When I first came across Craigslist's site back in the day, I thought it seemed sketch to say the least. I mean...just look at it. No pictures, no pretty colors, just ugly blue boring type. And who the heck is Craig anyways?? I need more information people.
Years later, after hearing so much about it, I finally decided to give it a shot. I scoured the antiques and furniture sections for a classy vanity for my soon to be San Francisco bedroom. I knew exactly what I wanted, but couldn't find anything with character in the stores.
Casually browsing CL about 6 months later, I struck gold. There it was. A gorgeous antique walnut vanity with cabriole legs, and a unique oval shaped mirror with floral details. It was unlike anything I had previously seen and I had to have it.
It was a little out of my budget but I knew I'd keep it and love it forever. I quickly emailed the owner to set up a time to come see it. When the day came, I drove to the far ends of the Antelope Valley of Southern California to secure my prize.
Upon arriving and entering the house of the owner, I quickly came to 2 realizations:
1) The owner was a smoker. Like the entire house reeeeeked
2) The vanity was upstairs, and I had no one with me to help me carry it
I looked it over for damage and decided it was coming home with me. Thankfully, the owner was willing to help me get it to my car. I got lucky that time.
This was the first of many CL finds I would go on to purchase. Of course this doesn't include the many apartments, and roommates turned friends that I've also found through the site.
While working towards CL Ninja status, I found that getting as much information as possible before actually physically getting in a car to go get something saved tons of time. (Who would have thought!)
75% of the times I went to pick something up, there was an unexpected surprise. Glass lamps were actually plastic, it was much heavier than I expected, etc. Below you'll find some questions and tips that will SAVE you before you waste your time picking up your supposed dream find.
Negotiate a set price before you get there. Unless you're good at that thing, if so, then by all means grind 'em down when you get there. Oh, and bring cash.
Ask if they have pets or are a smoker if you are sensitive to that. Or if you don't care if your shelf smells like smoke for the next year #truestory
Find out where the item is being stored. Will you have to get it down 4 flights of stairs? Is there an elevator?
How will you transport it? Do you need blankets or bungee cords to secure it?
Does it come apart? Bring tools to disassemble table legs, etc.
Have they had any issues with the item?
And I ALWAYS ask: Why are you selling it??
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ITEM
What is it made out of? Are you sure? If they didn't say it in their ad then ASK! Pictures can be extremely deceiving.
If it's wood (like a bookcase, chest of drawers, or night stand), confirm if it is SOLID wood or LAMINATE. Huge difference in quality, price, and most importantly, weight here.
Get the dimensions! Kind of important. Will it fit in your space? Will it fit in your car/truck? What about through the door?
How heavy is it? If you're not sure, bring a friend. Don't expect the owner to help, sometimes they can't.
Is it an antique or vintage? Was it previously owned? Is it valuable and are there tags or paperwork that they can give you along with the item?
If you are buying an old lamp, have the wiring checked. No one likes a fire.
Find something you really want, then check CL to see if you can get a better price. I just scored a barely used bike with free accessories because I did my homework and saw that the original bike site was having a huge sale and saved over $300.
Don't buy anything fabric that can't be washed. That includes couches unless you're in a Fraternity. First, it's gross. Second, it's gross. Third, bedbugs. That's all.
In conclusion, buying furniture for your space on this site can save you tons of cash on things you may not have previously been able to afford. Plus it's like fun recycling and you get to meet weird people.
What have you scored off Craigslist?
Guys, guys, you're never going to believe it but I finally got my brain together and started drawing good sh*t again! I'm a little (read WAAY) behind for "Fall/Winter", but since The Recoverie likes to fly by the seat of it's pants sometimes I think I'm still gonna go with it and finally put it together. YAY.
I spent the last 3 hours working at my computer on Illustrator and now I'm fried, but I got a great start. When I teach my printmaking classes a common question I receive is, "what is your design process?". The truth is, it really depends on the direction of the wind that day (like any true artist), but in general, I have 2 main methods in which I create my patterns. Below you'll find a step by step breakdown of my process.
Half the time I'm doodling it's on paper. The other half I'm in Illustrator. If you're an artist and you've only learned Photoshop and are procrastinating on learning Illustrator for fear of learning a new program, get your head out of the sand and get your butt to your computer!!
It's easy to learn because it's part of the Creative Suite and the commands and tools will be familiar to you. Also it's freaking awesome and you have WAY more artistic freedom. If it took me 3 TIMES to learn Photoshop (while failing a class on the way) and still can crush both programs now, then you can definitely do it!
