Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Five!

This week, I'm sticking close to home. I am thereby legally required to point out that my home is bigger than some whole countries (France), that it is the birthplace of corndogs, and that chili should not have beans in it.

Seriously, I gotta say that. Otherwise the State Spirit enforcers will come for me. They have guns! As do I! You don't want to see an artist shoot out, do you?

All that being a roundabout way of leading up to this week's showcase, on Team Etsy Texas!

If I lived the life in which I would like to become accustomed, I would own everything Glassnwood makes. Future things also. But someone should own this, and soon:

Now you may not think these scrubbies from Lavender Lizard are as awesome as I do:

But that just means you've never cleaned dishes with proper scrubbies. Believe me, they make dishwashing a different, and much less depressing, experience.

This journal by bethstudio is just lovely:

But she taunts me by saying she's going along the color wheel.Come on, Beth! Get to green!

tinalewis makes some lovely pottery. But this is the first one I've seen her make that can also protect you from vampires:

Tiny, flying, buzzing vampires. Buy it, or learn the true power of the mosquito!

Argh, just one spot left! It's tempting to give it to Fearless Leader Thistlecraft, for a variety of reasons, not least her lovely scarves. Or Sweetwolf,who has such great little lunchbags. But I must be honest, and this bag from Refabulous:

has captured my heart in its many tentacles. Come on, it's a messenger bag with a random octopus! How could I not love it?

Once again, I hardly got to touch on the cool Etsyness available. Go check out Etsy Search with TeamEtsyTx DesignChallenge or just click hyar:

But know that one of mine won't be there, because it sold. Yes! Best Challenge Ever!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


First sale on Etsy this week. Woohoo!

See that nifty thistlehead woman? Yep, she's gone. If you were one of those wanting to buy her, let this be a lesson to you: go to my shop and buy what you want now!

Also, I'm having free shipping for the rest of the week, plus a little. So it actually is a good time to buy.

Also also, if you really really wanted that pic, don't despair! I'm making more garden spirit pictures, and in time there will be prints and postcards. Watch for it!

I know perfectly well that the trick isn't selling once, but selling again...but it's still awesome!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go, Team Etsy!

That's Team Etsy Texas, for those who don't know (have I mentioned I'm Texan? What? Not in the last ten minutes? Scandalous!)

Every monthish, Etsy TX has a nifty design challenge. For this month, it was either back to school (which I ain't touchin' wiht a ten foot horse-killing compass needle) or decorations for the home of Our Fearless Leader, Thistlecraft. You've seen my work, you can guess how that went:

Go look at it! Tell me what I can do with five views on one wee painting.

But I pulled my act together and made something non-fay, too.

And I'm not the only one who got inspired. Go check it out!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Five

Hooray, it's time for the Friday Five! This is my favorite post of the week, because there's so much cool stuff to share! This week is dedicated to the enchanting artists of Etsy FAE, who also managed to make up one of the most apropo team names in all Etsy.

First, though, one final corsetier,Desert Orchid .
Desert Orchid is an incredibly convo-friendly, helpful shop. And their prices on custom corsets--real, hard wearing waist trainers--are frankly incredible.If you're even thinking of the investment of buying a real corset, do yourself a favor and check them out. And hey, it's sort of fitting-- what fantasy costume is complete without an awesome corset?

Moving away from clothes a bit this week, I also have to sing the praises of
Bending Tree Arts .
There's a cartload of nifty stuff there, and my mind boggles at the self assurance needed to make the art stones, but the real wonder is her Cedar Spirit dolls. There's a lot of information about these dolls on their descriptions, but I'm pretty sure they're really made with magic. Another wonderfully friendly seller!

Faery Spell Creations
makes many lovely things. But what you should really go look at are the pumpkin pixies, the nifty hats, and especially the bags. And for the next few weeks, everything she sells is helping yet another artist in the fantasy community. Go check her out now!

Izile's Oddities
are, well, odd. But her magic vials are truly enchanting! I of course want Good Karma (it's so green!) but they're all great. Look at the swirl on Flames of Passion! No really, go look.

Oh no, room for just one more! I can't let this Friday go by without mentioning Meri Greenleaf. She makes dolls, you see. Not just art dolls, (although they are works of art!), but snuggly dolls that just beg to be hugged and petted. She makes, to be very specific, a Caliban Doll. Yes, the Caliban. From Shakespeare. Looking just how he would look, I'm sure, if he were made of yarn. Must be seen.

