Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Pictures

Many thanks to Amanda Morrison-Hill who was the photographer for my photo shoot. I've been wanting to do this for some time. My profile picture is exactly what I wanted. I think she captured the essence of what Urban Contessa is about. I urge you to check out her blog and her website.

I'm still working on updating my website and as soon as I'm done, I'll let you know. I think I may use a different picture on the site (also one that Amanda took), but I'll mull that one over for a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Beginnings

Geez. I looked at the date of my last post. June 22. It's been almost three months! It's not like I don't blog. You all know I'm blogging elsewhere. And I am busy with my real life, not to be confused with my Contessa life -- my imaginary life of doing nothing but running my business, writing and eating bon-bons.

The Husband has left for two weeks vacation. So while he's gone, I'm going to take advantage of the alone time and recreate my site. Which I started doing yesterday.

I also have my photo shoot on Thursday with Amanda. As soon as pictures are available, I'll post them. And update my profile picture.

BTW ... those 40 lbs. Still got 'em.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Photo Shoot

Although the craft show was more successful than I thought it would be, it made me realize that it's not what I want to do.

Oh, I'll still do them.
Especially if Shandell calls me up and says,
"Hey, Mo, there's a craft show at blah, blah, blah ... wanna come?"
If she does, I'm there.
But otherwise, I don't think it's my bag.

Contessa Parties are the way to go.
Or rather, Contessa Fiestas, as Hilary has coined them.

Thanks for that, Hilary.

I also think I'm going to go a slightly different route.
I think I'll focus my marketing on professionals.

Tooth Fairy Pillows to Dentists.
Placemats and other house decor to Real Estate Agents.
Rosary Bracelets to Funeral Homes.

This, of course, means updating and revamping the website.
And taking some professional photos of yours truly.

The website I'll have to tackle on my own.
I don't have the budget to hire someone to do it for me.
And I think I'm proficient enough to put together something I can live with.

But I've enlisted the services of my friend Amanda Morrison-Hill.
She's decided to pursue her love of photography.
So in the spirit of supporting my fellow entrepreneur, Amanda is my photographer.
Besides, I know her, like her and like the casual feel of her style.
You should check out her blog.

She recommended taking the pictures at the Centennial Building in Whitby.
It was City Hall at one time.
It's the perfect location.
Great architecture, beautiful landscaping.
And if it rains, we can go inside.

The shoot is booked for September 17.
Subject to re-booking based on our respective hectic schedules.

Think I can lose 40 lbs by then?!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Craft Show - May 30

We'll be at the Festival of the Arts this Saturday, May 30, 2009.

If you happen to be in the Ajax area, please drop by, introduce yourself and say Hi. And while you're there, pick up a little something for your mom, your sister, your friend and, of course, yourself! We'll be selling home decor items plus totes, bookmarks and toothfairy pillows.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Outer Fringe

Robi was telling me about some beaded fringe that she had bought for her lampshades. She was intending to trim the shades and add a little bling to the room.

Then she changed her mind.

She said she'd bring in the beads.
Maybe I could make some jewellery with it.
Why not.
I never say no to craft supplies!

But this is what she brought in:

Three strings of pretty, beaded fringe.

Are you kidding, Robi?
All this for me?
I'm very excited!!
Thank God Robi changed her mind.

Forget taking them apart, though.
I'm leaving them intact and going shopping for some coordinating fabric.
These puppies are just screaming "table runner".
Oh baybee!!
Fabricland, here I come!

And thanks, again, Robi!

Friday, May 1, 2009

First Juried Show

I've just been accepted for my first juried craft show! The Ajax Festival of the Arts will be held on Saturday, May 30, 2009.

For those of you who don't know, a juried craft show is one in which a panel of judges determines whether your craft is acceptable for selling and/or displaying at their craft show. You can't just show up and sell your wares. You must first submit an application with a description and photographs of your products. The judges will review your application and, depending on their criteria, accept or reject your submission.

This particular show is not very large, but it still looks good on my portfolio that I have participated in a juried craft show.

