Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thoughful Thursday - Jewelry Making Videos and a Peek inside my Studio

Hi all, I hope you are staying warm and cozy today, especially if you live on the East Coast where we are getting from Blizzard conditions in the North to rainy and cold all the way down South to Florida! A good day to stay in and Bead!

I have been a fan of Youtube for awhile now (I've only uploaded one video of my own so far but look forward to making some more in the future) and I've come across some that I thought might help those who are beginning jewelry making and there even may be some tips in there for those who are an old hand at it.

Crimping is something I've had a bit of problem with and even though I've seen pictures a dozen times in magazines or jewelry books it always helps in some techniques to actually see someone doing it. Now I finally figured this out on my own, still I found this video to be helpful and I hope you will too.

Learn How to Crimp

Here are more that may help you in your jewelry making, consider it a Quick Jewelry course you can take in your own home while staying cozy and warm and dry!

How to use Jump rings and split rings and tools and how to choose which for each project. If you do a lot of projects using jump rings, the linking ring is indispensable, I have one and it saves you from having to constantly pick up two pairs of pliers to open the rings. I think I got mine for under $3 and its so worth it!

Once you've got the tool basics down check out some of these other videos.

Basic Bead Stringing with wire and crimp beads
Using Links and connectors to make a Bracelet and earrings
Learn Drop Beading using bead caps and head pins
How to use Beading chain and crimp ends bead caps
How to make a Wire Wrapped Bracelet using S. Silver wire
How to make Wire Wrapped Rings

This one may be very useful for those who love a lot of wire look in their work. It demonstrates how to use the coiling Gizmo. If you haven't gotten one yet they can be found at Michael's and Joann's and I used my 40% off coupon to get mine. Now in the video she tells you you will need a C-clamp to clamp it to your table. My solution was to actually screw it to my portable jewelers bench so it is always handy. It has two screws on the base to do just that. My portable jewelers bench is just a piece of MDF that is about 30" long, actually a left over extra shelf my husband cut for my shelving unit that I am not using just now. So in order to save space I use this board and had him build a shelf unit that sits on my table and holds many of my 'need at hand' items but when I want the work space to be used for painting or other things the 'jewelers bench' neatly slides under the shelf and out of the way.

I know I've been promising forever to show you some pics of my studio but I never remember when It's clean AND there's plenty of light. So I just took some pretty awful pics just to show you my 'bench' so you will see what I'm talking about. The first picture (above) shows some of my storage that is behind my worktable. It stores many Jewelry components, wires, beads and other things I use for my clay work and well as pieces in progress. The photo next to it shows how I make it all neat looking when my mind doesn't want to deal with all that stuff, by just sliding the green curtain made from a full bed sheet for $6, closed! It also helps to cut down on dusting too! Yes, that is an over the door organizer with clear pockets that is double sided there on the left side of the curtain, it is great for sorting out all kinds of things and you can see them easily. I think it's original use was as a jewelry organizer you could put in your closet but I re-purposed it to make jewelry! :)

This second pic (above)is of my work table open for designing, painting, sorting beads, etc.
You can see my two Ott lights there which are so great to work under, and the shelf unit I designed and hubby built for me. I also attached hooks to hold a long dowel that holds my decorative craft wire (my precious wire is on the shelf above it). It also holds: jewelry magazines, sketch books, metals and components to work with such as washers, ring blanks and more and works in progress. All tucked neatly into an 11" wide space that spans the table length. My 'Jewelers Bench' slips right underneath and out of the way, made of the same MDF as the shelf unit. Here you can see a few things I keep on there and plan to add some more soon. I have the Gizmo Mandrel holder on the left (the mandrels I forgot to get out but they are stored on the shelf above it). That's some sandpaper on the left end in front of my little miter box, for sanding off sharp points of wire after cutting. I also have a third hand holder in the middle with magnifier, my dapping block and daps on the top right and my little red vise on the bottom right which is screwed down securely to the table. Then when I am done using it, it slides right out of the way under the shelf and I have a clear space to work in again!

The rest of my tools are in a seven drawer tower that you can see a bit of with the coffee cup full of more tools in the very first picture of the storage shelves. Or better yet, here's a full picture of it. You can see it makes things very handy. And the other side of the table? That didn't go to waste at all. I use it mainly for my packaging area, and keep the essentials in that wine box you see to the right and the box on top. I pulled them out for you to see but they store on that right hand corner on the wrapping side and you can see the box in place on the jewelry designing side in the top left corner.

Just in case you are wondering that table is only 52"x52". I have two others I use for my clay work but this is where I do all my main designing and jewelry work after making my beads.

So about that Gizmo?

Check it out and if you got one now you know how to use it! Get your wire out and have some fun!

I don't know if you can make out what that is on the top shelve, it's black so kinda hard to see but it is one of my favorite tools, even though it isn't a hand tool. It is a magnifier that you wear around your head and has a flip down eye piece for even closer views and a jewelers loupe attached as well. I got this from Evie's Tool Emporium on Etsy, she is the best and I recommend shopping there. I love this thing! My husband is jealous of it since the one he has at work doesn't have the extra magnifications! It works for all applications of art and crafts, especially if your eyes aren't what they used to be. I really like it for jewelry assemblage, especially for checking the jump rings to make sure I closed them flush. Also it's good to look at your piece under this magnification before shooting your photos of it. It will show you any lint, imperfections and such that you won't see until you've taken all that time to photograph it and then have to either spend time editing or re-shoot. Here's the one I have, Variable Magnification Visor with 1.5 Loupe at only $7.00 you shouldn't be without one! And while there check out her other tools and handy items for Jewelry makers! She gives you fast shipping and great service! I also got my dapping block there as well and am still exploring all the things I can do with it!

And if you go to The Beading Gem's Journal you can enter to win a $20 certificate to the Emporium, HURRY, the deadline is 6pm Wednesday, March 3rd! And while you're there, check out The Beading Gems helpful videos on Jewelry making and how to use specific tools!

