Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Buy Yourself Gifts

Why not!? You know your own taste better than anyone else!

Whats that saying... The best gifts you receive you buy for yourself. :) I don't know if that is true in my life, but I certainly enjoy splurging on myself.

I thought I'd share some pictures of things I bought myself this year during all this holiday gift-giving season and encourage everyone to buy themselves a gift.
a widget kinetic toy from Kikkeland - I found this at the Seattle Art Museum. It makes sparks and I like the wind up mechanism (its the metal coil, you twist a crank and the metal coil tightens).
a scrarf with pockets in it and orange fabric with Mariachi figures from my friend Merrit. Its awesome, there is chapstick in one pocket already, the blue is very very soft. I picked up this gem at Crafty Wonderland from PDX Softgoods. Did I mention it has pockets! Awesomeness.

a hoodie from Cretin, one of my favorite artists at the Portland Saturday Market. I don't have a picture of this... I am wearing it right now, its wonderful.
a bag from Appetite - printed with parsley (I love parsley. very much) and it has a pocket perfect for my new sig waterbottle (its a HelloKitty waterbottle! Thanks Scott!). I picked up this wonderful new handmade purse at the Portland Saturday Market.
and one last goodie: stripped Cronert stockings from the cute boutique Sofia on NE Fremont.

Monday, December 28, 2009

a handmade holiday

This is a picture of Oleo the cat attacking her handmade crochet catnip eyeball she received in her Christmas stocking. She loved it, for a whole 5 minutes. I got a lot of funny pictures of her freaking out, licking it and attacking it, she got a claw stuck in it and I held onto the optical nerve for her fun times. It was good stuff. I found this little handmade eyeball at Urban Craft Uprising this year.

Christmas here at the Pellegrini household was really nice as usual. The lovely people in my life spoil me, and here I am sending out gifts late! Eek. Such is life in the retail season. My own gifts get sent late after I make sure and mail all my sold mobiles to their recipients on time!

Oh and I cooked up a storm on Christmas. Italian style - this big gravy dinner with all sorts of meats from the local butcher. And I made pasta by hand - Tony got a pasta maker for Christmas so I put it to good use, and the noodles turned out way tastey!

Check out this great picture I found of the Portland Saturday Market during the "Festival Days". It got really cold and foggy here in Portland for holiday. No snow, for that I am happy. Although I did go down and vend for 1 day of the festival downtown and it was cold! Too cold for me and I really didn't sell much and it just seemed so silly. But the fog at night was beautiful. I was too cold and moody to take any pictures of the beauty. Ah well. This one is great, and it shows my friend Yasu's wooden sign for his booth "Toys4U"
Anyhow - this holiday season was really good to me. Lots of handmade gifts were given and received! I wasn't crazy with buzyness, but I was very busy.

I came out with this new "Mobile Making Kit" just in time for the holidays and I sold every single one that I made (50). They cost me about 70cents a piece to make(between the cute little plastic tube, stickers, ink for the instructions and labels, the swivels and steel bits, the firing of the glass pieces, etc.) so in the end after cost I made just a little over $700 on getting rid of a pile of scrap pieces of glass! Whoohoo. That was successful in my opinion. I ordered more little golf ball tubes, I would like to sell these thru art museum gift shops. I already have a few tweeks in mind for the packaging and such. Any feedback is welcome!

Many mobiles made by me found new homes this Christmas season, at least a couple hundred pieces of art were constructed, packaged and sold over the last month or so by my little hands. I don't know the precise number off the top of my head... but I thought rough estimates at least might be interesting to read for my blog readers out there. I am a voyeur myself, I like reading specifics in other people's lives and businesses. Although I would like to keep things relatively private, and I am frequently embarrassed that my business is not much bigger after being around for over 8 years now... but I keep at it and I still enjoy myself and I make a lot of mobiles. I am glad people like them. In fact, I am overwhelmingly grateful people like them. It really is my pleasure.

