Sunday, March 27, 2011

Your Own Vision is Your Most Valuable Resource

I feel like I should tell you before we start that this post has been in the works for a few days and it turned out a lot less angry than I originally thought it would. Okay, go on...

I really enjoy sharing things with people. I like to talk about experiences and I think we will all learn quicker if we share what we know... but there are certain things I just don't feel okay about sharing. There are certain questions I don't want to answer.

Sometimes people ask me: 
Where do I get my materials from? How do I make certain pieces? What kind of ____ do I use? Where can ___ be bought? Can you tell me how you do this so I can do it too?

I don't want to share this with people. I share a lot of various tips for selling online and specifically on Etsy on my other blog. I share a lot of information about "making" and I feel good about that - I like to do that. I enjoy empowering other people to break down their own creative barriers. But I do not like it when people ask me questions about how to do "my thing." 

It's "my thing" for a very good reason: I do this kind of stuff, my way, with my sensibility, with all my knowledge and experience behind it. 

Sure go ahead and try to figure it out yourself, that's fine*, but don't ask me how to do it... what good is that to you?

You are probably thinking: "Danielle, you rant about people copying all the time, you are obviously NOT okay with it..."

That's true, I'm not okay with it... but it happens, and if people want to reverse engineer something they see, I guess they can, but I won't respect it, I won't look at it and think "wow what a brilliant, original work." And as much as I am absolutely irked by the idea that just because I put something online means anyone can take that and run with it - I do truly and honestly believe that no one will ever be able to do my thing with the precision, articulation, attention as I do. No one will ever be able to duplicate my thing my way.

I've always believed this. No one can have my personality, my experiences, my vision, my sense of color, my hand - those things belong to me. 

I've also always believed that ideas are like pennies in a piggy bank and you should be careful who you share things with.

But I really do get annoyed when people want to know specific things about my process.

There is a reason why only like, two people know the Coca Cola recipe. 

Trade secrets exist for a reason... 

Everyone has influences and outside inspiration - duh. It's impossible not to... but everyone has, in some capacity, their own creative vision. And everyone should take advantage of that - of their own creativity.

Take what you see, feel inspired, twist it around with your ideas and make something that is unique to you. 

I always welcome questions, but I prefer them to be questions about experiences or conversation starters... I like to help people, I really do, but I don't like to feel all weird in my stomach over questions that are followed by the claim that "I'll never sell your work, I just want to know how you make it." (Look, I wasn't born yesterday, and I'm sorry internet person who I have never spoken to before but, geez, my best friends don't even know half this stuff...)

So please, don't ask me about how I do my thing, ask me why I do it, or what I like about it, or where I make it, or what inspires me, but don't ask me the technical stuff... I can't transfer that over anyway, it's all just in me somewhere... or out there somewhere for anyone who can find it to buy it. Let's talk about real things, things that aren't about parts and labor.

When I win the handmade-grammy award for best original work on fabric, this will be part of my speech... after I thank mom and dad of course...
*raises handmade grammy trophy award, smiles widely
"You don't get to this point by being dishonest or deceitful. Your own vision is your most valuable resource and I thank the people who supported and nurtured that in me, and of course, the academy..."

The Countdown to Opening Day at Fenway, The Unofficial Start to Summer

Opening day at Fenway is April 8th: Red Sox vs. Yankees at Fenway...

My relationship, both emotional and geographic, with Fenway park is truly love/hate. To clarify, Fenway is basically my next door neighbor. Less than five minutes away on foot, stopping for traffic lights included.

I'll admit there are some fun parts - the first few games of the year, it's exciting, and it does make summer feel like it's already here even in April when it is still a little chilly.

Bostonians LOVE their sox, actually, they love all their sports, but baseball in particular...

Fenway Park has that "old time charm" - it's tiny, it's original, it's authentic... it's fun to be around that area... sometimes.

It's not so fun when I can't walk down certain blocks to get home on game days unless someone "escorts" me to ensure I don't sneak into the game ("I swear, I don't care about the game, I just don't want to walk around the block!") it's not so fun when you're the only person getting off the train at Kenmore, and it's not so fun when the really bright lights shine into your window into the wee hours of the morning.* And there is nothing very fun about drunken baseball fans honking, yelling, singing loudly and such outside your window every other night of the summer when it's really just too hot to cut out the breeze.

Baseball season is sure to result in some funny and/or entertaining stories... and you can absolutely bet that I will share (and yes, maybe complain a little) about them all.

But on the day that this happened:
The day I met Brian (OMG SWOON) from BSB!
I swore I would try to be more tolerant of the not-so-fun parts of living close to Fenway. Because living really close to Fenway this summer means easy access to the NKOTBSB concert and of course (^^^) meeting Brian. :) (Which by the way is like, 15 years in the making so, just let me have my moment.)

But they had the lights on the other night and, well, I already complained a little... oops.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Quotable Friday

"I shook my tambourine the whole time , because it helped me remember that even though I was going through different neighborhoods, I was still me."
-Oscar, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
Jonathan Safran Foer   

This book never gets old. Sometimes I wonder if this is the greatest book I'll ever read. Every time I reread even the tiniest bit of it, I find something new and great about it. I wish there were more books like that. If you know of one, please share it. 

And yes, I've tried "The History of Love"... 