There are videos on

  • Using the Jewelers Saw
  • Stamping on metal Two parts
  • How to use a dapping block
And there's a tutorial on how to use the three step pliers.

So go, BEAD Happy!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's New Wednesday - Destress the Philip Stein Way

I've been trying out some cool new things lately that I'd like to share with you. Many of my readers I know are also Indie Artists. As such we do so many things and never have enough time in the day it seems. Family, housework, blogging, making our art, photographing it, advertising, filling orders, working new designs and some even have an outside job as well. All that can lead to the big 'S' STRESSED OUT! We don't get enough sleep, drink too much caffeine which actually puts more stress on us and don't have time to take that lavender Epsom salt bath we need so much.

I've been in the same boat and in particular as an INFJ stress is an on going thing something we can't get away from, even if externally our inner personality puts its own pressures on us. I have been trying different things, soft music, water fountains, lavender candles, quiet times, but still it can sneak up on you.

So when I heard about this new watch by Philip Stein I was intrigued and wanted to know more. In January they introduced a New Collection of Fruit Inspired Watches. And I tell you they made one for each 'taste' out there.

Now I have to tell you I am not a watch wearer. Only if I am going somewhere that I have to keep track of time will I even put one on, and the one I have is an Anne Klein watch I got over 8 years ago or is it 10? As you can see, I don't buy watches much either. Years ago I wanted for the longest time a watch ring, remember those? But I never got one and the fad passed and my 'enamorment' with them did too I suppose. So for me to carry on about a watch is a BIG thing!

I got one of these luscious fruit watches for many reasons, First I really loved the style, even though I am not a big watch wearer, this one doesn't seem big at all. Being a natural gal and into organics I love the fruit styling, the 'hours' are in the shape of seeds! And the second hand is a very stylish thin curve in a contrasting color so you can easily see it. The dial has a luminescence but isnt' gaudy. One thing I was worried about when I got it was the strap. I thought it was a plastic and it would bother me, making my skin shrivel and sweat underneath but it isn't and didn't. The strap is made from silicon and is very comfortable to wear. The topside is smooth but a matte color so doesn't look like plastic. And the underside has a textured pattern that I think helps to keep it comfortable on your wrist.

Now I do know what I'm talking about because I have been wearing it non-stop for the past three and a half weeks, and I do mean non-stop. Only taking it off for showers, even though it is water resistant and wearing it even to sleep at night. I wanted to try the full effect of the watch.

Now what do I mean by that? I certainly don't worry about being a fashion plate in bed so why would I wear it to bed? Well you remember I was talking about stress? Well this isn't just a pretty watch, it has a secret inside. When I was introduced to these Fruitz watches I hadn't heard of Philip Stein watches before, but it seems that he has been producing them for a bit with this secret inside, called Natural frequency technology which was created to harmonize your biofield and energy. Read about that technology here and see a short video on how it works.
Now something like this comes along everyday, promises of magical help in one way or another and I usually don't pay much attention, but this intrigued me, so I did some research and investigation into these frequencies. But the proof is in the pudding or in the wearing in this case. Yes that is mine, the only time I've put it in it's case! :)

That is why I've been wearing mine for almost a month , non-stop. This isn't hard to do as they come in either Stainless Steel or Gold plated so not too many would have any allergic reactions. As some of you may know I have been having an on going problem with stress and sleeplessness. After wearing this watch for only a short while I found that my stress was dissipating and my sleep was getting not only more regular but instead of getting up numerous times during the night and then sometimes not being able to fall back asleep for hours, I may get up but am able to return to sleep in a matter of minutes. I didn't want this to be wishful thinking so that is why I've been wearing this watch and trying it for a full cycle if you KWIM. And I can honestly report a definite overall well being, better sleep and less stress and it has been tested under great duress. Stein even commissioned a clinical study, a first of it's kind in the US putting these timepieces to test. You can read about the study here.

Pictured above are 'clockwise' :) from 11:00 Orange, Plum, Water Melon, Grapefruit and Raspberry.

So, as you can tell I am pretty impressed and I don't impress that easily, but I highly recommend this watch not only as a very cool fashion accessory, (and I have mine in my favorite color, Lime), but also a relaxing one! And there are 24 color combos or fruits to choose from, from the most demure White Peach and Golden Pear, to the most Fun and Tropical, Rasberry, Dragon Fruit, and Fig, all luscious and hard to choose from but remember they do more than tell time, they make the time you are living in less stressful and more fun. And did I mention that they come in a really cool color coordinated pod? Keeps your watch safe, if you can bear to not be wearing it constantly.

For more info please check out Philip Stein. You can find your favorite Fruitz at Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. These beautiful and health benefiting watches are most affordable than many of his other collections and I believe worth every penny!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Mystery Monday Winner Revealed and New Photo!

I guess I stumped you all this week so I am going to draw from all those who made a guess. I love to see how you all interpret the photo, what it says to you, and to me that is more important than 'getting it right'. These are the guesses I received and really it is amazing that it could look like all of these! There was more than one who made these guesses so I think it cool how different artists look at things.

Sunflower seed head
Flower petals
Pine cone

Now if I would have posted this one in color, it would have given it away too easily. In black and white as you see by the guesses, it can look like many things.

So, what is it a picture of?
Animal Vegetable or mineral?

It's in the Vegetation category, and it was my dinner last Friday. :) I made Tunisian Lentil Stew. And as I sorted through the bags of lentils like they tell you to on the package, and you should heed that direction, because I've found some 'minerals' in there before and it wasn't a prize of diamonds! Sometimes bits of stones get in there because it is a difficult process to gather lentils.

Anyway, I like to spread them out on a cookie sheet and go and sit by the window to get a good look at them, and believe it or not besides finding a few that were shriveled up and not worth putting in the pot I did find a small bit of rock, don't want to bite down on that!

