Monday, December 31, 2012

The Party's Over ...


... It's time to call it a day
They've burst your pretty balloon
And taken the moon away ...


I remember my grandfather crooning whilst we un-decorated his Christmas tree when I was still a very small girl, and reaching into the branches he came out with a pair of white, sequined peacock ornaments that he decided I'd give a pretty decent home to.  At the time, I thought they were "amazing!" a little later on, I thought, "who just has white sequined peacocks on their Christmas tree ... other than Liberace, of course ..."  Then, naturally, time passed, and they were wrapped up, and packed away, and all but forgot until many years later when my mother spied a newly purchased, white, sequined peacock proudly displayed (would a peacock have it any other way?) on my tree, at which she exclaimed with surprise, "Just like Grandpa's!"

I knew I'd been busted.

But mostly, I knew then, exactly WHO just has white sequined peacocks on their Christmas tree ... other than Liberace, of course.  Perhaps those of us who firmly believe there is no such thing as "too much," or those who have tossed out the less-is-more attitude in order to subscribe to the more-is-more school of thought, or who simply still allow ourselves the delight of being silly in an all too cynical environment. 

I hope everyone was able to slow down, spend time with the people they love, and make wonderful memories to keep your hearts warm all throughout our new year!

So long, 2012, the party's over...
xoxo

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

It Started With a Whisper ...

...Well, more like a question anyway.  I was recently asked if I had any hats for guys available.  "Well, hmm ... kinda, I guess ..." I thought to myself as I hesitated to answer due to the last "discussion" I had about what men will, won't, prefer to, and refuse to wear.  I was admittedly timid to offer up a hint at what I've been playing around with lately, which is a hybrid of the Commando Camo Cowl I made for my (survivalist) brother, and the Grunge hats whose pattern I've been messing around with since last summer.  What's sprung up from these two lovebirds is a convertible 2-in-1 drawstring cowl that with the rip of a cord, and the pinch of a fastener becomes a hat!  I happen to think these are handy little dudes to have around for everything from a brisk hillside jaunt, to breezy beach combing ... anyone familiar with the PNW knows the bone-chilling draft that creeps in right under the collar and rattles all the way down your pant leg.  So far these seem to stand up to whatever conditions Western Washington can throw at 'em! 
I'm glad I took the leap with one of my fun (to the highest degree) customers into custom order territory, and will be offering these in Ye Olde Knitted Dry Goods Shoppe soon!
xoxo

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Above All, Love ...

I believe what has happened in Connecticut is a symptom of a bigger problem, much larger than any one issue involved. Please send your love, and healing energy to the families whose lives have been forever changed, and community at large. While you're at it, tell your people you love them.

It's important.


Friday, December 7, 2012

And the PANTONE 2013 Color of the Year is ...







Emerald








RGB: 0, 155, 119  /  CMYK: 99, 0, 69, 0  /  Html value: 009B77  

More emerald goodness here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain, again ...

Apparently word didn't get out this year about me being a witch, and all ... I even parked my broom outside, but the neighborhood children could not be deterred (my candy stash has officially been ransacked).  Good thing I hid a couple pieces to savor as I type this now (always thinking ahead, this one is)!

I don't have any wonderful end-of-harvest tales to share ... Truthfully, after the Summer full of changes I've had, I haven't even caught up with Fall yet, and here we are staring down the barrel of winter already.  I always think this time of year is when people want to read about yummy, gourd-ish recipes, and delightful preserves garnished with photographs of beautiful settings, tablescapes, larders, and pantries stuffed full of a home-canned bounty amassed from our Summer gardens.  That's not going to happen ... along with all of the other blog-promises I've broken this year.  Why stop now?  Ok, that really wasn't the sentiment behind it all.  It just seems the internet presence is the first thing sacrificed when real life (yeah, that thing we do outside of pixels) gets real, and needs real attention. 

Hopefully, I'll get to hang out here a little bit more in the upcoming days, and make somewhat good on all of the intentions I had at the beginning of the year around this joint.  After all, you know what they say about good intentions ... gulp.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All You Need is Tea & Warm Socks ...

The mantra of Fall babies everywhere, I'm convinced.

