Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion Part One

Do you like gloves?

Do you want gloves, but (like me) have zero extra money?

Don't you wish there were another way?!

Well, there is!  And here's how:

The first person to refer 20 friends to the Brisk shop on Etsy will get a 100% FREE pair of custom knit gloves, any style, any color, from the Brisk Catalog.

That's right:  

100% FREE GLOVES!
















Gloves make people happy.  See how happy Stephanie is?  You could be this happy too!

To get credit for your referrals, referred buddies need to do two things (pay attention here):


1) add Brisk to their Etsy favorite shops,










and


2) send me a convo message with your name so I can keep track of how many referrals you've made.




















In return, your referral gets to take 10% off their first Brisk order, so everybody wins!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Best Gloves Ever

A while back one of my customers emailed to ask if I'd be able to knit an elbow length pair of gloves in the Rococo pattern.  I said sure, and a week or so later I picked up this lovely iridescent gray blue yarn and started knitting.

Last night I finished the first glove and tried it on and I am hopelessly enamored of it.  I like it so much, in fact, that as soon as I'm done with it, I'm hopping right back on the wagon and making a pair for myself.

It's incredibly difficult to take a full length photo of one's own arm, but hopefully the pictures can capture the awesome:

Since I haven't got much else of my own to mention today, I'm finally going to be able to include some of the awesome blogs I've come across in my internet marketing binge.  An unexpected result of all the Twittering I've been doing is that I've found a TON of really, genuinely fantastic creative people out there whose stuff I totally admire (and aspire to one day ape the style of).  So here's an unordered, unspecific list of a few of those super coolios (don't be offended if you didn't make the list--there are SO MANY of you that I'm going to do this all the time from now on...)

First off, this is my new favorite place: A Journey Round My Skull






















Described as ""Unhealthy book fetishism from a reader, collector, and amateur historian of forgotten literature," the blog author posts the most amazing illustrations and artwork, totally obscure random stuff with an incredibly diverse but still comprehensive sensibility.  LOVE.


I'm also completely enthralled by Apak Studio, the collective endeavor of artists Aaron and Ayumi.  Love both of their individual sites but especially love the stuff they post here.





















They have an Etsy shop as well.

And last but not least, Trelabela makes vinyl wallets with awesome embellishments.  My favorite is the octopus.
















Visit her Etsy shop as well and see the rest of the coolness--water buffalo, plaid bison, and green floral ram are waiting for you!

Okay, off to the rest of the day--let the busy-ness begin!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Angry Face!

What a stupid morning I'm having.  Paypal broke, I got a street cleaning parking ticket (I thought I had my neighborhood parking schedule mastered!) and then I ripped a 10$ bill in half trying to put it back into my wallet.  Add to that the major drama going on with my staff at work (three people out with family emergencies) and it feels like there's this annoying flurry of irritants buzzing around my head.

But I'm managing to remain happy in spite of it all.

Last night I finished up my first experiment in color pattern writing, and it came out pretty cute.

Meet Angry Face:

 For my first real try at Fair Isle knitting, I think he came out alright.  What do you think?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Exploding...Oh, Uh, Nevermind

What a lucky thing--off early today and home with plenty of time left to craft.  This means that not only can I play with the new Fair Isle glove pattern I'm working on (it's probably not what you're imagining), I can also post the promised photo of the pair of Marin's Gloves I just finished in deep turquoise.

















I really feel like you can't go wrong with this pattern.  When I originally wrote it (for the awesome miss Marin Camille Hood,


















a truly talented artist in her own right who will maybe one day teach me to embroider half as good as she does...) I used a lovely cream white yarn, and the gloves looked great.  Then I knit a pair in burgundy, and they also looked great.  Then I knit a pair in bright sunny yellow, and they looked great, too!  And now that I see them in turquoise I think this might be my favorite color so far, until I remember how great they looked in all the other colors and I have to think these are just the undeniably great looking gloves.

Maybe I will have a contest to see if there's a way to make the pattern not look great.

Speaking of contests, I have some in the works and will hopefully get those going soon.  Don't have the energy to do it tonight, but within the next few days...maybe.

Methface Update

Been having some problems with my RSS feed to Twitter.  The whole thing is kind of confusing, so hopefully I managed to straighten it out.  It's one of those things where I've looked at all the configurations and nothing appears overtly out of whack, so fixing it is incredibly difficult.

This post is going to be pretty short and imageless, so my apologies if you came here expecting something awesome.  Still planning on having a few contests coming up which should be pretty fun and give everyone a chance at winning some free gloves (woo hoo!) but don't think I will have a chance to get that sorted until tomorrow.


Before I go, quick explanation of the title: my buddy Stephanie is an internet stat obsessive and remains consistently amused by tracking where all of her blog hits are coming from.  To this day the most popular keyword search is "methface," so I figured I'd get in on that.

