Friday, December 21, 2007
is growing and growing! She drives us crazy with her cuteness, as witnessed on the Panda Cam:
We remember when she was born--no bigger than a mouse--and now she's walking and doing Pilates and even bringing bamboo up to her mouth!
Sometimes in her walking attempts she ends up rolling, but that's no problem. She always gets where she wants to go eventually.
We have no pictures to show because the P.R. dep't hasn't gotten back to us on our request, but that's ok--they must receive so many requests to use their pictures and can't respond to them all. We just love this little girl!
Please visit the Panda Cam today!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
8 Reasons You Should Buy Handmade Products over Commercial Products
1. Handmade products are unique. Do you really want the same scarf, mug, earrings, necklace or other item that 20,000 other people have? Of course not! Handmade items are always unique, even if they are the same type of product because they are not made by machines they are crafted by human beings so each piece will have its own unique characteristics.
2. Handmade items have personality. Life is not about being blah. Life is about expressing yourself and to do that your things need to have as much personality as you do. If you are happy with buying mass produced items that have no personality off a shelf at Wal Mart think about what that says about you. Don’t you want to express some personality?
3. Handmade items are special. When you get a gift don’t you feel a little bit more loved when someone gives you a handmade gift? Everyone loves getting handmade gifts or wearing something that was made just for them.
4. Handmade items last longer. Because they are made from high quality materials and handcrafted by trained artists items that are handmade last longer than low quality imported mass produced items.
5. Handmade goods are high quality. If you are a person who values the quality of an item more than the price then you already know that handmade items are far superior to mass produced items. While a mass produced item may be cheaper initially is it really cheaper when the item needs to be replaced a month later? When quality matters, go handmade!
[I love, love, LOVE this next one!--Sarah]
6. Handmade items are not made by children in sweatshops in Third World countries making 10 cents a day. Experienced and trained craftspeople make each handmade item. So while you might pay a few dollars more for a handmade item it’s because you are paying for quality materials, years of experience, artistic talent, and well-honed craftsmanship. Isn’t that worth paying for?
7. When you buy handmade you are supporting traditional arts and crafts techniques that have passed down through generations. In today’s high tech world the old arts and crafts traditions are being replaced by mass production but when you buy handmade you are saying that you prefer your items to be high quality pieces of art instead of mass produced trinkets.
8. When you buy handmade you are supporting local and small businesses. By paying artists and craftspeople for their goods you are supporting them and all the businesses that they do business with. If you are a person who believes in supporting your community economically then buying from local artists is a great way to support your community and make sure that your money goes to support local businesses.
Keep these things in mind the next time you see a scarf, a bracelet, some great handmade soap or other item and think,” I could get that for half price at Wal Mart.”!
Thank you so much, guest writer, CozyCat! Visit her online at Etsy or at
She explains: "Silver Shadow, http://silvershadow.etsy.com/, is my main shop. Most pieces are still in BerryPatchDesigns, http://berrypatchdesigns.etsy.com/ – this has mostly my pieces, but there are several from some of my “sisters” (very dear friends). UnderCurrent, http://undercurrent.etsy.com is the “alternative shop," where I will be putting edgier or more unique pieces."
What a wonderful variety!
Stephanie invites all CreativeSundries blog readers to check out the Earth Path Street Team's Winter Challenge. Vote on your favorite entry--There will be four prize packs given out to voters. Prizes--yay! Find out more info here.
CreativeSundries: How did you get started in jewelry making?
Stephanie: I started working with jewelry to give me something to concentrate on and distract me, after my grandmother passed away and while a friend was dying. It gave me a great deal of comfort to create beauty while I was hurting - and to learn about stones, acquire new skills and practice. People liked what I made, asked for more and things just progressed from there. I expect I'll be learning forever, which is not a bad thing.
CreativeSundries: Have you had a chance to collaborate with other artists?
