Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Liebster Awards, Pink Tunics and Navel-Gazing

Before we get started, the insomniac  would like to thank The Curious Professor Z and Lucretia's Reflection, who kindly nominated the insomniac  for a Liebster Award a few weeks ago. She really did have good intentions of following through and participating, but once she reread the eleven questions posed by the Professor, added to the additional eleven from Lucretia, then had to come up with eleven different questions and nominate eleven other bloggers each with fewer than 200 followers, right there - at that point right there - she changed her mind.

Besides, we all know people don't come here to read random facts about the insomniac  and her idiosyncrasies. You're all here to see pictures of the Little Gothic Cottage, in which case you should skip to the end. And should you actually want to read odd little facts about her, you may do so here - the one and only time she participated in an award. If you do read it first, probably some of the things in this post will make more sense. Oh, she cries at the drop of a hat? I get it now. Socially awkward? Makes sense she doesn't enjoy doing markets. Hates getting her picture taken? That's why she's not in the market vendor photo.

The last time the insomniac  was accepted at a juried show was in Cody, Wyoming way back in 2002. Although it was a fairly prestigious show, she was confident her creations for the event were top-notch. Right up until the moment she turned the corner and walked into the model's dressing room only to see them gathered around exclaiming, “I'm not going to wear that thing! It's not sexy at all! I'll look like a frumpy turnip!” while holding up one of the insomniac's  dresses she'd made and was particularly proud of. Okay, maybe they didn't use that exact phrase. But that was the gist of it.

You gotta hand it to her.
For a girl who'd obviously drawn the short straw
and had to wear the Frumpy Turnip Dress,
she managed to put on a brave face for the show.

For which she has the insomniac's  eternal gratitude.

One is embarrassed to admit she hastily backed out of the dressing room before the models could see her crying, the rest of the event pretty much ruined for her. And instead of attending the awards ceremony on the last day, she and the spouse took the offspring to a nearby lake to wade in the frigid water and skip rocks, only to return and discover she'd been awarded Best Adaptation of Materials by Manuel - the genius behind Johnny Cash's Man in Black look - who had previously visited her booth and said “I really like your stuff.” Okay, maybe he didn't say he really  liked it. But he definitely said he liked it. Although he might have said really  liked ... it was thirteen years ago - who can remember?

And the award and Manuel's kind words were a validation of sorts, that even though none of the models seemed terribly impressed with her contributions, maybe her work was alright. But other than a small purse that went to the Gene Autry Museum for their collection, none of it sold. And when she returned home to Alberta feeling pretty chuffed and sent the press release about her award to the local papers which they never acknowledged, she decided to give up trying to make any money with her sewing (which only paid her roughly $1/hour anyway) and went back to work at various odd jobs (which only paid her roughly $9/hour but helped put food on the table and pay the bills). And the dream was shelved and only thought about in a rather vague sort of way ... “Yeah, I'll get back to needlework someday. Like maybe when I finally retire and have lots of free time on my hands.”

Well, guess what. That day has finally arrived. Wow. Where DID the time go?

She decided to take another crack at it, and see whether things had changed and people more willing to pay a reasonable (not extravagant, mind) price for hand-sewn items these days. After all, Alabama Chanin seems to be doing well enough (although she hopes nobody from Alabama Chanin is reading this post and sees what horrible things she's now doing with their fabrics. **waves nervously at Kailey** So she applied to a few markets and was turned down for all except for one. **waves at Colette and Lauren**

She ordered fabrics in colours she wouldn't normally choose, as the market's theme is All Things Pretty and there were guidelines to be followed, i.e. no skulls. And none of what she made sold, except this purse.

Oops, sorry. Probably should have warned you to shield your eyes.

Weren't expecting anything this bright here, were you?

And now, one is again faced with the problem of what on earth to do with all the things she makes that don't sell. Obviously, they're not the kind of item that could go into the Attic, most of them being pastel. Some were taken to her favourite boutique in Calgary for consignment **waves to Beth and Susie**; everything else dismantled and readied for immersion into a vat of black dye to create new things with.

All except the little pink tunic you already know about if you follow the Attic on Facebook - which you really should, as it's just as entertaining over there as it is here. (Nah, just kidding. I can't stand FB and only do it because apparently you HAVE TO if you run a business. Pfffft.)

Anyway, the insomniac  decided to salvage that tunic with a graphic of Bela Lugosi from another old t-shirt and bring it with her to Horror Con. And when she finally came up for air two days later and calculated she'd spent approximately sixteen hours sewing on a t-shirt that would now be unaffordable for anyone who might be even remotely interested in it, she realized she'd stuck it to herself yet again. Never let it be said she doesn't know how to manage her time wisely.

