assignment consignment

Thanks to a friend and former student of mine, I'm sending this set of coasters

and this set of coasters

to this store, on consignment. They take a lot more than Etsy does but they do a bit better than a gallery and well, let's be honest, they weren't exactly selling like hot cakes anyway.

And that's just about it for my crafty ways until we settle in Oakland since I officially packed up my entire arts & crafts corner today. I have one final project that I'll post later this week (there's a little teaser for you, above) that will also provide a nice segueway to finally write a few words about So You Think You Can Dance, Friday Night Lights, and other recent television obsessions. Hey, a girl's gotta unwind, right?


flying + felines = fun

Right? No? Last time we flew cross-country we learned a few things about flying with your feline friends. Mainly, don't do it if you don't have to. But if you have to, sedatives probably won't do much good and if you can keep them covered they may freak out just a little bit less. I remember our one-way flight almost four years ago from Oakland to Boston. Our friends were so kind to pick us up while it was still dark out and drive us, all our remaining belongings, and our two cats to the airport. Our two cats who had just about returned to a feral state by the time we got to the airport, through the long check-in and security lines, to the waiting area near the gate, and then finally, to the safe, secure spot underneath the seats in front of us, where our feet should've been. After the two-hour ordeal I thought surely the flight itself would be equally hellish. But as soon as we tucked them under the seats like little carry-on bags, they calmed down, curled up, and seemed to sleep peacefully for the rest of the five hour flight. When we got to Boston I put my jacket over them as I waited for Neal to return with the rental car and they remained calm. Which is why this time around, on their one-way flight back to California with Neal and my mother-in-law, who has so kindly agreed to house them temporarily while we finish packing and make the move with the toddler in a few weeks, we decided to forego the drugs and instead focus our energy on creating some sort of cover for their itty, bitty carriers.

I was torn between using felt and fleece (having narrowed down my options to those two non-fraying materials because I knew I wouldn't have time to whip out the sewing machine for the job the night before the big trip...not to mention the fact that this is the sewing machine I've barely used since I was about 14) but in the end decided felt would probably offer the best combination of sturdiness and breathability. I went with the beige, which in hindsight seems unnecessarily drab, because I figured it matched the carriers and the light material won't soak up any sun they happen to be in during their journey.

First I created a template with some brown wrapping paper.

Then I made some minor adjustments to the template before committing any of the two yards of felt I bought for the job.

I traced the template onto the felt, cut it out, and attached some velcro to the corners to keep the cover fairly snug to the outside of the carrier.

It's like a nicely wrapped little package of kitty goodness!

The packaged kitties are en route as I type, so I'm not sure if this last-minute DIY project will, in the end, make all that much difference. Xander hissed at me initially but quieted down as soon as I put the cover on and I didn't hear so much as a peep from him for the rest of the car ride. Sophie, on the other hand, still managed to, um, relieve herself minutes after being crammed into the carrier, but fortunately did so before we left so we were able to clean her up at home and not at the airport. However, because of her little incident, she's now curled up on a kitchen towel instead of the plush mat that came with the carrier. But other than that and some minor howling on the way to the airport, Neal's pre-flight report seemed to indicate that all went as well as could be expected. Hopefully the carrier covers will prove to induce a calming effect on the other end of their trip as well.


crazy cat lady

It's that time of year again.

Even though we'll soon be headed to considerably less humid territory, we decided to stick with tradition and get the kitties groomed and clipped again. Typically, only Sophie gets the full spa treatment, since her cottony fur tends to mat and she absolutely loathes being brushed. She doesn't self-groom all that well either these days so we've actually had her groomed and clipped year-round since last summer. Xander, on the other hand, is quite the groomer. In fact, he licked himself straight to a self-induced skin infection, possibly brought on by the winter air made bone dry by the heater, which we kept a little warmer than usual this past winter with the latest addition to the family in mind. That seems to be under control but now we have this crazy medicated spray we have to massage into his fur and brush out on a regular basis. Fortunately, he loves being brushed, but to get things started we decided to have him groomed and clipped this time. As luck would have it, despite writing on their little cards that customer prefers the blended version of the lion clip, whoever did the clipping did not in fact blend the shorn areas into the fluff around the head, paws, and tail. But I think the little poofballs at the ends of their tails are just delightful, don't you.