More (funner stuff) soon...promise.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bed Time: Randoms From My Favorites

I like how "bed time" becomes increasingly subjective the older you get.  When you're 10, it's 9pm weeknights, 10 on weekends, no ifs, ands, or buts.  Now that I'm 29, it's 11...no, wait, 12:30...I guess I can finish this movie, so maybe 1...oh, except the computer crashed and now I'm messing with the internet again, so whatever, I guess it can be 2.  2 am is reasonable when you have to be up at 7:30 in the morning, right?

Sheesh.

The thing is, internet marketing is completely taking over my life.  It's a good thing I have the gym to pull me away from the computer once in a while, otherwise I could seriously see myself spending 10, 12, 15 hours a day on this.  I'd become some super pale weirdo hunchback that weighed like 80lbs because I'd never leave the house to buy food anymore, who after eating the last of the pasta in the cupboard finally turned to a purely condiment based diet (I've got mustard for days...) until finally someone is forced to break into my apartment and drag me kicking and screaming (weakly, due to low blood sugar and most likely anemia) from my desktop. 


But why worry about iterations of the future that may never come to pass?  For now, I think I'm okay to spend the next 10 minutes finishing a fun post.

One thing I've spent a lot of time on recently is browsing through other sellers shops on Etsy, and I've actually found some really awesome things.  Because I'm awesome, too, I'd like to share them with you, so here we go: the first random sampling from my Etsy favorites page (if you want to see more, you can always do so via my Etsy page, just click on the "Favorites" link on the right hand side).

These are all things I found today.  First, something that was on the front page:

Hand Dip Dyed Green Peacock Fringe and Leather Chain Necklace by ThreeHorses

I've never seen a necklace like this (which is not to suggest that they have never previously existed, just that they haven't existed in my world) but I think it's really amazing and I kind of want to buy it.

Hedgehog Playing Stand Up Bass by Barkingbirdart




All of the art in this shop is awesome, but the thing I found was this hedgehog picture. So random, but I really like the style.  Visit the shop and look for the print of two birds dressed as an owl and a bunny rabbit.

Hedgehog Clay Sculpture in Blue Raspberry by Iktomi


Yes, I was on a hedgehog kick. But this is the thing that started that kick. Totally without purpose beyond being cute too look at, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy them.

And since it's officially 2 am, I only have time for one more:


Old Fashioned Carousel Ride Brass Pendant by Factorygirlashli



Found it browsing around on various craft blogs, but it's pretty awesome, and the rest of the shop has some good finds in it, too.

Alright, that's it for me.  Gym life beckons...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's Business Time

I love stormy weather.  It makes me feel so cozily confined to the house, and relieves any feeling of obligation to go outdoors.






















Today being my day off, and stormy to boot, means I'm at home still in my jammies.  There's a cup of coffee beside me, Walter Meego is singing about knowing what he wants, and how to get it, and I have zero plans on going anywhere before sundown.  But does this mean I'm being lazy?  Nope--exactly the opposite.  I have so many projects I'm looking forward to working on today, and this blog post is just the beginning.

Last night Stephanie hosted craft night, which is just another loose excuse for Team Awesome to hang out, featuring crafts and wine.  Since I started the Etsy shop, though, I've been using craft night as a photo session, getting the ladies to model gloves and take photos in the corner of Stephanie and Adam's living room with our janky (but awesome!) set up.  For fun, I also took some "behind the scenes" pictures last night.

Adam's the only guy that regularly comes to craft night (yes, he has a choice even though he lives there...) and he makes awesome paintings.  Right now he's finishing up the 100 robots series (mine is number 99).  Here's Adam helping me rig my backdrop.  See that light?  It's balanced on a wooden trunk because it's too short.  If you didn't know what "janky" meant before this, you do now. 





















Heather's craft is usually beading, but she's also started making these awesome feathered fascinators recently.  She's kind of working on both things in this picture, and laughing at me because I failed at using my camera for a second.





















Mary is not only a gorgeous lady, she is also a scientist and 6 foot ballerina (I dare you to find another one of those in the world) and last night her craft was sewing the ribbons onto the new pair of toe shoes she'd just gotten.





















Stephanie is a knitter and crocheter, and she's been working on a special project for someone, which unfortunately means I can't post the photo of it like I wanted to.  I promise to share it once it's done, and in the hands of the recipient.  For now, here's Steph and a friend.





















My craft last night was taking photos of Tamar, who I've wanted to use as a model for-ev-er and was super excited to photograph.  I forced Nnekay to help me, so she started by putting some make-up on Tamar.

















This took a while (apparently there were some mistakes) but eventually Tamar emerged looking lovely as always.