Obligatory Female Blogger "What I Wore" Post

Sometimes on super fashiony blogs, the blogger will do a "look what I wore today" post and everyone will be like "Oh Em Gee, everything you do is so cute" but sometimes I just roll my eyes and feel frumpy. Dressing up and frolicking around in a field isn't really my thing, but I decided to do a post about what I wore too! So I used those other posts as a model and took some pictures of myself looking "ultra fabulous" and playing with my hair (I see that done a lot) as soon as I woke up.

i am so entertained by this parody of cuteness

Now I will go through and tell you what I am wearing:
Gnome Pajamas, by Nick and Nora, from I don't remember, $I also don't remember 
Sweat Pants (not pictured) by really? they are sweatpants, from high school softball field, $like, 15?

I bet none of those fashion chics will show you what they look like first thing in the morning. 

Don't get me wrong, I love to look at fashion blogs - I just can't hold myself to such high style, so I do what I can with what I've got you know?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Isn't Crafty Playtime!

Let's just clear this up right now.

Just because I don't leave the house and go to another establishment and get a paycheck every two weeks doesn't mean I don't have a real job.

Just because I work from home doesn't mean I'm sitting here playing with my crafts.

I work REALLY hard, every day. This isn't crafty playtime. 

I really like doing what I'm doing. I work really hard too though.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to make one of these?

Just because I sit on the couch doesn't mean it isn't work.

I do not sit around all day eating bon bons and watching reality tv, I am constantly thinking, making, brainstorming, sewing, cutting, cleaning up after myself, starting new projects, fixing things that break, reading til my eyeballs hurt, brushing up on the latest and greatest, blogging, writing, listing, taking pictures, winding bobbins, applying to shows, tracking inventory, packing the car, untangling threads, unpacking the car, lugging things all over Boston, printing things, logging in, logging out, going to the post office, printing orders, filing papers, buying new supplies, placing orders online, going to the store, refilling packing products, addressing packages... you get the idea....

To the people who get this, THANK YOU! You know who you are! :)

Go Back To Merriweather Council Blog

Fonts That Should Go Away

... or only be used in the dark.

If you are using one of these on the awning of your shop/restaurant/bar/other establishment, please reconsider.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

NYC, Shake Shack, Lights, Ping Pong & Some of my Friends

A couple of weeks ago, Laura and I met up with Pat and Casey in NYC before taking the train out to Long Island on our way home. 

Two things you should know before I go on:
1. My friend Casey has a thing for my friend Laura
2. Laura likes to play 'hard to get' with him

They look really adorable together though.

Anyway, we went over to Madison Square Park {not to be confused with Madison Square Garden, two totally different things, neither of which are square...} to get some burgers at Shake Shack...

yum, Shake Shack.

 ... but when we got there were were really happy to find not just burgers but also this totally awesome installation of hanging light bulbs by Jim Cambell called "Scattered Light".  Oh and also there were delicious milkshakes.


At the time, we didn't know anything about the installation other than it was pretty and it was fun to walk through. We're a bunch of art kids so we tend to find amusement in such things, although non art folk I'm sure enjoy it just as much. 

As we were leaving we saw the bit of it that is really mindblowing:

"The forward-thinking artwork features 1,600 LED-filled, flickering lightbulbs to create the illusion of over-sized shadowy figures floating through urban space." source 

You can see the figures briefly in this video in which Cambell talks about this and some other pieces. It's totally freaking awesome. {More info here as well.}

And one last thing before we leave this location:
And this is Casey trying to kiss Laura. I don't blame him, it was a romantic spot.

And then we went to play ping pong at Spin which is when everyone got mad at me because I am athletically challenged and not a good partner to have in any game of any kind. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mice: Mind Over Matter

On a few occasions I have seen mice in my apartment. On more than half of these occasions I have screamed quite loudly.

To make the mouse (let's keep it singular for my own peace of mind) seem less like an intruder, I have enacted a couple of key approaches...

One: give the mouse a name
I decided that if f I gave the mouse a name he would seem to be less of an intruder and more of a pet. Even though I have no desire to have a pet mouse, it just seemed like a logical approach... rather than scream when I saw the mouse, I would just say 'oh hey, Lionel, what's up bud?'  Honestly, this didn't really work... maybe you wouldn't eat anything with a name but you certainly get annoyed with things with names...

Two: look up pictures of adorable mice
A couple of times I have heard the mouse without having seen it. When this happens, I simply google "adorable mouse" and convince myself that the mouse I am hearing is freaking adorable like these guys:

And who could be scared, peeved, grossed out or upset by an angelic little critter like that?! 

Three: avoid confrontation
Before going into the kitchen at night, I clap to scare any mice off before I enter. Avoiding confrontation is key, and they are very likely to disperse if they hear a big bad human coming.

Okay, so I said "a couple of key approaches" but then openly admitted that one didn't work. Well, at least I gave it a try! The others are good though! 

Mind over matter my friends... we humans can basically convince ourselves of anything if you try hard enough and google is always there to lend a helpful hand. 

images via sodahead

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh, Good! You're Here!

This is the place where I'll bring you stories from beyond The Merriweather Council. Stories from my very real, very interesting (at times) life.

If the coming days are anything like the past few*, there will be plenty of stories to report... I'll also share all the things that are cool but somewhat irrelevant to Merriweather. 

Stories from the past few days include: 
- Sitting in Starbucks when a man came in, announced he was rich and then threw a hundred dollar bills all over the store... he smiled and then left.  
- Walking home when boy on bike rode past singing, quite loudly and proudly, "I believe I can fly."

I'll introduce you to my friends, and talk about Boston. I'll attempt to cook things and report honestly about the experience. I might rant about some stuff, but I'll probably rave about some other stuff.

I'll post lots of photos and findings and random musings from my travels both near and far. I think it'll be a good time.

We shall see how it goes, yeah?