Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creating ~ A Little Differently

So apart from papercrafting, my real life is spent as a professional singer. What I created that debuted this week (actually on my birthday) was a CD with my fellow friends entitled Vespers. Vespers is a piece written by my dear friend Kile Smith, whom you may know from WRTI. Kile is a first-rate composer. He wrote this piece for Piffaro and they asked us, The Crossing, to collaborate with them. The Crossing choir is made up of all professional singers and is conducted by Donald Nally who is now living in Chicago and working for Chicago Lyric Opera. Donald flies in to work with us and program a full season dedicated only to the performing of new works. This is a special group. A group that relishes the process and a group that embraces their audiences as if they were a part of the ensemble. It was an absolute joy making music with my friends, and would love it if you watched this video to get just a glimpse into the amazing people involved with this project! ***I am the one wearing the peach peasant top*** ;)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flower Pins

Just in time for Mother's Day.
A couple of flower pins.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bridge (version 2)

Sometimes you just have to know when to quit. I originally posted this image a couple of weeks ago, and have been fiddling with the sky. I think I'm finally happy with it- a little less flat. The photo isn't very good, but it's still too wet to scan!

Embroidery: Work in Progress

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Horsies on a hill

Hmm. My first attempt at an amigurumi-bearing hat looks just like a first attempt. Next time, I will make the stitches tighter, and make a more supportive hat and add the green eyelash yarn on top of it, instead of constructing the whole hat out of the fragile eyelash stuff. Still, I think the hat does have a hopelessly homemade, lopsided charm of its own.... And I'm still hugely amused by my friend's idea of making one's head look like a grassy hill. I may attempt this again but add crocheted dandelions or something instead of heavy figurines.

I'm almost done with a custom order for an octopus hat in super-girly pink and purple with sequins for suckers. My next plan for a character hat is a Harry Potter-themed one featuring wee figurines of Hermione and Professor Snape (in calico, I think, to avoid the heavy stuffed amigurumi issue) peering out from inside a cauldron.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

felt board curtain

I haven't posted much in the last couple of weeks, because the main thing I had to make was room on my hard drive for more pics. Now my computer is sufficiently backed up, and I can post again!

I could write about the total failure jacket I made out of old Tshirts. The concept was cool and a little a propos for Earth Day--reduce, reuse, recycle and all that. But the jacket turned out really, really dumb looking. So I'm going to post about a little idea I had for my almost 4yo son's room.

We basically have a one bedroom apartment, since we are caretakers for a historic house. The room off the kitchen (commonly known as the dining room) is my son's room. I've done a lot towards making a kid's paradise in the very limited amount of space I have. The door between the kitchen and the room has windows on it, so we've always thrown a blanket over it to block the light from the kitchen at bedtime. But that's a little unsightly. So I FINALLY made a curtain (I hate making curtains) from some navy blue canvas I had lying around.

We can't waste any space, so I put a couple of large pockets on the bottom for storage. But the major addition was a felt board. I had a pile of acrylic felt (from back before I knew you could get/make wool felt, if you can believe it!) lying around that needed using up. I tried pinning and sewing first, but it was a little unwieldy, so I fused the edges down and then zigzagged the finish.

Ellis immediately loved it. He had me cutting stuff out as fast as I could (hence the stars and houses that are a little unshapely as I freehanded them). There's pockets right underneath the felt for easy storage of the felt pieces. I positioned the felt board just high enough that he really has to stand on a stool right now, but he never has to worry about his one-year-old brother messing it up.

Perfect for Earth Day: New Stencil

I know I have been inconsistent, but I am trying to remember to post every week! Here is a new stencil I just made. Hopefully in the next few weeks I will be able to post some art I will make using it =)

Earth AND City!

SO MUCH FUN! I didn't even realize I used the same kind of button embelishment for both of these cards. From country to city! YAY!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day, Arbor Day, handmade upcycled art

Please click this image for a larger view!

"Blackbird in my Backyard"

For Earth Day, and Arbor Day this coming Friday, I sewed this miniature wall hanging today. I upcycled a 100% cotton green sweater that had a lot of paint on it... big surprise. The "painting" is an ACEO sized giclee on canvas printed in my art studio. I sewed it onto the back of an imperfect giclee print, (the canvas is unprimed on the back,) and it is finished with some natural twine that I had handy from tying up my paper recycling for tomorrow.

There are a ton of common grackles, (Starling family,) that return to the gigantic white pine behind my house every spring. Boy they are loud, but really neat! A hawk comes around and controls the population naturally, but they keep coming back anyway.

(-: Everyday is Earth Day! :-)
Thanks for viewing!

