Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween Sweets: Making Your Own Costume Pt. 2

Welcome back to the second part of this road map for making and having your very own Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend costumes. Now that you've had the delight of seeing pictures of the finished product, it's time for the grit. Pictured above are a few supplies you'll need to make the torso piece and the shoulder armor (I'm tempted to call them shoulder pads, but I remind myself that The Monarch doesn't wear an 80s power suit). Suggested fabric, again, is a matte yellow spandex (should be about $4-5/yd), and you should have about 2.5-3 yards on hand. You'll also need 3/4" thick foam (available at fabric stores), sturdy scissors, and a hot glue gun. First part is cutting and gluing the foam to the armor. The foam doesn't mold easily, so you'll want to glue and hold along the perimeter of the armor, one curve at a time (i.e. the curve along the neck, each underarm, the part that would run along your side, the bottom "m" curve of the armor, etc.). Glue first and cut as you go. It's easier to cut the foam to be precise with the armor's shape when part of it is secured. There will be times when cutting excess foam before you glue is helpful. This is okay to do. As you glue each curve, be sure to take time to hold the foam to the armor. Be careful of where you hold the armor because that hot glue can be, well, hot! Once you've got your foam glued on and you have a shape that you're happy with, pull out the spandex. Make sure your fabric is folded once in half. Essentially, you'll be gluing two layers of fabric to your foamy armor piece. As with the foam, you'll want to glue in sections, making sure to press the fabric against the armor as you go along. Two things to keep in mind as you're doing this: There will be excess fabric on the back that you can cut later, but make sure the material is following the form of your foam armor pretty well. Also, check your fabric on the front regularly to see that it's pulled taught and isn't bunching. When you're finished gluing, you can cut off excess fabric in the back. And voila! You have your finished armor piece (sans necessary Monarch logo, of course). Next-gauntlets, shoulder armor, and such. Oh my?

Action Jackson out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Sweets: Making Your Own Costume

Happy Monday everyone! I hope and trust you're all still feeling a tinge of the Halloween spirit and are NOT considering putting up Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or any other November/December holiday decorations. Just think of how it would make Halloween feel- yeah, it would feel like a one-night stand. It's amazing how much we invest in the build-up leading to a holiday and how ready everyone is to be done with it the day after. I for one wish Halloween lasted for a few days (or that people celebrated Dia de los Muertos on the same level) as it's one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite.

This feeling is especially strong for me this year because I spent a ridiculous amount of time and money making my boyfriend's costume and gathering up the parts and accessories for both of our costumes. As some of you already know, we went as the Venture Bros' beloved Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I had it to do over again, I would still choose this costume pick. However, I would make sure that I went about everything in a smarter and more efficient (and incidentally cheaper) way. Because I mostly found pictures and not road maps for how to create these costumes at the outset of doing so, I thought I'd post the most thorough (as much as my down time at work and motivation allow for anyway) how-to guide in hopes that it will help someone considering doing this. On that same note, I should mention that though the final product of this looks pretty good, my efforts would in no way be acceptable on the Project Runway stage, i.e. much of what you see (for the parts I made for my boyfriend's costume) is held together by hot glue, safety pins, and velcro. No sewing went into this, so perhaps the daunting task of costume creating will seem less intimidating to you non-sewers out there after reading this.

I'll start off with a list of the pieces needed for each costume.

