Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dolloween! Part II.

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

This is a followup to the last Dolloween post, where I mentioned taking one of my doll friends -- my very first, and certainly not last, Monster High doll -- to a Halloween party. Here's the doll, and here's what she wore.



The character Lagoona Blue is supposed to be the daughter of sea monsters, so a mermaid costume was perfect for her. I cut a tail shape out of felt, cut another one for the back and added a slit for velcro, sewed the pieces together by machine, and painted the finished tail verrry lightly with sparkly fabric paint.

I didn't make a top, so I just used a ribbon. I still haven't added that velcro. I wanted to sew on some sequins, but I didn't want the doll's little feet to catch on all those stitches, so I went with plain sparkly. One of these days, I'll get the hang of embellishing clothing, which is not as straightforward as jewelry.

(And I won't use glue, because glue and I are not friends.)

Anyhoo! She couldn't go trick-or-treating without something to put her candy in. I had a bunch of miniature Halloween pumpkins I'd bought years ago, so I dug one out of the closet. And sure enough, she even got some candy to put in it!

She was very happy. Um. Until we got home, and I ate it.

 ("Ahem. Bucket's still empty.")

Now that Halloween and Dolloween are over, she's out of her costume and into a dress I made. I may have to show the outfit off at some point, because she looks really cute. The hand-painted fabric has an oceany feel to it, and it's going to look perfect with the tiny seashell pendant I found.

The pendant makes me think of the seashell sequins (try saying that five times fast) I bought last year and all the fun things I could make with them. Which leads me to the question... what should I make for the girls for the wintery holidays?

If you have any ideas, let me know. You're all fantastically creative people, and I'd love your input! So would the dolls. Sequintastic Ken keeps saying he wants a fake mustache and a red Ferrari, but we're ignoring him.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

(And Lagoona)



 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dolloween!

Welcome to another Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

Before I get to the fun stuff, I've decided to postpone the second annual Shop In Your Pajamas online craft fair until Saturday, December 7th. This will give me more time to find vendors (*ahem*) and to promote the fair to people I know in real life.

And now....

Dolloween!

Halloween is to me what Christmas is to a lot of people -- my favorite, most meaningful time of year. It reflects my biggest values, like storytelling, imagination, celebrating the weird and spooky, and of course, candy. 

This year I also decided to make it my main gift-giving holiday, at least where my girls were concerned. Hence the name, Dolloween. I'd love to show you everything at once, but that much photography would make Mr. Sequin weep tears of anguish into his pillow. So here are just a few of the forty-something (seriously) pieces of clothing I made this October. 


Here are Lexi, Alison, Corrie and Mona modeling some of my favorite dresses -- including my very first one-sleeve dress. Notice the sequins at the bottom... and the itty bitty beaded bag that Mona is carrying. Embellished with a little extra sparkle, of course.


Here are Corrie and Ali standing with a tutu, a hand-painted skirt, two peasant tops, and a sequin and lace dress. Each thing is on its own tiny hanger, which I made out of wire. The painted skirt is also covered in sparkly fabric paint -- that stuff is amazing, and I don't know how I lived without it!

So nine down... 31 to go! Not including my very first Monster High doll, Lagoona, with her mermaid costume and tiny Halloween pumpkin. She might get a post to herself. And... would anyone be interested in a written version of the scary story I told when she, Mr. Sequin and I went to a party? I might type that up.

Stay tuned for more dolly fun! And if you did anything special for Halloween, I'd love to hear about it.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins




Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reader Appreciation Present!

Welcome to a very, very late Saturday at Saturday Sequins!

I'd like to start this off by thanking everyone who participated in the Epic Indie Fair, whether you shopped, left a comment, or created something incredible for me to feature. Because I appreciate you so much, I've decided to give you a present.

Starting today, I'm offering the first part of my e-book, Run Screaming, for free! And how do you claim this present? Do you have to download a PDF? Send me an email? Dress up as a flamingo and sing Opera in the street? No, no, and no again. Just scroll down and start reading. It's as easy as pie.

Mmm... pie.


Run Screaming!

When to Give Up and When to Stay Put.

A guide for creative people. 


Trying to succeed as a creative person is hard. Really hard.

As a creative person, you'll hear no a lot – from galleries, from agents, from judges of contests, from potential clients. Sometimes you'll get no response at all, which can seem worse than a rejection and leave you feeling invisible.

