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New Site + New Blog

It's exciting times over here at If you haven't visited the website recently, I've restructured and redesigned the whole thing. It was time for an update, and some major changes.

The new site is a Wordpress site, with more emphasis on the blog aspect. It is no longer a shopping cart/e-commerce site, either. Over the past few years, my online sales have moved almost exclusively to Etsy, so I no longer see the need for a clunky shopping cart system on my site. There are still image galleries of all the items that I make on the site, and those will automatically be updated as I make new things.

What this means, however, is that this particular blog - blog by mags! - will no longer exist. So for those of you who have subscribed to this blog in a feed reader or via email, take a minute to click on over to and use the links in the upper right-hand corner of the page to subscribe to the new artbymags blog. The blog will simply be the home page of the site, and will now cover more than just my art-and-craft life - everything from local news, politics and events to whatever I'm thinking about on any given day. (Don't worry, for those of you who only want to read about my arty-crafty life, you can filter through all the posts via the dropdown menu in the lefthand sidebar.)

So. Thanks for reading this blog and keeping up with me, and I hope you'll join me over at the new blog.

Existential Crisis

Sorry I've been so absent on the blog. First it was the holidays and we had visitors; then we went on vacation up north to Louisville for a week. Since then, I've been scrambling to get back into the swing of my life. And, um, having an existential crisis.

What could I possibly be having an existential crisis about, you ask? Well, about making a living. Work. Making money. How I want to go about doing that, and the fact that I need to figure it out real soon. I don't have the luxury of time to wallow around in it for long, as this holiday season did not reap excessive financial gains as in years past.

The gist of it is, I am basically someone who never figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up. Sure, I went to college, but I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life going in, and it wasn't all that much clearer coming out, despite the nifty degree that still sits on my mantle and the rather lengthy list of "experience" on my resume. Complicating that, of course, is that I have sort of never really "grown up," per se, and it might be argued I've actively fought against the idea pretty vehemently. (I'm told it's part of my charm, but I think it's a character trait frowned upon in the workforce, no?)

Not that I want to give up the crafty life entirely. Not at all. I love crafting and making things with my hands. I love coming up with t-shirt designs and printing them. And I love trying to push myself further and further to come up with new and interesting ideas of stuff to make, and ways to express myself. It's just the business end of this life that I'm struggling with.

Sadly, my experiment in doing this more-or-less full time seems to have failed, at least in terms of making enough money from my creative endeavors to live on. While I still consider my crafting life a success - I know folks love and appreciate the stuff I make - and will continue to do it, I've come to a financial roadblock that I cannot ignore. I gotta get a job.

So... I've been writing and sending out resumes, pouring over the want ads and various online job posting sites. I've been brainstorming on ways to monetize my skills in PR, publicity, social media networking, etc. But I'm pretty burnt out on the freelance writing and music journalism life - after all, I've been doing it pretty consistently since I got out of college. The whole reason I switched gears to go full time on the crafty biz was in hopes of being able to phase out of the writing gigs, which I have largely done, except for my one music writing gig with Curve.

So yeah, I don't really know what kind of job I'm looking for. But frankly, at this point, beggers can't be choosers. Maybe something brainless that pays a low wage but that doesn't have a lot of responsibility would be a good thing for me for a while, to clear my head and just make some money, dig myself outta some holes. But maybe something more "professional" that builds on my skillset would be better, would re-engage my brain in something different but exciting. Something social media related? Grassroots PR? Event production? I dunno. It's overwhelming.

For now, I'm gonna keep looking at everything out there, picking up temp/one-off/seasonal stuff as it comes up and hoping to piece together enough income to pay my bills. Markets are slow this time of year and I just don't think they are a great risk for me, but I will continue to update my Etsy shop with new stuff until I have everything in my current inventory listed. Hopefully things will pick up soon.

Thanks for listening, y'all. And if you know of any job openings you think I'm a good fit for, lemme know. I really am a good, hard worker when I have to be. I've got a LinkedIn profile that is basically an online resume; feel free to pass it around.

Happy New Year!

Wow, I've kinda dropped the ball with the blog since the market season ended a few weeks ago.

Christmas was low-key over here, but nice. We had a good friend in town from Louisville and had a lot of fun doing New Orleansy and Christmasy things with her, like gazing at the sparkly lights at the Roosevelt (pictured at right) and having a drink at the Sazerac bar; spending a day at NOMA and later riding the carousel and gazing at more sparkly lights at Celebration in the Oaks; eating beignets (Cafe du Monde), po-boys (Parkway), and other assorted local food & drink (Coop's, Brocato's, DBA); and seeing Sherlock Holmes on Christmas Day. (I liked it, but think Robert Downey Jr. is probably the only actor that could have sold me on Sherlock Holmes as an action character.)

