Friday, February 26, 2010

In Honor of the Snow





Just to be clear, this isn't today's snow, but one of the many other recent snows that have plagued South Jersey. (I don't much like snow, in case you haven't gathered.) I'm steadily working through my archive of outfit pictures, an exercise that is oddly freeing. I've got lots of necklaces going on here. The color palette is kind of autumny (although the dress is a summer one). It's a bit of a mishmosh, but I like it :)

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 178 - Some Ends and Some Beginnings









Today brought the triumphant conclusion of my sunflower pillowcases. Bolstered by the completion of this long-sought-after goal, I went on to paint the second coat on these tiny totes, then outlined all but two. Finally, I'd mixed some paint for the totes that I didn't want to waste, so I used it to begin a new painting I'd drawn a week or so back. As the result of all this I feel happy, accomplished, and strangely well rested :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 177 - Pillowcases Almost Finished!


This morning, I awoke to snow falling. I'm extremely fearful of driving in snow and ice, so I made the executive decision to call out of work.

As for the Challenge, I was amazed to find myself making great progress. As in, I almost started and finished the second sunflower pillowcase in one day (top photo). All it needs is a bit of dark brown in the negative spaces in the flowers' centers.

For comparison's sake, I'm posting a picture of the first pillowcase too.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Avacados and Tangerines




This is what I wore today. I bought the top at J. C. Penney's last Friday; it was $8.98. I almost didn't buy it because 1) I'm not nuts about dull green and 2) although it was my size, it was cut HUGE. But, I decided to give it a chance by teaming it with bright orange and cinching it with a belt. I'm glad I did!
Oh, dear. The belt pic didn't rotate after all. But I'm too lazy to fix it :)

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 176 - A Prototype

For tonight's Challenge I made a necklace that's long been burning at the back of my mind. It all started with this pack of thin bangles I bought. I had this idea that I wanted to wire wrap beads in the center of each bangle and then use them as pendants for ribbon necklaces. So I did. This one is for me, as it's the prototype and has a few quirks I'd like to avoid in those I make to sell. But nevertheless, it's a fun little piece.

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

I scrambled to the top of the precipice where Nick was waiting.

"That was fun," I said.

"You bet it was," said Nick. "Let's climb higher."

"No,"I said. "I think we should be heading back now."

"We have time," Nick insisted.

I said we didn't, and Nick said we did. We argued back and forth like that for about twenty minutes, then finally decided to head back.

I didn't say it was an interesting story.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Some of My Rainbow Jeans in Action




These jeans were a lot of fun to wear. I think that about covers it.

Check Out My Feature on Tracey Knits's Blog!

Today Tracey Knits featured an interview with me on her blog:

http://www.traceyknits.com/2010/02/handmade-shop-of-week-tote-trove.html

Tracey creates fun and fanciful knit golf club covers, children's' football helmets, and other accessories. I've bought two of the golf club covers myself, and they're fab!

P.S. Don't forget about my Medium Rainbow Fierce Flowers Sparkle Tote Giveaway! Just click on the blog post entitled It's Giveaway Time Again to enter. Or, you can enter via Tracey's post above. Good luck!

Featured Artist Cindy Wilson of Mommy's Dream Creations




This week’s featured artist is EtsyNJ team member Cindy Wilson of Mommy’s Dream Creations, http://www.mommysdream.etsy.com/. Cindy hand paints glassware with stunning, colorful designs inspired by nature (see above for a few especially lovely pieces). If you’re on the lookout for home décor with a personal touch, either for yourself or for someone on your gift list, then Mommy’s Dream Creations has something one of a kind for you!

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): Why did you decide to name your shop Mommy’s Dream Creations?

Cindy Wilson (CW): It was actually my husband’s idea! I’m living my dream of being a wife and mother and have the added blessing of homeschooling. He thought that the name was a perfect fit.

2. TTT: According to your Etsy profile, you're a self-taught artist who draws inspiration from nature. When did you first begin painting, and how does nature inspire you?

CW: I started painting about three or four years ago. My daughter learned the basic strokes from another homeschooling mom, and I decided to see what I could do as well. Learning to paint on glass was tricky, but I love how the colors and designs seem to pop. I’m inspired by nature because you can look at the same path in the woods day after day, and yet it’s never the same. The colors change, the shadows create different patterns, you see different animals. It’s the same with the ocean. The rhythm of the waves and tides is constant, but the patterns left in the sand are always changing. I’m amazed by how God has designed all these vastly different parts to work together as a complete whole.

