Sunday, November 3, 2013

I love TV

Here's a TV series I just finished watching- found it a couple of days ago when needing something to take away the pains of the ladycurse. You can watch the whole thing all at once on You Tube - as I did! (There are seperated episodes there too, if you need that.) 3 very enjoyable hours. Essentially, 'Amanda is an ardent Jane Austen fan who lives in present day London, until she finds she's swapped places with Austen's fictional creation Elizabeth Bennet.' I'm not an Austen girl (have never read any of them, maybe saw Pride and Prejudice once, 1000 years ago) but I thought it would be fun and I was right! To say Amanda is an 'ardent Jane Austen fan' is wrong though, she's just obsessed with reading Pride and Prejudice over and over. There were a few discrepancies; I don't think the costumes were paid too close attention to, but it's a fun ride. Mr.Darcy is hilariously, typically and relentlessly cranky and there's a few nods to the classic Firth incarnation. ('Wet shirt' is all I need say, I'm sure.)

There's also this- The Paradise. I advise not watching any of the trailers for this as they're all awful. (The BBC really need to talk to me about their promotion/advertising/DVD artwork etc.) It's easiest to flog this as a better version of Mr.Selfridge, but it's more accurate to say it's a witty, elegant and lovable series about a large department store and the people who work there (and opposite it). The characters are all likable in their own way, there's plenty of familiar faces and the production design is amazing. The only thing I wish for it is that there had been more exploration of the other shops who are suffering under the expansion of the larger store. But they've just started showing season two, so maybe there will be!

I can't wait to live in England, where I can get great TV like this all the time instead of hunting it down online. Australia is a cultural desert.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Awayness Approaching

 Just so you know, Mz.Devices...I am selling the things i collect and am not a hoarder so there. Actually that was one of the reasons why I showed the old photos, it's one of the few things I buy with a purpose of keeping them. Sometimes. It's what makes me ideal for being a vintage dealer really, because I don't get attached to all the spectacular things I find. Although I do have this black glass buckle I recently scored... Is that watermark up there more subtle?

 Look at these buckles...medieval! I forgot to tell you chaps last time that I'm going away for a couple of weeks to the Misty Mountain Retreat - aka my friend's house. For some RnR and a little bit of (gasp!) socializing. yeah, other people! Weird.

 Due to the awayness of my being away, Fagin's will be on vacation as of Monday lunchtime, which is my time- so about Sunday after dinner for you. It'll be back up around the 22nd of October.

I'll probably still blog while I'm away because hobbit have wi-fi (well all the hobbits I know anyway) and I wanna do some photography n whatnot. I just wanted to give you a heads up in case there's something you've been meaning to get.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Old Folks

Since I'm always showing you pretty pictures of things I want you to buy, I figured it was a bout time I showed you pretty pictures of things you can't buy! I never used to be a collector of things but in the last few months I've found myself buying things for the shop and then deciding I might like to keep it, if only for a while. Most stock for the shop gets sorted, bagged and boxed till it comes time to 'shoot n list', but some stuff just sits around so I can enjoy it. This post is all about the antique photographs I have sprinkled around the room. Long gone people from other countries; there really isn't anything particular I look for when collecting- sharply focused eyes is nice, but usually there's just something about them. It's more noticeable in some than others.

Let's start with these 3 pairs - these came today as part of a lot (from this great shop), which I only bought for one photo (you'll see that later) I bought specifically for my brother who collects antique photographs as well, focusing mainly on bearded men. Anyway- these look to be photo booth cards but it doesn't seem photo booths were in wide use until the 1920s (though they did have them beforehand). I suppose they were swapped among girlfriends, perhaps this size was intended for lockets as they're only stamp sized.

 This one's my favourite. She's had enough of your shit!

 Here's the girl who's actually the frame in my layered backgrounds on Fagin's.

I love her! She seems like a nice, fun person. The back is sweet too: 

Back in the days when a photo of yourself was a perfectly good Xmas present.

 An elegant lady from the 1920s.

 She has a kind and graceful face.

 These sisters (I suppose) I love for no good reason other than it's a lovely shot and they have great dresses. I like to think that odd hand gesture on the table is some kind of secret code.

