Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Costuming with the girls~

Last night I had so much fun getting together with Seana & Tashar of Ashar Dance Company to create a birthday present for Mahela. 

It reminded me of when I'd just joined Ashar in 2008 and we used to have these really fun costuming dates at Mahela's house.  I'd lug over my machine, we'd spread out all our antique jewlery, medallions, and findings from ebay on the table and we'd go to town creating our newest costume!  It was so much fun.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nice video for Zipper installation

How to Sew a Zipper on a Skirt: Part 1: How to Make a Flared Skirt | eHow.com

Tea Party

Last night for Tashar's birthday, we celebrated by having a tea party at Dobra Tearoom in Madison.  It was a really lovely night - full of sipping delightful teas, tasty morsels, chatting, and celebrating.  The beautiful atmosphere and the comfortable environment was perfect for a bellydancer's birthday party.  We agreed that we want to have meetings there for our troupe, Ashar Dance Company, in the future.

As a gift to Tashar, we went in together (as is troupe tradition) to buy her a gift certificate to a fancy spa - with the intention that she get a pedicure and foot massage.  Although it was expensive, we felt it was worth it for a new mommy and good friend.  I also found a fantastic card, covered in glitter, that had a vintage-collage look to it with a woman kicking her feet up in the air while lounging on a chaise, covering her self in a huge pink lotus flower.  Perfect! 

I drank one of their Puer teas, which had a hearty, earthy flavor.  It also had some digestive benefits...!  Unfortunately it kept me up late into the night, which I didn't expect, but it did help me get some much-needed cleaning done in my bedroom, which is almost always a crazy mess of costuming, sewing projects, and clothing that I'm mending, altering, or just neglecting to hang up...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Year Anniversary Sale!

"The art of love... is largely the art of persistence."
- Albert Ellis

After conceeding to the request of a buyer to reduce the price of an item and break it out of a set (A set of antique slave bracelets from Afghanistan), I sold the other bracelet almost immediately!  It showed me that I *still* have so much to learn, even after one year!

So, I decided to try an experiment - how about a 1 year anniversary sale!  I put several items in my souk on sale, and I am also trying to hook up "my etsy" in facebook as a tab on my profile, which should lead people to my shop.  ...Still working on that one though, as it is having trouble loading...  Oh wait!  I got it!  Whoo hoo! 

Here is one of the sale items that I most love, and I hope to send to a loving home soon:

Friday, April 9, 2010

New Artist's Statement

Taken from the first three drafts, here's my newest Artist's Statement:

My first memory of crafting is with my grandma. She was quilting by hand with and elegant sewing hoop. I remember the rhythm of her arms, the glint of the needle in the afternoon sun, while I played with a piece of thread and a stray downy feather at her feet. Grandma took me in her lap and carefully showed me how to use a needle and thread – how to create the union of the needle and fabric. My very first creation turned out ot be a Xmas ornament on her tree – a ball of wadded white felt with zig zags of colored thread running through it.

Now, just as then, I love to play with color, lines, thread tention, and gathering fabric. In my souk, I continue to celebrate the way that crafting connects me to the feminine spirit. I celebrate the whimsical, the elegant, the extravagant that I find inherent in femininity.

I like to spread all my feathers out in front of my on my maple-red stained coffee table. I want to make a temptle to do my work: a sacred space where I move wordlessly. My red coffee table becomes a beautiful altar where I pray with deft hands, smoothing feather stems and I make wings that never existed. I want to create fashions, accents, accessories that bring out eclectic juxtapositions: the “Gypsy” dancer with Victorian frivolity, a wild spirit with structured steampunk elements.

I believe that Art is our effort to communicate our fundamental beliefs about the world. My art embodies a sense of freedom, vivacity, and wonder that I want to commemorate in all of us.

