It's a snowy Sunday in Maine, but amazingly not as snowy as it is for all of you in VA, Maryland , Delaware and those parts. Since I used to live in DE and Baltimore, my thoughts are with you. They just don't have the equipment to clean it all up quickly. Be careful driving and walking the next few days. (Did you hear that mom?)
I have a new necklace that I really loved working on. It's called "Amber and Ice". I'm doing more of these smaller versions of my fancy peyote stitch pieces since they are more affordable and appeal to more people. I do love working with earthy colors.
As you wonder what to do this snowy eve, take a look!
Here it is December, and nearing Christmas. I can see how busy I've been because it's been quite awhile since I've posted anything here. School keeps me always occupied and thinking. Being a mom takes the most energy, but I wouldn't trade it.
I was happy to see that someone chose to put my Mermaid necklace in their selection of mermaid things on Etsy. Treasuries are up and running for just a few days but I believe they can be looked at after the treasury time period has ended. Here is a link to the one I am writing about: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list_west.php?room_id=79795
A weekend in September sparkle, surrounded by beauty and creativity. Push your cares away for the weekend and go back to a time where you could create for hours of intensity only to stop briefly for a delicious meal with colleagues or a walk to the ocean for a breath of pure sea air.
Not much time for sleeping, but when you did it was hunkered way down in the sleeping bag and maybe a hat on your head to keep the chill night air from enveloping you.
So much happened in a short time. Prints were pulled, paintings still freshly applied to canvas, wood carved, glass jewelry fusing in the kiln, wire sculpture and burned hands! I loved walking through the various studios talking to artists and getting ideas from their creations.
I made linoleum prints and fell in love with the process again. It's been many years since I carved into that stuff and it felt good.
Haystack is a retreat for artists and I highly recommend it. It is in Deer Isle, Maine and stunningly beautiful. If you can pull yourself away from the views you might get some art made.
This summer I had big plans of getting a million things accomplished. I know, you do it too. The house would be reorganized, my art studio would be cleaned out and give me lots of new work space, I'd take as much stuff to Goodwill as I could possibly part with, my son and I would do lots of fun activities, I'd plan out lessons for the upcoming school year and of course do a ton of art work and jewelry making. Not to mention spending more time with friends, reading more, back to a better devotional time to learn more about God, cooking less with microwave,visiting family out of state ... what was I thinking?
I did try out some new collage technique I learned from watching youtube artist Gary Reef. I had signed up to enter 3 pieces in the fall art show called 10 x 10 to support Arts are Elementary in the Brunswick schools. The collages are finished and happily hanging on our walls but I wanted to do something different for the show. I found out about zentangles through a web search. They are drawings often created in pen and ink that look like fancy doodling. Very relaxing to do and there aren't any rules. I just completed the second one about half an hour before my deadline to bring them to the drop off location! Deadlines are good, some of us need them.
One is in color and I titled it "Where Do I Go From Here?" The other is a series of nine individual small square drawings attached to a 10 x 10 paper and titled "Wrapped In Seaweed". Years ago I did quite a bit of pen and ink drawing and it was fun to get into it again. If you are in Brunswick on Friday October 9th, 2009 go see the show. I believe there are over 300 artists exhibiting work all in the 10 x 10 format.
Once again I had a lovely encounter with the sweet and friendly Kathe of Passion Flower Farms. I told you in an earlier post how beautiful her arrangements are. Today she made my day brighter by giving me one. It sits in my kitchen window making me happy each time I look in it's direction. Thank you again Kathe. Work on that blog idea and I will tell others to go there. Kathe's daughter joined her and their two smiles were even more beautiful than the flowers!
What can be better than a gorgeous summer Saturday morning breakfast with friends and a visit to the Bath Farmers Market? A slight breeze, no humidity, blue skies and wispy cotton clouds, the river in view and lots of fresh flowers and vegetables.
Here I'll make a plug for the lovely flower arrangements presented by Passion Flower Farms. Each arrangement contains some very interesting flowers and they are mixed together so elegantly. My friend buys a bunch every Saturday and says they last a long time if you change the water every day.
There were many fantastic splashes of color and pattern all throughout as I walked. I couldn't resist taking several pictures. I'll enjoy coming back to this in the dead of winter when I have the blahs and I am wearing layers of clothing!
I finally finished another pendant. Sometimes I sell my very elaborate freeform peyote stitch necklaces at shows and customers love them, but feel the aren't affordable. I've tried to make something that is just as beautiful, but not quite as involved so I could keep the prices down. I've completed a very earthy brown one I am calling "Nutmeg and Cinnamon". A link to my etsy shop where it is for sale is here: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=28969694
Isn't it fun to discover strange and interesting art forms on a trip? While driving in Rangeley, Maine, we happened upon this tall sculpture, a collection of shoes nailed to a pole. It really was in the middle of nowhere and you had to be observant to see it. Not far from it was another pole which was in progress with hats. Now all you need to do is gather some clothing, a heavy duty staple gun and find a pole.