Double rainbow just for me?!
And so, the witching hour is upon us!  Thirty-two years ago, on a blustery day not so unlike today, my mother was precisely that number in years, and preparing to share her world with me.   As I understand it, I was the most easygoing of all her births (no surprise there).  I was, however, going about things quite at my own leisure, and needed a little nudge (hmm, sounds about right).  Without much ado at all, it seems, I appeared, and said, "Here I am,"  and edged out my little spot in the universe.

And that's how I like to spend each birthday ... just edging out a little spot in the universe to enjoy, pausing long enough to be aware of how wonderful it really is to be here, and remind myself to stop taking things for granted.  This is the one day when the whole world stops (in my house anyway), and I just get to be.  I leave the swinging from chandeliers for the rest of the year.  Today is mine, all mine (and everyone else's, but who's counting?), but I won't be totally selfish, I hope you all enjoyed My day too!

Photo by: Xavier Brown

xoxo

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going Postal


Having one of those days?
You know, I thought I was just being paranoid before when I said my mailman hated me ...

After years of getting everyone else's mail in my mailbox BUT mine, having my packages returned without my knowledge (never mind overbearing office ladies holding them hostage!), and having my own letters returned to me claiming not enough postage I thought I'd seen it all, but this, while being a single, lonely little letter, is a new low.  This gem was post marked yesterday ... yes, you read that correctly, YESTERDAY.  I know ... I know!  I'm stunned too!  I thought, as I'm sure you're thinking as well, that it came directly out of a Civil War era soldier's breast pocket, but surprisingly enough that's not the case. 

Should I be concerned?  I see this person in an uncomfortable uniform doing a job that never ends -- no sense of satisfaction of a task completed -- a job well done, sitting before my mailbox wringing his hands (letter in his clutches) thinking about the fate soon to befall his LEAST favorite customer ... *gulp* ... me!!!  Ok, maybe I take it a little too far in my imagination, but I must say, it's getting more, and more difficult to not take this personally.

But, uhm ... you know, if I happen to go missing ... maybe start by looking in the backs of South Seattle area mail trucks, that is, if I'm not being held, and tortured in the sort facility!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Etsy-Etsy, Regretsy, banana-fana forgetsy, me-mi-Protesty ... Etsy!

Let's do Ebay!

Ok, let's not ...

You may remember an earlier post about a little dust-up concerning Etsy, and alleged resellers (like our old friend Ecologica Malibu) not only allowed, but featured, and most shockingly protected by the powers that be over at ye olde Etsy homestead by a quick shuffle of words, and notifying the Community that, you know, nothing's changed, y'all just misunderstood the entire time.

What is a reseller, you ask?  Well it used to be widely understood that a reseller would be a shop operating as the buyer of previously manufactured goods, and punting them as handmade solely by the shop owner on said shop's Etsy account -- a site made famous through the advertising prowess of its users (since the company began with a firm stance on non-promotion making it the responsibility of its users to spread the word, thus bringing traffic to the site as a whole), and its mission statement touting itself as "... the world’s handmade marketplace." 

Now it seems the company is turning toward a new direction of "small business marketplace," rather than the "'handmade by you' marketplace," of its origins.  Which, in all honesty, in my opinion would've been perfectly acceptable (not everyone shares this opinion), however, they forgot to tell their members.  Ok, ok ... Etsy is a privately owned business, they don't owe us anything, I guess.  Cool.  But, I, and many do agree with this one, find it completely hypocritical to go around soap boxing about integrity this, and integrity that, doubling the size of the integrity team, blah, blah, blah, when it seems the company has absolutely none whatsoever by the way they have handled previous, recent, and current investigations, seller suspensions, and shop closures.  This has left many of us crying foul, and many more who absolutely can not close their stores tomorrow because they rely on their income through this venue in what some call "protest," but I feel is more of a "demonstration" (don't you just love a good sit-in?!).  There have been numerous comments about the "pointlessness" of a protest against a privately owned company, calling the 4,100 members committed to closing for a day just a mere drop in the Etsy bucket of some 800,000 accounts ... and I have to say I somewhat agree.  However, if ANYONE in the Brooklyn offices, at all, notices how many active accounts have closed for the day (if the sales reflect) it will, perhaps, convey the displeasure of the Community with the complete lack of transparency the company provides its customers, the double-speak coming out of headquarters, and utter buffoonery displayed by the current CEO, and company in their blogs, and fora.  What Etsy doesn't seem to understand is that while you certainly can't become un-famous, you can most definitely become infamous-- what, exactly, they want to become known for remains to be seen ... though, I think we're getting glimpses.

