Friday, November 28, 2008

cheer up, buttercup

Since coming back into my Etsy shop, I've been trying on occasion to explore things on the site that may have changed in the last 6 months while I was away from the internet. I'm not sure if this feature was around in the past, but I just found something else I knew nothing about... this time in Feedback (buyers/sellers leave each other feedback- don't forget!) where you can add an "appreciation photo".
Oh my gosh!
I had a hoot seeing these old appreciation photos Lupin posted there for me last year, so so good to see tonight. I feel another felty blog post coming on, but in the mean time share the love and saunter on over to bugs and fishes to visit her blog, where Lupin has been keeping us all entranced with gift wrapping tutorials (droolworthy). It was this guy that especially dazzled me although this is probably how it would translate in my craft-ability.
Thanks for the cheer-up, Lupin, even if it took me 10 months to find it. :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

ouou on CafePress

I'm watching the sun rise on this Portland morning after a night of rain, with an amber-tinged sky and raindrops still lingering on the branches outside. Yesterday was my day off and it was a long afternoon of internet tasks, cleaning up, and some minor packaging. The result? Some headway on ideas I was working on before closing the shop last spring... and another shop! Woo!

I'm finally on CafePress, that funky website where you can import artwork (or photos, or text) and create imprinted goods on CafePress clothing, bags, stickers, mugs or what-have-you. Previous forays into CafePress stressed me out since I had been trying to reproduce small watercolors, but the pen and ink spots are perfect! Right now there is a selection of onesies and (my favorite) mugs. I have a thing about mugs~ I'm sort of crazy about them.

Here is the link~ enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It is oh so nice to be in Treasuries. To this day I've never had the fortune of timing and luck that one needs to snag one, but ...someday. ...someday. Until that time, thank you to mehran for my first treasury spot since the shop reopened. It is a beautiful collection and really made my morning to see it. Yay!

mehran's unnamed treasury

You can see Butterfly Skies (last one!) nestled there in the lower right-hand corner. I really like this collection, the sandy-lacy goodness of it. Mehran has another shop, too, over here at aspasia where she sells lovely crochet hats. I admit- I fell for the owl messenger bag and this charming hat. Its true.

A Treasury, for those of you who are thinking "what is she talking about?", is a tool for Etsyians where you can place together items from several shops and create a 4X3 "poster" of handcrafted product images. They can involve unexpected and stirring combinations, often are created with a theme in mind. Some Etsy artists have really perfected the art of an eclectic and diverse Treasury. When I started on Etsy there were already over 200 treasury slots available, now there are over 300 (not to mention another 200 in the mysterious ghost ship of Treasury West) so it is really exciting to be featured in one of these growing numbers of collections.

Butterfly Skies Gocco silksreened Moleskine

Last week I was feeling a little lost at sea after opening my shop and then going back to work. None of the "prep" work I thought I would finish up before opening the shop had been done- things such as a business plan, or email list of contacts, or even a week of blogging to introduce the reopened shop. I really just dove right in. These other responsibilities are things that I'm still looking for time to really attend to around a somewhat more packed schedule than I had when last ouou appeared on Etsy. Or, maybe it was just funny to get used to not hovering around the shop while I was in my non-virtual job.

In order to begin to get my bearings and set my course, I spent some time reading the beginnings of my blog from last year. While there, I enjoyed retracing my steps through the unfolding Pennsylvania autumn, the vibrant deep colors and incredible healing energy of that time came flooding back in my memory. I was feeling somewhat wistful for nature walks along the Wissahickon trail back in PA when my sister Celeste and I went out on some chores yesterday. While out, both of my infant nephews fell asleep in the car... the perfect excuse for an impromptu diversion out to the Multnomah Falls area along the Columbia River Gorge route.

Multnomah Falls

Mostly we stayed in the car and made the outing a scenic drive (though I sprinted to the Multnomah snack bar for some lattes mid-way) along part of the Historic Columbia River Highway. The babies slept the whole way (!). It was a nice reminder of just how important and restful an hour can be.

