Wedding craft update

My wedding is in 37 days! We are making progress on all of our DIY projects, ordering things from other artists and I think we will have things together in time.

I ordered a custom flower girl basket in light blue satin from JustForTheShellOfIt, and it came out perfect! She just finished it today, so I obviously don’t have it in hand yet. But she sent me pictures this morning and it looks great:

The basket is part of her wedding line, which is full of pretty stuff for the wedding day.

I also got these amazing soulful sandals from MichiganHemp:

(those are her cute toes, not mine) They are made of silk and match the back of my dress.

My wedding dress is coming along nicely, as is Hassan’s tailcoat. And I’ve started making fascinators for my bridesmaids. They look like this:

I have two made and only need to make one more. I need to make a green one for my friend who is singing our processional and I need to make a headband for the flower girl. And a hat for the officiant. And a hat for me. 37 days! I can do it!


Etsy feature: LaBeq

If you spend any time in the sneak attack forums, you will notice a certain poster who darts in and out, always between places and activities, stealing a few minutes of time in hallways and cafeterias to chat until her laptop battery starts to go. She’ll probably make you laugh, and I guarantee you won’t be able to guess what she will turn her energy to next. Her name is Beqi, and she runs LaBeq and LaceSuppliesbyLaBeq. I bought a couple of hand turned hair sticks from her and she was kind enough to let me interview her.

By day Beqi is a mild mannered graduate student in Manufacturing Systems, having gotten her bachelor’s degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology with a minor in Statistics: Quality Science. She is currently working on her thesis research, which “involves sticking together dissimilar metals that can’t normally be welded, then breaking them apart again.”

When not breaking metal, Beqi can be found doing water aerobics, human puppetry, trying out for parts in community theater, and creating masterpieces like the Sneak Attack Musical FAQ. This is of course in addition to the bobbin lace making and lathe work she does for her etsy shop!

Celeste: I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you in the sneak attack threads. You really seem to be a “Jill of all Trades.” Of your many hobbies and pursuits, which is your favorite and why?

Beqi:“Jill of All Trades”…yeah, that’s one way to describe me. Of course, the complete phrase is jack of all trades, master of none. Sometimes that seems pretty apt, as well. Maybe we’ll call me a renaissance woman instead. That also implies a desire for knowledge and abilities in a wide variety of areas! I really don’t think I have a favorite. I tend to talk most about the lace, because it’s the most unusual, or the acting, because I want everyone to tell me how great I am. But the reason I do so many things is because I find them all equally intriguing and/or satisfying. When I learn to make shoes, that will be my favorite for a while until I move onto something new, or decide to go back I’ve done and loved for years.

Celeste: Both Bobbin lace making and lathe work are unusual crafts–I haven’t seen too many people on etsy doing it, and I don’t know anyone offline who does. How did you get started in them?

Beqi: Well, the lacemaking actually led directly to the lathe work. One of the reasons I have learned to do so many things is my constant desire to understand how things are made. Early on in college, I started wondering how lace was made in the old days before machines. I could understand crocheted lace and knitted lace (even though I really don’t knit), but looking at other kinds of lace, I couldn’t understand them. At the time, my parents were living in Cheltenham, England. I went to the town library and found a book on old lace. That was when I first came across the term “bobbin lace”. After that, I saw a brief demonstration in person, and wanted to know more. That Christmas, Santa gave me a very basic bobbin lace kit with a styrofoam pillow. I have long since worn out that pillow, made myself a longer-lasting straw pillow, and accumulated many more bobbins (you wind each thread on it’s own bobbin, so the more bobbins you have, the larger and more intricate lace you can make).

Lace Making in-progress:

Completed product:

On my Christmas/birthday wishlist that I send to my family every year, I asked for additional lacemaking stuff, like new books and fancy bobbins, either old or antique. One year, being a little silly (as tends to happen with that list), I added “or just give me a little wood lathe so I can make my own bobbins.” Very much to my surprise…I got a lathe for my birthday. Up to that point, I had only used engine lathes for machining metal, and wood lathes are very different. Metal is machined by turning cranks to move the cutting tool, but the woodturner holds the chisels directly. I slowly taught myself to use my lathe. I mostly do spindlework–long, skinny, decorative pieces–rather than bowls, since bobbins are spindles in woodturning terms, so that’s what I learned first. I almost never plan a piece ahead of time, other than deciding what I want its function to be. I let the wood and chisels decide, and that always turns out looking better than when I start with a plan.