If you ever would like to get a mobile made by me - let me know :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Lights

no need to drive around in the car to look at crazy light displays - just check out YouTube! I got lost in this post: 8 Spectacular Christmas Light Shows


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vending = A Good Workout

this is a picture of my friend Judi pushing her market stuff to her car

This is my summery of the routine that is vending at the PSM:

Pack the tubs, move the tubs, pack the car with tubs and tables/whatnot, unpack the car and load whatnot into the booth, move the car hiking to and from the various allotted parking places, unload stuff from storage, roll out tent from storage (have I mentioned this "unloading" involves walking about 2 blocks up and down a couple of ramps, across a major 4-lane road *there's a cross-walk signal* and across a set of train tracks - yeah - pushing a cart)... where was I. Oh yeah, get the tent to stand up tall and hang walls and lights, weights are good, and signs on the booth... then get all the stuff out of the tubs and set up shop. And then act like a sales-lady all day. wha?!

When I first started the market years ago my friend Helen always came down in the morning on Saturday and helped me set up. I would buy her fresh tortillas from this vendor who would be making them in the morning. She would help me pick a spot and set up the booth. Thanks Helen!! After a while I tackled doing it myself and gained some confidence, its a great workout and sorta peaceful when you're well-organized and alone. For the last 6 years Tim has helped me set up when he can. I am not much of a morning person, and I am not tall, so having his help in the morning is wonderful. If you ever want a taste-test of the market let me know and I'll buy you breakfast and you can help me set up my booth! ha! just kidding. Thats a bum deal - trust me! :)

Anyhow, no Tim help this weekend. Friday night Tim had his first closing shift at The Morrison Street Grill, so he didn't get home till around 2am. Thus no AM style help from Tim... therefore I was on my own. And man oh man did I break a sweat! I am shorter than the load I was pushing around on this gigantic wooden cart, so that was humerus as hell, me bouncing around trying to keep momentum but also having to see what obstacles were in front of me...

This huge cart barely fits threw the door from storage, and then I push it down a ramp, across the train tracks, down a cobblestone road, across Naito Parkway, threw a crowd of vendors waiting to get spots (non reserved space vendors), up a ramp and around the marketplace to my spot. Whew. That kicked my ass. Seriously.

I knew it was going to be raining Sunday and I was planning on not vending in the yucky weather, but sheer exhaustion by the end of Saturday made me decide to leave my booth up and vend another day. So I got rained on all Sunday. Fortunately there were some happy mobile-loving customers down at the market that appreciated my presence. It started really pouring when I had to take my booth down in the rain. Fortunately my brother comes and helps me take down, so I wasn't alone getting drenched in the rain, I got him wet as well!

Poetry Inspired by My Mini Mobile

I was reading some comments left on my recent online interview and this one jumped out at me - someone wrote a poem about a mini mobile of mine!! How great is that!!


Friday, December 18, 2009

12 Days of Christmas Give-Away on Meylah!

Check out this website Meylah if you are an artist learning how to promote your work online, or a crafty person considering selling your work, or simply a shopper looking to get your holiday shop on and want to win a gift for FREE!

Each day for 12 days there has been a FREE GIFT given away on Meylah by an artist to one of their readers who has left a comment on their featured post.

Today the featured artist is ME! If you post a comment on the Meylah interview you can win a free little miniature mobile to give away this season (or keep it for yourself!!!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bike Nutz

I am lost in a whirl wind of shipping, teaching classes, holiday vending and shopping for my own family... add in a little bit of crazy crafting :)
I glittered walnut shells to attach to my bike seat. Just now I clear-coated these golden nutz with some clear acrylic spray. They are glued onto elastic cord for easy attachment to my bicycle. Not that I ride it in the rain, but come next spring... :)

Interview with Me on Meylah

Merry Christmas from the Ester Lee

the motel that Tim and I stayed at last summer for a small wonderful beach vacation sent us a Holiday Greeting card via the email - I thought I'd share! I love this motel

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crafty Wonderland 2009 Pictures Oh My!