3. TTT: Did you ever imagine that you’d turn your passion into a business? What made you take the leap?

CW: If it hadn’t been for a friend who always encouraged me and pushed me and my hubby who was willing to do whatever I needed him to, then I don’t think I would've had the courage to take the leap. We started out with local craft shows several years ago and joined the Etsy family in 2009. We’re growing slowly but steadily.

4. TTT: As a creator of home décor, do you find yourself incorporating your personal style into your work? How do you like to decorate your home?

CW: My personal style does find its way into my work. I like classic and romantic styles more than those that are modern. My current decorating style is “trying to find a space for everything.” But in the middle of the chaos are family pictures and things that make me smile. To me that’s the difference between a house and a home.

5. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?

CW: My favorite item is usually the new design I'm working on!

6. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?
CW: I'd love to have Christmas ornament sets ready for the 2010 holiday season. I’m working on designs for a Nativity set and a snowman set.

7. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?

CW: With all that needs to get done in a day, I have to follow a routine, but that isn’t always the best for creativity. I have a small notebook that I carry around with me, and when I have an idea I sketch it out so I don’t forget it.

8. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

CW: The best thing is that it’s a family affair. My daughter is seeing the hard work and cost that go into doing something you love, and that's something she can’t learn in a book. The worst is that there just isn’t enough time to get to everything I want to each day.

9. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

CW: A couple of crafters at one of the shows last year mentioned it. I’d never heard of it (crazy as that seems now!), but they thought my glasses and ornaments would do well there.

10. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?

CW: To be honest, if I had the choice between the two, then I'd sell in person. Selling at a show is a lot of time away from home and a lot of effort to set up and take down. But that interaction with the customer is just so much fun! Shopping online is convenient, but pictures can only tell so much of the story.

11. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?
CW: My husband. He’s never let me give up, and he’s never complained about the mess he sometimes comes home to when I have custom orders that need to get done.

12. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?

CW: I’m trying to learn to knit, but getting the stitches consistent is harder than it looks.

13. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Mommy’s Dream Creations. You can gab about your hobbies, family, pets, or anything in between!

CW: Between homeschooling, driving my daughter to softball and choir, teaching Sunday School to 3rd - 5th graders, leading a ladies’ Bible study, and refereeing between the three dogs and two cats, I‘m exhausted! My days are full, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more.

14. TTT: What are your hopes for Mommy’s Dream Creations in the future?

CW: I'd like to see the business grow and continue to do well. I'm hoping to go international this year with my first outside-the-US sale.

15. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)

CW: Wow, that’s hard. Honestly, I’d want roast beef and gravy with roasted potatoes. I don’t think I could survive without my homemade iced tea (and a slice of lemon). Dessert would have to be my Granny’s homemade molasses cookies!

Thanks for stopping by to meet Cindy and learn about Mommy’s Dream Creations. Not done dreaming yet? Then find more Mommy’s Dream Creations here:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MommysDream

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 174

The first pillowcase is done! I think. Tonight I get cracking on number two.

Last weekend I saw Valentine's Day. It was good: romantic, splashy, a little sad in parts, and with a few twists. It just goes to show you can't always listen to the critics. I also caught Almost Famous again on TBS. I'd forgotten what a quality movie that was. Plus, I didn't realize how many people were in it the first time around. (Zooey Deschanel, Rainn Wilson, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman had bit parts, to name a few.) When I was little, I remember my parents renting movies and picking out all the actors they knew. Look, there's so-and-so! they'd say, and Is that so-and-so? I used to think this was boring. I mean, they didn't actually know those people, right? But now the bf and I do it ourselves! There's something gratifying about being able to recognize as many stars as possible, especially when they're playing a role they normally wouldn't. The bf is actually better at it than I am.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Little Something From Deepshade

It was less than a week ago when I posted my interview with Stacie of Deepshade Creations for my featured artist series. And already I have this lovely rainbow cuff she made in my possession. I was drawn to it as soon as I reviewed her shop and told myself that buying it was good for the blog. Kind of like what I say about my mall shopping. Anyway, I can't wait to wear it and am sure it will be paired with one of my outfits in yet another blog post.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Bubble Skirt and Some Argyle











Here's another outfit from the archives. My mom got me this maroon bubble skirt for Christmas, so I used it as inspiration for another funky get-up. Well, to be honest this one isn't all that funky. But you need a not-so-funky outfit every now and then, if only to properly present the truly funky by contrast.

