade yellow curry sauce. If you don't eat meat, try it with some baked extra-firm tofu, or for the pescetarian with 2 cans/pouches drained tuna.

Makes lunches for a week, or feeds a family/house of roommates for dinner

Bake or grill: 3 fresh chicken breasts (around 24 oz.) until done (to check for done-ness, pierce the thickest part of the largest breast -juices should run totally clear and meat should be easy to cut) allow to cool and cut into 1/2" to 1" chunks. Toss it into a big bowl.

Add to the bowl:

One large (or two small) cored and chopped granny smith apple.

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup sliced almonds

2 Tbls Mayo (I used reduced or fat free, but you can use whatever you have in your fridge)

3 Tbls Yellow Curry Sauce ( I use Trader Joe's brand, you can use whatever your local grocery store has)

The juice of 1/2 a lemon (watch out for the seeds)

1 tsp additional curry powder (add more if you like things very flavorful and a little spicy)

1/2 tsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste.

Variations: add some red pepper (spicy), some finely chopped onion, bell peppers, a minced garlic clove, some chopped water chestnuts, or some chopped grapes.

Mix with a spoon till all ingredients are well covered and everything looks yummy.

Store in the fridge in an airtight container.


Friday, July 11, 2008

On blogging and responsibility.

I've been reading feministing on my way to work each day(oh yes iCrack), and it (as a few of you know) is an intensely political modern feminist blog. Several writers post to it, and the community of feminists comment. One post this week grabbed my attention and has made me think long and hard. Basically the jist of the post was- be responsible for what you say, do, and stand for. This gets me thinking about my life, and my politics and why I started this blog.

I started this blog as a way to promote my etsy shop (as seen on the side bar>>>, now go buy something) slowly it has become a more personal blog. I talk about my life, my politics, and my thought process for leaving one home in search of a new adventure. It is a deeply personal and meaningful thing to me to share my life with the couple dozen people (?) who read about me and what I do. In the end, it is still a blog, and as such it is a very public thing.

It's a strange thing to write some words, hit post, and the next day realize people around you and hundreds of miles away know what you wrote, what you are thinking, and have a little insight into your strange and wonderful world. It is even stranger when someone you have never met walks up to you at a craft market and tells you they read your blog (I'm lying it's wicked cool). I think it's moments like these that remind me that in some small way what I do and say actually goes into the cyber world and pings off someone else's radar.

So here is your PSA for my very public and very odd little blog. Please vote. Forget all the other things I've said (except that one time) and vote. People forget how a simple act can deeply impact someone else's life. While you are at it, remind your friends to vote. If we all make sure 2 other people vote, and they make sure 2 other people vote we will be in for a rockin good time this November. So far this election has been unlike any other in history, so let's keep the momentum going.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Aack! an update.


There has been a lot going on lately. Here is the quick run down

My dear friends got married. It was amazing. The bride and groom looked like a million bucks (thanks to the costume shop (s)). Traveling to and from the wedding was a little more difficult than I had wanted or expected, but heck, when your friends are getting married you bite the bullet and sit in traffic for hours longer than you anticipated. I'm waiting on some pictures of the tent city we erected, so stay tuned.

My moving company sent me an updated estimate based on the cost of gasoline..... I won't be getting my stuff anytime soon. I'm not really sure how to deal with it, I'm feeling a little stressed about the whole situation. If I felt more stable in this apartment, I would just go pick it all up in a truck. However, I am woefully uncommitted to so much in my life right now, I think it is better to leave my stuff in storage and re-asses the situation in 6 or so months. The good news---I found this out before I headed to the wedding, so I was able to load my car with some furniture and a few craft supplies. --nothing makes a girl happier than some yarn and paperclay!

With the return of a few craft supplies, comes the return of me adding things to my etsy shop. It has been pretty unattended to for the last couple of months, and I feel like it is time to get it loaded for the fall, and start prepping for Christmas (yeah it's July). I am working on some groovy new things for the fall, and hopefully this year I will be prepared for the holiday rush.

That's about all I can manage to think about this week, so I promise, promise, promise a better more interesting and clever post this weekend.



Saturday, June 28, 2008

When internet dating......

Don't try to be witty. It just doesn't translate.

Trust me.

Here is an example:

When someone asks you 'What's your one guilty pleasure?'

Don't reply:
"I like to eat politically incorrect meat while wearing puppy fur and stomping on kitten's heads :)"

Trust me. It gets you 'closed out'.