The day she left, Fae's son Charles arrived, and it's been another busy few days with him. I did finally finish up most of my pre-Christmas orders (still one left - no, I haven't forgotten about you, Dar!), and have been spending a lot of time catching up listening to all the promo CDs that have been piling up on my desk for a year-end-wrap-up column I'm supposed to be writing but haven't yet.

Next Monday, Fae and Charles and I will drive up to Louisville. Fae and I will be in town from Monday night through Friday night for a quick visit, returning on Saturday so Fae has some down time before having to get back to school the following Monday. I'm looking forward to seeing my Dad and reconnecting with Louisville friends and family.

And then it's back to work, whatever that ends up meaning. I've been doing a lot of thinking and though I haven't reached any conclusions yet, I know I need to change some things, some major things. I'm not sure what the new year is going to look like yet, but I'm finding myself strangely excited at the possibilities.

It's been really nice not having to think about markets, making things, selling things, packaging/mailing things, etc. I guess I don't always realize just how much stress this crafty life creates for me. In some ways I miss it, when I'm not doing it night and day, but in more ways, I notice how much I don't miss it. At least the stress part. Something to think about, I guess.

Regardless, tonight is New Year's Eve, and tomorrow is a new year and new decade. So here's wishing you all have a lovely evening however you celebrate (or don't), and many good wishes from me to you for the coming new year!!

Last Stop Shop + Elysian Fleas!

Well I'm heading into the homestretch now, in terms of the holiday market season. Just a few more and I can finally stop killing myself making stuff, and get caught up on the rest of my life that's been thrown to the wayside since the end of November!

Tomorrow night, the New Orleans Craft Mafia will be hosting our annual Last Stop Shop Holiday Market and Party, from 6-10pm at the Big Top art gallery (1638 Clio Street, near Lee Circle). We've been doing this every year since we began in 2005, and it's always a lot of fun, as well as a great opportunity for all you last minute shoppers to finish off your holiday lists with awesome one-of-a-kind, handmade and recycled wares from local artists/crafters.

We'll have festive holiday music, snacks and our annual tree + handmade ornament raffle, which benefits the Green Project's Recycle For The Arts program. And there's free parking across the street at Fleet Tire. Oh, and did I mention? Not only does the Big Top always have awesome art up on the walls, but they have a fully stocked bar, too! So come have an after-work cocktail, do some shopping, and pass a good time with us tomorrow night!

Then on Saturday, I'm back at the Elysian Fleas Market from 11am - 5pm at 527 Elysian Fields (between Decatur and Chartres - look for the sign!). This will be my last market appearance, so if ya can't make it by the Last Stop Shop, find me here. Get your picture taken with Papa Noel, enjoy the hot jazz of Loose Marbles, eat tasty treats from Beaucoup Nola and Sally's Country Gourmet Foods, and toast the holidays with hot buttered rum, eggnog, toddies and other festive drinks from Old New Orleans Rums. The vendor mix is a very eclectic assortment of flea market trash and treasures, vintage clothing and creative art, jewelry and crafts. It's really different than any of the other markets I do, and I love the vibe and location. So come check it out if you haven't before.

After Saturday's market, shopping will be by appointment only at my Mid-City location, so get in touch if you'd like to drop by and have a personal shopping experience before Christmas (or after).

And one last thing... I still have a goodly amount of my black and gold Skull de Lis t's for your Saints game-day attire needs, and I just printed up a fresh batch of 70119 Mid-City t's, too, as I've been nearly out of those for the past few months. (I have mens/unisex sizes small - 2XL available for both of these.) And another batch of fabric just came in moments ago, so I'll have lots of new scarves in all designs and color combos available soon.

OK. Hope to see many of you out and about this weekend. Thank you to all of you who have purchased my stuff and continue to support me in my arty/crafty life.

King Pin Tonight + Busy Weekend

And the hectic holiday shopping season marches on...

Tonight I will be hawking my wares at the King Pin Holiday Art Bizarre from 3pm til whenever we get tired, probably 9 or 10pm. (Did ya catch that? Yes, they are being punny - bizarre/bazaar.) The King Pin is at 1307 Lyons, Uptown (around the corner from Twisted Hair Salon on Prytania), and will be offering drink specials to our shoppers. We'll have an eclectic array of artists and crafters displaying their handmade creations, including several past and present members of the New Orleans Craft Mafia and many others. So come have a cocktail with us and do some laidback holiday shopping tonight.

Tomorrow morning, tune in to WWL TV from 7-9am to watch their Festival Fridays coverage, as they will be featuring the Freret Market's Freretstivus celebration, which takes place on Saturday from 12-5pm. Some of my wares - along with those of many other regular Freret Market vendors - will be featured in a recreation of the market in the lot on Freret at Jena. And barring complete weather catastrophe, I will be at Freretstivus on Saturday in my usual spot with all my wares. Freretstivus is a Festivus celebration, complete with Feats of Strength (something involving pulling rollergirls around on a rope), Airing of Grievances, a Re-Gifting Station and more. Cross your fingers and/or pray to the weather gods that the currently-predicted storms don't come to fruition on Saturday, OK?

