Saturday, December 27, 2008

Le sigh...

I have not blogged in a few weeks! eeps! I have a blog coming up about Operation Santa, I sponsored 6 letters, 8 kids in total. I still have to scan in a couple of the letters for the entry, so it will have to wait.

I bought a few things on Etsy this week. First, two half yards of fabric from CatyLouQuilts:

Turquoise Quilt Pirates

Sky Blue Cupcakes

I think they will make super cute make-up bags/pencil cases and maybe even a pair of shoes.

I also have had my eye on this ring for quite some time and finally bought it:

I can't wait until it arrives!

Christmas was gooood. I made my mother a drawing of her as a little girl letting a dove fly free. My dad got a refurbed GPS from me and I gave my brother clothes. I'd wanted it to be more of a handmade x-mas but my shop's sales picked up a bit, work picked up a ton between union work and my job, and I just had no real time to sit down and make things for my family. The handknit striped tie on size 1 knitting needles for my dad may NEVER get finished! Maybe I will give it to him for my birthday.

My dad got really into "Hobbit Birthday"'s. When a hobbit has a birthday, he celebrates by giving gifts to others. I like the idea of that, and it gives me two more months to finish his tie!

I missed the Bust Craftacular here in NYC, which I was very disappointed by. I was super sick and depressed because of being sick so I skipped it. The good news? My roommates went and bought me blue fabric with turtles on it that will make some super cute baby shoes. I hope to make a pair tonight!

Also, I'm really into this whole burlesque idea. I've been pondering it for quite some time, years, really. I think it would be fun to do the silly performances, not the really serious ones. I also think it would be great for boosting confidence levels.

I haven't been feeling so great about myself recently. I stopped working out, I'm eating tons of junk...and because of it, I'm feeling sluggish. So starting tomorrow? No candy for a month! and starting tonight? exercising every day for at least 15 mins until my birthday, on Feb. 24th. Yesh. That's the plan. And maybe burlesque classes... =) How awesome would it be if all of my burlesque type stuff was handmade? I think it would be pretty sweeeet.

Time to go cut some fabric and sew! Later Gators!

<3 Always,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sales still thrill me...

Yesterday I made a pair of baby shoes out of this really great green fabric with a leaf print on it:

I sold 3 pairs of shoes in the last 24 hours! You would think after selling more than 200 items, I wouldn't be happy but not thrilled. I am THRILLED by each and every sale. It's such a great feeling to make an item by hand and actually have someone be so interested in it that they are willing to pay for it.

I'm hunting for some gender neutral and "boy" fabric, as I'm continuously being asked for shoes for baby boys. So stay tuned!

<3 Always,

Monday, December 8, 2008

Too many beautiful and fun things...

...on Etsy!

I am eyeing VieModerne's flower hairclips with serious lust! I really really really like this one:

If I can get my order in within the next two days, I can have it by x-mas!

I think something weird is going on inside me. I was never really a "tom boy", but I've never been super feminine either. Over the last 12 months I've bought sundresses and headbands and necklaces and retro party's really quite odd and out of character for me. But I LOVE it. The girlier, the better! =) In the last month, I even bought lots of different eyeshadows and eyeliners. Sooooo girly.

I want to always have a flower in my hair, cute flats on my feet and a smile on my face. I secretly want every single hair item that VieModerne sells. =)

<3 Always,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New baby shoes!

Hooray! I sold a pair of dragonfly baby shoes and made another pair. I also just listed these really fun and colorful yellow shoes:

(Click photo for more info)

I cut the fabric for 3 more pairs of shoes and another pillow last night. I plan on sewing another pair of shoes tonight and the pillow tomorrow morning. I have a Showcase date on Etsy starting at midnight EST tonight. I hope it generates some good views and maybe even a few sales!

<3 Always,

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One behind...

Well, I'm one behind as for listing one item each day. I neglected to list something yesterday. eeps! That means I have to make two items tonight for my shop.

(Click photo for more info)

I made a pillow on Sunday night and just listed it today. It's made with a new print I purchased about a month ago. I think it's a really great print, both colorful and subtle, the contrast of the flowers on a white background reminds me of Winter. I may make a couple of these for my couch.

I love making envelope-backed pillows because the covers are so easy to remove and wash.

Okay, off to sew!

<3 Always,

Monday, December 1, 2008

Doctors Without Borders

I try to pick a different organization each month to donate 15% of my Etsy Shop's gross sales to.

This past Friday I met a Sudanese refugee named Wassie. He is incredible, soft-spoken, strong, a survivor. Upon meeting him and listening to his story, I decided that December (in connection with World AIDS Day) should be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres.

I have donated a couple months to DWB/MSF in the last 12 months but really felt it was necessary to end the year on this note. The Fistula Foundation was a close second, so perhaps in January. I worry that something so blatant might be off-putting to potential buyers.

In case you are wondering what Doctors Without Borders has done in Sudan, here's the link: MSF in Sudan.

I wear an AIDS Awareness ribbon every Dec. 1st. I have lost quite a few family friends due to HIV/AIDS and would love a cure but would settle for economical treatments worldwide. DWB/MSF has done quite a bit of work in countries where many have been suffering from AIDS with no cost-effective treatment. To read more about it click here:

So December in will be dedicated to Doctors Without Borders. Tell everyone you know! =)

<3 Always,

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Heart To Heart

I just threw down ::gasp!:: $110 for a portable GPS system for my dad for Christmas. It's all he wants, he expected to buy himself one and I had to tell him to trust me and not buy one for himself, which sucks because I really really wanted it to be a surprise. I'm hoping he forgets over the next month or at least feigns shock.

