sunlight avi

Joy and Joyness

Hooray for online journal writing, when spending another minute clutching a pen (or stylus) in your right hand just doesn't sound all that appealing!

I've been having quite a fine time.  The new job has helped me considerably to feeling better about, well, everything.  I'm still not making very much money, to be sure, but it's steady money, it's livable money, and I feel quite satisfied in working hard for it, and loving the work I am doing.  Westland is like a dream...are there really places like this to work, with people so wonderful?  I get a little bittered by the long commute home, but it doesn't last long.  Sometimes I am full of energy when I get home, and sometimes not.  It's been a short week, with Monday having been a holiday.

I am happy with the work I've been doing for Westland; I feel proud of it.  This, I suppose, might seem like it always is that way, that we always do good work, but it's just not true.  How much of my freelance work is in my portfolio?  I cannot think of a single piece because it was all crap.  Absolute crap.  It's not that I wanted to do crap, I just DID.  It wasn't particularly the client's fault either (well, sometimes most definitely!)...I just went through a period of crap-producing, depressive skate-along, unmotivated, uninspired, unliving.

The value of operating in a team or group of artists is nearly immeasurable.  There is some unseen force that creates around you an environment of acceptance, but challenge, creativity and inspiration, motivation, maybe friendly rivalry!  Seeing other people's sketches and ideas fuels yours and your fuel them.  Hell, even TALKING to other artists (and not about how horrible school is/was!) is refreshing and essential, I think.  The cliche of the reclusive artist is bullshit, I think...perhaps it's why many famous reclusive artists died young, or at least spent their miserable lives depressed and making shitty art. (Post-Impressionists and Modernists, I've got your numbers!)

Anyway...I've been working, sewing, climbing.  Last night I flashed my first 5.11a.  I've been climbing 5.11a consistently for about a week, and had sortof gotten to that level awhile back when I was climbing lots (before the year-long break), but hadn't even tried it in coming back to climbing a short time ago.  I am always surprised that after taking a long break, you may lose muscle-mass, but the technique is still there.  I was proud of myself last night -- it wasn't and easy problem, walking frog-legged up the nose, with some use of the arete, and mostly high-stepping and crimpy holds, but I scootched right up it.  I suppose that makes me a 5.11a climber now, and I've got to do at least one every time I go.  I'm unafraid!  I want to be that girl.

Exercise is gooood...and we're trying to eat better....and I have a real job and make moolahs....and things are pretty darn good.
marie antoinette

Sewing Updates


So I've knocked out a considerable chunk o' Robe a la Anglaise, or at least that's what I'm calling this thing.  Unfortunately, I suck.  I suck because I have my wonderful new dress form, which is supposed to fit me exactly, and I draped a pattern, which is supposed to fit me exactly, yet something somewhere in there went wrong, and it does not, alas, fit me exactly.  It's not easy to wear, and I'm wondering if I will indeed have to wear my Victorian corset.  It makes sense that this would be the case, since I draped the pattern over that garment.  The problem is that the laces on the corset are so bulky, and I'm afraid of there being a big fat bulge right in the middle of my back.  I did, however, wear my victorian corset with another tight-fitting bodice, my Halloween Bustle gown long-line bodice, and there was no problem.  I think I can solve it by bringing the laces around to the front, like I did last time.  So maybe all this worrying will be in vain, and when I hook together the front edges of the Anglaise, over the corset, everything will fit perfectly.  Ha!

It's still going to be hard to wear -- I have ultimate FAIL syndrome when it comes to sleeves.  My sleeves look perfectly lovely, but I once again cannot lift my arms very high, which will make any dance moves that require this sort of movement rather difficult.  Hrm.  Learning to draft proper sleeve patterns in the future must be my priority.  I have some armlets/shoulders on my new dress form, and I should have known better than to ignore them.  The armscyes are very VERY tight, damnit.  There's no fixing it, either, unless I do some sort of an underarm gusset.