For those of you not lame enough to have to resort to getting your dates online, being 'closed out' is the same as not having a guy return your phone call, and sending you an email that says:

No Thanks. You are a freak.

Yup. That's been my week.

Clearly he wouldn't have been able to handle the Stack Attack.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shopping is hard! Let's do math!!!

When I was living in Chicago working as an apprentice (read:slave) to a theatre that recently won a Tony award (read:jerks) I had the opportunity (read:I was told I was going to do it so I looked at it as an opportunity) to be a shopper for a production of The Merchant of Venice done in modern day Venice. The production was done in ridiculously high fashion with shoes costing more than I made in a month and more than one $2,500 jacket. Although shopping for this show might seem like a dream, it was a huge challenge.

One of the things that made the challenge better was Morgan.
Morgan and I were the only costume students in our college class, and over 4 years we got to be pretty good friends. After graduation she was looking for work, and the theatre was looking for an extra shopper. Insert costume pimp Katie, and I had a shopping partner in snide remark crime. Morgan had sayings about stores. Nieman Markus was Needless Mark-ups. Saks Fifth Ave. was sack of sh*t. Bloomingdales was gloomy days. The one that has stuck with me most though was Talbots. Morgan always said "Talbots is where you shop once you've given up".

"Talbots is where you shop once you've given up" might sound like a harsh statement, but in shopping terms it's pretty much true. Talbots is not famous for it's cutting edge style, it's innovative cuts or even it's new take on old classics. Talbots is a guaranteed thing. It's the booty call of the shopping world. It'll service your needs, it won't change your world. It is where you know you can walk in, try on 15 things and walk out with something that is appropriate. High Appropriate, yes.

Aimee is getting married in 2 weeks. I just yesterday moved into my new apartment, with my new roommates, and last Monday I opened my first show with my fabulous new theatre company. In short- I've been a little busy. So today, I made it my goal to find a fabulous dress to witness Aimee and Eric's nuptial ceremony and Party in the barn. This is much easier said than done.

Today I hit Target, Syms, Fileens, Marshall's, Lord and Taylor, Bloomingdales, Gap, Old Navy, New York and Company, Lane Bryant (I was getting desperate) and finally I gave up. I went into Talbots...

The dress is cute. Earth shattering? No. Mind blowing? No. But cute. More importantly, it's pink, brown, and green. The bride's favorite colours.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stuff I've learned

Since my last post I have learned lots. Here is a quick run-down.

1. Sometimes, old wives tales are true. Growing up in Florida you hear lots of strange tid bits. Some of which- like punch an alligator in it's nose when it's attacking you- are true. Whereas others- eat a green orange and your stomach will explode, are probably not.
The one that I proved to be true last week is "don't touch your lips to a mango skin because mangoes and poison oak are part of the same family, and if you touch your lips to a mango skin you might look like Lisa Rinna for a couple of days'. Yeah, it's real hot to start a new job and look like you just got bad collagen implants.

2. If you lose your wallet, always ask the manager of the seven eleven (not an employee) if they have found it. Yep. I have it back. weeee!

3. When asking for a street address in Washington DC, be sure to ask for the NE, SE NW, SW portion of the address. Oh, and write it down. Because if you screw up this vital 2 letter snarflet of information - you just might end up driving around our nation's ghetto, instead of our nation's capitol.

4. Always ask an impartial person for the real story. Yeah Lisa, the jig is up. I had a lovely dinner with Pat (a great friend who was in town for 24 hours on her way to an awesome summer job) and she told me all about the dragons on the kimono, the paint spill, the blood on the ombre dyed slip, the foot creme and the re-built hat.
Here's the back story for those of you not involved- After my first day at work here in DC I got a lovely text message from the current costume designer at the Hartford Stage thanking me for all my hard work and letting me know the show looks lovely. This set off a light bulb in my head, knowing that something was up. So I called the costume shop and was informed that everything was "great". A week later I got the real story. It involved blood, foot creme and an exploding jar of gold paint. -Use your imagination, I'm sure you can come close.

All in all it has been a good first full week here. The show is going to be completely drool worthy, and I am enjoying my return to a city.

Ya'll come back now, hear!

(that means- please come back later, and I'll have posted more)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Technical Difficulties

Howdy Ya'll!