-Black Jumpsuit (tip: if you're able to find black spandex under armor pants and a long-sleeve shirt as 2 pieces instead of the 1-piece jumpsuit, I would recommend this as it makes bathroom breaks a hell of a lot easier)
-Yellow Boots/Boot Covers: A well-stocked costume shop should have yellow boot covers. Yellow spandex could be used to cover boots you may already have as well.
-Black Hood: Remember that the Monarch's hood has yellow ear coverings as well as a black pointed dip on the forehead. Both of these can be hot glued onto a plain black hood. If you prefer/forget about it/are in a time crunch, the black dip can be drawn on with eyeliner or a black chunky makeup crayon that is sold at any drug store around Halloween or any costume shop (year-round for the costume shop)
-Yellow Gauntlets: Dart mounts optional. There, I said it. If you want to spend the time making scalloped gauntlets, securing construction paper to flat gauntlets, or painting and gluing yellow cylindrical shapes (perhaps Crayola thick markers are a good scale size), you're a better (and more patient) person than me.
-Yellow Chest Piece: I'll get to this in more detail in a little bit. I bought a plastic Roman warrior armor piece at the costume shop for the strucutre, a 2x2' piece of 3/4" thick foam from the fabric store- think egg carton mattress except flat, and 2.5 yards of yellow spandex. Red fabric paint, hot glue, friendly roommate, and plentiful patience were on hand as well.
-Yellow Shoulder Pads: Plastic Roman warrior shoulder armor, aforementioned foam, and yellow spandex used for these. Again, have friendly roommate and hot glue on hand.
-Black Gloves: We just used the fleece black gloves I had lying around. I'm sure you can buy plain black at just about any store (costume or otherwise) for under $10.
-Orange/Black Wings: Save yourself a lot of heartache, time, and money and use long pieces of cardboard as the silhouette/structure for this. When collapsed, the Monarch's wings are very angular, so most people probably won't notice this skim. Use the least expensive matte orange fabric you can find, and get about 3 yards of it. I picked up some broadcloth at $2/yd. Also, pick up some black and white fabric paint to transform the plain orange wings.
-Yellow Crown: For this, I used gold foam (they sell sheets of it at any big crafting store) that was slightly thicker and slightly larger than an 8.5x11". You'll need to have some stretchy string on hand as well.
-Ridiculous Eyebrows and Goatee: This is one place where a lot of people seem to erroneously skim, and it shows. I know it seems minute, but if you want your costume to look good, a well-stocked costume shop will sell synthetic hair handlebar mustaches (good for the eyebrows) as well as braids of hair that you can mold to be the dimensions of the goatee (said hair could also be used for eyebrows if your prefer). They will also carry Ben Nye adhesive that you can use to secure the hair to your face. If the thought of glue on your face scares you, know that Ben Nye is the preferred costume makeup brand, and unless you have skin allergies, you should be fine. If you're really not sure about how your skin will react, test a patch on the back of your hand.

Action Jackson out...will return with more how-to later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Viva La Vida Fest Recap

For anyone who missed out on Mexic-Arte's Viva La Vida Fest this past Saturday, you should be kicking yourself...and marking your calendars for next year's event. The day was such a blast, and I plan on going next year, whether I'm selling or just attending (yes, I'm willing to plan out a year in advance for this fun lil fest). The day started off a little frantic for yours truly because I had to work the morning of as well as run a few errands (not to mention park downtown, which is always undeniably manic). However, by the end of VLVF, I was sold on the idea that every day should be Day of the Dead (as if I wasn't already).

One of my favorite parts of the day was the food- sweet bread, empanadas, tamales, actual sugar skulls (which I'm told you can't/shouldn't eat because they're made of something comparable to fondant- I might try anyway), tacos, and all the Mexican soda you could handle! Food is especially near and dear to my heart when I'm selling jewelry at shows due to a) sitting in one place for a long time and b) the semi-grueling duration of the show (this show was 8+ hours long!). So, I was thrilled to have plenty of delicious food all around me. Overall, the show had a great feel- there were tons of people there, good live music, a plethora of costumes and festive faces (endless Frida Kahlos and even a Che!), and great art for your eyes to feast on. There were murals galore (see above), altars lining both sides of the street, diy stations for mask and paper decor crafting, giant paper mache creations (think giant Frida heads, skulls, and skeleton hands), and of course beautiful work being sold by Austin artists.