As I sorted through them, I pushed them to the side and as they pushed up next to each other I started to notice cool patterns forming. In small areas they lined all up on their sides and took on a very intriguing texture and since my camera was nearby, I grabbed it and snapped a few shots, just with Mystery Monday in mind! :)

That is the original picture, all I did was to crop it, give it a 90 degree turn and take out the color. And Viola! it becomes the material for all kinds of guesses.

So our winner this week is................................................ Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesor Trovati! (You've got mail! )

I thought a great prize would be a special Lentil bead, so that is what Erin wins, a custom made Lentil bead ! Congratulations and thank you all for playing!

Now for this weeks photo. I took advantage of the beautiful weather here yesterday (and we are scheduled for snow, sleet and freezing rain the rest of the week) to go to the Zoo in hopes of seeing Cosmo. But most of the pond was frozen and I'm sure the fishes were at the bottom in a kind of hibernation, but I hope soon to see him again! But there were plenty of animals there and they were happy for the beautiful sunny day, especially since we have been having such a snowy and cold winter and were out and about sunning themselves and more active than I've seen them in the summer time. So I took the opportunity to bring you an outdoor picture for Mystery Monday and I even choose a category for you already to make it easier!

What category?
Animal of course!
So without further ado I present you with the Mystery Photo, in fact two so you can have some perspective. Now you know it is an animal from a Zoo so put your thinking caps on and see if you can puzzle this one out.

I know it looks like it's another black and white photo but it's not, that is the living color in full sunshine! :)

The rules are simple, even more so now.

1. View the Mystery Photo
2. Leave a comment on this post saying you are participating
3. Email me with your guess (I allow up to three) before next Monday, but DO NOT post your guess in the comments! :)
4. Next Monday I will draw a name from all the guesses and they will win a mystery surprise from me!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Summary

Happy Sabbath to you all, hope you are having a great rest from all the busyness of the past week. In case you missed any of what's been going on here this past week I've made a summary for you so you won't miss a thing!

Monday - We returned to Mystery Monday after a one week break for the One World One Heart tour I was taking. This weeks photo I've had some great guesses on and even some things I didn't think of but no correct answers yet! So put your artists berets on and get thinking and send me your guess. Click on the link to mystery Monday above to get full details and to view the photo.

On Monday I also announced my nine winners in my OWOH giveaway in a different post, so if you missed that, please check it out here.

Tuesday ~ We returned with Team T International Member feature with Catherine Reese of Village Clayworks who paints her clay pieces like a canvas with pen drawings filled in with brilliant color and her subject are tiny creatures like ladybugs, dragonflies and little sweet birdies. Check out the feature here.

Wednesday ~ Was What's new and there was lots to share, First about my debut as a blogger for ABS Blog Carnival. And to tie in the theme with the ABS challenge of the month I presented my entry of Luna Park. I've also given an insight to my design process of this piece and there is a great aerial photo of Coney Island Merry go Rounds that fit with the theme and the artist is offering a discount for my readers. To read about all this please click here.

Thursday ~ I gave you some specials in the art/craft stores this week including a great deal on polymer clay and jewelry gems and components. I also alerted you to Lark call for submissions on rings, a new giveaway from Elliot Lucca and Harper books and introduced you to Bookswapping, where you can trade your used/read books, CD's and even DVD's for those you haven't read or listened to or read yet. In fact I already joined one on the spur of the moment Thursday night and already have over 9,000 books, dvd's and cd's I can trade my unwanted books for. I purposely put in an eclectic mix just to see if it would work with anything not just popular items and was pleasantly surprised! So go have a read at Thoughtful Thursday's post and see if this isn't for you and your family!

Friday ~ I introduced you to the article on Pablo Picasso's Daughter Paloma as well as Macy's Spring Look Book which also includes the trends to be seen this Spring in clothing and accessories, as well as the color palettes which some are taken from Master Artists like Van Gogh and Picasso. I also introduced you to a 'Take a break' past time that will hopefully give your mind a break in the day and focus your creativeness for later projects with JigZone. And I finished off the week with a photo of perfect relaxation. If you missed this post, you won't want to miss it again, so click here to go check out all these things from Feed Your Creativity Friday.

Well that's it dear readers for this week. I will see you on Monday when I announce the winner of the Mystery Monday photo. If you haven't gotten in your guess yet, do so now!

Have a wonderful weekend, relax, revive, rejuvenate!

Until then.......................... I'm off to do some bookswapping!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Feed You Creativity Friday

So what's on the menu for today? Let's see how about a Main course of Art and Fashion first?

In the New March issue of Harpers Bazaar Paloma Picasso Designer of 30 years for Tiffany's does an exclusive interview with them on her life. Here are some excepts:

  • On her father, Pablo Picasso: “When I see some of his paintings, it brings back the memories of when he was creating them.”
  • On her career, from costume designer, to accessory, home d├ęcor and jewelry designer: “I felt I had to prove myself. I don’t have anything to prove anymore. I can relax.”
  • On her fragrance: “Paloma Picasso was a self-portrait, and I still wear it, so I did the right job for me.”
  • Tiffany’s John Loring on meeting Paloma: “When Paloma was a teenager, she was extraordinarily shy and put upon by people staring and pointing at her, because she was Picasso’s daughter. It reduced her to tears.”
Above is a photo of Paloma in her beautiful Moroccan Home. Read more about her and see more of her fabulous home in the March publication of Harper's Bazaar 2010. click to see more on the article and more photos including a portrait of Paloma as a child by her father, Pablo.

And speaking of Fashion, Macy's has released it's Spring Fashion look. Now you may be an artist and not a Fashionista, but to make your jewelry for those who are you need to know what's new, trendy and especially what's the color palette! So in essence you become a Fashionista from an Artists POV. So where am I going with this? Right here! This is the 2010 Spring Fashion Look Book (for those with flash blocker, scroll down to fins the flash 'F') I love that asymmetrical tunic, don't you? There you will find Trends, click on that and then click on RTW and Accessories Spring 2010 trends. There you will see a very cool palette of what's hot this spring. Palettes culled from Master Artists such As Van Gogh and PICASSO! You can also click on the HOT list and download a pdf , see what's hot to wear and also what accessories are in! Sure to help you in fashion and Your Art this Spring! I'm especially intrigued with the infinity neck wear.

