Friday, December 28, 2007

Fusing!



Earlier this month I took a class on fusing and it's opened up a whole new world of ideas for me. A long time ago I took lots of classes on soldering, so I know how that goes, but it's messy and requires more time and equipment. The basic idea behind fusing is that you don't need solder or flux or pickle. You simply heat the metal with a butane torch (mine's a micro torch) until the silver begins to liquify and flows. Basic materials that I aquired to do this:


micro torch

butane

fire brick

old cookie sheet to sit the brick on

bowl of water to quench the hot silver

fine silver wire- 14 g.

tumbler


I'm using fine silver instead of sterling because sterling silver gets fire scale when heated. That's where the pickling comes in. With fine silver you simply heat it, quench it, and tumble it if you want it really shiny. The tumbler also work hardens the metal. Fine silver is especially soft after being heated so it's important to tumble it so that the piece keeps its shape.


So, I've set up a workspace in the basement for the metal work and I'm loving it! For me, designing metal pieces feels more creative than bead work. I love beautiful beads but I'm excited about the direction my work is taking. I'm planning on using the stones as accents in my new pieces and really concentrating on the look of the silver or copper.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

the handbook to handmade




I arrived home from NYC last night to find my edition of the handbook to handmade: Volume I! How exciting! It looks beautiful and contains about 35 fabulous etsy artists. I happen to be on pages 14 and 15 and the photos look great. It was very exciting to be part of this project and now I'm busy thinking about where I can leave the book so the artists will get the most exposure. If you're interested in checking it out, you can look here for listings of the book.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

STUFF

Well, I'm getting ready to fly out to NYC tonight and I've decided to bring all my Chanukah gifts with me and save a bit of postage. I'm happy to report that all gifts (except 2 books) are handmade by me, and others, and I didn't have to enter a mall once! I've had a great time going to crafts fairs and shopping on Etsy and I really like the gifts I'm giving this year. My husband and I have decided to try to have a "not made in China holiday season" this year and it's really hard! Especially shopping for kids who really want to fit into mainstream culture right now. Many are just not interested in being original, what they want most is to fit in. That's been a hard one to grapple with as a parent of a teenager. All we can do is set an example and hope....This is why I can't wait to see how they turn out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Snow! Rain! Ahhhhhhhh


It actually snowed here on Saturday! The kids were so psyched but wishing it had been on a school day. We had snowball fights and built a snowman. I remember when whole winters in Seattle would go by without a single flake. But, there's no climate change, right?


And now we're trying to set a record for rainfall in 24 hours. They're expecting five inches today! A river of rain is running down my street and I'm keeping my eye on the storm drain at the bottom! Wow, maybe not being able to teach that 4th class this year at the college is a good thing after all. I have the opportunity to sit here on a Monday morning and think about the weather. And blog about it. Eesh.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Stepping Outside My Comfort Bubble




Ok, so I went to a crafts fair last night at a local elementary school and had a lot of fun. I got to talk with people I hadn't seen in a long time and had an "adult" evening. Plus, I sold several pieces which always puts me in a good mood. This setting up your table at a crafts fair thing is a lot harder than it looks! This was my 5th time since last Spring and I feel like I finally have an arrangement I like. Decorating and arranging really doesn't come naturally for me! Anyway, I'm so glad I decided to step outside my comfort bubble and keep trying with this new business. I'm having a great time creating (which is the best part) but I'm also meeting really interesting new people and doing things I never would have done before.


I'm rambling. Here are some pictures of my latest work.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Maybe not so much of a mystery



OK, I just took some cool photos of my "mystery" bags and I want to post them. Between the two bags there are 4 pair of earrings (one's mine), a beautiful felted scarf, a mini-bag, note cards, a candle, an icecream cozy, and a tie tack that says "buy handmade". You gotta check them out!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Something New From EtsyRain!


