Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday's Peacock Find

I got this vibrant peacock feather printed scarf at TJ Maxx. They have a lot of cute scarves by the way. Now that there is a little nip in the air, it's time to pull out the pretty scarves! I love accessorizing all of my plain comfy shirts with them.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I am so loving ruffles lately! Touches here and there on tops and jackets......... The big ruffle pants from Matilda Jane........ So when I saw these scalloped porcelain components from Round Rabbit, I knew I wanted to do a trio of them for a wild statement necklace. The day of her extra update sale, I hoped that I could snag some that would go well together. These three are glazed with with same two colored pattern, but that's where the similarity/matching ends. The color combo is a bit unusual for me, but I love how it turned out. Sometimes it is hard for me to mix the unexpected together. Since this necklace is so bold, the only accents it needed was some tiny leaf charms and chain.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BTW - More peacocks. Are you surprised?

Bead Table Wednesday and look what we have here. I guess I didn't have to worry about my Michael's getting any peacock goods (see previous post)...... as they now have an entire peacock themed line called Cotillion! I am in heaven! The only thing that would make it better would be if I had time to create something this week (if you are my Facebook friend, you'll know why). Ahhhh, anyway, my faves that I've picked out here are a multi-feathered pendant, chain with peacock connectors, and a pair of feathers. I've gotta get some ideas brewing......

Have a great rest of the week!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peacock finds from the weekend......

In between all of the events we attended this weekend, Kristen and I did find some time to do some shopping. After leaving Heather's book signing at Barnes & Noble, we hit a few stores in the mall area. We spotted a Michael's right down the road and I was on the hunt for those Industrial Chic hearts I keep talking about. While there, I also found these 2 peacock pendants! Since it was a bigger Michael's store, they had a little bit more variety than my local one. So, I have no idea if my Michael's would get these in so I had to grab them.

Sunday, before the art reception, we met up in a nearby town called Marshall. They were having their annual home tour which also includes a craft and flea market. I found this fused glass peacock pendant at one of the booths and gave in. It is such a vibrant color in person and it is begging to be strung on some equally vibrant beads.

I couldn't resist this little ceramic peacock planter at the flea market, especially when the seller came down in price. Even if I don't plant anything in him, it would make for a cool candle or bead holder!

Upcycled Art Reception

The reception for the Upcycled Art exhibit was held at the Art Center today. About a week ago I realized that since I had given them all of my upcycled jewelry to either display or sell, I had nothing upcycled to wear to the event! So I made up 2 more recent pieces, each featuring the open work hearts from the Industrial Chic line at Michaels. (note: I have bought them all out at the Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and one of the Grand Rapids stores. I hope they continue to restock them.)

In the pieces I had already made, the hearts stood alone as a pendant or were linked together on a necklace - but you still always knew that they were hearts. As some of them laid upon my table, I saw different ways to put them together to create even more possibilities! After 4 of them were filled with different tin patterns, they were riveted together to form a flower and then additional metal flowers were layered atop which made for a very cool brooch!

In the same fashion as my heart tea strainer butterfly, I took 2 tin filled hearts to make wings on a Tim Holtz "muse" charm. I hammered out his wire antennae and in true upcycling fashion the rest of the necklace was made from beads found on a clearance necklace at a chain store. The barrel beads are actually fabric and I thought the pattern on them really reminded me of the pattern of butterfly wings.

I don't give my nails much attention anymore, especially since I am working with metal on and off. But I couldn't resist these floral nail wraps I saw in the store. Their pattern reminded me of one of the tins I had been working with. They were as easy as could be to apply with the added bonus of no dry time. Perfect!

So after having my nails done, and choosing an outfit to coordinate with one of my new pieces (I choose the butterfly necklace, although I was wearing the pin as a test run earlier in the day), I joked with Jon that he should wear the flower pin. Being the good, supportive guy that he is, he actually agreed! Granted, he was wearing a new concert tee he bought from a local band that played at a party he went to the night before (a rockabilly group called The Koffin Kats), a girl has to take what she can get, right?

