Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Art is Where the Heart Is


"Art is where the heart is" and so is your studio space! I am off to enjoy some holiday fun in the sun and will certainly bring a little piece of my studio with me. I am looking forward to relaxing and having lots of time to journal and create new things. I created my little portable art kit with paper, a small paint set and pencil crayons. I am excited to go exploring and pick up some local handmade craft items!


Enjoy a visit to The Backyard Bear http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBackyardBear where you are sure to find wonderfully unique creations with a wildlife theme!

by The Backyard Bear
Hi there. My name is Mary Ann and I have a confession…..I am an Upcycler.

Actually I grew up upcycling before the word was even vogue. Coming from a family of 6 kids and being the youngest my parents were upcyclers as well. This was just natural to them as they were born in the early 1900’s when things were never thrown out. It just was unheard of. I remember watching my grandmother make rugs from old clothes, mittens from old sweaters. She would sew them on her old Singer Sewing machine. My mother had a sewing machine which she only used for patching. I taught myself how to sew by making Barbie doll clothes from worn clothes. I still have that old machine and its wooden case but I now use a more modern one.
I was always creative and my mom, to keep me amused would scour the house to find me items for my craft addiction and would make glue from flour and water. How Eco is that!



I lived in the country and my siblings were quite a bit older than me. Friends didn’t live close by so I would amuse myself. Wildlife became an obsession. I would try to tame every chipmunk and chickadee I could see. I started to draw them and eventually started painting when my oldest brother bought me a paint-by-number set. Back in the 60’s they came as oil sets and I never had patience for the paint to dry before the next colour. I remember putting one on the hot air register and later found that I had created a Picasso from the forced hot air. I can still remember the smell of those oil paints. After that I asked for watercolour paints and now I love to paint using acrylics.

I still have that drive (call it an obsession) to create. You can find me every Saturday morning in the summer at yard sales. You can find me at the Thrift store at least 3 times a week in the winter months. Every item I pick up I look to see what it can be reinvented into. By night time that item has been upcycled into a new life. Spring is just around the corner and that means yard sale season. I just can’t wait to get out there to find more items I can recreate into something useful.

One Upcycle I’m particularly proud of are my teapot bird feeders and bird houses. I came up with the idea a few years ago. It just gives your garden that little bit of sparkle. All of my feeders and houses are made with the birds in mind. They are functional as well as pretty.



Other upcycles which I have sold quite a few of are my sweater mittens. Every thrift store I walk into I look for wool or fleece sweaters with birds, animals, nature embroidered or as part of the fabric. I try to incorporate those parts of the sweater to make the mittens unique. I also make them warm and I’ve had nothing but positive feedback from them. I also started to make leather mittens from old leather jackets and hand paint wildlife pictures on them to make them unique as well. This winter I started to make bomber hats with animal or bird patches to match the mittens I sell.



I started selling on Etsy just over a year ago and I’m a member of a few teams. I feel I’ve done well with my sales and it motivates me to create more. The Oh Canada Team is a great group of Canadians and are the most positive team I’ve been on. They are helpful, giving great feedback to our shops, pictures, items. Giving suggestions of other things we might want to consider making.



On another note, just recently I found the art of felting. I have taught myself using a You-Tube video and have purchased wool roving from fellow Estians. I hope to create my wildlife feltings as life like as I can. My most recent project is a chipmunk. The same animal I tried to tame all those years ago.



It’s sad that we live in a world that tosses away so much without a second thought. We need to teach our kids the art of upcycling. So much money would be saved, the world would be a cleaner place and our children’s creativity would make them more aware of their environment.

My favourite quote;
"One should either be a work of art, Or wear a work of art" ~~~~ Oscar Wilde
My website and blog: thebackyardbear.com

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are You Ready for a Break? Enjoy the Hot Sun and Haute Pink Designs

I often escape to my art space when I am looking for a quick break or getaway.  Having the things that I love in my studio space adds to the relaxing ambiance. Some of my favourite things in my studio are my vanilla scented candle, special gifts and words of comfort that friends have given me over the years, pictures of my family and a few of my favourite art pieces from other fabulous artists. My art space is my sanctuary when I need a little space to get away from life's every day tasks.
 What kinds of special things do you keep in your space?