For more fantastic goodness, search Etsy under tags: faeteam! And thanks to the lovely Aquariann, who keeps this team running, and who has a knack for great names (hah! Got in a sixth artist! Take that, self-imposed structural setup!).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Hopefully, when this is done, the meaning of the title will be clear. To some, at least. It's about at the halfway mark now; details are a'comin'. But I'd like some other opinions before I put on the polish.

This is a watercolor, fuill size about 10 by 14 inches.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Butterfly Girl

Next in the Kokeshi series. Again,two pics to show progression; again, about 90 percent finished:

I'm on the fence: Should I add more detail to the butterfly? I also have, penciled in, some hair ornaments for the girl, but now I think they might be too much detail on what's supposed to be a simple shape.

I really like the fading green in the leaves of grass on her skirt.

For those wondering: I do intend to sell these as originals, but mostly they're intended as a postcard series.

WIP: Birthday

Sometimes, you just gotta go all out cute.

I love kokeshi dolls--the super simple basic form, often insane levels of detail in the decoration, the sheer overwhelming cuteness of them. I'd collect them by the bushel if I could. I can't, because they're (a) really amazingly expensive and (b)really bizarrely hard to find.

So for myself and others in a similar position, I'm doing a series of doll-inspired paintings. This is the first one, also brought on by the fact that it's my birthday this month (wooo!):

This is a watercolor, but it's one in a thick near-impasto style I first saw used by the lovely Miyako Matsuda. It allows me to keep the color blending traits of watercolor and get some of the texture effects of acrylic, which in the original really show up on the kimono.

This is a work in progress--I'm still not happy with the facial coloring, and the details need some cleaning up. I'd say it's about 90 percent done, though. Any suggestions for the finishing touches?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm Back!

Did you miss me?
Well, no, of course not, because this blog has only been running for about.5 nanoseconds. Nonetheless, I feel bad abandoning it. Especially about missing that Friday post.

Still, vacation is good for inspiration. This week I hope to be back to posting, and maybe have some coast-inspired new goodies up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Business of Business is Baffling

I've sold stuff at local fairs and cons for the past few years. But even the IRS doesn't really care about my 10 dollars in profit from a once-a-year event, so despite having a sales license, I've never had to worry much about taxes.

Now, of course, I'm hoping to make a real go of things. At this point "independent artist" is the only career path really open to me, and I'd like to have more income than disability allows someday.* And that means...paperwork (insert sound of horrified screaming audience).

The thing is, I have no idea WHAT paperwork I should even be filing. I'm not operating on a business-business level at the moment--no office, it's not my main source of income (or any source of income, yet), and just basically no businessy aspect at all except that I'm hoping, someday, to make some money from it. At this point, it's absolutely hobby level. I'd be happy just to not be losing money from point of view of supplies and Etsy posting and such (I'm arting no matter what. A break-even point of income would be nice) and that is pretty much the taxable definition of hobby. If and when I make any money at this, noting it on my main taxes would mostly be a hassle. And appears to involve keeping records. I don't even know what kind of records to keep.

I've found a fair number of resources online, but they're all written in the language of people who pretty much know what they're talking about. "When considering a LLP, remember to weigh the cost/benefit analysis of your projected earned income against..." Arrrgh. It's all English, and yet I cannot understand it.

Complicating matters more is that I am on disability, and therefor have all sorts of tax and income rules that most people don't,so the usual generic guidelines don't help. There are, fortunately, groups I can call to ask for help. Unfortunately, one of those groups has to be my local SSDI office. When I asked them about income last time, they said, and I quote "Don't make more than 400 bucks a month, and don't worry about it." Which advice, if I follow it, leaves me in a perverse state of hoping to not do very well.

What I really want is a guide that says "If you make X amount, file with form 123!" But apparently that is way too simple for the fine minds at the tax office.

Sigh. I like working with my hands, but not to fill out paperwork. Anyone have any tips?

*Yes! My secret is out! I am a gimpy twitch! Don't worry, it will not be the main subject of this blog.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Playing with Tools

One of my favorite things about anime cons is the amount of raw creativity charging up the air. It's not just the official artists. Anime has a very involved fandom, and almost everyone runs a game, or makes their own costumes, or runs a mailing list, or.... so it's almost impossible to NOT get inspired.

It's also near-impossible to make a finished piece while bouncing up and down, dealing with customers (lovely customers! I mean it! They wear such awesome clothes...) so I use the time for brainstorming and trying out new tools.

Yesterday, I did this with a set of watercolor graphite pencils:

The pencils were very easy to use, and required almost no water. The effects I got-- on some frankly awful paper, and with just a few tablespoons of water and one thin brush-- were like ink wash, without the constant danger of emblackening everything on my table.

