This Is How I Know It’s Spring

My very first face-painting gig of the year.  It was outdoors and sunny.  It was a multi-birthday party Easter celebration in Kankakee, and I was very impressed with the level of the enthusiasm I encountered.  I always fully expect to be bombarded by the under-10-year-olds.  And I was, up until a certain point of the evening, when confetti filled eggs took precedence.  Then, I was bombarded by the 13-16 year olds who fell in love with the novelty of face and body painting, realizing how long it had been since they let themselves indulge in such a “childish” activity.

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The usual designs like tigers and fairy makeup were about, and then two of the older girls wanted cheetah faces and that was the trend of the day.  I find it amusing how these trends take form, and what they are each time.  Butterfly faces or tigers or dragons.

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The eyes on the eyelids is also a popular trick, which can be amusing and startling all at once.

 

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I have begun putting together a completely new fairy outfit.  The wings are not the ones I want to use – I’m still deciding on a set for myself.

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And my personal favorite of the day:

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Now, I look forward at the upcoming season, wondering what adventures await me with the warm weather.

The Thing About Wings

I started making wings when I was 15.  I went to a performing arts high school in Milwaukee which fed the flame for not only my creativity, but also my expression of rebellion.  I can see you scratching your head at the connection.

My school had strict regulations for dress code.  Skirts had to reach a certain length, shoulder straps had to be a certain width.  Anything on your head was subject to scrutiny.  No midriff, no bare backs, no offensive tees (and that’s a very subjective phrase).

However, there was nothing in the codes saying fairy wings were prohibited.  So, on several occasions, I wore my handmade wings to school.  That was my rebellion.

I did that a lot – rebelled through logical stand points.  I did nothing “wrong” per say, just pushed the envelope for what was “acceptable.”  My rebellion was backed up by carefully researched facts and plotted arguments.  I can do this because…  That is incorrect because…

And that is how my venture into fairy costumes came about.

Fast forward to college; I started exploring different methods beyond the nylon-coat hanger style and people started showing an interest in pairs for themselves.  I opened up shop, figuratively.  Most of what I did was by word of mouth.  I kept sketchbooks close by for ideas throughout the day.  My early work was interesting, vague, and some of it a little sloppy.

Two years later, I started doing shows and travelling with the shop.  It’s a hard gig to have because there is so much stress involved in travelling, maintaining expenses, and staying ahead of the trend.

That brings me to the nature of this post.  The trend has passed me by.  I wish I could blame something in particular (**couch**DisneyFairies**cough**) but that’s not quite right.  The fairy market has been stretched thin, and it has been a hard realization for me to make this year.  Really, I noticed it happening two years ago, but hoped that if I found a way to produce better quality items at a better price, I could stay in the game.  What I have been hearing a lot of lately is “She already has three pairs of fairy wings” and “Honey, you already have five tutus at home.  You don’t need another one.”

What does that mean for me?  Well, the fairy wing business is essentially shutting down.  I will not be “mass producing” my items.  I will still take custom orders, and the higher quality, one-of-a-kind items will still be in production – but the small, inexpensive, child-oriented wings are out.  Also, I will not be selling at live venues.  Everything from now on will be virtual markets (i.e. ETSY) and consignment.

That being said, I have a load of wings that I would like to move out of the house, and I’m willing to part with them at a pretty sweet deal to you guys.  Use this code WINGS2012 at checkout to get 50% any pair of wings in the shop, with the exception of made-to-order items.  I think there’s only one of those.  And wings will be uploaded as I have time, so keep checking back to see if there is anything new listed.

So, what happens to Little Green Pixie?

I will still do face painting and private/corporate gigs.  The wings and tutus will do one live show a year (Custer Street).

I am going to focus on the design aspect of the business.  There are so many designs stuck in my head that I simply haven’t had time to put to paper.  I really want to put them all out in the world for you.  I am working on a book (or two, or three…and maybe a small ebook somewhere in there, too).

Also, since I began teaching aerial, my perspective has changed.  It is so much fun and I love helping others share my passions.  The girls I teach are so excited about what they are learning, and that excitement and sense of possibility is infectious.  I have been looking at outlets for doing this more in-depth – intensive training and extra programs and whatnot.  The circus outlets in my life have been a prevalent source of inspiration for my knitwear designs, so I want to keep the two linked as much as possible.