And now for some desert.................

Need a break? is it bleak out today and you long for color? How about a quick coffee break and a puzzle? Beautiful photographs turned into jigsaw puzzles you can do in a couple of minutes. JIGZONE lets you choose from all kinds of subjects, from nature, animals, mountains, beaches, rivers, trees, waterfalls and that is just in the Nature section. There are also Sports, Ocean life, Transportation and Travel and 'Things'. That is an intriguing one and one which most artists will appreciate. There are close-ups of ordinary things, and you know how I love those! And colored pencils, bars of soap and even a scrabble board. Got only a minute? then you can choose a puzzle in only 6 pieces, yes 6, quick enough for you? How about a bigger challenge? You can go all the way up to 247 triangular pieces! You choose number and shape from a drop down menu that sits right in the middle over the puzzle choices, called "Choose your cut". So they can be tailor made for your time allotment. Why not give it a try right now? I've chosen a simple but pretty one for you to see how you like this. Just click on it and it will take you to the puzzle. Just don't get lost there and forget to come back here (click your back button it won't open in a separate window).

It even shows you how long it takes you to solve, the average solving time and the fastest it was ever solved. When you get there it will give you the default of 48 pieces, on the left side you can see where you can change the cut and piece amount. Click 'Change Cut' and choose how many pieces (and what shape too, like birds) you want to try at first. Remember to always do the corners first and then the edges, makes it easier. You can just click and drag the pieces out of the way from the center to make room to do the puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve

I love this very artistic wrought iron gate against a blue sky! I did this one in the 20 piece bird shape and it was quite a challenge, especially if you are used to regular jigsaw shaped pieces. It helps you to think outside the box. Hope you have fun with this!

How about a second helping? I hope your creativity has been fed, now how about sharing that with someone else? I meant to post this last week but it was such a week I forgot. I read this over at Treasures Found blog by Erin Prais-Hintz and have been gathering things to share myself. You all are aware of the Earthquake in Haiti and the disasters that followed. Please go to Erin's blog and read about how you as a crafter or artist can help the women of Haiti with your extra helpings of craft supplies, and join Haiti by Hand in doing this worthwhile project. Then download the list and print it out so you can go through your stash and help another. I think this is a wonderful way to help, not just sending money but sending hope and a sense of worth and be sure to include a note as Rebecca suggests to the women and share a bit about yourself with them, I'm sure it will be worth it's weight in gold!

We didn't start you with any soup, but here's something for the 'nuts' course. :)

Now go and have one of these kinds of weekends, relaxed and at peace.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday Orkut MySpace Hi5 Scrap Images

Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday. I hope I have some things that will make your life easier, save you some time and money and bring something to your attention that you didn't know about but are happy to discover!

Of interest to Jewelry Makers And PC & PMC Artists

Michael's sales this week include Premo! Sculpey and Fimo Polymer Clay 4 for $5!!!!! Stock up now Clayers, that's a great deal. Also 40% off Gold, Silver, Platinum and Rose Gold findings for all your fine Jewelry creations. And 30% off big selection of Bead Gallery Collection and Natural Elegance components.

Hobby Lobby has Liquitex Acrylic tube paints and mediums 30% off. I use these myself as they bond with the polymer clay very well and their mediums can be used for all types of art applications. Also Artists, pencils, pens and markers 30% off.

And Jewelry makers, for you, Traditions, Explorer and Natural Gallery Jewelry components, 50% off! there's lots more jewelry components too including Czech Beads and Swavroski Crystals.
Jen Judds is having a giveaway to celebrate the ABS Blogging Carnival I talked to you about yesterday. She has some awesome Lampwork Beads from Lisa New as well as some other great bead artists. Just visit her blog on this post and leave a comment including your favorite Bead Artists (I won't mind if you name drop StudioARTBEAD ;) )

Lark Books (I'm sure you have at least one if not more of their books, I have 3 of these 4 myself) is looking for submissions for 30 minute rings. Yes that's right, from start to finish, only 30 minutes.

Jewelry Design Challenge: 30-Minute Rings

Editor: Marthe Le Van

Entry Deadline: March 19, 2010

Are you a skilled and imaginative jewelry designer who is up for a challenge? Great! Your mission is to design a ring that can be made…start to finish…in 30 minutes flat. Sound fun? We think so.

30-Minute Rings will showcase more than 50 incredibly stylish step-by-step projects that can be created without investing too much of a valuable commodity—time! The selected ring designs will be modern and sophisticated and encompass many different styles and techniques. The common denominator will be fast projects that look terrific!

PS: In 30-Minute Rings, we won’t be teaching fundamental jewelry making techniques. Designers can assume that their readers are already proficient (and quick!) at skills such as sawing, soldering, and finishing.

Visit This page for Submission Guidelines

Love Books? Great purses? How's this for Spring? I love this soft coral color and the texture with all that weaving of leather and the medallion on the bottom is cool too! This is an Elliot Lucca Bag and you could win this AND a bag full of Books to read from HarperCollins, worth over $455.00

Yes, this beautiful bag could be yours and the latest fiction from Harper Collins, all you have to do is GO HERE and enter to win. Elliot Lucca can be seen on HSN and if you sign up to be alerted by email when he'll be on next, any time in February you will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a $100 HSN gift certificate.

So what if you don't win the purse full of books, and you really LOVE BOOKS? If you've been reading my blog I'd make a guess that you do. :) After introducing you to BookCrossing last week, as cool as that is, and I love a treasure hunt I got to thinking about Book swapping. Why couldn't there be a place where you could swap the books you have for books you want? So I went online and found, much to my happy surprise, there not only is such a thing but many choices out there. Now I haven't tried any of these yet so if any of you have please leave a comment and share! But I will be looking into these deeper and see which ones I'd like to join.

Here's a quick rundown on the ones I discovered.

