Thursday, May 30, 2013

Behind the Scenes Happenings

         Hey everyone, now that Animazement is over...we're in the process of re-opening our Etsy shop. Here's some behind the scene looks at some of the new summer dresses. These dresses are inspired by a 1900s tailoring book I found on on how to make you look slimmer and taller. The dress shown here is a size 16, but makes your average size l6 look closer to a mannequin size 8. Not bad eh?
         The hand-finishing work would make these impossible to mass produce today, but a few special seems like a lovely summer gift to give. Each one is uniquely crafted for fun and laughter.

Plushie Animal Tutorial As Promised

                Hey guys, thanks everyone who helped with the classes over the weekend. As promised the asian teddy bear tutorial is live on Instructables. I hope you enjoy if you needed more time sewing or wanted to try this out on your own. Also, if you missed getting to donate to the Red Cross over the weekend and would like to do so, the link is here. Please feel free to take this class and remix as
your own for party or fundraiser.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Whoot We Helped Raise Over 6k For The Red Cross!

                                 Sometimes you get a win. This past week, Nash and I guest lectured at Animazement. We sold out the first hour both days on our classes and helped raise over $6k for the Red Cross. What a nice surprise. Also, got to share table space with our Plastibot friends Charlie and Luis. It's nice to share successes with fellow designers. To another great week!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fun with Cirque du Soleil Costume Designer Jesse Dawson

              One of my favorite type of textile designers to run into are costume designers. They have such an amazing combination of zen calm and interesting skills. No two I've EVER met have the same specializations so I love chewing the fat with them. You never know what fun thing they will be working on or new project. It's also a business with a love of handwork and technical skill so the competition/paranoia doesn't exist on the same level as manufacturing because your skills rest in your hands, not the tools. It allows one to enjoy the fact that custom work is beautiful and unique. Like watching snowflakes.  Which brings me to Jesse. I LOVE watching his work as it seems to evolve every year. He's worked as a cosplayer, a costumer for Cirque du Soleil, and now services high-end night clubs in LA with custom works of art. Something amazing is always coming out of his hands. And solutions to problems I never even thought to ask. I don't know what the next year will bring for him or his art, but I hope to his long and beautiful career ahead of him. To his next work of magic may it be as much fun as this costume of him here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wonderful New Sci-Fi TV Show Worth Watching

           Ok, as a Firefly junkie and general Sci-Fi nut, I just have to recommend the new TV series Defiance if you want to see some awesome costume work. I know that most of what I do is practical, but occasionally I tug against those bounds looking for the something amazing that both embraces the past, while looking for new directions at the same time. If I had anything I wish I had a chance to be, it would be costumes for a production like this. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the other pieces for this to make that happen yet, but a girl can dream.

PS- You can watch the entire series on Hulu right now for free.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Artist Room: Animazement

      Hey everyone! It's Animazement time. This year Nash and I didn't have time to run a booth so you can check out our art work in the Artist Room. We did 3 pieces of fan art this year, 2 custom leather bracers and a red wool and leather messenger bag inspired by My Little Pony.
       Happy bidding!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week 3.2 Two-Point Perspective

Week 3.1 Exploration

    "The refined gap is to effectively allow a smaller/weaker woman to fight back against an unexpected larger opponent."    ~Design Prompt

            Alright ladies and gentlemen, this's sketch time (AKA- Hammer Time). While I channel some retro puffy pants and bad dance moves, let's get to work. To our research from last week:

Primary User Needs

The weapon must be concealable.
The weapon must be accessible.
The weapon must be easy to use.
The weapon must be effective.
The weapon must require little strength to operate.
The weapon must be in my budget.
The weapon must be cleanable.
The weapon must be small.
The weapon must be legal where I am.  

Decomposition of Design Problem

Ten Concept Sketches

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May/June Acorn to Oak Handmade Etsy Team Events

    Hey guys, the team is gearing up for the summer. We're got 2 fun events planned for May and June for team members. 

May 24-26th: Animazement: Art Room Classes Friday and Saturday Afternoon

Mix-n-Match Plushie Animals: We're back for the 3rd Year in A Row at Animazement. This year we will be doing Mix-n-Match Custom Plushie Animals. Zombie Mice. Flying Foxes. Or anything you want to dream up. We will have pre-cut kits to speed up everything as well as scrap fabric if you want to make your own. The hour long class and kit are $10 each. All supplies included.You will take home your own plushie animal at the end.

