Friday, May 29, 2009

Unexposed Talent: Macky Designs

I am loving the graphic quality of these Custom Pop-Art Illustrations created by Natalia of Macky Designs.

"Because you're unique, let's make you into a cartoon!" Just send her a hi-res version of your favorite photo of yourself, your pet -- whoever -- and Macky Designs will turn it into a funky pop-art illustration. What a unique gift that would be.

She also makes custom pop-art illustration wedding invitations that are definitely not your run-of-the-mill invites.

Check out the Macky Designs Etsy store or visit her website to learn more about Natalia and her illustrations.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The House You Grew Up In

I stumbled upon this item a few days ago and haven't stopped thinking about it. The La-La Theory, a little "zine factory" in Philadelphia, recently published The House You Grew Up In, an anthology of short essays by 17 different authors.

Katie, the mind behind The La-La Theory, thinks about the house she grew up in often, so she sent out a call for submissions to read what some good writers had to say on the topic of a childhood home. In response, she got "these wonderful, pithy pieces from writers in the US, the UK, and Australia. Sad, quirky, funny, varied, honest--that's what these stories are."

My parents moved from the house I grew up in (top photo) a few years ago. I drive by that house with my children every now and then, wishing they could go in and smell how it used to smell, hear the creaks in the stairs, and know the trick to turning the key in the front door lock. That house belongs to a new family now, and so the cycle continues...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Flag Waving Weekend

Over the long weekend we were granted plenty of time to complete some of the projects we've had on our family's wish list.

My husband completed our new patio (just in time for BBQ season -- hooray!) and my girls and I made these fun flags. We finished this "Birthday Garland" in time for our daughter's upcoming party, but we will surely be using it for all our future family celebrations. I have a sneaky suspicion it will be used as a decoration in the girls' bedroom between gatherings, too, as they can't seem to get enough of it.
The beauty of the fabric garland is that you can make one to fit any occasion, holiday, special person, or season. I also like that they are reusable, cutting down on party waste.

The idea and instructions came from the book The Creative Family. The author, Amanda Blake Soule, also has a ridiculously inspiring blog called Soule Mama.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Unexposed Talent: Stephanie Corfee

I am excited to share Stephanie Corfee's illustrations with you for today's Unexposed Talent.

Stephanie is an artist who creates images that will capture you with their intricate details and fun colors. She describes her work as "bohemian and wild, meticulous and restrained. It's just like me...a mirror to my true self."

Her newest -- and most ingenious -- item (which will be available in a few short days) is her "You Color It" pages. These sophisticated coloring sheets are black and white versions of her art for you to customize in the color scheme of your choice. What a great idea!

Stephanie is in the process of rolling over her older Etsy Shop into her New Etsy Shop . You can find her work for sale in both shops, for the time being.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Inspiration Station

It happens to everybody, artists and non-artists alike. A lull when you just can't seem to find direction -- in designs, in daily routines, in what to cook for dinner, and in life itself.

Inspiration is the cure-all, but it is inevitably gone when you need it most.

But it is there (resist the urge to roll your eyes here). We simply forget to recognize that the dogwoods bursting pink and white are inspiration. That funny comment from a child? yup, inspiration. So is that interesting scribble, drawn long ago, in your sketchbook, and the seedlings reaching upward. The friend who just competed in her first triathlon, the silent gesture from a family member, the cat slinking across the lawn -- all potential inspiration. Aromas, textures, catch my drift.

Look with fresh eyes and you are bound to find the spark that will get you heading in the right direction again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cuff Links

Cuff links. I have intended to design and fabricate some of these for quite some time now. The two pairs I recently finished made their debut at the craft show I participated in a few weeks ago (see previous post here). They received lots of compliments and I was even approached by a bride-to-be who asked if I could design a pair of custom cuff links. They would be a heartfelt wedding-morning gift for her future groom -- what a great idea!

At last, I have expanded my line of products to include pieces for men. And it is no coincidence that they are available just in time for Father's Day and wedding season ;)

Check out the new Millipede Cuff Links (shown above) here and the Dimple Cuff Links here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, chickens!

Last week marked the first birthday of our crazy chickens, Rocky, Boxy, Feathery and Princess (as you may have guessed, they were named by our small children).

We celebrated their first year with a "cake," made of rice and corn (their fav foods). Our feathered friends clucked happily while they gobbled it up, but we took a pass on having a slice of that treat.

Our first year of raising chickens has been full of memories -- those tiny fluff-ball chicks, their big move into the new coop, the FIRST egg!, the time they escaped while we were on vacation...the list goes on and on, and they still manage to amuse us endlessly.

