<![CDATA[AskAMarmot Designs - Blog]]>Mon, 28 Dec 2015 20:23:54 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[blogging efforts, part II -- project update]]>Tue, 17 Mar 2015 18:41:04 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/blogging-efforts-part-ii-project-updatePicture
Table achieved! 

Not a great photo, I know, but looks astonishingly table-like!

Now to make one at home, outside of a class. This is made of poplar, with a top that is about 15"/38cm square, and I forget how long the legs are, but tall. I am still better with a screwdriver than a drill, but plan to get ever better using a drill. 

more soon--tape/ribbon holder in process--that's up next. Preferably with better pictures.

<![CDATA[Lavender, Linen, and Language]]>Mon, 03 Nov 2014 23:23:39 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/lavender-linen-and-language
Personally, I blame the weather for this post. Turns out that Colorado has had a wonderfully warm fall and because of this, the onset of cold and threat of snow finally forced me to harvest the lavender, which had been growing happily up until the cold. And by harvest, I mean I picked the lavender that grows just outside the front door, along with the remaining tomatoes and even a few strawberries. I had already dried one batch of lavender, and yesterday picked the rest. Spent time yesterday beheading lavender, yielding a small pile of lavender flower petal bits, to be used in handmade sachets.

Sachets turn the topic to linen. Of course, homegrown lavender should be housed in linen Linen is a natural fiber from the flax plant (which, by the way, grows easily in Colorado--so anybody want to start a linen textile business locally?) Will make some sachets for the upcoming craft fair. Any excuse would do, but right now, the craft fair is my excuse that also includes a soft deadline, more of a suggestion or a goal. (Deadline connotes dead necessity, which this project isn't.)

My research into craft fairs has led to another mini-goal--to make descriptive signs to display at the show -- so i dug around for information on project materials, including the linen used to make the sachets. So, now we are moving from linen to language.

Textiles as an industry employs its own set of odd words. Now I know that linen can be blamed for a bunch of them:
* lea - standard measure of bulk linen, which is the number of yards in a pound of linen, divided by 300. (Of course, 300. why not?)
* retting - loosening the fibers to be used for linen from the rest of the plan
* scutching - removing the non-fibrous parts of the plant by pulverizing it using metal rollers; the remains are used to make linseed, shive, and tow.
* shive - see scutching
* tow - see scutching
* heckling - combing flax fibers to separate out the longest, softest fibers, which are the good ones and are used to make linen yarn
* slubs - knots in the yarn given texture to linen

To summarize: cold weather drove me to harvest the lavender which will be clothed in linen which brings us to retting, scutching, and heckling, along with lea, shive, tow, and slub. Wonderful words resulting from the less-than-wonderful weather. Yay!!!

<![CDATA[More funny stuff, and about that social media....]]>Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:29:16 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/more-funny-stuff-and-about-that-social-mediaCreativity v Social Media, or Creativity v Social, perhaps, would be a great research topic for those interested in the schizophrenic combination of creativity & business. How is one supposed to be creative and produce anything that's worth anything, yet keep up an incessant presence on social media? The quiet for doing one is contrary to the chronic interruption required by the other. Hmmm.. 

I've been reading about how social media is important to the success of an Etsy shop, and I'm sure it is. At the same time, time is the issue-- Eventually I'll figure out more of this, but in the meantime, I would like to end with a funny update I got from Pinterest on Pinterest, with this  image in the message as displayed on my screen: I don't think the abbreviated title is quite representative of the linked board....
<![CDATA[Funny Etsy Things]]>Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:12:42 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/funny-etsy-things
Now I am wondering why this sign exists, ever, let alone in Bulgaria in the 1950s, with the title,
Forbidden Using Hammer & Chisel porcelain enamel TIN SIGN

And alas, had the store owner titled this Warehouse 13 I'd have gotten it for my husband... (syfy channel fans will know whereof I speak)
Bulgarian porcelain enamel tin sign plate STOREHOUSE 13 
<![CDATA[Tutorial: Easy Double Eyeglass Case]]>Sun, 28 Sep 2014 01:14:03 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/tutorial-easy-double-eyeglass-case
This eyeglass case (for eyeglasses x 2) is the perfect, quick sewing project to make a gift for guys, parents and grandparents—pretty much anyone who wears sunglasses, eyeglasses, or both. This is snap to whip up if you have done some sewing, and perfect for a beginner. It also easily lets you take advantages of fabric scraps or recycled fabrics. 

