Monday, December 1, 2008

Very Busy

I have to keep this short. I am really busy trying to get the family presents made in time to send out for Christmas, so entries this month will also be few and far in between. Thanksgiving went well. Aside from Alton Brown's turkey recipe resulting in my setting off the fire alarms of the apartment, luckily not the whole building, and also dropping the casserole dish of dressing all over the floor of the oven, it all went well. We had few leftovers, so either I did not cook enough for the 10 of us, or the food was good. I am hoping it is the latter. I got all the Christmas decorations out and hung, including all the tree dressing. The fruitcake was baked last night, and today I will wrap it up in the rum soaked cloths and put it to sleep until Christmas eve.

On the plate today, I need to get back to the jogging program. I am going to do week 3 for the 4th time. I did one day of week three last week, none the week before, and two days the week before that, so I figure I should repeat again. I also have to finish attaching all the pieces together for this year's cake for Brenna's birthday present, wrap that all up, and send it off in the mail. I also need to run to the fabric store for hopefully the last time before Christmas. I need to pick up the fabric for Brenna's Christmas gift. I think I have all the other fabrics I need, but this project requires quite a bit. There is a little more cleaning and recovery to do from this weekend's festivities. I also want to get started on Craig's gift while the fabric for Brenna's washes. I think that will be enough for today. I am also going to work on Da's present while I am on BART to the store. I hope beyond hope that I can get all this stuff done in time this year.

Also in shop news, if you need something shipped as a holiday gift, the deadlines for Christmas delivery are as follows:

For locations in the USA, I need your order by December 19th
For locations in Europe, Asia, Canada, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Middle East, I need your orders by December 9th
For locations of most US Military bases, I also need your orders by December 9th.

Good luck out there everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Finished Brenna's Present Part One

Here is the long entry that I have been promising. I made a felt board for my niece, Brenna, this year for her birthday. I hope that she gets a kick out of it. I had so much oddly relaxing fun making it. I did learn a few things along the way, mainly that I tend to go overboard with my projects and that crafting while on cold meds is not a good option for me.

So I got this idea from, well where else, the internet. After looking at several free design pages, I decided to strike out on my own. I got the letter and number templates from a wonderful book by Phyllis and Noel Fiarotta called A B C 1 2 3 Craft Book.

That book in and of itself was a gift for Brenna's younger sister Claudia last Christmas. I went and looked up letter sets for display boards, and cut that many of each letter. I did some as capital letters and others as lower case letters. I also cut out all the numbers and made a signs for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as the bar for under the problems.

To make this all easy on me, I copied the letters on paper first and then used that as a template to cut around on the felt. I used the smallest rotary cutter by Olfa. It worked really well for this. I could almost act like the cutter was a pencil and just draw around the templates.

After cutting out all the letters and numbers, I decided she needed shapes to play with as well. So I got out a set of plastic Tangograms, and used those as templates for geometric shapes. I cut them out of every color of the rainbow and also included black and white. Along with the triangles, square, and parallelograms, I also got out the new trusty circle cutter and made some circles.

I then ironed out my fabric. I chose a green frog fabric, so that this board can eventually be handed down from Brenna to Claudia and then the youngest Craig without care about being too girly. I cut the frog fabric into an 20 by 13 inch rectangle. I also cut the same size of blue felt out of the left over felt from last year's over purchase of felt.

I wanted to make pockets on the back for her to put the letters and shapes. I tried to figure out how big to make them. I was working on cold medicine at the time and was not thinking too straight. I was underestimating the pile of letters, numbers, and shapes that were amassed in a gigantic army waiting to be unleashed on the felt board. I ended up cutting four 6 by 8.5 inch rectangles to make into pockets. I also made a flap to snap closed on the pouch. Those were shaped like home base on a baseball field. They measured 5 by 2 by 4 inches. 5 being the flat edge and 4 being the triangle edges. I also wanted to line the insides and decided to keep with the blue and green theme, so I went into the fabric bins and found some great plain blue cotton fabric.

I then edged the sides of the pockets and the top edges of the flaps on the serger.

This is where things got a bit silly. I tried to set the snaps and was not thinking. I placed the snaps into both sides with out measuring. The next day when I got down to work a little more clear headed and less sick, I realized my mistake. The snaps ended up making the flaps a little over an inch too far from the pockets. I ended up getting more of the blue fabric out and adding an edging to the pockets. I really liked how they ended up turning out. I then sewed them to the back fabric.

I then decided that I did not want a flimsy board. This board needed some body to it. I decided to add some left over fun foam to the inside. I glued a blue and a green piece back to back with each other. This way I could make sure that they would not show through any of the fabric; I would place the blue side to the blue felt and the green side to the frog fabric.

I then sewed the blue and green together on three sides, then inserted the foam, then finished off the other side. I got some yellow quilt biding that was left over from the puppet theater project and edged the board in that. If you need to know how to place quilt binding onto something with the mitered corners, Heather Bailey has a great tutorial here. I then realized that the letters, numbers, and shapes had really gotten too large for the pockets I had made. I went on to make some pouches to hold them all. I figured that she can use the pouches for storage, and distribute some to the pockets when she is going to be mobile in the car or on a plane ride to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Here it is all finished.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Hopefully it gives you some ideas for your present making. If you love this idea but just don't have the time or inclination to make one, there are some sellers of this type of craft on Etsy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Must Complet List

The end of last week and this weekend really put me behind. The cold I acquired in the middle of the week is really zonking me out. I ended up making a semi major mistake with my present for Brenna's birthday, and I hope to get it all ironed out and both fixed and finished today. I am also going to finish dying the play scarves for her birthday present as well as getting her "birthday cake" finished as well. Needles to say I want to have her gift all wrapped and boxed waiting for the postage, so I can get it sent out in time to arrive for her birthday rather than its usual late state. My other goal for today is to finish my Grandmother's gift and start my Father-in-Law's gift. I will have pictures of those for the massive post holiday wrap up. Before any of that can be accomplished, I just want to finish off the pants that did not get done in time for Shadow Dance. I almost had them done, but not quite. Today also involves an errands run for both crafting supplies and household supplies. I may also pick up new pots and herb plants. I have decided to throw in the towel with my current set of plants that keep getting infected with slime molds. I cannot win, so I am starting over with new pots, soil, and plants. That is the plan, pictures tomorrow, I promise!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Short Post

I was starting to feel bad last night and now today I have the full blown sore throat and head cold thing going on. Today I plan on getting a good chunk of the work done for the pants I need for Shadow Dance on Friday. I am also going to print up some more business cards to take with me. I am still working on finishing off that present. The snaps are giving me a hard time. I think I need to take out the bigger hammer to get them tamped down. I also have the cake for the birthday present to finish. I would really like to get the present wrapped up by Sunday, no pun intended. I also have tutoring at 826 today. So, with out further adieu, I am going to get some breakfast and get to work. I will keep you all updated on my Twitter Feed. I promise a better entry tomorrow.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This Seriously Needs to Come to Completion

I still have not gotten Brenna's birthday gifts finished. I think that I like cutting things out of felt too much or have some sort of obsession with it because I cannot seem to get this done and call it quits. Today is when I am going to call a halt. If it is not done by when I want to go to bed, then it does not get cut out. I also would really like to get the board all finished as well. I also went and got some more fabric for some other gifts that need to be made. I found a wonderful pattern on the internet, and it just so happens that a person on DIY Scene had it for sale. What a sweetie! I will post pictures of that gift once it is finished as well because it is for a two year old, so I don't suspect that he will see it here before the holidays. ;) I have also decided to make myself a "gift this year. I want to make some sewing machine covers. I have some wonderful sushi themed fabric I bought for a potential gift but ended up not using it. So I bought some other supplemental fabric this weekend to make some sewing machine covers and other sewing accessories.

I thought the fabrics were too cute to pass up. Plus, I need something to cover up the machines this Thanksgiving when the sewing table becomes a food table again. I also need to make a pair of pants for myself for Friday's Shadowdance show.

In the world of my jogging program, I have decided to repeat week three again. I am kind of disappointed that I needed to repeat the week again, but I think it is the best decision for my training. This week was really hard for me and seemed to be a bigger step up than the weeks before. I think that if I repeat the week again, I will be able to move into week four more easily. I am also working on getting all our music on iTunes. I am now into the letter E. Dan had a lot of music I did not put on at first, and now that he also has an iPod I feel the need to get everything into the music library.

