Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It'll Be A Shoe In

Ok, I apologize.  The title is a really bad pun.  I couldn't help it.  It's a Tuesday night at 10:30pm and I'm sitting at my computer with a gin and tonic in hand.  Full disclosure: in addition to my day job, my volunteer positions (both of them) and my studio work, I have an unrelenting love of helping with fundraisers.  So when I read about a fundraiser that  local Champlain College student Kayla Hedman was running for TOMS, I had to help.  Did I mention I read about this on facebook?  So all of y'all who think facebook does no good, I'm here to say otherwise. 

So what's the fundraiser?  I'm decorating a pair of TOMS shoes for an auction!  Decorating + Shoes = LOVE for me.  I used to have a major penchant for adorable high heeled shoes until I basically destroyed my wide feet by shoving them into narrow (but adorable) shoes.  Ouch all over the place.  And now I'm resolved to wearing flats for the rest of my life.  So this is my contribution to the fun, funky, flat, socially responsible shoe world.  Hooray!

Kayla dropped off the shoes on Sunday and here they are!

I love the box they came in:

Plus, they come with a flag that I get to decorate too!

Send you photos?  Heck yes I will!!!

Take one last look folks, because in a week and a half, these shoes will be transformed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Cats the Studio Assistants

I am an animal lover, plain and simple.  When I saw this post on Design*Sponge the other day, I knew I was totally justified in posting about my furry assistants.  My cats - Oscar, Stewart, and Oliver - are the heart of my house.  My partner Josh and I are firmly enchanted by the three of them.  I had Oscar and Stewart when Josh and I met, so I was quite relieved to see what a great cat step-dad he turned out to be.  And when Oliver was dropped in to our lives (literally - our neighbor dropped him into my arms when I came home for lunch one day when his mother turned on he and his litter mates), our furry little menagerie was complete.  Except that I want a dog.  But not now.  And not without a backyard.  And not without Josh's buy in.  I love my pets, but I love him more (and he reads this blog's RSS feed - Hi Honey! - so now he knows I value him over the cats :)

And since nothing beats cute pet pictures, here are my furry friends:

This is Oscar, my 7 year old grey tiger.  He can't meow - only squeeks - which just makes him all the more adorable.  He has an unbelievable commitment to sitting on every piece of paper or fabric that lands on floor.  He's on it!

Oscar's twin brother Stewart.  Very food motivated, extremely cute, and soft like a bunny.  And a whopping 5 lbs lighter now than he was in this picture.  Thanks Wellness cat food!

And yes, finally, our youngest cat.  Oliver is weird.  Really, really weird.  We think he's part Maine coon mix and he is utterly incapable of sitting in a normal cat position.  He sleeps on his back, belly up and legs spread.  He tries to take up as much space as possible no matter where he lands.  And he's unbelievably - heart meltingly - adorable. 

Oliver is also my best helper when I'm working on projects:

He also helps me process online orders:

And now that I've officially entered crazy cat lady status, I'm feeling pretty good.  I swear I'll go back to posting about Found Beauty Studio....  but seriously, cutetastic, right?  Not that I'm biased....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Vintage Finds of Fun

Five Corner Antiques had a sale this weekend.  Did you see that?  When you read that did you realize what an exciting and potentially costly statement that was?  Dan-ger-ous.  SALE!  And a sale at a store where I have yearned for...lusted after...dreamed about a specific item for months! The 11" jadeite hobnail cake stand.  I knew she would be mine.  I just knew it.  And now friends, she is!!!!

Oh so pretty.  Oh so sweet.  Oh so desperate for a cake!  Anyone bake out there?  Just kidding.  I can bake.  Mostly.  Box mixes count, right?   And, because I have the teensiest tiniest penchant for vintage kitchen items I *may* have also bought a 1950's Hamilton Beach Model H stand mixer.  And it may have come with three pyrex milk glass mixing bowls and an original recipe booklet. 

