Dipping my toe into the wallowing pool

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in my own ass-hole-ism. There are times when I feel I should really be speaking to people like I’m this amazing person that I really aspire to be. Other times, (like, when my skills really aren’t paying any bills) I feel ridiculous about the choices I’ve made in my life and just want to slink back to my corner and cry over my student loan bill.

I’ve really been struggling with my work and getting it out to the “right people”. There’s a whole dog chasing its tail thing going on with money. I make a little money and I have to spend it on a bill or new tires. Then I’m broke again. I’m working my ass off on product and sending pitches to boutiques along with line sheets and price lists. Research is exhausting and I really wish I had gone to school for this. What did I go to school for? Animation. HAHAHAHAHA! Boy, that degree is really paying for itself! Trying not to feel sorry for myself is the hard part. I made all of the decisions that put me here. Maybe this is just a low point that I can laugh about later?! Gross.

The funny thing is even when I’m feeling sorry for myself the creating doesn’t stop. That part of my brain hasn’t stopped at any point in all of this. *Shakes fist at the sky* What does it all mean?!! Maybe I’m possessed by a spirit who likes to make things and enjoys nothing but a steady diet of carbs and citrus.

Anyway through all of this, my experimentation has led me to some results I’m quite pleased with. So, I’ll just move on to that for now.

Image

I’ve had this idea sketched out for quite a while but, I thought there was an issue with my kiln. Turns out there wasn’t. It was just a testy outlet. Anyway, it’s a sugar skull necklace. I wanted to have the piece be interesting on both sides. The front side is the enamel skull and the back part would be a pierced piece. The black underside of the enamel provides the negative space.

sugar skull fnb

It’s still a little rough-looking, but I’m pretty proud of something I made from sketch to final product. It can only get better, right?

Here’s some geometric experimentation with gold leafing. I friggin’ LOVE gold leaf! I want to gold leaf everything!

enamel pendants

Gold just classes everything up a little.

enamel 2frings

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned how much I love my prehistoric kiln. It’s one of my most coveted tools to date. It helped me make these yummy 2 finger rings. I also finally made a color chart for some of the transparent enamels so colors can be mixed without any nail-biting. Here are some better pics of the rings:

Nalgene bblgm2

Nalgene blubll3

Nalgene shamrock3

Sometimes I’m fascinated by the depth and intricacies of the color that comes out. You can get them in my shop here.

Looking at these items again makes me temporarily forget what I’m going through in order to create them. I guess that’s the point right? I know that someone will always be better at it than me. I accept that fully and it will never stop me from chasing my dreams. My love for it is what will always get me to keep going. It’s the only constant in my life. Always there challenging me, bringing me to tears, breaking my heart, filling me with joy, pushing me, comforting me, calming me, consoling me, inspiring me…

I’ll just keep my head down and push through. It’s worth it.

In the meantime I’ll leave you with this little nugget from one of my favorite bands of all time. Top 5 at least…

 

Time waits for no one.

Fall is almost here! I keep wanting to put my boots on, but the sun starts to get all nosy and comes out and says, “Just what do you think you’re doing?” Stupid Sun! You’re ruining my life! I’m so antsy for sweaters and scarves and snuggling, but the desert is doing the indecisive dance it always does this time of year. You’re hot and sweaty all the time and then you wake up one day at some god awful hour because you’re freezing your butt off and have to go and get the blankets out of the closet. Then that’s it. Hello Fall, nice crash landing!

This weekend was the first time I was able to put my boots and sweaters to use. Suuuuper excited! Along with the cold weather this time of year brings Craft fairs. I have signed up for a few and I’m pretty excited about it. We’ve been struggling the last few months and we can breathe a little bit now that I’ve got some money coming in. Phew! I did the Grand Avenue Festival last month and completely spaced on bringing my camera. What a surprise!
So here are some so so cell phone pics…

I was going for an industrial look but, somehow it just looks like the left overs from someone’s garage…hmmm……

 

This last Sunday I did the Hissyfits Hullabaloo. For those of you who don’t know, Hissyfits is a children’s resale shop that has adorable stuff at really good prices. She always has a cute selection of locally handmade goods. Every year Nikki (the super awesome owner) puts on a Craft Fair in her parking lot. It’s always awesome and I always get sunburned. I forgot my camera again.  I did remember to take a few booth pics with my crappy phone camera tho.