Our family takes great pride in having chickens as pets and egg producers. We highly recommend it! Anyone interested in learning about raising backyard chickens can read more here.

Unexposed Talent: IMH Designs

IMH (In My Hands) Designs creates bold and beautiful clutches that would be the perfect accessory for your summer soirees.

This week's Unexposed Talent makes each of these high-quality clutches by hand in a variety of fabrics from casual to formal, traditional to modern. There is a clutch for every gal's style in this shop.

A portion of all sales will be donated to charity, making your purchase rewarding in more than one way. (Read more about crafting for charity here.)

Visit IMH Designs' Etsy shop to see their full selection of cool clutches.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Matryoshka Mania

Ever since I saw the crochet pattern for the Roly-Poly Matryoshka Dolls (see previous blog post about this here), I have been smitten with those little Russian crafted souvenirs. So, to satisfy my craving for these nesting dolls, I have put together a little gallery of some of my favorite Matryoshka-theme crafted items. Enjoy!

(clockwise from top left:Orange Nesting Dolls Wall Decals, Organic Lavender Matroyshka Doll, Babushka Brooch 024, matroyshka cupcake decorations -- set of 16, Needle Book x Matroyshka in green polka dot, Nintendo DS Lite / Camera / Gadget Travel Case )

If, like me, you want to know a little more about them, read the history here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

An Idea Whose Time Has Arrived

Starting with a newspaper article I was reading on slow family living, I clicked through several links until I found myself on the website of the Future Craft Collective.

This brilliant organization's focus is to provide ways to build connections through crafting. On their site and blog, they offer various projects and tutorials to help get you on your creative way.

To give you an idea of what they are all about, the Future Craft Collective answers the question "What are we doing?" with the following:
*We offer ideas for the promotion of self expression
*We want to provide a place for crafters and non-crafters alike to find inspiration
*We want kids to understand the thrill of creation over the desire of consumption

Great reasons to want to be involved, but it was Future Craft Collective's answer to "Why we do it?" that won me over:
"We truly see this as an idea whose time has arrived, and one aimed to arm families, friends and community groups from all over with the tools they need to craft positive change in the world!!"
Their tag line pretty much sums it all up. "Make Stuff Together."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Unexposed Talent: The Conemporary Wall Art Co

Give your room a modern flourish with Contemporary Wall Art Co's bold graphics.

This week's Unexposed Talent offers vinyl art decals that will look fabulous on your walls, windows, mirrors, fridges, and ceilings. The self-adhesive yet removable graphics are available in your choice of 18 colors, matte or glossy, and they will custom size most designs to your specifications, so you'll get exactly what you want for your space.

The coolest part? They can also create custom wall decals of your own photos.

Check out their new Etsy shop to see the collection of designs they are currently offering.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Craft Show Booth Makeover

This weekend was the debut of my new and improved show display and, frankly, it was such a relief to stand behind a display table that I could take pride in.

I participated my first craft/art shows last holiday season, and quickly learned how important merchandising and booth displays are. I needed to seriously rethink my table, so I started by reading related articles and obsessively looking at other artists' booth display photos on Flickr. This gave some good general ideas, and a few examples of what not to do. Then I remembered a fellow artist had told me about Bruce Baker's CDs on booth design and sales techniques, so I ordered them up and heeded his insight.

When redesigning my display, I considered table height, varying levels, signage, colors, and overall impression. When at the show, I kept in mind the great advice he gave about selling, like standing as much as possible and never using the word "no."

I definitely saw a difference in how my jewelry was received by shoppers. Because I had made it easier for them to view my pieces, they stayed longer and tried more pieces on. And because I had a new view on how to interact with the customer, they asked more questions and stayed engaged in friendly conversation longer.

What a difference these changes have made. I hope to fill up my summertime schedule with more shows and events, and I plan on making retail selling a larger part of my business strategy.

If you are considering being involved in shows, or want to renovate your booth display, Craft show 101 is a great place to start. Good luck!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Unexposed Talent: KristineNoel

This week's Unexposed Talent is Kristinenoel. Based out of Houston, this photographer's images are captivating and reminiscent of the past.

Kristinenoel believes in "capturing the beauty of the actual." She describes her images as "new but they evoke a timeless and vintage feel through the artistic use of texture and processing."

Her Balloons on the Up and Up series would be a whimsical addition to any room, and her Red and Pink Poppies with Blue Sky (pictured above) is a stunning interpretation of the road side.

Kristinenoel's images demonstrate that "beauty is everywhere and in everything." Experience that everyday artistry in her shop, here.