Stephanie: Collaborating with other artists is a BLAST! One of my colleagues from EAST lives near me and we got together on the promotion pack that she was putting together (for the Street Team members), to send to various publications and organizations - we had the BEST time brainstorming and ideas were popping like firecrackers :) It was fun and inspirational.
CreativeSundries: What, if any, are your favorite materials, stones, etc.?
Stephanie: There are so many!!! So many textures, colors and patterns! That's why I love natural components (except metal, of course), though I do use high quality glass or crystal as accents. Metal: Sterling silver or Argentium, Copper, some leather. Stones: Jasper (moukaite, ocean, kambaba, autumn and scenic, especially), Ruby in Zoisite, Amethyst, Cultured Pearls, Pyrite, Agate (moss, banded, fired), Moonstone, Garnet (deep red varieties, mostly), Turquoise, Jade (Nephrite - true jade), Labradorite, Onyx, Pietersite, Malachite, Chrysocolla, Hematite (true) Azurite, Lapis... Probably lots more. Also like goldstone (man-made): "brown" and blue. Love WIRE. And want to learn true silversmithing/metalsmithing, so I can cast my own pieces and work my own pendants. Love subtle (not "noisy") dichroic and like good lampwork and fused glass.
CreativeSundries: What is your favorite piece you've made?
Stephanie: It's the Pile of Leaves piece that was for the EAST Autumn Challenge. It was my most involved piece thus far: convertible. It can be (1) a DOUBLE strand necklace or (2) you can open the double clasps on the upper strand and have a SINGLE strand necklace and a BRACELET. I picked a 5 color palette of faceted cultured pearls, matching 11/0 seed beads, carved fancy and ocean jasper leaves and carved bone beads and put everything (almost) totally randomly; the theme was "Autumn Leaves" and leaves fall...randomly. It was fun and I like it very much.
CreativeSundries: What are advantages of using vermeil instead of sterling silver or gold?
Stephanie: There are a couple of advantages to using vermeil vs gold, the most obvious being cost. Vermeil is gold over sterling, which is cheaper than gold itself, while still having the high quality of both. I prefer sterling and copper myself, but do sometimes like golden tones. To me, vermeil is the best of both worlds, to get "gold" without the high cost of true gold. As an aside, gold-filled is better than gold-plate, of course, but both have higher possibility of metal allergies than sterling, vermeil or gold.
Thank you for taking time to talk with us, Stephanie!
Be sure to visit Stephanie's Etsy shops:
Monday, December 17, 2007
Today's featured artist is Mary Hamilton of http://DreamON.etsy.com. Her shop features beautiful watercolors and acrylics, both originals and prints. Below is one of my favorites, appropriately titled Egret with Attitude!
In her Etsy profile, Mary explains, "I always loved to cut, paste, paint and draw from my earliest memories. Creating art is what I do, it's built-in by my creator, He enables me, and I love it."
Mary's college degree is in art. Of her technique, she says, "I value the presence of a recognizable subject in my paintings. I love it when the center of interest appears in the midst of background objects that aren’t so well-defined. I want watercolor to look like watercolor, and I want my paintings to have a painterly look, not a photographic copy. Therefore I am an impressionist, because I don’t want to over-control the media.I love to paint using a variety of techniques. Having taken an experimental art class for the last 4-5 years, I am likely to paint anything, and I'm always 'playing.'"
Mary took time to chat with us about her work and her Etsy shop.
CreativeSundries: I see in some of your works on Etsy that you used both acrylic and watercolor. How did you decide to do that? Can you tell us a little bit about that?
DreamON: There were different reasons for each one. The martini painting has a gold metallic background, and there is no watercolor product, I'm aware of, which are like that. The "Underwater Acoustics" painting started out as a complete abstract watercolor, which went through two additional steps: the first was defining what I "saw" in the abstract. The second phase was playing with the transparencies of the watercolors and marking off geometric shapes. In the third phase I put on black acrylic gesso which is about as opaque as you can get. The "Lets Take a Spin" painting was created by taking an old painting which already was a combo of watercolor and acrylic and merging it into a white piece of paper which was treated by stamping and dragging acrylic colors onto it (there is more about the techniques used in this painting in the early days of my blog).
