Friday, August 28, 2015

Oh I Could Totally Make That...

When I first started making my doll face creations, I felt like I had really started something original. I had only seen the old faces used to make actual dolls or those crocheted pot holders.  Oh, and the tissue boxes!  How could I forget about the tacky greatness of vintage doll face tissue boxes?!  I eventually discovered the work of vintage crafty goddess, Magpie Ethel, and realized she also used doll faces.  I should add that I was instantly smitten with her work and collections too, quickly adding her to my list of crafty idols.  I was secretly mortified.  Was my work different enough from what she was doing? Would she think I was copying her work?  I know we each have our own style, but I didn't want anyone to think I had stolen someone else's idea.  I consulted friends and family to get their opinions and would have asked Laurie herself, had I been able to figure out a way to do so that wouldn't be totally awkward.  I'm pretty confident in my work now and I still think I'm doing something pretty original, as is Laurie.  So what's the point of this long-winded post then?
Image from Threadless

I'm just going to go ahead and say it.  I hate copycats.  I know what you're thinking, but imitation isn't really that flattering.  It's kind of annoying.  I'm not talking about someone who just coincidentally happened upon an idea similar to mine.  My copycats have been people who actively follow me on social media accounts, leave me comments, and often ask me questions about where I get things or how I've done something.  There's been a few lately, not just with my work, so I feel like addressing it.  I'm still fairly new to the game.  I think I started making doll face items in 2012. I'm by no means an expert on the subject of copying others creations, but I think it's generally frowned upon in the handmade community.  I, just as other artists, pour my heart and soul into my creations.  I spend a large amount of time, not something I really don't have a lot of to spare, finding the perfect supplies and improving my work.  I think other makers who use vintage supplies can testify to the fact that it takes a bit of effort and digging to find things we can use.  I'm sure that's even true of those who use newly made supplies.  I realize I'm not doing anything super difficult and that it is quite feasible that just about anyone can make what I'm making.  You may even be quietly repeating the title of this post as you browse my creations.  That's not really the point, though.  

Being creative means that you come up with original ideas, you create new things, you evolve and improve your creations.  Stealing someone else's ideas is insulting, especially when you are trying to profit from them and not giving credit where it's due.  You are essentially disregarding all the hard work that was first put into that creation.  You are shouting to the world that what I or someone else originally made isn't really that special, because look how easily it was recreated.  That sounds a bit dramatic, but I think it's true.  I've had some serious moments of doubt after seeing someone copy my work, but am lucky to have amazing support and encouragement.  So now I mostly use copycats as motivation for improvement, but I think about those who aren't as confident or don't have friends telling them that their stuff is way better than the copies.  Sit down and think up your own idea.  If you really love a handmade item, support the artist and buy it.  And for Pete's sake, if you really feel like you need to copy someone's work, keep it to yourself!  To those of you who are working hard and creating amazing original items, keep at it and stay awesome!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

We've Got Ourselves a Kindergartner!

Yesterday marked a week since school began and my not so little guy became a student.  Despite my last post, the first day was mostly tear-free and painless.  Mostly.  Oscar was hesitant to leave me once we got to his classroom, but his teacher was great at helping to speed up the goodbye and getting him right into an activity.  He's been bringing home a book each day that we read together in the evening and then he gets to fill out a little journal entry with a picture and sentence about the book.  We read before bedtime, but it's nice to have some extra story time!  He also brings home pictures he colors, letters he's practiced writing, and a little calendar that's color coded based on his behavior.  We've had greens (Way to go!) so far and even a blue (Role model), so I think it's going well!  It must still be a bit much for him to process, because he seems to forget what he did by the time I get home from work and ask about his day.  To be honest, Oscar, it's still a bit much for me to process that I actually have a kindergartner now!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Singing the Kindergarten Blues

