Sunday, December 7, 2008

My new favorite thing

Super cool bottle found by my mother, and some vintage fabric purchased from Modish Vintage.


The adjacent dresser - not really visible in this image - has been in need of re-finishing for quite some time, and this new lamp has finally helped me decide on a direction. Too bad it will have to wait until milder weather (the need for open windows and all...).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bauble-icious


Tangentially to the Great Re-Decorate of '08, I finally completed my custom jewelry box, made from IKEA's famed FIRA mini-chest. The FIRA collection is perhaps my favorite, and the most versatile of IKEA's small storage solution offerings.

I stained the exterior with my all-time favorite Minwax Wood Finish - Red Oak - and lined each drawer in a floral print that couldn't have matched my dresser any better if I had tried (and I swear I didn't, I bought this fabric on spec, with lampshades in mind). The drawer bottoms are lined with felt in a super bright fuchsia.

Love it! Now I have plenty of room for all the great necklaces I've been accumulating. FYI - I am so over earrings; it's all about adorning the decolletage (haha...or lack thereof in my case).

And here's a tip: glue sticks! Glue sticks are my new favorite crafting supply. Perhaps not quite as secure or permanent as spray adhesive, but so much easier and less of a hassle to use (plus, I can use it indoors).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Great ReDecorate of '08

I am redecorating my life! And by my life, I mean my apartment. And by my apartment, I mean my living room.

The inspiration? This lamp, my latest sidewalk rescue project!


I am horrible at remembering to take before pictures, but lucky for me, it was from Ikea (just imagine it with a busted shade and looking like its previous owner didn't clean the house all that often).


Now as far as the Great ReDecorate of '08 is concerned, everything hinged on finding just the right fabric for a new lampshade, and I was absolutely thrilled when I found this one from Lindylou Fabrics. And FYI, Etsy is becoming one of my favorite venues for supplies.

The fabric has tons of colors - including everything I needed, plus everything that was missing from my life. And it has already inspired even more great Etsy purchases. Updates to come...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's been keeping me so busy

while not a "craft" project, per se, I now present my latest creative endeavor...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A question for the ages

Is a blog about the fact that I haven't blogged in way too long worth blogging about?

Oh, blog it!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crafty Marketing

Every once in a while, you've gotta take a break from making THINGS, in order to make SALES!

I have been super slack on putting together the most essential of marketing tools, namely business cards. But in preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Antic, I figured it was about darn time. The jury is still out on whether or not craft fairs are the best venue for me, but even if they don't result in a lot of same-day sales, you never know what future sales may be lurking around the corner. That said, it's sort of ridiculous that it's taken me until now to put together a proper business card.

However, most of Saturday afternoon was actually spent designing a postcard. The postcard is so much more fun! By its very nature it allows for some actual messaging, and the opportunity to get a little more creative. But the business card is still an essential. Why? Because it fits in a pocket.


My philosophy as far as business cards are concerned is that the design should be clean and simple, and not distract from their primary purpose as a quick reference tool. Therefore, I kept it pretty straight forward (plus I was a bit burned out after spending so much time on the postcard...)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Been feeling a bit pigeon-holed...

The 'ol Etsy sales have been a little slow lately, which frankly, is a.o.k. with me. It's coincided quite nicely with a (hopefully temporary) lull in my enthusiasm, plus given me the time to get to some other craft projects.

When I first learned of the freezer paper method of stenciling, I was hankering to give it a go. Well, I am pretty sure it's been on my to-do list for well over a year now, but FINALLY, here it is: my first ever, original stenciled piece.



I wanted to keep it simple - I don't know how people do the really intricate stuff, clearly they are way more skilled with an x-acto - so I went with this lovely pigeon silhouette. Despite being the rats of the bird family, they're still pretty cute I think. And as you can see, I couldn't help myself from embellishing it just a bit with that one little rhinestone.

I'm pretty happy with how it came out. There are a few teensy, tiny places where the edges could be a bit sharper, but other than that the only real problem is that it got a little messed up during the final step of heat-setting the paint with the iron. The tutorial I was following suggested placing a clean piece of freezer paper over the dried image during this step, which in the future I wouldn't repeat. Granted I was a little antsy with letting the paint fully dry, which probably exacerbated the problem, but the piece of freezer paper left a bunch of blotchy, waxy residue over it. Even after touching it up afterward, it still appears a bit blotchy. Oh well, lesson learned. Should have used the tutorial linked to above ;)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Where's your Olympic spirit?