This is a rather bittersweet post to mark my second blogversary.  It has been a fairly interesting and difficult year.  We are signing our lease for year three, and have begun serious discussion for what happens after that.  What are our plans for next summer?  I’m tossing around the ideas of different cities and looking into better programs and venues for my creative talents.  Odin is looking at his own future prospects and we are actively trying to bring our goals in line with each other.

In the end, I have a good feeling about this new path.  I think it will prove itself in the long run.

Aftermath

I kept thinking all afternoon yesterday about how I should update.  And then I sat down at the computer and played Oregon Trail for an hour, then cleaned the bathroom and straightened up some of the mess I had created last week, then sat down to knit and crochet.  I worked on the afghan a bit and came really close to finishing the Cecilia Chemise:

But anyway, the weekend.

Our act was the first of the second half for tech rehearsal, which meant that we showed up, did our warm up, ran through the set up and and strike of our piece a few times, went through it all once, and then we were done.  As soon as our instructor told me I could leave, I was gone.  I didn’t even change out of my costume.  I just hopped in the car and drove the hour to Beach Park to meet up with Brian and Rose.  I finished the last of the fairy houses before retiring to bed.

And then we were up at 4:30 am to shower and get stuff ready.  We got the kids up and in the car and then we took off.  Two hours later we were unloading in Janesville, setting up the tent and stock, and waiting for the crowd to come.

The little girl there is Brian’s daughter, Ryley, who kept trying to either help, or pull me to sitting so I could build houses out of sticks which she would inevitably destroy and laugh.

I was placed next to Hearthstone Arts, a fantastic shop that makes beautiful mugs and platters.  Our house supports many of their fine wares, and being situated next door tormented me greatly.  But get this – sock knitting – it made me squee.

Around noon, I left the fair to return to Evanston, where I spent the remainder of the day in a spy costume, trying to nap in the green room, crocheting the Cecilia chemise, and performing our aerial routine.  I somehow stayed awake through it all, and even made it home with a little energy left to chat before going to bed.

I think we all had a great time – I did, at least.  I can’t wait to do it again.  It looks like our next act will be a really interesting Tom Waits Trapeze thing.  I’m not a fan of trapeze, but perhaps this will change my perspective.

Then again, on Sunday, I was up at 5:30 to be out of the door at 6:30, with Odin and Ellette in tow, and arrived at the fair to set up and spend time with some friends before the day officially began.  Then, it was slow, but fun.  Having a 3 year old clinging to my skirts actually made the day really nice, because even though we weren’t busy, I was always laughing and playing.

Fairies were everywhere, but mostly they were waist high and adorable.

There were fairies blowing bubbles.

And fairies eating pickles.

There were sleeping fairies.

Which is what I wanted to do.  I started crashing at 1, and was trying to put as much caffeine and fuel into my system as possible to stay awake.

Overall it was fun.  A thrilling weekend, void of boredom, and now I’m gearing up for round 2.

Nothing if Not Efficient

Odin is an engineer.  He thinks, speaks, and lives like an engineer.  It makes it easy when we get in arguments because I know exactly how he is going to handle it – by being perfectly reasonable, logical, and incredibly, infuriatingly stubborn (and a lot of times – wrong).  That being said, it has often been the case that I come to him with a problem, and he creates a solution (let’s ignore that sometimes I, myself, am too stubborn to accept the solution, let alone that there was a problem to begin with).

Today, I spent the morning cutting tulle into strips so I could continue making fairy skirts (a.k.a. tutus) for the upcoming shows.  I have been having a hard time focusing on cutting them into strips, and Odin happened to be walking by as I sighed and said “there must be a better way of doing this.”  I had been measuring out the length of tulle, cutting it, putting it aside, and doing it again.  Odin looked at me and said simply “there is, you need a board with two pegs in it.  How long are the strips?”  And went into his work room.  I thought he was continuing work on his air plane, so I went back to work.

