Monday, January 18, 2010

New Year. New plan....

So many choices, so much to do. Well, it's a new year and I have some big decisions to make. What is my plan for Superchica? Frankly, I'm not 100% sure yet. I do know that I'm going to pare down my stock and focus more on certain items. I've also considered making things less complicated and creating my work from fewer mediums. Not everything has to be ceramic, fiber, paint and wire work all in one!!!! Getting focused is the goal!!!

My newest inspiration comes from the new Mother and Child pendants I've made. You'll see those in the Etsy shop soon. They'll make great gifts and keepsakes. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New stamps and More!

September has already proven to be a crazy busy month and now that I know I'm doing 3 shows this season, there is no time to waste! Each day I try to spend at least 5 hours crafting and brainstorming. So, today I finally sat down to carve a few new stamps to use on bags and cuffs etc. I absolutely love printing a stamp for the first time. Seeing the final image is really satisfying. At least 5 more need to be carved in the next couple of days. More sketching to do....

This week many new headbands have been born and I've been experimenting with new color combos and adding vinyl and felt into the mix. I'm so glad that I finally talked my machine into sewing thicker fabrics without having a fit. Yea! It seems that flowers of all kinds will be a major statement for my Fall collection. They seem positive and hopeful and we all need a bit of that these days.

My clay work has been focused on cutting high fire stoneware, which is great because I don't have to glaze the entire piece. The high fire clays are less porous and so I've been able to use a raw finish. It gives a more organic feel and each piece seems, well, more ceramic. :) My favorite shapes lately have been hearts with designs carved into them and also chunky squares with bold color blocks.

Combining my ceramic art and my fiber art has been a real success so far. It all feels really nice when you wear it.
The creative juices are really flowing lately, so back to the studio!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Project Runway Week 1 & 2

After a very long wait, Project Runway finally returned with a new host channel and a new contest location. I put any skepticism I had aside and simply enjoyed the anticipation as the premiere date came closer and closer. They definitely made the transition easier by giving us a one hour special "Project Runway All Stars". We were able to see something new in the NY setting and see Heidi in her pregnant state, which quite frankly at this point is her "normal" state. The competition was really fun and it was great to see some of our old designing pals, but it was a little more Santino focused than I would have liked. Sorry to say it, but I just think he needs therapy. Even if he was the greatest designer and in my opinion he's not, there is just no reason to be so ridiculously arrogant. Anyway. Long story short, I enjoyed the All Star challenge and in the end was rooting for Chris March. I thought his designs were really wearable and gave a strong nod to 80's fashion without being "costumey". I would totally wear it! Yes, his Red Carpet gown was a little bulky and needed to be pared down, but it was actually kinda cool. Don't get me wrong, I love Daniel, I do. He just didn't have the strongest collection overall. Moving on........

So, season 6 starts and we meet the designers and find out that two of them, Louise and Shirin are from the Dallas area!! Go Dallas! From the cast of 16 designers no one person really stood out to me right away. In the first episode I'm always looking for my Jay. Who's gonna be my Jay? Well, let's face it. Jay is Jay and after season one there was no one to compare. Sigh. Putting that aside I've decided that Epperson is really interesting to me. He hardly ever speaks, but he's got an amazing look and presence. I feel he's holding back, but we'll see what develops over time. Ra'mon is really likable but he nearly blew it with his bowling bag dress this week. Hopefully he pulls himself back from the edge after that one. Louise is of course a girl after my own heart with her love of retro and her Dallas connection, so I want to see her go far. Right now, no one else interests me. I do want to get the home address of Qristyl's parents so I can drive over there and slap them hard for giving her an absurd name. She deserved better.

Week one my top choices were Irina's design and Louise's design. They were both well constructed, wearable and most importantly, flattering.
I like the classic design of both of these dresses. They're not boring but they're not trying too hard either. I can see why Christopher's dress took the prize, but before the deliberation began I thought the judges would be all over him for creating something that they'd seen before. His design seemed too familiar, like I'd seen it shown on a previous episode from another designer. Hmm. I just might research that. Wow. Look at these three dresses. Where's the color? It makes me think of the phrase "tea stained". I think I like it. We did see 2 pops of color in Episode one from Qristyl and Johnny. One was good, one was... well... less than good.