Celeste: What do you think the importance of arts and crafts is in our society?

Beqi: As you can probably tell, I am a very hands-on sort of person. I particularly think that hands-on, creative activities are important for developing and maintaining the mind. Computers and the like are very useful, and can provide creative outlets, but I get a little sad when I hear about people, particularly children and students, who spend all their time in front of screens and don’t know how to physically DO stuff–MAKE stuff–in real life. I love it when people are impressed that I sew my own clothes or whatever, but I wish that I could make them understand that it’s not that hard, and that it’s a skill worth gaining. Arts and crafts should not just be a relaxing hobby for those who have time. Making things, whether it be craftwork or fine arts including music, dance, and acting, develop the brain and abilities in more ways than I think we can really understand.

Celeste: Where do you go for inspiration when you are experiencing crafter’s block?

Beqi: I don’t know if I’ve ever really experienced crafter’s block. Sometimes I do get tired of working at something, or annoyed at something not coming out the way I want. But when that happens, I either just go to sleep, work on something else for a while, or read. I read lots of murder mysteries. I get ideas from my reference books or from friends, as well. But I can’t think of a time where I’ve thought “I need to make SOMEthing, but I don’t have any ideas!” Of course, if I ever get to the point where I’m making things full-time, that may happen more frequently…

To keep tabs on LaBeq, check out her blog where you can follow her progress on various lace making projects, and make sure to head on over to facebook and become her fan!

Elephunk Has been Featured!

Lois of FoxyGKnits did a lovely feature on the Elephunk’s Orphans section of my shops. Every Thursday she does a feature called “Art from the Heart” on artists who work to raise money and awareness about issues that are important to them. This week she has chosen to highlight my efforts to raise money for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Her blog, Foxy G’s Den of I-Kint-quity, is always fabulous, so be sure to check it out!

Photography scavenger hunt Part II–Buddha vote results

The results for the vote on Buddha: Off the Beaten (middle) Path are in! The photograph that received the most votes and will be going up for sale in Elephunk’s Eyes is #4: Buddha on the Park Bench:

My friend Lytebringer who gave me this challenge will get a framed picture of this Buddha, unless he vetoes it in which case I start over.

And the winner of the ACEO giveaway for voting, chosen using is Panda! Congrats! You can have your choice of any ACEO from my shop, or if you prefer, you can get an ACEO of your favorite Buddha even though it didn’t win the vote.

Wedding dress progress update

My maid of honor finally got back from her vacation, so I was able to go over to her place and work on my dress today. I got the lining and underskirt finished and the lining and over dress basted together. I still need to put the straps on and do the underlining with the interfacing and boning and hem the bottom and do the drapey bits and embellishments and sew on the buttons and…and…and….(!) but I am making progress. Here is what is looks like so far:


The white bit at the top is actually a bit of the lining folded over–it won’t be there in the final product. I’m really happy with how it looks so far.

June 5 Sneak Attack Interviews–MargotGallery and PainterGenie

Monkeytreecreations hosted a sneak attack on June 5, 2009 on MargotGallery and paintergenie. MargotGallery got 9 sales and had this to say about the experience:

Celeste: What was your reaction when you realized you’d been sneak attacked?

MargotGallery: I was completely surprised and totally thrilled! I arrived home that evening to find that my sales had gone from 0 to 9 in just a matter of hours. Then, I figured out that I’d been a “victim” of a sneak attack. What a great way to support artisans on Etsy!

Celeste: Is there anything else you’d like my blog readers to know?

MargotGallery: My name is Nancy Arnold and I am new to Etsy and to selling my art, in general. But I am having a wonderful time building my Etsy shop, MargotGallery, and creating mixed media collages that I can share with others, via Etsy. I invite others to visit my shop and view my profile for more details about me and my shop name, MargotGallery. Thanks again to all those who supported me during last week’s sneak attack.

