Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bangles and penny charms

Kari Carrigan shared her resin technique in Sept with a small group of friends. First let me tell you a few things about Kari, she's a sweetheart through and through. A amazing cook, she always brings us some treat when we all get together. She's the best Mom to all her kids, and she is one busy lady! We were blessed to have her share her resin technique with us, and this is where I went with it.

I used Canadian pennies, the sizing was a tiny bit different than American pennies but I got it sorted out. My husband got me a drill press for Christmas and that gave me the option to drill a hole in the charm allowing it to be a bit more durable, I wanted to hang them off bangles. And here they are!!! They are fun, and really comfortable to wear! Check out my Artfire shop for lots of charm choices and some bangles. Loads more ideas coming keep checking back for new charms and bangles.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Big Goals for 2011

I'm jumping into 2011 with some big goals!

My first goal is to tackle the book "52 Weeks of Blogging" by Tara Gentile. I've started reading the first few tasks and I think this is something I can do! It'll really spark up my blog too.

Second goal is thanks to my sister, she gave me " The Crafters Devotional " book by Barbara Call for Christmas! I'm going to try and stick to the tasks and goals this book lays out. It has some wonderful tips and techniques I'm looking forward to working on. It may even inspire some new lampwork beads from me!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

52 weeks

I've got a goal for 2011. 52 weeks of blogging. I've yet to read it, I spent the day finishing a fluff book by the fire. Fluff books by the fire have their purpose too!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Featured Artist - Beautiful Skins

Being an avid Mac user I was looking for skins for my iPhone last year. What a wonderful selection this shop has! Beautiful artwork and useful, too!
I'm always attracted to floral prints, but their bird patterns are so unique, I'm drawn to them, too. My current favorite cuff is this one, really fun birds on a wire!

My favorite iPhone skin is this owl/floral creation!

How long have you been working in your medium?
I have been working with leather for a number of years now, probably about 10.

What drew you to this medium?
I love leather, the flexibility of it, the fact that it is a natural product and that as an accessory it moulds to the object you are encasing and that it ages beautifully with time.

What is your favorite thing about your art?
We love the fact that we are using a natural product to give innovative technology beautiful skin.

What's your favorite piece?
Our latest favorite, it changes from week to week, is our new brogue leather case collection.

What's the hardest piece you've ever made?
The beauty of our products is the simplicity which by no means indicates that there is no skill involved as the pieces have a number of processes to them, so take time, patience and craftsmanship to make. The hardest part of what we do is coming up with new designs often and that people who buy our products will like.

What's the one favorite tool you cannot live without?
My trusty chisel. It's a basic tool, but one that makes perfect corners for all our products and I couldn't do without it, it's loud, too!

What's your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?
The fact that it's at home! This means that I don't have to travel very far to go to work everyday and it has everything I need.

What is your other craft?
We are super busy with producing our leather accessories for our shops that I don't get much time for anything else. If I'm not making orders then I spend my time perfecting our technique and our products - they can always be better!

Who or what inspires you?
Various things inspire me. As we live in London there is a wealth of innovative arts happening all the time, so myself and my wife will often take Friday afternoons and the weekends to check out the latest gallery exhibitions, fashion stores and performance arts.

What's your favorite inspirational saying?
No one ever said it was going to be easy!

What's one thing you've never done you always wanted to do?
Set up a boutique winery and make beautiful wine - preferably in New Zealand.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A crisp and quiet night

“Let the beauty that we love be what we do.”

Jalal ad-Din Rumi

It’s a clear quiet evening here. I just fed the horses and was lulled into a calm quiet by their evening routine. Indy stood at the gate patiently waiting his halter so I can tied him to the fence while I feed the other two, so he doesn’t steal their supper. Eazy and Redman trot through the gate once opened and both immediately head for their stalls to get their warm suppers. Redman balks for a second at his door. He’s got a newly laid floor! His floor was uneven, and while dry it was a constant pain in my side to clean. Today that changed, it got tore out, new gravel dumped and mats laid back in. I’m hoping he doesn’t muddle it all up again! Indy gets led back into his paddock after he gives me a warm nuzzle, something he’s started to do after I untie him, maybe a thank you?

I love the evening routine on days like this, quiet. Everyone happy and tucked in for the night.

