Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Daddy Didn't Raise No Fool. Using the Right Tool.

I cut glass. I cut a lot of glass. It's gorgeous glass and I'm always cutting it and firing it in my little kiln. I've got this glass cutting and firing thing down as a routine. Especially now that I've purchased The Right Tool for the Job. That's right, the Mercedes of the glass breaking industry with a name I can't even begin to pronounce. A bit of that fine German engineering right here in my studio.

I'm thrilled. Over the moon jubilant at the ease of use and minimal force used to break even the tiniest of strips with this fabulous Lieber Scnitzel (or something like that) glass cutter. I don't have to speak the language to understand and master the tool. Well, master, not exactly, but looking at the beautiful clean break in the glass pictured above, a nice thick piece of glass, you can say it makes a master out of me.

This sort of trumps my brand new phone line that's now hooked up in my studio. Yeah, that's right, I have my own phone line in here. That's another Right Tool for the Job. No more crackling sounds, breaking up, lost connections out here. No more standing out in the parking lot to get better reception. I now have phone access at my computer in my studio.


According to Mr. Howes, all this studio is lacking is a bunk and a pillow. I'm sure he's joking since I don't have indoor plumbing in here yet :o)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Angus Gets A Sweater, or Three. And Knitting is Magic.

I know what you all are thinking, I'm one of those girly-girls who has a tiny little ankle-biter so she can dress it up in cute little frou-frou pet clothing. Well, that's only partly true. Angus is a toy Rat Terrier (a.k.a. Rat Terror) who needs a sweater. He's only hairy on one side and the other side, his underside, needs a sweater in the cooler months. According to Mr. Howes, Angus needs booties and "ear mutts", too, but he'd chew the booties off and I don't know anyone who makes ear muffs for dogs.

I spent a couple of weeks checking out various shops on Etsy. Yes, Walmart carries reasonably priced sweaters for small dogs and I did buy one for Angus in moss green, but I can't help thinking how armadillo-ish it makes him appear. Not cute. But my search on Etsy for the perfect handmade knit sweater was successful and Angus now has 3 beautiful sweaters.

The first sweater he received was this cute skull and crossbones grey and cream acrylic hand knit sweater from Knick Knack Pack on Etsy. It was a pleasure to do business with Lex of Knick Knack Pack. I even got to choose the colors from her broad selection of yarns, and she whipped it up in no time. Knitting is like magic to me, I have no idea how a pattern can be knit into a sweater. I don't think they knit with needles, I think those are magic wands and when no one is looking they wave them and the sweater magically appears from thin air. To me that's more plausible. Really. How did she get that skull and crossbones in the sweater? I'm telling you, it's magic.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I Survived A Studio Makeover.

It's been a very long October here at Annie Howes Keepsakes. Long hours, and missing X-acto blades, lost business card boxes, and many apologies for delayed shipments. The good news is October is over and the studio renovation is complete!

Well, almost. A few minor cosmetic features like the rest of the ceiling tiles, the framing for the windows and one door, and a bookshelf are all that remain.

Mr. Howes took a week off work and went to work on my renovated studio space the very weekend of my last craft fair. This turned my shipping and productivity upside down, but I wasn't complaining. We both knew with the growth of the company, this huge undertaking needed to take place immediately.

The garage is on the left, the studio on the right in the above photo.

The former studio space was about 110 sq ft of carpeted climate controlled space with more outlets on the walls than should be allowed by code. Inside that tiny space I created soldered art charms, handmade accordion books, Scrabble tile pendants, glass tile pendants, and that's where the concept of the pendant craft kit was born. Shipping and packing took place in there, too, until July when I began using the folding tables from my craft fair booth in the main part of the garage as my shipping station.

This is my packing/shipping station while construction was taking place.

Hey, at least I could see when UPS drove up!

The burgeoning studio needed expansion so Mr. Howes knocked out a wall and went to the serious business of constructing a space that would accommodate all aspects of the business, office!

Now when I leave the studio to address something online I don't have to walk through the "black hole", you know, that place where you forget where you were going and why!

To all my customers who experienced delayed shipping due to renovation, here's the unexpected chaos that has transformed into a streamlined efficient space. At over 350 sq ft, I may still have room to grow!