Thursday, June 22, 2017

Working Right Along

So as you can see I have finished the first layer of the pines, the bottom one being twisted silk and the upper one being flat silk.  The twisted one came out pretty well, the flat not so much, but that doesn't surprise me.  It's my first piece.

Another self critique, the ume blossom has too large a gap between the petals.

Right now I am going to work on the sakura blossoms, which are actually slightly more difficult because of the nature of the thread and the way the stitches lay.

Other than that I am working on picking up my Japanese again. It would be exceedingly helpful to at least read certain Kanji, but I am starting over with hirigana.  I pulled out my copy of hirigana warriors off the Steam game engine and I am about halfway through.  I also own their newest Katakana warriors, so I have lots to work on before I get to Kanji.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Shop is CLOSED TILL AUGUST and Japanese Silk Embroidery Lessons!


I am currently moving and working on different projects, like Japanese Silk Embroidery!

After 4 years I have finally found a teacher! She knows her stuff, and since she formerly taught the children's class at the JEC (Japanese Embroidery Center, Atlanta, Georgia).  We went through a lot, and I have enough to finish the first half of the piece, with only the kiku and momiji left to have instruction.  I am almost finished with the first pine tree, the one in twisted silk.  The one in the background (to the left) is done in flat silk.  The cherry blossoms are twisted, and the ume are flat silk.  Each flower requires a different technique.  I can see why students take 5 years of intense study.  I don't know if I will ever be a master, but we shall see.

In the meantime I am learning to go slowly, keep my hands in place, and keep my stitches straight!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Half off Mega Moving Sale!!! (And Fundraiser)


I have decided to have a clearance sale, and it's working.  I have raised almost $300 this sales quarter for Dimitri!! SO excited!

Donate Directly to Dimitri Conde's Leukemia ALL Medical Fund HERE!!!

Also, I have sold off or will send off the rest of the home decor ornaments.  This has greatly cleared up space in my inventory! I am sending the last 5 to Ariel Loh of TZARTISAN for the shop to raise funds for our tutorial book project!

Meanwhile I am packing up my house to be repaired and sold, live in temporary housing for a while, and then move into a new home.  Obviously I will be closing up shop for several months, and focusing strictly on family and other crafts, such as Japanese Silk Embroidery!

My class is coming up June 9th/10th.  I will be traveling to Oklahoma to learn under a certified Japanese Silk Embroidery instructor, Kathy Johnson.  This is actually just a short drive away from me, and I am extremely excited for this opportunity. 

That's all the notes for now.  No new pieces, no new projects.  Just a new job, cleaning house constantly, and trying to not spend money.  Yeah, I know, ha ha.

Friday, May 12, 2017

New GoFundMe Campaign and Store Notes

New Set

So first to business.

Donate Directly Here

All new sales are going to Dimitri Conde's Leukemia ALL Medical Fund.
Dimitri is a child who is also on spectrum, and shared a class with my own son.  His mom and I are good friends, and I immediately jumped on the opportunity to run their donation campaign.

Now for store notes:

I haven't had as much time as I'd like to work, but I have been working.  With the new fundraising campaign, and the new job, and trying to sell my house, my work has gone to the back burner.
But I did manage to list all those pumpkin/goldenrod pieces, and I have made those two new kikus, of which i decided to scrap the one of them because I just didn't really like it.
I have continued the color scheme, with this two piece set, one of which will have a bira bira and one will have a shidare, kind of like the sister kanzashi set, though slightly bigger.

New Kiku
I have enjoyed doing sets like this, though I will probably be doing an orange promo set, since orange is the color of Leukemia.

I have also got my new silk embroidery set in the mail!!!  It's larger than I visualized, but that is not a complaint.  I now have all the supplies for my piece, and tools- everything!!!!  I am probably going to push classes back till June because I already have to work memorial day weekend on 6 hr shift.  At a retail store, that is 6 hrs of intense work.
Not only that but I am currently working on selling my house, which will be a 3-4 month process.
And now I'm doing this fundraiser as well.

But as you can see in the top picture I am stocking up on certain supplies.  I am expecting a mini-vacation soon where I hope to be able to work intensely on this set and a few other pieces, as to be completed by the end of May.   Then I can focus on the personal end until the Japanese Silk Embroidery lesson in mid to late June.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

So busy I forgot to post

Sold 4-20-2017!!!
Spring is here and that means things are wild at home and at work.

I have finished photographing 5 new pieces, with a new kiku made and another in the works.
Not only that but I have landed several sales lately (six of which were the clearanced ornaments) which makes more space and also let me order more fabric! Squee!!!!  Now I have 4 shades of green, 3 colors of multicolor chirimen, and a few colors for some upcoming projects. They are on their way, so I am hoping it will be here early next week.