As a side note I have this sweet little pandora bead in my artfire shop. Crisp Christmas red flowers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Featured Artist Kristin Love

Featured Artist – Kristin Love

Love Art Works -

There are so many talented Etsy artists I thought it might be time to feature a few different ones. Kristin’s work inspires me because it has such a sense of joy and whimsy to it. Always uplifting, often bright cheery colors, her work can’t help but make you smile. I try and fill my studio with things that make me smile, laugh or something that uplifts me in some way and one day I will have a piece of Kristens sitting front and center. I always love Kristens work and her Etsy shop is one of my favorites to cruise through. My current favorite piece of hers is her life stakes.

Her raven pieces often catch my eye too, she really seems to catch the personality of them!

Below is the interview with Kristen, a wonderful peek into an artist in a different medium. I was also thrilled to find out Kristin does 2 dimensional work, she includes a link to her Etsy shop in her interview, I found out something else about this talented artist!

How long have you been working in your medium?

As a painter, even in Art School, I had never touched a piece of clay until about 6 years ago. I went to a "paint your own pottery" shop for a friend's bridal shower and I was hooked!!

What drew you to this medium?

I loved the whole process of painting on a 3 dimensional surface, it was like a puzzle making the image work up and down, under/over and around, and feeling the weight of the clay piece in my hands as I painted, whether it was a mug, vase or plate, was like connecting to the earth itself. It took me approximately 6 months of painting on store bought “bisqueware pottery” before I wanted to 
learn how to make my own clay pieces. I sought out a studio space with other potters, took some classes, learned an amazing amount through many instances of painful trial and error, and here I am, playing gleefully in the clay and then spending joyous hours painting it!

What is your favorite thing about your art?

The creation process and connecting to something much deeper and more meaningful than “me”. I feel that when I am creating, I am totally in the moment, in the gesture, absolute intimacy with the medium I am working with and my inner self. It is imperfect and it comes from a place of love, even if I’ve painted the “same” design dozens of times, each time is a little different, each time is full of the joy of being in the now, each is unique and expression of my heart.

What's your favorite piece?

Oh, now that’s not fair, it’s like asking me to pick a favorite child! J

But after having a peek around my Shop, I would have to say, at this moment, it is Raven’s Autumn Moon. Raven is super special to me, I paint Raven quite a bit, and this is my favorite time of year and the glazes came out so extra good on this piece:

What's the hardest piece you've ever made?

My Bathroom sink, hands down, no contest. Not only was it BIG and heavy and very hard to make, but painting the elaborate Sun/Moon/Dancing Stars design I had envisioned (complete with stained glass like fish coming out of the drain area) was outrageously hard, back and wrist breaking work. In fact, I did my whole bathroom in a Sun/Moon design, all the tiles along the Shower and even a tile mural on the ceiling, so when you look up, you see the Sun and Moon smiling down on you. Never again…and this is probably the reason you don’t see any Suns and Moons in my Shops….!!

What’s the one favorite tool you cannot live without?

A pointy ended toothpick….. LOVE them!! I use them for everything from applying super sticky glue to magnets, to scraping glazes, to unclogging bottles, to propping up my wet clay pieces, to poking holes and drawing designs in wet clay….endless list of duties for Mr. Toothpick!!

What’s your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?

Well, I actually have 2 places where I work. I am a member of a communal Pottery Studio where I am constantly learning from and inspired by the creations of others. I also have a small Studio that my husband built for me (he was a wee bit tired of having “Art” all over the house……ahem…..) and my favorite part about it is that it’s my own, encapsulated, little world: I go in, I shut the door, play music or not, and create.….. ahhhhhh…..

What is your other craft?

I actually majored in Photography and Illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, so along with drawing and painting I love to be behind the lens of a camera. I am also drawn to fabric, and printmaking, and papermaking, and jewelry design, and and…..

So, because when my hands aren’t covered in clay I lean towards painting and such, I opened another Etsy Shop with what I call my “2D” work so as not to confuse my clientele, and mostly myself! Here it is:

Who or what inspires you?

Wow! Another tough question….

Who and what doesn’t? J

I find inspiration just staring at the FP of Etsy, or a vintage, well loved teddy bear, the graphic lines on a skyscraper or looking at the Autumn trees. But I will go back in time and pick 2 people who changed the way I saw things when I was first forging my way as an artist and they would be Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams.'Keeffe

As far as an inspiration for my pottery…..there are a lot of potters here in Seattle who have been huge influences on me and some of them have mentored me through all my “clay stages” but unfortunately they don’t have a presence online. So I will list some potters on Etsy who have inspired me to no end:

What's your favorite inspirational saying?

