Thursday, December 20, 2007

So Long Blogger!

Well, I just wanted to let all you kids to know that I'm moving my blog! Hooray! You can check out the new blog here.

And if you are an rss feeder (haha, that makes me think of bird feeders), make sure to add to your feed!

See you all on the new site!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A minor without knowing it

So over the last couple of years I have been pretty obsessed with art history. I have two empty spots next semester and was thinking that if it wasn't too much more, I could take enough classes to get my minor. Well, as I was looking at the requirements and the classes that I have taken it turns out that I might just have one and I just need to declare it! I'm going to talk to my advisor tomorrow to make sure everything is all set to go for graduating and declare what I have already done as far as a minor goes.

I feel on the brink of accomplishment and like I have been able to learn and grow so much through and around my studies. It has been a truly rewarding experience.

Did I really just type that? Crazy.

In other news, i'm not sure if I posted it here, but I had an interview with Jennifer of Craft Sanity awhile ago and it was published last weekend. If you want to hear me yammer on forever and a day about what I'm doing with craft leftovers and life in general, you should check it out. If anything, check out the show notes and the comments. I was deeply touched by how people responded to the interview. It positively made my day! That is the hugest reward, although I like it when I sell stuff too, that pays the bills. Nice comments pay into my emotional wellness fund.

Well, lots to do, talk to you later!

++ Kristin Roach ++

Friday, November 16, 2007

Breaking the Golden Rule

So for me, the golden rule for a long time has been to not drink caffeine after 5pm. I can get away with 4:59, but 5pm and I'm up all night. It's about to come to it. Give me that coffee. Bring it on. I have a long weekend and follow weeks ahead and I need to squeeze out every last bit of creativity and production that I can manage. That. This is where the title Over extracted comes from. It's taking it to the edge and then some until the coffee is over spent. Or I am over spent. In the case of coffee... not so good. In the case of myself.. well there is something satisfying about know that I have pushed myself to my capacity. The only thing that sucks. Well, my messy apartment. I could do with a clean up.

I participated in a rocking group show last night at the Pleasant Street Gallery, I'm going to be full of myself and only show shots of my stuff:

general peoples enjoying the show. Actually it is Katie on the left and Joanna as the pink blur I believe and Staci on the right in the other room in the red. All artist folks showing their amazing work last night.

This is the weaving project I have been working on and have shown you pictures of time to time. This is the first time I have shown it anywhere though.

Endangered Plant Species Panel Series

Part of the Larger Junk Mail Project (One Year of Junk Mail), This is "One Day of Junk Mail"

Detail of the Mobile and Cast Shadows

Here is a shot of how my "room" was arranged.

We had to take down today, and as it turns out I had to go to St Charles to participate in the Strategic Planning Task Force of the NIU College of Visual and Preforming Arts. I was the undergraduate representative. It was realllllly interesting. I don't want to say too much though. Anyway, point being that I had to take down last night, brush up on the material for today, then get up at 6:30, which turned into 7:20 because I stayed up even later looking for Sloane. So the cage was still open and she popped up on the bed and woke me up by snuggling my head. It was cute. It was a really long day.

It was really interesting though.

I did get about 2 inches on a large knitting project that is in the Christmas category, so it will stay nameless.

I have to work in the morning at Encore, which will help me make up the loss of pay from not working today.

Let's see:
Stretch hogs gut for drying
Give ferrets bath
Give myself a shower
Clean more
Finish pattern for tomorrow
Finish CLM December for Monday
Work on Sketches
Work on other patterns
Work on animations
Work work work.

So.... more coffee for me tonight foooor sure!

I'll see you all later, if I don't get too over extracted that is.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good Times

Well this week has been pretty darn good. Busy. But still good. Mainly because I actually got everything done that I set out to do. An amazing feat if I do say so myself. Tomorrow I'm heading out of town so there was pressure to get all the school type stuff done now instead of on oh say, sunday night. Geeze. So I have. Amazing!