The basic double-case requires only about 1/3 of a yard / 30cm of fabric, assuming it’s at least 18 inches / 46cm wide or so, and one small bit, 8” x 11” / 20cm x 28cm of batting. This tutorial includes a hand-drawn version, followed by a more traditional version with steps and photos. You can also download the pattern here.

Hand-drawn How To

1. Cut out pattern.
2. Cut outer fabric and lining. 

3. With right sides facing, and batting on top, stitch three sides and part of the bottom long side. Leave an opening for turning. Trim batting, cut curves (optional)

4.Turn and press, folding open edges under.

5.  Fold into thirds.

6.  Stitch two sides



Photo How To

1.       Print and cut out the pattern.
2.       Assemble the fabric (outer, lining, and batting).
3.       Stack two pieces of fabric, right sides facing, and the batting.
4.       Print out the pattern and use it to cut out the fabric.
5.       Stitch around the stack of fabric, leaving a 2” opening so you can turn it. If you feel like it, trim the batting close to the stitching line and clip curves.
6.       Turn the fabric so the batting is hidden and the right sides of the fabric show, then finger press or press using an iron, making sure to press the opening closed hiding the raw edges.
8.       Fold into thirds, like folding a business letter.

9.       Stitch two sides, making sure to stitch closed the opening left for turning.

<![CDATA[Animals: Another Great Thing About Etsy!]]>Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:33:46 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/animals-another-great-thing-about-etsyOne of the best things about Etsy, along with all the other great things about Etsy, that is, is the fact that shops can be dedicated to helping others--in this case, the others are furry, scaled, or feathered--

RileysStar.etsy.com is run by sellers who are dedicated to our animal friends. From the shop's intro page--

"Your order means a lot and helps me to continue to help animals. I am a huge animal lover and welfare advocate. The sales from these items helps me continue to help them. I believe in no chaining, spaying and neutering, compassion for all life, and kindness to all. I hope my work reflects that. I am always adding more items so check back often!! Please contact me if you have any questions. Thanks for shopping!

Please join me on my facebook page. I update it weekly with new pendants::http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pendants-for-Paws/332352833496966"

So what is not to love about this? Plus the pendants are terrific, with a choice of funny / important quotes. Here are a few:
And RileysStar.etsy.com is just one of the shops dedicated to helping others. (I'll just include one more example: Brizel4theAnimals.etsy.com, which is a member of a group of vendors called Etsy for Animals,  From the shop's about page

"Inspired and excited by the mission of Team EFA, Etsy for Animals, I joined the team in 2009 and opened Brizel4TheAnimals to focus this ... Etsy shop on fundraising for the animals."

And in conclusion, it's important to remember the lemurs--check out this very clever treasury, including, yes, lemurs from Ask A Marmot.
<![CDATA[Treasuries on Etsy and why I like them]]>Mon, 25 Aug 2014 17:27:31 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/treasuries-on-etsy-and-why-i-like-themWhen I was in a writing program, I was told to read, read, read. (A little unnecessary in terms of advice, but the right direction.) In having an Etsy shop, the same principle applies--keep up with what's out there. I have always done that anyway, especially on Etsy, which lets you visit with an enormous range of the handmade, vintage, and supplies. Treasuries let you put the practice of keeping current into a tangible form: Treasury lists. I love them. Scanning treasury lists, as well as creating them, helps me stay fresh with the wonderful things people are making. Of course, not everything is my favorite, but it helps to see those items, too, just like in reading/writing, it helps to read stuff you are not crazy for. Helps you see what you like and don't, and maybe pick up some insight into your own writing. Treasuries help provide insight into making.! What fun--make a treasury, which is just a list of things that you think go together, or that you like.

I know that 'curating' is a trendy term, but that is what one can easily do with treasuries--select things that go together, or with a theme, or visually. So you might want to find time to let you mind wander and wander through some etsy treasuries--start at the Etsy home page, and a link goes to treasuries pages. Also, remember, we all spend an enormous amount of time daydreaming whether we realize it or not. Using that time to direct your wandering to gazing at the beautiful things of the world can brighten your spirit and inspire you. At least, it does that for me! And you can create your own treasuries, too.

