Wednesday, October 31, 2007

my favorite day of the year!

Busy busy day!

  1. Finish correcting my T.A. assignments and throw them in the mail so I can party tonight sans guilt!
  2. prepare costume; rip nylons, soak tank top in blood, review zombie makeup techniques
  3. work; 4 -9
  4. come home and GET READY!

Jeez, can you tell I'm stoked? I wish I wasn't working.. it'll be a little hectic getting ready at 10 o clock.

See you at Babylon tonight!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

My boyfriend who kept me up all night with his snoring made it up to me with a pancake breakfast :). Ugh, what a night. In addition to the snoring/waking up, I had crazy frantic dreams; one involved eating what I thought was some spaghetti in the dark, and then walking into the light and finding the plate full of wasps. In another, I was visiting a local prison that was built underground... I was going to the warden's office and the hallway got narrower and narrower... *shudder*. That one's gotta be from watching too much prison break on DVD!
Creatively, not much else going on. I've been working on a wallet for my friend Vanessa becuase a) she needs one badly, b) I'd like a test subject to see how my wallets wear, and c) I love her. Thing is, she's vegan, so I can't use my leather. This has turned out to be a way bigger problem that I could have ever imagined.... Usually, I make the interior and go all around the edges in bias tape. Then I simply stitch it on to the leather exterior, sandwiching the snap strap in between. I can get away with this, because the leather leaves a good cut adge; it won't fray or anything. Making a wallet with a cotton/polyester exterior necessitates me going all around the entire wallet with bias tape, which is really tough! Plus, I can't figure out how to install the snap strap while keeping the entire perimeter of the wallet taped!
Sorry animal-lovers, this is the last vegan wallet undeadclothingco EVER makes (unless she can find a synthetic product with good raw edges. For a good price.)

I vented my frustration by making two wallet exteriors featuring some form of violence against animals

****(before PITA comes to douse me in red paint, know that I am referring to my frustration for synthetic products, not my frustration with animal-kind! Actually, my cat did wake me up several times this morning, whining to go play outside. Then I finally get up and take her to the door, but she doesn't want to go anymore because it's raining! GAH!)

Oh, poor mister chicky... did your head pop off??

mmm, savory sirloin!

The irony is that the steak one is foiled onto velour - VEGAN!

Friday, October 26, 2007

HUGE craftster post asking for brutally honest opinions on quality and pricing of my stuff and not a single bite! :( I'm accustomed to waking up, checking craftster and having several comments on my posts... what gives? Craftsters are either sleeping, or my stuff is really that bad? Boo.

Fruitful trip to Fabricland last night with Vanessa! I got some stiffer interfacing, so maybe my wallets won't be so floppy. I'm not finishing any more till I get my labels though.... I wish they'd come!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Poor Tommy is sick today so I'm taking care of him. I'm also making stuff (of course)!

Today I made another set of coasters; these ones are black with tweed bats on them. I set up an shop, but I'm rediculously hesitant to list anything... seller's anxiety, they call it on craftster. I'm not sure how much to charge; I know it should be relative to how long they take to make, but that's such a variable... it depends on so many things. Supplies are hard to price too, seeing as I use one snap per wallet and they come in packs by weight. I'm also concerned about the quality of my products. I know that handmade wallets can't really stand up to machine-made industrial ones. The last thing I want is to charge someone $30-40 for a wallet that wears out in 2 seconds.

I think I'm going to have to ask craftsters for help on this one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today is a rainy shit-sandwich day, and normally I don't like rainy shit-sandwich days. However, now that I "work from home" and don't necessarily have to go out in the shit-sandwich rain, it's a great excuse to take a day for crafts!

Today I'm going to test out my new Linda MacPhee foil kit... I put some glue in a design last night and I'm going to try to foil it. Exciting! I'm still out of bias tape and interfacing, so I probably won't get any done today, but I can assemble parts and decorate exteriors and stuff. That's really the fun part anyway.

I've come up with some new products for undeadclothingco, due to inspiration from my trip to Workshop, Victoire and Ma Cuisine. I'm thinking; coasters! Ma Cuisine had sets of leather coasters all wrapped up in a leather strap with a snap on it. Lovely presentation, makes a great gift! I could do that. Totally. I can even envision some kind of reverse applique going on... yes. Also, passport cover? It's really a simplified wallet, when you think about it. And if the design on the front has something cool to do with travelling... and it can come with a matching luggage tag!