How am I going to get this all done when I never get things done? Today they are supposed to launch at the husband's company, so this week should be a week of him being at the office and me not needing to do anything like intensive cooking. The only intensive cooking I am going to be doing is banana bread for breakfast, pumpkin pie for the hubby, and some sourdough bread for the week's lunches. Well there is a rotary cutter and some felt calling my name... and the gym too.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Less Productive Than Hoped

I was a little less productive than I has hoped yesterday, but I do have the excuse that Dan ended up scrubbing the launch yesterday. He ended up coming home rather early, so I had to also make dinner when I did not anticipate it. I was going to surprise him with cookies and a new tie blanket when he got home late, but I had to move the schedule up. I got them done before he got home, but the work suffered. I also got most of the cleaning done yesterday as well. I also cannot finish that up today seeing as the water to the building is being shut off for pipe work. It puts a little wrench into the situation... hey.. hey... pretty punny! Anyhow, I am going to continue the constant cutting work on the birthday present. I hope to get a bunch done on that before I head into the city to do work at 826 Valencia this afternoon. I cannot wait to get back there after missing it last week. I miss the kids and helping them find a joy for learning. After working there I have a meeting for a new project I am going to help with; more on that in the future. Then I am going to head home, either with Dan or not. I am not sure how this is going to work. They are launching today, so it may be a late night for him or it may go the route less traveled and deploy with no problems and he can just come home. Who knows? Well I am off to upload the Writer's Almanac for today and then off to the cutting table. There is work to be done! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I am not one to belabor a point, but I just wanted to say that I am proud of the voter turn out. I don't really care who your particular candidate was, I am just glad that so many people finally decided to take up their civic duty and vote. That is all I am going to say on the topic of voting and all the referendums because I am still a big believer in the privacy of the voting booth.

On the table for today... I have day two of week three of my jogging program. It is going to be interesting. This week is a definite step up from the last two weeks. I wanted to quit a bit on Monday, but I pushed through. Hopefully today will be easier. I am also hoping to finish all the felt cutting for Brenna's birthday gift and get the other part sewn and finished. I will take pictures of the progress for you all. I also want to wrap up the first stage of the other present I am currently working on that I cannot discuss. I am also taking pictures of that for later posting.

The house cleaning needs to also come to a close. I am not the biggest fan of cleaning, and I tend to allow it to drag out. I figure that if I get enough done, I will reward myself with a trip out to get new knitting needles for another project I need to accomplish for the holidays. I also want to make another pair of pants for myself to wear to ShadowDance when I do vending for Ariellah there. So if for some reason I get all the things I need to get done done, then I will cut out the pants for myself and get started on them. Well it sounds like a lot, but Dan is launching tonight, so I will have the whole day and night alone. I hope I can get focused and down to work. We will see what new thing decides to get me all distracted. I am hoping to be able to just say no to the television being on and put music back on now that the iPod is back to normal operations. Television seems to be way more distracting to me than music. Well enough rambling, time to get to work.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Today's Plans

It is Monday, and I am planning on making it a productive day. I have my day one of week three jog to perform. I think my ankle is back to being able to be on the elliptical trainer again, so I am going to do this as soon as the blogs are updated. I am going to then work on the harp. I want to get through lesson one today. I should be playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" by the end of the week. Well at least that is my goal. Dan moved the music files this weekend for me off of my computer that is being decommissioned onto the server. Now I am trying to repopulate my iPod and also figure out how to get my playlists back. I am not sure if I can, and I really do not want to remake them, but I will if necessary. I also am waiting to hear from someone about some logins and passwords that I have lost for files I need. I would like to still be able to use the files I bought, but I have not heard from the authors. Hopefully I will hear from them soon and will be able to totally shut down Venus in the next few weeks. I will be moving totally to the laptop then, and Dan will get a new lappy for himself. I feel rather refreshed from doing that cleaning this weekend of the files and computers. I also cleaned up my desk to prepare for the new computer configuration, so it is inspiring me to clean the house. I am going to work on it today. I want to wipe down all the cabinets in the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, dust, vacuum, and also mop the floors. In between all that, I want to work on more of the Brenna birthday gifts. Here are some snap shots of the progress:

The whole pile of letters is for her felt board. I hope to get all the numbers cut out and start on some of the numbers and shapes today as well. I also may start some of the scarf dying processes today for her play scarves. I am rounding out the gift with a book I got from the Chronicle book sale and a wonderful pouch made by SwanAmity on Etsy. She makes some wonderful little bags. Here is the one I got for Brenna.

I am also wanting to get another project finished or nearly ready for completion. I am awaiting some acorn caps from a friend back in Champaign to complete the task, so I can only get so much of it done until I get the caps. Once the holidays are over I will get some pictures of this gift up for you all to look at. I also would like to get another pair of pants cut out, but that may have to wait for a little while. I am determined to not be a crafting mess at the end of December. Well I guess I should get some work done on some things while I wait for the iPod to continue downloading all my files again. It may take a while, and I do not want to try to jog with out it. It really does help to have some high energy music for me. I will try to take some more pictures of today's gifty work for your perusal tomorrow.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Quick Post

I just wanted to keep it short today. I am not really working on anything for the shop. I am going to be working on house cleaning and maintenance as well as some personal renewal. I am doing laundry, polishing dishes, making pies and cookies for fall, and perhaps finishing up cutting out all those letters and numbers. I did my "jog" today as a bike ride in the gym. Since I got through my two weeks, I am excited to get my reward, a new harp teaching DVD. I have never really gotten to learn to play my harp since I got it in 2003. Now is the time. I am off to switch around some laundry and pop in my new DVD!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cloudy Day and a Bum Ankle

So I am not really sure what happened, but I have this huge bruise on my ankle. I went to dance class and yoga on Tuesday and had no problems until I tried to do the cool down exercise. This involves sitting in a cross legged position for a stretch. When I put my right ankle down on the floor, it really hurt, but I thought nothing of it. Then, yesterday as I was doing day two of week two jogging, my ankle felt really stiff, but no real pain. I switched from the elliptical machine over to the treadmill for my cool down, and that is when I noticed it. I had this huge bruise peeking out from my shoe. The entire malleolus, that sticky out bone on the outside of the ankle, is one huge localized bruise. Being an athletic trainer as a former career, I found this rather intriguing. Usually ankle sprains do not present like this, nor do I remember actually hurting the ankle in any way. So, I put myself on no standing and leg elevated orders. It has made things interesting around the house. I can do a lot of Brenna's present while sitting down, but my ankle gets really stiff, so I need to take breaks often to sit with the leg elevated. I have even let 826 know that I will not be in for tutoring today. It is a total bummer since we are having our Halloween/Dia de Los Muertos party this afternoon. Bummed! I also was going to meet Dan for lunch today.... also canceled. I am hoping to put this day to good use. It is cloudy and cool, so I can finally crack out my teapot and warmer and sit down for some dedicated work with some fine tea. I would like to be done cutting out the alphabet for this gift today and move onto some other shapes. I am also working on another project that I cannot discuss until after the holidays. I am taking pictures though for that big after Christmas posting. Well I am going to limp my way into the shower and try that out today. We will see how things go.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fog Lifted, New Listing, and Letters Cut

The fog ended up lifting yesterday in the early afternoon, so I ran down to the patio and took some pictures of the Black Roses pair of pants. I edited the photos and listed the pair up on the store.

I think today will be totally devoted to present making. I know I keep saying that, but I really need to put the shop on hold for a little while to get these gifts made. I do have to day that some good came out of the circular cutter debacle a month or so ago. I bought several sizes of circular cutters to try to make a circle template work. I was rather upset to find that I needed the special cutter made by the template manufacturer. What was I going to do with four different size cutters? Well the smallest, 15 mm cutter, is working perfectly for this current project and cutting out letters. I hope to get it mostly completed and take pictures for you all to see what I made. I also have to do day two of week two of my jogging program. I have found that talking about it here is kind of like a confessional. If I don't end up doing it when I say I will here, I feel bad. Oh the inspirational value of guilt. I hope that today stays foggy, so I can indulge in pots of tea while I work, but that seems to not be the case. Well since the fog is lifting, I guess I should go and get some work done myself.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Love the Fog, But

Well I love the fog here, and I know I have talked about my love for it before, but today it is not a good thing. I wanted to be able to take pictures of the new pair of pants, yes the black roses one, that are finally finished. If the fog lifts enough to have some sun, I will take some dimly lit photos, so I can at least list the pair on Etsy. I spent most of the day getting the organizational tin finished, photographed, and listed.

