I just wanted to share a video that I found recently of my dog at Christmas. He just passed this fall and it was such a treasure finding this video. I wanted to share with those of you what we loved about Topher.
I have been so excited about my new business. I am creating items that are using recycled materials and giving them a new life. The name of my shop on etsy is RebeccaShellyArt. I turned my old etsy account into a new platform for these items. Soon I am going to be sharing my new bags! Today I wanted to share quickly what I created to ship these. I had my first sale (of two items!) and was glad that I got to create my packaging for this part of the online business process. I created these boxes for the magnets and earrings. I had fallen for these frame stamps and now had a purpose for them! I then created a stamp for my reshelly products and a little thank you. I cut out and stamped a bunch at once so that they are ready to go.
I also came up with this wrapping for the items. I wanted it to look like a present when people got it. I am also giving a free card with each purchase for the holidays.
Here are a few things from my shop!
Being Thankful. There are a few things that I want to definitely point out.
I am thankful that I have a partner that is supportive in my decision to start my new business. I have been working on creating this for months now. I started the idea in August to make up for going down to three shifts at my waitressing job. I wanted to balance out what I was making before with my own creative projects. Well, I started planning, researching, creating pie charts, getting image inspiration, creating documents to keep track of my progress, inventorying product, etc.
Well before I was trying to make a little extra. Now it has become what I am hoping will be my part of the income in our relationship. It takes some time for an etsy shop to get going. I have had my shop open since 2007 yet for very different items. Before, it was just artwork. Now, I am introducing my reshelly line. It is products that use recycled material; magnets, earrings, bags, etc.
Stuart helped me come up with so many aspects of this. We brainstormed over the name for a long time and then all of a sudden he came up with “reshelly.” It seemed perfect! He didn’t stop there. He was a graphic designer before I met him and this comes in handy for me. He designed a really amazing logo, product tags, bag tags, magnet tags, etc. I feel that he needs to be included on my etsy page as part of the business.
I am thankful that I get to spend my days making things. I have always done this, yes, but for different reasons. I would get art shows, make work, sometimes sell, sometimes not. These would not be the main source of my income. I would get a waitressing job and work 3-4 days a week but have enough time to do my creative projects as well. Last summer I taught a class at the Maine College of Art for precollege students and loved it. Seeing what it was like to earn money doing what I feel like I am best at really changed things for me. Waitressing became a challenge for me in a way that I didn’t expect. I was thankful that I had the job but over and over again people kept asking me why I don’t sew or create cards for a living. In my mind that just didn’t seem like a possibility.
Now though I am trying to make it work. (Yes that is a Tim Gunn reference!) I am creating product. I am inventorying. Stuart is helping me come up with the branding, packaging, etc. I am photographing and uploading to etsy. I am learning about new ways of marketing. I am researching. I am making. I am happy.
I know that I can make this work. I am a determined person once I decide on something. Now is the time for me to use the sewing skills that I have built up for the last five years. Now is the time for me to create items that have been influenced by my travels, my living in certain places, my own experiences. I feel like I can make items that people want to carry around, wear, or give to a friend. Below is the bag tag that Stuart designed for me! I will be introducing the bags within the next few days!
I am thankful for being near family. They have helped me incredibly this past fall. First with helping me move and then with trying to cope with my dog Topher’s death. Being close to family is why I wanted to move back to New England. We don’t know what will happen with Stuart’s next teaching job, but I am hoping that we will continue to be near them.
I am also thankful for friends. I consider myself an old lady now. I used to go dancing, go out with friends to bars, go to shows, go to parties, etc. That is what you do when you are in your twenties. Now, I am in my thirties and I see a definite change. I love staying home, working on a creative project, cooking something, or just watching a movie (or many shows in a row on Netflix) with my loved one. That being said I still feel like friends continue to be there for you even if you haven’t seen them for years. When Topher passed it was really helpful to have people contact me and send me their condolences. It helped sooo much! Even though your surroundings may change over the years, your friends can be the part that stays solid.
I want to also thank the people who read my blog, like my photos, and share with me their inspirations. Having created a great network of artists over the years it really is great to see their projects, their successes and their goals. Having a world that is so incredibly connected virtually in some ways seems a little scary but also makes me feel like visually I get to be involved with things I never would have imagined.
So, I am thankful to be living in the now. For the people who have influenced me. For the people that guide me. For the new community that we have moved to. For the time to make the things that I feel so passionately about. For being able to write this right now and share it with you all!
Now that I am living in the country I figure that I should do things that are fitting to the area. There is an apple farm right down the street from our house.
