LiPeony Shop

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Busy Busy Week!

It's been one busy busy week! I've decided on July 25th to sell at the Brooklyn Indie Market! SO if you're in the beautiful neighborhood of Brooklyn... stop on by! My sister will be helping me too so I won't be oh so lonely and shy. I've decided to start earlier and make some new items. Above is a sampling of what I've been working at. Tiny mini felt animals ... I decided to do so because I had extra felt and polyfill from another personal project. I wanted to make something to pin to my new bag. My first one a cat pictured above came out really cool and I decided to make more. My sister saw the bat one and immediately snatched that one. =_=

I've decided to make them into pins instead of key chains and phone charms because personally I like pins on a bag... I hate having too much craziness on my cell phone. One great thing is that the pin I'm using has a loop that can easily be threaded on a necklace or whatever or even chained to a cell phone strap. So there! Currently tonight I'm finishing a red panda, blue bunny, pirate cat and a fox while listening into shop critiques in the Virtual Labs. AND... I'm excited to say my costume is 95% complete! Here it is hanging on my closet door. The apron is 2 dollars that I added ruffles and shortened. The edges of the ruffles I painted on sparkle modge podge. The reason is that the ends frayed and this glue stops it and also adds a bit of sparkle to it. The blue dress underneath was made from 2 yards of blue cloth that cost me $12 and about 5 hours to make. The red necktie is from a previous costume and the red and yellow buttons are two separate flat buttons I hot glued together. I got the ruffle headpiece and shoes all I need is some lace for the socks and get my bangs cut. I'm bringing it over to my bf's place to iron it. SO SO EXCITED! If you're in Baltimore or going to Otakon... drop by and say hi!

Until next time.. no rest for the weary!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Secret Life of a "Sweatshop" Worker

"You sew Girl" by Mayluk

In my last post I mentioned that my mom was a seamstress and one of the best. She has been working in clothing factories in New York City for over 20 years now, my dear grandma has been working for 40 odd years before she retired. I've grown up in them since my whole family was working. I've read many stories of horrible "sweatshops" but my personal experience didn't really see it as that. There is a difference between the garment factories of the USA vs the rest of the world as compared to the "sweatshops" people talk about are usually in other countries such as China.

In the area of SoHo and Chinatown were many old buildings that housed between 40 - 70 workers on each floor and there are usually around 4 - 10 floors. These floors were massive with the creaky wooden boards buffed and polished to this shiny old yellow color. The windows were usually huge with mismatched curtains of old fabric and there's the constant lull of the buzzing sewing machines, sergers, huge irons and snip snip snip. A rather large and loud system of metal pipes went all along the ceiling circulating and cooling the air. In the back before the steam of the irons were huge metal poles where they would hang the finished clothing on or aka the monkey bars as I would call them. "Seamstress Necklace" by mylavaliere

Everybody was assigned to a machine depending on their skills. Some were great at serging and went to the sergers, most were on sewing machines and the men were in the back doing the iron and pressing. The really skilled ones were titled "sample makers" as they were the ones who first make the whole clothing that everyone uses as a plan. They are adept in all aspects of the clothing development and are the go-to person when you have a problem. My mom was one of these. Each machine had a little desk, metal table that housed their belongings like a big jar of water, their purse, snacks, maybe the daily newspaper and each one had their "big scissor" incredibly sharp and able to snip with such fine lines on even the coarsest materials.
"Wood Toy Sewing Machine" by WoodClinic

Everyday consisted of the "sample maker" and boss arriving at around 8am - 8:30am and everyone else coming at 9am. The mornings are always full of chatter of the daily gossip. From there the machines are warmed up and work until around 12pm where they have lunch. Most of the time there was a fridge, table and a huge rice cooker in the kitchen area. A single bathroom was in it's own room on the other side. The buzzing of the machines would continue until 4pm where people would chip in to get a round of coffee/tea and buns during their break. around 4:20pm they continue until 8 or 9 at night. Though if the contract calls for it they can work until midnight to meet the deadline.

