Friday, November 30, 2007

Full of Surprises!

Southwest Heirloom Santa - $25.00
Santa sculpture doll measures approximately 18" tall including the stand to which he is permanently attached. Instead of a traditional Christmas tree he has with him a stuffed felt cactus! Embellished with bugle beads, a variety of fabrics, tiny lights, and faux fur.

Won't your holiday guests be surprised and thrilled when they walk in and see Santa greeting them just inside the front door! Quite a conversation piece, your parties will be THE latest hotspot once the word spreads about your clever home decor.

Debbie, owner of Craftymoose is a self-taught mixed-media artist who makes a wide variety of things but specializes in French beading and mixed-media art dolls most of which include beads and wire. The work has a folk-art feel to it, and all pieces are one-of-a-kind. I just love her beaded french flowers! Absolutely gorgeous work!

French Beaded Ring of Beaded Roses - $40.00
Made with Czech glass seed beads, some of which are vintage, about 60 years old. Each component was completed and then attached to a 7 inch ring. There is a loop attached to the back of the ring so this may be hung on a wall or in a window.

This hummingbird is also very pretty and would be splendid to hang in the window or above your bed or over your desk. This piece caught my eye because I am currently exploring creative ways of filling in wire frames. She has done a great job here of rendering this little creature and even has the markings and shading down!

Beaded Hummingbird Suncatcher – 14.00
Hummingbird hand-formed with 20 gauge black wire. His wingspan is 5" and he is a little over 5" long. Czech glass seed and bugle beads in different finishes were used to bead the body & wings. The head is beaded in metallic green & ruby transparent and the chest in peach with a pearl finish. The wings are done in crystal clear, topaz & copper.

Go check out her Etsy store. You never know what you might find...or what you might miss if you don't.

To see more by this artist go to:

To read more about her and her activities, read her blog:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like Christmas
Ornament Gift Tags - $3.00
Set of 20; 10 green and 10 blue. Each textured tag measures 4"x2" with a chocolate brown polka dot ribbon

Vanessa Kimball is a graphic designer for a company called Ekcetera Productions. She has a new brick and mortar store by the same name in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota which sells a lot of the same types of stationary products as she carries in her Etsy online store. Her Etsy store carries cards, gift tags and even a few banners that can be customized.

These cards have an impressionistic style that lends itself well to Winter themes. Its minimalism with the pines only on one side and the rest of the card white expresses the feeling of cold temperatures and barren snow-covered landscape, using negative space to illustrate the harsh yet beautiful climate.

O Tannenbaum – $6.00
Set of 4, blank holiday cards with a German feel to it. Cards measure to 5.5"x4". The set comes with 4 winter blue envelopes. Larger quantities can be ordered.

These simple greeting cards are nice for mailing or to use on gifts.

All Is Calm - $6.00
4 blank holiday/winter cards with a bird resting on a branch. Cards measure to 5.5"x4". The set comes with 4 chocolate brown envelopes. Larger quantities can be ordered.

If you're having a Christmas/Holiday party you will be needing some nice invitations to mail out. These have all the sections laid out on the back for you to fill in your infornation

Tis the Season 10 Party Invites - $15.00
This item is a two-sided flat card with rounded corners.
Measures at 5.5"x4. The Funky Green invites are illustrated with party decor. 10 winter blue envelopes compliment the green card stock. Larger quantities can be ordered.

To order your gift cards, invitations, and/or holiday tags go to:

If you live in (or will be visiting in) her local area, drop by her store in-person and see what she’s got:

5719 Blaine Ave.

Inver Grove Heights, MN

To read up more on the artist, read her blog:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why Not Make Your Point~In Style!

Bushisms Blank Notecards (Set of 4) - $6.00
cards are made of a 110lb bright white cardstock and measure approx. 4.25" x 5.5"
The set includes 4 bright white envelopes and come packaged in a resealable clear cellophane bag.

Michael P. Gresh, owner of Darjeeling Paper Ltd. and co-owner of DemiGod Studios makes all kind of paper products, but his specialty is his hand-bound journals, created entirely by hand. The covers are made from 100% recyclable material, and the cover finishes are made of an acid-free and lignen-free paper.

Michael's products speak for themselves. One can plainly see that they are expertly crafted and beautiful aesthetically, from the choices of paper and fabric he uses, down to the precision binding of the books. The embellishment is under-stated, but well-placed where it counts to give his line a polished and professional look.

