Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Detective's Work Is Never Done..

Detectives Charm

Starting a business is much harder then i anticipated. I kind of feel like a detective, trying to uncover and figure out all of the "To'Do's" to properly form a business. It's quite stressful, and i'm overwhelmed I have NO doubt that this will all be worth it.. soon enough. :)

Adorable Avocados

Abbie from Miss Avocado has adorable drawings of women. I really enjoy her style and unique layouts for her art! Although the image below is what 1st captivated me to message Abbie, i really really enjoy the cafe girl, and the angel man on the unicycle.


How long have you been crafting?

Growing up, my Mom kept a range of art supplies around: sequins, fabric, poster paints, construction paper, and more. I guess in light of this you could say crafting has always been a part of my life. I grew up making homemade gifts and sewing (although I have to admit I knit some outrageously over-sized sweaters as gifts when I was first learning).


Did you always craft in this genre?

For Etsy I've been producing collages and prints of my illustrations mostly. I do really enjoy working with textiles though and tend to knit and crochet a lot (easily mobile crafts are the best).



Who or what inspires you?

Old bookstores, good coffee, reading blogs, my nieces, going for walks, random trips to the library, design magazines, and new sketchbooks waiting to be filled up.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

I think a challenge for me is finding the balance between the creative, right-brained side and developing smart business practices (keeping records, research for instance).

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Check out Abbie's other prints at her Etsy site. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tea Today, Hot Chocolate Tomorrow.

Tea Party

On my trip, i went coffee house hopping. I drank many wonderful drinks, but when hopping, atmosphere is key. I found two coffee shops that win my vote. In Charlotte, there is one called The Smelly Cat in North Davidson we frequented quite a few times. They make a mean milkshake, and pretty good brownies. It has a cute interior, with a nice staff and some nice photographs on the walls. I never did get to taste my signature drink there, which actually makes me kind of sad.

Soy Mint Hot Chocolate, was my hardcore drink of choice in NC. [Actually, it's my drink of choice outside of Charlotte too]

I think my favorite over all was The Dripolator in Black Mountain. It was cute and quaint. They had a comfortable environment and seating. The staff was friendly and helpful, art on the walls, a great menu selection and loads of customers inside to affirm my decision that i chose the right coffee shop in Black Mountain.

Stamp-tastic Jewelry.

I never realized other people had fascination with stamps besides me. This jewelry is a fabulous tribute to another gal's love of old stamps. Betsy has a shoppe called Fox Glove Accessories which houses beautiful photographs of her clever jewels.


How long have you been crafting?

I've been cutting/pasting/taping/stringing/printing/stitching things together for as long as I can remember! But in July of 2006, I decided that is was time to sit down and create a cohesive body of work that I could grow and create a profit from. Thus, Foxglove Accessories was born!


Did you always craft in this genre?

Oh no. When it comes to crafting, I'm all over the place. Recently I've been re-discovering sewing, trying my hand at woodworking, and perfecting my lemon meringue pie recipe.


Who or what inspires you?

Typography, Joseph Cornell, gaudy wallpaper from the 50s, beautiful wood grain, books that make me cry, full attics that haven't been touched in years, ribbons, and the meticulous layouts and designs from the postage stamps I handle every day.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

It can be so emotional! When you put your skills, creativity and heart into a business, it's hard not to take everything personally. Sometimes I feel like Foxglove Accessories is an awkward 12-year-old-girl that's growing faster than her body can handle. Over time, I'm sure she will blossom into a sophisticated, confident woman. But until then, I'm still working up the courage to take the next big steps. Don't worry, though - girls grow up fast!


Head over to Betsy's shoppe to see all of her stamp-tastic jewelry. :)

I can tell you about NC in 6 images...

I returned home from North Carolina a couple of days ago, and it has been quite hard to adjust back to reality after being in a fantasy world [ie: vacation] for 13 days. My trip was definitely an interesting adventure. It was nice to get away, and i enjoyed seeing my friends. I had the best travel buddy, successfully learned how to use the NC bus and train system, and ate and drank a large abyss of wonderful goodies.



I believe one of the biggest differences between Florida and North Carolina are the trees. NC had the most amazing trees. There was such a variety, some flowering, some waiting patiently for spring time. This tree captivated me. This tree was found on a nature hike Mel, Camilo and I took in Charlotte.