I was browsing through Etsy, really hoping to find some cool Olympics inspired stuff, and I gotta tell ya, I was wanting more. I can't believe no one has stenciled Phelps' goofy, beautiful grin on a t-shirt yet? Maybe everyone is just too busy being glued to the around-the-clock coverage (like me) to post new items.

Here's what I did find (click on image to view Etsy listing):

A little cutesy for me, but I have to give it props seeing as how swimming is THE sport to watch (and the fact that I was a swimmer):


The beauty of sport:


Classic iconography:


Instantly classic iconography:


The coziest way of all to show your Olympic spirit:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crafting a real vacation

Like a typical overworked American, most of my vacation days get all gobbled up by family obligations, which are decidedly not "vacation," and the occasional long weekend, which is just too fleeting to count.

So I have been eagerly anticipating my first ever "staycation" (a full week off from work, minimal travel beyond the city limits) which will officially commence at 2:45pm this Saturday (I am volunteering for the NYC triathlon Saturday morning in order to secure a spot for next year's race, thus the delayed start time). But here's the thing, in order to properly vacation, I think it might be necessary to put the crafting on hold as well. What!?

Can anyone else relate? I have become so accustomed to spending all my spare time tinkering with lamps and the like, that I've plumb forgot how to veg out and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon watching 10 Things I Hate about You for the 20th time because it's once again the Sunday Matinee on channel 11.

Maybe I'll allow myself just a couple of those little projects that keep getting put off, or limit myself to just one afternoon of work on the ol' Etsy shop. But I fear that may be a slippery slope...

I need to take a break, but when it comes to crafting, I just can't break the habit!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Craft my Cube

Turns out my day job cubicle - blerg... yes, I work in a cubicle... - is the perfect place for displaying and making use of some of my most crafty possessions. Plus, the craftiness of it all really helps alleviate that certain sterile something that accompanies the much maligned 'cube.'

The crafting of my cube is still a work in progress, but here's a sneak peak. Oh, and just in case anyone from the DIY network is out there, I smell a new show idea...feel free to contact me...


1. This one is actually a bit silly. I like to keep hand sanitizer on my desk, but I don't like the sterile (there's that word again...) look of a big 'ol dispenser of Purell just sitting there. After toying with the idea of knitting a Purell dispenser cozy, I realized that the much simpler solution was to just get a nice soap dispenser. I stole an idea straight from the pages of the now defunct Adorn magazine, and 'adorned' this simple one from Target with Hambly Screen Prints rub-on's.

2. OOOOOH...This one is my favorite!!! I just got it! It's a moss terrarium courtesy of Made By Mavis. Perfect for bringing something a little green - and more importantly, low maintenance - into the workplace. And it is so cute (especially with the teeny tiny turtle figurine I added)! Check out the close-up down below.

3. Ok, so it's not handmade, but I bought this little coin bank from Pearl River Mart because it was cute, cheap, and just plain irresistible. I figured it would be good for saving the change whenever I treat myself to some Dunkin' Donuts or Dr. Pepper, but surprisingly, I've been really good about keeping those daytime treats to a minimum (yay me!).

4. The very first lamp made by Yours truly. Naturally it has a few minor flaws being the prototype and all, but that's what makes it special and all mine.

5. Who's that browsing Etsy at work? Tisk, tisk.


Oh, and how could I forget about the non-sanctioned tacks I crafted (yes, tacks are supposed to be uniform throughout the office, although I don't think anyone's enforcing that)? Just some self-adhesive, decorative paper over a clothespin, and a couple of ordinary tacks glued to the back. Much better...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Done and Done

Oh man...I got a little in over my head with my first 'wholesale' order. I was enlisted to make 24 of my beer bottle votives, and while on the surface that doesn't (and didn't) sound so bad, I am super relieved to have them all finished...finally. I went through at least 100 beer bottles in order to get to the finished 24, so a huge thank you to all my beer guzzling friends and co-workers.


I'm also pretty stoked that the libation I'm currently sipping on is NOT beer for a change :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scrapping together something extra

So many great fabrics...what to do with all the scraps? BUTTONS! And perfect as "free trinkets with purchase!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Who's that on the Etsy home page?


