Friday, June 26, 2009

Projects Completed and Begun

I have been really busy as of late trying to finish up projects as well as spend time with Greg while he is in town. I have finished up a pair of long blue hairfalls that I hope to photograph soon and have up in the shop next week. They look great, and I really like how they came out. I am also making slow but steady movement on the elephant and peacock belt. I hope to have it finished off today and photographed early next week for you all to finally see. It is turning out quite well thus far, and I am really happy with it.

I have also started some things. I am looking around to find a present to make for Craig's birthday, and as I promised my sister, I am trying to find something that does not have a ton of parts. Hopefully something comes to mind soon. I also started a new piece of embroidery for another organizational tin. I am doing this one as red work on black cloth. It is coming along nicely and quickly, so hopefully that will also be up sooner than later on the Etsy Store. Tonight is dance class and then a late night theatre performance of Point Break Live at Cell Space. I hope it does not disappoint. Well since the creative forces have been so strong, I think I need to capitalize on it and get to work. More next week.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Brunch, Destash, and Visitors

This weekend was more productive than I thought it was going to be seeing how little work I got done on Friday. I was so hesitant in working on the elephant and peacock belt because I am terrified of messing it up, that I fiddled around with ideas for way too long. I finally decided to just dive in and see what happens around 4 pm, so while not a lot got done, it did get started. Sometimes for me that is a majority of the battle. I cannot wait to get back to work on it today once I am done writing. Saturday was started off with Brunch with our friend at the Foreign Cinema in San Francisco. It was a really nice day, so we opted to sit outside to eat. The food was great and the atmosphere was also pleasing due to the unbelievably pleasant weather. Dan has declared that we must do brunch more often when the weather is like it was yesterday. We went from there to see the movie Moon. I liked it very much, but others in the group were not as big of fans. I am not one to spoil movies, so you will have to see it for yourself and make your own judgments.

Sunday was spent in a rather lazy manner. I tried to call the parents but they were not available, so Dad if you are reading this today, Happy Father's Day. I worked on a set of blue hairfalls most of the day, and they are almost finished. I hope to have them completed tonight and photographed tomorrow for listing. The garden loved the warm weather this weekend, and it seems like I can see a difference in the size of the plants from Friday to today. Hopefully the warm weather we are supposed to have this week will help this growth spurt. The radishes have all sprouted up, but there is no sign of the green onions. Hopefully they will appear soon. I will take pictures of them tomorrow.

The destash continues in my Etsy shop I am continuing to enjoy myself in finding things I no longer plan to use and listing them. I am not quite sure what is wrong with me, but the decorative placement of jewelry findings into neat patterns for my listing photographs has been oddly enjoyable.

I guess it is all those days of tangogram playing catching up with me. Well the sewing machine is calling, and I want to get this belt underway. Hopefully I will have this belt finished before Dan's brother comes to visit this week. I have a feeling that I will get little done while he is here, but that is a good thing. I miss Greg and cannot wait to see him when he gets here. With that in mind though, off to get as much done today as possible.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spam-A-Lot and Lots of Destash

We went to see Spamalot last night in San Francisco, and I enjoyed watching the light hearted romp through some of the highlights from Monty Python lines and scenes. It was nice to revisit them in a live format and without having to supervise a classroom of high school seniors. We even got to go out for dinner afterward. It was so nice out in the city we sat outside to eat which seems to be a rarity this summer. Alas, the good weather is not holding out though. The fog is already rolling in at 12 pm, and the plants will most likely be denied their full sunshine of the afternoon that they so desperately need. These shifts in weather don't deter the birds though. They seem to be getting more and more used to me sitting and watching them on the patio through the open balcony doors.

In recent days, I have been trying to dive into making the embroidered belt. It is rather nerve racking as I have spent significant hours working on the pieces and I would be so sad to ruin them when constructing the belt. I guess the best thing is to just dive in, but I am still really nervous. In all the thinking and procrastination time I have managed to catch up on my way over due personal check balancing and also discovered some supplies for destashing on the Etsy shop. It has been fun thinking about the belt issues while creating decorative displays out of unused mirrors and jewelry findings.

I am getting rid of this circle cutting mat since I don't need it after the upgrade to my Olfa circle cutter.

There are also sets of mirrors both small and medium sized that would be great for mosaic work or making shrines or some other crafts.

There are also many jewelry findings that I am taking pictures of as well. I will be slowly uploading all the items over the next few days as I need breaks from all the hand sewing and work I am doing. I also will have a big announcement for me in the next week. I still have some things to confirm before I can talk about the details.

