Thursday, December 13, 2007

Colors!

I never realized until I started working at this advertising agency how specific my color palette is. I thought I was pretty open to new things and interesting combinations, but my world was changed when I befriended the girl in the cube next to mine. I tend to be very primary color, or pastelly, or black/white/insertcolorhere. She, on the other hand, enjoys earth tones, magentas, rust.

I say this because I just rececntly purchased some daring orange toille. It will soon be making an appearance on Explosive Kiwi, and I'm hoping other people are as accepting of orange toile as I now am.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Magical reunion with my sewing machine

Last night was my first night with the sewing machine. It has been a long time coming, but the joyous reunion of girl and machine occurred last night. Please understand that I moved into my first apartment this past week, and have been living with an air mattress and a half-empty box of pasta. So yesterday involved my sewing machine, light from the distant hallway, and my ass on the borrowed air mattress. Baby's been a little tempramental, so it was difficult getting anything done.

Time away from the machine was productive, however. Before I figured out the machine was going to be a little brat, I focused on knitting and crocheting. I began many projects, but had this habit of running out of yarn at least 3/4 of the way through said projects. So now it's a matter of waiting around until the paycheck comes and I can buy more of the same, delicious yarn. This yarn addiction is dangerous, particularly when there are incredible small yarn shops dotted along the city.

But we're uniting the two worlds with some new scarves I'm working on: crocheted with strips of fabric coursing through. I'm excited for the finished product! That, and upcoming photo shoots! wh00t!

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Promised Land(s)

As I'm smack dab in the middle of moving to a new apartment (this time of my own), I have been sans sewing machine for a while, and I have needed something to fill that gap in my life. The solution to this was easily found in another love: yarn. That golden fleece is so portable, can be so deliciously soft, and can come in the most amazing color combinations and textures. Not having a JoAnn Fabrics here has forced me to do some research into places to placate the yarn urges within, and during this quest I found out something very important:

I can never look at acrylic the same way. There are mounds of acrylic at affordable prices in JoAnn's in Connecticut, but how can I go back to that when I've fondled cashmere, and baby alpaca/merino wool blends? The feel is COMPLETELY different (read: TEN TIMES BETTER), and though some of the things carried in yarn stores here are scratchy, there's a certain satisfaction in knowing it's because they're made of real animal fibres instead of from machine processes. And though it costs more, the value of a merino wool in awesome color changes is so much higher than a skein of acrylic.

The Promised Land(s):
  • The Point, in Greenwhich Village: by far the best place for a young girl who needs some great yarn. The manager is friendly and amiable, willing to help you with anything you need. The yarn selection is decent, but the prices are some of the best I've seen for the quality. Most importantly, the place is a freakin' cafe where you can chill, knit, and eat.
  • Purl, in SoHo: AMAZING yarn selections, and yet the staff feels cold and generally unapproachable. The most expensive place I've been so far, but they've got the prettiest colors and the prettiest feels of yarn. ALSO has a fabric store with some beautiful (and expensive) fabric.
  • Gotta Knit, in Greenwhich Village: Great selection, decent prices, but the staff seems a little involved in its own demographic.
Yes, I'm discriminating against anything not-Manhattan. What do you expect when the full-time job is mostly overtime and in Mid-town, Manhattan. You've gotta work with what you've got, and damn, my choices aren't bad.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Love Affair


Do you ever have this idea in your head that you can't precisely put into words? Something you like, that you can't precisely pinpoint, but you know there's something about it that makes you go "Hmm..." with a little head nod. Well, thank you, Made in Shoreditch, because you found for me the word that sums up what I LOVE: Lolita. You may have picked up on my love of the overly sugary, the uber feminine, and old timey stuff. Well Lolita fashions sum all that up, and damnit, I embrace it. I especially love that the Japanese have taken that shit and run, as I love most things Japanese. They started me off with a love of anime and manga (thank you, Sailor Moon), so I guess it only makes sense that the Japanese would continue to fill my life with joy (a.k.a. frilly girly things taken to otaku-levels).

Thank you Japan. It's only appropriate that I show you my love after accidentally rubbing up against so many of your people today outside Carnegie Hall.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fantastic Peeps

Last weekend I discovered more of the joy of living in New York City: Art and Craft fairs around every corner. One such place is "The Market NYC", a Young Designer's Market. There was a plethora of artists gathered in one space selling jewelry, screened shirts and bags, one guy with repurposed LPs (as bracelets!), and a woman selling scarves (like the geometric patterned ones all over Florence) with silver and gold chains hanging from them (picture not so much Flava-Flav, more refined and girl-tastic).

So this is all in research, so that one glorious day, after I've paid rent and bought groceries, I can pay for entrance fee! wh00t!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Brooklyn Indie Market

Never reported on that, and now seems like the perfect time! A few weekends ago I jumped on a subway to Carroll Gardens and scoped out the fair. There were a few tables in a tent, and a few outdoor stands. Inside was a little disappointing, as there were few vendors and little variety in goods. A Texas Etsy street team was there, with some reps, who were also making an appearance for a Trunk Show at the Etsy Labs that weekend. Outside there was a vendor, whose card I can't find nor name remember, selling leather bracelets and slouchy hats that I'm seriously considering going back and buying.