 Here's the photo I bought for my brother:

He collects pictures of manly men and I thought this one was especially nice, the close friendship and cigars. A lot of people nowadays see this and think 'omg gays!' but back in the late 19th century it was common for men to be closely affectionate with each other as girls are today.

I like to think they were out on the town, a bit drunk when one of them had the idea to 'get their picture took'. I might have to get a better shot of these boys and submit them to My Daguerreotype Boyfriend. (which is a great site I highly recommend.)

 Here's one I don't think I'll be able to sell any time soon- she's hilarious! In a congenial way, of course.

They told me to keep still and I kept still!

Her's a 'nice old lady'. Something familar about her face to me, and I love the detail of her dress and jewelry. I had this one as far as making the listing, but I changed my mind.


 Lovely girl in a stripey dress with a memorial brooch - she reminds me of a young McGonagall. This photo is only about the size of a postage stamp.
 A lovely 1920s girl who seems nice enough, but the longer you look at her face, the more annoyed she gets! Some people just don't like to be stared at I guess.

Here's the best for last! 
 Apart from looking like the Muggle Malfoy cousin no one ever talks about... check out the length of his neck!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Paper Perfect

 I figured since I was putting so much energy into destashing stuff lately, that I'd give the vintage shop a little bit of a make over. The blue and white is lovely, but it was starting to get a little cold in there, so a little floral warmth is in order.

 Ideally I'd like to sell those kinds of things- floral china, embroidered linen, pretty coloured English stuff; but since it's so rare for me to find that kind of stuff around here, when I buy it, I keep it! Adding the floral touch to the background still gives me that summer cottage look without giving up my precious treasure.

I could spend all afternoon photographing layers of antique paper. The texture in the light, the different kinds of cream, the way age spots sprinkle over them; my mind has been tinkering over ideas of art again, paper collage and woodblock printing, using antique papers as the base. But for now, they're the base of my other favourite thing to photograph; vintage supplies.

These beads were being photographed for destash, but I couldn't do it- they're like tiny squares of raspberry candy! I'll be putting those back in the 'keepin it' pile, antique pyramid nailheads. They always look so sweet lined up along a thin textile cuff. That's something I've been thinking about again too.


 You might notice a watermark (of sorts) in most of these. I've always been against watermarks- the idea is sensible, but as someone who relies on her image being shared in visual-based social media, I need those images to be as sharable as possible. Unfortunately, Tumblr and Pinterest are both guilty of 'losing the link' when it comes to this stuff; countless times I've had to image-search something to find out where it came from. But I also constantly come across my own images on Pinterest and they often have no attribution at all. The problem for me then lies here, and I think by having a modest watermark like this keeps honest people honest. I know it's easily removed, but I'm not concerned with those people.

Is it a subtle watermark though? Is it too bold? Be honest! I want to know if you would hesitate to pin any of these images because of that watermark.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Dust of Spring


It's spring here in Australia, and not only does that mean perfectly civilized weather of sunny days and cool shadows and fires at night and sometimes rain (I thrive best in this changeable muddle) it also means the Devil is nearer my hearth. By which of course I mean summer. Ick. Poo. Bleh. As a season generally I have no problem with summer- in England it's a perfectly nice affair with sea breezes and days where I can laugh at the radio because 25C is 'a scorcher'. Here in Australia however, a scorcher is likely to be 45C. Sometimes for a week at a time. I hate summer in Australia. I despise it. So this time of year when the weather is nice and I'm full of energy, I'm taking the time to organise and prepare my world so all I have to do while the sun is killing everything is lay on my bed and watch TV.

I've been cleaning up and redecorating (I nest for summer hibernation as most do for winter) and destashing my supplies, even more than usual. Bead soups and junk drawer lots are starting to appear in Fagin's Daughter; this will go on for at least another 3 weeks or more because I have a metric tonne of it! Really I ought to be ashamed. It's a jolly good thing I enjoy photographing it. In fact I actually enjoy making up these little 'junk lots' and photographing them more than I enjoy making things from it, but then I've long known that.

There's a great feeling of hope that comes with spring, and I'm feeling in the middle of a great sense of 'excited calm' lately. I read a quote the other day which said 'nature never hurries, and yet everything is done'. And that's rather helped me curb my usual anxiousness to get things done as quickly as possible. Now I'm just sailing calmly through the day to day; what gets done is done, and what doesn't will keep.

