Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Thinning of the Veil

A few new treasuries to share...

For my new apartment... I wish! Only in my dreams...

Cold Weather No More?

I've been closely keeping a eye on the weather in Baton Rouge.  It's supposed to go up to 90 degrees there today, and that makes me nervous.  Why?  Not so much because I'm not really a hot weather person (though I'm not), but rather, because of the implications for my knitting.

Every knitter in a cold weather zone knows that fall is knitting season.  I start getting excited about knitting every July 4, when I bust out my poolside knitting for my family's annual Fourth of July picnic.  What follows is a rapid slide into sweater season... by the end of October, I've usually gotten at least one sweater and a couple of fun accessories off the needles.  By the time the really frigid weather comes in January and February, I'm more than prepared.  Knitting is not only fun, but practical, and a great skill to know in the face of the inevitable zombie apocalypse (or most other apocalypses that don't involve a plunge into extreme heat, I guess.)

So what does one knit in a town where it never snows and that boasts that the weather is warm all year long?  I guess I'll have to learn, because I know people who knit down south, and I've already located two yarn shops and at least one knitting group in Baton Rouge.  In the meantime, I've been knitting here in Pennsylvania, and have more or less tried to strike a balance with early fall accessories and lightweight sweater patterns.  We'll see how they go over in the Red Stick.  Here are a few that I've finished recently:

The Ireth Carnesîr Capelet
I may have mentioned the Ireth Carnesîr Capelet in an earlier blog post; either way, I know I mentioned designer The Jane Victoria earlier this fall.  This pattern was at the top of my knitting queue this season, and I knit it in Madeline Tosh Vintage, in the colorway "Kale," which is an awesome brownish plum color that I've been admiring since I first saw it in person last summer in Boston.  I accented the finished garment with handmade stamped muslin ribbon from my friend Alura (VampireGothChick) of Moonspell Crafts on Etsy - I'm kind of addicted to her hand-stamped ribbons and to her shop in general.

Lúthien Ar-Feiniel Opera-Length Fingerless Gloves
The Lúthien Ar-Feiniel Opera-Length Fingerless Gloves are another pattern from The Jane Victoria, and appeared on my Fall Fashion Wishlist earlier this fall.  I did these in Tosh Vintage as well.  The colorway was "Antique Lace," and once again, I finished the project with Alura's hand stamped ribbon.

"Rippled" is a new pattern from Laura Nelkin that caught my eye right away.  It's a super quick knit that you can do in an evening, and she makes it even easier by making kits available in a couple of different colors.  I decided to try one out, and I must say that it was well worth the money.  The yarn was top quality, the color was great, and the kit came with all of the coordinating beads (the pattern requires two different types.)  The pattern is also available separately through Ravelry.  I enjoyed this little project so much that I may order a second kit in black.

So, which of these projects are going to fly in the deep south?  The necklace should be ok, but I hope I'm not resigning myself to a life of nothing but knitted jewelry.  I'm pretty sure the capelet will be useful temperature-wise, perhaps even more so that in the northeast, where it tends to get too cold for such things as soon as fall rolls around.  But will the style be too "cold weather" to wear in BR?  The gloves I'm simply not sure about... they're arm length and worsted weight, and might just be too warm for my new digs.

I guess I'll find out soon enough... as of next Sunday, I'll officially be a resident of Louisiana.  Life is such an adventure, LOL, right down to the potential overhaul of my knitting agenda.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My First Studio!

Hi friends! I am busily gearing up for my move to Baton Rouge, and I am so excited! Last week, I flew down there to "apartment hunt," check out more of the city, and meet once more with my future co-workers. I can't say that I really "hunted" for an apartment, however, because I ended up taking the first one that I saw. You guys, I'm completely in love with the apartment and the location! It's near campus, so I can walk to work, even though Baton Rouge is definitely a driving city - as a former New Yorker, being able to walk places is pretty critical to my happiness, so I'm thrilled with the location. But more importantly, it's a two bedroom apartment that costs about a third of the one bedroom I had in New York, and it's located in a complex with a pool, has a view of the lake, and, most importantly, has... wait for it... a washer and dryer IN THE UNIT! I know, right? Unheard of!

The reason that I'm extra excited about this place is that I'm planning to turn the second bedroom into... you guessed it... my very first studio! Or craft room, to put it less pretentiously, I guess. This is where my yarn stash and spinning wheel will live, and it's where I'll do my metalwork (it even has a window through which to vent the fumes from the E6000.) It'll be so nice to have a separate space for all of those things, rather than having it all over my living space. Until now, my "studio" has always consisted of a spot on the floor in front of the television... but now, I'll have a real craft room, and hopefully be inspired to create more (and more consistently!)

I don't have any pictures of the apartment yet, but I will definitely try to post some as I get things set up. For now, here's a picture of University Lake as taken from campus. My building is on the other side... if you look to the left of the photo, near the bridge, that's where I'll be!

Monday, September 26, 2011

You Say You Want A Revolution

The historian in me made this one. Sometimes I just need to save these treasuries here for posterity...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Craziness, a move, and the Fall Collection

Well.  I am not the best at blogging.  I know it's been awhile since I posted, and I know I have yet to deliver the photos of my fall collection.  For this I apologize, but I have to make an excuse this time... I have been in the process of accepting a new job and planning a move to Louisiana.

When I went to Baton Rouge two weeks ago, it was for a job interview at LSU.  Well, guess what... I got the job!  I'm now the Foreign, Comparative and International Law Librarian at LSU, and a soon to be resident of Baton Rouge.  Geaux Tigers!  There are lots of fried green tomatoes in my future!

I'm so excited for this move.  I'll most likely be relocating sometime around the end of October.  The time between now and then will be filled with things like looking for an apartment, packing up all my stuff, renting a moving van, and figuring out how to transport my two lovely cats to Louisiana.  So, I might not be blogging that much for awhile.  I also may need to put my shop on vacation around the time of the move, though hopefully not for long.

Anyway.  Pretty much everyone who's currently following this blog is also following me on Facebook, so I'm pretty confident that you guys have seen the fall collection since it posted last week.  I am really proud of this collection, which I've been working on since mid-summer.  I'd been reading a lot of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction, and it led me to adopt a darker, more industrial aesthetic than I usually do.

