Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Art Of Packaging

If you think that title indicates that you are getting a lesson on pretty packaging for the world of online selling, better guess again. I have absolutely no advice, as I tend to use recycled materials for most of my shipping needs. Ha ha.

BUT, since recycled materials often are not all that special or pretty(though every once in a while, they really are), I DO like to do something a little special for each of my lovely customers, to hopefully put a smile on their face, and make MY parcel stand out amongst the rest of their mail.

SO I do stuff like this-

And so far, most of my customers seem to appreciate it. I mean, it's not like I am painting masterpieces on the boxes or anything, but the Sharpie illustrations do have the capability to make a person's day just a little itty bitty bit brighter, because they know I took the time to whip a little something cute/silly/funny up especially for THEM, which is something that I think people really enjoy, in a culture so saturated by corporate etiquette/branding/packaging and fewer and fewer occurrences of actual personal interactions and touches.

So, should you decide to treat yourself to one of my pretties, be on the lookout for that package in the mail, as I guarantee, you'll never receive another one quite like it!

Unless of course you decide to order from me again...*winkety wink*

Snapshots-Thankful Edition

Today I am thankful for marshmallow topped almond brownies baked in vintage Pyrex glassware.

Oh yeah, there may also be Reece's Peanutbutter Cups buried in the marshmallows too...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Snapshots-The Thankful Edition

So, two days ago, the plant that The Husband works for announced that they were terminating the jobs of 400+ people(about 2/3 of the workforce). His job is one of them. Two months from two days ago, he will work his last day there.

We were completely taken by surprise. Management had indicated that there would be layoffs months ago, but they had implied that it would be most of the large number of temps who would be "let go", not a significant number of the permanent employees too.

It has been a bit devastating, to say the least. I mean, I know people lose their jobs all the time, but it doesn't make it hurt any less when it happens to you. Kind of like being informed that you have cancer, I imagine. Thousands of people are diagnosed, and survive it, everyday, but it doesn't make it any less scary or painful or worrisome when it happens to you.

And, not everybody does survive it.

I could say much more, but I'm not going to. There would be no positive point in it.

Instead, I am going to try to spend each day between now and The Husband's last day of work at the plant(or first day at a new job if that comes first), reminding myself of all the things I have to be thankful for.

Today, I am thankful for The Kid, her toys, and the imagination the toys inspire in her.

Like this, for example. She informed me that these were her Lala Loopsies' planes. Their "aiwerpwanes". And then they flew upstairs, in search of Batman and the Batcave. Smart girls, those. Batman is a total hottie.

And this is her "Barbie guard", who watches over her Mega Blocks castle. Good thing there is virtually NO crime on the castle grounds, else I don't know that she would be the best choice, what with those jelly high heels and all...

I'm not sure who this guy is supposed to be, but he looks like a sly devil, and that makes me smile.

Finally, I have no idea what's going on in this scene, but I do love the joker. He's fabulous. And apparently likes bunnies. A lot. The bunny apparently likes giraffes. A lot.

Unemployment is always scary, but it is so much more frightening when you have children to provide for. I mean, I don't care if I end up homeless and starving(not that I foresee that happening or anything), but my child? She's the most precious thing in my life. The thought of her struggling or going without, as unlikely a scenario as that seems to be at this time, is just heart wrenchingly painful.

So, we are thinking positive thoughts and preparing resumes and putting in applications to make sure that that doesn't happen.

Good vibes, prayers and positive energy are much appreciated. You know I'm sending them out to you too!

Now off to enjoy some meatloaf and mashed potatoes and a gallon of ice cream, as it is definitely one of those kinds of days.

I am so very THANKFUL that I was recently diagnosed with "beautiful cholesterol", so I don't have to feel terribly guilty about indulging. Heh heh.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Homeplace Feels Like Home

So, in keeping with this weeks theme of everything being out of order, I'm going to finally post about the little road trip Jody and I took to Harcourt, Iowa last weekend, to attend the first big market at The Homeplace.

The Homeplace is owned by Angie, and houses her studio and occasional marketplaces as well as other events(a visiting yoga instructor gives lessons, for example). Angie makes all sorts of neat, upcycled goods. Especially popular are her owls. I came home with FOUR of them!

I bought three, one to represent each member of our family, and then Jody, that sneak, surprised me with another! I told her that if I ended up pregnant(because she sent me home with an extra owl), it would most definitely be her fault. Because you know, that's exactly how pregnancy works and all...

The market was super fun. There were all sorts of neat vendors and everybody was just so laid back and friendly. We were already making new friends as we set up our booths.

Here's Jody's-

And here's mine.

Booth setup is always difficult for me, as it is one area where I am just NOT creative. At all. Not one bit. But, I thought this one wasn't too bad. Better than slapping everything on a table in a naive fashion and making people sift through it all. No, I have never done that at any of the previous craft shows I have attended...(fingers crossed behind back).

Of course the best part about any market(besides making new friends) is always the shopping. It doesn't matter how much money I make at a market, I don't make ANY money at all because I always go shopping at my fellow vendors' booths. Supporting handmade/small business is a serious passion of mine.

In addition to my adorable owls, I also came home with this fun upcycled, crocheted tote by 3D Smudgie Co.