SwapTree -
  • Trade the books you have for the books you want, for FREE
  • Swap your books for video games, CDs and DVDs
  • Instantly see all the books you can receive in trade
  • Print perfect postage right from your computer
  • Discover new books and authors
  • Recycle, reuse and reduce your carbon footprint
So, more than just books, but CD's and DVD's games and probably Book on tape. You can follow them for updates on Twitter. And here's an interview with the co-founder on TIME online Magazine. And a quote from the article:

There's a staggering amount of stuff ready for the swapping: Swaptree currently has about 2.5 million items listed for trade, and the number of users doubles every four months.

The best part is that Swaptree does most of the work for you; after you set up a "have list" and a "want list," the site automatically lists all of the permutations—including complicated triple trades—that'll hook you up with your picks. And it's free. You only pay for shipping, and you can do that for a couple of bucks via media mail at the post office.

AND you can even print out postage from their site, so this sounds like one I will be signing up for!

Here's another.............................

PaperBack Swap
Want a quick run down? Watch this very short video. This sounds like another I'd like to try. Here's the link to the site too!

And here's one more to get you started:

BookMooch , they just recently were written up on this article by ABC news. They work on a points system explained here . Basically you have to send out 1 book for each 2 you receive. You can even share your points with charities they work with. Worth checking out.

Logo artwork courtesy of

So there you have it, three great places to join to get free books, and not just any books, but the ones you want and you get to clean house at the same time and save lots of money and who couldn't stand to do that nowadays?

Remember that they have Children's books, cook books, Biographies, History, Fiction, Sci-Fi, Travel, Everything you could find at your local book store, library and more! Not only does this help you save money, but space (clear off those bulging bookcases!) but it also, and this is my favorite, helps you to be very green, save trees by sharing your books and giving them a new home while you still can read all you want!

Try Book Swapping today, I'm sure you'll be hooked! And I'm sure I will be writing more on this later!
Hope this gives you some fun things to investigate today! Have fun and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What's New Wednesday - It's Carnival Time!

What's new today? Remember back a few weeks ago on 'What's new Wednesday' I wrote a post called 'Beginnings'? Well that was specifically for Art Bead Scenes Blog Carnival which debuts today!

Cindy Gimbrone an Art Bead Scene Editor and Bead maker Extraordinaire put out a call awhile back and I answered it. As many of you know I love writing almost as much as I love creating my other art!

Just as I was writing this blog post I was multi-tasking and thinking about some other things I had to do and I remembered I needed to email someone with some info from one of my shops. When I went over to etsy I found this cool treasury on the Front Page with a photo of Coney Island (above picture) Titled "Coney Island Carnivale" right in the middle of the Front Page! Now is that kismit or what? And today starts the ABS Blog Carnival where a group of Jewelry bloggers all write about their views on a single theme. The first is , of course, Beginnings.

Now not only is the Blog Carnival starting today, but The Art inspiration for Art Bead Scene Challenge this month is a painting by Vestie Davis of what else? Luna Park at Coney Island!

I have been tossing ideas around in my head, and this painting is so fun, especially this cold time of year where I am, and this is what I've come up with.

Last night I realized it was Carnival blogging Day today and I still hadn't had time to make something for the ABS February challenge which centered on the Luna Park painting. So I found a large picture of it on the internet and got out my sketch book and started to pull out designs I saw in the painting. I started with the shapes that were prominent to me, and then the words, and then I looked closer at the details. I saw a band playing, a ticket booth, flags that reminded me of banners or pendants, and hearts sprinkled about. I next pulled out the colors I saw and it basically is a primary color palette with grays and pale pink and turquoise. So with these basics I drew out a quick sketch. I wanted to include the fun peppermint candy like rounds that are so prominent in the painting so I made that my focal. I also wanted to include the moon shapes used so I added one to the bottom of the focal. Then I looked at the shapes and words and little things I spied and wanted to evoke the sense of the experience one has when visiting a park like this, the feeling I think Davis was trying to present in this painting.

So I took the shape of the roofs which reminded me of pendants and flags and made seven of them and stamped words that would speak of the experience. Rides, Games, Win, Play, Fun, NYC, Music (don't forget that little band on the colonnade) and added three hearts which are included in the painting.

Now the only way to enjoy all this fun is to go to that little hole in the wall in the center right of the painting that says: 'TICKETS' and buy one so you can enjoy all the fun. So I made a Ticket and stamped 'Admit One' on it and now I have a fun filled necklace that would be great to wear to Coney Island (if one could) and to really recall to mind the fun of summer as a child but also to amuse that inner child in every adult.

Thanks for stopping by and looking! I'd appreciate any comments you would like to leave!

So please be sure to check out My post for the Art Bead Scene Carnival, (I changed it from the original posting so even if you read it then, please go back and read something new). And that cool photo at the top of this post is available for only $15 in the Fine Art Photography etsy shop Dupuis of Mina, a Romanian born Photographer now living in Brooklyn NYC. I told her about this upcoming post and she so generously told me I could offer you, my readers a 15% discount off your entire order! Isn't that great! All you have to do is to take advantage of this fab offer is to use the code "Carnival" in the comments to seller. UPDATE:That specific print is now sold but she has more in many sizes so just take a look around her shop! Thanks!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Team T International Tuesday ~ Catherine Reese

Did you know that we changed our name? We are now known as Team T International and are an official Etsy team! We have a Blog and we have a website for promotional purposes. And we are 47 member strong now and cover just about all the categories on Etsy.

It's snowy out again today and I so look forward to spring. And in that longing I'd like to introduce you to one of my team members Catherine Reese whose art will whisk you there under a spring and summer sky. Catherine has pursued artistic endeavors since a child, always looking to capture the nature around her. She started her business with her husband about nine years ago and they both devote full time to it.

Catherine's approach to each piece is as if the hand thrown pottery is a 3-D canvas. She draws her subject on with a special ceramic under-glazing pen and then fills in the lines with bright fun colors! She is especially enamored with the nature she finds around her and she became fascinated with the smaller creatures of the creation and started to use them as subjects in her works.