3D Figurine Printing: Ever wanted to design your own custom 3D movie figurine or favorite character on the computer and print it out? Now you can. Charlie Gaul, our local resident 3D print artist from Plastibot will be hosting 2 limited classes with 3D printers and laptops to teach you how to design, build, and print your own Yoda or other design in the computer. This is a follow-up from last year's build your own 3D Printer class. The hour and a half long class and supplies are $15 each. You will take home your own 3D Printed plastic figurine at the end.

June 20th: Etsy Night of Craft 6-10:30 pm in Partnership with Spoonflower this year we will be offering a number of FREE TICKETS on EventBrite. Please feel free to sign-up. Like last year, we will be having a number of tables with different crafts for people to try, food, drinks, and lots of fun. Hope to see a lot of you there. Please feel free to bring friends and family. Children welcome.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week 2.3 Visual Expression 2D Sketches Part 2

       This week the design class is practicing orthographic projection. I have decided clothing is much easier than chairs for me to draw.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Week 2.2 User Needs

"The refined gap is to effectively allow a smaller/weaker woman to fight back against an unexpected larger opponent."    ~Design Prompt

         Thanks so much everyone who responded to my request for interviews this past week. I got a lot of responses to the problem I had not thought about. This is a long-standing shop room floor problem I've thought about for a while in that most military companies design their equipment for men and management flatly refuses to design stuff for women. As a woman, the equipment is all over-sized and clunky feeling. Chaffing in weird areas or too tight in others. A lot of the stuff like tasers and pepper spray that do come in my size aren't practical as they non-leathal so they were designed to subdue a single suspect not kill them by cops. Great theory, but as someone who was stalked for a year and unloaded a can full of pepper spray in a person's face with no effect, I have ZERO belief in how effective they are. Also, they often have only 1 application, while most people are attacked and stalked not by one person, but 3-4. I don't believe in starting fights, but I feel every woman should be able to end one.
          Guns, the general answer to most of these questions, are often not permitted in places where women often work as they are not allowed in public places or large cities. So the question is what characteristics would allow a smaller/weaker person to fight back against an unexpected larger opponent in real life? Well, based on data collection of the past week, here are 30 attributes that women are looking for in a self-defense concealment system:

The weapon must be concealable.
            The weapon must pass a metal detector.
            The weapon must fit under normal clothing!
            The weapon must not flash or expose itself under normal movement.
The weapon must be accessible.
             The weapon must be deployeable in one-movement.
              The weapon must be something I can reach if I am grabbed by my opponent.
 The weapon must require little strength to operate.
            The weapon must be spring-loaded.
            The weapon must be a gun.
            The weapon must be something a woman can use without a lot of upper-body strength. 
            The weapon must be effective even if incumbered by physical weakness, children, old age,
            or small animals!
The weapon must be easy to use.
             The weapon can not require a lot of training to use.
             The weapon must be something I can operate with one-hand (disabled).
The weapon must work at a range.
            The weapon must work at a distance.
             The weapon must work up close.
The weapon must work against multiple opponents. 
The weapon must be effective.
             The weapon must actually stop people, not just require them to "seek medical attention."
             The weapon must do real damage.
             The weapon should be lethal.
The weapon must be in my budget.
             The weapon must be under $50!
             The weapon must be under $500.
The weapon must be cleanable.
               The weapon must be washing machine friendly!
               The weapon can not rust.
               The weapon holster is leather.
               The weapon holster is not leather as I am allergic to it.
The weapon must be small.
                The weapon be light enough for me to easily carry!
               The weapon must be under a few ounces.
                The weapon must be small enough for me to easily conceal and carry it.
The weapon must be legal where I am.
                The blade must be under 6 inches long.
                 The weapon must be something I will not be arrested for if it is found on my person by a cop.
                 The weapon must be something I can take to class without getting in trouble for.

