Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Etsy!

So, I realize I'm a little late on this, but in between preparing to move next week, working, and everything else life throws at you, it's been too crazy to post until now. Last Friday was Etsy's birthday party, and Etsians all over the world celebrated, including Austin's very own Etsy street team.
Yours truly was in charge of organizing and planning the team's craft party for a crowd of 75. Needless to say, I was freaking out a little bit at the prospect of doing this all the way up to the party when I was too busy manning the oven (for the shrinky dinks) to freak out. And who says being busy doesn't have its advantages?
Prepping for the party definitely came down to the wire (especially with me running a little behind schedule that day), but if there's two things you can count on our team members to do, it's making things pretty (or making pretty things) and doing so efficiently. Once the party started rolling, my fears of running out of food, possibly violating fire codes, and ensuring guests had a good time melted away. And no, I don't think that was the toaster oven talking.
Though I was mostly involved in baking shrinky dinks and helping guests to make buttons, magnets, and keychains out of their hand-drawn creations, there was plenty more going on at the party. We took the team Yudu (gifted to us while participating in a South by Southwest craft event) out for a spin, and Debbie of Debbie Carroll Designs printed bags, tees, and aprons for everyone who brought one.
Amy (Craft Chi) also stopped by to screen print the *famous* Etsy is Cool screen design that Etsy commissioned her to make for the birthday goodie boxes. So, you could say we had an Etsy celebrity on hand, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Our third craft that we had running for our guests was button making. Judging by how much our party attendees liked this, I'd say you're never too old to make or wear one! Beth H (Snuggle Herd) provided guests with a hands on tutorial for button makers and provided fabric and eclectic paper scraps for custom-made buttons.
All in all, I'd say the party was a hit. Our guests all left smiling and with plenty of party favors in hand, we had yummy food left over (even if the cupcakes were running a little low at the end), and as for the fire code I was worried about, totally not an issue. For more pics from the party, check them out here.

Action Jackson out!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Shopping with Action Jackson: 20,000 Finds Under the Sea

The Simple Sailor Locket (vintage) by FreshyFig

I have a confession to make. I don't like the beach. On top of that, I'm almost always underwhelmed when I commit to a trip to Galveston or Corpus Christi. This could be attributed to any number of things-swallowing too much salt water as a child, being fair skinned, watching Jaws one too many times, beach volleyball being exponentially more difficult (and yeah, a little less fun) than indoor volleyball, getting seasick on boats, etc., etc.

La Sirena Print by IllustratedInk

There are two exceptions to this, one being a family vacation to Hawaii. If you've never been, it more than lives up to its alluring reputation. The water is crystal clear, which is not only pretty but also practical/helpful for anyone who fears almost everything underneath the vast ocean surface (I've seen a lot of people get jellyfish stings in my day). And though it isn't directly related to beaches, seeing flowing lava in person was arguably one of the neatest things I've ever witnessed.

Squid Linens by SquidInkKollective

The other exception was a day trip to Santa Monica that was part of a spring break excursion to L.A. with some gal pals. The day consisted of getting henna, eating all the boardwalk food you probably shouldn't eat, riding the ferris wheel, and teaching ourselves how to surf (they were foam long boards, so that made it a pinch easier). Needless to say, surfing is not as easy as some people make it look, and being able to snowboard isn't as helpful as you'd like to think it would be, trust me. I'm not sure I even made it to standing up on the board. However, I had a blast and wouldn't mind going back anytime.

Vintage Dictionary Art Print Crawfish by LittleBlueBirdStudios

Point being, because I have the two very positive beach experiences under my belt, I continue to hold out hope for coastal excursions being promising. Though, when facing the sandy prospects that someone with my vacation budget has for time off from work, i.e. Galveston and Corpus, the skeptic in me usually wins and I opt out.

Seahorse Roboticus by BinaryWinter

So, in lieu of touring Texas beaches or going to The Maldives, I seek out beach and sea-themed wares. There's part of me that wants to wipe out my stigma of the beach so badly, and I'm convinced that having nautical finds and retro beach prints in my apartment will do the trick. Lucky for me, countless artists on Etsy are inspired by the sea and provide ample beach eye candy, especially in the summer. I definitely encourage you to check out the shops of the artists featured here today because the pics are only a small sampling of their awesome shops. In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of my beach snaps from Santa Monica.

Action Jackson out.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Love with Lucite

Because I am a self proclaimed magpie, it may or may not come as a surprise to you that I love all things lucite in decor and design. I can't articulate what this stems from, but I'd be willing to guess that my lucite love is a kind of evolution/adult version of my 13-year old self that wanted to have a house filled with nothing but inflatable furniture (and who wouldn't? Think how easy moving would be).
Though this multipurpose material was first produced in the 1930s and first used for mass production for machinery components in World War II, lucite wasn't incorporated into design until the 1960s when the space age aesthetic was all the rage (personally, I can't blame them). Luckily for me, this trend hasn't died off, and Apartment Therapy's frequent posts and pics (the top three shown here) on the subject are proof of just that.
If money was no object, I would go crazy decorating my apartment with the pristine plastic. However, the lucite decor that's out there (a la Philippe Starck ghost chairs, above, that are a heartbreaker to yours truly) tends to be on the pricey side. So, if you're like me and love lucite and pinch pennies, have no fear, Apartment Therapy is here. Last September, they posted this DIY project on how to make your own lucite chandelier.
The flawlessly elegant aesthetic that lucite achieves in interior design is maintained in its translation in jewelry, whether through faceted gem-like beads or carved nouveau pieces. Tarina Tarantino is no stranger to this medium and typically incorporates it into over-the-top pieces like her Over the Rainbow Necklace (shown above) from the My Pretty Collection. Personally, I love working lucite filigree into my jewelry, but I haven't explored all the beading possibilities. So, what do you think about this pretty plastic? Would you take the plunge like me and decorate a room completely in lucite?