The inspiration for these pieces is, as you know, the idea of "life after people."  I envisioned my beloved New York City as it would appear if human beings suddenly ceased to exist - I imagined urban and industrial areas overgrown with vegetation and harboring various birds and insects, both gothic and pretty.  I only created five pieces for this collection - it was an exercise in planning, execution and cohesiveness more than anything else.  I loved having a single concept to work from.  So without any further delay, here it is:

These will not be the only pieces to appear in my shop this fall!  However, they are the official "Fall Collection" of the House of Decadent Delusion.  Like I said, I wanted to see if I could design a collection, and I think I did pretty well for my first try.  I hope that you guys enjoy it!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Self-Taught Artists Treasury Team Feature

Hey everyone, I hope you've been enjoying those fried green tomatoes!  This is just a drive-by to let you know that I'm featured on the STATTEAM blog this week!  Head on over to check out the interview and see some pictures from my Etsy shop, as well as to get a few more hints about my fall collection, which I promise to get posted in the very near future!  Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This, That and the Southern Thing

Well, it's taken me a few days to get back here after the blog hop last week (which I hope you enjoyed, by the way.) On Thursday and Friday, I had to fly to Louisiana in the midst of massive flooding here in Central Pennsylvania. Luckily, the travel part of it worked out fine - I got there and back safely, and had an awesome time in between.

Since I got back, I can't stop frying up green tomatoes. They're not exactly a typical food here in PA, but every time I head south of here, I seem to regress into some kind of fried green tomato obsession. Luckily, I have an overabundance of them in my garden. The tomatoes never really got ripe this year, which I'd been lamenting up until now. On Sunday, I pulled a recipe off the internet, and it turned out to be a fantastic one. They turned out just like the ones I had in Baton Rouge, so I've decided to share the recipe with you.


4 large green tomatoes
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart vegetable oil for frying


1. Slice tomatoes 1/2 inch thick. Discard the ends.

2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a medium-size bowl. Scoop flour onto a plate. Mix cornmeal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper on another plate. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip the tomatoes into milk and egg mixture. Dredge in breadcrumbs to completely coat.

3. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil (enough so that there is 1/2 inch of oil in the pan) and heat over a medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches of 4 or 5, depending on the size of your skillet. Do not crowd the tomatoes, they should not touch each other. When the tomatoes are browned, flip and fry them on the other side. Drain them on paper towels.

To memorialize my fried green tomato obsession, I even created an Etsy treasury (because Etsy treasuries, of course, are currently my way of procrastinating when I don't want to do anything more productive.)

Delicious, eh? And perfect for September. While we're at it, I also made this one on the same day, and then realized that I'd coincidentally made two treasuries named after old movies, neither of which had anything to do with film:

At any rate, fall is definitely in the air here. It has been for awhile now, but to be honest, there's only one thing that ever makes it sink in for me that fall is really here - the return of all my TV shows. This week starts most of the CWTV shows, including one of my very favorites, the Vampire Diaries. The end of True Blood this past Sunday night will be ameliorated by the return of Elena, Damon, Stefan, Caroline, et al. Last season ended with a huge bang, so I can't wait to see what happpens this year - and is anyone else excited to see Damon finally step up and be the "good" vampire for a change?


The last thing I have to mention tonight is that I've recently been featured over on Artsnark's Artifacts.  As you know, Stacey, otherwise known as Artsnark, is one of my very favorite Etsy artists and has contributed significantly to my growing ACEO collection.  She has been kind enough to feature an interview with me and to host a giveaway of one of my items - a pair of snowy owl lace earrings perfect for Halloween.  So be sure to check out the interview and leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blue Eyed Blessings and Hopping Blogs

So, it looks like I've been chosen to co-host a blog hop tomorrow with Julia and Cori over at Blue Eyed Blessings! This is very cool... I've been linking my shop and my blog over there every Wednesday pretty much since I started selling on Etsy. It's great exposure, so please consider linking up using the linky tool below. The linkies will "open" at 12:01am PST on Wednesday morning and close Sunday at 11:59pm.

Add your blog here:

Add your shop here:


The name, of course, was inspired by Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Teeny Tiny Witchery

Oh, I am just having way too much fun creating treasuries this weekend! Probably because I'm procrastinating when I should be getting ready for job interviews. Check this one out... teeny tiny witch furniture for a tiny witch dollhouse. How cute is that???

My Fall Fashion Wishlist

Want to know what I'm eyeing up for fall? Well, maybe it's all the time I've spent with the Time Travelers Team this summer, but I'm really feeling anything with a bit of a steampunk edge. I'm looking at browns, reds, gold, brass and copper. I'm also knitting up a couple pairs of fingerless mitts with a Neo-Victorian feel and vintage embellishments, and I've ordered a few gothy accessories in basic black from some of my favorite Etsy sellers.

Here's a peak at some of the things that I've bought or am planning to buy for fall.

I want to highlight some particularly amazing shops that are included in this list; I LOVE shopping, and when I find a brand I like, I tend to be an extremely loyal customer. First, let me draw your attention to two outstanding knitwear designers: NeuroticKnitterz and The Jane Victoria. Both have patterns readily available in PDF format in their Etsy shop (I LOVE PDF patterns because they offer an immediate solution to the knitter's syndrome commonly known as "startitis.") NeuroticKnitterz seems to draw inspiration from a variety of sources, and I've already purchased a few of her patterns. I'm planning to knit her Last of the Sky Pirates mitts later this fall in a fabulous brown sock yarn, and I've already ordered the antique buttons to go with them. The Jane Victoria has a distinctly Neo-Victorian aesthetic that can be made goth or steampunk depending on the knitter's choice of colors. I am currently knitting her Lúthien Ar-Feiniel Opera-Length Fingerless Gloves out of Madeline Tosh Vintage in the colorway "Antique Lace." I must say that I am enjoying the pattern immensely... it moves quickly, is easy to follow and memorize, and looks amazing. My experience with the designer is that she is very helpful and quick to respond to questions about her patterns, so I would highly recommend any of them, even if you think they might be a challenge.

