I'm preparing to become a real business by widening my social networking web... as such, I've finally given in to the will of the internets and made a Pinterest account.  And if I'm going that far, it only seems reasonable to verify my website on my Pinterest profile... which appears to be uploading a file to the website somewhere?  I suppose the blog is as good a place as any for that.  Let's see if this works...

EDIT: Nope, that didn't work, let's see if I can do it some other way...

EDIT 2: Well, adding a meta tag to the front page descripton didn't do it, either, and now I'm out of verification attempts for the day.  There go those 20 minutes...

Okay, so I have a very loose definition of "a couple days."  I'm still trying to decide on an external blog host, because the amount of web-design-fu Portfoliobox needs to make a pretty, organized blog takes more time than I should be spending on such things, but until then, I give you the promised list of current and recently finished projects:

  • Epic Mystery Coat (custom commissioned piece)
  • Atomic Riding Coat (personal project)
  • My line of gambesons/arming coats (multiple, both personal and commission)
  • Edwardian Light Strike shield & gun (personal prop/craft paint project)
  • Victorian undergarments (long-running personal project, finally finished)
  • LARP arrow quiver (personal crafts/prop project)

There are some other small projects floating around, as well, but those are the big ones.  Pictures & details later!

Hello, all!

I know, I promised to post about about the projects I've been working on, and this is not them, but there have been Reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that, because I find the internal blog client for Portfoliobox to be a little clunky still, I've been seriously contemplating switching over to an external client - either Tumblr for shareability (and some folks I used to follow at my personal blog have switched to Tumblr, so that's a factor, too), or Blogger for the relative legitimacy associated with the site - and migrating posts is a pain, so I've been a little hesitant to post a lot.  (Note: this is my second attempt at writing this post, because the website ate the first one, so the temptation to go external has become even greater.  Also, there doesn't appear to be any sort of spellcheck here, so forgive me if any typos creep through.)

The other Reason is that I've been busy!  With dealines, even!  Which, if I do things right, is a problem I'll never truly be free of, and I just need to learn to deal with.  This thing where blogging is kinda-sorta part of my job now is a bit of a curveball to throw at my already taxed time-management skills, but I'm not about to complain.

That brings me to the Big News:  Last week, I was trying to figure out how to estimate & quantify my income from garb commissions for my ACA insurance application, and after a great deal of time poking around on the internet, I decided Facebook might have better answer.  Somehow, this turned into a quick how-to lesson from a couple of my business-owning friends on how to start and run a business out of your house.  So, sometime at the beginning of 2014, I intend to file for sole proprietorship, get a state sales tax number, and make Unpronounceable Designs an official business, rather than just an occasionally lucrative hobby to bide my time before I get into theatre.

That's right, I'm going legit.  This will necessitate some changes to the website to reflect more of my commission work.  The theatre stuff is staying up, if for no better reason than the stage gives me warm fuzzies and I do still hope to work there again someday, it just needs some restructuring so the site appears to give equal time to my offstage work.  No hurry on these changes yet, though, because I still don't have many good pictures of my commissioned work (I may have to arrange some sort of photo shoot eventually), and also because my business cards only have my email address on them, not the website.

Oh, yeah... I have business cards now.  See, this past weekend, fresh off of my decision to become a real business, I attended TeslaCon, where I found - among the many very, very awesome vendors there - the lovely ladies at Raky Press, with their beautiful antique treadle-operated flywheel printing press, making Victorian-style calling cards while you wait.  I got 50 printed - call it a starter pack, I'll order more once I get more established (and develop a logo, if they can make custom dies) - and they are just oh-so-pretty:

People wasted no time asking for one.  It was pretty great, as was the rest of the convention.  I had a great time, enjoyed some very informative panels, ogled all the pretty costumes (because TeslaCon is an immersion convention, meaning EVERYBODY is dressed up), and had quite a few people asking for pictures of my coat... well, and of me, but mostly of the coat.  Which is very encouraging, considering above news...

