Thursday, May 31, 2007

Weird but adorable fabrics

Although I normally make my bags out of fairly "normal" fabrics, sometimes I am drawn to stranger things. Here are two of them:

Calaveras, from Cheap Threads:
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Asian good-luck cats from The Pirate's Royal Bootie on eBay. This one I'm going to use to make a small gift for my hair stylist, who is part Japanese and has a cat statue like this in her salon. I saw this fabric and it reminded me of her:
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Cherries and Senoritas from Cheap Threads:
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's the SEWING room

Once upon a time, Mark bought a house. In this house, he put all his thousands of record albums in boxes into one spare room. There the records sat for years and years, untouched. He hoped that one day this would be "the music room."

Then, along came a beautiful princess named Robyn. She moved in and neatly stacked the unused records against the wall and moved her computer in. That's right, Mark didn't even have a computer. Eventually, the beautiful princess took up sewing and moved a big table and other equipment into "the music room." Eventually, even Mark started referring to it as "the sewing room," with much disdain.

Between the computer and the sewing machine, this room quickly became the beautiful princess's favorite place. She stared at the boxes stacked along the wall with disgust. "How can I work like this?" she asked. "How can I organize my stuff?"

But Mark refused to budge on moving the records out, so this is the best princess could do, and she's very excited about how organized it all is, all things (dozens of despised boxes) considered!

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By the way, Mark says my dress form has a really nice butt.

Bite me, Downtowners

I have a question for all those who think living Downtown or in the war zone is preferable to a cookie cutter village on the West Side. If you have time to read this between dodging bullets and homeless people, I was just wondering, do you have views like this from your bedroom balcony?

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So my house looks like everyone else's on the block -- NEW -- and there's no drunk guys passed out on the lawn and no homies shootin' up the front. Sucks to be me!
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Branching out

Cute new stuff! I have added yoga mat bags and diaper bags to my line of items for sale at Burst of Happiness.

This diaper bag was a custom order for a friend. It takes a lot of work. On the outside, it looks like a regular tote, but on the inside are lots of pockets and dividers -- elastic ones to hold diapers, sippy cups, etc.:
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The yoga mat bags are a cute and convenient way to store and carry your mat. It can roll around the trunk of your car for 5 years while you don't use it, like mine, and still be clean! Clean for what? I don't know.
This one has a flower fabric with polka dot bottom, pocket and strap in coordinating fabric. It also has a drawstring top:
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This hilarious fabric was bought by a coworker who asked me to make a bag. It's flannel, so it's not really proper bag material, but it's still super-cute, and it fits Sarah's style, which is also super-cute. It's covered with happy snacks. Hey, remember that song by The Who called "Happy Jack"? We could rewrite it for this bag - "Happy Snack." OK, that was stupid and neither here nor there:
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I need to stock up for the upcoming Neighborhood Market, where I am selling this summer.
Here are a few totes and handbags, complete with crummy photography:
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4.0 gpa, thank you, thank you.

School's over, thank God. I learned a lot, but it was a busy semester for me and very stressful between 3 classes, full-time job and my business.

For each design class, I had to design a garment. Here are the final results:

Flat Pattern class
Yellow and white striped seersucker shirt dress
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Draping class
Peach brocade 50s inspired cocktail dress
(sorry, camera phone pic. The zipper promptly broke and I have not replaced it yet.)
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Monday, May 21, 2007

Day 6, Hawaii: ready to come home

This is where our trip wraps up. We were catching a red eye at 10:45 p.m., so we had all day. But ever since the boat ride, I'd been feeling crappy. We decided to head up to the north side of the island, but we were both feeling incredibly wiped out.

We stopped and ate lunch at a little place with a nice view. I had fish that tasted and looked like chicken. I think I was tricked. Remember how I told you there were chickens everywhere?
Anyway, there were all these little birds begging for food, and some were remarkably cute!
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The red one thought he was the you-know-what. I felt sorry for the little brown ones.
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There was one little bird that would pick up food and put it in the other bird's mouth. The other bird looked able-bodied to me, so I'm not sure how it worked out this excellent deal. He must have had something on that other guy. The red one is feeding the brown one.
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We shopped a little and had a lost-phone panic attack, but it turned out to be in the car. We then headed back to the hotel. The plane was PACKED. It was miserable. It went faster than the ride out there because we slept most of the time, but sleeping was so uncomfortable. Our seats were against the bathrooms and didn't recline.
It was dark on the plane, and at one point I opened my eyes to fix my pillow and was looking at the bathroom right behind me on the other side of the aisle. Some guy was peeing and had his butt showing -- the door apparently swung open and he didn't notice. Poor guy. I just closed my eyes really quickly and pretended not to have seen.