For those without an inclination toward the fiber arts, check out ScarletRabbit for ready-made crocheted accessories that will fit into your steampunk, goth, or chic urban wardrobe. I recently purchased a large collar and matching wristlets for early fall, and I was blown away by the quality and craftsmanship of the items. This is another designer whom I highly recommend.

Finally, I have included two absolutely outstanding perfume designers on my Fall Fashion Wishlist: Catrianna of Deep Midnight Bathery, and Sara of Sarawen Perfume Art. I've recently begun wearing more natural perfume oils and fewer commercial products, and have become seriously addicted to both of these gals' fragrances. I now own two from Sara and three from Cat, not to mention the 17 sample vials I have floating around. Of course, it's hard to describe fragrance in a blog post, especially when you don't know jack about perfume design to begin with. However, I find that Sara's fragrances are deep and rich with a few clearly recognizable notes, while Cat's are complex, with subtleties that will make you think "what IS that unusual smell?" as the perfume dries and changes throughout the day. Of course, the best way to check out any fragrance is by sampling it; luckily, both of these ladies offer sample vials in their shops. I would highly recommend going and getting lost in their stores... their photos and descriptions will have you dying to sample every one of their creations!

Oh, glorious shopping. Don't you just love it? I have really enjoyed writing up this post, and I hope you've enjoyed it too. We all know that fall is the best season for fashion and for changing up your wardrobe... I hope you've enjoyed my recommendations, and I'd love to hear some of yours as well!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall 2011 Teaser

Last night I alluded to my Fall 2011 shop collection.  It's not ready to post yet... but I thought I'd give you some teaser pics of my inspiration for the collection, hehe.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Exciting News!

I have exciting news to share tonight, readers!  Well, actually, first things first (and this is exciting, too) - my Halloween treasury, "A Dark Night of the Soul," tied for the win in the Time Travelers Team's contest!  So thanks to everyone who came over to Etsy and left a comment!  I appreciate the support!

I have even bigger news tonight, though, and it's something that I've known about for awhile but wasn't able to share.  From this point forth, you will be able to see some of my creations in person at the Arts Barn in Orwigsburg, PA.  I met the owner at the last craft show I did, and we got to discussing my metalwork and the possibility of my joining their gallery and selling some pieces on consignment.  I visited the Arts Barn in early August, and was really impressed - they have lots of amazing artwork of all different kinds by a variety of artists, all housed in a beautifully renovated barn.  It's also a gorgeous drive to their location just outside of Pottsville.

After visiting the gallery and setting up a meeting, I decided to design a collection specifically for them.  I knew right away what I wanted to do - I wanted to use beautiful fall colors, gemstone beads, birds and insects, and rusty looking patinas to capture the rustic, artistic character of the gallery and its location.  I've been working like crazy on this collection, and tonight I was rewarded when they accepted all six pieces!  Of course, I took pictures ahead of time to share with you:

These pieces can be seen and purchased at the Arts Barn, located at 3 Berry Road, Schuykill Haven, PA, 17972.  As much as I love Etsy, metal collage is so much more amazing when you can see it in person, so I hope some of you will make a trip up there to check out my work!

Oh, and by the way... in addition to these six pieces, they also kept one more.  It was originally intended to be a part of my Fall 2011 shop collection... which means that posting a picture would be giving too much away.  ;)  But you'll be able to see that line soon.  It's darker and more industrial, and should be posting in my shop within a couple of weeks.  I'll be sure to blog about it here, but keep an eye on the shop if you want first dibs!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The First Picture of You

Today, or rather, yesterday (it's around 12:30 here and I've had an extremely busy day), I was featured on an amazing Italian blog called "The First Picture of You," by medusa1307.  Medusa's interviews are unique in that she asks the artist to tell their story visually, through pictures and photographs, as well as through words.  It was a challenge to choose the handful of images that would depict me, my background, my inspiration, and my work, but I think that I succeeded.  Medusa did an absolutely amazing job of putting everything together, and you can read the interview here:

I hope that you find it entertaining!  I definitely had fun doing it.  You can check out Medusa's own work at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You've Been Treasured

Sometimes I just like to put the crafting aside and put on my curator hat instead.  Creating Etsy treasuries is fun... I love looking through other people's listings and arranging them together in my own little collections.

Here are a couple of my recent treasuries... please check them out and give them some love!

First is my weekly STATTEAM treasury.  This week, I went with a back to school theme, and called my treasury "Book Learnin'."  Between finishing my library degree and knowing that school is starting for everyone else, I definitely have books on the brain...

Second is a treasury I did for no other reason than that I am LOVING the new Chanel Le Vernis fall nail color, "Peridot."  It's a beautiful, rich gold-green, and I am all about this color for the fall season...

And finally, here is my favorite.  This is my entry into the Time Travelers Team Halloween treasury contest, and it's entitled, "A Dark Night of the Soul."  We have a lot of wonderful artists on the team who happen to have something of a dark aesthetic (to say the least), so I decided to put my own love of surrealism to the test and come up with the most terrifyingly surreal treasury I could create using entirely items made by TTT members.  This is it...

I hope you enjoyed the eye candy!  Be back next time with something more substantive to say!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Adventures in Spinning: A Tale of Steampunk Yarn

Custom spinning... talk about pressure!  Someone has made a special request and is anxiously awaiting a beautiful, perfect skein of soft yarn spun precisely to their specifications.  Your creative freedom depends upon the extent to which they've decided to relinquish control over the design.  And then there's the giving away part... assuming you do attain perfection, you immediately have to package up your work of soft, fluffy art and ship it off into the great beyond.

I recently had the privilege of spinning for Boston-based jewelry designer and animal activist Claudia Bruno, who has become a great friend and mentor to me when it comes to jewelry design and metal collage.  Claudia and I hit on the idea of a steampunk art yarn while chatting on Etsy, and we both got really excited about the idea.  For me, the idea of spinning a steampunk yarn was fascinating, because it would involve spinning in hardware - Claudia and I discussed gears, watch parts, brass jewelry findings, and even pieces of barbed wire.  While I'd worked with a variety of different spin-ins in the past and thought I could use the same techniques, I knew that it would be a challenge to find exactly the right pieces of hardware that wouldn't be too heavy and that would fit through all of the orifices and hooks on my spinning wheel, but that would still give the yarn the beautiful steampunk look that we were trying to achieve.