On to Episode 2!!!!!! Now they're really getting the feel for it and I'm expecting great things and beautiful garments and... oh... wait. It's a pregnancy challenge. Boo. Sure, sure I understand that they have to limit the designers and challenge them to create something beautiful in any circumstance, but this really bummed me out. There is something a little creepy about emaciated models with big pregnancy bumps don't you agree? Even so, there was some fun to be had. In episode 2 Christopher has immunity, Ari is gone and so the other 14 designers are left to duke it out. This week we got a heavy dose of Mitchell. He's kind of shaping up to be a bit obnoxious, yes? I thought to myself, do the producers think this is funny? Have they picked a boring cast and realized that these might be the most entertaining moments they'll get? Dunno. His shorts were a scream, really. I would scream if I had to wear them and people would scream AT me if I did. Hmm. More nude and beige and cream... I see a trend here. For the second runway show, here are my thoughts: Althea's Navy blue dress was boring and too long and any woman that was really pregnant would fall out of her top and be arrested in five minutes. Carol Hannah's design was cool and I liked the little jacket, but in the end I thought she accentuated the belly way to much with that strap that went underneath. Christopher's design was really pretty and I loved the raspberry color of the top. It's practical, wearable and fashionable. Okay. Epperson's design came down the runway and when she opened the jacket I said out loud "Oh, no he didn't!" Only Foxy Brown could pull that off! Gordana was playing it safe with her design, but I liked it. Very chic and urban. Irina's design screamed baby shower and I don't get the little "corsage" running across the top of the belly. Johnny's design was really nice but not interesting. Logan's pants were pretty basic but the top he made was great. The construction was so smart and it fit the criteria of being form fitting without accentuating the bad things about carrying around a giant belly. Good for him. Louise's design was sweet and very feminine. I don't know that I would want to wear something shiny when pregnant, but I liked it anyway. Malvin. Oh, Malvin. Nuff said. Nicolas was just boring and the skirt was too short for a decent woman to wear. Qristyl 's dress was really chic and was the perfect outfit to wear to a gallery opening. Ra'mon. I see what he was trying to do, but oh my goodness. It was the worst outfit of the night in my opinion. Worse that Malvin's! Now if they had challenged the designer to made something out of luggage, well then no one could blame him for coming up with this dress, but they went to Mood and had their choice of fabrics! Oh dear. P.S. - What is going on in the boob area? The good thing for Ra'mon is that it can't get worse. He hit rock bottom with that dress and things can only get better. Shirin's outfit was my favorite and I'm glad the judges agreed. Pregnant or not this outfit was tres chic! I just loved the charcoal grey coat. The collar was so stylish and the way it hung on the body was really flattering. The dress itself looked expensive and well made. Kudos to Shirin for taking the time to add hand sewn details. Very nice. What? She added a lining to that coat? Oh yes, she did. I think Shirin is going to prove to be a contender when it comes to sewing. When I look at that outfit, as a consumer I think "Good Investment". It would be worth paying a little more to have two classic pieces like these in my wardrobe. Sans the extra poof in the front, of course.

So, what's next? I hope we'll see some real personalities emerge from the group. The previews for next week hinted at some tension between designers, so we just might see some fireworks. I don't really watch for the drama though. I want to see how the minds of talented people work and how a sketch turns into a finished design. Each episode is inspiring, but I think for this season it might be less entertaining. It's too early to say for sure. My beloved Project Runway is back and I intend to love it for better or worse. Here's the cast of season 6. Click on the link to the official PR site and see photos of all the designs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I'm having a bit of fun with my newest little gadget. A dear friend of mine received a Cricut Expression for her birthday and because she's so incredibly awesome, she decided to give me her old one. It's really in mint condition and feels new to me.

Today was the first day I started playing with it and I'm surprised at how fun it really is. Watching the little blade cut the paper is kind cool and then seeing how sharp and precise the cuts are is impressive. If would have taken me a hour to do it by hand.

I did a sample cut using the basic cartridge and here's what I got.....

How cool is that? I'm not into scrapbooking at all, but this little Cricut will be useful to me when I make signs and displays for my craft booth. There is a cartridge that I'd like to buy called Tags, Bags, Boxes and More. It cuts tags in every size and will cut a box that you can put together yourself. So great! When a little extra money comes my way I plan to buy that and also a few other accessories. Unfortunately the coupons that all of the major craft stores offer specifically exclude Cricut products. Boo. So I'm keeping my eyes open for a sale. :)

Stay tuned for more Cricut adventures!
Oh and check out all of the new items in my Etsy shop!!!

PS: I made it into two treasuries this week. :-) yeah!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Labels and Displays

For the most part I make my own displays. The Superchica display system has been built by using a combination of recycled items and wood scraps. Ha. Yes. It sounds pretty crafty doesn't it? When I say Handmade I guess I really, really mean it. Thankfully, the local thrift stores and various estate sales have helped me find good foundational pieces over the years. My display storage area is full. My husband even said to me last week "You've got to get rid of some of these displays!". He says that because along with the good displays, I've kept the bad. The ones that just didn't look quite right and the ones that fell apart at first use.

Today I'm conjuring up a display for headbands. I just can't seem to find something I like, so I'm going to make standing head silhouettes. Here's an idea of what I'm working on....

The plan is to cut them out of foam board and then cover them with a groovy fabric or maybe decoupage them. Not sure yet. The key will be making a sturdy base for them to sit on that won't easily fall over. I'll let you know how it works out. Your ideas are welcomed.

Also in the plan today is attaching price tags to my newest items. This time around I've kept it simple. These were easy to design and I like that they clearly show my logo. So, I'm off to start tying little strings to each tag. :)
Show season is really coming fast!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Inside My Studio.

