Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No plans

I have no plans for any more studio work for the next couple of weeks. We are off to our cottage tomorrow, and while away will be participating in a very big Art/Craft sale. Wish me well!

Monday, July 27, 2009


I hit the wall yesterday. I reached the point where I just couldn't do another bit of sewing for the sale next weekend. I'm also having quite a bit of back pain, aggravated by the positions and movements of working in the studio. ( Yes, I know about ergonomics, and have spent some time applying principles to the studio--this isn't a new problem) There were a few tears, and my brain was fuzzy around the edges for the rest of the day, but I think it's time to stop.

So I'm going to take some time off. No more studio work for, at least, two weeks. I may do research, or I may work on class preparation, but I'm not going to spend any time responding to that obsessive drive to make more stock for the up-coming sales.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More fun, less work

A friend was over for a couple of hours yesterday. We spent a couple of hours playing in the studio with Lutradur, Kunin felt and Shiva Paintsticks. As a result we have challenged each other. She has left me with a small piece of cotton that has been oil painted and over painted with Seta-color fabric paint. In turn, she went home with a piece of fabric paper, and several jars of beads. Of course, the whole studio is a disaster, and I'll have to spend a couple of hours tidying up before I can work. I have set the goal of finishing, at least, 8 fabric paper journal covers today.

Better get busy --or maybe not. I have four days to be totally ready for the next big sale--the biggest of the season. We'll be heading out on Thursday, and, since we'll be away for almost a week, will have to spend Wednesday doing last minute shopping and packing.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I was sick at losing the six journal covers that I had made with the wrong measurements, so tried to figure out what could be done with them. I finally cut them up for post cards. I haven't made any postcards since last fall, and sold the last of the old ones last weekend. So this will be a quick and easy way to replenish that stock. I hadn't planned to make any more, but with selling them and realizing that I could get a much better return for my time if I sell them than I do for the journal covers, it was probably a good idea.

A friend is coming over this morning ( a quick phone call yesterday--Hi! I'll be there with coffee at 9:30 tomorrow) I recently bought a book on using Lutradur, so we'll be playing with that for a couple of hours--or, rather, she'll be playing while I finish post cards ( see above) She has recently moved and has yet to set up her studio, so I figure she must be in advanced withdrawl. I know I get "antsy" if I don't get into my studio on a regular basis. Later, I hope to get to Michael's. No--I don't need anything, but I have a coupon--so must spend money. Actually the book on Lutrdur recommends using soft gel medium for a variety of activities with the Lutradur, and I doubt my medium stuff would work as well. I've been experimenting with using gel medium and bakery paper to transfer wrting to fabric and/or fabric paper. It works very very well on white surfaces, but less well on coloured surfaces. I tried a couple of different strategies yesterday and left them over night to dry. We'll have to see how they worked out.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time passes quickly

when you're busy. The sale went very well--so well, that now I have to work my butt off replacing the stock that sold. I had thought that there would be enough stock to cover the 7 sales I have between now and Christmas. I was wrong. So I waded in again on Sunday morning. By last evening I was well into it when I realized that I had been working with the wrong measurements. A day and a half's work down the tubes. So I forced myself to take a break, played a little internet poker, and then went back to it. DH is away this week and I have no distractions, so still hope to get a fair bit down.

At the same time I'm into preparing for a big family reunion for the August long weekend. We will have up to 9 guests at the cottage that weekend, so I'm busy making and freezing meals, since that's also the weekend of the biggest sale of the season.

For anyone who might be interested, it was mainly my small stuff that sold--most of it priced at under $35.00. So I need to sell volume, and this involves more labour costs. Somehow I need to create a market for my pricier stuff. I would rather sell a piece for $400 once a year than have to make and sell 20 smaller things. Food for thought.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Scared silly!

Everything is ready for the first really big sale of the season. Everything I read on the internet says that the poor economy has meant disaster for the type of sale I particiapte in. But I know that most of the postings on my internet group come from the USA, so I'm hoping that the impact is a little less here. Now that everything is ready I get time to worry. Yesterday I found out that there will only be about half as many vendors as usual at this sale. We're in a huge gym, and I'm concerned that we will have a poor showing if there are only 7-8 booths there. But this could also be an opportunity. I contacted the organizer and asked if I could have a second table ( i.e. larger booth) No problem! So DH and I were out and bought additional display stuff and will be able to spend the next day or so organizing the larger booth. I'm wondering if I might be wise to take some hand work along. Not only does it fill in the quiet times but it can also attract attention. People love a demonstration!