Today I am on usual Friday housework schedule as well as cutting out the pieces for the belt and a pair of pants. I would like to fix a choli of mine that I managed to rip, but I will leave that as a "reward" if I get down to work. I guess I better get to it all if I want to get my things repaired!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hard at Work

I have been working on quite a few projects and am getting myself into the trap of starting many things and getting none completed. I have a set of blue falls started, and ironically "Rhapsody in Blue" is playing on the classical station as I write that. I also have wrapped up the major embroidery work for that elephant and peacock belt that I have been working off and on, mostly off and not so much on, on for the last year or so. I am also working on some pairs of pants as well. Some need labels put into them and others are just waiting to be sewn up. There is a lot to do, and I am feeling more motivated to create than write today, so I will just keep it short. Maybe if I am working on one thing instead of jumping around I will have something to take photos of to show tomorrow. We will have to see how the muses take me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pictures from May

When my parents came to visit in May, they took lots of pictures as they usually do. I appreciate when my parents are around to do the picture taking, so I don't have to worry about bringing my camera with also. I finally got my cd full of pictures from them, and I picked out a few to share with you all. I hope they get me kick started into work today, as I for some reason am having a hard time getting going.

Here is a view of the Golden Gate bridge from the Marin headlands. It is hard to get a clear shot like this at the time of day we were there. Usually the fog is rolling in, but that weekend was unusually warm and the marine layer was staying away.

This is a view of the hotel that sits on the historic site at San Juan Bautista. It is a great little museum, and for the very inexpensive entrance fee for the buildings I would highly recommend it. There were wild chickens all over the place, and they were fun to watch.

Here is the view of the bell tower of the mission. While we did not pay the entrance of the mission, we did walk around the gardens, which is free. This tower was used in the filming of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

On the last day that my parent's were here, we drove down to Monterey and went on the 17-Mile drive. It was a neat drive, and since we hit it at the end of the day, the otters were out in force feeding in one of the bays. All of the larger black blobs that are sticking out of the water are otter heads. There were too many to count. I could have sat there for hours watching them all working on shells and playing around in the water.

The final highlight on the drive was the lone cyprus. It is the symbol of Pebble Beach and was very beautiful to look at. I guess when my parents went on the drive the first few times, you could walk all the way out to the tree. That is no longer allowed for preservation purposes, but it is still a neat thing to see in person versus all the drawings and photographs I have seen.

Well I have more plants to get into dirt today and some pants that I want to finish up working on today. I have also started a new set of blue hair falls. It is nice to have some sets of falls to work on while Dan and I watch movies. I always feel weird when I am sitting with nothing in my hands to work on. Also, I am going to be working on finishing up the elephant and peacock belt that I have shown snippets of in the past. The large embroidery work is almost done, so I can move on to attaching them to the base as well as some more free hand designs on the base of the belt. Tassels will follow soon!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Faust by Shotgun Players

We went to attend Faust by The Shotgun Players at the Ashby Stage last night. As usual, the adaptation was creative and engaging. The acting was skillful as well. I am so glad that we became 38 Special subscribers for this company. They always do a wonderful job with masterful performance, intriguing sets, atmospheric lighting and sound design, and a wonderful set of staff that run the theater. All of the actors and actresses were their usual top notch. I especially enjoyed Peter Ruocco as Mephistopheles. He was hanging around the set with the right posture and attitude at the right times to make his character just stand out for me. He was always present even when he would disappear to the off stage areas because I was invariably looking for his next appearance to see what he was up to next. His line delivery was also a hit for me as he seemed to accent and drop just the right tones. The run of the play has been extended, but tickets are going fast. If you are in the SF Bay area and have a chance to go see all the talented people of this performance, jump at the chance.

Here are some press pictures from their website to tempt you into going. Photos taken by Jessica Palopoli.

Mark Jackson as Faust and Peter Ruocco as Mephistopheles

Mark Jackson as Faust and Blythe Foster as Gretchen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

Last night was the SF Etsy meet-up with the team from Etsy itself. It was a great meeting, and people had some really great suggestions and ideas for the site and improving the overall experience on Etsy. I did not take great notes or anything on the meeting, but Savor did and if you are so inclined you can look them over on her blog. It was great to see so many C level people there and talking with the community at large. They were all very honest and up front with the schedule of things to come and what they are working on for the future.

Today is a classical music day here for me. It just seems right for the mood of the day. The clouds of fog are thick and billowy like a large comforter, and while it is not the best condition for the patio garden, the unseasonably chilly weather is extending my hot tea season by quite a few weeks. Today's pick... Assam. I hope that the garden is not getting too stunted by so many fog filled days, but today it seems like the perfect weather for me to work under. There are a few things to research on the interwebs today and some more pants to be worked on. I am also hoping to prototype the new belt idea in the coming days. Here's to hoping for quick and well done google searches!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sonnets Never Sounded So Good

I happened to get a wonderful opportunity this weekend to go and see Garrison Keillor read his new poetry work in San Francisco. The book entitled 77 Love Sonnets was a wonderful set of poetry that is not to be missed. It was quite the departure from some of the normal topics seen on Public Radio's A Prarie Home Companion. He delivered many types, some lovely, some rather sexy, and others sad and poignant. All were wonderfully written and struck just that right note. Never has a sonnet sounded so good since my college days and studying Shakespeare or my attempts at getting high school students excited about iambic pentameter. All his sonnets are done in this style, most rhyming. It takes a special talent to be able to sum up such feelings and ideas in such a restrictive format. This was complimented by piano playing that was just the right touch to set off the words as they were spoken. When the piano was silent, it made certain words stand out just that much more. I highly recommend getting your hands on this book once it is released, and if possible, getting an audio version of Garrison Keillor reading them to you with the musical score. All of this was done to raise funds for the 826 Valencia Scholarship fund. It is such a wonderful foundation and center and a wonderful cause. Check out their website to see all the wonderful things we do over at 826.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Jozef's Birthday Presents - The Turtle

