Tuesday, March 27, 2007

It's The Little Things In Life...

After a few weeks of non-stop working, both at the ceramic studio and doing freelance design work, I finally got 3 days off where I could do fun stuff for myself. And I did lots and lots, yet it feels like I did absolutely *nothing*. And here I go, back to work tomorrow, for another run of heavy working. Why oh why can't we master the art of making time stand still?

Anyway, the freelance design gig is really taking off, which rocks. My hours at the ceramic studio are cut back a bit, but I'm actually making more money because I've been given more design projects (isn't it grand how life works out like that?). A couple weeks ago I was creating barcodes for a client and man oh man, did that project ever take on a life of its own. My part of the gig was simple: take numbers, plug 'em into barcode program, create barcode, plug more numbers into spreadsheet to keep track of 'em, and layout said barcodes for printing onto labels. Mundane, yes, but actually kinda cool because I hadn't ever done that before on a large scale. In the beginning, the project was neat, easy, and somewhat exciting. But what was at first a 2,000 barcode project quickly escaladed into a 30,000 barcode project. By the end of it all, I was exausted, yelling at the computer (this isn't uncommon with me, however...), and seeing black and white stripes in my sleep. No regrets though--this was an awesome project that gave me a lot of appreciation for seemingly simple things, like barcodes, in the wide world of packaging. I will never look at a barcode the same again. And hell, my wee lil' barcodes will be in Guitar Center stores nationwide, so that's kinda spiffy...

So, after many hours of computer time, my 3 days off included lots of lounging, eating popcorn, reading books and magazines, and basically unwinding from everything. Felt damn good. Here's a basic rundown of my time to myself:

1) redecorated portions of the house to better suit me--put all my dvds in the antique china cabinet that I was given. I love this piece. It used to belong to my Great Aunt and has been through a house fire, of all things. I think that's my favorite feature about it--the top right corner is even scorched from that fire back in the 40s. And all of its life it was holding china. Because I'm not a china-type girl, it now houses my dvds perfectly. They're totally meant for eachother. Please note my horrid picture-taking. I was in a rush for a pic and did a very lousy job. The chair is a vintage 60s school chair that I bought from a Goodwill in tiny Port Townsend, WA (about 45 mins from my town). Best Goodwill ever. My best finds have been from that store. I got two of these school chairs (complete with old engravings on them!) for $5. The lamp was from Target for $40 on sale and I love it. The poster I stole from work a few months ago and framed it with a craft paper backdrop in a cheapo frame. I love staring at that Vik Muniz piece ("Double Mona Lisa" done in peanut butter and jelly). Still completely bummed that I missed the Muniz exhibition at the SAM. Bah.

2) finally did taxes. Yeesh, that only took me forever. I was hoping to get a hefty refund this year, but no. Uncle Sam wins again. I'm still getting a refund check, but lets just say it'll go towards helping pay bills instead of a flight to England.

3) got massive doughnut craving and bought doughnuts. Ate said doughnuts. I don't even like doughnuts.

4) finally did dishes, after a good week and a half of avoiding them. Pleased to have the house smelling normal again...

5) completely purged my dining table of all my painting/art mess. I have a room dedicated for all my art projects and yet I almost always paint out in the dining/kitchen area. Typically seeing all my paints, canvases, newspapers, and brushes helter-skelter about the table doesn't bother me. But everyone has a breaking point, and I finally had mine yesterday.

6) did laundry. Yea for clean clothes!

7) bought a neato red teapot from Target for $15 (seen at top of post). I haven't used it yet, but I *love* how it looks. I also got a loose-leaf tea ball to toss in the teapot so I can try out the really expensive and exotic loose-leaf teas they sell in my local privately-owned grocery store.

8) saw The Departed through Netflix. Good flick--a nice, modern spin on the cliche crime/mob drama. And the acting was awesome. Seeing all those big-name actors in one movie though is almost a bit much for me. Three, okay cool. But when all the characters in the movie are played by A-list celebs (and there were at least 6 of 'em in this flick) I almost get too overwhelmed. But, like I said, the acting was great (course, with all those big names, it better be...).

9) entered the Fred Flare Next Big Thing competition. Here's to hoping!

10) got the studded snow tires finally taken off the car. I loathe getting them put on/taken off every year. By far one of my *least* favorite things to do.

I have no plans for tonight, except maybe to do some painting and more reading. I have some cute black cat charms I sculpted last week that are dying to get varnished, photographed and listed in the shop, but I just haven't been motivated. I'll start on that tomorrow, I suppose.

I hope everyone's week is going well!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Death of an Interior Decorator

After a very windy night (I had forgotten to bring in the garbage can and I'm shocked to see that it's still standing), the morning is dead calm and cloudy. A quiet Northwest morning--the kind I love. Spring is most certainly here. That was proven true earlier last week when I was taking a relaxing bath and I could hear the low rumble of a lawn mower a few houses away. Man, I love that sound! Nothing says spring and summer more to me than the sound of a lawn mower.