The sudden appearance of Real Business Considerations also means I had to pass on a $300 underbust corset (it had a map on it!  It was so pretty!  I forgot to ask the price before I tried it on, then I was put under its spell!), because somewhere in the buying process, my fiancee, Erich, and I managed to calm down and realize that you could get a fairly decent sewing machine for that much... which is a very important consideration, when you realize that my home machine thus far has been my grandmother's Singer Featherweight.  A beautiful little Deco-patterned workhorse that can chew through projects that low-end modern machines would choke on, but there's only so much you should ask of a motor that's been working since the Eisenhower administration.  So, it's time for the old girl to retire - not permanently retire, mind you, more like move to Sewing Emeritus status, to be brought out for those projects where only she will do.  To that end, Sunday morning before garbing up and heading to the con, we looked through craigslist, and I did a quick comparison/price check on Amazon, where I discovered that this beauty (which I'd been ogling from afar for a while) was on mega-sale.  It arrived at my doorstep on Tuesday, and is currently perched majestically in all its hammered-steel-finish glory on the sewing cabinet with the craptastic old Kenmore in it.  Some low-tech engineering is going to be required to make that a good place for it, but it's still better than hauling it up onto the drafting/cutting table.

On a different note, and back to the convention, one of the great things about TeslaCon is that most of the panels & presentations are fan-sourced. Meaning anyone who has something (themeatically appropriate) to share can potentially do so.  And, it turns out, none of the presentations for 2014 have been booked yet - the event organizer won't even begin accepting submissions until January.  So, Erich and I have pretty much decided we're going to submit a presentation for next year.  The time between now and January should give us enough time to put together an outline and maybe a basic PowerPoint for what we want to do.  We're thinking that it will be something to the effect of Grownup Scissors: Demystifying the Scary Tools.  Basically, it would be an encouragement/basic shop safety seminar for people who already are or would like to be crafters, etc., but are afraid to up their game because they've heard too many horror stories about people running their hands into sewing machines and table saws and whatnot.  Specifics may be subject to complete revision, as we've only been talking about it for a day yet, but we're quite certain we want to do this, and it should be fun.

Well, this post has grown a bit long for its venue.  I promise I'll at least get a list of recent projects posted in the next couple days.  Until then,

Make more stuff & don't do anything I wouldn't do.


Hello, internet! Welcome to the first post of my blog.

My intention with this blog is primarily to document personal and freelance commission projects, although on that grand day when I get to work in theatre again I suspect that process will be posted here, as well. Most of my work as of this writing (18 Sep 2013) are single-piece or single-look garb designs for various Live Action Role Play (or LARP)-type settings, as well as the usual suspects of Halloween and RenFaire costumes, and the occasional historical reenactment or scifi/fantasy convention. I also occasionally cross the line from costume crafts into the realm of prop-building, so I may post some of those adventures here, as well.

One of my biggest motivations for starting the blog was to make a place on this website where I could share not just my finished work (as one does with a portfolio), but what and how I learn with each project. I'd been meaning to write more about costuming and related subjects on my personal blog for quite some time - this is a field I got into because I love it (as evidenced by my recent work, which is as much a byproduct of my hobbies as it is a professional pursuit), and as such I enjoy talking about it. (Please, feel free to comment and turn this into a conversation rather than a soliloquy, it would make my day.)

With that seed of "possibly-maybe I should blog about these things" in my mind, I had this site reviewed as a portfolio during the 2013 USITT conference in Milwaukee this spring. I was told that the one thing it truly lacked was that account of what I had learned. Or, more specifically, that at this stage of my career, what I learned on any given project was far more important than what projects I had worked on. I am slightly ashamed to say that it took me a couple weeks to connect the two ideas... and, once connected, there was the matter that this website did not support an internal blog at the time. Fortunately, that changed recently, turning my months of dithering over which blog platform to use into serendipity rather than procrastination.

I recently completed a couple major projects, which I plan to write up in the next few weeks - sadly, pictures of them are limited. Once I catch up with recent projects, I hope to do more in-depth documentation as I go, as well as improve my photography setup (and habits).

Until next time,

Be brave. Play nice.


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