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My site has changed….

22 Aug

Hey all!

I’ve pretty much abandoned this blog (since it’s been years since my last post on here).  But I still get notified that there are people subscribing.  So if you’d like to keep up with my babble, go use social media like the rest of Earth. 

Thank you all a billion for everything you do!!!!




In remembrance of David Rakoff (1964 – 2012)

14 Aug

In a culture where “Twilight” is considered literature, we need good writers.  Let me emphasize that properly:

We NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED good writers in the most aching and desperate way.  With this, we also need to cherish the good writers that are currently creating our stories for the future.  One of my favorite writers, David Rakoff, died this week at the upsettingly young age of 47.  This man’s words have made me belly laugh, and spontaneously burst into that gross kind of crying where your face is distorted and you produce shameful amounts of snot (and I am that asshole who cracked jokes when Julia Roberts died in Steel Magnolias and was happy to see Leo die in Titanic…so to get me to cry is a pretty monumental event.  Getting me to belly-laugh is just as difficult).   He was one of the great ones- and the world is a much darker place for missing out on all the things that he had yet to say.

I’m ashamed that it took this beautiful wordsmith dying for me to publicly sing his praises… so let’s not make that mistake again.  Please feel free to share in my comments the authors that are currently moving your mind-mountains with their words so that we can all give them the respect they are due.  Because if the only stories we have to leave to the world are filled with sparkling virgin vampires- we are in big trouble.

If you haven’t heard of David Rakoff, please begin your google searching now.  While you’re searching, here is one of my favorite little writings by Mr. Rakoff.  I am usually not a fan of contemporary poetry (as I stated before, I’m a pretty jaded asshole and poetry just makes me uncomfortable)- but this poem is so good that it has made it’s way to my Top 10 favorite writings.  Please take 10 minutes out of your life to honor the life of this great writer.  Hopefully his wit, humor and insight will make your heart swoon the way he has always made mine.

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  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 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

Infertility Darth-Vader’ed me to the Dark Side of being a Dog Lover

29 Jul

I always knew I only wanted 1 child.  I never once had visions of family vacations with my “children”, or huge holiday events with a big family I spawned… nor have I ever once felt bad about Sullivan not having any siblings.  I have replaced myself in the natural order of human population, and my job is done.  I am also well aware of my limitations, and I only have room enough in my psychological and emotional stability for 1 child.   I had my one child early in my adulthood, and I have my herd of cats, and it’s all good… right?  Apparently my hormones did not think so… and I had never realized just how powerful hormones are.  They are so powerful that they can turn a Crazy Cat Lady into an even crazier Pocket Dog Owner (dog purse and matching decorative leash to boot).

In the beginning of January, a slew of tumors discovered on my cervix were stamped with the “Cancer” diagnosis.  I don’t want this information to evoke any emotion from anyone, because I feel melodramatic even mentioning it (but it’s the entire reason why I am now I creepy Pocket Dog owner, so I am going to mention it).  I am in no way a “Cancer survivor” or even a person “Living with Cancer”… I am at best a “Cancer Tourist”.  I have had many friends who have lived with cancer, died from cancer, or have very much earned the title of  “survivor”.  I did not earn a thing.  I got tagged by cancer and got kicked around a tiny bit by the emotional turmoil it brings with it- but all it took for me to escape it’s clutches was having half my cervix removed, and from now on I need to have biopsies every 6-8 weeks to keep an eagle-eye out for new growths to promptly chop off until there is nothing left of my ill-behaved cervix.  I caught it early and am lucky (ladies… you had all better be getting your pap smears religiously, because the ONLY reason I’m lucky is because I’m religious about my lady-checkups).  But I officially can never have any more kids…. and I’m so very much totally ok with that because the last thing I need is more babies.

What I’ve always found funny about people is that once we’re told we can’t have something, that’s the one thing we want.   After the chop-chop of my cervix, I found myself getting increasingly clingy with the little things in my home.  I kept trying to cuddle and baby the cats far more than they are comfortable with.  I began hovering and smothering Sullivan with maternal coddling FAR more than a 13 year old boy could EVER be comfortable with.  I wasn’t coherently thinking “baby baby baby baby I need a baby baby baby” because knew I didn’t want a baby… but I was trying to make all the self-sufficient creatures around me to be more infantile and dependent on me.   This desperate need to nurture SOMETHING exploded in me.  I was creeping myself out, but I couldn’t really stop it.

About 6 weeks ago my BFF that I work with came running into my office and asked me if I wanted a puppy.  She saved a puppy from a kill shelter, but her dog and the puppy didn’t get along and she wanted to find a new happy home for it STAT.   All afternoon I fought it, but my ovaries were screaming “SAVE THE BABY!!”.  I texted Brad about 50 times debating all the reasons why we couldn’t have a dog in an attempt to talk my crazed maternal drive out of caring for another baby, but he finally said “You know you want the damn thing. Just bring it home”.  And that was that.