Since there wasn’t much else to do, I thought about what he said.  I realized my yarn swift has pegs.  Pegs in boards, in fact.  So I took off one of the sections of the tabletop swift, put the pegs the correct distance apart and began wrapping the tulle around the pegs.  A little while later, Odin emerged with a slightly more stable design than what I had improvised.  I looked at what he gave me, and then I had an epiphany.

 

A yarn swift turns.  A yarn swift like I had could work in reverse.  It was perfect.

I timed myself.  It was taking me around 5 or 6 minutes to cut one roll of tulle.  Now, it takes me about one minute.  I shaved 80% of my time off the process by this new device.  Then, I remembered he had put two pegs in the board, and I realized what that meant.

I made it through the dozens of rolls of tulle just through nerdy fulfillment.  But if I’m a nerd, at least I’m an efficient one.

What followed was a debate of whether three pegs would be more efficient than five.  Thoughts?

Spring Cleaning

I have been getting my shop in order lately.  Yesterday, I pulled out all of my old stock and left it on the floor of my studio so it would be conveniently in the way every time I tried to work, reminding me that I need to take care of it.  I needed to find out what I had left, pull out anything that was damaged in transit at any fair during 2011, and photograph and Etsy everything else.

I have gotten through most of the tutus and almost all of the Single Panel wings.  I am hoping to knock through the rest by the end of the weekend.

I have so many new ideas I’m working on, and I’m eager to clear out the old stuff.  To do this, I have reduced the price of old inventory on Etsy.  Get it out of here!!

 

Plus, with every order, I include a special Little Green Pixie sticker.  Seriously, how can you resist?

Visit my Etsy shop for more wings!

The Fairy’s Lair

Some time ago, I started showing you pictures of how I was revamping the fairy’s bedroom.  She has a queen-sized loft, which was one of the major pros to getting this apartment over something slightly less expensive (it was that and the ridiculously spacious awesome attic).  After a year of telling her repeatedly to clean up her room, because besides the loft, the room is tiny, and therefore always messy, I decided the best course of action would be to swap the “play area” with the “sleep area” and set to work.

Well, after a couple months of work, it is just about complete.  I am waiting on a storage bench in which to pile her dress up clothes and I picked up her bed frame on Saturday.  Then, it is stay clean or drive your mother insane.

These curtains were actually a bed sheet from when I was a teenager.  I know, crazy.  I had pastels in my room. (I shudder to admit).  I pulled them out to make Ellette’s bed one day and noticed a giant tear at one end.  Mourning the loss of otherwise perfect bed sheets and wondering how to salvage what remained, I climbed into her loft and did my favorite – eyeball measuring (do NOT try this at home!!  Measuring tape is your friend).

The purple lace at the bottom is something left from my grandmother’s craft room and went wonderfully with the butterflies in the fabric.  Ellette saw them after I got them situated and squeeled in delight (and I came to sudden realization that the squeeling will only get progressively worse as she gets older and I regretted making anything for her, for the sake of my eardrums.)

I was finally able to hang up the squat fairy tent a neighbor gave us as they moved out (and Ellette has been bugging me relentlessly about hanging up).  There is a purple beanbag tucked inside of the tent to allow comfort for her retreat.  She likes to lay up there reading.  It took two small carpets from Target to cover the floor.  We tried going with one, but it was too small and awkward for the space, so a second one was procured.  We moved her bookshelf up there along with some bins of toys and Ellette loves it!

Last weekend, Ellette had a friend over and the two of them spent the entire time hiding in her loft playing.  I would say it has been a success.

And now I get to tell her incessently to pick up her dirty clothes from the floor.

(PS: I realize I promised patterns for the Tetris afghan and the gauntlets, but remember that the charger for my laptop is broken and the battery is dead.  It has been a sad week.  The only way I have been able to update is by hogging the family computer.  All of my information for those two projects – notes, charts, photos – is on my laptop.  We tried to pick up a generic charger from the store, but the plug was too big.  I had to order one special – it should be arriving soon.  I appreciate your patience!)

Dear 2011,

The past year has been quite crazy.  I am very happy to see it finally drawing to a close and look forward to what the next year brings.

Looking back at the past year:

A massive blizzard in February shut down schools for 2 days.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Ellette had a fantastic 6th birthday in our own created Neverland.

 

Odin and I took a trip to Denmark in the Spring.

And I met family for the first time that I can remember.

