Monday, August 31, 2009

Melodious Monday: I Always Wanted a Horse...

~Hmmmm....This smells good...~
As a kid I rode horses and wanted one so badly - I even tried to say it would reduce my dad's grass cutting time by having it eat the grass. They said no. However, fast forward about 10 years (okay, maybe more) and hear I am, with a horse-dog.
~Oh Yeah! The perfect piece of Grass! Yummmm!~
She delights in eating grass. Oh sure, she eats it if she gets an upset stomach, but those are the long, old blades of grass. For every day eating, she prefers to walk carefully up and down the yard, hoping to find just "the right" piece of succulent fresh grass, which she will promptly devour. I find it hilarious. She finds it delicious. I should mention that I asked the vet about it, concerned that the incredibly expensive ($50+ per month!) food wasn't enough for her. The vet smiled and said no, she just likes to supplement her diet and finds it tasty and fun. I still find it hilarious.
~A Dragonfly after eating a mosquito - thanks Mr. Dragonfly!~
Here's a dragonfly resting on my deck. After one of the rainiest summers on record (I'm sorry Texas), the mosquitoes are going crazy, and that means (thank goodness!!) dragonflies!! We have thousands of them - big blue ones, little brown ones, grey ones, black ones, so many, all munching like crazy on the mosquitoes...thank you dragonflies!!


and Arwen

Friday, August 28, 2009

Fabulous Friday Features: Rose Works Jewelry!

Welcome to another great installment of the Fabulous Friday Features, where I feature a great Etsy artist each week! If you have an Etsy store and would like to be featured, or know someone who does, leave me a comment at the end of this post!

This week's featured artist is Ruthie from Rose Works Jewelry. She has a store on Etsy and also on Artfire.
~Ruthie and Her Husband on Their Wedding Day~
1. How did you get started?
I grew up doing different "crafty" things, my Mom has always been into doing craft projects, and she shared that love with me at an early age! I first started learning to make jewelry as a freshman in high school, and I slowly picked up different techniques over the years. I didn't really get passionate about it though until a couple of years ago. At that point my friends and family really started encouraging me to sell my work. I dreamed, but didn't really pursue it until I got really sick in the Winter of 2008. I found myself needing to spend hours sitting still being restful, and I slowly started to fill some of that time with bead weaving. I continue to struggle with severe health problems, and having my jewelry business has given me a new purpose in life and helped me to stay sane through it all!
~Wind Dancer~
2. What are your inspirations?
I don't even know where to start with this! I love seeing other jewelry artists work, but I'm also inspired by nature, artisans from completely different disciplines, and just about anything you can think of!
~Earth Walker~
3. What are your favorite pieces?
I really love my elements series. Here are the links to the two pieces that are unsold right now:
Wind Dancer (The first jewelry piece shown at top):

Earth Walker The second jewelry piece shown):

I'm also really proud of my piece "Set Me Free" because it was an incredibly challenging journey for me (the third jewelry piece)!
~Set Me Free~
4. Are you involved with any animal or other charitable organizations and how did that come about?
I'm currently working on making a baby blanket to donate to the local Pregnancy Resource Center ( I used to work in a local shelter - and I'm thinking about setting up to donate a portion of my sales to them, but I don't have it quite set up yet.
~Scroll Bracelet~
Thanks Ruthie, what a fabulous artist you are!

And to my Little Studio Photography and Jewellery Followers, please remember - ONLY 3 DAYS LEFT TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF MY 20% OFF SALE!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday: A Strawberry and Bunnies

~The First Strawberry in My Gardens~

~Bunnies from Scotland!~

I have to say that, despite being very sick all summer and having the rainiest summer on record, I was absolutely delighted when I found a tiny strawberry in my gardens yesterday - the first strawberry of the year here and the first strawberry I've grown in my gardens! I gave it to Brennan, who devoured it and said it was yummy.

I was also dancing with joy when I received a package from Annette at DragonHouseofYuen with my newest baby hare, Phillip (left). What a surprise when out bounced a baby bunny Bouncer! I love them so much, I put them on my bedside table to see them as I fall asleep. I now have 3, including baby hare Sally, and I am so happy with them. They are so well made, and truly delight in bouncing around the house at night when they think I'm sleeping. I may just have to get a few more to add to my growing bunny family....I might have to wait a bit though...Brennan may look askance if I start getting them and hiding them all over the house!