This rollercoaster ride called "Life"

Wow.  So much to say.  I don't know where to begin...
Engagement.  Wedding plans.  Bridesmaid dresses... Distractions. Long conversations at midnight in the dark...
Job searching like it's a full time job on top of my 3 part time jobs...!
Interview - yesterday.
Sasha purs when I come home.
The sun is finally out.
My pepper plant grew a baby pepper!
And now today I struggled not to hit snooze too many times so that I could get ready for this weekend's vending, performing, and teaching at Northland Bellydance Forum!  After about an hour of packing, I'm nearly there.  I realized I need bags for things I sell, a revised artist's statement, and tags and safety pins for new items.  Shopping after school today and then I'll hit the road... 
Oh, and I can't forget to print off directions too!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Running on steam...

I'm so excited for my upcoming steampunk workshop at the Northland Bellydance Forum the the Twin Cities, MN that I have broken my usual pattern of procrastination!  I've been downright organized and ahead of the game with this one, unlike many of my workshops, which are planned and choreographed in the car, madly typed up right before and then sent to the printers without minutes to spare!  It is usually very stressful.

However, this time I'm running on pure excitement.  Today I'm going to officially email the rest of my performance music to the organizers and next week I hope to finish the flier for the workshop, including the choreography. 

What I posted yesterday is the informational section of the flier that I want to hand out and talk through during warm ups.  I figure there will be a lot of people there who don't know what steampunk is, so I need to teach them about that before we get into a fusion of bellydance and steampunk! 

Well, off to send choreography notes to my dance partner Seana, and then perhaps some morning yoga...?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Steampunk Workshop Information


Reimagined History, Science Fiction, Nostalgia, Victorian Aesthetics, Steampower, Clockwork, Gears

“Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction… frequently featuring elements of fantasy…The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used” (Wikipedia. 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk).

“What is Steampunk? I usually start out my explanation with this: Imagine if 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [by Jules Verne] were history, and not fiction…A culture stuck in the Victorian Era, where electricity never took over the world, and technology is still steam-driven…Coal fires boil water, producing steam, which fuels the technology that motors your vehicles, on earth or water, or better yet, gliding through the air in the form of graceful dirigibles [air ships]” (Designs by Victoria. 2010. Etsy Steamteam. http://www.etsysteamteam.com).

“Steampunk is an anachronistic mixture of Victorian styles and mechanical steam-powered fantasy technology, originating with such authors as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells…[it] exemplifies this blend of history and invention. Steampunk…includes common themes (discovery, bricolage, invention, et al.) and objects (dirigibles, clockworks, engines, et al.), [and] generates a sense of Victorian nostalgia or re-imagined history” (Steamteam, 2010 Email correspondence).

Rebellion, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Speculative Fiction into Science Fiction. Retrofuturism

Steampunk is the modern imitation of actual Victorian speculative fiction. It fits into the genre of science fiction along with cyber punk and other forms of imaginative futures, and stemapunk is also a form of retrofuturism or revisionist history. According to Wikipedia (2010), the term “Steampunk” was coined in 1979 by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, who was trying describe literature that imitated conventions of actual Victorian speculative fiction such as H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895).

What does Steampunk have to do with Bellydance anyway?

Speculative fiction works from the Victorian period, by authors such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, have been built off of by contemporary writers, directors, artists, musicians, and now – dancers!

Check Out:

· “Sleepy Hollow” Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci. Director: Tim Burton (1999)

· “The Brothers Grimm” Matt Damon, Heath Leger, Monica Belluci. Director: Terry Gilliam (2005)

· “Lemony Snickets’ A Series of Unfortunate Events” Jim Carrey, Jude Law, Meryl Streep. Director: Brad Silberling (2004)

· “Return to Oz” Fairuza Balk. Director: Walter Murch (1985)

· “12 Monkeys” Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis. Director: Terry Gilliam (1995)


· Abney Park – Industrial electronic music about steampunk themes

· Attrition – gothic industrial

· Beats Antique – made-for-bellydancing electronic music with gears and clockwork sounds