The bodice is also cut extremely low.  My Victorian corset is a midbust, and I draped the pattern to just above that line.  I know 18th c. bodices were cut low, and that fichus and kerchiefs were worn wrapped around the neck and under the bodice, so that is the plan here.  It would be way too revealing for PEERS otherwise, and may still be.  I mayb attemp to bind the neck edge instead of turn it, though it may not make much of a different either way.

All-in-all, though, the dress is beautiful so far.  I've pleated the skirt, sewn half of it, and the other half is ready to be stitched on.  Those pleats are padded/lined with some sheery mystery fabric, something with a little wireyness to it, to help volumize the skirt, but unfortunately it added quite a lot of builk to the bottom edge of the bodice.  It will just have to be that way.  I will very likely cord the hem of the skirt, too, to get it to stand out even more.  I am wearing two petticoats, but they will probably not provide enough oomph.  Someday I'll make myself a tiered, ruffled petticoat, all-purpose, for all events, but not anytime soon.

So that's the update on the Anglaise.  More to come, I suppose, though I've taken an aside and started to whip up a tweed 18th c. inspired dress for work.  The nice the about my new dress form is that because it's (supposedly) exactly my size, I can tailor to it pretty precisely and still get an accurate fit.  The pattern for the work dress is sortof sack-like to begin with, and I'm pretty sure I cut it too large, so I am tailoring in at the waist to give it a better fit.  We'll see how it turns out -- I always think I'm a better seamstress than I actually am!
20s Seamstress

L'Elizbabeth R. Farewell.

Here I am up in Reno, enjoying the beautiful snow, playing incessantly with Avi, out in the snow, wearing her little green sweater.  It's cute, to be honest!

I don't really have anything to write about fluidly.  I have things to say, I guess.  The first one is that we've made the decission to stop vendoring at faire.  At least this year, maybe forever.  So anyone reading this, I guess you know it first.  We spent a lot on the setup, yes, and the stock (eek), and setting up the website in hopes that people might actually buy things off of it.  But the returns?  Not so good, and this is a doooowwwwnnn economy, so I don't expect to do so well in the coming summer.  The primary reason, though, is this new job I got.  It's full-time, and full-time art.  I can just imagine trying to get out of the Bay Area at 5 pm on a Friday night, travel to wherever the faire is, and set up in the dark, or early the next morning, work like a dog the next two days (or worry at not working like a dog), pack it up and get home Sunday night and be ready to pop right up the next morning for work.  I'm usually a zombie for at least two or three days after a faire weekend, and I can't sleep away a half a week anymore.  Yet another reason is that my mother, to be totally honest, is old.  She packs up pretty much the entire setup in her Chevy Tahoe and drives over the mountains, sometimes in bad conditions, to come sell stuff in a tent all weekend, for me.  It's really not fair to her (no pun intended), and since I don't neeeeeeed the money anymore, it's not my primary income, it makes sense to give it up.  I have a feeling gthe very generous booth fee discounts we received throughout season were more of a "welcome to faire" kind of thing, and definitely not to be expected again.  That means we would be making, well, pretty much nothing, and exhausting ourselves at the same time.

But do not expect to never see us again.  I plan on attending, for sure, and costuming forever, and those forever costumes will forever need a place to be worn and seen.  I never wanted faire to become "work," in the sense of not wanting to go, of dreading it.  I went to only one faire just for fun last season, and that was because I was invited as a guest.  So I will hopefully be able to "return to the nest" with RWE, and go and play and be merry.

I feel kindof like a shame.  I don't want anyone to think that I "gave up," or worse, "failed!"  We didn't fail.  We actually did rather well all things considered.  Oh well, though.  Maybe someday I will come back to it...?  no, probably not.

