Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Got Craft? You certainly will soon!
The annual, the famous, the cult, the legendary Got Craft? holiday fair takes place on Sunday, December 5th at the Royal Legion Hall (2205 Commercial Drive in Vancouver, at East 6th Avenue) jam packed with the coolest, most incredible of Vancouver's finest indie designers (and me).
Doors open at 10am, the first 45 lucky entrants get a most amazing, legendary Got Craft? swag bag (packed with goodies from the participating vendors) .... so, in translation - doors may open at 10am but the line up will probably be well underway by 7am.
Be there or be swagless :(
Monday, November 29, 2010
no, this isn't the start of yet another alliteratively titled regular blog posts (heavens, i already have wordless wednesdays, friday fortes and fibre fridays and have flirted with a shout-out saturday) though it is tempting to get the creative juices running by installing yet another theme into my blogging.
as a complete side note, and off topic though vaguely related poser, my new blogging venture will be thru the newly discovered "send to" option on google reader whereby i will be regurgitating posts from the other blog on here (only the fascinating ones)(wait, they're all fascinating)
no, mompreneur monday is something i shall not be featuring on my blog. i truly dislike the term. according to wiki, it equates with very small business, hobbypreneur or home-based business, all of which are correct but are really limiting
there are some amazing and inspiring women who also happen to be mums who are attempting to balance life, motherhood, their family's needs and personal contentment/career matters all together in the melting pot that is Domestic Life. i applaud them totally. and let's face it, it's what i'm trying to do too but i've decided i choose not be labeled mompreneur.
- it sounds cutesy (along with some of the company names IMO)(including mine)(i'll give my reasons for its name in another post).
- it sounds derogatory and somewhat patronising (she's only a mompreneur)(yes, we all know how much it takes to do the family and business thing but ...)
- it sounds like an excuse for not getting back to Real Work (whatever that is)
- it seems to offer a complete opt-out of being professional since the implication is Family Comes First, and don't think that the general public won't latch on to this
- there is now a real pressure on for all mums to be doing this, to be running a cottage bib-making or toy-stuffing workshop while their children nap/breastfeed/watch quality programming on tv/play with their organic handmade fairtrade recycled biodigestible authentic toythings (aka cardboard box)
and finally, when was the last time you heard a man being described as a dadpreneur?
my work here is done ..
Sunday, November 28, 2010
'tarantula: i always get what i want' wire and fibre ring
Life is busy busy busy right now. I'm two-fifths thru a busy craft fair season (next week at the St. Thomas Moore christmas fair) and replacing inventory like crazy (thanks buyers! - you're helping fund my back-to-college attempt).
I blogged last week about the opening for Positively Petite, the miniatures exhibit at Place des Arts - well, how about a peek of what's going on to tempt you away from your computer desk (courtesy of the folks at the V3H, thanks for the mention).
... and don't forget to check the christmas boutique while you are there. You'll find some amazing work by local artists and no doubt complete your gift buying ahead of time. Once you've said hello to Joy Kirkwood's gorgeous multi media collage seahorses in Positively Petite have a look at my 'life'a beach' collection on sale in the gift shop.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
I'm sure it's unintentional, but have you noticed how many mums who appear to "have it all" never seem to mention how they actually do what they do? We hear about scheduling, and flexibility, and nods are given to equal parenting and quality time. Mentions are made of delegating automated tasks like housecleaning, laundry and even meal prep. Date nights are written in dual diaries. Good night calls are phoned in on business trips.
But very little about who's looking after the children, though the childfulness of the mum is repeatedly stressed.
This is a complete assumption on my part, but I'm reading between the lines and guessing there is a burden of guilt here in having your own business/career and contracting out your parenting. I'm betting that the price of "having it all" is "having to appear that you are doing it all" ... and that includes all the mummy stuff.
Women in general, and mothers in particular, are open to ridiculous amounts of judgement in their daily lives. Everyone, it seems, is an instant expert on what they are doing wrong and why it is all their fault. Avoiding criticism and judgement is a natural human trait ... but come on ladies, 'fess up!
In the interests of full disclosure from someone who is not remotely "having it all" but would like to think she is on the way to it, here is my "how".
childcare circa 1960's; indoors = one v frustrated mummy
You will get very little done if you try to be a parent day in day out with no break. Multi-tasking is wonderful for laundry, food prep and diapers, but it's crap for writing anything more than a "more milk" note or throwing toys in the toybox. Get real and get childcare if you want to get anything meaningful done while the littla darlings are underfoot 24/7.