It's Yours truly...along with just a few of my lovely and talented New New compatriots.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I bought stuff at Renegade...did you?


I didn't make it over to Renegade until Sunday, which is a bit atypical for me...I generally like to scope it out first on Saturday (although that does usually entail a purchase or two) and then head back over on Sunday with the bf in tow in order to get his opinion on things I didn't (yet) buy. The Sunday only routine worked really nicely for me this year, and I credit it with the fact that I was much more restrained with my spending, which is a good thing...no, a great thing!

You see, at craft fairs past I have always succumb to that sense of urgency they instill (this is my one and only chance to buy this truly, truly unique X, and if I don't buy it now, I'll regret it for the rest of my life) only to regret at least one of those purchases when exposed to the true light of day-after-craft-fair.

Well not this time by George. It's the day after alright, and not only do I respect my purchases, I love 'em!

Just what did I get? Check it all out... The shirt in the picture above is courtesy of Red Prairie Press. And below, helping me rep for my favorite borough of them all, is the unique design of Brookadelphia (notice they go by BROOKadelphia rather than Phillyn...even though I kinda like the sound of that come to think of it...oh wait, that's probably because my boy's name in Dylan).


"Splat" is the handiwork of none other than Stereoette.


And what's all that in my hot little hand? What looks like another 'ol craft book is actually an awesome journal that just happened to borrow a bit from some 'ol craft book, a product of Ex Libris Anonymous. And in front is a set of the cutest little note cards ever...they read "*notes are better than letters"...get it? I don't have info on the lovely lady that I bought them from though, so if anyone recognizes her work, do tell!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Happy Handmade Father's Day

I’m not sure whether it’s simply the male DNA to blame, or some chemical/biological change that occurred the moment he became a father, but either way, my dad is impossible to shop for. He doesn't want for new clothes (still wearing t-shirts from well before I was born), has no hobbies really (unless you consider his clarinet playing, but he does that professionally so it doesn’t count), and is generally pretty content with the stuff he already owns.

So what to buy the man who doesn’t want or need anything? Well, he already has a lamp made from an old clarinet - seriously - so anything from the likes of Yours truly is out the window.

I looked to my fellow New New’ers for ideas, and here are some of my faves…

A new tie from ikyoto


Message to dad: Stop wearing those awful clarinet ties! They are even dorkier than a piano tie, and most people wouldn’t have even thought that was possible. Now THIS is a tie! I have no idea what the text on it might say, but as a tie, it practically screams “I am the coolest dad ever!”

Cuff Links from wabisabi brooklyn


French cuffed shirts are a classic, classy look; it’s too bad more men don’t wear them. These super cool cuff links are a perfect gift for a new dad who needs some subtle fashion advice. Unfortunately my dad is too far gone.

Nice soap from Kopah


I know for a fact that dad’s appreciate a nice, handmade soap. My grandparents were visiting this one time, and there just happened to be some goat’s milk soap that my mom had picked up at a craft event in the shower they were using, and my gramps went ga-ga over it. Help your dad ditch the Irish Spring and broaden his hygiene horizons (my dad’s name his Gene, insert pun there).

And don’t forget the card...from waisze


Or if you’re like me, it might be all about the card. Because he is, as I said, impossible to shop for, and as homage to the fact that I am truly my father’s daughter (read: I am cheap, and I learned it from watching you dad), I have been known to acknowledge Father’s Day with nothing more than a thoughtful card and a timely phone call. And you know what, I’m still his favorite daughter.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Who's that hangin' out in the Treehouse?

Why...it's none other than Yours truly! A special selection of original lamps from Yours truly is now available at Williamsburg's favorite cute little shop for vintage and handmade stuff, Treehouse.

Whether you need a new lamp or not, you should definitely stop by...you're sure to find something you want/need/want badly enough to rationalize it as a need. Plus they offer classes from time to time, as well as their latest feature, online shopping (courtesy of Etsy naturally).

Treehouse is located at 430 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, open Wednesday - Sunday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ya win some, ya lose some

Today marked my first appearance selling at Williamsburg's Artists and Fleas, and as much as I might enjoy shopping there myself, it was sort of a bust. Nothing against the venue per se, I think it was simply an ill-fated planetary alignment and/or the following:

a. While the weather held out for the most part, it was rather iffy most of the day and foot traffic was LIGHT
b. In general, I'd say it's a venue that caters best to vintage clothing, jewelry and t-shirts (that's what is usually there, and that's what people expect)
c. Except for one super awesome lady, people apparently weren't in the mood to buy lamps today

Oh, but here's something fun...take a step behind the table ladies and gents, and experience...The Seller's Perspective

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Grandma Chic

I, Yours truly, hereby coin the term "Grandma Chic." I've been using the term casually for some time now, but I've finally decided to make it official.