I'm hoping this is just the beginning. There are some fabulous juried shows. In particular, the One of a Kind show. I can always dream big, right?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Craft Show - Hungarian Culture Club

I was at a craft show on Saturday. Not a big one, but it was well-attended. It was a fundraiser for the Hungarian Culture Club in Oshawa. They're raising money for a new roof. It was successful enough that I'll participate in future craft shows with them.

I thought I'd share pictures of some of the participants and, with their permission, have given contact information in case you see something that strikes your fancy.


Shandell Conboy is the owner of Dellzines. She makes one-of-a-kind jewellery. Her favourites are bracelets and you can see it in her work. I have several of her bracelets, which says something since I can make them myself.

Erika Takacs

Erika was displaying the most incredible artwork. She was wearing a goblin pendant that was absolutely wonderful. I asked if she sold them and she said she was wearing the only one she made. Shandell and I think we've convinced her to make them for sale. I hope so, because I really want one. Visit her site here.

Marg's Knitting - Sewing - Quilting

Marg is a one-woman show. She quilts. She knits. She sews. She does it all. And there's no doubt there's a lot of love that goes into each piece. You can see that, even at the show, she was passing the time knitting. Her quilts are to die for and sooo cute! She can be reached at 905.725.9105.

Home Creations

John and Orlene Fost are the owners of Home Creations. I met Orlene at the show, who gave me some great tips, being a veteran craft show exhibitor. She had cute stained glass window decorations. I bought a yellow bird for my mom and a pink angel for my aunt. She also had glass blocks that you feed small Christmas tree lights into (see them on the left?). The bows are interchangeable so you can mix and match for your decor and for the season. Very clever! You can reach Orlene at 705.429.9479.

Urban Contessa

And last, but not least, my table. It was the first time I'd displayed on a round table, so that was a bit of challenge. I think my pieces were well-received and everyone oohed and awwed over the colours and fabrics.

All the crafters at this show were wonderfully creative and I hope to see them at the next show. I have applied to exhibit at a show in May. I'll let you know if I'm accepted. It will be my first juried show, so I'm a little anxious.

Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Three's a Charm

She likes it! Hey Mikey!!
Phew! Cuz if she said she didn't, I had nothing.
She sent a thank you gift too:

Isn't that sweet?
My skin already feels awesome!

Monday, March 9, 2009

DNA Bracelet - Take 2

She didn't like.
Well, I suppose that's not entirely fair.
She wasn't thrilled with it.

So I took it apart, yet again, and reworked it.

This is the end result:

And, I have to admit, this will have to be the last time I rework it. I simply don't know what else to do. If she's not happy with it, I'm at a loss.

I've tried finding this bracelet on line. Similar pieces retail for $80 - $150. Stupidly, I quoted her WAAAAY less than that to string it all together (she did provide the beads).

Don't get me wrong. My frustration lies with myself. On several levels. But it all boils down to the fact that I shouldn't have said I could do it. I have this "how hard can it be?" mentality and I really need to stop thinking that way. I want to please everyone and the fact is, I simply cannot.

Hopefully she'll like it. If she doesn't ... I dunno ...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DNA Bracelet

You'll recall I made some necklaces for the Bride. Well, the Bride's sister (also the maid of honour) contacted me and wanted a bracelet. Had found a picture in a magazine and asked if I could recreate it.

I'm always asking "How Hard Can It Be?" So I said sure, why not.

Apparently, it's pretty damn hard!

After several tries, disassembles and re-tries, I think I've managed to create something that she'll like. She picked the colours ... I think they're fabulous!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grey Pearls for the Bridesmaids

A co-worker's daughter is getting married. She asked me to make the jewellery for her bridesmaids.

A simple string of coloured pearls and drop earrings. They turned out quite nice, I think.

And I found these cute little boxes to put them in!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Craft Shows Too

In addition to having Contessa Parties, I'm also considering craft shows.

Oddly enough, or rather, as luck would have it, the first craft show I agreed to participate in was cancelled. About three weeks before the show, no less! At least the coordinator had the wherewithal to email all of us (and not bcc us) which resulted in a flurry of emails among the crafters. For many, this was going to be their first craft show. There was a lot of disappointment and questions of "What now?" Quite a few suggested we should have our own craft show. But, of course, no one would step up to the plate to coordinate it.

