Sunday, October 24, 2010

Crafty Things Afoot

I've been taking stock of myself and the things that I'm not only good at, but also actually enjoy, namely:
1)working with crafters
2)designing and sewing
3)helping people sell crafts that they made
4)teaching people how to craft
5)writing about crafting
6)planning craft-related events

I couldn't help but notice that the word "craft" was in there 5 times, along with sewing, designing, and writing, which are also pretty crafty. Add to that the fact that last week's Free Will Astrology horoscope basically told me to get off my butt (figuratively, given the circumstances) and start writing, and I've got a pretty clear sign from the universe that I need to start writing about craft, or, if not the larger craft movement, at least my place in it, and the places of those artists that I want to work with.

As someone who has always loved writing, but has never made a living at it, the idea of diving into that life terrifies me - sure, I can churn out compelling copy, but is that art? I have no idea.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Rachel Dress Bows

If you've ever tried to embark on a creative life you know that into every life a little fallow time must fall. My particular dry spell has lasted for longer than I would like, compounded by getting married, making dresses for other ladies' special days, and then getting very involved with not one but two amazing museums.

It began to feel like, unless I grew a second head and two more pairs of arms, there would never again be a chance for me to make something just for myself. Imagine how happy I was when my friend Rachel commissioned a dress for a wedding.
We got to go through the whole 9 yards: shopping for fabric (in this case, a blue muslin Liberty of London print with a cream muslin lining), sketching out a number of different Mad Men-style options for the dress itself, mocking up the muslin and doing the fittings...all of the things I love but was terrified that I had lost. Draping the top, recutting the pattern, trueing the seams, and then re-cutting it. Yes, those are parts of the New York Times - they work just as well as pattern paper in a pinch!And the big finish, unfortunately with some blurry pics from the last fitting at midnight the night before the wedding. Even Anne got in on the act. Once the wedding is over I hope to get some decent photos together so that I can get it on Etsy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Projects

Exciting things are afoot in Mignonette-land: The revitalization of the Ladies Independent Design League SF, searching for new studio space high and low (to share with a boatload of fellow artists, perhaps too many superfriends to comfortably make a crime-fighting group), and the creation of a new mobile-crafting venture. Also pleasantly surprised with the new hire I made at Job #2. Almost too many projects to keep up with, but I'll have to write them all down or I'll forget.

Holy Shizz Look At this House in Shanghai

Today's post in the NY Times Home and Style section is inspiring me to
2)Book a flight to Shanghai
3)Become bff's with this woman so that she writes me into her will (okay, she's only 38, so we'd have to be bff's for a good long time, but still, it's so worth it and maybe she'd let me borrow her clothes).


And of course what house is complete without an antique birdcage to house your rosebush:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Holy Cow - More PRESS!!!!

Craft Bar with Etsy Labs is blowing up big - PHEW!

More press! Just look at all these listings and kind words:

Holy shiz - craft bar was a weekly pick for the guardian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hipster Runoff


Snike Larten

Monday, May 3, 2010

Craft Bar in Craft Magazine Online!

Hooray! Craft Bar, the monthly crafting workshop that I run in conjunction with Etsy here at the MOCFA, was featured on the Craft Zine blog this month!
Here it is!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things I've Done Recently - April 22, 2010

I'm really enjoying the whole process of wedding dress-making - I love working with a bride on a design and choosing fabric and sharing tips (most valuable tip for any bride: even if you love your mom/mother-in-law and get along with her really well, you should ALWAYS appoint a trusted friend to act as a "mom wrangler" - well-meaning moms tend to add an element of stress to an already stressful day).

The best moment is when we get to the point in the design process where the bride looks in the mirror and unconsciously smiles at herself - that's how I know that we've designed her perfect dress. And then it's off to the races with all the fittings, trying-on, and more fittings. And then more fittings, tweaks, tears (usually from me), lint-rolling, and more fittings. During the months when I am working on a wedding dress (I only do one at a time), my living room is covered in a maelstrom of pins, fabric scraps, spray bottles, stray scissors, spools of thread, and newspaper. Truly, the life of a designer just oozes glamour.

I wouldn't trade it for anything though - I had two weddings and tried on squillions of dresses before having my former assistant make mine (and what a job she did, yowza!)I just can't speak highly enough for having someone make you your dream dress. Knowing that an off-the-peg dress, even if
it is gorgeous, is going to cost as much, or more, as a custom-dress, it just makes sense to have one made.

I made this wedding dress for a fellow Brooklyn-to-SF transplant last year, and I'm really proud of it (and I really need to find out who took these photos so that I can give her some props, are they not gorgeous???).
This bride is rocking some serious retro glamour. The dress is silk shantung with a lightweight cotton muslin underlayer. My favorite detail is the back bow, which is a detachable obi belt that I beaded with flowers from the bride's grandmother's veil.
The wedding was held outdoors, in the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park.
Let me know if you want your own!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

And...We're Back for 2010

The sun is out which means that it is time for me to peek my head out from under my rock and bask in it a little bit.
The other day the wife turned to me and asked what was on my mind, and i waited a few beats before saying "mischief. that's what's on my mind". Spring is a time when I typically get super-restless and want to change up my routine, not just a little bit, but completely. I took a second job as the buyer for the Museum of the African Diaspora, which has been challenging and exciting, but I think the sea change that my world needs is even bigger.

My travels around the country (and the world, like PARIS!) seeking out fabulous finds for the MOCFA has given me the chance to unearth some of the most incredibly talented, charming, wonderful artists and bring their goodies to the larger public.

This has made me realize that I really want to resurrect the Ladies Independent Design League here in the Bay Area. Anyone who knew me in New York might remember LIDL from the heady days of 2003-2005, when we collaborated, shared, and even planned a fun craft fair, IndieLicious. We even got a mention in the Handmade Nation book!
The most exciting thing about LIDL was the chance to meet other crafty business ladies to talk shop, commiserate, and everything else. It was the business version of a Stitch and Bitch. As I meet more women who are talented but unsure of how to take their businesses to the next step I want to find something, notably a FREE something, that we can use to help each other, and ourselves. With drinks.
So I'm putting out a call to women who want to start or further a business to please contact me. Let's get started!