And what you may ask is "Grandma Chic"? Well, that's the beauty of it; I believe the term is quite self explanatory, and does a superb job of calling to mind the precise qualitative nature which it is meant to denote. You see, it refers to a certain type of vintage aesthetic that while reminiscent of a bygone era and a doting motherly figure, remains thoroughly 'en vogue.'

Examples of Grandma Chic:



Let it also be noted that the entire modern craft movement could in fact be characterized as grandma chic.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Can't...stop...buying...fabric




I exaggerate. My fabric purchasing habit isn't nearly as severe as my Target or Forever 21 habits. However, like most crafty persons I know, I just can't help buying a fabulous print, even if I have no idea what to do with it.

But fortunately, I know exactly what I will do with these new purchases - lampshades! - that is, unless I just can't help it, and use them for my own selfish desires.

Update on original post (05.17.08):
Just got my fabric in the mail today - the one that I have pictured on the left is amazing! Love it! Not only is it super cute, but it has a great texture. It would be awesome for just about anything, but it will definitely look really good on a lampshade...yay!

Monday, May 5, 2008

So new?

My goodness...so much time has passed, and yet I don't have much to report. Yesterday I took part in another lovely installment of the Hearts & Crafts Affair over at Cafe Grumpy, and not only did I pick up a few new goodies for myself, but I also sold a handful of lamps along the way.

Thanks to KimmChi for stopping by and snapping a pic of my display! Please ignore the fact that I look like a weirdo however...I don't think I knew my picture was being taken (yeah...that explains it...).


Yours truly can be spotted next at Artist & Fleas' Etsy Day - Sunday, May 18. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

New BFFs



Oh how you make my life so much easier...

Amendment to my original post (05.12.08):
I'm slow...I only just recently realized that the little red button you see on that rotary cutter is a locking mechanism so that I can keep the blade exposed without holding in the handle the entire time. Also, I think I nicked the blade a bit or something, because it keeps missing a bit of fabric at regular intervals when I make a cut. Oh well...still better that cutting everything the old fashioned way.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Don't forget...

This Sunday marks the debut of the Brooklyn Flea. Check out their web site for the most complete directions ever on how to get there - www.brownstoner.com/brooklynflea.

And guess what...the outlook for Sunday is about as good as it gets for the first weekend in April - sunny and mid-50's.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Craft Diaries: Part 3

Dear Craft Diary,

Where was I? Oh yes, when we last met I had just finished reminiscing about my forays into crafting during my Chapel Hill days. (Speaking of Chapel Hill, I just received an Etsy order from Chapel Hill – how funny?)

After Chapel Hill I found myself in Boston for what I like to consider my graduate school of life. It was a period when although I had finally matriculated, there remained much to learn, and I am grateful that I got to live it instead of reading it in a book or discussing it in a classroom.

Anywho, crafting...my impetus for crafting in those days was my discovery of the store Beadworks. I was in need of something special to where for a special occasion, and like so many other beaded jewelry makers, I decided to make it rather than search endlessly for just the right thing. I had no idea what I was doing, but through trial and error eventually developed some technique with wire wrapping and such, and if I do say-so myself, a certain knack for bead shopping. Or maybe that’s just shopping? Or spending money? Either way, it’s a knack. Then again, it could just be a knick knack. Or a paddy whack? OK, I’ll stop. Sorry, got a little carried away with that one.

Later on, not entirely satisfied with my beads and wire, I decided that owning a sewing machine would empower me to do any number of crafty things. But the machine I got was a lemon, so it mostly collected dust.

And then I had an idea, an amazing idea. I had always wanted to own my own boutique, so I thought why not open an online boutique – an online destination that would offer the best variety of handmade, unique wares. Trouble is, apparently, someone else had the same idea, except a way better version of it, and the means to do it really, really well. My meager little venture IlanaRose.com (nothing's there anymore) was short-lived and cost me money that would have been better spent on craft supplies. But somewhere down in Brooklyn, Etsy was being hatched, and I’m pretty darn ok with how their version turned out.