Day 5, Hawaii: Barforama

On Friday, we had the activity I was most looking forward to: Barfing in the sea. Just kidding. It was a 5-hour catamaran sunset dinner cruise along the Na Pali coast with snorkeling -- an area you can't access by car. Doesn't this sound lovely? Well, it's not. It's a small boat packed with people. It's a terribly long and bumpy ride. Any time I tried to go into the sheltered area, I'd instantly start feeling bad. They said to avoid this area if you're seasick.

Nearly halfway through, we stopped at an area to snorkel. It was near the cliffs and not too deep -- maybe 30 feet or so. The water was remarkably warm. I was dreading touching it at first because it looked so cold and the weather wasn't particularly warm at that moment. Unfortunately, they gave no real instruction on it. I couldn't even get my mask on and had to get the cappy to help me. Then I went in and didn't have my mouth around the thing tightly enough and got a bunch of salt water in my mouth. Ocean water tasted pretty bad. Not like gargling with salt water when your throat hurts. It has fish doo and pee and stuff, along with rotting corpses of sea life and mafia victims and dead surfers, etc.
Several times, I got a bit panicky, with the water in my mouth and the current and the idea of this vast ocean with creepy things below me. When I did get it going, it was pretty cool. There were fish around (I think they fed them). When I got back in the boat, I immediately felt sick. From that point on I was horribly seasick. We moved on to the most beautiful part of the island and I missed it all. Note the rainbow in the second photo!
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I didn't barf, but it took all I had. I couldn't wait for that ride to end. We did see dolphins, but it's hard to care when you're that sick. I felt unsteady even the next day.
Here's me feeling extremely bad and looking even worse:
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Thanks, Mark for taking this!

Before we went to the boat ride, we stopped at a gift shop and took these surfing pics. Of course, I would never really try to surf. This is as close as it gets. I'm not sure who I'm waving to. I guess Nemo?
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Day 4, Hawaii: Roasted piggies

On day 4, we went to one of those time share pitches. We've done them before -- we're practically experts in team work on them. We had no intention to buy, of course, but we got a big discount on all of our activities for the week.

Then we went to see Spouting Horn. There's some stupid legend about how some giant lizard got stuck in the rocks and spits or something, but what it really is is a rocky place by the ocean where water shoots up. The guide book showed it going really high, but this is what we saw:
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We also went to see the famous monkeypod tree. I like anything about monkeys, even when it's just the word and not a real monkey. Here is mark acting like a monkey in front of the tree:
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That night was the luau. After "South Pacific," Mark had little hope for this being fun. I told him to lose all expectations and expect cheesiness and it will be fun.
It turned out to be really fun. It was at a hotel nearby and started on the beach area of the hotel with all you can drink mai-tais. We thought they'd be weak, so we got a shot of rum from the bartender (all booze was free!). But they weren't weak, and when we added the rum, we found we were both a little on the drunk side very quickly. I didn't drink anymore so that I could drive that night. Here's mark on the beach:
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There were also sand crabs. They are very hard to see and very small. Can you spot the sand crab in this picture?

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The the party moved into a huge tent. There was really good food! And native dancers! It was fun! Mark got up and danced, too. He's on the right in the black shirt.
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When we got back to the hotel, Mark wasn't feeling too good. Too much food, too many mai-tais, too much dancing:
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Day 3, Hawaii

Day three started out pretty uneventful. We decided to lounge around. Our room faced the beach, so all we had to do was walk outside the hotel and there we were.

The thing is, we don't really like the beach. It's pretty and all, and always looks appealing, but the truth is, the beach is messy. The water looked dirty when it rolled in and the sand sticks all over you. There's creepy things like sand crabs and jellyfish. Meanwhile, there was an amazing hotel pool area just a few yards away, so we found that much more pleasant. Clean water, no sand. Hot tub. Comfy chairs. Waiters with pina coladas.

