Saturday, January 31, 2009

treasury: think regal

I was excited to learn today that my "Because You're Special" earrings were included in a beautiful new Etsy treasury by tallib.  What a nice compliment! Click on the photo above to see it all up close.   Here's hoping it makes it to the front page!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just a few photos from this week's breakfasts at our favorite local greasy spoon, the Harvest Inn... I've been working on improving my interior shots with the camera on manual, rather than auto, settings. Still not great, but getting there. I've forgotten so much since taking photo 101.

And no, that's not Santa, or Jerry Garcia, or Sasquatch, or anyone from ZZ Top... that's my dad! He hasn't shaved since I was born.  Believe it or not, under all that hair, he and I look remarkably alike.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

vintage valentines

My family and I have been cleaning out my grandparents' house for what is starting to feel like forever.  They were antique dealers, collectors, and, really, toward the end of my grandfather's life, maybe just hoarders.  Five bedroom house, boxes floor to ceiling, no rhyme or reason. It is not uncommon to find family heirloom photos in the same box as last year's junk mail.  There's simply no way to explain it if you haven't seen it.   

While the process of unearthing, sorting, cleaning, and disbursing has been physically and emotionally exhausting, we've encountered some great stuff (hmm...maybe I'll do a "finds" post later) and I've also found lots of things, like tintypes, glass boot buttons, and even WWII-era  OPA "points" to incorporate into my work. 

My grandparents' specialty though was postcards and other ephemera, and I'm having trouble not keeping every scrap of paper because I think it might one day be useful in an assemblage or collage piece.  Still, I've managed to part with a few things, like these charming 1920s and 1930s vintage Valentines, which are just a few of the many I've made available in my etsy shop, apvintage.  Admittedly, I did keep several for myself! They look lovely scattered throughout the house in little Valentine displays, and they store flat, making them easy to stash away for the rest of the year.  With the hoarding gene clearly in my DNA, I need all the space I can find!

Friday, January 23, 2009

buying barbies... well, sort of

necklace from Etsy seller mamaslittlebabies

s a lovely holiday gift, my husband and I gave each other the stomach flu.  Ah, love. Don't worry though, this post isn't going to be about that.  Well, it mostly isn't going to be about that.  It's about how I recently found myself home sick and shopping online, or as my husband would tease, "buying Barbies."

You see, I have a childhood friend who has engaged in some notoriously dramatic behavior over the years, particularly when sick.  While in college, she went home to her parents to stay with them because she had the flu. Languishing in her childhood bedroom (which I imagine as still being a confection of frilly Victorian floral wallpaper, fluffy pillows, pink curtains, and a big white iron bed), she found herself delusional with fever and watching a home shopping channel. On an all-Barbie marathon day.  With access to a credit card.  Apparently, there was a certain degree of surprise when later, after the fever was gone, a parade of Barbies began appearing at her doorstep.

So, last month I found myself huddled on my sofa, under my covers, while my family and friends gathered elsewhere to enjoy holiday parties, lunches, and dinners. My husband was either in bed or propped up at his computer,  I couldn't walk anywhere near my kitchen for fear that I'd see food, and my attention span was beyond short.  I was so. very. bored.  What was a girl to do?  

My solution: spend several days combing Etsy for supplies and other things I "needed." Not surprisingly, I found a ton. 

Of these, possibly my favorite, and the most appropriate homage to my friend's girly, illness-induced purchasing spree, was this fantastic necklace from Mama's Little Babies. Cheri, the California-based artist behind this shop, uses Victorian illustrations that range from charming to campy as inspiration to create beautiful necklaces and brooches.  The images are printed on a lightweight plastic, making them very wearable. It was hard to choose just one but, having spent much of the semester reading and writing about the history of costume, the Pleated Victorian Bodice necklace won my heart.  And the packaging was so lovely, complete with a beautiful little handmade charm.  I wish now that I'd taken a picture, but I quickly cannibalized it and reused the box!

Some of my other feverish purchases included delicious-smelling perfume oil samples from Wiggle Perfume (I like them all so much, I still haven't been able to pick a favorite), beautiful mineral foundation and eyeshadow from Pink Quartz Minerals (I've never been much of a make-up wearer, but this stuff is great), and an awesome Day of the Dead style skull t-shirt from Ahpeele (who graciously accommodated my request for a custom shirt color).  All three went a long way toward my promise to myself that I would get out of my rut of just throwing on any old thing, pulling my hair back, and running out the door to school.   There were countless supply purchases too, but I won't prattle on about those until they actually materialize into finished work.

Since the "Great Holiday Plague of 2008," as we've come to call it at our house, I've justified my little spree as doing a some Etsy research and development; stocking up and checking out other sellers products, packaging, and methods. Come to think of it, I wonder if I can write that off? Anyway, it's way better than Barbies. Right?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

back to school blues

Buy Handmade

Today is my first day back to school after winter break.  It's been a strange break - illness, family stuff, house-related issues - and I've spent the last couple days fretting about how it hasn't been nearly as restful or productive as I'd hoped.  "Amy is so not ready" was my Facebook status update this morning. I feel like I need an extra week, maybe two, and possibly alone on an island somewhere (or maybe, since we haven't gotten any real snow here, a snowy cabin in the woods).  How could a month have gone by so quickly?

Then I went back this morning and took a look at everything I'd added to my etsy shop since December 1, just a few weeks before classes ended.  More than twenty handmade pieces, plus some vintage listings.  And there are more in the works.  I made the etsy mini above and realized that  things are starting to look more cohesive (that's the newest work).  I've also been actively promoting my shop, and my sales have nearly doubled in the last two months.  Finally, thanks to a lovely gift of little storage drawer units from my friend Alice and a metal cabinet from my husband (a cabinet I insisted I didn't want and that he insisted would be useful - he was right), my studio space is becoming better organized.

So, maybe my house is still a wreck, the laundry pile is way out of control, I never went to the gym, and I didn't cook as much as I planned to, but apparently I did not actually waste my time.  Which just goes to show that I remain my own worst critic, something I know but often seem to forget.  So, with a feeling of accomplishment and a promise to be a little kinder to myself in the future, I'm off to school!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Handmade necklace available from etsy seller onelifejewelry

Handmade shirt available from Etsy seller isotope

Regardless of party affiliation, for Americans and possibly the world, today is a day of change.  I think it's a great time to consider not only political change, but also personal change.  What can we each do to improve our lives and those of others in the world around us?  I'll be inaugurating a few positive changes of my own today.  I hope you'll do the same.

Change starts small and, as our new president has suggested, it takes hope and a lack of fear. For me, the latter part is the hardest to surmount.  Still, I'll be working on it.

Beyond that, I think everything one can possibly say about today's events has been covered. So, if you haven't already, go read about it elsewhere.  And if you're feeling the need to find some handmade inauguration-themed swag, check out the items above or search for "Obama" or "inauguration" on etsy.  After all, you'll be helping the economy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

So maybe it's time to try this blog thing.

I tend to make decisions impulsively, but not without obsessing over them. I realize those approaches seem, on the surface, to be mutually exclusive, but they're not.  At least not for me. Anyway, I suppose that's why, on a lovely snowy day when I have way too many other things to do, and after thinking about it so much for the last two days that I dreamt of it last night, I find myself entering the world of blogging.   

I'm not completely certain what I'll have to say, and I'm even less sure whether anyone will listen.  The former is likely to be updates on my work, my life, and my obsession with material culture, past and present.  And with regard to the latter, well, I suppose we'll see...