I was lucky in that Claudia gave me almost one hundred percent creative freedom over the project.  The only things that we really decided on up front were that the yarn would be some shade of brown, with gold or bronze angelina sparkle, and that she would pick out the spin-ins from her own stash and mail them to me.  The first thing I did was search Etsy for the perfect spinning fiber, and I found it pretty quickly in a batt called "Sepia," from Unwind Yarn Company.  A little while after I received the fiber, a big bag of gears, beads, watch hands, and brass roses arrived in the mail.  Joy!  Only another spinner can imagine the excitement I felt when I looked at that stuff and pictured it in a skein of yarn.  A couple of weeks later, those gears and roses and watch hands and fiber had been transformed into a huge skein of remarkably plush and squishy steampunk yarn!

As for the process...

The first thing I did (after weeding out any pieces that wouldn't fit through the plying head of my spinning wheel) was to pull off small strips of fiber (about 1/2 thick and 3 inches long) and thread them through the metal pieces that had larger holes, such as the gears (you can see one of those in the picture above) and the watch hands (pictured below.)

I then spun a super bulky weight, thick and thin single, feathering in the strips of fiber with the metal pieces attached.  I spun this directly onto the plying head of my Lendrum DT, because the orifice and hooks are considerably bigger than on the regular one.

Once I had my single, I wound it off so that I could use the bobbin a second time, and then I used gold metallic sewing thread and threaded all of the smaller pieces (that is, the brass roses and very small brass beads) onto that.  I thread plied this with the single, allowing the occasional beehive to form, and not worrying too much about uniformity (this is art yarn, after all.)

The result was, in my opinion, spectacular.  Not to praise myself too much, but the results far exceeded my expectations when it came to this yarn.  I have to admit that there was a part of me that was afraid that this project would turn out to be a massacre... that the metal parts would be too heavy, or the thread plying would go haywire, and I would have to Claudia that I had ruined her yarn.  In the end, however, it was a wonderful challenge and a joy to spin.

I am so glad that I took on this project, and that Claudia allowed me the privilege of spinning for her.  I will definitely be working with watch hands again - in fact, I already have some on special order - and I'm still very much intrigued by the idea of that barbed wire...

So, our tale of steampunk yarn ends with success and the yarn's safe arrival in Boston.  Until next time...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Halloween - I am so ready!

...because I have a purple felted Halloween witch hat!

OK, honestly, how cute is that?  I knitted this as a test knit for Cyn, the knitwear designer at  She has the pattern available for sale, as well as at least one ready to wear witch hat.  And the quilting patterns are to die for - I already bought the Samhain pattern, and am planning to buy the Yule one later on.

The hat pattern calls for Lamb's Pride Bulky, but I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes Bulky with great success.  I've felted with both brands before, and while I generally like LP for felted bags, I think that the KP worked especially well for the hat, since it felted more slowly, giving me more control over the felting process, and formed a sturdier felted fabric than I have usually experienced with LP.

Speaking of Halloween, I recently posted these earrings for sale in my Etsy shop:

Aren't they cute?  You may or may not know this, but tomorrow (Wednesday, August 17) is Black Cat Appreciation Day.  Black cats have the lowest rate of adoption in the U.S. because of the superstitious and totally false belief that they bring bad luck.  They are less than half as likely to be adopted than cats of any other color.  In other countries, however, black cats are believed to bring GOOD luck!  As someone who happens to be owned by two black cats, I can safely say that black cats bring the best luck ever.  That's why I've decided that between now and midnight tomorrow night, $5.00 from each sale of these black cat lace earrings will be donated to the Black Cat Rescue in Boston, MA.  I have already raised $10.00 and would love to raise a lot more.  So please consider purchasing this listing and supporting this cause that is so near and dear to my heart!  >^.^<

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have recently been giving a lot of thought to designing "collections."  By this I mean designing a series of items that aren't spontaneous one-offs, but rather a cohesive group with a unifying look, theme, and inspiration that is at least partially planned out ahead of time and that can be summarized and explained by the designer.

I'm not sure that I have many coherent thoughts on the matter so far, except that designing collections is hard.  Over the summer, I received a suggestion to organize my shop by collections, but the fact is that my pieces were too eclectic and I was unable to shoehorn them into categories.  So, while those existing pieces will remain in the shop (which is currently organized by medium... for example, "metal collage," "beaded," "knitted," etc.), designing a cohesive fall collection has been high on my list.

The problem is that it can be hard to design a collection without feeling restricted by the theme and look upon which you've decided.  What if you have an idea that doesn't fit in?  What if you start working and the concept changes and evolves?  What are the benefits and drawbacks to designing in this way?  Are you limiting your creativity?  Are you limiting your customer base?

For my readers (I think I'm up to 26 now... yay!), I'm curious... have you ever designed a "collection" before?  If not, would you try it, or would you find it to be too restrictive?  If you do design in collections, what are the benefits?  What is your process like, how do you choose a theme, and how do you handle changes during the creative process?

Images from Sarah Burton's first collection for Alexander McQueen, Spring 2011.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


As you can probably guess from my previous blog posts, I am someone who really likes to be surrounded by art.  I have a collector's mentality when it comes to beautiful things... I want them in my possession, and on display, and if they happen to be rare or unusual, then all the better.

When I was an attorney, collecting art (and other stuff) was no big deal.  I was never rich, but I made enough to get by and to spend some money on the things that I felt were important.  When I made the decision to stop practicing law, I knew I'd have to give a lot of things up.  Unfortunately, there's a huge difference between giving up fancy highlights and Chanel nail polish (ok, maybe I didn't give that up so much as space out my purchases a little more) and having to give up a hobby or a creative pursuit.

