26 Jun 2008

Crazy Nutty Day

Today is going to be one of those run around, headless chicken days. So much to do, so little time. We have friends and family coming over for the weekend because it's Jon's Birthday on Monday. So today I'm going to leave you with an etsy mini of my favourite items.

I'm off to change the beds and shop for enough food to feed the five thousand.
Have a fabulous day!

25 Jun 2008

Strange and Beautiful

One of the strangest creatures on the planet has to be the Seahorse. They have such a weird mythical look about them. Tiny dragons of the sea, where the male of the species gives birth to the young. They are fairly bad swimmers but have prehensile tails so they can anchor themselves to stones and sea plants. With unique little coronets on their heads they look as if they have been crowned the kings and queens of the sea. Their very oddly beautiful looks have earned them many fans.

Papermoth created this gorgeous image of a seahorse. I picked it because I loved the purple ink effect combined with the beautiful digital background. I think it would look fabulous framed and hung on a bathroom wall.

Just how cuddly and cute is this next set? Snaulkter made these gorgeous plushie seahorses. Perfect for a little one to cuddle whilst napping and dreaming of a life on the ocean waves.

I'm loving this this top from Stevester. The shape is very flattering for most shapes and the screen printed seahorse is so beautifully detailed. What more could you ask for in a top?

Now this card from Drinkabutter is one I would love to receive. I adore the simplicity of the white background with the textured look of the seahorse. It would look stunning on a mantelpiece.

Vibrant, detailed and attractive, this print comes from an original hand painted habotai silk by Greer Design. The greens, blues and purples are so fabulous and are beautifully accented by the bright oranges, yellows and reds.

It always makes me smile when I look for items to feature, because it's always so easy to find lots of fabulous goodies. In fact the hardest part is deciding what not to feature as there are always so many great things to choose from. I Think its fantastic that there are so many talented people out there sharing their abilities with the rest of the world. Long may it continue!

24 Jun 2008

Bunny Wabbits!

Who can resist a cute little fuzzy wuzzy bunny? Not me! I adore them from their fluffy powder puff tails right up to their twitchy wiggly noses. Their hoppy floppy way of moving around just increases their appeal. The following artists seem to have a soft spot for those boingy little critters too.

Pat Coyne's gorgeous giant eared rabbit starts us off today. The original is a watercolour painting that is now being offered as a print in Pats shop. You can almost see his nose twitching.

This big beautiful bunny by Shannon Harris looks a little unimpressed at being left suspended in the air... or maybe he was bouncing on a trampoline and he has just realised someone has pulled it from under him and he is at that resigned moment of knowing the floor is about to come up to meet him.

BOING! Nakisha has given this lovely little rabbit and idyllic setting to frolic in. Again the original piece was painted in watercolour and is now offered as a vibrant print. I want to move into the beach house so I can play on the sand with this white bunny.

A bunny in the windy city. This brilliant picture has so much energy. Waterbears has captured the winds actions beautifully in the rabbits ears and swirling leaves. It looks really chilly.No wonder this rabbit is blue... brrrrrr.

Lastly, for today, we have this graceful ballerina bunny from Stephanie Fizer. Now how fun would it be if your rabbit really did do ballet. I've always had a thing about ferrets in a tutu, but now I think a rabbit would be cuter. Not that I'd ever dress up any animals. That's one of my pet hates, people treating their animal friends like they were dolls.... but that's a topic for another day.

Have a flufftastic day!

23 Jun 2008

Rubber reused

So it's been a week since I showed this blog any love and I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging. Thanks for coming back. The last few weeks have been very busy and add to that my health flare up and that makes for one very sad and lonely blog.

Today's topic is recycled rubber. There are primarily 2 types of rubber, natural rubber, that can be bled and refined from the sap of the para rubber tree plant and synthetic rubber, that is made from petroleum. Most of the rubber we use today comes from the second source, so it is best if we try to reduce the use of it and or reuse as much of it as possible. I've found a few Etsy sellers that have come up with great ways to recycle the everyday used rubber around us.

Made For Fun has turned a bicycle inner tube into this very interesting and pretty necklace. It's not so obvious to a casual on looker what it's made from so it will not only look gorgeous around your neck, but it is a great talking point. It really caught my attention.

