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Giving Etsy it’s own department at the Center for Lessons Learned….

15 Apr

8 months… holy shit…. It’s been 8 months since I’ve posted anything on here!!  Dear lord, my bunnies- if I had known that time had actually sped up while I wasn’t looking I would have adjusted my life accordingly.  Let me say that the past 8 months have been a foggy blur, and I’m sorry for the dead air coming from my end, and let us move forward.  🙂

What has brought me out of the black hole I’ve been living in was an extremely shocking experience with the DIY shopping site Etsy.com.  When I’ve lectured at art schools or been asked in interviews/blogs/etc what a good way to start selling art/arty goods is, my first response has always been Etsy.  It’s a great way to get exposure because of it’s social media aspect, and it’s really cheap and easy to use.  Just as an experiment to see how many new people I could draw to my works, I decided to open an Etsy store in addition to my official webstore where I offered smaller one-of-a-kind arty things as well as my sunglasses line.  It was going great, and was cheaper than my official webstore so I decided to drop my big webstore and move everything over to Etsy.  Here’s where the problems started.

The day after I announced on my facebook fanpage that I would be moving everything over from my webstore to my Etsy store, I got an email from Etsy saying that items of mine had been flagged because they didn’t meet the Etsy requirements- and they had shut my whole store down.  I’d like to think that the timing of my posting the store move and my items being flagged were a coincidence… but there are a handful of creepers out there who don’t like me, and realistically one of them reported my store to be a dick.  Eyerolls and sighs all around.

So here is the nutso part of this… in the email from Etsy, here is a list of what I had to provide to them in order to get my entire store reopened:

  1. All shop info
  2. The names of everyone involved in any aspect of my shop from ideas to creation to shipping,etc
  3. Location of shop, identities of photographers, shipping locations, etc
  4. Photos of everyone involved in the shop
  5. Detailed description of how all items are made
  6. Length of time to make each item
  7. Every material used – and photos of raw materials of all everything involved with making the item
  8. Where materials are purchased plus proof of purchase of materials: photos or scans of receipts
  9. Photos of all tools and equiptment
  10. Photos of all work spaces
  11. Photos/graphics of all patterns used for items
  12. Photos of a step-by-step process of how everything was made

All the photos sent to them had to be shot next to a piece of paper showing your username and the date for authentication.  My shop was to remain closed until I provided answers that they felt sufficient to all of these questions.

To all my arty little sweethearts out there – THIS IS BULLSHIT.  Allow me to go, step-by-step through all the reasons WHY this is bullshit…

  1. Only ever disclose what shop info that you are comfortable disclosing to an unknown source.  You have no idea what’s on the other side of that email you’re sending out- so be careful with what you give out to protect yourself.  They have all the information that they should need when you set up an account.
  2. You are the owner of the store, and that is all they should need to know.  You shouldn’t be required to expose the identities of anyone who might have anything to do with your art.
  3. Photos of everyone involved in your art?  Come on… really?  So if I have friends who drop off my packages for me, I have to photograph them and send it to Etsy?  No way.  Too intrusive.
  4. Detailed description of how items are made… don’t provide this.  These are your trade secrets.  If you’re making something that is really unique, do not send this information to a faceless business that creates daily blogs on how to make things.  Again- you don’t know who gets these emails and you will have no idea how this information will be used.  Protect your art and it’s process.
  5. Length of time to make your items… I had clothing, jewelry, sunglasses and paintings on my store.  To be able to answer this is fully unrealistic.
  6. Photos of the raw materials- again, do not give out this information.  Unless you are selling materials, don’t give up aspects of how you make your unique items.
  7. Reciepts or proof of purchased goods?  That is information for whoever does your taxes- NOT for a faceless corporate website entity. No one but the IRS has the right to see that.
  8. Photos of tools and workspace:  The majority of the people on Etsy create out of their home,and Etsy knows this.  There is no way in hell I’m going to send photos of my house to anyone I don’t know.  That is an invasion of privacy, and just creepy for them to demand.
  9. *Photos of graphics and patterns*- this is a biggie.  Never ever ever ever ever disclose your graphics/ CAD illustrations / patterns to ANYONE except those who will be assisting you in production.  Period.  Ever.  Etsy states in their “DO’s and “DON’Ts” that: “A third-party vendor may be used for intermediary tasks in some crafts. Acceptable examples include but are not limited to: printing the seller’s original artwork, metal casting from the seller’s original mold or kiln firing the seller’s handcrafted ceramic work.”  I am in the unique position with my day job (where I design sunglasses and eyewear) that I am able to design unique sunglasses with my own CAD illustrations and have them manufactured in small quantities, and then I do the embellishments and packaging by hand.  The same goes for my clothing (which are from my own patterns), and my laser-etched necklaces. These items fall within Etsy’s guidelines.  But I will NEVER give out the original patterns, illustrations or CAD’s to a corporation.  And industry standards/ common knowledge dictates that I keep this information private for my own protection.  To hold my potential income and entire store hostage until I give up this private information breaks so many ethical rules that it’s insane.
  10. Never give anyone you’re step by step unless you want to be knocked off.  Period.