Ta,
Yours truly

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patting Yours truly on the back

I have to say, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the initial success of my Etsy shop. All of my previous sales endeavors have always been met with a fairly luke warm reception, so it is just fantastic that I seem to have finally (although I don't want to speak to soon) hit upon something that strikes a cord with folks.

I want to give a huge thank you to The Broken Plate who expressed great enthusiasm for my items right from the start, and was pretty much responsible for my adding a custom lamp shade listing to my shop's offerings - a great idea that I hadn't thought of yet. And best of all, she was kind enough to give me a nice little write up in her Craft Therapy blog.

From the looks of her blog, she is definitely an all-around super crafty lady who is up to all types of worthy endeavors. I love that she also has a focus on upcycling and making use of the old and discarded. After all, it's called The Broken Plate for a reason - check out this piece that I've already bookmarked as one of my faves on Etsy.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And I'm back...

I had the flu, and then it was house guests, but I'm back and ready to start living my life again. More coming soon...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Hooray

I had my first sale on Etsy today! And not only that, but I sold 2 of my 3 items listed (to the same kind woman in CO). My store is pretty empty now, but it's for a good cause - me!

Friday, March 7, 2008

What's in a name?

I am currently going crazy and stressing over business names.

A little background: My first commercial craft venture was done under my actual name (because my parents did a great job in that department) "Ilana Rose." But then I got started with the craft store business, so I came up with the name "HandMaiden NY," and started doing everything under that name. But then reasons arose for me to abandon that name as well (as previously discussed), thus I have just about completed my latest name change.

Presenting...*drum-roll please*..."Yours truly, Brooklyn."

HOWEVER, I am sort of already suffering a terrible case of buyer's remorse. Is this name the one? I still really like the name "Brooklyn Belle" which I dabbled with briefly a year ago or so. But that doesn't lend itself to a store name for down the road, and all of my crafting is done with an eye toward the future. Argghhh, I just don't know.

Oy, my head is spinning...have I ever mentioned that I am very indecisive?

Here's a rundown of all that the name change has entailed:

1. New URL - www.yourstrulyxoxo.com (the old one redirects)
2. New blog URL (and name) - blog.yourstrulyxoxo.com (the old one redirects as well)
3. MySpace - here's where things get murky. "yourstrulyxoxo" was already taken, so I got "yourstruly__xoxo," but then decided it would make more sense to just not mess with my MySpace so as not to lose any friends, so basically I am all over the place there. I think I now have like 3 identical pages floating around on MySpace. Oh well, hardly ever go on there anymore.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Craft Diaries: Part 2

Dear Diary,

After my first dalliance with sewing, I didn't do much more for a while. My mom would sew stuff for me here and there, and I usually helped out to an extent, but not enough to advance my skills much.

Sure, I enjoyed craft related stuff, and liked to assist my mom with her various projects around the house (she has pretty much done everything in our house - paint, refinish, tile, embroider anything from cornices to throw pillows, make curtains, the list goes on) but I was way preoccupied with competitive swimming. I spent all my free time from about age 10 until 21 starring at the black line on the bottom on a swimming pool, and I was fairly blind to everything else (except boys - want to know who I had a crush on when I was 10, and then at 12, or how about at 16? I could list them all).

I never gave much formal thought to making stuff until college when I discovered a lovely little bead store adjacent to an upscale fabric store in the same strip mall as Harris Teeter. I might have tried to make some jewelry - I don't really remember - but I definitely decided to make a purse in the style of a way overpriced one I had seen in a nearby gift shop, and embellish it with some beads.

It actually came out pretty well, but I NEVER used it. The strap came out way too long, and I don't know, it was just never the purse I wanted to use when heading out for the evening. I finally got rid of it a few years ago. Too bad, I wish I could share a picture with you.

And then I made a mermaid costume for Halloween my senior year. It came out ok, just ok. Like that skirt back in fourth grade, I still didn't have much of a concept for how clothing should be constructed, nor did I bother with a pattern. But it was just a costume after all.

Til next time,
Ilana

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Let's be renegades together

I made a feeble attempt at applying to last summer's Renegade, but this year I want to do it right. I'm trying to pull together a group of perhaps 3-5 folks, depending on how much stuff everyone has, in order to submit a super strong group application full of variety and panache.