If you know my dad, please please don't say anything to him! Pretty please? I bought him the Magellan 3250, refurbished from It was $89.99 plus a $17.99 extended warranty and $1.99 shipping. Egads! I always question myself repeatedly when I spend that kind of money on something. Looks like I will be eating whatever is in my cupboards until I get paid on Thursday.

I bet you are wondering what this post has to do with "My Handmade Life". I am getting there... =)

I just listed my new item for today, not a minute too soon, as there's only 5 mins left of "today".

(Click photo for more info!)

The fabric I used is called "Heart To Heart" which I thought was a great name and fun colorful pattern for baby shoes. My hope is that I can post at least an item a day through December, hopefully generate more sales and be able to sponsor more underpriviledged children through "Operation Santa" this year. Last year I sponsored 8 letters from children and parents, 11 children in total and it felt AMAZING. I really hope to sponsor 12 children's letters this year.

So many of these kids write just asking for a winter coat or new shoes because their single parent has no money for them. It's heartbreaking but heartwarming to know I can help. Last year I had a letter from a single unemployed father who couldn't afford warm clothes for his 3 young daughters. It was fun buying coats, gloves, scarves and toys for them and knowing I was making a difference.

So here's to hoping I sell more items! Tomorrow before work I hope to finish a pillow out of new fabric, photograph it and list it.

<3 Always,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally catching up...

I've been SUCH a slacker with making new items for my Etsy shop. I finally listed a new pair of shoes today:

(Click photo for more info)

My hope is to make something new every day to list. I'm going to make a pair of heart shoes next.

I find I'm much more productive in the mornings than the evenings. I think it may be because of the instant gratification of being able to photograph and list the item immediately instead of making an item at night and waiting until morning to list it.

In other news? I just bought a notecard and postcard from and fell in love w/ one of her illustrations:

If I sell at least one item this week, I will buy it. Here's to hoping!

<3 Always,

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The problem w/ money in my paypal account...

I sold a handful of items in the last 8 days and am feeling quite good. The problem? I am in the middle of switching banks, so I don't want to transfer my money in my paypal acct. to my bank account before closing and opening a new savings account.

So I've got a little bit of money in Paypal and I keep seeing things on Etsy that I want to purchase. Not things I need, just...well...VERY impulsive items.

Dorian (one of my roommates) and I have talked about taking a burlesque class for months now. I have never thought of myself as sexy. I think maybe I had one instance where I felt powerful and female and ::gasp!:: almost sexy. I think a burlesque class might do wonders for my self-esteem. Dorian and I talked about it again today while she read my current issue of "Bust" magazine (it's a feminist mag, not porn!)

Well, I'm browsing Etsy and came across these:

If you click the image, you will see the first photo of the model, and she looks H-O-T. I am not posting that photo so that my blog continues to be work-safe.

If I were a burlesque dancer, I'd definitely want a pair of handmade sequined heart pasties that are "easy for twirling". Seeing as though I have money in Paypal, I almost bought them. What would I do with sequin heart pasties without a Burlesque class? I'm not even currently seeing anyone! lol.

So I think this is the plan: Continue to exercise and do 30 mins of Pilates daily, find a Burlesque class once the holidays are over, and support the handmade revolution by purchasing sequined heart pasties from Etsy.

I already know the song I'd want to do a Burlesque skit to: Blondie's "Rip Her To Shreds"

<3 Always,

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hooray for sales!

Now that I'm listing something new everyday, sales are picking up a bit! I sold 3 items this week, not too shabby for the economy being as awful as it is currently. I sold two pairs of baby shoes (one custom order). and couldn't be more thrilled!

Here's my latest pair of baby shoes, I <3 the dragonflies!

(as always, click the photo for more details!)

I'm currently making origami boxes for them out of thick square baby-themed scrapbooking paper, to make them as adorable as possible when I ship them this afternoon. I just think they'd be perfect with shoe boxes to match.

On the list of things to do today?
1. photograph latest baby shoes.
2. make one more pair of baby shoes and photograph them.
3. make origami shoe boxes.
4. package up items to be shipped.
5. Go to the Post Office.
6. Take an hour nap?
7. exercise with new Pilates ball & dvd.
8. Meet up w/ Bette this evening

<3 Always,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Shoes!

I'm on a roll with the new shoe pattern!

My migraine is completely gone and I couldn't be happier!

I've got a kids showcase date on Etsy for the 13th and want to load up my shop w/ lots of stuff. I'm SO GLAD I get out of work @ 5pm. I'll be home by 6pm, make apple butter and sew more booties. w00t!

Here's the lastest pair:

(Click photo for more info)

I can't wait to make more! I just ordered some organic cotton/bamboo fabric from CatyLouQuilts and hope to get my hands on some polartec fleece (it's recycled) to make organic baby shoes.

I can't think about my fulltime job because my mind is clouded with visions of handmade things dancing in my head.

<3 Always,

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby Shoes - my first pair!

Yesterday I had the worst migraine, I'm not going to go into details but it was NOT pretty. Once the migraine started to subside late afternoon, I found myself very down that I hadn't been productive, so I cut lots of fabric and made a few pairs of baby shoes. I photographed 3 pairs this morning but only had time to list 1 of the pairs. They are super cute! I brought them to work and my coworkers all "oooooh"'ed and "ahhhhh"'ed at them. I've got a few orders already for custom sizes!

Here's a photo and link to the pair I just listed this morning:

(Click photo for more info)

They are fleece-lined, so warm and snuggly for colder months and made to fit 0-6 month olds! I'm so thrilled with them!

I can't wait to get home from work tonight to list the other two pairs!

I want to make origami boxes for them out of scrapbooking paper. I think they'd be super cute.

<3 Always,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board

Hello everyone!