So, what do you think this colourful bangle from Steven Shaver Designs is made of? Well it's made from chopped up parts of industrial conveyor belts. I love the textures and mix of colours. Such a stylish item made from recycled materials and great way to save some rubber from going into a landfill site.

I have to confess these are my favourite of the items picked today. Not only because I love shoes, but because they are amazing. Courtney's Castle has made a work of art in a pair of shoes. Recycled rubber and cardboard used to fabulous effect.

Lost and Found Objects2 has also used bicycle inner tubes to create this necklace, but the result is very different from the first necklace, which just goes to show how many different ways you can use the came materials if you have the imagination. It's so pretty and delicate.

The last item is another little recycled gem! It comes from 18 Meadow Larks and it made me smile. This lovely shawl pin is made from recycled Wellington boot rubber. I think it's great fun and very useful for keeping your scarf or shawl in place.

All today's items show that reusing rubber is not only a good thing to do for the environment, they show that reusing rubber from tyres and industrial waste can result in the creation of fabulous goodies of great beauty. Thanks to all 5 of the artisans featured today for showing us the way forward.

22 Jun 2008

Artisan of the week, Ann of BurrowBurrow

This weeks artisan makes the most gorgeous robotic like sculptures. Ann Smith's attention to detail is what drew me to want to share her work with you. I saw one of her pieces on the front page of Etsy and followed it to her shop, which is full of the most fabulous creatures all made out of broken machine parts and recycled electronic components. I swear if they don't bring a smile to your face you must be dead or made of stone.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
My name is Ann Smith; I make little robotic like animal sculptures in my studio located in Providence RI. To make these pieces, I use mostly salvaged electronics such as printers, old computers, phones, cameras, keyboards, stereo equipment. I also use mechanical objects like clocks and typewriters almost anything the I can take apart.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
I was working on an assignment for my introduction to illustration course at RISD. The assignment was to create a piece in response to the general concept of technology. On my way to class I had noticed a broken telephone and answering machine so I decided to disassemble it and try to make a robot out of it. The first thing I noticed when I took apart the phone was that the feet resembled horse hooves, so I decided to make a horse. I thought of it as a sort of Trojan Horse of technology. When I brought it in for critique the class agreed that the concept was a little off but the piece itself was a success.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
I like things that are intricate and well crafted; things that can move. I enjoy taking junk and turning it into art. I like the challenge of recreating different animals.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
Making the joints move like I want them to is always a challenge. Sometimes they are not strong enough to hold the weight of the animals and they end up collapsing. I am always looking for the perfect material to put in between the joints to make them flexible and stable. Some animals with long thin legs become very wobbly when I stand them up, and the tension of springs can help steady them. I'll take a piece apart and put it back together several times before it feels right. It's always satisfying when it finally works out.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 year's time?
Portland, Oregon... or CalArts for grad school. Either way I'd call it a win!

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Take it easy!

7. Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
Evan Larson
Kelly Murphy
Maris Wicks
Joe Quinones

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
I really love cheese...

I love cheese too! Thank you Ann for joining in with our blog. I am particularly fond of your Velociraptor. The fact that you make all of these fabulous creatures out of what some people would class as junk/landfill fills me with joy. I'm so glad to be sharing your work with my readers. Visit her shop and her site people and see all Ann's creations.

15 Jun 2008

Artisan of the Week, Christel of Boutique Mia

A few weeks ago I asked the question "Who would you like to see featured..." on the etsy forum and Christel's name was put forward and after taking a look at her shop I agreed she would be a great person to ask to be featured. She makes such beautiful clothes. Simple clean lines, gorgeous fabrics and attention to detail all make her clothes shout "Quality!". So here is Christel's interview.

1.Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?

I am a European that moved to the states and now feel like an American at heart. My career all began with me sewing the sweetest little pillowcase top/dress for my daughter. After that, I couldn’t stop the flow of creativity! Boutique Mia blossomed from there. I now have created several different styles of dresses for girls and even some for adults. My designs are clean and elegant for all ages (but mainly geared for kids), with a touch of Scandinavian inspiration.

2.What led you to take up your craft?
Ever since I can remember I always told my mom, dad and anybody that would listen, I wanted to be a fashion designer. Actually even went to school for it, but felt I had to grow up and it would only be dream, never reality. So I went into the corporate world for 10 years. But finally realized there had to be more to life; Quit my job, sold our house and most of our belongings, moved overseas to travel and live. We ended up missing the States too much, so we moved back shortly after. We downsized everything, and relocated in Dallas, Texas. One day I took out my sewing machine to create and haven’t stopped since. If someone had asked me 10 years ago if I would be designing clothes, I would have laughed and told them “no way”. I could not be happier.

