02 August 2010

I Guess I Better Blog

I haven't been blogging because I haven't the time. I still don't have the time but I thought a quick update is in order.

I'll give it to you in a list/stream of consciousness kind of way to keep it brief.

Country Fair
sew 40 pairs of bloomers for Michele
costumes for me-utility belt with bustle, finish hatter jacket, make black bloomers, new feather for my cap, and a no sew design for my staff shirt.
Pack for country fair, drunk, because we're taking David's gear out for him. It's time for Capeninas (no idea about the spelling) because David twists out arms (not).

Then the wedding on Mt. Hood at the Timberline Lodge (Red Rum) which was stunningly classy and beautiful and also was open barred. What a blast. Fun new outfit with a subtle black and white polka dotted accent for me.

But the wedding was on a Saturday so i missed 2 markets in a row. I've been back at the market for 2 Saturdays and now another wedding this Sat.

I've also had some private clients for a dress alteration, pants hem, and now the design and construction of a mermaid costume for a friend's Burning Man delight.

Plus birthdays have come and gone without the proper creatures being sent. This must be remedied. Children without their crocs are simply lost children. A tragedy.

For the wedding to come I plan to make a set of hairy eyeball finger puppets in the style of bride and groom. It will be terrible or great.

People are coming at me left and right with loose ideas of things i should design and offers to buy the first one. An eyeball pillow, which I've thought of before. I think it would be cool-when I get to it. Mickey wants puppets. Me too. Phil wants a bananaconda. Peel the banana to find a snake inside. I'm working on it. In my mind anyway.

Also my precious angel of kitty was killed by a car earlier this week. This has slowed life down a bit. I loved that girl.

Life is quite a ride.

14 June 2010


Last week I had a little extra time and plenty of stock made so I decided to do design work, which I love. I made a new doll. This one is a different pattern for the head. It is much more 3 dimensional and I was excited to see how it turned out.

It turned out pretty cool. There are some things I learned for next time. It seems that cotton knit fabric does not hold the tiny filler fibers entirely. I have an endless supply of tiny strings of lint pushing through the fibers of the fabric. I use quilt batting inside the arms and legs and that isn't causing the same problem so I think I'll just line the belly and back with that from now on.

As far as the face is concerned I learned an interesting technique I'll try next time. I first make the head and stuff it. I then take thread and wrap and anchor it around the face creating indentations for eyes and chin etc. After this I am to take a stretchy fabric tube and pull it over the head, hiding the threads and hopefully keeping fluffing lint at bay.

This isn't the final outfit for the doll. This is practice set #1.

My favorite part about this has been deciding his facial appearance and hair. I used felted wool sewn into little tubes to create the dreadlocks. I tried several mouths before I settled on this one. I loved making these eyes. I'm not sure I like the combination of fabric glue and stitching I used to attach these.

I love how every little detail effects the feeling of the doll so much. I have a lot to learn and I like that.

07 June 2010

Art and Science

If you know me it is redundant for you to read that I am artistic rather than scientifically minded. But maybe you don't know me, so there it is. This morning I was solicited by a bank I do business with to start investing. I've never invested. I have no interest in the stock market. I have very little interest in 'business savvy'. This is, of course, why I have spent my life at the back of the big money train.

Since I've begun to travel the path of being a business owner I have nudged myself forward in this caboose. I'm looking out the door. I'm thinking about crossing the hitch to the next car. I'm trying to stretch my capacity for business science and it feels weird. Should I borrow, invest, seek advising? Do I need a retirement plan? Insurance?

When I was in 7th grade earth science class it occurred to me one day that even if I may be interested in the big picture of this subject, the tedium of sitting through the vocabulary and slooooooooow repetitive hypothesis, experiment, provingness of lab procedure made my eyes glaze over. I like science because it proves cool things. But I inherently believe in these cool things. Life is magic and I don't need to spend my time in a lab to prove it. Likewise, I am of the opinion that money is magic and with the proper creation of a welcoming space it will come. It will fill the space. When I see 401k I like the way it is framed with a 4 and a k because they're both triangular. I haven't planned for retirement. I don't have a timeshare.

I always disliked 'The Count' as a kid. I thought his counting was slow and tedious. But I loved designing this costume for my friend, Randy, last year.

I am art and light
I wake to this every day-
sun casting shadows through tree branches,
a crow feather in my cat's mouth,
woven layers of this moment's music move me.
I walk to the doors of science with my question.
The door then opens, welcoming me in. But my question, wanting a simple yes/no answer, must wait outside because

My questions come too quickly, before one is answered another comes up.
Instead I guess.
I intuit the answers and I am sometimes wrong.
I like the shape of wrongness.
I like the way it melts over a fire, and changes hue.
I like the psychedelic swirl of smoke over a Bunsen burner and beaker.
It makes me want to go write poetry.

I am aware that my approach to making money is not a proven one. It's probably not even a good one. I am willing to learn more traditional methods, I'm just taking the tiniest baby steps through this remedial class I am making up as I go along.