I've been neglecting "My Handmade Life" and for that, I apologize. It took a while for my roommates to get settled to the point where I felt comfortable sewing while they are home, and I was spending lots of my free time promoting our new president-elecct before election day. But I'm back! With lots of patterns floating around in my brain.

First? I went to Pennsylvania this past weekend to celebrate my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. I don't have photos yet, I will post some when they are e-mailed to me. I had a chance to go to Joann's with my cousin's wife April on our last day there and took it! I wish there was a Joanns Fabrics in NYC! I bought SO MUCH STUFF! So be on the look-out for new fabric prints in my shop in upcoming weeks!

Here's a photo of one of my latest makeup bags in the new fabric:

(Click photo for more info)

Second? I won 2nd place for my photo in the Lomography contest I posted about a couple months ago! Yay! I won a Pop 9 camera, I hope I receive it today! Again, photo to be posted soon. It's early in the morning. =P

Third? I'm going to be making sewn baby booties and retro aprons finally! I couldn't be more thrilled about these two. I'm all about the retro aprons, since I've always wanted to make one for myself.

So that's it. I'm off to sleep for another 30 mins before work.

<3 Always,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Preserving Nature...

Good morning!

It's 11:00am and my head hurts but I'm determined to work through it. I've been up since 8:30, excited about the idea of making strawberry preserves.

My two books I special ordered on "putting up" came in! Today is Saturday, and the best part of Saturday is getting up and heading to my local Farmer's Market. It's open from 8-3pm and is a block long with stands on both sides of the street.

(This is Becky)

(This is Dorian)

My new roommates Dorian and Becky (D&B) went with me last week and fell in love. They won't be attending the market today due to cat-sitting for a friend, so I have a nice list of items to purchase for them. The pressure is on!

The best part of the Farmer's Market? Organic, local strawberries! I'm going to purchase 2 quarts for the preserves recipe and 1 quart for family. I don't know if D&B want strawberries, I should text them on my way out.

The strawberry preserves recipe calls for:

2 quarts whole berries, capped and quartered.
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 pack pectin
1/2 tbsp butter
7 cups sugar

It should make 7-8 half-pint jars.

If I can get everything organic, I will be thrilled!

The coolest part? I have all this left-over strawberry fabric that I can make cute little jar "hats" out of.

So today's plan?

0. Pharmacy for headache relief
1. Farmer's Market
2. Home to drop off produce.
3. Downtown to Zabars for canning supplies
4. Copy Center to color-copy some photos for coasters
5. Maxila & Mandible to look at butterflies
6. Home to make coasters for my mom's birthday (Monday).
7. Off to a birthday dinner w/ the family for my mom.

<3 Always,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Put Up or Shut Up!

So the most recent issue of "Bust", the only magazine I subscribe to, has an entire article on DIY canning. Think preserves, pickles, jams, etc.

As it's called in the South, it's the art of "Putting Up". I have always been interested in making preserves and jams and pickling everything imaginable, even though I don't really like pickles. So I special ordered a couple books on the subject and should have them in my hands in a little more than a week! I'm so excited! I wish the preserve jars were easier to find in NYC. I will have to hunt some down.

I had an old boss when MoMA first reopened who decided with his wife that they were going to pickle everything they could get their hands on and give away jars for X-mas. They had jars EVERYWHERE! If Jars weren't so expensive to ship to my family, I would do it. But I don't know how thrilled my little cousins would be with a huge jar of pickled beets! So maybe I will stick to tins of cookies and white chocolate peppermint bark.

Also, a few of my coworkers and I are trading recipes for all sorts of pumpkin things, it's almost the season! Just a few degrees colder. I hope I get the chance to apple pick in Oct. That could be fun to use in my jams and preserves.

<3 Always,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hooray for new items!

(click the photos for more info!)
I finally got a chance to photograph two new makeup bags today and just listed them about an hour ago! I hope they sell!

My penpal cuts lots of fabric at once and then sews lots. I've always made one item from start to finish before starting another one. But the fabric cutting in one-fell-swoop really seems to work, so hopefully I will get more things up and posted soon! I'm finishing up a new pillow tonight! I hope to list it tomorrow!

Oh, and speaking of my penpal? Her birthday is coming up in about 2 weeks and I NEED to send her really random goodies from Etsy. I have no idea what to get her! There are so many gift possibilities on Etsy! The pressure's on! =) I like a challenge, though.

I keep meaning to pick up the tiles I ordered from Home Depot to start making coasters and I keep forgetting. I know it's only 6pm today, but I'm still in my PJ's. Maybe I will pick them up tomorrow after work, since I will already be outside.

My very good friend Dorian and her girlfriend Becky are moving into my apartment and I could not be more excited! I get to cook and we will have craft nights. I hope they will inspire me to make more things! I gotta get ready for the holiday season!

<3 Always,

Ode To An Ex Lover...

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I purchased the MoMA Exclusive edition of the Diana F+. I finally took a few rolls of film to be processed and printed and love this photo:

I didn't plan it out or anything. It's a double exposure of a view from my subway station's platform and the view looking down at my shoes.

What's interesting is that I just ended a thing I had with a guy I was on-again/off-again dating for two years. The last positive thing I remember him saying to me was "I like those shoes, they're like ballet flats." He grew up in my current neighborhood and used the train station I took a photo of.

So I named it "Ballet Flats & Dyckman St: An Ode." It seems obvious that my sub-conscious wanted something physical to grasp when I thought of the last two years of steamy fun and emotional turmoil.

<3 Always,

Friday, September 12, 2008

I heart custom orders!