I know, I know.  Objects don't define a happy life, blah blah blah.  Have I mentioned there was a sale??  I regret nothing!   :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Small Successes

I'll admit it, I have moments of extreme self-consciousness and low self-esteem when it comes to putting my creations out there into the world.  I have been known to obsessively check to see how many people have viewed my items on etsy and favorited them.  If no one favorites them, I second guess my work.  If it doesn't sell, I second guess the entire endeavor.  I've been plagued by doubt my entire life and while it's easy to be confident when all I get is positive feedback, it's unbelievable how fast that turns around when criticism comes my way.  But I'm pleased to report a few successes:

First of all, I met the sales goal I set for June 1st!  Granted, it was a low number when compared to what I make at my day job, but it was a huge jump over what I sold in all of 2010.  And I reached it by March 18th.  And I'm feeling really, really good about that :)

Second of all, I made it into the Queen City Craft Bazaar!!!  I've never entered a juried show before and when I heard that it was really competitive this year, I was incredibly nervous - like checking my email constantly for news nervous.  But I made it!  This will be my first show having my own booth and I'm excited, terrified, doubtful, overjoyed, and a million other emotions all rolled into one.  But mostly I'm just thrilled to have a way to connect to the people buying my work, since I'm pretty sure they're awesome.

So that's the update for now.  I'll post tomorrow about a few truly fabulous vintage finds I scored over the weekend, but for now this is the big news.  And I said I'd post about the good, the bad, and the ugly of growing a small artsy business, so here it is!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Skirt to Purse

After the previous post, I thought it might be nice to actually show a few completed projects.  Lately I've been obsessed with finding unwanted or unwearable skirts and turning them into bags.  It's such a satisfying process.  Creative, relatively quick, practical, fun.  Can't be beat.   Here are a few of my latest.  Some have been sold, but for those that are still available, the photo will link you to the listing on my etsy site:

This was my first creation.  It sold in 3 hours!  The step-by-step photos are up on my Found Beauty Studio Facebook page if you want to see the process...

This skirt was lovely, but dowdy.  And it was in good will.  And it had been there for months.  This was a rescue mission.  

I found this beauty at Joesy's Resale Shop in Colchester.  Oh how I heart Joesy's!  When I got it home, I realized it had been handmade.  I'm not sure why I love that so much, but there's something really neat to me that at least two of us DIY ladies saw this fabric and wanted it for our own.   You can't quite tell from the photos, but it's fuzzy!

This khaki number is actually a skort.  Seriously.  I didn't know they still made skorts.

This skirt was soooo cute in its original form, but it had a tear in the back panel that couldn't be repaired.

And with four more skirts in the workroom, more bags are on the way...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Neverending Refinishing of a Folding Rocking Chair

This is the story of a chair.  Specifically, this is the story of a really cute folding rocking chair that I found on craigslist in 2009.  In fact, I even posted a picture of this chair on this very blog.  I'm not sure why, but this chair has been the elephant in the room for me.  I pull it out and work on it every few months but it always gets folded up and put back in a corner behind a door and I completely forget about it for another 4 months.  Well this is it!  I am determined to finish this project before the summer.  So mark my words, friends... This chair will be for sale by July!   Here's the progress so far:

The chair before!  It was cute, but the caning was missing from the seat and fraying around the top of the back.  It was itching for a full overhaul:

The chair now!  It's been painting a flat grey and the groove around the seat that the caning originally wove into has been chiseled out:

Obviously it's not finished.  But it's closer.  I need to cut out a wooden panel to fit in the recessed seat and FINALLY decide on a piece of fabric to upholster it in.  The back is a different story.  I'm considering weaving a series of pieces of cording through it, but I'm not sure how comfortable that will be so I may just upholster it with fabric as well.  And then I have a couple of silver leaf embellishments in mind. 

But no matter what, it will be done by July!  Mark my words, world.  JULY!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm not dead, I'm just a bad blogger!

Uh oh... I, well, yes it's true...I've been a bad blogger! I've been posting on the Found Beauty Studio facebook page and have totally neglected this blog. Bad blogger!!! But I've also been spending a whole lot more time on Found Beauty Studio lately and am slowly building it as a business, which means that I also have a whole lot more to say. This is a huge decision for me. I have a full-time day job which has nothing to do with art, and it's a difficult balancing act to spend all day in an office and all nights and weekends working on projects for FBS. It's been pretty clear to me lately that everything I look forward to now happens during those nights and weekends. So I'm embarking on a journey. In the next couple of months, I'm hoping to move down to working fewer days a week behind a desk and more behind a sewing machine. I'll share that journey here.

Also, I'm pretty psyched that I learned how to add a My Etsy tab to the FBS facebook page yesterday! Small victories, but important ones :)

Also (again), if you haven't looked at my etsy site in a while you're in for a surprise. I've gone from the 10 - 15 items I was listing for quite some time to 50-60 items! So what are you waiting for? Go take a look already! :)