I will not cry on my keyboard.  I will not cry on my keyboard.  Who am I kidding?!  I'm totally going to be typing this post through tear-filled eyes!  Tomorrow is one of those milestone days that I'm certain feels absolutely bittersweet to anyone who has ever raised a child.  It's the first day of kindergarten and totally a reminder of all those times some damn annoying person told me to enjoy them while they're little or that it goes by so quickly.  I get it, random old lady, my children will grow up and they will do so in some kind of weird fast-forward version of life that only happens after giving birth.  It's also a kind of neat time, because this little boy's personality is really starting to take shape and I really love the person he's becoming.  His curiosity and compassion are amazing and things I hope he never loses.  Oscar says he's excited to go to school, but I suspect that he says that partially to calm his nervous mama.  Oscar is my shy sensitive little guy and I am just by nature a giant mess of anxiety, so of course I've spent the whole summer worrying that he won't make friends or that some stupid kid will be mean to him.  It's totally silly, I know, because Oscar will be just fine. He will make friends and can handle stupid mean kids and will be an awesome little kindergarten guy!  Here's to all the other parents and guardians with kiddos starting school.  Our kids will be just fine and, well, we will get through it!
Will you just look at this miniature adult, totally oblivious to the fact that by growing up he's breaking his overly dramatic mother's heart!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Musical Monday...And A Quick Check-In!

I've talked about NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts previously, so it's no secret that I'm a big fan.  I hadn't heard of Sylvan Esso prior to watching this video, but I absolutely loved the singer's voice and was pretty quickly won over by this duo!  Isn't Amelia adorable?!  I've been meaning to post this video for pretty much the entire month of August, but blogging just hasn't seemed to be a priority this month.  I did start making a new banner once, but I just wasn't feeling it.   Instead, I've been busy enjoying the days leading up to Oscar starting kindergarten and working on doll faces for an upcoming craft show. I hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter, depending on where you live)!  I think that once we get used to having a child in school and the routines that come along with that, I'll get back to regular posts.  So stick around!  xo

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Life's A Beach

Last weekend was one of those rare weekends that Donnie actually has off Saturday and Sunday, so we decided we'd take the boys on a day trip to the beach in Delaware.  We got off to a later start than we had planned, but we figured we'd find a cheap hotel and just spend the night.  I think everyone else had the same idea, but had maybe planned a bit better, because there wasn't a hotel anywhere near the beach (or even an hour away) that had a room available.  We joked that the trip was doomed from the beginning.  There was an insane amount of traffic, the credit card system was down at the gas station where we stopped, there was a slushie spill all over the backseat, and poor Benny got stung by a jellyfish!  We ended up spending the afternoon at Lewes Beach splashing around during low tide and playing in the sand, eating dinner in town, and making a quick stop at the Seashell Shop to make up for not having time to actually go shell combing.  Despite the bumps along the way and having a less than ideal amount of time, we had a fun little trip and next time we will make reservations ahead of time!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Brimfield 2: Vintage Boogaloo

How has it taken me so long to make reference to one of the best movies ever?!  If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here now!  Okay, so you would think we would have all gotten our vintage/antique fix at the show, but that's just silly!  The town outside of the antique show, Sturbridge, MA, has quite a few great little antique shops and a flea market.  I was able to find quite a few goodies at these places too.
I really need to look up the history of that first building.  It is so stunning!  The guy running the shop was great and gave me a serious bargain on some Redware cat ashtrays for mom.  The shop only inhabits the first floor of the building, but I would have loved to explore the rest!  This second shop was attached to a restaurant that served sushi, so I was a bit distracted by the thought of eating some yummy rolls, but they had some lovely items as well.  Okay, so on the finds!  Now I should mention that I had a pretty limited budget on this trip and there were definitely things I regret not buying, but I seriously made out really well!
Of course most of my haul consists of dolls, but would you expect anything else?  Doll faces were a rare sight at the antique show.  I think I saw two, a clown I already have loads of and great Santa that was way out of my price range at $20.  The sad teddy bear was the very first item I bought.  He still has his tag and looks brand new!  The pink doll is a music box and the red oil cloth one is a rattle. The Cathrineholm pot was my one big splurge at $35.  I was alone at the time I saw it and I did this sort of speed walk towards it.  There were two women taking photos of the pots on the table and discussing what the one woman would do with them all, so I think she may have been interested, but I grabbed it right away, hugged it to my chest, and called Donnie to talk it out.  He must have thought I was crazy and asked if I was out of money, because I'm certain he didn't understand that I was just excited and needed to tell someone immediately.  It was the only piece of Cathrineholm I saw at the show too!  The sad pose dolls were at one of my favorite kinds of booths where there are just piles and boxes of potential treasure!  And there are the cats I mentioned previously.  My mom's birthday fell on one of the days we were away, so it was nice to find her something good to bring back.
I can't wait to use the tin case up top as a display at craft shows!  It originally held a children's picnic set.  I fell in love with that little mailman box right away and was even more smitten once I saw that it held the most adorable vintage children's cards.  I hope to do a post in the future about my vintage card collection, so I will include these!  The shakers on the bottom were an antique store find and a gift for Heidi.  Finally, the little box of vintage spun cotton and plastic cake picks were one of the only lots of cake toppers I saw at the show and I just loved how these came in the sweet little box.
Here's a final shot of all my finds that I took right after getting home.  The tin molds were a flea market find and were such a killer deal.  They had more and I probably should have just bought them all.  I will definitely put them to good use, as I will the vintage reflectors in the upper right corner! Can you believe there were 99 reflectors crammed into that little box?!