· Beat Circus – circus-y danceable music with a steampunk edge

· Circus Contraption – circus, Balkan music with a burlesque edge

· Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society – Victorian fusion

· The Decemberists – circus rock

· Dr. Steel – industrial steampunk themed music with circus edge

· David Lynch & Jocelyn Montgomery – weird industrial music with female vocals

· James Fisher – spooky circus

· Jill Tracy – gothic female vocals with circus / burlesque feel

· Life Toward Twilight – music box and record player sounds (nice intros)

· The Peculiar Pretzelman – “Undertaker” is an eclectic, circus-polka song

· Pentaphobe – gothic industrial with circus sounds

· Vernian Process – industrial, traditional soundtrack steampunk (FREE! Check out their website)

Artists, Designers, and More:

· Etsy’s Steamteam

· GypsyKiss (Amy Danielson)

· Ayperi Bellydancer’s Souk (me)

· Geisha Moth

· Tempest

· Black Lotus clothing

· Velvet Mechanism

· Opal Moon Designs

· Urban Heirlooms

· Bonzie

· Lulu Splendor

· Boiler Goth

· Wildthymeboutique

What if every day were Valentine's Day?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Monday Monday, Can't trust that day..."

Yesterday it felt like nothing was working out!  I got to work, only to find out that my gourd that the students and I use as a maraka in our poetry jams at the end of class broke and fell on the floor before I came in this morning.  Then during staff meeting a teacher and I got into a conflict that completely blindsided me!  It really, really stressed me out.  Then, when I went to the gym, all of the eliptical machines were being using for the first 30 minutes.  I decided to do weight training, until one opened up, but then when one did, I was already in the middle of weight training and felt like I should finish that first.  When I finished weight training, the elipticals were all full, so I just went home.  :(  Booo!

However, today is already starting out better.  Birds are calling outside my window.  I am going to stop at the bank before work to cash 3 checks, which will fix some financial headaches, and then I am going to continue my job search online by stopping by EPCS to pay to reactivate my job search account and pick up a copy of my credentials.  In general, things are looking up.

AND, I am going to start my day out with yoga and crafting.  Before even leaving my bedroom I found a tight red tshirt that I wanted to finger crochet.  I cut tiny slits in the shirt, crocheted a line down the front of the shirt, and two wider lines down the shoulders.  It looks great, and I can't wait to wear it for some yoga! 

Monday, March 8, 2010


Bad day at work. 

Recharging my job search batteries

After a whole weekend spent away from dance, crafting, teaching, and Madison in general - I'm feeling really recharged.  So much so in fact that I spent this early morning time applying for full time jobs online!  Whew!  I hope that this year I reap more rewards from this work that I did last year... though last year I was entirely lazy and idealistic about the job prospects coming to me.  :(  Hopefully being more on top of the process and more realistic about Madison School District's ability to get me full time employment will help.  :P

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mourning work

In therapy, we uncovered the fact that creating art is a major way that I connect with my Grandma's memory.  I continue to struggle with her passing... it makes me question the very foundations of my aetheism-- where did her spirit go?  Where will her legacy reside? 

I am told that this questioning is a normal (and healthy) part of the grieving process, but regardless, it leaves me shaken and stirs up all sorts of uncertainties in me.  Gram's soul must be somewhere, right?  Or am I just weak - allowing mysticism and loneliness to get the best of my rationality? 

Today, I work up early, hungry after a late night and early dinner working at the security office.  I wandered out to my kitchen, started coffee, did my morning weigh-in (1 lb down!), and called my Dad to tell him the good news about my weight loss.  Dad is also on a weight loss journey - he is perpetually fighting aging, high cholesterol, and retirement.  He attacks weight loss, bike racing, and healthy living with the passion and fervor of a professional - like it is his job!  :)  He constantly inspires me to pursue my goals with the same vivacity.

Dad and I chatted about the good weather (spring almost appears to be coming early!), the way our diets are going, and politics.  I ended the conversation with the intention of going into a new morning ritual - a yoga DVD that had been collecting dust on my shelf.  However, I found myself opening up my bead bins, and I ended up popping in "The Truth Behind the DaVinci Code", which I recently got from Netflix, to watch while working. 