I had 3 pairs of gloves I needed photos for, and Nnekay helped me style them.  Trying to think of new ways to model gloves has been a continual challenge at craft nights.  None of us has ever thought so hard about how to hold your hands, but you can tell the group is getting better at it when they start independently telling each other, "That was a cute photo, but the gloves aren't prominent enough."

Here's some of the out-takes:





































And here are the final photos that will be going up on the site (as soon as I take the rest of the detail pics of the gloves):

Karen's Gloves

Sock Monkey Gloves

Grapevine Gloves
 
After she was finished modeling, Tamar enjoyed her payment (courtesy of Mary)





















Is that all, you ask?  By no means!

Once I'm done with this post, I have a choice of activities: new screen for printing, finishing the baby hat I started work on

















(though it's still not dry from blocking...so I guess that's more of a non-choice) finishing a pair of gloves for my mom, or the pair I started working on at Steph's last night, writing up patterns, making a mix cd, and a finally taking care of a whole slew of photo editing activities...

Let's just hope the rain keeps coming so I wind up feeling like a curmudgeonly shut in.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finally!

What a funny weekend I'm having.  Everything outside is gray and rainy, perfect weather to do nothing in, but I'm being exceptionally (well, not exceptionally, but very) productive today.  I got up and out of the house by 10:30, then went to the grocery store and restocked my fridge (with a new non-dairy diet I'm trying out.  I bought vanilla soy milk as a substitute for cream in my coffee--the coffee thing being a whole 'nother story featuring quitting caffeinated coffee only to feel relatively disappointed by the taste quality of decaf and then wondering whether it was worth it to even try finding a cream sub or if I should just call it a day with bean-related beverages--and very warily took my first sip only to find I actually prefer it to the way cream made the coffee taste.  This is just a long-winded way of recommending that anyone who's been considering switching go ahead and do so.  I don't know what I think about using vanilla soy on cereal, but it's definitely a coffee win) and FINALLY managed to screen some Team Awesome shirts.

Part of me wants to keep the image from the rest of Team Awesome until I can show them in person, but since most of them don't read this blog anyways I guess it's safe to post images (Hi, Stephanie and Nnekay!).

So here are some photos of the set-up process.

This is the screen.  It's a simple idea, accented by the little unicorn icon (points to you if you recognize its source).




Impressions of screen printing thus far are:

This has lots of speed potential as far as producing many things in a short period of time goes (with lots of set up and a good financial investment...)

Fabric ink is a lot thicker than I thought







and

This is something I need to practice at.





















I started with a shirt that Steph gave me because it was a broken in, not-anybody's-favorite kind of shirt and I didn't think Steph would be angry if I completely botched the print.

It came out pretty well, though I think I used too much ink on it (especially, in retrospect, since it's such thin fabric).  Second I printed the long sleeved shirt I got on sale at Old Navy for $3.  This one came out the best.  Third I printed the thing I was most interested in getting right, a gray sweatshirt for me.  It came out the wonkiest, but I kind of expected it to be the hardest to print on because it was the only thing that didn't lie flat (I was screening over a zipper).  This was also the moment that the screen decided to bleed from the edges (I'm sure a common occurrence with brand new screens) so the print wound up with a couple stray lines on its sides (that I think I managed to wipe off with a wet sponge).

When I finished (took about 10 minutes to screen all three shirts) I put them on the ironing board to dry, where they will hang out for the next 24 hours.

Here are the finished shirts.

















And the blue one, solo.





















I'm glad that I finally got it together to really work on this craft.  I had another graphic idea (also finally) so I might spend some time working on that today as well.

In knitting news, a lady convo'd me on Etsy to ask whether I had any patterns for gloves that featured cables.  I wrote back to let her know I did indeed, though it's not written up yet (formally, that is.  I can't send out the mess that is a pattern written for my personal use or it would make zero sense--abbreviation central, and not just the standard ones).  I finished this pattern months ago but haven't bothered writing it up so I'm going to use this as a reason to push myself into action.

Here's those gloves:



  



















Lastly, I'm working on a pattern for a baby hat.  I'm almost finished knitting it, but as I was falling asleep last night I kept thinking about how I don't like to top so I think I'm going to have to rip it out and re-do that part.  Will post photos when it's done.

Alright, time to continue this day of productivity (so I can have a night of unproductivity).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Today being my day off I've devoted myself to non-work-related pursuits.  I put some laundry away, remade the bed with new sheets, and mended a few clothing items that have been in dire need of help.

I also spent about 2 hours on ebay.  It's ridiculous, but once it occurs to you to look for one thing, that process reminds you of 8 other things you meant to look for, and then eventually you find yourself still unshowered at 12:30 pm and searching for things you had no idea you even knew existed.

