Saturday, February 2, 2008

Blue Skies

Today is a new day...

(Click photo for item info.)

I woke up at 7:36am today. My phone rang 6 mins later. My phone only rings that early in the morning if a) there's an emergency or b) My cousin Andy is calling.

Andy is in the Army National Guard. He's like a brother to me. We grew up down the hall from each other and he's only a year and a half younger than I am. He's in a tent in North Carolina right now, awaiting deployment to Afghanistan. He's already been to Iraq.

Talking to him this morning made me want to do something handmade and spectacular. I was thinking maybe "Afghans for Afghans" or items who's entire sale price went to Doctors Without Borders. That's when I remembered...

Doctors Without Borders actually had to pull their medical personnel out of Afghanistan after 5 aid workers were killed there. I don't know if they have returned to the country since then. I will have to do some research.

I used to have penpals who were deployed troops, one of whom was in Afghanistan. He decided to do something for the country upon his return and started Operation Dreamseed. I think it could be fun to donate money to his organization, which gives school supplies to Afghani children.

So while I am worrying about my cousin being safe at war, I will keep myself busy by sending him care packages, donating some money to Operation Dreamseed and knitting something for Afghans For Afghans. Sounds like a plan.

In other news? The sun is out, the rain has gone, and today is a new day. I've already sold a makeup bag! (Sarah, I hope you adore the makeup bag as much as I adore you!) So I'm off to make two more. One for my cousin's wife and another to list.

<3 Always,

Friday, February 1, 2008

Rainy day off...

It's been pouring nonstop since at least 8am. It's now 5:30pm EST. I had plans to go to Target for OJ, bread, yogurt, and a few other essentials that are much cheaper than my supermarket sells them. Afterwards, I was going to go down past Chinatown to purchase more zippers. I woke up to the sound of rain and wind beating down on my window and decided that I'd rather stay in bed for a few more hours.

I purchased zippers at wholesale prices online. From the same family-owned business I was planning on purchasing from all the way downtown, no worries!

SEVENTY-SEVEN zippers! Intense! I bought black, white, yellow, green, blue, red, and pink zippers in various sizes.

Jeff from ZipperStop contacted me to say the zippers would be in the mail this afternoon. What service! He also said I should check out the store and gave the hours. I've only purchased from them online. He says the store is actually a three floor building. I have a feeling I'd spend TONS in the actual shop.

I stayed in bed, caught up on the first episode of this season's "Lost" (I watched the Democratic Debate last night, which aired the same time as Lost), and photographed items 19 and 20 of January, and 1/20 of February.

I decided I should stay in and do handmade things. I mixed the ingredients for cornbread, placed it in the oven, set the timer and...voila! I completely forgot about it and burned it! eek. I will eat it anyway. It's not black, just a bit more brown than I'd like.

Tonight? I am making more peppermint bark and a makeup bag for my cousin's wife, who's 40th b-day is tomorrow. I was thinking of making one out of the same indigo fabric as the coin purse I just listed today. My parents will bring it to her when they go to her party without me. I am working the Family Festival at MoMA tomorrow, reading kids books of my choosing.

Oh, I got paid yesterday! So I have a few bucks to spend on Etsy. I was thinking about purchasing a fun handmade v-day card for my penpal. I've been searching for a little while now. I should check my mail and see if I received anything fun today.

<3 Always,

Love Birds?

Last night, January 31st, I made my 19th and 20th items for January. I wasn't able to list them in January, since I only use sunlight for my photos and it was about 11pm when I finished the zipper pouches.

I also made item #1 for February! hooray!

February is my birth month. I will be 27 years old on Feb. 24th. This is a birthday I am pretty nervous about.

My mom had me when she was 28. Never say never, but I am not planning on having kids in the next two years. I want to be financially stable with a very nice sized nest egg and I want to be happy with where I am both career-wise and physically before thinking seriously about children. I love where I work but it's definitely not what I want to do forever. And by physically? I mean both my place in this world and also my immediate surroundings.

I have been working for two years to create a home (weird! I always call it an apartment!) that I am truly happy and at peace in. It's getting there, slowly. Maybe by the end of this year. A lot of the changes I'd like to make in my apartment are aesthetic. I found a TV cabinet that I fell in love with at Ikea a few months ago. I've never liked the idea of having the television be the center of a room. I grew up without a TV (see my profile.), and I won't be giving mine up unless it goes on the fritz, but would like it to be less obvious. I also would like to build custom radiator covers that I can put decorative items on. I have to replace my curtains in my bedroom and livingroom, too. I have already purchased the replacements, it's a simple job for a rainy day.

The big stuff? Completely organizing my closets and dresser. I need my tool closet to be better organized. A few magnetic strips would help in keeping screwdrivers and hammers easily accessible, label-marked bins for everything else. I probably should add another shelf to the closet, as well. My bedroom closet is used not only for clothes but for supplies like extra USB cables, printer paper and things like that. I'd like to clear out the clutter and designate a space for each item. I think Spring cleaning will be in order in March. I'd like to donate a ton of stuff I don't need anymore, and freecycle the items the Salvation Army won't take.