A beautiful drive north into Rangeley today. Truly spectacular scenery and quite different from the coast of Maine that I am used to. We were in search of two relatives that we never did find.
On the drive home at dusk, we slammed on the brakes and avoided hitting a big moose who decided to take a stroll across the highway. The car behind us couldn't stop and swerved around us nearly hitting us or that moose. We pulled over about mile ahead and talked to the other driver who blew out a tire in the incident. No injuries in the adventure but the adrenilin sure was pumped!
I had my camera sitting on my lap, but it happened so fast and I was enthralled with the sight of that big animal, so no photo.
A lovely summer day began with breakfast at Betty's. Veggie omelets, blueberry pancakes and links and sunshine in abundance. Afterwards a stroll down by the river and the fun of visual and actual sampling of the goodies at the Saturday farmer's market.
I've been working on another free form peyote stitch bracelet in earthy colors and it is finally finished. I wanted to put it in my Etsy store right away, and I needed a hand model! I asked one of the boys in my son's Tae Kwon Do class to wear the bracelet and he complied without a second thought. The kids had fun directing the photo shoot and even holding a white sheet of paper behind the hand for a simple background. What amazing things one can do in a pinch!
Maybe I shouldn't be working on that bracelet. Today I visited a hand specialist to investigate the pain I've been having in my wrist and he suggested I not use that hand as much. I am now wearing a brace and hoping to avoid surgery or a cortisone shot.
The bracelet is pictured above and will also be available in my Etsy shop for $130.
What better place to be on a July evening with good friends than Sarah's restaurant overlooking the Sheepscot river. And after a hearty matey sandwich to be blessed with a beautiful double rainbow that seemed close enough to provoke a search for the "pot o' gold"! We ooohed and ahhhed for quite awhile as the colors increased in intensity, then slowly faded into the darkening sky.
The waitress told us this happens often at this spot, so the next time you are in Wiscasset , Maine and a storm is brewing, you may want to stop and wait for a gift from God!
Here it is mid July. I haven't written for quite awhile. Time to get back to blogging. We had a lovely Sunday at the Yarmouth Clam festival even if they did run out of clams! Many artists as always showing their beautiful work at this fair. My favorite T-shirt guy was there and my son and I now have matching sheep t-shirts.
I miss being an artist in a craft show when I go to these festivals, but there are just too many other matters that demand my time these days. Most of them resolve around being a mom. I know that the years will go by quickly and I will be happier in the long run putting this energy into my son now. Time for art and shows will come again later.
Awhile back I was debating whether to buy a DSLR camera and I finally did! So happy with my Canon XSI. Very nice camera and I'm still playing with it. I especially had fun photographing the ferris wheel directly into the afternoon sun at the clam festival.
I've been researching new cameras and my brain is on overload with all the possibilities out there. I have been using my little Samsung SL201 which just isn't doing the trick these days. Here is a link to one of the etsy forums where this has been discussed in depth: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6097297 I need a camera that will take clearer and brighter photos of my jewelry and prevent me from having to do so much photo editing. In a nutshell I have to decide whether it is worth it to go the expensive DSLR route or just find a very nice high end point and shoot with extra features. As a former high school photography teacher in the earlier days before digital... I have a love and interest in the fancier multi featured cameras. But I am a busy woman, and don't have as much time these days to be out shooting landscapes and closeups of butterflies! I am more interested in some family photos and great close ups of my jewelry.
So far, all the photographs on this blog have been taken with this little Samsung which is compact, but not producing the results I would like. I have posted a photo of one of my recent Etsy listings http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=23241377 and although I have tweaked it in "Picnik" (an online photo editing program), I am still not satisfied.
A wonderful artist named Donna has featured me in her artist interviews on her blog: DZ Fantasy
She had great questions for me, and is very productive in her own art. She makes some amazing fabric dolls. I especially love her mermaids. I am a follower of her blog. You should see her creations!
Donna featured my necklace "Crocus Blooms" in that interview.
Here is the interview from Donna's blog: What led you to start creating your art/craft?
I have always loved creating. As a little girl I made my own paper people including little pocket beds for them to sleep in. Anytime I was able to draw, make potholders, or even mud houses in the dirt I was happy. My father loved to paint and my mother is not very artistic but really encouraged all four of her children to express themselves through music, art or dance.
I took art classes in elementary school and was selected for a special Saturday program at the Delaware Art Museum. I loved art classes in high school, but was terrified that college art would force me into a mold I didn’t want to be stuck in. I refused to take art classes and was not very happy with the other courses I took. I dropped out and moved to Cambridge. After a year of waitressing in Boston, I ended up returning to the University of Delaware and taking my first art course in my junior year. From then on I crammed all the art I could get into my schedule and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts.