Following Denmark was a brief excursion to France.

Upon our return, my studio looked like this for most of the summer…

As I had my hands full with the Janesville Renaissance Fair and the Custer Street Fair.

And later in the summer, the World of Faeries Festival.

Summer passed quickly when I wasn’t doing shows because we filled our time with beaches,

and fireworks,

and amusement parks.

I have spent the past year learning aerial acrobatics and look forward to continuing.  I will be in a performance in May that I am very excited for.

We welcomed fall with apple picking.

and Halloween.

Following Thanksgiving, we escaped to Texas and the Texas Renaissance Festival for a weekend.

And finished the year in Virginia.

For some reason, I thought I could finish a full afghan in the 10 days we’ve spent in the country.  Of course, I hadn’t counted on getting sick.  This is all I’ve been able to complete so far – a mere 40%.

And 2o12?

A new job, continuing passions and taking them to the next level.  Returning to Chicago and settling in to our lives there.  We are becoming more comfortable in our apartment and neighborhood and the lives that we are building.  We will also, thanks to our roommate, be adding a new family member to the mix (more about that later).

Tonight, we are going out to celebrate the coming of 2012 and kicking 2011 out the door.

How was your year?

Knitted Things for your Amusement

I have a ton of things to say, but today I am going to focus on one.  Because my holiday knitting is a bit intricate and on tiny needles (I know, I’m crazy), I have been addicted to knitting pixie hats for my travel knitting.  These do the trick completely.  They are on big needles with a chunky yarn and are so free form it makes me giggle.  Now, my living room is littered with various sizes and so many colors you would think a parade of clowns with too much alcohol in their system threw up all over.  I have finally listed them on Etsy so that everyone else may have their pick.  If you are a non-knitter or a knitter in need of some fiber assistance, check these out:


I have been making baby sized hats from the remnants bin.  The top is Nashua Handknits (can’t remember the color) and the bottom is Cascade 128 Superwash.  They are both incredibly soft and entirely adorable.  To find them in my Etsy shop, look here and here.

I seem to be making up for kid’s sized hats than anything.  I suppose it is fitting, after all.  Kids would go nuts over them (and mine does!).  These are very bright – I especially like the blue one – and perfect for keeping spirits up in the middle of winter.  They are available here, here, and here.

 

And, of course, I have made some adult ones.  For some reason, it is so much easier and natural to make the kid sized one.  I am currently working on a beautiful black and gray one in an adult size.  (There are also some kids ones that just need finishing).  These two hats are available here and here.

 

I will try to remember to tell you when new things are being added to the shop, but remember to keep on eye on it for new arrivals!

 

Medival Fair in Autumn

We have had a very busy weekend over here.  With Odin out of town, it was me and Ellette finding ways to amuse ourselves.  Saturday, we attended the Stronghold Medieval Fair with a friend and her son, and Sunday – a glorious Sunday – we did absolutely nothing.  I couldn’t bother updating when I had my first true day that I could do absolutely nothing.  I did not have to wake up at a particular time, I did not have any intention on going anywhere, and it was a beautiful autumn day.

But, to tell you about the fair!  See below:

                 

 

A day when I did not have to work.  I opted out of selling at this show in exchange for a chance to be social and relaxed.  The weather was beautiful, and we were a little surprised at how quickly the day got away from us.  The kids absolutely loved it as well.  The most appealing part for me was that I didn’t have to wear a bodice.  I woke up, decided I was going to dress up, but as my inner pixie instead of regulated costume, and enjoyed adding layers and adornments.

 

 

Pixie Hats

Ellette graciously decided to let me photograph the new hats on her.  I realized they are just a tad too small for her head, but still look cute.  I was hoping to make a hat from one ball of this beautiful yarn (Nashua Handknits), but it looks like I have to increase my yardage.

I love how the colors are blending together.  The yarn is very soft and squishy – I just want to curl up in a bed of it.

There are more in the making, although these two colorways are limited.  They were on sale. I have a mighty temptation to quick hope onto the WEBS website and purchase everything that remains.

For the most part, the hats I am making will be placed in the consignment shops I work with.  anything excess will probably be on Etsy at the end of September/early October.  I do take custom orders, remember!

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