My etsy stuff is the most organized in my apartment. My fabric is in three plastic bins with lids, including one for lining fabric and interfacing. I purchased little stacking clear plastic boxes for thread, bias tape, safety eyes, cloth labels, scissors, measuring tapes, pencils, chalk and more. Best etsy investment! I also have a bin for packing and shipping materials and another for receipts for supplies/shipping. I love that I know where everything is the minute I need it. If I could do that with my entire apartment, I'd feel GREAT!

February also brings Valentine's Day. I'm not a huge V-day person, although one year my mom took me and my best friend to see the Vagina Monologues. My favorite thing to do for Valentine's Day is volunteer at Planned Parenthood. We get together and make care packages for prostitutes.

What's in a care package for a prostitute? Any good Valentine starts with chocolate kisses. Then there's the wallet-sized card with resources for drug and alcohol dependency resources, STD testing, counseling, domestic violence hotline, cancer screening, and much more, all free. It's pretty much a pink card that tells a street worker that there is someone out there who cares. There are also condoms in each little V-day Packet. We assemble hundreds of them, the conference room is filled with usually somewhere between 20 and 50 volunteers. We eat candy and talk and put our love into the packets, carefully sealing each one with a red ribbon. On Valentine's Day, the packages are taken onto a PPNYC trailer and everytime an "at risk" individual is spotted, they are handed one of the packets. I try to volunteer for this every year but have not been contacted this year and wonder if the program has stopped.

I titled this blog "Love Birds?" because a) the last two items I listed on Etsy were bird pouches in different colors and b) it fits in with my dating life (or lack thereof.)

I've been dating this one guy on and off for a year and a half. It's super casual, very open, we're allowed to date other people, we see each other once every month or two on average. We're friends who knew each other in H.S. Occasionally I ask myself what I am doing because I worry it's a crutch for not having to go out and actually be in a relationship. I do it because it feels right for right now and I love not having the pressure some of my past relationships had. I'm a busy person, I like being as active as possible, which doesn't allow me time for a fulltime boyfriend, so this is a nice mix. I also love how open we are with each other. We set down ground rules and they work very nicely, mostly because there is some really great trust between us.

A few months ago, I decided to join and see what it was about. So far I went on one date with a guy who turned out to be super boring, there was no connection at all. I also was e-mailing back and forth with another guy who turned out to be a little weird, he wanted to meet me before I even knew his last name or had his number. I got a bad feeling and stopped returning his e-mails. A week from today, I have a date with a new guy. We've been e-mailing back and forth for about a month, he seems nice, I have his full name and phone number. I have yet to speak to him on the phone. I told him the truth, I had a sewing goal to try to make, and wouldn't be able to talk until it was done. We will be going to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which I'm excited about as it's an old stomping ground of mine.

As always, you can click the photos for the listing info on each item. Today is a rainy day, but I am going to try my best taking decent photos for my latest three items.

<3 Always,

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fifty items!

So I got to finish 18 items of the 20 goal before passing out last night at a little after midnight. My body needed the sleep. Tonight I will make the remaining two of the 20, but they won't be listed until February (tomorrow!)

I will try harder next month. I have never made 18 items for Etsy in one month, it's pretty exciting. I'm photographing items 17 and 18 this morning before work and listing them for sale on my Etsy shop.

When I listed item #17 last night, I reached an all-time high of items in my shop, FIFTY items! I've never had 50 items in my shop before. It's pretty exciting.

a few days ago I was contacted by a new Etsy buyer in Australia for a custom order. She wants two makeup bags, one like the ones I've started listing tons of and a much much larger one to hold her large bottles of shampoo and such. The larger one? 16" across and about 12" tall with a 6" gusseted bottom. She wanted it in my black & white disco dot fabric.

Because I like ordering supplies on Etsy, I ordered the fabric from my buddy Liz @ CheapThreads and hopefully it will be shipped today. I will either get it Sat or Monday. I also ordered more of the turquoise sugar skull fabric, since it's the fabric I sell the most items out of and I'm almost out after making the coin purse I listed a few days ago.

I love custom orders, but I always wonder if the buyer will back out after I spend money and time on the items. Until I have the money in my paypal account and the buyer is satisfied with items in hand, I am a bit nervous.

Item #16 of 18:

<3 Always,

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A change in plans?

It's 9:35pm, Wednesday night. I am listing my 16th of 20 items on Etsy. I'm absolutely exhausted. I really was hoping to make 4 more items tonight but I think I am only going to sew until 11pm and then finally go to bed at a decent hour.

(click photos for listing info.)

Work (the FT job) has been taking a ton out of me, as have health worries. A few weeks ago, I was terribly sick and went to the doctor for what ended up being a really nasty sinus infection. My Dr. is excellent and checks everything every time I see him. He checked my breathing and said he'd detected "a bit of emphysema."