I emailed them and told them that I wasn’t about to give out such detailed and personal information, and that I wanted my store closed permanently but to remain on buyer status so that I could still shop from the artists that I loved.  They proceeded to kick me off Etsy completely.  I emailed them letting them know that it was sad that I could no longer support the artists that I shop from through Etsy since I was totally booted- but that I would just buy directly from the artists instead.  They didn’t want to loose a single penny, so they reinstated my account as just a buyer.

Here’s what creeped me out the most about this… there are people who have built up their etsy store so much that it is a major source of income for them.  And all it takes is 1 person flagging their shop, and the whole thing is shut down.  Your store and source of income can get hijacked and put on hold indefinitely until you meet Etsy’s the over-the-top demands that violate industry standards and your privacy.  So if you have 1 crazy person out there who doesn’t like you, they have the power to shut you down.  And if you are able to convince Etsy to open your store again- you can just be flagged again, and again, and again.  You have no power over your own store.

After this happened to me, I got tons of emails and links from my darling bunnies to tons of other artists that this happened to.  Here are a couple:

“Etsy shop suspended!- What you need to know”

“Etsy Closes Azreal’s Accomplice”

Apparently it’s impossible to get them on the phone.  And even after you comply with everything they ask, they can still keep you shut down- just because they want to.

So here is my official retraction for any public promotion that I have ever given Etsy.  This is not a safe business step.  The control over your shop is apparently in the hands of people who want to falsely flag you and the whimsy of Etsy- and not in your hands where it should be.  This is just wrong.

To the spiteful little creeper gem who flagged my etsy store- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!  And I mean that with the most sincerity ever.  I got shut down on etsy before I moved everything off my official webstore, so this was such a blessing.  I learned so much about etsy that I needed to know, and was able to (with great ease) just move everything back onto my official webstore and not lose a penny of my DESPERATELY needed income. This was an awesome learning experience, and in the end I am super thankful for it.

So here is where I open this up to my readers…. can I get some feedback for the crafty cuties out there who want an inexpensive and reliable webstore?  Where should they go?  I’m on homestead.com- and I do love them very much, but there is a monthly fee for it (and some new artists aren’t at a place where they can afford a monthly fee).  Ideas and feedback, anyone?  Let’s all help each other out with big brainstorming!!!

Thank you for tuning in to my lengthy rambling.  In my head, I’m giving you all a gigantic hug!!

(ps… since everything is back on my webstore, you can get these new editions there right now.  Click the pic and check it out!!  xooxoxoxxo)

"Eve" apple sunglasses

Sticking a toe in the water….

