Monday, November 29, 2010

It is starting...2011 the year of Challenge n' Change

I told myself that 2011 will be the year of change and challenge and part of that change and challenge will be pushing myself to let go of my hang ups and try new things.  I know that every year we ALL make up these ridiculous resolutions and they last about a week or at least until I find a carrot cake that calls my name.  So, this year I am identifying the things that I want to change and where I want to challenge myself.  Here is a list of my changes and challenges.

Challenges n' Changes:
  1. My horrible eating habits.  OMG I eat horribly, but oddly enough I do eat things in moderation.  I am a HUGE fan of carbs and sweets.  So anything that combines carb and sweet is a serious weakness for me, actually weakness is an understatement more like crippling.  My nemesis:  CARROT CAKE!!   It is the perfect storm of horribleness for me.  It is carb and it is sweet, but I can justify eating a slice (or two) because it has carrots in it....yep I am laughing at this too!  So, rather than call it a diet, I am going to dub this habit change as a lifestyle change.  I so desperately want to watch what I eat, but there are too many cakes out there and life is too short.  My new mantra: Everything in Moderation...ooohhhmmm...Everything in Moderation...ooohhhmmm...
  2. Try new things; this goes in conjunction with #1.  I have such a limited food vocabulary; meaning that the things that I eat are so limited that it helps contribute to my terrible eating habits.  I visited my newly opened neighborhood Wegman's.  This place is like a mecca for the chef and the food connoisseur and I found this:  
  3. The Romanesco; this gorgeous and mind boggling veggie stopped me in my tracks and I told myself that I simply must have this work of natural art adorn my counter top...wait...this is a veggie and will eventually go bad...okay lets modify that last must adorn my counter top until I cook it and eat it! 
    Well, if you have never seen one of these puppies let me tell you what I learned about it.  According to Epicurious this the Romanesca cauliflower (pronounced roh-mah-NEHS-kah (koh)), though classified as (and also called) a summer cauliflower , this vegetable's appearance is so uniquely striking that it deserves its own listing. Like regular cauliflower, Romanesca has a tightly compact head of florets attached by clusters of stalks — but there the similarity in appearance ends. Romanesca, which hails from northern Italy, is a beautiful pale lime green color; its florets, rather than being rounded, rise in a pyramid of pointed, spiraling cones. Its flavor is somewhat more delicate than that of regular cauliflower. Romanesca is available only briefly — from September through November. Choose a firm head with crisp leaves. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Romanesca can be cooked in any fashion suitable for regular cauliflower. It makes beautiful CRUDITÉS, and is stunning cooked whole. 
    I plan on cooking mine this week using a recipe that I found online...pasta, Romanesca, EVOO, garlic, and a little spicy pepper!  No, I will not be sharing, but I will be patting myself on the back for trying something new!
  4. Curb my impulse buying.  Yeah, I run a business, but I just have these moments that I just go out and purchase stuff with no plans to use them or designs that require the use of particular supplies.  I am buying because they are on sale or they are so pretty that I have to have them in my arsenal for later.  I know that the contest is still in affect, "she who dies with the most fabric wins", but dayum!  I know that I am not the only one, but I think that it is just time to curb my enthusiasm for all things crafty and just because it is on sale I don't have to have it.  My father in law has this saying...I am going to go broke saving money!!!  Don't tell him I said this, but he is really a wise and funny man!
  5. Learning my limits.  I am a craft skill collector, meaning that I collecting crafting skills like people collect Beanie Babies!  Once I learn a new craft, or I think I want to learn a new craft I go out and buy all the crap that comes with it and it just sits or I make a bunch of the widgets and don't sell them or can't sell them.  So, I am stuck with supplies and product...I know that I am not the only crafter out there that does this.  My enthusiasm needs a overhaul and the challenge is to think before I craft.
  6. Refocus. I have always had a penchant for crafting; whether it be crocheting, beading, or sewing my hands and mind are always busy.  I started out crocheting years ago and gave it up AFTER buying hundreds of dollars in yarn (I still have it all by the way!), then dog treats, then jewelry, then bandannas, and now I make collars and leashes with a sprinkle of quilting and other fabric related works.  I have decided to sit back, take a deep breath, and start making my way back to my passion with a vengeance...COLLARS AND LEASHES BABY!  I love making collars and leashes, but I often find myself distracted by other crafting projectsthat has nothing to do with collars and leashes.  So, the change is refocus myself and the challenge is to determine what crafts I want to do and stick to them.  I do plan (and the key word is plan) on making quilts because I just love quilting, but it the planning of quilts will be a carefully planned out decision as I refocus myself and my website to create the things that I am passionate about while keeping my crafting addiction under control.
There are so many things that I want to change and challenge myself on and as the new year approaches, this list will get longer, and the challenge will be to do something about it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Answering the age old question: How did you first get started in your craft/art?

Well...there I was naked, cold, and hungry...okay maybe not naked...or cold...or hungry.  It made for a great intro though!  How did I get started in my craft/art...hhhmmm...I will focus mainly on my dog collars and leashes. 

About five years ago I stepped foot into my first dog show, but a bit before that I met this girl named Christie Miller.  She is and will always be my worst influence and I LURVE HER for it.  Christie breeds and shows Chow-Chows and if you have ever seen one with all that hair, fur, or blow-out (which ever floats your boat) you will have to wonder who in their right mind would bother to put any fancy collar on a Chow-Chow?  Well, you can stop wondering because Christie would (and proud to would I!).  I like most folks had never seen a collar that was wider than 1 in (25mm for my folks outside of the US) let alone one that was lavished with imported ribbons and lined with a rich and luxurious makes the collar sound like a good night out.

The collars that were in the well kept secret of the dog show realm were stunning and they came with the price tag to match.  Now, I am not one to complain about pricing in my current state, but when you are a non-crafter I just about swallowed my tongue when I picked a collar and noticed a $60.00 price tag on a 1"(25mm) collar.  I was just getting out of my baking phase and I was contemplating taking some formal sewing lessons but opted to borrow Jody's sewing machine for some "self lessons" (oh did I mention that Jody was Christie's baby sister?!).  I managed to figure out how to make a bandana without sewing my hands to the fabric in addition to learning some of the basics to sewing.  So while at the dog show that I mentioned earlier, Christie, who is always looking out for herself (she is my idol!) suggested that I learn to make dog collars and sell them.  Hell why can't be that damn hard....right?! WRONG!

In the beginning I was using my home machine with a zigzag stitch (and just assaulting my machine), buying the hardware from off the internet using mainly e-bay to get the hardware that was the cheapest (I am so embarassed to say that), and I found a great set of direction on how to make a collar.  My collars were okay, I priced them okay, and my sales were...okay.  Time taught me some valuable lessons and presentation, product construction, and supplier lists, but that is for another post.

I have long since abandoned that economy hardware for research, a great hardware supplier here in the US, a better sewing machine, new techniques, and just better construction.  So, I charge a bit-o-money for my collars, but they are worth it.

But to answer the question directly as to how I got started in my all started with a dog show, a evil buddy, and two fluffy pooches named George and Chester.

See how my other CREST teammates started in their crafts:
raine studios
Birch Tree Jewelry
CT2 Designs
Sandi Volpe
Sew Artsy Amy
Plant Geek Chronicles
Turquoise Angels