Here's a shot of part of the gallery. It was great to see a lot of people who I haven't seen in a while - past Board President, Sharon, is holding Richard here. He sure got a lot of attention from everyone! Was wide eyed for a little bit and then wanted to nap. The walls were covered with gorgeous butterflies by artist Steve DeMaagd. He makes them out of crashed car parts - the wings being large sheets of the body work. Insects or animals seem to be a theme with upcycled work. Some of the other sculptures there included things like an old shovel for a "body" with pitchfork "feet" to make an unusual looking bird.

It was a little challenging to get good pictures of my work under the cases, but I managed to get a few. Our director did an excellent job with the displays! I gave her some extra tins I had to include for props. It was so cool to see how it all turned out.

My wonderfully supportive friend Kristen, who is always game for a road trip, craft project, or just haunting thrift stores for fun finds!

I have to show off the cute card she made for me, as a congrats on the exhibit. It's a really cool mixed media piece. I love the cute little bunting banner. I think I might like having wings! And the little heart is cut out of a tin can.

Here's a good shot of one of the butterflies.

These bowls are made of woven telephone wires - so pretty!

It was a great reception and I truly appreciate all of the kind support and encouragement I have received!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Jewelry Designs from Nature - by: Heather Powers

Today, I had the pleasure of going to a book signing for the very talented Heather Powers! Her first book, Jewelry Designs from Nature, has been published and now that she is living in Michigan again the event was held at a Barnes & Noble in a city (Grand Rapids) about an hour from where I live. My friend Kristen and I made the drive up there and had a fun afternoon!

Here's Heather giving a talk about blogging for your business. She shared a lot of good information and tips!

Many of the gorgeous pieces featured in the book were there on display, and she even had a cool make and take project that she is describing here.

Two Heathers!

Proud author, and rightfully so! I can't wait to dive into the book and examine every page, but from what I've looked through already it is so beautiful and inspiring! I love how it is divided up into different groups of inspiration (gardens, sea, etc.) and also that is includes so many artist beads as well as Heather's own beads! Her sketches add such a personal touch as well.

Kristen and I grabbed some lunch, hit a few stores at the mall, and then went on to a nearby bead store, Bead Quest. Heather will be having a trunk show and workshop there in November. Be sure to check out her blog for the latest details and most certainly check out her book! I look forward to seeing her more often now that she lives closer!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Peacock Find

I know I haven't kept up with Friday's Peacock Find posts, for many reasons that I will not bore you with listing. But I'd like to start it up again, being inspired lately by what else??? Recent peacock finds! Friday makes even more sense now too because the afternoons are Mom's "Me" Time. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but my lovely employer has what is called Summer Hours (from daylight savings to daylight savings). Working an extra hour each day lets you have Friday afternoon off. These extra hours are even more important now with the little one. I use them to run errands mostly and maybe squeeze in some jewelry making. Women are typically nurturers and give a lot of themselves so having a few hours a week to devote to yourself is very important and healthy. Therefore, most of my peacock purchases happen to be on a Friday afternoon anyway.

The above top was purchased at Target (a good place for peacock finds) for $19.99
It is a silky navy material with little feathers.
Blousy top with an elastic band is most flattering and comfy!
Easy to throw on with anything and accessorize with a long necklace (the one pictured happens to be from Target also from a few years ago).

Happy Friday Everyone!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Upcycled Jewelry - continued....

So I realized after my last blog post, that I did not give proper credit to the nice people that came to my house to interview and photograph me. Annie J. Kelley wrote the article, and Al Lassen took the wonderful photos. I am a bad blogger when it comes to that kind of stuff and certainly don't mean to make any faux pas.

I promised I would show some of the tin pieces I made, since a lot of my other upcycled pieces have already been featured on my blog over the years. Here's a look at what I've been spending my spare minutes doing:

It's no secret that I love mixing colors/textures/prints so cutting out a variety of tin circles was a fun way for me to incorporate lots of patterns in one piece.

Lorelei and I had a "tin swap" a while ago, where she gifted me with this pretty blue and white tin that features - among other things - a peacock! Notice he is front and center in this banner design, and I found the most perfect matching agate and ceramic beads to complete the necklace.
Here, instead of cutting out a "shape", I cut out the exact image I wanted - a butterfly. I used a contrasting piece of tin for his background and once he was riveted to the pendant, I carefully bent his wings up as if in flight.

Here is a better look. Pulling the beads together for the wire wrapped chain was fun as these are not colors that I would normally pair together. But once it was complete, I totally fell in love with the mustard, teal, black and purple palette!