This is the time of year when everyone is looking for an escape from the cold and winter weather. A tropical getaway in one of these eco-friendly handmade swimsuits is a must.
Enjoy a visit to Haute Pink Designs http://www.etsy.com/shop/HautePinkDesigns where you may find your perfect swimsuit for that special Spring Break.

by Haute Pink Designs
Haute Pink Designs began in 2005. In 2008 swimsuits became Haute Pink's full focus. All swimsuits are designed and made by owner Laura Ashton in a home studio...NO SWEAT SHOPS! Haute Pink aspires to help women's feel confident and sexy in swimwear. A passion for color is the driving force as well as creative yet practical designs. All swimsuits are fully lined and come with removable pads for added shape and support.


Haute Pink is unique because you can build your own swimsuit! Just choose a design, mix and match top and bottoms sizes and select any fabric combination you would like! Customer service is very important to Haute Pink, if your swimsuit does not fit you right send it back with the tags still on and we will send you another suit free of any shipping charges.

We are excited to soon be bringing in an Eco swimsuit fabric! Made 100% out of recycled plastic and made in the USA, not overseas. Re-using plastic helps our planet by keeping this refuse from our landfills. Manufacturing in North America uses less oil because the fabric does not have to be shipped from overseas. All in all this reduces the negative impact on our beautiful planet and beaches!

  Visit Laura's facebook page for more information http://www.facebook.com/pages/Haute-Pink-Designs/175627959122080 .

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time For Yourself


I walk into my art space and instantly "sigh" a sense of relief and release. I realize that it the days that I find most difficult that I really cherish my escape and need my creative outlet to take me away.
Today's tip is to spend some time in your studio, or art space...even if it is to just to sit and have your coffee or tea.
Take some well deserved time for yourself.





Enjoy a visit to Junquete's 5 & 10 Variety Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/junquete where you will find a variety of items for sale in her shop and where Norma shares her love for vintage from way back when she started working in an antique store and collected lots!



by Junquete's 5 & 10 Variety
Hi there, I'm Norma from junquete's 5 & 10 Variety here on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/junquete .I have a huge variety of things that I both offer and make. I like to stay busy so I try anything once. If the once works then I stay at it.



I love to make anything into earrings. I got hooked on it while I was sick for three months and needed something to do. They were easy to do from the comfort of my couch while wrapped in a blanket and a heating pad.





I sell vintage because I have a need to connect with the past. I worked in two different antique stores at the same time so it was easy to send people to which ever store had what they needed. It was also fun to be in both stores in the same day. It really was fun watching customers shake their head over that one.



I started making my 'Purse N Boots' shoe purses to enter a contest to make a purse for under five dollars. I didn't even come close to winning it but I started to get hook on them. I've done about twenty to date. Some sold and others became gifts. I was always sure they wouldn't receive another one.



~Norma

Monday, February 14, 2011

Congratulations Valentine Giveaway Winner



Congratulations to my
Valentine Blog Giveaway Winner...
Amanda!

She will receive the lovely vintage glass heart ring.
For more affordable and beautiful vintage button rings, visit my Etsy shop



Hello to all of my new followers and wonderful friends who have been a follower of my blog for some time. Stop by my blog often for more chances to win a giveaway from my shop and other wonderful Etsy shops!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Giveaway


Valentine Giveaway
Hey there Super Bowl fans! How about a fun way to give something special to your sweetheart! Enter my Super Bowl sweetheart valentine giveaway! It's fun and easy...just keep reading to find out how you can win this beautiful vintage ring!