3.Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
When I get a new fabric, and it turns into something new and beautiful. I love all the aspects of Boutique Mia, the creative side, the business side, truly all the aspects. I can’t forget my customers, I often tell myself how fortunate I am to have “the” best customers.

4.Which part do you find hardest?
Saying no, when I have customers asking for a rush, I’m never able to say no.

5.Where do you hope to be in 1 year's time?
It may sound silly, but I've said from day one: “I want to be on Oprah talking about Boutique Mia.” I know when I've accomplished that; I've really made it!

6.What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I try to live by this saying:
"Most of what you obtain in life will be because of your discipline. Discipline is perhaps more important than ability." By Christine Darden

7.Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
My dearest friend: Green Apple Boutique
The beat fabric store on Etsy: Fabric Supplies
The creator of my logo: Bitsy Creations
My favourite label make: Custom Couture Label Co

8.What is your favourite sandwich filling?
Remulade (it’s a Danish thing - my husband thinks it’s nasty...lol)

Thank you Christel for joining in with our blog. Your bold use of colours and pattern with such simple lines is stunning. I look forward to the day we see you sitting on Oprah's couch. I wish you every success in the future.

11 Jun 2008

Recycled Computer Parts

Today is just going to be an uber quickie post as I still have so much to do to get ready for Southern Lights. The excitement of spending a weekend in a field with a whole bunch of fire spinners, hoopers, staffers, poi spinners, jugglers.... well lets just say I'm wiggly squiggly with anticipation!

So back to today's post. Recycling is a subject close to my heart and computer is the weeks word, so I picked out some lovely goods made from recycled computer parts to share with you.

Jason Creations made these fab funky coasters. I'm loving the colours and the way the components look like crazy electrical insects trapped in resin.

Is your dad full of geeky goodness? Are you looking for something to give him on Fathers day? I say give him this gorgeous computer parts flower from Geek Gear. It's perfect!

This silver mounted pendant from Violets New Vintage is so pretty! Who would have guessed it once was part of a circuit?

Debby Arem Designs shop is just full of stunning recycled goodies. Just go take a look! This tie pin is just one of them. Flippin' Fabulous!

Have you ever wondered what the inside of your hard drive looks like? Well this clock from Pixel This lets you see exactly what it looks like. What a great Desk clock this would make!

Well that's me out of here for today. More hoops to make and a hoop stand to finish. Have a fabulous day dear reader. Oh and if any of you have a spare moment, let the people I've featured know I've put them on here and tell them that I adore their creativity. I might not be able to get around to doing it today.....

9 Jun 2008

The Computer Challenge.

This weeks challenge word is 'Computer'. We all spend quite a bit of time using our computers each day, but does your computer ever inspire you to create anything new, or do you create things with your computer? If so join in the challenge and share with us what you have created.

Ever since Mr Charles Babbage created his mechanical computer we have seen the uses of the computer increase to the point that we would find it hard to function without them. As they are such a big part of our lives/businesses lets get inspired by them and see what we can create.

As usual you can either send me your item via Etsy conversations or put a link in the comments on this blog post to what you have made/written/photographed/seen. For all the UKHippy crew that want to enter you can put yours on the thread in the Creative Forum and I'll stop by and pick them up. All entries will get full credit with a link back to any website/shop you might have.

8 Jun 2008

Artisan of the Week, Lauren of LaBEANA

So Sunday dawns again and it's time to share with you another amazing artisan. Today we have the work of Lauren of LaBEANA on showcase. This interview shows you the journey Lauren has taken to get to the point, where she now makes and sells beautiful Jewellery and purse handles and embellishments. In addition to her own website Lauren also sells through an Esty shop. I strongly advise you to visit both and marvel at her gorgeous work.

1.Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
I've been doing art of one form or another for over thirty five years....I started out doing graphic art and illustration (way back in the day before computers, when it was done by hand on a drawing board), then did faux finishes and painted trompe l'oeil furniture for years (burned out on that finally) and also tried many other mediums and techniques. I enjoyed all of them, and learned that each time I stepped out of the box, I gained skills that applied to other areas of my artistic life. So I finally stopped feeling bad about not sticking with one thing and perfecting it...

