Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflecting and Planting

by Eliza Lynn Tobin of Art Asana

This time of year, I always try to take some time out from my normal schedule to sit down with a cup of hot tea, a notebook and reflect on the year that has gone by. The deep dark of December is a wonderful time for this kind of inward reflection and quiet. I warm my heart and mind on all the things I am grateful for and give voice to the things I'd like to let go of. I also use the time to look ahead to the fresh arrangement of new year that I have ahead of me. I plan. I devise. I create goals and action plans.

There is a power in planting the seeds of intentions/ideas/goals/dreams/desires into the darkness of this deeply reflective time of year. In darkness, seeds can germinate! So as 2010 begins to wind down, I invite you to join me in this process of reflection and of planting seeds. Below is a list of five awesome resources from around the web, for your reflection and intention-setting inspiration:

1. Reverb10

2. Hillary Rubin: 15 Questions Every Woman Must Answer Before the Year Ends

3. Lisa Elia: 10 Questions to Answer to Have a Life-changing Year

4. Crafting a Life (a free e-book by Tara Gentile)

5. When I Grow Up Coach: Tough Question Tuesday (The 100th Question Celebration)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Home for Art, MFA

by Kerry of Khawkinsphoto

Several weeks ago, My husband and I visited the new Art of the Americas Wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. There is a new restaurant on the main floor of this new space. We wandered around a few floors and plan to go back and see the rest, soon. There was so much to see. Some of the art was in other parts of the museum and now has a new home in this new wing of the museum. It was fun to see some of these familiar pieces in their new home among art I have never seen before.

In the past, we have gone to the museum and have watched the progress of this wing through a window in the information center. It is great to finally be able to visit it fully finished.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For all you painters and crafters out there

by Julie Beck of Julie Beck: Original Paintings

I use and abuse my paint brushes. I don't clean them well, I don't use soap, I submerge them in water and then forget about them. And then I wonder... why do my paintbrushes suck?!?!?

So last week, with a suggestion from one of the teachers at the academy, I went through and purged all the gnarly crusty old brushes and replaced them with brand spanking new brushes. LONG HANDLE brushes too... which I normally don't use.

My default is about a 4 Round brush... so I got a couple extra 4 rounds, but I also got some filberts and flats and a couple angles (angles are also a staple of mine). WHAT A DIFFERENCE THEY MAKE!!! I swear I am going to take better care of these!! That's one of my New Years Resolutions.

I used my old brushes as props for my booth:

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Mosaic - Get Organized!

1. Sea Glass and Shell Keepsake Box by Sea Glass Things
2. Matryoshka Folk Art Wall Calender by Pressbound
3. Felted Pencil Cup in Dijon Yellow with Polka Dots by Cozy Cottage Creations
4. 2011 Desk Calender by Lucie Wicker Photography
5. Snappy Card Holder in Girly Girls Vintage Fabric by Stitchy McYarnpants
6. Art Nouveau Bookplates by Cricicis Design

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Poo Paper Calendar

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

Last week I got this calendar in the mail from my Dad. My Dad is an artist, teacher, art director, illustrator, cutting horse breeder, cutting horse trainer, ranch owner, ranch manager, horse feeder, horse washer, horse lover and horse painter... I'm sure I missed something cowboy/horse/artist related.

How awesome is this? Most of it is printed on recycled Horse Manure paper imbedded with wildflower seeds. I will be planting this in the spring of 2012. It includes 12 tiny prints of original watercolor paintings by Don Weller.

Of course I called him immediately to find out where these can be purchased. Unfortunately, he only had a limited quantity printed this year to give out to friends and family. Next year he says he will print more for selling. I think they are brilliant. But if you want to take a chance that there are still some left, you can email I have no idea what they cost, or how many are left. I do have an idea that you will love it as I do if you are lucky enough to snag one.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Peace Polish Folk Art Inspired Holiday Card by Pressbound

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on Earth, good will to men!
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

*Merry Christmas from Boston Handmade*

Friday, December 24, 2010

Handmade Snowflakes

by Cristina Hurley of Cristina Hurley Jewelry Design

Every year, I make a few snowflakes just for fun, out of silver wire I have left over from jewelry projects. I don't sketch or plan, I just sort of fool around with the wires and move them around until I like the snowflake. That way they end up being unique, just like real snowflakes!
Its a fun little break from my hectic holiday schedule!

It will be a white Christmas up in my area.... I wish everyone peace and happiness this holiday season!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Inspiration

By Arthur of Arthur Halvorsen Ceramics

I have always loved Christmas especially the decorating of the tree and and more importantly the individual ornaments. I love that ornaments have this ability to make their own little worlds. I took a few photos of some of my favorite ornaments, new, old, handmade and yes not handmade too. I love haw Christmas and this time of year really seems to bring out the best in all people, weather you celebrate Christmas or not. I also think we all can take a note from Christmas ornaments and add some more glitz and glitter to our lives! I hope you enjoy the photos!

Rocket girl was made by Vintage by Crystal and I got her at the Martha Stewart craft show last year in NYC.

My favorite ornament of all, this was my grandfathers bird that he would clip dead center on the tree every year.

Lastly I made this ornament after Christmas from all the Christmas card I had received... I'll do a how-to after Christmas this year on the blog as well!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's not too late for more ornaments on the tree!

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

Christmas is nearly here but it's definitely not too late to add a few additions to your tree. Head down to the Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery to grab one of my new porcelain star ornaments! There's many other artists who have ornaments there as well, so you'll be sure to find one that is perfect for you. Don't wait, the last day to shop is Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Battery Operated Lights

by Amy of Bumble Belly Designs

I want to share my most important discovery of 2010.

