Saturday, December 31, 2011

Crafty New Year's Resolutions

I've been thinking about resolutions for personal life this next coming year and I think it's only appropriate to make a list of resolutions for my crafty life as well. Like any good crafty person I have a huge stash. I am taking ridiculously huge. It ranges from paper crafting and fabrics to glass and tile. I've got a little bit of everything in a 11' x 11' bed room with a great  5'x5' walk in closet. I have 3 industrial machines, 2 smaller home sewers, and 2 new machines, an embroidery and a coverstitch that I still haven't broken into. Several things are wrong with that statement...who has sewing machines waiting to be use!? Me. Darn it.

My Industrial Yamata Serger

So first of all  I want to keep my room clean and organized. I had a great friend come in a while back and she helped me get it into shape but I kinda floofed it all up again after sewing for the craft show. Ooops. I'll have her come back out and help me soon.

Next, I am going to work on stash busting. There are so many touted projects for stash busting out there that I kind of ignore because it's really such a personal thing, your stash. We don't have the same things in our stashes so not all projects are really stash busters for people. In case you are a non-crafter, like my sister, a stash busting project is one where every material you use for the completed project comes from things you already have on hand. It feels really good to complete a whole project this way and for some reason it feels like you made it for free. I don't really know why. I guess I just forget how much money really is invested in my stash.

All my beautiful machines deserve to be cleaned out more regularly. I know better. I will take the time to return to them the love that they give me constantly by being reliable, solid workhorses that get me one step closer to my goals of being self employed. I will oil them and make them all happy and shiny <3

I am going to also take more time to figure out those machines I was given, the coverstitch and the embroidery machine. In general I need to take more time to figure out some of the neat tools I've acquired over the years.

On a windy pier in Los Angeles ...

First Picture of Completed Shirt
Other sewing goals...I have a jacket for Ryan that has taken me way too many cold seasons to finish. He's been waiting so patiently for the nice brown and tan plaid jacket lined in warm tan flannel that I started last winter. I did work on it for a week this year but I want it to be perfect and my mind just hasn't been settled enough to put clear working time in on it.

When we first started dating Ryan wore a long sleeve button up shirt as an outer layer in the cold. He always wore the sleeves rolled up even when it was way too cold. I rolled his sleeves down only to see that the sleeves were almost four inches too short! I measured him up and I made him a corduroy jacket, as seen above, with a pattern I modified to fit his long, narrow torso and his long arms.  His face lit up when he tried on a shirt that fit him perfect. I had more time to sew back then but I am determined to finish this new jacket for him now.

Sweets Swap Stationery Set

One last goal for my crafty life will be to try and document my creations better. I need to hook up my printer to help back up my work with hard copies and so that I can create more fun things like this stationery set that I made oh so many years ago for a craft swap. I want to try my hand at making a zine and I think a printer would be handy to have on my side.

Good night for now :) I'll also try and keep up a more regular posting schedule for myself so you all can keep an eye on my progress with all these goals.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

First Craft Fair

Book Wreaths and Me

 I had my very first craft fair sale a few weekends ago and boy did I ever learn a lot of great things for next year.

I brought everything that I used to have on my Etsy, paper crafts, sewing projects. I met a lot of really nice vendors who were so happy to give me tips and advice. One lady took this picture of me next to some of my book wreathes. I actually sold one! I was pretty excited about that sale because everyone seemed to like them but I think most people didn't know what to 'do' with them. The lady who bought one said that she walked all around the fair and couldn't get it out of her head. Score me!

 One of the items that sold the best on my table were my sets of hand made note cards. I make little sets of cards without envelopes and people bought them as stocking stuffers. Doodles into dollars!

My Crazy Space
My table was a crazy mess unfortunately. I did my best to group like items and make it interesting but since I had a variety of items it kind of looked messy. I didn't prepare my table plan ahead of time which is definitely a must for next year. I want to make a banner with my name on it and really have a sharp set up next time. This time I just grabbed some fabric out of my heaps from the closet and pinned it to the table.