Okay, now I'm getting carried away. I'd best get to my crafting (and laundry!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun/busy week/weekend of inspiration/fun

1) Bought some fabric scraps (fat quarters) for wallet interiors at the Inspirations needlecraft show. Also a foiling kit that can apparently be used on leather, which is exciting, because when I make my wallets, the applique is the most time-consuming part. Well, not really, but it does take a while.

2) Bought some custom garment labels from 'Jennifers Jewels' on ( They'll look something like this:

Jennifer was awesome; very quick to reply, very eager to answer questions, very reasonably prices. I was happy to do business with her, and I strongly recommend her to others! I bought 30 labels for $10 plus $1 shipping! Perfect for little old me just starting out. I can't wait for them to get here so I can sew 'em in!

3) I worked on my thesis a whole bunch today... I think chapter 2 is almost done. I have a meeting with my supervisor wednesday, and I'd like to print it out and give it to him, just to see if I'm on the right track. I think the uncertainty is what stagnates thesis-writing... always wondering if I'm doing this right?

4) I saw Children of the Corn today and it was terrible. I mean, bad. My combined love of all horror films and short stories by Stephen King oculd not save my disgust with this one. Bad.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Needlecraft convention; FUN!! Couldn't really stay too long today (I have the busiest day EVER) but I'm stoked to go back tomorrow....

Lots of quilting supplies and you know what that means; FABRIC SCRAPS GALORE! Wallet-making heaven. Tidbits of every pattern/print imaginable... and since it's late October, I saw a bunch of Halloween-themed ones; stuff with bats and witches and all that shit I love love love! I'm very excited, as you can tell. I think I'll only bring $50 so I don't go broke!

It's raining cats and dogs right now (don't blame me for using such an antiquated term; I've been chilling with grannies all morning!). And HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TOMMIE JENKINS! Foil and freezer paper party is in order :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Headache today. And grumpy. Missed my bus trying to get to the gym today and almost went back home in protest (I didn't though; I waited for the next one and was 10 mins late for BodyJam). I'm glad I went, because I can say I did something productive with my day. Apart from the gym, I've been browsing wikipedia and youtube.

No wallets today, I'm out of bias tape. I've seen bias-tape-makers at Fabricland; they look like mechanical devices to to help you measure and cut regular fabric into bias tape. It's tempting, because it implies that as long as you have fabric you'll never run out of bias tape, but I bet it's really time-consuming.

I did set up a bigcartel page today and had my domain name forward to it. I'm not sure if I like it... it doesn't allow you as much agency as I thought in terms of layout. If I pay ten bucks a month I get more agency, but I may as well pay ten bucks a month to angelfire and get rid of the ads (which was why I switched). Then again, angelfire doesn't have the built-in payments system... we'll see.

Tonight Tom asked me to go to the hockey game with him. I chose knitting circle. Got my priorities in check!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

...can't... stop... making... WALLETS!

It's getting real bad. It's all I feel like doing. The satisfaction is palpable, and since each one is turning out better than the last, I'm starting to crave the increasing satisfaction.... it's a fix. I've started enstating rules, like "I can only work on wallets after dinner/before bed". It's getting in the way of my research, a LOT. I'm also not getting enough knitting done for xmas presents. eep.

I want to look into more advanced leather tools... stuff that can emboss, or draw... I like the look of the applique I do, but it does take a long time. I timed myself making a wallet last night, and the general assembly of the interior takes about an hour and a half. 15 mins to cut and interface all the pieces, 40 mins to sew 'em all together and install the zipper coin purse, 20 mins to do the bias tape all around the outside. Then I embellish the outer cover and sew it on. *whew*

As I need to start thinking about pricing, I also need to consider the materials I'm using. I got the leather wholesale; a frigging boatload of it for $25. I seriously don't imagine I'll ever run out of that. I bought cheap broadcloth on sale for the interior... $4 a meter, and a tiny fraction of that meter to make a wallet. Do I have to figure out exactly how much that fraction is to determine the cost? I suck at math. Then there's the cost of the zipper (4 for $.99, pretty negligible), the snaps (I forget), and the bias tape (I forget too). I'm considering opening up a line of credit or a bank account strictly for this endeavor to help keep track of my expenses relative to my profits.