A few weeks ago, a former coworker of mine asked me if I could make a makeup bag for her friend's birthday. I was so excited! She picked out the fabric (Alexander Henry's 2D Zoo in Sage), and said she'd love turquoise or yellow for lining and zipper. Well, I thought turquoise and yellow might be a bit much, so I used a white zipper and turquoise canvas for the lining and I love how the finished product turned out! I will have to make more of these for my shop.

Today? I'm off to drop the bag off at work even though it's my day off. Cara doesn't work with me anymore, she works in a different department in the same Museum. Then I'm off to Mood to buy some muslin and a 20" zipper for the dress I want to make and then to my parents' place, as my cousin Andy is home on leave from Afghanistan and I want to give him a huge hug before he goes back.

<3 Always,

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Etsyversary!

Today marks my Three Year Etsyversary. Yup, that's right, I registered my shop on Etsy on September 10th, 2005. I was planning this big promotional sale and just kind of...forgot? It sneaked (snuck is incorrect, btw) up on me this year!

Looking back to the very beginning, this was the first item I ever sold:

A handknit baby hat made from microspun acrylic yarn for $12. I sold it on Sept. 28th, 18 days after registering my shop name, and 17 days after listing my first item.

I remember how thrilled I was to have sold something! I remember checking my e-mail and seeing that sale and practically jumping for joy! I was beaming! I called everyone I knew who knew I knit.

I STILL do a happy dance every time an item sells, three years later! It feels sooooo good to be recognized as having made products that people want to own or give as gifts. It's an amazing feeling.

I hope to reach 300 items sold by Dec. 31st, 2008. We will see if I can make that goal come true! Here's to hoping! I am off to make some things for my etsy shop!

Happy Etsyversary to meeeee!

<3 Always,

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My latest artsy endeavor...

I've been eyeing various Lomography cameras for quite some time. MoMA just came out with a MoMA exclusive Diana F+, it's the same as the Diana F+ for sale on but they changed the blue to "MoMA Red", an actual color MoMA has the rights to.

Two years ago, my dept. at work had a Lomography contest. We got to choose between the Supersampler or the Fisheye and our theme was "Spring Fling". I won runner-up and received a Fisheye camera as my prize.

Last Thursday, we were just told we are having another contest, this time using the Diana F+ , a Lomolito, or the Fisheye 2. The theme is "New York Surreal". The deal is that each employee interested in entering the contest gets to borrow one of the cameras with a roll of film for 4 days. We then enter our undeveloped roll of film as our entry to the contest. Of course, because I want a Diana F+ so badly, I bought a ton of film and have been shooting all sorts of things. I have yet to use the roll given to us for the contest and have to return the camera on Tuesday. I will be buying MoMA's version of the Diana F+ the day I return my borrowed camera.

I am super excited about the contest and seeing how these photos turn out. Lomography will process our film, put our photos onto a CD and send them back to us after choosing their favorite 3 photos from all of the entries at the end of this month. The prizes are cameras, but not the Diana F+. Instead they are colorsplash and sampler cameras.

When I get these first two rolls of film developed, I will most definitely post some photos. I just created a profile on, I look forward to their monthly contests on the website as well as the tips and tricks from other lomo users.

<3 Always,

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Organization and Squirrels

Once I put together my fabric pantry, I went through tons of large and small lidded plastic tubs of fabric, zippers, notions, thread and tons more sewing-related things. I then proceeded to organize and refold all of the stuff and then put them into my new pantry. This took at least an hour, it was incredible. I have fabric I completely forgot about! Yards and yards of it! It's almost a little insane.

I then realized I am not unlike a squirrel. I buy all of this fabric and hide it away in plastic tubs in case, I don't know, all fabric stores in the world cease to exist? Then, months later, I find fabric I'd completely forgotten about. Squirrels are known to do this with nuts. They burry them for later and occasionally forget about them.

So here's my latest creation from fabric I'd forgotten I had:

As always, you can click the photo for more info.

I love this fabric, it's named "Caribe", I'm guessing after the Caribbean Sea. The colors are so reminiscent of the ocean. My brother's name is also Caribe, after the Caribbean indians and the sea. I once thought I'd make him pillows for his dorm, but they are not really his style, so I opted not to. Maybe if he has a kid one day, I can make something out of the fabric for the child.

I found other fabrics, too. Things I can't wait to use, so stay tuned to my shop for new things in the upcoming days!

<3 Always,

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I bought a fabric pantry!

I know most people do Spring cleaning and it's August. I'd been going through a tough time recently and am on the upswing from it, creating this immediate and important urge to purge all things I don't need in my home. ALL of them. I want to go minimalist in my home. Now, usually these feelings are fleeting, so I think that I should follow suit this one time and see where it leads me.

All of you who make things by hand probably know how easy it is to feel the need to buy as many supplies as possible. I have gone through these weird crafty phases, a sort of handmade Attention Deficit Disorder.

Since stumbling upon Etsy, I have knit and collected tons and tons of different types of yarn, needles, and notions.

I then decided I wanted to get into paper goods and I bought envelope templates and fancy papers and envelope glue and made envelopes and flatcards.

Then I saw a show on TV on how easy stained glass is and decided to try my hand at stained glass. Enter cabochons, 30+ stained glass squares and rectangles, glass cutters, oil, solder, soldering iron, copper tape, wire and suction cups. Okay, stained glass? Not easy at all! I have the solder scars to prove it.

I then took a pillow making class and started collecting fabrics, threads, and pillow inserts. Then makeup bags and coin purses, add to my collection of fabrics and threads, I now have tons of canvas, interfacing, zippers, felt squares, pinking shears, and fancy fabric scissors. Let's not count the numerous measuring tapes, rulers, yardsticks, sewing machine needles, fabric tags, googly eyes, fabric paints.