Once naps vanished (phoot!) I've had at least one full day of childcare in my arsenal for the last five years. It's let me build my tiny craft business and concentrate on longer projects. There was a brief and dreadful period with no after school care earlier this year (shudders at the memory) but now we've ramped up to two full days, yippee!
Prior to this, we made use of childminding at local gyms and pools for sanity time (him and me) but this was before I became a mompreneur (gee, I do dislike that word). I could not have managed to develop my tiny business without this external help, and conversely I think I would be a worse mum now (is that possible?) if I hadn't set this time aside.
the only work i could do during naptime was to sketch the Wee Guy
Yes, you can work during nap time (but this stops too soon).
Yes, you can work in the evenings (and into the wee small hours while your husband languishes ...).
Yes, you can work alongside your child (we do this sometimes but it only works for certain projects).
Childcare. It's not a dirty word, and it's not a sign of defeat.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
You are cordially invited to view two pieces of my work in the Port Moody Arts Centre annual Instructor Show. The exhibition open on December 2nd and runs until December 23rd.
The opening night (6-8pm on Thursday, December 2nd) is also a great opportunity to view and bid on the entries for the 6x6 art auction. Proceeds from this fun sale of art by members of the Arts Centre benefits future programming.
My work is also on exhibition at;
- Ensemble at Maple Ridge Art Centre - wire and fibre flower brooches (until December 19th)
- Positively Petite at Place des Arts - wire and fibre rings (until December 17th)
- ArtsConnect artist exhibition at Port Moody library - sterling and fine silver cuff links (from December 1st)
All items are for sale.
I also have some new wire crochet classes at Port Moody Arts Centre booking for after christmas. There are two Saturday workshops for teens (see page 9) plus a week-long Spring break class (p.11). I'll be running classes for adults in February and April (each runs for three evenings - see p.22 for details).
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
dear lady blogger
- pulling sensationalist content into your blog on a daily basis is not optimising SEO, no matter how many page views you get.
- gathering a gaggle of yes merchants in comments is not stimulating discussion.
- hammering a topic to death is not going to bring about change
- being silent can be just as effective as being (very) vocal
- syntax doesn't stop your words making others feel guilty or inept
it all just stokes 'big head' syndrome - yours
i've deleted your blog from my Reader and it feels good
love, ebb xoxo
PS: you're __ ____, you probably think this blog post's about you (please feel free to fill in the missing blanks)
Monday, November 22, 2010
So ... I feel like I was jinxed today, reading Amber's blog post on "When Your Baby Is Sick". We live in the same locale, and there is The Virus going around; I think we've had it already .... but the cough still lingers. The Wee Guy, like many other children, suffers from asthma (or more correctly, we all suffer from his asthma)(correction: we all suffer from our own asthma as well as his) and coughs persist.
This month has been such a month.
The Cough has persisted.
Persisted so much so that a visit to the doc's was needed last week to reassure me I was being A Good Enough Mother. Meds were changed but still the cough persisted.
Yesterday he went skiing (yay snow), the day before he went to the Space Museum, and today he went to school - all activities accomplished energetically punctuated with passable impressions of a sealion.
This morning I got two calls from the school, describing my son the seal. The second call requested I collect him forthwith.
So he came home ... and was dispatched to bed. Many grumbles!
He's not really sick so bed is Really Boring, but the house is chilly and I have loads of work to do.
Solution: nest together in my studio with an extra heater, and CBC R2 for entertainment. So far we've talked about Beethoven, listened to Rachmaninov, and learned to navigate thru Scholes. I've made jewelry and had company. He's increased his musical knowledge and quizzed the stuffies.
I think this is what I'm working towards - having the flexibility in life to be available for family matters while staying engaged with the outside world in a meaningful-to-me way.
Wish me luck :)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Please do not put your coffee cup down on my craft fair table. Spills and/or ring marks are not appreciated. Please wait till you've finished your drink, or ask nicely and I will hold it for you (or put it on my side of the table where marks are less devastating).
This isn't Starbucks, you know.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
My other bits and bobs and I will be at Fab Fair for the weekend so I won't be able to attend :(
Please wave "hello" to my wire and fibre flower brooches which are on display, along with some absolutely stunning 2D and 3D works of art.
It will be well worth a visit (after you've been to see me at Fab Fair of course).
