Monday, February 20, 2012

Adventures of an Accidental Fat-shion Designer: My four-footed anti-assistant and other news

It would not be exaggerating to say that I've been a bad, bad blogger.  It's been over two months since my last post!  Two months!  Good grief, woman!  I can blame at least part of it on holiday craziness, as my last post was December 16.  But since then?  I can blame it on an adorable little four-footed critter named Frida.  Lemme 'splain.

See, I am A Dog Person(TM).  I love just about anything with four feet and fur, but dogs hold a special place in my heart like nothing else.  I had a wonderful dog from somewhere around age six until we had to put her to sleep when I was 18 due to congestive heart failure, after which I cried harder and longer than I ever have in my life, before or since.  Since then, there has been a dog-shaped hole in my heart which periodic encounters with other people's dogs could only make more poignant.  I've been meaning to get a dog for years now, but the time and circumstances never seemed right.

Early this year, all that changed when I adopted a rescued Bodeguero from Mallorca, who'd been given a new lease on life by a German dog rescue called Besch├╝tzer Instinkte ("protective instinct").  Apparently when Germans go to the Mediterranean or Eastern Europe on vacation, they abscond with homeless and mistreated dogs, to which I say "Go Germans!".  She had been brought back to Germany by a delightful young woman named Sarah who'd gotten her own dog there five years ago, and who's successfully fostered a couple dogs since then.  Sarah named her Frida for Frida Kahlo (Spanish, Mexican, close enough, right? :P), and then advertised her on Quoka.de, which seems to be the local equivalent of Craigslist.

Frida is a delightful dog, despite clearly having had a rough patch in life.  She's an absolute charmer, to the extent that she's won over the two avowed Cat People she lives with besides me (though at 5 kg / 11 lbs., I've known and owned several cats larger than she is!).  Christian adores playing and snuggling with her, and Lars is having a blast teaching her commands.  She's super-smart, amazingly snuggly, and having had food security issues in her past, very easy to motivate with treats.  Her only major downside, now that we've got the housebreaking issues mostly sorted out, is that she has a hardcore case of separation anxiety, and I am her Mommy-Security-Blanket-Person like WHOA.  Add that to the fact that big city noises and experiences like public transit are very new and scary for her, and I've been seriously housebound in the last month and a half.  Hence calling Frida my "anti-assistant".   Gratuitous cute pictures of me with dog can be found here.

She's gradually getting better, but it's slow going.  I passed off my ticket to go see Pirates of the Caribbean live at the Gasteig again tonight, since she's not ready to spend three hours without me even with a dog sitter.  I cancelled plans to go to Berlin with Christian this weekend since no way in hell she's ready to be separated from me for a weekend.  The only reason I'm not in a panic about our plans for Paris at the end of March is that Sarah has kindly agreed to dog-sit Frida then, and hopefully I'll get her to do so again in June when we go to New York.

Yup, you read that right: Paris and New York!  Oh my goodness gracious, people!  I've been through both cities just to travel via the airports (actually on the same trip, now that I think about it), but I've never actually been IN either city!  I'm totally stoked!  Where do I go plus-size shopping, folks?? Clue me in!

On the business front, things have been slow going even for reasons other than Frida.  Thanks to my having SAD (or "winter depression" as it's so aptly called in all the other Germanic languages), this is my lethargic, low-energy time of the year.  While it's SO much better here than it was in Denmark, it's still been like pulling teeth to make myself get stuff done.  Also, I will confess, I'm a bit of a video game addict.  While many of my friends have been playing Skyrim, which would be like heroin for me, I've been making do with my methadone version by playing the deluxe version of Oblivion, the previous title in the Elder Scrolls series.  And I really have to say, playing any video game while using the projector to create a two-meter "monitor screen" on the south wall of our living room KICKS EVER-LOVING ASS!  Ahem.  That said, I haven't been spending all of my time gaming, which makes Lars very proud of me.

There's also been a major hiccup on the workshop front.  Ingrid, the woman I rent from, had a small stroke or aneurysm in her brain shortly after I started renting from her, and it has left her with a jag in her visual field that's made it impossible to continue making jewelry, the poor love.  With a heavy heart, she's decided to close her studio and not renew her lease on her workshop, which means I'm out of a space as of March 31st.  In truth, though, it was too far away to be practical, so this is really a blessing in disguise.    I'm sincerely considering a space in Kultfabrik, which is close enough to be a single bus ride and roughly 7 minute walk away (or upwards of 15 minutes in deep snow with a recalcitrant dog, but I digress), and easy biking distance once the weather clears up.  The one major downside is that it's too big and expensive for my current needs, so I'll have to find a subletter for part of it, but that's not looking too impossible.

I've been working with my fantastic graphic designer on spiffy graphics for the web version of my body type survey, so hopefully the site can go live in a month or so.  I'm really looking forward to having data to look at.  Data is so much fun!  Sue and I are working on a customizable plus-size knee sock knitting pattern, and I've been having a blast collecting and looking at the data just for feet, ankles, calves, and knees, so I can't wait to start working with whole bodies!

I've also been working on making some plus-size croquis drawings to design over.  For those not familiar with the term, a croquis (or "crokey" as it's often written online by design students who've only heard it said and never seen it spelled) is a line drawing of a body that you can use as a two-dimensional mannequin to design garments on.  Plus size versions are virtually unknown.  Therefore, I've been gathering pictures of diverse fat bodies, from nude or nearly-nude models on Adipositivity, to actual plus-size models via Plus Model Magazine, to pictures of large-bodied female athletes.  Since I'm no great shakes at drawing people from reality, and even less so at drawing them from my imagination, I'm tracing images to make myself a bunch of different croquis drawings to work from.  They're turning out remarkably well, given that my hands shake!

All in all, I hope to be getting my butt in gear soon, and making 2012 the year that things really start happening with my business.  Sorry again for the long silence!