Now, picture me in a large (by NYC standards) 2BR apt, with a roommate, two sewing machines, a full-sized ironing board and two bookcases of craft books.

HOLY COW. Crafts have taken over my LIFE!

I have plastic Sterilite, Muji, and Rubbermaid bins for everything, so it's all organized within them, including ones for my completed projects, but I've always wanted to have my fabrics out so they remind me to get cracking at the machine.

I have 3 days off this week (today through Saturday) and am using the time to organize it all into a 5ft x 2ft x 1.5ft wooden pantry with doors that I purchased from Target today. Once I get it all organized in one space, I can use all the plastic bins to decide what books, clothes, dvds and other things to donate or list on Freecycle, making a happier, more organized, creative minimal space where everything has a place and that place isn't in every room in my apartment.

I cannot wait! I am thinking of how to decorate this very boring beech-colored cabinet. I was thinking maybe stencils. I will post the project once completed. I can't wait!

<3 Always,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Handmade dreams...

My workplace and every workplace on the block was evacuated by the bomb squad because of a "suspicious package" yesterday evening. It reminded me of anthrax threats post 9/11 7 years ago, and as I left the building and hurried to a subway station far away to go home, I thought to myself "is this worth it? is it truly worth it?"

I enjoy my day job. I don't want to do it forever, but for now, it pays the bills and supports my craft supply addiction pretty nicely.

I couldn't help thinking about how an alpaca farm in rural middle America would be less of a target for terrorists or angry Americans. I could have alpacas and angora rabbits and spin yarn and weave and knit. I could get huge tax deductions for being solar or windpowered, sell my wares online, live a quiet life crafting, enjoy the outdoors, drive a Prius, and not worry about bomb threats every day.

I never used to really worry about these things before having a penpal. I like sending my penpal something in the mail every day. This is hard when the blue street mailboxes surrounding my workplace are sealed shut for fear of bombs when contraversial political figures are in town. Sometimes the mailboxes are completely removed from the sidewalk, vanished into thin air. Garbage cans are also removed, but I rarely throw anything out in them when they are around.

I don't know. I would love to retire and have a cupcake bakery with nice comfy chairs and lots of craft books around, friends artwork displayed on the walls, good music, a community place. I can't do that here in NYC, it's too expensive. As I get older (almost 27 1/2 this month), I can't help but think more and more about my future. Some place where I don't have the cloud of doom over my head.

<3 Always,

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Crafting for me...

This week was a good week as far as Etsy goes. I sold 2 pillows and a makeup bag, shipped them out yesterday. I made a few things as well.

I like turning my sales around and purchasing things off Etsy. I most recently found a pattern for an Amy Butler tanktop in CatyLouQuilts that I have been eyeing. I finally purchased it yesterday:

I looked through fabric in FabricStash's Shop and picked out one of my favorite prints, the VW Sole in the blue colorway:

I have yet to find 1" buttons and I still have to purchase the interfacing, but I am so excited about this project! I've never sewn any adult clothing before and have definitely not sewn anything for myself. I used to knit things for myself on occasion, but sewing? nope. I'm SO excited about this project. I will definitely post photos once the pattern and interfacing arrive, as I have a feeling this project will take a few more weeks. =)

So that is not where my Etsy shopping spree ended. I bought a few postcards from EricHou but can't show you which ones as my Etsy penpal reads my blog on occasion. (I'm such a tease!)

And I finally FINALLY purchased two buttons from ButtonEmpire. I've been eyeing Button Empire's buttons for quite some time. Can you guess which ones I purchased? Fine, I'll show you. =)

I am SO excited about the "The Revolution Is Being Handmade". It'll be more exciting once I make myself a tote bag.

I'm currently sporting a not-so-handmade but eco-friendly bag from MoMA. I just realized it isn't for sale on the website. That's too bad, it's a great design. I will try to describe it. It's a black flat tote bag made of spun fibers from recycled plastic bottles. It's got a great graphic white image of four different types of plastic bottles on one side. Just bright white silouhettes, I've gotten lots of compliments already and I only purchased it a week ago.

Today I am meeting with a friend in SoHo for some shopping. I'm looking for a bathing suit, a pair of shorts and a gift for a friend. I hope to find some cool postcards or notecards for my Etsy Penpal, and maybe some fabulous prints for inspiration so I can come home and make more things for my shop.

I should probably shower and figure out what to wear. I'm meeting her early afternoon.

<3 Always,

Sunday, July 6, 2008


My customer loved the custom order and purchased it the minute I listed it. Yay!

Also, here's the latest pillow, I love this fabric, I bought it from CatyLouQuilts. It's so bright and fun. I may make some pillows for myself out of the left overs!

[click the photo for more info!]

Oh, and I forgot to mention, in June I made two etsy goals, I hit 250 sales and the 300 mark in positive feedback! I hope the second half of this year is as good if not even better.

I organized my workspace yesterday, including taking everything off of my sewing table and cleaning it and reorganizing fabric/zippers/etc. It feels so good!

Well, I'm at work today, so that's all the time I have. Later, gators!

<3 Always,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

random thoughts.

Hey ladies & gents!

I've been sans internet for 2 days and finally got back online. I have no idea what the problem was, but I actually had to call the cable company and set up an appointment to get it fixed. The cable guy said that out of 100%, my connection was running at about 2%. He was surprised I was getting any cable channels, also. Man, catching up on a billion e-mails is NOT fun. Today was supposed to be my relaxing day.

Sans internet/my favorite tv channels, I went to Borders and bought David Sedaris' latest book, cleaned my apartment and organized my new fabric into my bins. I also made ::gasp!:: a new pillow for my shop! I will post it later, I have to get a custom order listing posted first.

I also bought sculpey and started thinking up ideas for magnets and such, so stoked.