Friday, November 19, 2010
friday forte: another money edition
When you lose your income you lose your ability to put your hand in your pocket for cash. If you've been salaried for any significant period of time, losing that monthly input into your bank account can be hard to adjust to. If you're lucky, there will be a salaried spouse/partner and a joint bank account to keep the roof over your head and food in the belly.But I'm not talking about escaping poverty, though that is a real luxury that I readily count among my blessings. I'm talking about losing financial autonomy and being a woman and being the non-salaried half of a couple.There are little adjustments along the way to a zero income declaration on the tax return. A shift to talking about "his money". A near-religious observance of grocery bills and household budgeting. Fretting over billing deadlines which you cannot contribute to. Down-sizing, baking from scratch, thrift shopping, make do and mend, negotiating pocket money or an allowance, buying his christmas present with his money ... all character-building, all a source of friction, mostly inescapable. Ladies, I heartily implore you - do not to take a back seat with family finances and let "him deal with his money". In fact, I'd urge you to stop referring to it as "his salary" - it goes to the family, no matter why you're unsalaried. I also urge you to withdraw your own salary from the household budget. If it makes it easier, discuss approving an allowance for your husband from "his" pay too. Instead of agonising over treat yes or no, cut yourself a little slack by having your own "mad money". If he has his own similar spending account it also makes budgeting easier - there is nothing more annoying than scraping together a payment for the credit card due date only to see it vanish when he makes his own impulse purchase.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Being in celebration of the Etsy Self Portrait Thursday challenge where a bunch of Etsy sellers indulge in online vanity by taking pics of themselves
But it's not all about me ... or my amazing wire crochet jewelry ... or marketing ....
OK, at this time of the year it's all about marketing. It's craft fair season. It's the time of year when independent designers such as myself can sell really well in the christmas gift market. It's the time of year when many hours are spent at the bench, either creating (joy) or dealing with labeling, packaging, etc (less joy).
It's the time of year when I get to venture out of my den and meet people, buyers and (importantly for me) my fellow designers.
So without further ado, let me tell you about some of the great indie artists you can meet (and I can catch up with as they are all online/IRL friends) at this weekend's Fab Fair at Heritage Hall on Main Street.
First up is the amazing Groovy Glass Girl, creator of stylish and funky art glass pieces of jewelry. Really, we should be rivals since we compete in the crowded jewelry market but one look at her work will tell you she is in a class all of her own. If you like glass and you like "modern and edgy" then please stop by her table this weekend.
Next up is Free Lion Productions with some smart, stylish and what-every-girl-needs purses. These make excellent gifts (or a 'thank you' to yourself for getting thru the christmas shopping). Free Lion also runs the local Etsy sellers team btw (busy gal).
Since Fab Fair is a bags and jewelry show I make no apology for introducing another amazing jewelry designer. Mindan's Designs features beautifully crafted metalwork pieces. Her work is deceptively simple in appearance but a whopping 15 out of 10 for effect. If you're looking for a classic modern, understatededly elegant piece for a hard-to-buy for friend then this is the artist you should be talking to.
Lastly, not jewelry but accessories ... or hats to be more precise. Tomoko Tahara is a skilled milliner who handknits/crochets her designs. Although I've never met Tomoko I feel like I have through her hats. It's almost impossible not to recognise one of her pieces in real life, and its owner will always give it a huge thumbs up. She has a great reputation for keeping heads warm and stylish throughout Vancouver.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
My wire and fibre rings will be on display (and for sale) in the exhibition which features works in miniature by local artists, some of them also instructors with Place des Arts. Last year it was feast of tiny canvases, photographic art, felted pieces and tiny ceramics. This year ..... why not come down and see for yourself.
Yes, this is the retro seventies porn star (see here in his "Man Who Would Be King" Sean Connery phase) who I have been married to for the last seventeen years (and been with for a couple of years longer).
I'm not currently one to celebrate anniversaries, but I do think we both deserve medals for endurance.
Well done for making it this far.
PS: normally he looks more like Sting - it's all downhill with Movember right now
Monday, November 15, 2010
For shop local, shop handmade fans in the Tri Cities area (Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam) please add this in bold red pen to your calendars.
The Blackberry Gift Shop Christmas Market Place will be opening on December 1st (grand opening in the evening of December 2nd). For those of you who cannot wait please check out the gift shop as becomes more seasonal from the beginning of November, and to get right into the spirit, visit the Arts Centre after November 15th to check out the tree with it's wonderful handcrafted artisan decorations (all for sale through the gift shop).
