Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cleaning Out the Closets--I Finally Came Up With a Good Christmas Gift Idea

So, in case you haven't noticed from all of the Ebay listings and other rants, I've been trying to clean out all the old stuff in this house that nobody needs. While preparing a very large donation bag of clothes, I noticed we had a ridiculous number of old Little League baseball jerseys of all sizes and teams. My husband (and I, unofficially) have coached Little League since our oldest was about 12 or 13. He's 19 now and his younger brother is 15, also now too old for the regular season play of Little League. So we considered this past Spring season to be our last season as Little Leaguers. It was a pretty good time, lots of great baseball games, lots of great kids and great parents. My husband and I have now both served on the Board of Directors, but I am trying to remove that part of the experience from my mind and just remember all the good parts. In remembering the good parts, I wanted to do something sentimental and cool with all of these old jerseys rather than give them to Goodwill. I'm thinking I will make a little throw quilt out of them, backed in some nice solid fleece. I think it would make a great gift for my husband for Christmas (don't worry, my husband has never read my blog, I don't think, and even if he does, we're not that big on surprises anyway). Does anyone have any helpful suggestions on making a memory quilt? I can tell you that the regular seams between the shirt-fronts will be done with a zig-zag stitch (I don't have a Serger machine, just a Singer). Should I pick a contrast color, like red, and have the stitching show? What should I do about the edges? I made a fleece blanket once by taking two big pieces of fleece fabric and cutting fringe into the edges, then tying the fringe together, so I suppose I could do that. I should probably make a decision on these things so I can get it done before Christmas, along with all the other stuff I'd like to get done in time for Christmas. Not to mention, daughter's birthday is coming up, and she wants me to design her tattoo. More to come on that...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If You Buy All My Stuff on Ebay, I Can Go Back to Making Art

As much as I would love to be able to produce beautiful artwork that you, my readers, will instantly buy, providing you with thoughtful Holiday gifts and me with holiday gift-buying money, that just doesn't appear to be happening quite as rapidly as I would like. I know, picky, picky.

So I'm going through this massive collection of stuff that everyone in this house (especially me) has collected and now does not need. I have clothes that used to belong to my daughter before she decided she was too good for them, clothes I bought for myself, only to realize that either A) cute as they are, I don't look good in them, or B) have been sitting in my closet since the '80s and they are now in style again. There's also some diecast metal car models that no one in the house ever claimed to have wanted to collect. Jaguars? Nascar pickup truck? For real?

There are a million websites and late-night infomercials out there that will tell you how easy it is to list your stuff on Ebay. It is easy--to create a crap listing. To create a listing that people will look at and bid on, you need the same criterion as other online marketplaces. High quality pictures (yes, the skirt I'm wearing in the picture is for sale, and I used that picture because it sucks trying to take a picture of a plain black skirt, and Cassie wanted to be a part of it, so I thought that would be as likely to get someone to click on the listing as anything else), detailed descriptions, accurate measurements, and whatever in each of our brains passes for advertising and marketing. For the possible $50 or so I could get paid, I have spent ridiculous hours with the tripod taking pictures, editing pictures, measuring things, writing decent descriptions, checking on my listings, TWEETING (I couldn't believe it, but that actually got people to click on the listings), posting annoying pleas on Facebook... ugh! I must be doing it wrong. Maybe I need to market my goods the way these ladies have (NSFW). I appear to be stuck in that limbo between pathetic-but-getting-paid and dignified-with-no-Christmas-money.
So go check out my Ebay listings so I can get back to making some art. I've still got a book cover (or three, I think) to create, proofreading I could be doing, and daughter's tattoo to design (okay, that one I don't get paid for, but I told her I'd design it in time for her birthday in a couple weeks). Please someone come yell at me if one of my links doesn't work (but don't yell at me about the Regretsy listing, 'cos that's just funny shit, I don't care who you are).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two Mo Bros for Movember

Well since October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, has come and gone (and I never got my baseline mammogram performed), we're done saving the ta-tas. Instead, now, for November, we are saving the... um, testes? Sorry, that was bad. Anyway, November is Men's Health Awareness month, and just to jazz it up and give people something to do, in addition to donating money, the month has been renamed Movember. The 'Mo' is short for 'moustache' (one of two proper spellings of the word, I'd have to ask my friends at if one is British English and one is American. I do know that the fine wordsmiths at Scribendi are participating in Movember!) and to raise people's awareness of men's health issues, men (Mo Bros) are supposed to grow out their moustaches for the whole month of November, and us gals (Mo Sistas) are supposed to cheer them on, assist with grooming, measuring, possibly braiding, and there will no doubt be moustache rides involved in there somewhere, but I'm trying to keep this blog above board, so we're no going to talk about that part. In addition to the growing of hair, there are opportunities to donate and promote donation by others at the Movember website. Since I am thus far unable to grow a moustache myself, I am supporting the cause by creating some Mo Bros of my own.

