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.