22 May

Before the economy crashed, things were pretty awesome.  I was able to run my arty business from home, have the money and time to do pretty much whatever I wanted, and had the freedom to make whatever clothing I thought was cute and fun to sell.  I had my dream job of staying in my pajamas all day long, painting and designing clothing for all my adorable customers.

Then the economy crashed.  And the first 2 things that came to a complete standstill were sales of art and sales of non-necessity clothing… which is everything I did.  Sucks for me!!  So with that, I came to a screeching halt on making anything new until things got better and jumped into day-job land as an art director at a fantastic sunglasses company.

Fast forward 2 years…. guess what?  Things are better!  People can bitch all they want about Obama- but things are better than they were 2 years ago.  People have started spending again… and that’s a good thing.  When the media instilled financial terror in our society (whether it was warranted or not… and in a lot of cases it wasn’t), pocket books closed.  When an entire nation shut their wallets, business’s lost money and had to start firing people.  Those people weren’t able to pay their bills and lost their homes and there was less spending, which lead to more downsizing and more people being broke and more downsizing and homelessness and people being broke, etc etc etc.  The one thing that actually stimulates the economy (spending) is the thing that the media made people too terrified to do until people were actually at a place where they couldn’t do it.  Thanks, media!!  But that has gotten better.  I’ve seen it in the daily lives of the people I know, and on a national scale.  Is it great, or anywhere near where it was before the crash?  Of course not!!  But it is better.

So now that it’s better, I’m getting back into the game.  I wasn’t about to go into production on ANYTHING unless things looked a little brighter because going into production on ANYTHING is expensive, and I was broke.  But because of my amazing day job at the sunglasses company, and because of a few tips from glorious friends… Kristen Ferrell Clothing is getting a makeover and hitting it hard once again.

Last night I was up until around 6am with the flu putting my new sunglasses line on the webstore.  Here are a few examples of my new fun that I am SOOOOOOO excited about!:

Forrest Wayfarers- these already sold out, but more are on the way!

Daisy- which are one of my favorites!!

The cases all the frames come with (and these cases make me giggle)

And here's a preview of one of the new pendants that I'm making. This is made out of wood, and there will be oodles like this... and I LOVE them!!!

So good things are happening.  Finally.  This year has been a rough one so far and filled with lots of crappy drama thrown at me by terrible people and health bullshit and money woes…. but it’s all seeming to turn around.  And it fills me with smiles.  I hope all of your days are filled with smiles, too…. because you’re all fantastic bunnies!!!

And this is my personal message to the past stint of struggle that I’m starting to see my way out of:

Dear Past-5-Months... ya see that fat middle finger? It's all for you!! (but those glasses can also be found on my site to anyone who fancies them!)

Big love to you all, dearies.  And gigantic hugs for staying tuned and giving support!!!  I kiss the foreheads of each and every one of you. And you.  And you.

One-man blood fountain at the Grand Prix…

17 Apr

Today Brad, Sully and I went to the Grand Prix in Long Beach.  This is not something that I would have ever bought tickets for, or something that I envisioned myself ever attending- but Brad’s dad gave us free tickets and Cheap Trick was playing after the race so we said “Hell yeah!”.  I was overwhelmed by how LOUD the cars were, but after watching about 10 minutes of them going in circles I became less and less impressed with each lap (it kind of felt like watching tennis- after a bit, ya get the idea and no longer care who wins).  I think you have to be really drunk and with a crowd of equally drunk buddies to thoroughly enjoy an event like this.  Sully had worked himself into a pre-teen angst ridden mood which was quickly killing what little soul I have left, so we decided to watch a couple of songs of Cheap Trick and bail.  Then something amazingly bizarre happened.