4x4 Green Hand-bound Hardcover Journal - $17.00
Finished with a "faux-distressed" cardstock and features a handy interchangeable nameplate on the cover, measurements; approximately 4-1/8" x 4-1/8". The interior cover pages are made from a black linen stock, and it has 108 bright white blank sheets.

4x6 Paisley Hand-bound Hardcover Journal - $27.00
Book measures approx. 4-1/8" x 6-1/8". The interior cover pages are made from a black linen stock, and it has 108 bright white blank sheets.

Michael started Darjeeling Paper, Ltd. as a way to showcase his paper goods, and to distinguish his works as a new product division of DemiGod.

He designs hotels as his “day job”, but plans one day to open up his own brick and mortar store.

Bright and Colorful Notecards - Set of 4 - $6.00
Cards are approximately 4" x 5 1/2" and are packaged together in a re-sealable cellophane pouch, along with four blank white envelopes. Shipments are mailed in a stay-flat cardboard box.

Darjeelingpaper currently accepts PayPal only, but no worries; you can pay with your credit card through PayPal even if you don’t have a PayPal account. Purchasing couldn’t be any easier! Just click on Buy Now to get to the buying form, choose the “PayPal; credit card without a PayPal account” option and you’re all set!

For more beautifully crafted paper products go to:

To learn more about the artist, read his blog:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Listening To A Higher Calling
Bobo Batik Mini Mew Mew Kitty Cat Folk Art - $15.00
100% cotton batik fabric stuffed with polyester fiber fill over a wire leg armature.

MaryAnn Anderson of Backwoodscreations, a former Medicaid policy writer for the state of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services creates absolutely gorgeous animal figures made from fabric and stuffing sculpted, and shaped around an armature!

What struck me immediately about her work was just how well she is able to capture the animal’s expression, (especially in her cats), and I was blown away by how low her prices are for the product she offers. With items easily worth $150 apiece, the artist seems somewhat shy when asked about her most expensive sale, particularly humble about her sculptures.

“Most of my work is moderately priced because I want it to be accessible to a wide range of people. I have had several paintings that have been commissioned and sold for decent prices by an unknown artist (me). I sold a couple of commissioned paintings for $200-$250. It was work very different than what I sell on Etsy. More traditional portraiture (corgis) done in acrylics on canvas.”

This downplaying of her profitability of these pieces could very likely be because she feels, as many artists do; that the work chooses her rather than the other way around, although these may be where her biggest potential lies in terms of financial viability.

Fergus Calico Cat Feral Feline Series Folk Art Sculpture EFA - $35.00
100% cotton clothe stuffed with polyester fiberfill over a wire armature Fergus is hand-painted. As a member of EFA (Etsy for animals) I will donate 10% to the selected charity of the month that this cat is adopted in.

“I currently do some pickup consulting work here and there but most of my money comes from making and selling the product of my creativity. The fabric animal sculptures are what have given me a precarious toe hold into the possibility of making a decent livelihood out of doing what thrills me. But I also create work that has meaning to me in many different forms. I think of it as listening to the everyday sacred. I am a steward of this earth. It is up to me to protect it, love it and take care of it. I make the animals that talk to me. Some talk more than others. The materials used sometimes just lend themselves to being what they are. The basic shapes are a jumping off point.”

When asked how she captures the cats' expressions so realistically, she answers, “Honestly I don't know.” Notice the cat at the top which seems to be staring longingly at you to take him home. Not only expressions are captured, but if you notice some of the other cats you'll see that body language is also expressed quite realistically! Perhaps work like this is divinely guided. It has often been theorized that artists enter a type of meditative state while working which gives them (us) an exceptional receptiveness on a metaphysical level. I know what she means when she says these animals “talk” to her. This is an experience of being that seems etched upon the “collective unconscious” for artists since the beginning of time, unique in the form in which it comes, yet Universal.

How did she learn to make these sculptures? By learning the basics, and then with lots of experimentation.

“No one taught me directly, “here, this is how you do it”. They are an accumulation of skills gathered over the years. Knowing how to sew and what a dart does as well as how to be forgiving to oneself during the process is important. Working with fabric and embellishment was not a far stretch from what I learned as a child from my mother. Many of the hand skills that I use today I learned from her. She was a lot more traditional in their usage than I am, but she gave me a firm foundation in "just do it". Mastery comes with doing. So I keep doing to get that mastery of my medium and techniques; always ongoing and never will stop.”

Little Bird Big Heart Decorative freestanding Fabric Sculpture EFA Charity - $14.00
Made out of a red, pink and green floral print cotton fabric with contrasting wings. Stands 4 inches tall. 10% from the sale of this item goes to the monthly EFA (Etsy for Animals) charity.