The EtsyRain artists are at it again. Last night 10 of us got together on Julie's houseboat (awesome!) to put together sampler bags. Each of us brought 10 handmade items, each worth $10, and then we put together 20 sampler bags to sell in our shops and to promote EtsyRain. So, each bag has $50 worth of items and we're selling them for $25. Each member then keeps what thier listing earns.


The bags contain jewelry, note cards, candles, and beautiful textiles. Part of me is hoping one of them won't sell so that I can keep the contents for myself!


Come visit my etsy shop to find links to all of the artists who participated.


And Trina, last night was NOT a good time for a swim!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Talentdatabase.com

I just found out that I'm a featured artist this week on talentbase.com. This is an interesting website I've started to explore. Come visit my site and "bookmark" me!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Promotion outside of etsy...

I was just looking through the forums and found a post about coffee table book that's being published. The whole thing is about etsy artists! He's still looking for folks who'd like to be involved- http://etsypromobook.blogspot.com/

The book is meant to be left in coffee shops or your hairdresser's or anywhere people might look through it while waiting. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stir Show, part 2


I had a great time at the studio show last week! I loved the atmosphere at Stir and I enjoyed hanging out with old and new etsyrain friends. We had a great turn out and a number of folks I invited came to check it out. We kept the door open to lure in art walkers and it got very cold! If Kimberly is ever nice enough to host another etsyrain event I'll definitely bring my sweater.


Anyway, I made lots of sales that night and I got a much needed confidence boost. Tonight I'm headed to an open house at Salon Zeka where some of my pieces are being sold. I'm excited to check out their new display cabinet and see first hand how my jewelry is received.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stir Show


I went over to Stir yesterday to set up my table for the First Thursday Art Walk coming up on November 1st. It looks so great in there! I'm looking forward to a lot of fun and maybe even a lot of sales! I love the atmosphere in the studio and the wine and snacks won't be bad either. I'll have some wonderfully creative artists for company that night.
Other crafty news- I took a digital photography class yesterday taught by Marlo of http://imakecutestuff.etsy.com and of Etsy Rain fame. I got some great tips and ideas and am master of the white balance! I've already started listing some pieces on etsy with the new and improved photos. Very nice!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Take the Pledge, etc




I've just taken the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season. Will you do the same?? Click on the button at the top of the page to register your name too. And, if you make handmade items, your website will appear next to your name!


What have I been up to lately? Well, I participated in a craft fair in Phinney Ridge last weekend. Very fun to see everyone but not a lot of selling action for me. So, I've been working on some new pieces to showcase on my website. The earrings aren't my usual style but I'm really liking them! And now I have more to show off at the Kick Off the Holidays show I'm doing with fellow etsyrain folks at Stir on November 1st from 5-10pm. You can check http://www.stirboutique.com for more details. I'm very excited about this show and so happy to be expanding my horizons this year!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Get Organized!

I've probably said it before but organization is not one of my strong points. I've got lots of ideas but I still wind up with little piles everywhere. Last year I bought an accordion folder for all my home receipts. Well, right now I'm looking at it and it's balanced precariously on top of 6 months worth of receipts! Yes, that's on my to-do list today. Anyway, I asked for tips in the Etsy forums earlier this week and here's what I got:


EyePopArt says:
Well, it's not the most exciting idea in the world, but it works for me. I got an over-the-door hanging shoe holder for the closet door in my crafting space. It has 24 sturdy, clear plastic pockets that I use to organize all of my clutter, such as envelopes, glues, scissors, postcards, staplers, rulers, tools, and even some shoes. Since I don't have a lot of drawer space I find it very helpful. Here's a picture:http://flickr.com/photos/eyepopart/1507589589/


DragoninKnots says:
Some ideas:- You know those plastic bags with zippers that bedding and curtains come in? They are great for storing large items like blankets, clothing, scarves, shawls, etc., so they don't get all jumbled up in a tote. They are clear, so it is easy to find an item when someone purchases it.
And since you would be reusing them, they are better for the environment than buying something else.
- If you are looking for a bead organizer and can't find what you want, try going to a hardware store and looking at their organizers for screws, nails, etc.
- Computer keyboard boxes that open from the top are great for storing jewelry in little boxes because they are thin and long, so all the small jewelry boxes are easily accessible.


