thawing out: get ready for springtime craftiness!

12 04 2011

this morning, my sun worshiping boss came into the office and said:“i don’t know why ANYBODY likes spring”.

and i was all like: “why you be hatin’ on spring bitch?”

or more accurately, i said: “i like spring.”

and it’s true, i do like spring. it happens to be my favorite season. i like the way it smells, i like to see borders of grass poking out beneath the rapidly receding snow, i love those little rivers that form along the sides of the road when everything starts to melt. to me, spring is hopeful and exciting. as if practically anything could shoot out of the ground with the crocuses.

spring is possibilities.

well, this year  something quite exciting an new is busting through the soil. genius craftstress audrey hotchkiss (of little eye designs) has spent her winter digging up the best in local artsy-craftiness so that next weekend (april 16th from 10 am to 4 pm), we can all don our light coats and go spend our tax return money supporting amazing local artists.

it’s called THE BIG THAW, and it’s a well tailored collection of mostly etsy-based maine artists with a bit more of an edge than the average family craft fair (sorry grandma joan, we’re gonna pass on the crocheted toilet paper cozies this year). you can get the full vendor list right here, but here’s a little list of my  current top 5 biggest BIG THAW craft crushes:

1. my kingdom for this a new heirloom silk scarf!

2. stunning silk screened potholders from doonyaya. (almost too pretty to get covered in kitchen gunk!)

3. the very best maine t-shirt ever made. (way to go flat out tees!)

4. gulf of maine memory tiles by merchant’s row!

5. perfect dainty bird on wire pendants by high wire handmade.

and i’m a jerk because i didn’t even touch on photos and vintage and handmade beauty products

you’ll really have to go and see the loveliness for yourself.

so just to reiterate, you should definitely get yo ass over to the mayo street arts center on saturday the 16th of april (that’s THIS SATURDAY)  from 10 am-4 pm to peruse the goods. and if the very sexy arts crafts aren’t enough to entice you, you can come visit me. i’ll be there helping audrey fetch and carry. so please, drop by!





weekend pickthrough- springing forward into delirium edition.

14 03 2011

WHERE IS THAT THIRD ARM COMING FROM!?

losing an hour is the worst. here it is, 2 am, but it feels like 1 am- except for the fact that i’m not gonna get more than 4 hours of sleep, whether i like it or not. it was opening weekend for my show (not too disastrous!), and then i decided to make lentil soup (more details on that tomorrow), and write a blog post for coupon evolution that i should have written on thursday…

tomorrow is gonna be a sleep deprived mess anyway, so i figured i’d squash out at least one more post before i lapsed into a coma. we haven’t picked through the weekend in a while, so here it is (i didn’t say i’d be squashing out a good post):
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picnic lunch.

27 08 2010

i had a funny conversation today with someone about how i can do a lot of things well enough to get by, but that i’m not actually that great at anything. my interests splay out sloppily all over the map, never fully germinating, and eventually just withering and dying once i’ve moved on to something else. sewing was one of those things. for a few minutes (roughly 3 years ago), i thought that maybe i could make my millions by becoming an handmade mogul. i made all these ridiculous bunnies out of vintage cashmere sweaters (see wide eyed example at left) and sold them (under the name “manta ray business solutions”)  at a table at a little craft fair called picnic.

well, my career in plush manufacture never exactly took off, but picnic turned out to be the single kick ass-est craft fair that ever held a hot glue gun. forget your grammy’s seashell picture frames and scary dried apple head dolls, this craft fair stars STUFF THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT! and it’s coming soon to a hobo park near you, THIS SATURDAY.

august 28th (once again, that’s THIS SATURDAY, as in tomorrow), from 11-6 you can browse and buy everything from recycled rubber clutches to first place chump ribbons (i so heart strong arm bindery, and you’d better too). basically, it’s top notch design made by hand. but they’ve all managed somehow to back away from the puffy paint and candle making supplies, and made accessible, affordable, and beautiful art that you can take home with you. even more reasons worth getting a rowdy boner for picnic this year:

1. you can knock out your holiday shopping early, and never worry about about getting your friends and loved ones something they already have. (i mean, who doesn’t love a squirrel playing the drums?) [people who are dead inside, that’s who.]

2. there’s food. delicous food.