Win Me!
Hearts Delight Vintage Glass Button Ring circa 1940s
Win this beautiful one of a kind glass vintage heart button ring.This vintage glass mirrored button is circa 1940's from West Germany. This elegant heart is dotted with pebbly, bubbly glass surface. It was molded with it's own shank and the full back is coated with gold foiling, so it really sparkles and shines.
25mm or 1 inch in both directions
Adjustable ring form


How to Win
It is easy to enter the draw and you can enter as many times as you like. Come back often throughout the week long giveaway, there are alot of wonderful things to explore on the blog.

To enter for a chance to win:
1. Follow me!
2. Leave a comment.
3. Visit any of my Etsy shops found on the side bar of my blog and leave me a convo or add a comment here on the blog:

My Vintage Whimsies and Collage Shop  http://www.thereddoor.etsy.com/
My Vintage Chic Jewelry Shop http://www.afternoongarden.etsy.com/
My Original Folk Art Shop  http://www.folkartbykerry.etsy.com/

4. Blog about my giveway or share with someone else (leave me a comment that you did).

Thank you to everyone who makes this blog possible, to my wonderful readers and all of the amazingly talented Etsy artists who share their stories and creations with us. In celebration of the season and to share a little love, I am having a special Valentine giveaway all week long.



Good luck!





Be curious and create often.

"When curiosity is alive, we are attracted to many things; we discover many worlds."
Eric Booth

Enjoy a visit to The Career Scrapper http://www.etsy.com/shop/thecareerscrapper# where you will find wonderful Hoop Home Decor, Stylish Organization Wedding Gifts all with meaning. Custom embroidery orders are available for all gift giving occasions. Personal customer attention with supper service.

by The Career Scrapper
After many years of crafting, my necessity to create has turned into dreaming up embroidered hoop décor for every occasion. I'm inspired by all things vintage and I love to give an old piece of fabric new life again. I have memories of watching my mother and grandmother embroider and it has a sense of comfort for me.



A favorite memory includes watching my grandmother sort her thread in an outdated TV guide. I'm thrilled to send off my hoops to be enjoyed and a part of someone’s life and hopefully become an heirloom.




I used to have a studio but when my twins came along my room has now been reduced to part of my living room. Thankfully my hoop décor adds an ever-changing design element in my home. My favorite organizational tool is a red vintage rectangle basket~ it holds my basic tools for creating my goods. I’m in the process of transforming a handmade hutch into my mini studio.



When I am not on playing with hoops and vintage notions, I am CEO of my little homestead which includes a wonderful math teacher husband, a book addicted 6 year old daughter and cape wearing 3 ½ year old boy/girl twins.



I'm around the Web



Good Luck to everyone !

Monday, January 17, 2011

Morning Valley Soaps






Visit your studio space every day with the intention of creating.
Enjoy the feeling of relaxation and joy!





Enjoy a visit to Morning valley Soaps http://www.etsy.com/shop/MorningValleySoaps where you will find creative and unique blends of botanicals, natural ingredients, essential oils.


"*All soaps come wrapped in soft cotton or unbleached muslin and tied with a ribbon for an old fashioned style gift wrap.* Soaps and Solid perfumes that not only smell good, but are full of good things! Extra virgin olive oil, fresh aloe pulp, oatmeal, cocoa shea butter and other high quality ingredients make my soaps *almost* good enough to eat and my other body products equally delectable! I'm breaking into lip balms, bath salts, sugar scrubs and more, stay tuned."



by Morning Valley Soaps
I started out making jewelry and sewing hand bags and costume pieces out of recycled fabrics- mostly because I spent a few summers working at a renaissance faire and fell in love with historically inspired fashions. Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved soaps and other toiletries. I used to pour fruit juice in petroleum jelly and call it lip gloss. What I’m doing now is slightly more sophisticated than that. I’m making soaps and slowly expanding to perfumes, lip balms, bath salts, sugar scrubs, etc.


My studio is mainly the guest room/library in the apartment I live in with my father while I’m going to school. That’s where everything is cured and stored. Most of my things are actually made in the kitchen- sometimes it drives my family a little crazy. Due to an incident with some lavender, I’ve learned to be very specific about what bowls and pans are for family food use and which are for my experiments. They are kept in different cabinets and the two never meet.