Someone said something interesting yesterday. She said something about being self-supporting, and I'd never thought of that before. Sure, in the monetary sense, I'm self-supporting, and my etsy shop is self-supporting. But I had an epiphany of sorts. Sometimes I go through these periods where I don't make anything, and I fall into this terrible rut. When I'm not productive, I feel like garbage, a terrible downward spiral.

So July? Is all about being self-supporting. I'm going to be as creative as I want to be, make things, sketch, design, and support the artist inside me. I'm very excited by this idea, and a little nervous!

Oh, and if you've ever wondered what I listen to while making things?
Today's playlist includes: Young Love, Maroon 5, Metro Station, Rilo Kiley, and later this evening? Some Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald.

Yup. Oh, and I had half a toasted bagel w/ peanut butter on it & orange juice for breakfast, and am eating the other half for lunch.

There, the innerworkings of Taina on a Saturday afternoon.

<3 Always,

Monday, June 30, 2008

Vejigantes (Inspiration Part II)

I don't know if I've mentioned this before...I was named after the "Taino" indians of Puerto Rico. They were a pre-Columbian tribe killed off by slavery and disease once the Spanish came. All that's left is the cave carvings and stone artifacts.

My mother is Puerto Rican, my father is Caucasian. I think my being drawn to the bright and bold prints in the fabric I choose is probably influenced by my month-long stay in Puerto Rico in 1996. Twelve years ago, and I can still envision the crystal turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the neon fish, the boldly painted houses...

I have been thinking about my Puerto Rican family a lot lately. Starting with attending the Puerto Rican Parade here in NYC earlier this month. My great aunt on my mother's side "Tia Fina" passed away last week.

As I've been battling anxiety and depression for months now, I cannot get the image of the vejigantes from the parade out of my mind.

A vejigante (pronounced "bay-hee-gahn-teh") is a horned character meant to scare away evil spirits.

And I want to paint them! I've been wanting to paint a series of vejigantes for a month now.

I have another etsy username: that I took in case I wanted to do only hispanic-themed items. I never set up shop, but it's there in case I want to set it up. Mi Vida Loca means "My Crazy Life". Which I think is perfect if I am making vejigantes to ward off evil spirits (like depression and anxiety).

My mom makes these great little mask pins and I've been dying to get her to make some for Etsy. I wonder if she'd be interested in this idea.

I wonder if anyone would want a vejigante pin, painting or fridge magnet. hrmmm... I looked them up and didn't find anything already on Etsy. If I can make a pillow today and post it, then I will reward myself by going to the store and buying canvas and some paints.

Love Always,

Saturday, June 21, 2008

a little extra cash...

I went on a card shopping spree these last few days on Etsy. I purchased cards from Vermont Vintage and again from Creative Apples.

Look out, Etsy Penpal, you are going to be card'd out in the upcoming weeks!

I wanted to buy the dress from Miss Brache but then I realized I'm not in the best shape. So I started a crazy workout cycle. I do at LEAST 10 mins of hulahooping, which actually burns the same amount of calories as running an 8 min. mile. Today I did an hour of hula hooping and some dance cardio. So hopefully in 3 weeks or so I will be where I usually am physically and I can take measurements and order the dress.

Tonight is "Jaws" on the big screen @ MoMA. I'm SO stoked! I'm trying to find the perfect Jaws outfit. lol. I've been a little more ridiculous than normal.

Peace and Love,

Friday, June 6, 2008

w00t! Etsy Purchases!

So I arrived home last night to find my package of fabric from CatyLouQuilts. Totally excited! I have to wash it before I make anything, but laundry has to be done at some point today anyway.

I finally remembered to look up my stimulus check date. I will be getting my money in about 10 days! I promised myself I'd put the majority right into the bank but spend a bit on Etsy. I like the idea of putting money back into the Etsy Market.

Do you know what that means? In a month and a half or so I will have that killer dress from MissBrache!

And I will obviously be purchasing more cards for my penpal!

So stoked!

Today has been a super slow lazy day. I had kickball finals last night after work, we won 2nd place, not too shabby! Today I laid on the couch for most of the morning, had an ice cream shake for breakfast and decided to get off my lazy behind and make some stuff. I have fabric ironed and cut already, so it's time to put it together for some new makeup bags.

It's rainy, I'm allowed to be a little lazy today. =)

<3 Always,

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Things to come...

So I've been out of the etsy-creating loop for a while now and I'm officially raring to go again! I have a 3 day weekend (Fri-Sun) packed with obligations (of the good kind) but I am definitely squeezing some sewing into the schedule.

I have to finally add the snaps to the 12-18 month dress so I can post it, and if the new fabric I ordered comes, I will be making some snazzy fun pillows for my shop.

Below are the fabric patterns I purchased from Catylouquilts

I am so stoked! I also am hoping to make a significant dent in the giant rubbermaid containers I have filled with all sorts of fabric next week. w00t.

Look out Etsy! Taina's coming back with lots of fun stuff in new prints!

<3 Always,

Sunday, June 1, 2008

a girl can dream...

I have been wanting a retro-style black halter black dress with white polkadots for quite some time. I believe I've found the absolute perfect one on Etsy!

Now I just need $95 + shipping of disposable income!

I have the perfect black patent leather sexy sexy sexy heels to wear with it.

I think I would just need a rockabilly boyfriend for dates.

<3 Always,

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Here's my latest item photographed in my new window spot:

(click photo for more info)

A few months ago I blogged about my kitchen windowsil and all the plants I was trying to grow. Well, the seeds never grew past tiny seedlings that would die a few days later. All those basil, oregano and cherry tomato seeds! oh well.