She has previously dabbled in other mediums such as water color, drawing, intaglio etching, photography and wood block printing and in hand thrown pottery she has found a way to incorporate all these talents.

Catharine appreciates the beauty around her and in her business and artistic processes she tries to be as 'green' as possible. Her kiln is partly powered by the sun and when taking her wares to art shows they travel in a truck that runs on recycled vegetable oil!

Truly a lover and respecter of nature, this artist fully appreciates the work of art the Master of all Artists has given us. I applaud her and her art and invite you to explore her shop at etsy Village Clayworks, I'm sure it will pick you up out of the winter doldrums, and make you dream of spring!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Times Up! OWOH And the Winners ARE...............................

Wow, what a whirlwind I've been on this past week! I came across the OWOH (One World One Heart) on a friends blog and decided to join in with only 9 days left on Feb 5th. It started on January 25th and ended today. TIME flies so quickly on a Magic Carpet Ride!

I wasn't thinking too straight as I had forgotten that in the middle of all this on February 10th the Bead Soup Swap I was involved in for the past month would be celebrating our Reveal Party! Which meant visiting all the 83 participants and viewing their creations. I got to visit them all and even with only a week left I got a chance to visit half of the 1100+ participants in OWOH.

I wish I could have spent more time at each one but there was only so much time in the day, but I will finish my list and visit each and everyone on there. Many I made a note to myself to stop back and visit more in-depth.

Since I started with a handicap I wasn't prepared with a giveaway. And if you know me, I like to give away! So I declared it a surprise, and then later in the week decided to have one 'prize' for each day I was participating, Nine in all. Yes, a lot I know, but that is me, I love to 'Give more than I get' . I posted a few things to let you know that my giftings would be diversified.

But now after it is over I feel like I've missed out, not being able to spend as much time as I'd like at each of your blogs, and to not even have been able to get to all of them. So.

This is what I've decided to do. I have drawn Nine names from the 240 entrants and am happy to say that they truly are a great representation of the One World, One Heart as of the nine, six countries are represented! So I will be shipping overseas to many of them. But instead of just giving you a specified gift I want to make it more special. I have already done some preliminary 'sleuthing' checking out profiles, blogs, shops and I want to gift each and everyone with something that I glean from what you have shared with the world about yourself. So, it may take a bit of time to get this all done and shipped to you, but I hope you will find it worth the wait. This way I can really get to share and get to know you better, which is what this event was all about, right?

So I hope you will bare with me as I seek out that special gift just for you! I will be contacting each winner tomorrow and ask for your address and also a few questions so I will be better prepared to make your gift for you.

Now for the winners, in no particular order:


119................................................ Ginny...............................Michigan USA

64...............................Jennifer Pearson Vanier.................Ontario Canada

178............................................Shariyah................................New Zealand

234.........................................Heather's Eden.........................Florida USA

8....................................................danit...................................New Zealand

59.................................................Willa.............................. N. Carolina USA




And there you have it!

I want to thank each and every one of you who stopped by my blog, looked around, commented, visited my shops, became a follower, it means so much to me! Please come back again, we have a giveaway just about every week and I'm sure you will find something of interest!

Thanks again for a wonderful Trip around the World!


Mystery Monday - And we're BACK!

Yes Mystery Monday has returned, Thank you my readers for allowing me my trip around the world with OWOH this past week. Next year if Lisa has it again I shall be ready, because you really do need all three weeks to do this, not one! In fact for those of you participating in my One World One Heart giveaways, the Mystery of who my winners are will remain a mystery a bit longer as I was up late trying to visit as many of the other blogs on the journey as I could before the deadline (I actually fell only 10 shy of seeing half of them!). So I haven't drawn my winners yet, but I will contact each and every one of you when I do later today and will post the results. Since you are here you may want to get in on my weekly Mystery Monday giveaway. The rules are simple.

1. View the Mystery Photo
2. Leave a comment on this post saying you are participating
3. Email me with your guess (I allow up to three) before next Monday, but DO NOT post your guess in the comments! :)
4. Next Monday I will draw a name from all the correct guesses and they will win a mystery surprise from me!
5. If you guessed correctly but your name is not drawn and you participate in the next Mystery Monday your name will be added twice, so that's two chances to win! So it pays to keep coming back and guessing, and besides that, it's fun! It's not just guessing what the photo is, but it helps to stretch your eye towards details and if you are an artist in any medium that will help you tremendously in your artwork!

So without furthur ado, I present you with this week's Mystery Monday Photo:

Yes, this one is in Black and White so you have to use your imagination more. Color gives us so much more information than we realize when we look at objects and shapes and wildlife even.

So, Animal , Vegetable or Mineral? I'll let you guess! :)


Friday, February 12, 2010

Feeding your Creativity Friday

I'm sorry fellow readers, I am still flying all over the world on my Magic Carpet Ride with the One World One Heart Ticket Holders. Even if you didn't get your ticket in time there are many participating that don't mind if you don't have a blog and want to join in the fun, I'm sure this will feed your creativity today and through the weekend!

NOTE: If you've arrived here to View the Bead Soup Swap Reveal, please go to this post.

So why don't you join me in the Magic carpet ride and discover new lands, new people, new artists and hopefully new friends!

I've even made a page on my blog just for the list of all those participating, you can View them all HERE. You can also keep track of how well I'm doing in trying to visit as many of these blogs as I can. Remember I only started a week ago, two weeks behind those who knew about this at the beginning, AND on Wednesday we had the Bead Soup Swap Reveal so 83 blogs more I had to visit! You will see a little red dot next to the blogs I've been to (only 196 out of over 1100 so far!). I've seen many different artists and art but did try and scout out the Polymer Clay and beaders too!