Sorting through my stock yesterday, I decided to retire one of the hangings that I've not been able to sell over the past couple of years. It had several UTEE beads on it, and I can now use them in small pictures or on box tops. So bead-making is a little less urgent now. But I have 5-6 small trinket boxes that need embellishment. A good "take along" ptoject, and easy to set up.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thanks for a great framer

With the preparations for the up-coming sales, we've been into my framer three times in the past two weeks. He sure is great! Yesterday he helped us finish the backs of four little frames I had found at a garage sale. I had made four small pictures using a combination of needlefelting, hand embroidery and adding my hand-made beads. They look really great, especially with the lovely little frames. But putting the backs on was beyond our capacity.

I was pleased to actually get to use some hand-made beads that had a more "ethnic" appearance. These were started with rolled Tyvek that had been painted with metallic paint. I rolled two layers together with the painted side out. I wrapped them haphazardly with Kreinic metallic threads, and then zapped them with the heat gun, which melted the Tyvek, but not under the areas that had been tightly wrapped. The final appearance and texture worked very well with the needlefelting that had been done with wool and yarn. When I used silk roving and Throwsters silk waste, the UTEE based beads worked well. So overall, I ended up with a good variety in the pictures. I sure want to try this again, but it means haunting garage sales for small frames.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

It never rains etc..

My sewing machine broke! I just had it recently serviced, but back we went to day for help. Thank Goodness they were to fix it. I just have to accept that this machine hates monofilament thread and will go on strike if I try to use it.

So I tried to print off some pictures of my work for greeting cards. Out of ink!

However, I found time to play today. Last weekend I bought four small picture frames at a garage sale. Today I made up four pictures to put in them. I needlefelted the background on three of them--actually got to use the Throwsters silk I had bought. Then I hand sewed on three hand-made beads on each of them. I glued each of them to matt board and they look quite fine! Of course, now I'm just about out of hand-made beads, and will have to have bead-making session. Yesterday I found small boxes on sale for $1.50. With a small embroidered insert--including a hand-made bead--I can sell them for $15.00. And they do sell--right now I have an order for a couple of them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

While trying to solve the puzzle of the meaning of life etc. I started working on a piece that has been in my mind for a couple of years. I bought the Japanese fabrics in Ottawa in 2006, and then added a couple of oriental-type fabrics from my stash. I was worried about value and added some plain ecru cotton that I had stamped with some of my hand-carved stamps. The center "river" is extensively FMQ'd, but this is a bigger piece than I usually do and I had a terrible time getting the thing through my domestic sewing machine, both for the FMQ'g and to sew down the various pieces of fabric in the background. As a result, you can see in the picture, that some of the pieces of fabric were skewed off angle--not a lot, but enough that you can see it. Now I'm faced with quilting the background areas. How?? I tried a couple of lines using a dark monofilament. It was really difficult to see the previous line and to try to push the quilt through with any degree of accuracy in trying to create pleasing line.
So I decided to relegate this to my crap quota, and move on. However--my support group has suggested that it could be re-purposed--after all there is a lot of $$ tied up in the fabric, if nothing else. Any suggestions?

Here is a close-up. I hope you can see all of the FMQ'g within
the red area. I used Sulky Blendables thread, and
would sure hate to try picking it out!

Friday, July 3, 2009


Have been working full out for the past few weeks. I had set a July first deadline to have finished all of my show stock for all of the summer shows. Did the last little bit of beading Wednesday evening. I just have three collages to mount and matt, but have to wait for the matts to actually finish them. I've ordered and paid for the matts, but they're getting awful expensive. I had bought some from a different dealer and was disappointed in the poor quality, although the price was right. Since I rely so heavily on presentation to sell mycollages, I guess I'll have to stay with the better framer, and maybe have to raise my prices.

Despite having stuff in three high profile shows and a gallery show, lately, I've not sold any of my serious work. This, of course, feeds my self doubt, so I'm wrestling with what I want to do with myself. My obsession with planning and preparing for the classes next spring, makes it difficult to focus on the things I really want to do. So I think the first decision I have to make is how important it is to me to make money with my craft/art. This will help me decided whether I want to pursue teaching. If I'm not making money by selling my craft/art andthe money is important then the teaching becomes a priority, whether that is where I want to be or not.

I know that the money is how I validate my work to myself. But how often on this blog have I ranted about, and wrestled with my own self-doubts?