I made a trip to the art supply store the other day to get lots of brightly colored papers for my photographs. Though I love photographing my jewelry on stark, white backdrops for a clean look, I'm beginning to get tired of it. I need some color! So, slowly but surely, my wee shop will be going through a transformation of colored backdrops for a little more spice and sass.

The earrings above are my latest creation. I think because spring is here, I'm going through a massive floral/vintage/feminine state. Expect to see more elegant pieces like this soon...

I also started putting together an interior decorating inspiration book. It's nothing more than a composition notebook with various images taped in and little arrows hastily added with things like "yummy green!" or "that's a cool chair..." etc. I'm renting a house and finding it a little daunting to redecorate it in my retro-meets-modern-meets-eclectic taste. The house is actually the house I grew up in--my mom recently got remarried and moved in with her husband and is scared to death to sell our house or rent it out to strangers. Needing a decent affordable place of my own in this area, I gladly offered to rent it out instead. It was built in the 80s, so it has some very distinct 80s characteristics, but also some really great clean lines. My mom's taste is more traditional-classical, so it has a lot of that goin' on as well, which isn't me at all. Slowly I'm purging the house of it's traditional feel, but without doing anything drastic and jarring that I think she would dissaprove of later. So far, she's diggin' what I've done, so that's cool. :)

Oh! Check out this neato print I just bought from ohmycavalier! It was only $6!! And because they're printed on vintage pages from a poetry book, each print is completely unique. Better hurry if you want one too--there's only 3 left!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Busy As A Bee

Geez... Long time, no write. Busy busy busy, as usual. Mostly just work, a little bit of creative time, more work, movies, and, oh yeah, more work. Man, having two jobs and a business is crazy. But crazy good, mind you...

The necklace to the right is one I listed in the shop a week or so ago (it's still up for grabs!). I'm super pleased with it and hope to do some more asymetrical designs in the near future (they always look so sexy on too). I've been debating whether or not I want to enter the Fred Flare Next Big Thing competition and I've decided to bite the bullet and do it. I'm so strapped with time, that I'll be entering a really simple design which I can duplicate lots of and not, well, kill myself doing so. Probably one of my signature charms strung on a chain for a simple yet super cutey necklace. I think my stuff could fit in quite well with Fred Flare, so here's to hoping I'm one of the lucky winners (and even if I'm not, I'm only out $5, which is fine too). And because I needed to actually buy some chains at wholesale prices, this means I'll have a lot of extras that I'll throw for sale in the shop as well so that you, oh loyal customer, can create your very own customizable necklace with one of my charms. I ordered some simple ball link chain for a nice retro look. Sweetness!
I'm totally diggin' my Netflix subscription as well. I've been watching lots of goodies: City of Lost Children, Marie Antoinette, The Prestige, Carnivale (season 1), A Very Log Engagement... Yeah, it's like Christmas every time I open the mailbox.
And yes, I loved Marie Antoinette. This came as a bit of a surprise. I remember seeing the trailor in theaters and nearly gagged on my popcorn. A butchered period drama set to an 80s soundtrack?! Are they INSANE?! Do they not remember that horrid catastrophe "A Knight's Tale"?! Ugh! I refused to see it. But because I was running out of flicks to add to my Netflix queue, I threw it on there. I don't regret doing so. Don't ask me how or why but the 80s punk/pop/rock/with a healthy dose of classical soundtrack really does work, and it works very, very well. The costumes are amazing, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the sets are to die for. We all know the plot, but it's done in quite a refreshing way here. Sure, as is the norm with Sophia's films, it could've used another healthy run through the editing machine. And the ending is a bit abrupt (I understand why, but I think it could have been handled a bit better). But I can sum up the entire film in one word: delicious. Lots of frills, girlyness, pinks, ruffles, sweets, and cakes. Once in a while, you just need one of those kinds of films. I bought the soundtrack last week (even if you refuse to see the movie, get the soundtrack. It's amazing.) and got the dvd today.
Oh, and what the hell is up with the weather? A couple weeks ago we actually had a freak snowstorm where we ended up with 2" of snow. And I live just across the water from Seattle, where we very rarely get snow. Rain, yes. Sleet, yes. Hail and snow/rain mix, yes. But snow, not much. I'm in the Pacific Northwest at sea level and it's March. How the hell did I wind up with snow? Bizarre.
Oh, I ran across Michael Samuels's work online earlier this week and am in awe. I have a deep passion for miniatures and dioramas (I used to build elaborate scenes when I was younger--lots of jungle temples and prehistoric scenes) and hope to build a bunch sometime in the near future when I can snag some more time (and space). Check this guy's work out! I love the deserted island tables and the neato table sculpture with miniature lit camping tents.