So, why not make some applesauce! It was a little past the pick your own time period. It was perfect for “the drops!” These apples have fallen from the tree yet are still good to eat. These were .25 a pound!
I have my Mom’s food mill. It saves so much time when making applesauce. I just cut out the middle and was able to boil the apples down to a mashed level. I then put them into the top of the mill and sent it through.
This separates the applesauce parts from the skins.
This is what I was able to make.
I looove the color that these made! My Mom says that the color always depends on the types of apples used. Using the mill also allows for the skin to remain on while cooking. Otherwise there would be just a simple whitish color. This pink is pretty awesome!
Have you ever made applesauce?
Last week we lost our beloved dog, Topher. He was my studio mate and you will find his photos strewn about on my blog. He was my shadow and always in my lap. I called him a Succubus, but I loved that about him. He got you to calm down, relax and just connect with him. He was a quiet mannered dog who was surprisingly a Chihuahua. He only barked if he was excited about eating a little bit of pizza crust or if his “cousin” Teddy a Beagle was around.
When you have a major loss it changes how you see things. You are reminded that life is short and that you need to appreciate the little moments. He was such a tiny dog, but was a huge part of my life. That absence has been really hard for me to comprehend. I have cried, sobbed, screamed and shared tears with others. Little things will bring tears to my eyes that I didn’t expect. This is to be understood when dealing with a loss.
The week that he died we had just moved into a new apartment and unpacking and talking on the phone with family and friends gave me some distraction. Now that we are more settled in I have begun working on building up my own craft business. I had started it a few months ago before we had known that we were going to move (my partner got a long term subbing position in Cornish, Maine). This has given me major distraction yet I still miss him soooo much!
Topher’s passing was caused by a shrunken liver that had been fighting and trying to heal itself. We had him at two vets all week, on iv’s, getting tested, getting ultrasounds and xrays. We expected him to get through his getting sick and not wanting to eat. We had adopted him at age three and have had him for five years. We now think that he was much older than that. His liver had tried to heal itself and according to the ultrasound it had odd shapes showing that it had begun renewing itself. Too much damage had already been done though. Once we learned this he passed quickly.
Thinking about his liver now makes me think about the healing process. His liver transformed into a new shape in order to heal from the damage. In the same way that his body was trying to heal, my own emotions are trying to mellow out. My crying bouts are shorter and I am starting to feel like my heartache is softening. I will always miss this little one but it is amazing to notice a difference in how we heal. A cut on your hand goes through different stages. Right now I am at the moment where there is a hardened covering trying to protect the damage underneath. Soon though this will disappear and a new surface will be found. I see personally that this has changed me. My shell that I have built will soon embrace what life has to offer again.
I love creating, making, painting, sewing, cooking, canning….basically “domestic lifestyle” things. We are in a beautiful new area and I feel that this is a perfect place for healing, exploring and sharing these things with others. Now that I have lived in many different places I feel lucky to have had so many amazing people in my life. The emotional support people have given me over Topher’s death has been incredibly helpful.
So, my blog is going to blossom into my appreciation of life and how I explore it. I am a quirky artist who loves coming up with new ideas for things. I love reusing items in new ways. I love color and sewing. All of these things are going to come together and I am going to post them on here. Even though I am in a small town the blog makes me feel like I am connected with others. It has been great to hear from people about what I have been posting on here. I hope that you enjoy the journey along with me.
Thanks so much for your kind words with Topher’s passing,
I grew up in the country. Picture a house in New Hampshire surrounded by trees, a marsh and flowers (my family owned a Perennial Flower business at our home). For the last 14 years I have lived in Portlands. First it was Portland, Maine to go to school and then it was Portland, Oregon for 8 years. Last year I came back to Maine. Most of the apartments that I have chosen have had an outdoor space. If I didn’t have a garden space I would have potted outdoor plants. I was never attracted to big apartments buildings with no personal access to the outdoors. I could never see myself in a large city (Boston, NY, Chicago, etc). It is just not me.
Moving to the country has been an interest of mine for the last few years. My boyfriend and I love to be outdoors. It is one of the common things about our relationship that is important. It is the inspiration for most of my Fine Art and it is also a spiritual thing for me. Being out in the woods walking around really gives you an awesome sense of peace. The sea also does this for me.
Right now I am on the cusp of moving to the country. I actually already have an apartment there but am currently finishing out my job in Portland, Maine. Stuart got a long term teaching job in Cornish, Maine area. It is an awesome position for him and it has been amazing to get this opportunity. Cornish Maine is a classic New England town. We got an apartment in the village area and I am looking forward to walking around the shops.