When I was in college I used ebay one year to do all my Christmas shopping.  It was SO incredibly easy, especially compared to the other options (braving the Boston winter to head to some lame mall and wander aimlessly beneath fluorescent lighting only to come home empty handed and smelling of Cinnabons being the least appealing yet most likely contender) and during the course of browsing for others I also came upon what remains the coolest, most awesome piece of jewelry I've ever owned: a ring made of 3/4 inch long gold hatched lines with two silver butterflies perched on them at varied angles.

It's impossible to describe accurately (especially when you can't think of the right words, and aren't sure that "hatched lines" are a thing...) and unfortunately I can't post a photo of it because I either left it on a Boston sink or at an ex's house--in other words, it's gone 4 eva.  Since losing that ring I vacillate between feeling resigned to the loss, hoping it's hiding in some still-unpacked box at my parents' house, and trolling the web to try and find it.

This leads me to my post subject: some of my favorite Etsy finds.  I love to look at stuff on Etsy, and this holiday season I got to do a lot of browsing (most of my gifts, at least for my mom, came off the site) but no buying for myself, which meant marking a lot of things as favorites to hang on to for later.

Since I'm not doing any crafting at the moment (was going to screen print, finally!, today before re-reading the instructions and deciding I should follow them, which means pre-washing the shirts I bought at Old Navy last week...) I might as well share other people's crafts.  Many are sold out, but I've linked each photo to the creator's store.

Enjoy!

Adorable Red Glass Cupcake Ornament with White Frosting and Silver Sprinkles by Kiwi and Kiki




















Sylvan Lace Ring by Nurit Design
















Bordeaux Cocoon Scarf with Flower Broach by Knittingshop

















Whole Lotta Love Three Heart Set by Red Hot Pottery





















Butterfly Tattoo Stockings by Tattoo Socks


















Custom Wedding Cake Topper - Hand Sculpted and Painted Owls by Red Light Studio





















Hot Air Balloon Necklace by Regal Rose





















Unicorn Vintage Porcelain Gold Scroll Cuff Bracelet by Retro Atomic


 
and because I'm a total nerd,

Halo Xbox 360 Master Chief Adjustable Ring by Plastic Paradox

Monday, January 11, 2010

T-Shirty Goodness

After the crazy busy-ness of the holiday season I needed some time to decompress, which is really just a euphemistic way of describing a weekend of utter inactivity.  It's been tough to motivate myself to get back into the swing of things, especially when I'm not really sure what swing I'm most interested in.

I did finally unpack the screen printing equipment last week, and I even made my first screen (which will possibly go into use tomorrow, or maybe Thursday if this lazy mood continues) which is a Team Awesome graphic that's just for fun.  But I've also been faced now with the question of what I want to print, and since I've never really considered it before it's taking a long time to figure out.

Mostly I'm overcome with a longing for change, which I think is part of the reason I'm having so much trouble working on the same things I've been working on for so many months.  This is not to say, by any means, that I'm sick of knitting and pattern writing--I'm not, and I have every intention of continuing to toy with them.  I guess this is just the time of year that I start feeling existentially bored--though for the first time since returning to California what I feel isn't so much boredom as desire.  I want something, but I don't know what.  Anyhow, this is really just my long winded way of explaining why the blogging and shop updating has been slow for the past 2 weeks, and (I suppose) to excuse myself for taking another few weeks to really get cracking again.

I do have a few fun projects in the works, and hopefully I'll be able to come up with more challenging ones in the days to come.  For now, here's a teaser of the Team Awesome screen:


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I screen, you screen...

Resuming the normal day-to-day activities after a long vacation with a visiting friend is really, really hard.  My buddy Pj flew out from New York the day after Christmas and spent a gluttonous week and a half with me and my friends.  It was great, but now I'm having trouble getting back into the swing of things--or rather, I feel very unmotivated to get back into the swing of things.  Add to that the little cold I think I picked up over the weekend and you have a double dose of not-wanting-to-do-anything.

Luckily I happen to be very good at forcing myself to do things even when I don't want to do them, which is why this morning finds me working on a pair of Rococo Gloves knit with some of the new yarn I bought over the holidays.

Ebay yarn sales are a wonderful thing, but I need to be careful or I'll wind up with no money and a lot of bamboo yarn.  Check out what I managed to amass in just thirty minutes of browsing:

3 balls of Norma Jean Idol Berroco Metallic Yarn



















Six balls of 60/40 split bamboo and cotton yarn in turquoise, green, and plum.




















And 11 skeins of hand dyed wool.













Should be enough to keep me busy through at least a few craft nights.

But I also have my newest project, screen printing.  This morning I finally opened up the screening kit I got for my birthday and laid everything out on the new counter work-space.  When I finish this post I'm going to go watch the instructional dvd and have another cup of tea, and we'll see if I actually attempt to screen anything today.  I left my camera battery charging at work, though, so I have limited means of catching pictures of what I'm sure is going to be an at least sometimes amusing learning process.

Wish me luck!