Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stopped in my tracks.

It always happens the same way. I go into the craft store with a list of supplies in hand and I see something out of the corner of my eye, I look at it but don't really know why I am being drawn to this particular item. I go on my way. I almost always end up circling back to whatever it was I stumbled upon. I say to myself, I don't know what I am going to do with this or when I am going to do it, but I know that I must make something with it eventually. And this is how I ended up with these wonderful floral pieces created by paper craft designer,Tim Holtz. I love that they are feminine because they're flowers and yet made with a rustic style. Perfectly pairs with almost everything that I create, whether it is a piece of jewelry, painting or a home decor item.

Originally I passed by them because I knew they were intended for scrap booking and card making which I do not really get into much (I didn't say never). I thought about using them in an art piece, jewelry or maybe accenting a picture frame with them. Then I thought...Polymer clay! Yes! Duh! Of course they belonged in clay!

I couldn't wait to start experimenting with them in my jewelry designs. I love when something strikes me this way. When you know that you found something that inspires, motivates and excites you so naturally that you don't even have to really think about it, you just have to start creating. I spent that weekend held up in my studio (bedroom, studio...all the same) working on some amazing pieces. I uploaded my new collection a few days later on my facebook page, and the response was overwhelming. I was so happy to see that everyone loved them just as much as I did. I went back to the craft store and purchased every pack they had and then  went online to order many more.

When I flip through this seasons jewelry and beading magazines there are 2 completely unrelated trends that seem to be monopolizing the pages; floral and industrial chic/steampunk. In my humble opinion I feel that my new floral collection blends both of these current trends very well. My personal style is always been caught somewhere in between feminine and a more relaxed vintage/rustic/hippie style. I think these new necklaces and bracelets are a perfect fit for me and I hope for you as well.

I am currently in the process of uploading these new items to my Etsy page, so in the meantime please contact me if you would like to purchase one for yourself.

Or click to the right to see where you can visit me at an upcoming festival.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Update on the rooftop edibles

My rooftop garden is growing wonderfully. I spotted my first green pepper this week and a few days later it was an inch bigger.

When I purchased the cherry tomato plant it already had a little green round growing. This week they started turning colors and I have spotted about 4 more on the vine. Too bad I don't really like tomatoes. My roommate will make good use of them, and I plan to use them for sauces and salsa.

The herbs are amazing! The cilantro, basil, dill, oregano, sage and thyme are all very plentiful. I am planning on making my first batch of sauce and pesto this weekend. I cannot wait to taste the flavor these fresh little herbs are going to add to my favorite recipes.

I knew I was going to enjoy this, but it has become far more gratifying than I had anticipated. Going out on the roof everyday to see if anything new has sprouted is so much fun. I cannot wait until I go out there and spot some red in the tomatoes. I am also really anticipating my first jalapeno pepper. I know I will get tons of use out of them. Beware family and friends...when you see me I will probably be handing you bushels of freshness!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My first festival!

This past Thursday I participated in my very first festival. The event is called "Swinging Summer Thursday" and it is held in my home town, West Chester Pennsylvania on the first Thursday of every month from June until September. I chose this event as my first because it is a local festival (2 blocks from my house) and I figured a Thursday evening was perfect for my first. My town hosts many outdoor events, but this one seemed less intimidating. I wanted to experiment with a more low-key festival so I could work out my kinks. All in preparation for the biggest event of the season...the overly crowded and insane Restaurant Festival held in September.

I wanted my stand to compliment the style of my jewelry without spending a ton of money, all while keeping in mind that my display will grow so I want to easily add matching or complimentary pieces later. I didn't want to purchase something and then come back a few months later searching for matching pieces. I also wasn't impressed with the jewelry displays available to me so, being the overly zealous DIY girl that I am, I decided to make it all myself. This was an inexpensive and practical solution for the long run. If I made a few t-bars to hang my necklaces from and decided later that I needed more, I could simply make them and they would match perfectly.
I wanted to go with a material that would match the rustic style of my designs and be something I could find years later if I so desire. I went digging around my Dad's house and found some firewood, dowels and old deck boards to construct a few t-bars with. I absolutely adore them. I then scoured the rest of my belongings to find other unconventional materials for my display. Everything I used was either something I already owned or picked up at a discount store. The banner was purchased on vistaprint for only the cost of shipping. Table clothes were less than $10 each, the lace runners are curtain valances I picked up at the goodwill for a $1 a piece (purchased 6 for future tables). The tent (rain was in the forecast) and tables were all borrowed.

Overall I spent around $50 on my display. The response was wonderful. People were commenting on my stands all night.

Leading up to Thursday I was very surprised how relaxed and comfortable I was. This was the first time I was opening myself and my designs up to the general public, and I am sure any artist/designer/crafter will tell you that this can often feel like a very vulnerable and scary thing. I become very attached to my pieces so releasing them was fairly emotional for me (I did have a little bit of separation anxiety the night before) but I was happy to share my work when it was all said and done.

We had an excellent turnout and I sold more pieces than I had expected. Many of my friends and family showed up to help and support me, which was incredible. The fellow participants were also very supportive of one another and I am looking forward to July's Swinging Summer Thursday!