P.S. My husband and I are about to celebrate our one year anniversary this weekend. We planted a Wollemi Pine tree last year at our zero carbon emission, eco-friendly, Arbor Day wedding!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Tree Necklace in Honor of Arbor Day 2009

For as far back as I can remember my family has celebrated Arbor Day. When I was little the festivities were orchestrated by my Great Aunt, a clothing designer and seamstress who grew up on a farm in a family of seventeen kids, and my Godfather, a writer and avid gardener. Every year we’d join the community tree plantings - I always chose white birch, dogwoods and fruit trees - and also work on our own gardens.

We usually started our seeds in February, and by April we’d be thinning them out, trading varieties, sharing with our neighbors… It is thrilling to me that I make a living as a jewelry designer, astounding even, but I am most proud of the fact that I can grow things. I recently planted a new fig tree, and the photo at right is a sampling of my heirloom tomato seedlings.

Some of my favorite jewelry designs combine my love of shiny things and gardening. In honor of Arbor Day I made the necklace shown above - it features an artisan lampwork glass bead with raised glass trees that have swirled brown and olive trunks and vivid orange foliage. A deep blue sky is visible through the leaves.

The bead is a hung from a necklace of lapis and orange carnelian rounds that perfectly match the tree bead, and I added Bali sterling silver accents to make the colors “pop”. I like for my jewelry to look good coming and going, so the back of the necklace is embellished too. You can see the whole piece here.

Arbor Day is this Friday, April 24, 2009 - go plant a tree!

Monday, April 20, 2009

No-knead bread!

I'm not that happy with how any of my little mixed-media collage paintings are looking at the moment, so I'm sharing the bread I'm making tonight instead. The photo is actually from a time I made it a few months ago since tonight's loaf is still in the oven.

I'm more of a cooking person than a baking person, and I've had mixed results with other bread recipes. But I'm really loving this No Knead Bread recipe I got from the New York Times. Seriously, even if you think you're not a baker, give it a try! It's so good and so easy and way cheaper than buying bread from the store!

I make the white bread recipe, but I substitute one cup whole wheat for one of the cups of white flour. You just mix up your flour, yeast, salt, and water, and leave it to rise for four hours. Then you dump your dough out on a flat surface, flip it over and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Then you bake it in some sort of closed container like a dutch oven for 30 minutes. Almost no work involved, and you get a lovely round loaf of bread with a great crispy crust! The closed container is the secret to the crispy crust- apparently professional bakers have special ovens that inject steam while baking. This is very hard to replicate in a regular oven, so using a closed container is like a little steam oven inside your regular oven.

There is another version of the no-knead recipe that involves letting the dough sit for 14 hours, which I tried once. But I liked the 4-hour version much better anyway!

Crochet: Work in Progress

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I will be launching one of a kind (ooak) work in May and decided to soft launch it on my site and blog now to start the hype! Then thought I'd ask if anyone had any tips for selling ooak work on the web. I'm still figuring it all out, right now I might need to just sell it in my etsy shop since I do not have inventory control on my site. I will also be bringing this work to shows, along with the pieces from my line and need to highlight this difference in some way. I will have some table signage but is that enough? Any tips will be appreciated : )

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Before and After - Chainmaille Earrings

My name is Glamorosi; this is my first week participating in the Philly Makes project. I am a full-time jewelry designer with several online shops – you can see them all and find out more about my work on my blog.

For the theme “Before and After” I made two-tone chainmaille earrings with rose gold plated centers and sterling silver borders in a weave called European 4-in-1. Every single ring is opened and closed by hand, with special attention paid to the closures so that no gaps or sharp edges remain. I love making chainmaille of all sizes, but I especially enjoy the discipline of working with small rings - it is both relaxing and addictive.

The earrings measure 2.5 inches long from the top of the ear wire; you can get a closer view by clicking on the photo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Up Close and Personal, Abstract Flower Grid

It's been tough to get things accomplished lately, so to get some inspiration I went out and admired the flowers in my own garden. My residence is a "National Wildlife Foundation Certified Backyard Habitat". That means I'm eco-friendly, and support native wildlife of course!

In light of this week's theme, "Interesting Point of View," I have simply arranged some close-up photos of my daffodils and tulips, in an abstract pattern.

E n j o y, and h a p p y s p r i n g!

P.S. I love orange!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Before and After

The First picture is a BEFORE picture of some new grid cardstock I have been working with. The AFTER picture is of the project I made using it. You can faintly see the grid on the front of the tea card behind all of the stamped colors. The last picture is of the inside of the card.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Painting in progress- Orbit

A few weeks ago I wrote on my blog about how I have way too many unfinished small paintings. 52 of them to be exact. So tonight I had the brilliant idea of setting myself the goal of finishing one per week as my thing to post here. Unfortunately this brilliant idea did not occur to me until 11pm, and alas, I have to get up in the morning to go to work. So for this week I'm posting another work in progress. I'm going to make a sincere effort for following weeks to post a finished small painting each week though!