And even when you're not being rejected by other people, sometimes you'll reject yourself. You'll second guess your instincts, your work, your talent, and even your identity as an artist. You'll wonder... do you have any business trying to call what you do art? Or is it just Crazy Crap With Paint And Glitter? And that wondering will do more damage than all your outside rejections combined.

So maybe it's hard is an understatement. Maybe it's better to say that succeeding as a creative person can be harder than teaching a flamingo to play the accordion – since the flamingo will mistake the accordion for a trampoline and immediately start jumping on it.

(No, really! I read it on Wikipedia. Or something.)

While my position on giving up is pretty clear at this point – that you shouldn't let these things get in your way – I get it. I really do. In fact, I was recently the closest I'd ever been to giving up on my Big Crazy Dreams, and that was in spite of all my coping skills!

Here's what happened to me...

Sarah's Big Rebellion

It's hard for me to write about this because it's still a little embarrassing, but I'm going to tell you anyway. About a month ago, I had a Total Body Shutdown. My body literally refused to do anything related to my creative business!

I was sleeping for 18 hours a day – a classic avoidance technique for me. When I was awake, I couldn't make myself do a darn thing. I wasn't beading. I wasn't writing. Forget anything remotely related to social media; I even missed a blog post or two!

Just the thought of doing any of these things sent me into an epic panic. Sometimes I felt paralyzed, and all I could do was sit on my comfy red couch, curled in a ball. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning in a sea of all the things I wasn't doing. Most of all, I felt tired all the time.

When I tried to push against the rebellion? I got the same message over and over again:

I don't want to!!! You can't make me!!!

My body had become a cranky pre-teen. The slightest move, the slightest thought in the direction of work, and it had an atomic meltdown that would have been quite a sight to see.

Of course, nobody did see it.

Because I hid it.

Because I was ashamed.

Because I assumed it was happening because I was lazy, no good and weak.

This went on for way too long, until things finally reached a breaking point. One night, Mr. Sequin found me sobbing on the couch. My face was red and puffy, my nose was a leaky faucet, and I'd even started to get those annoying crying hiccups. When he asked what was wrong, the only thing I could choke out was I can't do this anymore.

(And then a freaking centipede crawled onto the couch. Was it worried about me or just wondering what all the noise was about? I don't know, but it sent Mr. Sequin and I screaming across the room. And then I did the only thing I could in a situation like this: I started laughing.)

There's a whole lot more to this story, but I'll come back to that later.


Lesson Learned.

This is going to sound crazy, but I'm glad it happened – body tantrums and all. It showed me that there is, in fact, an exception to don't give up, just like there are exceptions to a bazillion other rules in life. I'm going to share that exception here. In fact, I'm not going to make you wait a second longer because it's really, truly, super important:

You should absolutely, positively give up if...


And because I'm a sneaky person and kind of a tease, I'm going to end the preview here. I hope it was enough to pique your curiosity! If so, you can read the rest of it here. And you can do that for 20 percent off the original price from now until December.  

Stay tuned for the second annual Shop In Your Pajamas Craft Fair next weekend, and keep your eyes open for a Dolloween post -- the girls opened their present last week, and there was much fun had by all. There was even some trick-or-treating.

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins

Epic Indie Fair of Awesome!

Welcome to the second ever Epic Indie Fair of Awesome!

It was originally going to be an independent book fair like the last one, but I realized something. Some of my favorite musicians are independent! I didn't want to leave them out of the fun, so I added a music section. I'm also listing it first -- that way, you have something to listen to while you do the rest of your browsing and shopping.

Speaking of shopping... let's get started. Shall we?


Marvelous Music

  • If you've been following this blog for awhile, you know that Zoe Keating is one of my favorite musicians. I love that she developed her own software to create the music she envisioned. I love that she used to live in an old warehouse with other musicians! She is truly an awesome, kickass person.
  • My friend Audrey introduced me to The Hush Sound's music. I feel like I owe her a kidney or spleen, because they're my favorite band. I could go on and on about how lovely they are and how their music is pretty much perfect, but instead, I'll tell you that Honey is one of my favorite songs... and that they have two new, independently produced ones out.
  • Mr. Sequin recently introduced me to Eliza Moore's music. I'll definitely be checking out more of her stuff... because she has a gorgeous voice! And she's an awesome violinist. Here's a video of her playing live.


