25 January 2012

the creep of imagery

I've become one of those people. Constantly fiddling with my iPhone, my soft addiction. All day, every day. Ever since I upgraded to the 4s, and gained access to all the best apps, you know, those that didn't stoop to the iPhone 3's level, the addiction's been growing. I used to tease Toby about constantly fiddling with some silly casual game on his phone... but now I should talk. He gives me The Look ("really? again with the phone?") now.

And, trust me, this bugs! I hate this. One of my top peeves is that post-modern inability to be in the moment, just put the phone down, stop checking, start seeing. Ugh. Not too long ago, I was that person who wouldn't know it if I had a text or vmail for hours: I just wouldn't check my phone that often, it would be stashed away in my purse, all sound muffled. I used to not check email all weekend. Now I'm never far from my phone and the checking is habitual. Like a trained animal looking for a cookie, I have my three favorite icons to tap, in this order: Instagram, Pinterest and email (so old skool). Maybe I'll cycle through them a couple of times. Tap, snap, comment, "like", giggle, scroll.

It kind of makes me sick and I should really be resolving to curb this new addiction. But, I'll be honest, I'm just not there yet. And, you know what? I'm really loving so much about the random streams of imagery and words that come my way each time I check and re-check. The quiet moments of someone's else's life, food pics that instantly determine what's for lunch... and simply inspiring images.

All the fiddling almost seems OK when a couple of visuals come through my feed together, from totally separate sources... but together they stop me in my tracks. Yesterday, two beauties danced down my screen, one after the other.

I had a flash in my mind... something's there. Something's percolating.  Wings... that blue... inky... flattened... symmetrical. Hmmm.

This is how I work, letting little snippets of shape and color seep in and find some space in the back of my mind. If I'm lucky, something new emerges in time. It's a process, and iPhone be cursed or not, I'm liking it.

The Blue Bird roosts on my Work Inspiration board, via dear Tori, originally from Bird & Banner;
The kimono graces my fashion board, via Alice Q, originally from Triple Gemini on Etsy.

19 January 2012

back in the saddle & renegade recap!

As I recently posted to (my complete addiction, I admit it) Instagram, my long winter's nap is now officially over: I just re-opened my shop with a fresh lineup. Whee!

(umm, where did a month off go?)

OK, I wasn't exactly lounging the entire month. But there was a bit of extra toddler-snuggling and studio/office purging. Ahhh, I love a full-car trip to the Goodwill. But, after prepping frantically for my first-ever show at Renegade Holiday (recap to follow), I needed to catch my breath. And, then, I took a moment to take stock of what sold well last year (people (still) have chevron fever), what did great at Renegade (hello triangles and southwestern-y stuff) and what I want to try to do next. Oh, people... I have plans. My plans scare me in terms of scope--I am but one measly person, plans--but whatever I'm able to attack, I'm excited for it.

So, the new, refreshed, polished up shop is, as always, HERE.

Oh, one other update: all my listed wares are now ready to ship. (i.e., no more of this made-to-order business. It was fine for start-up, tough to manage forever.)


So, Renegade. I loved it. Before the application due date, I wasn't sure if it was "too soon" to jump into a show, because of all the work involved and being really very new. Toby and I talked it over and weighed the pros (selling stuff, brand exposure, obvious) and the cons (total disruption of our home leading up to already-disrupting holidays), and we took a chance and went for it.

I love taking a chance (though you should've seen the bags under my eyes!). And, I'm super glad I/we did it. A month off afterward didn't hurt either.

I didn't get the opportunity to walk the show much (unless you count baƱo breaks), and bought almost nothing (dang), but my experience as a seller was fun and worth all the work and late nights.

My takeaways:

1. As always, everyone is just so nice at Renegade. The sellers, the buyers, even the tagging-along boyfriends and husbands (did I mention they sell beer at this craft fair?), and especially the crew running the show. Niceness and genuine enthusiasm goes a long way in my book.

2. Next time, I need to prep and stockpile merch all year long. Being in complete start-up mode, there was a late night, every night for the final month pre-show.

3. Having a handy husband who can listen to my ideas and interpret my waving hands was a real luxury... he crafted all the beautiful reclaimed-wood booth components, and they were so warm and inviting. All I can say is thank you, Toby. And sorry about that screwed-up back! :/

4. Having friends and family come and visit/populate my booth in the early hours of the show was especially great. Loved that.

