Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cover Girl

I am so excited for my friend Jennie, who has made the cover of the new issue of Art Doll Quarterly magazine! Her wonderful pumpkin dolls are the feature story! Check it out - you know that any publication from Stampington is simply gorgeous to look at.

You can read more about Jennie on her blog. I hope to own some more of her dolls soon!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Currently Coveting

I am currently lusting after this cute little teacup print dress at Anthropologie. Yep, me and my love of unusual prints! But if you've been following this blog for a while, you will know that I am an avid tea drinker and have made upcycled pendants with tea strainers.
Then, lo and behold, look what popped up on Etsy this morning! These wonderful upcycled teacup bangles from StayGoldMaryRose. There I go again with my matchy matchiness! Oh how Mad Hatter of me! I love objects upcycled in unique ways!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Matchy, Matchy

The art of dressing is something I take very seriously. It's in the way I was raised, and I am thankful for that. All my life, I have been in environments that require me to dress a certain way. As a little girl, I loved dresses and any occasion that would allow me to wear one. I went to Catholic schools and even though the first 8 years were in uniform, in high school we got to wear "real" clothes although they had to be very nice (no jeans). Now, I am in the corporate world, trying to express my artsy self amongst a mostly conservative atmosphere.
Dressing down is hard for me. Even when I wear jeans, I pair them with a nice top. And sneakers? To me, those only belong in the gym. Don't get me wrong, I am still very comfortable in what I wear. But this society where people think it's okay to wear their pajama pants to the grocery store just boggles my mind!
I gravitate towards unique clothes, especially when it comes to prints. You can probably guess that the majority of my clothes have peacock themed prints - and you're right! There are also owls and florals, and most recently - keys! I found this cute cardigan and wanted to make a necklace to match it. I did something similar last year for a key blouse I have. The design is very simple - just altering 2 different types of beads - brass rounds and some vintage glass from Heather Wynn's destash. I just love those little window beads - brown on the inside with a speckled yellow and green on the outside. I am so glad I found such a great match! The key is from Tim Holtz. This will be the perfect combo come Fall!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Reading

Good Morning! I am so honored to direct you the Beads of Clay blog, where today's post is an interview of me! I really want to thank MaryAnn for thinking of me when it came to the artists she interviews.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


There is a vast variety of components available these days, that allows jewelry designers to create their own pendants or focals. Empty bezels or frames to fill with paper, photos, resin, etc...

I like to seek out options that give me more room for larger objects, and here are two examples. I got this locket from Jill McKay at Bead & Button. Each side is domed so it is like a "bubble" to fill up with goodies. Last night, I filled it up with some twigs, faux mossy vines, and a cute gnome from Humblebeads.
I love how the silver frame all around it has a sort of bark texture to it. For right now, I just put it on a simple brown cord. I tend to keep the stringing material for interesting focals like these quite simple. It's a longer, over the head, necklace.

Next up, is an empty pocket watch which I filled with some tiny corals, shells, and sand I got on my trip to Belize this past Spring. Wading through the water, finding these little treasures, is something I will always remember. I wish I was there right now!
This too, is a long (over the head) necklace just using some chain.

What do you think of these? What would you fill these fun "containers" with?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

New Plumes

Sometime last year, I received these 2 lovely porcelain peacocks from the talented Nancy over at Round Rabbit. A purple one and a blue one. This purple necklace, named "Quick Change Artist" is currently featured in the Summer issue of Stringing magazine. There are lobster clasps on both ends of each strand of beads, so that you can wear them in different combinations.
And I just completed a necklace using the blue peacock, now listed in my Etsy store. I wove some peyote stitch tubes for the majority of the strand, added a couple of clear glass beads, and finished it off with a Green Girl Studios pewter swirl which serves as the clasp.

Friday, July 16, 2010

On an earring kick!

It's been a busy week! But, I was able to create some earrings. Sometimes I find that I go in spurts when making things. Necklaces are my favorite thing to make, so when I switch to bracelets or earrings I will make a whole batch at once. Do you find yourself doing that as well?
These 3 pairs are listed on Etsy, and I'm off to work on some more jewelry. Yeah for the weekend!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coupla new bracelets....

.... both now listed on Etsy. Also, both have some components in them from the new Industrial Chic line at Michaels. For this first one, I bent 2 of the branch connectors so they would fit nice around the wrist.
This one uses 3 connectors from the collection: the red dice, the G scrabble tile, and the domino. Paired mah jong and dice beads I already had.