“Be The Change You Wish To See In The World” Gandhi

What's one thing you've never done you always wanted to do?

Well, I cheated and boiled it down to 2 things, because I would like to do either one with equal fervor:

Ride a Dogsled off into the frozen North Country for a whole day……what a Blast it would be!


Take a ~2 week horse pack trip off into the Montana Wilderness areas, out where no lights from cities are seen, out where there are no roads, no nothing but nature….


My Shop:

Monday, December 13, 2010


One of my favorite tools is my anvil. I actually have four of them, a teeny tiny one about 1 inch by 2 inches right up to a full size horse shoeing anvil. Anvils date back to the four millennium BC. I think I have so many anvils is because they all seem to have a sense of history to them, some I expect have wonderful stories to tell.

I use my anvils daily. A current problem I am facing is getting my anvils re surfaced. My favorite anvil, a smaller rail road tie sized anvil, has many many dents and scratches. So when I use it to shape or add texture to a piece it also adds unwanted texture to the back side of the piece. It needs to be re surfaced back to a nice glossy smooth surface, but that seems easier said than done!

You can see in the photo all the dents and marks, while they each have a story to them, I’d prefer a smooth finish. I often wonder what the 83 on the bottom side of my anvil means? Was it a section of a railroad one day long long ago? Was that some kind of marker as to where it was? What trains crossed it’s path? Who was on those trains? Oh if our tools could talk!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Galaxy Bead

If you'd like to learn how to make these stunning beads, I highly recommend Andrea Guarino's Galaxy Bead tutorial. Very well written, wonderful photos and all in all a great tutorial!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Open house

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Bertrand Russell

Today was the open house at the School House Studio. In fact most of the studio’s in the Metchosin School House were open.

I had a wonderful time wandering through other artists work space. It’s nice to see the building for what it is as a whole. Quite an amazing space, full of wonderful people creating amazing work.

I absolutely fell in love with Lesley Forman’s space. Alas she has no website so I cannot provide you with a link. She is in a small room I know previously to be dark, musty and a bit scary. It is now the most amazing room. Welcoming, calm and creative. Truly a wonderful place, and her sculpting is also a sight to see. Hearing her explain the process behind the pieces is like going on a journey with her.

Seeing her space made me realize I need to move “me” into the metal studio. While I spent a lot of time and energy painting the studio I’ve never moved much in there beyond tools and work equipment. I’m feeling the need to hang some art on the walls and give it more life.

What made today special for me was taking some time to slow down and visit with people. This time of year things seem to be so hectic and fast it almost seems frivolous to take time to visit, yet isn’t that what the Holidays are supposed to be about?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Apricot Nectar

I've always loved making daisy beads, they are simple yet fun! Just listed this set, Apricot Nectar in my artfire shop!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's Easy

I stole this from Treasures Found blog. I think I may get it printed out and frame it for the studio!

Christine Kane is the Mentor to Women Who are Changing the World. She helps women uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly LiveCreative eZine goes out to over 12,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

What's Easy. What's Not.

by Christine Kane

It's easy to be right.
It's not easy to be kind.

It's easy to hope.
It's not easy to know.

It's easy to be a damsel.
It's not easy to be a heroine.

It's easy to complain.
It's not easy to make requests.

It's easy to have the perfect retort.
It's not easy to listen.

It's easy to be busy.
It's not easy to be productive.

It's easy to criticize.
It's not easy to create.

It's easy to say you don't feel like it.
It's not easy to do it anyway.

It's easy to obsess.
It's not easy to meditate.

It's easy to sing your heart out when the audience loves you.
It's not easy to sing your heart out when no one is paying attention.

It's easy to wait for rescue.
It's not easy to rescue yourself.

It's easy to resent people who take up your time.
It's not easy to say no in the first place.

It's easy to make excuses.
It's not easy to take responsibility.

It's easy to worry.
It's not easy to make a plan.

It's easy to come up with reasons why someone pissed you off.
It's not easy to ask yourself how you participated.

It's easy to dabble.
It's not easy to commit.

It's easy to rail on the idiot driver behind you.
It's not easy to just move out of his way.

It's easy to read books about writing.
It's not easy to sit down and write.