About a year ago after having worked in the Medicaid system for some time, she decided life was too short to wait any longer to start living her dream. The answer for her was not only to change what she was doing for a living, but to change her whole sense of priorities, and to re-evaluate what was really important in her life underneath all the window-dressing.

“I needed to use my creative energies or perish. I also had a dear friend get diagnosed with cancer and live six more months. He had always said "I will do it when I retire." That was a really big wake up call for me. So I quit (the) security and ran open-armed into the future. I needed to use those skills I had put myself through college 25 years ago to get. I had gotten a degree in painting from Maine College of Art after deciding RISD was too expensive. I had been denying my creative needs for years and it was time to STOP!

When I was working a “socially acceptable” job and was making decent money with benefits and all the trappings that went along with it I was miserable for the most part and didn't really grok to (realize/acknowledge) that fact. When I made the decision to quit that, a sense of peace came over me. I knew I was making the right decision. I figured I would try it until my bank account got to a certain figure. That was over a year ago and the figure hasn't been hit. Part of the reason for that is my life has become much, much simpler in needs and desires. I don't have to buy things to work (clothes, shoes, lunches), nor am I on the road commuting two hours a day. The less "things" I have or buy the happier I am, and the more I am able to stop and appreciate what I do have and the natural beauty in the environment around me. When I worked (in a traditional job), buying things is what I did to make me happy. Now I don't do that because I am happy with how I am living and what I am doing.”

Benny Feral Feline Folkart Fabric Sculpture Batik Striping - $33.00
Benny measures roughly 9" tall by 9 inches long. He is made in a smoke free environment out of 100% cotton fabric stuffed with polyester fiberfill and padded wire.

MaryAnn currently sells her work at Spiralworks Artisans Gallery (soon to be known as River Roads Artisans Gallery) in Skowhegan Maine. She also does custom work through her own website and her Etsy store. The artist is working on getting together her portfolio to go show her work to other brick and mortar stores. “It is hard to sell oneself I think. But if I want to stay doing this I have to invest that time in myself.”She has had the most success locally through word-of-mouth.

“I have learned tons on Etsy from people on the forums, usually people much younger then myself” says MaryAnn. “I have picked up tips on how to use the internet to help get exposure for my work. I knew I wanted to be successful but there is also a realistic side to me so I am just finishing up a class on writing a business plan. That has been very helpful in looking at short and long-term goals, pricing, recordkeeping etc. It was free and reinforced some of the things I already knew and is also giving me an opportunity to network with other creative women in central Maine as well as learning good business practices. Even mistakes are valuable tools. I can kick myself for making bad choices but in the end they work to my advantage because I learn from them. Plus I have found some helpful blogs such as Luann Udell’s blog . She has great business tips for many things.”

The artist reflects on what her most important take-home message might be. “My best lesson, I don't know who taught me; maybe it was learned over time, is that I can't and won't be everything to everybody. Some people absolutely do not like my work. I on the other hand don't like everybody’s either. But I have to have respect for it, their process and their voice. Hopefully they will have the same for mine.”

Who could possibly not like this regal kitty?!

Chloe Feral Feline Folk Art Fabric Cat Sculpture - $28.00
A midsized cat standing at approximately 8 inches tall and 12 inches long. 100% cotton fabric stuffed with polyester fiberfill and a polyester covered armature wire

Books that have been particularly helpful to MaryAnn that she can recommend are The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and she is currently reading Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland.

“I have just started that but it looks like it will help with distancing myself from my inner and outer critics. There is also a book similar to the Artist's Way which looks like it might be good to work through and that is Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel. I have a list! and not enough hours in the days.”

As far as new techniques she would like to tackle, MaryAnn is interested in learning Lampwork someday.

Her plans for selling to holiday shoppers are to continue to keep a wide range of price points, package nicely, and ship promptly. “I also stick in a thank you card to everyone who buys” says MaryAnn, “and for those people who are frequent buyers I slip in a little extra perk here and there.

Future work, like the birds, will be more embellished, I think. These ones currently are about shape and line. Now I need to “ice the cake” so to speak.”

When asked what her long-term goals are for her business, MaryAnn had this to say. “To make my living from my work and have it speak to those around me, well also those in the rest of the world too.”

I can hardly wait to see what she does with dogs!