2.What led you to take up your craft?
Looking back through my stack of sketchbooks, I can trace my evolution to the point where I am today. The one thing I keep seeing is my recurring attempt to become a "painter" only.... to dedicate myself to "fine art" and become a "real artist"..... LOL.... sorry, I can laugh at this now, but during those soul tossed times at four am when you just know you could set the world on fire if only you could figure out what it was you wanted to say in art, it's very real... I even went back to art school five years ago to try to get myself some good mojo.... and discovered, after a mind expanding year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, that although I loved painting... it just doesn't do it for me.
So I allowed things to settle, and soothed my angst by doing some pottery, playing with some polymer clay, and started dreaming about purses. I don't know why, but it became an obsession.... I filled sketchbooks with drawings, did intense research into purses of the past, and even collaborated with a pattern maker to do some prototypes. But it all came down to this.... I did not sew, or do leather, or knit or crochet. So now what?.... as I was designing purses on paper I remembered seeing some wonderful faux scrimshaw jewelry I had seen at wholesale shows I used to do with the trompe l'oeil furniture.... it looked just like real ivory but was a form of plastic called resin. I never forgot how that looked and now my mind started seeing it as purse handle forms.....
I learned how to make molds of my original designs(which are made with polymer clay) and pour resin, how to dye it and add metal powders....my focus tightened down to the point where the only important thing was doing the handles...I hated how most bag handles looked like they were just sort of thrown on as an afterthought....I wanted them to be the most important design element...and I eventually came up with enough to fill a website...

3.Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
I love the sketching stage... especially if I'm on a roll.... but I think the part where I unmold the original and pour the first resin and see what it really will look like is my favorite part.

4.Which part do you find hardest?
The hardest part is having to fill orders... although I love getting them, they are repetitive and can get mind numbing... which is when I stop and play with polymer clay then, to keep my creative mind entertained.

5.Where do you hope to be in 1 year’s time?
Now, after a year or so of selling them on my website and from my Etsy store, I realize that a lot of people love the handles, but just don't know what to do with them.... so I've begun another collaboration with a knitting designer and together we are designing custom purse patterns for knitters, and eventually other fiber people. It's very exciting. and maybe in a year, I'll be selling my kits in all the local yarn stores in the world!!!

6.What is the best advice you have ever been given?

7.Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
I don't let a day go by without checking out these links
Polymer Clay Daily
Polymer Clay Notes
Kathleen Dustin

8.What is your favourite sandwich filling?
Tuna on wheat with tomato and American cheese.....mmmmmmm

Thank you Lauren for sharing with us your fabulous work and for giving us a small insight into what lead you on the path you have taken with your artistic talents. As an avid knitter/ crocheter I look forward to seeing your future collaborations and the patterns that arise from those. I'm not a big pattern user but I'm loving your purse handles so much I could have a go, or maybe I'll just free form a purse to match some of your wonderful handles and combine them.

6 Jun 2008

Weekly Challenge Round Up.

This week has been very tiring and annoying, with many things going wrong. I still haven't managed to finish my challenge item for this week. I need to go and get some more wood before I can. I'll post a picture of it when I have.

Some people that did manage to take up the challenge, and succeeded most admirably, were PrincessTigerMouse with a lovely gouache and watercolour painting and as she explained she has always preferred to work in thicker textured paints and watercolour type paints are a bit of a change for her. I think she did a fantastic job and I adore the colours she used.

This pretty painting by FireFly is also a watercolour. I love the way it is broken down into panels. The photo is a little small for you people to be able to read the writing but I'm told that top left it says "Do you remember before blue was a flavour" and the letter left of centre says "Dear you I am sorry Love me." My personal favourite panel is the washing line with the non matching pairs of socks. That's how my socks always end up. Fabulous painting!

This necklace was made and modelled by the most talented Fleassy. She sews, makes silver wrap jewellery, crochets, hand crafts masks, makes woollen hair falls... well pretty much she masters any craft she tries. This was her first attempt at mixed soldering and Celtic knot work. I think she succeeded!

These pretty earrings were made by High Desert Diva. It was her first pair. The green, gold and pink focal bead are so pretty. HDD has such good taste!

