Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The holidays are coming! Part 2

Birdbath Mosaic
Originally uploaded by mornindew2822
My poor, dear Maggie has been holding this blog together for us all month. As I struggle with eBay and website and got 2 of my 3 boys into school (jr high and preschool, a first for both!) I often found myself superbly overwhelmed this September. And so, on the final day of the month, I impress myself with the fact that I have actually gotten some of my holiday goals well underway.

I am about 65% finished with my first birdbath; not the 3 I had planned to be working on, but one successful birdbath is a good start to a 100% new project. I've also learned throughout this process some good and some not so good ways of working with stained glass, concrete and mosaics in general:

- mix concrete for small projects in small batches.
- Press hard with your glass cutting tool, it won't shatter your glass, but a weak score line will cause your glass to not break away cleanly.
- set your design on fiberglass mesh (either self stick or use a glue like Weldbond). Not doing this means you essentially have to lay your pattern twice. (Learned that one the hard way!)
- Start your project with plenty of time before your "due date". Unless you do this for a living and can easily carve out time in your day to work on it, be ready for life to get in the way!
- Don't be afraid to try! At the start of this project, I had never mixed so much as one cup of conrete before muchless used a mold to create a birdbath. I had never touched a sheet of stained glass nor used a glass cutter or tile nippers, both of which have proven to be very cool tools to play around with!
- Aim for fun and cool, not perfection and professional and you'll likely find that your project turns out to be much better than you ever thought you could do on your first attempt!

I'll post some photos of my other holiday crafts soon!

Monday, September 29, 2008

365 Project- More than 10% Done

I can't decide if it feels like we started this project of artful exploration eons ago or just yesterday. I was catching up on uploading pictures to our group, and as I typed day 37/365, I thought "Wow, 10% done." Part of me thinks I should put an "only" in there. Part of me thinks it is a good accomplishment.

It is most certainly a testimony to my crafting ADD. If you look at my pictures, I made books, embroidered on felt leaves, made thread buttons, glued buttons to bobby pin blanks, and sewed bags. I made more than a few earrings, but I also think I made much less than I would in an average month.

There were some reorganization days in there, where I sorted supplies and attempted to bring order to the mayhem. I need to do that some more- I need to sort my fabric stash and I need to reorganize the basement to try to set up an area for using a torch.

I also want to stretch my artistic wings more as time goes on, and try to strike that balance between making the items that will sustain my current business while trying to change it into what it needs to be in the future.

Keep your eyes on this space- you never know what we might be up to!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Christmas Ornament Hooks

I wanted to try out the new 20 day fixed priced listings on Ebay. I closed my store and my original plan was to list new things once on ebay then send them off to etsy or my website or my mainstreetmallonline store. Then they come up with the 30 day listings and threw a wrench in my works. What I decided to try out was listing some 30 day listings with multiple quantities for items I could make again and again.
So I put up a listing for 6 sets of ornament hooks, and one sold fairly quickly. This meant I better stock up on thoses hooks so I can ship right away if I get more orders!
So here is my ornament hooks in progress:

Just refresh the page if the show has ended and you want it to rerun!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Variations on a theme

Variations on a theme
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
I sold the pendant pictured here in the lower right hand corner (or other left, as I like to call it!) some time ago. The customer contacted me later, asking for earrings to go along with it, but not the bird's nest pattern. So I sat down and using the agreed upon parameters of copper wire and the blue glass beads, I created an assortment for her to choose from.

I am happy with all my designs, especially the one in the upper left hand corner, which I will make in some other metal/bead combos in the next few days. Whichever designs my customer does not pick will be spread out across my online selling venues or take with me to Bowie Fall Festival, so it's not like I will have all these copper earrings with blue beads on my website or something.

This process also got me thinking about ways to ramp up production of my items. I like that most of my items are one of a kind, but making them one at a time is very time intensive. If I can make items in parallel- for example make a pile of earrings, even though they might not be alike in any way, or cut out a number of sewn items at a time to be constructed later- I will in the long run be able to greatly increase production. I think this will work out great for me as long as I find ways to continue to stretch my artistic muscles as I go.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The holidays are coming! Part 1

Aack, it's truly just around the corner and my scattered brain is stressing out over the pledge I took to do all handmade (except for the little kids) this holiday season! I have snowmen ornaments to make (I make them from sea urchins), sea glass angels and countless numbers of pendants and earrings. My mother has put in a request for a giant seashell wreath for her birthday (exactly one week before Christmas) and a slew of other things.

I have a large plastic mold for making birdbaths, 80 lbs of quickcrete in the trunk of my car and sheet upon sheet of stained glass sitting and waiting to be cut up to mosaic the birdbaths (yes I said baths- plural- three planned for holiday gift giving). Then there's the wine lovers in my family- for them, hand painted wine glasses and sea glass wine bottle stoppers. Oh and did I mention the people in my family who are impossible to gift?

On top of all this, I lie awake in bed at night- my mind reeling avec idée fixe: hand painted glass ornaments, mosaic mirrors, occasional tables, time frames, supplies to buy... Something tells me that "craft night" with the girls is not going to be enough to get all this accomplished. Tomorrow's agenda includes a trip to the office supply store to buy some sort of giant calendar thing to hang on my wall so I can start mapping out a timeline for getting all this accomplished. I guess, also, I should write a list of every person I need to make a gift for and what that gift will be.

*Note to self: organizing a studio space does not automatically organize a head cluttered with ideas!

And so, this mini rant will become a mini series. As I make progress tackling this aggregate of craftiness, I will blog about it. Sharing pictures, ideas and thoughts as I go. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Too Many Barriers

inspiring words
Originally uploaded by magscrafts
I have spent way too long letting my anxiety get the best of me and prevent me from trying out art techniques that interest me. For example, I have a bit of a fire phobia, and that has prevented me from learning silver soldering. I have a goal to take a class in the spring for those techniques.

Today I wanted some words of inspiration to sew onto my leaves for a Fiber art Traders swap. I have long been terrified of trying to print on fabric and ending up with a huge messy unfixable printer jam. Well, I did get a huge messy paper jam on the first try, but the second try worked like a charm!

Here is how I successfully printed on fabric with my inkjet printer:
I ironed a piece of muslin to a piece of freezer paper. Then I trimmed the paper/fabric combo to 8x8 inches. I had originally intended to cut it 8x10.5, but life happens! Anyway, once I convinced my printer not to tell me my paper was the wrong size, I was good to go. I used my rotary cutter to trim, which probably means it is time for a new blade now that I have used it on paper...Or maybe a new cutter and turn this one into my paper cutter!! (Sorry shopping gets me a little excited.) Anyway, sorry back to topic- then I just emptied my printer paper tray, put my paper backed fabric in, and it worked beautifully.

I am really happy to have finally done this process that has intimidated me for so long, and now I have some nice words to use in some fiber art collage work.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Something purty to ooh and ahh over...

Once I found the piece of yellow glass that I blogged about the other day, I committed myself to making time to wrap it into a pendant. I thought it was going to be a pain because there is an odd curved lip on the backside and the piece is really thin, but it proved to be any easy task. I guess when something's meant to be, it works itself out! This is my new favorite piece and is going up for sale in my Etsy shop tonight!