Sunday, September 20, 2009

Update on consignment issue

I've been finally contacted by the owner of the shop I sent my shoes to. It seems she left the return of the consignors merchandise to another, who may or may not have been thorough in returning said merchandise.

Without going into detailed personal information, she apologized for the inconvenience, and said the box had never been delivered, and is probably sitting at her post office, since their mailbox does not accommodate large packages, and they never got a delivery notice. I told her it's on her to go to her P.O. and find my shoes. I will also call and ask why they have not been returned. I'll not accept either one putting the issue off on the other. But for now, I am placing my happy thoughts on the matter until I can resolve it.

The store is closed, and many of the other consignors have gotten their merchandise back. Great, lol.

The lessons here are plenty. Many are mine to learn. But store owners, hear me now. COMMUNICATE with your vendors. Do not ignore your responsibilities because you're in a mess personally. We can sympathize, and understand personal trouble. What we cannot abide by is ignoring us because someone else was supposed to handle it. It's your store, your responsibility.

I'll update as I find out where the heck my shoes are.

Is This What You Get for Trusting?

I am so disgusted. I am so hurt. And now I'm getting mightily angry.

Back in August I was contacted by a Lisa Belcher from SeaGreen Treasures in Myrtle Beach. She asked me if I wanted to consign in her recycled gift shop. I googled her, saw her biz page as a real estate agent in Myrtle Beach, saw her lovely website, and had a lovely phone conversation with her. I loved her business model and the fact that she gave art classes, even free ones to kids who brought in recycled materials to use in class. Heck, she even posted pics of my shoes on her front page!

I worked all week on a shipment of shoes and boots to sell in her shop.

I emailed and convoed her on etsy to tell her the shoes were coming, bla bla bla. Heard nothing back, but stupidly, since I was enamored with this lovely business concept, I sent the shoes. This was on August 26. After I returned from the post office, I got this convo. Mind you, I called her 4 times that week, and she even called my house once, and did not leave a message:

by kiwibeach
profile shop contact
I've had some significant personal issues arise and am going to focus on my off-site recycled art classes (my original passion) vs. the retail store. Therefore, I will be returning all consignment merchandise to their respective designers through this week. Please do not send us any additional shipments.I apologize for any inconvenience and/or hardship this imposes and I regret that my I will unable to successfully carry out my business plan. Thanks in advance for your understanding!26 August 2009 3:31pm EDT

ALL she had to do was write "return to sender" on the box and drop it at the P.O.

Ok, so I can understand people have a crisis, and their plans change. But NO contact since, and no merchandise returned. I have contacted a few of the other sellers on her site, and am hearing similar stories, no contact, and no merch returned. If there was a sincere emergency, or crisis, should she not have had someone communicate with us?

I am out 10 pairs of shoes and boots. I am trying to trust in the better nature of my fellow humans.

My box was delivered on August 29th. It is now September 20th. It took 3 days for my merch to get there. I believe my next move is the Myrtle Beach Police, the state attorney general, and perhaps the real estate organization she is associated with. If anyone has personal experience with this woman, I'd love an email. I hate to call her out, but she is leaving me no choice.

Anyone in the Myrtle Beach area want to pay her a visit and get my shoes back? lol! I'll give you a free pair of boogie shoes!

And to Lisa Belcher of Seagreen Treasures...whatever your problems are, this is so wrong. I will inform Etsy of your practices. You need to communicate with your vendors, NOW. I truly hope you are not ill, nor experiencing some horrific trauma. But barring that, GIVE ME MY SHOES BACK. It's called stealing.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Recycled Leather Mask Tutorial

I bought this funky mask, made from some synthetic leathery product, about 20 years ago. I've used it as a mad cow ("moo, dammit") with white tee & pants with spots tacked on, or with street clothes on lazy Halloweens when I had to have something. It occurred to me, since it's trashed, to make another, and that there are limitless possibilities of design here. So I've recreated it. You can use any design you can google, get inspiration from, or come up with on your own. You are free to copy mine, just not for sale, of course.

Please let me know if these instructions are confusing, this is my first tutorial!

I'd say this is an intermediate job, leather sewing experience helps because of it's stretchiness, or heck, even use a mini glue gun for the smallest beads possible. I worked on this over 2 days. Read through all instructions first! This is a grown up mask, but for a kid you can trace a kid's size plastic mask!

**I highly recommend a teflon presser foot when sewing leather, which STICKS to metal ones. If you have paper tape that may help by taping the bottom of your metal presser foot. TEST it first. Also, a size 11 or 14 machine needle is fine for garment weight leather, a leather needle makes too large a hole, leather does not forgive holes, it's best to sew once, twice if you can hit the same holes the second time. I've developed a knack for being able to use the same holes.

All seams are exposed., except where the snout meets the face. It's stuffed slightly to give it stiffness. I used llama roving, you can use cotton balls, synthetic batting, geez, even scrap rag strips. Whatever you can stuff inside, you won't be machine washing it if you use leather.