I found these cool openwork hearts at Michael's as part of the Industrial Chic line, and immediately thought they'd be the perfect frame for some tin. Here's a trio of mismatched fun!

And here's a couple of single hearts, but layered upon bigger hearts.

Cuffs! I found some great cuff blanks with a nice edging so that the tin would have more of a finished feel. It's a great way to show off a larger piece of the tin, rather than cut it up into little pieces.

Here's another design where I cut the elements out - flowers - and riveted them to a pendant.

A different kind of cuff..... openwork filigree from Ornamentea, which I gave some patina. Then I riveted some domed circles onto it.

Some simpler necklaces - precut designs from Michael's and each one has a message tag on the back as well. Fun shapes for tin to peek through!

I have had so much fun coming up with these designs, and I have even more in the works! The exhibit is now open at the Art Center, and I got a sneak peek today when I stopped in. I am looking forward to the reception on Sunday, and will post an update (with pics I hope). Thanks for looking and for your support!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reimagined/Recreate: Upcycled Art

Being involved with my local Art Center means that I see and hear about things before others might. So when I heard about their plans to have an upcycled art exhibit, I immediately thought of all of the jewelry I have made over the years with upcycled objects. I approached our director to see if she might be interested in any of my jewelry for the exhibit and was so pleased when she said yes! I have sold my jewelry for many years but I have never been in an actual exhibit. How exciting!!!

Since I now have precious few minutes to steal away to be creative, I was a bit relieved knowing that I already had many designs in my personal collection that were composed of tea strainers, silverware, drawer pulls, and men's ties. But, like many others, I have recently caught the bug to create with decorative tins! So, I did have to carve out some time more recently to make up several tin pieces not only for show, but also for sale. (Which is why I haven't been able to blog/show any new work lately). Upcycling is such a huge trend no matter what type of medium you are working in, so I know I am by no means reinventing the wheel here. But I do strive really hard to create things with my own twist on them.

I will be doing some more posts about this exhibit. I plan to show pictures of some of my favorite tin pieces soon. And then pictures from the exhibit itself. But for now, please enjoy the following pictures and article that were featured in my local paper today! Gosh, I felt lucky enough to be in the exhibit let alone have the paper come to my studio to interview me! It was such a fun experience, and forced me to clean my mess of a studio (let's see how long it stays that way)!

And if you are in the Battle Creek area, we'd love to see you at the Art Center!

A flattened fork in a parking lot is nothing but litter for most of us, but to Heather Trudeau it has potential as something new and beautiful.

In her curry-colored workshop last Friday, Trudeau showed a peacock pin she made, with the curled tines of a fork suggesting feathers in motion.

"I guess I'm always on the lookout for unique things to use," Trudeau said.

Besides parking lots, she finds items at the supermarket, off of old furniture and in rummage sales to incorporate into her jewelry making.

This trend is known as upcycling, and while Trudeau has been making jewelry for the past 12 years, finding a new purpose for life's detritus has become popular in the past couple of years.
"To me, it means using unexpected objects -- or even things that people might throw away -- into art," she said.

Trudeau's unexpected jewelry will be part of the Art Center of Battle Creek's next exhibit, "Reimagined/Recreate: Upcycled Art" from Tuesday until Sept. 24.

It takes keen creative instinct to see a butterfly in a tea strainer or a blooming flower in the pattern on a candle tin. Trudeau's art has been featured in professional magazines, such as Stringing, and can be found for sale at and the Art Center, where she is a board member.

However, making jewelry is a hobby first and foremost for Trudeau. She said that when the process becomes about selling, the pressure of creating something new takes the fun out of it.
She said art is something that helps her relax and that she can balance with her full-time job as an accountant and time with her husband and baby son.

At the moment, Trudeau is experimenting with shapes that she cuts out of decorative tins that would otherwise be destined for a rusty trash heap. For instance, one of her favorite pieces is a mosaic necklace made by linking together discs cut from contrasting tins. It will be part of the display at the Art Center.

The other featured upcycle artist is Steve DeMaagd, who makes insect statues from crashed car parts.

Visitors can also look for their own artistic inspiration in a bin of "junk" provided by the Art Center to create their own item to add to the exhibit.