Now that I am back below the mason-dixon line I can go back to using the vernacular that I was raised with. This may or may not include 'howdy', 'ya'll', 'put it up' (instead of away) and the ever popular 'roin' instead of 'ruin'. I will still refuse to 'worsh' my clothes or sleep on a 'pellow'. As I much prefer laundry and pillows. I have fully reverted back to my deep appreciation of people (mostly men) who open the door for you, and offer to help you with your grocery bags when your hands are full. There is something so nice about having someone acknowledge that you could use a little assistance.

My first days here have been interesting. I went ahead and took care of the obligatory crappy thing that has to happen when you move, and promptly lost my wallet within 84 hours of arrival (it's somewhere between the 7-11 and work, I'm just not sure where???). The good part- seems whoever has it took the cash ($31) and tossed the wallet and cards, because no fraudulent charges were made. (Before you ask- no I wasn't pickpocketed) The bad part- now I have to figure out how to get a new license- Hopefully I can do it over the phone with the state of CT. If not, I may just have to keep using my passport until I have a permanent address. Any suggestions?

Other than the wallet incident, DC is proving to be great. I love the train. I arrived on Tuesday night and asside from getting groceries- I have no use for my car. I have been walking all over the place, and somehow I had forgotten how much I actually like to walk. I feel better, I am sleeping better than I have in several years, and the train gives me time to unwind and chill before I get home.

The ladies (and it is an almost entirely all lady shop) are very nice. There seems to be about 27 of us in the shop total, although I haven't taken a head count. I fall into the middle age group, middle height(!), and middle level of moderately hippie behavior. I have a friend date tonight with 2 of them and for movies and beers. I am redorkulously excited about going out and seeing the town.

I don't have Internet in my apartment yet, so I am posting from the 'business center' in my complex. I promise as soon as I can I will be posting some pictures and making more frequent posts. Until then, keep your panties on ya'll...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Tank of gas in New Jersey...$27.00

Road snacks, coffee, lunch...$19.00

CD of This American Life to keep me company on my journey...$17.99

Tolls from CT to DC...$22.00

Calling the cops on my neighbor one last time...priceless

Trying to get out of town is always hard. It is extra difficult when it involves the police. But we'll get to that later.

Saturday was awesome! The Hartford Stage folks came and helped me load the last bits of my life into storage and we headed out for one last beer and plate of fried pickles (I swear, they are waaaay better than they sound). Sunday, I spent one last day finishing up my work on the current show at the Stage Co and attempting to prepare the shop for my departure (they are totally in capable hands). After work I had dinner and a milkshake with some very dear friends, finished loading my car and settled onto my air mattress in my empty apartment with the last beer in my fridge and a DVD episode of This American Life on my laptop. (I like the radio show much better than the television program). I fell asleep feeling like all was well in the world, and tomorrow begins a grand new adventure.

I woke up on Monday morning to discover my horrible neighbor aka Mr. Peesonhisownlawn, aka Mr.Shoutsexplitivesintothephone, aka Mr. Barfseverymorning is also Mr. Beatshisdog. So what did I do? I called the Manchester Police one last time. In retrospect, I'm really happy I did. At the time, I wished I had put my kitty into her carrier before my apartment had 3 cops with loud radios and a scared kitty hiding under the bathtub.

Turns out my crappy neighbor had/has several warrants out for his arrest in Florida, and so the police not only arrested him for animal cruelty but also for whatever he did in Florida (in my mind it involves peeing on his lawn). The police were very nice to me, thanked me for calling them and were more than happy to take this guy away. They even offered to help me try to extricate the cat from beneath the bathtub, but I thought it might be better to let her chill for 20 minutes.

Once Ms.Kitty came out from under the bathtub, was properly sedated (as prescribed by the vet) and her carrier safely belted into the car we were on our way. The trip was pretty smooth. We got stuck on the George Washington Bridge for about an hour, but with the soothing tones of Ira Glass to keep me company, I didn't really mind too much. The Garden State soundtrack is a great soundtrack for driving thru The Garden State on a gloomy day, and lasts almost as long as New Jersey.

We arrived in DC only about 30 min after my projected arrival time, and without further problem. The company housing apartment I am staying in is swank. It's a luxury high-rise with a water feature in the lobby. I could never afford to live here in my real life, but I sure as heck am gonna enjoy pretending like I could.

....the best part-I have a dishwasher and laundry in unit.

Oh, and if you are still worried about the dog, he looked like he was okay as the police were taking him to get checked out by the vet.....