I ended up making beautiful, romantic designs - perfect for a bride or maid (or maybe mother of the bride?). 
Now, to work on listing these items!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Revised Artist's Statement and new Biography for Etsy.com

My first memory of crafting is with my grandma.  She was quilting by hand with an elegant sewing hoop.  I remember the rhythm of her arms, the glint of the needle in the afternoon sun in her den in front of the picture window, while I played with a piece of thread and a stray downy feather at her feet. 

Grandma took me in her lap and carefully showed me how to use a needle and thread - how to knot the end so that the knot stops the thread from escaping the union of the needle and fabric, how to gently push the needle through the fabric without poking yourself.  My very first creation turned out to be a Xmas ornament on her tree - a ball of wadded up felt with zig zags of colored thread running through it. 

Now, just as then, I love to play with color, lines, thread tension, and gathering fabric.  Although Grandma has passed, and we can no longer craft together, in her old age she was very proud of my creations that I brought to show her in the nursing home. 

In my souk, I continue to celebrate the way that crafting connects me to the feminine spirit.  I celebrate the whimsical, the elegant, the extravagant that I find inherent in femininity.  I want to create fashions, accents, accessories that bring out eclectic juxtapositions: the "Gypsy" dancer with Victorian frivolity; a wild spirit with structured steampunk elements.

All in all, I've just always loved to play with thread and feathers, and now is no exception. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Validated by the Technorati

Dear Technorati,

Secret societies are hard to join!  I'm attempting to join the your elite listing of blogs, and you just are not letting me in.  This is frustrating me.  Please stop this behavior immediately. 

Here is my proof of validation, Technorati.  Check it out and let me in!  I'm no spambot, I promise.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Potential Website Graphic Design

This is my most recent draft of the Ashar Dance Company website.  What do you think?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tribal Union 2010

Seana, Misha, and I packed up costuming, makeup, dance clothes, notebooks, and made our merry way to Milwaukee for "Tribal Union" - a day of bellydance workshops culminating in an evening Tribal Bellydance showcase.  The event was hosted by Tamarind Tribal, an American Tribal Style bellydance troupe.  It was a fun day of ATS workshops lead by Jen Nolan, Tamarind's leader and teacher, during which I alternated dancing and taking notes to rest my legs and gluts, which are still incredibly sore after my fall on the ice on Friday afternoon.  However, 4 ibuprofen and lots of stretching throughout the day kept me going strong.  Our performances, though still not perfect, were good and very strong - perhaps even the best we've ever done the pieces! 

Today though, I woke up with a stiff back, sore everything, and a tummy ache.  Too much medication caused the stomache pain, and not enough stretching post performance is to blame for the muscle soreness.  Yikes!  I can never get motivated to stretch post performance.  For one thing, I'm tired, and for another, I feel like I deserve to get out of uncomfortable costuming to rest!  Usually there's also a time constraint as well - friends waiting, a show to see (in last night's case), or money to pick up (in the case of bellygrams).  Nevertheless, I still need to start stretching after dancing because today I am going to need to take the first class's warmups just to be able to dance!  :P

Last night there was the added stress that I felt really lonely for J.  He's been studying for the comprehensive exams to pass his graduate program to get a Masters in philosophy, and it's been incredibly stressful for him.  So much so that I haven't seen him in 3 weeks!  We both feel like this is too long to be without each other, but there's nothing we can do now.  He has to study, and I had been madly preparing for this show at Tribal Union.  Last night, I felt a little bit of a let down post-show.  I wanted to celebrate, but had no one in the audience.  This is one of the first bellydance performances that Jase has missed since we've been together!  This, coupled with Misha's incredible happiness and adoration for KJ, who was able to make it last night due to her own modelling gig in Milwaukee, made me feel really sad.  It is almost a post-partum feeling after a performance, and it comes more quickly when I don't have a way to celebrate the successes of a gig. 