I love this picture. I think it's one of my favorites. This image defines why my friends are so much fun.



Polka Dot Bakery had THE cutest ad in this local women's newspaper. Just based on the ad alone, i was determined to visit. I was slightly disapointed in the decor of this small, somewhat hidden bakery, but honestly, you MUST visit Polka Dot if your ever in town. The cupcakes were exquisite. Very flavorful. Great presentation. Highly recommended!



I have an obsession with houses. Doll Houses. Cottages. I love any home in a sweet spring time color. Honestly, one of my life's goals is to find and buy the perfect "doll house". There were many in NC that came close. This house was definitely a favorite, plus it had a ledge outside it which was perfect for taking timed images. This was my favorite pose when i was in middle school. Quality pose eh?



I really wanted to take touristy images, but there weren't really any touristy places in Charlotte. There were dozens of beautiful churches though. I wanted to take pictures in front of them waving and such, but they were just to terrible. I like this perspective of the church much better.



Pizza is one of my favorite foods, but honestly, 80% of pizza places suck. We had pizza three times in NC. Fuel pizza had a really cute atmosphere, but the pizza itself wasn't wonderful. We ate at a yummy pizza place (I'm sorry i can't find the name right now) in South End, close to Uptown Charlotte, and i was quite impressed. On the way back from Asheville Camilo and I stopped at the CUTEST town called Black Mountain. [More about Black Mountain later] and had salad and pizza. It was absolutely delicious. The pizza above is from "My Father's Pizza" place in Black Mountain.

Friday, February 15, 2008

North Carolina, Here I Come!!

Over The Sky Necklace

I've breifly mentioned that i am going away in past posts, but today is the day! I head over to a friends house later tonight and we leave tomorrow morning for Charlotte NC. I am SO STOKED!!!

I'll be back in 10 days, so for over a week i will be without blogs. GASP! For a blog addict, this may cause quite a stir. I won't have access to write or read anyone elses journals.

Through the Lense

Instead i'll be out an about in a new state with some awesome people. I will take plenty of pictures, i'm sure i will share. Have a brilliant week!!

Not So Fishy Chairs.

I saw this painting below that Jill painted and thought it was brilliant!! Jill has a shoppe called J Dryer Art. [] I love how she uses chairs in a lot of her artwork. I've always had a fasintation with drawing chairs as well. [although, her's are much nicer then my own] Her style is wonderful, and all of her work is really whimsical.


CRAFTING: I've always loved being artistic - and since about high school I knew I wanted to be an artist. But I got a degree in journalism instead (thinking there might be more career opportunities) and ultimately had a 15 year career in advertising sales. Looking back, I don't have regrets on the path I took since it paid my bills quite nicely and taught me a lot about the business world (basically laying the groundwork for having my own company). Now that I'm an artist full-time, my job is incredibly rewarding, I feel more balanced than ever and I look forward my work everyday.


GENRE: I've always enjoyed illustration and painting - so my medium hasn't changed much over the years. But the content varies from children's books and kid-related corporate and commissioned paintings that represent my own life statements.


INSPIRATION: I'm inspired by other people who are devoted to doing what they love. For instance, my friend Milton Mizenberg, a Chicago sculptor who has devoted his life to his art and to bettering the neighborhood that he lives in. It's a wonderful story of a man on the southside of Chicago who brought hope back to a neighborhood that people had given up on. As Milton will say, "he's a scrap man. He takes things that no one else sees value in and turns it into something beautiful".
There's also my friend Birger Juell who owns a high-end wood floor business in the Chicago Merchandise Mart. He's 91 and still goes to work everyday. He's lived an amazing life and always has wonderful stories to share - from coming to America from Norway on the boat when he was 17, Mackinaw Island sailing races, being a ski-jumper in the 1930's, etc. He is more excited about life than anyone I know and he lives everyday to the fullest. You really can't hang out with him for 10 minutes and not be inspired.


CHALLENGES: I think the biggest challenge is to find your niche in the marketplace and to figure out which things are working for you. For instance, I think it's important to have things at both high and low price points so you're always selling something. So for me - that means I sell prints on etsy at a lower price point and I supplement that income by selling original paintings and taking on commission projects. In general, I haven't figured out the perfect formula for making a strong living off my work just yet...but I feel like I'm getting closer to cracking the code everyday. It takes a lot of dedication and an open mind to run a small business. You have to be able to create without boundaries and still be willing to listen the realistic feedback that you get from buyers.