It was a foggy morning yesterday when I went out to set up for Crafty Wonderland at the Convention. The roads were icy and it was cold!
The show was such a hit! Over 7,000 people attended - all happy people, friends and families shopping and looking for great unique gifts. I swear each year I do this show it seems to double in every way. Its bigger, its more successful, its more organized, its more fun, and the line to get in the door is incredible!
I rushed out at 10:45am to get pictures of the line (the door opens at 11 and the first 200 people get free bags of awesome goodies). People had started lining up around 9:30am. The line was so long it took me 15 minutes to travel the length of it, past the Starbucks, around the corner, up the escalator, down another hallway, up another escalator and down another hall to the doors by the MAX train. 2,000 people had lined up at the door to get it at 11am. I find that to be AMAZING. I saw many friends in line and it was so wonderful. Then I had to run back and get back to my booth as the show opened!Here is a little slide-show I put together of pictures from the day - it just takes a moment to watch and I thought that was easier than posting a zillion pictures, and this way you get to listen to Charlie Brown Christmas music while looking at the pictures :)

The show was really well organized, I can't say that enough! The ladies had us all set up with vendor badges and coupons for food and parking indoors to load in/out... the kids had their own aisle this year, which I thought was really a highlight of the show: a whole row of young artists and their artwork. I think a lot of them sold out really quickly (if they stayed in their booths!).

Oh and there was a crafting area with different projects running thru-out the day... I didn't get pictures of that cuz I was busy in my booth selling mobiles... but I heard great things about the crafting tables.

I'll end my bloggy post with a picture of the Super Crafty Surprise Machine that dispensed little balls of goodness - there was so much crafty goodness at this show, and crafty wonderful friends - it was quite simply a crafty wonderland :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale!

This Sunday is the bestest of the Pacific NW: the Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Holiday Sale!
Its on! I'll be there, on a corner, so hopefully you can find me and splurge on some mobile art for the holidays.
Sunday Dec 13th * 11am - 7pm
at the Oregon Convention Center - Hall D
777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. in Portland

All Ages * Free Admission * Goodie bags to the first 200 shoppers * Free Craft Activities

The weather is looking pretty crappy:
I am really hoping to do the Portland Saturday Market tomorrow... I feel like my Christmas season down there is slipping thru my fingers... but in the end I am a wussy and if its too cold outside tomorrow I just won't bother. Because Sunday is Crafty Wonderland and hopefully the icey rain/snow won't keep the locals from getting to the Convention Center (it didn't last year!) Heres a picture from last year:
Restocking after last weekend is a happy task - although I have procrastinated, so now I have many things to do today... fortunately I produced little things like crazy in advance for Urban Craft Uprising, and while Aimee and I rocked out and sold many many of them, I've still got plenty left. So today I have to restock on larger mobiles. That is a good thing and I am ready, I have beams of steel wire cut, I have circles ready and waiting, and I have little space heaters humming around me keeping the space warm and costing a fraction of what my gas prices would shoot up to trying to keep my house warm in this freezey cold Arctic blast of 2009. Memories of last years snowpocalypse are floating in my head.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Glitter Time = Good Fun

The sunshine and the holidays got the better of me today and I found myself playing with glitter! Tim played too! He glittered the little bird above
I got the Martha collection of glitter. I've been wanting to glitter birds for a while now...
This little glue pen worked brilliantly on the little feathers... here you can see Tim working on his little red bird
I glittered this little cutie... and then glued him to a little magnet.
This was fun! I found myself wanting to glitter everything!
The colors in this set are beautiful
the cat got glittered, I am not sure how she felt about that.
I think my favorite color in the set is the fire opal.