For more of these lovely creations or to place a custom order, go to:

To learn more about the artist and activities she’s involved in, read her blog:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Peace, Love, and Recycling

Patchwork Purse - $15.00
Made from leftover fabric from a throw-pillow. The front is a patchwork of a fancy swan, a flower, and some solids, plus the border around the top (which is also the same as the strap on the bag). The backside is a large image of the swans around an ornate flower. The inside liner is white.

Katie of Knuckletoes from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada makes mod and funky clothing and accessories items from recycled materials, both for the style, and also as a way to help the environment. A lot of the items in this shop remind me of things that were popular during the ‘60s. Those were the good old days.

Her other shop Revynalized specializes in items made from old recycled record albums.

Plaid Floral Tote Bag - $10.00
This tote bag is made of a heavy black fabric with a pink and orange plaid floral pattern on a black background. It falls about at hip length.

Purple Skirt - $25.00
Made of a lightweight silky fabric, this skirt has an elastic waistband, and fit's approximately a 34" waist.

Stone Hemp Necklace - $15.00
Hand braided with white and brown quill beads, amber beads and this great handmade centerpiece of stone wrapped in wire. One end has a loop and the other has loose strings for tying.

To find more cool handmade vintage items go to:

To learn more about the artist, take a look at her blog:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Art As Universal Language

Nera Blums Sterling Silver Earrings - $22.50
Flower post earrings, 1 cm - .5 inch wide with black oxidized stamen

Catherine Marche of Kalicat Designs has am extensive background in graphic arts and graduated from the University of Orléans (FRANCE) in 1990 in Mathematics and Physics, Beaux-Arts d'Orléans, Conservatoire National de Musique, from 1990-91 the University of Vermillion (USA), graduated in Computer Sciences and Music, 98-2000 Central St Martins College of Art and Design, Etching - Photoshop and web design.

In the year 2000 she went on to study at Putney School of Arts, Screenprinting, then in 2001 at Artichoke Studios - Lithography, Bankside Gallery – Linocut, in 2003 learned Book Illustration at the Chelsea School of Arts, then learned Adobe Illustrator in 2003, and studied Fashion Illustration at the London College of Fashion in 2005.

She worked for 10 years as an IT consultant, and then went on to become a Fashion Illustrator, putting to work a lot of the skills she had previously learned.

Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, in 1967, then growing up in several countries, Catherine learned to speak several languages. She often changed schools as often as 3 times a year. Her ability to adapt to many different environments came in handy later in life.

"I grew up in several countries as my Dad was in the airforce.
I went to kindergarten in Germany, then Primary school in Germany, Africa and back to France. I love the fact it made me bilingual and have a real easiness learning new foreign languages. I also speak English, Spanish, a bit of Dutch and Creole and am learning Japanese. I stil have a love of travelling and discovering new cultures. I studied in the USA and noe live in London UK."

Catherine has a love of colors, feels she may be influenced by Die Brucke artists like Otto Mueller. "I also love Dali, Picasso and am crazy for Nikki de St Phalle and Louise Bourgois, "she remarks. "I have also collected a few African artefacts and sculptures made of wood which are a delight to my senses."

Her parents were very permissive and went further than most to nurture the artistic qualities in their child. "As a child, my parents "gave me" free expression on my walls, which still have some murals to these days and my brothers and I also had a few notebooks where we could write and draw everything we wanted. My parents always encouraged all artistic expression and allowed me to learn music. I have a degree in music and still paint, illustrated, play the pianio, and the saxophone."

In addition to having worked as an IT consultant she has worked as an interpreter, a model, a translator, a math teacher, a private tutor, an arts teacher at various times during her life.

Now she doesn't exhibit as much as she used to since her children have been born but in addition to making jewelry she currently paints, does Fashion design, and designs wedding invitations.

Some of her work is still on display in a museum in Tayali (Zambia).

She sites among the disadvantages of being a jewelry artist in the UK; the cost of living being so high there making it hard to compete with US prices, and the advantages being that she lives in a hub of creative people and that people there have very eclectic tastes in art.

"I really like The Penland book of Jewelry which showcases unusual jewelry and techniques.Visits to the Victoria and Albert Museum and estate auctions are also very inspirational."

She recommends to other artists to make what they feel like making and not necessarily what they think will sell or what others do.

If you look at her site gallery you will see just how varied her work is and how many ways she’s been able to put it to use! Her drawing/painting styles range from a whimsical, stylized gesture drawing impressionistic style,

Lola plumes rouges - Price: £220 - US$ 350
inks on paper

to quite classic, formal paintings and drawings of nudes

Crayon on Paper
Size: 20 x 30 cm.