And then, this happened......

The old tree on the OTHER side of our house lost a limb last night for no apparent reason, just missing Jon's truck. Weird, weird stuff!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Jealous Mistress

Newly listed on Etsy
Whether you draw, paint, work with clay or bead.....
..... you know that art is a jealous mistress
My art calls to me every day.....
asking why I have to work 40 hours a week......
why I have to clean the house.......
why I have to do anything that isn't art!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Inspired by: Branches & Birds

I was enjoying this past Saturday morning, like any Saturday morning, putzing around the house and Jon was working outside. All of a sudden, I heard the most horrific noise and felt the ground shake. I poked my head out the back door to see Jon calmly skimming the pool so I figured whatever it was hadn't affected us. He casually said "tree fell down" and I immediately thought it was our neighbors tree that has been blowing out of control lately, colliding with the power lines. But, it was actually one of our trees.

I have no idea what age to guess this tree is, but it is big and old. And right on one side of our house. While I enjoy these big old trees for their beauty and shade, I do worry about them quite a bit during storms. Many damaging storms have come through our town this summer so far, and we've been lucky enough to not have anything go wrong. So I wonder if this limb was weakened by one of the storms, or maybe rotted out? All I know is that I need to get a tree expert out here to help clear out the fallen piece and give us advice on what to do with the rest of the tree. I don't think I will have complete piece of mind unless it comes down. What if it fell on our house!?!?! I don't like to kill or cut down living things, but when our safety and home are at stake, we might just have to.
So, the inspiration just hit me the past few days to make some jewelry with branches, wood, birds, etc... in it. All three of these necklaces are now listed on Etsy.........

My Home:
Artist intense focal with a ceramic wood connector from Earthenwood Studio, polymer clay stick from Swoon Dimples, pewter harpy from Green Girl Studios, and mixed media bird house. The bird house is from Art by Heather, and I decoupaged it with lots of fun images. I had made a similar one a while back. The rest of the necklace is composed of wire wrapped glass beads, chain, and a lobster clasp.

Swooping Birch:
Two polymer clay branch beads from Humblebeads are wired in asymetrial sections of chain. A Vintaj brass bird has been wired to a pewter twig from Ornamentea. The connector and clasp are from the new Industrial Chic line by Susan Lenart Kazmer at Michaels.
Out on a Limb:
A copper/resin bird from Jade Scott hangs from a wired "nest" and a ceramic branch from Diane Hawkey. A lobster clasp connects in the front. Chain and glass and wood beads wrap around the back.

Friday, July 2, 2010

With friends like these.......

On June 2nd, Jade Scott was having one of her pendant updates on Etsy. I, however, was traveling back from Belize that day. When I got home though, I looked to see what was still available and also saw what goodies had sold. I was so bummed when I saw that she had made several designs with a peacock feather in them and they had all sold! My bloggy/beady friend Lorelei had been able to snag one though, and we made a swap - I told her I would get her some goodies at Bead & Button.
I knew right away that I would want to make a bracelet out of the connector, and started pulling some things together before Bead & Button. It wasn't until I was at Bead & Button though, that I found the final element to pull it all together - a brown leather cuff from Jill McKay.
What I liked about her cuff is that it had a hole at each end with a lobster clasp closure. I replaced the lobster clasp with a swivel clasp from Tim Holtz, but I really liked this idea to close a leather cuff. Usually, the traditional closure is a button or snap which can be hard to resize. Jill's cuff also had 2 holes pre-punched in the middle of the cuff for some of her interchangeable elements. Luckily, those 2 holes lined up great with Jade's connector. I used a couple of scrapbook brads to hold the connector in place.
The other reason I really like the holes on the ends, is that I was able to attach a strand of beads on each side. I love the bright color combo of teal, purple and lime!
So a sincere "thanks" goes out to Lorelei for thinking of me with this peacock connector!!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Welcome to my new studio!

Moving my studio space has been my project for the last week or so. If you are interested, you can read/see my previous studio space in this post here. I had to chuckle to myself when I re-read this post, because I wrote about having my studio in our sunroom almost 2 years ago! Now finally seemed like the right time since the studio was already half torn up from the art fair a few weeks ago (I needed to use the table and displays in there).