Ok, so 80% of the time, this is how I work:
First I start drawing. On paper. I draw and draw and crumble it up, then draw for a few more days and tell myself I'm a terrible artist until FINALLY I like something. This could be a single shape, or a combination of shapes. Or maybe all that doodling eventually just led me to realize that I was really into geometric prints at the moment and now I have a theme to work off of. But probly it just made me hungry..
So from there I'll keep drawing, or if I'm sick of drawing with a pencil/marker/pen/whatever is closest to me, I'll take a PHOTO of my doodle with my phone (it doesn't need to be amazing, just straight) and then SEND THAT PHOTO TO MY EMAIL. #technology....(you can also scan it into your computer old skool style).
Next, I will go into my email and download the photo. I'll open Illustrator and PLACE the photo into the art board that I will usually size anywhere from a square 4"x4" to 8"x8". (Note: this doesn't realllllly matter as it's a vector program and you can scale your image later without stretching pixels, but sometimes if you have a specific stroke thickness it can get messed up when you resize it.)
The image is now on your art board. Here, I may enlarge the photo a bit even though it will pixelate it, just to make it easier to see. I can also zoom in. This photo will serve as a guide for me to essentially TRACE the shape of the doodle with the pen tool. Or the pencil tool if you're adventurous.
I didn't trace this image exactly, things have moved around, but like I said, it's just a starting point! After that, it's just a matter of adding to that initial design and seeing what works. Sometimes I'll work on it in Illustrator for a few hours and I'll have 20 variations of it and hate them all. That's when I'll call it a day and come back for a fresh look tomorrow.
Finally, the design will get color, a repeat, scaled, and printed for future use. I leave the color til the VERY END! Why, you ask? I used to pick a color story before I was done creating my pattern. I found this really exciting (at first), but in the end it was really overwhelming and distracting because the options are limitless and I'd never get back to finishing my design!
See what I mean with the color??
So first I make sure the shapes and overall feel of the design is kick-ass, THEN I move onto color once I'm confident I won't adjust things. Color can alter everything about a pattern and it's repeat, so always make sure to save it, then sleep on it, then make sure you still like it the next day.
That is the gist of how I work! The second method is pretty much the same, except that I won't even pick up a pencil. I'll complete the entire design from start to finish in Illustrator. This is a personal preference, but I prefer the paper to digital design system better because I find that my designs are a lot more interesting when I'm working on paper.
It's been a while since my last post. I've been working on being more consistent with this, but sometimes, as my dad says, "sh*t happens".
I came back from Europe a little over a year ago FULL of ideas and inspiration. There was a collection, an amazing photoshoot, and a ton of unique products to be super proud of, but when it came time to move on to the next round of designs, I had a block.
As an artist, this is not unfamiliar territory as many following suit may well understand. We all have ups and downs with our creative flow and the cards were just not in my favor this time. Little did I know that this block would last...ummm......well, about a year (AAAHH!!) due to the addition of some major life changes occurring directly after, but fortunately I was able to redirect some of this unproductive time into other channels.
Here's what I did (and you can do) to kick the block.
1. Attend A Conference
If you can at all afford it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend attending a conference in your field for a multitude of reasons. You will not only gain a TON of new information that you can put to use, but if you make yourself available, you can meet some incredibly talented and inspiring people. The creative conferences I attend are full of highly motivated entrepreneurs and I find myself almost instantly inspired and full of ideas within a few minutes of conversation. This can also lead to networking later which is huge.
2. Submerge Yourself In Knowledge
Blogs, books, podcasts, Ebooks, newsletters, etc...all of these hold valuable information that could switch that block off at any moment. Sometimes it takes hearing one sentence for me to think, "that is EFFING genius, I'm going to go apply that right now". While the creative part of me had given up, I found that reading books on small business was extremely helpful. One of my favorites I've read and re-read is "The $100 Startup" by Chris Guillebeau.
3. Invite People That You Admire You To Lunch
This method never fails me, and I discovered it on accident. Meeting up with my crafty friends is not a chore obviously, I do it for fun, but there's an unexpected side benefit of having these fun meetups. The conversation always starts out with normal life catch up, but every single time we fall back onto talking about our businesses. Hearing what other people are getting after and achieving makes me want to run home and WERK!! It's also a good opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone. Maybe they don't necessarily have a business per se, but any kind of ambitious friend or acquaintance you respect should have the same effect.
What? No not like that, I don't want you to get arrested...