We were standing in the crowd watching the band and Brad rams into me from behind, and this big sweaty guy barrels his way past me.  He stops just long enough to turn around and look at me with these creepy glazed eyes, turn his head, and vomit a massive mouthful of blood onto the ground. As he stumbled off and disappeared into the crowd, everyone around me was looking at each other with horrified looks of “What the fuck was that?!”.  The fact that so much blood came shooting out of his mouth wasn’t that disturbing (because I’ve seen oodles of barroom brawls where blood was flying EVERYWHERE)- but what was unnerving was this guy didn’t have a scratch on him.  No abrasions or fat lip, or even any signs of a struggle on him anywhere (he didn’t even have blood on his clothes)… just glazed eyes and blood shooting from his mouth.  It’s like in those prison movies where someone ate ground glass, or in “28 Days Later” when a person just got infected with “Rage”.  My immediate response to anything disturbing is to start laughing hysterically- which I did, and then turned to look at Sully.  He looked at the giant pool of blood on the ground, and then to me laughing, and said with the most disgusted voice I’ve ever heard from a child “What is wrong with you?!?!?”.  Which only made me laugh harder.  I couldn’t help it.

A few minutes after this went down, Brad and I decided that we had taken in enough of what the Grand Prix and Sully’s crappy attitude had to offer and turned to leave.  As we were walking through the crowd, I looked down and saw more pools of blood from that guy.  The more we walked, the more pools I saw.  Sometimes just droplet trails, and sometimes whole murder-scene-splatterings.  It got to be kind of a game with Brad and I (to which Sully told us we were disturbed and tried to ignore us)… how far back did the blood trail go?  How long did this guy wander through this dense crowd saturated with security and police officers without anyone noticing or stopping him to see if he was ok (which, obviously he wasn’t).  We walked for 10 minutes to the front entryway, and that’s where the blood trail stopped.  I was astounded.  This guy wandered for that long spewing MASSIVE amounts of blood without ever getting stopped by a single person.  I can understand not wanting to get too close to the guy (because I certainly didn’t)- but there were HUNDREDS of police officers and security guards everywhere we turned.  It was one of the most heavily guarded events I’ve ever been to- and not a single one noticed this guy.  Or they noticed, and also wanted to keep their distance.  It was bizarre.  But maybe that’s just how it rolls at the Grand Prix.  I don’t think I’ll be going back.

Aside from that little tale, me and my brilliant friend Kara (who owns Hush Hush Bang Bang salon) have started taking on the massive task of making my black hair blonde.  Why?  Because I’ve never had blonde hair, so why not?!  It has proven to be an overwhelming undertaking because my hair has been black for over a decade, and it seems to really like it that way.  But I own my hair, so I will make it submit no matter what.  We’re now at Stage 2 of the bleaching process, and it’s almost there.  But we’ve got to let it rest for a couple of weeks before that final bleaching.  But to cover up the icky orange streaks, we decided on a super fun hot-pink/red.  Here’s what the brilliant Kara has created:

Kara is all kinds of awesome.

Aside from that, I’ve got new shirts up on the webstore (FINALLY), and more in the making.  The new shirts are the “Pockets full of Posies” tees- a tribute to my favorite nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” which was about The Plague.

AND my totally brilliant jewelry-making-goddess friend, Gabby, and I are going to be collaborating on some absolutely nutso but super fun jewelry.  More will be posted about this soon enough… but just know that it’s going to be FUN FUN FUN!!!!!

Off to watch Soprano’s box sets and paint paint paint!!!

I birthed the “Boy of Destiny”, and new K.F. items…..

10 Oct

I want to throw out a 2-part question to all that have tuned in… 1.) a show of hands who knew that Woody Harrelson’s father was a hired hitman; and 2.) If you did know, why didn’t you tell me?  Brad informed me of this the other night, and I want to know if this is common knowledge that I’ve somehow missed out on (the “somehow” really isn’t that mysterious, considering I’m going on a decade without television, I go out of my way to avoid celebrity news, and I read books instead of magazines).  But still… I’m pretty impressed by this.  “Impressed” may not be the appropriate word- but I can’t think of an appropriate one, so we’ll stick with “impressed”.