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today's shout out is for an online friend from waaaaaay back on Etsy, Soap. This talented Etsian works out of San Francisco and makes the most awesome handcrafted soaps available on the internet. I've been a regular buyer since 'meeting' her back in the early days and always have little stash of her goodies set aside (they make excellent spur-of-the-moment gifts).
When I was sick after losing my balance and hearing, the nausea was so bad that regular scents made me physically sick. Luckily I discovered that Soap's products didn't provoke that response so, in her own marketing slogan, I could still banish stinky. I'm not as sensitive these days but I still use her soaps in the shower.
My favourite scents tend to be her more unisex ones; Black Velvet and Surfer Dude are my favourites. I have a profound weakness for Dragon's Blood and my all-time girly go-to is Stroke Me.
But it's not just soaps from Soap; she also makes vegan/vegetarian lip balms and tints (awesome), mixes perfumes, deodorants and scrubs. However, it's her most awesomest ever body moisturiser in existence that I sing the highest of praises about. Her Whipt Pudding™ "touch, melt, rub, repeat" is a true delight for the skin, curing the most stubborn flakiness with ease. It's worthwhile getting a tub of the stuff in with your soap order. My favourite, OCV (orange, clove, vanilla), is worth looking out for but Stroke Me is a very worthy second choice (or first, depending on the mood).
And talking of ordering - check out the specials, especially the seven- or five- bar packages for shipping economy ..... and tell her ebbandflo sent you :)
all photographs copyright Bathing in Luxury.com
PS: and don't forget to check out her other shop for some great novelty, art and kid soaps. The Wee Guy thoroughly endorses Wet Grass cos of the mud scent in the 'earth' layer :)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
friday forte: the incredible lightness of giving
I never considered this previously but being unsalaried/dependant on another's income can diminish your capacity to give. Of course, I'm talking about the slipping your hand into your wallet type of financial giving, not the endless cycle of give, give, give that goes on as a parent. Without your own salary, and with the burden of having to run a household budget on income not earned by you, giving financially can become problematic .... at least it can in my own experience.
BC (before child) I had time available in buckets even if I didn't have cash. I felt happy that if I couldn't give, I could at least lend my time. It wasn't completely altruistic - I gained new friends, a network, knowledge, discounts, a ski pass, free meals, and that most valuable of all commodities, Canadian "work" experience. AC (after child) time was at a premium though I did try to keep up. Even while pregnant I was involved in winter sports volunteering, in a less physical manner. When the Wee Guy was born he spent his first year sleeping through a number of board meetings and continuing education seminars. If I couldn't volunteer in person, I learned to work at home on projects. It worked ... for a while. Then nap time stopped. The art of walking was gained. Life got busier. For a while I lost the support my volunteerism gave me as I felt I couldn't commit. My hours, along with my networks, dwindled, and I didn't contribute to my community. I felt useless, isolated and frustrated. I still had no income. I had no way of making an income. I was bound and gagged at home with my child. It was around this time that I started my home business, mainly as a diversion from the tedium of 24/7 SAHM-life. In the beginning it was just meant to be self sufficient and not a drain on the household budget. Over the years it's grown to be profitable enough to support after school care and put me through a few college courses. This year I'm hoping it will pay for a part-time diploma program. But more importantly, my venture into entrepreneurship has meant I can once again give back to my community. Selling my work has given me enough confidence to donate pieces for fundraising. While I still can't hand over wads of cash to an organisation I can offer instead a piece of jewelry, and know it will be a valuable contribution. Yes, I can write if off on the business taxes and network a little from it too, but it also means I hand over a physical object. I can donate something from me in place of my precious time. Personally, I'm giving of my own endeavour, rather than parceling out my husband's income ...
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Move him into the sun -
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds, -
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved, - still warm, - too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?
(Futility by Wilfred Owen, 1893 - 1918)
The "Lacrymosa" from Britten's War Requiem.