But this all sounds so serious. I mean, a bank account?? If I have a business bank acocunt, then I officially have a small business. Am I ready for that? I'm in the middle of a friggin graduate degree. Am I biting off more than I can chew?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

7 random things

Since I've only been blogging for less than a year, revealing 7 factoids that my blog doesn't yet know should be a cinch. Let's see if I can dredge up anything interesting;

  1. I eat meat, and am not apologetic about it. I eat it because I like its taste, and because I have no moral qualms with adhering to the food chain. However, this does not mean that I condone unnecessarily cruel meat-processing practices. Au contraire. I really resent being made to feel like a bad/immoral person because of this personal choice, or that my love for my cat is somehow hypocritical.

  2. I have never been off the North American continent. Unless Mexico counts... that's not South America, is it?
  3. I am terrible at geography.

  4. I have a weakness for musicals and rock operas. Jesus Christ Superstar is my all-time favorite, but I also love Tommy, Moulin Rouge, Chicago... all that good stuff. But I didn't really like Rent. Go figure.

  5. I decline my vote to denote my disatisfaction with all the candidates and the voting system. Its not the same as not voting; it's showing up at the polls, registering, and declining. I think that people who don't like any candidates and vote for "the lesser of evils" are doing the system harm.

  6. I am on good terms with my parents, who are still together and living in Ottawa. They have embraced retirement and travel the world every winter. Last year was Portugal. I simultaneously envy and respect them for their lifetimes of hard work and their ability to enjoy life.
  7. I have a cat! Her name is Felicity and I've had her for about 12 years. She was a stray for a year, so her age is lucky 13; old for a cat, but she's in reasonably good health. She is, however, rather overweight. I've always thought this stemmed from her having been a stray; she still doesn't trust that food will always be available, so she overeats? It's my theory. I love her to bits. I'm aware that she's not a spring chicken anymore (nor was ever a chicken at all), so here's a small tribute.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Between the trouble I had with the applique, and the fact that I sewed the interior in upside-down, that first wallet is a write-off. Fortunately, my second one turned out pretty great!

Thing is, for the outside of this one, I used scraps from a leather coat project.... so the leather is very very thin. I'm worried that this is the only reason it was so easy to work with... does this mean all my thicker upholstery leather is no good for wallets? That's a sad thought.

This one didn't take as long as the first, but it's still pretty frigging time consuming! I guess the longest parts are; cutting the pieces, THEN interfacing them, THEN cutting them again. I'm trying to eliminate one step in this operation by interfacing the fabric first. Bias tape is also somewhat time-consuming... I guess I'll just have to get used to that.
The good news is that materials are reasonably cheap (especially with the amount of leather I have) and they sure are fun! I'll have to post a bunch in the business forum at craftster to see how much people might pay for them. There's a ladyfest craft sale coming up, but I don't think I'll be ready in time... I should be working on xmas gifts instead of undead wallets!
We're off to Montreal today for Chrissy's wedding tomorrow. Can't wait to show Lisa and Aron the fruit of my crafy labor!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

So I swung by yarn forward on my way back from campus and got the lowdown on my machine... or at least I've got some ideas of what to try. It's a tensions issue (which I suspected) and the lady gave me some tips for how to adjust the bobbin tension. She also suggested that I dust the bobbin case. Apparently setting the thread tensions at 0 was contributing to the skipped stitches; thanks, troubleshooting.

Anyway, I'm eager to wake up and tackle this thing again. Making wallets is addictive, and every time I make one, I learn something that I can change to make them more my style. Today's a rainy, shit-sandwich day and knitting circle is cancelled tonight, so what the hey!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

my sewing machine made me scream about ten times yesterday. I couldn't (can't) figure out what's wrong with it! I'm trying to do some applique on the front of a leather wallet, and it's skipping stitches and getting caught and the bobbin side is a mess... so frustrating. All the technical support I get is this troubleshooting page. It says that for skipped stitches you have to lessen the thread tension, but I have mine set at ZERO! It doesn't go any lower! If I call yarn forward they're just going to have me bring it in, which isn't extremely convenient on the bus in the rain. I'm going to wrestle with it a little more this morning, but fuck!!

