I was super happy yesterday because some supplies came in for a project I’m working on and then I talked to my little bro and my mom and THEN I made a big sale of my handmade soap and soap samples. I was busting. Then I was checking my twitter to see was arguing and what new Trump outrage people were overreacting to and instead I got the shit knocked out of me. It was like a beat down.
The death was bad, but finding out that this man was suffering from cancer for four years. Filming arduous action scenes, acting his ass off, doing press rounds. Appearance after appearance, interview after interview, photo shoots, traveling all over the world for premieres and the whole time he had cancer. That is heroic. The amount of time and energy that it takes to prepare for and make movies, do deals, make travel arrangements is intense and he did it all while he had cancer.
Some people are already demanding that fact not be romanticized…but fuck that. I have days where I don’t feel like doing anything because I’m a little inconvenienced or annoyed. But I’ve never worked under the shadow of impending death. It takes a great deal of mental strength and right now, while watching Get On Up, I see the strength and dedication to craft. Chadwick Bozeman was an amazing actor. He set a high standard for himself and met it, then surpassed it. He played men like himself, who let nothing stop them. Black icons and role models. He gave us the thrilling and soulful Black panther performance that enthralled audiences everywhere and let little black kids see themselves as the hero.
I had a whole other blog post in mind, and I normally don’t care about celebrities, but I was teaching an afterschool class when Black Panther came out and I saw for myself how excited the kids were after seeing the movie. They needed that representation. They needed and wanted and loved Chadwick Bozeman as T’Challah. I needed to see this film. I needed to see black men and women being more than just victims or criminals. It was important enough for me that I paid full price to see it three different times, and one of those times was a pricey IMAX showing.
I’m sorry he died so young. I’m sorry he died during this horrific year. I feel like he deserved a blog post.
New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.
Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.
It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.
Way back in the mists of time I studied photography and at the time I already felt like I wasn’t going to make a lot of money taking pictures, so I took graphic design, public speaking and book and paper making to give myself a fall back plan just in case. As we all know, just in case is happening right now.
Book and Papermaking actually made me really happy, and I loved making books. For a little while I was actually selling my handmade blank books at Quimby’s in Chicago (apparently they moved to Brooklyn, too), which let me know that if I were willing to put in the work, making books and paper could be a real hustle. Unfortunately I let it fall by the wayside as I chased a photography career and it’s been years since I even thought of making paper or books.
Enter the pandemic!
When it became obvious that this quarantine was going to be a long haul thing, I racked my brains for ways to stay busy and creative and make money. My job is retail adjacent so I wasn’t optimistic about going back full time. With unemployment kicking in an extra $600 I bought supplies for all of my creative endeavors so when the money ran out I would have everything I needed to sustain my efforts. One thing I bought was a papermaking kit. One sunny day I ripped up about two cups of printer paper and some Starbucks napkins and got started making my first sheets of paper in a decade. And it calmed me down.
Once you get started, it’s like riding a bike; you just get in and start creating. And since I can never just leave stuff alone, I started experimenting. Using water color paint to color pulp or paint on finished sheets, layering in found objects, and finding new ways to recycle paper scraps. I spent some time tie dying and saved the paper towels that I had laid down to soak up excess dye during the process. When I ended up with excess pulp, I put it in baggies an popped it in the freezer. It’s a zero waste kind of hobby.
I used one of my little cards as packaging for my first custom soap order. I think I’m going to make cards with envelopes to start with, because I’m really liking the process. Of corse I posted everything on instagram, as one does these days, and I was approached to create a papermaking tutorial video for Creative Sunday, which is going to be a new app and marketplace for creative makers. Much respect to bloggers, because I found making a video to be a monumental pain. I shot in little steps and over the course of a week figured out iMovie and realized that you need a compression app to make the movie small enough to email.
But check out my reward… and since I was curious, I did a little interview with Creative Sunday founder, Lauren Michaels.
Creative Sunday interview:
SEBMARKETBK: What is Creative Sunday?
Lauren Michaels: We are a new app to get crafty! Creative Sunday was made to help anyone create and shop their craft, whatever that may be. With thousands of supplies, that next project (big or small) is just a checkout away. You’ll be able to peek at projects from other makers and share what you’re doing too. 🙂
SEBMARKETBK: What inspired you to do this?
Lauren Michaels: I always loved making (drawing actually, but I’m not very good!). It is pure joy and gives me comfort. But, starting a new project is sometimes really overwhelming for me. Plus, I found myself shopping materials from multiple places and always wanting to see how others do their craft along the way, so that’s when I realized there might be a way to bring this all together. And, here we are! With a great team, we are creating a new app to bring ease and fun to your next project.
SEBMARKETBK: When do you launch?
Lauren Michaels: We are hustling and building away! The team is making strides each day and hope to have this coming your way soon.
SEBMARKETBK: How can makers participate?