5. It makes sense in hindsight, but Renegade Holiday was 50% about selling people a nice handmade holiday gift, and 50% about meeting shop owners looking to carry wholesale. Wowzers, that was wonderful and unexpected. It would be uber-tacky to mention names at this point, but I hope to reveal some exciting stuff later in the year.

6. Making crafty friends (like Lynn, Shay and Samantha-yay!) in advance and at the show was worth just showing up for that. There wasn't much chance to talk shop, but I'll take what I can get ;) --Oh! I also was able to meet a couple of Etsy shop customers. Fun.

7. Re: Merch... more variety, larger range of price points. My new evil plans will address this one. But, I can't tell you how paranoid I was that I wasn't bringing enough of a given item. Which sounds all pompous, like I was figurin' on selling out of everything... I just mean, I didn't know what to expect, AND when you pay a not insignificant fee to be there, you don't want to run out of stuff on the first day and just be sitting there. Thankfully (I think), I didn't have that "problem." Only a few items were cleaned out. (Yay, triangles!)

8. Processing plastic through the Square app rocked.

9. Having a ruggedly handsome and/or pretty, stylish "booth babe" was so great. I would've been a wee bit shy sitting there, at my first show, all by my lonesome. Thank you, Toby and Robin (my ex-boss! how's that for supportive?) for the company, the wares-promotin', the coffee and the bathroom breaks. Yay team.

10. Next time, make some cute cushions for the chairs. Ouch.

Have any of you done a craft fair or the like? Any tips or wise lessons learned? I plan to repeat the experience.

11 January 2012

the trail out of napland

The upshot of having a child who no longer (or very rarely) naps is that we (obviously) have... more time. We have flexibility. Less scheduling. We simply don't watch the clock as closely during the middle of the day. It might be a first-child thing, but we've always been super disciplined when it comes to getting him down for a nap at the right time, in the right place. Good sleep is brain food, etc. Our family life has always been scheduled around, first, three daily naps, then two, then just one... then *poof*

Now, there's time for that extra play-doh session or a longer, meandering outing... or a mid-afternoon hike across the street.

Oh, there's the much earlier bedtime, too (fine with that part!). And getting to see a simply tuckered little guy ease out of the excitement of the day, and under the warm covers. He rubs his eyes, he gives a deep sigh, and he nods off to angelic sleep listening to A House is a House for Me. It's magical, that book--a hypnotic bath of warm milk. The perfect antidote to a busy boy's day.

05 January 2012

a musical interlude

Yesterday I attempted productivity, and Jacky and his sweet nanny headed out to one of his top spots: Stow Lake in GG Park. There are walking paths, paddle boats, ducks, friendly seniors and a rad pagoda. Sometimes there's even sun.

Jacky seems to be more and more into going there these days. It seems he's cultivating a bit of a posse at the boat shop... he has 'buddies' there now, who let him help around the shop, who don't mind if he wanders into the snack bar, who warm up his lunch (so nice!)... who apparently like being serenaded with the tunes of 1965, as performed by one born in 2008.

I give you Jacky's rendition of "The Birds and the Bees" (does this mean we're off the hook re: 'the talk'??) ...

the birds and the bees from blake kahan on Vimeo.

And the original:

Thanks Brittany for capturing the performance!

04 January 2012

an opposite day

01 13 11

Yesterday was different.

Last year, on the official first day back to work, I would've dragged myself down to BART, emerged from the underground like an animal coming out of hibernation, the cold air and bus fumes a shock to the system. I would have headed to the 13th floor of a particular building to begin scanning a blizzard of emails. There would be the catching up with co-workers: the lovely, the funny and all the others. Post-mortems of the year-end projects we all tried to sleep off. Eventually I'd start pushing some pixels and paths around the screen, and the work of a new year would begin.

03 08 11

Yesterday, I intended to work a bit. It's different work now, and I like it enough to miss it. It's still fresh and evolving. But, for the first time in a long while, a day scheduled for Being Very Productive just melted into sitting, talking, walking, looking, nibbling, sipping, eavesdropping, Instagramming and thinking. My hair got a little shorter and the color was put right. I unwisely sat in a tall chair at Sephora and things were definitely not right ('subtle' is just NOT possible in a store that sells makeup right? I might be learning.). I retreated to the safe cocoon of the Nordstroms Ladies Lounge (have you noticed, some women just go there to read?) and I wiped and edited. Considered reading for a bit. Left to buy clementines instead.

Some time passed, I looked at the time. Then I didn't look at the time for a long while. I had a free day downtown, alone. And it was very different.

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