I think what really helped was instead of continuing to freak out like I was on Monday (just really overwhelmed), I stopped, went to Panera, got some coffee, good food and planned out my week. I planned it out in a realistic way too. Not just "oh my gosh this is how much I have to get done by the end of the semester! aahhhhh!" I made a list of short and long term goals. I actually just took it out to the end of the semester. I lined up goals for each week and than within each week, each day. And at the end of each day I've been re-evaluating what I need to do, what I was able to get done, and go from there. It's worked really well. I think I'm going to have to keep it up.

I finished and documented my weaving project.
Posted new stuff to the shop.
As of tonight I will have my mold finished for the creepy beeswax fruit.
Got my second sock cast on and started.
Finished the overstuffed chair for the animation.
Talked to audio visual people about shooting the animation.
Started on the next Craft Leftovers pattern.
Cleaned some more.

Lots of other stuff too in there that I can't even remember. All I know is that I have routinely checked everything off my to-do list for each day. That makes me pretty dang happy.

Oh and I sold some more craft leftovers monthly. And some of the yarn I just dyed sold. And I just today sold the first Honey Bunny kit! I love that kit so much and I'm so happy it has finally sold!

Well, I'll talk to you later. Sorry no pictures this time. I thought it would be better just post without than not at all.

Have a good evening!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lovin' the Crochet

So I just started this bag last night, worked on it about an hour. Then just for 2 and a half hours today, if that. I had to get up and run around after Sloane trying to get her to go in the litter box, get off the table, then she got angry and jump/ran/leaped onto my chair and into my tea. Woo wee. That little girl is crazy. But I love her, and she is just oh so cute.

Here is the tea she tried her best to spill, but I saved it. Oh and here is the little red work chick linen tea cloth that I picked up at the Craft Sale I was in this past weekend. Aren't those little chicks just so great!

And seeing this picture I realize I have, from front to back, embroidery, crochet, knitting, and spinning all represented in this one shot. That makes me pretty happy.

Oh and just for the record. I love my sun tea spot coasters for my hot tea too, not just the iced.

So my market bag. I just realized that the photo is bad. So I'll take another shot when I get back from class. I followed the pattern and only made one slight alteration (added another row of sc on the strap and border so it would be a bit thicker). It's from the book Simple Crochet, the first craft book I every bought before I even knew how to make a proper sc stitch. It was actually from this book that I learned how to do all other basic stitch. Best crochet book every award... I'll call it the "I'm Hooked on You Book award" That's a long title, but I like it!

I think I would also give it to Loop d' Loop Crochet as well because that book is also just amazing. I can't wait to make the little jacket for my friend's daughter as well as the lace stockings for myself. I also want to make that big comfy looking orange jacket and the smart spike stitch cardigan is on the list too.

Oh and way long ago back in the era that was September 2007, I started my first ever toe up sock to see how much I can get from one skein of my hand dyed yarn. The knitting commenced and here I am! Just about ready to BO! That is one long-o knee sock. It actually goes to the top of my knee. That is so exciting. Now to make the second. I'm casting on tonight, right after I finish this one. I really want to get these finished before I start my Christmas knitting, countdown has begun. 2 weeks. Can I finish another knee sock in two weeks? We will find out I suppose.

Oh, that's a bit blurry, yuck. I'll pick up my tripod from my studio and re-shoot for sure now, promise.

Wow, so two posts in one day! I think I'm trying to make up for my absence these past 2 months.

See you all later!

ps - I listed 10 of the November clm in the shop yesterday, so if you missed it before you have until Monday morning to pick one up, then they are going off on their way to the Sampler.

Stringy things... mmmm... delicious

So I'm starting this new project dealing with issues surrounding genetically engineered fruits and veggies, and how it's done with animal genes, and most offered at your local super market are, and it isn't required info, I understand why it's done. I'm not saying that people are playing evil scientists, but all the same, it's kind of creepy. So I'm going to make some creepy fruits and veggies. One part of that is this:

And while doing research on hog's gut I saw this:
by artist Fran Reed on this site. And it got me thinking about creepy little fish fruits an veggies with scales and fins sticking out.... yuck yes. Creepy yes. Perfect. I'm kicking myself because I just bought and ate some fish fillets and pitched the skin. I'm not sure how I would go about preserving/working with it so it doesn't stink to high heaven... or at least so my apartment doesn't. There aren't the proper facilities to work with it at my studio. I also don't want to make anyone else suffer because of my smelly work. So at the apartment it will be.