Plastic bins have become my best friends. I’m not naturally very organized- my mind is generally organized, my physical spaces are not. I like to say I’m like Sherlock Holmes in this regard, it makes me feel better.

At college I study English, I’m hoping to be a journalist when I graduate and also hopefully publish some novels. I’d love for my Etsy shop to help supplement my income eventually- it is not yet. My parents are, of course, concerned with how I’m going make money. As long as I stay off the streets and am doing what makes me happy, I’m not really worried. In that regard I like to spew a bunch of Thoreau quotations to back myself up, here are a few of my favorites: “Men have become the tools of their tools.” “Not only must we be good, but we must also be good for something.”

I also love music when I work. Anything from Vivaldi to The Doors, to The Decemberists, to Florence + the Machine, to Billie Holiday. Sometimes I’ll just put my iPod on shuffle and rediscover my music collection.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pure Silver

If you are like me and you like to keep all of your craft books, just in case you are inspired to try something new... it is important to find a space for them so that you can find them! I like to organize mine by magazine company and by theme, if they are mixed media books, textiles or jewelry. I keep them in baskets in my Studio for safe keeping and when they are organized, I know where to find them when I am inspired.

How do you store your craft books?












Enjoy a visit to Dan's etsy shop where you will find handmade...fine silver pieces http://www.etsy.com/shop/danpv.

by Texturz
"Originally from Maine, I relocated to Southern California many years ago for its better weather.

Healthcare worker by day, in my spare time I work on my new creative pursuit: metal clay. I discovered an artist practicing this 10-year-old art form at a recent County Fair and I signed up for a class on the spot.



Until then, the extent of my art experience was years of outdoor photography; so it was with some trepidation that I approached my first silver clay class in late September. However, with the encouragement and expert guidance of my talented and experienced instructors, I quickly developed sufficient skills to establish a personal workspace at home. As a beginner it was difficult to know what tools I would need, so I did lots of reading and research online. My breakfast table has been transformed into an art clay workspace until I can build a suitable workshop. I organize my everyday tools in jars: brushes in one, clay shapers in another, files and picks in another, and so on. Decorative cutting scissors are well organized and close-at-hand in their own wooden lazy susan. A tackle box holds most other backup tools in a cupboard. The dollar store is a great source for plastic trays and boxes that I use to store many small supplies including my silver clay packets, paste and syringes. Early on, I purchased many templates and molds which I still occasionally use. My current preference is for unique patterns, textures and molds which I create with two-part silicone putty.



The Art Clay I use is made from 100% reclaimed silver and is very easy to work with - even for those of us with no former clay experience. When I'm planning a new piece, like this Mushrooms Miniature Sculpture




 I use regular modeling clay to create a mockup of my intended creation; and that I can easily modify as I see fit. Unlike Art Clay I don't have to worry about modeling clay drying up; and it can be reused repeatedly.



Although I have a Dremel hand tool, I prefer the personal touch using diamond needle files and sponge polishing pads to finish the clay piece prior to firing. I was fortunate to find a used Paragon kiln on craigslist and now can enjoy firing multiple items simultaneously.



When I want to impart a softer satin finish to a piece like this branch (http://www.etsy.com/listing/64851420/pure-silver-split-satin-branch-pendant), after kiln firing, I brushed the piece with a brass brush. Afterwards, I used an artist brush to apply a patina to the textured portions of the pendant.



For a shiny, more reflective look such as this pendant (http://www.etsy.com/listing/64852071/pure-silver-split-glossy-branch-pendant), I tumbled it in a jeweler's rotary tumbler. Then I used an artist brush to apply a patina to the textured areas.



There is a great sense of satisfaction in creating a unique fine silver piece from a lump of clay. Always looking to broaden my repertoire, I'm already contemplating which metal clay I'd like to get my hands on next: steel, bronze, copper or gold. Either alone or in combination, working with metal clay offers enormous artistic creative opportunity."
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