3. there’s music. delicious music. a whole bunch of your very favorite local bands (and a few out of state invaders) will play you gently through your shopping experience, including & especially the big finish by longtime portland superstars phantom buffalo.

4. beloved broke207 favorites like kate sullivan jones (a sweet disorder), emblem studio, and boom chick-a-boom will be there selling their shit, and they deserve our undying love and support. and cash. definitely bring cash.

in short, picnic is the best thing ever. and if you’re within a 100 mile radius of portland, maine on saturday the 28th (that’s tomorrow folks), you need to get your ass to lincoln park with a wad of cash and a big giant tote bag. support local artists. buy, own, and love awesome stuff. have something better to do with your saturday than just getting high and watching chitty chitty bang bang on VHS (you can do that after).

oh, and did i mention that admission is FREE?






the mysterious disappearance of home economics.

25 03 2010

while watching superbad a couple of years ago, i found myself wondering during the tiramisu scene: what kind of rich-ass fantasy school still has home ec? seriously, with school budgets being slashed to bits all over town, is there a public school in america that has offered the course in the last 10 years? i think that the majority of people out there in the universe might respond with something like: who gives a shit? and my response would be: i do. i mean, kind of.

it’s not that i think that we should have held on tight to the literal apron strings and cut the history/math/science (even art) department instead. home ec and wood shop were already rapidly withering dinosaurs back in the 90s when i went high school. the prioritization of home ec out of the school system is one thing, but the prioritization of life skills our of our upbringing is entirely another.  the happy homemaker home ec of 1964  is dead, but i propose a mandatory basic living curriculum to be taught at all public high schools that would prepare our youth to be semi-functional adults once they finally get tossed out of the nest.

1. pay your damn bills: from APRs, to FICO scores (with a healthy side of checkbook balancing). maybe a prophylactic measure like this could keep the next generation from being as deep in the financial shit as much as this one?

2. feed yourself: the college transition into the top ramen lifestyle happens so very swiftly. thank sweet jesus that we’re not longer encouraged to trap veg-all in jello, but a little basic cooking, nutritional counseling, and some grocery store field trips (extra credit for coupon clipping) are certainly in order.

3. sew on your own damn buttons: on multiple occasions, i’ve had both grown men & women ask me to sew on a button for them (at which point i look them dead in the eyes and give them my best “bitch please”). nobody learns how to sew anymore, which makes even the most remedial of stitching tasks seem mysterious and terrifying.  both practical and creative, sewing can also be (shouts allegiance to wardrobe refashion) a big time money saver, or even (hails to the gods of etsy) money maker.  plus, it will assure that your current or future children never have to wear a sucky store-bought halloween costume.

4. fix that shit: toilet snaking, nail hole spackling, draino 101. i’m not talking big time home improvement here, but a greater appreciation of proper handy-manning at an earlier age might have assured that i was hanging my artwork up properly, instead of banging pushpins into the walls of my first apartment with a rock.

5. clean up after your ass: i’m definitely not a supporter of daily bed making, but i’ve seen people in their 30s wiping down their counters with windex or using a lint roller as an alternative to owning a vacuum cleaner. somewhere in there, we need to learn how to do dishes without a dishwasher, remove shower curtain mildew, and put our toys away when we’re done.

it’s time to storm the school board! (who’s with me?)





brass in pocket.

6 03 2010

it was time. no etsy sales, no takers for my personal organization service, i had to put at least a little something into the pot today. time is running out, and i am doing a piss poor job getting it together. coinstar to the rescue! well, sort of.

after a serious bout of searching in couch cushions and pants pockets, i came up with a fairly sizable sack of pennies, nickels, dimes, and one random half dollar to cash in. you may notice the conspicuous absence of quarters from the list. unfortunately, we are still tethered by the shackles that are pay-laundry. all quarters (without exception), are to be placed in the laundry fund. bummer.

still, i had a pretty good wad going on. to the grocery store!

what’s great about coinstar is that it’s everywhere. pretty much ever major supermarket in town has one of these bitches, and for the very small fee of $.02 per dollar, your 10 lb. sack of pennies gets turned into dollar bills in about 5 minutes.

but is it $.02 too much?  as far as coinstar is considered, they always give you the option of donating the full amount to a non-profit of your choice. or at some machines, you can get the full amount on a gift card for cvs, old navy, itunes… or some other crap i don’t care about.