Pretty please, if you're interested, or know someone who should be, put them in touch with me, and pronto - info@handmaidenny.com.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Any ideas?

So, I got this really cool decanter that I'm going to use for another lamp, but I'm wondering what I can do with its stopper. I don't have any use for it as far as the lamp is concerned, but it's super cool too...anybody have an idea? It is sort of heavy and chunky, FYI.

Friday, February 22, 2008

BUST is doing it again

Seems they've decided to get back in touch with their Craftacular roots by bringing it back to Brooklyn with the first ever Spring Fling Craftacular, to be held at The Warsaw in Greenpoint (even though their web site claims Williamsburg). Very exciting, to me at least.

The event is scheduled for Sunday April 27, and its line-up includes all the same fun and games as their hugely successful Holiday Craftacular - over 50 vendors, DJs, dancing, drinks, and a 90's themed dance party!

Vendor applications are due March 30, and can be found at http://www.bust.com/craftacular/spring.fling.apply.html. FAQs are also available at http://www.bust.com/craftacular/spring.fling.faq.html.

Miss you there - I'll actually be in FL celebrating my grandfather's birthday with the fam.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Let there be lamp!

Deciding to step away from jewelry for a while (with the exception of a few little baubles for myself), I had the idea a while back to try my hand at lamp making, and...Ta-da!


While definitely a 'learning piece,' I'm still pretty happy with the results of my very first lamp. It's going to be my new desk lamp at work since there's no space for it at home.

Lessons learned:
1. Wine bottles are maybe too tall, maybe not.
2. Entirely do-it-yourself lamp shade = way too labor intensive. Apparently there are a lot of pre-fab, self-adhesive ones available that ought to make things much easier. And if stenciling or something, like I did on this one, a cheap, ready-made shade would be the way to go.

Techniques to try in the future:
1. Etching
2. More interesting bottles
3. Putting stuff in the bottle
4. Something other than a bottle

p.s. Those of you that have been with me for a while might recognize that stencil...have totally gotten my money's worth with that one :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Craft night

Gal pal R. Vine hosted a lovely craft night this past Tuesday, and I'm happy to report that it served as the impetus for me to finally make good on a promise to myself to learn how to crochet. Apparently even a children's crochet book is too difficult for me to follow, so with the aid of new friend Lindsey, I successfully put together a nice little practice swatch.

Why are needlework instructions so difficult for me to follow? Am I the only one with this problem? It's like, in an effort to be so thoroughly explanatory, they make it more complicated than it needs to be. Just say: "wrap yarn under hook from back to front. Pull slip knot off and over hooked yarn." But they muck it up with so many superfluous details on exactly how to hold the hook, and balance the hook, and which fingers to use, and how to hold the yarn, and how you should be sitting, and which hand to use for grabbing your wine glass (well, maybe not that one)...enough already, just tell me what I need to know in plain and simple language, and leave all the rest out. Or better yet, sit down next to me and show me.

How to replicate that one-on-one tutorial experience into written instructions? If someone could figure that out, I mean really nail it, then we'd be onto something.

Friday, February 8, 2008

New name coming soon...

Handmaiden NY was the first name I came up with that I liked, but I never loved it. Plus, when I began talks with a potential partner, she didn't love it either, and since I wasn't sold on her proposed business name, we decided to start from scratch. I've stuck with Handmaiden all this time on account of that business plan competition (so as not to confuse things, since that was my working name at the time the competition commenced). So anywho, now that the competition is over and done with, I figure why not roll out the new name that I am in love with...

Why not? Well, I do have a new domain purchased, and the logo you may have now become accustomed to was inspired by, and works much better with the new name (at least I think so), however, I can't do anything about my blog URL. I can change its title and all (I think), but the URL will still involve handmaiden. And so will the MySpace, but I haven't done much with that anyhow, so whatevs.

Oh well, I'll just have to not worry about that for now. Whenever this store actually opens it'll probably warrant a whole new blog, but in the mean time, the handmaiden URL can serve as another reminder of how this is all a work in progress. Yeah, I like that reasoning...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Craft Diaries: Part 1

Dear Diary,

OK, so you're probably wondering, "Does this girl even make anything, or is she all talk?" A fair enough question; I've devoted very little space to discussing my actual, nuts and bolts craft ventures. I'm here to rectify that.

What do I do? What have I made? How did it all begin?

