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.