I had a 102.6 fever that day, had been waiting 4 hours for a walk-in time due to a computer glitch and was too exhausted and sick to ask him what exactly he meant. I know what Emphysema is, I watched my grandmother die of it. She smoked all of her life. I smoked for less than a year in when I was 16 and maybe a handful of cigarettes my first year of college. I have not smoked since then. I will be 27 in less than a month. Emphysema means that your body inhales oxygen but does not exhale all of the carbon dioxide it produces. It's scary.

I want to go back to Capoeira class, but noticed I was having trouble breathing after the first hour of my last 2 1/2 hour class. I'd been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma by my previous physician. I mentioned that to my current physician and he said they are definitely not the same thing. I have an appt. w/ my current doc in a little more than 2 weeks, so I hope to get more info then.

I've been super exhausted lately. I'm making sure I get my B vitamins daily and I've noticed a bit more energy, but I wonder how much of it has to do with whatever is going on with my lungs. Anyway, my body is telling me to go to bed. I'm going to push for another hour and 15 mins and then pass out.

(click photo for listing info.)

<3 Always,

Sewing my heart out.

It's 8am, I have to be at work at 10:30 today. I'm so nervous about meeting my goal of 20 items this month! I am charging my camera batteries so I can take photos of my latest items. I have a minute or two to write an entry.

Yesterday at work, all I could think about was coming home and sewing. I really wanted to sell more items this month, as I'd liked to have donated more to Doctors Without Borders. With mass media finally mentioning the recession the U.S. has been in for quite a while, sales have slowed practically everywhere. Even my place of work is dead.

Maybe February will be better. I am also optimistic about my Marketing class that starts next Wednesday.

I'm getting better at promoting, I think. I now update my shop's MySpace account regularly with new photos of items as I list them on Etsy. I also post the occasional bulletin for all of my MySpace friends to see when I list an item I particularly like. Of course, I have business cards, rubber stamps with my web address/e-mail address, I send personalized 'thank you' cards with every purchase. My Etsy mini is on both of my myspace accounts, personal and business. It features my top featured items and updates instantly if I change around my favorites in my shop. It's a pretty cool feature.

Last night I made four items and listed one I made the previous day. To date? I've made 16 items this month. If I can make 4 more tonight, I will be set.

I wish it wasn't so dark and rainy outside, my photos won't be as good as I really want them to be, even with photoshop adjusting the light/brightness.

Here's the coin purse I listed last night:

(Click the photo for more info.)

Okay, batteries are charged! I love my speed charger!

<3 Always,

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tropical Flowers

Hello readers!

So two weeks ago I went to the NY Botanical Garden and took some really fun photos of plants in the tropical and desert sections of the Conservatory. The smell of summer, flowers blooming, the warmth, it was all incredibly uplifting on what was a cold/dreary Winter day.

Two nights ago I was going through my fabric and was drawn to this black and white tropical flower print. I matched it up with a red zipper, red thread and red lining and instantly fell in love with the result, which I just listed this morning:

Item #10 of January's 20:

(Click the photo for the listing on Etsy.)

Oh, and I now have an Etsy penpal! Her name is Nadine, and her shop is:

I sent her a postcard and she sent me a notecard. I'm trying to think of fun handmade things to send her. For a while I was making envelopes out of fun paper, so I think I will send her a note in one of my sushi envelopes.

I love receiving things in the mail! One of the many reasons I love Etsy, purchasing things and having them arrive in my mailbox.

<3 Always,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

cold day...

Sundays are especially hard for me to work at my FT job. It's been pretty dead, European tourist season has come to a halt, and because of the recession here in the states, we have fewer visitors than usual.

Sundays are also hard for me to go to work because a) the trains are all sorts of wonky on weekends with trackwork and b) So many people are off on Sundays. Cold Sundays are especially hard to get out of bed and go to work, even though I love what I do and all of my coworkers.

Today was a cold Sunday, but I was still pretty productive. I did four loads of laundry this morning and once I finally got photoshop to recognize my camera was plugged into a USB port, it was time for me to head to work. At work, I went through the low sales report and priced a ton of kids books at 50% off. It was good, but after the project was done, veeeerrryyyyy sllllloooowwww.

I just got home and now I am finally listing item number 9 for January!

(Click the photo for more info/pics.)

Somehow, every item I make out of this fabric, I happen to cut bird heads/bodies for one side and bird bodies/butts for the other. I like to consider it front and back. lol. I actually have this fabric in a few different color schemes, I should pull it out and cut it. It's such fun, peaceful fabric. =)

I'm preheating the oven to heat up my left over baked ziti from last night, then I will plop down in front of my sewing machine and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and sew my little heart out.

I will list item #10 before bed.

<3 Always!

a little behind...

Everyone who has seen me in real life knows that the subject is pretty ironic.

I am currently:
a) doing laundry.
b) getting ready for work.
c) listing a new zipper pouch.
d) updating this blog.

eek! I have to be at work in an hour and 45 mins! Can I do it?

Last night I made items 9, 10, and 11 of my goal of 20. 3 more makeup bags. I'm trying to list one before work, but photoshop is giving me problems. Actually, my archaic computer is giving me problems.

Here's the item I posted last:

(Click the photo for more info!)

More later, I promise!

<3 Always,