That's why I was really excited when I discovered ACEOs.  ACEOs are these little cards, the size of baseball cards, that artists make and then trade with each other or sell for a couple of dollars in places like Etsy.  Here's the official definition from the Etsy ACEO Street Team:

ACEO stands for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals". They are 3.5 x 2.5 inches 6.4 x 8.9 cms - the size of a trading card. They can be created using any medium.

Art Cards were originally traded between artists. While artists were happily trading cards, the general public was left out in the cold, having no Art Cards to trade. A group of artists realized this, and quickly made their cards available for sale! Artists from all over the world are creating, and selling these little works of art in different mediums and subject matter. You can use ACEO's as traditional art and hang them on the wall in frames, or you can place them in an album for a unique coffee table book. Extremely collectible art, you can't stop at just one!

At first, I didn't really see the point of ACEOs - what was I going to do with all these tiny trading cards?  Then I bought one... just one... and I was hooked.  Not only are they cute when framed and hung on the wall in big bunches, but the key thing that I realized was that with ACEOs, I could have any art that I wanted.  It was like shopping at Target instead of Prada, and the only potential obstacle was the artists' willingness or unwillingness to produce their artwork in ACEO size.

After collecting for a couple of months, I couldn't resist - I had to try my hand at making my own.  I did some mixed media collages first, and then decided to return to a favorite medium of my high school years... oil pastels.  I hit upon the idea of incorporating my own handspun yarn, and the "Art of Yarn" series was born!

So when a fellow Time Traveler, agentofchaos, suggested a team ACEO swap, I jumped on the project.  Agent held signups and then put all of our names into a random number generator.  We each sent out three ACEOs, and got three back in the mail.  Although everyone's ACEOs totally rocked, I really did score in that the three ACEOs I received were from artists whose work I really admire and would probably have bought eventually anyway:  poppydreamz, kuhlwhip, and amth13.

From left to right: Poppy's card, Amth's card, and two cards from Kuhl.

Amth's card is entitled "The Moon" and it came with a wonderful message: "The moon encourages us to listen to our intuition and pay attention to our dreams."  Now how did you know, Amth, exactly which inspirational message I needed to hear at this moment?  :)

I encourage everyone to visit these three artists' fabulous shops, and to explore the possibility of ACEO collecting.  If you need some suggestions, here are three more shops that have a wide selection of amazing ACEOs from which to choose, as well as excellent customer service:

If you want to try making your own ACEOs, you can cut your own blanks out of cardstock, or purchase blanks in a variety of paper types at art supply stores or in general craft stores like Michael's.

Please comment and let me know if you're already an ACEO collector, have recently discovered them or made some of your own, or if ACEOs are entirely new to you.  I'd love to hear how others collect and display these awesome little works of art!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

NaNo Fail

I'm supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo right now.

For anyone who doesn't know, NaNoWriMo stands for "National Novel Writing Month." It happens every November, and the goal is to write an entire novel in one month. It's pretty popular... there's even a website through which you can arrange local meetups and chat with other writers about your ideas. It's a big crazy writing party, basically... at least, from what I've heard. I tried to do it in 2008, and wrote about 15,000 words of a crappy vampire novel before I got totally overwhelmed and quit. Every year since then, I've promised myself that I would participate again, and every year something (Christmas knitting? Final exams?) has happened to prevent me from doing so.

This year, the powers behind NaNo decided, quite rightly, that November was a pretty craptacular month to have to write a book. So, for people like me, they set up "Camp NaNoWriMo," to take place during the entire month of August. I got really excited about this, thinking I'd have plenty of time to write, and I contacted a friend and we agreed that we would both participate. Fast forward to yesterday, when I realized that it was three days into August, and I had never even signed up.

The sucky part is that I actually feel guilty about this, even though it will probably have absolutely no impact on my life. I could still start, of course, and try to make up for the lost time. I also have what I would consider to be more important things to do... job hunting, managing my Etsy shop, and bringing my cholesterol down, among others. But I feel like I'm letting myself down by not doing NaNo yet again. When will I get around to this? Will it become like the enormous stash closet of yarn that I will never knit up because it so far exceeds my life expectancy? Or the "to read" list that still includes unread titles from 18 years ago?


Anyway... I don't know what I'll be doing about that, but having gotten that vent out of the way, let me focus on a few things that I HAVE been doing.

First of all, the Glee Cast Knit Project seems to be a go. If you haven't visited the Rav group yet, then definitely check it out. It seems that one of the team leaders has been in touch with someone from the costume department and is photographing all of the items before sending them on. Whether or not my scarf ends up on the show, my dream is for Naya to tweet about it. Everyone should be following her at @NayaRivera on Twitter, because she's just fantastic.

From the scarf, I moved onto a couple of new projects. I'm actually knitting for MYSELF for a change. I'm working on an Amiga cardigan, the pattern for which can be found in the spring/summer issue of Knitty.  I'm also test knitting a really cute felted witch hat pattern for everywitchway on Etsy... check out their store to see the pattern, as well as a lot of adorable Pagan-esque quilting patterns (they will appeal to non-Pagans as well; for example, the "Samhain" pattern will easily fit in with anyone's Halloween decor.)  They have an awesome shop, and I'm excited to be trying out one of their patterns.

I've also been doing quite a lot of metal collage and assemblage work.  I'm probably going to do a post about metal collage at some point, but for now I'll just say that I've gotten some awesome things up in my shop, and am working on getting a few placed at a local gallery (because I really think that metal collage pieces look a lot more spectacular in person.)  Here are a few of my newer listings:

I sent in my contribution for the August Phat Fiber box, the theme of which is Bollywood.  To be honest, I wasn't nearly as into this theme as I was with the Art Nouveau one last month.  I'm not crazy about Bollywood, so I didn't take any particular film as inspiration; I just sort of conjured up some Bollywood type colorways and sent in a variety of samples:

Even though the theme wasn't really my thing, I am thoroughly enjoying these contributions.  I'm definitely going to continue with this... the September theme is "Enchanted Forest," which is a bit more appealing to me, so I'm already thinking over some potential colorways.

