When I grow up I'm gonna plan ahead. When I grow up I'm gonna set attainable goals with realistic deadlines. When I grow up I'm gonna have free-time.
Well, it looks like adulthood is a looooong way off !
The move to the new apartment has been a killer on our work schedule. Because it was totally an unplanned move our orders got way backed up and trying to catch up with our shipping has been a never ending uphill battle. I seriously wish I could freeze time and while the earth stood still, me and Aaron could take about two weeks to catch up on work. While time was stopped we wouldn't rob Fort Knox or anything like that...we'd just lock ourselves in the studio and work 'round the clock...that's how backed up we are. Probably the worst part of it is having to pause the creative output. I've got so many ideas that I can't yet realize. It's like the opposite of writer's block...it's like a writer having every word of his novel perfectly formed in his mind but he has no access to any pens, pencils, typewriters, laptops, paper, etc... It's a bit frustrating. Actually, I've been artistically frustrated for a long time now. You guys may have noticed that the output of new stuff from us has slowed drastically. And this predates the move...this has been the case for a while. We just get so busy with the work end of things and this causes the design end to suffer. I'm working on changing that aspect of my life and hope to get it going soon. Hopefully by Silver Bella I'll have a lot more new stuff and a business plan that supports greater creative output.
Anyway, enough whining right? Despite the deadlines and demands me and Aar had at least a couple social outings to break up the work weeks.
First, after about a 6 or 7 year break Aaron and his band got together and played a reunion show. The reason for the long absence was back in 2002 their guitar player/best friend/brother/heart and soul of the band- Dave, died of cancer. With the loss of Dave the band was over. They were all so close that going on with it would've been too painful and impossible because Dave was irreplaceable. But never say never. After all that time away they got back in contact with each other, got back in the rehearsal studio, booked a show, and after lots and lots of nervous anticipation...they pulled it off. They played amazing! The club was full, everybody had a blast, and they were able to schedule the show on what would've been Dave's 34th birthday. So besides it being a great reunion of friends it was also a perfect tribute to their late best friend and guitarist. Here's some pics from the night. Yeah, that's Aaron...crafter/fan of pink glitter/hardcore screamer. On the surface, the contrast seems a bit hard to believe but if you know Aaron well, it makes all the sense in the world...nothing seems out of place. It was a really fun night. Tons of people we haven't seen in years, in some cases not since high school, also Aaron's family...aunts, uncles, cousins. It was the first time my brother Walt got to see Aaron's band perform...he was too young in the past. And he nearly missed them again. He and my dad drove all the way from a hockey tournament in Buffalo (it was like an 8 hour drive!) and made it back just in time for the show. Oh, and it wasn't just a one time thing. The band is back together for real and they'll have lots more shows to come and a recording session very soon. The band is really as tight as ever. Each one of them stepped right back into it seamlessly. Message to Mary Engelbreit: If you need a backing band at Silver Bella give Aaron a call!
I always talk about how lucky I am to live in such close proximity to the greatest city in the world. Our recent move has put us about twenty minutes further than we were, but we're still really close. Sorta closer in a way...the train station here in town is like two blocks from my house... so we could seriously walk 2 blocks, step on a train, and emerge in NYC within 2 hours. Jersey often gets a bad rap and in some cases for good reason. Our politicians are straight out of a comedy script...we hold the record for toxic waste sites...there's that Jersey accent, though don't believe the one you hear in the movies...I never heard someone say "Joisey" EVER...it's a myth. Anyway, plenty to scoff at. But we find it easy to only focus on the good. I currently have all my windows open in this old Victorian...ocean breezes are blowing through the big old oaks, faint sounds of live music from a festival a town over, the kitschy sight of those single prop planes that fly over beaches trailing banners with advertisements, the scent of backyard barbeques...and I can step on a train and spend the afternoon in that big beautiful city and be back in time to catch the nightly news. I love it.
And you know what else I love? New York, or more specifically, Brooklyn, is the home base of Etsy! And get this...every Monday night is craft night at Etsy Labs! Above, I already explained my lack of free-time and the endless backlog of work, so breaking away to indulge in a craft night is just not possible. BUT, if you throw cupcakes into the equation I'll consider going. There's this blog which I'm sure you've all heard of , called Cupcakes Take the Cake (as seen on Martha Stewart)... it's fabulous! Well, on there is a group you can join for NYC cupcake meet-ups. It's so cool. Members from all over the city and it's outlying areas all get an email with an itinerary and places to meet-up to enjoy cupcakes in the company of fellow cupcake enthusiasts! A totally awesome idea...and the girl who runs themeet-ups, Nichelle, it's just so darn cool. Anyway, this past meet-up was two times the fun...a cupcake meet-up at Etsy Labs!! Cupcakes and Crafts!! I had to go. So I told Aaron he'd be home with the work and me and my sister Missy would be in Brooklyn! If it's just me and Missy without our male escorts we avoid public transportation like the plague, we feel much safer in the privacy of our own vehicle...so, we drove in. The buildings in this particular part of Brooklyn are short, stout, and industrial. Etsy Labs are on the third floor and it's a walk up...the only elevator is a freight elevator...me and Missy mused that we might qualify as freight on the way out, after we had our fill of cupcakes! On the way up there were the cutest signs printed up for the cupcake meet-up people...just the perfect little graphics. I brought a big bag of tricks not knowing what we'd really be doing...and it turns out, we didn't need/use anything I packed for me and Missy. Though we did use tiny prints of our cupcakes to make pins. After making the pins there, I soooo want a pin/badge maker!! Just the ease and quickness of it was thrilling. I'm so used to doing more work than is necessary and for a change I'd like to have a machine do the dirty work. We also learned to use a Gocco machine which was super fun to do. As you can see from the pics, some of us got a little Gocco crazy!! I mean, how could you not?! I'm gonna give you a link to Gocco so you can get an idea of how the machine works.