All in all though, it was a day worth the pain.  I got lots of compliments on our costuming and choreographies - both of which were designed by me, so that was very gratifying.  I woke up early this morning (again!) feeling better emotionally, motivated to work on improving the choreographies and finish choreographing for my classes today.  What more can one ask for?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Lately my insomnia hasn't been such a bad thing.  I've been remarkably able to focus on projects early in the morning, and despite the fact that sleep is necessary to ward off insanity... I seem to be doing well on 3 - 5 hours a night!  Hopefully there are no long term ramifications of this, but for now the immediate gratification of finishing TONS of projects during the wee hours of the morning has really overshadowed any downside to not sleeping.
I made these armwarmers to match my "Ashar Dance Company" tank top in red:

Now, 6:15 am, I've already straightened my hair, taken a shower (reverse order), painted my nails, picked out my outfit for the day, gotten dressed, and finished adding trim to Mike's new belt.  I still have to pack food and pack up my costuming, and then I'm good to go.
Wow... a wave of sleepiness just hit me.  Maybe I'll go lay down for a while...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wrapped up in Red

More creative packaging... and the last of my cool halloween discount ribbon.  *sadly uses last of ribbon*

*happy packaging turns my frown upside down*

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Up and at 'em!

After starting a new medication a few weeks ago, my normal sleep-in sleep schedule has been completely overhauled!  As if a little google calendar gnome went into my head and adjusted my biorhythms so that I'd wake up early instead of late - I absolutely cannot sleep in anymore.  This morning I was up at 6 am, which, if you know me, is an astronomical feat!  Not that I was someone who couldn't get up early, but I abhor being up before the sun, and usually wake up with an alarm if I have to get up before 9 am.  My natural rhythm of life and sleep used to get me up pretty regularly at 9am - week day or weekend.  Now my body is up and at 'em at 5 am or 6 am without fail! 

The good news is that I've been incredibly productive these mornings; usually working on crafts, making breakfast, cleaning my house, and doing things that usually fall to the wayside in the busy tides of life.  The bad news is I go to bed at like 10 pm now!  Lame!  I hate to go to bed so early, but I'm completely exhausted like an old bitty by the time evening comes. 

Today I'm going to clean my apartment and put the finishing touches on a bedlah for a performance this weekend.  Will post pics tonight or... perhaps tomorrow morning.  Well, off to get up and at 'em!  Who knew that days were so long when you're up before the sun?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sick Day

Sometimes coming down with a bad cold is a blessing... I spent a stolen day watching TV and putting the finishing touches on this halter bra in the afternoon.  Feeling really tired now though, and I hope I didn't put myself back by crafting instead of resting. 

Right now, I'm trying to motivate myself to either rehearse a little or get some work done on the two other costumes I need to work on this week...

Ironic considering that I feel exhausted, so I take a sick day, so I work all day... 

*sigh* At least I'm feeling a little better (albeit emotionally) after all the craft-therapy!  :)

Treasury Feature!

I'm so honored!  Check it out: Badgers, Badgers, Badgers Treasury List by Irvingplace from Madison, WI. 

Here is another photo of "Marvelous Musings"

Monday, February 15, 2010

Hey good lookin'...

More yummy deliciousness from the aphrodesiac cookbook.  The aphrodesiacs in this dish were honey and hot peppers.  Yum!  Wish I was eatting this tonight, rather than sitting at the security office eatting frozen vegetables...  :P

V-day 2010

Well, my honey and I had a great Vday this year.  It actually ended up being a whole weekend o' love - complete with aphrodisiac cookbooks, flowers on Friday afternoon, laughter, staying up till dawn, and "Rocky" movies.

Although I didn't get much crafting in, I did go shopping to JoAnne's fabrics and bought some absolutely LUSHIOUS rayon jersey blend fabric that will make stunning arm warmers for Mahela and I during our gig on Friday night. 

I also knitted furiously on my bamboo beanie.  Black and grey stripes and all mine!  :)  It is turning out beautifully soft and seriously eco chick!