I started substitute teaching after graduation and found out I really liked teaching. So through a series of events I ended up going back and pursuing another degree in Art Education. I love teaching art, but it did not satisfy my need to create. One summer I took a week long workshop at Bennington College with Tory Hughes teaching on polymer clay. I couldn’t get enough! I stayed up every night until about 2 am making stuff. I knew I was an artist at the end of that week. Since then I’ve been perfecting my techniques and exploring bead and jewelry making.
I exhibit in several craft shows and I have had my work in galleries. Becoming a mom later in life has changed my way of working. I have another priority these days. I still create jewelry, but not the quantity that I used to. I am still teaching middle school art which is fun but demanding.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
Once I took the workshop in Bennington, I fell in love with the possibilities of polymer clay. I dabble in quilting, drawing and painting, but I seem to always come back to the world of polymer clay.
What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?
As a teacher, I am surrounded by children all day long. When I come home I am taking my son to activities, having his friends over and spending time with him. I still have to make dinner, do dishes, and all the other things that we all need to do! When I am working on my jewelry I get into another world and often I am alone. I need the solace and find that just having that quiet time to myself (when I can get it) is a treasure in itself. I really enjoy the process of working with the clay. Making canes and shaping beads is full of new discoveries constantly. Pouring my beads onto a tray and choosing colors is the beginning of a new design for a piece of jewelry. I never know exactly what it will look like until I am finished. Displaying my work and hearing the comments of my customers usually inspires me to make new works.
If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art/craft, what would you choose, and why?
My work is most like a mixed berry concoction. Lots of sweet color and many individual roundish parts. And how can I resist a berry when it is my last name?
If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your creativity, what would that be, and why?
I am so intrigued by beautiful pastel paintings I’ve seen. I would love to try working in them. I am especially drawn to landscapes in pastel.
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?
I hope that others see the joy I find in creating beautiful objects. I have been told I have a good sense of color, and I do like to work with bright “happy” colors. I want people who look at my artwork to smile. I want women who wear my jewelry to feel beautiful when they are wearing Moosewinks Jewelry.
What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
I’ll give the advice that has been given to me over and over. Make what you love, and someone else will love it too. Barb, I'm so happy to have come upon your very creative, beautiful jewelry, and that you took the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and work with everyone.
Today is the birthday of two special people! One young boy who I love dearly (my son), and a friend that I teach with.
It was loads of fun to make a birthday necklace with symbolic charms for Heather. I knew she would enjoy it, and look great wearing it. I was quite pleased with the way it turned out (even if I did stay up late to finish it).
On Sunday we found a little patch of ground with a wonderful yellow surprise. Near the snow was a welcome sight of fresh new blooming crocuses. Hard to see when atop the mountain of snow that still will take awhile to melt. The kids from church had a blast climbing the mountain in the warm air. We were all smiles.
This one took quite a long time to make, and I still am thinking of adding more to it. I call it "Purple Passion" and I've put it on display (and for sale) in my Etsy shop. You can see it there if you click on this link: Purple Passion Necklace.
Birthdays come and go so quickly now. How did I get here, to this age? My friends have grandchildren and kids in college. I have a ten year old, on the cusp of his eleventh birthday.
My son and I have birthdays a week apart. Several friends have birthdays now as well. It's a busy birthday time around here in mid March.
My sister in law and I share the same names and the same birthday (but not the same year). So this year I made her a birthday necklace to celebrate a "big" birthday! I just sent it off, so hopefully she'll like it.
It's been a busy time, and I finally got back to the computer. I've listed another bracelet on Etsy. This one is a beautiful aqua blue. Perhaps I'll have time to do more jewelry making since more snow has been forecast for this week (Can you believe it?). We have no place to put it all. Last week was a great escape to Delaware, Baltimore and Washington D.C. to see the sights and friends and family. Coming back to Maine was rough. A thrown rod killed our Subaru engine right outside of NYC, a new used car saved the day, but then a drive home in a blinding snow storm was enough to fray every nerve. If I didn't know God was protecting us through the whole ordeal I would have lost it. Somehow along the way there were many reminders that He was watching out for us.
New bracelets that are bright and cheery on a chilly February day. Makes me dream of summer when I can actually wear them. Now here is the problem. I put them in my etsy shop and couldn't figure out how to list them. I usually sell them individually for $7, but when I sell them in a group they go down to $5 each. So I have to either put an individual listing up for one bracelet, or put another listing for a specific number of bracelets. I hope I don't confuse my customers because I'm already confusing myself.
