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 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

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 (, 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 (, 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."

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Every Pretty Thing

Organize your tools and supplies in places that are easy to reach. When you are on a creative roll, you want to be able to find what you are looking for! Keep things in little bins or containers that you can bring with you wherever you create.

Where do you keep your supplies and tools so that they are easily accessible?

Jewelry Box, Monograms, Nursery Art, Bridal Shower Gifts...anything you see can be custom-made according to your specifications . This means that Jackie can change color scheme or size! She welcomes custom orders, and loves the opportunity to work on huge canvases, so don't be afraid to ask if you have wonderful ideas!

by Every Pretty Thing
I'm Jackie of EveryPrettyThing, and I make a ton of things! I started out with nursery art canvases with decoupaged animals, and then expanded into decoupaged jewelry boxes of all shapes and sizes, and then expanded into pillows inspired by my canvases.

 I've recently added a dark-stained men's jewelry box (for cuff links and watches and such) that I absolutely love! I work in my half of the home office. It was getting a little cramped until I got a big table for craft fairs...we set it up to see how big it was, and it magically became my new crafting table! This may have irked the husband a little, but I think it's lovely! Now I have lots of room to spread out. The threat of "If it gets messy, it'll have to go!" is the best motivation for staying organized...I don't want to lose my big table!

 I make very sure that I clean up every little scrap of paper every night (a task I used to be terrible about putting off until I was buried!). I find that if I clean my workspace every day, it doesn't get unmanageable. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I'm a lazy thing and don't like to do that, so it was a big breakthrough for me!

Please check out my Facebook fan page to get access to lovely deals at
. Also, check out the process by visiting

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year & New Look

Hello Everyone!
Happy 2011

As you may have noticed, our Etsy Studios Blog has a brand new look. It is a pleasure to share all of the wonderful creative spaces, places and handcrafted art of the many talented Etsy artists and I am happy to continue to provide these features. I am always amazed at all of the wonderful people I meet through this blog. Enjoy reading about their personal stories and getting a glimpse into their creative lives.

In addition to my regular Etsy features, I will also now have special studio space tips and tricks. Look for Giveaways that you can win, just by reading and becoming a follower of the blog.
Lots of treats!

Best wishes for a very happy and healthy 2011.
May all of your wishes come true!

Surround yourself with your favourite things in your studio space. A favourite candle, some favourite art or piece of home decor or maybe even your softest and most cuddly blanket to keep you warm while you work.Your creative space is a special place that should make you feel happy and take the stresses of the day away.

What are some of your favoutite things in your space?

Gift Designs is owned by Rebecca, a mother of 3 who lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia.
Enjoy a visit to Rebecca's beautiful Etsy shop where you will find gorgeous jewellery, bookmarks and scrapbooking gifts!

by Gift Designs
"I currently work full time and enjoy creating gorgeous gifts to share on the weekends or whenever else time permits. I find I can easily lose myself in a pile of beads for hours on end, but on the plus side it is an interest that I can share with my two girls who really enjoy getting in and creating along side me.

I can't really remember how I came about making jewellery, it was something I casually stumbled upon but fell in love with once I did. I really love that people buy the items I make and get a lot of enjoyment from the fact that people all over the world have a piece of my jewellery!

I don't really have an organised, set plan or style for the making of my jewellery, for me it is mostly created on the spot and inspired usually by a colour theme.

I also enjoy making treasuries and featuring Etsy sellers on my blog

Thanks Rebecca!

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