Lastly, though crafting was at a minimum, I did do a great deal of cooking this weekend.  The aforementioned aphrodesiac cookbook came in handy this weekend.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Tonight I'm sitting at work, kind of sick of knitting so I'm choreographing a new steampunk-bellydance fusion duet for Seana and I.  I am super glad that it's going so well!  It is coming together so fast thought that I feel like I hardly have time to map out the song and make sure I get all the sections in that I want to...  I'm afraid of reaching the end and not really having done anything... Perfectionism I suppose...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Store Logo

Check out my new store logo!  Is it readable enough?

Recharging through Mania!

After many nights of insomnia (due to waking up early, early in the morning - ugh!), and several rehearsals already this week, I was nearly extatic that my bellydancing classes were canceled at Dance Fabulous tonight.  Not that I don't love teaching dance, but the classes have been frustratingly empty lately, and I was glad to take a break from the hustle and bustle of my busy schedule.  Because class was canceled due to snow, I took the opportunity to ask Mahela, my troupe mate in Ashar Dance Company, about cancelling rehearsal tonight as well.  The chance to have a stolen evening at home was just too good!  Aside from that, she and I are not in a crunch for rehearsal in any way.

Anyway, what that all adds up to is a free night for crafting!  With projects on a hold (waiting for payment for my last wedding), shipping and packaging done for now, I'm happily free to work on whatever I whimsically choose!  :) 

Tonight, I decided to let fancy take me into the dangerous but exciting rhelm of clothing alteration.  I was quite successful in taking in a beach dress, which was transformed into a slinky evening gown, and I also had good luck with separating an unflattering wrap dress - creating a bellydance choli and a wrap skirt.  I didn't completely finish the choli, but I DID make some very kick ass arm warmers out of remnants from the dresses. 

Both of my alterations tonight, one of which I'm sitting at my computer wearing at this moment, were red dresses that I felt inspired to work on because of the looming holiday -- Valentines Day.  I find myself too excited about it - making plans, spending money, and fantasizing about getting a ring from Jason.  I know that I let myself get caught up in making holidays PERFECT, which they inevitably don't turn out to be, which ends in disappointment or depression.  I'm trying to be reasonable about Valentine's Day, but I also am clinging to whatever source of joy and excitement I have right now.  Winter really is wearing on me this year, and although I usually like the cold, I am less than enthusiastic about it right now.  :P

*sigh*  I'm off to finish some more projects and continue watching "Rocky II" while I craft.  Wheeee!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monthly Special

I've decided to try out a monthly special in my etsy store.  I am looking to get some more blog followers, so I'm willing to trade - follow my blog as an official "follower" and I'll give you 10% refund on your order via paypal within three business days. 

I think it sounds like a deal, right? 

We'll see how it goes.

Tutorial: Rumba Ruffle Pants for Bellydancers

Recently I had a request for a tutorial on how to make ruffle pants for bellydancers on my Ayperibellydancer's Souk Tribe.  Since it's not an original design of mine, I felt completely comfortable sharing the way that I've figured out how to make them.  There are many ways I'm sure!  These pants are inspired by the beautiful pants made by Kathleen Crowley. 

Yoga pants that are stretchy and boot cut
3 different kinds of lace in 2 yard sections
scissors for fabric
fabric pencil/chalk/marker
tape measure

1. Assemble materials.

2. Put on the pants to determine how high you want your ruffles to start - above or below the knee? With a fabric pencil, marker, or chalk, mark this spot on both legs. Take the pants off, and using a straight edge, draw a line across the front and back of your pant leg at the mark where your first ruffle will go.
3. Measure 4 inches down from that spot, and make another ruffle line (be sure to go all the way around the pants because sometimes lace can get slippery on the machine and you'll be negotiating a lot of fabric, so you can lose your place easily).
4. Continue making ruffle - lines until you're 10 inches from the bottom of the pants. If it doesn't line up exactly, that's OK. Make sure your last ruffle line is 10 inches or less because this affects your pant's inseam, and you can always remove more easily than adding back on...!
5. Now, take the lace you want to use for the top ruffle, and cut into a ten inch wide strip (along the long side of the 2 yard fabric piece).