I'm happy to report that Etsy Austin was well represented at the fest and that we were lucky enough to have our tents next to eachother. Check out the shops of the lovely EA ladies I sold with on Saturday (pictured above, clockwise from upper left corner) if you haven't already: Waxela (Spirit Mama) Cathie (Sweet Wolf), me :), and Kim (Devil Girl Design). All in all, Saturday was a long day but definitely a good one at that. If I haven't convinced you to go to next year's festivities, let me know so I can work on you a little more. Mexic Arte has posted their pics from VLVF. Enjoy!

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: Swimsuit Issue- Sonic Youth, Waiting for the Bus- Violent Femmes

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Got Plans this Weekend?

This coming weekend, a few lovely ladies of Etsy Austin will be participating in exciting events that are sure to get you in the holiday spirit (in case you need that extra lil nudge). On Saturday, Cathie Fuentes (Sweet Wolf), Kim Soliz (Devil Girl Design), and yours truly (DGAJ) will be at the Viva La Vida Fest, hosted by the Mexic-Arte Museum. Admission to this spectacular event is free, and the festival will be from 2-10pm on 5th St. (between Congress and Brazos). There will be an extensive contemporary and pre-Columbian West Mexico art exhibit, crafting for kids, food (pan de muerto, tamales, and of course sugar skulls), live music, a marketplace, and a grand procession at 6pm.

After you've stopped by Mexic Arte's VLVF, be sure to come say hi to the ladies of The WonderCraft at the Mixx and Make Event at Mixx (612 E. 6th St) from 9pm-2am for mask making, an eating contest, live music, coffin cakes from Blue Note Bakery, and a chance at a giveaway and some freebies! Admission is $6 if you RSVP ahead of time (you can do so on the Events section of WC's website) or $8 at the door.

Whether you're looking for events to get you in this month's spirit or you just want to make your weekend plans a little more interesting, these festivities are sure to be the cure-all you need! Hope to see y'all out this weekend.

Action Jackson out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sweets! Sweets! Tricks and Treats!

I absolutely love love love October. It's one of my favorite months (the other two being November and December). Halloween's probably a big part of that. For me, Halloween means a plethora of sweets, parties, Simpsons specials (aka some of the best episodes), embracing your inner horror movie fan, and dressing up like someone you're not. Perhaps we have Hallmark or Hershey or both to thank for celebrating this holiday for an entire month, but all the same I love seeing the Halloween spirit come out in people. It's truly incredible to see how much energy is put into making the holiday memorable, especially when it comes to the costumes.

I'm sure everyone remembers the days when Mom made their pumpkin or ballerina or Raggedy Ann costume-or in my case, when my mom made all three in one year for my brother, sister, and me, respectively. Over the years, I've evolved from Rainbow Brite and the Pink Power Ranger to become Strong Bad, the Peanut Butter Jelly Time Banana, and Poison Ivy.

This year, I'm hoping a trip to Lucy's in Disguise and/or Goodwill will serve me well and that I won't have to scramble for the perfect costume. My top choice would be to go as Dr. Girlfriend (from The Venture Bros- if you haven't seen the show, shame on you!). And yes, it would be a couple costume with my boyfriend, i.e. he would definitely be the Monarch. The other choices would be Sally Jupiter, Silk Spectre, or anything else that seemed like a brilliant idea to me. What is everyone dressing up as this year? Any fun Austin events you'd like to share/have me do a write-up for?

In the world of DGAJ, I have some exciting news to share! Soon, Diamonds and Guns will be available on the east coast in a precious shop called Duchess of Devonshire, which is located in Queenston, Maryland. A glance at the website is all you need to find out why I'm so thrilled about this. Everything about it is too sweet! So, if you find yourself up in those parts or you know anyone who lives there, be sure to check it out and spread the word.

