Thursday, September 8, 2011


I've been watching Nervous System's videos this morning. They make beautiful jewelry based around organic forms, math and computer processes, including 3D printing. I've always been fascinated by how scientific their approach seems to make these really beautiful poetic pieces. I have one of their necklaces, and it's so delicate. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

studio time

I had a breakthrough with my photography issues tonight, and after a long session I do believe I'm gaining some ground! I knew my main problem was lighting, and I had been experimenting with that unsuccessfully for the most part. I like moody contrasty photographs, but they don't work too well for product shots. With product photography you want to say "This is exactly what you're getting, and it looks pretty awesome, doesn't it?" As opposed to "This is what ___ looks like laying on your floor in the waning sun, as you contemplate the meaning of life".

So anyway, I had some help, from my old friend the internet. I started looking up mini photography studios that I could set up quickly to diffuse the light. Amazon had some for around $50, with mixed reviews. They looked pretty simple, so of course I thought, I bet I could make this. Googling came up with this awesome blog entry, with a practically free way to make the same set up. Um, yes.

Here it is, a humble cardboard box with modifications. And the result:

Woo-hoo! So much better! It's not perfect, but geez...that's a vast improvement. I'm totally excited, and I already updated all of my pics on facebook and etsy. Whew! It was a lot of work, but photographing my stuff will be a lot less painful and time-consuming going forward.

On a side note, can you tell I'm addicted to making treasuries lately? I'm not sure that it's helping my shop views, but it's fun! I made this one the other day:

I sang some Fleetwood Mac at karaoke the other night, and I think that gypsy sensibility worked its way into my head (with a modern spin, naturally).

It looks like my next project is gonna have to be cleaning up my apartment...ha.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I made a fall treasury. Yes, I know it's still hot. But I'm gonna go ahead and start thinking about it early, before it sneaks up on me!

I've been reading a lot of helpful business articles on The Storque lately. I'm trying to do a thing or two every day to get my visibility up. Maybe it's just a couple of clicks, but that still makes me feel good. I feel my biz brain getting bigger!

I also followed links from The Storque to this article about the design of the original American spacesuits and the seamstresses who worked on them. VERY impressive... I might have to pick up a copy of the book. I found the part about designing the airtight zipper to be interesting. All of these little details that we take for granted! And it still came down to some old-fashioned elbow grease to get it all put together.

P.S. -- I think the Etsy Blog is now called just that, and not The Storque. Where have I been?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

joie de bois

Holy moly. It was a long, tiring, but fruitful day today, friends. I finally set my little pet project free into the world, via my Etsy shop. I still suck at photography, but I hope that people can see these necklaces for what they are, little gems. And bear with me while I work on improving my pictures (it's gonna take some time). So... what do you think?

I got a rush of ideas after a long, long dry spell, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I've always loved textural play, combining materials, and learning a bit about random crafts. These pendants are kind of a culmination of those ideas, and I really love how they turned out. I've been wearing the prototype for months now, and people ask me about it all the time. It packs a lot of punch for such a tiny package. I feel like there's a lot of room for play with these too, so hopefully I can expand on the designs!

I have some other projects in the pipeline that are mere musings right now, so expect me to be a bit busier as I start working on those. The goal is to produce more, and stop hoarding my handmade. ;) I know the geometric thing is getting to be cliche, but I'm not tired of it yet! So if you like that sort of thing, clap your hands. And for those of you who don't, there's something for you too. I'm so excited!

I made these necklaces shorter because they layer so well this way with an 18" necklace. See what I mean?

Have at it, and spread the love!

Monday, August 1, 2011


I learned something today! I learned that I really SUCK at taking photographs of my MischaLee wares (above is one of the ok shots that I slaved over). Actually, I shouldn't say I just learned that, because I did know that before. But I guess it's been so long since I tried to photograph my stuff that I'd forgotten just how dreadful my skills are. I used to have access to an SLR with a macro lens, which might have helped before just a smidge. My little point-and-shoot Canon isn't as ill-suited to this sort of thing as I expected, but still. I gotta WORK on this.

One reason I'm always slow with my Etsy shop is because of this very issue, and how long it takes to edit photos and post things. I dread doing it, which doesn't do me a lick of good. Because what's the point of making this stuff if nobody can see it or buy it? I'm determined to get over this hump somehow. I believe I'll just have to slog through and hope I get it eventually.

