Sunday, January 31, 2010
Most of the time, I'm creating pieces to sell on Etsy and the rest of the time, I'm making gifts for Christmas, birthday, Valentine's Day, and every other occasion. Two nights ago I decided it was time for me to make something for me.
Even though I am swimming in leather pieces that need to be fixed up and upcycled into new creations, I am still using the same ratty wallet I've had for several years. I decided the time had come for me to have a nice new leather wallet.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
There are so many unfair events and situations that happen in this world, some on larger scales than others. I count my blessings every day that I have the things in life that make me happy. So many of the people in Haiti are currently struggling to count their own blessings after the horrific earthquake that destroyed so much of their world. It's important to help our neighbors in this time of need and so I'm auctioning off this large once of a kind figure along with the two children she's holding. The children together hold up a sign that says "hope."
100% of the winning bid will go to the Red Cross Haiti relief effort. If you haven't made a donation or would like to make another donation, think of these cuties as a thank you gift. The people of Haiti would certainly thank you if they could. If you prefer to make a straight donation, please visit the Red Cross website or text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 (most of you already know that...but just in case some of you haven't heard).. Thank you so much!
Friday, January 29, 2010
I rearranged and have started to organize things after the crazy holiday blitz. I have made a high island in the center of my studio. Last year, I had folding tables along the windows that I used as work surface. Unfortunately, they were also my show tables so I had to clean them off every time I packed up. I would like to say that this kept things picked up but it only resulted in a shuffling of piles and my center table became a dumping ground. My goal this year is to stay better organized. I also was fortunate to gain a flat file (for free!) so now all my papers can have a nice place to land.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I am a very creative person, as all are in this group and many out of this group are as well. I was making this ring at my bench last week, late at night, and started making a list in my head of all the things I had made that day. I figured I would share this list with you since it started to get long, and a bit ridiculous as well. Many of us don't realize how much MAKING we do in a day...
Today I made the following things:
A STRONG pot of coffee. THANK GOD.
a lunch box for my daughter and one for my husband as well.
a note for my daughters teacher, explaining why her homework was not going to make it to school that day.
A list of things I had to do that day. Good luck on this one I said to myself.
An *ss of myself in exercise class. But it was worth it.
This ring- See above.
a bit of a mess trying to make a new banana bread recipe. But it tasted good Yum!
More of this ring. It took a looooong time.
A school project (well, I didn't really make it but I helped.)
A story up for my daughter at bed time.
This ring. UGH.
A drink to relax at the end of my long day. :)
Whew! busy day- We make a lot in one day including our projects/artwork and it made me feel better about thinking, sometimes erroneously, that I NEVER get anything done.
What did YOU make today?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Jewels are what's been on my brain lately! Not real jewels...but "new antique" jewelry! Ever since I took Kaari Meng's rosary necklace workshop at Silver Bella (a fabulous national artist's retreat in Omaha, NE) I've been dying to make more necklaces and maybe even some earrings! The masterpiece above is what I came home with after Kaari's class. She had the best materials and was so helpful while I was learning...and it was fun! I had made some cheesy hemp jewelry in highschool, but nothing as pretty as this!
So, the other night I went around my studio and gathered up all the materials I could use to make something pretty. I have all different sorts of pearls and buttons and beads...
...I also gathered up all of my adorable little charms. My mom always had the best charms in her own stash and I'm lucky enough to have a few of them now (sssshhh...don't tell her!). I'm officially hooked on vintage charms!
It was fun to see the materials all together in one place and it made me really excited to get started!
I went to the little bead shop on Newbury Street to buy the right pliers (round nosed I think they're called??) and some other supplies. When I got home I wasted no time in getting started! We had guests over, but that didn't stop me! Unfortunately I got off to a questionable start. Turns out I needed to buy brass colored eye pins and chain to really get the look I was after. Sigh...I ordered them online and I'm hoping they'll get here tomorrow!
Until then I've been getting inspired by Amy Hanna's fabulous jewelry making book, Rejuvenated Jewels. This bird necklace on the front cover is ultimately divine! Besides all the eye-candy, there are lots of helpful hints inside. I recommend it!