Apart from the leather applique woes, the rest of my wallet project is going well. I went to fabricland yesterday and bought some metres of broadcloth and cotton, some prints and some solids. Also a whole bunch of little zippers; 4 for a dollar! Some bias tape, some fabric glue for the appliques... not too shabby. I wish I could make wallets for a living... but I'm also careful what I wish for.

What else? Work tonight. Should probably get to campus at some point today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

I don't like to nag my significant other about the few things left unfinished in our house, but I am freezing! We still don't have a furnace, and it's starting to cool down! Cold fingers keep warm by typing, sewing, knitting, anything!!

So yeah, finally made guage, starting mittens. Also working on an undead wallet... the construction went pretty well; now I'm trying to do applique on the leather outside. Applique is not as easy as it looks, and leather is rather unforgiving when it comes to mistakes. Fortunately I have so much of it, it's not like I'm wasting it on trial and error or anything. I need some stuff at Fabricland... bias tape, small zippers, lining fabric and fusible interfacing. Maybe I'll make a pilgrimage later today. I'd like to have some product photos on the website by xmas.

Working on my thesis this morning, which is going pretty good. I had originally wanted to do the theoretical mumbo-jumbo first and get it over with, but my supervisor suggested doing the empirical part first to keep my interest and motivation up. Good call! Watching the movies in my dark office with my headphones on is definately lifting my spirits.

Was that a pun?
I think it was.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The bad news: An "undead clothing" company exists! A couple of girls have made a myspace page and a little shop page for it. Worse, they feature bats prominently in their designs, something I was also planning to do.

The good news: The aforementioned bat hoodie appears to be the one and only product they have available. Also, with the exception of the bats, they're going for a pretty different aesthetic... their site is covered with pink and diamonds and their logo is a mock-up of the Louis Vuitton all-over print.

Still, I was bummed to learn the name wasn't as original as I had hoped. I'd had the name kicking around in my head for so long now, I thought I'd have come across any others. Not the end of the world though, or so I'm assured.

Turkey turkey turkey at the cottage this weekend! Not much knitting because I can't seem to make guage on the mittens. My needles are down to a US 2 (!) and if I have to use those, I'll never finish them. Bummer! I may have to scour for a new mitten pattern.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Shopping, shopping yesterday with mom, and so much knitting my hands hurt today. Almost done gift for Finny.

Today I worked on my thesis a little and spruced up a little. Some more graphics and a guestbook added. Big deal. Desperately need some product photos... and product, for that matter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Aha! Motivation! In 2 forms;

1- picked up both versions of Night of the Living Dead, the new Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead on DVD. If I immerse myself in this undead world, my thesis I will write.

2- Got an email from the Carleton listserv about a call for papers for a conference in Mtl on community. I get a million of these calls for papers every week, but I think I might actually apply to this one. It says it's looking especially for manifestations of globalized community as represented in art or literature. Movies isn't that far off. I think I could make a good case. I'll write up an abstract by January.

3- Signed up with Angelfire and got my domain name to fwd there. I also added a cool background, but it says something about myspacelayouts down the side. It needs a look of work, and my html/web-building skills need a lot of tweaking, but at least it's started. At least the $$ I paid for now goes somewhere. Even if all there is is a background image, a link to this blog and the words "coming soon".

Zombies this morning, work tonight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mom's slippers - fait accompli!

All done! and aren't they adorable! I love the slight point to the toe... it gives them a bit of an elfish look.

Oddly enough, the pattern has disappeared from the site! I feel so lucky to have nabbed it (and printed it) before it went away. I'd like to make some more of these babies... maybe some alterations...

they would look pretty good undead.

Monday, October 1, 2007

  • finish correcting assignments; sort, organize, etc.
  • go shopping? I actually need stuff, not the frivolous kind of shopping
  • draft up some logos for Mallory... this hsouldn't take long and isn't that hard, but I'm dreading it for some reason.

I should have the slippers completed by tonight; I'm just doing the finishing and some appliques on top. I found a sewing pattern for a great leather wallet online, which I may try out later today. If it works, maybe my xmas gifts can be wallets as well as mittens?

I should also go to the gym. And get a haircut.