On a more serious note, I'm sure everyone's aware of the big news by now-the Duggar family will be welcoming their first child of one of the 18 children...Okay, that's not actually the big news but instead just a seed for food for thought for everyone. The big news I'm alluding to is, of course, President Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Despite the lack of knowledge of the award or the recipient, there have been a lot of critics out there today. However, instead of asking whether Obama is deserving of the award or even if the award itself should have credibility, shouldn't we take this day of acknowledgment and be looking introspectively and asking ourselves what we've done to make the world a better place? I think it's ironic that the biggest critics of this hot topic, to the best of my knowledge, are not known for their service or dedication to humanity. Perhaps we should use this lens to look and see what we should be doing. I know I will.

Action Jackson out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Austin City Limits: Zoo Austin Fall Edition

Admittedly, there's a few times during the year where Austin is flipped upside down and turned into a zoo. You could argue that the same thing happens on a weekly basis for football games during the fall, but that's a different story. The two times that immediately come to mind are South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.

I've braved SXSW twice on different years but have never gone beyond the outskirts of the ACL Lamar/Barton Springs barriers. Why? For that answer, all you'd need to do is ask any Austinite and wait for their all too "enthusiastic" response. And, in all honesty, an event that is 65,000 strong is enough to make any local run in the opposite direction. However, that all changed this weekend when I woman'd/personed up and volunteered for ACL.

Truth be told, the event lives up to its reputation of being a crowded messy zoo (especially this year with the Woodstock children rolling around in Dillo Dirt), but I had not anticipated the experience rating so well for me, especially since I was really bummed about Soinc Youth dropping out only weeks before. If you are thinking about joining the masses in invading Zilker, I'd suggest opting for the volunteer route which costs $10 and includes a free t-shirt, a $5 coupon for food, and free water and snacks...whereas weekend passes cost anywhere from $135-185 depending on when you buy them. Yikes! I was nervous at the outset of the weekend because my shifts were during the sets of all the bands I wanted to see, but you (and I for that matter) can be assured that someone at the top knows that the volunteers sign up more for the bands than out of the goodness of their hearts...and if that's not the case, well, I'm just a bad person.

By volunteering, I was able to see the Yeah Yeah Yeah's, Flogging Molly, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, The Decemberists, and Clutch all for a whopping $10 (if you care to see who I didn't check out and want to shake your finger at me for missing them or if you want to see who I'm politely snubbing, check out the lineup). I think the biggest downside of ACL is probably the people themselves mostly because the event draws in such a mixed bag of music fans. There's frat boys and girls, hippies, punk rockers, hipsters, people with babies and kids (whiskey tango foxtrot? yeah, I don't understand people bringing babies or little kids to ACL either), reggae fans, the list goes on. If you have good taste in music (and yes, I'll go ahead and reassuringly pat myself on the back on this one), you have to bite your tongue when talking music to most people at ACL more so than if you were at Fun Fun Fun Fest or SXSW, which can be tiring (seriously don't understand the people who chose to see Kings of Leon over Yeah Yeah Yeahs).

Might post more on this later...we'll see.

Action Jackson out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We Make Stuff!

Recap time! I'll make this short though since I mainly wanted to share some eye candy with y'all. Yours truly was at The Scoot Inn this past Saturday from 7pm-12am for the We Make Stuff event (hosted by Electric Promotions). The night consisted of free Nadamoo ice cream, delicious drinks provided by Treaty Oak rum, raffles, button making with The Wondercraft, a fashion show from rockin Austin designers, and skateboard art! And, to top things off, proceeds from the nights' raffles went towards Art From the Streets. On a side note, for all you lovely people out there who love Austin's Rare magazine as much as I do, there's a great AFTS interview in this month's issue, so be sure to read (available in print or on Rare's website). All in all, it was a good night and I was lucky to have the company of fellow artists who I knew...and more importantly, liked. :) As always, the night featured a gander (yes, we're geese) of Etsy Austin's lovely ladies. Check out their shops cause these chicks seriously rock:
-Kim Soliz of DevilGirlDesign
-Anne Marie Beard of AnneMarie
-Samantha Hlavalty of NepenthesBathtime
-Cathy Fuentes of SweetWolf
-Merritt Gade of MerrittGade
-April Wright of AprilWrightDesign
-Jen Bryan of LucyBlueStudio
-Beth Hempton of SnuggleHerd
-Beth Albrecht of PairedHearts
-Kim Sae-Eua of Broken Ear Productions

Action Jackson out!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If it was easy, everyone would do it...

