Monday, May 31, 2010

Cutesy but not Cutesy goes west!!! (Part 2)

After finding out about our Plushteam's gathering on the west coast and between trying to figure out how I would make it out there for the amazing event I immediately thought about how to make the most out of my trip once I got there. I am a huge fan of hiking and the outdoors and it's something that I don't get to do nearly as often as I would like. I decided that if I was going to finally go to California that I would somehow find a way to go to one of the national parks and give myself some much needed life-changing adventures in the outdoors. And that's exactly what I did. Yosemite is only a short drive (4 hours) from San Fransisco so there was no way that I was going to pass that opportunity up. I proposed the adventure to my two good friends Brian McManus (as mentioned in the previous post) and fellow outdoor lover Mike Petite and they were both happily on board with little hesitation. We headed off to Yosemite in a rental car the Monday after Makerfaire weekend and had ourselves a truly breathtaking adventure-filled few days. I am so lucky to have such good friends who can appreciate the same things that I do. This trip would have been lightyears different had I taken it alone and I am certainly glad I did not.

Our first stop was Mariposa Grove to see the Giant Sequoias. To our surprise there was snow on the ground... at the end of May... in California... and the threat of more on the way. As Eastcoasters, clearly we didn't do enough research about the weather in the northern California mountains, but alas, we made it!

We then made it down to Yosemite Valley where we were staying at Curry Village in a tent cabin but not before stopping for some awe-inspiring and possibly tear-inducing views...

And a shot of our cabin. With our new plush friends we picked up from Makerfaire designed by the amazing Christina Ward.

Day two could have been the most incredible hike of my life as of yet. We hiked so close to the waterfalls we needed to keep putting our raincoats on to protect us from the mist.

And yet another full day of hiking on the third day.

This trip was just what the Monster Maker's doctor would have ordered, I'm sure, had he known about it. It was truly just what I needed to get me through the jam-packed busy season and more memories than I ever thought possible.

Here's to good friends, Mother Nature, and the ability to know when you deserve something really special.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cutesy but not Cutesy goes west!!! (Part 1)

Recently, Cutesy but not Cutesy had the AMAZING opportunity to fly out west (to the opposite coast) to the Makerfaire Bay Area in San Mateo to help out the Etsy Plushteam with our collaborative booth sales and weekend workshops/demonstrations. This was the first time many of us were actually meeting each other in person since we're from all over the country (and the world!). Needless to say, it was one of the most inspirational and creatively comforting weekends I think I may have ever had. As an artist, it's always such an incredible experience to be surrounded by creative people and to be able to talk about your work in a way that those people can understand what you are saying almost perfectly clearly. Not to mention finally being able to meet those artists in person who work in the same medium as yourself who have inspired and supported you for years just through the internet... that, is truly something else.

I'd like to thank Christina Ward, Abby Langdon aka Abbydid, Leanna Butcher aka PlushGoodness, Denise Ferguson aka YummyPancake, Marcy Bridges aka Moonscreations, Claire Chambers aka Absolutely Small, Zazu Faure aka zfla and one of my best friends and honorary Plushteam member Brian McManus who ventured out west with me for an amazing and memory-filled weekend along with all of the members of the Plushteam who sent in their beautiful work for us to fondle and cuddle... oh and sell...

And as if all of that wasn't enough, Brian and I were able to catch one of our favorite bands OK Go and their performance underwater on the last day of Makerfaire. Truly incredible.

And to think that was only just the beginning of our west coast adventure...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"So, 4 years ago or so, Cutesy but not Cutesy was living in a sandwich...

Yes, you read that right. But let me explain...

This all started last night when I was chatting with a friend about how overwhelming being a full time artist and business owner can be. Every now and then a monster maker gets overwhelmed, too. There, I said it. I'm sure I'm not alone in this and I'm sure the other artists, DIY-ers, and small business owners can attest to sometimes faltering and needing the encouraging push from a supportive friend. And this is just what I needed.

So now's where I start to explain the title of this post...

This supportive friend of mine, in the hopes that he could prove a point, asked me where Cutesy but not Cutesy was 4 or so years ago. I thought for a moment about where I was 4 years ago to the day and I chuckled to myself and responded " a sandwich." Not quite the response he expected, I'm sure, but it was, in fact, the truth.

Four years ago I was working in a small town in Pennsylvania at a cafe making, yes, sandwiches.

That's not all I made, I cooked up some other delicious eats under the watchful eye and expertise of my good friend and chef and I baked some pretty impressive desserts, if I do say so myself.

But, in a nutshell, and for the purposes of this post (and my friend's point), I was a sandwich artist.

I lived near the river in one of the most beautiful areas of Pennsylvania there is, with some of the best friends a recent college graduate could ask for, a wonderful boyfriend, and the world (and people's taste buds) at my finger tips. But we all know that the reality is that a life like that can't last forever and besides, I wanted so much more for myself than making sandwiches (not that there's anything wrong with that). I wanted to use my creativity that had so come to life as a fine arts major in college and I knew if I worked hard enough, someday I would do just that. Admittedly, I was always looking for a way out, thinking up new ideas for my future, new ways of creating, and becoming, and living.

This. This is when the monsters were born. Somewhere between reheating someone's lukewarm soup and making another customer's turkey, brie, and raspberry panini, I began sewing. I keep this picture of one of my very first monsters from when I was working there on my refrigerator to remind me everyday of where I started and how far I've come. (Yes, he's wearing a tie.)

Life took it's course after that (and threw in some curve balls to keep things exciting). That job and I have since parted ways and the same with the wonderful boyfriend (the friends, however, I've held on to). And that brings us to today and to the supportive friend's attempt at proving a point... 4 years ago Cutesy but not Cutesy was living in a sandwich. You've gone from one small sandwich (not sure what kind) to a business built on something that you are truly passionate about. You've worked incredibly hard to make your vision a reality, which is much more than most people can say they've done with their life. I can only imagine how demanding your work is, but seeing how hard you work to be successful I can say, without a doubt, that you'll make it through this summer and beyond.

Not only did this bring a huge grin to my face and uncontrollable bouts of laughter for a long time after, but it did prove a point. It put everything into perspective for me and it reminded me of how hard I have worked to get where I am today and though it might not always be apparent in the throws of it all, some day all of this hard work will pay off. And none of this goes for just me, but for everyone who sets their mind and heart on something and dives into it with everything that they have. If you work hard and are passionate about your dreams, all of it will pay off in the end, some day, some how... no matter where that dream was born. This is something that we all need to remind ourselves from time to time.

I encourage all of you to think about where you were 4 years ago and think about how far you've come.

For me?... 4 years ago, Cutesy but not Cutesy was living in a sandwich.