Sigh ...

Fine, I'll do it ...

It was a little like the blind leading the blind, since it was my first craft show and all. But it turned out pretty good!

The crafters were quite pleased with the results, so we're planning a show for May 2, 2009.

Details to follow!

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Big Picture

I have this fantasy.
It goes something like this:

I picture returning to my home town of Schomberg.
There was a store called the Ravens Roost that sold nick knacks.
I picture buying it.

I have it all planned out:

The two large picture windows will have floral drapery pulled back to expose vignettes. One window will have a table dressed for an elaborate dinner. The other window will showcase jewellery and other accessories we make. The walls will have a variety of shelves to hold all our designs. Towards the back is a half-wall. Behind the wall is an open work area with sewing machines, cutting areas and jewellery stations. Customers will be able to watch us work and know that everything they purchase is handmade.

I've shared this vision with my cousin Alex. So when she called to ask if I wanted to go to the Schomberg Spring Fair, I said sure. And, of course, we'd stop by the old Raven's Roost and check it out. Just for fun.

So we went.
Only to discover that the Raven's Roost is now an Irish Bakery.
...sigh ...
Oh well.
Instead, we bought some pastries and tea and took our goodies outside to the front porch to enjoy the weather. As we were sitting there, sipping and nibbling, we started reminiscing.

As we sat on the porch, we looked across the street and moved our way from right to left, reminiscing about each store.

Remember Handy Food Mart? All those candies we bought! And King's Restaurant? They made the best fries and gravy!

Then we got to what used to be Armstrong's Garage. And saw this.

We both stared. Looked at each other. Then practically ran across the street!

And to add to the goosebump factor, this is what was inside:

Do you see that?
The half wall?
And the shelving?
The absolute perfectness of it all??!

And as perfect as it was, it just wasn't going to work.
We simply don't have the money for that right now.
Besides, the building is now sold.

But I am not deterred.

I read recently:

God never says no to prayers. He has only one of three answers:
1. Yes.
2. Not right now.
3. I have something better planned for you.

I'm going with 2 or 3 on this one.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tooth Fairy Pillows -- The Concept

I have a line of Tooth Fairy Pillows. Everyone gushes over them and says they're really cute.

The problem is that, believe it or not, they're time consuming to make. And because I sew the mouth using my sewing machine, I'm limited to a simple smiley face. I know embroidery is an option, but that's even more time consuming. Also, the googly eyes are glued on. They tend to fall off and are a choking hazard.

So I'm going to completely change the concept ...

Tooth Fairy Pockets.

I'll draw different cartoon faces on the front. The back will be a pocket in a variety of fabrics. The Tooth Fairy Pocket will hang from the child's bedroom doorknob.

As soon as I make my first one, I'll post a picture, but until then, I made a quick sketch:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Rosary Bracelets

A client recently asked me to fix a mini rosary that her aunt had brought her back from the Vatican. A little hesitant to mess with what I believe are mystical forces, I asked what was wrong with it before I committed myself. "Well, nothing really," she admitted. "I just really like it and I thought you could fix it so I could wear it as a bracelet."

Hmmmm ...

With an apologetic glance Heaven-ward, I agreed to take a look at it. It really was quite beautiful. The beads were made from crushed rose petals; when you opened the pouch, the fragrance was very pleasing and peaceful.

I measured her wrist and took it home to work on.

I'm telling you, I cringed the entire time, just waiting for the proverbial lightening bolt to come crashing through the kitchen window and strike me down at the table where I worked. I really felt uneasy the entire time. "This can't be right," I kept muttering to myself. "Somebody's going to be angry."

Not my client, though. She, in fact, was quite ecstatic. So much so, that she ordered one for her daughter for her Confirmation.

Which got me thinking. So I started making rosary bracelets. Which, as I mentioned in my previous blog, I'll market to Funeral Homes. It's a small memorial to remind one of a beloved relative or friend. It can be worn as a bracelet or hung where it will be regularly viewed (perhaps on a bedside lamp, rear view mirror or doorknob).