The pay also depended on the contract. Most companies want the lowest price the wages reflected that. A single article of clothing was made of different parts each part was worth a number of cents. A sleeve was maybe a nickel or a dime each, the body was a quarter, a pant leg 15 cents. On average one can finish 45 - 70 clothing depending on their skill and quickness that can range from $40 - $70 a day. About the same as minimum wage back then as now since I'm older I haven't gone to one for a long while so that detail is unclear.
"Sewing Girl" from my collection.

My fondest memories were of making tiny bobbin dolls and sewing little dresses with my needle and thread as my mom and grandma was on the sewing machine. They also had a mannequins that I would pin fabrics to, making my own designs and having the ladies rave about how I should be a designer. I loved the little bit of milk tea and bun during the afternoon breaks as all the machines went quiet and I chatted to the ladies about what I learned at school. I also witnessed the creation of life as the factory cats that protect the cloth from gnawing mice had little kittens. What I learned the most even though I was very young was how hard my mom worked there to provide for the family. Every person there was a father, mother, grandma, grandpa, aunt or uncle that had a family to raise.

Life was tough... in a world that most of them just arrived at looking for a new opportunity for themselves and their children, the factories provided a stable income, a social and cultural haven, human interaction and the means to lift their children so they can reach higher then they could have ever tried. The garment factories were far from perfect but I simply cannot see the horrible nature of "sweatshops" in them.

Until then... Appreciate the hard work of your loved ones...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Worrisome Costume

Ack so Otakon the anime convention I'm attending on July 17th - 19th is about 4 weeks away but with my very busy schedule it is hard to find time to make my cosplay costume! This would be my 3rd time there and every year I'm always amazed by how intricate and detailed people's cosplays are. Literally they put on the make up, make props that can be HUGE btw and all the clothes, you'd think they jumped right out of the screen yourself. Last year I hastily made a costume and wasn't really satisfied with it since it was a last minute decision. This year I wanted to spend more time and be as authentic as possible. I decided to do Mahoromatic from the same name show which is my bf's favorite. Below is the picture.

I've been growing my hair long and it's half way down my back so it will suffice. I also have dark brown hair so no need for a wig (refuse to wear a wig, it gets hot in July!) I'm also very petite and rather short with dark brown eyes, so I think I resemble her. For any cosplay it's always much easier if you look somewhat like your character. No need for wig and heavy duty make up.

The costume itself looks like a simple maid outfit but it's actually not... I've been having heck of a time finding a dress that bears some sort of resemblance that I can alter that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. I'm set on having a small budget for this and use my creativity and resources as much as possible. After futile searches in stores and several thrift shops, salvation army shops, I decided it would be better if I just brought fabric and made it myself with my mom's help. I'm extraordinary lucky that my mom is a talented seamstress and we have a heavy duty factory sewing machine at home. Today after work I'm planning to hop to the nearby fabric stores to find the fabric I need. I've been lucky to score a good 2 dollar apron at a liquidation store to alter. Having the itchy fingers to create I decided to do the tiny details that can make or break a cosplay.
It's kind of small on the picture but she wears this tiny head piece. I already knew the design and how to do it. It's basically two parts. The top part is an arced piece of white fabric about 20 inches long that's folded in regular intervals and machine sown across. This gives the ruffles. One side the creases are folded over the fabric and the other side it's folded beneath the fabric so it has a natural curve. When I have time I will take pictures of doing it. The long piece is just a 24" long tube that was sewn and flipped. The ruffles are centered and sewn into the crack.
Here's how it looks on my head. I think it came out great! Don't mind the pictures and my shiny head... I took this early in the morning. Anyways the strings are long enough for me to tie or I can opt to pin it, button it or make a stretchy strap like a headband. Not sure as of yet. Today after shopping for the fabric I will get started on the dress or apron... whichever. I'll keep you guys posted of my cosplay adventures!

Until next time... it's COSPLAY! Have fun!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ahh Rain again?