Sleeping Beauty - Price: $ 450.00 - £300
Acrylic on Paper
Dimensions: 20" x 28"

and portaits of people that are hightly realistic;

Oil on Canvas
24" x 18",
Private collection

La Lectrice - The reader - £450 - $670 - 680€
Huile sur bois - Oil on wood
53 x 60 cms - 21" x 24"

Catherine has had a number of corporate clients for her illustrations, and her work has been in private museum collections in France, UK, USA, West Indies, Netherlands, and Spain, and represented in galleries in France, and in the US (Pennsylvania, and Florida).

Her work has appeared in magazines, on TV, and she has retained high-profile clients such as L’Oreal.

Her jewelry includes anything from simple beaded designs to traditional precision metal fabrication.

"I've Always been crazy for jewelry, always will be" says Catherine. "I had about 60 pairs of earrings as a teenager, which was when I started making my own jewels. I have designed and commissioned several pieces in sterling silver, 18K gold, and platinum, including my engagement ring and wedding ring. Becoming a jeweller was just a normal extension of my artistic expression. (Catherine is going 3D)." It is quite interesting that so many jewelry artists started out in 2 dimensional art and feel compelled to translate their work into 3-D form although they may continue drawing and painting or alternate between both artforms. I have heard this from a number of people and I myself have always felt a need to have things be 3-dimensional. There is a sense of completeness you just don't quite get from a flat canvas or paper.

Catherine once was looking through a fashion magazine after one of her children was born and her husband asked her what she'd like as a present to celebrate the birth. She came across the picture of a gorgeous emerald-cut Rubellite ring by the exclusive Boucheron Jewellers. Not having any idea how much it cost, her husband took her over there, they got it out of the vault and when it came time to pay for it the clerk informed them it would be $440,000. Her husband looked as though he might faint any minute, and she told the man showing it to them that this was "a bit over" their "budget," returning the ring to it's secure fortress behind thick steel doors.

Some of her nicest pieces are these that I have included here.

These Blum Blum earrings are her best-sellers.

Blum Blum sterling silver Stud Earrings - $32.00
Solid sterling handcrafted pair of earrings delivered with sterling silver earposts, in an organza pouch.

This ring has an anticlastic look, with a substantial width, and subtly textured surface; graceful but with a very nice weightiness.

Large Sterling Silver Ring - $49.50
Adjustable, formed ring with hammered finish (one size fits all)

This bracelet on the other-hand makes use of its wispiness and contrasting negative space to capitalize on its lightness. With just one ring in 18 Karat gold amongst the sterling silver loops, its delicate understatement is what makes this piece work.

Loopy - 18K gold and Sterling Silver Bracelet - $495
Solid 18K yellow gold and Sterling Silver BraceletEach loopy link has been forged and fabricated by hand. Bracelet measures approx. 7”.

This piece with round Jade beads spilling in a bunch from the center of a large-link sterling chain, fittingly named Green Peas Delight really is delightful! The beads seem to cascade from it like a lively waterfall.

Green Peas Delight Jade and sterling Silver Bracelet - $50.00
Sterling silver chain with 7 jade beads resembling peas, approx length 7", or 19 cm.

Surprisingly, Catherine says that her most successful venue has been on Etsy, then shows and Open Studios second and third.

Look for more of her work at VIX Emporium in Philadelphia.

Techniques she would like to learn are Pave' , Repousse, and Chasing.

When asked what her plans are to present her work to holiday shoppers she said, "I have already done 1 Christmas market, did an open studio today, and will do another one next week;

Her plans long-term for her business are to create new collections, be commissioned by fashion houses to design their collections, and she would like her jewelry to be liked by many, and to adorn many more.

For more beautiful work available, or to place a custom order, go to:

and in the UK:
and in Europe:

To learn more about the artist, read her blog:

and her reviews on other artists:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ripe for the Harvest

Scenic Jasper and Turquoise Necklace - $70.00
18" (45.72 cm) long, the strand itself consists of 31 round mixed tan-green agate beads (4mm),
Turquoise with a greenish tint, miscellaneous jaspers, 13 Unakite round 4mm beads, with a pair of silver wire guardians, sterling jump rings and a beautiful sterling silver toggle clasp. The clasp has an extra long bar for security and 3 extra jump rings, for play while closing (that puts less stress on the wire). Deep olive green seed beads between the stones on the main part (the jasper and turquoise), and two lovely Bali sterling silver beads

Steph Strain of BerrypatchDesigns based in Orlando Florida uses lots of Jaspers and other earthtone natural gemstone beads in her designs. Her style is very Southwestern, but with her own twist. The word that comes to mind for me is “Harvest”. Her pieces have a deep but warm glow about them, like the ripening of Indian corn, squash, and mulberries. I remember about this time of year in Baltimore as I was growing up, the mulberries would turn a rich, velvety shade of purple or plum. These colors while somewhat low-key always gave me a smoldering sense of excitement along with the briskness of the November air.