I ended up making back the fee for my space but not much actual profit. I guess my real profit was a lesson learned :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

I made a little video while I was sewing yesterday and I thought I would share it. It's not the best quality but I thought I thought it might be fun to share my love of my industrial straight stitch with everyone. I used this same machine while learning alterations in a shop where I worked with a very skillful teacher and friend. When I left I was able to take this machine with me and we have been best friends ever since. I have put so many kinds of material through it...she has really been such a trooper.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Goal #1- Make a Bunch of Stuff

I have been working towards a new goal lately...working on inventory. A little ad in the church bulletin alerted me to a Golden Bear Boutique taking place in November. Not really my first choice of venue but I've never officially tried it before so I thought I'd give it a go. I hope it goes well because the space costs $ and I would just hate to not break even let alone make a profit. I've been trying to read up on how to "have a successful church bazaar sale" and I just don't like any of the advice, namely, the advice stating that a vendor should only sell one or two types of things.

As I have said before I  have never had a talent for making the same thing over and over again. I had a crafty friend who would sit down and make 50 identical cards for Christmas. Each detail was perfect from card to card ever year. It was so impressive to me because I just don't have the focus and the patience and now that I do that at work as part of my job I certainty don't want to come home and do it there too.

I sew in perfectly straight, perfectly measured lines at work. I use acceptable colored materials and matching threads. When I get home and sew for fun I don't like to measure everything. I like to grab five weird things and make a bag out of them. I like to use different colored thread in my bobbin and sometimes it's safety orange on pink. I don't sew in straight lines, in fact, I have developed a method of top stitching that I like to call "Drunken Top Stitching" on a lot of visible seams. My work is still pretty accurate. I have a tic for accuracy from work now that makes it hard to let totally loose but oh well...

Any who, I have been rounding up things that I've made in the past and creating some new things to bring to this show. I still need to make a banner of some sort and pull together a table top display for my space.  I am hoping to use this first show as a learning experience. I think I have the right skills to pull this off but we shall see.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Makes Me So Special?

I've been browsing the job ads on Craig's List to find side projects like I always do. If you ever look in the section with all the seamstresses it's quite overwhelming.

How are you supposed to choose a person to work on your projects? Every range of sewing ability and type is represented from the lady who still mends "by hand or by machine" to the lady who only wants "production sewing (no one-offs)".

It's hard for me to call myself a seamstress sometimes because that's really only part of what I do. Out of all the skills I have, all the things I make and do the thing they all have in common is me. What makes me so special?

I am a young seamstress and one of my biggest challenges is having to convince people that I do indeed know what I am doing. I worked with a very skilled teacher learning basic and complex alterations in a little shop. Before that I was sewing at home on my own making all kinds of things that I needed. Even before that I was reading and reading anything sewing related that I could get my hands on.

I know what kind of seamstress I am and what kind I am not. I've tried and I've tried but I am not a robot; I just can't for the life of me crank out a ton of look-a-likes and not hate my life. I don't know why. I can't do it with card making or chopping vegetables either! It's just not part of my chemical makeup. I've decided it's not worth trying to figure out anymore but instead to see it as a skill. I don't have tunnel vision! Ta da!

I can troubleshoot on the spot. I can figure out how to make something out of nothing. I can lie to myself about my abilities and make things I've never made before. I can think ahead and plan my steps. I can document the lights out of my work so that it can be reproduced. I think that might just be what makes me special.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just a Peek

Single Sided Satin Ribbon Bows
Being a Dianne of All Trades is not without challenges. One of the silliest problems I have is remembering to take pictures of all the neat things I get to make and do.  Fortunately, for this post at least, I have scoured my hard drive to locate pictures of some of the various projects I have made. I could categorize them but what fun would that be.

This is a set of bows that I made for a lady making party hats, I think. I bid for this job via the internet. She sent me a sample bow and all the materials and I made them all up, packed up the box and sent them off. I don't remember how many or the per piece cost. It was a relaxing project that I probably did while listening to General Hospital.

