Friday, January 27, 2012

My Craft Room: A Progression

Alternate Title:  Why I Haven't Been Posting Here Much This Month

So, I have posted once or twice (and probably more than that) about getting new furniture.  

This is not something that I'm doing casually.  In fact, this is one of the biggest projects that I've tackled in quite awhile--and one that I have been really excited to do.  I have been wanting to turn our new apartment into a beautiful and cozy home.  And so, I have been measuring, and remeasuring--trying to make best use of space.  I have been assembling furniture, and rearranging, and even decorating a little bit.  (Our bathroom now looks lovely!)

And I have been enjoying myself immensely.

Hands down, the largest piece that we have acquired is our brand new sofa:

Woooo!  It's a sofa!  And it's new!  And it's ours!  Hurray for Ikea!

However, the living room is not the only room undergoing a massive overhaul.  Also up for consideration is my craft room.

My poor craft room.

I haven't been doing a lot of creating recently, just because I didn't have the space to do it.  And when I say that I didn't have the space, what I really mean is that everything was a mess and in dire need of organization.

Did you think that I was kidding?
This is what it looked like when we first got back from
Christmasing with my parents...  Yikes!

The first step, obviously, was to straighten everything.  So, I tackled it--and instead of piles all over the floor, it looked like this:

That little desk is where all of my creating takes place.
Not a lot of room, if you ask me!

And here we see: my bead inventory, two hand-me-down chairs, packaging
supplies, and my brand new vacuum.  Oh, and one of many piles of books.
I own a lot of books.

The space did not stay empty for long, though.  Enter the shipment from Ikea, and the clean space was invaded by cardboard: 

What has it got in its boxses?

The next step, obviously, was taking those boxes and assembling their contents.  

This is the step that I'm still working on.

Look!  It's a new table!  ...Except upside down.

Of all the furniture that was ordered, only the craft table has been assembled.  And promptly covered with my bead supplies, so that I can move the current bookcase into the hall--to make room for the new bookcases.  And my new comfy chair.  And an actual desk.  Oh, this is so exciting!

This table was clear for about five minutes.
...And then I covered it completely with beads.

Ultimately, the long and short of it boils down to this:

Am I done?  Not hardly.  Am I enjoying myself?  Of course!

Overall, it will probably take a little longer for me to get everything in order...  Until then, my productivity will be limited.  It is hard, after all, to work at a table covered with beads.  But once everything is assembled, and all is put away neatly, it will be beautiful.  

Yes, indeed, it will be worth it!

...So, that is what I have been doing with my January.  How about you?  Any large or wonderful projects that you've been tackling?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Things to Be Happy About...

  1. Fruit smoothies
  2. Watching old cartoons with my husband
  3. Listening to classical music (as well as watching this talk on the same subject)
  4. New water glasses and silverware and other various kitchen implements
  5. New furniture*
  6. Warm socks on cold feet
  7. Posting a new pair of hairsticks and earrings on my store

DragonFire Swirls - Hairsticks

DragonFire Swirls - Earrings

* - New furniture is awesome!

It also means that I am spending a lot of my time, currently, assembling said furniture--and organizing and cleaning where said furniture is going to go.  While everything is getting settled, I cannot promise that I will be very active on my store.  I will certainly be checking messages and listing new items as a I can...  And I should definitely be back to my normal gusto come February!  :D

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First New Listing of the New Year...

So far, my January has been extremely busy.  

Yet despite all of the busy-ness (did I mention that I am buying new furniture, and starting some hard core home re-decorating), I am happy to announce my first new listing of the New Year!

I present a pair of hairsticks, made with repurposed vintage beads:

Honey Amber

These hairsticks are made with vintage components...  And they are one of a kind!

To find out more about the listing--and the story--check it out here!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Things to Be Happy About...

I will admit it...  Recently, I have been feeling overwhelmed.  Not necessarily in a bad way, mind you.  I am just full.  I am overflowing with emotions and ideas and experiences--bittersweet juxtapositions of grief and delight, new possibilities birthed through change.  So many ideas.  So many options.  So many thoughts running through my head.

And so, I resume my list of happy things.  I hope that this will be a way to ground me, and help me regain my focus.  It is a new year, after all.  A new beginning.  There is so much amazement in this world--joy from sorrow, love even in grief.  I just need to always seek it--and acknowledge it, when I find it.

Layers of colors behind skeleton branches--beauty, even in dormancy.

My list: 
Things that Make Me Happy

  1. Buying new furniture...  For the first time in my life, I will own a brand new couch!  And a comfy chair to knit in, and a desk to bead at, and a craft table in front of the window, where I can look out at the trees...
  2. Having a wonderful time with family over Christmas.
  3. Coming back after said wonderful time, and reveling in the quiet sanctity of home.
  4. Making coffee every morning for my husband... It's one of those little moments--these routines of everyday--that are so simple, but so full of love.
  5. Enjoying breakfasts of coffee and English muffins.
  6. Taking afternoon walks, as I strive to be more healthy.
  7. Incorporating little things from my grandfather into my home (his spice jars to hold my hairsticks, his clock on the top of the bookshelf).
  8. Feeling the achievement of doing laundry, and smelling the wonderfully clean clothes.
  9. Writing haikus--even bad haikus--every night, trying to capture the feeling of the day.