Paintergenie got 3 sales during the sneak attack and has this to say about it:

Celeste: What was your reaction when you realized you’d been sneak attacked

Paintergenie: I needed a little boost of confidence and that definitely did the job!! I have only been on Etsy for a couple of months, my work is relatively new for me as far as working on fabrics. I practiced for a couple of years before deciding to sell. Working alone on project, driven mostly by your instinct and heart, I am sure many of us feel as artists that you have these moment of ‘oh what I am doing and what is this really all about?’. So the appreciation is a wonderful way to recognize that you are on the right path.

I realize that my prices are high for a yard and so I decided recently to sell the odd pieces that could be used for artists that needed small pieces for their work like quilting maybe. So to have been chosen right now again was perfect timing. I realize that it is going to take a while to gain appreciation and trust. I do like to offer good quality fabrics and mostly natural fibers and take a lot of effort making that perfect print. I do all the prints by hand in my work shop. Making a yard requires very large screens, it is quite a physical experience to say the least! I am working on organic fabric next and to reduce my prices I decided to look for the mills instead of buying from the stores. I hope to soon come up with more cost effective fabrics that are still of the best quality.

Celeste: Is there anything else you’d like my blog readers to know?

Paintergenie: As far as more about me, I have painted all my life, since a tiny girl I knew it was for me. I studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and followed my studies in London at Central Saint Martins and got a degree in set design. At the time I did not really think I could make a living out of painting so I decided on something more structured, like set design. I worked in the movie industry for 7 years and got worn out pretty fast and it is a dying industry. One day I had a conversation with an interior designer that change my course, I picked up a brush again and I got tears in my eyes because I realized that I had forgotten the feeling of that simple act of expressing yourself with a brush and paint and since then I have never looked back. I now have a company dedicated to decorative finishes for private and commercial clients. I have two other websites you can check out and
I truly believe that there is nothing more precious than hand made goods, it is the expression of our soul and love. My hands have guided me through all my experiences and many to follow I am sure.


Be sure to check out MargotGallery for great mixed media collages and paintergenie for gorgeous hand silk painted fabrics. And don’t forget to stop by for more info on sneak attacks!

June 3 Sneak Attack Interview–ElizasCornerCupboard and sezarera

PeaceLoveEtc. sponsored a sneak attack on ElizasCornerCupboard and sezaera on June 3, 2009. Eliza made 3 sales that day, and had this to say about her experience:

Celeste: What was your reaction when you realized you’d been sneak attacked?

Eliza: My son had been using my computer . . . the weather was so nice (sunny in Minnesota – we all eat it up). . . I was totally engaged by some crystal earrings I’ve been doing . . . well, I let my emails slide. When I finally checked emails, I said – “Oh my God, I sold something!” Then I thought, “Got to get these crystal earrings on my site!”

Celeste: Is there anything else you’d like my blog readers to know?

Eliza: My son, “Sam the Man” & I enjoy working with gemstones & crystals. We try to imbue each piece with the healing energy inherent in the gemstones. We’ve also made pieces for people with a specific intention worked into them. Sam enjoys taking the photographs. If you look closely, you will see his favorite animal statuettes, rocks & carvings as backdrops! I like “reclaiming” vintage jewelry by reworking pendants, beads, etc into more contemporary items. I also like “repurposing” used fabrics, such as denim. I had lots of fun making the denim pocket purses out of actual jean pockets & vintage jewelry. Right now, I am making jackets out of used sweaters. A kind of patchwork affect. Thanks so much for your Sneak Attack. What a pleasant surprise!

Sezarera made 4 sales during her attack. This is what she says about the experience:

Celeste: What was your reaction when you realized you’d been sneak attacked?

Sezarera: I woke up and checked my email on my phone, and saw I had heaps of emails from etsy alone, I was quite confused!! As a new shop I’d only had 3 sales, and each one had been exciting in itself, but to have 4 at once was great!

Celeste: Is there anything else you’d like my blog readers to know?

Sezarera: I’m a uni student who has found procrastination tool in making things fun 😀 a massive thank you to all the sneak attackers, its an amazing idea that keeps selling handmade alive and interesting 😀 well done to all!


Be sure to check out ElizasCornerCupboard and sezarera. Don’t forget to stop by for more info on sneak attacks.