The necklace at the top exemplifies the richness of Steph's work at its best, flowing with transitioning shapes, colors, and textures that give the necklace a graceful but at the same time, commanding presence. This jewelry is for real women, not shrinking violets. There is a definite maturinty to it that you don't see in all jewelry, a substantialness that only a strong woman can carry off.

This bracelet is deep and powerful in its design but at the same time also conveys a sort of wry humor. Notice how well the colors in the goldstone and glass bicones go together, both the yellower hues and the darker browns.

Mouse Hunt Bronzite Bracelet - $17.00
Big, chinky bronzite beads; the largest oval is 20x12mm, the smallest pair is 14x10mm. Alternating with the oval bronzites are adorable mouse-shaped silver spacers, along with two brown-and-cream bicone glass accent beads. The silver toggle is tiger-striped with a cat face charm, for a touch of irony.

This next necklace with a variety of gemstones included is an eclectic piece in terms of the materials used, but it is consistant with her autumn motif color palette, reminding me alot of candycorn.

Yellow Aspen (N010018) - $35.00
Silver leaf agate leaves as drop pendants, on a yellow-gold Czech glass and semiprecious gemstone necklace. The stones include 10mm faceted carnelian, 3mm faceted crystals, banded agate round beads, 3x8mm tiger eye heishe and sterling silver Bali spacers.

Might I also mention that her work is very reasonably priced for the amount of stone you get in one of these one-of-a-kind pieces!

Fall is the right time for you to pick one of them; maybe more.

To keep an eye on new designs as they become available or to place a custom order, go to her several stores on Etsy:

To learn more about the artist and what she’s up to, read her blog:

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's All in the Details

Rilo the Fox Fine Silver Necklace - $85.00
Signed and dated on reverse with the Artist's signature and year 07, comes on an 18” chain.
Comes carefully packaged with a certificate of authenticity. Stones include Rose Quartz, freshwater pearl, and Aventurine.

Alternate Bliss Boutique is owned by a mixed media artist who lives in Utah who makes original art including Watercolor Art, ACEO's, Art Prints, and hand made Fine/Sterling Silver Jewelry with gemstone beads. Her work shows intricate detail in all her mediums. Notice the fur carved into the fox, and the numbers on the clock of the rabbit charm, for instance.

I really like the fine silver pieces with animals she makes such as the fox Rilo (shown at top), and the necklace below with a handmade charm of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. The sculptural bas relief look is quite flattering and gives the piece expression.

White Rabbit Alice in Wonderland Fine Silver Necklace - $130.00
Rabbit in fine silver accompanied by a dark pink tourmaline gem (representing the Queen of Hearts) and a freshwater pearl (representing the color of the rabbit).
Pendant measures 1 inch in width from edge of heart to edge of clock: 3/4 inch16 inch sterling silver chain (if you would prefer 17, 18, 19 or 20 inch chain at no additional cost; please state in your note to seller).

If you want something really individualized for yourself or to give as a present, she can make you a custom charm necklace with any 3 initials.

You Choose Custom Initial Charm Necklace - $35.00
Your three initials stamped into fine silver, similar to necklace shown with a light peach tourmaline gem stone, a new jade stone, and a fine silver heart charm (or star if you prefer).
Includes a 17” sterling silver chain. Charms hang approx. 1 inch (Initial Charm approx 1/2 inch circular in shape).

In addition to these pieces, she also has a lot of Japanese inspired watercolor paintings and ACEOs.

This one below is beautiful, with little bubbles that seem to resist the pink paint.

Pink Jellies Original Watercolor and Ink Pink and Black Jelly Fish - $30.00
Watercolor and ink, painted on professional illustration board.
Actual Image measure 3 1/2 inches tall by 6 1/2 inches wide. Image has a 1/2 inch white boarder. Frame and Matt not included.

See her Etsy store for even more great gift items:
and her blog, to learn more about the artist:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks For This Food We Are About To Receive…and Food for Thought

Set of 4 Cards in a pink felt bag - $7.50
This is a set of 4 pink-themed, 4"x 5.5" all-occasion cards which come in a pink felt bag, with button closure and a green vine stitched around the edges. Each comes with their own envelope. Other colors available; contact artist about specifics.