I'm still working up the picture-- it's a rare one that's worth saving, I think, so I'm trying to save it (for reproduction, not original sale. It really is horrible paper.). So feedback is welcome!

San Japan Venue Revue

Part One of a Probably Infinite Series

San Japan, in San Antonio, is a brand new anime and Japanese cultural convention--this was its first year. My partner in craft and I had a booth, since it's a quick commute to San Antonio from our place.*

San Japan may be San Antonio's first anime con, but I'm ten years into the practice. And with that experience, San Japan really blew me away! It IS a first year con, which means it's very small. But for a small convention, the business was amazing-- I don't disclose profits here, but Friday and Saturday would have been solid days for an established convention. The customers, many of them new to the scene, were friendly, inquisitive, and very eager to buy. What more can an artist want?

There were NONE of the organizational issues that usually plague beginning operations. The artist's alley (where individual artists, hobbyists or pro, sell, along with non-porfit clubs--think of it like a convention craft show) was very nicely laid out, with big wide aisles for wandering shoppers and lots of room behind tables for artist swag. There were even water ninjas, making sure the artists weren't going thirsty-- and towards the end of the night, a hot rice distributor stocking us all up on vital starches.

The Alley even a had a BETTER location than the dealer's room! Near the reading library, on level ground, in a comfy was obvious that for San Japan, the alley was big part of the proceedings, not just a grudging afterthought.

The Art Show was, if anything, given TOO much enthusiasm-- a really welcome change from the usual run of things. Settled between the dealer's room and the cosplay photo area, it got fantastic traffic. The layout was open and wheelchair friendly (are you listening, AKon?). Most shocking of all for an old conhorse like me, the auction was held ON TIME with great presenters.**

In short, the only thing keeping San Japan from rivaling Animefest as the artist's con is, well, a lack of artists. The art show was sparse, the alley was small and still not completely full. These things of course happen, but I'm going to be beating the drum for my fellow artists next year-- Come on, folks! Let's all sign on! We've finally got a show that treats us right, so take advantage of it!

There's still room for improvement, because there always is. There's a few issues of space division (i.e., the music/dance booth really really does NOT need to be so near the alley, where artists are trying to converse with customers--please, guys!) and handicap accessibility, especially, needs work. But most of these issues have to do with the city itself, and the con is already making efforts to address these things. In general, it was run with an astounding level of professionalism and friendliness.

If you do comic cons, anime cons, or general fan culture conventions, I absolutely endorse San Japan! If you don't know about selling at such places, but you'd like to find out, check out their blog and website.

See you there next year!

*Keep in mind, all travel time is Rural-Texas-Relevant. "Short" means an hour. "Quick" is under two hours.

**If you aren't part of the con scene, you don't know how awesome this is. Standard joke at an anime con:
"When is the art auction?"
"Oh, it's scheduled for 8 tonight."
"Ok, midnight it is!"
And this is ALWAYS true. For this alone, San Japan rocks my socks.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Five

Let's start things off by spreading some love! The Friday Five are five other artists who should have your money:

Want to buy clothes made in China without wrecking your karma? Want to have designer clothes with more design than just a name tag? Idea2Lifestyle has you covered, or they will, as soon as you get in touch with them.

You're probably here because you're my friend, and if you're my friend you use Renclothes or know someone who does. And if you're Renfen, you're probably as annoyed as me by having to lay out serious cash for basic items, like chemises and skirts. Have a look at My Elegant Muse- I don't know how she even gets fabric that cheap!

Damsel in This Dress doesn't have a lot of dresses, but she does have some killer corsets--and they're nearly bodice-length, too! Since corsets beat underwires, I of course want one--and since bodices beat wonderbras, women of other dimensions can enjoy these just as much!

And if you're my friend, you're probably also a guy, just by law of averages....but for the few, the proud, the female geeks and congoers, I know you're all crafters. Don't you need an apron? Of course you do! Even if you don't need an apron, you need a Sassy Apron! Seriously, look at those things. You could commit some serious gal-fu in those aprons. But the Green Envy is mine. Hands off.

Of course a nifty fifties apron needs a nifty fifties dress to go with it! If Autumn Ends is kind of spare on goods now, but check her out-- she has great retro style clothing, and sizes for those of us who can't shop actual vintage on account of women then apparently having been raised as bonsai miniatures.

Brand New Blog

Well, if I'm going to be all businessy, it behooves me to have a business blog, yes?

This is for my Carapace craft stuff, as shown over here:

Standard store stuff goes here-- contests, sales, fairs and events-- and any tutorials I can come up with. So this is the place for craft type questions.

Thanks for stopping by!