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Anyone who has ever moved from one city to another knows it is a sometimes scary, sometimes invigorating, sometimes lonely thing. (Pro-tip - Never listen to more than 3 Elliot Smith songs in a row while packing) I finished packing up my boxes, taking cast-offs to Goodwill, and started loading my storage unit. While doing these things I realized Connecticut was never my home. I have never made the change from 'is this how you do it here?' to 'this is how we do it here'.

I came east sight-unseen. My job here is awesome. The people I work with are kind, funny, and talented. Yet still, Connecticut never felt like home.

I finally hit on it last Saturday when I realized I've never nailed my pictures to my bedroom wall. I didn't unpack my boxes of research and art books. In short:I never finished moving in, and I've been here almost two full years.

This prompts the question- What makes something or someplace feel like home? Is it your stuff? Is it your friends? Is it the feeling of community you get from your neighborhood? Or is it simply your mindset? Do you have to decide that you are home, and the rest falls into place?

I hope it all becomes clear when I arrive in my new home. While prepping for this move some of my friends want me to tell them I will be in DC for a year or two and then I will finally arrive and be home in NYC. But for me, I can't go into this move feeling like it is yet another temporary layover before my life begins. I want to move somewhere and know I am finally, really, and truly


Monday, April 28, 2008

Lookng for love in all the wrong places.......

I bought an iPhone. I am almost ashamed to say it was my first purchase of an apple product. Previously- no iPod, no Mac computer, nothin. However it was almost 2 weeks after I purchased my iPhone before I made my first visit to an Apple store. And let me just've been looking for love in all the wrong places!

No one told me that the Apple store is a mecca for kinda nerdy, kinda hot boys in their later 20's. I could have saved myself at least $200 in lame Eharmony payments if someone would have just told me-- Hey Katie, all the boys you might want to date work at the genius bar. Aaaack! It was like all the stereotypes of my ex boyfriends were in one place at one time. There was Mr. horn-rimmed glasses, Mr. too many tattoos, Mr. too many piercings, and Mr. too many tattoos, piercings and big glasses.
And not only were they cute, but the 'genius' I spoke to was totally smart, charming, and really nice. Everything a girl could hope for in a genius.

Now to make an appointment at the local Apple store in DC to get a little one to one training for my iPhone.

Oh, and the move is going well (whatever!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sea of allergies

Hello all,

Sorry I haven't posted about the results of the Craftastic yet. It was an awesome show with a good turn out and tons a really talented and creative women showing their work. I had my best sales (other than holiday markets) to date, and it was great to talk to so many of you face to face.

I have had a major allergy attack this week, and have been following a strict regimine of anti-histamines and decongestants during the day and spending as much time asleep as I can manage. I'm sure I'll feel much better in about 3 days, once the leaky faucet that is my face quits - look for a more in-depth blog and my spring line >> online.

Hope you are all feeling great and enjoying the amazing spring weather. I know I will once this pollen bloom quits.

Until then- Check out the pictures on the CT ETSY team blog! The link is just over there>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Craftastic+Katie= Shop Class.

The Craftastic is tomorrow. I am ready, tagged, I got change from the bank, I picked out my favorite crafty tshirt and made sure my lucky socks are washed! I am prepped and ready to go----except for a fabulous way to display the 20+ knitted beaded bracelets I have made. So I got the brilliant idea of a bracelet tree. Don't ask, sometimes it's better to just imagine how these ideas pop into my head.....

Did I mention I have a fine arts degree? I can't decide if I love it for it's handmade and slightly off-kilter look or if I think it looks like something a kid who isn't allowed to use power tools in shop class made..........

Either way it and the rest of my spring line will be in Hamden tomorrow. Come see me and 11 other members of the Connecticut Etsy Team. Remember- Mother's day is right around the corner, and your Mom is tired of getting crystal frogs.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Moving, Taxes, and iCrack

It has been another interesting week. No acrobats this week, but lots of taking care of business.

#1 I lost my cell phone. This might sound like a disaster, but when taken into account it was 3 years old, and about 4 years obsolete- not too bad. The downside- I lost every phone number I have, so if you are a personal friend- call or text me your phone number so I can add you back. The upside- I bought an iPhone and leaped into conspicuous consumption of the most superior kind.