What do you think of my banner? Not too shabby for being sewn the night before the show eh? I showed up a few minutes later than I usually do and ended up having to pick a spot on the side of the building. I’m usually out front. This worked out well because I had a backdrop to display my banners/bunting/pennants? I had this conversation with Nikki about it and still don’t know which one is the proper term. I’ll just use bunting for now…

 

My friend gave me a huge stack of vintage hankies. I didn’t know what to do with them and then I did. I recycled my grandma’s doilies into bunting(s)? as well. Only sold one at the show. Hopefully I can find homes for all of them. Holler if you are interested. I’ve got about 20 of ’em. They’re really cute!

I also made these:

 

and these…

 

and this. A really sweet girl got this as an early Christmas present from her folks.

 

I’ve been a busy little bee. With 4 shows coming up in the not too distant future there is no time to waste. I’ll make sure I post the info for the next event so you can come visit me. If not physically, than in spirit. You can always visit my store… *Hint*

 

Oh yeah, and before I forget again here’s the artwork I did for the Lambchop show in August.

 

I did these all in photoshop. I scanned the rough sketches and then painted them digitally. Prints are available in my shop for cheap. I also have some really high quality prints matted and framed available. Get at me if you’re interested.
Till the next time! xoxo

Still figuring it out

During the last few weeks I’ve learned quite a bit about how involved and conscious you have to be when pushing your work. Lots of little bits of information keep floating my way and I’m searching for more.  Next month will be busy busy busy! I’ll be showcasing my work at a RAW showcase in Scottsdale, AZ on the 9th. If you’re local please show your support and buy a ticket! It’s only $10 and I guarantee you’ll have a good time!

If you’re interested click on the radiate banner and click buy tickets when you get to the page. At the top there’s a drop down menu. Choose Xappa from the very bottom.

There’s going to be a runway show, live art, music, and lots of amazing talent. I’ll be there with a booth set up and lots of new jewelry for sale. I really hope to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones!

In September I’ll be participating in another show…

I’m really excited about painting for this one. Lots of creepiness involved which, is right up my alley! I’m planning on doing 5 pieces for this one. Which is quite ambitious for me since I haven’t painted in quite some time. The time is right and I’m ready to open that part of my life again. Super excited! If you’re local (and even if you aren’t), you should get your butt out here and see this show! I’ll keep you updated with pics of my progress for both this show and the RAW showcase. Did I mention that I’m excited?

I also came up with a new design this week.

It’s called the Enid clutch. It’s made from a pretty caramel colored leather that I got in a stack of samples thrown out from a design company. The things people throw out! Crazy! The inside fabric is a beautiful printed cotton imported from Thailand. I’ve listed it in my shop.

I’ve never been good with zippers but I have to admit that I’m pretty damn proud of myself for how beautifully this one came out!

This week I also figured out a great solution for my record earrings. I went to a local water jet cutting company and had them do some samples and got a price quote. They’re awesome and I was so relieved! It’s going to be a huge shift for me not to do so much work when it comes to the earrings.

The Love Song earrings I speak of

I’m going to have to bump my price up a bit to compensate for the services but I kind of need to do that anyway. The prices haven’t really changed that much for 3 years. This was another thing that I learned this week. In fact I’m a bit embarrassed about my way of thinking when it comes to pricing my work. If this is what I’m planning on doing as my job I really have to treat it that way.

Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a friend to exchange some knowledge for some promotion! Such a beautiful thing, let me tell you. The world feels magical right now. Slowly but, surely everything is clicking into place.

