Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Last week we did something new and very fun, we too autumn to her first pixie class at the place that was once roller king. She is the one in the green shirt sitting OUTSIDE the big circle. I am pretty sure that at barely two she was the youngest one there, and I was surprised at how well behaved she was. She had a lot of fun and I plan to bike her up there tomorrow for the pixie class.

This weekend was very eventful, on Friday Adam's mom came into town via train, which sounds like a great treat. My brother was also in town from Las Cruses so it was really a big treat for me to be able to see him. We all went out to dinner Friday.

On Saturday we almost went to Old Town because Adam and I both enjoy it and thought his mom would enjoy it but she said she would rather go to the zoo after sleeping on it. I am very glad she stated an opinion because there are few things more annoying than a guest that isn't enjoying themselves or cant tell you what they want when you ask them. The Zoo was fun, and we got through about half of it before Autumn got tired and we were ready for lunch.

After that we went to the Tram to take it up Sandia Crest but it was closed for annual maintenance. Isn't that amazing? it closes once a year and it happens to be closed now. We ended up driving up to the top instead, and got there right around sunset. It was freezing and we headed back down the mountain. Before we got to the bottom I had a miserable cold, which I have since recovered from, and Autumn is now ailed with.

Sunday November 14th was Autumns second birthday. Last year we threw a huge party, but we kept things a little simpler this year. We ordered a pizza and some salads from dions and the grandparents came to out house. There was a huge social gaffe committed by a grandparent and it took a second for me to pick my jaw up off the floor. I only know what Adam thought about it because I didn't ask anyone else about it, and actually I think HE brought it up to me. I was glad that everyone at least appeared unaffected by it because it could have potentially elevated to a very unpleasant situation. Maybe I am too American or something. I know there are many other countries that are more open about some things, but I was very upset by it.

meh, family. You cant live with them, and thank god that as Adults we don't have to, but life would be far more dreary without them.

Autumn had fun either way, and she got lots of fun presents from Adam and I and the grandparents.

Mary, Adams mom, went home on Tuesday. I hope she enjoyed the train home as much as she enjoyed the train trip here.

and this is the new screen I burned this week, a Dinosaur. It is oddly unisex. It is blue, but the dino has flowers and hearts.

and I bought these super cute and cozy arm warmers from my friend Tracy at .

See you all later, I hope to post sooner than later, but I will be back next Wednesday if not sooner.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Adventures in T-shirt land:from the workbench

I recently sent out an order to the owner of ISLAND GIRL in Catalina, California. I hope she loves her shirts and they sell well in her store.

I sent her 15 of these, three in each size, and matching arm warmers.

I also thought this would be an awesome Item for her next order:

My thought was that the wings would actually be in burn out, not silver and the shirt would be a light blue. It isn't a totally random suggestion, she has expressed interest both in wings and in the skully heart design.

I am hoping to also get another new wholesale account, it is for a store that specializes in Roller Derby merchandise! I think it would be really fun!

This is my new design of the week, both are brand new screens. The skully heart art is not new, just the screen. This screen is a little smaller than the other one and the colors are inverted.... Right now I have a bunch of screens I want to burn.

I want to do a smaller set of wings for onesies and children's shirts, as well as some text to go on the front. I also want to reburn a few screens that have very fine lines and are hard to print. I think I should invert more designs, especially some of the ones with VERY fine lines, like my revolver screen, and for new art I plan on drawing a dinosaur. lately that has seemed very important.

and something else that is VERY VERY IMPORTANT:

Pictures of my lovely daughter Autumn. She is turning 2 this weekend!

I promised her she could watch a cartoon or two if she let me finish this post, so I guess it is time to turn the computer over to her for a little while... besides, I have 8 dresses that are VERY quickly approaching deadlines.

See you soon!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Adventures in T-shirt land:New Packaging

First off, here are some pictures of autumn in her Halloween costume.

If you ask her what she was for Halloween she says "pumpkin face"

And every morning since halloween she wakes up and the first thing she says is "Halloween?"

So, this would usually be my workshop post, but I don't have many good "in progress"pictures. I am working on some new things, that aren't ready to be photographed, and then there are the same projects I have been working on, but the details are not very interesting, and there are a few graphic design things I am working on... which has been a little daunting. Sometimes I wish GIMP were a little more like photoshop, I am trained in photoshop- but alas, gimp is free.

One thing I am working on that I can show you is my packaging. I am trying to come up with a new way to package my items because I have discovered that what I am doing becomes very time consuming when I am mailing several packages a day.