The iPhone is supposed to be SO user friendly that it does not come with a user manual. Fine, good enough, however when you are a PC user and you can't get your Apple phone to jive with your PC and the only tech support offered is a PHONE NUMBER?!?!!?!....Houston we have a problem. Long story short, it took me 2.5 hours to activate it. I was fully and totally humbled. I have also been annoyed and feeling a little like I should have thought about this more clearly when I realized that my MICROSOFT Hotmail will not open on my APPLE iPhone. hmmmm...

#2 I received a price quote to move. Sounds great, except for what they priced me to move, I could give away everything I own and buy new. Further investigation has revealed a better and more cost efficient way to do this, but wowwsa. Apparently people are willing to pay alot to not have to deal with their stuff. My move has just gotten more complicated, but will in the end cost me about what I had budgeted for it. Thankfully, I have some nice people here who are willing to help a girl out one last time.

#3 I did my taxes. before I go any further- I have to say I used for the second year in a row, and it rocks. I am totally mathematically and organizationally impaired and even I could use this software. This year it was not a moment of triumph, or sorrow. I got something back from the feds, but owed the state of CT a little. I am constantly amazed by the amount of money Connecticut gets from their residents. How this state has such horrible schools and roads will never be satisfactorily explained to me. There simply is no reasonable explanation.

#4 It is getting warm. I love spring. There are few things that make me happier than walking outside and not feeling my snot freeze. Even if it means I need to do my taxes.........

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Color Test????


ColorQuiz.comKatie took the free personality test!

"Preoccupied with things of an intensely exciting n..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Running away with the circus?

This week was great. I:

Paid my last rent check to my landlord in Connecticut-------- who decided since I have been such a great tenant (paid my rent on time EVERY month, never had a complaint filed against me, only told off one neighbor-and she really deserved it) he was going to let me out of my lease 15 days early, and only charge me half for May! He also decided I didn't have to paint my apartment back to white (I think he felt bad for accidentally giving me an eviction notice intended for the neighbor I told off).

I went to NYC and swatched for the last show of the season at the Hartford Stage. I love NYC, and I will admit, I had a few pangs of sadness at the idea of not moving there, but a few less when the job I had applied for in NY called and offered me waay less money than the one in DC.

I started giving away furniture for my move. This might not sound like a great thing, but it feels really good to give your furniture a new home.

I spent a day backstage at Cirque Du Soleil fitting thongs on hot Italian acrobats.


but I did spend a day backstage working on building stage masking for Cirque.

It was amazing. In general it was a lot like any backstage experience, only international and with contortionists. The best part about it- it was so not an American experience.

They played French rap, German techno, and Canadian folk music while the technicians set the stage and rigging. Everyone was really, amazingly, insanely hard working, really nice, and even the Americans had a Canadian accent! Their kitchen trailer served healthy food, separated all their trash into compost, paper, glass, plastic, and 'other' for recycling, and they had "did you wash your hands?" signs from the Canadian government everywhere. It was completely the same as an American Backstage experience, only completely different.

Oh, and if you ever wondered how all those performers keep in such tip top shape- it's because they work......hard. We arrived at 9am to begin work, the performers were already there working out, standing on each other's shoulders, bending over and kissing their own *sses. It was amazing. At one point we had 3 young contortionists rehearsing beside our sewing area, I was having a really hard time concentrating. My mind kept going back to the 12 year olds folding themselves in half backwards. All I could think was the dialogue that must have happened in their lives- Here is a sample of what I imagine it was like

Adult: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Girl: hmmmm

Adult: Veterinarian?

Girl: No.

Adult: Doctor?

Girl: No.

Adult: School Teacher?

Girl: No.

Adult: What then?

Girl: Contortionist.

Adult: That's nice.

We finished work and quickly toured the costume area---where they make their own shoes. And I don't mean they make ballet slippers, they make beautiful, colorful, artisan quality gorgeous shoes. I went home and have started to wonder.....could I run away with the circus?

Like I said it was a really, truly, amazingly, great week.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Andre The Giant Has A Posse

If you know what this are automatically cool.

Once upon a time (1987ish) there was a young girl and her brother was a skateboarder. She was a very crafty, very nerdy, figure skater sort of girl. Her brother was a very cool, very straight edge, very skateboarding sort of fellow. He had some fabric patches, and later some vinyl stickers that had a silk screen print that said "Andre The Giant Has a Posse" with a image and some other stats for the pro-wrestler. The younger nerdier girl said to her brother and his friends "what does that mean?" and they told her if she didn't know, she wasn't cool enough to know..... brothers can really suck sometimes.......