                                                              ***

The incident that sparked the controversy has taken on a cyber-life of its own these past few weeks with yours truly scoring a quote in Huffington Post:

I always looked at Etsy as the "springboard" of small businesses if that's how a business wanted to use it. Some are perfectly fine remaining small (by small I mean "handmade by you"), others are not. Before ever opening an account here it seemed to me that businesses who graduated beyond "handmade by you" terms had made enough with Etsy to set up their own B&Ms or websites where they then took control over their entire selling process instead of relying on the Etsy marketplace.

It now seems to me that Etsy wants to stretch its umbrella so as not to lose the companies that have outgrown it.

I get it, but again, just own it.
 

Beyond Etsy sellers fearing they can not compete with outsourced manufacturing, people like myself are now concerned about being associated with businesses with questionable ethics, and business practices.  I, for one, am not comfortable selling side by side with business owners exploiting third world laborers, and possibly children to score huge profits off the mistreatment of others.  That's not what I thought Etsy stood for, and I can officially say I'm no longer confident in that opinion.  Never mind importing potentially toxic materials (like lead, and butyltin for hypothetical funsies!) in fuel guzzling ships from half way around the world all under the guise of ecological responsibility.  I find it difficult to wrap my brain around how that could possibly be construed as "green," but If Etsy, itself, can create spiffy new definitions for words like "collective" to incorporate factories I can't WAIT to hear what they have in store for terms like "child labor," "sweatshops," and "unfair labor practices!"  Those points aside, I'm not out to destroy any one person's or shop's reputation, because frankly drafting phony emails from manufacturers, hiding behind a husband's Bar Association number lashing out with poorly constructed Cease and Desist letters sent to anyone who publicly commented on the matter when lie, after lie, after lie, (oopsie, I mean alleged!) was uncovered really does it all on its own.

**Post Edit**

As of the autumn of 2012 there have been many changes to the Etsy machine, and as much as the people working for the company deny that it's become a free-for-all venue for people punting factory sweatshop made wares, many of its customers, buyers and sellers alike, feel otherwise.  You can still find authentic, handmade pieces, and many wonderful stores run by designers and creators with their integrity intact, but as always with online shopping, buyer beware ... now more so than ever when companies bait-and-switch their customers by drawing them in under the guise of shopping for authentic handmade pieces, and quietly change the rules while they think no one is watching.  In fact, the store that sparked off a lot of the original outrage would be welcomed on Etsy's new selling platform with open arms.  Whatever floats your boat(wood), I guess.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Etsy Scandal: Ecologica Malibu

"Etsy is more than a marketplace: we're a community of artists, creators, collectors, thinkers and doers."

Or should that read: CON-artists???

Over the weekend the fraggles (in my opinion) at Etsy, Inc. made the genius decision to slip (alleged) reseller Ecologica Malibu a.allegedly k.a. Bali Ha'i Imports into their coveted Etsy Featured Seller slot.  What's the big deal?  Well, after all ...

"Etsy is the world’s handmade marketplace.  Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun."

According to them. 

So when the more and more common resellers who contract offshore manufacturers, import assembled pieces, and punt them across a site purported to sell strictly handmade / vintage / and supply pieces, it's really a slap in the face to the rest of us who thought we were following the official Terms of Use by NOT using offshore sweatshops to make our "designs" come to life ... which believe me, I could, that's what I went to school for folks -- Etsy, just gimme the go ahead!  Actually they already have not only by NOT shutting down this scam, but by CELEBRATING it with a puff piece of an interview, and AGAIN by featuring the IMPORTS on their front page - which is the advertising "mecca" of Etsy. 

Read the fullest version of the story by the people who cracked the case here: Regresty (bills of lading included, oh yes!) R.I.P. Regretsy!