So when we first decided to go to Brimfield, we asked for suggestions and ended up getting a lot of general suggestions that were common sense.  Things like wear comfortable shoes and drink plenty of water weren't really what we were looking for, so I will share a few suggestions I think would be useful for a first-timer.  Obviously the two things I mentioned are good, but I would think you'd know that if you've ever been to even a flea market.  Similar to going to a flea market, have lots of cash, especially small bills.  Keep them in more than one spot, because it's much easier to offer less when it looks like you only have a small amount of money.  I noticed that sellers really appreciated exact change also.  Yesterday I mentioned that we had old lady carts to use.  Those actually were kind of a pain in the ass and most of the booths weren't laid out in a way that made maneuvering the cart very easy.  I noticed a lot of people just left their carts outside of the tents while browsing, but that seemed a little sketchy.  A basket or large tote bag probably works better.  We parked in a great location that allowed us to make trips back to the car without much hassle.  That leads me to the next tip, pay a little extra for the good parking.  As soon as you get into town, there are signs for $5 parking, but if you get closer, there are great spots for just a few dollars more.  Explore all of the fields, even the ones that charge a small admission fee.  We found things in pretty much every area of the show and as one seller told me, every field is a great field for your first time.  You will find your favorites after attending a few times.  Last, and most important, eat all the food.  There are some damn delicious food vendors set up at the show!  Apple cider donuts, reuben hot dogs, pit beef sandwiches, and best of all, the lime rickeys from Dad's Kettle Corn.  That's actually my last suggestion, although it's more of an order.  Go get a lime rickey at least once a day!  They were amazing!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


My recent trip to Brimfield was pretty darn amazing, so much so that I've already started thinking about going back next September for a week!  We started the trip off at a vintage and antique textile and clothing show that is always held the day before the antique show starts.  I really wish I could do a blog post on the lovely vintage clothing items and quilts we saw there, but there was a rule against photographs and sketches.  That last bit is really weird.  Do people go to these kind of things to draw? I was super disappointed that I couldn't take any photos, but I'm not really a rule breaker.  There really were some gorgeous pieces for sale, but most of the items were really way out of my price range.  The very first dress I saw was $400!  I'm thinking this show is meant for some serious collectors.  I think we were all a bit put off by the show, because aside from the prices, the person at the door made sure to tell us right away that July is the smallest show of the year.  We got some similar comments from the various dealers and a few were really not so friendly.  I guess I should expect a certain level of snobbery from people selling clothing for hundreds of dollars, especially towards little old me in my clearance Target dress and worn out Tom's.  I did manage to find a bargain, though, an adorable lucite dog brooch for $5!  But I left the show wondering if it was a preview of the prices and attitudes we'd encounter during the rest of the week.

So without knowing what to expect, we arrived extra early for the first day of the antique show pulling our little old lady shopping carts and ready to shop!  It's really hard to properly describe the sheer scale of this show, other than to say it's really really big. My best analogy is to compare it to our nearby Antietam Battlefield.  For you locals, imagine that battlefield just full of rows and rows of tents and tables overflowing with nearly any vintage and antique item imaginable.  Much to my joy, many items were not only reasonably priced, they were a downright bargain!  Almost all of the sellers were friendly and willing to barter.  And did I mention that there are more food options than any carnival, mall food court, or local festival I've ever attended?  That's important to mention, because vintage shopping really works up an appetite!
We managed to browse all of the fields and buildings in two days, but I think stretching things out would be really nice.  We definitely felt pretty tired by mid-afternoon, but it was nice to get there early when the weather was mild and there didn't seem to be much of a crowd.  I'll be back tomorrow with more on the antique show and the antique shops in the area.  Oh and my purchases!