I'll be back on Monday with my announcement of the winners of the giveaways, and don't forget, I am having NINE Giveaways as my part in all this so get your comment on this post now to be put in for the drawing!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday Orkut MySpace Hi5 Scrap Images Picture Comments

I've got some great stuff for you today, please read on and let me know what you think! For those here for the BEAD SOUP PARTY, that post is just below this one, but why not stay and see if there's something you can benefit from in this post? :)

decided to change the name of this Thursday feature. I think from the response (or lack of it) that many think that this is just about things they aren't interested like coupon clipping but I try to share many different things that can help you in all parts of your lives, health, money, gifts, blogging and of course artistic endeavors! Thoughtful ideas, links and more to share with you.

Today as I write this post I have just come from completing my rounds of the Bead Soup Swap Party that I announced yesterday. I visited over 80 blogs (some more than once or twice) to see all that the group had done. If you want to have a look at what women can do with surprise packages of beads you should take some time and visit these blogs, you'll be amazed!

It took me two days and about 8-9 hours to complete it all. I also am involved in the One World One Heart Blogging Party Giveaway where I am trying to visit as many of the 1100+! blogs I can before Feb 15th! (I am also having 9 giveaways in my post so even if you haven't signed up but have a blog you are welcome to leave a comment on that post to join in). I'm sure I won't get to nearly half of them despite the many hours I have put in so far to do so! This is a daunting task for sure. I have met some wonderful woman, artists and other crafters and writers and am so glad I joined in. But I did learn something on the technical side that all you bloggers might be interested in.

So here's a blogging tip for you. I was trying to fancy up the house, so to speak, before all these visitors came my way and decided to try out some new blog backgrounds. For a couple of weeks I had this one from Cutest Little blog on the blog called Barefoot 2 and I liked it for it's curly Q vines naturally, and also the earthy green of course! But it was a dark earthy brown background and some had trouble reading it so I changed to the soft tropical sea blue you see now. In doing this change I tried out some other Blogger Templates (located on your Layout page) to make the backgrounds work better. But it's been so long since I've done a change like this I didn't think that messing with the template would be a problem. I eventually got back to the one I had originally and it worked out but there was one thing I'd forgotten. You see, I have Google analytics connected to all four of my shops as well as my Blog. It's been awhile since I got this hooked up and really forgot how I did it. After all the bloggers started to visit my blog last Friday a few days later I thought, 'I should check my analytics and see where my visitors are coming from', cool huh? Well I got over there and my shops were all reporting but my blog had flat-lined. I thought maybe there was a glitch and tried to look around there to find something and couldn't so forgot about it and not until today was I thinking about it again after the Bead Soup reveal yesterday.

So back to Google I went and my account and I tried to troubleshoot it. Not until I actually went to see how I hooked it up to my blog in the first place did I realize what happened. When I changed the template to accommodate the new background I also removed the code which I had embedded in the template body code. AKK! It wasn't a snafoo of Google's, it was my own doing! I can't tell you how upset with myself I was, because I can never get all that info back so that is why I am sharing this with you. Some of you may be wanting to 'REDECORATE' and if you have analytics on your blog I don't want you to make the same mistake I did, so if you do change your template in blogger don't forget to go back and get your code on the analytics site and insert it just above the body line. If you have a hard time with things like that just go here, it will walk you through it.

Now that you know what not to do when redecorating, how about a spring freshen up for your blog? Want a new look? Some extra bells and whistles? I've come across a few really cool sites that offer free backgrounds, buttons and more. Some tell you what Blogger template to use others don't so it will be some experimentation. Word to the wise, copy your code of the present template so you can revert back to it. In your layout file click on the tab for Edit Html, there you will find the template code you currently have. Copy and save in a doc on your pc. Also if you have another background already, copy that code too so you don't have to waste time looking for it again. Just go to your layout page, page elements and find the Html/Java Script gadget you have it under. Click on it and copy the code and paste it in the doc you have your template on.

Now on to the good stuff, these all have great variety of backgrounds to choose from, it's like shopping in a home dec store, have fun experimenting and finding a style that suits you and your current mood! And give them a thumbs up Stumble while you're there!

Free blog backgrounds

Cutest Little Blog on the Block
Cute n Cool Blog Stuff by itkupilli Cool headers (banners) here too!

Here's some Great Giveaways I came across in my recent travels around the blogosphere:

A great Russian Polymer Clay artist I met on my travels is having a Birthday celebration and she is celebrating by gifting you if your comment is drawn. Go here to enter , scroll down for the English version. She makes beautiful polymer flowers and more!

Love Beading? Lisa of Lucid Moon Studios is giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to ART ! and if that isn't enough she is having a second and third prize which you will have to visit to see..............:) Read her Bead Soup post and then see the giveaway on the bottom of that post.

LeAnn Weih of Summers Studio is having a First Friday Freebie Giveaway, hurry get your entry in by midnight tonight (not sure under what time zone so hurry!) Prize? BEADS! A Mystery BOWL of BEADS! Yum!

Maria Greene of Greenearthoriginals was in the Bead Soup Swap and she is generously auctioning off her necklace to raise money for those in need, like right now, Haitians. Stop by her blog and see the beautiful necklace she made and is parting with for this heartfelt endeavor!

Now speaking of Giving, I've come across some cool sites where you can help others that range from $0 to a dollar or two.

Have you ever heard of FREECYCLE? I just learned of it recently and now am so excited about being able to find others that can really use some things I have to give away instead of taking to Good will where if they don't sell it within a certain amount of time they landfill it too! Connect with those who live in your own area/neighborhood. Clean out, help out and you also can find stuff you could use too. This is especially cool for artists, saves time from rummaging, yard saleing for that perfect thing you need for a project. You can scan the offers or post a wanted ad and see if anyone is willing to give you what you need. It's great, try it out, subscribe and you never know what great deal you can come across. Just follow the moderators instructions and be careful about completing deals, Safety first! Just click on the link above and type in your zip or town. It's that easy!