Aw yeah, I've finally gone and crossed the crazy cat lady line!


stationery fit for a queen

I'm not giving these away for free, but in the spirit of the Makery, I wanted to write a few words about the latest addition to my more paper-based Etsy shop.

Folded notecards created from prints created from imagery from Sofia Coppola's film, Marie Antoinette - fitting, no? As I continued to sift through all the stuff we've accumulated during our nearly four years in Beantown this past weekend, I came across a couple of large sheets of screenprinted paper, proofs for the wallpaper I've blogged about a couple of times already. I didn't want to just toss them so I decided to make stationery from the best bits of the print proofs, layering a lighter weight blank text page inside and pairing each card with a handmade translucent, magenta envelope.

Each note is packaged in a clear cellophane sleeve and available for sale at three bucks a pop.

The listing is for one note only, but I have a dozen of these so just "convo" me, as they say in Etsy-land (short for conversation), if you'd like more and I'd be happy to create a custom listing for you. Collect all twelve!


new, weird, old art

I know I should be packing or organizing some element of this crazy, cross-country move, but I need a break. A sit down in front of my laptop for a good while kinda break. I spent the better part of Elias's morning nap yesterday struggling with my printer, so it's nice to spend a little time catching up on things that involve little to no hardware.

During my last weeks in Boston, I'm trying to check a few things off my sightseeing to do list, and yesterday re-visited the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln. The three miles from the freeway to the museum seem long but the drive is just lovely, especially this time of year, when you can really appreciate the foliage New England has to offer. Unfortunately, the weather was a bit gray and misty but we still managed to take a nice stroll through the sculpture park.

We followed that with a quick tour of their new exhibit inside, The Old, Weird America, which includes work by a couple of contemporary artists I quite like, including Kara Walker, Allison Smith and Sam Durant. Although I have to admit that I think I missed Walker's work completely (that's what happens when your companion is not even a year old). I believe I blogged briefly about Durant's work after our first summer in Boston, when his solo show in one of MassArt's galleries followed shortly after a visit to Plymoth and Plimoth Plantation. The thing I enjoy most about his work, strangely, is the way the diorama rotates, ever so slowly, almost imperceptibly so as to surprise you and maybe even reward you a little for hanging out long enough to notice. Allison Smith's work I first saw after a fellow Bellwether Gallery artist, Amy Wilson, visited the Museum School and mentioned her work during a critique. Smith's contribution to the DeCordova show is interesting but doesn't quite match up to the project I'm most familiar with, The Muster. Anyway, the show and artists are all worth checking out if you're into folk themes, American history, and historical reenactment. Amy Wilson's website is definitely worth a visit as well, so long as we're talking about art and stuff. She's an example of one of those rare instances when actually meeting an artist and listening to her talk about her work adds to your appreciation of her practice instead of taking away from it.


thanks fuh nuthin'

That was fun. Elias and I took a stroll to the nearest post office this morning to send that box o' yarn (that I ended up putting in a large envelope but that's neither here nor there) to lucky winner Java Diva. Can't wait to see what she does with all that leftover cotton yarn. Anyway, this is never my favorite outing. I usually go to a post office branch in a suburb south of Boston since it's close to an area of shopping I frequent about once a week or so. It's a decent walk to this particular branch, through a less than desirable neighborhood of Dorchester, past an auto shop that almost always features at least one ginormous SUV blocking the sidewalk. But things worked out this morning to go for a short walk and I had that package to send so off we went.