Fast forward 20 years to 2007ish and that nerdy girl is now a rock star crafter, who never forgot how if felt to want to be a part of something so cool, so esoteric, that if you didn't know what it was you probably aren't cool enough to be a part of it. Enter and the CT Etsy Team. Etsy is not so cool that you need a password, but it is still just indie enough to be cool. Oh, and the Andre The Giant and later OBEY patches--they didn't mean anything--just like the name Etsy- doesn't mean anything.

And here is my homage to the OBEY patches:

Not quite Andre The Giant, but cool for sure. I'll have the stand alone patches at the Craftastic on April 13th ($2) as well as a few of the zipper pouches ($8). A portion of the profit will go back to the CT Etsy Street Team to help promote the rad, indie crafters in CT to advertise, host markets, and generally make Etsy as big as Andre The Giant.

Oh, and they were my first trip into the extra cool, extra indie world of homemade silkscreens. I am in love. I used actual silk for the screen, and I think it worked better than tulle or stockings.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Craft Market Tres

It is about 2 days before the market, you have all your pieces done, the tags are on, and you have a plan(ish) for what your display will look like. Now comes the hard part. The part where you have to talk to people you don't know about your work and they either buy it or they don't. This can be more difficult than all the seaming, felting, painting, and exacto cuts combined.

I watched a documentary about buzz marketing a couple of years ago, and it changed my life. Buzz marketing is a style of guerrilla marketing where you create a 'feel' or *buzz* around a product without overtly advertising it. The easiest way to market something to people is if they see someone who they want to be like using, enjoying, or taking part of a product or service.

Therefore; give yourself some buzz.

When I get up and go to work in my crafty studio, I do it in whatever I have been wearing and a paint stained apron. This is not how I dress to go to a craft market. When I am a market vendor I think about who my target audience is, and I dress like them (this is easy, since I'm part of my own target market). If your market is young slightly conservative moms, try to look like someone they would go shopping with, take out your nose ring, and wear a sweater set. If your target market is Brooklyn hipsters, pull out your ironic tee shirt, slap some Vaseline on your tattoos and put on your ballet flats. Remember: part of the 'buzz' is creating 'the image'.

Here is a list of things to remember the day of the market

1. Change. People come shopping straight from the ATM machine, so you should be able to make change for at least a couple of $20 bills.

2. Tape. Something on your display will need to be taped, trust me.

3. Scissors and some string or yarn. Something or someone will need it.

4. Bags or something to put purchases in.

5. Lights, extension cord, table/display and a table covering.

6. Business Cards or postcards.

7. A notebook or sales slip book to record your sales in.

8. A small project to work on. It is a great way for people to strike up a conversation with you.

9. Water and a couple of healthy snacks. It's easy to forget to take care of yourself, but you will feel much better if you can eat something and keep hydrated.

10. Your fabulous products and your smile!

I can't wait to see you all at the Craftastic spring fling.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 years.

5 years ago our country, for better or worse, invaded Iraq. I was thinking today...what was I doing 5 years ago today, and how is my life different?

5 Years ago I was:

Just finishing my degree.

Dating a guy who I was sure I was going to marry.

Living with 3 roommates, 3 kitties, 2 fish tanks and more than likely a couple of mice.

Getting ready for a job interview as an apprentice with a major Chicago theatre.

Worried that the economy was going to tank due to the impending war.

Looking back I realize that almost nothing tangible in my life is the same, and yet almost everything is exactly the same. It is scary to look back at what can change and what stays exactly the same in 5 years.

No one knows decisively when this war is going to end, or why we got involved in the first place. The thing is we know is our vote does count, and we should use it whenever we get the chance.

Take a moment and think back to what you were doing 5 years ago today.

Now think ahead...what do you want to be doing in 5 years....

Now remember, if you don't vote, it won't happen.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Craft Market Dos.

Okay, so you have carefully decided what to make, how it should be priced, and the day of the market is about a week away. It is now time to label and display your work for sale.

I generally use business cards or a nice hand written tag for my labels. On the labels I include my company name, a way to get in contact with me (a URL or email address), and any care instructions, if there are any that apply. I think it is a good way to make your work feel finished, professional and it lends an air of confidence to your work. The more professionally you can present your work, the better.