Most of all - I wish everyone luck on their artistic projects and would like to give a big thanks to those people who support handmade!


I just find Jill's work very joyful. I bet you'll agree! :) Head over to her Etsy Shoppe and let her know what you think!

NOTE: Sorry, i'm at my family's house and thier PC won't let me link or spell check, i'll fix it when i go back home.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Embrace Your Nosiness!

Detectives Charm

I've been spending a large abundance of time looking up and reading about Soooooo many amazing artists that i think i am truely a detective in disguise. :)

Embrace the detective in you! Every good sleuth knows the essentials needed to be a good detective. Just incase, you haven't gotten your sleuthing merit badge yet, this charm bracelet will remind you of all the tools needed.

An assortment of Pewter, Copper and Brass charms, hang off of a copper chain as a reminder of how clever you are Sherlock! My signature cherry hangs on the lobster closure for this keen bracelet!

Muy Bella

A couple weeks ago i posted about Linda, from Bella and just recently she posted one of her pieces on her blog. I really think it's too adorable NOT to share! :)


Ode To Food Photographers

When i was younger and people asked me what i wanted to be i had two answers. The most often answer of the two was a food photographer. I LOVE food photography, it just speaks to me! And boy oh boy, don't leave me along at the produce department or farmers market or i'll be there for ages.

I randomly found Janick on Flickr and was captured by her simple yet artistic expressions of her breakfast table. She photographs foods quite well and i love how she shows some of her jewelry in her shots. She makes wonderful jewelry as well, so you WILL want to check that out as well.


How long have you been crafting?

I remember doing macramé bracelets in early high school, so I guess my crafting days really "seriously" started around 12yo.



Did you always craft in this genre?

I've always had a thing for jewelry, I guess it's a woman thing! I've done mostly drawing, multi-media, painting, photography, jewelry and graphic design for a while now. Recently, I started knit and cross-stitch and I'm planing on roving and sewing very soon! I can never get enough of making things, learning new techniques and exploring a new craft!


Who or what inspires you?

Textures and materials inspire me mostly for my jewelry! I like trying out new ways to view a medium! Photography also inspires me a great deal. In that matter, thanks to the wonderful Flickr community, inspiration is only a few clicks away!



What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

Since I started selling a year and half ago, I have found it more and more challenging to get noticed! The handmade community is growing soooo quickly, it's hard to keep up! I always try to find new ways to get noticed, but frankly, without my advertising and graphic design skills I learned in school, I would be really lost! Trying hard - and often failing! - motivates me to try different marketing ideas that are growing in my head!

Head over to her Flickr, say hello, look at her amazing photography and stop and see her beautiful jewelry. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Antiqued Love

Antiqued Love

I am completely having jewelry withdrawals, i haven't been able to make any new items in forever and a day. This is one of the charm bracelets i recently received back from a store i was in, so it's not new. It's just "new" to my Flickr. :) Antique inspired charms dangle off of a neat [and also antique inspired] chain,

Crochet = Amor

I first came around this necklace months ago and have saved Maria's shoppe, Kjoo, in my favorites for some time now. When i 1st started to write about artists, she one of the few i already knew i would have to interview. Her style is amazing, and i love the colors and textures of her work. She does beautiful crochet pieces that is absolutely practical artwork to wear!


My name is Maria João Ribeiro I am Portuguese and I live in Palmela, a small beautiful mountain next to the capital, Lisbon.

How long have you been crafting?

I have been crafting all my life. Specially on my adolescence when I was always making modifications on my clothes and crafting some jewelry's and accessories for personal use. Crafting with the intention of making business of it, I started at about one year. More or less December 2006, after a few months thinking on what should I do for life.I was not happy at all with the professional offers regarding my formation area Graphic Design.



Did you always craft in this genre?

I am still exploring the materials I am crafting with. Since started this projected not so long ago, I am still learning new ways to use crochet and felt. And I am also introducing some new materials such as silver, plastic, glass and other fibers. My work is also very experimental so I am always seeking new ways to use shape and color.


Who or what inspires you?