I did actually managed to "make" this necklace. It's super pretty, but also super simple. Just a small chandelier crystal on an old chain! If you've got those two things lying around like I was lucky enough to of had, you've got a brand new necklace in 10 seconds flat! :)
Also while I wait for my supplies I've been admiring the jewelry I currently have in my collection. Lots of vintage pieces and pieces made by artist friends. This old brass rack (used during the first season of the Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery) is the perfect storage place...it's a great display and easy access!
I also have a fairly good collection of vintage brooches (love to wear them!). I keep some of them in my mini claw foot tub.
And the others I keep in my little seashell box. One or two of them just might end up on a new necklace! :)
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
If a picture is worth a thousand words, well designed letter forms are priceless. This week Boston Handmade showcases some creative uses of numbers and letters...and while good design is priceless, these items won't break the bank!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Does this look familiar? Well if you follow our blog we've had two other post about these inspiring fabric embroidery hoop wall art. Nicole of 83 West couldn't part with some of her prized possessions. While Allison of Fraske Designs wanted to jazz up her walls. Like both of these ladies I also couldn't part with my fabrics but wanted to make a statement on a budget. It was fun to do and very simple to make. It's located right in my entry and whenever someone new comes by they always have something wonderful to say about it.
Designers included in this post are Amy Butler, Erin McMorris, Kaffe Fassett, Denyse Schmidts, and Alexander Henry. Also included are some retro fabrics.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
It's that time of year again. I'm talking about when we look back at what we've accomplished, and set our sights on new goals. Personally, I have mixed feelings about this practice, although I can't seem to stop myself from doing it every year. I love the part when you look back and feel really great about what you achieved (who doesn't, right?). However for me, there's always the sinking disappointment of what didn't quite make it off the list. In setting new goals for myself, I get really excited and optimistic about the possibilities, yet I know in the back of my mind my habit for overreaching, knowing that I'm setting myself up on some level to fall short. I'm assuming I'm not alone out there - that this is the way it usually goes for creative types, isn't it?
So this year, on January 1st, I turned back to my list I'd written a year ago on what I'd like to achieve in 2009, and was shocked, shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you - !!!!SHOCKED!!!! - to find that I could write the exact same list for 2010. How is that possible? This was one of the most productive years I've ever had, and with that I decided I couldn't possibly be bothered by it. That instead it was time to look back on the year with great appreciation for all those things that somehow did happen, without my planning on them ahead of time.
First of all - here's what I didn't do:
- Convert my attic space into my studio (yes, I still hear you up there calling to me)
- Stay on top of my budget so that I'm not looking at 12 months of receipts in January (hello box of receipts waiting for me!)
- See a profit (damn you, fiber addiction)
There were a few others, too, but I won't go into them here. So, to take care of my page with no check marks on it, I simply crossed off 2009, and wrote 2010. There - that's something to look forward to!
Now - I'm thrilled to say I did accomplish some other very important things that weren't even goals a year ago.
- I learned that I'm able to produce a lot of product when I budget my time well.
- I got really good at balancing the different aspects of my life. Kids are thriving, house is clean, I'm working out at the gym, and cozycottage is getting all the attention it requires and deserves.
- I've been told that I really grew as an artist. Yeah - I'll accept that. I'm really proud of the level I'm at in my work.
So looking back I realize that this was a growing year. I love it. It's good to have those. And hopefully I've grown enough to clear away just a wee bit of extra time for my attic - and those receipts. I suppose staying out of yarn shops will help with that.
I leave you now with one of my new products for 2010 that I'm really excited about - Valentine's Day cards! Love ya!
Friday, January 22, 2010
Last Monday evening I ventured out into the cold and rain to 4th Wall Project where I caught the screening of Handmade Nation, a documentary by Faythe Levine (who was also in attendance and did a Q&A) about the recent handmade movement in the US. Despite the weather, the place was packed with eager DIY aficionados. In the film, Faythe zigzags across the country, interviewing various crafters and artists in their workspaces and at local craft shows. It reminded me a lot of Etsy's "Handmade Portraits" series. Here is a clip of the opening credits which I particularly enjoyed:
It's always fun for me to see other artisans thriving and doing what they love. If you do too, I'd recommend picking up the DVD and giving it a look!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I've been a busy beaver here in the studio making goodies for Valentine's Day. Here are a few of the new pink and red cuties!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
We've all by this time heard of the awful devastation in Haiti, and most of us have also been asked in several capacities to donate to the cause. Well, a way to donate and engage in some healthy Craftivism is just a few clicks away.