That night, we had tickets to see a dinner theater production of "South Pacific." Mark found out the Hilton was putting it on and was dying to go. I can't begin to describe the horror. First, we had to stand in line for an hour with no air conditioning despite having tickets. Then we entered. It was a basic hotel ballroom with big tables of eight and a really awful buffet. I mean awful. By the time the play started, we'd been there 2.5 hours and were ready to go. The play kind of reminded me of "Waiting for Guffman." All these really bad actors on a really bad set in a really cheesy location taking themselves really seriously. The lead actor couldn't sing or act.

At intermission, we wanted to cut out. But we had promised a ride to another couple we had met in line who had taken a cab and were staying at the same hotel we were. They were more than happy to leave early, so we split and had a nice drink with them at our hotel.

Next day, Mark called the Hilton and complained about how awful everything was. They gave our money back and acknowledged it was an understudy playing the main role.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hawaii, Day 2

We stayed in Lihue, which is basically in the middle of the beaten path. There mostly is just one road around the island, but the circle isn't complete. You can't access the NW part of the island by car. So from Lihue, in the SE section, you can drive to the north or to the west. For the first day, we chose west.

Our guidebook suggested that we drive a little past the Wiamaia Canyon. I know I spelled that wrong and I'm just too darn tired to look it up. It suggested we check out some other stuff, and then head back there. Long story short, we ended up feeling like we were in N.M. and turning around early. Look at this picture -- if I told you it was N.M., you'd probably believe me. Also, there was this scary creature vehicle on the road.
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We caught a back road up to the canyon and met the main road about halfway up. This road was much prettier, but we were still unsure why we were there. Until a clearing in the trees opened up and we saw a gigantic, colorful canyon with long, cascading waterfalls.

We got excited, but there was one problem. We both needed to pee, and I really preferred a toilet to the woods. Every bathroom facility turned out to be a no-go and I had to go in the woods. I was traumatized by this because this one time, in band camp, or actually at Indian Princess camp with my dad, I accidentally peed all over my jeans when I tried to go in the wilderness. I guess some things you need to learn from your mom, not your dad.

By the time we hit the road back down to find a great view, a mist had come in and covered it all up. So here are some photos, but they are nothing like the view could have been.

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Hawaii: Day 1

I just got back from my first visit to Hawaii. Was it good? Was it bad? Maybe a little of each. I will post a day by day rundown over the next week.

There's something weird about Kauai, and it's spelled C-H-I-C-K-E-N. It appears that early last decade, Hurricane Iniki freed some poultry and they went a little overboard on the breeding. Now there are chickens everywhere on this island. Wild chickens. I think most of us on the mainland think of chickens as belonging to people. Every single chicken has an owner, right? But on Kauai, "why did the chicken cross the road" takes on a whole new meaning. Sometimes they didn't, but lucky for you, I didn't photograph that. Instead, here is a wild chicken at my resort taking her chicks out to scratch for food. You have to look very closely to spot the babies.
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Everywhere you go, there are roosters crowing: at the pool, at the beach, in the misty mountains, on medians ...

Anyway, we took an early flight and got there mid-afternoon. Right off the bat, I saw this dress in a shop at the hotel, and Mark got it for me. By the way, this is the view from our room!
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We cleaned up and went to a free mai-tai and pupu (cue Beavis/Butthead laughs) event for the owners. This refers to time share owners, which we aren't. But we were given use of the property by some friends as a wedding gift that we just got around to using. We also got raffle tickets, and Mark was feeling very lucky. Alas, we didn't win.
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Later, we went to dinner on campus and I had the best spaghetti of my life. Then I went to bed at 8 p.m. I normally go to bed at 2 a.m., and I guess it was pretty late ABQ time. It turned out to be a good thing to go to bed on my ABQ schedule because the island shuts down very early, so going to sleep and rising early makes the best use of your time.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ouch. I was tagged.

OK, so Ashley left this for me, only I don't really know 7 people with blogs, except maybe the same people Ashley knows, so Chickenbone Jones, you're the only one I can tag.

Consider yourself tagged!