Been busy during the past two weeks with setting up Pro Tools aka my "studio" aka the adjacent space by my bed, writing songs, and a few things here and there with DGAJ. My bro and I are continuing work on the song he's calling, "Phoenix". Don't worry, that name's not gonna stick, it's just something he's tacking on for the sake of giving the song a name. I've just about got the whole bass line written out, so all that's left are vocals and a guitar solo, my favorite part.

I always dread writing solos because I'm not especially great with improv to begin with and my technical skills don't exactly match up with what I think of when I think of guitar solos. Perhaps that's the time to test out how high the gain on the distortion will go? Haha. Works for some people. I also dread writing vocals because even though I think I have good pitch, I'm not 100% on my actual voice. And when I say that, I don't mean I have a bad voice; I mean that it's like when you hear yourself on an answering machine and think, "do I really sound like that?!". Writing lyrics, to me, is kinda meh. The listener makes what they'll make of them. Even if they have a direction and an inherent meaning, they're still arbitrary and arguably the least important part of the song. That's not to say that they're not important, but when you look at how people from non-English speaking countries get into American and British music, it's probably not the lyrics that are selling them. Vis versa is true too. I think I like and agree with Frank Black's explanation for how lyrics are written. First and foremost, arbitrary. When you write the vocal melody, you sing certain syllables or sounds that stick after a while. Then, you write in words that fit with that.

Hopefully, this new song will be written and recorded soon. I write very slowly-hopefully that will change at some point. When I tell most people this, the feedback I get is, oh you should find someone to jam with. To this, I say no thank you. No matter how much I think my influences line up with another musician's, 9 times out of 10 (really 10 times out of 10 if you look at my track record), the influences are in no way reflective of the music the person makes. I realize that I'm not an expert on music, but I would expect musicians with good taste to write good music. More times than not, I find that whatever they've recorded on their myspace page isn't what I want to do at all, which then makes me wonder if there's anyone out there who isn't already in a band who wants to make good innovative music. This is by no means a post intended to be pompous and overblown; I still have a ways to go myself.

Moving on though before I go on a physics teacher/professor tangent! This week, I filled a new order at Parts and Labor as well as an out of state boutique (more details to come soon!). So, if you want to find DGAJ pieces that aren't on my Etsy site, you should stop by the shop! In other exciting news, I put in several orders this week for supplies and hope to start work soon on the Bioshock collection. Never fear! Pictures galore will soon be here. Speaking of pictures, I will soon be altering my light box and hope to show clearer high quality shots within the next two weeks...wish it was before then, but when you work, what can you do?

Also coming soon~pictures from We Make Stuff event from this past weekend and details about the Mexic-Arte Viva La Vida Fest (which will feature yours truly).

Action Jackson out!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Birthday to Diamonds and Guns!

So, there's no exact date pinned down for when Diamonds and Guns actually began, but the force of DGAJ was unleashed for public consumption about a year ago when I opened an Etsy shop. Soon after, I vended at a few First Thursdays, participated in the Etsy Austin Holiday Bazaar, joined the EA team, did lots more shows... and voila! Here I am. I definitely have a love/hate relationship with looking back on a year in this way. It's a kind of personal recognition for what I've learned and the experiences I've gained, people I've met, etc. At the same time, though, I can't help but feel frenzied, thinking, "Omg. How has a year gone by that quickly?" It's pretty scary when you take that perspective. That all being said, I'm very grateful to everyone who has supported me from the getgo, all the people I've met who've been nothing but nice to me and have provided me with so much help and advice, and of course everyone who's noticed little ole me and my burgeoning jewelry line. If you are reading this, I'm sure I owe a thanks to you in some way or another.