I love it. It will be hard to send off when I finally have to. Today I am going to devote to my niece Brenna's birthday gift. I will take pictures of it as I work, so you can have something to look at tomorrow. Most the gift involves cutting felt into shapes, so wish me luck.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cooler Weather

Today I woke up to glorious fog! One of my favorite things about living in the Bay Area is the fog bank. I have always loved foggy days, and there were very few when I lived in Illinois. They were a joy to me mostly because I associated them with being at the lake in Wisconsin for the annual family fishing trip we used to all go on. Most mornings would open with a fogged in lake that seemed so full of mystery; it let my over active imagination have a place to play. Along with the fog is some cooler weather. This change is letting me think more about my holiday gift making. It is hard to focus on winter events when it is 85 degrees in the apartment. Waking up this morning and having the cool ocean smelling breeze coming through the window immediately turned my thoughts to my niece's birthday gift. She is a December baby, and I try to make sure she gets her birthday gift on her birthday and not on Christmas. My sister also works on keeping her birthday "hers" by not decorating the house for the holidays until it is over. I will take some pictures of her gift in construction as I make it and post them here so you know what I am working on. I figure she is still too young to be on the computer finding this stuff since she is just in kindergarten, well at least I hope she is still too young to find it. I am also going to get another organizational tin finished up and listed today in the shop. It was fun to do the blackwork for this one as well.

This is the needlework just on the canvas, but I still need to get it all put onto the tin. It should be up for sale today for $10. Also on the slate for the shop must do's today are some finishing touches to the black roses pants. I want to model them tomorrow and get them listed up as well tomorrow. This of course can only happen if we are not fogged in all day. I also need to make some more wrapping papers for the shop. I think the overall plan is to do a half work on the shop day and half on the birthday present. If I can get a good jump on the birthday gift, which involves a ton of cutting and not so much sewing, I will be really happy. I will keep you all updated as to how things are going on my Twitter Feed. Sign up today to get the most up to date information on the shop.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday is Here... Really? Already?

This week has been not as productive as I wanted, but that seems to always be the case. I guess I just always set too high of goals. Well at least I shoot high. Today is day three of my new jogging program. I hope to keep up with it. I am setting up some rewards to myself if I get each week done. If I jog today, I get to go into the city to look at the Chronicle Books warehouse sale. If I get through week two I get to use the DVD Dan ordered me last night to learn to play the harp. I haven't thought out the rest of the nine weeks, but I hope this helps me stick with it this time. I planned on doing a lot of house cleaning today, but the water to the building is being cut for at least an hour today. That puts a little crimp in my plan. I am hoping that I can do my workout during that time and have it back to take a shower when I get back into the apartment. Today I also want to put the finishing touches on the black roses pants and perhaps cut out the brown thatch ones. This weekend I am taking another buying trip, so I want to get moving on the older purchases before I get the new ones. I just love fabric buying though! Well I hope you all have a wonderful day and great weekend. I look forward to telling you all about the weekend on Monday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Catch up and Tutor

Yesterday was not as productive as I had hoped. I got caught up in the computer and did not accomplish what I set out to do. I hope to catch up a bit today. I need to get the black roses pair done and the new brown pair cut out. I also have tutoring with 826 Valencia today, so I have to leave the house early to get into the city. I also want to tune the harp to keep expanding the soundboard, and I need to work on my spinning skills. I have been bad and have not worked on that since the class even though I was supposed to try for one hour a day. With all that in mind, I am going to keep this entry short and to these points. Down to work!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sore, But Ready for Work

If you have been keeping track of me on my Twitter account you know about my current muscle soreness. I am going to tough it out though and get down to the gym after I get this blog entry finished. Yoga and dance last night seemed harder than usual, and I would like to think this is because my current state of being out of shape and starting an exercise program. I am determined to work through this though and get stronger and more able to dance without getting tired. The iPod has been beaten by my husband. It now works, and I cannot wait to use it today when I go for my jog.

In the shop today, I am going to get to work on that pair of pants I cut out yesterday. The Black Roses fabric is simply fabulous. I cannot wait to see what the finished pair will look like. I also have some retakes of the "I Dream of Asia" Jakarta Pants that need to be edited and uploaded. I also need to take some quick rough pictures of all the new fabrics I have gotten into the shop. Once I get those things done today, I am going to prep and hopefully cut out the new brown brocade fabric I have. Here is a picture of it, although it really does not show the colors too well:

It is a darker chocolate colored fabric with a thatch pattern of golden fibers. I would not have really picked it out myself, but it caught Dan's eye. He pulled the bolt out for me to look at, and I decided it was a winner of a brocade. I hope to get those done and uploaded for fall and winter purchasing in the next few days. This evening, I think I will start working on a birthday gift for one of my nieces. I want to stay ahead of the curve this year on gifts. I will post pictures when it is finished, and her birthday is over. Well I guess I should quit procrastinating and get down to the gym. Remember you can follow me on Twitter for smaller updates if you are so inclined. I also updated the Flickr feed today as well. You can check in there for pictures of new fabrics I get into the shop and make special tailoring requests then before I cut them into pants. Ok, enough procrastination... off I go.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

IPod and Me

I did not get that much done yesterday. I wanted to be nice and add the cd's I gave Dan for his birthday to the music library so he can add them to his new iPod. OK that was my big mistake. I got logged on to my computer that I don't use as often to get onto iTunes. It needed to be updated, ok go for it. Then I imported the cds, and all seems to be going well. I plug in my iPod to the computer and all sorts of bad broke loose. So I spent a lot of my day working to restore my iPod, that is still having a temper tantrum currently and does not work. Hopefully I can get it restored sometime soon. It is just frustrating that I always seem to break technology just by touching it. I did brave the jog and hope to keep up with my three day a week plan that I found.

On a brighter side, the lime peacock pants are finished, and I am going to go and photograph them today. I am also going to retake the pictures of the "I Dream of Asia" pants. When I am finished with editing photos and listing the new pair, I hope to get to cutting out the black roses fabric. I prepped it last night, so it is laying across the table and half way into the television area of the apartment. I am sure Dan will appreciate not having to tip toe around it when he gets home tonight versus last night. Well here's to hoping I can get this technology back up and running as well as getting things done in the shop.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend in Review

This weekend was really good overall. Dan stayed home from work on Friday because he was still not feeling well, which resulted in little work being done for Fabulous Pants. I was okay with this though seeing as I have really been plugging away on things for it on the computer and on the machines. I am just worried that I am going to get stopped by the "rainy season" for listings because I will not be able to take pictures. I hope to get a ton of things done today due to my renewed vigor from taking a break from it all for three days. On Friday I took it easy and did things mostly on the computer. On Saturday, Dan and I went out and did "free shopping." It is fun to do, and I highly recommend it to others. We tend to save up our gift cards and never spend them, so we go on free shopping sprees when we finally get around to using them all. I go to get some items I needed at Crabtree and Evelyn and also learned that they no longer sell my perfume. It was kind of disappointing. We went and got Dan an iPod for him to finally be able to have some music with him. He was happy to have a new tech toy. I also spent a gift card at Macy's to get some perfume and got a ton of free stuff because it was give away time from the counter I bought from. I also got some things, although not for free but on sale, for me. I got a pair of tan wool pants and a new wardrobe item I have never had, a purple hat. I love adding that to my new look that I am trying to figure out. We also got wine glasses and martini glasses from Crate and Barrel. It was great to get so many things for free essentially. We ended our night with an almost free dinner at Ruth's Cris. It was a fun day.