but if you want all your money in cash, you do still have a couple other options.

anyone up for some good old fashioned change rolling? this doesn’t entirely qualify as free, unless you already have some/can score some coin wrappers for free. otherwise, you’ll have to buy some– and it looks like they can cost over $.04 each. also, i can’t imagine anyone actually wanting to hover over a pile of loose change for hours quietly counting and rolling… but hey, just letting you know what your options are.

but seriously, your best bet for fee-free coin counting is definitely the penny arcade located at TDbanks.  it’s pretty much just like coinstar in function, except that an adorable cartoon girl leads you through the process. AND, you get to play a game where if you guess your total change within $1.99, you get a prize. despite copious googles, i have yet to find out exactly what the “fabulous prizes” actually are (although this story is really tragic). anyone? anyone?

i chose coinstar because the bank  is closed on saturday, and i didn’t feel like waiting anymore (or carrying all my fucking change across town). regardless of the fee, i still and managed to finally put $14.72 toward my $1,000 goal. $985.28 to go. fuck.





hoppin down the bunny trail.

5 03 2010

well, it’s day 4, and i have jack to show for my money making efforts so far. apparently the present economy can’t support another personal organizer, and i only have 9 boxtops in my collection. tomorrow i have plans to cash in ever loose penny i can find hidden in the sofa cushions, but for today, it’s etsy time.

i had a shop for a while around 2007-2008, but when i got divorced and my whole life exploded, i let it fall by the wayside. i’ve been meaning to resurrect it for a while now, but haven’t managed to make the finishing move until today. the desperation to scrape up some money is settling in, so i dug out a bit of unsold product i had left over from the jinglekeys heyday (oh, that was the kind of stupid and totally inappropriate name of my shop), and threw those fuckers up there.  i am officially back in business.

etsy’s tough. unless you have a really remarkable product, really remarkable photographs, or get picked to be in the gallery section on the front page, it’s difficult to stand out in the crowd. i sold a few things, made a couple hundred bucks… but it was pretty labor intensive, and time consuming.

1. first you’ve got to make shit, and make it nice enough for people to pay for it. (there is A LOT of complete crap on etsy).

2. photograph your stuff in a way that is appealing enough that people will want to click on it. i’m kind of a shitty photographer, not helping.

3. list your items in a way that is descriptive enough to be clear, and charming enough to be seductive.

4. when/if people do buy your shit, you then have to pack it, mail it, and then send tracking to the buyer. (and hope that they’re happy with the product).

5. then you have to pay off etsy and paypal, and maybe after the cost of materials and labor, there’s a little left over for you.

regardless of the bullshit hassle, i’ll be taking this opportunity to clear out all my excess inventory, as well as to finish up some product that was in process when the walls came tumbling down. this is in no way cheap plug to get people to buy my silly bullshit. it’s just that with this $1000 game i’m playing, no scheme will be left untried.





lousy smarch weather.

1 03 2010

life is hilarious sometimes.  and by hilarious, i mean cruel and tragic. so after blowing all my cash on gambling and the sandwich party, i decided that march would be the month where i try to make it all back. the truth is that many (most?) people are completely without a savings cushion. even though i finally have a little bit tucked away (hardly the recommended 3-6 months of expenses… but it’s a start!), i’ve been free ballin for my entire life- one lost paycheck away from complete financial ruin. wow. that’s really scary when i say it out loud.

the plan is as follows: imagine that i have no savings, and that a serious financial emergency has occurred where i need $1000 above and beyond what i get paid this month. what do i do?

the irony here is that i woke up to some semi-serious bedroom water damage (see photo) this morning (after fuck-storm 2010), and that if my insurance company doesn’t play nice, i actually could have some significant unexpected expense on my hands. surprise! screw hypothetical, i actually need the money. so how am i going to get it?

here are my ideas so far:

1. ebay & craigslist selling my stuff bonanza.

2. blood plasma.

3. labor ready.

4. amateur night at PT showclub.

5. odd jobs.

6. cash in bottles & cans.

7. cash in loose change around the house (found money jar excluded).

8. make stuff for etsy.

that’s all i got. what else can i do? no good idea will be refused!