Until next time,

xoxo

Xappa

Transitioning…again

I’ve been sort of comfortable in my life for the last 3 years. However, the recent death of my Grandmother really made me stop in my tracks and think about my life. I mean, REALLY think about it. My grandmother ( we called her “Nana”) was someone who always put herself last. I used to think that was a beautiful quality until I was old enough to see how it affected her and the people whom she came in contact with.

She was an incredibly creative and talented person, though she was always quick to dismiss compliments. She knew how to sew, crochet, make pottery, bead work, and was (of course) an incredible cook. Her craftsmanship was impeccable. She taught me how to make anything I asked. If she didn’t know how she would figure it out. This was always amazing to me and even somewhat magical.

It was because of these things that I felt she deserved more. So much more than what she even gave herself! The maybe’s could go on for years if I let them. This brings me to my point.

I don’t want to feel comfortable not doing what I am capable of. If 35 years of creating from my heart isn’t something I’m willing to invest in, than who the hell is? Over the years I’ve avoided trying to be completely on my own whereas my business is concerned. Too scared to let go of the side of the pool. Well Nana, it’s time to take the fucking swimmies off!

I’ve put in my notice at work and have been working feverishly on everything I’ve been putting off for the last 6 years. It’s time, and I’m scared shitless. Honestly though? I feel like this is the right thing to do. You know what else….?? Check this out…

When my Nana started getting sick I started working on new stuff:

brass and leather 2 finger ring

Piece work leather cuff made on my new walking foot sewing machine.

I began experimenting with materials and techniques. Challenging myself. I bought a pretty hefty piece of equipment and while I’m still learning how to use it, it’s building my skill. Here’s the first clutch attempt. If you like it you can purchase it here.

The last week of March I flew home to attend Nana’s funeral. It was quite a surreal experience. Crying every night I was there and working on a collage of her for the Rosary/viewing. I felt exhausted. This is a picture I had never seen before, and was overwhelmed by how well it captures her spirit.

I’m the one in the green jumper.

Returning home in a haze and exhausted from my visit. I recuperated with more work and lots of tv. My mom wasn’t doing well and decided to get out of the rain and visit us. It was a very short 9 days but really great for both of us. She returned home sunburned and refreshed.

 

 

Not the best picture, but I was happy to have the time with her.

After mom left, I felt rejuvenated. Plans began to propel my business forward began. My time was spent designing and creating. While I was working there was a lot of online television watching. I started watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. Oh the sheer entertainment and “shade of it all”! I love it! I particularly enjoyed this seasons winner, Sharon Needles.

I just thought Sharon (Aaron Coady) was a star! Completely different from any other lady on the runway (or the show for that matter), and so incredibly funny and talented. I was enamored with her and was really hoping she would win. And of course, she did. I went to work right away on something I thought she could wear with pride. I decided to design a lady death headpiece custom for her with a lot of black.

Here it is upon finishing:

 

The flowers were made from black leather with vintage faceted glass beads in the center of each. Faux crow skull I silver leafed last year. And lots of black, iridescent, and purple feathers. I was really proud of the way it turned out and packaged it up nicely for her. I sent it on Monday the 11th not really knowing if he would receive it, or if he would even like it, (although I really thought he would).

Less than a week later I come home after giving my lovely employer of 3 years a 30 day notice. My post work ritual of checking emails and Facebook was business as usual until I scroll through my news feed and see this…..

 

 

 

There he was as Sharon at an event in NY wearing the piece! Words cannot express how incredibly overwhelmed with emotion I was. It happened just when I was doubting my decision to take that leap. I commented on the photos and he commented back. Squeee!!! Such an amazing day!

After my high died down I went back to work on my stuff. I’m really excited to start the next chapter of my life, and I think Nana would be excited for me too. The first couple of pages are good so far…..what do you think?

 

 

Bad manners.

Okay, so I’ve been a horrible blogger. If my friend’s daughter Sofie were here she would inform me that I have bad manners. So, I’m here to apologize and give you a recap of the past few months. I’m SO very sorry! Please forgive me?