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: Let Love In by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer = Flowers

While we didn't have the lush vibrant (albeit scalding) summer that we usually enjoy in Austin last year due to major droughts, the recurring motif of floral fashion was still in full bloom whether it was on Mexican house dresses or in the strong resurgence of 80s and 90s unapologetic bold prints. Yours truly even got hit with the fever and made a few flowery pieces (including the one above) for Blues on the Green when Etsy Austin held down a booth for the summer concert series last year.

This summer, the florals are making an even stronger comeback, as if that was possible, with everything from vintage-inspired daisy jewelry to flower print jumpers filling the racks of Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and ModCloth.

I was browsing my usual list of bookmarked websites when I came across the new summer collection for Tarina Tarantino. And who says great minds don't think alike? These Daisy Post Earrings are part of their Daisy Cake Collection, and (I'm speculating) they feature replicas of porcelain vintage Japanese daisy cabochons.

Truth be told, I am not in love with everything bloomin on the runways or on the clothing racks this season. I am, however, inspired to incorporate as many bright blossoming beauties into my summer designs as possible (especially since Austin won't be having the same shortage of rain as last year). Here's some pics of what I've gotten started on so far. In the near-ish future, you can probably expect to see lots of nautical pieces and bedazzled feather fascinators from Diamonds and Guns land. What about you? What are you mesmerized and inspired by this season?

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: Blind by The Sundays, OK Computer by Radiohead

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Every Little Bit Helps!

Back in April, Bonnie Rue of Model Citizen Clothing had gabbed about her rad indie biz being chosen to attend the POOL Trade Show in Las Vegas. She had been a busy little bee with all her ducks in a row...until the roof of her house collapsed and she had to break open her POOL piggy bank for moving costs. If you've moved, rented, etc. as much as me- or just at all, in general, you know how quickly those costs add up.
So, Ms. Rue is calling on us, the indie craft creators and supporters, to help out. What's in it for you, you ask? The intrinsic satisfaction of helping a fantastic lady and rockin artist! You say that's nice, but...Have no fear. Bonnie Rue is seeing that no good deed goes unnoticed or unrewarded and is giving away goodies to folks who pledge certain amounts (see the side bracket of her kickstarter page). Personally, I'm seriously tempted by all of the incentives and will definitely be donating today.
To give y'all extra incentive, I'll be giving away some DGAJ surprises to anyone who donates and leaves a comment on my blog stating so IF Bonnie reaches her goal of $1,000. On that note, if you pledge and the goal amount isn't met, you won't be charged for the amount you pledge. Remember, every little bit helps, even if it's a dollar! If you can't donate, pass on the link to others!

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones

Friday, June 4, 2010

Apartment Therapy for Me

As a few of you know, I will be moving in a little less than a month. I am both excited and terrified ala Jessie Spano. I've been spending a generous amounts of time on Apartment Therapy, Ikea, and various design blogs as a kind of pep talk because I'd be kidding to say moving isn't daunting. The excitement is undeniable as I will be leaving behind an apartment complex where the management company has received 10 1-star ratings on Yelp, a 20ft aluminum drain pipe has fallen on my boyfriend, and my fridge was left broken for a week (among many other mishaps).

At the same time that I'm sad not to call Hyde Park home anymore, part of me feels like moving can't start soon enough because I will be living here next year. I'm sure granite countertops, lap pools, and stainless steel appliances might make some of you cringe, but I draw the line for dingy apartments being fun and boho chic when they have a side effect of concussive damage. Hopefully, newer will equate to better in my spiffy soon-to-be digs, and maybe I'll be lucky enough to be surrounded by tenants who work (as opposed to UT students).
Perhaps excitement and terror are like love and marriage (you can't have one without the other?)...or perhaps it's just that way for me and every self-proclaimed member of Neurotics Anonymous. I've moved once a year for the past five years, and moving has only become harder with each year- progressively dwindling numbers for able-bodied people to help move and ever-growing mounds of stuff in my apartment couldn't amount to moving being easier.

My beau and I will be moving in together in a little over a month, which means meshing the odds and ends of our possessions together and seeing if the sum is greater than all the parts. My current roomie and I have lived together for the past five years, and I'm dreading finding out how much of the kitchen wares are hers (I'm guessing a lot).

Add downsizing square footage and trying to make a space that is less college/post-college aesthetics on a budget and more adult (definitely for lack of a better word), and you have one seriously stressed neurotic. Not only are the furniture and decor pieces I'm lusting after out of the budget (when added up), but it's completely impractical to try to plan how they'd fit into the new space before I'm there. This is something that my plan everything months in advance self is not liking and will just have to come terms with.

In the meantime, I'm trying to decide whether or not to get movers (which are not an appetizing item for my budget), when to pack, how many days off from work I should take for the move (moving in one weekend's time last year was not the fun times), how to get the number of boxes I need, how to budget for deposit and misc. costs, how to arrange to get a couch from Ft Worth to here, a solution for washer and dryer (we have connections in the new place, but who can afford those), etc.

When I'm not thinking about that, I'm dreaming of having my own workspace for jewelry and trading in my plastic dilapidated rolling cart for efficient functioning organization pieces...and also the fact that the complex will paint two walls for us (gray is the winner for an accent in the living room and bedroom). So, it's not all bad- just a mind bender for the next month. Part of me is desperately trying to push it out of my mind and think about when I'll use my vacation days (I've got 14 built up, but who's counting?). What's your experience with downgrading in size? Designing for a grown up space? Movers vs. no movers?

Action Jackson out.

Currently Listening: Debut by Bjork, Blind by The Sundays
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