It's easy to say no to bad things because you want good things.
It's not easy to say no to good things because you want great things.

It's easy to fire off an angry email or blog comment.
It's not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your feelings.

It's easy to react to an angry email or blog comment by firing one back.
It's not easy to pause and breathe and clarify your meaning.

It's easy to start your idea.
It's not easy to finish it.

It's easy to buy something cheap because it's cheap.
It's not easy to buy something expensive because you love it.

It's easy to say you don't know what you want.
It's not easy to admit what you do want.

It's easy to let a kid watch TV.
It's not easy to find ways to play with a kid.

It's easy to do urgent things.
It's not easy to do important things.

It's easy to say it's too hard.
It's worth it to do what's not easy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Caught singing

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”


This morning crept in dark, I woke early still fretting about the previous days drama. I yanked the covers over my head, determined to hunker down and fall back asleep. KAWHUMP, the cat landed on the bed. Her curled up on my chest and started to purr, and drool. He’s a big cat, so I stretched hoping he’d get tired of my wiggling and get off me. No such luck, he proceeded to start snoring, loudly.

A smile crept into me, slightly warming my dark inner thoughts. I started to mentally list of the “things to do” I had for that day.

Pick up my anvils – They were resurfaced and look fantastic!

Buy, write and mail Christmas cards – done!

Start another batch of resin – done, with some neat new images!

Coffee at Starbucks – done with a smile.

I also managed to squeak in some Christmas meandering. One of the things I like about the holiday season is the ornaments, the smells and the decorations.

As I drove home one of my favorite Christmas songs came on and I found myself belting out loud along with it, then giggled as the guy in the car beside me laughed at me!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Running and Anger

“Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are.”

Henry Van Dyke

Last night I was angry, I decided to sleep on my problem and I woke up just as angry. But, I had a bit more perspective this morning than I had the evening before.

It was brought to my attention last night that my spinner ring tutorial had been “gifted” to a group of people. Someone bought it then “gave” copies to their friends, in essence stealing.

Many many emotions come into your heart when someone steals from you, hurt, betrayal and anger were strong ones for me.

This morning I went for me run, I lagged a bit getting going. Stretched for longer than I normally do, maybe hoping I’d talk myself out of going. As I walked outside my husband gave me a smile, a hug and said “today will be better”.

As I trudged along huffing and puffing, I started to feel something happening. I felt a weight lifting, anger sweating out my pores. The realization hit me that there really wasn’t a damn thing I could do about this. I cannot make people be honest, I can only do my best in the moment.

My best today involves taking care of me, my family and my close friends. Protecting my own sanity, caring for those close to me and looking forward to the future spent with those who love me.

I ran longer and harder than usual and in those moments of pain and soreness that come from exerting ourselves I pushed through, and kept going. And as drama, demands and anger come forward over this event I’m going to push through and keep going.

As I crested a small hill today running towards the water this greeted me, I am positive it welcomed me into a better day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Pollination a new set of boro beads in my etsy! I'm really enjoying boro!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Challenge of Color - Blog Hop

I am participating in a challenge hosted by Erin Prais Hintz. It's called the Challenge of Color, and she assigned each of us a paint chip we had to design a piece around. I loved my paint chip, the colors are really up my alley.

But, boy did I struggle! I went from this pile of goodies.

To this pile of goodies 24 hours later.

I worked on assembling the pile into some finished pieces last weekend while I was on the studio tour, it gave me something to do when we had some downtime. I really struggled with a fixed color palette, normally I just pick out beads I like and they somehow fall together into a finished piece! This involved thought, and more thought. Then I second guessed myself, tore the bracelet apart and made another one.

The finished pieces have my own lampwork beads (of course!), moonstone, pearls, swarovski crystals, some polymer goddesses, my own ear findings and a quartz drop.

This is what I wound up with for finished pieces, a pendant, bracelet and earrings. I've named it Garden Urn after one of the colors in my paint chip.

I am really happy with the pendant and earrings, I may have to keep them for myself! The bracelet doesn't thrill me, the dangle seems out of place to me.

I'd definitely do this again, it really got me thinking in a bit more of a calculating type manner than I normally do. It pushed me to work in a set color palette. Next time I may request a color palette outside my normal favorites for a BIG challenge.

Please check out Erin's blog and the other challenge participants work. There are some very creative people participating in this!