Here is a necklace that has sold well when I'm on the road at craft shows. It looks very much like smooth stones taken from Moosehead Lake. Surprisingly lightweight, it's earthy and pretty. I've made several different ones in a variety of sizes. People always tell me they like the ease of the button clasp too. I read in one of the Etsy forums that it is good to photograph your items on a simple background. Close up shots are desirable as well. I am wondering if the white background is too stark. Any thoughts? If you want to see this in my Etsy shop , click on this link: Stones Necklace
I was happy to sell the gold and black charm bracelet, so of course I had to do another one. Nice to have a project to work on during these chilling cold February days. Today it was 0 when we left the house and the weatherman says tonight will be about 16 below. I'm staying in!
My son tells me he'll remind me of this in August when I'm complaining that it is too hot! I'll try to remember the chill going through my body this summer.
I just signed up to be a seller/buyer on Art Fire. It's similar to Etsy. Not quite sure how you'll find me yet on Art Fire... still figuring that out. Probably best to just go to Art Fire and search for Moosewinks. I will also put a link to an interesting Art Fire blog which selects random items and allows you to click on them if interested. Clicking on the images will lead you to that person's Art Fire page. Go to http://moonstone.tumblr.com/ So now I have jewelry on Art Fire and Etsy! I hope it won't be confusing. This is the free form peyote stitch bracelet I just put on Art Fire, and it is also on Etsy!
Yesterday brought lots of snow. Well, I call it lots when I go outside and it is past my knees! I think it is quite beautiful and somehow relaxes me. I remember an old friend in high school days who wrote a song about God and snow. One of the lines in it was something like this : You see when I die, I want to be covered over, I want to be as white as snow, so when the heavens look down on meeeeee....none of my wretchedness will show. His name was Jimmy Hunter (can't believe I remember) and it truly was a beautiful song. It was back then that I became aware that I needed God and my life changed.
So we stayed in until the plow guy came. I was able to take a few more pictures and set up my Google Analytics. I'll check tomorrow to see if I've done it right. There are some great tutorials in the Etsy forums on how to set this up as well as interpret them. Sweetfigments has a helpful one on her blog: http://sweetfigments.blogspot.com/2009/01/how-to-set-up-your-google-analytics.html
Etsy is a great site! I found a tutorial on how to make a banner for your Etsy shop using a free photo editing program called Picasa 3. You have to go to Rachelsaprons blog to find out more. Her blog is fun to read and she even has a great fudge recipe on it! I already downloaded Picasa3 and now I'll try making the new banner.
Well, I can't use Picasa3 with my computer, so I did some research about other photo editing programs. Nothing for now that makes Etsy banners that easily. So THANK YOU so much to Rachel who helped me create one! Wow, how nice of her! Now I have to think about saving money for another computer in the future. With technology changing so rapidly. what we have becomes a dinosaur much sooner than we like! My new banner is at the top of this post! You can se how it looks on my Etsy Shop by clicking : http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5629353
Brrrrrrrrr it's cold in Maine! Yesterday the car actually started at -16 degrees! That's good because I was told by the mechanic at my last oil change that I should consider getting a new battery. Hoping that it will hold out a bit longer, but at these temps, I may not have much time. I can't complain though when I hear it was 50 below north of here.
I put a new bracelet picture on my etsy site and mentioned it in one of the forums. I wanted some feedback on the photograph because it was a close up on a model's hand and I was concerned that the hand looked "cut-off". Some of the comments suggested that I take another photo and show more of the hand, and another suggestion was a black background. That's my next project. Here is the photograph I am talking about. You can see more views on the hand, and by itself by going to my Etsy site: free form peyote stitch bracelet in earth tones
The temps are in the single digits and I am dreaming of warm summer days! That's why it's fun to pull out one of my Twist and Wiggle bracelets in "Florida ocean aqua " to get inspired. I don't remember who coined that phrase, but I think my cousin Nancy was making these about the same time I started. I taught some friends how to make them one day and we all had a blast. I remember a stunning black and silver one made by Inge. Wish I had a picture. They are fun to wear because of the way they softly move with you. I think that quite a few beaders have done this type of bracelet, yet they all come out so interestingly and full of texture.
It's snowing like crazy as I glance out the window. My son is making a marble contraption on the living room floor, and soon we'll trudge through the snow, start the car and head out to church. I do love it!
Yesterday I worked on some more photos for my etsy site. It was a good idea to buy the portable cloth light box. It improves my photos. I have switched from black backgrounds to white, and I like that cleaner brighter look better. I find that the light still has to be daylight to get better images. Perhaps I need to invest in some good spot lights next.
When I had more time I used to create visual journals. Recently I found a link to my own website ( www.moosewinks.com) where I have images of some of those journal pages. I miss working in them. There are several journals on my bookshelves filled with pages of thoughts and memories. Art surrounds and intermingles with the words. I need to get back to that. It is a wonderful way to express oneself, and later it triggers memories in ways that only pictures can.