This past Saturday, my parents asked if I wanted to ride with them to Home Depot in NJ to pick out flats to plant in front of their apartment building. They do this every year, they pick a ton of annuals in a couple colors and plant away! I was too busy eyeing the cherry tomato plants to remember what they picked this year. I bought two very strong cherry tomato plants after much "ooohing" and "ahhing." One of the plants I picked already has 5 tiny green cherry tomatoes on it! So exciting.

This past week, as I adjusted to meds, I found myself wanting to tend to my little kitchen and livingroom window gardens. I bought larger pots with saucers, cleaned the windowsil and window and went to work repotting my aloe, cherry tomatoes and a few other things. I used the soil from the seeds I'd tried desperately to grow and failed and mixed it with some organic fertilizer and soil. I then found a better pot on Friday for the aloe and once again repotted, as I pulled the soil out from one pot into the other, I found lots of little seedlings growing! Now, they are too small to tell what they are but I carefully put them in a tiny pot. Maybe my basil or oregano will grow afterall!

Yesterday, Dorian, Becky & I went to the Bronx Zoo. Afterwards we stopped on the Upper West Side to run some errands and somehow I ended up buying organic basil in a pot.

My kitchen windowsil now has...cherry tomatos, arugula, basil, echinacea and aloe. As well as some kind of tiny palm and some other thing I lost the tag for. lol.

Now, the problem is that my bedroom is the one with sunlight for the majority of the day. This is an issue as I use my bedroom window to take photos of my etsy items. I found another window that has great light in the morning and took some photos, didn't even have to adjust them for brightness!

So now I get to move all my "full sun" plants. I have to wait until my roommate moves out next week. Our apartment is currently a giant mess of boxes and paperwork and I don't want to disturb anything.

Photos will come soon, my camera is currently full of photos of the Zoo that I need to upload.

<3 Always,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Etsy Hunting...

I've mentioned before that I have a penpal. She recently found my blog, so I can't write too much about my handmade purchases to send her until they are already in the mail. Otherwise, there's no surprise!

TheSeaWithin and I have very similar taste in stationery. Every time I think I've found something fun to send her, two days later I am receiving something from her on the same postcard. I think it's hilarious.

She lives 3000 miles away, we've never met, we lead pretty different lives and somehow we both have Yoshitomo Nara postcard sets, Jill Bliss' Native Flowers stationery and most recently I received a postcard from her of similar nature to the notecard I was in the process of sending her. (Except I can't for the life of me figure out what I did with the envelope!)

So far the things I have purchased from Etsy are not things that she has. The robot notecard a while back? That went over nicely.

I've been eyeing BoyGirlParty's notecards for a while now and lo and behold, I receive a postcard with BoyGirlParty's artwork on it! So I quickly snatched up the notecard set on etsy. They are different images than the ones TheSeaWithin purchased.

The notecards came on Monday and I immediately wrote one out and sent it.

BoyGirlParty was a great shop to purchase from. Her cards arrived very quickly and carefully packaged. The artwork is fun and beautiful and the cardstock is professional. I highly suggest purchasing from her.

I am currently trying to decide if I should go back to sleep and cancel on dinner with a dear friend or try to force myself to get up, shower, dress and head out. It's a cold rainy day and on top of that, my meds are causing me to be nauseous with no appetite. Doesn't make for a fun dinner date w/ a good friend.

I really want to sew. I keep looking at my fabric and my sewing machine and back again. I just can't focus for that long.

I hope these side effects subside soon!

<3 Always,

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So I finally have a photo of the totebag I made for my mom. The photo's not the best, as my parents like their apt. lighting dim and it was night time. I will try to take more photos next time I see my mom out and during the day.

I still have a ton of the dragonfly fabric, so I made a makeup bag for my shop:

I have this week off from work to adjust to some new medications. I was hoping to get lots of sewing done but the nausea and drowsiness (among other things) are kicking my tush.

I did receive my giant box of snaps from SnapSource So I hope to be able to put them to good use and finally post my baby dress/bloomer set.

<3 Always,

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

I did it! I made a reversible tote bag for my mom! 4 hours of carefully ironing, cutting, stitching and trimming, I made a bag.

I'm so stoked, as I sketched out the pattern myself last week.

Now, it doesn't have a pocket, and I was going to spend the next 45 mins writing more and uploading photos before work...but...

I decided to make a little matching coin purse with a D-ring strap so she can find her keys and cellphone easily.

I will take photos later and post them tonight or tomorrow. =)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you with kids and your mothers!

<3 Always,

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Where has the month gone?

April was great for me, sales picked up, I had a few customers purchase multiple things. The last week of April, I headed to Black Lake, Michigan to an Occupational Health & Safety Conference for members of the United Auto Workers.

How do I fit into that, you ask? Well, dearies, the UAW also covers administrative positions, including those at the Museum I work in.

The experience was INCREDIBLE, the people were phenomenal, the location was gorgeous, we couldn't have asked for better weather. The architecture was outstanding, and the classes and lectures were most educational. I am now certified in CPR and can do Office Inspections. Look out, workplace! I may be lighting a fire under your butt very soon!

I had no time to make anything. I made half of a sleeve of a baby cardigan. And I drew a terrible drawing of the creek behind one of the houses.

On Thursday, I met a guy who was awesome. Someone I'd been wanting to meet all week. We slow danced a dance and talked for like 20 mins and that was that. Exchanged contact info, talked every night for 2 weeks, even talked of plans of him coming to visit me. Then an old flame decided she wanted him back and that was that. I haven't really heard from him since.

It's been a struggle since getting back from Black Lake to make anything, first because I was really just way too excited to talk to this guy every night when I got home from work, and now because I just feel like hiding under my blankets in bed. I cannot believe the rollercoaster of emotions over the last 3 weeks. It's like an emotional relapse. I'm usually much more centered than all of this.