           Whew, that was a lot. I also got some off the wall answers like Wolverine claws which I left off the list. This was actually a pretty fun process to go through. The interview process was pretty simple, I just posted a note on facebook that I needed 5 interviews over the week with my e-mail address and phone number and got a number of notes/calls to select from. One of the more general problems I ran into was it generally required some teasing apart to find out what people's actual system requirements were vs. cognitive short-cut answers. Like I need a 9 mm gun holster. These things generally cleared themselves up with a couple more questions (I used the famous "Why" question a lot). Or I would say could you tell me the need you have vs. a particular product you feel partially answers your need.

Week 2.1 Design Problem Definition

          Alright, the end of week 2 of my new design course. The course is still getting started so this week was research. It's never a bad thing to hit the books. As re-cap from last week:

My gap is: A realistic way to protect myself as a woman from criminals on a daily basis.

           First, we are borrowing from the Japanese "Toyota Way" in which to learn the truth, one must ask oneself "Why" 5-Times.

In what way might I...

better protect women  from criminals.
effectively allow a small person to fight back against an unexpected larger opponent(s). *
make society safer for women.
level the playing field for the weak.
increase work place protection.

           The refined gap is to effectively allow a smaller/weaker person to fight back against an unexpected larger opponent.

Alright, photo comes to you curtsy of Futz5 on Deviant Art. The model in the photo is Jessica May.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Week 1.4 Design for You: First Prototype

                  Alright, end of the first week. We're supposed to come up with a 1.0 Prototype. Since I'm designing a woman's self-defense weapon, the most obvious place to start is mens. The generic leather holster and hunting knife I learned at the Leather Guild meet-ups is a good 1.0 version. It does however have some obvious flaws which include weapon size, most women don't wear a belt, leather is not washable, etc.
                 Next week defining customer needs (AKA-a weapon/system I would actually find useful.).

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week 1.3 Visual Expression: Draw a Chair

Alright, Part 3...draw a chair.

 Voila in all it's iPhone glory....

Week 1.2 Find the Gap (10 Problems I experience in my life)

Alright, moving on. Now....10 design gaps I experience in my life.

1. Durable and fashionable clothing. My cute clothes do NOT survive on a factory floor/real life.
2. Better way to store my Produce Box fresh veggies and fruits.
3. Way to get chores regularly done at night before I go to bed at night.
4. Realistic way to protect myself as a woman from criminals on a daily basis.
5. Solution for how to feed the cats without the dog eating their food.
6. Better way to organize my office.
7. A knife sharpener that actually works and is easy to use.
8. A way to keep the cats out of the house/work area.
9. A system to keep pet hair out of the house/our clothing.
10. A cake baking system that actually works.

My gap I am choosing to work is a realistic way to protect myself as a woman from criminals on a daily basis.

Week 1.1: Good Design: Breville Convection Oven

Alright, week 1 is a 4 part submission. For the first part, I am supposed to pick a design I love and use hopefully every day and write about what I think makes it awesome. I thought I would pick my Breville Toaster Oven. As anyone who knows me is aware, I love to cook! A couple years ago, my husband got me this amazing convection oven (see right) which is my favorite piece of kitchen electronics. The thing is easy to use, clean, and has held up to years of daily use and abuse. It also has the added benefit of being energy efficient so it saves us roughly $100/month. But honestly, besides the money and reliability, this piece of equipment is just incredibly thoughtfully designed. There's magnets that help close the door and open the baking shelf so you don't accidentally burn yourself taking stuff out (an old pet peeve for years). The knobs are metal and swivel so they're useful, but still don't break off. Everything is cleanly organized in the menus similar to an oven/cook-book so you just enter the function, temp, and time. My old toaster oven had all these weird settings like rolls or popcorn on it which I never figured out. And our oven is just painful to clean. Nothing is wasted on the Breville and everything is as if someone personally walked into my kitchen and saw what I needed before I did. This to me is design at it's best. A level often aimed for and rarely achieved. Something so useful you can't imagine living without it. What is a great design in your life?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society by Karl T. Ulrich

         This summer I'm taking a course on how to become a better designer and will be posting weekly homework assignments online. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about doing this as design is my least favorite part of the textile process(production is my favorite), but a girl has to stretch her wings. If you're interested in signing up and taking the class as well as improving your own life with a little D-I-Y, you can sign-up here on Coursera: Maybe you're like me and you think it's time to kick your butt a little out of your comfort zone. Here's to a summer of growth.