On Sunday I went to a drop spindle class. I am not that great at spinning yarn yet, but I intend to work on it and become good with this. Once I can spin on a spindle, Dan is going to get marching orders to build me a wheel so I can learn on that. Hey I figure he can make me a harp, then a wheel is not too far behind. :) After that, I relaxed on the couch and watch some tv off the dvr while I surfed around the web and Dan worked on his work. I did two minor things for Fabulous Pants; I uploaded my products onto Google base, and I also got Twitter set up. You can follow my small updates on my Twitter Feed and see what I am tweeting about. I then spent the rest of the evening working on a project that is mostly for myself, but also for someone else. I cannot talk much about it now, but look for my recap of items I am working on but can't talk about now after the holiday season. It will be picture filled and action packed.

On the slate for today: jogging.... Yeah you heard that right. I am going to try to get back into shape again. I tried earlier this year and did not do so hot at sticking with it. I am more determined again since I did not fit into any of my dress pants for this weekend's dinner. We will see how it goes this time. I have that same jogging program I am going to try, but I think I will try it on the ellipitical since that is more controlled by my pace rather than having to turn the speed up and down on the treadmill all the time. Perhaps when I get further in the program and there are less intervals I will be able to switch back to the treadmill. I am going to finally finish those lime peacock pants so they can be photographed and listed tomorrow. I am also going to get the black roses pair cut out and hopefully started a bit. We will see though. I do need to clean up around the work area from last night's project as well. Well I am off for a jog...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fabulous Fridays

Ok, I will admit it, I am falling behind in my plans this week, miserably! I blame it on me rediscovering my love for my lap harp that I still do not know how to play. My husband made it for me, and it is beautiful, yet I stink at reading and learning to play. I am a learner who needs an instructor most of the time. I can and usually will practice on my own, but I need the reassurance of an instructor when learning most things. So I usually just tune it and pluck around. No matter what you do with the harp, it almost always sounds pleasant.

I had trouble with the bottom hems of the lime peacock pants, so they are still being worked on. I hope to finally finish them off today. Then I need to work on wrapping presents for my husband's birthday that is tomorrow. Today is also laundry day, so that needs to get done along with some minor house cleaning. All of this may be impacted in a way though if Dan decides to stay home from work and work from here today. While I love the idea of him taking a more low key day today since all the extremely late nights and long work hours, but it makes wrapping presents and using the sewing machines kind of a challenge. It is really hard for him to concentrate with the machines running. If there is any time left in the day before prebirthday sushi dinner, I will cut out the black roses pair of pants. I have made the decision to do the black ones first and then the brown. Tomorrow is a total Dan decides birthday day. He wanted to go and do "free shopping" for his birthday, so we are going to finally spend all those gift cards we got for birthdays and holiday presents last year. These days are always fun because you walk away with a bunch of stuff that you did not pay for. The end of the day is going to be spending his gift card for a wonderful steak dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. I have never been to one, but he tells me they are really good steaks. On Sunday I will be gaining a new skill that I have wanted to learn for a long time. I am taking a drop spindle spinning class. I have always wanted to be able to go from shearing to a finished sweater or scarf or socks or something. I have learned how to knit, now I will learn to spin. Hopefully I can then find a class in cleaning and carding. I will let you know how all the weekend plans go on Monday. Till then I hope you all have a Fabulous Friday.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the Plate for Today

Today I am going to work on the Lime Peacock Jakarta Pants. I got them cut out yesterday after doing quite a bit of computer work. I got a bunch of pictures uploaded to my flickr photostream. Feel free to friend my photo stream to keep up with all the pictures I am taking of new products. I also post new fabrics there, and that is one of the few times I can be contacted about custom lengths on pants that are longer than the standard 36-38 inch outseam. I hope to get the lime pants totally finished today, so I can photograph them tomorrow. I also want to retake my photos of the "I Dream of Asia" pants. In my haste to open the original ebay store, I took pictures with out ironing out the pants completely. Amateur hour I know. So I am going back and retaking the photos of the pants that I originally made when I am taking other pictures of pants with the same color falls. I also am replacing some of the tags in th pants. When I first made these pants, I made all the tags with my own handwriting. I now hand stamp them with the Fabulous Pants font stamp instead, so there are still some old labels floating around that need to be changed out. If I have time before I have to head into the city to Japan Town for a going away party, I will cut out either a brown pair or a black pair of pants. I am leaning toward the black sari pants, but the brown fabric is also stellar. Pictures of the brown fabric is forthcoming, but I will leave you today with a picture of the black sari fabric that is most likely next in production.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Product - Organizational Tins

I have been busily bouncing around on this idea since this summer, and after working on some great blackwork designs over the past few months, I finally have my first tin out for purchase at this listing!

This project is the culmination of two things I really love, embroidery and organizational items. Blackwork is a distinctive embroidery technique that became popular in sixteenth century England for covering caps, gloves, sleeves, and bodices. Ever since I first learned about this technique, I have wanted to try it out. These small tin pieces are a great way to have some of this intricate work around for me to enjoy in an everyday practical way. I have always loved items that aid in organization and are stylish at the same time, and these tins will fit the bill. I was always sick of digging through my overly stuffed bag at dance performances trying to find my ugly plastic sandwich bag of pins, that ultimately did not get closed all the way and dumped all over my bag. I also love the oh so embarrassing "I can't find my bindi, oh wait, here it is stuck to my costume" situation.

Sticking with my need to make all things multipurpose, these tins can also be more versatile than just uses for a gig bag. It could also help to tame your purse or backpack of its organizational woes. Inside is a mirror for aiding in any contact replacement, bindi adjustment, or make-up touch up needs while at a dance function or when you are just out on the town. This tin is so small and versatile it could be slipped into a clutch purse when out on the town. The interior is also lined with black felt to show off any pretty bindi or jewelry pieces stored inside. I hope you all enjoy these. I really enjoyed developing and making this one. There will be more with other new designs to come in the future!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photo Sessions and New Products Begun

I went and tried my hand at new camera settings yesterday. I could not do it on Wednesday as I said I was going to because someone was down on the patio reading. It wasn't that I did not want to do photography sessions in front of others; I have done them before. This person was just using the umbrellas on the table to shade himself while reading, and well I could not bring myself to go down there and ask him to lower it. He looked too content reading in the wonderful weather. So I went down yesterday and played with some new settings on the camera. I liked that the pictures came out more clear more often, but the fabrics are still not coming through as well as I hoped they would. I guess I will just have to tell my perfectionist self to let it go. I took pictures of the Fading Cobalt Jakarta Pants again as well as some more of the Blue Daisy ones. The pictures essentially turned out the same most of the time, but there were fewer blurry and over exposed ones with this new setting. I am happy about that. Here are some of the Fading Cobalt retakes:

I think they look nicer than the older pictures and have replaced the old ones in their listing
. I also got the extra long purple hairfalls finished. They look great, and I almost wished they were mine instead of the purple pair I have. I originally wanted a super long set but cut them shorter when I was trying to finish them in time to wear at a Belegarth event. Needless to say, I did not get them finished in time so cutting them short was for naught. I still love them though, even if they are shorter than I wanted. I am happy though to finally have a long pair out there to go to someone. I will be photographing them today and listing them. I hope to hit the Halloween costume buying frenzy. I will post those pictures soon.

I have also started working on my new product. It involves blackwork embroidery and my favorite thing in the world.... organizational containers! I don't know why, but things to store other things in are a weakness for me. I hope to spread that to others. More details on this project are forthcoming.

On the plate for today in the shop: well laundry for the household. Friday is laundry day around here, and I want to get it all done instead of the long drag across the weekend that usually happens. I am also going to photograph those falls as previously mentioned and list them today. I want to get this new product made and photographed to be listed and profiled here on Monday. If there is time I wanted to get some labels stamped and ironed as well as ironing out and cutting a new pair of pants to be made. One other thing that needs to be done is a run to the fabric and craft stores for some family holiday gift supplies. That all needs to start sooner than later, and I need to try to get in gear for that rather than putting it off. I am on my own tonight due to Dan being at Whiskey Fest in San Francisco tonight, so I hope to put that time to good use. Here's to hoping some cheesy movie on the television doesn't sidetrack me!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Technical Problem... Being Me Using Technology

Yesterday was turning out to be a very productive day until I did something rather careless. I spent two and a half hours out on the patio taking pictures of my new pair of blue daisy pants, and I was also retaking pictures of the fading cobalt pants. The pictures were coming along okay, but they were not my best shots. I decided to take them inside and list the daisy pair at least and work on cleaning up the listing for the cobalt pair. Well in my haste to get the listing finished, eat lunch, and get to running errands, I accidentally deleted my folder of working pictures thinking it was the old pictures I did not need anymore. I did save the blue daisy pictures in another file luckily enough, so that listing was made.