As long as I spend each day in the present and focus on making my world a beautiful place to be, things aren't so bad. Of course I'm not always this calm and composed, but when things get too much I just dip into my stand-by pot of 'who gives a shit' and go have a cup of tea. And some cake, which I'm very good at this time of year. Pear and walnut with sticky lemon glaze was this week's blend. That's already been eaten, so tomorrow I'll do an apple chai with ginger frosting.With cake and tea and sunny days and nights cold enough for fires, and my hours spend making these beautiful photos- what's not to enjoy?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Smelling the Roses

The last handful of posts have been rather full-tilt and heavy, so I figured we could all do with a nice drive to admire the scenery. One of the things I've been doing lately is examining my creative path and what I want/don't want to do. I very much miss both photography and working with textiles, so I've been doing a bit of both. Finally I'm back on Flickr! Catching up required there is epic....

Soft and serene and elegant...

Rich and warm and romantic... these are some inspiration boards I'm working on for a very special person. She's engaging me to come up with the visual story of her online world, and it's an honour to do so. It's been one of the things that's made me realise how much I miss certain creative things, and how I can go about getting them back in my life again. On the light side it means a possible return of cuffs to my shop, certainly more DIY kits - on the deeper side it means a complete transcendence of my creative purpose. More as it develops.

Walking down the street a few weeks ago, enjoying that wonderful conflict of storm clouds and long sunshine that comes with that time of the year, a small window between winter and spring. It's an exciting time in a romantic sense, I feel the sap rising and the tingle of adventure on the cutting wind.
 This house is in one of my favourite streets of this town, living where I am now means I get to shortcut through it on the way to the post office.

 This one was one of those 'lucky moments' - a quick snap of nice light as I passed by the lane on the way to the post office. I didn't even notice the bike until I got home. (click this pic, it needs to be seen big). This lane is between the school and my childhood home, so not only is this view familiar to me from a nostalgic point of view, but the afternoon sun and the peace and that one kid's bike makes this whole image such a powerful  symbol of the freedom of childhood. That golden time when the only worry I had was that dinner would be something I didn't much like.

Here's one I took yesterday- Dad and I went for a country drive to look in on a junk shop we haven't been to in about 20 years (didn't know it was still there!) Turns out it was, and I think most of the stuff there had been there all that time too. A little over-priced and picked-over, but I still managed to find a couple of things, as I do. This building was down the road- one of the oldest original buildings in the area. heart-breakingly it was all locked up and empty. Annoyingly all the curtains were drawn tight and I couldn't see in.

A little further down there was another tiny junk shop, sort of a one-woman thrift store. A great little shop with lots of wonderful things and the kind of place you're allowed to open drawers and rummage in. I scored some lovely old trims in here and she had the most amazing vintage fabric stash and a dresser crammed full of mid century aprons, but my wallet was looking thin so I turned a blind eye and made pleasant chit-chat about the contrary weather. Next time I will be more heavy of purse.

Lastly, here's some ruined old buttons from Fagin's Daughter, simply because I liked the photo. This was actually one of the images that made me realise how much I miss photography, as I spent more time thinking about the composition and light than I did about showing the buttons as they were! I keep forgetting to show you when I update the antique shop. Which is odd really, because it is easily my favourite place to be online and one I try to put daily effort into. Sometimes that 'effort' is just to sit and look at it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Nearly There

Okay I promise the pricing post and the post on what Etsy have done to shackle us are both coming. In the mean time here's a little filler of fun.  Here's an old photo which came in a lot of larger photos when I bought some antique albums on eBay a while back.


Look familiar?

I found the likeness instantly obvious- at first I thought it was a publicity still, but no- it's a legit Edwardian photo. baring in mind she's not wearing make up, but she is of the right time period, and she is holding a rose in her hand. 

 This reminds me of the Nicholas Cage Vampire photo. I wonder if I can get a million for this one...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Let's All Visit The Lobby

Things have been pretty crazy-deep around here these past couple weeks, so let's lighten the mood a little.