Etsy, you let me down by not sticking to / enforcing your own Terms of Use. 




Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Competition: Friend or Foe?

What does competition mean to you?  Does it have to be a "bad" thing?  Does the end result justify the means when it comes to more than one person achieving at a certain level, task, or career path?  Much like love, and war, is all really fair in chasing down a goal?  Is it ok to throw ethics out the window in order to be on top?

I ask these things, because this notion of competing has been on my mind lately.  I'm learning that it clearly means something different to everyone, and I'm left wondering if many people really believe it's ok to completely forego ethical practices all in the name of "success," and since we're on the topic, where exactly does that ethical line lie? 

Earlier I touched on the topic of competition viewed as something to guard against, but it's always been my opinion that this is silly, and something that is impossible to avoid.  I mean really, on a planet with how many - like 7 billion people (?) isn't it unrealistic to think you can protect yourself from this idea of competition?  Not to mention exhausting!  Now, I'm not saying you need to go around giving away your secret recipe, but what's wrong with telling someone your bottling company?  For me, what it has always boiled down to is, what exactly does it matter?  I definitely don't suggest doing all the footwork for other people, and laying yourself out there like a fine Persian rug to get fully walked all over, but I find nothing wrong with sharing information. 

I admit, I was more than just a bit taken aback when shortly after launching a new item in my Etsy shop I received an email from a person claiming to work with troubled teens, and wanting to know how I made my Out of the Loop scarves so the kids could learn it as a positive project experience.  Now, no matter what you've heard about my naivety, I wasn't born yesterday, and I was totally skeptical of the validity of the whole story I'd been fed.  After thinking about it, however, I literally asked myself "What's it to ya?" what was it to me if this was all some big lie just to get the inside scoop on how to make a scarf?  Truthfully, I was a little irked at first, because before jumping in with this new product, I'd done my research, I'd looked for it under every possible name, and found no one else making, and selling them, so I was very excited to be the first person to bring this item to the market (as far as I was aware).  It was with trepidation that I spilled my secret to this stranger, but the reality of the entire situation was that ANYONE could walk into their local crafts store, and purchase the same kit I had bought and used to create my scarves.  This was not some epic secret I had to protect, so really what is the harm in telling the person what I'd used, and where I bought it? 

It's my opinion that the difference between information-sharing attitudes, and information-hoarding attitudes is confidence.  The confidence in your own skills to be the best, the confidence in your own imagination to keep your creations fresh, and the confidence in your own personal style that you are able to create things that people will swoon for no matter how many others are out there.  I also believe "competition" keeps you reaching into your bag of tricks to keep things on the cutting edge, keep pushing yourself, and your boundaries, and I think to a degree without it things get stale.  So really it seems that the loss isn't incurred by the sharing, but that we lose more by NOT sharing with each other along the journey. 

Share something today, and watch what you get in return.  I promise it will be worth it.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Color Me Happy!

On the heels of this week's lows, came some pretty unexpected highs.  It's funny, they always say when a door closes, a window opens, and so it seemed with the discovery of a new-to-me blog that I can't believe I've lived this long without!  Pugly Pixel now neatly nestled into my sidebar is the brain child of a massively creative chick by the name of Katrina, and let me tell you she is a force, to be sure!  I accidentally stumbled upon her virtual presence by way of another fave brought to us by Victoria Smith, SF Girl By Bay - which, if you're not familiar, you must make yourself.  I've lurked on Victoria's blog for ages now, and always find it a wealth of information, and am hopelessly in love with the gratuitous display of design heavy eye candy.  Whenever I'm down, or find my creativity tapped out, I take a spin around her posts, because nothing kicks my imagination back into high gear like saturating my brain with interesting images, and she delivers, let me tell you.  In fact, don't let me tell you -- Go!  Click!  See for yourself, you won't be disappointed.