I'm also going to be making a piece mold and casting fruits and veggies with beeswax. I'm pretty excited about that. I'll shoot some pictures tonight while I'm working on it.

I have a group show coming up on the 15th (thursday) at the Pleasant Street Gallery. I really want to show this work, but I don't think I'll have enough time to build my fruit display as well as all the fruit to fill it. So I'm making a crocheted market bag that I will place some in and hang that on the wall, or maybe on a little side table so it will look like you are just coming up on a market bag and then it will be filled with all these creepy produce.

I'm also, finally, all set up to weave the second part of the identity deconstruction project. So I'll be working on that this afternoon and hopefully burning it out monday night for the group crit. What fun right? That along with the first piece in the series will be in the group show too. I'm going to have flip books so you can see the burning of it without any fancy technology stuff.

Oh and how appropreate for Halloween. My friend and I both dyed last night. Hahaha, what a bad pun. No seriously though, we dyed a crap load of yarn and it was super fun working on it with another person. I think at first I was a little tentitive but then I got into it. I might have to redyed that first batch because it's not up to snuff:

I just feel like it needs something more. Maybe I'm just being neurotic about color and going over kill. I'm going to let it dry, skien it, then see what it looks like.

I did like this one though:

It's kind of interesting how this one looks kind of weirdo right now, but I can tell it will be beautiful once I get it skeined.

So there will be a big gpf update this Saturday as well as a big Craft leftovers update. How exciting right?

Well, I need to get stuff together for class. See you all later.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday is Tuesday

I've been feeling in a funk the last couple of days, not sure why. Could seriously just be the weather. Or this professor I don't much care for who I'm letting make me miserable... that's my own fault though.

So instead of working on things this morning like I should, I browsed through my etsy fav list. What am I realllly wanting to buy at this very second?

A super cute library bag from Emily:

I haven't decided which one I want yet, it seriously might come to me buying both and giving one to a close friend who just had a birthday not too long ago.... hmm... that seems like a good idea. She loves the library as much as I do. I think I've been thinking about it because my books are over due, hehe, so that fine's sleeve is perfect for the perpetually late with my books me.

Emily makes everything so cute and so well crafted. It seems like most of the materials she uses are vintage and vintage inspired and I really like that. I know she's sold quite a few bags (saw it on her blog) and the people who got them love them. And even though she doesn't have feedback, I can vouch that you will get what you order in a timely fashion. So you should all get a library bag too. Then we can show them off in our respective public libraries with pride. I think they are great for kids of all ages, including myself.

In the same vain, I really like these here book card/pockets from Phobe:

I got a few from her before and really want to get some more. They are just so stinking cute. I put them in all the books I loan out so I can keep track of who has what, simply because I will forget who I gave books to. She ships out really fast and is a really creative maker. She has a lot of neat pins/broaches and such. Another one I highly recommend.

Oh one last thing. The November issue of Craft Leftovers Monthly is up in my shop and will be on sale until Sunday midnight, then will be shipped out on the 29th.

They haven't been selling super fast, but fairly steadily, so I think/hope they will sell out again. If you want one, I would get it sooner rather than later to be on the safe side.

Well, I need to head to class, blah.

See you all later!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Handmade Chicago and Updates!

Hey folks! It's been too long.

I just wanted to check in and post some about things and such.

First off the Handmade Market was really fun, I broke just about even for the day, and I met a whole lot of great people! I don't think I'll be doing it again though because they allowed smoking, and well, I sell yarn and no one really wants smokey yarn so I'm going to have to air it out now. Not to mention my throat is still on fire. No thanks.

I did learn a whole lot of stuff though and I want to share it with you.

Oh and before I get into a long list, I want to let you know that I'm going to have a booth at the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival's High School Craft Show. It's on the 27th and 28th (Saturday and Sunday) from 9am - 5pm. I just got verified today and scooted in on it at the last minute (apps closed like Sept 1st, but they thankfully had a couple of booths left, they have like over 100 vendors I think). Thankfully I was able to get work off so I'm all set... kind of... I need someone to give me a bathroom brake, any takers?