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening working on trying to undelete them. Once the wonderfully talented husband came home, he found a recovery program for me and found the files. I am working on cleaning them up now. I am also looking into some new settings on our camera to see if there is anything I can do to make the pictures come out more clear. I think I may have found a new setting to use, so I think I will experiment with that today. I also have to make a run to the store for all those household items I did not get yesterday as well as the post office run that I did not make. I am also going to stop downstairs and talk with the building manager to get our apartment into the schedule for the new air conditioning units that are being installed. While we will most likely only use this one or two weeks in a year, I will really appreciate it the times I need it up here. I also have to keep my eyes on the clock because I have to run into the city tonight for a performance of the One Man Star Wars. Dan is really looking forward to it seeing as the last time we tried to go we got stopped by a blizzard back in Illinois. Here's to hoping that doesn't somehow happen again here in San Francisco! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Things to Accomplish

I have decided to try to get tons done today and really buckle down and do it. The past few days have not been the best for picture taking because the fog is in and thick. By the time it has been lifting, the sun is not in the best place in the sky for me to take pictures. I have decided to take whatever pictures I can get in when the fog lifts. I am also not complaining about the fog being here. It is actually one of my favorite things about living in this area. I have always loved the look of fog around water since I was a kid. We would go fishing every year up in Wisconsin at Clam Lake, and my favorite days there always started out with the lake so fogged in you could not see it. Going out in the boat on those early mornings was an experience that has stuck with me. I loved the sense of the veil of the two worlds being lifted in some sense of it all.

Other than the picture taking, I need to finally finish off these purple hairfalls once and for all. I am really close to getting them done, so I am making them a priority today. I have to get some labels made up as well. I am going to try to get many of them edged today and will stamp them tonight in front of the television.

In amongst all of this, I need to run some things to the post office and make a trip to the store for some of our household needs as well as some items for the store. If I get all this done, I am going to move on to starting up a new product. More details on that soon.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Cloudy Day = No New Pictures

So I am putting the finishing touches on the blue daisy Jakarta Pants, and I was really excited to get them listed today. There is only one problem, the weather is finally changing here in the Bay area, and the constant sun is not there now. The first rain of the season is moving in tomorrow, so the early clouds are already here. That then means no product pictures today out on the patio. If the clouds lift long enough for some good pictures, I will run down there to take them, but that looks rather unlikely. The pants really do need to be photographed in full sun for the fabric to look anywhere close to the actual color. So, this puts my plan to list every other day in jeopardy. I have decided to put the lime pair on hold a bit and get the extra long purple, black, and sliver hairfalls finished up. Those can be photographed on a plain white background since I do not have to model them. It is also a Thursday, so that means time to go over to 826 Valencia for tutoring sessions. I also think I will try to hit the two thrift stores on my way there to look for some other items I need for holiday gift creation. I think I am going to pop on a movie and get some braiding done. Hopefully some day I will be faster at this aspect of costuming craft.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Finally.... Purple Pants!

I am so excited and pleased to be able to offer these purple pants for sale. Purple is my personal favorite color, so it is always hard for me to part with any purple items, but I would like for these to go to a happy home. They were a joy to work with, and while I loved working with some new fabrics for the Jakarta line for my recent custom orders, I was happy to get back to saris. There is just something magical about the way the light plays on the fabric, and the colors it creates. Yet, what is great and wonderful about these fabrics is also what is horrible about photographing them. I am never quite happy with the results of my amateur photography skills, and the pants require just the perfect conditions for me to be able to get them on film. Even when I do get some pictures that turn out, I feel that they miss the luster of the fabrics in most cases. So, here is my humble submission of my photography, modeling, and editing skills on display for you.

For today in the shop, I am going to work on that blue pair of pants that got cut out a few days ago. I hope to get those completed today, so I can get to photographing and listing them tomorrow. If that gets done early enough, I am going to get some lime colored pants cut out. This fabric was really intriguing to me, and I think it will look great on someone with a darker complexion. Here is a quick picture of that fabric for you.

The hubby is working late, so I hope for today to be an extremely productive day. If for some stroke of the imagination I get those things done, I will then work on more fortune cookie promotions. I am in love with them, and the new tool I got to help me with making them. After all the disappointment and frustration with the cutting tool I bought that did not work, I treated myself to a great circle cutter from Olfa. It is taking some time for me to learn how to use it, but it makes things so much easier. I can churn out circles much faster. I need to get as much in for the shop as I can now because Holiday crafting season will be here before you know it, and I will have to turn my attention to the family gifts. I am already doing the research for the gifts this year, but I need to start construction soon. I am determined to not be crazy this December. Well I think it is time to get down to some ironing and pinning...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Feature on a Blog

I had a short feature in a blog by Elektra Jewelry Design. She was so kind to feature me, so I thought I would put up her Etsy Mini for good karmic returns. Check out the store and look around. Perhaps there is something you would like for yourself, and it is never to early to start some holiday shopping! Have a great weekend. I will be back to the blog on Monday with the weekend recap.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hoping For A More Productive Day

Lately I have set goals and not met them as far as production of pants has gone. I love all the new fabrics I have bought and really want to get them made into pants, but things have been standing in the way lately. I was on track to get a ton done on Monday, but found I was out of the thread I needed, so I resorted to more cutting and less making. Then on Tuesday, I went to fill in all the thread gaps I had at the fabric store. A quick trip to the fabric store is like trying to stop the world from spinning. I always end up browsing the aisles even though I say I am only going to run in and then out with only what I need. In my browsing, I always end up with more in the basket, that then turns into a cart, than I really need at that time. What can I say, I am a fabric addict. I am hoping for today to be different. Aside from doing the laundry, I have tried to remove any things that will get me off track by doing them yesterday. I had tutoring at 826 yesterday, made all the phone calls I needed to make, and did all the net surfing I could to try to get it out of my system. Hopefully I can settle in to get some great sewing work done today. With that, I am off to plug in the iron.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Supplies Run

I worked on the purple pants yesterday. I got the fabric all ironed out, and folded for cutting, and then cut to only find out I could not sew them up. In all the recent supply runs I have filled in all the gaps for colors of thread, or so I thought. I went into the thread pile to find that I had only three feet of purple thread in the color of the pants I wanted to work on. *SIGH* So, I moved on and worked on ironing out, folding, and cutting another pair of pants in a beautiful light blue. This fabric also has the binding on one side, but the delicate shade of blue was also too good to pass up the day I bought the fabric. It has great little daisy type flower details all along the design patterns. I also like that the gold embroidery on it is a more subtle shade of gold and less bright in spots. It looks almost antiqued. So, on the plate for today is a quick run to the fabric store for more thread. I am also going to hit some thrift shops to look for certain supplies I need for making some of my holiday gifts for family this year. I am trying for once to start my gift making now, so I am not a crazy person come December. I find making stuff for the eldest niece is getting tougher and tougher as she starts to get older, and the thought of her being too old for toys made by her Aunt just gets to me. I need to go and visit them sometime this year while they are all still little and not too cool for me. Well there are many places to get to and my feet and BART only travel so fast. I will leave you with a quick picture of the blue daisy fabric for the other pair of pants I am cutting out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Inspiring Weekend

This weekend I decided to recharge the creative batteries. I went with my husband and a friend to the De Young museum to see the Chihuly exhibit. It was full of beautiful glass works, and it was nice to see someone else who seems to love vibrant colours. He also has a very whimsical view it seems, and his love for natural forms was also something I connected with. Below is a picture of his glass ceiling. It was a great piece and seemed to be a gigantic "I Spy" picture made of glass. If you go to the above link, you can see pictures of the entire exhibit. I highly recommend it to anyone who can see it when it comes to your city. Pictures just do not do this exhibit justice. It is something that must be experienced in person.

After that, I went with my husband to see Lewis Black in Berkeley. It was a great night. The show was really funny and rounded out my day nicely. On Sunday, it was back to finishing work on some pairs of special order pants. They are finally finished after much wrestling and wrangling, but I think they came out beautifully.