Sarah Orton of SimplySaidBySarah is a graphic design student. Her friends and co-workers in Raleigh, North Carolina encouraged her to put her lifelong love of crafts to work, so she created her business in response to their suggestions.

All of her profits are donated to help provide treatment to people with eating disorders through an organization called NEDA.

These cheery designs make nice gift items and are reasonably-priced. Forget Hallmark and buy hand-made while you help people with your purchase.

Holly Sticky Notes - $1.00
Printed Sticky Notepad measures 3"x3" and has a fun, sturdy cover. This pad has 100 green sticky note pages.

Monogrammed Gift Set - $4.25
set includes 1 sticky note pad with your monogram on it, 1 colored memo pad with a lovely ribbon tied through it, and 1 coordinating gel pen all wrapped together in a cellophane bag. (please specify color you would like and your initials).

It is fitting that I should be doing this particular feature on Thanksgiving Day when food is such a big part of the American tradition. Although a joyous occasion for some shared with love from friends and family, this holiday is no doubt an added source of inner turmoil for those who suffer in a tomb of isolation from eating disorders. Perhaps we should reflect and think to ourselves “but by the grace of God go I” and contribute to this worthy cause so that others might one day enjoy eating and life the way the rest of us can.

To purchase these wonderful paper products and magnets, just go to:
and to learn more about the artist, see her blog:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Enchanting Journey

Gift from Pandora’s Lover - Beautiful amethyst necklace - EAST – purple - $132.00
Measures approximately 18 inches, including clasp. The pendant portion measures about 2 inches.

Andee Harston of Celticgoddessjewelry, a Buddhist pagan of Celtic heritage, lives in Orlando Florida and loves to draw, paint, sculpt, make jewelry, and do photography. She is influenced by spiritual learning, nature and goddess and Celtic imagery.

Andee’s jewelry has a definite spiritual, New Age feeling to it, taking you on an enchanting journey. You will find crystals, pieces made with rough stones, sterling, and pewter spiritual symbol charms, and much more.

My favorite is the piece listed above; Gift from Pandora’s Lover, using rich purple Amethyst beads and a bali style pendant. This substantial necklace would be a beautiful addition to anybody’s jewelry collection.
The Baltic Amber earrings below are also absolutely gorgeous in several different shades of honey, from a translucent warm sunshine yellow, to transparent medium, to a deep cogniac.

Earrings - Baltic Amber, yellow jade - solar plexus chakra - $15.00
Sterling silver and are created with Baltic amber and yellow jade.

Copper Goddess Earrings - Rainbow moonstone - pagan ritual wear - $29.00
Measure approximately 2 1/2 (without earring hook) to 3 inches long (with earring hook) and similar earrings can also be made in sterling silver. Copper is also attributed to increased communication, channeling, cleansing, and purification, increasing self-esteem and freeing the wearer of mental burdens. Rainbow moonstone has a gentle and calm energy. It enhances creativity, compassion, endurance and inner confidence. It is a stone that brings balance and harmony to the wearer.

Bracelet - Dragonfly garnet jewelry silver pewter – $25.00
Measures 8”, Silver Pewter Dragonfly Link Bracelet with a Bali Handmade Clasp with Garnet Cabs

Her customers have left her 8 pages of glowing feedback:

“A very intricate and beautiful piece, went over very well as a gift.”

“***recommended*** superb quality, great seller all around.”

“Prettier than pictured earrings! Nice workmanship and beautiful beads. The smokey quartz is perfect! Nice and clear! thanks so much for the fast ship and all the free goodies! great seller and one of my favorite people on Etsy!”

“What a great gift this will make for Christmas! (if I don't keep it for myself!)”

“Absolutely GORGEOUS necklace! I'm starting a new collection... Andee's jewelry! She's a gem! Thanks again.”

To see more and to get some great gifts go to:

and read her blog:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Natures Mimicry

Autumn Earth Mandala Art Quilt - $80.00
Hand-dyed fabrics by the artist; measures 13 inches across

Indigoluna based in Silverton, Oregon has been a fiber artist for 15 years, having done one kind of art or another all her life, her work has appeared on the cover of the 2005 Quilting Arts Calender, in Artella Magazine, Art/Quilt Magazine, Fiberarts Design Book 6, as well as many juried shows.