The first fellow came out decidedly sinister looking, and since he is the first, I have named him"Mo". He has been created in pen and ink, as well as some brushed inks, including the new colors I bought at Langell's the other day. "Mo", the original, is currently for sale in my Etsy Shop, and the full sale amount (not shipping) will be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation via (The other major charity organization featured on is the Livestrong Foundation, and while I'm sure it has probably done some good in its day, Lance Armstrong is a douchebag and I'm not giving him my money. Hey, it's my blog and my opinion, and for the record, it's not just my opinion.) Moving on... I will probably make some Mo prints (get it, mo' prints, mo' money, mo' Mo?) and sell them for a more reasonable price, that way everyone can share in the love of Mo-ness.

My second Mo Bro is the as-yet-unnamed walrus-y moustachioed dude shown here. He is also done in pen and ink as well as brushed ink and colored pencil. I scanned him yesterday, then added a bit more colored pencil to the face area, but when I went to scan it again, suddenly my awesome-if-geriatric HP scanner has decided to utterly fail. Now I need to start a fundraiser to buy a new scanner/copier/printer. The second Mo Bro is not available for sale yet, but I will probably put him up for sale the same way, with all proceeds going to the PCF. If I do manage to get a decent scan of him, I will probably print some out as prints as well. While offering prints at a lower price than the original is a good idea, I will probably need to subtract out a certain percentage to offset the cost of printing them. Making an original costs very little, and I consider my creative time a donation, but making digital prints is rather expensive. Plus there's the whole scanner issue. Time to go join my compadres at Scribendi and start earning some Christmas money. (Yes, I know, it's hard to believe that the same person who writes this spew of a blog is also a proofreader and editor. Consider this 'getting it out of my system'.) Please enjoy these Mo Bros, be on the lookout for more of them before the month's end, and, should you feel so inclined, go to my Mo Space (yes, they're really calling it that) and donate!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Getting Inspired by Ink

So today I made the excuse of having to pay my shop fees to The Wooden Cow Gallery in order to drive by Langell's Art Supply. I live on the west side of Albuquerque, which has much newer houses and development than the east side, but as such can be severely deficient in certain things. We have no traditional old diners, there are few really nice restaurants, and no real art supply stores. Yes, we have Michael's and Hobby Lobby, but no place where you can go for specialty goods, like high quality liquid inks. Once I got to Langell's today, I walked up and down every aisle to make sure I really didn't need anything else, and wound up with a roll of framing tape (the brown stuff you put on the backs of framed artwork) and several bottles of ink. I also got to get real advice on a product I had never tried from someone who had used it, and could even show me what he'd done with it--you can't get that at Michael's either. I wound up taking his advice and choosing 3 luscious colors of Dr. Ph Martin's Bombay India Ink--Teal, Cherry Red, and Terra Cotta. I also got a bottle of Koh-I-Noor black India Ink, as it is recommended for my Rapidograph pens. I am guilty of having used whatever ink I had on hand in the past, and we'll see if this ink is less susceptible to clogging.
My final bottle was Higgins Red Violet, to replace a bottle I'd just used up, part way through the project photographed above. It is a waist cincher that I found on Ebay for a steal because the pretty lace all over the front of it was orange and yellow. I've worn it once or twice as it was, but I seriously almost broke out in a chorus of Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves while wearing it. So the other day, I got out the waterproof red + red violet and brushed it onto the lace. Much to my delight, it came out a juicy deep red, though a bit uneven, as the different shades of yellow and orange soaked up different amounts of ink. After going over most of it with one coat, I decided it really needed another one to even it out a bit more. It may not be painting on a canvas or paper, but it's a start, and was a successful artistic project that was worth sharing.
Now it's time to go take down the Halloween decorations before it gets dark.