6. Cut out four of each different type of lace (I'm assuming you'll make 6 layers of ruffles on each leg).
7. With a sewing machine, rouch or gather one of the long edges of the lace on each strip of lace fabric - this is what will attach to the pants, making the flouncy ruffle.
8. Using pins, line up the rouched lace edges with the lines on your pants. You will have to adjust the tightness of the rouching/gathers so that the lace is the correct length to travel around the pant leg. (NOTE: if you use tapered leggings, you must allow the leggings to stretch as you sew on the lace otherwise the legging will be too tight at the bottom and will feel uncomfortable.).
Good Luck!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

DONE, finito, terminado, fini

Last night in a flurry of creativity, I finished wedding flowers for Sara334 and Shotdoc.  Sarah's fascinator can be seen at left - complete with real baby ostrich feathers in creamy ivory, hand curled biots in almost-white, and tufts of white marabou.  Into the feathers nestles a beautiful vintage button from Rubfig.

I also finished Shotdoc's Aussie steampunk wedding set - bridal fascinator and three maids' fascinators with gears, cogs, brass flowers, hand curled peacock spears, and lots o' love! 

So exciting!  Tomorrow will be a fun day at the post office!  I have 3 different orders to package and ship.  Guess I'd better get up early.  : D

Friday, January 29, 2010

Joining the Technorati

Today, I'm commiting to improving this meager blog. 

I started by reading the article on etsy.com's Storque Blog "How to Start a Blog." 

In the article, I learned the importance of ~
  • Posting everyday (don't disappoint your readers!), 
  • Open and honest postings about more than just your work (give them juicy and interesting details about your life - not just business announcements!),
  • Tips on how to post pictures. 
I also learned about the "Technorati," which, aside from sounding like a very cool, high-tech secret society, is aparently a great way to find and list blogs. 

So, this morning over my daily sugar-free vanilla skim latte from Manna Cafe (my indulgence that I absolutely can't let go of...), I am sitting at work updating my blog, learning how to be a better blogger, and trying to pretend I'm high tech... at least enough so that the Technorati will accept me into their elite blogging society!

I was told that I needed to enter a code... Here it is: PHQF7QWUSH7Y

Is that enough?  Will my blog make it into the technorati's rankings?  Will I ever have more than 1 follower? 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting Inspired

"I shut my eyes in order to see."

~Paul Gauguin quotes (French painter, printmaker, and sculptor, 1848-1903)

How I get inspired:

When I start to craft, what I like to do is spread all my supplies out in front of me on my maple-red stained desk-turned-coffee table (by sawing off it's legs - no I didn't do it, I just found it that way on the curb downtown) and then I'll sit back on my futon looking at everything.  Sometimes I go to the kitchen to get an apple and peanut butter to munch on.  Usually I put on an old movie that I've seen 100 times (lately Twilight has been in frequent rotation while I'm crafting), and sometimes I'll lean forward toward the table's pile of fluffy marabou, heavy stacks of peacock feathers like lincoln logs, bins of beads, and deconstructed silk flowers in front of me.  Sometimes I run my fingers over the feathers, petting them like cats.  Sometimes I'll make little piles of like colors. 

And other times, I know exactly what I want to do, and I'll take out the glue and felt backing, and get right to work.

I usually work at night.  I have a night job, so I work by incandescent light at midnight most often.  Many times I light candles or inscence to make my apartment smell more like me and less like my neighbor's foreign cooking...  I want to make a temple to do my work: a sacred space where I move wordlessly.  My red coffee table becomes a beautiful altar where I pray with quick deft hands, smoothing feather stems as I combine feathers to make wings that never existed.