We also had a haiku entry from the lovely Lion for the Hands Challenge.

Wintered hands reveal
your fine autumn morning breasts
for my loving touch

Thank you everyone that joining in with the challenges. Remember no challenge is ever closed. If you see a challenge that inspires you from past weeks feel free to go with the flow and send me it to be included on the blog.

5 Jun 2008

I fed you already!

So it's 6.45am and I just got back into bed after seeing Jon off to work, and Weapon X will not stop bugging me to get him some biscuits. He keeps walking on me, pawing at me and meowing... "you were fed already!" I thought maybe he wanted a drink and as he drinks from water running from the tap I went to the bathroom and turned on the tap for him. He jumped up on the sink but as soon as I walked away he jumped down still whining for food.... Arrrrrgggghhh I fed you already!

I got so fed up with him moaning at me that I decided to give in and give him a couple more biscuits. I walked to the kitchen with him bouncing about in front of my legs trying to trip me on the stairs, we get to the kitchen and there on his food mat is a bowl full of food, which he sees and gobbles down.... arrrrggghhhhh! He just hadn't bothered to look before getting me out of bed. Grrrrrrr cats! Blah it's obvious who's in charge in this house... not me!

Fing made this cute little felt kitty. It even comes with it's own fishie lunches. Maybe if I tie fish to Weapon X's collar he'll stop pestering me. Fing has lots of these fabulous fibre cats in her shop along side beautiful bugs.

This picture from Trendy Photos made me yawn just looking at it, not because I think it's boring, but because it's a gorgeous photo. I seem unable to not yawn if anyone else does. Even reading the word yawn makes me do it.

Amy Jo's handmade, reycyled sweater cat is fast asleep. I wish I was fast asleep too, maybe snuggling up with feltie cat here. Sadly I have to get up, get dressed and finish off some hats and hoops. Blah, my bed is calling me!

I need these beauties from the Button Boutique. I have bedhead hair this morning and it's doing it's own thing. I need something to tame it so I can see what I'm doing or I might end up sewing hoops and taping hats by mistake.

Well, if you can't beat them, join them. Kitty in the box might be able to help me there. I could become a fabulous pink and purple fluffy cat. Pink not your style? Well she has lots of other colour kitty hats... My only problem is I'm vegetarian and the thought of eating kitty food makes me feel a bit queasy.

Ah well, better get up and get the day going. I hope you all have a lovely, fun filled, productive day.

3 Jun 2008

Hoop Inspiration

As many of you will already know I love hula hooping and hoop dance. I find that hooping centres me and makes me feel calm and quiets my noisy,ideas filled brain. Watching others hoop inspires me to try out new moves and gets me thinking about how to link them into moves I can already do and keep the flow going. I've found that hooping inspires quite a lot of people in a vast number of ways. The next selections I've found are hoop related and all somewhat different from each other.

Silhouette Blue has taken the a joyful image of a hooping girl and designed a personalised stationary set with it. The calm green colour reflects the tranquil feeling I get when wiggling a hoop around my body and the joyous stance of the girl is just perfect.

This print by Lucia Johnson of an image of Cowboy hooping repeated numerous times made me stop an look again, because somehow it looked odd to me to see a cowboy hooping. The more I looked the more I realised that there is no oddity in the image at all, because hooping is for everyone. Good art makes you question your preconceived ideas.

Oh how I love this sketch from Slurkgirl! It is a celebration of the female form as well as the hoop. I'm so glad to see a beautiful curvaceous woman hooping rather than the usual portrayal of a stick thin hooper. We are not all stick thin, but we are all gorgeous.

I picked this embroidered baby grow because of the elephant. YadaYadaYada has created the most startled looking elephant I have ever seen with a hoop. That would have to be one giant hoop to be big enough for a pachyderm to leap through! Fabulous Job!

This picture is entitled "Hula Hoop Dreams" and comes from R.C.Huder. Now when I dream of hula hooping it usually involves vivid colours and lots of giggling and smiling. In this picture it looks like the hoop is holding out all distractions and contains a white clear centre. I guess that's quite accurate for me as hooping does clear my mind and give me a peaceful space to be.

I guess hoops mean different things to different people and to me that's part of their appeal. For me them mean fitness, centring, joy, fun and a challenge. I hope you all have a wiggletastic fabulous day! I'm off to tape another hula hoop.

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