Friday, November 21, 2008

recent sketching (going through a voice bubble thing)

Friday nights are not for Etsy, I learned that last year. And so, though I have looked at my page at least 5 times since coming home an hour ago, I'm letting it go for the night by posting on my blog and then (hopefully) closing my computer. Hello blog, I have missed you.

The other goal I have for my night is to get some drawing done. I'm not using markers as much as I was last year- hopelessly devoted to pencil as I always have been, it was only a matter of time before I was picking and choosing from my Prismacolors (yay) without a second thought of the Sharpies (boo). But, anyway, I like the pen-pencil combo I've been coming up with lately, still bulky cartoony now with the softness and texture of pencil too.

recent inspiration, Banyai's "The Other Side"

No such drawings have become "items", followers of the blog and the shop may have noticed I'm beginning my shop with the same stock as last year: Gocco prints, pen-and-ink notecards, some ACEOs and onesies thrown into the mix. In fact, more ouou clothing may get added before any new card styles. Right now I just am not sure where to find a scanner for all my scanny needs. Still, its right and good to keep on drawing until I resolve those initial just-opened, new-town issues.

Okay, back to work!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

blogs i love (round 1)

Ever since Jennifer over at the Lift of a Busy Little Bee blog included my blog in an award ("You make my day!" hooray!) I've been thinking... what blogs do I daily track? I have a subscription to Bloglines which holds them all, complete with updates, like "bookmarks" on your computer. I love the system, but after living without consistent internet for so long it can be overwhelming to see all those blogs with new posts pile up.

There are a few, however, that always catch my eye with a new post. I may be too shy to give out awards, but these blogs really are incredibly inspirational to me: The Daily Figure blog is the perfect thing for those of you, like me, who would be content to stay in Figure Drawing class forever. The gesture, expression, and simplicity here is mesmerizing. I am so completely under the power of this blog it is ridiculous. I can't even read it, but the remarkable clarity of Rosa Pomar's images (as well as following her lovely children's adventures) have transfixed me since stumbling on her blog for the first time. Here is the Etsy artist I wish I was. Its funny the artists we find great affinity with, even if our drawings look so different. New posts on the Folk Lover blog consistantly bring a smile to my face, and encourage me to take out the pencils again and again (not to mention the computer, the ink, the watercolor, the markers, the camera...).

There is a list of "Friends & Family" I recently added to my link lists on the right of your computer screen (if you're reading this in Bloglines, or what-have-you, you may have missed it) whose blogs are the very first I look out for in the morning. But, then, a shout-out just wouldn't be complete without the big three: Faded Willow, Mushroom Meadows, and Little Bee. These three blogs make my day time and again, each one with such different tastes.

My girl Karen over at Faded Willow is a list maker like the best of 'em, fellow gemini, and sweet supportive shoulder. She is a crafty jewelry maker and the hands behind Faded Willow on Etsy. Check out her blog and let her strike a match in your imagination as well: Faded Willow

Jennifer over at Life of a Busy Little Bee keeps me feeling warm and snuggly, I always love to see new posts in her neck of the woods. Last winter, through a heavy dose of home sickness, Little Bee was full of New England-y goodness, snowy days, nubbly knits, and wonderful reads. Wisdom and peace exude from her web-presence, go check it out:Life of a Busy Little Bee

Let me tell you about Mushroom Meadows. You know that feeling when you see something especially adorable over on Cute Overload and you honestly let out a little sigh or laugh its just so darn cute? Well, that's just the kind of magic you're going to find over at MM's blog. If you want an extra flutter in your heart there is even an Etsy shop! Seriously, in the world of cute crafts I have yet to see better... those stamps just push me over the (cute) edge!
Mushroom Meadows

So, that's a (really wordy) introduction to my long-standing obsessive blog reading. There are so many more I want to mention... I may have said something about them in my posts last year but can't remember. Now I'm all tuckered out and need to get off the computer, but I hope you all have fun exploring some new blogs and sharing your own diverse blog interests! I'll make this a monthly feature~ it is always such a great way to see what other people are reading. More to come!