I also redid my banners, tweaked the tags and titles, and made some other little adjustments. I'm kind of changing things to see if it makes any difference with sales, hearts, or views. The shop is still sort of in transition, so it's not completely cohesive yet, picture-wise. This was all very impromptu today, and I'm (happy? frustrated?) to say that I spent several hours fiddling with it.

On a side note, here is a sneak peek at something that is months in the making. I have a bunch of people bugging me about this project, so I'm trying to get on the ball. I'm being very secretive about it because I feel like this is one of my better ideas, and I'm very proud of it. But it's also quite labor intensive. I've been wearing one for a while now and I get compliments all the time (yes, you wear it, imagine that!).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I made a treasury on etsy to showcase some of my favorite picks for home. It's nice to dream sometimes...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I am starting to realize just how much I enjoy the videos posted on The Storque. This one on karakuri is especially beautiful, and simultaneously reaffirms my love for Japanese culture and automatons. How amazing is this craft?? I feel like if the world slowed down and just paid attention to what we were doing (like is necessary for a painstaking process such as this), we could fix some of the crappenings of the 21st century.

Karakuri from Matthew Allard on Vimeo.

P.S. -- Do you like how I coined the term "crappenings" just now?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ra Ra rant

The temperature is 83 degrees, the wind is blowing strongly, and the sun is shining. I was able to wear shorts (!!) and go to Maymont Park to get some vitamin D and exercise. Boy, does it feel great. Weather like this makes me so high. Not to mention breaking out Merriweather Post Pavilion and Saturdays = Youth. For some reason I associate those with beautiful days and weather. It seems a shame to listen to them in the winter or on a rainy day. I will never forget the feeling of walking down the dappled path at the park past rhododendrons listening to Bluish and feeling like everything is magical.

I just read an article in Psychology Today that says women benefit even more (because everyone benefits) from communing with nature. I can get down with that, for sure.

I definitely feel like eating a salad later. I think a lot of people associate the word "salad" with deprivation. It doesn't feel like deprivation to me, it feels like eating the earth. Hmm, I don't know how appealing that sounds either, but in my mind it's good.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

pipe dreams

My bathroom faucet was leaking. Does anybody know where this is going yet? Most sensible people would call the plumber, or the landlord, as it were. Am I sensible? No, I like to do things myself! I like learning!

I had read a tutorial on fixing a leaking faucet in ReadyMade Magazine a year or so ago. I vaguely remembered it when the drip started becoming intolerably loud at night. I have realized over the mere four months that I've lived in this apartment that I am one of the only people in this building who calls the landlord for anything. So I thought I'd just give him a break, and use my rudimentary secondhand knowledge of plumbing to help him out. What a great tenant I am!

I unscrewed some of the parts of the faucet one lazy afternoon to take a look at it. Well, it didn't exactly look like the faucets in the article, but it couldn't be rocket science. I put it back together and went to the hardware store. I talked to one of the associates there, who told me to just replace the whole thing. No thanks! Rubber 0-rings cost next to nothing, and I wasn't about to replace the whole faucet for the landlord. I bought a wrench and went back home.

So a few days later around midnight, because that's the best time to work on your plumbing, I turned the water lines off and began disassembling the faucet again. All the parts were laid out before me, and I crouched down below the sink to fiddle with the plug mechanism. Confusion set in, as I all at once realized a) there was a very loud sound, b) I was freaking cold and c) it was raining inside my bathroom. Anyone who hasn't been drenched in a matter of seconds cannot understand how long it takes to realize what is happening, haha.

I popped up and saw a geyser of frigid water shooting out of the place where the knob had been. I stuck my thumb into the hole to plug it while I frantically scanned the bathroom for the missing piece. I couldn't reach it, so I went back down, getting wetter by the moment, to shut the water line valve all the way off. Apparently, I didn't do a good enough job with that before. The water had bounced off of the CEILING and all over my bathroom, soaking everything in there, including my Tammy Faye Bakker-looking self. After mopping, hanging my clothes up, and draping things over my radiators to dry off, I put my faucet back together. And called my landlord.

Everything dried out overnight, but the crappiest part was my sink was EVEN WORSE after I tried to "fix" it. The maintenance guy came a few days ago, and he was in there for ten minutes and now it's working perfectly. LEAVE IT TO THE PROS. If I keep this up, I'm gonna have to rename my blog DIY Disasters. <3