The New Wood Shop and California.

 

Cambria California.
Cambria California.

We just came back from a whirlwind trip to central, coastal California to pick up an entire wood working shop generously donated by my father (who decided to find new and less detail oriented hobbies).

What a trip! We drove down there (8oo miles) in two days from the Portland, Oregon area. After spending 4 days being stuffed with rich food and soaking up as much sun as possible, we drove back to La Pine in central Oregon in one day; 16 hours….whew.

The shop took an entire day to disassemble and pack and only about 2 hours to unpack and inspect.

It is not all reassembled or set up yet, of course. My husband already HAS a wood shop, so it will be a long process to decide what goes and what stays, but I am sure that in the next year or so, there will be lots of good things coming out of all this.

While I was in California, I took advantage for the rock shops and coastal shore lines and brought back a large number of new goodies.

You should expect to see a lot more in my shops these coming months as well.

Montana del Oro

 

My New Website

It has been a while, I have missed you……

I started this blog back in October, hoping to revamp my Etsy store and spend some time chatting about it, and life in general. Well, I have given up on Etsy now. On top of the already discussed issues of allowing mass producers of crafts to sell on the site, now they are letting mass producers of supplies….I have been choked out and I quit.

My new site is all mine. I can sell what I want, how I want. If you would like to visit me it is GilliancBruce.com. I will blog there about my creations as well and use this site to talk more about life and my restoration work at my house in Central Oregon.

I have not been doing any work on the house in La Pine as of late. We have mapped out where my studio will go and have spent a lot of these rainy looking for old wood stoves and firewood trucks.

Once the Aspen leaves start sprouting, I intend to use them as molds for my silver metal clay. I can’t wait!!!! In the mean time, I am slowly packing up our house here in Beaverton, getting rid of a lot and trying not to get lost in memories.Image

Baby it’s Cold Out There!

aaaa

This morning in La Pine it was -26 degrees F. That’s -32 degree Celsius to my Canadian friends.

Winter is definitely upon us! That is my husband’s chapped hand in the photo. He went to our La Pine house this weekend to pick up a garage heater he purchased during a Black Friday sale at the local hardware store. No sense in trying to heat the garage in La Pine! I think the heater would run out of fuel before it make a dent in the cold.

Here in Beaverton it is a frigid 10 degrees F. That’s -12 degrees Celsius to my European friends.

The garage heater was purchased at my urging. My husband is a very talented woodworker who has lost his muse and as a result, filled his garage (workshop) with piles and piles of useless crap. My goal for 2014 is to get him back out there and making “stuff”. But first we need to purge a bit and that requires a heater. He must be eager to get started, because he drove 4 hours in icy conditions to a house that took 12 hours to heat up just to get the heater….and perhaps a little bit of “alone” time.

We realized right after her left, that in the 7+ years we have been together, we have only been separated twice; once for a hunting trip (him) and once to strip paint at the new house (me). That might explain why we drive each other nuts! Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

To anyone reading this, please stay warm, stay enlightened and don’t forget to take your vitamins.

I have a feeling it is going to be a long, cold winter for most of us.

When moving day finally came, it was the end of August. We had our offer approved at the beginning of February and as I stated earlier, the whole process what a NIGHTMARE. By the time we actually took posession of the house, I had convinced myself that it was never going to happen. It still took several month before I could relax enough to actual ENJOY being there and to this day, I still have a tiny voice in the back of my head that thinks that the bank will come and take it away from us at any moment.

It needed A LOT of work, but that was one of the things we loved most about it. We could really begin working on making it OURS.Image

Living room in VERY cheerful yellow!

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Front, Upstairs Master Bedroom with Low Ceilings.

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Back Upstairs Bedroom with Moon.

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Cast iron bathtub that was covered in peeling paint and rust stains

You get the picture, no room was without it’s own special character, but oh what fun we are having with it!

 

The Thing About Custom Orders…..

One of my oldest an dearest friends is also my best customer on ETSY. Every year about this time, she orders several things from my shop and, occasionally, she has me custom make something for her.

This year she asked me to make something for one of her friends. They live in New York, where I grew up and in truth, I have not actually seen her in over 30 years.

When I asked her what kind of hat, she showed me a photo of a regular knit cap. Whan I asked her what color, she said brown….soft….mixed browns maybe….that was it.

So, in my usual, compulsive, perfectionist way, this is what I have so far…….so far…….

IMG_1961-001IMG_1960IMG_1959IMG_1958

 

I am not sure if it is a driving need to make sure the customer always gets what they want, or a nagging dissatisfaction with almost everything I make.

I honestly have never had a single complaint about anything I have made and all of my custom orders have been received with more praise than I expected.

I know she will be happy with whatever I make, I just want it to be better than whatever she is imagining, and I can’t begin to guess what that is!

So this, along with year-end books, my REAL job, Christmas chaos and a really bad head cold have summed up my December so far…..

Now, back to the crochet!

Welcome to My ETSY World

IMG_1449Vintage bead necklace

As you may have surmised from my blog, I have an ETSY shop.

ETSY is an on-line crafter’s web site that allows each seller to maintain their own internet store. Until recently, only handmade, vintage and supplies were allowed as shop wares. Now ETSY also allows designers to create their own product and  have the actual items manufactured by a second party. Some folks are happy about the change, others are not, but that’s the basic gist of what ETSY is, if you are unfamiliar with the site.

When I first signed up, I could not remember the name. I wanted to call is ESTY, because that followed the basic rules of the English language. It was easy to upload pictures and follow the instructions for descriptions and price. I think the hardest part of posting is trying to come up with a list of 13 “tag words” that could easily be picked up by a search engine as a customer is combing the web for your product. Most Etsians (that’s what we call ourselves) would agree, I think. There are whole tutorials about picking the correct words and something called SEO, which I later learned was short for “search engine optimization”. Everyone likes to feel a bit smarter by making their new fangled computer lingo into an acronym.

IMG_5402-0013 colored crocheted baby blanket

So, I started with ETSY about 2 years ago. I was THRILLED to find a place that seems designed to help someone like me (a closet artist who likes to make nice things) find a venue to sell their creations. I had read some really great success stories and thought that I coud at least make a bit of side money while I was a stay at home mom. Let me be clear here. I call myself a “closet artist” because in a real sense, I am just an artist who has not managed to come out and express that to the world yet. I have a degree in fine art and have been creating in one sense or another my entire life. I always told myself, when I was younger, that I would NEVER cave in to becoming a “crafter”. To me “crafting” was not ART! Boy, was I wrong!

Through ETSY,  I have seen some absolutely AMAZING creations. The ability to share ideas and the products that came from them is really the soul of the site. There are forums and teams that supply you with endless insight and support. Etsians create treasuries, which are a collection of 16 items with a similar theme and then post them for the rest of the world to see. It is a clear and continuous way to help support fellow artisans by showing off what their peers find to be interesting or pleasing to the eye. I particularly like making treasuries of the oddities that some folks post, like sculptures made out of dust bunnies or giant octopus tentacles that you can hang on your wall like a hunting trophy.

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ETSY was my new “home” and in the beginning, I spent hours pouring over what others have made and how. Then I started adding my own creations to the mix and found that what seemed like an easy solution to my need to make some petty cash, was not as easy as I had thought it would be….