Rain again? Ugh! I'm all for rain but it's June and it's been raining 6 out of 7 days a week for the past month. Well at least that keeps me indoors where I can work on my crafting. I just posted my newest little felt pouch! You can click on the picture to go to the shop. I'm surprised how nice the moustache came out since felt can be hard to cut. Oh yeah and it's very hard to glue. I did some research and came up with "Beacon's Felt Glue" and it works like a charm. The consistency looked like regular Elmer's glue so I was less then impressed. But it dried to be clear and it really did stick on quite firmly to the felt so woot! Actually there's a site dedicated to determining what glue is best for sticking what to what called ThistoThat. A very fitting name. So if you ever need advice for glue look up that website. It's easy to use and they actually have explanations on how the glue works.

BTW with Otakon within the next month I really have to start working on my cosplay costume. I'm planning to cosplay as Mahoromatic. I'm planning to share my progress on this lil blog. =D

Until next time.. rain rain go away... come again another day...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mysteries and Mysteries!

Ah ha! I was ready today! I had my camera waiting as the owner to these little footprints yet again stealthy went across my little shop! I caught this shadow picture! Drats my zoom must've been off! It is obvious that this culprit is no ordinary fiend for they seem to have this spiffy bow tie on... hmm very curious. Seeing the flash he decided to reveal himself! He says his name is Mister McFelt Square... a rather uncommon name but he has assured me that he had my best interests at heart. I very much doubted him until he revealed that he was protecting my precious watch that my significant other had given to me. Perhaps Mister Square is not too bad... he tells me there is more like him... the Felt Secret Keeper Society. With that he vanished leaving me wondering...

Kind of lame story telling on my part. I thought it would be perfect to introduce my newest line of mini felt pouches in my shop LiPeony. Actually I first made it to replace the worn out crumbling bookmark that my boyfriend had hanging in his car. He refused to get rid of it because I made it way way when we first met. So I decided to make this little felt square pouch. This way he could put some of those scented beads or potpourri in it and it would make his car less stinky. He has it hanging there now... and no he hasn't gotten rid of the bookmark. Sigh!

Until next time... creative writing can lead you to weird and fantastic places! =D

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Crafts and Tiny Towns

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I know I did... my next mystery post will be tomorrow since I want to share my ventures of my weekend. Though right now I've been up for the past 14 hours on 5 hours of sleep so it may sound kind of slurry I suppose. I spent it with my wonderful significant other down in South Jersey. I made sure I came on the same weekend as the Cape May Craft Fair in New Jersey. The area is really nice full of tiny shops and had this quaint feeling. It was almost like stepping into some fairytale of cottages and wonderful tall mansions there were actually bed and breakfast inns. Above is part of the main street and you can see it was a very nice day and there were many tourists that spend time in this quiet neck of the woods. This little place is only a block or two away from the wonderful beach that seems to have turned out to be a private beach as you need to pay for a pass to go on the beach. Kind of weird since I've never heard of a beach you need to pay to get in.
This clock looked pretty nifty out by what seems to be the town square. It really has this vintage look that I think adds a lot to the quaint atmosphere of the whole area in general. Oh by the way these pictures are taken by my significant other who has taken up a hobby of photography. He was just clicking away at random things that he found was interesting. This was towards one end of the craft fair and you can make out the tents of the craft fair and it's right by the edge of where the beach is. Though there was a lot of people there it was mostly browsing. I'm very shy to ask the sellers any questions but I've heard like everywhere else business this year was not so good. Regardless there was many amazing artists there and I must've walked up and down the some odd 40 - 50 crafters there 4x. I like to look at everything first then decide on what to buy. I did indeed brought some lovely items. Though I was scanning for some fellow etsy shops I didn't know quiet how to bring it up so I just mostly browsed.