Right now I have been packing, organizing and reevaluating. One of the important things about moving is that it makes you look at what is necessary for you and make things work. I am an artist hoarder. I collect supplies or things that could create things and it is really hard for me to part with them. So, I organize. I make sure that what I do have is easily reached.
A few months before the move I decided to build up my crafting side of my artistic practice. I love making things. Going to art school you are taught to push yourself and make “Fine Art.” This past summer I was walking through Portland for one of their art walks. Congress street was partly shut down and “Fine Artists” were set up with their artwork carefully displayed in white booths. It didn’t click for me. My goal was to attend the crafting sale called “Picnic.” Once I arrived there I understood that this was more my connection. Carefully crafted items made by hand is what I love. I love to paint yes, but there is also the side of me that sews, builds and repurposes. This made me think that my creative direction needed to change.
Well, once I am moved I am going to finally share with you what I have been building up. It has been an amazing process and I have been trying to build this work into something that may actually be profitable online. It is also the season for the holiday craft fair and I will be doing some of these as well. It feels good to be able to combine all of my interests together now. Moving to the country will give me some direction inspiration and the time to be able to get these things made. I am looking forward to this new shift. Talking about moving to the country brings this song to my head. Enjoy!
Recently I took an online Craftsy course called, Sew the Perfect Fit with Lynda Maynard. I originally took it because I was having some fit issues with my last jacket that I was working on. The class sends you a pattern and I thought that since I had it I may as well make a dress from it. I am glad that I did. It will a great base to many new dresses in my future.
I did a few muslins to get this together properly. Usually I cut, move and then sew. This time I cut moved and pinned. This save an incredible amount of time because I was able to constantly shift things around when needed.
Getting the fit right using muslins is one of the hardest parts of sewing. The more I do it the more I understand it a little better and actually enjoy it. It feels so great to hear from a stranger that they like your dress and seeing their surprised look when you say that you made it! When something fits well it looks even better on you. I loved this class and very glad that I took it!
Stuart took these photos of me on one of the last of our summer days. We had gone swimming out at our new favorite swim hole about 20 minutes from our house! I loved the covered bridge. It seemed very classic “New England.”
I had to take this shot of Topher as well! He is going to miss his sun pigging!
Is there anything you like to do to close off the summer season?
I spent a lovely weekend in New Hampshire with some old friends and my family and came home to find this in my mailbox!
Inside the magazine was this!
Burdastyle is a great German pattern company that creates an amazing magazine full of patterns each month. It is translated into other languages and also has an American version. I post my sewing projects on Burdastyle.com. This past spring, Burdastyle magazine contacted me to see if they could post my Dirndl in their fall issue. Of course I said yes! They asked me to write a few things about the dress. What they took from that was, “Mein Halloween Dirndl ist kurzer als das Original.” Which apparently means, “My Halloween Dirndl is shorter than the original.” I think that is funny. I guess that works in case others want to make a similar design.
Now that we have been in Maine a year I am wanting to shift some things. Summer is creeping to an end and snow will be coming sooner than I would like. With the change of the season comes a change of my creative work habits.
As an artist I usually schedule shows and create work for these. What I am more interested in doing these days is creating work that combines my new sewing skills. I have tried to combine paintings and garments in the form of a solo art show before but I felt that it didn’t really connect. I am thinking about creating some hand made items for my etsy account instead. Etsy is an online marketplace where people sell their hand made creations. I have had my account open for years but never really posted much. I would love to spend my days making things for this and being able to make a living this way.
I have uploaded a bunch of work that I have created over the years that are from a variety of different shows. I created an inventory list, a monthly checklist of things to do, and organized the drawings into an easy to access booklet.
I had some spray paint and gave it a quick update. I love having the color in the studio area.
I also put my sewing supplies in an easier location. Having them at a easier to access place will make things smoother.
If you would like to check out the work that is available, please follow this link:
Have a lovely day!
Recently I was looking at Modcloth.com to get some inspiration for some dresses that I was working on. I came across a dress that was marked down from $100 to $30 because the last size was an extra extra large (4x). I thought that I could take it apart and put it back together.
So, I purchased it. I fell for it in the photo and thought that it would be a good challenge for me.
I did quite a bit of adjustments. If it were just a slightly larger size I could have taken it in at the sides. I had to take each of the parts and sew them back together at different locations. It was a chance but it worked.
It is called the “Wild Flower Photographer” dress. This seems fitting for me since I take photos of flowers and make paintings.
I am currently in the process of changing my blog up. This is going to be a very exciting process for me. I hope that you enjoy the change as well!