Archive for March, 2009

I added another item (a couple weeks ago!) to my Etsy shop

Petra - beadwork necklace

This is a beadwork necklace called Petra. It’s one of my favorites. Take a look if you like!

happy cakes day
And here is a card I made for my sister-in-law’s birthday –

Erin's birthday card - front

Erin's birthday card - inside

I wanted to use some of the clear Inkadinkado stamps I’ve bought, and I wanted to make something happy and evocative of spring.

All the paper pieces are sewn onto the card. I added the flower to cover a mistake – I stamped the “d” backwards. Oops! But I think it turned out ok, even though the flower is a bit awkward in that spot. And there’s also glitter glue of course.

I’m making a similar card for my sister. Whose birthday has already passed. I’m a little behind, as usual!

teeny tiny vacation
My husband and I went to Atlantic City over the weekend – luck was not ours, but it was nice to get away, if only for a night.


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trick or treat
I’ve been diligently working on my vintage Halloween projects to submit to Somerset Studio. I have the party favor bags almost completed. These are “my girls” who are gracing the bags:

Altered vintage photo for Halloween project

Altered vintage photo for Halloween project

Altered vintage photo for Halloween project

Aren’t they sweet? I wanted to make happy little bags, and these girls are just perfect. The words were added in Photoshop.

The other project is my Scary Ladies Halloween gift tags. They should be done this week. They have to be, because my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday is only a few weeks away, and I’ve got a bracelet to make!

color me green
I picked up the March/April/May issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.

Belle Armoire Jewelry, March/April/May 2009

As usual the first skim-through brought feelings of jealousy and annoyance with myself that I’m not making more jewelry. I still have not come to terms with the time constraints that Lily has brought into (or forced on!) my life.

But I try to keep a positive attitude and look at the magazine as inspiring rather than jealousy-inducing. It does have a lot of cool stuff in it, plus there’s an article featuring Thomas Mann which I very much look forward to reading.

~fading green~

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embellished jewelry gift boxes
Here are the boxes I made for my jewelry. These are fun to make, and turn your presentation into something extraordinary. I made these as I normally would, with one change.

top of fairy in a bottle
a fairy in a bottle - embellished box

side of fairy in a bottle
a fairy in a bottle - side of embellished box

top of spoil me
spoil me - embellished box

side of spoil me
spoil me - embellished box

top of pink
pink - embellished box

side of pink
pink - embellished box, side view

All of the images are from Artchix.

I started by sanding all of the outer surfaces. I then used a chalk ink pad to color the outside of each box, top and bottom, and as much on the inside as I could. I arranged the papers and clip art on the top (everything is edged with gold ink) and glued them down with Mod Podge. I glued German scrap around the edges of the top with Tombo Mono Aqua Liquid Glue. Then – and this is the change – I applied a thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface of the top and bottom. Glitter glue and crystals came next, and lastly I glued ribbon around the spoil me box rather than using the German Scrap.

Next time I will use the Mod Podge only to glue the papers and clip art and then to seal the top, and I’ll use Krylon Matte Spray to seal the other surfaces. I’m finding that when the boxes are closed, the top and bottom end up sticking to each other. There are already a couple small spots where the ink has been pulled off when I opened the box. oh well. Another lesson learned!

~always learning~

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The other night while watching American Idol (a guilty pleasure!) Kara, one of the judges, made a remark that I’ve been thinking about ever since.

One of the contestants, Megan, gave a very good performance despite being ill with the flu. Kara commented (and I’m paraphrasing) how Megan displayed determination and seriousness in her craft by performing while being ill, and that’s good because being an artist is hard work.

It was those last few words – “being an artist is hard work” – that was a revelation to me. Especially since at that moment I was working on my vintage Halloween project and trying to stave off those creeping thoughts of “I’m never going to get this done in time”, “this is going to look stupid”, “I can’t do it”, etc.