Once everything is labeled I price it all individually. The only time I think it is a good idea to group price things is when you are dealing with 'stocking stuffer' gifts, or jewelry you are displaying on a board. Remember, people are paying you for something unique, so play it up. The more unique the item feels, the better.

Everything is priced, tagged, labeled and ready to go. The best advice I can give anyone about presenting work is merchandise, merchandise, merchandise. Go to a store you think is beautiful. Look at how items are presented, things are presented in a way that makes you want to touch it, try it on, and is visually interesting.

Levels and vertical presentation boards are a great way to make yourself stand out in the crowd. It is really hard to get someone to walk across a room to look at something if they aren't interested. There is nothing more boring than walking into a craft market and seeing flat tables with work lined up in neat rows. Asymmetry, odd numbers, and multiple levels are interesting.

If you need to see an example- go to an upscale, trendy store and take notes. A well merchandised store will always make more money than a cluttered and poorly lit one.

If you are selling wearables, be sure to have a mirror available for viewing. People want to see how great they are going to look in your work before they give you money. You should also be sure to bring additional lighting if the space is dark or if you have something like textiles or jewelry that is better viewed in bright light.

Next post, You and your business image.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Feminist Heaven!

Okay, so this is supposed to be a post about craft fairs, business, and the state of the creative mind.....but instead I have just discovered BUST magazine's personals website, and I think I might be in heaven. Oh, BUST I love the! Let me count the ways.

1. Interviews with Ira Glass and David Sedaris in the new 'We love men' issue.

2. Fashion spreads featuring only handmade pieces.

3. A f!cking personals page for me to meet a rad, crafty, intelligent, politically minded man.

4. The Boobtique

5. Need I say more?

I heart BUST magazine.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Craft Markets. Uno.

Last week Jillian made 2 new posts about what she has learned from her new trip into participating in craft markets.

This weekend I attended a Connecticut Etsy Street Team meeting and am starting to prep for the Craftastic spring fling. As I read Jillian's posts, meet people on my team, and get to know the online community as real people some things have become very clear to me. Etsy is FULL of wonderfully talented incredibly skilled people. Some of them are participating in Etsy with an entirely different mindset than I am. Part of that is the difference in life view and part of it is purely what people want to get out of Etsy as an online marketplace. I am also learning that although I think of myself as a newbie to indie craft, I have a lot more experience than many of my team members.

As I am prepping for the last craft market I will be a vending in for a while I thought I would write a multi-post tutorial about what I have learned participating in craft markets over the last 5 years. Remember, I am writing about small venues with less than 12 or so crafters. If you are going balls-to-the-wall and trying your hand at a giant venue with 30 or more vendors, it is a totally different story.

Here is part uno.

When I am planning what I am going to take to a market there are a couple of questions I ask myself. These include:

Who is my target audience? and what is their income and spending level (realistically)?

For me I know most of my work appeals to educated women in the 24-40 age group who more than likely work in the arts, or are pretty crafty and trendy. I like to think of it as the 'BUST' magazine-reading-smarty-pants-market. So I work on developing products that appeal to these women and fit in their spending patterns.

Can I create this product and still make a profit on it?

If the answer is no, then it's time to re-evaluate how I am constructing something, the materials I am using, and how I am charging for the product.

Has this product sold well in the past?

I always bring some items I call my guaranteed sells. These are items that generally cost less than $15, are good gifts, and would appeal to a broad variety of people. If I make something and it proves to be unpopular I will stop making it. No need to waste my time making something that is unpopular, even if I am having a blast making it. Time to add that item to my 'personal crafts only' list. For me- these things include hand dyed yarn, jewelry, and knitted hats. The market is (in my opinion) flooded with these items and I don't need to try to swim in an already crowded pool. side note- I am still trying to get rid of some of these things, so look for them to be marked down like crazy at the spring Craftacular.

So now you have decided on what you are bringing to the market. Now let's talk quantity. In all the markets I have participated in (some holiday, some not) I have almost never sold totally out of anything. Having said that, I usually try to have a good quantity of items. What is a good quantity? Depends. If it is a holiday market- it could be as much as 20 of one item. For a non-holiday market, I try to have a dozen of my best sellers.

Most people (myself included) were totally overwhelmed by their first market. It is a daunting thing to have to go out and chat with people about your work, look them in the face and on occasion, have them ask really dumb, insulting questions. However, when someone is totally thrilled with your work and is willing to give you some of their hard earned money for something you made -it is worth all the time and energy. Trust me.

Next post- How to display your work.