Secret Pocket Cuff and Earrings Set
 Another project I bid on via the internet was a custom bracelet and earrings set for a bride. I made the ear wires myself with a platinum head pin. The bracelet is cuff style made of silk dupioni and has an invisibile zipper sewn in to make it be a secret pocket! I love secrets and pockets!

The beads were a variety of quality stones that I loved picking out from one of the best bead stores in town, D&I Beads. I could spend years and many pay checks in that store and I don't even bead that often. I would always find myself in that store after a long day at work to soothe my soul with the pretty colors lining the walls full of strings of beads.

 One of the most difficult things for me to resist is a fun project even if there is no pay involved. I have "accidentally" done free work more times than I can count for a variety of reasons...oops.

However, this project was for a charity gallery and auction supporting breast cancer awareness and research. I used a bra that I was about to toss away and the rest came from my stash. It was a really fun afternoon project.

I have more pictures of this piece from different angles so maybe sometime I'll dedicate a whole picture post to this decorated bra.

One of my goals is to learn to make a bra from scratch just to say that I can. Every woman is a hard fit and how neat would it be to never have to shop for a bra again!? It would be awesome. That's how it'd be.

Bird Cage Cover
This is one of  those projects where I know I didn't make a profit off of it but I just had to do it; How often do you get a chance to make a birdcage cover?  I don't have a shot of it in action because it is for a birdcage and I don't own birds or a cage.

I drafted the pattern based off of a photograph of the cage and dimensions that the client provided me. The client chose the fabric patterns but I pieced them this way for funsies.

It slips around the cage and ties shut with fabric ties. The whole cover is serged and lined because I can't leave well enough alone.

Reasons I didn't make $: Too well made/ too much time, fronted $ for fabric and didn't include shipping in the cost. Live and learn. In the end, I have now have a "Bird Cage Cover" patch to add to my sash.

Sweets Swap Stationery Set
I made this set of stationery from my notebook doodles for a craft swap on Craftster. I scanned all my drawing and outlined them using Photoshop to color and create the layouts.  I made  envelopes, gift tags, stickers, note cards, blank and lined stationery. I think the digital files exist somewhere on my old computer. Must go look for those some time...

I love paper crafting like this <3 I just got a new printer for my birthday and I am hoping to get time to get back into making print items again.

Greece in Iowa
This is one of my most favorite projects. I'll have to do a whole post soon about this bedroom make over I did for my aunt who lives in Iowa. Super low buget, high impact, fast paced...all my favorite challenges :)

I managed to squeak two whole walls full of drapery out of her old sewing machine and I repainted her dresser set. It was a really great way to spend a vacation. I'll have to make it out there again to check up on the room and *ahem* get some squeeky cheese.

 That just barely scratches the surface of all the kinds of work I've done but now I am tired. The trip through only a few folders of my computer and many miles of memory lane has exhausted me greatly. I will continue to sift through my millions of poorly named folders to find you more of my oddities when my strength and brain power return.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Professional Goals

I started a journal awhile ago where I wrote about my professional goals, short-term and long-term. The short-term list was easy to fill out and included things like preparing my sewing room, setting goals for making products (financial & time), materials and equipment that I'd like to purchase, creating a product inventory and locating places to sell my products.

My long-term list was short, not even a list really; I want to become financially self reliant working at home by making my own products to sell. I didn't really figure that I would need a mid-term list...

So I guess my new journaling goal is to develop smaller steps to reach my overall goal of becoming self employed. How on Earth will I pull knowledge out of my unknowing mind? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UnFancy Resume

Bachelor of Science in Design from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Arizona State University

Interned with DMJM Design, now called AECOM

Sewing professionally for 3 years specializing in prototyping and custom designing.

Experience in alterations.

AutoCAD, Photoshop, Microsoft Office including Excel and Word

Interested in Color Psychology, Feng Shui, Pattern drafting.

Loves fabric, glue, glitter, rulers, details, food <3

Everyone has a now I do too!

After much encouragement I have decided to create a blog for myself to write about my experiences as a designer. My background and experience have lead me to some crazy places and for the sake of my forgetful brain I'll be documenting those worthy projects for posterity.