Changed the banner on my antique shop because I felt like doing some graphics. I often wonder if I should go into selling this stuff but then I think I have enough to do as it is, and I don't have the energy to compete in the graphics category in Etsy- it's worse than jewelry! Then I updated it with some nice old bits:

 Pretty antique photos- the studio graphics on these ones are soooooooo good!

 Pretty bone bangle carved with leafy patterns, Edwardian or late Victorian. I don't know what kind of bone it is, I assume camel or cow maybe, could be buffalo. Oh- I don't know if you heard, but Etsy changed some policies on what you can't sell lately. As usual they made the announcement in the forums and just acted like that's telling people- so if you sell something that's made of ivory, or has ivory in it, or might be ivory or even is bone and you guessed what the bone is...and you suddenly find your listing deactivated- it's because Etsy have taken it down. They've changed their policy on certain animals who's products can't be sold which is great, only to make things easier they've just decided to ban all kinds of stuff. Even if it relates to an endangered animal but not really. (the fiber artists are fuming.) Even if you have a license for it. Even if it's legal everywhere else. Apparently it's 'not in the spirit of Etsy' - whatever that is. I can't ask because I got banned from the forums again- this time forever! Oh yeah I'm hardcore.

 Nice canvas measuring tape - sadly it was stored squashed flat for some time and it rotted in the folds, so it's in bits. I collected these big numbered ones for a while but I don't tend to last long on these things. I've never been a collector of anything in particular- it baffles me how people can have shelves and shelves of the same kind of thing. I'm too much of a dealer, I'd rather find it and pass it on. I only ask money for them so I can eat and go buy more!

This fab steel tape measure from Russia - the other steel measure I have does well (I sell it by the foot) so I snapped this one up on eBay last week. I was hoping it would have Russian numbers, but it only has our boring Arabic ones. But it does have nice little spear points at the halfway points so it's worth it.

I love the smile on this girl. Tempted to keep her- if this listing is still there next week I think I might!

Then I figured while I was at it with the graphics, I'd make a new one for Sparrow Salvage instead- but it's not up yet, cause it's for the new collection and that's not ready. If it's still not ready by the time all my custom orders have been bought n paid for I might put the shop on vacation for a bit, just so I don't have to think about it. I have so much to list with the antique shop - I have paper ephemera I want to get up there, and lace bits and much more besides, and I have the pricing series I'm really enjoying researching and writing, so jewelry's taken a back burner. I have been making though:

Here's some sneakies at bits from the new collection. Strips of fencing wire I pulled out of a skip next to a church in outback Australia- once they're hammered and sanded all the rust dusts away and you get this lovely mat finish black steel. Shows up the perfect pearls nicely.

Here's some shapes cut from a cake tin- I've had that tin for about 10 years now, been meaning to cut into it for about 5 but I could never get myself to do it. Then it went 3 rounds on eBay and no one so much as sniffed at it for $25, so I took it as a sign. It's a huge thing so I'll get tons out of it.

Petra bits!! I could not resist the lure of these candies- they look like fancy chocolates flaked with gold; look at that insanely delicious crackle:

Seriously these are so ka-pow just on their own,it's going to be so damned easy to make them into jewelry!! Even just a hook and you're done. That would feel like the biggest cheating ever.

And she sent me extras cause she's a doll. I already used the little blue pears, and the long unglossy spikes will get some extra embellishment from me because I can't seem to leave well enough alone. I just went to fanci's blog and she's got some too- and she's going to mess with them too! I love this chalkiness, but I want shiny.

Look at those little pawprints! Like otters or some such, pressed into the mud next to the river bank. 

THEN after all that, I spent pretty much the entire night last night (stayed up til 5!) re-working my About pages - one for Sparrow and one for Star Tribe. It was an eye opening experience, as I wrote I realised there are more alignments in my work than I consciously think about. There's nothing like talking about your work to get you to think about what you do and why.

I'm working on the pricing post I promise. It will be up in the next day or two- and then after that will be a showcase post with all the amazing wisdom I've heard from you all. And THEN I have a post to write on something else entirely- the lack of visibility on Etsy. I haven't sold much at all these last couple of weeks, and looking about at some of your shops no one else has either. Views and hearts are way down. I think I know what's to blame, and I think I might have a way to get around it. But it does involve a bit of a rant on the State of Etsy. So it's gotta wait.