Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Paints and Plates

A couple of years ago I had the ultimate score at the thrift shop—a large box of plain white plates and matching tea cups. The plates are the kind with the little circle indent where the tea cup sits, perfect for serving hot cocoa and cookies. These would be perfect to paint and give as gifts to all the little girls in our lives.

I decorated many of these sets as gifts and saved the last 2 for my girls, on which I planned to paint their favorites things. For 2 years now. And still haven't. Which brings us to yesterday, another rainy day with boredom setting in. So, I set the girls loose with paint and their very own tea sets to decorate however they pleased. The finished products were colorful, imaginative and just-how-they-like-it. Which, I know, is better than anything I could have designed and painted.
We use Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paints—water-based paint that you can cure in your own oven. Just paint and then bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. The paint is non-toxic, permanent, and dishwasher safe. You can use it on ceramic, glass, metal, and terra-cotta, among other surfaces.
I am thinking another visit the thrift shop will yield all kinds of new pieces we can paint. Maybe we'll go today. Since it's raining. Again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Sale

I am making way for some new pieces, so a few of the old ones (including the one pictured above) must go. Check out the "SALE" section of my shop.
Check Spelling

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Kitchen Therapy

All this gloomy June weather combined with the start of summer vacation has lent itself nicely to staying inside and cooking. We have happily whipped up some treats the kids have been wanting to make, some more involved recipes, and some of the usual staples. So in the three days of vacation thus far we have made: chocolate chip cookies, glazed nuts, a handful of fresh juices (peach-blueberry the fav so far), chocolate-covered strawberries, creamsicles, cheesy popcorn, 4 different kinds of bread, strawberry-orange popsicles, and watermelon agua fresca—whew!

With bellies full, we watched the sun peek out this evening for the first time in eight days. That's my cue to close up the kitchen-as-entertainment for a bit so we can rediscover the backyard. Find out what got pummeled by the downpours, what has bloomed, and what has been utterly unproductive in the absence of sunlight. And so life outdoors returns, if not a bit late.

For now, I'll relax with my husband (more on him soon!) and enjoy a watermelon agua fresca, with a little rum added, and drink a toast to the King of Pop.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Easy On-The-Go Art Kits

I have written before about the quandary of the ever-present kids' birthday party on our family calendar. With so many gifts to give, I am always looking for ideas for presents that won't be quickly tossed aside or broken.

For a recent double birthday party, these felt pencil (or crayon) rolls, accompanied by a nice sketch book were the perfect thing. They were simple to construct and used basic materials—100% wool felt and a bit of ribbon. We did ours in bright colors and arranged the pencils and crayons in a rainbow. On the pencil roll, we added an extra pocket for a pencil sharpener—which turned out to be the birthday boy's favorite thing! We embellished the outside with the childrens' initials and used their favorite colors to make these perfect on-the-go art kits.

Felt Pencil Roll idea and instructions are from The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Warm, soft, and sweet, these homemade doughnuts were the perfect undertaking for a Saturday morning. My mouth was watering when I found this recipe for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts online.

As a family who used to live in the land where Krispy Kreme stores abound, we crave the unmatched experience that is eating one (or two) of their doughnuts. And while the final product didn't quite compare to the real thing, it was—by all means—a delicious substitute.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Attack of the Chickens

Scratched up dirt and rolled rocks...

Trampled tomatoes...

Gravel strewn around the yard...

And one hen who has decided to eat her own eggs (eeewwww!)...
The chickens (more about them here) have been ruling the roost lately—scratching, trampling, helping themselves to the lettuce, and wreaking garden havoc in general. Looks like the time has come to take back the yard. We have our work cut out for us—fencing the rest of the not-yet-fenced gardens, mending trampled veggies, raking dirt and gravel back to where it came from, and replacing the painted rocks back to the borders they make.
As for the hungry hen? We are not so sure. Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Necklace for Lupus

I was recently asked to design a piece that would be auctioned off at a fundraising event for the Lupus Foundation of New England. This is the necklace I created to reflect the sentiment of empowerment and hope for people living with Lupus.

A burst of stars, a surge of hope.

The design for this necklace started with the logo for the Lupus Foundation of New England—a small cluster of shooting stars. But as I learned more about Lupus, I came to see that this complicated disease is often vague and without pattern. Considering that, I arranged the stars in a random, asymmetrical order. The two tiers of chain illustrate the support and education available to empower those living with Lupus.

The Lupus Necklace—a delicate chain paired with a shiny burst of stars is a beautiful way to honor this cause.
For more information about this necklace click here.
***The Lupus Foundation of New England is having their fundraising event on Thursday, June 18th at the Liberty Hotel in Boston. Tickets are available at the door and there are a ton of incredible and generous items up for auction. Find out more about the fundraiser and learn more about the Lupus Foundation of N.E. here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Craft Hope for India

The wheels are a-turnin' as I scheme up what I will be making for Craft Hope's newest call to action.

For Project #3, Craft Hope has teamed up with the Miracle Foundation to supply beanies, blankets and booties for babies/toddlers in India.

Here's your chance to make a difference while doing what you love. It's a great opportunity to get together and knit with your friends, start sewing with your kids, or organize your local group to craft a few items for those little babes that could use some warmth and comfort.

If making things by hand is not your usual M.O., Craft Hope will be posting patterns and instructions soon. If you are a knitter, crocheter or sewer, gather up your stash and get to it.

You can get all the details on Craft Hope's Project #3 here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Studio or Workshop?

I am never sure what to call it—Studio or workshop. "Studio" sounds artistic, refined, and peaceful. "Workshop" sounds rustic, industrial, and well, a bit elvish.

Tucked into a corner of my basement, partly under the stairs and an arm's reach from the hot water heater, my space is both of those things—a studio where I design my jewelry and a workshop where I fabricate it.

It is cool in the summer and chill-to-the-bone cold in the winter. It's gray all around, as most basements are, but the splashes of color I have added give it just enough life. A nearby window brings in some natural light, which is one of my favorite things about the space. A Radio, iPod player, TV, fan, and portable radiator provide all the creature comforts I could ask for. I consider myself lucky to "commute" down the stairs into a space that has everything I need to design, saw, forge, and solder tiny works of art.

Call it what I may, my sometimes studio, sometimes workshop is an all-the-time pleasure.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Food, Inc.

I recently began thinking out loud about starting a farmers market in my town. I was abruptly stopped in my tracks trying to clear the very first hurdle, and quickly realized that there will be numerous hoops to jump through before this thing gets off the ground. My motivation to organize this market is partly selfish (I don't want to have to travel so far to get local produce) and partly the product of my growing frustration with industrial farming.

The food industry is a topic that I think about often, so I was excited to learn about the film Food, Inc. The documentary explores how much we really know about the food we buy and, more importantly, eat.
"In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the the American Farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment."
You can learn more about the movie here. Find out where you can see the movie here, and see a list of 10 simple things you can do to change our food system here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bubble Ring

I have been getting things together for the Coolidge Corner Arts Festival this Saturday (6/6). Going through all my pieces, polishing and touching up each item to get them gleaming and ready for their place in an eye-catching display. I was giving this ring the once-over when I realized I haven't posted it in my shop yet.

Bubble Ring
A fun cocktail ring! A large oxidized dome is set into a ring that hides a mirror inside. The shape of the bubble's "highlight" was cut out to reveal the mirror's reflection. The blackened dome is a beautiful contrast to the shiny mirror and the polished silver body of the ring.

To read more about this ring or to purchase, click here.