ConstantDreamer says:
I put all of my paints and various markmaking tools in small plastic baskets (I bought them at Target). They sit inside a cabinet until needed. My brushes are kept in a container originally meant for kitchen utensils.My other big thing is to get rid of any supplies I don't use regularly. If I don't want to throw them, I put them in containers and store away from my work area until needed.

miribelladesigns says:
I keep my beads in an apothecary cabinet I restored and refinished. The drawers are nice and small and it looks better than most regular organizational drawer units.


Stay tuned for more tips! I'll be working on some of these myself!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

I've been tagged!

My first time getting tagged! I've been tagged by artichokes beating heart. OK, here are the rules:

1. List 6 facts about yourself.

2. Post the rules of the game before you list those facts.

3. Visit 6 other blogs and tag them. Post their names at the bottom of your post and then go back to their blog and let them know.


1. After all these years, spaghetti is still my favorite food.

2. I grew up in Queens, NY but I don't have an accent.

3. One of my cats will come when called.

4. My 12 year old daughter is bigger than I am.

5. I used to be a dancer.

6. My ideal house would be on a beach.


Here are the folks I tagged. Go visit their awesome blogs!

http://sewnfreshdaily.blogspot.com/
http://rainydayart.blogspot.com/
http://addilaynedesigns.blogspot.com/
http://ninjafetus.blogspot.com/
http://bitibis.blogspot.com/
http://jaredks.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 1, 2007

Creating, Coughing, and a Happy Family


Creating: I had a meeting with a salon owner last week and she wound up keeping 13 pieces to sell! While this was great news, I suddenly realized that I was really low on inventory! I'll be participating in several crafts fairs soon and I don't have too much to offer. So, I'm back at work making earrings and necklaces. I have about 3 weeks until the first show so my goal is at least one new piece a day. We'll see! I've also done some listing at Etsy, which I'd put on hold for a while. I was inspired by my fruit bowl and took pictures of my jewelry with a kiwi.


Coughing: Most of us have caught the back-to-school cold. It's been a week now and we just can't stop coughing. Not making for very restful nights.


Happy Family: Well, kind of. This will probably jinx it but the kids are getting along and we're all basically enjoying each other's company. No details here, just trust me, this is a wonderful improvement!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here Comes Fall


Just wanted to share this photo I took on a walk today.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Awesome Etsians!

I've just added a bunch of artists from the Seattle area to my "blogs to check out" section. We're all a part of a group we call Etsy Rain (Seattle, get it? Ha ha). This is a wonderful group of people with a wide range of talents. Etsy Rain serves as a brainstorming group, a support group, a social group (although I aparently missed a very fun art walk recently), a promotional group, and a great way to find a person to share a table with at the many craft fairs coming up! I'm very psyched to have become involved with these creative folks. Check out their blogs and their shops- you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cat Rhymes




I took some pictures of the kitties for my daughter this week. They remind me of some songs we made up about them because we are rather odd.
Paula's song: Paula the cat, she's not very skinny she's fat.
Maddie's song: Maddie the cat, she's angry and looks like a bat.
We don't have a song for Cinders yet. The tune is hauntingly similar to "three blind mice".

Friday, September 7, 2007

Consignment, part 2, and other things




Well, last week I sent 5 pieces of jewelry across the country to be sold on consignment through an online store. The business, http://www.digital-scrapbooking.org/, is primarily just what it sounds like. Sorry, I didn't even know what digital scrapbooks were until a week ago. Anyway, her customers have been asking if she'll sell some crafts online as well so she created a "crafts" category and featured my jewelry. Within 2 days my first bracelet sold! And, she said she wanted more in that style. Obviously this made my day. Nothing else has sold from that site this week but I'm excited anyway.