The place was totally full...there were even some standing crafters! At one point me and Missy went up to the web cam and said hello to all the viewers at home. Missy actually took a picture of the cam and told everyone at home to smile for the camera! Anyway, We met some super cool peeps, and had a great time!
There's nothing like finding treasures in your own backyard. The other night me and Aar wanted a good sweet for after dinner...some cupcakes in the style of Magnolia or Billy's. We're lucky enough to have a great bakery just one town over...mere blocks. It's in the tiny little town called Ocean Grove and simply enough, the place is named Ocean Grove Bake Shop. Their recipes are very very Magnolia-ish which ain't a bad thing at all! OCBS had a gangbuster business day on this particular Saturday so they were fresh out of traditional buttercream frosted cupcakes...all they had left was red velvets (oh boo hoo, poor us! ; ) ) They were up near the top of my list as far as red velvets go...and three minutes away!!
Kari ..the Artsy Mama...the creator/curator/ and moderator of the Sweet and Sinister Swap is at it again...and this year it's even bigger and better. She really knows how to run a swap. Unfortunately, the sign ups are already closed but this year the swap has it's own blog which you can subscribe to. There's gonna be giveaways, tutorials...Aar and I are guest designers! I'll update here as well when new stuff is happening with that. Of course there's gonna be a Flickr group devoted to showcasing all that's Sweet and Sinister in the months to come. Even if you're not in the swap you can still partake in a lot of the fun and swap with a friend...that's what I often do when I'm late to get in on a swap.
I like blogging about cupcakes and crafts. I like the idea of keeping things light and easygoing in certain venues. But on the other hand, in order to live in a place that's light, lax, and laid back you'll most likely have to make a conscious effort to remove or avoid the heavy, hurtful, and....think of an "h" word...heinous is too strong...haughty doesn't make any sense...hated is also too strong...oh forget it! What I'm trying to say is that in order to dance around your livingroom with a glue gun and a piping bag full of frosting, you must first make sure your front door is safely locked against the shifty outside world. I'm talking about the ever-present risk of artistic theft. You'd like to think that there's enough creativity in this world to go around. It should be easy enough...I do my thing...you do your thing...we can all show each other safely, much the way you'd pull out your wallet to show someone a photo of your favorite nephew...you shouldn't have to worry about a possible kidnapper looking over your shoulder. OK, jeez, I'll stop with the metaphors and cut to the chase. Some good friends of mine: Sadie, Cheryl and Heather , alerted me that some of my imagery from Flickr was being used in the e-commerce endeavors of total strangers. And not just my stuff, but a handful of other artists as well. In one case, our Charlotte painting was being sold as a banner and avatar set to decorate and spruce up your very own Etsy store! My painting, which I use for my own banner and avatar, was for sale not by me and without my knowledge. I'm very lucky to have these gals...I've been so busy that I may have never noticed! Anyway, we all did our best to put a stop to it and the specific parties were contacted and images were removed etc...But it's such a scary thought. I mean, you should always expect that people out there aren't gonna have the same moral code as you. You'd be a fool to not have eyes on the back of your head. But still, it's a bummer and always a shock when it happens. And, maybe I'll give the parties involved the benefit of the doubt and believe them when they say that they acted in ignorance of copyrights etc... But this is where I think that it's your responsibility as a creative type/business person to do actual research. Never just assume that an image is public domain. If it looks good and you haven't seen it around a lot...odds are, it belongs to somebody else and the reason why you think it's special is because it is special and the rightful owner wants to keep it that way. So when in doubt, borrowers should ask permission. Seek out the owner and ask...you don't take the idling Mercedes for a spin just because the keys were in it! End of sermon.
Holly sent me this amazing package of house warming/just becuz gifts! The porcelain tray set is like the most subtly pretty thing I've seen in a while...the photos do not pick up just how sweet it is. there e are these tiny hobnailish dots all over it...so cute and time travelers must've manufactured it specifically for me. And an assortment of what Holly is known for...some fabulous millinery! Pretty, pretty, pretty! 2 of the most adorable sculpted face clown cupcake pics! I've been wanting these for years...I saw them online but they had sold out before I could order! Aren't they the cutest thing everrrrrrrr!? Doily collars!! Holly really is one of the most genuine, sincere, talented, beautiful people ever. I cannot cannot wait to meet her at Silver Bella!
Alrightyrooskie! I talked too much again. Back to work!! xoxo, Jenny
ohh....before I go....some kitchen inspiration!
Click on mosaic to be taken to Flickr...and to see the original photos! :)