My Mom always complain that I never get her anything... well I thought these little sachets would be perfect for her since she recently complained bout how she wanted something nice and floral to tuck into her closet and drawers. Though Little Pine Creek Potpourri based in Pennsylvania do not have a site yet their wonderful abundance of fragrance and beautifully stitched and lanced bags where a great draw for me. I especially love the unique blends of potpourri that combined scents of strawberries, roses and host of other wonderful fragrances.
The first time I saw these stark blue and silver chain mail earrings from DeepshadeCreations I had those "I gotta have them" gleam in my eyes. I passed by once but had to go back to get them. They were surprising light weight considering how heavy they look. My pictures don't do them justice, I wore them out the next day and they added a rock punkish sparkle to my outfit and I loved the way they felt and sometimes made a tingling noise as the wind swept past. These earrings are great to add that extra flare of attitude to any ensemble. They're going right up there with my all time favorite Toast bread earrings.

All in all great great weekend! Picked up some fantastic finds and enjoyed great weather and great scenery with a great boyfriend! Well now I am extremely tired so hopefully see ya guys soon.

Until next time... support the arts and crafts!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mysterious Foot Prints

Hmm how odd... I woke up this morning to see these mysterious little footprints all over my desk coming from my odd and ends fabric to behind my shelves. How curious... I've heard reports of mysterious little strangers upon my shop LiPeony. Perhaps this is a clue!

as Sherlock Holmes once said " There is no branch of detective science which is so important and so much neglected as the art of tracing footsteps. "

Wonder what he would've guessed about these mysterious tiny footprints?

I think this is a pretty nifty idea on how to introduce my newest series... since I am still reading the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes why not make it a bit of a mystery... don't mind me just having some fun =D

Until next time... what other clues might one find?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mystery Something...

Lately I've been reading Sherlock Holmes. My sister's boss had given us a large pile of books of all sorts and I think the summer is a great time to start reading. So far I've read The Reader, Into the Wild and Seabiscuit. All very different and very good books in their own way. I don't like over analyzing the books picking it apart and what not... I simply like to enjoy them.

Anyways everyone loves a good mystery and I've just had a great idea for a new series that I'm not ready to unveil... needs a lot of tweaks. I'm thinking of just mentioning it here and there to create a mysterious air about it... or at least raise some curiosity.

Until next time... "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"

Sherlock Holmes

Monday, June 8, 2009

Surprise! Surprise!

First of all I'd love to thank everyone that commented on my last post about great finds that I personally enjoy on etsy and extremely happy that so many others have also enjoyed handmade items too! Now that I go shopping I look at items different and won't blink an eye when it comes to handmade items... recently I've taken a lot of notice to the little boutiques around my neighborhood and many I see are basically stores whose items are from different small companies ... dare I say there might be some etsians there.

Anyways this morning was gloomy with a chance of rain and it's almost summer so bring in the darn good weather already! By the late afternoon when I get out of work it was sunny as heck and I just found out my above little print was chosen to be the picture for an article "Rainy Day Rescue--Homemade Play Dough from Your Kitchen Cupboard " from a site called Handmade News. I never heard of it before but I'm very impressed of how the site looks.. it's literally like a jammed pack quilt of various articles on handmade crafts and DIYs for you and your family. Suddenly I realized it's affiliated with a handmade selling site called Artfire.

Hmm that's kind of odd... I've heard much about ArtFire and I've read a lot of how people found mixed success there. I have wondered about it myself and was tempted to open a shop there for my art as to me the name suggests art though it actually is a handmade site very similar to Etsy. The biggest reason people like Artfire is because it's one flat fee of I think 12 dollars a month to list as much as you want as opposed to 20 cents an item on Etsy. You can also have a free account but it limits to like 10 items and some other limitations.

It is something to look into if you are looking for other areas to expand to. Remember that Artfire is rather new but seems to be picking up momentum. Another thing to realize is that like Etsy... or any other business for the matter is not a "build it and people will come" ... you really have to work hard and promote yourself... on a lighter note I'm wondering if I should reserve a spot for June or July for my craft fair.

As I'm planning to do only one this summer since I'm really strapped for free time now. =( . What do you guys think? It's going to be at the Brooklyn Indie Market. I was going to check it out yesterday along with Renegade but I had an unexpected funeral to go to.