I am now thoroughly convinced that someone should have given Octomom a litter of unwanted puppies before she had her litter of babies, much trauma could have been avoided.  From the moment I got the puppy, all maternal screamings were quieted, and she was my new baby.  I have gone from being the adamant cat-lady disgusted with dogs to being that creepy dog owner that carries my dog around in my purse, taking her with me on all errand-running outings, and she has attached to me the way a toddler clings to it’s mother’s leg.  She’s part Chihuahua, and they usually only really bond with 1 person in a family- and despite how much Sully wanted her to be ‘his dog’ – she’s 100% mine.

So I introduce you to my little Chihuahua/Weiner dog (technically called a Chiuweenie) – Monkey.  She’s pretty much the best.  And our cats HATE her.

They day we got her, only 4 pounds.

My little sleeper!!


My neighbor and I and our matching Chihuahuas


The only time I've seen her NOT torturing poor old Oscar

So that’s my story.  From this point on when I obsessively talk about my dog, it is because she is literally my new baby.  And for all you out there who think you might want babies- get a puppy first.  It might just take care of that maternal drive and save you shit tons of money (and your dog will never steal your car when it’s a teenager).

The end.



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.

Oh Delta… why ya gotta treat me so bad?

1 Nov

Dear Delta Airlines,

After using your services this past week for my trip to Germany and back, here is a list of things that I found bizarre, highly inconvenient, and somewhat emotionally traumatic.

  • Your new check-in procedure presumes that everyone sets their watches to Delta time.  The clock on my phone (which is actually the universal time measurement) is 5 minutes off from Delta time.  But because of your strict policy of demanding your customers to be checked in 1 hour before take-off and the 5 minute time difference between “Delta Time” and “Real Time”, you said I missed my flight.  By 5 minutes.  Even though the plane was not set to take off for an hour.  Even though my watch said I was on time.  You made the elderly couple behind me who was late by 2 minutes cry because of this rule!  And you made me pay $250 to switch to a later flight.  Even though I didn’t miss my flight…. because it was still sitting on the runway… for an hour after I got there… you just  wouldn’t let me on it.  You setting your clocks off by 5 minutes earned you $250.  Nice scam.
  • After re-routing all my flights because of your little time game, waiting an additional 6 hours at LAX and showing up in Amsterdam, you tried to send me to London.  Even though my boarding pass said Cologne, Germany.  How did you do this?  How is it possible that we can send things to Mars, but your systems are so flawed that you printed a boarding pass to one city, but you try to fly me to a completely different city.  The additional $250 that you are robbing from people because of your time-scam isn’t well spent.  And the additional 6 hours that I had to spend in the Amsterdam airport because of having to reroute my ticket to where I was SUPPOSED to go destroyed large chunks of my soul.
  • After arriving in Cologne 12 hours later than I was supposed to, I discovered you lost my luggage that had all my artwork for the gallery exhibit.  The gallery exhibit that was opening the next morning.  And you wouldn’t tell me where it was sent to.  And you wouldn’t tell me when I would be getting it back.  As I sat on the floor in front of your customer service desk crying from stress and exhaustion, all you had to give me was a complimentary bag with a toothbrush, razor, and a pair of men’s socks, and wouldn’t allow me to make a phone call to the exhibit hall to let my gallery know that you had lost the entire reason for my trip to Germany.  I think your customer service department needs to take some time and eat many bags of dicks.
  • You should have to pay my future therapy bills for making me endure the “Twilight” movies, and “Sex in the City 2” as your in-flight movies.  They added considerably to my mental deterioration during this whole debacle.

In closing, I think you are bad people.  I think that when they teach children in school about sexual predators and drug dealers, they should also mention you.  You’re so awful that you make old people openly weep in public.  I want to bring charges against you for psychological abuse.  The only thing keeping me from marching back into LAX, dropping my pants in the middle of your check-in line and pooping on your floor is that I had an amazing time once I finally got to Germany.  You should send the Strychnin Gallery a thank you note for keeping you from having to clean up my poop.


Kristen Ferrell


“Privacy” is now in the same boat as the tigers and polar bears…

10 Oct

The latest podcast available this week from “This American Life” is titled “Frenemies”.  I’m an avid Ira Glass listener, and many of the podcast topics pluck familiar chords with my life experiences- but this one pulled that chord back and snapped it so hard that it left a physical ache.  If you own a vagina, you know what a Frenemy is.  If you don’t own a vagina, and haven’t existed intertwined in the lives of vaginas, the definition is simple: a person who disguises themselves as a friend, but is really a rival or competitor.  This is mainly a “girl thing” due to the way girls are raised to compete with each other and hate each other- but it does happen with men (though usually in a work related situation).