But it was during my stroll through Pugly Pixel that I found this post for people tragically addicted to creating color palettes in need of a clever way to display them.  Finding myself unable to resist the temptation, I had to snag this little freebie, and give it a whirl.  In the spirit of Spring, here's what I've come up with:
The gist of it is that you can insert your own picture into the largest circle, and then in Photoshop you
can use your color selection tool (little eyedropper guy) to pull colors out of the main picture.  You might be wondering why this would be a significant feature, well I'll tell you!  Let's say you have a drab room you want to redecorate, and you have no idea where to start, but you have a fabulous painting of GIANT Easter eggs, and a teeny, tiny sprig of a tree that you want to base your decor around.  You're just in luck!  Scan, or photograph your art, upload into Photoshop, insert into this layout, and start pickin' ... pretty soon you will find yourself with a coordinating palette, and ready to get your interior design on. 

Another way I've used the template is by plugging in the colors of Pantone's Fashion Color Reports so they can be easily accessed, and close at hand when I need to reference them.  I find pulling up jpegs (or png's in this case) a much quicker task than loading a 25 page, and upward PDF file.  I've got an example of half of the Spring 2012 ladies' forecast.  Apparel industry leaders (among others, i.e. interior design, and automotive to name a few) use the Pantone Color Reports, as well as others of their products to forecast, and predict popular colors for the upcoming seasons.  Paying members receive their copy of the report in advance to plan ahead for their upcoming lines, and collections, however a free copy of the report is introduced to the public a bit later.  The Fall 2012 Pantone Fashion Color Report was just released February 9th, kicking off Fashion Week.  Your free copy of the report is available here

If you're jonesing for your own Pugly Pixel color palette photo layout template, go grab one, and if you run into trouble trying to use it, cruise Katrina's tutorials, her corner of cyberspace is spilling with a wealth of knowledge.  I'm so excited to have found this site, and even more so to be sharing it with you now.  I know I'll be checking back in for her tips, and discoveries, and once you drink the kool-aid, I'm sure you will be too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Promises, Promises

This week has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me juggling projects old, and new, making changes around the ol' blogstead with even more to come (ooooh, suspense!), replenishing inventory, and drawing from my inspiration-well to get me through the creativity slump.  It was during this virtual inspirational stroll - pail in hand ready to dip into the cool, fresh water of like minded creative chicks (and their blogs I lurk on) when I was met with, I won't say "bitter" disappointment, but more like utter disappointment in the virtual company I'd been keeping (so to speak).

I'm not really a blog-aholic kind of gal, but I do have a small list of faves I like to check in on now and again.  In an age where you need to be S.C.U.B.A. certified to swim through the ever growing blog deluge for me it's important to narrow it down to a handful of specific blogs speaking to the very things that spark my imagination (lotsa eye candy a must!), published by creative women whom I respect as people, writers, and as a source of inspiration not just in the neato colors they pick out for their next project or their super-duper blog backgrounds, but as businesswomen in "The Industry."  

With a heavy heart the other day I read a post by a lady in the creative game I'd been following for several years as she took the time to explain to her readers she couldn't afford the time to answer individual emails from her fans, and readers who were seeking information on how she'd managed to break into this specific creative market, and managed to make a full-time job out of it.  Allow me to be clear, I know what it's like to be a busy lady -- whether it's children, career, continuing education, girls in high school, whomever you are, and whatever you're doing right now, if you're attempting to do it at the top of what your skills allow, then you KNOW what it's like to be a busy lady!  I'm certainly not busting on anyone for valuing their time, but I think it's important to know before you step into the Blogosphere, and start making certain (and in some cases, all) of your life public material, that you will be opening yourself up to a rather large volume of inquiries, and correspondence.  Granted, much like you can't be everywhere at once, you can't individually answer everyone's burning questions at once (or can you? A simple FAQ section, or blanket letter touching on the basics, with a few book titles to look into can actually cover a lot.), and like my mother has always discussed with me throughout life, it's not about what happens to you, or what comes up along the way, it's all about how you handle it. 

It was with disappointment that I continued reading along as the blogger then slagged off her readers as potential competition, therefore making it, in her opinion, a valid reason to keep her readers in the dark as to how they might follow her lead into an industry where not so long ago she was an unknown newcomer, going as far as downplaying key skills to know, and brush up on, whilst feeding them with false information.  Instead of being flattered, or excited to network with potential new colleagues she, in my opinion, alienated many of her readers, and made them feel like idiots for doing the one thing that so many industry insiders actually advise people to do!  "Find a blog specific to your prospective field, and get in touch with the blogger, and ask them how they got their start."  That's savvy networking, but there seems to be some confusion about that word today (believe me it has nothing to do with updating your status).  I can't say this was the only thing that turned me off of this particular blog, but it was certainly a big reason, along with the snide attitude from which it was delivered.