There were just two people in line ahead of me and yet I had to wait for almost ten minutes to get to the front. I always state what I want when I put my package on the scale, no extra services, thank you. Delivery confirmation? No thanks. Insurance? No thanks. Any extra services? No thanks. No, no, no, NO! I'm not the most patient person in the world but I'm civil, polite, sometimes downright chatty. Anyway, despite asking for first class, all I see on the screen is priority mail and it's a bit more than I anticipated. So I ask for clarification, thinking maybe she didn't hear me when I requested first class. She barks back at me that it's the same thing for a package this size and weight. Okay, how 'bout parcel post? Usually you see a list of options on that screen, right? So she huffs and puffs, takes the priority sticker off, punches in some other numbers and letters and offers me the parcel post rate at a savings of 8 cents. Well, for 8 cents more, I might as well stick with priority, and that's what I tell her. I'm not happy about the lack of options, and I guess I let her know that, but I didn't attack her personally. I proceeded to get exact change from my wallet. Meanwhile she's still fiddling with the computer in front of her and I'm thinking what is taking her so long to print out another priority sticker, right? So finally she plops on the parcel post sticker and I guess I snapped at her a bit, saying no, I said I was fine with priority if it's only a difference of 8 cents. She barks back, that's what I was trying to tell you. Really? Because I thought you were basically not sharing my options with me and instead trying to tell me that priority is in fact what I asked for when I asked for first class. Whatever, lady, just charge me for priority so I can get on with my day. Meanwhile, she's trying to get the cashier next to her to gang up on me, asking her if that's what she understood me to be saying when I said go ahead and charge me for priority. And looking at the line that's formed as if I'm the reason things take forever at the post office, not the fact that they chit chat with the locals and then try to offer you a bazillion services you didn't ask for. She hands me my receipt and tells me, in an annoying I'm killing you with kindness kind of way, I hope your day gets better. Listen, lady, my day was going just fine until I stepped into this post office. But thanks. Or as they say around here, thanks fuh nuthin'!

And it turns out I could have sent the half dozen or so skeins of yarn in one of those priority mail envelopes that they hand out - for free - for a flat rate of $4.95. I mean, maybe she assumed I wouldn't want to transfer over the contents of my parcel but at least she could have told me for future reference, you know?


Anyway, needless to say, with this move and all, as happy as I am to give this stuff away for free, I probably shouldn't be spending this kind of money every week on postage. And I don't want to make anyone who's "won" so far feel bad. Honestly, it's usually a matter of a couple of bucks. But I've got a lot of crafty stuff to give away over the next month and a half. So if I think something's going to be more than what I'd spend on a cup of coffee, I'm going to list it in my Etsy shop, as supplies, and essentially just charge the priority mail flat rate for the envelope or box that'll fit whatever's up for grabs that week. Deal?

All that said, if you're interested in the latch hook materials, here's the link to the listing. Because you can't list items for free on Etsy, the materials are technically $1, with shipping an extra $9. The priority mail flat rate box that should work for this stash of supplies is just shy of $10 so that seemed fair.

I mean, honestly, you'd think the economy being what it is, everyone fearing for their jobs, even some folks who never thought their job would be in jeopardy, that customer service would go up a notch. No such luck, not at the post office anyway. Not around here.


wanna be a hooker?

I'm a day late on this but, as they say, better late than never. And I am giving this stuff away for free so you can't really complain, can you? Not that you would...

Up for grabs this week is everything you need to make a latch hook rug, wall-hanging, or pillow similar to the pillow I made from a photo of Georgia O'Keefe taken by Alfred Steiglitz, originally blogged about here.

The pillow can be purchased for a mere fifty bucks in my Etsy shop.

At some point while I was working on the pillow, I must have purchased enough canvas and yarn to latch hook at least one other female artist's image. I'm pretty sure I even prepped several possible images to choose from but I can't seem to find them anywhere on my laptop, flash drive, or various back-up CDs. Doesn't matter too much since I'm passing these materials along to one lucky reader (hook included!). If you have some hookin' to do, leave me a comment on this post and I'll enter your name in a random drawing I'll do at the end of the week.

And stay tuned for more crafty giveaways of the raw materials variety in the weeks to come. Just six to eight weeks until our cross-country move. Yikes! I may need to do two or three posts a week to give away all the stuff I have in mind.