And how am I celebrating, you may ask? Well, there's no cake at the moment. The picture from my 21st birthday(pre redhead days) will have to suffice in the meantime. That's a delicious looking cake though, right? Hmm...maybe there should be cake though. We'll see. I think I'm mostly celebrating by making more jewelry and churning out more ideas for everyone to see. Pictures are on their way, I promise! Also, for anyone interested, I'm hosting a sale in my Etsy shop through this Sunday.

Aside from the 1-year anniversary, I've been very very busy with guitar. I bought Pro Tools this past weekend with some old graduation money that needed to be used up. For anyone who hasn't made this leap, Pro Tools has a very broad/long learning curve and after looking at the manual, which might as well be War and Peace, I find myself wondering why I bought it. Overwhelmed as I am by this, I am digging deeper and deeper to summon my inner Winston Churchill to fearlessly take this on. I'm hoping to get a solid test recording in this weekend; I'll let y'all know how that goes. :) I'm currently also working with my brother to wrap up writing a song that I had previously made a loose structure for. It's interesting because we're working in a very technical music theory way as opposed to the route I took for the first song I'd written in whole, which I'm convinced had some sort of alternate power working toward its completion as I still have no explanation for how it came about. Such is writing music, right?

I'm hoping to make lots of new pieces this weekend (just in time for the We Make Stuff event next weekend at The Scoot Inn from 7pm-12am), get a test run in for PT, and get some writing done. It'll be tough since I have to go into work on Saturday and with this flu-ish thing I've got going on, but hopefully I'll be able to hit it all hard!

Action Jackson out.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bringing Out My Inner Goth

Am currently in recovery from the Fantasy Realized show last night. Doing shows immediately after a day of work really takes it out of you! I haven't sold at any events since Austin Fashion Week in mid July, so I've had enough time to forget how much prep work goes into them (which is both good and bad). Thanks to everyone who came out~Bethany, Alec, Alyssa, Madison, and Leslie. Special thanks to Bethany for making some beautiful paintings for DGAJ. I hope to post some pictures soon to give y'all eye candy; Bethany's work is awesome. On a side note, when I do post some pictures, if any loyal readers have suggestions for galleries Bethany could submit her work to, please let me know!

I haven't actually been to Elysium since I went on a whim a few years ago for their Halloween event, which was super fun by the way. After going there for the Fantasy Realized show last night, I'm starting to wonder why I haven't been going more often. The vibe of the place is really calm, and I can't remember ever feeling so relaxed at a show as I was last night. I'm sure it picks up on the busier nights when Elysium transforms into an 80s night club filled with dancing maniacs. All the same, the tunes for the night were great- I know for sure I heard some My Bloody Valentine, Smiths/Morrissey, and New Order/Joy Division somewhere in there. I had a chance to chat it up with some of the other gals who were selling there. Be sure to check out their shops; these girls have great stuff:


I also got to talk music with a few folks who came out for the night, which is (and was in the case of last night) all the better for me when I'm able to say Siamese Dream is one of my favorite albums and it doesn't invoke a rage blackout from the other person . :) All in all, I'd have to rate last night as one of my favorite shows that I've done. Good location, music, crowd, fellow vendors/artists. I'll definitely use my long weekend for making new stuff and practicing. No rest for the weary!

Action Jackson out.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shopping with Action Jackson- Geeky Chic

My goodness! It has certainly been too long since my last post! Still trying to find a balance between work, guitar, and jewelry...and maybe eventually exercise and studying for the GRE? Then, of course, there's finding time to do none of that and just have fun. Before I get to the good stuff, I'd just like to remind everyone of a few upcoming shows that Diamonds and Guns will be at, which I mentioned in the last post:
- Fantasy Realized Craft Exhibition @ Elysium (705 Red River): 7:30pm-11pm on September 3rd
-We Make Stuff @ The Scoot Inn: 7pm-12am on September 19th

I'm also proud to announce that I will be participating in E.A.S.T. in November. More details to come soon on that!