My Back to School Sale is still going strong in my Etsy store, but it only lasts until the 31! Get your favorite jewelry and photography items now at 20% off while they last!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday:Sale Still On, and Other Things

~A New Bracelet, Soon to Be in the Etsy Store~

~The Sale is Still Going Strong! Get These Great Savings While You Can!~

~Arwen is Bored When She Isn't the Center of Attention, But is Still very Cute~

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's Sale Time!

That's right everyone, get 20% off everything in my Etsy store (before taxes and shipping) from August 25-31, 2009! I will refund through PayPal after you have paid.
Get great deals on rings, necklaces, accessories, destash items and more!!
See the Capital Crafters Blog for a list of participating stores and their sales.
While you're here, why not sign up for my newsletter to get advance notice on sales, specials and other goings on?

Remember to sign up for this month's contest, time is running out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Creative Blocks: How to Cope

Much has been said on this subject before, and much will, I am sure, be said of it in the future, but I thought I would share a small selection of what I do when I get some form or another of creative block.

As an artist running your own business, it is important that you have some sort of new product on a regular basis to show your clients and this can be one cause of creative block: pressure. Never has one word had so many meanings and been so reviled! Pressure and other stresses can be a major cause of creative blocks and should at all times be put in perspective.

If you find you are suffering form a creative block, try and look at how you are feeling and why. Are you stressed due to finances? Are you stressed trying to plan a wedding? Are you scared that no one will like your work? Try and figure out what is bothering you...really bothering you. Look deep down and find that source of uneasiness. Sometimes your heart may be telling you that it just isn't into what you are doing. Perhaps you are bored with what you are doing or need a shake-up with your materials or methods.

Once you have found your particular type of stress, get rid of it! Are you strapped financially (who isn't)? Worrying about it won't help! Figure out a financial plan and then think positively about it. Then forget it! Whatever your stress, figure out a tentative positive solution or helper, and then put it away.

Now we need to get into the creative thinking mode and make some art! To get into your creative head space, find something you really love to do. Is it walking in a forest? Baking some really good cookies? Singing as loud as you can to your favorite song? Playing with your materials? Do it! Get relaxed and let the creativity come! Sometimes I find that looking at jewelry magazines helps. Other times I need to put it all away and watch a favorite movie or read a good book. Anything to get me relaxed. Once I know I am relaxed, I know the creativity will come.

So here is my advice: take a relaxing bath, listen to music, play with the dog, heck, even take a short nap to recharge your 'batteries'... sometimes you need to be away from your element to feel closer to it - as the expression goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and as long as you are doing something you love, your heart will lead the way. You just need to be patient and not pressure yourself!

Good luck and have fun getting back to creating.

Remember to enter the newest contest! Only a week left to enter. See HERE for details.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sweet Saturday: Endless Whimsy Feature!

I am sorry for my absence yesterday and the accompanying absence of the "Fabulous Friday Feature" I normally do each week. Brennan had an appointment at a hospital in the city (nothing serious, don't worry), but it was at 7:50AM, which meant we had to be up at 5:30 and out the door by 6:30 AM (insert collective shudder here). By the time we got back I was so sore I couldn't do much more than sleep.
However, today is a new day and without further adieu, I present the belated Friday Feature, on Saturday.
Endless Whimsy is a fantastic artist whom I found when I joined the Etsy for Animals Street Team last year. Renovia makes beautiful sculptures and when my cat Gandalf died in November, I knew that her tribute sculptures would be perfect to honor and memorialize my special little guy. Sure enough, they turned out fabulously well (I got one for my mom too). When my parents' cat, Sheeeba, went over the rainbow bridge a week or so ago, I knew that I should call upon Renovia once more to make us some tribute sculptures in memory of her. Read on to find out more about this great artist.
1. How you got started doing your art:
A couple of years ago at the school where I teach the administration was on a 'wellness' kick. So the teachers got roped into taking classes taught by other teachers in the district. I signed up for a clay class with one of the art teachers. I was so incredibly excited about it - I took notes at night before bed about what I wanted to use my precious class time for. I knew I wanted to make a cat sculpture that was modern. So after a couple of sketches, I came up with a pose, the stretch pose. After class I went out and got some polymer clay because I just kept thinking about poses. I made about 20 cats in a couple different poses and loved all of them. Then I just figured the next step was to see if anyone else would like them. The polymer sculptures really took off and after a while I decided to make the jump into porcelain.
Porcelain offers detail that you just can't get in polymer. Sure you can get detail in polymer, but the way I pull the sculptures into shape, it eventually distorts some of the details. Plus I love having different price ranges and different mediums because everyone likes different things.

