Friday, November 20, 2009

For the last two issues, ouou knit themed cards have appeared in's "cool stuff" feature. Let me share my thanks with a little story of where my knit-love comes from.

I took up knitting breifly, after leaving the city that was home to me for almost 10 years. Knitting to me lives in the world of my older sister's aesthetic. Fabric, pattern, textile, and the differing properties of fibers, wool, cotton, clothing... this is just next door to the art I know. My world is paper, that's pretty clear to me. I love the world of cloth, fabric, fiber, embroidery, but there is so much to learn! Celeste has an instinct for it, and I stand happily by as the awe-inspired little sister, peeking into the knitted world.

Knitting hasn't lasted as a hobby or skill of mine, but I remember my breif sojurn there with heartfelt sentimentality. The comforts of making something wearable with my own hands, the tick-tick of counting rows, the exciting anticipation of selecting yarn, trying something new at such a turning point in my life. Maybe someday soon I'll try again, I could use that comfort in the wet Oregonian winter we're facing. For right now I'm fine with showing my adoration on paper, and that my little drawings have made other knitters out there smile their knowing smiles.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shop Special for friends new and old

Hello, and thank you to any new viewers that are visiting from Facebook. In the last few days my "fans" have really begun to rise in numbers, thank you thank you to everyone who stops by for a read.

I've been thinking lately about how much I love this time of year. I love the bundled clothing, the umbrellas marching down the streets, I love the mittens, caps, galoshes, red noses, and sloppy entryways that come with the darkness, snow, rain and cold of winter months. You can see this in my drawings; it is by no means coincidence that these kids show up in their woolens, scarves and gripping warm drinks.

I'll admit something, though. The holidays sneak up on me. All of them. I tell you, even though I have a shop, work in retail, and own *several* calendars, I do not have a head for recognizing the signs of an oncoming holiday season. Therefore, nice and early this year, I'm offering a shop special on Holiday cards before Thanksgiving (lest I forget). From now until mid-December, the big sellers from ouou will be available in sets of 20 for significantly reduced prices. Right now these styles are available:

with a few more coming in the next few days. It may be cold outside, but its warm and snuggly here at ouou. :) Welcome, friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Little baby MNJ, 10 months

MNJ wearing his Halloween bear suit, 14 months

While Celeste is out of the house I am "babysitting"... or really Auntie-ing... while the boys are asleep. I thought I would put up a post before sitting down to draw, and I've been here all night. I've had a lot of posts floating around this week after all the excitement of Crafty Wonderland... a whole handful of drafts in the background back here. For tonight, I'd much rather follow my thoughts........ . . . .

Why does this blog keep turning into a discussion on change? Where is my period of "sweet savoring" (I recently read these words and they have stayed with me, a goal I'm looking forward to with certainty)? It must be because, since 2007 and the opening of these adventures in creativity and childcare, that changeable life is the one I've chosen. We've chosen. It must be a part of saying "I will be an artist" or "I will be a parent" (I'm an Aunt, but I'm writing this in regards to both my own, and my sister's, experience) to open yourself up to this Rubik cube feeling on constantly shifting views, circumstances, emotions, abilities, energy.

SL around 10 months, when I stopped taking pictures because my camera broke

SL in October 2009, 14 months old

So what about life now? What is working and what has not worked (and what are we still striving for)?

These sweet boys are honestly in my thoughts 24/7. My nephews have just turned 15 months old, and I can say for sure that they've entered a point where I can't clearly remember what they were like as infants. Isn't that weird!? How *fast* that happens? What is 15 months but a small blink of time, except every time I look back I feel humbled by the incredible enterprise we're undertaking here, together, and in our own individual lives. I feel even more floored when I think of how much is yet to come. These babies remind us, at the best of times, just how full of miraculous possibility life really is.

There is also never, really, any longer a time that goes by when I am not aware that I'm a small business owner. As I've mentioned before, my hours have (blessedly) increased to full time at my place of work, so that finding time and resources for my Etsy work has been the name of the game ever since. I like to feel challenged, and I feel as though I am learning in-step with the changes going on in my job, how to continue to be an Etsy artist.

However, out of the post-Crafty Wonderland experience has come a flood of inspired thought I'm desperate to find a way to make real. And there lies the quandary; working full time and running the shop are possible running parallel to each other, but where does the new work fit into that? This is the next hurdle to leap. Or, maybe it has been for a while. Maybe this need to "find time" to make art, draw, paint is really becoming insistent. I mention it again because that one is still mysterious and elusive.