Today, with my confidence higher than usual, I decided to contact a bunch of boutiques in my area to see if they'd like to offer my pieces as well. Yes, I was immediately rejected from one but I'm still waiting on the others. I'm still not quite ready to visit the ones which require a face to face appointment. Maybe next month.


I also thought I'd post some of my photography today. People on etsy seem to like it more than the jewelry...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back to School (and other things)



Well, my kids have gone back to school today and I'm alone in the house. Ahh. I actually had a pretty fun summer- sleeping in, doing everything slowly, eating lunch whenever we felt like it- but it's still nice to get back to a routine. And, I have 6 hours to take pictures and list new items in my shop and create!


I've gotten back into wire wrapping lately so I've made a few new pieces. I've also designed new earrings and I can't decide if I should sell them or wear them. That's the problem with those flashes of creativity- you get attached to the final product.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Home Improvement?






All the properties on my block look very similar. As that does not suit me at all, I finally got up my nerve and did something about it. I now have a bright purple mailbox and , as my daughter says, we are the only ones on the block! Perfect.


In other, more disturbing, news, I've planted my first vegetable garden ever and it has been ransacked by raccoons! I know I'm the only adult out there who's never done this. I'll blame it on growing up in a city. It's actually fear of failure. Anyone who's ever put in a garden knows how much time it takes. I've watered and weeded and mulched and was really hoping for the best. My serrano pepper plants have no peppers. My very large pumpkin vine is growing no pumpkins. My corn stalks- they were looking good! Then yesterday I paid my garden a little visit, only to discover that our nocturnal friends have been enjoying corn on the cob. They actually peeled back the husks, ate the corn and then put the husk back! This may not be news to anyone but me but I was pretty bummed. Next year, chicken wire....

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sent it to the Sampler


I just sent out my first batch of samples to The Sampler. I made a bunch of purse charms and had a really good time doing it. It was really satisfying to make tags, attach the charm, wrap it in some really beautiful hand-made paper. I feel like I've finally been able to take it up a notch in terms of presentation. Presentation is not my strong point.


Labor Day Weekend- no plans. It's raining. Everyone's a little weirded out by the official end of summer vacation. Myself included.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Liking my new photos


I've never been totally satisfied with my close-up photos of jewelry. I can't tell you how many times I've re-taken them! The other day I think I found the right conditions: near a window on a cloudy day. Hmmm. I'll have lots of those in Seattle. Anyway, here are some of the new pics. I'll keep adding a few a day to the shop.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Consignment!

While I kind of feel like I'm counting my chickens before they hatch, I've got to say that I'm pretty excited because I've signed my first agreement to do consignment! I actually hooked up with the company on the forums on etsy yesterday so I guess my continued promoting is paying off. I put 5 of my pieces in the mail today and I'm holding my breath. I'm not sure what I'm afraid of but I'll feel a lot better when I see them in the store! The owner and I are also talking about making my photography available for commercial use. I never even thought of that.

Anyway, I'll post a link to the store when I know it's actually for real.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Article Featuring Wire Tree

Today I'd like to point you to Dawn Vogel's blog about Etsy artisans. She's written an article about Wire Tree. Thank you Dawn!!

http://shopetsy.blogspot.com/2007/08/etsy-seller-profile-wiretree.html

Monday, August 20, 2007

Post Partum Resouces

Ok, here are those resources I was looking for.

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/index
http://www.postpartum.net
http://www.perinataldepression.org
http://www.aafp.org/afp/99041ap/2247


I'll add more as I find them. These resouces come from Joni Parthemer, the Education Director of Bringing Baby Home. BBH is a research-based psycho-educational intervention program. The workshop teaches couples how to strengthen thier friendship, increase intimacy and regulate conflict. Bringing Baby Home specifically focuses on the post partum period for mom, how depression effects young children, and what steps can be taken to help mom.
More information is available at http://www.bbhonline.org

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Post Partum Depression

Last night I got a phone call from an old school friend. Among other things, she was calling to tell me that a mutual friend of ours had been suffering from post partum depression (sounds like it was largely untreated) and had killed herself several months after the birth of her daughter. This was an intelligent, hard working woman who had been trying to get pregnant for a long time. It sounds like she changed profoundly after the birth and was so depressed that she couldn't see an end in site.