Creative Sundries: What is most rewarding, and most challenging, in your work?
DreamOn: Most rewarding is when I am able to satisfy myself that I have a good painting and find that someone else loves it enough to add to their personal collection. Most challenging is trying to accomplish a good painting, and nothing seems to work right. Also a close second to this is "me" trying to sell someone else a painting. I am not a born salesperson, and this is really difficult for me.
Above: Keep Off, watercolor and acrylic
CreativeSundries: How did you become involved with Etsy?
DreamOn: I had heard of Etsy through another artist's blog when I was just doing some surfing. I had done some exploring of Etsy sites to see whose art was selling and whose was not. Then I sprained both of my ankles by not being aware of a step and finding out after the fact. While I was sitting around a lot, I decided to bite the bullet and go ahead and open a shop on Etsy.I have learned so much in the last 2 1/2 months about how to set up the shop, then started blogging, then joined the 90 day challenge and found out even more about blogging. It's been a very positive experience for me. Everyone has been so helpful when I have needed it. I love the Forums, but I have been too chicken to try the chat rooms, as I hear it moves very fast in there. I only set up my shop on October 8th, so I guess technically I'm still pretty much of a newbie.
I asked Mary about giclee prints, the type of prints she uses for her artwork on Etsy. She responded, "I could try to explain giclee, but this from Wikipedia does a much more excellent job."Giclée (pronounced [ʒiːˈkleɪ] "zhee-clay" or /dʒiːˈkleɪ, from French IPA: [ʒiˈkle]), is an invented name for the process of making fine art prints from a digital source using ink-jet printing." That's good to know--I'm going to look into that for some of our artwork!
Web site: http://www.mary-hamilton.com
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Creative Sundries: What is most challenging in your work?
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Be sure to visit JoyaVerde on Etsy!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
CraftyMoose is a wonderful shop on Etsy that features French beaded flowers, beautiful art dolls, cute mini-quilts, holiday decorations, and much more.
I love this ACEO:
Title: If you're still waiting for your ship to come in...row out to it!
It is done on 140 lb. watercolor paper, acrylic paint, and decoupage. She explains--"What is an ACEO? If you know what they are, they are completely addictive to make and to own! For those not familiar with them, ACEO stands for artist cards, editions and originals. They are small works of art in any media, the only criteria being they measure 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"."
The beaded hummingbird (pictured at the top of this post) is gorgeous and very intricate! From the description: "I hand formed this hummingbird with 20 gauge black wire. His wingspan is 5" and he is a little over 5" long. I used a variety of czech glass seed and bugle beads in different finishes to bead the body & wings. The head is beaded in metallic green & ruby transparent and the chest in peach with a pearl finish. The wings are done in crystal clear, topaz & copper. There is clear monofiliment attached so the hummingbird can be hung in a window or from a mirror."
What a fun shop! CraftyMoose explains, "I have been crafting for as long as I can remember. I am self-taught and have enjoyed painting, needlework, quilting, polymer clay and jewelry making. Most recently, I have found myself drawn to beads and have returned to the art of french beaded flowers. I enjoy making original, one-of-a-kind butterflies & dragonflies. I am also introducing a new line of one-of-a-kind beaded art dolls and suncatchers."
You might be wondering how the name CraftyMoose came about! In her profile, she explains, "The name Craftymoose came about because of my love of crafts and my husband's love of moose. My avatar is the head of a 4'+ tall moose I made him one Christmas!"
International shipping? Yes!
Custom orders: Yes!
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
And a former ballerina.
And an amazing artist.
Patricia Vener of the Etsy shop SilverDragon, creates gorgeous, drool-worthy beaded jewelry. Just look at this Hot Pink Fuzzy necklace. Gorgeous! "Beaded wonders" is what comes to my mind when I see her work.