When I am trying to come up with new patterns and I'm hearing crickets for days on end, I'll grab a magazine or pull up a website with some pattern design, and just start sketching something I see. For me, this serves as a way to get my hand moving and my brain back in the game, even though it's going in the trash shortly after. It's a starting point that I can jump off of which can spark new ideas.
5. Learn A New Trade
When you're burnt out, sometimes the worst thing you can do is force yourself into something. Picking up a new skill or hobby can be a sweet escape. In some cases, you may even be able to apply it to your original endeavor. For instance, I started Spanish lessons so all my future blogs will be in terrible white girl Spanglish...jk. :)
6. Enter Something With A Deadline
Personally, I have a problem with getting really overwhelmed when I'm working on 17 parts of 17 different projects (which is most of my life). When it comes to projects with a deadline, I'm 100% more on top of it. It makes the path to get there really finite, and I know exactly how much time I have to reach my goal. This could apply to anything from applying for an art show, a gallery submission, or telling someone you'll have the project done by X date so you're held accountable.
7. Get Drunk With Your Art Supplies
Well not THAT drunk, I mean you still have to be able to pick up the paintbrush... Grab a glass of wine, blast some DeadMau5 (ok ok maybe not) and just chill the eff out! Have fun, don't take it seriously and see what you create.
8. Creep On Your Competition
I don't know about you, but as much as I love seeing what talented artists around me are creating, the worst feeling of all is seeing someone kick a** while I'm having a block and have nothing to show. AKA 'craft-jealousy'. Especially when I've been following these companies for a while and watched them as they've grown. I find that if I'm stuck, I'll go check out what other similar artists are creating and within 2 seconds my brain is in competitive mode and wants to make stuff!
9. Find A Mentor
Having someone you can call or email when you're at a loss for ideas is an amazing thing. They've been there, they've done it, and they can help. Get one.
10. Keep A Visual Journal
I used to have a folder on my desktop in my computer labeled, "Dani's Cute Book". It was a place where I stored any photo or image that grabbed my attention. It could be because of the color, a pattern, etc. When I'd run out of ideas this was the first place I'd look. I also had a physical folder with magazine page rip outs, but that's like so 90's now...
I was recently asked to write an article on the topic of Summer for a cute site you can go check out here. I wanted to share it here in the spirit of Independence day. Traveling=Creative Juices=Pretty Things!
Why I Travel Alone
A few years ago I was in a rut. Like a big rut. It was Summer in San Francisco and I was in between apartments. As bad luck would have it, I was also in between jobs. Finding either of these things in this city is not easily accomplished. So you can imagine that after about a month of frantic searching and hair pulling with no result, I was a bit of a wreck. I resorted to couch hopping at friends places, while digging for interview clothes in the back of my storage unit.
After about another solid month of chaos, suddenly something went right. I was offered two jobs within the same week, as well as a room in an insanely, ‘perfect for Dani’ sunny, Eduardian home. With a huge sigh sigh of relief that weekend, I flopped into my bed in my brand new bedroom and was finally able to relax. As I lay there reflecting on how ridiculously terrible the last few months had been, I couldn’t help but notice a very intense and extremely overwhelming thought that was almost forcefully taking over my brain: VACATION.
This thought, as it turns out, was not completely out of line. I was extremely stressed and needed a break. I didn’t start my new job for a week, and I knew that soon I would have a steady paycheck again. I asked around to see if anyone would want to join me for a much needed getaway, however no one was available the weekend I planned to go. I went to bed, upset, and defeated. The next morning I woke up with the same thought burning into my head. I decided that I didn’t care where I went, or who I went with, but for the sake of my own sanity I had to get out. After some deliberation, I bought a flight to Las Vegas and flew out that weekend.
There is a freedom that comes with traveling alone. There’s no one to hold you back, nothing to compromise or decide on. You just think about what you want to do and then you go do it. Everything between choosing where to stay and where to go for dinner was up to me. I made friends with random people and stayed out all night. Blasted music in my room and jumped on the bed. It was addictive. That was my first solo trip, and after experiencing that freedom, I knew it wouldn’t be my last.
A year or so later, I got adventurous and booked a three week trip to Europe…again solo. I had never been before and I knew this was going to be a trip to remember. I was a little nervous about traveling abroad with a language barrier as the plan was to visit the UK, France, and Spain. Fortunately I wasn’t going to be entirely alone for all three weeks. I was staying with friends of friends in London and Nice for a few days each.
As I arrived in London and began my travels through France, that sense of freedom quickly came over me again. I wandered through museums and parks, sat in cafes and along the Seine. I became so inspired by the buildings and the street art, I couldn’t stop drawing and thinking. I sat outside the Pompidou in Paris drawing and people would come and ask to see. One local ended up giving me a walking tour around the city. My creativity was flowing and it felt crazy good. When I reached Barcelona though, I completely fell in love.