Lauren Michaels: I absolutely love meeting new makers (like you, Faith!). It’s the highlight of my day. 🙂 Our Instagram celebrates the process of creating—messy, colorful and all. We love highlighting amazing creations from all types of makers, so just use the hashtag #creativesunday, to show us your project for a potential feature. And, please feel free to DM us anytime—we would love to hear from you and do something fun together!
You can follow Creative Sunday on ig until they get their app built and watch my papermaking tutorial here. Keep checking my etsy for paper products to drop in the next few months. handmade holiday cards! (Or thank you cards, I’m leaving them blank). here’s a list of Papermaking Resources on Amazon if you’re interested in trying to make paper yourself.
I started following Jerelyn Tavarez of DresslikeJ on instagram after participating in a #consistencychallenge led by lifestyle inluencer The Mattie James during quarantine. I got to witness her work at stayI got creative when we were all stuck inside and slowly I started looking forward to her fashion styling magic. It’s not just about looking at some random person wearing clothes? It’s that she messes with her stuff so that it completely expresses her personality. At this point, I cringe at them word fashion (honestly) so it takes a lot for me to like personal style bloggers. But how can you dislike someone who will turn her clothing inside out, upside down and backward?
You can’t. It’s impossible. She makes dressing up look like fun, plus she will have you running to your closet to play with your own stuff which can either lead to a lot of compliments or just a fun evening drinking wine and dressing up. What I like about DresslikeJ is that she leaves her followers room to be delighted, both with her ingenuity and their own possibilities. Who doesn’t need that? So I sent Jerelyn a few items from my online shops to work her magic on.
Jerelyn chose a Farm patterned kimono top dress that slimmed down to a pencil skirt, bold statement earrings and an upcycled denim jacket that I designed. I can’t lie, I was really excited to see how she would work with these pieces. She did not let me down.
Perfection! Jerelyn gives off a casual but glam summer vibe, and I love how she puts a red and blue dress with a bright yellow shoe and gold bag. It’s a subtle nod to the gold flecks in the earrings, and brings a shot of surprise to the outfit that makes it a head turner.
True to her style, she turned the dress around and it’s stunningly sexy. The tie across the front is reminiscent of a harness bra or a lariat necklace. It’s sensational. Jerelyn told me “I loved the dress as is! Wanted to add a pop of yellow to feel a little vibrant. Then I thought of wearing it backwards. Instead of hiding the strings figured I would create a cute little detail in the front. Voila, a different outfit!”
Here’s how Jerelyn styled my upcycled piece: “The jacket was the main focus so I didn’t want to take away from it. Decided to do something different and align the jacket a bit uneven. Paired it with a pair of blue track pants and wore my strappy sandals. Decided to wrap the straps around the pants for a more stylish look!”
Of course I had to get Jerelyn to give a little interview for the blog.
The DresslikeJ interview:
SEBMarketBK: What got you into fashion blogging?
DresslikeJ: I would always get compliments on my style. People would ask me, “where did you get that?” I would tell them it’s just a top I wore backwards or a dress I wore as a skirt and they would be shocked. Social media started becoming such a huge source for information so my friends started pushing me to start expressing my love for clothes and style on IG. In November, I started with Fashion Tip Fridays then during quarantine, I was able to dedicate more time and work on new ideas. I also have to thank Sidewalker Daily. I was taking a group coaching class and they played such a huge role in me creating the newsletter.
SEBMarketBK: You have such a fun, sexy style! Where does your inspiration come from?
DresslikeJ: Thank you! My inspiration comes from everywhere. I get ideas from anything and I also like to switch up the way we might normally wear a specific item. I love both Solange & Tracy Ellis Ross’s style. & I love combining different patterns and prints. Accessorizing is key to me.
SEBMarketBK: If you had to pack a bag for a mystery trip leaving in an hour, what would you grab?
DresslikeJ: Giiirrrlll!!! I’m going to assume this is a summer trip and it’s for the weekend haha! So I would grab two swimsuits, sunglasses, 2-3 head wraps, a maxi dress, a bikini top to pair with some dressy pants, Nike sandals, two pairs of biker shorts, two tees, one sexy fitted dress, a pair of dramatic earrings. Oh and a pair of cute flats that go with everything plus a pair of sexy heels! Oh and can’t forget my liquid highlighter!!! Need to have that glow where ever I am!
SEBMarketBK: Have you picked up any new styling skills from quarantine? I’ve been able to be more creative with my own fits and recycle pieces I never thought I’d wear again. I’ve also been trying to learn how to use safety pins correctly! Sounds crazy but I would always have my friends do it for me.
SEBMarketBK: Where do you see DresslikeJ in five years? What do you want for yourself and your brand?
DresslikeJ: Wow! I am hoping to have my own fashion consulting business and an online boutique where people can buy my pieces!