And then on Sunday, after the Saints game (WHO DAT?!), I'll be hustling between DJ Soulsister's 3rd Annual Crate Dig at Domino Sound Record Shack (2557 Bayou Road) from 3-5pm and Miss Malaprop's Handcrafted Home Shopping Party from 6-9pm. Hopefully the Saints will win and folks will be in a celebratory mood!

If you don't catch me out this weekend, not to worry, you still have a chance to shop with me next week on Thursday, December 17th at the New Orleans Craft Mafia's Last Stop Shop at the Big Top, from 6-10pm. The Gambit just gave us a sweet little write-up on their blog for the event. And my last market appearance will be Saturday December 19th at Elysian Fleas. But more on those next week, after I've survived this weekend!

Hope to see many of you out and about this weekend sometime! Happy holiday shopping!

Black and Gold Skull de Lis T's Available Now

Yes, I'm joining the fray and offering a new black and gold t-shirt. No, it doesn't say "Saints," "Geaux," or "Superbowl" on it anywhere. It does, however, have a fleur de lis in it, if you look carefully.

I'm talking about my "skull de lis" design, of course, which I made a few years back but have only printed on t-shirts once since I came up with it. (And it was a very limited run, at that.) It's a basic skull and crossbones stencil design, with the fleur de lis cut out of the skull and a little heart in the center of the crossbones. It doesn't have a specific "meaning," so to speak, but I like the idea of the fleur de lis in the negative space making the eye sockets and nose of the skull, and I love throwing the little heart in the middle of the crossbones to negate the "danger" message that the skull and crossbones usually represents. When I came up with the design, it just felt really appropriate for New Orleans, a place people often associate with danger but yet one so many have fallen in love with.

So, due to many requests and in honor of our boys in black and gold who are DOMINATING the NFC this season (WHO DAT!!), I've printed a short run of my skull de lis t's in black and gold. They are on Gildan 4.5 oz 100% ringspun cotton t's. It's a nice lightweight "fashion fit" t that's not as form-fitting (or small/short) as American Apparel but is lighter and hipper looking than say your average boxy Hanes, Anvil or Jerseez t. They are super soft and take a silkscreen print really nicely. And they hold up well over time; these are the same t's I used for my 70119 shirts that I printed back in the spring, and mine still looks great and is so comfortable.

And, yes, I'm a dork, modeling my own t-shirt. (Pardon the blurry cell phone pic.) But if I'm to be honest, I really wanted one of these for myself so I'd have something of my own to wear on game days. So it was a good excuse to do a short run of them. Get them now before I run out, as there are only a handful in each size. (Mens/unisex sizes small through 2XL.) Would make a great unique holiday gift for your favorite Saints fan!

Order yours here.

Freret Market & Bacchanal This Weekend!

Well the holiday madness has begun. For me, it's meant lots of stocking up, placing orders for supplies, packaging up and shipping online orders, printing up more scarves and clocks, and fulfilling many custom orders. I've also been very busy with a big corporate order that will be a big windfall for me when it's done, but til then, I feel like I'm losing my mind juggling everything!

Several dozen black t-shirts just arrived today; tomorrow I'll be printing them with my "home fleur de lis" and "skull de lis" designs in gold. I haven't printed either of them in a long time and I can't resist the Saints fever that's overtaken the city. So black and gold it is!! Supplies will be limited, so if you want one, better find me sooner rather than later.

Saturday, I'll be out freezing my butt off vending at the Freret Market from 12pm - 5pm (Freret at Napoleon). Right now, the forecast calls for clearing "wintry mix" Saturday morning, but a high of 49 for the day. Brrrr! I guess I better pull out my longjohns. Crazy. But it will be a fun market, regardless, as they've got the expanded layout with an extra lot on the corner of Freret and Napoleon. I will be in my regular spot in the original lot, at the corner of Jena at Freret, along with several of my Craft Mafia cohorts. If you are out and about, stop in and see me. Remember, the early bird/shopper gets the worm/best pick of handmade goods!

Sunday, I'm going to be hanging out at Bacchanal Wine in the Bywater at their annual Christmas Art Market. I've never been there, but the pictures on their website look really cute, and I've heard rave reviews. We will, yes, be missing the Saints game, but if I have anything to do with it, we'll at least be listening to it on the radio. I don't know if Bacchanal has a TV or any way to broadcast the game, but I will figure out something. 12 - 0 baby! Anyways, come check out Bacchanal and enjoy some wine in the courtyard... it's supposed to be warmer by Sunday, so at least we won't be freezing.

And as always, keep checking back to my Etsy shop, as I continue to add things as I make them and have time to deal with uploads. You never know what I might come up with this month, and it might end up being the only one of whatever it is - so snatch things up when you see something you like. Happy shopping everyone!

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