Besides the horrific Summer humidity, Barcelona is an artist’s dream. Inspiring architecture everywhere you look, Gaudi landmarks, Picasso’s works, Las Ramblas, the list goes on. For me, just wandering around the Gotic and Born neighborhoods was dreamy. Long and narrow residential alleys peppered with overgrown balconies and drying laundry were my favorite. I found a gelato place in one of the alleys and went back three times, three days in a row, because it was that good. In another alley, I made friends with a small business owner who had just opened her first jewelry shop.
The rest of my trip was spent working my way back up through France, then back to London via train where I spent my last few days walking around in a happy exhaustion. For three weeks I had experienced complete freedom and it was just the break I had needed. I was sad to leave but ready to return home and see all my friends again.
Having this break really allowed me to become inspired and reboot my artistic side. I really loved being on my own and learning so much about myself. Of course, there are lots of great benefits to traveling with a friend or significant other as well. You always have a dinner date. You do activities that you may have not have thought to try otherwise. Plus costs are split, so it’s much cheaper. But every once in a while it’s good to get lost…alone, and just go with it. Try it. Maybe you’ll learn something.
As a handmade home product designer, you can imagine that I'm especially particular when it comes to designing the spaces in which I live and work. After all, I make and interact with people that make cute stuff all day! Bringing handmade, quality pieces into your home is a great way to personalize your space and add something completely unique. That story about how the print on your favorite chair was designed by the artist to mimic the giraffe you saw in South Africa last year? Priceless.
Ninety five percent of the products I've purchased for my own space are either handmade, antique, vintage, or (of course) Craigslisted. I do a lot of that on purpose and because of that, I have a story behind almost every single thing I own. It gives my 'things' more meaning. You may see that I have a West Elm Parsons desk. But you wouldn't know that I got it off Craigslist from an Interior Designer in Sausalito, borrowed a friend and her car for the day, and spent my first day in Marin drinking mimosas on the water after loading that heavy as hell desk into her car. These are stories I can tell, and although my desk is still just a desk, when I see it I think of the fun day I had with my friend.
This is how I view buying handmade products. Every artist has their own process, tools, story, etc. They designed a product, created a prototype in their studio, changed the color, altered the shape, tested the results, and undoubtedly hit small or large bumps along the way. Each product they make has a story, and those are the things I want to be surrounded by daily.
Here's a short list of a few makers of home design products that I find inspiring:
Wall and tabletop plant holders/terrariums - Meg A. Myers Designs
Home goods and textiles - Shapes and Colors Textiles
Removable wallpaper - Kate Zaremba Company
Vintage and refurbished home goods - Hammer & Hand
Upholstered headboards - Shoreline Home
Wooden home accessories - Hedgehouse
Linen bedding - Linen Tales
Now I know that I'm not the first person to openly admit that I have a bit of an obsession with this store, and I think it's pretty amazing that Anthropologie's style and branding is so well done that it has created such a sea of followers. The fabrics and colors that come from everything in this store encapsulate a style that is beautiful, well made, and with unique and sometimes handmade looking details.
For me, a lot of what I love about their clothing and products are the patterns...(Obvi!) A lot of times I'm pulled towards something handwoven that looks like it took a million years to create and I sit there wondering who made it and how long it took them..or if it was a machine and made to look handmade. I know they source from all over the place as well as from a lot of handmade makers, some of which are friends of mine, and it leads to such an interesting mix of products in the store.
Current obsessions as follows:
Just got back from a whirlwind of a weekend at the Craftcation Conference in Southern CA. What is this you ask, a vacation full of fun crafty things where you sit beachside while drinking your mojito? YES was the answer for a lot of the attendees. Unfortunately I am a lot more practical and did ZERO fun workshops (indigo dyeing, ahh!), and instead thought that it would be a lot more fun to take back to back classes on marketing, profitability, and branding while thinking of the beach so very close to me. (Side note - I did however get my mojito, compliments of the bartender who I happened to graduate high school with, win!)
I was also fortunate to meet one on one with quite a few stellar small business consultants and successful crafty ladies throughout the weekend which was eye opening and....exactly what I needed. Overall it looks like all that hard work will pay off. There are going to be some big changes around here! The first of being this website, so excuse our dust while we get this pretty-fied for you.
Hello artsy friends! This site is currently being relocated and prettied up
with lots of new shiny features. Thanks for your patience! <3 Danielle