Friday, November 26, 2010

My new schtick

My husband calls me flighty, and I'll admit, I'm a little ditzy and absent-minded, but I also enjoy allowing my creative flights of fancy free rein. Lately those flights of fancy have taken me in the direction of fabric, and more precisely, upcycled denim.

Over the summer I saw a bag my sister had made, and my attempt to re-create it let me to use some old jeans that I couldn't bear to part with, but were no longer functional. They were a gift and had sentimental value, so I didn't want to throw them away. I was thrilled to come up with the idea to repurpose them into a fabulous bag. I had so much fun making that one, that I just couldn't stop! Unfortunately, my Kenmore sewing machine just wasn't up to the task. It really didn't like sewing through more than 2 layers of denim. We were having some serious problems. Around that time, I heard about a sewing machine shop closing, so I went in to talk to the sales people about my options. When I found the BabyLock Sofia 2, it was love at first site! The capability to incorporate embroidery into my designs opened the floodgates of creativity. I had so many ideas running through my head it was unbelievable! :)

Of course, finding time to sew, with my kids, husband, opera & my job as a hairdresser, was pretty difficult. Especially trying to learn something new and incorporate it into an already pretty fluid process. Unlike my sister, I'm not big on patterns. Each one of my wallets and bags is created on the fly. I basically sit at my design table and put together an elaborate jigsaw puzzle of denim.

So being able to finish my first embroidered denim bag was awesome! There's so many pre-loaded embroidery designs on my new machine that I haven't even needed to go online to find anything new. I was so thrilled to be able to create something beautiful out of something worn out and useless. And it's so much fun to play with color!

Originally, this first bag was destined for my etsy shop. I even had a name for it: Eternal Springtime in Shades of Purple. But, I love it so much I think I have to keep it! Purple is my favorite color, and I really love how the embroidery turned out. And my first attempt at using hardware in my bags turned out really nicely as well. I love the adjustable strap! And it was amazing being able to take pictures in my basement in the middle of the night with my new photo setup! So many new techniques all coming together at once :)

I've got another bag that I've been working on that I'm planning on calling Celestial Beauty. It's suns, moons and shooting stars in golden tones. Really fabulous. I really want to keep that one, too! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where has the time gone?

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted! So much has happened since July.

I think the summer is busy in any crafter's life -- with so many shows andopportunities, it's hard to find time to stay connected online. Why would I want to spend time on my computer when I could be outside enjoying life? :)

I had a really busy summer. I was able to do two really great craft shows. As a hairdresser in my other life, taking a weekend off to do a show is a big deal. I tend to be really choosy about the shows I do. So I was very lucky to find two really good ones over the summer.

The first was at a retirement community for very active, vibrant seniors. It was wonderful to bring our handcrafted wares to them and get to talk to some really wonderful people. The second was part of the annual celebration for a beautiful park here in Pittsburgh on Mt. Washington. The park is on top of Mt. Washington with a fabulous view of the city. It was so inspiring to be there all day just soaking up the beauty of the day and getting to meet some really great people, including a couple of other Etsy sellers. Both experiences were really fabulous!

And, of course, with the holidays coming up, I've got a couple of shows scheduled. I did a really great house party a couple of weeks ago, in advance of the holiday craziness, and I'll be part of the Light-Up Night festivities in Hampton Township, north of Pittsburgh. I'm really looking forward to that!

In all of my spare time, though, I've started a new project: upcycled denim accessories. They're SO much fun to do. I've started repurposing old jeans and giving them new life as denim bags and wallets. It's the perfect way to meld my love of quilting and sewing with my love of recycling.

So between my full-time job as a mom, and all of my various part-time jobs, I've managed to find some time to feed my creative spirit. I think that's something we can all use.

Be blessed!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fabulosity -- Jabecca Designs

I recently opened a second shop on Etsy -- The Diva's Destash -- for all of my extra stuff. So far it's just fabric, but I've got a ton of lace that's ready to get added soon. But looking through Etsy for stuff to replenish my stash has lead me to a treasure trove of destash, and that led me to Jabecca's Designs this week.
I was looking for beads, because you can never have too many beads, right? :) I got a great deal on beads from Rebecca's stash, and discovered a fabulous jewelry designer.She does a lot of stuff with hemp macrame, which is such an underused art. It really adds an earthiness to her designs. And I love the combinations she uses -- colors that I wouldn't think to use together just flow seamlessly in her work. Everything just feels natural and organic.
Take a look! I think you'll love discovering for yourself a new artist with a fresh eye for design.

Be blessed!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fabulosity -- Judy's Designs

I have met some truly wonderful people through Etsy and Twitter. I had no idea how much work goes into promoting yourself when I first started my Etsy shop! Luckily, I found a group of like-minded artisans called World Wide Etsy Sellers, and through them, I met Judy, of Judy's Designs.
As a jewelry designer, I love looking at other people's work. It gives me ideas and inspiration for my own jewelry designs. And I love to look at Judy's designs. They're really fresh and original, and they inspire me to think outside the box. She does wonderful things with color and natural elements, and I love the look of her jewelry. It feels really authentic. It's bold without being excessive or over-the-top. And the colors just pop! :)
Take a look and see for yourself. I think you'll like what you see!

Be blessed!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Fabulosity -- Daydreem Designs

I'm back! I had to take a little mental health vacation after my show. I don't know how people do lots of shows. I find them exhausting! All the preparation, in addition to the rest of my life, is a lot to do. My kids still wanted to eat. I still had to do laundry and what little housework I do. :) And on top of that I had to create a ton of new jewelry! But luckily, I did well at the show, so all the extra work was worth it. I'll have some photos of everything a little later.