New Kiku!!!
The pic on the right/below is one of the 2 new kikus I have made (am making).  The one not pictured is white with aqua and teal pointed petals.  This one is a rounded petal with pointed petal inbetween the rounded petal sections.  The pattern will spiral, and the section not placed is china red. I have about 3 layers on it now, and it looks awesome!

Meanwhile I have been working another set of pillowcases with crewel embroidery, all satin stitch. It's a lovely design of roses and leaves, with butterflies (a fairly commonly marketed pattern. I found it at Walmart of all places), that I picked up shortly after my surgery. I am using it to practice stitching for Japanese Silk Embroidery, which I am still hoping to start in June.  I was originally scheduled for may, but I am using my birthday money (which is beginning of may), and I don't think I can collect the necessary funds and place the order and RECEIVE it before June.  But when I get it, there will be pictures.  LOL.

I have also picked up quite the following of Japanese kanzashi artisans on instagram.  I keep finding people to follow that are such fantastic fabric artists, it's kinda shocking when they, too, like my work.  The constant positive feedback has made me delve into my work with renewed fury.  And every time I go looking through the suggested people to follow, I find more and more and more artisans.  It's no wonder I don't sell more internationally.  That and I am still improving my product, each and every time.

Speaking of which, my new thread-wrapping the hair stick really seems to be working but I need to review my glue usage. I'm not certain about the best way to glue the thread down so it doesnt unwrap.  Next up is nori, but it is SO SLOW to dry.  I also have things  like E6000, but it is hard to clean up and can be messy.  I am just going to have to keep trying before I reform ALL my previous pieces to this new technique.  ALONG WITH redoing all of my other hair forks to the new single stem, more traditional thread wrap style.

All in all, things are going well.  :)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Slolwy Working and Life Changes

First to the kanzashi notes. 

I have gone back to working in experimental methods, just focusing on making flowers than complete pieces.  I love this color combo, and by the time I'm finished with this set of pieces, it will probably be late summer/early fall, lol.

Later, when I have my tester's reports on my new hair stick mounting design, I will be fixing all my hair stick pieces.  I might even be adding a few more into inventory out of this pumpkin orange/goldenrod color combo I am currently in.

On top of this, I have a big announcement! I have finally found a Japanese Silk Embroidery Teacher! She lives 3 hours or so from my current location, and has availability for teaching weekends! She has been exceedingly helpful in assisting me with my first piece, which I have picked out and will be ready to purchase by my birthday.  Then I will schedule a weekend away from my family to take my first steps with silk embroidery.

And, simply because I am a glutton for punishment, lol, I have decided to get a part time job, one that pays real money.  I love my store, but it is a hobby that pays for itself.  I can't make real money in this niche art.  I never expected to.  And money, unfortunately, holds me back from expanding on things like Japanese Embroidery, which is very costly considering the necessary materials.  
I only mention it now because I have started getting calls back for interviews, which frankly since I haven't had a real job in 9 years, is somewhat surprising.  It's mostly retail again, which I am comfortable with, and my first callback is a clothing chain, so maybe I will get some ideas on colors and patterns to experiment with in my flowers.

But before I start I hope to have my listings updated with the multicolor chirimen pieces and the kimono pattern barrettes.  So look for new inventory soon!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Post-Surgery Updates!!!

So to begin this set of notes, surgery went fine, and have been recovering the last 3 weeks.  Most that truly know me know that I can not STAND to be idle, it drives me crazy to waste time.  So while on bed rest, I have been working away...

First project is some new inventory! I made at least 40 of these fantastic kimono patterned chirimen hair barrettes in rectangle and oval. These will go un-dercorated, and sold as an inexpensive addition to the Emporium.  However half of this batch will be sent to the TZArtisan shop, along with a large collection of bobby pins.

I have also begun a re-design of the hair sticks.  I have never liked the exposed tape, but didn't have the thought to test the durability of something like rayon machine embroidery thread.  For some time now I have been getting more and more comfortable with the use of rayon embroidery thread for thread wrapping techniques, and NOW I have finally applied it to the hair sticks.  The effect is a bold stripe of color underneath the flower, and if it turns out to be durable I am going to re-wrap everything in the shop.  In the mean time I have sent a few prototypes to TZArtisan for further testing. 

In addition to that, I have been working with some of the multicolor chirimen I have been saving.  I only had 2 small squares, but I managed 3 new small pieces and they are fantastic.  I am sure how to present them in the shop, to keep them as a group or split them up. 

I do have more squares of different shades of this multicolor stuff, but I am definitely planning on ordering more of the autumn colors I used to make the last momiji piece and this new pink/green/blue combination. 

I have moved all the home decor ornaments to the clearance bin, and they are still sitting there.  They will stay only until May, when the lisitngs expire.  Then it will be sent off to TZArtisan, again, so that hopefully they can make some money where I could not.  Seems the only thing that sells is kanzashi these days. 

I still have plans for chiyrogami jewelry again and the kumihimo braids that have been set aside.  Hopefully they will do better than ornaments and hair bands.