And now, for the meat and potatoes (or tofu and potatoes if you're vegan) of this post. I'm very much inspired by the back to school spirit that this time of the year brings. Fall means cooler weather (about 5 degrees difference from summer for us Texas folk), demure fashion, foliage (again Texas will have this eventually, we just take a little longer than everyone else), and a certain re-focusing on (for many, at least) learning. Being a real book worm, I'm no stranger to this last mark of fall. To honor this time of year, a renewed dedication to learning, all you smarties out there, and anyone who's already got this style goin on (weezer glasses, argyle, nerdy and sometimes esoteric witty t-shirts), I give you Shopping with Action Jackson: Geeky Chic. Enjoy.

Shops and Items featured are listed left to right, descending down:
-ModelCitizen: Hot Pink Future Nobel Laureate Earrings ($12.00)
-Cotylee: Green Argyle Mini Dress ($65.00)
-LucyBlueStudio: Gears Steam Punk Belt Buckle ($35.00)
-PigseyArt: Zombie Jesus Journal ($12.00)
-DiffractionFiber: Ctrl Alt Del Three Pillow Set ($58.00)
-Vintage50sEyewear: Vintage 50s Rhinestones Black Cat Eye Frame ($65.00)
-RobotBaby: Sushi Flash 2-2gb ($20.00)
-Mehran: Backpack in pink and brown ($77.00)

Action Jackson out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back to School

Even though I'm not in school anymore (*tear*), I still find there are a million things around this time of the year that remind me school's back in session. It could have something to do with the fact that at least 1/10 of Austin's population are college students, the fact that I work on a college campus, seeing my facebook teacher friends lamenting the end of summer, or the frequent Tax Free Weekend reminders (for everyone wondering, it's this weekend). I always kinda love this time of the year because it means cooler weather (eventually anyway) and a new start. Even if you're not in school, I think you still get a sense of this; I do anyway. Maybe it's just the vibe that's in the air or it could be some osmosis-like phenomenon that happens when we are on a city bus that is seemingly overnight filled with students.

Regardless, I love this time of the year. I love fall. For me, part of the "fresh start" comes from the fact that for the past five years, I've moved into a new home each year. My roomie and I just moved this past weekend and are now in the heart of Hyde Park. Almost everything is out of boxes, but I feel like I'm in a weird limbo of "this doesn't feel like a home, just a very cool place I happen to wake up in every day". In a way, it's kind of a good thing because it means I feel recharged even though I'm exhausted and that I feel brave enough (and not content enough) to push myself, if that all makes sense.

And of course, from new beginnings come new opportunities. What does that mean for yours truly and DGAJ? I recently had an interview with CheapTweet that is now posted on their website, and since then, I've had a little bit more foot traffic for my Etsy shop. Also, I have two shows coming up in September, one at Elysium (see poster to the left) on the 3rd (8pm-12am) for a night of fancy and frolic and the We Make Stuff Event at The Scoot Inn (7pm-12am) on the 19th. I'm excited to do both and see what it's like selling downtown at night at the music venues. I went to a similar event at Beauty Bar for the Aull Austin All Handmade Bash on the 31st, and it was a really great time. The atmosphere was awesome, and everyone there was having fun. Hope it will be the same for my upcoming shows! There's a few other shows that I'm contemplating participating in, but like always, it's a matter of time, energy, and money. I'll post any updates that come along. On a non-jewelry, music-related note, I'm going to push myself to practice for a few hours right after I get out of work each day during the week. This might mean I have to pack a few doubleshots to keep myself from falling asleep in a practice room when I'm trying to get a solid three hours in or something like that. I'll let y'all know how that goes as well. ;) I might also be investing in Pro Tools soon as I still have unused graduation money. Hopefully, learning it won't be too bad, though I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up a copy of the Dummy's Guide to Pro Tools.