I’ve had too much experience with frenemies.  One of my first best friends was the epitome of this- and to such extremes her behavior topped the behaviors seen in movies like “Heathers”.  She lead our little pack of girls, and used the most twisted games focused on our insecurities to unleash us against each other.  I learned quickly to not tell her if I had a crush on a boy because she would immediately go after him and try to have sex with him (we were only 13, and this was LONG before I was even thinking about having sex).  She would trash my house when my family went on vacation.  She would set us all up in publicly humiliating  situations, and anonymously terrorize us.  She was such a sick person that her mom called my mom and begged for my mother to keep me from her for my own protection.  Because of all the time I spent with this deranged young lady, I can now spot the games of a frenemy from a mile away.  I can pick them out of a crowd, and I used to be able to keep them at bay.  Until technology hit.

Over the past few years, I’ve had problems with harassment.  Anonymous emails, myspace messages from phony profiles, facebook messages, etc.  They’re obviously from ladies (from the nature of the messages and the passive-aggressive way they’re written, I can tell that they’ve never been from a boy).  They target me and Brad’s relationship.  They are hostile, but worded in the guise of “one lady having another lady’s back”… trying to make me question him, and things that he’s doing when I’m not around.  Trying to cause a riff between us.  This would be hurtful if Brad and I weren’t rock-solid.  But we are- so we always get to the bottom of who’s sending them together as a team.  These are our 2 target ‘problem ladies’.  Brad is too kind of a person, and is open and warm to everyone- so young girls who aren’t stable take his kindness too seriously and want me out of the picture.  These are usually the groupie types, and they see me as a threat to their potential relationship- so they come after me.  The other type of  ‘problem ladies’ are the fully unstable ex-girlfriends (using the term ‘girlfriend’ very loosely) that don’t like that he’s happy.  They reconnect with him, or just bump into him somewhere- and the next thing I know, I start getting contacted.

I brush this all off.  I never respond to any of it (because that’s what they want).  I never get upset because I know that it’s just the pathetic attempts of lonely and broken people to get attention- so why bother emotionally investing in it.  Brad will confront who he needs to confront, and cut these people out of his life.  But the problem is that the more technology advances, the more tactics they have to get to me.  The more invasive they can become.   Technological harassment in our culture has become and epidemic- and I don’t understand why more isn’t being done to stop it.

The latest harassment I’ve received was from an 8 digit text number.  This person knew me and Brad’s name, and details about my life.  This is someone who knows us.  This is a frenemy that has missed my radar.  Through some investigating I found that this number is actually from an ipad/iphone app that allows you to send untraceable anonymous text messages.  Why does this exist?  Why, with the recent suicides of so many children due to technological bullying would Apple allow for this app to be available?  What positive function could this serve?

So I did further investigating trying to figure out how this person has my unlisted personal cell phone number… and I was horrified.  For $0.95, you can find out someone’s current address, the names and ages of all their relatives, their phone number, yearly income, and how much their house is worth.  For around $20, you get more- their academic info, all their employment history, everywhere they’ve ever lived, etc.  And for $50- you get everything.  Absolutely everything you could ever want to know about a person that has ever been documented.  How is this legal?  Maybe if you’re dating someone new and want to find out if they’re married or have a prison record this might prove useful… but aside from that, how is this ok?  Anyone with an internet connection can find out absolutely everything about you.  Which leaves every single one of us wide open.

Stalker laws are about 30 years outdated and leave the victim fully unprotected.  Kids are killing themselves left and right because they are getting bombarded by threats and hate via technology.  Innocent unsuspecting people’s information is fully exposed to every type of predator out there… and not only is it legal, but company’s are profiting off of it.  HOW IS THIS LEGAL?!?!?!  Social networks have done everything they can so that you can make your profiles private.  Email has a function where you can trace the IP address of any email you receive to exactly where it was sent from (so if the person sent if from their computer, you have them nailed).  But with people using their phones as their primary computers now, why are these cell providers not doing more to protect their customers?!  I can’t even block incoming numbers on my Blackberry.

We’re going to check with a lawyer this week and see why private personal information is allowed to be given to strangers for a measly fee of $50.  Why it’s legal for predators to have such access to everything about us, but doctors have to have a signed consent form to even talk to a previous doctor.    People are dying and killing themselves because the sickest fuckers in our society have the upper hand- and the companies that we pay monthly services to are giving them the weapons to attack with.   This all needs to stop.  We need to feel safe.  And right now, none of us are.  So Brad and I are going to try to get some solid reasons why our privacy is for sale to the highest bidder, and I’ll keep you all posted to what we find out: ways to protect yourself, ways to combat this, and possible legal ways you can retaliate if you’ve been a victim.

And to the lady out there who got a hold of my number and is trying to play games with me… I know you’re reading this (because it’s what ladies like you do… stalk and watch and hunt for a reaction to fuel your fire).  I don’t care about you.  You can send me anything you want.  You can say anything you want.  If you need this to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, then I’m not going to take that away from you.  But know that every little thing you send to me, I show Brad.  And we laugh.  At you.  And then we forget it and go back to loving each other.  You’ll never have that love and security in your life.  Why?  Because you suck, and karma knows that.  The more you do this, the lonelier you’ll be.  And you’re just making Brad and I a stronger unified force.  So thank you for that.