Saturday, July 31, 2010

Works in Progress and New Inspiration

I'm still waitng to set up a photo shoot for all of my new creations, my brother has a friend taking belly dance classes that may be willing to model my gypsy skirt and belt for me. I also have people lined up for other recent projects. I managed to take a few decent photos with my remedial camera of some of my finished and still in progress pieces: My new chainmaille and pearl necklace- looks a bit like the face of an owl or something, doesn't it? It looks very nice on.

My men's chainmaille cuff laid out. I want to dabble more in men's clothing and accessories.

A segment of my gypsy belt. I think the tassels give the right amount of color and the gold bells contrast the silver links well.
This bundle is my almost finished gypsy skirt. It has great movement, I'm very excited to see it be danced in.

A simple unboned bodice made from black satin- it will be the ideal companion to my "Black Satin Lady Floor Length Skirt" on Etsy, in fact I cut it out from leftover satin shortly after I finished the skirt, but haven't gotten back to working on it until now.
My new inspiration is the mini-series Pillars of the Earth. I've never read the novel, but I caught the first few episodes of the series on the Starz website (it's upper tier cable, which I don't have the time or money for, so online is my only option). It's set in the 12th century during a difficult time in the English monarchy when Stephen seizes the throne from his cousin Maud.
The costumes and accesories are fantastic. I'd really like to make a few items, especially men's items, based off of the designs from the film. When it finishes airing in five weeks, there will likely be a demand for items inspired by it. In five weeks time I could have several pieces finished.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Livening Things Up

With the slowness of the online shopping world right now, I'm trying to liven things up. I've been browsing and shopping more and I've been adding more shops to my favorites. On the right of this page, I've just added an Etsy Mini to this page. I've also been trolling alchemy and have bid on a few requests.
My friend will be back next week so I can borrow her camera then. She's off doing some internship to gain credits for her masters degree. I've also made a new chainmaille and pearl necklace that is a bit more detailed and has more theatrical presence.
Hopefully when the vacations and heat of July fade, autumnal shopping will pick up. I've decided not to open a separate soap shop until mid autumn. I've been making potpourri sachets with some of my botanicals as well, it will be good to pack away seasonal clothes with or putting in drawers to keep stale winter air smells out. Cinnamon Apple is my favorite, but Lavender Mint is nice too. As home to essential oils I've been using rolled oats that are dried and mixed with the other ingredients.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Gypsies and Chain Maille

I don't have any photos of my latest projects because I want th photos to do them justice, so I have to borrow a camera. I finally got a new stash of jump links so I worked all week on using them to the full and am now almost out again.
My first project was a men's chain maille cuff for the wrist. While I was selling at a local flea market a man admired one of my chain maille bracelets and asked if I made them for men. It seemed like a good idea. Creating this bracelet was extremely time consuming, it is two inches wide and about eight inches around. I was trying to make a pretty pattern with the links, but realized I had to be careful not to lose any of the width as I worked on the length. I ended up with a thick, somewhat primative mesh of links, but I think it looks pretty nice.
Since I had plenty of links to play with I next began work on a gypsy belt. The length of it it created by links occasionally accented by a triangle of links dangling from it as well as gold bells. I wanted to add some color to the piece, so using bits of ribbon and jewelry making caps, I created these sort of tassels that hang by the bells. I really like it.
Well, I had to make something to go with the fabulous gypsy belt, so I have started work on a skirt. It has a black drawstring waist band and panels of fabric in various colors and patterns, I'm leaving the bottom of the panels open so I can add flairs of other fabrics for extra movement and visual interest. That will hopefully be finished by next week. Photos will be forthcoming.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Some New Projects

I just posted two new necklaces on my Etsy, but here are two others I made this last week:

For my recycled line I've made a few bottle cap necklaces from some organic iced tea I've been drinking. I love the quotes on the caps. I'ved overlaid the caps with wrapped wire pendants, the one above is a Lucille Ball quote and a pink heart pendant on hemp.