30 May 2010

Eugene Saturday Market

If you are familiar with the Eugene Saturday Market this entry may be redundant, but then again, maybe not.

When I started my business I thought the Saturday Market was decidedly not going to work for me. I thought it was too 'hippie' and that nobody there went much beyond tie dye and bluegrass. I couldn't possibly fit in. After having spent a decade mired in a land of patchouli scented vans and dusty Grateful Dead bootlegs I assertively rejected many things that reminded me of hippie-ness. That was almost 10 years ago. Slowly I have been re-integrating hippie allowances. Okay, listen to the Grateful Dead in my presence, but just one album and no Uncle John's Band.

Fortunately, as far as the Saturday Market is concerned, I was totally wrong. There are the token hippies selling hemp woven doo dads, sure. But the Eugene Saturday Market is filled with a wide array of styles and I find it very inspiring! My favorite place to sell is along the southwest lawn. Kimberly Miller sells hula hoops there. She throws about a dozen hoops on the lawn for people to play with. All day it's middle aged ladies cheering each other on to swing those hips, frat boys trying it out in the sport of clownish mocking, little kids celebrating every rotation. There are musicians playing, teenagers dramatizing, and old men smiling on it all. Yesterday we had a cellist stationed right in front of us first thing in the morning. A couple of weeks ago there was a mariachi band. But mostly Saturday Market is about art. You can't sell someone else's product at this market. It must be handmade by the vendor. I love meeting other creative people. I learn something every week about how to improve my business or my craft. I'm spurred to work harder and hone my skills by the healthy competition that comes from being surrounded by greatness and being invited to join.

I thought it would be fun to showcase the work of some of my favorites here. Click on the company name for a link to the website.

WugBug Clothing Company

Noelle Dass

Trumbly Designs

23 May 2010

This week was blustery here in Eugene. This weather is always fun from the perch of my attic studio. Branches thump, pine cones crash, rain pitter patters. It's very exciting. I sewed catnip fish and monkeys. I revisited my 'simple monkey' design. I make monkeys in 3 styles, simple, regular, and long. The prices range accordingly. I sell greater quantities of lower priced items and so it follows that I would do best to keep more of the simpler stuff in stock. I resist a little because I like the details of a more elaborate creature. If it were up to me I would be pushing myself further and further toward the ornate. It's a good goal. In time.

So the simple monkey. It is cute with it's big head and small body. It is simpler than the 'regular monkey' in that it has no feet or wire in it's tail. It's ears and legs are not separate pieces, they're just part of the body pattern.

I revised my pattern for the catnip fish. Originally I made them as an after thought when I had a pile of oval shaped scraps. These ovals just aren't big enough, however to make a proper fat fish for kitties to really sink their teeth into. The two new test fish are a big hit around the house with Polly and Roca.

16 May 2010

Nice Week

I had a really nice and productive week here in creatureland. I made 12 cuffs, 4 finger puppets, and 5 cat-o-pii (or cat-o-pods as I'm told). It recently occurred to me to make cyclops cat-o-pii of which I am very pleased. One of them already has been featured in an Etsy Treasury! A treasury, on Etsy, is a collection of pieces chosen by one artist, usually based on a theme. This one is an ecofriendly Father's Day theme and it features an eclectic group of gift ideas.

I'm in love with this group of cat-o-pii so I'll show a couple of them off...It is satisfying for me to make a girly cyclops cat-o-pus. Fyi, this is not the Father's Day cyclops.

I've also been getting into making them with one giant eye and one smaller eye.

A cat-o-pus is a good friend.

09 May 2010

Dollface, etc.

I've sold at Saturday Market for 3 weeks now. I'm starting to develop a swing, I think. It's a hippy version of hurry up and wait. I'm glad there are lots of interesting people to talk to. Also there are infinite variations on people watching. Everyone goes to the Saturday Market at one time or another.

I bring tasks to accomplish while I sit for 8 hours. My big one this week was to finish embroidering the face of doll #1.
There are several specifics I will adjust for doll #2, but overall, I think I like it.

My favorite part is the cheek circles with red stitching. Now she needs a stylish little outfit. I couldn't bring her around naked (gasp!) so I threw together this frumpy little ensemble. It simply won't do. The color is all wrong.

You may remember me posting this photo of her a few weeks ago, pre-cheeks.

The market is going well enough to keep my attendance. I find that I get more ideas each week for what I could be doing better. It helps so much to circulate with other bipeds-sometimes I forget this while in the solitude of my reclusive tendencies. I learn from watching and listening to other vendors. I learn from conversations with shoppers. I learn over and over that remaining positive, calm, and cheerful puts people at ease allowing them to linger a few moments longer at my little booth. I have to cinch my tendency to stare at my customers. I do this by always having things to do. This way I can look up and say hello. If they don't engage in further interaction I just return my half attention to the project in my lap. Secretly I always have my other half attention outward like a zen fisherman or 'creaturewoman', if you will.

I am so grateful for the Saturday Market and the fascinating Eugene community that continues to support a local economy more than any other place I've lived.