Right now I am wrapping most of my orders in tissue, tying a ribbon around them

and putting a label on the back. My pillows don't fit in tissue, and I do something extra special for bearing necklaces. I use solid tissue most of the time, but I have not restocked since I am trying to come up with something new.

Since I usually feel like I am fighting time in the morning when I am getting my packages ready to ship, I am trying to come up with a professional looking way to package my items that takes much less time. I am pretty sure I have settled on shipping in brown paper bags with either my logo or any of my other designs screen printed on them, and then sealing with a thank you label.

how do you package your items to ship?

I got an email from the owner of stilo lifestyle today and I will be getting my first consignment check this week! WOOO. I also need to replenish some items, so that is awesome !

I hope everyone is having a lovely week!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We had a fun and busy weekend around here, which is usual. I was hoping to have pictures of autumn in her costume to share with you all, but, I dont. The only pictures we took were on Adams new fancy smart phone. I played in the duke city derby championship bout on Saturday. My team lost but I felt like I played really well and I had a lot of fun.
On Sunday I fit the last girl for the damas dresses I am making. She was about a half an hour late, after not showing up at all for the scheduled fitting. I am not annoyed with the girl of corse, it is not her fault, it was her mother that caused her to be late and also to not show up for the scheduled fitting but it really bothers me that she wasted my time like that. I am already offering these girls a STEAL as a gift for my old co-workers daughter, so I am annoyed that she was so disrespectful of my time. After that we took Autumn trick or treating and that was soooo much fun! she was so cute! I will get some pictures soon!

Autumns birthday is coming up, here are some great handmade items that are inspired by autumns birthday:

ok, hopefully I will have something good to write about later this week!

take care!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tales from the Mancave: Blackthorn Blade

Blackthorn Blade

The Blackthorn Blade is finally finished, complete with a show stand (made of ebony and holly), and a belt sheath (basswood liner, dyed 8oz cowhide back and loop, bison leather front). The concept and the blackthorn of the handle were provided by NRJJ.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)is a tree with an interesting history, being used as the traditional Irish shillelagh, walking sticks, and sloe gin from the berries. I was intrigued by the idea, and had a blade that seemed appropriate, in a sgian dubh style, so, with some discussion we decided to go for it.

It’s been quite a process to get this knife to where it is today. I’ve posted a few pictures of the process, but thought it might be nice to put them all in one place.

The blade is hand forged of 1095 high carbon steel in my charcoal forge and quenched and heat treated by me as well.

I worked on the blade first and, keeping with the blackthorn concept, put some vine and thorns file-work on the spine of the blade. This was my first file-work of that type.

Next I added a stacked water buffalo horn and nickel-silver spacer, to blend from the blade to the handle.

NRJJ sent me a number of root and branch pieces of blackthorn to pick the right one for his knife. One of them stood out to me as the obvious choice, so I shaped the end knob on the sander.

The wood itself is pale for the most part, but this particular piece has some interesting coloration in the knob, which stands out pretty well, and contrasts nicely with the dark bark.

Unfortunately the wood was a little thin as soon as you got any distance from the knob. In order to match the spacer, and provide a sufficiently robust handle, I had to split the blackthorn horizontally, which left a big gap between the top and bottom. I put it together anyway, and smoothed out the transition between the spacer and the handle, exposing some of the pale wood.

We decided that a black material would be the best to fill that gap, and to contrast with the wood. It worked pretty well, but is a pretty messy process.

In cleaning off the excess, some more of the dark brown bark came off. So, I had a situation – how to blend the very pale wood, with the dark bark. I cut the bark near the knob so that it wouldn’t peel, and then started applying layer after layer of finish.

After putting it all together, I decided it needed something shiny to break up the black, so I filed a couple of stainless pins, and that worked out pretty well. After a few more layers of finish, it was about done.

I worked the blade to hair popping sharp, and had a finished knife – except for marking the blade, which fortunately I didn’t screw up either.

An idea popped into my head when I was looking at the knife and its contrasts in black and white. I thought – hey! Let’s turn a ball of ebony and holly. That would be fun. So I glued together some ebony and holly, and spun away. The leftovers became the sides of the stand, and the ball holds the blade. A little arty, but I like it.

Since that was a little odd, I decided to make a sheath as well. I think it turned out pretty well too, and is much more understated than the stand.

Final result: ~NRJJ~ II: 4" Blade, 11" Overall.

And that... is that.

Unusual, but fun.