I made a billow bead and caged bead pendant necklace on a sleek black rubber cord. I made another billow bead necklace, but it didn't turn out as I'd hoped.
Even though I'm not a decorator at the bakery, I've been taught a few basics like writing on cakes so I can personalize finished cakes that people buy on the spot. Above is my first attempt at icing flowers on a piece of parchment. I think I just found a new possible career path.
Unfortunately, movement on my Etsy has been almost non-existent lately, my new listings are getting hardly any views and I haven't had a sale in a month and a half. Is this a slow period of the year in general or am I just not listing anything tempting?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thank You Marie

I just want to dedicate this post to Marie of Softearth's World. She was one of the first people to read my blog and she never fails to leave me thoughtful, helpful advice and feedback.
Even though this blog occasionally turns into whinge-city, she is patient and mentor-like to an emotional novice like me. She is a lovely woman with an incredible talent for wool.
Visit her blog here.

Thanks again.
I'll back back next week with pics of my latest projects.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Friends and Rivals

A friend of mine made a few pieces of jewelry and thought it was fun, so she decides to throw a big jewelry party to show everybody what she's made and sell it. She knows I've been making and selling (usually just trying to sell) jewelry as well as other things and have been toying with more ways to bring in interest. When she invites me to her party she doesn't even stop to consider that perhaps we could have had a joint party.
I know she was in no way trying to offend me and probably didn't even think about how I would feel. She was just following a whim, that's what she does. It just feels a little unfair that I've been hitting the pavement, sitting out in the heat at flea markets, setting up web stuff, sending out inquiries, even getting involved in organizing a crafts show so that I can sell my products. She throws a party and has now thoroughly saturated the market of our social circle and made it so I can't throw a craft party without looking like I'm stealing her beat. I don't know, I've always thought that when you're serious about actually starting up some sort of business it's better to build your clientele out of strangers than friends and family, once your friends buy their token purchase to make you happy, you don't have sustainable sales base. Still, I'm just a little irritated that now I don't even have the option, also irritated with myself that I wasn't talking my business up more before this, that I never made a bold move like she is.

This is how my brother described my current situation:

It's like Bill Gates is just starting out and a friend of his comes to
him as says, "Bill, I just had the greatest idea. I'm going to sell a
computer programming system that will link everything in your computer and make
it run smoothly. I think I'm going to call it 'Doors.'''

He likes to tease me, but sometimes it is good to unburden myself to him, so I called him and told him about it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Attemping Some Advertising

There has been absolutely no movement on my Etsy for the past month. I'd like to develop a more consistant sales base, that's a goal, so I've been trying to come up with ways to get my name out.
Today I recieved an email from Renaissance Magazine about their annual bussiness directory, I called and now have a free listing in this year's directory. The free listings are pretty bare bones (I'm not even sure if my website will be listed), but it's a start.
This winter I will be creating stock like mad to be ready for live shows next year and I'll be saving up for a tent. I hope all goes off and I get a bit of attention.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Amazing Music

I love having music on when I'm crafting and when I'm writing, so I'm always looking for new musicians to listen to. My brother told me to check out a group called Old Crow Medicine Show- I'm not a fan of most modern country music so I was skeptical, but I love these guys. They have a very old fashioned blues infused sound with a rock feel. They do some amazing covers and their original songs are also fantastic.
Here are a few of their songs on YouTube:
Wagon Wheel (Bob Dylan Cover with additional lyrics by Ketch)
Down Home Girl (Rolling Stones Cover)
Fall All On My Knees (live)
I Hear Them All
Crazy Eyes (live)

I finished my Rustic Country Maid Blouse listening to them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Soap Glamour Photos

I've been toying with the idea of starting an Etsy shop just for my soaps, I'm not sure if I will just yet, but I took some glamour shots (as glamorous as possible with my camera) of some of my soaps. Here they are:
Above: Some of the botanicals that are used in my soaps such as lavender, aloe, mint, cinnamon, oatmeal displayed in and around my mortar from my pestle and mortar set.
Above: Sweet Mint soap with a cutting of mint from the garden.
Above: Espresso Soap nested in the same fresh ground coffee used in making it.
Above: Cinnamon Spice soap with some cinnamon sticks, there are some pieces of stick in the soap as well.