Are you a Bibliophil? Great news if you are and haven't discovered BookCrossing. I wish I'd know of this before giving away literally boxes of books! Anyway, check it out. It's part trading, part, mystery, and part budget reading, such a cool idea! It's an adventure for you and your books! There are over 100 countries participating. From the site:

BookCrossing is earth-friendly, and gives you a way to share your books, clear your shelves, and conserve precious resources at the same time. Through our own unique method of recycling reads, BookCrossers give life to books. A book registered on BookCrossing is ready for adventure.
I love an adventure and earth friendly too! What could be better?

Now who wants CHOCOLATE??? Is LOVE Fair? Fair Trade that is. Would you like to win some luscious Organic Fair Trade Chocolate? If so hop on over to Mambo Sprouts Blog to enter to win not only Chocolate but some Organic Coffee as well! Woo Hoo!

Craft Supply Deals for the week:

JoAnn's - Polymer Clay SALE - SculpeyIII And Premo! $1.69 and more clay items here
Michael's - Lots of Valentine's Stuff of course but also 50% off Bead Gallery Strands,other jewelry componants, 2 for $5, cLEaranCe BlowOut on Artists paints and brushes, Prismacolor Pen sets, 50% off.
Hobby Lobby - 50% off Metal Gallery Jewelry and more
Prairie Craft - New Formula coming out KATO POLYMER CLAY
Specials this month:This months discount coupons are:

VAL5 5% discount for order over $50.00
VAL10 10% discount for orders over $100.00
VAL15 15% discount for order over $200.00

Coupons good till the end of February.

And there you have it, I hope you found one or more things that can be useful to you, please leave me a comment on what you liked/ didn't like, want to see more of, less of, whatever's on your mind!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's New Wednesday - Bead Soup Swap Reveal!

UPDATE: I've completed the rounds to all the participants, it only took me 9 hours over a 2 day period! I really enjoyed visiting all your creations and hope to do this again soon! (there are still 6 that haven't posted yet and I will return to view yours too!).

The day has finally come for the unveiling! I've been telling you for weeks now about my participation in Lori Anderson's Bead Soup Swap who got the idea from Heather Powers of Art Bead Scene.

Lori decided to put one together, not expecting the huge turnout! I'm sure it's been quite an undertaking for Lori coordinating this for the past month and a half and I stand and applaud her! When all was said and done we had 84 participants in our Swap! Jewelers from all around the world, both professional and amateur answered the invitation to join in the swap and participate in the party.

Each person got matched up with a partner that mostly worked in a different medium than the other partner. Lori made over 40 matches, wow! Some contacted their partners and asked what they might like, others had pre-gathered their soup and sent it out when they got their partners name. I think everyone had great anticipation while waiting for their packages to arrives. Some sent the essentials that were required some lots more but all were interesting stretching each participant to work with components not chosen by themselves in this artistic endeavor. Many also posted to the Flickr group Lori started so we could see what each one sent and received and speculate on how they would interpret them into a creation all their own.

Well today is the day we've all been looking forward to, the PAR-TAY! This is where we all reveal the creations we've been working on so diligently since receiving our soup ingredients.

I will keep this short since you have lots of other blogs to visit so I will let the pictures tell the story, from the package I received, to the steps I recorded along the way, to my finished piece.

What was required in the mix each participant sent was the following:

~ A focal
~ Some coordinating spacers or beads
~ A special clasp (not just a lobster claw)

This is the pretty package I got from my partner Boot~C aka Jayne, please stop by her blog to see what she made with my bead soup ingredients I sent her.

I pondered over this mix for days wondering what to cook up with my soup. Played around with the pieces to get some ideas and kept drawing a blank.... I think I was trying too hard, over-thinking it.
Jayne had put together a similar mix and made a necklace with it and posted to the group Flickr pool so I didn't want to make something so similar, so I put it on the back burner to 'stew'. Then one night sitting in Borders sipping coffee and looking through some magazines and books it suddenly came to me. I love how that works. You look at a piece and get a totally different design pop into your head using the components you were trying to get to come together. I wonder if it's looking at others works that somehow frees our wheels to turn without us realizing it? I guess it takes our focus off what we are trying so hard to do and taking in what others have made that allows our subconscious to keep working on it. Anyway I quickly made a sketch then and there in the coffee shop in my little Ideas notebook I keep with me and when I sat down at my work table to get it going I actually followed my sketch pretty much to a 'T'. Sometimes my drawings are only stepping stones to the end product but this one worked so well it didn't need much tweaking... except for positioning and doubling the wire on the perch and adding some feet to the little bird to balance on.

Here are the steps I took to make some of the components given in my soup into a 'conglomerate' focal. You can click on the photo to get a larger view, but hit the back button to come back to this page. I used the piece of bamboo for the perch and added a twisted wire bail to complete it.

Now I had to figure out how to showcase this focal. I thought since the focal was a rather large 'focal' point I didn't want to distract from it with competing large beads so I sadly had to put aside the green beads Jayne sent. She couldn't remember what these were but I think I have identified them as Aventurine. Since green is my favorite color I wanted to do something with them so after the necklace was completed I made this bracelet.

I added some Sea Blue faceted quartz beads and used the silver beads Jayne had included as well as a few coordinating ones from my own stash. I like the raw natural shape of the Aventurine next to the faceted blue quartz, it makes a great contrast and can go casual or dressy. (to those following the Magic Carpet ride this is the "Something Green" I am giving away! ) :)

I think I went through every bead box and bowl I have and settled on using gray and peacock potato freshwater pearls in two sizes and rough cut faceted Labradorite. I had originally wanted to use the beautiful leaf clasp on the side but after assembling the focal I felt it would be too much. I was also going to do an asymmetrical look

with one strand on one side and three on the other but felt it would be too distracting and take away from the focal instead of enhancing it. Less is better, so I went with a mixture of silver bugle beads, the various sized freshwater pearls and the Labradorite ovals. To tie it all in with the focal I added two of the larger pearls of two different shades to the bead 'egg' in the nest.

So without further ado I present: "Swinging on a Breeze"

To follow the party Check out Lori's Party post here and take some time to visit all the mysteries revealed in Bead Land!



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