Etsy Community Council

This is a screen shot of a meeting Etsy style - the virtual labs - Matt (Etsy co-founder) is on the screen camera and the rest of the council (all the little square icons) are sitting around him and typing their comments and questions.

A juried group of sellers and buyers make up the Etsy Community Council and we have gotten together over international time zones 3 or 4 times now. Time zones were probably the biggest hurdle in this global group. When I got selected to be on the council I had no idea what it would entail... in the end it was very casual and pretty fun. The hardest part was trying to make the meetings (again - time zone issues) but there was a google group thing set up that helped to relay information. And really most of what we did was discuss Etsy concepts and give feedback, we even got a bit o' beta testing in the gig! (although Etsy has another group for beta testing, we joined the fun for a few features we had been discussing)

Over all I thought being on the CC was a sweet job.

Today was our last meeting. My term on the Etsy Community Council has finally come to an end. I find this sad, however it ends on a bright note - as now I am official Etsy CC Alumni. Oh yeah baby. I think we might form a street team for the alumni.

click the picture to the left to read my blog post when I originally got selected to be on the CC

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This weekend is a whirl-wind of holiday shopping! On Saturday I will out braving the bad weather at the Portland Saturday Market - please come out and visit, shop, bring me warm tea or chocolate... oh I mean shop for your holiday presents! :)

Sunday I will be at the Convention Center for Crafty Wonderland - this has got to be the biggest and bestest craft event of the Pacific NW. Seriously folks, common out - the first 200 people get free swag bags full of goodies (be prepared to wait in a long line to get one of these free bags). My spot is on a corner, so me and my mobiles should be easy to find!

Ginger Bread Men

One of the luckiest parts of last weekend vending at Urban Craft Uprising was my neighboring booth behind me... in spots where you only get 10x5feet and you sit back to back with your neighbors its pretty claustrophobic and there are no walls between you... I was back to back with a Swedish baker. Oh yeah. They fed Aimee and I some broccoli gruyere little mini quiches on Saturday afternoon and then cookies all weekend long, little sugar cookies and little ginger men. I couldn't have asked for a nicer neighbor - Thanks Svedala Bakery! If you live in the Seattle area you should really get some Svedala Swedish treats this holiday season, I believe you can find them at your local Whole Foods market.

Holiday Artisans Market in Pioneer Place

Wow its really cold outside and there are a handful of vendors from the Portland Saturday Market that set up shop in Pioneer Place Downtown during this whole week - its called the Holiday Artisans Market - and its a great way for downtown shoppers to get a bunch of handmade gifts. But lets be serious - its friggin' cold outside! Fortunately its sunny now, but its not even 20degrees outside. This morning before the sun rose some TV camera crews came down and filmed live TV. My friend Jan volunteered for the super AM gig and I had to share here: (Jan you did great - I found this very funny!)

I am home and warm today, doing some shipping and preparing for next weekend - I'm prepping for Crafty Wonderland now!! I do hope my friends down at the Holiday Artisans Market are doing great business and staying reasonably warm.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Calder Le Cirque

One of my favorite things about the Calder exhibit at the Seattle Museum of Art was the video running of his circus. I found these videos on YouTube to share here on my blog.

Calder started performing his circus while living in Paris around 1930. I read somewhere that he took apart an old sculpture made of wood planks and made a set of bleachers for his friends to sit on. These friends included the likes of famous artists and philosophers like Joan MirĂ³, Jean Arp, and Marcel Duchamp. The "circus" was a series of wire figures that cranks and strings enabled them perform different amusing acts. I love the whimsy and silliness - the peanut poops are hilarious!

There are around 200 of these different figures and Calder would fit them into 2 or 3 suitcases to take them across the Atlantic when he traveled from the US to France. I love the idea that this circus was the way he entertained his friends! Fortunately some of these friends took videos and pictures of his performances. Calder's circus figures now reside at the Whitney Museum in NY and they are now far too old and delicate to still perform, so these videos are the only way we can see them move.