2. Your inspirations:
My inspirations are my cats; Stoli (a Russian Blue) and Luxor (an Egyptian Mau). They both have crazy personalities and antics - and photographing them was just not enough. So when I see a new sleeping position or a playful pounce, I try to capture it in clay.

3. Your favorite pieces:
If we're talking about my favorite pieces I make, I have a love/hate relationship with tributes. Next to solid black cats, they are the most popular thing I make. It's difficult to begin because I know some one's heart is hurting from the loss of a pet and it makes me sad every time I have to make one of these sculptures. But I love doing it because I know that this special sculpture is going to mean so much to someone and hopefully it will make them smile and bring back many good memories.

4. Are you involved with any animal or other charitable organizations and, if so, how that came about:
My husband and I volunteer for the Homeless Animal Rescue Team in Cumberland, Maine, a no-kill feline shelter. We decided one day after we got Stoli and Luxor that because we had not taken in shelter cats (and we were limited by our living conditions to only 2 cats) we would do what we could to help cats still living in shelters.

I feel very thankful that I have been able to pursue my passion for cats and art in a way that is satisfying and rewarding to more than just myself.

Thank you so much Renovia, your art is simply sublime! Please do visit her shop to see some of her fabulous works.

Also, don't forget about my contest, see HERE for details.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: SALE ALERT!!!

It's Back to School time, and to make things a little more pleasant all the way around, the Capital Crafters is having a Back to School sale!! Here are the shops participating so far:

20% off all items in the Dame's Yarn Fun Emporium

15% off all items in Wendance Designs

15% off all items in John Toft Basketry

There are more shops joining in each day, check back often to get updates!

Remember to enter my contest for this month, and hey, while you're at it, why not sign up for my once-per-month newsletter, packed with subscriber-only details, sales, specials and more!

Over and out!
...You didn't think we'd leave without Arwen saying a sleepy goodbye, did you??

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday's Treasures: Are Your Cosmetics Hurting You?

I am perfect the way I am, but mommy sometimes likes to put on makeup. Imagine the shock we received when we looked at an email from a reputable source, stating that many cosmetics (including body washes, shampoos, makeups and more) are full of horrible chemicals! We knew that many of these were harmful, which is why mommy switched to more "natural" and organic" types of cosmetics, thinking that they would be better. However, even in these products we found that there were high levels of really harmful chemicals!

Here is a website to help you see if you are using some of those products, and another website to find better products:

The "Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews" website has thousands of products to check if you are using a product that may have harmful chemicals. We were shocked to find out that some of our shampoos had the highest levels of chemicals - even the designer organic ones sold at health food stores!

The "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics" website lists companies who have signed a pact to make less toxic products to keep mommies and daddies safe from these nasty (sometimes carcinogenic!) chemicals.

Sorry to get off on a rant, but I want all of you mommies and daddies (and pets too!) to be safe from these chemicals. I have told mommy and daddy in no uncertain terms that they need to fix this right away or I will be most upset. I do quite a good sad/depressed face you know, it'll break your heart and you don't want me to do that!

Have a great Tuesday!

Also, please do give my mom tips on how to make you happier on the blogs and her stores. You may win a ring from her Etsy store! See HERE for details. You are very important to us!

Are you getting the inside scoop? Sign up for our once monthly newsletter and get subscriber only deals and advance notice on sales and specials!

and Arwen

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Updates: You're In My Every Thought!

~Who, Me?~

Yes You! Thank you very much to all of you who have left comments in my new contest, I am taking every suggestion very much to heart. I would welcome more feedback though, so please don't be shy! Tell me how I can make your experiences, both here and in my Stores, better for you. You could win your favorite ring - see HERE for details :)
As an update to the comments, I am going to try to include photos of Arwen most days, and more Arwen-only posts. I am also going to go into my techniques a bit more. I have just this weekend placed an order for a remote sensor for my camera and a mini-tripod, both of which will allow me to take photos of me making jewelry so that I will be able to make tutorials for sale, but also to show you the 'how' of some of my pieces.

I am also working on getting better photos of my shop items, as well as putting a few more items in my Artfire store.

That is all for now, but please, let me know how I can be better for you. After all, I am here for you.

Thank you again, and have a great day!

and Arwen


Blog Widget by LinkWithin