Yesterday was filled with house cleaning. I have let it slide for too long, and it really needed to be done. I tackled it all yesterday. Who knew such a small apartment could take so long to clean. It is great though, and I love having a sparkling clean house. Now, I can mess it all up with pants making! I have some great fabrics I bought a week or so ago and some older ones that I can finally get to. Today I am going to work on the purple moon flower fabric that I have. While the sari binding is only on one side, I could not give it up. I thought it was too pretty of a pattern and colour to pass up. Here is a quick picture I took of it. Hopefully I can get these made today and photographed tomorrow. It is all weather dependent on that. I want to get them up for sale by Thursday though. On that note.... off to iron this great fabric out to get it ready to cut!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

To Do Today

Toady I am hoping to get a lot done, only, in a quiet fashion. My husband is working from home today to try and get things done. His office space is shared and therefore very loud, so he is using the house today to try to get more done. This means that machine work will be limited today. I have that special order pairs of pants that should be finally done today. They have taken a while, but I am learning a lot about working with cotton knit fabrics. I am beginning to think that I like it.... I know, crazy but true. I was so petrified of working with it when I took on the project, but through diligent study and trying out different solutions, I think I am well on my way to working effectively with this type of fabric. Who knows where this will lead in the future! I am also slowly getting my hairfalls done. I did some research looking at other sellers of hairfalls as well yesterday and felt better about my lengthy making process. I did not understand how some people got their falls done so fast and why they looked so different. Upon further looks, I found that these sellers string yarn onto hair ties and do not much else where as I braid almost all the yarn I place on the ties except for the few "highlight" yarns and metallics that I use to make them look more dread like. Hopefully the hard work on these will pay off for me. Time will tell. Well I am going to head into the work space and try to get some great work done.... quietly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cookie Factory

Yesterday I got rather wrapped up in working on my promotional items that are going to fellow Etsy shop Simply Sarah's Paper Perfections. I decided to stick with my two favorite things, Asian style items, and kitsch. I morphed the two into the following promotional item: felt fortune cookies. I got the idea, but had no clue what to write as my fortune to people getting them at the craft show. Should I just put the same content as my business cards? That seemed rather boring. I mulled over this for days, and finally when on a fabric buying trip, I stopped for lunch at a Chinese food place. In my fortune cookie, I got my answer for what to write inside. "Fabulousness in dress will send desirous eyes your direction." Thank you whoever wrote that one at the factory! So going out to the lovely Sarah are 60 of these handmade felt fortune cookies with my shop information. Look for them at the Seafood, Music and Wine Festival in Panama City Florida. Also look for Sarah, or if you aren't in the are check out her Etsy shop liked above. Here are some pictures of my cookie making day.

Cookies being assembled and glued together.

Close-up of an unfolded cookie.

Sixty finished felt cookies.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Productive Weekend, Trying to Carry That into the Week

I got more done this weekend than I thought. I was trying to keep off the machines, since the hubby needed quiet while he worked on his programming for work. I ended up working on a personal project but also on many things for the shop. On Saturday, I went to the knitting group I have become a part of. It is put on by Knit-One-One, a local knitting school that I will one day take some spinning classes from. I have learned to knit from a very talented friend, and am working on my first project. It is, of course, a scarf for my Grandmother for Christmas. I am hoping I will get it done in time along with all the other gifts I have to make. I then spent some quality lazy time with the husband. He even took me fabric shopping! He is a great man! I found some great fabrics and am really excited to start cranking out some new pairs of pants with them. They are truly gorgeous.

On Sunday, I did my normal domestic duties such as shopping at the Farmer's Market and picking up the other groceries at the store. I finished the laundry that is always supposed to get done on Friday, but always seems to not get done because of my working on pants items! :) I worked on some promotional items for the store that are going to be given out by a fellow Etsy shop Simply Sarah's Paper Perfections at a craft show in Florida. I hope it gets some new people into Fabulous Pants. I also worked more on braiding the purple falls I am working on for the store. They are super long! I really am liking this pair, and I hope that they find a good home soon when I get them onto the store. Hopefully they will be up in the next few weeks. They do take a long time since I braid almost all of the yarns that are attached on the bands. Pictures to come soon.... I promise this time!

Well it is time to get back to work on these promos. I also am down right determined to get the pants that I am working on for a special order done. They are made out of a different kind of fabric I have never used before for these pants, so they are taking a really long time. I really want them done though.... the person they are for has waited very patiently, and they need their pants. I just want them to be perfect. Hopefully this pair will make me gain some confidence though, and hopefully I will branch out further with the pants line because of this. If I do, they will be named after her! Off to work, and I hope you all have a creative day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Choli - Blue with Triangles

Short entry today because I need to get down to sewing early. Today is a tutoring day at 826, so I need to get a ton done this morning before I head into the city. I thought I would just post a quick picture of a newly added blue and gold triangle choli that is up in the store. Right now there is only the medium C/D-, but there will be a large D/DD up soon as well. For now, I hope you enjoy this new fabric, and I promise more creations soon in the store. I have so many ideas, and I am finding that my hands just cannot move fast enough to accommodate them all. I am happy though to have this type of a problem! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Three Day Weekend Refresh

So I planned on working all weekend, seeing as I thought the husband was going to have to do the same thing, but that was not the case. I ended up doing some more final settling into the apartment. It seems like I will finally have everything just how I want it, and then it will be time to move! :) I did get some pants items done this weekend. I updated some of the language on the website, and I also posted the blogs on the front page. If you are a new reader to the page due to these updates, welcome! I hope you enjoy keeping up with all that is going on in the studio. So after rearranging furniture, stacking books in different configurations, and slogging through computer work, I am ready to tackle some more pants items on the sewing machines. Today, I am working on a couple pair of pants for a special order that was placed a bit ago. I had to find the perfect fabrics, and I think I have settled on them. I am devoting today completely to this order. I want to have them totally finished by the end of the week. I do have to learn some new serging techniques for these pants since I am using some different materials in their construction. Hopefully my learning curve is not too steep, and I can get them done in fast order. Someone has been waiting patiently while I craft my magic, but I hate making people wait for things! Well time is slipping away, so I will sign off and update you all again hopefully tomorrow!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Warm or Hot?

I hate to think that I have acclimated to the Bay Area this quickly, but things I used to consider just being very warm are now quickly becoming hot to me. Perhaps it is the lack of a breeze, perhaps it is the lack of readily available air conditioning at home, I am not sure, but the high 80's have now officially become unbearably hot for me. It used to take high 90's with very high humidity to make me say that, but I guess it is part of becoming one with the Bay Area. The heat is so bad, I am actually dreading my trip into 826 for tutoring today. With no windows and only two small doors that can be opened in the Pirate Store, it gets really hot really fast in there. I am going to finish up a tooth fairy pillow for the nieces this morning to move onto a special order for this afternoon and evening. Hairfalls are slowly forming at nights, and belt ideas are rolling in my brain. I just need to sketch them out or write them down somewhere so I don't lose them this time! Well lots to do and little time before I need to head into SF! I am slightly sad I have already lost my Illinois weather tolerance.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's 826 Day!

Ok, I know this blog is supposed to be about Fabulous Pants and all that I do in that area of my life, but sometimes there are other things that bleed into other areas of my life. One of these things is my volunteer time at 826 Valencia. It is a writing and tutoring program in the city of San Francisco that has successfully branched out into other major cities such as LA, Chicago, and New York. It is meant to help tutor students that need to bridge the achievement gap as well as working with students who are talented in writing and journalism. And since the date it 8-26, today they celebrate over at 826 Valencia! I am going to head into the city today to help set up the celebration and meet with the new students and parents for this year. The Mission High book project has been announced as well, and while I am totally taken with the idea of it, I am afraid I cannot be a core member. It would take too much of my already scattered time. So if you want to know more about 826 Valencia, check out their website and donate or buy some student writings! I am sure you will be amazed at their raw talent!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Artisan Pants?