Well hey there! Tonight it seemed like a great idea to make a short video for you, so that you could tour my work space. I make this little studio work hard for me and use every square inch to store my supplies and work. Welcome to Superchica HQ :)

Take a look.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting by.

The economy these days is tough. I'm sure you know that. Everyone is making changes to their budget and tightening their belts. Yes, that's very true and it means different things to different people. So how do you live and spend less? Various conversations I've had and stories I've heard give me the impression that many people don't really know how to live frugally. I'm often surprised to find out how many people actually run out and buy the latest gadgets the day they hit the market and how many people buy and wear designer clothing. I think to myself "Who buys that stuff?". Apparently, lots of people do, even in these tough times. Go figure. Well, not me. I did go through a designer phase when I was 20 yrs old, but managed to rack up a wee bit of debt because of it. Believe me. The debt outlasted the clothes and it wasn't worth it.

How do I live now? Cheaply! My husband and I are usually shocked when we find out how much money other people earn and live on each year. Nearly all of the time they earn twice what we do, and often times much more. It sounds wonderful for them and so it shocks us even more when they too complain about the economy and tell us how they're struggling. That's when I think to myself "Try living on our salary.", which could be more gracious, I know. So how do we do it? Here's what we do to get by on very little.....

Groceries: We shop at WalMart for the basics. Yes, I am concerned about the ethical practices of WalMart, and I would love to show it by not shopping there. Some days I feel guilty for giving them my money, but the truth is they really do have the lowest prices and we are able to get what we need within our budget. We do buy our fish, some produce and lunch meats from Central market, which is a $40 trip for us and I try to budget it every month.

Necessities: The 99cent store is a good resource. I buy office supplies, hair gadgets, plastic storage, batteries and some toiletries there. It's a huge money saver. $10 or less will cover me for my monthly trip.

Pet Food: I scan the web for coupons and usually find one for either Petsmart or for the food we buy. It's Avoderm by Breeders choice and lately they've been offering a $5 off printable coupon that really helps.

Gas: We drive older import cars that we own. My car gets about 27 mpg and it's nearly 15 years old. My husbands truck gets about the same. Getting less that 25 mpg is a real shame and I don't really know why anyone would be willing to settle for a car than guzzles gas and lightens your wallet.

Utilities: We're all pretty much paying the same rates. Having a digital, programmable thermostat has helped us quite a bit. I recommend it. We only water our lawn 3 times a week and sometimes less. Then we pray for rain. :)

Phone: We have the most basic cell phone plan. Together we have 700 shared minutes a month and have never even come close to using it all. The internet plan for our cell phones was just too expensive, so we aren't doing that. I know it seems like a bummer, but if we're honest with ourselves it's a luxury and not a necessity.

Clothing: Kent hardly ever buys anything for himself, but when he does it's basic shorts or jeans for under $30. I buy more clothing but mostly from thrift stores. I rarely pay for than $5 for an item. Every once in a while we buy new, but only if it's on sale or we have coupons and a special occasion requires it.

Thing we wish we could do but don't so that we can save money:
Haircuts I get one haircut a year, maybe two. Ogle School of Hair and Design and TIGI Hairdressing School are great options. Less than $10 gets you a wash, cut and blow dry.
Manicures/Pedicures Nope. Not in the budget. It would be nice, but a bottle of clear polish will have to do for now.
Movies We see maybe 3 movies a year. Tickets for two are pricey and if we add popcorn or a drink we've spent half of our grocery budget in one day.
Vacations It's rare. :( We will take a 5 day vacation every 2 or 3 years and it has to be somewhere we can drive to. Road trips are actually still affordable. I search endlessly for the best hotel deals and we eat on the cheap.
Concerts This one is a bummer. We see maybe one concert every 2 years. Grrr. Not because there aren't great musicians coming to town, but because concert tickets for 2 plus all the "convenience" fees adds up to outrageous. Boo.
Have Health Insurance It would be really helpful. Let's hope Obama can make this happen for us.

Our weakness... We spend most of our expendable income on restaurants. It's the one thing we allow ourselves to splurge on. Of course when I say splurge, I mean $20 or less for the two of us to eat.

My basic tips are:

*Buy used clothing, cars and furniture.
*Drive a car that gets good gas mileage and needs few repairs.
*Don't get the most expensive phone plan and limit your use.
*Invest in a digital thermostat and set it at 74 during the summer months.
*Get a Brita water pitcher instead of buying bottled water.
*Search the web for coupons any time you shop. Try visiting or Google "Printable Coupons" and add the category you're looking for.
*Know what the lowest prices really are for your groceries and toiletries. Prices at Albertson's are usually 30% higher than WalMart and Kroger is about 20% higher.
*Visit your neighborhood Dollar Tree or 99cent store.

Please share your budge tips too! I am always happy to learn new ways to save money and live on less.