On a semi-related note, I'm scratching my head for ideas for more SWAJ segments. The back to school happenings have inspired me to do a geeky chic theme (and to post a geeky chic pic of moi). Not sure just yet what that will encompass, but I can promise that it will be fun. After that? Maybe a Best Bags post. I feel I find so many amazing bags on Etsy and am just blown away by the innovation and craftsmanship that some of them show. Definitely something worth showing off on the ole blog.

In the meantime, Happy Friday to all! Yours truly may have to indulge the Smiths/Morrissey kick from earlier this week and go to Elysium tonight for their Smiths night. Ah! I'm in love.

Action Jackson out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Shopping with Action Jackson: Black and White

Oh my goodness! It has been entirely too long since my last post. I'm still trying to find a good balance between work, moving (it is the magical moving week for yours truly through this weekend), practicing guitar, and life. So, naturally, these fluctuations are to be expected. Anyway, I'm very excited about this week's SWAJ feature! I was so thrilled to find all of these treasures, and as you can see, the theme is black and white!

Searching for pieces for this week's post reminded me of a black and white party I hosted a few years ago. And what does that entail, you may ask? Everything, if you can believe that. Preferred attire? Black and white. Viewing entertainment? Black and white. Food? I thought you'd never ask. In retrospect, I can't recall what the menu consisted of, but I promise it wasn't just a Sam's enormo-sized case of Oreos.

There's something so undeniably classic and nostalgic about all black and white that I love and almost can't put into words how or why I love it so much. But I do. So here it is for your eyes to feast on. Thanks to all the Etsy designers who allowed me to feature their work!

Below, images are listed left to right, up to down, with the item and Etsy shop name:
-Polly Feather Fascinator (TopsyTurvyDesign)
-Coney Island 8x8 Print (EveSimone)
-Vintage Motorcycle Pillowcase Pair Black on White (BranchHandmade)
-Rose Quartz and Blue Goldstone Necklace with Rose Pendant (DevilGirlDesign)
-Moz Necklace (HeadlessTessDIY)
-Fabulous French Martini Glasses (StemmeFatale)
-Chandelier Hand Stamped Heels (Crafttastrophe)
-Chandelier Women Black Tshirt Dress (PrettyRaccoon)

Action Jackson out.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shopping with Action Jackson

So, I have to say upfront that I'm really excited about this new segment, and I hope to turn it into a regular weekly post. Anywho, my roomie and I had been discussing new ways that I could spice up my blog, and we somehow came up with this idea. For "Shopping with Action Jackson", I'll be choosing about 9 or 10 finds that I come across on Etsy that all fall under a particular theme. This week's theme, which is pretty fitting (see July 24th post), is art deco. I decided since my new "line" will be directly inspired by the game, Bioshock, as well as retro and art deco styles in general, why not make it the first theme for SwAJ?

As a reformed shopaholic (reformed by money, not by choice), this will be a real treat for me and will enable me to window shop to my heart's content. On the flip side, it'll be an easy way for everyone who checks out the blog to see great finds they might not have seen on their own. So, in a way, it's like I'm a personal shopper free of charge. If you have any suggestions for future posts of this segment, just send me a message or make a post! The item names are listed followed by the Etsy seller/shop names. Enjoy.

Featured Below (left to right, up to down)

Vintage Glamour Girl Head Vase (calloohcallay)
1940s Vintage Gold Mesh Evening Bag (anothertimeantiques)
Apple Fruit Crate Label in Art Deco Style (LABELSTONE)
Bioshock Retro Earrings (EstelleDeParis)
Bella Vintage Damask Black and White Full Apron (Boojiboo)
Big Daddy Painting (luckycreature)
Explore Deco Poster (Laceybabe)
1940s Style Black and White Sateen Pleat Sleeve Dress (DavidJosephDesigns)
Vintage 1920s Rawleigh Spice Tin- Mustard (DontTellMama)
Art Deco Nude Lade Lamp (RomanceCatsAndWhimsy)

Action Jackson out.
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