I think to myself, what if these boys grow up to be artists? What will my story be to them? What if I have children someday, wouldn't I want to teach them that art is a trustworthy, worthwhile endeavor? Wouldn't it be nice to be profitable, healthy, intelligent, and happy in my business of art not just for my own benefit? Isn't that what my parents want for me?

It's interesting, to write those words and think- what if, just maybe, after these 2.5 years of working at this... what if the confidence and the ability to thrive from my own art as a career were right around the corner?

Monday, November 9, 2009

what a wonderland: Crafty Wonderland and lessons learned

Here we are! Crafty Wonderland, Sunday November 8th 2009 and a little booth for ouou. I've got to say, this was my first craft fair since childhood Girl Scouts but it was probably just as fun. The following photo shows where my booth was, the words "table ouou" are actually written over my sister's back... so there you see I took the picture facing away from us, but along one of the 5 isles where people were set up.

There were 40 other vendors, tons of Etsy artists, even some people I recognized from the streets of South East Portland- here I am among my heroes! Does it sound silly? Working a craft fair in this town is like some crazy combination between the first day of opening your very own storefront and playing shop in the dress-up corner.

At first, seeing my 2' X 2' table made me a little nervous. Remember those two suitcases *full* of cards I mentioned? Yeah, it was way too much stuff. Celeste and I scored a second table, and while entertaining my nephews we managed to arrange quite a bit of stock in the 4' space with enough time to spare for a walk around the block to clear my head.

The boys and my sister had to go back home for much of the afternoon, what with naps and being toddlers and all that. There were a lot of older kids there, 3 to 8 year old's who looked pretty comfortable. I would have liked to talk to more sellers about their experiences but I was too shy, maybe at some future shows I'll be able to come out of my shell a bit. My friends arrived after a little over 2 hours, which was great timing to refresh my spirit (and grab a bite to eat!). I couldn't wander far, though, giddy as I was. I just wanted to keep seeing who would turn up next!

It was a busy show, with a great crowd of vendors and customers. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm a little sad that Crafty Wonderland is canceling its every 1st Sunday monthly craft fairs in favor of seasonal fairs, but I also feel like I got to be part of something special by attending this one.

Here I am saying "Don't take my picture!". Sadly we didn't get any follow-up shots so this will be the one. :0)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

today is Crafty Wonderland!

It is the morning of the big day, Crafty Wonderland's last Sunday marketplace before the big December sale, then no longer until spring. It will be my first craft fair, and I am on the edge of my seat. My sister and I worked late last night putting the finishing touches on cards, prints, ephemera, journals. I'm on my way to pack the car, let's see... two suitcases, a backpack, two babies, a sister, and lots of snacks. Sounds like formula for a great time :D

If you can stop by: Crafty Wonderland is TODAY 11am - 4pm Doug Fir 830 East Burnside, Portland Oregon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Craft Fairs 1, 2, 3

It is a crisp, clear autumn day here in Oregon and I am enjoying it from indoors, warm with some tea and the messiest darn room you could imagine. Yes, friends, I seem to thrive from the chaos-order-chaos scenario of getting things done, and this little ouou is making a big mess in preparation for her very first craft fair. I have these two days off (my weekend now falls on Wednesday/ Thursday) to sprint to the finish of a million small tasks before we are ship shape for Sunday's show.

Crafty Wonderland is a monthly craft show here in Portland, Oregon that really gets hoppin' as the Christmas season looms. I had the option of either participating in November or December's show. Since this is my first craft fair and I'm on a budget, I decided to test the waters in November and observe how I do. I know some people prepare for these fairs as far in advance as May, so this November scramble I'm going through is certainly the first page of notes in an adventure of craft fair schooling. ;)

Along for the ride, of course, are my sister C (who just recently re-opened her Etsy shop) and my two twin nephews, MNJ and SL (who will be auspiciously celebrating their 15th month birthday Sunday, Crafty Wonderland day).

Since coming back to my blog I haven't yet caught you up on the boys, but those little babies from summertime have grown into little toddler engines this fall. My fast and furious pace is scheduled around the framework of naps, groceries, mealtime, bedtime and all the other unpredictable daily grind of a twin toddler household. The boys and my sporting sister will be accompanying me throughout the day so that we all might glean some tips from Crafty Wonderland this Sunday, so you'll get to see plenty of pictures of the whole family next week.