My job at Westland is amazing.  I want to be the best I can possibly be and give them no reason to think me disposable.  What could be better, though, than sketching and coloring all day?  And the coolest stuff, too!  I want to throw myself into it, which means taking the energies away from the other things, like faire.  I do so much art in one day that doing art when I get home is not at the top of my list.  I would not be able to fill commissions, and after the trouble I had with the miniatures (yes, there was more), I don't want to make them anymore.  I get angry about it, that some people would be so rude as to contact me on Christmas Day to complain about there being very minor imperfections in the finishes of their miniatures and that they want their money back and are upset, blah blah blah.  I should have told them, and they should have known, having bought one of my miniatures at faire last season, that imperfections are not only the nature of the handmade product, but that they add to its historical charm.  And I'm not a machine, so I have no choice but to send them back their money when they send me back their miniatures.  I have two more miniatures to do.  I think I must write these last people an e-mail explaining to them the imperfections in the pieces, and if they wish to proceed, then we will, but basically offering a cancel.  I don't even want to paint them, with the sting of the last set still upon me, but I should....I should.

I ordered a lot of frames in anticipation of this next season.  I think I will go on and make them up...the ones of Deborah...but if I try to sell them, it will not be in a booth.  It would be directly to members of the court and other guilds, the players, not the patrons.  I would not turn down commissions for people who seek me out -- again, players and not patrons -- but they would need to understand that it will take me a LONG time to complete the paintings.  Whether it's oil or digital, it can't b e done and shipped yesterday.

Anyway, that's the news.
marie antoinette

Happy Days

Are here again!

I have no gone through any real hardship, to speak of, in comparison to other people, concerning jobs and money.  I listen to the radio each morning now and in this holiday season one station has been asking for donations for families, reading the specific, tear-jerking stories over the air.  Six kids, single dad, wife died, lost his job...that's real hardship.

Adversity makes us better.  You would think, then, that we would welcome adversity instead of avoid it at all costs.  It is a great human paradox - we strive our whole lives for happiness, contentment, peace, yet we are shaped, bettered, and maintained by adversity.  We need it, we need the drama, the daily catastrophes and apocolypses.

That being said, I cannot really say "happy days are here again," since my days were really not all that bad, on an epic scale, before.  But they were not good for me.  Sitting around, feeling depressed and reclusive and paranoid, not doing my work in a timely manner, just barely BARELY scraping by on the measly freelance commissions each month (most definitely from lack of effort to do the work and fill up  my schedule.)  LAZY.  No exercise, bad eating habits, too much sleep, not caring about my appearance.  Bad life, bad habits.

Today I sat at my desk drawing shoes and elephants.  Shoes and elephants, all day.  Just sketches, with the occasional swipe with a red or green ballpoint pen (because I can't STAND "just sketches" sometimes...must...add..color!).  I did lots of them, lots of ideations, little ideas, lots of research a la Google.  It was just like working up a project for school, except FUN.  I didn't feel rushed, but relaxed in knowing that I could just sit there for the whole day, undisturbed, doodling shoes and decorating elephants.  How awesome is that?

Yesterday was a little rough, rushing to finish the color sketches of my 7 Mwah! saltshakers.  Today was just nice.  I'm looking forward to the approved sketches, to coloring those and sending them off, and then on to the next project.  The job always promises something new, different, and an exercise of my relatively rusty creativity.

I feel weird in my own skin there.  I am the only caucasion upstairs employee, and I'm kindof tall (in comparison).  I feel awkward, just a little shy and off, trying to acclimate.  I know I'll get used to it.  I feel crappy about my appearance too -- it's time for a haircut, and off it all comes.  All the girls in my office have wonderful, long Asian hair.  So I'm going to cut mine off and dye it pretty dark, and maybe I'll feel a little pretty, not so plainjain and boring and uncreative.

My wardrobe needs a killer update as well, mostly because I have no business clothes to speak of.  It's been so cold in the office that everyone just keeps their coats on all day, but that's not fun -- and eventually it will warm up, and I'll need to have some clothes to wear then.  Next week, all two days of it for me, is "casual week," woot! so I don't have to worry about what to wear those two days, and then I can go spend all my christmas clothes money on nice blouses and sweaters.

