Monday, October 19, 2009

i've been a wickedly busy witch...

a terror-filled tray of ghastly goodies...

its been a frighteningly full week of flurry and activity here behind the scenes of The Crepe Confectionary. between filling orders for the shop, readying a special, spooky package for my swap partner, and helping with my wonderful sister in law's leukemia benefit, its a wonder i had the energy to crawl into bed last night...and oh yeah, friday was my 5th wedding anniversary!

a creepy coffin full of gothic delights should be making its way to michigan right now...

let's begin with my spine tingling swap package, shall we? i crafted this large coffin gift box out of some cardboard boxes, wrapping it in brown paper and spraying it with a couple of coats of black paint. a gothic gravestone angel, some black roses, and some black satin ribbon adorn the box full of ghastly treats for my Altered Art Junkies Wicked Halloween Swap partner, Debra in michigan. this was my first time participating in an art/craft swap, and i have to say that despite my level of crazy activity and responsibilities this halloween season, i really enjoyed getting a package full of lovely handmade goodies in exchange for my own. it was really neat to see what other people busy their hands with in their creative off time (and i do promise to addend this post soon with pics of what i received from Debra). inside the coffin, i 'upholstered' it with aubergine satin and ribbon trim before adding other handmade tricks and treats. i think my favorite piece ended up being an embellished frame holding a holographic image of a victorian lady that turns evil in the blink of an eye. a tried my hand at sculpting with paper mache clay crete for the first time, in an attempt to sculpt a gravestone angel. honestly, i did not enjoy working with the clay crete, as i found that no matter how careful my mixing and kneading, i could not make the resulting clay smooth. i was really very unhappy with the final texture of the clay, but did find that adding a few coats of acrylic paint helped to minimize that undesirable finish. i also included a canister for her witch's kitchen that i made using a paper mache box and a suitable label. however, for now, i'd like to keep the rest a secret until i know she has received it...

kathleen & my younger brother, craig at her benebration held yesterday at Holiday Valley Ski Resort

the other project consuming my time this past week was my sister in law's first 'benebration' to help launch her foundation for leukemia research, the Gotta Kiss Cancer Goodbye foundation. kathleen was diagnosed with acute lymphoctyic leukemia back in january after an emergency room visit for chest pain. thankfully, her journey thus far has been without complication. however, as a former oncology resident in training, i am full aware of the road that still lies ahead for her. despite her diagnosis, and her life's upheaval, kathleen, being the wonderfully caring and giving person that she is, has begun a foundation to help fight leukemia and fund research. amidst frequent chemotherapy, low white blood cell counts, and side effects, kathleen planned one of the largest, most well-organized charity events i have witnessed. the turn out was astounding (though it is easy to understand why), the donations were plenty, and the love and warmth for kathleen and her family was so evident.
the prize ribbon style badges i made for kathleen's benebration. she gave them to the cancer survivors who were present.

kathleen requested some custom prize ribbon style badges from the shop. she wanted them to say "i KISSED cancer goodbye!", and be made representing her foundation colors -- orange, because it is the color for leukemia, and pink, just because. the glittered, smooching lips are part of her foundation logo. the badges were a big hit. my donation of halloween items from the shop, however, did not (insert chuckle here). kathleen wanted to offer all types of auctions at the event, and boy did she follow through. there was a live auction of high end items (complete with a live auctioneer), a chinese basket auction, a silent auction of items donated from local gift shops, AND an art auction of pieces donated by local artists. i wanted to do my part, so kathleen asked if i would donate some halloween items from The Crepe Confectionary shop for the silent auction. so i whipped up some crafty love for her, boxed it up, and took it down to the benebration.

The Crepe Confectionary display for the silent auction at the "Gotta Kiss Cancer Goodbye" benebration
as someone who loves kathleen dearly, i was thrilled to be able to use my talents to help her cause; but as a new proprietor of a shop, i also knew that this would be an excellent opportunity to showcase my wares and pass out my cards (and kath encouraged this greatly). the display area was tight, but there were plenty of window shoppers. needless to say, when the silent auction closed at 4:30, there was not a single bid on my lot. i was so disappointed...i was hoping it would go for at least a few dollars above the value to contribute to the foundation's start up. not only that, but to know that not a single person had bid on my items was also a blow to my creative self esteem. right away, i began to second guess myself and my abilities, i heard that voice in my head telling me i was crazy to think that i could translate my creative abilities into a career in which could one day support myself and a family.
i did that for about twenty minutes or so, and then i stopped. what i was doing was self-sabotaging, and i recognized it right away. i have a long history of silly sabotage maneuvers in my past, but when i chose to begin walking a different path in life, i saw that this was one character flaw i just had to work on. so what i do, quite honestly, when that little voice in my head starts criticizing and feeling all inferior, is immediately conjure up an opposing little voice (how very george costanza of me, right?). it works like a mantra for me, claming my worries and giving me a moment to put things into perspective. i willfully manufacture a positive attitude in my mind, giving myself that little pep talk i need to pick up and move on to the next task at hand. and of course, i did learn a few things about myself and my business from this experience. i learned that i am capable of cranking out some serious craft in a frighteningly short amount of time when i want to (more like need to). i learned that not every venue or audience is going to be a good fit for you or your product. although i knew i would get adoring compliments (and i did), it was evident that either my customer wasn't in the crowd or it just wasn't the right time or place for what i had to offer. on the bright side, i did make a few new customer connections by handing out my cards. now, had i not donated my efforts and handiwork, it certainly would not have been appropriate to pass out my cards at such an event. craft shows where i'm browsing and shopping? hell yes! benebrations minus the auction donation? hell no.
i took a chance. i crafted my ass off. i contributed to my dear sister in law's smile that day by bringing her good work that she was just smitten with. i further defined my limits and borders as a small, but growing business. i honed my skills, my craft, and my image, and i think that anytime a business owner/craftsperson can do that, it can be invaluable. and finally, i realized, amidst this crazy, hectic pace of life and work and creativity and being, that i am truly, wonderfully happy with my choice to do what i am doing. its not cancer research or internal medicine, i know; been there, done that. but i toiled away happily until 4:30 a.m. and beyond on more than one night this past week, and i haven't done that since my architecture school days. can i do this for the foreseeable future, at this pace, and be happy? yes, i believe quite certainly that i can.


  1. Ah ha! I found you. I tracked you through your etsy shop to tell you I got the package and will be posted today. Thanks for all the wonderful goodies!

  2. i'm so very glad you like it, debra! i did indeed make the coffin, the frame for the auspicious auntie, the canister, and the spell book...

    i hope you have a wonderful and spooky halloween season!

  3. will I be seeing you post my items I sent you? Or did I miss that post?

  4. I want to see the items too!!! (I will have to come down this week to enjoy your decor that you have worked so hard for this holiday season!) I always love your decorations and checking everything out.

    Thank you SO much for your contributions to the Gotta Kiss Cancer Goodbye kickoff event! It was wonderful! I am sorry no one bid on your lot... I would have! For sure!!! Never get disappointed and follow your heart-- it always shows you the way!!! I think what you are doing is AMAZING and if you continue to work hard your dreams can come true! I believe in you and love you! Thank you for the fantastic "i kissed cancer goodbye!" badges that obviously brought tears to my eyes! They were wonderful!!!

    Love you! XOXOXOX