I always love to scope out the internet for free patterns for future use as a way to take a break from my work here at Fabulous Pants. It was during one of these sessions that I ran across the patter for the other gift I made for Jozef's birthday this weekend. I found this really sweet little turtle toy that has a removable shell. It was available for free at the time, but is now available for a small $4 fee at Wilsons' Shop on Etsy. This project was a great stash buster for me as I could recycle out some great scraps from other toys to make this one up. One thing that I would say about this pattern as well as other patterns is to read all the directions first before beginning. I did not, so I missed the instruction to add a seam allowance to the pattern before cutting. This may have changed from the free pattern on the blog to the new sold pattern, but I would recommend that you read all directions first for all patterns you work with rather than doing what I do, just diving in and making adjustments later. The turtle turned out cute from tipi scraps and pelican left overs. I made it a more traditional and unimaginative green and yellow tone in color. The pieces to work on this were relatively simple:

They were easy to cut out and would have worked much more easily I am sure if I would have added the seam allowance. Because I did not do that, I had to do some hand sewing in the head region to make it work out well due to the short seams I was trying to pull off to make it more like it should have been.

This project took me literally three hours to do. It was a fun and quick sew. I would highly recommend this pattern to any level sewer, even extreme beginners. The only tricky part to it was the head seams to create the shaping, and even that would be a good thing for a beginning sewer to tackle to learn shaping. Here is the finished turtle in all its cuteness.

Hopefully Jozef loves this one too!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jozef's Birthday Presents - The Crinkly Owl

I am always stumped as to what to make for really young children that are no longer infants but are also not big enough for all out toys. Looking over the internet for inspiration and ideas, I ran across this great tutorial by Susan Beal for a crinkly, crackly owl toy It was a great toy and easy to make. I did it basically in a few hours. I used her pattern as a jumping off point and put my own little spins on it.

Here is the front of my owl all pinned together and waiting to be appliqued together.

Getting his back contrasts put together

The owl gets his wings!

Oh No! Look out owl! Here comes the iron for one good last pressing!

And here he is all stuffed with crackly recycled shopping bags and fiberfill. This tutorial was great and easy to follow. I made mine much more involved by giving him wings and also appliqueing the eyes, nose, and feet on. In the tutorial you just sew them on using felt rather than fraying cotton cloth. She also suggests the possibility of using buttons for the eyes, but Jozef is only one, so cloth only for him. I hope you all go and check out her tutorial and perhaps even her book. If you have seen the book or read it, what did you think?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Maker Faire was this weekend and I had a total blast! Dan and I started off by actually getting up early and heading off to BART and then the Caltrain to get down to San Mateo for the Faire. We got bagels and coffee to eat on the train ride down as well! Yummy! We got to the grounds just as the gates opened, and I ran to the Bizarre Bazaar first. I know how soon that place gets packed and how little room there is to shop. Plus, I wanted to make sure that I got to meet Rebecca of Jim Dandy's. She is a fellow SF Etsy member, and I wanted to finally get to meet her face to face. I bought the wonderful fascinator that opened this piece from her. I love it and cannot wait to use it in a performance. I feel a new costume coming on. Here are some other images from the fair in no particular order.

Fun rotating wing sculpture that you can climb into a be a part of.

Fire sculpture from the faire. We walked around these early in the day, so many were not yet lit. This one I saw later in the day, and the flames came from the center of the flower. It had two modes, on where the flames shot from the flower's center, and one where the fire rotated around the center of the flower sculpture.

This is one of the many beautiful sculptures by The Flaming Lotus Girls. They are very talented ladies, and while the sculpture was not lit yet, I have seen it before. Stunning. Head to their website for pictures of their work all aglow.

In one the buildings, there were tons of fun things to look at. Among them was the Long Now clock parts:

There was also the control system for a crazy Christmas House light display group:

This was most impressive. The power draw for the display was quite large, and the setup was simple and yet looked so intricate at the same time. I loved how they did everything for that one and also timed it all to music like others have done before.

One of my favorite things this year:

This sculpture was just breathtaking. I found it interesting that I, along with other people I over heard, thought this was made out of balloons. When you stand far away from it, it looked very much like oscillating balloons blowing in the wind of people moving around the space. It was in fact made out of recycled two liter bottles and had a motor at the top that controlled the movement of the structure.

This puppy mover, while completely impractical, I found to be fun in its own whimsical way.

Along with the recycled theme was this skull made of old computer boards and monitors:

Lucky Ju Ju Pin ball was also there with their naked pin ball machine:

There were also battery powered spyrograph robots:

and adult's playing with replica tanks on a World War II type set:

I finally gave up on taking pictures of everything and just started enjoying looking at all the projects. There were so many people to see and meet as well as learn from. It made me want to get home immediately and start crafting and sewing up some projects. A fun day for sure.