My Etsy shop has been doing well, also. I've been making a lot of trips to the post office. I recently mailed my first package to Australia! That was really exciting. :)

My most recent trip to the post office led me to meet Aimee of Daydreem Designs. I was at a stop sign behind her and saw her Etsy shop address on her back window -- what a great idea! I wrote it down so I could check it out when I got home, not realizing that we'd be in line together at the post office! It's always so awesome to meet local Etsians!

Of course, we exchanged cards and I checked out her shop when I got home. She and her fiance, Michael, are the genius behind Daydreem Designs. Michael creates beautiful engraved glass and carved wood. Exquisite goblets and shot glasses, votive candle holders and decorative glass bowls. Such beautiful work! And what a nifty gift idea for any holiday. I simply adore the halloween stuff. :) And what better way to warm up on a cold winter day than with a mug of hot cocoa in a mug engraved with snowflakes? :) Now I know where to shop for my next wedding gift, father's day, anniversary...

Be blessed! :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Something new

I was at work yesterday at the salon and one of my clients had on a fabulous necklace -- and I just had to try my hand at the style!

It's really different for me -- kinda new and trendy. What do you think?

I don't think I'm going to list it in my shop just yet. I think I'll save it for the craft show I'm doing at Longwood at Oakmont Retirement Community on June 28th. It's something that I can definitly make again, and I plan to in silver with blue beads I think, but they'll all be different. It's definitely a one of a kind sort of piece.

I love the color on this one, though. It's all carnelian and carnelian agate with czech fire polished glass crystals and copper on handcrafted copper chain. It was lots of fun, though, figuring out what I wanted to do and getting the balance right.

Let me know what you think! I always appreciate and welcome comments

Be blessed!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fabulosity -- Wudl's Woodshop

I don't do a lot of craft shows. In my other life, I'm a hairdresser and a church musician, so my weekends are pretty full. But I have done a couple. Unfortunately, my displays are currently in use in the two stores that carry my jewelry. So when I was presented with an opportunity to do a show during the week at a retirement community, I jumped at the chance! But where was I going to get quality craft show displays on really short notice without bugging my husband endlessly? A quick search of Etsy helped me discover Wudl's Woodshop.

John Wudl, of Wudl's Woodshop, is absolutely wonderful. A search of his site found something that was almost exactly what I'd been looking for all over the internet. So I convo'd him. The next day, not only did he have a quote for me, but he'd built my earring displays and had pictures taken already! If that's not fabulosity, I don't know what is! :)

Woodworking is an art, and the items available in Wudl's Woodshop exemplify that art. I was impressed by how many crafters on Etsy purchased custom designs from John, and I was really impressed with the speed of design and creation of my request. It was less than 36 hours between my initial convo and the listing of my completed custom design! I can't wait to get them to see how wonderful they are. If the feedback John's gotten is any indication, I'll be back for more!

I was also impressed with the variety of items available. If you need a craft display, he can design it! Everything from spool holders to candle holders. If it can be made from wood, John can probably build it! :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

Fabulosity -- Maudies

I love beads. Something about them speaks to me. And I love lampwork beads. Each bead is just a little bit different. You can find some really nifty ones in stores, but they're nothing compared to the true individuality of hand crafted beads like the ones Ann creates for her Etsy shop, Maudies.

I literally stumbled upon Maudies a couple of months ago and was delighted to find that her beads were not only beautiful, but affordable! As much as I love lampwork beads, I can rarely afford to indulge my passion. Not so with Maudies! And just because her prices are low doesn't mean that her quality or workmanship is lacking. Everything that I've ordered from her has been wonderful! And she's a dream to work with on custom creations. I love everything I've gotten from her, and can't wait to get my next order in the mail! :)

Be blessed!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fabulosity -- Buy Her Beads

I don't know a jewelry designer who doesn't have a love of beads. I think we all have some level of compulsion to buy them, even if we don't have a need for them or any clue what we'll be using them for. I, myself, have a lot of beads that just haven't "spoken" to me yet, to let me know what to do with them. That's where George of Buy Her Beads comes in. His wife is a jewelry designer who has a ton of beads. George purges her collection so she has room for more! That sounds like something I need my husband to do!

I love looking at George's site because there are so many beautiful beads. There are also wire-wrapped items created by his wife that she then changed her mind on. Lucky for us! It seems like everyday there's something new to tempt me. He's got everything from tiny beads to huge slabs and nuggets in every color imaginable! Even just writing this blog post, I found a ton more that I really need to have! His wife has great taste in beads -- take a look and see for yourself.

Be blessed!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fabulosity -- The Quilted House

When I started this blog feature, I thought about all the fabulous Etsy sellers I've met in the year I've been selling online, and the first person that came to mind is my sister, Michelle, of The Quilted House. But I wanted to wait until she finished my custom big sis tote, created entirely from fat quarters from my personal stash. She promised she'd have it done before I went into the hospital to have my thyroid surgery, and when she makes a promise, she delivers!

But beyond the relationship we have as sisters, she is a truly talented quilter, and her work is phenomenal. The detail that she puts into her quilts is unparalleled. I feel truly blessed to have her work hanging on the walls of my home.

She is also an inspiration to me. She challenges me and encourages me with my own Etsy shop. We have challenged each other, along with a couple of friends, to try to list an item every day. That really helps to keep us focused on our businesses and keep our shops fresh and vibrant.

In her shop, she specializes in quirky, quilted items that you would never think of, like picture frames and greeting cards, as well as what you would expect, like hot pads and placemats. But even with these items, the workmanship is exquisite! Every detail is thought of ahead of time, and nothing is too small or trivial to be concerned with. I know that when I order something from Michelle, either from her shop or something custom, that when I receive it, I will be thrilled beyond words!