Made of plarn and crocheted by Daisy(who is still a teenager, by the way) THAT DAY, as we sat at our booths vending no less, this bag is fun, responsibly made and just the most handy little tote around. I was super impressed by Daisy, who has been running her business WHILE pursuing her education at such a young age. She really has it together, and her products really rock. Talk about inspiration for the days when I feel like I can't do it anymore. Daisy,  you are my hero!

I also picked up some truly unique hand turned pens, made by Angie's daddy, for The Husband's upcoming birthday.

Can you guess what these are made of?

Here are your answers.

Cactus! Crotch Maple! And GRAPE NUTS!!!

I admit, I bought the crotch maple for the name alone, but it is actually a beautiful and gorgeous piece of wood.

Ahem. Moving on.

Grape Nuts! Cereal! In a pen! This one was all about the novelty value. I mean, I've seen plenty of sprinkles, glitter and candy in resin, but never Grape Nuts. That's just too cool.

And the cactus one, aside from being beautiful, was chosen as a reminder of our early dating days. The Husband was a sculpture major and had this huge piece of dried out cactus in his room that he used for all sorts of creative purposes, like rubbings on fabric and printmaking. That cactus is gone, but every time I see this pen, I'll be reminded of that tiny one room apartment where the seeds of love were planted and began to grow and bloom.

Barf. Let's move on.

So, The Homeplace. If you are lucky enough to get a chance to go and check it out, DO IT. You won't regret it. Angie is sweet as pie and her studio, work and markets really reflect that. I can't recommend her events enough. Having grown up in the Webster County area, I think it's fabulous that she's attempting to breathe some new life into the area by creating new community events and  showing support for the handmade and small business movements.

But heck, even if you don't care about any of the ideologies or social and economical movements that I find so important, just go for the shopping.

 I mean, who doesn't like shopping?

In Progress...

If I ever write an autobiography, that will probably be the title of it. And the story will trail off mid sentence since I'll probably die while still writing it...

Anywho, here's some photos of what's happenin'(hot stuff) in my studio. Ahem, I mean, house.

I know I've been terrible about listing new stuff in my etsy shop this summer/market season, but I promise, I'll be better about it after Market day happens(October 6th in Des Moines!).

I promise!

And I never break a promise.

Except for sometimes when I do and then bake everybody cookies in hopes of forgiveness...


Fat ghost cat likes Fluevog Swordfish...

Regular Fat cat does too.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Little Chicago Photo Puke

So, The Husband and I took a super short road trip to Chicago this past week to return some Fluevogs which were too big and replace them with some that were not. It was my first time at  Fluevog store and also my first time in Chicago, so I was really wide eyed and observant, soaking it all in. I was more concerned with taking it all in with my own bespectacled two eyes than the eye of my camera, but I did manage to get some shots in here and there. Here are just a few of the many, many things I saw which interested me. Please excuse the mix of camera phone and dslr photos.

Lots of half staff flags along the way, as we left on 9-11.

So, I wore my Mini Qtee Fluevogs to Navy Pier, and my poor, ghastly feet were so bruised, swollen and blistered by the time we left, than I had to borrow a pair of The Husband's Fluevogs to walk around the Art Institute Museum in. Pretty classy, I know.

Oh so yummy...

The new hairclip!

After searching for YEARS, I finally found a good copy of my favorite movie ever. Thank you Chicago!

Fluevog carnage.

Swollen, puffy, sunburned feet after a day of walking in heels.

I think this was the largest macaroon I have ever held in my hand. And one of the most delicious.

Delicious. Pig. But, looks more like a rat...

Stumbled into this wonderful little bakery and was reminded of the little Mexican bakeries near my grandparents' house.

I love seeing wind turbines. The Husband build them for a living, so it's always cool to see them actually up and working in our travels.

Sunset near Peoria.

Underground parking garage. Can you believe that was a first for me?!

Typical Chicago, but amazing to a small town girl.

Something about all the metal and concrete and lights of Chicago really fascinated me.

I snapped this before he realised he was holding my purse...he he.

The Husband and I. The sun was stabbing our eyes and we were trying so hard not to squint, thus the serious expressions. I felt very "Boardwalk Empire" in this hat, on the pier. All I needed was a gun and a drink, one in each hand...

You can tell by the expression on his face that he takes this warning seriously.

At Navy Pier, before heading to the Art Institute. This was before the fateful switching of the shoes, which capsized my matching outfit(so unusual for me...hahaha).

Tiffany. Gorgeous. Wanted to steal.

I think there were more bikes in this garage than in the entire state of Iowa...

We took a wrong exit, got lost and then found ourselves in China town.

The Husband was thrilled to find Nascar peeps in the town we stayed overnight in. The first race of the Chase is happening today at Chicagoland!

The little hat, resting after a full schedule of sunblocking and sightseeing.

Chicago was beautiful, busy, full of life and interesting, and it definitely sparked my creativity. I came back with pages of ideas in my sketchbook.
BUT, I don't think that I would ever want to live there. At this point in my life, I am small town Midwestern, through and through, like it or not. I don't anticipate that will ever change. The nice thing about living in Iowa, though, is that we are smack dab in the middle of things, so, when the need for escape arises, we aren't more than a few hours away from a major metropolitan area. Which is totally cool, because by the time I get back home, I am really thankful to be there, in the quiet, uncongested, uncomplicated and boring little haven again.
 Until the next itch to travel needs to be scratched. Then I'm off like a dirty shirt, wondering if the next place will be the place that changes it all...