So recently I had someone ask me what was so artisan about my pants. I had to think about this only a little while seeing as I hand picked the word artisan for a reason when I put it on my tag line. My reply boiled down to the following points. One thing that makes the pants artisan is that they are made in small batches. I do not tend to make more than five pair out of any singular material, unless it is a troupe order. I like to limit the number of alike pairs out there in the world, so each owner can feel like they have something that is not owned by hundreds or thousands of people, like a manufactured piece of clothing is. I also search out my materials and purchase things that I think are beautiful. Then I hold onto that fabric for a period of time. I want to make sure that I don't see a ton of other things made out of the materials I pick. I want to ensure they are unique for my wearers. Another artisan touch is that I make sure all my seams are turned under where ever possible, so there are no exposed cut edges. When that is not possible, seams are sealed with a serged edge to ensure a clean finish. I also have certain special touches I use with my pants to make them artisan. I make all my own labels for the pants from recycled material. Each label is cut from former dress material, seams are rolled, and then I hand stamp my logo and name on each one. For clothing that tags would be excessively annoying, such as choli tops, I hand stamp right on the interior fabric so no tags get in the way, show during performance, or irritate the sensitive skin of the arms or back. Finally, the pants are artisan because each package is wrapped in hand stamped wrapping paper when ordered from my Etsy store. Hey, who doesn't like to feel like they are opening up a present for no particular reason! Treat yourself! So that was my reply, and I think I won them over to calling my pants and products, artisan.

Friday, August 22, 2008

No I Haven't Fallen Off the Face of the Earth!

Ok so many of you must be wondering what happened to me and if I have closed up the shop. Well the answer is that I was on a hiatus and of course I would not just close up the shop! For a week and a half, I turned the sewing machines to work on my own personal costuming for Belegarth. Every year I promise myself that I will work on my costumes incrementally and not put it off till the last minute. Well we all know how that goes. I get wrapped up in working on Fabulous Pants and in my real life and my hobbies many times get put aside. This year I made several items for the event. I created an Afghani style tribal dress. It turned out better than I had even envisioned even though I had to finish hemming it on the train out to Idaho. (I will post a picture up here for you all to see sometime!)I also got a couple of pantaloons made for myself and a new choli to add to the bellydance trunk. The trip to Idaho for Chaos Wars was very fun, and the event was even better. The train trip out was one of the most exciting that I have ever experienced. I met a man who is walking around the world. This begged the question, "Why are you riding a train then?" He was actually on a break from the round the world walk. Once I find his business card again, I will post his blog for you all to read about him and his adventures. The site was gorgeous. We were lucky enough to be hosted on a horse ranch in Hailey, Idaho. The hosts were amazing, and their land was so beautiful. The event was action packed and filled with old and new friends, good fighting, and great food.

After one of the best Belegarth events I have ever attended, I returned home for one day to do some laundry and repacking. I then left for Illinois to visit family and let the husband have a well deserved vacation away. The trip was nice, and it made me realize exactly what I missed about the Midwest. One of those things being sweet corn. Californians may think they have sweet corn, but theirs has nothing over the corn of "home." We also got to have some wonderfully beautiful weather, especially for the Steam Show in Sycamore. Usually it is so hot, and then you are standing next to all these steam engines, you just want to get back to the air conditioning of a house. This year, I had a hard time leaving the Taylor Marshall Farm. It was a great day with wonderful weather and great music and threshing.

We finally returned home on Monday of this week, and I had a glut of laundry, cleaning, ordering, and appointments to keep. 826 Valencia needed some help, so I went there on Thursday. I finally got to turn some attention to the shop today. I went to get some supplies and will be working on some custom orders I have received. I also hope to get some falls and new belts made soon. Check back more often, seeing as I will be back to blogging now that computers are in reach and back logs of computer work are finally cleared! It is good to be back, and I cannot wait to get back to some costuming fabulousness!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Sales and Special Orders Oh My!

So things are really busy all of a sudden. This always seems to happen for me at the oddest and not necessarily most convenient times, but it is great and I am not complaining in the least! On Thursday, I had an all day session at 826 for their summer program. When I returned home, I had a wonderful e-mail waiting for me - my first sale on Etsy! I have done many face to face and custom sales, but no sales off of a website yet, so this was very exciting. I also have a client I am working with on a custom pair. I have to run out to the store again because I do not have the correct color thread for the color of the pants I am making today. I also have a wonderful friend who is working with me on some pants orders. I need to remember to contact her about getting measurements. This of course is all converging on me in the time when I usually do my costuming for the Belegarth event that I attend in Idaho. I guess I will just have to get myself in gear earlier and work harder to get things done. So with out further adieu, I will be logging off here to get to public transit to get to the store. It is spare the air, and I intend to stick with my ever constant use of public transit! Here is to a busy week.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Cross Stitch Belt

So I have been working on this belt idea for a long time. Cross stitch is something that I really enjoy, but my hands have to also be cooperating for me to be able to work on this. That means that most of my cross stitch work used to occur in the summer months in Illinois, and I had hoped that would change when we moved to California. I had hoped for fewer cold and wet days.... boy was I off! The bay area has many cold and damp days. I guess the place is more like Seattle than I had first thought. So I began this belt project in the summer last year, intending to finish is soon over the last part of the fall, however my hands have been rather uncooperative. So I put this belt plan aside on the sewing cart. It eventually got moved around several times, and each time I looked at it I really wanted to finish it but knew I couldn't. Finally I began to bury it under other projects. I just could not bear to look at the unfinished sewing. Well I found it again recently and decided to try to get through the final tediously difficult hand sewing of the shisha on this piece. I decided to go with faux shisha in order to make the piece a little less bulky. Here is one of the finished animal forms, a peacock. It will be the central panel of the belt that is inspired by a traditional wall hanging called a toran. I hope that you enjoy looking at this little piece of the work in progress. I am really enjoying working on this little gem again. I am so sad that I let it languish for so long.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

826 In Schools

Ok so I have kind of been slacking in the Fabulous Pants shop, but it has been for a good cause. I have been helping out 826 Valencia, a tutoring program and writing program here in San Francisco. They do great work, and I am honored to be a part of their volunteer work groups. I had the pleasure of working with a couple other 826ers on one of the in schools rooms. The great people at 826 have some rooms in certain schools to work on writing and other programs with students right there, in their own school. And the best part of all this... they make the rooms just like 826. They are a place full of imagination and whimsy. I have been helping them with their tent project. An 826 associated room would not be right with out a reading tent. This particular tent was missing some spunk, so I came in for the assist. For the past four days, I have been trouble shooting ideas and fixing up the tent so it looks more... well... tent like. A hula hoop and some twine did the trick. If only I could claim that this got me over my fear of using tall ladders. Well I guess I should try to get back to working on some things for the shop. I am just so worn out lately between all the activity in San Francisco and trying to breathe in this wildfire smoke filled air. It just takes the energy out of you. I will post pictures of the tent sometime if they get sent to me from the people at 826.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Cold

So I have not posted in a while mostly because I have been hit hard with a summer cold. There is nothing worse than a summer cold. It is nice outside and everything seems so beautiful and bright, but all you want is to snuggle under blankets, which is too warm, sleep, but it is too bright, and be a slug. Yet, there is so much to do. I am currently trying to start a running program to help with my dance endurance. I tried to do that on Monday... big mistake. Then I tossed around the idea of going to the studio for yoga on Monday and dance on Tuesday. Needless to say, I missed both. It was disappointing especially since this was the first week back to the studio for our teacher in quite a few weeks. Today though, I am feeling back to normal. The hard part today will be to not over do it and still fit in a nap somewhere.

I don't quite know how it happens, but the house continually seems to be coming apart at the seams. I guess that is part of living in a smaller space. We still have some boxes of books lined up from our move last April, and I suppose that does not help me in making the house seem organized. We kind of just push the pile around as needed. It just takes more to keep it neat around here. So I need to get the house back into order and running again today. That means not only cleaning but making a killer dinner for the husband. I am dying for a good meal, and tonight we are having one. There is gyro meat to spice, tzatziki to make, yogurt to culture, and pita to be made. It is going to be great, and I cannot wait.