I’d like to make a public service announcement to all the little “punk” kids out there.   If you see me at a gas station (or anywhere for that matter… but the gas station was where my latest altercation was, so I’ll site that as an example), DO NOT ask me for spare change or to bum a cigarette.  ESPECIALLY when your “punk uniform” (ie: spiky leather jacket, leather boots, carefully maintained and manicured oh-so-shocking hair style, 12 billion patches and “punk” tshirts from all your ‘punk’ bands) cost more than I make in a week.  And DOUBLE ESPECIALLY when you’re sitting at a gas station in Huntington Beach (which means that you live in HB, which means that through your parents, you have shit tons more money than I do).  And SUPER ESPECIALLY DO NOT call me a  bitch when I deny you spare change or a “bummed cigarette”.  I will state here what I tell the spoiled little douchebags who like to hang out and beg because they think the idea of poverty is romantic: Begging does not make you “punk”.  The fact that you’re begging when you don’t need to PROVES  that you’re a spoiled delusional fucking brat who has been so disgustingly pampered throughout your life that you CHOOSE to beg (which is insulting to the rest of the people in the world who actually do struggle financially… and when people who are sincerely in need ask me for change, I openly give it to them).  Other people do not exist to give you free shit.  Other people do not OWE you anything, and you can’t walk up to strangers and DEMAND for them to give you their belongings, and then get MAD when they don’t.  It’s pathetic, and infantile.  And it makes me want to find out where you live, and confront your parents as to why they haven’t made you get a job and instill a little bit of character in you.  I don’t care if I am walking around with bucket of spare change and 200 cartons of cigarettes- you don’t get any.  Why?  Because you haven’t earned it.  I will deny you politely- but if you continue to get in my face about it, I will get loud, and make a complete ass out of you in front of all your little “punk” friends.   Being punk is not wasting your life in front of a suburban 7-11 in your patched stretch jeans and “Discharge” shirt trying to shock the local soccer moms with your boring attempts at rebellion and begging for smokes, you fucking loser.  Punk is politics. It’s the difference between ‘Rancid’ and ‘Fugazi’… one is fashion and marketing, and one is punk. Get a bit of awareness.

That turned into a soap box. Sorry.  Once I start typing, I kindof can’t stop.  Especially if the topic is something that thoroughly pisses me off.

Sully just walked into my office and told me that he no longer wants to be introduced to people as “Sully”.  He now wants to be introduced to people as “Sullivan… boy of Destiny”.  He was serious.  And he’s hilarious.

Sullivan....

I don't think a "Boy of Destiny" should be this angry... right?

I’ve finally started to get back into making things for my webstore.  As my regular folks have probably noticed, I haven’t added new shirts and fun for a really long time.  Why?  The economy hurt my feelings.  Ridiculous, I know.  But true, none-the-less.  To work your ass off to build a business from nothing, to do everything right, and to end up almost having to file for bankruptcy because the market crashed makes for buckets of resentment and bad feelings. But I’ve got over my bad feelings, and have scrimped up a bit of cash to go into production in limited runs.  So there will soon be new stuff on the webstore.  These new items aren’t going to be available for wholesale- they’re webstore and gallery exclusives because I’m only making a handful of each.  So as soon as they’re available, I’ll give a holler.

But for now- here’s the new little items I’ve got for sale…. Printables!!!  I figured that everyone was struggling for money just as much as I am.  And I’ve been getting tons of emails from folks wanting the stationary and card sets available again.  So here’s the new deal…. all the images for the card sets are available on my webstore.  You buy the images, and I email them to you (high res versions in color and black and white), and you can print them out yourself!  This way, instead of buying one set at a time, paying for shipping, waiting for them to arrive, and then finding that you need more… you pay for the images once, no shipping charges, and you can print out THOUSANDS!!  Awesomeness… right?  I thought so.

Little Cupcake Recipe Card Set!  Only at www.kristenferrell.com

Little Cupcake Recipe Card Set! Only at http://www.kristenferrell.com

Click HERE to go to the webstore to look at the new fun.  I’m going to have new printables on the store every week… so keep checking back!!