I had 2 main reasons for wanting to move my studio. Don't get me wrong, I didn't really have any complaints about my studio in the upstairs spare bedroom. I had plenty of room, and I looked out a nice window into our backyard. But one reason is, we hope to have a baby someday, and the spare bedroom would have to be the nursery. The second reason was, I felt so alienated from Jon when I was upstairs and he was downstairs. Since he will be in school for about another year, he does his homework/studies on the couch. Not to mention, any TV/movie watching that I might not be 100% interested in. The dogs would wander upstairs and give me that look, wondering why I wasn't downstairs. So now, I will be right there and we can talk and see each other.

So this is what we call the "sunroom" right off of our living room. I am not sure if that is the right name for it, because it really isn't a patio or porch type room. But I guess since it has 8 windows and we kept plants out there, that is how it got it's name. It used to be carpeted and wallpapered, but within the first year we were here we took all that out. We wanted a bright color out there and ended up with the orange. There are hardwood floors out there, but we found the perfect size natural jute rug. And..... for almost 8 years that's been it. We had a few plants stands out there with plants on them and a small table with 2 chairs. But we NEVER went out there! It was just wasted space. Oh, the Christmas tree is set up out there ever December. That's about it.
Ever since having this idea of a studio in the sunroom, I knew I wanted a really nice wood desk because it would be seen from our living area. So, I set about going to the usual stores I go to for the furniture and decor we like: Pier 1, World Market, and Target. I found a few options, but nothing that I was really sold on. Then, right before Christmas last year, I went to a local independent store in town and discovered the Santa Fe Rusticos line they carried. I saw a desk there that would be perfect, and after looking at their website I liked the fact that all the wood they use is certified by the PEFD (Promotion of Sustainable Forestry Development). So this desk, and the design of the room, has been in my head for about 6 months. Lots of other projects and expenses have come up this year, so I knew that if I did well at the art fair I was going to use some of that money to buy my desk. After sitting on the floor for so many months, it did have a few scratches and such. But I didn't mind because it was going to be a work desk and I was able to get a great discount on it! Not that I plan to bang it up on purpose, but you get what I am saying.
The front of the desk is solid, which I like because this is the side that faces the living room. The other desks I had looked at were open underneath. I knew that I wanted to position the desk in the center of the room so that I could look out into the living area.
The back wall has the white plastic table in my previous studio on it, covered with peacock feather fabric (window treatments from Pier 1). The top has all of my metal/wire displays on it, and the wooden miniature shelf from my childhood - perfect for bead storage!
Underneath the table, the fabric hides a nice sized storage area. It's filled mostly with my scrapbooking stuff.
Here's a better view of my miniature shelf turned bead tray. Most of the sections hold items that I will likely work with very soon.
Here is the backside of the desk. As you can see, it's original purpose was for a computer.
The opening for the computer tower was the perfect size for my stacks of bead organizers (which I still have to label). The top drawer is all tools, the second drawer is all stringing materials, the third drawer is all findings, and the bottom drawer holds 4 bead organizers - all 4 of which hold anything that is metal (chain, components, beads, etc..).
The pullout keyboard tray is the perfect height for working. I like the fact that at any moment, I can tuck away what I am working on and not worry about it laying out. I'll probably get some kind of work mat to lay on the surface of the desk.
Here is my view out into the living room and beyond (dining room) - dog blankets and toys scattered about.
One corner has a table/mannequin, and this is also where I hung the trays where I hang a lot of necklaces. The little table top opens up for some more storage. The other corner has a plant in it. Most of the plants we had out there died off over the years and the others we were able to relocate to other places in the house.
I love how it turned out! It took several days to organize and find a place for everything. Some things I knew exactly where I wanted them, and other things it took a few nights to sleep on, knowing the answer would come. I don't have as much wall space, but I do have 8 windows now so I am happy with the natural light I will get - not only for working but for better photography. My funky chair made it out there - it's so comfy to work on. So that, along with the orange walls and teal fabric makes it a very colorful room. But, isn't that what an artist's studio should look like?
My goal is to keep it looking as nice as it does now. This means putting things away when I am done with them, and probably only working on one project at a time. Believe me, the pics of my original studio show it very organized, but the table quickly got overtaken with tons of stuff! I sometimes felt that is what hindered my creativity at times - I was overwhelmed! I think I will be very happy working here, being closer to the hubby and dogs. I hope you enjoyed this tour of my new studio space!