Finally, I am seriously gearing up for Halloween!  Though I appreciate the idyllic summer I've been having here in the countryside of Pennsylvania (last summer I was doing an internship in Boston and sleeping on the floor in an unfurnished apartment with no air conditioning), I always get antsy for Halloween around this time of year.  The Time Travelers Team on Etsy held a big surprise Halloween event on Monday night, and it was a raging success.  I think people are getting ready for fall, and I'm excited to start putting up more yarn and knitwear and other cold weather stuff, not to mention knit myself some fall sweaters.  What do you guys think... are you ready for fall?

And I wonder why I don't have time for NaNoWriMo!  This blog post probably has enough words to make up my daily installment and then some!  Ah, well, you can't please all of the people all of the time (or even yourself for that matter.)  Perhaps I'll start late, perhaps I'll wait until November, but either way, I can't say that I haven't been busy.  :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Time Enough For Love

In my last post, I left you with a treasury created by a fellow Etsy seller. In this post, I will leave you with one made by me.

I recently joined the STATTEAM (Self Taught Artists Treasury Team) on Etsy, and like many of the teams there, they host a weekly treasury challenge every Saturday. I had never done one of these challenges before (though I've created many a treasury), so I decided to try it out.

The treasury had to meet certain requirements - namely, it had to include listings from a specific number of team members, including two featured artists, and it had to be centered around the inspirational word of the week. This week, that word was "time." Easy peasy for a Time Traveler, right? (I'll probably be talking a LOT about the Time Travelers Team on this blog, so stay tuned.)

The requirements made it a little hard to remain cohesive, but I'm pretty happy with how my treasury came out. I settled on the title, "Time Enough for Love," based upon the classic science fiction novel of the same name, by Robert A. Heinlein. I got to pull in all kinds of vibrant colors, lots of hearts, and a lot of clocks and other steampunky goodness. Let me know what you think... but more importantly, visit the treasury, comment on it, favorite it, click on a few items, whatever... the more people who do that, the better my chances are of being a finalist in the treasury challenge!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Like An Artist

There are so many things about which I want to post right now!  It seems that I rather quickly got over my blogging hangup, doesn't it?  I'm finding that this is a great way to share and work through my thoughts on life, art, and crafts, not to mention ghost koi and pop culture!  I still owe you guys some background on myself, a full explanation of my obsession with Santana Lopez, and that discussion of Pretty Little Liars that I promised in my very first post.  Not to mention that I'll be showing off my Bollywood yarn soon, as well as some Halloween and Christmas items from my shop, and that I want to talk about some of the fabulous teams I've joined on Etsy and the awesome people that I've met there!  I've also hit upon an entirely new art form that I've totally embraced, as both a creator and a collector.  Two new art forms, actually...

But alas, all that must wait, for I must to bed.  My sleep specialist says that I need to stop blogging late at night and go to bed by at least 2am.  So for now, I will leave you with some eye candy.  A few days ago (or maybe more), I uploaded an amazing metal collage piece called "Darkness at the Garden Gate."  I'd worked on it for quite awhile, and there are only two in the world... the one in my shop, and the one I kept for myself (hehe.)  The supplies likely won't be available again, so I consider this a one of a kind piece.  Anyway, a few minutes (!!!) after I posted it, it was featured in this stunning treasury by soycomfort..  She even named the treasury after my necklace!  I can't stop looking at it - sometimes I could swear that the treasuries on Etsy are the real art form, and that the rest of us are simply providing the raw materials.  When I get a feature like this, it actually does make me feel like an artist, if only by proximity to other ones.  I hope you enjoy this is as I drift off into dreamland... till next time...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hard to Give Up

This morning I got a fabulous surprise.  I woke up to a shout out from a fellow blogger and Etsian, Michaela of Buttons and Yarn Oh My!  A couple of weeks ago, she'd bought a skein of my handspun yarn (one of my favorite ones, at that!) and she had some very kind words to say about it, and about handspun yarn in general.  Thanks Michaela!  You can check out Michaela's shop at

Handspun yarn is very hard to give up.  There's just something about it.  The process of spinning is so tactile and so tangible, not to mention so time consuming, that you really grow to care about the yarn.  There are skeins that are like a beloved pet to me, that I would never give up.  With others, I just want to see the yarn in the hands of someone who loves it.

I'm sure that artists of every type experience the same separation anxiety that I do.  I know firsthand how hard it can be to give away a knitted garment or to sell a piece of handcrafted jewelry.  I can't even imagine what it must be like to sell an original painting or sculpture - even if your living depended upon it.

So I'm wondering... for those of you who create original, one of a kind art or crafted items, how do you deal with giving them away or putting them up for sale?  Does the sale make it worth it, or do you miss your item later on?  Or is it enough, as with my skeins of yarn, to see it in the hands of someone who loves it?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Finishing Things

This was something of a a big weekend for me.  I turned in the last assignment of the last class in my master's program.

Not everyone knows this (well, actually, most of the people following this know it, although the internet at large does not), but for the past two years, I've been working toward my MLIS degree (Master's of Library and Information Science) with a concentration in Archival Studies.  I used to be an attorney in a former life - I devoted about ten years to the study and practice of law before realizing (admitting?) that the work and culture were entirely at odds with my nature.  So in the fall of 2009, I enrolled in the online MLIS program at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.  Without ever having to leave the East Coast, I've been taking classes and doing internships in libraries and archives and hoping that the job market would be looking up by the time I graduated (ha!  Look how well that turned out!)

I have to say that although I loved the program, finishing my last class was a little anticlimactic.  It might be because I'm not really finished yet - I still need to get my final grades, I won't receive my degree until the end of August, and there's no summer commencement ceremony, so there won't really be any pomp and circumstance surrounding my graduation unless I choose to walk with the winter graduating class next December.  But I also have to say that while I'm not leaping at the chance to celebrate quite yet, I do feel the faintest glow of happiness and pride.  When I started the program, it seemed like forever until I'd be finished, but looking back, the whole thing seems like kind of a blur.  It's been a great ride!