I found some lovely things that are in these collections:
Art of the line and Yellow

The mask is from whimsybykelly and the earrings are from momoglassworks:
<![CDATA[Celebrate the small things!]]>Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:46:15 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/celebrate-the-small-thingsSince everything I make is small, this seems sort of redundant, but hey, how about celebrating the small events! Celebrating, here, so yay! A blogger asked to review my products, so
  • I shipped a few things to Canada, an adventure in itself in trying to use paypal to buy postage etc.
  • Blogger posted a good review! YAY!


Of course I have no idea how to use this to promote the Ask A Marmot etsy shop, but at least I figure I can post it here. 

The short version of the review: she thinks the shelves, in particular are cool. so yay!

<![CDATA[Etsy as a global gallery?]]>Fri, 18 Jul 2014 22:58:26 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/etsy-as-a-global-galleryPicture
One way to think about etsy is that it's one way to get "into" a gallery (if a pretty small one, at this point, in terms of the number of visitors to this particular gallery). I know that getting the word out is the job of the maker.  Trying to put the creations into the world at least takes them out of a solitary existence on some shelf, and also the process of making for a shop spurs more making. It's a sort of artificial deadline, like those performing artists set up for themselves--recitals, dance performances, specific gigs, writing deadlines. These are artificial because the process of writing, making, and performing never end.

The point has more to do with sharing the stuff you write, make or perform. The essential notion is that the creations perhaps belong to a wider community. Community has always been a mystifying idea, at least for the an introvert. My idea of a crowd is three people in close proximity. So community is an abstract idea. Of course, you put enough people with one other person, and pretty soon you have one degree of separation, so that is a kind of attenuated version of a crowd. Association but not in person. A slow-motion, never assembling crowd. Take all the people you talk to in a day (assuming you are in some kind of environment where you have such exchanges). If you smooshed the day into one minute, you've talked to multiple people--perhaps a crowd, even, except one at a time.

So why put creations out there? This also circles back to the joy one might get making, and hoping to have others enjoy the product, too. Then one gets into notions of beauty or truth or, in my case, making someone smile. So far, those are the reasons behind creativity--personal engagement and drive and happiness. Then, you want others to be happy too, maybe because of your creation. 

We also want to help others, which some made-things-- inventions-- are more concrete. I do maintain that beauty, truth, and laughter also help people, although not sure how. 

Well, the laughter I get. I can't imagine getting through the day without a sense of humor.

Hence, three frogs sharing a single crown, all ready to sing happy birthday.

<![CDATA[Products that don't seem to be elsewhere on etsy--if you find them, let me know, though!]]>Tue, 08 Jul 2014 22:37:07 GMThttp://www.askamarmot.com/blog/products-that-dont-seem-to-be-elsewhere-on-etsy am running into the same problem I am kind of used to--a "what is that?" response to what I make. In this case, it isn't just the tiny animals that I can't find elsewhere, or the hand-cut shelves out of a single plank of wood. Now I've added some handmade birthday cake candle holders, which seem to have gone out of vogue long enough ago to be vintage. So I made some, with the trusty scroll saw, sketches, and experimentation. IFor example, most standard birthday cake candles appear to be 1/4" diameter. Who knew?) Never did find others on etsy, aside from some lovely high-end cast metal ones. Found nothing out of wood, etc.

Next out, later today --I think-- are the combination coasters and tapas boards/appetizer plates. This is either a good idea or not. The pine is cut thick, and lopped into chunks big enough for a glass of wine and a small appetizer or a large apple. I know that I am among the least formal hostesses on the planet earth. But when my friends come over for coffee, where do you put that spoon for stirring in a little cream or sugar? Or the damp tea-bag? The scone? I say, all on the same little wood platter thing, which is built so that it is hard to damage. I used the scroll saw to cut out different shapes of ginkgo leaves in each of the four coaster-cum-tapas-servers, then used non-toxic watercolor paint for the leaves. I then glued the leaves in, sealed the leaves with a food-safe finish, then finished the aggregated board with butcher block finish--of course, food safe. Down side? Can't load in dishwasher. Upside? A quick swipe and they are clean.

The trick is that for all these, it's tricky to figure out pricing, and it's tricky to tag, and it's tricky to figure out search terms that optimize searching. Requires actual thought. Go figure. 
It will be fun to make more of these, while I figure out the rest of it.... Next batch, maybe thinner and slightly longer. Maybe. Maybe hardwood? Hmmm.