A small group of crafters joined by the inspiration of Ghandi: "A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." - Craft Hope is a faith-based, love inspired project designed to share handmade crafts with those less fortunate. It is their hope to combine a love for crafting and desire to help others into a project to make a difference around the world.
They have been making a difference for over a year, but when the news about Haiti hit, they went into overdrive. Currently you can purchase any of dozens of items in their Etsy shop, 100% of the profits of which will go to Doctors Without Borders. All the items have been donated by Etsy sellers (including several form Boston Handmade). If you are a crafty person yourself, you can also donate items yourself to their shop. At the time I am writing this, they have sold 756 items for the cause, and raised over $15,000!! Please consider shopping with them or donating an item or two, and help their inspiration become a reality.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Luckily, I'm an under-liner. You probably know the type - we always read with pen or pencil in hand, furiously making margin notes and check-marks all over the pages. When we see something we like, we underline.
This is great when it comes time to make a hand-stamped leather cuff with a quote on it. As consumers we see a lot of the same quotes over and over again on magnets, mugs, and greeting cards. I'd like to believe that all my underlining has a purpose; it gets quotes out into the world that we might not otherwise see.
I keep a few of my favorite books right by me in the studio. When I'm working on a cuff that I think will lend itself well to a quote, I take out one of my favorites and I leaf through until I find an underlined portion that I like.
From Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, I recently pulled out "I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our cries and grow sad." From Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence I (re)found "Each time you happen to me all over again."
With all the novels in my house, there is always sure to be new quote cuffs showing up, so stay tuned.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
It being the winter time and thus making fresh flowers hard to come by or expensive, they played up the winter theme by using Christmas lights and pine leaves garlands for decorations.
Table centerpieces were made using rustic preserves jars, a votive candle, and again a simple strand of golden decorations and ribbon they bought from after Christmas sales.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
The 2nd annual Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery was a success once again! It's hard to believe we closed up for the season just a couple of weeks ago, but it's true. Wish you could still visit? Check out this video (click the pic), it's the next best thing to being there:
Thank you to everyone who shopped handmade at our gallery - we hope to see you again for the 2010 holiday season!
Friday, January 15, 2010
A few years ago I was introduced to oil painting and was instantly hooked. I then tried acrylic and one thing I loved about it was the textures you could create using the paints. Recently I've become interested in combining my love of photography with painting so I began looking into digital transfers.
These pieces are wood studio panels painted in white acrylic paint for texture. I then applied a digital transfer of one of my images to each board.
After that they get coated in a preserving spray (that will help eliminate fading) and then a matte acrylic varnish. On some of the pieces I included text as an experiment; I took an awesome typography class at the SMFA a few years ago and I'm always looking for ways to incorporate it into my work.
I had a lot of fun making these and look forward to making more using different techniques. There are so many things you can do with transfers in terms of layering images, use of color, texture, etc. I ordered a book from the library called "Digital Art Studio: Techniques for Combining Inkjet Printing with Traditional Art Materials" which was recommended to me by fellow BHer and digital transfer guru Chris O'Brien. Can't wait to get my hands on it!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Last summer I traveled to London by boat, and my favorite part was the Tate Modern. This morning my housemate left for the UK on business with my explicit instructions to go to the museum.
Cornelia Parker, one of my favorite artists, has a piece at the Tate Proper and the Tate Modern, but her piece at the Modern is really amazing. A British artist, Parker has a knack for manipulating ordinary objects and juxtaposing them cleverly.
Thirty Pieces of Silver
If you've been to the ICA since it opened a few years ago, you might have seen her piece Hanging Fire (Suspected Arson).
If you haven't seen it, I really recommend going. The ICA is free from 5pm to 9pm every Thursday and it's really worth the trip!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I recently stumbled upon the blog Shopping Days in Retro Boston. It is full of old pictures of Downtown Crossing in Boston, MA in its hey-day. Check it out some of these amazing pictures and images:
Visit shoppingdaysinretroboston.blogspot.com for more!