Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Handmade Day in the Life with Liz

Hello there, Holly's friends! My name is Liz and I run (design/own/slave over) a jewelry line called With Care. I've been asked to entertain you while Miss Holly is out of town. I hope I can do a well enough job. Young master Jacko's list of summertime fun was pretty untoppable so feel like there is only so high that I can fly. Seeing as Holly and I have very different lifestyles, I figured that I would do my best to lead you through a fairly normal Thursday. It starts at 9am.

Time to arise and greet the day. I hope the day isn't expecting too much from me at this point. I do what I can. I generally have a difficult time getting out of bed, particularly since my boyfriend and our tiny dog get to sleep for a few more hours.

It's a hard life, right, Martin?

By the time I make it to the foot of the bed, my place has already been absorbed.

I'm not a big breakfast person so plain yogurt with granola, a handful of cherries from the tree in the backyard, and a coordinating cup of coffee will be more than sufficient. While the coffee is perking, I get myself all made up and dressed. I check my email over breakfast. More accurately, I eat breakfast over checking my email. Which has ended in disaster more than once.

I work a mere four blocks from my house so I shuffle over there around 11am. Normally, I ride my bike over but today is my boss's birthday and I'm carrying over a present that just won't fit in my trusty messenger bag.

Ah, work. I work with my friend, Kelly, making clothes and things for her popular Etsy shop, I'm Your Present. There are 3 main employees, myself, Kelly, and our friend Kayla. We turn out a good number of packages each week, somewhere between 100 and 200, all filled with bright, fun, candy colored clothes and accessories. It can be weird working with your friends, particularly when power dynamics come into play. I think that we have managed to do a pretty good job of it, so far. It's taken a few years but no one has lost any limbs and we keep the crying to a minimum. Meatball the cat helps us to regulate.

Kelly really likes her present: a crazy magical picture of a unicorn with a twinsies hairstyle.

I told her that I went back in time and won it for her at a carnival in the 1980s. I know that you can't see the prodigious amount of sparkles in the piece but, trust me, they are there. I start off my morning in the shipping room, figuring out what orders are ready to be shipped and what jewelry must be made.

Then, I sit down to make whatever it is that we don't have in stock.

At some point, I got up to grab a glass of seltzer water (we have a Soda Stream at work and it is the BEST THING EVER) and snap a picture of myself to prove that I was here.

After jewelry, Kelly and I work on a new shirt design. She cuts out the initial pattern and I figure out how it is best put together. Then, we make a preliminary version and check it out. If everything works out, the pattern is copied down, along with any notes, and then filed away for future use. Although, often we are so excited by new things that we make a whole stack of new designs, trying out different color and material combinations.

All the new finished garments are put in a pile and every two or so weeks, our friend Lizzy comes over and models them for the website. We work out of Kelly's house and have managed to fit in a lot of big studio amenities into a double-parlor, Victorian apartment. The photo studio is in the basement. I wonder if the landlord knows... We break for lunch around 2pm. Tomorrow is Kelly's birthday party so we close up the studio and run some pre-party errands.

It's a very nice day outside, a little on the hot side and Providence, Rhode Island is looking especiallylovely.

Can you guess what kind of party it will be?

Ah, yes. That kind of party. After party prepping, I walk home. Our neighborhood is really good looking. I'm not even going to front like it is not. Much of Providence was fully built up by the late 1890s, leaving a wonderful heritage of beautiful, old buildings and areas. I love looking at all the architectural details as I walk around.
On the way home, I pass by a piece of land that has just been acquired by my downstairs neighbor. He is tearing up the black top and it will be the new, hopefully permanent, location of his small farm. I keep suggesting that he turn the large building on the property into the "Not-country" store.
On the way home, I swing by the farmers market in the park and check if there are any provisions I'll need for the weekend.
I'm almost when, gee, is that one of the neighbors' chickens roaming down the block? Man, what is this? A Portlandia episode?
It's almost 7pm and as soon as I get home, someone has some demands to make.
Finally, it's food time. I pick some greens from the garden (healthy!) but also make myself a hot dog and avocado sandwich (ew. what?!). It's like when couture meets street style.

I eat, read the paper, and relax a bit. Since I have a guest staying over this weekend, I also tidy up the house a bit. I'm not much for dusting so vacuuming above the mantel will have to do.

At around 9pm, I go upstairs to my studio and begin working on things. Tonight, I'm getting together some items to bring to a local boutique as well as making and packaging up orders from my recent sale on

Around 1:30am, I cease working. Dave comes home from his practice space and we spend some time goofing off in the kitchen. Around 2:15 or 2:30am, I realize that I have to do this all over again and, if I know what's good for me, I should turn back time and go to bed, like, 2 hours ago.

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