Soprano, Makvala Kasrashvili. Tenor, Anthony Rolfe Johnson
conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich, Royal Albert Hall 1993
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Sunday, November 07, 2010
my own communication black out 24/7 with sound effects
In response to a blog post on unsilence and the autism "communication shutdown" on November 1st I wrote;
"the main message i got from the choosing not to be on facebook or twitter for an entire 24 hours was the absence of communication. personally speaking, it was very frustrating to be 'unable' to talk back, communicate and join in - as i understand it (having worked with some young adults with autism) this is a major disability in being part of today's society.
while the planned silence was less of a vocal campaigning for a cause, it may have made many who took part actually think about what kind of world many people do inhabit if they are limited in one way or another. not being able to rattle off my thoughts and respond to friends online was a blow to my 24 hours - it was a personal journey, and it did bring home to me how disabling "not being the norm" is.
coincidentally, i also spent a lot of the 24 hours reflecting on how my own unilateral deafness and allied tinnitus 'excludes' me from some aspects of daily life and discourages me from reaching out within my community. i've written of the woes of my extremely small support network and complete crapness at making friends - though not completely the cause, the deafness precludes a lot of social interactions. it's minor compared with more severe forms of communication disability - more of a taster of what some people go through on a daily basis, without or without voluntary days of silence.
there are many different ways of advocating, a eliciting
the 24 hours communication black out was one of these and I think very powerful"
The day provoked a lot of "respectful disagreement" (thanks to professor mother for that summation) and then some.
PS: go get your flu shots - deafness is a not infrequent complication of viral infection
Saturday, November 06, 2010
For those of you who like bags .... and bling .... does the idea of a weekend-long craft fair devoted to handbags, purses, jewerly and accessories sound a little silly, or extravagant, or pointless?
See you at Fab Fair at Heritage Hall, 3102 Main Street @ 15th Avenue in Vancouver on Saturday, November 20th and Sunday, November 21st (11am to 5pm both days).
Friday, November 05, 2010
ms griz inspiring yet another belly rub (go on, you can do better)
I do have a post in prep ..... but not for this week. Actually I have two up the sleeve of my hard drive, so to speak.
But this week, it's almost 10pm on Friday and I'm mindful about not writing 'meh' ;)
This week .... this week?
I've been musing over something from Social Media Camp at the beginning of October (btw, there was a call out for speakers/seminars for the 2011 event), about writing "exceptional, not acceptional" blog posts (can you tell it's been on my mind?).
And lately, I've been further pondering on the topic of keyword stuffing* (not that I would know a keyword if it came up and bit my nose) and writing "meh" (following a comment by @unmarketing who I think coined the "acceptional" phrase above).
So to blog or not to blog? To only blog when the output is exceptional, well crafted, brilliant, adds to the debate? To only hit publish when your words add meaning to the internet? To only write online when you have a cause to follow, or an idea to publicise, or a message to send out into the ether?
I think not.
I think blogging can be great practice, wonderful exercise for one of your many creative muscles. You can't shoot hoops straight off but imagine where you be if you didn't even try because all you shot were misses.
Mastering the piano takes more than opening the page at Für Elise and bashing it out note perfect first time.
Prepping a whole meal requires the baby steps of beans on toast followed by tinned fruit, before launching into boeuf en daube with all the trimmings for ten.
Imagine stopping at this (my first ever wire and fibre cuff) and not keeping on going to try and improve to all of these (more adventures in wire and fibre)? My first attempts were, shall I say, hideous but I didn't hide them (maybe I should have) - I watched customer reaction (!) at craft fairs and modified my techniques. I've just finished teaching another wire and fibre workshop, my pieces have been in one exhibition and will be in one, possibly two more this Christmas, and they sell.
Writing is just the same - perseverance and practice, and blogging makes it less lonely. Blogging makes you write it down if you want to stick to a schedule (damn this friday forte nonsense ;) ). Some posts will be stream of consciousness and possibly of no interest to anyone apart from your critics, other posts will stimulate discussion if you're lucky, a few posts might make it to a writing portfolio. Blogging starts you thinking beginning, middle and punch line (though don't hold your breath for one in this post). Blogging leads you into editing and proofreading and carrying a notebook to jot ideas down in ....
Fear of writing "meh" could stifle That Blog Post .... yes, the Pultizer prize or whatever the equivalent is for blogging award blog post that lives inside each and every one of us (stirring film music now plays along in the background) .... don't not write.
music dies away to a whimper ... ouch!
*OK, I am guilty of keyword stuffing - I know that if I tag a pic on flickr with toes, wellies, pussy or foot then that image will receive stellar views ;)
Thursday, November 04, 2010
|making chocolate muffins for class tonight (i'm good to my students)|
|social media and marketing moments (fueled by caffeine, of course)|
|a moment of handcrafted solidarity for mr ebb's movember attempt (wire crochet ginger moustache)|
|at work, at the bench at last|
|at work, blogging at the gift shop|
All I can say is, I wear many hats (but I enjoy it that way)