Until next time guys... live long and prosper!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Super Trades and Awesome Buys!

So... I did some trades on etsy and one of them was with this little shop called Kwan! We meet in one of the virtual labs and hit it off and cross promote each other. I also completely fell in love with the above earrings because I think they're perfect... feminine, girly, fun and a bit of dangle but not too much! We decided to trade and I created a custom artwork for her adorable adorable oh so darn cute little boy (really really uber want to pinch his lil cheeks cute). I can't wait to get the earrings and show them around. It's kind of strange to me (as I am not a fashionable person) but at the college I work when people see something they like that I wear they won't hesitate to say that's wonderful and where I got it from.
Oh I have meaning to but haven't gotten around to review one of my recent buys of soap at LostRiverRags. I've seen her quite a bit on forums... well I usually buy from stores I find on the forums especially if they post a lot because I get a feeling of how they are from what they write there therefore I feel more comfortable. I brought 15 samples of the goat's milk soap because I'm one of those indecisive people!

Anyways for some reason I had a terrible horrible itchy allergic reaction to all the soaps I have brought from the store from Dove, Irish Spring, Ivory... you name it. Turns out I have sensitive skin allergies (my doctor says it's completely common) so... I decided to try handmade soap... just plain readable ingredients. I must say I was very impressed. My significant other who is never gung ho about handmade items loved how the soaps smell... well he had his favorite. My sister and I had ours (Juniper). I've never tried it before especially not goat's milk... in fact everyone was skeptical.. "goat's milk?" was what they said.

Surprising it lathered up very smoothly it had this very silky texture that I have never felt on soap and when i washed with it (good for one/two good showers) my skin felt a bit tight but once dried it was silky smooth and I smelled lightly of the soap. And no itch or redness now that's awesome. For me this soap was surprisingly good and I'm planning to get more when I have the funds to spare since I'm paying for a lot this summer and not working either =_=!

I did leave like a huge descriptive feedback because I think it's only fair... I like giving out detailed thoughts and experiences because I'm very sure the owners and shoppers would like a review. I also like reading reviews from people's blogs because I know they're not being paid to review things and there is a reason why they brought what they brought. That's just my honest review... no itchy red skin = good to me. Though make sure you're not allergic to any of the ingredients to anything before you buy it. There's a very simple test that can determine or at least try to determine what you are allergic to so you can avoid it.

Until next time... tally ho!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mirrors for you, me and dupree

The second one I put up of my wonderful pocket mirrors! I swear the more I look at them the more I want to keep another one. I suppose that's good as I think I'm my own target audience. My sister took one Dandelion Float mirror for herself and now her friend wants one too. Mind you they're all college students... one thing is that they wished the mirror could open and close but I've tried to find similar custom ones that do but they're very pricey and I know my target audience would more likely not buy it. I've put my own mirror with my keys and so far it hasn't been scratched one bit so I'm so very pleased. =D

I got these wonderful mirrors made by She was a fantastic person, prompt, informative and very nice. She also makes a host of custom things and also her own awesome buttons. I will definitely order from her again! So if you ever need little knick knacks or promo items... I tell you pins are very popular with tweens - college students... I regularly go to huge anime convention where one of the most popular items are pin back buttons esp. of cute things or sayings like. I have several pins myself and many people ask where I get them. I tell them at Otakon.

Until next time.... buttons are all the ragez!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Mirror... Mirror...

Ah... finally got my wonderful pocket mirrors and I just ogt the first one up in my shop! I'm so happy and the prints from iprintfromhome came out fantastic! They were so nice, shipping was so fast and their prices are very reasonable. I ordered 75 square prints of select few of my art and I choose a lustre finish taht gave them this nice sheen to them. I'm planning to put three of them on one long frame I have at home. I'm was accpeted into a craft fair this summer but haven't set a date yet... though I'm thinking I should before it's too late.

Until next time... don't wait till it's too late! =D