I did get a little done for the store. I did some specking out of things for a new product. Hopefully I will have some of those up in the next month or so. I also picked up that belt that I have been embroidering, specifically cross stitching, for a while now. I was really into this belt a year ago, and then got frustrated with the shisha mirrors, so I put it down. I let it languish for a year until I realized how beautiful it was again. I picked it up yesterday and really became attached to it again. Since I put it down a year ago, I had read about several new shisha techniques, including a faux shisha. I decided to go with that one. I think the lightweight pallets will work out better than the full size mirror. I also am using clairber rings for the enclosure method. That way, if the pallet ever needs replacing, it will be an easy fix. I hope to have some preliminary pictures up tomorrow of the progress. Well there is so much to do and so little time in a day. I am off to conquer it, as well as get that nap so that I do not loop back into this cold.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This Weekend's Performance and Other Notes

So I guess all my hard work paid off. Even though I could not wear the bra that went with the belt, my costume still looked great, and when I get some pictures, I will post them. I felt good performing this weekend. People seemed to like what I did, which is even better. I worked so hard on what to do and felt like my practices were always falling flat, but when the music started, and I was in front of the small group in the coffee shop, it all fell together. They seemed to really love the veil section of the piece the most, which is always odd to me. Veil seems so easy, but Ishara always said I had a special skill with that prop. I guess it is just something I tend to connect with better than other things. Yet, I still want to be a sword girl!

This week is the last week for tutoring at 826. I have only been at this for a few weeks, but it makes me really happy and miss teaching more than I thought. While I am working with a younger set of students than I am used to, I love the energy of learning. I will be in there on Wednesday and Thursday, the two last days before the summer programs take over.

So in the shop today... it is kind of a housewife day more than a designer day. The house has fallen into a state of disrepair due to the business and the show. I have been spending so much time on the internet trying to promote and working on my dancing that the house is kinda worse off than I would like. Floors need to be mopped and vacuumed, shelves dusted, and best of all cookies baked. Then there is that belt.... the one I have been meaning to finish for over a year. I will pick that up again today. I mean it! ;)

I am also looking into making some items for my annual trip to Idaho for Chaos Wars for Belegarth. I would really like to get a few new costume pieces done. I suppose it is time to take that first scary step and wash out my batik fabrics for my Afghani style dress that I want to wear on Monday for the set up day. I also need to order up some head scarves. I have decided to abandon my usual ranger hat in favor of something more period. I also want to come out with a new feasting ensemble. I am thinking something more in keeping with my bellydance side of my persona. I think my days of big European style dresses may be over. I want thing that are more multi purpose for me, and those big dresses would only be feasting outfits for me now. A nice ornate Byzantine style I could wear for shows as well. I guess this is enough rambling! I should get down to some work.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Mirror - Bra Catastrophy!

OK! The title says it all. I have a borrowed bra and belt set for this show on Saturday, and the belt fits, perfectly. So I figure the bra, when reconstructed from being cut apart, should fit totally fine. Boy was that a wrong assumption. I have been working on reconstructing this damn thing for weeks. No matter what I have tried, it is not fitting nor is it working. I have one last try before I totally give up and go to my Tribal coin bra. I have to reconstruct it back to the 80's style necklace kind of bra. While not my personal style, not dropping hundreds of dollars on a bedlah for a one time show is. I guess I will have to make this work somehow. Back to the hand sewing from hell. I now remember FULLY why I quit Cabaret style dancing.

Mirror - Sister's Pie Recipe

I was digging around for this while chatting on etsy. It became a topic of discussion briefly. This is by far my most favorite way to eat fresh strawberries, and now that I am in California, I get to have them all the time.
SO here it is for the people who wanted it.

Strawberry Chocolate Pie

1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 stick of butter melted
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz of cream cheese softened
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons of honey
ripe strawberries

Warm up oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a 9 inch pie plate. Add the melted butter and press into a shell in the pie plate. Blind bake the crust for 6-7 minutes in the oven. Let cool. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and cool. Beat the cream cheese until softened. Add the honey and melted chocolate. Mix well. Put the filling into the cooled pie shell. Cool at least two hours in the fridge. Add cut strawberries to the top when ready to serve.


Mirror - Upcoming Show and Other Musings

So I have a show coming up on Saturday, and what am I doing? Procrastinating and avoiding the issue of course! I should be working on my costume, or practicing my improv more, or doing anything to get ready for this show. Instead I am on the computer avoiding it all. I guess I am just more worried about this show than I would like to recognize. I have not danced Cabaret style for two years. It has been a huge shift of gears. Going from slinky, snaky, creepy, dark to light, airy, bubbly, smiles, and flirty. It is a huge contrast. I went and tried to do some run throughs at the studio, but it was not with the results I had desired. I have three more days to get this down. I guess I need to just get some sort of confidence about this. I need to buckle down and hit the floor hard. I know I will pull it off, I always do, but I wished I could do this with less stress and more confidence.

On other notes, I found out that some people did not really understand how the Jakarta Pants worked. One person told me they would love to buy a pair but they had large thighs, and that they would not fit. That had me thinking about that statement. Unless your thigh was 47 inches around, yes one thigh and yes I know that could be the case for some people, they should fit. The limiting factor on the pants should be waist size (45 inches) or height, which has other solutions. I believe that people did not realize what kind of pants they were, and Balinese open side pant. So I worked on a photographic tutorial for them. (Yes my procrastination has been going on all day.) I have the tutorial finished, and I will post it for your perusal. Hopefully this will generate some sales, but we will see. I also started adding the tag "Rave" to the pants. I never thought of this until Hannah told me how many people have given her comments on her pairs at Raves. DUH! Well I should get back to sewing on this costume for Saturday. Hopefully all things with that show will start to fall in line.

Mirror - Smoked Out

Well I am afraid that I have missed my window to take pictures. I did not get to the patio yesterday to get the pictures taken because our building's ground crew was here cutting the grass. Today, we are fogged in... I thought. It appears that the fires in the Santa Cruz area are sending smoke up our way. It is hazy and smoky smelling out the window, so we will have to see how the pictures turn out. I hope to get the other three choli fabrics photographed and edited today. Perhaps I will even get to posting one of them on the Etsy store. The labels are yet to be made and the cholis still need theirs put in. I am far behind schedule as usual. Well I guess I should get to. Perhaps if things are too hard to photograph outside I will take some shots of the "studio area" of the apartment. There are still some house duties to get done as well. Laundry chief among those. I guess I should quit chatting on Etsy and blogging and get to it.

Mirror - New Cholis

Well yesterday was more busy than I thought. Trying to balance my time between the computer, sewing, designing, and now volunteering has become more of a challenge than I thought. I think I am going to have to resort to using an egg timer or something to keep me from staying on the computer too long. Etsy can be quite addictive, but I am trying to be good. ;) I have many things on the slate today. I have cholis to put tags into, labels to make, a belt to continue working on, and... there are more pictures to be taken of the new cholis that will be up for sale soon. I have taken pictures of the orange, next are the red, blue, and purple ones. There are pictures to go up on flickr of new fabrics for pants too! Things are really heating up, hopefully sales will be as well soon.

Mirror - Quick MiniStore

May 21st, 2008

Here is a quick peek into the Etsy Store Pages. Feel free to stop by and browse around. Even though the pants are marked as bellydance and yoga, they really are multifunctional. I have worn them to weddings, dinner parties, and clubs. They are very comfortable and also a great conversation starter!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Through the Looking Glass

Just as a preface: I have decided to help people out by having a blog on both LiveJournal and Blogger. The blogs will mirror each other, and the content on both will be exactly the same. I am hoping that by doing this it will make everyone's lives easier. People on LJ can friend me and keep me in their radar screen just like people on Blogger can keep me in their sites as well. (Not that I have figured out how to find you all yet. ;) ) So There are going to be several postings tonight to get this blog up to speed with the live journal. I will list the original posting dates from the other blog on the tops of these entries.

May 21st, 2008 - Getting my Feet Wet
I have just started to set up this blog and am having a harder time configuring things than I thought I would. I am not the most savvy of computer users, but I am no shrinking violet either. I have been working on getting my Etsy store, , off the ground, and am finding promotion the hardest thing. I am still awaiting my first sale, but I am optimistic that I can get it sometime soon. On the slate today in the shop is to take some pictures of new items and start work again on a fully hand embroidered tribal style dance belt. I am adding the shiny metal parts of the shisha now. It is my first attempt at this, and I am hoping that my lightweight style solution will help the design out.

Also on the slate today is to shoot into San Fran and work a shift at the Pirate Store. This is a non-profit neighborhood tutoring program that also runs the only independent Pirate Supply store. More on this in another post. It will be my first shift there, so I am sure there will be a lot to talk about tomorrow.