A few girls from work and I may invade, make it a little more fun, and sell some cool stuff. I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Internet Sleuthing

I've finally discovered the value of a well made product. More specifically, how I should be applying this same appreciation to my own work. Starting in high school I always wanted to provide affordable products to friends, convinced that decent prices were what was missing from the market, while also wanting to let my creative side have its way with fabric, scissors, and glitter.

But after a few years of pricing at what I thought those friends would want to pay (note, part of what holds us together is our reluctance to spend lots of money), I realized that well made products are worth more money. It takes mad skillz to make some things, and I would ideally reward the crafter or artisan with the money I give him or her. That, and help the person not starve. I saw a fantastic handmade slouchy hat on Saturday at the Brooklyn Indie Open Market marked at $52, and you know what, when I have the extra money, I'm going to get it. Because damnit, knitting with needles that small and yarn that tiny, you deserve three times as much!

And I think I may deserve more as well. I've been sleuthing about to figure out how to price my items, and discovered that I'm charging somewhere about wholesale prices. So I'm going to be doing some more research, and slowly introducing new prices as I create products. This means there won't be an immediate switchover, but new prices will be gradually flowed in.

Perhaps I gave the verb "flow" a new use. Yay for me, but boo for improperly ending that sentence with a preposition.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sewing Machine Deficit

I recently began subletting an apartment in Brooklyn, NY with a Colombian gentleman who is overly friendly, but very gracious in allowing me to use the entire living room as my own personal space. However, because of my temporary condition at this location, I couldn't bring many things with me. I have, though, managed to pile crap in every nook of this living room.

I have not, however, been able to bring my sewing machine, which makes me very sad. Every time I think of a new project, it inevitably invovles a sewing machine at some point in the process. I've had to find ways around it. For example, I've switched to knitting slouchy legwarmers. They seem to be a hit on Etsy, so I'll premier them officially on the website soon, and get some more up. More will most certainly be on their way, as I'm headed to a yarn store after I get out of work here (armed with the paycheck I received today).

Monday, September 17, 2007

This Weekend in the Fair World

I've been struggling for a while to enter a craft fair that I can really support--past experiences have shown that I can neither pick the right line at the grocery store, or the right craft fair to attend. Two sets of shows are coming up, however, that could prove highly interesting, though I will unfortunately not be able to participate in as a vendor.

The first is this IAMFestival in New London, CT this coming Saturday the 22nd. It's an Indie Music Fest that's also got a craft fair attached. This isn't the first year it is running, but I'm not sure the turnout. A new friend on etsy.com is going to report back, as she'll be selling there.

The second is the weekly Indie Craft Open Market in Brooklyn, NY, in Carroll Gardens off the G train. I'll be stopping by this Saturday to see what good things there are to be had. As I'm new to Brooklyn, and may be here for a while, I'm excited to finally be taking part in the buzz that surrounds this place.

I'll let you know how things go!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Resurfacing

I've been busy over these past few weeks with all things Explosive Kiwi related. I've managed to create a few things, been working on a lineup of custom orders, and been slowly turning over the coding for the website. As always, Internet Explorer is being a capricious wench, and so my allegiances lie even more snuggly with Firefox.

It's exciting to be busy because it means someone likes what I'm doing, and as I'm a bottom-feeder when it comes to validation, this is all working out very well for me. I enjoy the challenge, though I think I get a little emotionally involved in each project. Mailing off the items hurts, too, like I'm giving away a baby. Kinda like Will (hutnickart.blogspot.com), who virtually had his art surgically removed from his grip after he sold it.

Uf! And plans are in the works for an indie craft fair in Connecticut, which as many people know, is a state devoid of creativity beyond khakis and popped collars (not that I don't appreciate both, but they must be used in moderation, and CT knows not of khaki/collar moderation). Real Art Ways sounds like a good place, and I'll be visiting tomorrow, so let's see what happens!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Goings On

I've finally gotten the new codes to work and have been working on getting them up. The site may not look different, but there has been a big overhaul behind the scenes to ensure that the site runs more efficiently. After hours of pulling out my hair, thumbing through near-useless reference books, and stealing a neighbor's wireless internet, I've finished the skeleton, and now just need to put on the skin.

That, and photographing some new stuff I've been busy cooking up. Yep, there's new stuff! I'm very excited about what's coming up in the next few days, as well as the new patterns that are being dreamed up.

I also have several custom projects in progress at the moment that I'm also excited about. I think my favorite part of this whole deal is being given a problem and having to find the solution. The Wiegers family has been pretty pimp in asking for so many delightful bags, and I love it when the Matriarch gives me a vague description of what the recipient of the bag likes. Just got some fabric today for her latest creation, and I'm excited about the buttery yellow fabric with the pearl theme. I LOVE THEMES!