Which brings me to materials. I used scraps of garment weight leather from skirts, jackets. I imagine even fabric would be fine, it's a mask, not a ball gown (you can pre-seam the edges to prevent fraying). The original mask used felt as horns, ear trim and whiskers. Some ideas...moleskin, vinyl, mix and match. Faux suede, denim, even recycled plastic wrappers, think outside the box! Anything you can sew or glue. Make a trash mask!

Here's my old mask, has seen better days.

You will need: face color; horn, ear trim, nostril and whisker color; eye band color. I used cream, red and black leather. If you are picky like me, have the matching thread on hand. 14" elastic will hold the mask on your face...

I roughly sketched the outside shape of the face and snout. (You can make a pattern by measuring your face from ear to ear, then close to the top of your forehead down to about the bottom of your mouth.) Then I cut the face and snout separately. I retraced the snout and made a mark at the point where the face and snout meet on each side. I added an additional width of about 1/4" on the top half of the snout on the sides (not on the top of the snout) above those marks (you'll see a point where the pattern juts out at the top half, this will be the point where you sew one snout piece to the top half of each face piece.

I drew & cut two vertical 1/4" V's for darts at the top, to give the snout some "pop-out" dimension. See picture below. You can see where the top half of the snout is wider than the space it fits in.

I then traced the horns and ears, adding an additional 1/4" at the ends where they meet the face, so you can tuck them into the two face pieces (you will cut 2 of all pieces, 4 for the ears and snout).

Don't forget **trace the 2 "whiskers" and the additional trim pieces at the bottom 1/3rd of the ears for the second ear color**.

Out of the first color, cut 2 face pieces (flip to draw the second one on these, trust me, both sides are rarely the same). Don't cut the eye holes out yet!!

2 snout pieces (flip as well)

4 ear pieces (draw 2, flip, draw 2)

Out of the second color, cut 4 horns; draw 2, flip draw 2. I used the original mask to guide in freehand drawing them, on the back of the leather, you can make your mistakes drawing before you cut. Be careful when you draw on the whiskers, the back will show. Cut inside the line.

Cut 2 whiskers, (draw, flip, draw).

Cut 2 trim pieces for the ears (draw, flip, draw).

Cut two nostrils, I free hand drew them on the leather.

I traced the eye holes from the original mask, made the holes slightly bigger, or for your purposes, measure your face from outside one eye to the outside of the other. Then I freehand drew the rest. This will be a trial and error, you could use your sunglasses laid over the ovals you draw to make sure the holes will fit your eyes. Once you cut this pattern part you can lay it over your eyes to fit. Better to screw it up on paper first, so don't hesitate to do it twice. I redesigned the flairs slightly, this is the creative part.

I always have a hard time drawing on black leather, I used a white colored pencil, you can use a fabric pencil, gel pen, whatever you find makes a sharp line.

Cutting this ended up being easiest with embroidery scissors, the knife made it drag.

Remember, it's your mask, leather in out leather out, make it your own!

Here's all the pieces cut and laid out how they will look. I actually sewed the whiskers suede side out, because they droop and flip over, so on the finished mask the leather shows.

I sewed the eye piece on first. I ALWAYS glue stick or spray mount (LIGHTLY) the leather on leather when I sew it, it's slippy and you can't pin it. I keep a medium-large box handy for spraying in. 1/16" seam allowance is fine on leather or non fraying material.

Sew the nostrils on one piece of the snout. It's upside down in the pic, so look before you sew! the wide part of the nostril is on top. Fold the leather at the darts you cut, right sides in. Seam close, 1/16th" is fine for leather or any non fraying material.
Sew two horn pieces to two back pieces, seams out, right sides out.

Sew a TRIM to each front of TWO ear pieces, then sew a front ear piece to each back piece, right sides out.

Stuff the horns and ears lightly and tack them shut with a long stitch.

Now it gets a bit tricky. I stopped and took the night off lol.

Line up the front snout piece (with the nostrils) right sides together, at the bottom of the face and the point where you made the snout wider. Leather is both hard because it is slippy, so go slow, and easy because you can stretch and manipulate it as it goes through.

I actually started about 1/2" above the point where the two pieces meet. This is so I can put the whiskers in later without wrestling the pieces to the ground in a WWF style smack down. About where the tip of my finger is in the pic above. Sew slowwwwwly around the snout, you have to constantly readjust by lifting the presser foot and turning slightly. Have faith, it'll be round when you're done.

Now, slide a whisker in one side, with right sides of whisker and snout together like the pic above. I cheated and put a TEENY line of superglue at the very end of the whiskers, held in place and let it dry on each side. Finish the seams of the snout. When you sew leather or vinyl, you can stretch one side to make it line up. If you have an overlap at the end, fudge it, really, it's a mask and it won't show, mine didn't line up perfectly when it was done, I ended up trimming the mask where it met the snout. *shrugs*

Now do the other side of the snout, and then repeat for the back face and snout piece. You won't have to worry about the whiskers so go from end to end, looking forward constantly to make sure the other end will line up.