I made a baby dress and bloomers, I'm waiting for the snaps to arrive in the mail so I can list it. That's all I've done since coming back on the 25th of April.

Tonight, I am working on a tote bag for my mom. I've never made a tote bag before, so this should be interesting, since Mother's Day is tomorrow and I was asked to work today and tomorrow at work so my coworker can visit his sick grandma. Normally I'd have today off to work out a pattern.

If it looks good, I will post photos. =)

<3 Always,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Allergy Monsters are here!

I suffer from terrible seasonal allergies. Especially in Spring and Fall. I have found that I am searching high and low for tissues in my huge purse on the subway while sniffling. I sniffled all the way through my last union meeting on Monday because I forgot my tissues in my bag!

When I was a child, I was friends with this boy named Caed. He was super cute but allergic to EVERYTHING. I remember he always had kleenex on hand. A good friend to have when you also are allergic to all things dusty, furry and pollen-y!

I've been wanting to come up with a new product that is great for adults who aren't afraid of being silly as well as for kids.

I just listed my first Allergy Monster yesterday! It's a kleenex case that you won't lose, you just place your tissues inside and the allergy monster will help you ward off the awkward sniffles. Also a conversational piece.

It came from my desire to either give away my fabric paints or find something to use for, as I haven't used them in a year and am still Spring cleaning.

I thought about how I could really use a tissue pouch, and remembered I have about 4 yards of thick linen. Then came the fabric paints, a little iron setting, and my first Allergy Monster was born! I'm thinking about naming them different names. Anyone have any thoughts? I'd love to hear them!

<3 Always,

**OH MY GOODNESS! I sold the item hours after I listed it! I will have to list my others soon!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

An etsy shop review...

It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood, so this entry will be short, as I want to go out and enjoy the sun with my friend Olivia.

I think I mentioned in my last post that I'd ordered some cards from Creative Apples to send to my etsy penpal. Creative Apples sells note cards with her gorgeous photography on them as well as the photos in other sizes.

The image colors in her robot cards are probably best described as reminiscent, the angles that the photos are taken at remind me of how a child would see the image. They're slightly quirky and quite crisp images.

And of course, the cupcake card I purchased? Made me lick my lips, seriously. It was Cupcake Week on the Martha show this past week, so this card came just in time. Again, the composition and colors are incredible. A perfect birthday or celebratory card!

The package of my two cards was so beautifully presented when I opened the padded envelope, the cards were tied together with a gorgeous Spring-time ribbon, and another of Creative Apples' cards was enclosed as a thank you note, totally personalized. The cards were shipped immediately, with much care. It will be hard to part with these two, I will definitely be back to the shop for more.

I think one of the things that draws me to purchase as much on Etsy as possible is the connection to the creator. I like the handwritten 'thank you' notes, the care towards the packaging, the messages when items are shipped. It's just an awesome experience every time. Very personal, and I LOVE receiving things other than bills in the mail.

I sold a handknit bonnet I made last week, my first item going to Korea! I keep meaning to print out a small world map so I can pin each country and state I've shipped to. Among those countries are: Canada, England, Scotland, France, Spain, Australia, China, Thailand and New Zealand. And now Korea!

(Click photos for more info)

Above is my first April item that I've posted, I think I am especially drawn to the fabric because the grey reflects those terribly rainy days of early Spring, and the blue flowers and birds are of things to look forward to.

As always, you can click the images for more info!

Happy Saturday, folks! And check my shop next week, as I am adding some very new items to my store! More on that later!

<3 Always,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Inch by Inch, Row by Row...

A month and a half ago, I posted photos of what I was hoping would be my little kitchen-window garden? Well, most if it is still just dirt.

I have managed to somehow grow and kill 8 tiny 1/2" oregano plants and four 2" cherry tomato seedlings. Only two basil seeds sprouted out of the packet I planted, but neither have died...yet! I have one little tomato plant that seems to be trying it's hardest to stay alive. I may have to suck it up and go out and actually buy seedlings instead of trying to do this from seeds.

(the red arrow is pointing at the one lonely cherry tomato seedling.)

I wonder if my community garden leader reads my blog. I've been waiting for my replacement key for 8 days now and it still hasn't come. I'm in the mood for some composting action! I wonder if it's because she knows I have a brown thumb when it comes to herb growing and is very afraid. lol.

My potted dafodils? Still alive and kicking, as are my bamboo plants, aloe plant, calanchoes. Herbs just don't like me!

Also, I seem to be stuck on 220 sales. I was hoping to hit 225 by the end of March, but that's a mere two days away. We shall see. I plan on coming home after work today and sewing a ton. Migraines and a pulled back muscle set me back quite a bit this past week. We shall see! I'd love to have 65 items in my shop by April 1st.

Below is my 60th item, I listed it yesterday. I love it because both sides are similar but different color schemes. If you click the photos you will see the listing and note that the bottom of each fabric actually matches up!

(click photos for more info!)

In other (exciting!) news? Operation Dreamseed found me! On Friday I was contacted by one of the people on the Board, asking if it was okay to send my shop's link out to her friends, and yesterday the Exec. Director contacted me asking the same thing. I wrote both of them back saying I'd love to extend my donations through the month of April, since March is almost over if they want to spread the word.

Apparently the Exec. Director found me through this blog! Hooray! I should e-mail my marketing instructor to let her know. It would be awesome if I could sell a few more things and make a larger donation to Operation Dreamseed. I love the idea of purchasing school supplies and sending them out myself, but I think the money would go further if the organization purchased the supplies, since they are tax exempt.

<3 Always,