Sully just walked into my office again and showed me his latest drawing of a petrified eyeball.  I’m gonna go hang out with that kid cuz he’s pretty damn funny.

Big love to you all!!

Self awareness should be taught in school…

20 Nov

Last night Sully woke up about 8 different times because of increasingly ridiculous things.  The first couple times was to use the bathroom.  No big deal- except he has this weird habit of asking if he’s allowed to every time.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Always.  As if I’m going to say ‘no’.  Sorry Sully, you’ve now got to hold it for the rest of your life.  Then at around 2am, he wakes up and yells to me that he wants all the cats in his bed.  Then at around 3:30 we hear this huge crash, and he somehow kicked his little cd player out of his bed, and he wants me to get up and repair it.  Yeah, right guy… go to sleep. Then about a half hour after that, he yells to me that he thinks his feet are asleep… I yell back that he should follow their lead.  And on and on and on.

Then, when I made coffee this morning, I forgot to dump out the remainder of last night’s coffee that was still in the pot… so I came home from dropping off Sully from school to an overflowed coffee pot with a mixture of gross old coffee and new fresh coffee.  It was all over the countertop, spilled onto the floor, and the cats walked through it so there were little coffee paw prints everywhere.  So before I even had my coffee after a sleepless night, I have to get out the mop and clean the floor.

Then I turn on my computer, and this is one of the first images I see when I went online:

Fucking gross.  Like my day wasn’t off to a horrifying start already- I’m visually assaulted by this washed up relic, still sporting his cornrows.  Dear Life, I hate you today.

A good friend of ours was over the other night, and he happens to be the master of illegal downloads.  So he already had the new Guns N Roses album.  We flipped through the songs and listened to them.  Dear god… that shit is HORRIBLE!!!!  Like, embarrassingly horrible.  The kind of horrible that makes you cringe.  And Axl’s dedication to the cornrows and baggy “chubby old guy” attire doesn’t help matters any.  What I want to know is if he ever looks at himself in the mirror.  Ever.  And if he does, is he so far gone that he can stand in front of that mirror, inspecting his appearance, and think “Yeah, I look good… things are going just fine with me”.  Really?  Really???!!! I don’t get it.  Does he live in a bubble?  Or am I being really mean?…. ok, I am being really mean.  Do I care?  Of course not.

I’ve been doing my little daily crafts… and they make me giggle.  Here’s a few of the new fun stuff that’s now available on the website….

Severed Finger And Denture Cupcakes

Severed Finger Plush X-mas Ornaments

Severed Finger Plush X-mas Ornaments

Crocheted Little Birdy w/ Severed Finger Legs

Crocheted Little Birdy w/ Severed Finger Legs

I’m making custom painted plates tonight.  And I should be getting my dresses back from the screenprinter any day now.  And I just got tons of totes in to get screenprinted.  So there’s gonna be alot more stuff to look forward to on my little webstore.

Off I go to function….

Big hugs to you all (except Axl…. he’s too creepy for hugs).

Drinking bleach and going blind…

12 Nov

Ok, so I haven’t actually been drinking bleach… but the thought crossed my mind on more than 1 occasion over the past couple days.  I’ve been feeling sluggish, and sad for no reason, and panicked over my financial state (sales have been down because of the economy, and it’s scary).

To try to fight the sluggishness, I’ve started exercising.  I used to do yoga, but now I’ve been finding myself too manic to have the patience to “stretch and breathe” for any amount of time.  It doesn’t calm me or relax me… instead I find myself dwelling on all the things I need to be doing instead of “stretching and breathing”.  So I started doing “step aerobics”.  It’s ok.  You can laugh.  I can’t bring myself to go to a gym (the gyms out here are all such creepy meat-markets, and I’m not going to pay money to get creeped out), so the “step-thingy” came with an instructional DVD (which is hilarious enough to keep me entertained while I work out).  And I found that if you strap 5 pounds of weights onto your ankles for the workout, it really makes you sweat.  That’s fought the sluggishness- but not the pesky overwhelming sense of impending financial doom that hangs over my head.