I've also been pondering, with the help of the Etsy.com community, an indie craft fair in Connecticut. I'll let you know what's up with that as time goes on. Other than that, I'm so glad to be in between jobs, for it gives me time to sew and stress out about what color buttons or rhinestones I should put on bags. That, and I don't have to hear my mother harping about finding a job with benefits until after she gets out of work.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Back in Black

Though it pains me to be away from that general landmass known as Europe, I'm back. My travel buddy and I backpacked, living on little money and going from hostel to hostel, and though my mother was aghast at my refusal to bring more than one bag, the lifestyle was most enjoyable. One of the better things about only being able to afford hostels where you're sharing a room with 10 other people is that you can't help but run into people, talk to them, and get to know them. And every now and then you pick up some nugget of wisdom, and I come home not only with a limited edition Nutella jar with a Mayan Zodiac squirrel on it, but also several nuggets of that most valuable wisdom. I've realized how important the whole cottage industry is, as well as the importance of not so processed foods and the joys of oil and vinegar. There's some nebulous idea that guides those feelings, though I can't exactly say what it is yet, that also guides the desire to be a little more attentive to my surroundings. So now I'll be making an effort to announce some interesting things going on, and perhaps someone somewhere will be able to take advantage of them. Please note, I'm living in West Hartford, hoping to go to Providence, and it will be limited information, but damnit, I'll do my best.

So I greet you, once again, and hope you'll stick along for the journey!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Some Time Away

Jen and I will be touring ye ol' Europe for six weeks, and I'll be back to resume business in the middle of July. I'm looking forward to seeing what Europe is up to lately, especially Italy--blast you, I Falsi Gioielli, for not being technologically current and returning my email!

And in even more joyful news, MISS has updated its site and it looks fantastic--I guess being stalkerish has its benefits.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Two random thoughts

I enjoy making scarves...I like the challenge of making what is normally a very pedestrian, easily made item look fantastigorical.

That, and I like stalking Made in Shoreditch Somewhere. I hope she doesn't think I'm creepy.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Craft Fairs

Mmm...how I love delicious craft fairs. I just found out about something particularly delightful called the Providence Open Market which will be running starting May 12th in downtown Providence. It's the way crafting should be--weekly, outside, and indie-tastic. I hope to be at the first one, so we'll see what's what.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cupcakes

My boss a few days ago mentioned that serving cupcakes has become popular, and now, upon checking my mail, I was zapped a "news" story about how cupcakes are oh so popular right now. HEY! Don't tell me you've denied your love of cupcakes all this time, only to stick your head out of your hole now that they're featured on Yahoo.com as an article! A cupcake obsession has been brewing inside of me for quite some time now, so don't you think you can come back grovelling at the feet of delightful red velvet cupcakes, or even Funfetti cupcakes with the matching frosting with the rainbow sparkly bits. Don't take those delightful, snack-sized cakey joys and corrupt them by throwing magazine covers and Martha Stewart at them! This is great for places like the Buttercup Bake Shop who will see even more business, but damnit, don't mess with the cupcake.

Image above: "Cupcake Sprinkles" by Scarlet Beautiful

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Luxurious Inspiration

Michelle and I went on an a journey to find us some Marie Antoinette so that we could watch it, amidst my screams of "It's MY spring break! I wanna watch some Marie Antoinette!". And as my obliging hostess, we finally got it, care of our mutual friend, Meredith. While I saw no coherent plot to the film, except perhaps maturation on the part of Marie's affection for her husband, I saw a BUTTLOAD of beautiful fabric and shoes and just generally pretty things. I guess it means I'm hugely into ridiculously overdone things, but you know, I can embrace that. Can't pay for it, but I can still love it. So I'm hoping the inspiration will run through my fingers and into the sewing needles.

Yummy. Like all those sweets. And that hot officer she has the affair with...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Flickr

Just thought I'd let you know that I now have a Flickr page for a more dimensional Explosive Kiwi experience. You can check out "The Craft," with images of things I've made, "The Art," with images of more traditional art I've produced, and "The Life," with pics of my misadventures.

Check out www.flickr.com/photos/saralugo/.

Purgatory

I'm stuck between a few projects right now, so both Explosive Kiwi and its Etsy shop are stalled. I updated the site with some new features a few days ago, just to keep things fresh, but more things are in the works. The biggest of them all is an attempt to get some Zen-cart all up in this joint, but I'm having silly little problems crop up, so I'm gonna give my host a call tonight and chat a bit.

Two exciting things I'd like to mention, however, are new links to Explosive Kiwi. One is from the Indie Collective, and for the moment can be found at http://www.indiecollective.net/accessories/index6.html. The second is a little older, but just as exciting, and is from Stylehive: http://www.stylehive.com/bookmark/85743

Regardless, I hope you all have a great week, and I look forward to amazing you in the future with great new stuff.
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