Monday, November 17, 2008

hello again.

Dear Etsy,

In the past year we've been through a lot together. Last year you got me through Christmas while I was planning my trip out to Portland, Oregon. It took a lot of work, some projects taking off (!) while others floundered. Ups and downs were pretty drastic those last few months of having my shop open, when you were my only form of income, though I learned quite a bit about myself through those hard times.

After the move we fell out of touch for a while... I was preoccupied with my new nephews and finding my way here in a new city. You, for your part, were on Martha Stewart like a zillion times, got a new president of the company, and now when I mention "Etsy" to people- sometimes folks actually know what I'm talking about! Look at you go! I was delighted to hear you're even underwriting in NPR as I was on my way to work last week! It got me thinking of how much I've missed you.

Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to carefully pack my Etsy supplies with priority during the move. I was nervous opening those boxes again... would I still like the work?... I'm grateful for my friends cheering me on through all those nervous moments of reassessing what it is to have an online business.

I just wanted to let you know how incredible it is to be with you again. Both of us have been through a lot of changes and seem to be so much the better for it. Its amazing to me that here we are again, meeting up almost exactly a year later, looking forward to another holiday season together. The moment I listed my first item again all those loving feelings came flooding back, the excitement of putting neat little doodles out into the world, and especially the comfort of being a part of this community.

All my love,

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Etsy*versary

my workspace last year

Step 5~ Don't Despair!

Hi all. Today is my 1 year anniversary on Etsy... or (since I'm not on Etsy right now) as an Etsy artist. I only just happened to recognize this while fiddling with my account this morning before leaving for work. Sure, I started thinking "" about how far {we've} come since last year, but it also made me feel sentimental and reassured about the decision to reopen.

Although the shop is not quite up yet, things are coming into focus in that arena. I bought envelopes and supplies and had a few days to try out some new designs. This year I don't yet have a desk, or a printer, so many things seem precariously balanced, but the same sort of leap was needed last time around. Celeste and I are talking about visiting the Holiday craft fairs in town ~ Portland is a hub of crafting ingenuity. If any of my readers are in the area at the end of the month, my coworkers and friends are participating in the Sunday Best Holiday Sale--- go check out their wonderful blog and be sure to stop by the sale itself!

Otherwise the company of my big sis, snoozing twin nephews, and Return of the Jedi are cheering me up this evening and helping me to shake off the remaining jitters. I hope everyone out there is looking ahead to a bountiful Holiday season, a super crafty weekend, or maybe just some sunny days. And, may the force be with us, everyone! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

some steps to re-opening an online business...

Step 1: quit slacking!

Hi everyone. Okay, today I finally finally finally scored internet at home. PHEW! Onward and upward on the list of Things To Do involving re-opening the Etsy shop
... as long as I can stay focused...
...not spend the day streaming the Daily Show...
...maybe this was a bad time to sign up for NetFlix, too...
...alright, a little blog post to clear my head.

Today is a very very rainy day in Portland, windy and gloomy. I'm the kind of person who is completely bewildered by weather (I blame my Massachusetts upbringing~ you don't have to live there for 27 years to catch on to the annual "What, snow again?" tradition) and can't really get involved with any precipitation without becoming entirely drenched, bedraggled and hopelessly uncoordinated. So, it was little more than a walk to the grocery store (soaked to the knees, hair plastered to my face, shooting uneasy glances at my umbrella) that convinced me I might as well just stay inside today.

I've opened boxes, taken stock of what was packed and hauled cross-country, and created an inventory of items that need complimentary supplies before they hit the shop (i.e. cards + envelopes). I've gone over my Shop Policies finer details and started figuring out the maths on what supplies actually cost. Last year I admit- I often just threw money into the shop willy nilly, and yes- those were some nasty lessons to learn.