The rules

Start with 7 random facts/habits about yourself
People who are tagged have to write their 7 things on their blog
Then choose another 7 people to get tagged and list their names
Don't forget to leave them a comment to tell them they
have been tagged and to read your blog

1. I can't decide which is more repulsive: mayo or Dr Pepper
2. I eat like a 5-year-old. If a kid doesn't like it, I don't.
3. I apologize to bugs when I kill them.
4. I hate to drive. I'm not scared or anything, I just hate it.
5. Getting gas and returning movies are two of my most hated chores.
6. I wear makeup and shave my legs every single day.
7. I love to bake but hate to cook.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Man versus needle

Poor husband. I love him dearly, but I'm about to make fun of him on a public forum. I apologize in advance. He's good at many things, like golf and understanding sports and writing and yard work ...
But he's not good at sewing. Or laundry, really, for that matter. Sometimes I get annoyed when I have to sew on buttons for him. I think, "How hard is it?!?!"
Well, I guess Mark's answer to that is "Hard."

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Wish my photo wasn't so crappy. Rather than go up and down through the holes, he went around the edge. And left quite a wad of thread. I couldn't stop laughing.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Temporary success!

This may shock you, but I'm going to talk about my business, Burst of Happiness again.

I've really been working hard to promote my site, i.e. Google ads. Everyone at work has been so supportive -- I've sold a number of bags to co-workers, and I've had a lot of custom orders lately. Well, about 10 custom orders (from non-co-workers, too) in the past few weeks. I expect things to die down a bit, but I've been really excited about the interest. I've also been really exhausted because I work full time at my job and then I work full time, practically, on my business. I also am finishing up three design classes, but those end this week. I don't anticipate taking any more, but I'm so worn out right now. Perhaps in a few months it will sound appealing again.

I just want to thank everyone who has supported my business and bought items from me. It means a lot! Business has snowballed as one person sees the next person's bag. May everybody someday have a Burst Bag! The world will be a sunnier, happier place.

I've got a MySpace page for my business, too. Come join me. My private page is still limited to people I know in real life.

Where do I want this to go? Well, although I don't have huge hopes for this, ideally I'd like to be able to build up enough regular business that I can start a family and work from home for a while. That would be hard to do unless I have very steady orders and raise my prices a bit.

Eventually, I might also look into finding boutiques that may carry a few of my items.

Some cute things:

This one was a custom order, but I plan to make another because it's so darn cute! Thanks to Greg for buying this for his wife -- Greg and I went to school together from elementary on up!
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This one I made for my mom for mother's day. I thought the fabric just cried out for bamboo handles, but she's too practical. Most practical people are nerdy, but that woman somehow manages to be practical and stylish. But if you don't mind me bragging, I'd have to say it's partly thanks to me, with this bag.
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This one is for sale! Go buy it right now. It's got polka dots on the outside and matching flowers on the inside. You'll turn heads as you strut your stuff down the street.
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Look for me next to the hippie selling hemp jewelry

I'm planning to do an "arts and craft show" this summer on two occasions. I don't like the term "arts and craft show" because it sounds like some horrible church bazaar with patchwork angels and kitty-cat toaster cozies with frilly edges. But this one is classy! This one is for vendors who make everything from artwork to handbags (me!) to jewelry. It's called The Neighborhood Market.

The market will be held in Downtown Albuquerque behind the Flying Star at Silver and Seventh every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. I plan to be there June 23rd and August 18.

I'll be sharing a booth with Beth, of Socks That Fit.
We're spacing our dates out in the hopes that our days will be fruitful and we will need time to replenish our stock. My best friend, Tamara, has graciously offered to help me out at the market. I am a bit nervous about getting everything set up.
I envision this really homey, cute tent, but I'm not sure how to go about that. I'd like multiple little tables to set things on so that it looks welcoming and cozy. Maybe cloths on the table so it doesn't look cheesy.
I'll be selling my Burst of Happiness handbags.

What? You say you'd like to view one of my adorable totes? OK! This is a teal and brown toned paisley handbag with striped bottom and lining. Naturally, it has pockets galore for your cell phone, iPod and pens. And a flap for stuff you need to hide, like tampons or a gun. A really, really small gun. Actually, maybe Mace or a pocket knife would fit better -- for your own protection, of course. I'm not advocating that you pack some heat and rob a convenience store. Although, you'd look super cute doing it with this bag! But, I digress. Please, view:

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

If you look long enough, I'll be there

I went to Google and typed "handmade handbags" to see how far you have to go before my Web site is listed. Well, I kept on going, and hasn't shown up, but on page 28 -- that's right, only page 28! -- of Google's listings, there's a listing for my store, which is where my Web site links for purchases anyway. I don't know how many people are going to look at all 1,420,000 results, but I'm sure my Web site's in there somewhere.