Blah Blah Blah Blah.

I had some more trouble in the miniatures department this morning.  I had sent out an e-mail to the other couple whose miniatures I had mailed out right before another client called me to tell me that the red tissue paper had destroyed the little things.  The e-mail warned R and T, and I asked them to contact me immediately if the same awfuly thing happened to their pieces.  Well, it did, but instead of just saying "yes, it happened, please replace them," it was a horrible e-mail that had me feeling pretty crummy all day, on and off again, whenever I'd think about it.  So I immediately printed new pictures, glued them into the frames at work, then sprayed them this evening.  They'll be ready to go out tomorrow, and since they're not going far (just up North Bay), maybe, just MAYBE, they'll get there before Christmas.  Mail is slow this time of year, so I'm not counting on it, and I guess those people can be mad at me and never do business with me again.  :-(.

I had the temptation today to stop doing faires.  We invested so much into faire this last summer that it would be stupid to not continue on a little while longer, another season at LEAST.  I don't make much money per event.  Hardly anything, actually, though it did constitute my livelihood for the greater part of 2007 (plus freelance).  Some faires are better than others.  It's going to be tough to get out of here on Friday, get to wherever the faire is, set up in the dark, and then work all weekend.  And that kind of work really takes a lot out of you, don't be fooled!  Then breakdown on Sunday night, drive home, and be at work the next morning for another joyous week.  Hrm. a big hassle.  So I'll give it some more thought and decide if it's really that fun and that worth it.  I love going to faires, and I really enjoy vendoring, when it's a good day.  I don't like being jailed in the tent all day, but the day goes quickly when you've got people lining up to be drawn.  Besides, I want to make and wear my eccentric 2009 costume :-).

Blah Blah Blah.
20s Seamstress

Weathering Storms

One thing after another!  I hate to be guilty of bad quality control, but it seems like I just keep making mistakes!  The first three of the miniatures I mailed out last week arrived to their owner, only to have a problem: the acrylic and sealer were not completely dry, and the tissue paper I wrapped them in stuck to this and won't come off.  This is even worse because I just mailed two more out today, also wrapped in tissue paper.  I wrote an e-mail telling the clients to contact me immediately if this happened.  I'm anticipating some nasty priority mail charges, not to mention I have to make more, like TONIGHT, and let them dry for at least 3 days, I think.  It is a wonder why the crystal clear did not dry fully -- it might be the cold/wet weather.  Shit, is all I have to say about that.  Shit.  

More catalyst might be a good idea -- the first batch took a LONG time to cure, and I even managed to get a fingerprint in there, which this particular client located pretty quick.  So these have to be perfect, pretty much.  I might truly have to start using clear cabochons for these commissioned miniatures -- the resin is just too prone to accident.  It's too late to order clear cabochons now, but I might put in an order for the next ones.  Perfection is mandatory.  Quality is mandatory.

20s Seamstress


I shipped out my first custom miniatures today.  I feel quite proud of myself, even though it also feels like it took me FOREVER to get them done.  Although the only place I procrastinated was in ordering the frames, and that is because I was waiting for the ornate ones to come in from backorder.  Anyway, I finished them this morning, wrapped them in red tissue paper with a lovely gold seal on each of the three, and dropped them into the padded envelope.  Off they go, along with another greeting card, to Japan.

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20s Seamstress

Makin' Minis

Finally the first batch of my new miniature frames have arrived, and I be MAKIN' MINIS!  I've widdled the whole process down so that I don't actually have to go anywhere to get anything printed, etc. -- no Kinkos -- unless I run out of a supply, like resin or catalyst (ugh).  I'm anxious to have these pre-Christmas miniatures off and away, so that I may focus on what's in front of me, which is a whole lot of painting and preparation for next season.
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