Now for the blindness… last night, out of nowhere, I lost my ability to see clearly.  One minute- normal visual clarity.  The next minute, everything had a bright “halo” around it, and I had double vision.  This didn’t stop for a couple hours.  I tried to text Brad to tell him I was going blind, but I couldn’t see the screen on my phone to be able to send him a message.   And it was really stressful trying to make Sully dinner, working with a gas stove, and not knowing exactly how close my hands actually were to the flames (in hindsight, I probably should have just ordered a damn pizza).  With all my other health problems, this is the one that creeped me out the most.  I can’t lose my eyes.  Being able to see is kindof what I use the most when making art- so this was totally unnerving.  I might actually have to go to the doctor.  Ugh.  Gross.  We’ll see.

On an entertaining note, our little Daisy Ding-Dong Stupid Face kitten is in heat.  I know, I know… we should have gotten her fixed by now.  But she doesn’t go outside, and all the rest of our cats are fixed- so there’s no threat of baby Stupid Faces.  And right now, she’s HILARIOUS.  She’ll strut around the house calling for a boy, find one of our boy cats and try to woo him… but since all our fellas are fixed, they’ll just look at her like she’s crazy, and look at us like “What the hell is her problem?”.  Then, when she finally realizes that she’s not gonna get laid, she’ll hiss and smack them, and strut away- rejected and furious.  Our poor fella cats are so confused right now.  I love it.

My last post got a crazy amount of responses, and thank you all for joining in the debate!  But since I always have to get the final word in (I’m an Aries… it’s how I roll), I’d like to post this AMAZING little video that lovely Laura posted as a comment on my last blog.  It’s so great that it deserves it’s own blog- so here it is:

I love it I love it I love it I love it I love it…..from the bottom of my heart, thank you Keith Olbermann.

Another quest I’ve taken on this past week is trying to teach myself how to crochet.  This has been maddening.  I’m college educated.  I taught myself corporate graphics programs on the computer.  I’m a somewhat intelligent person… but for some reason I just have not been able to figure out how to make pretty knots with a metal stick.  Why the fuck is this??!!  It’s giving me low self-esteem.  I attempted to make a crocheted cake- but it turned out looking like a stupid hat.  And I made a birdy that was supposed to be 5 inches tall, but ended up 3 times that size.  But last night I made a little koala for Sully that actually looked like a koala- AND  was the size it was intended to be!!!  Here are the photos of the birdy and cake-hat:

I’m getting the hang of it a little bit.  My ultimate goal is to be able to make gigantic life-sized stuffed animals of the characters in my paintings.  I think it would be totally hilarious to be able to snuggle up to a 6-foot tall 2-headed llama with bleeding boobs wearing nurses hats.  So this is my current endeavor.  I will conquer this craft.  Mark my words.

Aside from all that, I’ve marked down ALL the clothing on my webstore.  I’m broke. You’re broke.  So to help out all the broke people out there, I’m making things a little cheaper. I also figured out how to provide gift certificates online… so hopefully that will help make holiday shopping a little easier for some of the folks out there (I don’t even want to THINK about holiday shopping… I might just crochet everyone a scarf and be done with it).

And right now, I’m part of the First Annual Midwest Plushforms Show at Shoparooni.  This is an online auction of hand painted plushform dolls, and is a charity show for Toys for Tots.  They’re still putting all the little plushforms onto the auction, I’m not sure if mine is online yet because I got it to them last minute (I seem to be doing everything last minute- sorry, Shoparooni!).  But the folks at the store are amazing, and you should all check it out.

I believe that is all for the day… or at least all I can coherently relay.  That rhymed!  Ha!!

Swinging from the rafters….