Speaking of clothes, I've been shopping like a fiend lately. I blame it on my rereading of the Shopaholic series (as in hey, if Becky can have an overdraft then I can definitely buy another top!) and the winter sales. Rationalizing that it's all in the name of the blog doesn't hurt either :)

It's Giveaway Time Again!

Tracey Rediker of Tracey Knits has been kind enough to feature The Tote Trove, interview style, on her blog, http://www.traceyknits.com/, tomorrow. Tracey always asks her guests if they'd like to do a giveaway, which she then promotes on her blog (great idea, no?) So, one lucky reader will win my Medium Rainbow Fierce Flowers Sparkle Tote. Edgy and colorful, this bag screams "Look at me!" It measures 14" w x 13" h x 3" d and is perfect for carrying books, magazines, lunch, toiletries, or whatever! To enter, please follow this blog and Tracey's blog (http://www.traceyknits.com/) and heart your favorite item in my shop, http://www.thetotetrove.etsy.com/. Then leave a comment to let me know you did so (if you're already a follower of my and/or Tracey's blog, then you can let me know in your comment). Also, please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win. The giveaway will close at midnight on Mar 1. I'll notify the winner on Mar 2 and ship the tote (as well as a few other surprises!) as soon as the winner sends his or her address.

As always, thanks for playing and good luck! :

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 172 & 173 - The Pillowcase is Underway

Yesterday I finally made some headway with the first of the two custom sunflower pillowcases I'm painting. I'm very pleased so far and hope to finish the set by the end of the week :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 170 - A(nother) Work In Progress

I could never resist stretchy bracelets. When I found these in A. C. Moore a few months back, displayed with various charms and doo-dads, I immediately bought a couple of packs. Tonight I finally experimented with them, deciding to tie the charms and some of my own magazine beads to them with thin satin ribbon. I think I'll need to add a few dabs of fabric glue tomorrow for extra security. Although I don't know how productive tomorrow will be, because I need to gather my receipts for the good people at H&R Block (I have an appointment with them bright and early Saturday morning). Just what everyone wants to do Friday night . . .

Turquoise and Yellow Kitsch - And Maybe a Little Bit of What Was I Thinking?






I have mixed feelings about this ensemble. I wore it to work a couple of weeks ago, where I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror and thought, hmm. In retrospect, I think it was the unsleek silhouette that was niggling at me more than anything (I rather liked the yellow and turquoise combo). But that's ok; it's all just part of the adventure. (The barrette, by the way, came from last spring's Brigantine PTA craft show. A local artist made it, as well as loads of other fabulous jewelry and accessories made from colorful clay. I probably should've snapped up more of them; I didn't even get a business card. Oh well. Maybe I'll run into her at Wawa one of these days :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jack Handey Quote of the Week


"When you go for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges."

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 169 - Ribbon Necklaces


Last night brought yet another project: these two fetching ribbon necklaces, fashioned with wooden beads and my own handmade magazine beads. I want to do a bunch more of these (I already have a black one), using different colored ribbons. I still have scads of tiny totes to finish and that painting to, well, paint, not to mention a custom assignment to paint two pillowcases, which I absolutely must do this weekend . . .

My computer crashed last night, which is why I'm posting now before work. It got eerily, maddeningly slow before konking out altogether, and it was enough to make me want to pull my hair out. So, I'm relieved to find it humming along normally this morning.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Make and Tell Challenge, Day 168 - Back to the Drawing Board


Tonight I took a break from my tiny totes to sketch out a new painting. This one's an undersea scene. It seems a little generic to me now, but I have some plans to change that :)

And, the Outfits Are Back





You may remember when I used to post pictures of my outfits at random. I haven't stopped having the bf take the pictures; I've just been too busy painting, etc, to post them. Which means I have a nice stockpile going. So here's an ensemble to kick things off, a kind of Victorian schoolgirl hybrid. The dress was a birthday present from my mom (I Heart Ronson of J. C. Penney's), the pumps were from the bargain rack at DSW (Rocketdog), and the clutch was made by none other than Etsy's own Krystala Creations, http://www.krystala.etsy.com/. Just pretend you didn't see the bf's work boots scattered over there in the corner :)