Ok, here's where you get to put the front to the back.

Mark the point where you want the ears to go (mark top and bottom of the ear) on the very edge of the back face piece so your ears will be even (keep referring to the pic for position). I am pretty advanced, so I don't use points of reference like on patterns, but always keep my eyes forward to see if I'm going to line up later.

NOW is the time to cut your elastic, wrap a piece around the back of your head to the front of your ears, stretch some, and cut. You will slide one end behind each ear piece as you sew the pieces together, about halfway down the height of the ear. Or you can superglue the elastic to the BACK face piece about 1/4" in, on the first side, right in (I did this).

Start at the corner where the snout meets the face. DON'T sew the bottom half of the snout shut yet. When you get near your ear mark slide one ear in about 1/4". You CAN cheat and superglue the ears onto the front of the mask. You can do this with the horns too! I did.

When you get to the other ear, you can slide the other end of the elastic behind that ear (about halfway down the ear as well).

Stuff a piece of roving up top above the eyes after you get around the top to make stuffing easier later.

Sew around the eye holes after you sew the top half, before you stuff the rest of the face.

Once you've sewn from snout to snout, you can stuff the rest of the mask, not too much. I put very little between the eyes. Sew it shut!

NOW cut the eye holes. Make a starter hole with a knife or rotary cutter. Then carefully trim around using the eye piece as a guide.

This pic shows both masks, As you can see, my method is kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. For an experienced seamstress, not an unusual method. Had I had more time and knowledge of PDF I would have provided a pattern, my apologies!

If any of my instructions are unclear PLEASE email me at and I'll be happy to walk you through it. This is my first real tutorial so I hope it's clear and well layed out. Thanks for reading, would love to see any that are done!

Have a ball!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Big Day

I know, I know. A zillion moms have sent their kids off to their first day of school, new lunch box in hand, big boys and girls off and away from home for the first time. In first grade or kindergarten. It's just weird when the kid having their first day is 15. or 12, or 10, or 7. Since I've never done that scene, I get to do it now times 4. I told the high school teacher I felt like a big dork because I'm almost teary watching a kid who looks like a grown up sitting at his work table and I'm jealous because she gets to spend the day with him and I don't.

I remember when a (former) friend, who was sending her 5 year old off to kindergarten, was all weepy and told me so in an email. I wrote back that I felt for her, but I was keeping mine home so I could enjoy the time with him and educate him myself. She wrote back asking me why I was so "disenfranchised" with the idea of institutional schooling. Well, stupid me took the obvious bait and sent the laundry list of reasons why I was going to homeschool.

Bad idea. I got back a scathing condemnation of why secluding my kids was bad for them (if she only knew how full our social calendar was!). She said I should go live in a commune, that I thought I was smarter than teachers and everyone else on the planet (well, ya, lol! KIDDING) After my indignation passed, I laughed and realized that nothing I could say to her would make her understand the joy of seeing your child develop his or her intellect with your guidance and care.

Eleven years later, I am still so happy to have had the privilege of sharing my children's education. And am still blessed to continue this with my youngest two. This year will be a challenge for all of us on different levels, and whether they decide to stay in their little school or come home is completely up to them. It's the joy of freedom in education that homeschoolers defend so vehemently.

On a lighter note, my lovely 12 year old decided to make little apple pies for her and her siblings for their lunch. They rocked! She has spent many an hour in the kitchen experimenting with food and learning SO much from it. I imagine this is something she will miss, so I will encourage her to continue it in her free time, since this school does not send homework home. Yay!

Monday, September 7, 2009


I was just shown this site by a lovely Etsy person and I went in and got lost! There are very cool art activities my kids went crazy playing with. Here's the first "level" I played around with, it's block printing. but the comic maker is a MUST!

From there, you click on the bottom of the page, it says "if you like this activity click here"... then you get a huge page full of incredible virtual art activities kids (and you!) can play around with. It's the "activity zone" You can even create your own Roy Lichtenstein painting, create and send a card to someone, I love this!

From her (Mari, the woman who sent me this link) blog... "I wandered over to this fun British non-profit called ArtisanCam which has an extensive array of online activities - including making a Kew Gardens poster. You can try your hand at designing jewelry, creating a comic, screenprinting an image, sewing a duvet cover, etc. etc.! All of them are online applications that are lots of creative fun for kids (and designers like me, I got stuck for some time actually). Only drawback is you can't always print your results. But there are online "galleries" to visit instead!"

Visit her AWESOME blog, she's a designer; toys, patterns, illustrations and more! plus her website, which is a gallery of her incredible design work, is a must see!

Such a talent, truly inspiring! Go play around on ArtisanCam, withuot without the kids! And don't forget to visit SmallForBig!