Now to give you the scoop… Had the 2nd In the Yard event with PHX DIY. We have a few new members and it was a lovely day out!

Here’s one new member and close friend Angela Riccobono. She’s reppin’ for her line Cherry Bombin’ Wear. Lovely items made from recycled bicycle tubes. Love her to death!

Next up we’ve got Claire Tinnion. She creates lovely paintings and is a real sweetheart!

We have added See Saw Designs to our growing number of members. Raquel, Angela, and Lindsay do amazing letterpress work!

Next up is Starving Artist Bazaar. Jennifer creates fantastic creatures from recycled wool sweaters, and lovely lamp work jewelry.

Thems are the new memberonis! Here’s a look at the treat table. It was the day before Valentine’s day after all.

Kinda wish I had one of those cookies right now!

K. Next up in my calendar of past events was a Roller Derby! Some of the PHX DIY girls got together for Amanda’s (from Perfect Dressipe) birthday. We got there about 30 min before the bout was supposed to start. The line was out the door and stretched out across the large parking lot. Apparently because of this movie there has been a surge in attendance to these things. It was lots of fun, however I think it may have been more fun if alcohol were allowed. Just my opinion.

Here’s a horrible pic of the girls revving up the crowd. Sorry, we weren’t in the best spot. My other pics were waaaay worse than this one.

Anyhoo, awesome night! Had lots of fun with the girls and got to meet some new peeps. That’s always a good time.

So, after all of the celebrating and holidays and what nots. I decided to do a cleanse. The master cleanse, no less.

Ummmm….yuck. I only lasted 5 days. I’ve done this before and the longest I’ve gone is 8 days. Absolutely hated every minute of it. BUT, I felt really good afterward and it keeps me from getting sick all year. If you’re interested I suggest doing some intense research, and making sure you’ve got the right mind-set to do it. It is not an easy plan in the least.

A few weeks later PHX DIY participated in the SAMA Street Fair.  Here are a few pics of the event…

Here’s what the street looked like at 7:30am. Interesting way to do the check in…interesting but frustrating.

Here’s the street once the fair got started.

And our lovely PHX DIY members set ups…

Against the grain.

See Saw Designs.

Spoonful of chocolate hope.

Starving Artist Bazaar

Kenzie Noelle Designs.

Sea Lemon.

Cherry Bombin’ Wear.

Space Cadet.

Okay. I suppose you’re all caught up for now. I promise, I won’t lag on getting these posts up for the rest of the year! Have a great week!

Crafty kinda gals.

This weekend was a blast! The PHX DIY got down at our first event. It took place in the yard at Bunky Boutique. I remembered to bring my camera this time! Here’s the first few pics.

Now, I present to you the lovely work of my fellow artisans….enjoy!

 

First up is A Spoonful of chocolate hope. Michelle makes wonderful bags from used books. You can follow her on Twitter.

Here’s my setup. Don’t be jealous of my foam sign!

Next up we have Perfect Dressipe. They are Amanda, Gina, and Melissa and they make LOTS of stuff! Aprons, pillows, purses, hair accessories, jewelry, silk screened/patchwork tees, etc. They also have a blog, aaaaand you can follow them on twitter.

Next we have Against the grain jewelry by Ashley Weber. Ashley makes beautiful things. The pic just doesn’t do her justice! Sorry girl!

And last but definitely not least, we have Kenzie Noelle Designs. Jamie makes adorable things for baby and mother too. You can follow her on Twitter as well.

FYI that is Michelle being a smart ass, not Jamie.

And although they aren’t members the lovely ladies of Magpie press had their paper goods for sale as well.

Here is the giveaway prize table.

And the food and beverage table. Gina’s scotcharoos are insane! They’re the treats hiding behind the apple cider jars.

And that’s my story, thanks for reading! Become a fan of PHX DIY on Facebook. We’ll keep you in the loop for upcoming sales and events. I gotta get back to work now. Have a great week!