10. Watching the sun set against a backdrop of trees.

11. Finding quirky things at the store--
like a Parasaurolophus guarding the Smuckers.
(I promise, I did not put it there--
I found it that way!) 

12. Decorating holiday packages with
"safety" holly--the type of holly that has
non-pointed leaves!
(Yes, I just made that up.  *grin*)

...And, last but not least:

        13.  Plotting a new sewing project--the first one in years!  

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Beauty in Imperfection

Alternate Title: "And Now for Something Completely Different!"

Yesterday, I bought this pair of fingerless gloves.

A little funky, perhaps, but I think they are full of awesome!

Innocent enough.  They were on sale, after all--only a dollar.  And my hands are always cold...  It seemed a good idea to get something so that I can type (and make jewelry) without my hands getting too stiff to work.

...That's how it started.

As I continued to shop, I started to think: wouldn't it be nice to have to have a scarf to match?  And, as might be expected--I was, after all, in a craft store--this innocent thought led to the acquisition of a skein of yarn.  

A matching skein of yarn.  

Thus began my attempt to capture the true color of this yarn...
It's labeled as "Rhododendron" and is a beautiful purple-pinkish magenta.

It's a little more pink than it appears in this picture--
due to the lighting, I suppose.

(Hilarious side-note...  When I was at the store, trying to decide what yarn to pick, I was wearing the gloves.  I kept going up to the different yarn candidates, holding out my hand, asking my friend--"how does this look?"  The ensuing laughter definitely got us some interesting looks.  We even got a fellow shopper to help us look!)

Also while out shopping, I acquired a nice pair of knitting needles--since all of the ones that I own are currently in storage, and I needed some size 13 needles anyway.

Now, this is where I should tell you that I've always had an interesting relationship with knitting.

Still not quite the color of the yarn...  Imagine it a little darker...

Every other crafting endeavor I have pursued, I have wanted to be the best.  I am constantly driving myself to learn more, practice more, become the most skilled and perfect craftswoman I can be.  I innovate, study.  I have practiced bead-weaving, experimented with book-binding, taught myself how to sew french seams since I don't have a serger.

I want to be the best.

...Except when it comes to knitting.

I cannot purl to save my life.  I do the basic stitch with a beginner's level of proficiency.  I don't hold my hands in the correct way--to maintain tension, I wrap the yarn around my index finger, instead of doing it the recommended way.  I don't try to follow patterns (because I can't purl anyway).  I just cast on stitches, and make a long rectangular block until it reaches the length that I want.

And I'm okay with that.

FYI: this is not me demonstrating my technique.
This is me showing off how close the colors are between my gloves and the yarn.

I find knitting to be relaxing.  In all of my creative endeavors, it's one of the only ones that I can just do, and not have to worry about.  

I have given myself permission not to be perfect...  and it's wonderful.

So, after years of not knitting, I am finally doing it again.  It's amazing that my fingers still remember how...  I picked up the yarn and the needles, and I didn't even have to think about it.

This is how far I got knitting last night...
It's still not quite the real color, but very close...
It's going to look so nice with my purple coat!

Sometimes, I get so caught up in trying to make things perfect--make them the best--that I forget the simple beauty of creating something with my two hands.  

Making something that did not exist before I made it.

Every once and awhile, I need to let myself be imperfect.  That, in and of itself, can be a beautiful thing.

...And, to think that this all started with a pair of $1.00 gloves.

When I state that I am giving myself permission not to be perfect, I am--of course--referring to the items that I make for myself... to prototypes and experiments.  When it comes to items in my store, I will always make sure they are the best that I can make them.  I wouldn't feel comfortable charging money for them otherwise!

...It is pretty safe to say, then, that I'm not ever going to sell my knitting!  :D

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

My stores are open again...  and there is so much to report!

So, in store-related news...

While visiting my parents for the holidays, I went bead shopping with my mother.  It was amazing.  

Just a few of the spoils...
We went to many, many a bead store!

Also, I found a steady supplier of a new type of hairstick.  They are a style that I had found once, but that store stopped carrying them...  I had given them up for lost.  Now, I can get them whenever I need to!  I currently have 10 (5 pairs)...  Yes, it was amazing.  

I am so, so excited about these!
These sticks are black lacquered wood, and are 5 inches long...
When I found them in the store, I was so excited I almost started to cry.  

And, lastly, I have been working on more collar necklaces--for friends, and for family, and for my store.  It was--and is--amazing.

Some of the finished collar necklaces!
The white one is to sell, the purple-peacock one I made to match one of
my outfits, and the brown one is a prototype.

Close up of two of the collar necklaces.

Another close up...
I am considering naming the white one, "Always Winter",
a reference to the Chronicles of Narnia.

A close up of the brown prototype...  I love this one!

And here are a few more that I'm working on...  They are still in the planning/design phases.  I am totally thrilled by the enthusiastic response I have gotten regarding them! While I was visiting my parents, I showed them to quite a few people...  and everyone loved them!

You guessed it--it is amazing!

A rather subdued metallic palette...
This one is the beginning of a (late) Christmas
present to one of friends.

These are four different options for a red/gold/brown one...
Commissioned by my very own mother.  :D

And here are three options for another, brighter
metallic one, also commissioned by my mum.

...Whew!  I've certainly been busy!  And I am so, so blessed!


P.S.  I also visited the Walter's Art Museum with my Mum and a good family friend... I had a delightful time looking at the ancient jewelry!  More about that to come, though.  :D