I can not emphasize enough how important it is for family and friends of new moms to be looking for signs of a post partum mood disorder during the first year. When I've had a chance to wrap my brain around this a bit more I will be publishing information on post partum and where to get help. Look for it in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Vacation- Almost Over

If you're a student, these words absolutely chill you to the bone. My own children get angry every time we pass the back to school isle in Target. My teaching ramps up again in September so I, too, am thinking lesson planning, registering 60 new students, will they like me?, learn anything from me?? As far as I know I'll be assigned three sections of toddler parents for the year. All want to know if their child is normal and extraordinary at the same time.

I love the children. No matter how hard the rest of my life may be that day I can forget it all for two hours when I chat with two year olds! I love talking with the parents. No one should have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to children. Happy, confident parents make for happy, confident children. That's what I try to offer each year. That's what I'm gearing up for now.

All of that said, and in spite of my own children, I'm looking forward to the start of school again. Some sort of regular schedule. Some time to myself to think and create and, and, and...... If you're a parent I don't need to finish that sentence!

So, I plan on enjoying these last few weeks and mentally preparing myself for all that comes with September. And, figuring out what I want to do with this blog!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tried to follow my son's advice


I was really debating about holiday merchandise. In general, my stuff is not cute. Beading Halloween jewelry didn't seem to be my thing. But, my son REALLY wanted me to try to make an orange wire pumpkin. I tried and, I must say, it looked kind of crappy. Then he suggested I add the jack-o-lantern face. I didn't even bother to take a picture! So, I stepped back and thought about how I could do themed stuff in my own style. I came up with this necklace and these earrings. Understated and unusual. Not a pumpkin in sight.

My next challenge will be "holiday" time. Didn't grow up with Christmas and I can't see myself going that route. Maybe the Solstice......

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fitting it all into one day!

I've been thinking about all the time I've been devoting to this etsy persuit of mine this summer. I'm neglecting other things. Like housework. My laundry is not "on schedule". My bathrooms could use some help. I can't remember the last time I dusted (I'm being honest here).

My typical day used to involve going to work, taking the kids to and from school, cleaning, cooking, helping with homework, and maybe even talking with my husband. How have I fit my craft into this?? Well, number one, it's summer. No homework or shuttling kids. Number two, which is much more important because it required some deep thought on my part, I decided that it was ok to spend some time on myself! When I make a piece of jewelry that I really like I feel great! When I develop my photography and decide that it's frame worthy I feel proud!

I'm fitting it in because I've let other things go. And I'm happier. And messier. And my mom's not coming for a visit so who cares?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Pics from the market

Yesterday I did my first Fremont Sunday Market. Very fun and gave me lots of ideas about what you need to have on hand:
LOTS of water!! With ICE!!
tape and scissors- I forgot mine and had to borrow
change
several display options- I ditched some of mine when I saw they weren't working.
receipt book and pen- exciting when you get to use those!
friends!!! you will have to take potty breaks. you will want food. you will get bor

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Getting Started!

OK, I've been looking for a way to get the word out about my new persuits- photography and jewelry design. After sitting through my first ever craft show today and talking with other artisans in Seattle I decided to give this a try. I opened an online shop on Etsy.com a few months back and I'm absolutely loving it! So much time spent working at the day job, carpooling kids, dealing with house stuff- I'd forgotten how good it feels to be creative. I'll try to post as often as time allows and will feature projects I'm working on. Come visit me at:

http://www.wiretree.etsy.com

My latest treasury!

http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=10648