I can get inspiration from everywhere. Can be a movie a book a website and illustration... What really inspires me is finding some unusual color combination. I am always seeking color combination and I have not many rules regarding color I just like to explore.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

I think the most difficult part of this is get your name out there. Be noticed takes time and effort. Anyway I have to say that I have been really lucky. I work many hours a day and I have been really lucky to have receive really pleasant invitations (like this interview) that get the word about my work out there. I have taken the option of making my business almost all an online commerce and I am really happy with the results so far. I just need to organize better my time to be able to answer all the invitations, have new items available in the shop and for other proposes.


Not only is her work wonderful, but many of her images are lovely as well. i LOVE the way she photographed the pins on the plate with the chop stix, so clever! :)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adorable Art!

How cute are these paintings? When i saw the adorable painting below, i had to contact Marcia. Marcia has a shoppe called Marcia724. She has a great style thats right up my ally. Enjoy them! :)


How long have you been crafting?

I've actually been a crafter my whole life; interested in making things with my hands as long as I can remember. I've only let it consume my life within the last five years. This is not a bad thing :)


Did you always craft in this genre?

I've pretty much been all over the place with my crafting. I like to try everything. I'm not a creature of habit, so eventually I will get bored with one thing and go on to another. Although I must say that painting with acrylics has been about the only thing I've stuck with my entire life.


Who or what inspires you?

Emotions. Situations. Actual, everyday experiences. I could paint a thousand paintings just about childhood situations and memories. The memories have to be something that moves me. It could be in a good way or bad. Either way stirs emotion and leads to a painting.


What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?

At first it was hard for me to even think about selling my pieces. I was so mentally attached to them. I still have a lot of my first paintings because they came from the deepest part of my heart. Now that I'm selling more and more art, I'm getting used to it. I'm just happy they are going to a home where someone will enjoy it.

So, head over to her Etsy or her website, and check out her adorable paintings.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Crazy Weeks and Photograph Saturdays

I work at a brilliant store called Antropologie in the Visual Sales department. Which, in a sense, is just a fancy title to mean i help create all of the stellar displays at our shoppe. [And boyyyy are there ALOT of displays!].


During my 1st week, i helped make this tent from pipes, flange, fabric, and twine. I wrapped all the polls with twine for at least 5 hours before we decided to cover part of it up with canvas. It was my 1st project i ever had with Visual and the most joyous week at Antro. I'm so blessed to be part of VS. :)


Every morning, I water these (and a couple dozen more) Hydrangas. And boy do they need watering. NOTE: If you have or like Hydrangeas; make sure to drench the roots of the flowers, if your flowers are on a delicate surface, remove them, because you should also use a spray bottle and spray the leaves and flowers as well. This will help keep the blooms intact. When you cut the flowers out of the root, you have about 10 hours before they will die, even if they are in water the whole time.

This week we were preparing for a HUGH move in my particular store and had people come in from other stores to help us. I'm new to this gig, so while everyone else was split up to completely redecorate the rooms i did the tedious little details. Written down, it looks like i did NOTHING, but honestly, it was a still a long day of work. Wednesday was BY FAR my favorite though. [Serious!] :)

Monday: Moved funiture and started to paint shelves and moldings green.

Tuesday: Painted shelves and moldings green [8 hours]

Wednesday: Twisted twine around our hardware fixtures. [Basically, we have there fixtures shaped like cylinders where each level spins around so you can look at all of the hardware. I wrapped about 11 rotations of twine around each shelf] [8 hours]

Thursday: Twisty Fabric. [Okay, this day suckkked...i took fabric and cut it in strips. Tied one size around a door handle and stuck the other strand inside a drill without a bit, then turned the drill on and TA DA! Twisty Fabric. The fabric kept coming undone from the handle or falling out of the drill when i turned it on. The fabric shrinks from being twisted and sometimes breaks. Man it was frustrating.] [8 hours and barely any success]

Friday: Cut Leaves. [We painted thin paper bright blue, folding the paper in 1/2 foot strips so you have about the same on each side. Then cut vines on the folded side, so when you unfolded the paper, you magically have a vine with leaves on each side. We're still not finished with this project yet] [8 hours]

It was a really really great week!! Everyone was so brilliant and i learned so many amazing techniques. I'm very thankful i got to help with the process.


Last week, for two or three days i made 30 camels from scratch. I used a wire to make a armature, filled that with paper and tape and then covered them with clay.

I love my job. :)