I also admit- I'm staring wistfully at the Gocco box day after day, awaiting with increasing impatience for the time when I can jump back in to printmaking. (sigh) For the moment, these steps and preparations will have to do. Steps 2, 3 and 4 (in my view) are Get Inspired, Get Inspired, Get Inspired. Be it through crafting, art-making, reading, knitting, wandering, whatever you do... I'm beginning to remember what a time sucker these computers can be and I am so very grateful I've got books lining the walls of my new apartment, catching my gaze when I look up from the screen.

Before I go, I want to sincerely thank Ms. Little Bee for giving my blog it's very first ***award***!Yay! Certainly it was one of the motivations to get on with it and begin prepping the shop: let me tell you its no small task to get me on the phone with Comcast for a big chunk of the afternoon! But, aside from that, Jennifer of the Busy Bee Blog has always been a stalwart support (even with what I imagine is my appalling grammatical variety) through all of the ups and downs of my own blogventures.

Her engaging blog is always such a peaceful place to visit~ the clicking of knitting needles, smell of baking bread, and Clarence cameos welcome you in
. Jennifer's award offers me the opportunity to reach out and spread the love, sending out awards to 5 other blogs I'm following. So, here it is: with my fractured, scattered internet use over this past season, I've been a seriously slack blog follower. With a little more time in front of the screen, I'll have my awards ready this weekend. Until that time, to all of you lovelies reading along- you know who you are... and I couldn't thank you enough for the love and support.

Monday, November 10, 2008

somewhere, I'm in here

Finally, months and months after closing my Etsy shop last April... I'm here to announce I'm beginning the (gulp) task of starting up shop again. I have yet to acquire wireless in my apartment, this has been a major determining factor in the shop being down... as well as limited posts here in the 'ol blog. Those of you who have been following along since the road trip know that this transition across country has been a major shift in so many lives. I guess, putting those two factors on the table, the thought of opening up shop again has been daunting.

My hope is that within the next couple of weeks I can make some leaps forward and have an online presence again for the holidays. I'm anxious about it, I admit, although I'm not quite sure if any of my reasons for that anxiety are quite clear or close to sense-making. Ah, well, onward with a deep breath and my mantra for the time being... "start small, start small, start small".

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oh, what a day what a day!

Nothing, nothing, nothing could be more wonderful than waking up this morning and realizing... no, it was not a dream. What a magnificent day it is. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

more sketches

Hello again from a Monday off from work. After a 6 day week, its very very welcome. So welcome, in fact, that at 11:38 am I'm snuggling with baby Shoghi on the couch and we are still sporting our pajamas without a spot of guilt. Go me!

Here are the other sketches I promised last night.

...and some with pen (and a little wrinkled corner)!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

my fall colors

And now, November. Yes, I tried valiantly (by taking a gargantuan number of photos) to post daily in October- but this past month every string that wove together the fabric of days seemed to get itself into a new pattern. Going down the list of events is its own microcosm family album. My brother S, mother, father, and S's girlfriend all visited early in the month. Since they left, it is as though I've been on autopilot, and the month of October itself has been lived out in ultra-fine details... face right up to the glass... this moment that moment the next.

I have a couple more sketches to post and will empty out my memory card tomorrow and hope for some good light. The rain here has started right on cue though, I must say, October was some of the most remarkable sunny fall days I've ever seen. I can't complain about the rain, but I certainly will be investing in wellies and stocking up on "extra" umbrellas this year. Lucky for me, Portland is full of expats from other regions of the country, snow or sun we'll be missing as the winter plods on, so I feel as though I have a good set of friends to lament with should my wonder of it all begins to wane.

For a nice range on the "microcosm family album" take a look over at my sisters-in-arms Celeste and Korin's latest posts. Not that the month at OHSU Hospital was easy, or the first month home was a breeze, but this past month I've seen both family C and family K face challenges and weariness, doubt and frustration. Say what you will about a retrograde Mercury, but this month was a doozy! I'm so proud to be a part of all of this, and so admire both of you for your courage and resillence that, many times while you yourselves are right in the moment of it, is clearer to those around you than to you yourselves. I sincerely hope November's joys come easily and freely and moments of calm are felt deeply as they come to each of us.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Happy Halloween!!

I hope everybody had a fun Halloween!