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...