28 Aug

Today is a Roger Miller day.  You can click the little arrow above and join in my Roger Miller day if you don’t have any of his albums of your own (and shame on you if you don’t).   Roger Miller makes me feel better.  His silliness makes me giggle when I want to break things.   Thank you, Roger.

I had a long conversation with a dear friend of mine last night.  He is one of those magical people who not only knows how to fix someone’s fucked up life… but he’s not afraid to tell that person exactly what they are doing wrong.  This is a rare and beautiful mixture to find in a friend… so if you have someone like this in your life- do NOT let them go.

My lovely friend, Peter, let me know that I’m a retarded control freak and I’m focusing too much attention to things that are not making me enough money to live on, not giving me time to breathe… but mostly they are not making me happy.  IE: my little clothing business.  This thing is seriously killing my fucking soul.  I cannot put into words the amount of time and stress that goes into a few simple fucking shirts and such… but then there’s the shipping and the inventory and balancing the books and trade shows and wholesale shipping and trying to keep up with orders, etc etc etc- and god forbid if something goes wrong, it all sinks into the shit hole.  And on top of this, I’ve got to be there for my son 100%, and then ALSO find time to be creative to make art for the gallery shows.  I work about 14-15 hours a day on all this, because it’s just me running the show.  This is why I’m a retarded control freak.  Because for some reason, I think I have to do it all myself.

What’s double-fucked is that this is not what I wanted to do with my life. Peter asked me last night “Did you ever want to be a clothing designer?”.  I said, “No”…. to which he said “Then what the fuck is wrong with you?  Do what you want.  Noone is MAKING you do this, moron!!”.  (I LOVE that he is such a straight-shooter.  I know that I can forever trust him to be honest)

I wanted to make art for a living, and then the clothing became a fun side-project thing to help pay the bills.  But the clothing has taken over, and I’m doing nothing else.  Not only that- it’s fucking EXPENSIVE, and I’m drowning in it instead of it helping to pay the bills.  It’s funny how that happens (actually, it’s not funny at all… or at least I’m not laughing.  Neither is my checkbook).

So after a resurgence of ulcers, migraines, nervous ticks, insomnia, and Brad financially carrying my weight because I’m so fucking behind…. Peter’s firm voice of reason was the final red flag letting me know that I need to make some serious changes in how I’m doing everything.  Simplify and delegate…. 2 things that I have a very very very very very very hard time doing- but now it’s time to learn.

Brad told me he’d take the reigns, and he’s approaching a printing company/distro that’s run by friends of ours to have them handle all my shipping.  They’re called Blue Collar Distro, and they RULE!!!  And as much as I love having such close interaction with my customers… I just can’t do this anymore.  Brad has also offered to oversee all production of clothing…. so he’s saved my ass again.  I was approached this week by a PR company… so I’ll keep you posted on how all that’s going (or if I work with them at all because PR is EXPENSIVE!!!).  And there is a delightful lady who has said that she’d like to take on the sales angle of my stuff.  So all that is really promising.  Keep every one of your fingers crossed.

The downside to all this is that I’m going to have to scale down the clothing a bit.  So all that super detailed stuff that I just made…. if ya like it, ya better get it now.  Because after it’s gone, that’s it for now.  I’m going to simplify the line again… just poofy sleeved tees, and plain girl’s tees (and Blue Collar can have boy’s tees available all the time as well).  BUT I’m going to switch my focus a little and make more accessories.  Jewelry and journals and new additions to the dinnerwear and handbags…. things that aren’t size specific, and that I don’t have to worry about fabric, or insane purchasing minimums, and all the nightmares that come with making clothing.  Simplify and delegate.  Simplify and delegate. Simplify and delegate.  That’s my new mantra.

So after I get back from my gallery show in Berlin, there are going to be great big changes.  Hopefully for the better.  And hopefully they will all work out.  Because if they don’t, there will be great sadness.  And I really don’t like great sadness.  That’s why I’ve got Roger Miller on eternal repeat.