Awesome Advice

  • Sarah J Sequins: Run Screaming! A Guide For Creative People. This is my e-guide on when to run away from your creative work like you're being chased by hungry zombies and when to keep going (more about it here.) It's on sale for half price until November.
  • Michelle Ward: An Effective Escape. The perfect companion to Run Screaming, written by a successful career/life coach, this one's all about how to leave your job without going broke.
  • Paul Jarvis: Be Awesome At Online Business. The title says it all. By the way, did you know that he offers a free sample of the book? I think this is a fantastic idea and probably something all authors should consider.
  • Havi Brooks: Monster Manual (And Coloring Book.) It's about confronting and dealing with the monsters that keep us creatively stuck. This looks like coolest book ever -- and I'm sure it is, because Havi is a fantastic blogger and all-around amazing person.
  • Florence Ditlow: Long In The Tooth. This one's about surviving chronic illness with a sense of humor. Florence, who happens to be a friend of mine from an online business course, is a nurse who dealt with a mystery illness -- something that plenty of us can relate to.


 Fantastic Fiction

  • Florence Ditlow: The Bakery Girls. A novel about a bakery in Pennsylvania in the early 1900's. It centers on the baker's three lovely, and very different, daughters.
  • Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt: The Beam (Season One). It's half political thriller and half science fiction... and it looks superbly interesting. This series is Johnny's favorite so far.
  •  Sean Platt and David Wright: ForNeverMore. A young adult supernatural thriller. I wish I had something intelligent to say about this one, but I read the description, and now all I can do is drool and say ohmygawd waaaannnnt!!!! I have three dollars left in my PayPal account... and I'm pretty sure I know where that money is going.


Darling Dolls

  • Megann R. Zabel: Dolly Bureau. This is a book of gorgeous doll clothing patterns. Perfect for doll collectors who love to sew, and for anyone crafty who has kidlets or grandkidlets.

  • Alison Rasmussen: Steffie, Out of the Box (Volume II) . This one's a series of photos from Alison's Barbie collection. These are some gorgeous dolls, and Ali's photography definitely does them justice. 

Bodacious Beading

  • Good Quill Hunting: How to Make a Beading Tutorial with Power Point. Selling tutorials is a great way to supplement your income as a jewelry maker and to build your reputation as an instructor. If you're not sure how to do this, Christina's tutorial looks like a great place to start! PS: also, check out her finger Cuff tutorial. Those rings are insane.
  • Cyndi Lavin: Bored By Backstitch. Cyndi has done it again! Here's an awesome e-book on livening up your bead embroidery by incorporating other beading stitches into your work.
  • Joan Babcock: Micro-Macrame Jewelry.  Many of you are familiar with Joan's outstanding fiber work... but did you know she wrote several books? This one teaches the basics.
  • Joanne Tinley: Macrame, Art Beads And Wire. Here are six fantastic multimedia jewelry projects. What a great way to build on the skills you learned in Joan's book!
  • Patrick Duggan: Sherrab pendant tutorial. Learn how to make a gorgeous beaded pendant from this talented -- and adorable -- Australian beader.


Fantastic Fibers


Rocking Resources

This was a bonus section in the last Epic Indie Fair, and I've decided to make it a regular feature from now on. Here are more amazing resources for anyone interested in giving indie publishing a go!

  • Nathan Bransford: Nathan, a former literary agent and traditionally published author of a series of children's books, has independently published a book called How to Write a Novel.
  • From Kelly James-Enger, owner of Improvise Press, Dollars and Deadlines. It's a book about how to make a living as a freelance writer, and it looks very thorough and detailed.
  • From Medium.com: here's some awesome advice about listening to what your audience wants.
  • From Think Traffic, here's a post all about how to launch your e-book or other product.
  • From Search Engine Journal, a list of some of the best writing advice ever. The first one the list especially clicked with me.

And that concludes the Epic Indie Fair of Awesome! I hope you enjoyed shopping and discovered some new favorite authors and musicians! If so, I encourage you to share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks -- because the more attention our indie creators get, the better.

(Also, a note for authors: Want me to include your book cover in this post? Let me know, and I'll be happy to oblige -- this will help me promote you on Pinterest.)

Sequintastically yours,

Sarah J. Sequins