009:: updates of late

Sly Pete Fox Plushies

I was planning on getting a lot of sewing done this weekend, but due to an impromptu-best-friend-visiting adventure, everything was set aside for a moment, and I don't regret not stepping into my sewing room all weekend one bit.

But it's back to sewing today, and boy do I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'm really behind on listing and such because I was betting on getting photos of all the scarves I've made over the weekend. Though I'm bummed that that'll have to wait, I'm secretly glad that it didn't happen anyway since it's been blistering hot for the past three or four days already. It would have been murder donning a scarf even for a few minutes.

What I HAVE been working on is editing my photos for listing. Though I never thought I would take to it, I really do quite like a clean, plain white background that showcases my items. I don't have a fancy setup for taking photos like this, and my house walls are cream-colored, so I make do with sheets of white paper and a lot of lighting to get the effect I like.

I've also started adding little cute phrases to my listings, and they're mostly what I think about the items themselves while I'm making or taking pictures of them. I chose this lovely font-- The Only Exception-- which is also the same font I'm employing for my shop banner. I am trying to get a more unified look for the shop, which means revamping my business cards and packaging, something I am really excited but also afraid to do since I have next to no experience in graphic design. But it's a challenge, and those really fuel me!  Happy Monday!

008:: touchy thing, repricing is

In the past weeks, while researching about ways on how to improve my shop, I've often come across the issue of pricing merchandise. When I first opened my shop back in November, I planned on selling items that were both quality-made and affordable. I kept cost low by trying to get my supplies as cheaply as possible and completely neglecting to include labor costs in the final price. I saw my shop as more of a hobby and very rarely, if even, factored in how much time I was spending making items, taking photos of my wares, editing them, and marketing.

Because I was treating my shop like a hobby, I think a lot of people thought I wasn't taking my shop seriously. For instance, I originally priced this galaxy bow at $3.00, but after calculating the true costs, I should really be selling it for at least $4.00 in order to make a profit and cover the maintenance of my sewing machine and other materials like thread, needles, and such.

Along with changing the prices of my items to include skilled labor costs and overhead costs, I've also started to edit my photographs to make them all look uniform and share a common motif/theme. Hopefully within the next couple months I will be able to get matching business cards and new packaging, which is always exciting for me. 

007::geek thrills:decoupage x-men heels

My current outfits have been lacking in the geek department lately, so I thought I'd geek things up a bit by making some comics kicks. In truth, I've been wanting to do this decoupage project for a long time now, but just didn't have the time to sift through my piles of unwanted comics for the right images. That took up the most time in this project. Oh, and the waiting.

Comics Decoupage Heels
What you need:
Mod Podge
cut-out images of your favorite comic book
slightly damp rag/paper towel

1. With the rag, clean the surface of your shoes.
2. Using Mod Podge, start gluing the images onto the shoe, working in small sections. Once the shoe is covered with images, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge above the images and wait for it to dry before starting on another layer.
3. I painted 3-4 layers of Mod Podge on my shoes, waiting for each layer to dry before applying a new layer. And then I left the last layer to dry overnight before wearing these puppies out.

*I wasn't entirely pleased with how these shoes came out. I think next time I'll cut the images out in panels, instead of contouring with the shape of the characters. But I still LOVE these shoes. Total X-men lover all the way.

006:: I don't wanna regret never even trying.

It's been a really difficult year for me.

Last year, after I graduated in May, I set out to look for a job that would utilize the skills I had worked so hard to hone in graduate school. I haven't been lucky. 

Now, I can posit that the reason for my underemployment is the crappy state of the economy, or the undervaluing of a liberal arts education, or perhaps the misfortune of living in the middle of nowhere.  I can also blame society for the pressure it bears down on the importance of a career as the measure of one's success in life. And I did. I spent many hours juggling economic theories on productivity, statistics on the rate of employment as it related to specific areas of specialization, and articles about the value of college and postgraduate degrees. I thought about how all these were related to each other and how changes in our culture about education may have influenced where I am now. And I came up with lots of ideas, but in the end, all this worrying and idea-conjuring just made me miserable.  

So, I decided that instead of worrying for the perfect job to come along, why not at least try to make that perfect job for myself? 

I am giddy with excitement as I type this. I've decided to spend more time focusing on my etsy shop, and I'll be launching tons of newly-made Fall items starting next week. You'll see some popular items return to the shop and some new designs too, I hope!

I've been reading up on different ways to operate small businesses and I am taking the plunge to try some of those ideas. I know it will be hard work, but I am willing to try to pursue something that I am passionate about, even though I didn't go to school for that. It's not just physically hard for me to do this, but also psychologically since the stigma of not having an academic position or one that has an actual recognizable title still nags on me sometimes. But it's exciting. And definitely worth a shot.

005:: awesome find | fabian ciraolo

I'm always surprised when friends send me links to contemporary artists' blogs or portfolios, because it seems as if they know exactly what I would fall in love with. My friend Chris pointed me to Fabian Ciraolo perhaps for his awesome re-imaginings of popular 80's cartoon characters like She-Ra, Jem, and like shown above, some of the members of G-Force from Battle of the Planets. But after perusing Ciraolo's other illustrations, I found other illustrations that hooked me for varying reasons. 

Take for example illustrations 2,3 and 4. I absolutely adore the collages in the background that supplement the subjects. I love the small, barely hidden suggestions that make one almost doubt what the subject seems to be about at first glance. Then, you got the starry, space-like aura of his works. Just totally rad.