Writing this, I smile at the thought of my table as an altar - my chipped, sawed-off, glue-marked, burned, pocked-faced table.  It is the perfect height for me to kneel humbly there- my knees fit just right underneath it's height.  It is somehow right that this secondhand sacrificial lamb should become an altar --- like the Littlest Angel's gift to God in the book that my Mom used to make us read every Xmas...

Man, I want to go home from work to craft now!  :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Two packages of beautiful, blacknwhite, bubbly, bountiful buttons came in the mail!  Now, I just need to finish knitting my beret so that I can add them!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I am an enthusiastic etsy customer and seller.  I purchase almost all of my supplies from vendors on etsy, and I am proud to have made pretty good sales from my shop there. 

One of the things that distinguishes etsy from other online vendors, like ebay, is that etsy artists are just that - artists.  We sell on etsy because we care about craftsmanship.  Most of our stock  is OOAK, handmade, and completely unique. 

Recently I've purchased supplies from etsy.com vendors, and I have been happy with the quality, but very unimpressed with the packaging.  I think that one of the things that separates etsy from ebay is that etsy artists care about presentation.  Etsy sellers know their customers choose to shop there because they want a unique experience.  Buyers on etsy don't want a Walmart, discount shop kind of transaction. 

The first time I purchased something from an etsy seller, it came in a beautiful, wrapped package with ribbon and a handwritten order confirmation.  I felt like I was receiving a present from an old friend! 

Usually my packages go out with a handmade card with a hand-written thank you.  I always include tissue paper instead of bubble wrap, and I always use nice ribbon. 

As a tribute to nicely packed packages, I created this set in my flickr.com page and joined a whole group just dedicated to creative packaging! 


This steampunk fascinator was a part of a custom order from an Australian bride for her steam-themed wedding in 2010. 

I finished this one last night as a preliminary design for her.  Great news - she loves it, and wants three of them! 

So, my first Australian sale, my second international sale, and my first steampunk wedding order all at once!  :)

Custom headband

Just finished it!  Hot off the sewing needle! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to busy-ness as usual!

10 bridesmaid fascinators (split between 2 different wedding custom orders)...

...a custom bellydance headband...

...and TWO more regular online purchases this week from my etsy.com store!

Whew!  2010 is looking good baby!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Artist's Statements

In teaching my high school students to write artist's statements, I am working on revising my own and adding in more about gothic and fantasy stylizations. 

I'm getting back into dance again, and my dance sisters in Ashar have been very inspirational lately.  I think we're having a midwinter breakthrough! 

I also sold two items this week and have two potential commissions coming into my souk - whoot!  I will be a busy girl getting all that ready.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back in the proverbial loop, so to speak...

After about a month away from my etsy store, bellydancing, costuming, and creating-custom-crafts-for-sale, I'm back!

I spent the last month channeling my inner craftiness outward to the people in my life ---

knitting warm, fuzzy gifts,

writing holiday cards,

using beautiful tissue paper with coordinating silk ribbon to wrap presents,

nesting with Jase---making elaborate, beautiful dinners for he and I,

super-decorating my apartment for the holidays -- lights, tree, and all! 

Overall, it was a fun and rewarding experience to give lovely handcrafted, wrapt, and written gifts and cards.  I noticed also that I managed to avoid the things that usually make me feel so cantankerously cynical around the holidays --- long lines, plastic consumerism at the malls, overly religious cards, cut-throat holiday shoppers, and obligation- or duty-based gift giving. 

Late last week I started work on a hat for Jase - a black and charcoal striped beanie in silk bamboo yarn with a nice stretchy rib.  I was so pleased with the results (which took me about two weeks to acchieve due to experimenting with different needle sizes and patterns for the yarn), that I started knitting a new project - a beret for myself made from the same silk bamboo yarn.   I haven't knitted anything for myself in a really, really long time (years), so this will be fun (and a little challenging because of my crafty perfectionism... which goes into over drive when making something for myself.  I'd rather rip something apart than keep it and not wear it!).  I really want to learn to make crocheted flowers for the beret - wouldn't that be cute!