The other thing that I finished this weekend was my Santana scarf for the Glee Cast Knits project.  I gotta say that right now, this feels like a bigger accomplishment than finishing my master's, since I had to knit like mad in order to meet Saturday's deadline.  Here's a picture of the final package that I sent out:

To my own credit, I think the scarf looks great - I'll be using the second half of the skein to make a matching one for myself.  And I'm really kind of proud of the fancy pants gift bag I found.  The card over on the left is the note card on which I wrote a gushy letter to Naya about how fabulous she is and how much I love her wardrobe and what a great role model she is for girls and women everywhere (all so true.)  It was a great feeling to send it all out, and I hope that it'll get to Naya at some point and that she'll enjoy it (and not just think that we're all a bunch of crazy knitting cat ladies.)

So... let's raise a glass to finishing things!  It feels good to get some things off my plate.  Next up:  job hunting, NaNoWriMo Camp, a second Phat Fiber contribution, knitting for ME, and trying to get my jewelry out on consignment.  Onward!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ghost Koi Pond

Someone just told me that my fish tank looks like a ghost koi pond.  BEST THING EVER!

You can feed them, you know... just click on your mouse somewhere in the tank to sprinkle some "food."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Getting Phat

Check out my new fish tank ---------------->

I think that is so cool.

So one of the things I've been wanting to do for the past couple of years is contribute to the Phat Fiber Sampler box.  Those of you who are on Ravelry and who are serious knitters or spinners know what Phat Fiber is.  For everyone else, it's basically a sample box of yarn and spinning fiber that comes out every month.  It's gotten extremely popular, so it's gotten very hard to snag a box... necessitating timed "box drops," a secret email list, and detailed instructions on the home page of the Phat website on how to score a box once it drops (seriously, they literally disappear within seconds.)

Anyway, I remember when the Phat Fiber box was first introduced, about three or four years ago.  Back in those days (let's call them the "days of old"), you had between ten and twenty minutes to get a box before they all sold out, so I managed to get my hands on the first few boxes.  It was pretty fab.  A big over-sized shoe box type package would come in the mail, and when you opened it up it would be packed full of beautiful spinning fiber and handspun and hand dyed yarn from all different Etsy, Artfire, and other kinds of shops.  I swore that if I ever decided to open up shop, I'd contribute to the box, thus becoming a "Phattie."

Cut to this year... if you've looked in my shop, you know that it's full of jewelry.  Nonetheless, I am also very serious about the Spinning of Yarn (much like the Naming of Cats, it isn't just one of your holiday games.)  I fully intended to stock some yarn at some point and eventually follow through with my goal of getting Phat.  But I figured I had time... maybe I'd contribute in September or October, when my schedule wasn't quite so full.

Then they announced the theme for July.  It was... wait for it... Art Nouveau.  I know.  Right?  How could I not contribute to an Art Nouveau box when I go on and on about Joris-Karl Huysman and market myself under the name Decadent Delusion???  So, toward the end of June (pretty late in the game, actually), I signed right on up, and here's what I did:

“In A Silver Charger”

Based on Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations
for the play “Salome,” by Oscar Wilde

Merino, Suri Silk Threads, Wool Locks, Angelina, Silver Thread

"It is for mine own pleasure that I ask the head of Jokanaan in a silver charger."


Based on Aubrey Beardsley’s illustrations
for the play “Salome,” by Oscar Wilde

Alpaca, Merino, Silk, Angora, Silver Thread

"How pale the Princess is!  Never have I seen her so pale.  She is like the shadow of a white rose in a mirror of silver."

Here's the gruesome illustration on which "In A Silver Charger" is based:

BWAHAHAHAHA!  I couldn't resist.  I just love Beardsley... he's so twisted.

Anyway, here are all my little samples before they went out:

The box "dropped" on Sunday, and people are starting to receive them and post pictures on Ravelry.  I've glimpsed my samples in one or two pictures already, and it's kind of a rush.  This has been such a fun project!  I'll definitely be contributing again next month... see you in Bollywood!  ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Girl In the Moon

That's the name of the piece I just finished, "Girl in the Moon."

It's also a fitting title for this post, because I really aimed high when I set out to make this cuff.  It's a style (assemblage) with which I'm not that familiar, and I used materials and techniques (mosaic and making the cabochons, mostly) that I don't often use.  It took bloody long to make, too... in the time that it took to make it, I also knocked out three or four metal collage necklaces, not to mention most of that Santana scarf (if you haven't yet looked at the previous post, please read it for further information on that totally awesome project.)

I put the cuff up for sale in my shop, and now I feel... I don't know what.  At first, it was a bit of a rush, but now I mostly feel exposed.  Which is crazy, considering I've been making and wearing things for most of my life, selling on Etsy for a few months, and now am going against every fiber of my being and also blogging about it.  Still, putting this piece up was like starting over, and I don't know why.  Can anyone tell me?  Anyone?

Monday, July 18, 2011

A little bit less pretention, a little more action.

That's right, I'm channeling the Man from Memphis.  Pre-drug addiction and subsequent vampire conversion, of course.

I just wanted to take a break from all the introductory stuff, as well as all the pretentious art talk, and share something FUN that I'm actually working on!  As for getting to know me, well... all in good time.

First of all, anyone who knows me also knows that I've been knitting since I was about four years old.  Sometime in 2007, I joined the rest of the knitting and crochet community on Ravelry, the now ubiquitous social networking site for fiber artists (if you're a knitter and you're not on there, for shame!)  From the time I joined, I was incredibly active in a few of the groups, one of those being the Lost Knitters.  From 2007 until 2010, when Lost (RIP) went off the air, I spent much of my down time dissecting the episodes and characters, and researching quantum physics so that I could come up with elaborate theories about time travel, alternate realities, and free will.  Good times were had by all.

Alas, Lost ended approximately one year ago, and I needed something to fill the void.  What did I do?  Well, I turned to a show that had already been airing during the Lost time slot... Glee.  I spent last summer catching up, and by the end of July, I was no longer a wannabe physicist, but a full-blown, crazy-ass, iTunes-downloading, musical-listening Gleek.

So that brings me to what I'm working on right now... the Glee Cast Knits project, sponsored by the Glee group on Ravelry.  I, of course, signed up to knit for Santana, which will also not come as a surprise to those who know me well... I am a Santana FIEND (I'm sure you'll get to hear more about that later.)  I chose a yarn from my stash... a crazy, edgy, hot pink and camouflage colored sock yarn from Hazel Knits, and an awesome one row scarf pattern available from Turvid's Design.  And that is what I'm working on right now.