Acrylic and collage on 8" x 4" canvas board. This painting contains several of my current fascinations- circles, planets, and this particularly gorgeous shade of turquoise paint I picked up at Utrecht a while ago.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Feeding the Muse

My friend Victoria Janssen has a new book contract! As I have done for years, I celebrated this by baking a pie today to feed her muse, an apple tarte tatin. She generously dedicated her first book -- something most definitely made in Philly -- to me (see cover image), and even mentioned the pies in her dedication.

Sorry; I'm a terrible photographer. The photo doesn't capture the caramelized deliciousness of this dessert.

The husband wrote a book in Philly as well, Higher-Order Perl (2005), and here's a pie I baked for that one years ago, when he was working on Chapter 9. He incorporated our wedding quilt into the cover for that book. His design for that quilt was his first-ever gift to me and I hand-quilted the whole enormous king-sized monstrosity as my nuptial gift to him.

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The Past 2 Wks...

I took a really long train ride. 12 hrs each way. While on the train, I colored in some previously drawn sketches, and worked on a few crochet projects that have yet to reach fruition. Took a ton of photos too, oh and I redesigned my website.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something Sweet for the Easter Basket

This will be the second year in a row that I've made the kids something a little matchy for Easter. How many times in a row do you have to do something before it is considered a tradition?

For this year, something extra sweet. I love this chocolate chip cookie fabric. I've finished up O's pants and have about 48 hours to make E's dress. Definitely cutting it close...

While I had planned to start building up my kids' summer wardrobes over the next couple weeks, I was accepted this week to participate in the Art Star Craft Bazaar at Penn's Landing the last weekend in May. Looks like the next 6 weeks will be dedicated to stocking up on inventory. Hope to see some of you there!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More new necklaces

I finished some more new necklaces last week! Some are made from watch parts, one is another optician lens pendant but with a beaded chain instead of the usual metal chain, and one is beads recycled from other necklaces, and one is made from a little circuit board that I found. The one in the upper left isn't complete yet- more of an idea in progress.

Wedding Wings

I finished up three custom orders this week, and all three pairs of wings were created to a bride's specifications.

The first was for a lady in Canada who needed a super sparkly strapless version of my Erin wings in gold and pink to match her dress.

The second was designed for a flower girl to be a water fairy in her mother's wedding and features a hand made satin and organza white water lily decorating the back.

And the third was for a bride in the United Kingdom, a customized pair of my small Hilary wings in white glitter fabric and olive green to match her gorgeous bridesmaid dresses.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Clearly Fun!

I had fun playing with some clear cardstock (acetate) and made a card by printing the edited picture on the acetate (second picture). Iused the photocopy setting and played with the definition in photoshop to create this almost sketched look. I then took some cream cardstock and stamped a sentiment on the bottom. So the card is two layers. It is lovely in real life. This was made for my daughter and is a picture of the two of us.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fused Plastic!

Last summer, I found this video on how to make fused plastic using those oh-so-pesky plastic shopping bags! one important point that I think this video leaves out is that fusing the plastic bags emits a bunch of stinky and presumably toxic fumes! I've been stowing away a ton of more interestingly printed bags all winter and was excited to have time this past Thursday to set up shop outside on my patio and put my iron to work...

what am I doing with all of the fused plastic?
it's perfect material to make covers for journals and blank books, of course!

Friday, April 3, 2009

getting muggy!

One of the things that I am often asked is why I don't offer mugs on my website. Well, for a long time I had a problem with the handles cracking so I didn't want to commit to selling them. I would take custom orders, make extras and sell them at shows. Well, lately the mugs have been making it thru the entire process in tact so I am now going for it! Mugs for sale! Below are the first 3 patterns I am offering, fresh from the kiln!

soaring swallow flag thief mug

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Crocheted octopus hat

I really tried to resist yarn crafts. I've been quiltmaking for 19 years, and my fabric stash is appalling; I absolutely did not need another expensive habit. After I had my first child, in 2004, I tried to use up some of the fabric by making little dresses. Plans for an etsy shop were temporarily derailed by the arrival of the second child in 2008. I thought I could sew while caring for a baby and a tot, but [looking around wreck of a house] apparently not. Ah...last month, I rediscovered knitting and crochet. Much more portable than my cutting table and a Bernina.

I made this octopus hat on March 28 for my husband to wear while amusing the baby. It's my third crochet project as an adult. I find crochet much easier than knitting and more intuitive, so right now I'm only doing things I can improvise. There'll be time, and brain, to parse intricate pattern directions when the kids are a little older.

Next project, begun tonight: a horsie hat! An equestrian friend expressed a desire for a hat that would make her head look like a little hill with horses on it. I've obtained the green eyelash yarn for pasture and brown worsted for fences, and will hit up the library tomorrow for amigurumi resources. We'll see next Wednesday if any good comes of it!