And here is a picture of my table (it was dark in there):

So "what I learn at my first craft sale ever":
-Make sure the venue is non-smoking if it's in a bar/restaurant type of place

-If it's inside and darker, bring extra light bulbs in case the one in the lamp brakes in transit

-Test not just setting up your display, but collapsing it to make sure it fits nicely under the table.

-If your space is limited and you just have one table, use an extra empty container as a "table" for your cash box/credit card swiper so it's not in your lap.

-If selling kits, have items made up from them as displays with the kit (even if you have nice pictures, people will be more likely to buy it, if they can see it and hold it)

-Hand out business cards with every purchase, make up little cards (like no bigger than 3 x 4 ish) with info about you and your business and contact info, especially if you do custom work (I do custom dyeing and Craft Leftovers is more than just making stuff, it's about bringing purpose to materials that at first glance are valueless).

-If a vendor likes your stuff/you like theirs, ask about swapping! Swapping is fab! (Another vendor bought some yarn and I really wanted some of her earrings but didn't make it back up to her both and she probably thinks I blew her off, I wish I would have asked about swapping with her.... I learned my lesson).

-If you are being friendly and chatty (which you should be) with your fellow vendors, make sure to ask what shows they like and if they think you would be a good fit, write it don't, you won't remember (I didn't and wish I would have).

-Pack a lunch

-Have all your admin stuff in one box (pens, pencils, tape, scissors, project to work on while your sitting there, cash box, swipper, recipe book, etc).

-Have all your display stuff in one box (if it will fit) including extension cords and table cloth and signs.

-Make your signs when you set up your display (I totally forgot to make signs.. lame)

-If you have a 6 foot space, use a 5 foot or less table so you can get around the sides.

-Have a banner (ran out of time to make mine, but will have it finished for this next one)

-Bring chairs (I had mine by the door, but neglected to take them).

Stuff that I did right? There were some things:
-Collapsable display stuff is great (all of my shelves and such fold into themselves)
-mailing list and business cards on the table in a prominate spot where people can see it
-If you have multiples, just put one out and store the rest under the table
-Freebees because people like those (I gave out free vintage buttons and print outs of the patterns)
-There were other things too, just your standard stuff, like change, having prices at 50 cent intervals so all I had to worry about was quarters for change.

Listen to the feedback the customers as well as people who pass you by give you (even if it's a snide comment, which thankfully I didn't this time) on everything from prices, product, to display/set up.

On to other things.....

I finished my first mobile for the Junk Mail Project that I'm working on. Basically I have been collecting junk mail for the past 6 months+ and am re-purposing it into objects of aesthetic and commercial value. In it's end product it will be a site specific installation with one year's worth of junk mail from just one person, me. I'm constructing mobiles, paper pulp forms with press molds, sheets of handmade paper, and sheets of quilling.

Here is a picture of the mobile (please ignore the background, i'm hoping to get professional shots of it soon), it's about 7-8' x 5-6' (i need to measure it):

And a detail:

The whole thing is less than 2 days worth of junk mail. Crazy right? The only thing I didn't like about it was the supports, the river reeds look a little, well wrong.... so in crit we worked on how I could make rods out of junkmail too. I'm going to work on replacing the supports in it. It might honestly be easier to take it apart and restring it completely. I'm not going to worry about that right now, I'm just going to try to get the new rods worked out.

I'm also working on a series of animations that will take place in a doll house that my dad built for me when I was growing up. I'm working on refinishing it (it's been in the basement for too long). I'm also working on making the figure and various props and clothing articles. I forgot to take a picture, but I have a little cardigan that I knit for the figure on size 000 dpns and a little tee shirt that has strawberries on it. I'm making little pants too, so when I get those finished up I'm make sure to post a picture of it.

Here is the doll house:

I'm working on also getting my apartment cleaned up and doing about a month's worth of laundry (I need to get rid of some clothing so I can't go that long without doing laundry).

Have a good week, hopefully I'll start posting more regularly soon, it's just been so crazy!