I can only imagine how much time Calder must have spent playing around making these gadgets - what fun!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Urban Craft Uprising - More Pictures!

This little video kinda shows more closely what my set-up at Urban Craft looked like - I had a mobile on a stand above the table, with a motor to keep it spinning - the motion was very hypnotic and it was fun watching people come down the aisle and see it. The glazed look would come across their face and then a smile. I love that!

And you can see how I displayed my work in on the little table, I only had 10feet x 5 feet, it was pretty packed with goodness!

And this is the line on Sunday to get in the door - the first 100 people got free swag bags packed with goodies. They also got to freeze in the cold for an hour or so waiting to get in!

Babies and Mobiles

I had to share this beautiful picture - I met this baby and her mom at Urban Craft Uprising this past weekend and when I got home from Seattle an email greeted me with this picture - baby is already enjoying her new mobile. How cute is that!

Thanks Beth for letting me share!

Urban Craft Uprising Good Time

I am back from Seattle - it was a great weekend, felt like a vacation, with a whole bunch of work in the middle :) I loved staying downtown right by the Pike's Place Market - Aimee and I walked down there both Saturday and Sunday morning before the show. That place feels like a whole different world early in the morning as the vendors are opening shop and the bakers are spilling with fresh warm treats. Its pretty incredible. I took a lot of pictures - heres a link to see more.After gathering Pikes Place Market treats we headed to the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall for the show. It was an exciting two days. The hours flew past and I really loved it. I will definitely apply again next year!! A big thank-you to all the lovely Seattle-ites that came out to this show - a record breaking 8,800 attendees. It was pretty packed, and people were shopping with glee.
I've got a little video of my booth somewhere, I'll upload it tomorrow, gives a better view of what it looked like!

Check out my flickr page to see the 50 or so pictures I took this weekend of all the awesome crafty goodness and Seattle sites...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Live from the 6th Floor

Aimee and I have arrived in Seattle - we're all set up for Urban Craft Uprising, and we went to the Art Museum as well - its been a great day!
Currently we're checked into our most wonderful hotel - the Moore Hotel - its really inexpensive, right by Pikes Place Market and absolutely darling. But then I tried to use the internet.

I called the front desk, my room is on the 7th floor, the nice man told me I had to go to the 6th floor to use the internet. And he informed me that theres a chair outside the elevator on the 6th floor and that is where I could log on. Indeed, theres a chair. Theres even a plug right behind the chair, conveniently located at head level so I didn't even have to bend over to plug my computer in. Despite the fact that I am in pajama pants and sitting in the staircase of an old hotel, I find this internet experience to be extremely entertaining.

Aimee took pictures for your viewing pleasure.
This is the router that hung from the ceiling on the 6th floor. There is no router on the 7th floor. Evidently that makes a difference. I am tempted to sit on the stairs half-way between the floors and see what I get.
Oh and there was a folded towel on one of the beds in our room - a towel doggy! How cute is that!?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

All the Little Glass Pieces

I have made a lot of mobiles in the last few days. Today Aimee I got to hang out and create things and discuss our plans for this weekend. "Squeeatle" awaits us. We are both very excited. This pretty picture above is from production of little kits to make your own mobile. Oh yeah. I will have 30 of these kits with me at Urban Craft Uprising - for $15 each (regular online price is $20!)

At times I am so overwhelmed with getting ready, so many mobiles to make, so many earrings, so many creations to package and box up... One whole tub is all packed with tools and bits - crafty goodness ya know... a.k.a. projects that I didn't get a chance to finish! :)

Currently I feel very peaceful, with 7 tubs and 5 bags all packed and ready to be squished into the car (yes my car is small, but it is high capacity! I think I'll be able to fit this all no problem) all I have left to do is make some signs so I can print and laminate them before I leave tomorrow. I won't be back till Sunday. I already wonder what I will have forgotten to bring!