So what the insomniac  is asking of you my pretties, is for suggestions on how to keep doing what she really needs  to do, just as surely as she needs  to breathe air and consume her body weight in coffee every day. Because needlework seems to be the one thing that quiets all those racing thoughts inside her head, affording her a bit of peace while thinking only of the next stitch (and maybe what to make for dinner) and the stitch after that (and how cool that quilted effect happening on the spiderwebs would look on Pinhead's dome **waves to Jill**) and the stitch after that (and wouldn't it be awesome to do the Bride of Frankenstein and make all the stitches look like sutures) while somehow allowing her to squash all those other thoughts racing around inside there but that aren't nearly as interesting to think about.

And she has finally decided, after much introspection and navel-gazing over the past few weeks, that what she really wants to do with the rest of her life is finally create some of those things inside her head that are screaming to be let out (Sshhhh ... can you hear them? They're getting pretty loud in there.), working in solitude at her dormer window where she can listen to the melodious sounds of the local avian population and sew in the sunshine while warming her bones. What she doesn't want to do is have to take those Creations to a market where she must watch people walk by her booth, pick up something she's made, raise an eyebrow in disbelief and say, “Hmmmph. Who'd pay that  much for that?” Because she doesn't do terribly well with that part. Nope. Not well at all.

She'd like to clarify she's not interested in becoming famous for the things she makes, and neither is she interested in making a tremendous amount of money at it (although she certainly wouldn't say no should somebody offer, unless it involved selling her soul or something). She'd just like to see her Creations - her Children of the Night, if you will - end up with someone who'd be happy to own them, and not end up shoved in a bin in the basement keeping company with all those other things she's made over the years that haven't sold. The offspring would probably like to interject at this point and say they'd also appreciate not having to deal with any more of those things at the end of it all, too.

All she's asking from you is for any ideas you may have on how to make enough money to buy more fabric with which to make more things, and help keep those constant, tiring and generally depressing thoughts in her head at bay.

Plus it doesn't seem fair to spend any of our limited monthly retirement income on supplies just to make things for the sake of making them ... “So dear, I've decided to spend $200 on fabric this month to make things that aren't going to sell. You okay with that?” “Oh, for sure! I'm fine eating Kraft Dinner and wieners the whole month. Knock yourself out, love-of-my-life.” Okay, maybe the spouse doesn't actually use the phrase love-of-my-life. But it's implied.

And although this same conversation has pretty much been done to death with friends who also create **waves at Sharon** sometimes a person thinks about something so hard and for so long that they can't see the forest for the trees anymore. Except you really can see the forest and the trees out here. Provided you don't look out the sewing room window. Then you just see the outhouse.

Maybe the answer isn't as complicated as the insomniac is making it out to be, which she has a tendency to do. Maybe the answer is really very simple ...

Well, Morticia would probably wear her Creations.

But as the insomniac  seldom strays very far from
her uniform of jeans, black t-shirt and Docs,
obviously that's not the correct answer in this case.

Neither is custom work ... “Yes, I'd like to order a dress that looks exactly like one somebody else made that I saw somewhere once, and I'd like it made in these colours that you really can't stand working with, plus my budget is $10. And by the way, I need it by tomorrow. Oh, and can you make it to fit me not how I am now but how I'll be when I've lost 10 pounds?” Been there, done that.

Much thought has been given to donating finished Creations to charity ... “Um, hello. Is this the Salvation Army Centre of Hope? Yeah, the insomniac  here. So yeah, I've just created this er, outfit. Kind of a mix of Dark Mori with a touch of Strega. It's a size 12, because that's what size my dressmaker's dummy is, so it won't fit a large range of people. And you probably can't wash it in the machine because it's covered in hand-sewing and embroidery. Probably can't dry-clean it either 'cause of the beads. So um, yeah. I'd love to donate that for your next fundraiser. Lemme know if you're interested, 'kay?”

As for what to do with the pink tunic that has far too much time invested in it to ever sell? Well, it will come to Horror Con with the insomniac  and the first person to arrive at her table and say “I'd be happy to take that piece of cr*p stunning Creation you've made off your hands and give it a good home.”  - THAT person gets it for free.

Hope you like pink, dear. **waves at Jace**

And for all the rest of you who are only here to see pictures of the Little Gothic Cottage **waves to 95% of her readers**, a photo of the finished tunic taken in the upstairs Guest Bath. Happy now? 


How about now?

Rear View

The back side of the tunic even looks good - kinda like quilting for the insane. Oops, that might have been one of those thoughts that should have been quashed before it was written down. See, that's what happens when the spouse is out on his tractor doing tractor stuff instead of editing the insomniac's  thoughts ...“You might want to delete that sentence, dear. Makes you sound a little unstable.” Oh well - too late now. **hits Publish**

Until next time, the insomniac  wishes you nights of blissful sleep filled with pleasant dreams. Goodnight, my pretties.


PostScript: Is it just the insomniac  or is this post even weirder than usual? Yeah, it's probably time to step away from the sewing for a few days and get out of the Spooky Forest. Maybe drive into the city and meet some friends for coffee **waves at Joyce and Phillipa **, have lunch somewhere nice  **waves at Ang, Di, Kim and Pam**, and take the youngest to Goodwill where she can unload all the stuff her mother has made that hasn't sold but instead bequeathed to her, and her mother can do the same.