Two weeks ago, I was able to have electricity at my booth and I plugged in some clip lights to better highlight my encaustics. It was amazing what a difference it made. People could see my work as I had created it in my sunny studio. The colors popped off the wall and the depth and luminosity of the wax was very apparent. The show was a huge success for me and I was hooked.

This past weekend I was at SOWA Holiday at the Cathedral High School Gym in Boston. There are big windows that shed a lot of light during the day, but after the sun goes down my work gets muddied by the overhead lights. I also knew I was facing away from the windows so my work would be back lit from the main daylight source.

After some internet research and running around to different box stores, I asked my husband to help me come up with a battery system. He totally pulled through!

Here are the main components and they are all available at stores like Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and

1 . A deep cycle marine battery

It is very important that it is a deep cycle battery. These can take a deep drain and be recharged again and again.

2. A power inverter

The inverter converts the 12volt DC current of the battery to 110 volt AC current, which is what runs out of a household socket. It is important that the wattage on your inverter is more than the total wattage of the lights that you will be running. My first day I ran a 200 watt inverter and had 4 lamps each with a 20watt warm fluorescent bulb in each (these are equivalent to a 75 watt incandescent bulb but draw less power). I like Sylvania's mini style bulbs.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I wasn't paying attention the second morning, coupled with exhaustion, and I connected the inverter to the battery backwards (+ to - instead of + to +, - to -) and I blew the fuse in the inverter. My husband ran in with another one that is a 410 watt and it worked fine and I will probably add lights in the future.

3. A battery charger

This charger was great. It has a digital display that will tell you the percentage of charge left in your battery. It will also trickle charge once you reach 100%, so I plugged it in over night and woke up to a full charge ready to go in the morning.

4. Standard lights and cords
The rest can be your choice. I used clip lamps that I picked up 2 days before the show and connected them using standard extension cords. The inverter has 2 plug sockets so I plugged the lamps together on the cords and them plugged the cords in.

Here is the amazing thing, after 8 hours running the 4 lights my battery was still at a 45% charge. I plan on adding a bit more light and finding arm lights that will aim back at the wall. My clip lights were great but washed the wall from top to bottom and I would like to get the lighting a bit more even in the future.

I plan on trying this system at outdoor shows as well. There is a water tight box for the marine battery as they are meant to be used in boats. I will also plan on having it up off the ground on a wood platform. The battery is heavy so a wood box that can be put on a collapsible dollie would work great. It is very important to respect that this is still an electrical device and can harm you if you are not paying attention or treating it with care.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Mosaic - Noel

1. Eco Gift Tags by Reclaimed to You
2. Hand Embroidery in 3 inch Hoop by The Merriweather Council
3. Merry Merry Polish Folk Art Inspired Holiday Card - Set of 6 by Pressbound
4. Pocket Gnome Pocket Mirror by Stitchy McYarnpants
5. Reversible Jumper Pinafore in Red by All the Numbers
6. Green Meadows 166 Yards Tencel and Merino Wool Blend by Lady Dye

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lidded Boxes at Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery

by Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics

As someone who mostly makes mostly thrown work, I decided to switch it up a bit and make some hand-built boxes with the rope texture seen in most of my work. I sometimes forget how laborious hand-building can be.

My shapes cut from a slab of clay textured with rope

The lid upside down. The small lips are to make sure it doesn't slide around and fall off.

Creating the box sides.

After a lot of scraping and smoothing...voila! box!

Want to see the finished glazed boxes? Well then you simply MUST go to the Boston Handmade Downtown Gallery before it closes December 24 because that is the only way you will! Open Wednesdays-Sundays, 11-7, at 505 Washington St, Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Decorations

by Liz of Lush Beads

A few weeks ago, I attended the Festival of Trees in Methuen, MA. It is an event where you can see over 200 fully decorated Christmas trees - trees that are raffled off at the end of the festival. I did not win a tree this year, but I did enjoy my visit to the festival.

This was the Einstein tree. I thought the tree topper was very clever!

A happy hedgehog among the Christmas lights.

This tree had a lot of puzzle ornaments. I really liked the snowman.

What happens to you when you run Grandma over.

A reindeer that isn't in the clink.

A small tree made with forks. Fantastic!

I love the vintage Santa images.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My First Christmas Tree

by Allison of Fraske Designs

For the past few years, I have secretly wanted a kitschy fake white Christmas tree. Until this year, I haven't been in the right living space to make a legit tree happen. I decided to splurge (except, I only spent $25) on a 48" tall, fake, white, awesome Christmas tree for my living room.

Why a white Christmas tree? Well, I am going to have plenty of time to get a real tree later in life, so I am indulging in the frivolity and ridiculousness of the white Christmas tree while I can.
Here is a picture of my first Christmas tree in all its glory:

I got pretty amber lights for it, but Rookie Mistake #1 was that I bought them on green wire instead of white. Oh well. I also still need the right star for the top. I could not find one the other night when I was looking for the trimmings. But otherwise, I'm pretty excited!

Next feat: Start a lifetime collection of ornaments. While the matching ornament style is nice and uniform and orderly looking, I do love a haphazard Christmas tree with random ornaments that have been collected over the years.

What kind of Christmas tree do YOU love?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Play Date

by Nancy of nancyrosetta

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with Cristina Hurley at her studio/retail space. We chatted and made jewelry.

Cristina is on the left, and I am on the right.

Cristina was soldering some rings in this pic.

I am piercing out a cherry blossom pendant.

I really have to make some time to work along side her again. It's quite a different experience when you are not all by yourself working on your craft. I had a lot of fun!

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