Being an artist – a serious artist, one who is passionate about perfecting her craft and determined in getting her work out into the world, one who is focused on developing her artistic vision and pushing her creativity to it’s limit (and beyond!), one who sees the value and importance in sharing one’s work, and indeed sees creativity itself as a gift to be shared – requires a great deal of hard work.

There are deadlines to meet. New techniques to learn. Publications to read. Websites to maintain. Etsy shops to update. Blog entries to write. Photographs to be taken. Online communities to participate in.

Oh yeah, and art to be made.

It’s not all sparkly beads and glitter glue!

I felt, strangely enough, relief when Kara said that. It was a validation. That it’s ok to be an artist and take my creativity seriously.

Which is good, considering how much time I devote to it!

So now I can say, when I pull out my paper and scissors or my thread and beads, I’m not playing. I’m working!

~off to work~

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la reine
Look what I got in the mail yesterday…


…featuring page after page of beautiful, extravagant, delightful Marie Antoinette-inspired eye candy.

And on page 42…

Marie, page 42

My little collages.

I’m thrilled and grateful to have my work appear in a publication along with fabulous work by artists I admire, like Connie Govea Stuart, Rachel Emilie Jackson, Deryn Mentock, Sandra Evertson…I could name a bunch more, but I’ll stop there for the sake of time.

who doesn’t want a little inner peace?

I have a little Artella freebie for anyone who is interested – Peace by Piece: Collage Your Way to Inner Peace and Harmony. This 27-page workshop/booklet (a few of the pages are ads for other Artella items) shows how to use collage as a means of exploring your inner self and your dreams and desires and bringing them to fruition in your life. Peace by Piece contains three projects as well as poems, quotes, and questions to prompt self-reflection. The supplies and materials used are basic ones you probably already have lying around the house. Enjoy!
Download your copy here!

~dreaming in blue~

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presentation is everything
I made some embellished boxes for my jewelry. When I sell pieces or give them as gifts I like to present them in an attractive fashion, so I take regular old jewelry boxes, ink them up and add pretty papers, crystals, ribbons, German paper scrap and glitter glue and turn them into something respectable. I started to take some pictures, and then the battery light started flashing, so I’ve got to recharge before I can finish them.

happy vintage halloween – again
I also started working on my vintage Halloween project – vintage-style party favor bags. I bought some Walnut Stain Distress Ink and direct-applied it to the bags (simple kraft paper bags from Michael’s) and then spritzed them heavily with water and voila! Vintage party bags, ready for embellishment.

Vintage-style Halloween party favor bag

I’m very happy with how they look so far – it’s exactly what I had in mind.

scooby snack, anyone?
So my daughter’s current TV infatuation is Scooby Doo (the original, without Scrappy, thank goodness!). I think it’s so funny – this was one of my favorite shows as a child and even into my teens. I never thought I’d be watching it again with my own child. Everything does come around again, and now it’s my turn. My turn to have my favorite shows as a child to be considered “classics” – can I be a “classic” too then? I like the sound of that!

I remember watching Leave It to Beaver when I was a teen – a show that my parents probably watched – and being infatuated with Donna Reed’s character and her level of perfection in propriety. I wanted to wear gloves and a hat, and have perfect manners and have every sort of fork imaginable.

~reviewing my miss manners manual~

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must everything take ten times longer than I think it will?
I’m happy to announce my Etsy shop, Chocolate Olive Studio, is now open! I have two items listed so far, and I have four more that I will be adding over the next couple weeks. And I still have a bunch of jewelry that I haven’t even taken photos of yet, so I’ll be adding a lot more.

I love chocolate and I love olives (not together of course!) so it seemed fitting to incorporate them into my shop name. It’s a little quirky too, which I like.

the camera is rolling
Taking photos of my work is rather time-consuming and not my favorite thing in the world to do. But I’m already seeing some improvement in my meager skills, and I think I’ve gotten some pretty good shots.

So check out my shop and let me know what you think!

~back in business~

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