I created this blog at a time when I really needed something positive to look forward to.  I, like many who take to the keyboard these days, had NO idea what direction this whole "project" was going to go.  What I did know, was that I was committed to keeping it a positive experience.  I believe you can have a bad day, and even talk about things you don't like without going to an ugly, or god forbid, whiny place - blegh!  Who wants to read that?!  Thing is, I knew from experience, having had a marginally successful following on my blog posts in Myspace (remember that joint?!), exactly who wanted to read my sarcastic version of complaint-blogging.  I admit, it was funny, but the bottom line was, even though there was humor involved it was based in a negative place, and soon became too exhausting to engage in ... then take into account the comments section where people like to come and argue your opinion with you, and then turn and argue with each other!  ARGH!  That's what lead me to take a different approach in this forum, oh yeah and disable the comments (which I catch a lot of flack over, but hey, different strokes!).  Now that I'm here, and looking back at where it started, and where I'm heading (which is still a "?") I took a moment to re-read my tag up there in About Me where it states, "Created as a behind the scenes look at the creative process ..." and shamefully admit that I haven't exactly held up my end of the bargain when it comes to behind the scenes.  I've given you lots of opinions, and updates, but not a lot of insider looks at what goes on around here leaving it to come off like a wand is waved and voila all this wonderful stuff just occurs. 

So what does this mean?  Well, it means life happens!  Things come up along the way that pull focus, and need your attention, and that's okay.  Not updating a weblog, or even taking a break from it for a while (*GASP* without so much as a guest blogger!) is not the end of the world.  However, it wouldn't hurt for me to be a little more involved around here, and I do look forward to jumping back in a little bit, even if the jumps are bunny-hops, and as always ... we'll see where this goes!

xoxo

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yawn, Stretch...

It's time to get motivated, and shake the atrophy of hibernation already! You may have noticed a few missing Treasury Tuesday features, but we've been busy 'round these parts. We've got so much to talk about, but before we get to that I've got some fresh goodies to help you get motivated for that time of year so closely related to organization, and simplification:


Photobucket

Hand knitted, fuss - free cowls created in juicy 2012 colors designed for ultimate versatility.  As easily tucked into a winter coat, as layered over your light Spring jacket, or pulled on after a sunny, Summer beach side day waiting for the bonfire this garment travels!

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Mother Nature actually cooperated for the photo sesh!

As illustrated above, you might've guessed that we were a bit snowed in, then melty & floody, and now finally as I write this the wind and rain are violently thrashing through the night.  It's been slightly schizophrenic to say the least.  There have been a few bright spots however, aside from freshly fallen snow, which you know makes me act like a five year old (not so unlike an ocean beach)!  One being the new (well, new to us in the States) season of Mistresses, which came with a HUGE surprise in the season opener.  Are you ready for this? Joanna Lumley is guesting as the mother of the characther played by Sarah Parish (who you will know as Kate Winslet's coworker in the opening of The Holiday if you love a good Christmas rom-com as much as I do) which made me gasp and yell "PATSY STOOOOOOOOOOONE!!!!" at the television.  I was then convinced that somewhere a hole had been ripped in the space-time continuum, could it be possible?  AbFab + Mistresses???  Obviously Ms. Lumley has done more than play a drunk, stoner on a cult comedy, but I've been lovin' Pats since stumbling upon an AbFab marathon on an obscure channel in the early 90s (and yes I totally lost my mind over the 2012 episodes).  What can I say, you've been warned about guilty pleasures! 

Other than shrieking at the tv, and knitting my brains out, I also finally applied for my business license ... I know, I've been a bit behind the 8 ball, but decided it was time to operarate the biz on the up and up, and legitimize things around here (oh yeah, and it was approved)!

That's it for now, my lovlies! xoxo