04 November 2012

Fall updates and my little dragon

This blog has evolved into a seasonal update on my personal life, writing ambitions, and goals as a small-time artist. So I'm going to tackle this post from a holistic perspective as I've been doing for the last year-ish. Keep reading for a little bit of everything that's going on in my world.

First, I've gone back to my day job. Notice the distinction; I didn't say I went back to work. I've been working my tail off since Johnathan was born. I won't go into more detail about the business of being an at-home mom, because I'm not a mom-blogger (this is going to be a mantra, I can tell) and many bloggers already do it better than I could.

In terms of fiction projects, In Irina's Cards is complete and looking for a permanent home. I'm in the process of brainstorming a new work of fiction because although I have two sequels planned for In Irina's Cards, I know better than to take them past the notes and outline stage before the first installment comes to life.

My Bits & Baubles are moving along nicely. I had a delightful order from a lady in Illinois who chose one of my more elaborate necklaces for her Halloween wedding. I usually don't know where and how my jewellery is being worn after it leaves my shop, but it was a really special feeling to know my design would be part of someone's wedding.

Overall, I feel like my jewellery is moving into a new phase, design-wise. I mentioned last time that I added a logo, but I generally feel like my work is morphing past the genres of steampunk and trashion. I've been exploring curio and occult imagery, in keeping with my plan to always incorporate recycled or upcycled elements into my creations. Although I enjoy experimenting with new media and new design ideas, I don't see my jewellery evolving into a full-time business.

I enjoy having two Etsy shops (I also run a supply shop called Beyond Junk), but I don't have plans to work on one or both full-time. I've been thinking a lot about this lately; I believe there are too many consultants and Etsy staff themselves selling an unhealthy myth that people can turn their hobbies into reliable income. By way of promoting their own products and services, many crafts businesspeople are preaching about how any serious artist should be growing his or her business and to do otherwise is incompetent. That's how their sales pitches often sound to me, at least. One of my favourite business blogs, Smaller Box, has an excellent post on the topic. Fortunately, I enjoy working as a writer as much as I enjoy creating in my spare time.

On to a lighter, more cheerful topic, my son recently had his first birthday. We marked the occasion with a small party, including some iconic moments like his first messy cake face and the 1-year milestone on his first height chart. My friend Maya has a small business herself making hand-painted height charts. Naturally, I commissioned one for John's birthday and it turned out beautifully.Visit her at Monkey Pants Designs for more pictures.

We also just enjoyed John's first costume. He was a dragon for Halloween and actually got several wearings out of his costume. In addition to Halloween night, we dressed him up for his friend Kai's birthday and a Halloween party at his daycare. Unfortunately it was raining on Halloween night, so we decided to skip trick-or-treat, which was just fine with his Nana and Papa who were in town for a visit.

So now we're getting ready for another wet winter in Burnaby. Technically this will be John's second Christmas, but I think he's going to get much more out of it this time. Hopefully his birthday was practice enough for his wrap-ripping skills.

Indoor Halloween


16 September 2012

Summer adventures in BC

I picked up a set of prints today from my family holiday this past August and I thought about this blog. I thought about sharing my experiences travelling from Burnaby to Clearwater to Cluculz Lake to Vernon and back through Princeton.

It makes me smile, in a slightly sad way, to think that small family trips will be the extent of my adventures while my son is young. Not just for financial reasons, but for our family's well being, I don't have immediate plans for us all to get on a plane and go halfway around the world any time soon.

All the same, we had a lovely tour of the BC Interior. We had the chance to introduce Johnathan to family on my side and my husband's. We saw Mount Robson on a spectacularly beautiful day. I finally met Joylene Butler in person. We saw sunsets on Cluculz Lake and visited old friends in Vernon.

Jeff and John enjoying Mount Robson

Now we're home again and Johnathan has started daycare, part-time for now. While I wait to return to work, I'm enjoying a few solo outings before our very busy fall gets underway. Even though I'm stopping to smell the roses, I still like to make my wanderings productive.

If you're in the Vancouver area, you can now find my novels at Brigid's Books. Any trip to Kitsilano should include a stroll down this stretch of West Broadway. It's an adorable neighbourhood, made more picturesque by the first wave of orange leaves on the ground.

Also in Vancouver, the Gastown area is worth a visit. Find my latest electronic and clockwork-inspired creations at Deadly Couture, now with a small logo. Each of my Baubles will now have one these butterflies (in silver or bronze) on clasps or hinges. Look for this new logo popping up in other places as well!

24 July 2012

A girl and her American Girl doll

I worked on an interesting custom order last week and through the weekend. It started out as a pendant for a doll, an American Girl specifically. After we went through a few mock-ups, the order expanded to include a matching pendant for the doll's owner. Overall, the order turned into a pretty cute little project.

Whenever a project makes me smile, I often reflect on how I found my way into the world of handmade recycled jewellery. I was originally inspired by my work as a young adult author, connecting to contemporary teens. Although this type of hobby (writing or crafting) is probably silly to many, I still find it rewarding to share my creativity in a way that makes other girls smile too.

Mock-up Process

Final Pendants

13 March 2012

Baubles now in Gastown

Following up on my last post, my Bits & Baubles have a new home here in Vancouver. Find my latest designs at Deadly Couture, 317 A Cambie Street in historic Gastown. A vibrant store in an uber-cool neighbourhood. If you're in the Vancouver area, go check them out for these pendants and more:

24 February 2012

Wrapping up winter 2012

We've had an another interesting winter at the Hart-Thomson house. Johnathan's arrival has enriched my life and kept me moving, although I still need more exercise. Surprisingly, being at home has given me time to write and to do a little crafting. So aside from feeding and soothing and changing diapers, here's what I've been up to:

In Irina's Cards

That's the working title for my next novel. I'm thrilled to be working on a trilogy now, for a new-adult audience (readers in their early- to mid-twenties). These novels fall under the category of science fiction and I'm aiming for longer adult-length books. If you've been chatting with me on Facebook, you might remember that I was complaining about a word count setback a few weeks ago. But I'm back on track now and this manuscript will be ready to send out soon. Keep your fingers crossed that I find a home for it!

Johnathan is always encouraging

Crafty Partners

My Etsy shops have both been growing this year. Sleepless Storyteller's Bits & Baubles have been restocked at Savvy on First in Florida. Unfortunately, Flaming Angels here in Vancouver is closing, so I'll be hunting for a new local home for my Baubles.

I've been fortunate to join The Back Stage Divas this year and I'll be participating in their musician gift program. Beyond Junk has also scored new partnerships, with eDebris and Rad Juli, adding computer parts and scrap leather respectively to the shop's inventory.

Custom Creations

I've shared custom projects several times before, from sister butterfly pendants and vintage silver butterfly charms to edgy pocket watch plates and mechanical swallows. Below I've got my latest designs, based on two bullet casings supplied by the customer.

Latest custom designs with bullet casing caps

Also from Rad Juli's fabulous leather stash, I've created leather pea pod pendants (and I'm still working away on miniature steampunk-inspired leather purses). Look out for these to pop up at Sleepless Storyteller soon.

New family-inspired pea pod pendants

Leather Pea Pods from Sleepless Storyteller