I think my penchant for making things myself can be traced back to fourth grade when my mom gave me free reign with her sewing machine to make a skirt. I had no idea what I was doing. No pattern, no idea of how actual clothing should be constructed, just a picture in my mind of what I thought the 'it' skirt of the day was - a mid-calf, pencil type thing with a slit in the back from which some lace peeked out. I managed to put something together (probably with at least some help from my mom), and although it promptly ripped the following morning when I was getting on the school bus, it was wearable enough to make it out the door. It was pretty terrible, but I was mighty proud.

Regretfully, my skills as a seamstress haven't improved much. I have owned a sewing machine for the past couple of years, but until recently it was this refurbished Singer that my mom had gotten me, and that machine and I did not get along well. Needless to say, I didn't use it much, and the clothing projects I attempted didn't turn out so well. While I now have a better idea of how clothing should be constructed, I still don't like patterns much.

But...I got a new machine - a Bernette (by Bernina) 65 - and so far, so good. I am versed in the basics, so I can totally handle the simple stuff like tote bags, of which I've made plenty (Holiday presents a couple years ago). I was stoked with the results of my first project with the new machine (check out my new everyday tote pictured below), and even more stoked that I got through it with no snags, literally.



I've pledged to take good care of my new friend Bernette and follow all her maintenance instructions. We're getting along so well, I definitely want to keep it that way! And, feeling empowered by this new relationship, I've mustered the courage to properly undertake clothing. First on the agenda - a cute pair of bloomers for my most favorite summer dresses (that are a smidge on the short side).

But I've dabble in so many other things...more to come later

A new craft fair venue - how exciting!

The Brooklyn Brownstoner has been hard at work organizing what is sure to be the "biggest and most interesting flea market in the city." Its Brooklyn Flea is set to launch April 6 on the Bishop Loughlin schoolyard on Lafayette Avenue in Fort Greene (map).

In their own words, they admit that: "We use the term 'flea market' with both affection and a wink and a nod because...while the Brooklyn Flea will offer plenty of flea market meat-and-potatoes (vintage clothing, music and furniture), it will also have an exciting mix of local designers, artists and crafties."

Get excited and find out more by checking out their new blog.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Make your own valentines

...or buy some that someone else has made. As featured on the Calendar of Craft, the Brooklyn Indie Market is hosting a craft fair this Sunday.

Brooklyn Indie Market: Be Your Own Valentine
When: Sun, Feb 10, 12pm – 6pm
Where: Camp Lounge, 179 Smith St. (between Warren and Wyckoff), Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Sunday, February 3, 2008

My family is nuts, but hilarious

I have to give a shout out to my brother for his own crafty venture - his homemade documentary Jews at Sea. Plus, I'm in it, and that's always fun. Check out the trailer -



If you like what you see, you can be his friend too - www.myspace.com/jewsatsea

Monday, January 28, 2008

oh darn


Poop! After many, many months of the most drawn out competition ever (PowerUp! Business Plan Competition), the results are in. And...I didn't win. But I didn't leave empty handed either. I received a PowerUp! branded umbrella (automatic!), a sweet little set of laptop accessories (the miniature mouse is a scientific marvel), and a framed certificate on which I'll be replacing "Honorable Mention" with "Super Duper Craftastic." Actually, I'd first like to replicate it in cross stitch before making that little change in wording, and then it should be just about perfect for hanging in my future office.

But seriously, I did come away with a totally buttoned-up business plan, and the validation of having been recognized as a finalist. And while I didn't secure the big bucks as far as prize money goes, I wasn't left empty handed in that regard either. While not enough to start a business - or pay a month's rent - it's money I didn't have before. It's covering the cost of my new sewing machine (a Bernette 65 - more on that later) and getting the ol' savings account kick started again.

All in all, PowerUp! was definitely a worth while endeavor, and I highly recommend it to anyone planning a new business (in Brooklyn or Queens). If nothing else it will help organize your thoughts and plans, and put a deadline on getting it all together. And who knows, maybe you'll end up with a little extra pocket change too!

p.s. So here's a funny little anecdote. There are sure to be at least a handful of reasons for why the winner won and I didn't (maybe Mod Podge isn't as cool as I thought? Nah...). However, in introducing the winner, it was noted that "she's already earned a following on her blog." Now there's a novel idea... but hers really is a 'novel' idea - she's planning to open a book store.