I think this will be perfect for Santana!  And I hope that Naya Rivera, the actress who portrays her, will love it as much as I do!  We've gotten the go-ahead to send this stuff in to the casting department, so all of the projects are due by the end of the month, and we're hoping that at least some of them will appear on the show.  If you're on Ravelry and want to read more about the project, then visit the Glee group there and check out the project thread!

The second thing that I wanted to share is that I had my first blog feature today, on a wonderful blog called EBN Art Studio.  She has been running a series on artists who take some of their inspiration from the ocean - I did the interview a few weeks ago, and she did a fabulous job with the feature!  So check out the link to read the interview and learn a bit more about me, as well as for a nice coupon that you can use on anything in my shop.

Well, I think that's it for tonight... a bit on the lighter side, no?  Until next time, four or five followers... Gleek Out!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blogging... it's sort of freaking me out.

As you could probably tell from my first post, I'm still not really comfortable with the idea of blogging.  In fact, I still haven't really publicized this at all.  (I think I have three followers now, so I promise you all... I will publicize this shortly and continue to blog so that your follow will not have been in vain.)  I've been thinking quite bit about what I want this blog to be "about."  The only thing I know is that I do NOT want this to be a promotional blog, dedicated solely to promoting my shop.  My life (and yours) is oh so much bigger than that.

I want this blog to be about what drives me, whether it's in art, crafts, work, or life in general.  For that reason, I feel I owe you a "real" introduction - who I am and how I got to where I am now.

However, given that the very idea of blogging about myself still totally freaks me out, I've decided to start in safer territory... I want to explain my shop and blog name, because the inspiration for them is a little bit obscure, and I get asked about my shop name (The House of Decadent Delusion) quite a bit. Since the inspiration for this blog comes from the same source, I'll just get this out of the way now.  :)

Here is the explanation that I have posted on my Etsy shop page and profile:

Sometimes people ask about the name of my shop. It's derived from the decadent movement in art and literature, and in particular from the book "Against the Grain," by Joris-Karl Huysman, which has greatly influenced the way I think about art, aesthetics, and life. Here is some information from the excellent Wikipedia article on this book:

"'À rebours' (translated into English as 'Against the Grain' or 'Against Nature') (1884) is a novel by the French novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans. Its narrative concentrates almost entirely on its principal character, and is mostly a catalogue of the tastes and inner life of Jean Des Esseintes, an eccentric, reclusive aesthete and antihero, who loathes 19th century bourgeois society and tries to retreat into an ideal artistic world of his own creation. 'À rebours' contains many themes which became associated with the Symbolist aesthetic. In doing so, it broke from naturalism and became the ultimate example of 'decadent' literature.

Jean Des Esseintes is the last member of a powerful and once proud noble family. He has lived an extremely decadent life in Paris which has left him disgusted with human society. Without telling anyone, he absconds to a house in the countryside.

He fills the house with his eclectic art collection (which notably consists of reprints of paintings of Gustave Moreau). Drawing from the theme of Gustave Flaubert's 'Bouvard and Pecuchet,' Des Esseintes decides to spend the rest of his life in intellectual and aesthetic contemplation. Throughout his intellectual experiments, he recalls various debauched events and love affairs of his past in Paris. He studies Moreau's paintings, he tries his hand at inventing perfumes, he creates a garden of poisonous flowers. In one of the book's most surrealistic episodes, he has gemstones set in the shell of a tortoise. The extra weight on the creature's back causes its death. In one of the book's more comic episodes, he spontaneously decides to visit London. When he reaches the train station, he overhears some English visitors, whom he finds disgusting. Feeling that he now knows what London would be like, he immediately returns home. Eventually, his late nights and idiosyncratic diet take their toll on his health, requiring him to return to Paris or to forfeit his life."

I don't hate people or society like Des Esseintes, but this shop is my "house in the countryside," where I can feel free to retreat into an ideal artistic world of my own creation.

I like to think that this explanation is self-explanatory, but perhaps not.  I recently explained the name to a group of Etsy friends, and one of them commented, "Your art is very important to you."  Yes and no - I've never thought of myself as an artist, but living an artistic life is important to me.  I want to be immersed in art and story and culture and yes, perhaps delusion, all of the time.

Life is but a decadent delusion, people - live it as if the art of it were the reality.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Well, here I am... blogging.  As far as I know, I have no followers... hence the title of this post.  I have to be honest, I've never really like the idea of blogging.  It's time consuming, I have nothing to say, blah blah blah.

Recently, however, I've come to realize that I may have more to say than I thought I did.  See, I recently opened an Etsy shop.  I'm not going to pretend that I'm some "great artist" - I just do what I enjoy.  I have been making jewelry, knitting, and spinning yarn for years now, and my space finally got so overwhelmed with finished projects and stashed supplies that I had to start selling it off.

When you start up an Etsy shop, you get inundated with newsletters full of marketing tips.  Most of them are filled with gorgeous photos and featured artists and pretty much just make you feel inadequate.  However, one of the many tips that they offer over and over (along with great pictures, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account) is to start a blog and talk about your shop.

Again I say, "blah blah blah."  Still I resisted.  The whole idea seemed self-indulgent, and frankly, I wasn't convinced that my shop would last for more than a couple of weeks.  I did, however, set up a Facebook page for my shop, and finally got with the program and learned how to Tweet.

And that's when I noticed something surprising... after awhile, my Facebook posts started getting longer.  I wanted to share everyday stuff with my shop followers in the same way that I do with my friends.  What song am I listening to today?  What fabulous new Chanel nail polish has caught my eye?  What does everyone think of that new translation of Anna Karenina? Who else watches Pretty Little Liars, and are you as obsessed with Aria's wardrobe as I am?

So this is the result.  Me, sitting here in bed with my laptop in the middle of the night... blogging to myself.  I suppose I'll have to publicize my blog at some point... blah blah blah.  In the meantime, if there's anyone out there... enjoy.