When we asked her about that project, she said, "Yes, Hot Pink Fuzzy did take a long time to complete. But at the same time, when I was working on it I also worked on other pieces at the same time. I enjoy the work because I feel that I am building something - Art.I love things that are detailed and intricate and completing such work makes me feel very competent and even, to a certain degree, powerful in a way.
What inspires her? "Inspiration comes from so many sources and facets of my life, both internal and external. A great many ideas come to me during that nebulus at the cusp between sleep and wakefulness - those would be the ideas that arise from the workings of my subconscious. Other ideas spring up when I see or feel or read or hear something outside myself - perhaps a gorgeous sunset or an image or a passage or a leaf or an equation - right now, for example, I feel my subconscious working on something from Maxwell's equations. Can't wait to see what I come up with!"
Thanks for chatting with us, SilverDragon! Check out Silver Dragon on Etsy and at http://vener-art.com/.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Do you know the rest of the song? We do!
I am a true Brady Bunch aficionado and have seen every episode except for ones that I can only imagine are lost episodes. I'll have to look in my Brady trivia book and list those episodes here, and see if anyone has seen them!
I had so much fun putting together this Brady Bunch in Hawaii necklace.
The hula dancer is a tribute to Alice: "It's my hula, Mrs. Brady. My 'hu' went one way, and my 'la' went the other.'" Right!
As you probably remember, Mike was sent to check out construction on a site in Hawaii. Of course, his boss sends not only Mike but his wife, all the kids, and underpaid-but-loyal housekeeper Alice to the Hawaiian Islands.
Bobby and Peter discover a tiki, which they find is cursed. It causes all sorts of problems--and they decide to try to return the tiki to its rightful destination, in a burial cave. What happens? You have to watch the show (a multi-episode adventure) to find out!
So which is your favorite episode?
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Ulixis is a fun and funky Etsy shop featuring handcrafted items ranging from jewelry to notebooks and everything in between. My favorites are the button bracelets, shown here. They are so cute!!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Anna, the creative force behind A Rose By Name, is a self-employed mother of two teenage daughters.
She says, "I enjoy beading and find that it is my therapy for stress!"
How did she get started in beading? "My daughters and I first tried beading many years ago. Over the years, the beads have gotten smaller and the designs more intricate."
It's a family affair, too! Anna explains, "My youngest creates cards. She thoroughly enjoys creating the original greeting cards that you will find here in my shop. She will also create custom cards...just let us know your preferences!"
A Rose By Name is involved with several Etsy street teams, including Etsy BeadWeavers Street Team, Cleveland Rocks Etsy Street Team, Boomers & Beyond Etsy Street Team. Be sure to visit A Rose By Name on Etsy, and see their blog, http://arosebyname.blogspot.com/.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Linda Chandler showcases her lovely jewelry in her Etsy shop, LChandler, and her Web site, http://www.jewelrybylinda.com/.
Linda works in gold, silver, and precious metals clay. She explains that her designs are uniquely her own and she never reproduces them.
Here is a lovely handmade basket-weave wire bracelet in her Arrowhead design.
Linda says, "I’m a self taught jewelry artist for over 20 years and still learning. Metal Smithing has been my passion for several years now. There is no rhyme or reason to my style of jewelry making, that pretty much ended years ago with so many fine art shows and repetitive work. My work derives from anything that’s pleasant looking to my eye. There’s never a plan or scheme, I can be intrigued by a simple curve of a stone or structure of a building. It’s all about design, variety and persuading unique pieces to come together with symmetry."Linda Chandler has been creating jewelry for over 20 years. Linda started with wire wrapping and evolved her own original style, with an emphasis on weaving. Passionate about her work, Linda has studied jewelry making all over the country: Arrowmount, the Midwest Federation, Metalsmithing Society in Illinois, the Gemological Institute (GIA), Indianapolis Art Center, The William Holland School of Lapidary Arts and, as taught and taken classes at (SFMS) Wildacres Retreat in North Carolina.