You can tell by her style that she has grown up with a love of nature. As a child she walked in the woods, picked wild mushrooms, and played in the blackberry bushes, captivated with the tree-covered landscape and taking in all the beauty that was around her. She mentions in her Etsy profile studying moss. Take a look at this art quilt devoted to exactly that.

The Secret Life of Moss - Art Quilt Collage - $95.00
Photographic printed transfer on cotton fabric; 8 X 10 art quilt embellished with yarn

Many of her pieces are inspired by natural forms and even the textures look almost like they came from the bark of certain types of trees or based on the fur of animals.

Her colors incorporate a lot of greens, reds, yellow, orange, and blue used together to give a rich depth to her pieces, and they are almost all punctuated by beautiful textures, with lots of frayed natural torn-looking edges and layering of one type or another. These business card carrying cases are really clever and quite beautiful! She has several currently available, but I really love this one.

Magic Pop-Up Business Card Carrying Case - $16.00
Cards fit snugly down inside and when you pull the beaded ribbon, they pop up like magic!

She is energized by trying things that are uncharted to see if they will work. This one below is fantastic and I’m sure she had to think outside the box to complete it!

Fiber Art/Mixed-Media Vessel - $85.00
Triangular vessel was created from the artist’s hand-dyed/rusted fabrics fused to Timtex and embellished with funky fibers, copper mesh and carnelian beads. It stands 10 inches high.

For those of you with a miniscule amount of money to spend, you can still have a tiny piece of art from Indigoluna for a very reasonable price; in fact she is nearly giving away these inchie lapel pins. They are so well-made and are created from beautiful and unusual fabrics you can’t find just anywhere. Yes, they are small, but fine! At this price you can afford to get a nice gift for your boss and all the office staff.

Beach Trip Quilted Inchie Lapel Pin - $10.00
1.5 inch square quilted mixed-media pin embellished with beaded wire dangles

See her Etsy store here:

and to learn more about the artist, read her blog:

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Tender Strength

Eek A Spider - $24.00
Made of white waxed linen “wedding knot” macramé; measures 22 inches (56cm) long. It features one 25mm snowflake obsidian donut and one 8mm Snowflake Obsidian bead to represent the spider. Includes twelve 6mm Tourmalinated Quartz beads, and twelve 3mm Snowflake Obsidian beads.

Kirsten of earthcharms makes jewelry intended to have a positive effect upon the wearer. When you peruse her Etsy store you will notice that each piece in her shop has a little statement underneath about the metaphysical properties of the stones used in the design; even the numerology behind them.

Her specialty is macramé using waxed linen cord, incorporating natural gemstone beads, and she uses a lot of Hematite, Prehnite, and Fluorite, each of these gemstones having a special meaning.

My favorite pieces of hers are the elaborately knotted chokers which have a lovely, lacy style and very polished and elegant upscale look yet without any hint of pretentiousness. One can look at the work and sense the path each hand has taken from beginning to end of the making imprinted upon the finished piece. Unlike a lot of the macramé you see out there her ends are nice and neat and inconspicuous, and they have a svelte braided taper as they transition from the body of the piece to the beaded closure, graceful as the neck of a swan.

I have always had a special place in my heart for buds on branches, and the way she places her beads on the cord reminds me of the way a bud nestles ever so gently to its stalk. It looks deceptively fragile, yet is quite firmly attached. Many of her descriptions touch on the concept of centeredness and staying or becoming grounded, and this is a recurrent theme in her work. Perhaps the symbolism of the beads perched seemingly precariously on their stem is a metaphor for the delicate balancing act between reaching out to take a risk for positive change while at the same time being cautious not to lose her footing in the process of her forays out into an uncertain world. We are sometimes stronger than we know. Should catastrophe befall us and we are tested, we often discover that another day passes and we wake up intact the following morning, surprised maybe, but relieved and a little proud for not having “fallen off our tree” so to speak, despite the killing frost.

Polarity - Prehnite and Hematite choker - $22.00
Twenty two 6mm Prehnite beads and 6 hematite beads macramed onto waxed cotton;
19 inches / 48 cm long, with a hoop and Prehnite nugget closure.

Deep Sea - choker with Hematite and Quartz - $24.00
Made with blue waxed linen and measures a total of 26 inches long, so it may also be draped along the collar bones. It features one 2.5 cm hematite donut, eight 6mm hematite round beads, and twelve 8mm quartz cubes.

Insight - earrings with Prehnite and Fluorite - $12.00
These earrings hang about 3/4 an inch (2cm) from their surgical steel French hooks.

For a gift your loved ones will really appreciate, go to her online store:

and to read more about the artist and her current news, take a look through her blog: