April 30, 2009

My first blog award!

I'm completely flattered to have been awarded the Kreativ Blogger Award by my friend over at Cloth Paper Stitches. How fun! Now I get to share some of my favorite blogs with all of you, as I pass the award along.

Here are 8 Kreativ Bloggers that I think deserve a nomination, in no particular order (see more blogs I read in the sidebar on the left):

  1. Lolly-Tots Crafty Goodness
  2. LeaKarts
  3. Do Stuff!
  4. Coffee Pot People
  5. Eye Pop Art
  6. The Garden of Leah
  7. Creative Perch
  8. All Things Littleput
The rules for this award are:
  • Add the logo to your blog
  • Link to the person from whom you've received the award
  • Nominate 8 blogs of your choice
  • Leave a message on the nominees' blogs


Emmeline Jewelry

While checking out the new artisan work from the Portland metalworkers guild last weekend, I stumbled upon the beautiful work of Miel Paredes for Emmeline Studio. Her jewelry line is made from sheets of stainless steel which have been cut and brushed by hand.

This style lends itself perfectly to the bold filigree style earrings and pendants Miel makes. My favorites were the dragonfly wings, which are layered on top of each other so they move independently when worn! I don't wear normal pierced earrings, but I think this would make a great pendant for me. Would it be weird to wear a dragonfly pendant over top of my dragonfly chest tattoo?



April 28, 2009

How-Tuesday: Brew Beer!

I like to brew my own mead, since it's so simple and yummy. Sean prefers to brew beer, which is also yummy! He finally got around to crafting up his first batch since we moved to Portland a year ago, and he decided to document the process! We put all the photos up on Flickr to create a little "How-to" series. Hopefully, this will make homebrewing a little less intimidating to those of you who've been wanting to make your own, or who just wondered how it's done.

You really don't need very much in the way of special equipment to make your first batch of beer, and the best part is that most recipes are ready to drink in 2 weeks! That's 5 whole gallons (or, about 54 standard 12oz bottles) of fresh, alcoholic goodness that you can make just how you like it.



April 27, 2009

Larry Nelson Pottery

I had the pleasure of visiting the convention center this weekend to see new glass, metal and ceramic work from the local guild members. I came away buzzing with inspiration, and wishing I'd had some extra money to snatch up some new treasures! I'll share some of my favorites with you this week.

One of the artists I met was Larry Nelson, who makes the most amazing pottery which looks like it's been fashioned out of metal! The tea set above just blew my mind. He uses molds to make a lot of the shapes in his Acme Boilerworks line, but each piece is one of a kind. I wished I could take these home with me.

If you're in the Portland area, you can see Larry's work at a number of events, or contact him to make an appointment to visit his studio. If you're not local, then I bet he'd be nice enough to ship something to you if you asked.


April 24, 2009

Happy Etsy Day!

Today is officially Etsy Day, so I thought I'd share a small sampling of shops from my favorites. Who are your favorite Etsy sellers that you've bought from, or have always wanted to buy from?

[The Risk I Took Was Calculated, But Man, Am I Bad At Math - 8 x 10 ART PRINT]
the Mincing Mockingbird
These guys have beautiful paintings of birds. They used to have lots of funny comments printed on each one (as if the birds were yelling something snarky), but they seem to have switched over to simple realist paintings which are still lovely.

[Morpho Butterfly Landing Ring]
This shop makes amazing jewelry from real butterflies! No insects were harmed in the making of their unique pieces, since they're found dead. I think this makes them incredible recycling artists.

[SALE Ride the Fox]
She Rides the Lion
I'm a big fan of these whimsical wood block prints. You can purchase original art or prints from this shop.
[Do Not Touch Maternity Tee]
Salmon Street Studio
Sean and I have a few of Salmon Street's t-shirts, and we love them! If I ever find myself "in the family way", I'm snatching up one of these porcupine maternity tees before you can say "ouch".

[Franz Kafka Parable Vladmaster Set]
This awesome gal takes 3D photos and turns them into little stories that you can view on an old school Viewmaster (remember those??). I bought one of these sets for my friends last year, and it even came with a mini CD of music that you're supposed to listen to while viewing the images. Love it.


April 22, 2009

Mini Mobile

I won this colorful little mobile on my friend Leah's blog a while ago, and I just got around to photographing it. I found a perfect little hook just outside my office window to hang it from, and it was dancing crazy this afternoon in the strong winds! I love staring at it when I need a break from staring at the computer screen.

You can pick up one of these mini-mobis for yourself (or for your mom for Mother's Day!) from Leah on Etsy. She has a fantastic selection of colors to choose from, or we'd be happy to work together on a one-of-a-kind etched mobile for you like this Ocean Critter one.


April 21, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody

I just saw this video and had to share it. Old school computer hardware blipping and beeping to produce Queen's classic tune is just too cute!

I found the video here, courtesy of Neil Gaiman, via Twitter. Someone else passed it along to him. Enjoy the nostalgia of old technology!


April 16, 2009

Get What You Want

So, we've been really busy. Not overwhelmed or anything, but I've had work to do all day, every day, for a few weeks without any time off. Sean's gotten off easy, since most of the work has been for custom design orders, which means that I do the drawing and communicate with customers through email a lot.

I love doing the custom work, because it means I'm creating something special for someone, which is exactly what they want. It's magical to work together with someone and make their vision a reality. It also keeps me from getting bored of seeing the same designs over and over. The only problem with this is that it's so time-consuming that I'm not getting a lot of time off every day, and I'm getting behind with normal operating activities.

Currently, you only have to pay $5 for each custom design you'd like me to design and etch for you. This policy was developed before I had a lot of custom designs to do, and I was just happy to have something to occupy me when there was a request. Now, the fee isn't even enough to cover the amount of time I spend emailing back and forth, not to mention the materials cost for printing a new stencil for each piece. Some orders can take 3 hrs (or more) of sketching, inking, and vectorizing, plus the time to actually mask and sandblast, just for a single pint glass.

I'm trying to figure out a way to keep prices reasonable, but still compensate me for the extra time that's being taken up with all these projects. I could charge an hourly fee for designing, but that may be too high for some people to pay. I could double the artwork fee (to $10), and offer a discount if you provide me with finished artwork to use, which would help a lot. I could require a minimum order for custom pieces (like 4 items), which would make the time and effort really worth it for me without raising the fee.

I really want everyone to be able to get exactly the design they want, but I won't be able to keep this up when business picks up in the summer. I'd love to hear what you think!


April 13, 2009

Crafts + Robots = BazBiz @ Maker Faire

The Best of Maker Faire 2008 - video powered by Metacafe

The World's Largest DIY Festival
A two-day, family-friendly event to MAKE, create, learn, invent, CRAFT, recycle, think, play and be inspired by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, science and technology.

We just found out a few days ago that we've been accepted into the Bazaar Bizarre at the Maker Faire! I'm so excited that we'll get to go on a little roadtrip for our first California event, ever! The show is in San Mateo, which is just outside San Fransisco (as I understand it... I still haven't checked it out on a map). Buy your tickets now!

The Maker Faire is an event that I've dreamed of going to, so I hope I have a little time to check out all the action. There are always loads of fun, technological wonders at the Faire, and I feel inspired just thinking about it! This is what their website has to say about them:

We're hopefully going to be staying with friends, to cut down on our traveling costs. We'll be bringing as much stuff as we can fit into our little car, and I'm going to cross my fingers that we can sell most of it so the ride back to Oregon will be more comfortable.


April 9, 2009

Space Rocks My World

These were such a fun design to draw! I originally developed the Astronauts in Love for a custom cookie jar, but I heard lots of requests to put them on pint glasses. I listed one pair in our Etsy shop, but I can make more if they sell out.

There's also a new guitar design (also developed as a custom order), but I'll wait until the morning to list it. I have knitting that's calling to me! I hope you'll understand.


April 8, 2009

Teresa Sullivan beaded art

I'll admit that I'm not really a fan of the seed bead. I've tried to like those little glass pixels, but it wasn't until this weekend that I started to really "get it". One of the amazing people that I met was Teresa Sullivan, a Portland bead artist. To call her a beaded jewelry maker would completely miss the mark, however. Teresa creates sculpture and wearable art. She doesn't just string beads on thread, she really paints with her materials.

I had the pleasure of talking with Teresa about her work, and she got me excited about the inspiration behind her pieces as much as the work itself. The necklace above (along with other pieces of hers) was inspired by sci-fi pulp comics from the 1950's where bold, curvy women got themselves in and out of trouble without having to be rescued. She also likes to think of this woman as possibly being the mother of Zap Comic's Checkered Demon, which just adds new dimensions to the thought-provoking nature of her work.

The necklace above is titled "Wanted on Six Planets". You can read more about it and Teresa's other work here.


April 6, 2009

Craftgasm Weekend

I had such a fabulous weekend, I can't believe it's over! On Saturday, I went with my friend, Adrienne, to the second day of the Handmade Nation movie premiere here in Portland. Before the film, we got brunch with Twitter friends Heather Mann of CROQ Zine (and her 2 adorable boys,) and Melissa (aka KnitFemme). It was great for me to finally put some faces and voices to the people that I virtually chat with all the time!

We stayed for the panel discussion after the movie with filmmaker Faythe Levine, and other crafty celebs Betsy Greer, Susan Beal, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Jill Bliss and Garth Johnson. It was refreshing to hear their views on the current DIY crafts movement, and to hear about their own backgrounds.

While we were at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and I completely fell in love with Mandy Greer's exhibit of mossy green dripping chandalier-like fiber/bead/buttony yumminess. I can't really describe it better than that, but I want some!

Sunday was spent vending at Crafty Wonderland, which was packed with people all day! It was really encouraging to kick off the month with some good sales and lots of positive feedback about the new jewelry line. I got rid of some seconds that have been taking up space in the studio, and I got the message (loud and clear!) that you guys really want to see some Astronaut Love designs. They're on their way!

I picked up a copy of the Handmade Nation book and got it autographed by Faythe Levine and a whole bunch of other people who had a hand in the making of the book and film. I sort of wanted to pass it around "yearbook syle" and have all the Crafty Wonderland vendors sign it, since it felt like such a magical day. I also traded for a pair of earrings by Giant Jewels. I'm trying to decide if I should give them as a gift to someone, or keep them for myself!

[The first 3 photos are by the amazing Lee Meredith. You can see more of her photos of this weekend here. The 4th photo is by me--it's of my awesome friend, Autumn Drey of Autumn Comfort Candles. Check out our collaborative etched wine bottle candles on the top right!]


April 3, 2009

New jewelry is here!

I just started listing jewelry items from our new fused glass line in our Etsy shop! I'm adding items slowly so they don't overload the other products in the shop, but I'm happy to create a listing for anything you see in our Flickr photos (if it's available). Just email me!

The new items are selling at an introductory price while we get some feedback, so now's the best time for a bargain! We've also marked down all the older pendant styles to just $15.

I'll be bringing everything that isn't listed online with me to Crafty Wonderland on Sunday, so if you're in Portland, partaking in the Handmade Nation extravaganza known as "craftgasm", then stop by the Doug Fir Lounge on E Burnside to see our new stuff.


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