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Sunday, May 30, 2010

the time is now


Beginning tomorrow I will be featured as a guest curator on Crescendoh.com.  If you have not had the  opportunity to see Jenny Doh's newest endeavor, you are truly missing alot.  
Each day I find myself anxiously following the links that each of the four curators for the week, share with you and me.  Links that may include a good book, inspiring music, fantastic recipes, or wonderful tips on how to design a new art journal out of tea boxes.  
I catch myself often being transported to faraway lands, printing out free vintage art, learning a better way to organize my workspace, or finding out there are new textures I can use in Photoshop~for free!  And, if you miss a day, there is always the archives to go back to.
If I had all the time in the world, I would never be able to hop, skip or jump around in blog land this much to learn of all the resources the guest curators/artists share so freely and willingly.  
It is simply amazing to me.
I believe Jenny says it all in an exerpt she posted today from her launch party remarks on May 21, 2010. 
CRESCENDOh was founded on a dream that had been percolating for several years. It is a dream that seeks to shout from the mountain top about how art can bring about the best in us. That art can help us cope, art can empower us to make a positive difference in the world ...
  Please go here to finish reading the post, as it is most inspiring!
I hope I have inspired you today to perhaps "pay it forward".  Take the time to reach out when you can to a fellow artist, or to your neighbor, or to that lost looking person on the bus.  You may not know you have been entertaining an angel.  Or, maybe not....it really makes no difference.
....take my hand
.....we'll learn together.
Today, I would like to share another one of the inspirations in my life.
My mother.  
She endured a life that consisted of an alcoholic father, a home full of children (as there were 13 in her family), and many days not having enough food for all to eat.  
My grandfather was the town barber, but she grew up during the depression, and times were so tough in a small town in Texas.  She helped pick cotton, making only $3.00 a day for a 100-lb. sack.
But, she told me she did get a free meal, which meant alot to her.  
Have you ever had that need not met?  I never did. 
She and my father always made sure we had plenty to eat.
Thank you Mom.  
You took my hand, and taught me compassion. 
And, for that, I have been blessed.
(texture credit on photo above:  Shadowhouse Creations)

Friday, May 28, 2010

tears of a clown

Bud's Clown
Royer's Cafe, Round Top, Texas
I have long returned from teaching in Fayetteville a week ago Saturday! It was wonderful, as usual, to watch the students work their way thru the class, this one being Etched and Layered. Each one using their individual talents and style to design a cuff, beginning with beautiful brass components I brought in from my friend Jill at Brass Bouquet.  Some added additional layers of rhinestone or vintage lace~like Charlene, or perhaps a gorgeous vintage button that was her grandmother
's~like Pat.
Lookie at the picture Charlene took of her cuff.  Isn't it gorgeous?  She used a piece of Jilll's brass, called Kathleen, on top of her etched cuff.  Below it is a single layer of vintage tulle, some like I will have listed in my etsy shop beginning in June.  (I will have just a limited supply of goodies I will be listing).
You can see more details and pictures from our class on Charlene's blog.
You know how I love to share my photographs!

I took lots of photos at the end of class, including a couple of great group shots, which also included pictures of each of their beautiful cuffs.
This past weekend was no different.   Almost.

Most of my pictures are gone. Poof ***in thin air*** not there. 

Actually, only two pictures were on my camera when I downloaded the photos, one being Bud's Clown, which I actually took at the end of the day on Sunday.
I am crying just a bit, as you have no idea where all I traveled this past weekend.  And, not alone mind you, as after the class on Saturday, my good friend Charlene and her dh, along with my dh and I, went out to dinner. Then we stayed in one of the best B&B's in Texas, called The Outpost at Cedar Creek.
I do have one great picture of Lenore's activity center, which in fact is a converted horse barn (and is simply gorgeous inside), only because I had visited the property last September and taken some pictures then.

We stayed in The Shelby Guesthouse.
I so wish I had photos to share with you, as it was amazing. I loved everything about it. From the wide planked wooden floors, to the softly gathered gauze curtains hanging from one piece of rusty wire above each window. Can you say, French Farmhouse~with a Texas flair? Quite unique and one of a kind. I cannot even tell you the photo ops I grasped that day....taking pictures as if I would never ever be able to take another picture~ever!  Charlene does have some posted on her blog, so please hop on over there to see pics of our great adventure!
 The next morning we went down to the activity center for breakfast. It is just the coolest. And, the breakfast was scrumptious.  Then we jumped into Charlene's minivan and headed to nearby Burton to visit with Linda Marcov, of Willow Nest Farm.  We toured the property she has for sale, which includes a potting barn, gorgeous garden, two workshops, a large storefront and a gorgeous "B", as Linda calls it. Not a B&B, because as the owners they bring the breakfast in, but do not stay on the property. It is simply gorgeous......just like Linda. 
Just watch her blog banner, and you will see pictures of it there.  

I bought some gorgeous silk ribbon, vintage corset ribbon and this stamp set, 
which I love!

  After we left Burton, we drove to Leftovers Antiques just outside of Brenham. I told Charlene it was an amazing store. It is. If you ever have an opportunity to visit, you won't regret it.
 This is a picture I had taken last fall when my dd and I stopped there on our way to or B&B.
After pulling ourselves out of Leftovers, we headed back to Round Top to eat at Royers.
That is where I took the picture of the (creepy) clown.
Oh, did I tell you I started the Digital Layers class of Susan Tuttle's on Sunday?
Yes, I did, and it is great FUN!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Torn & Tattered Bags
Etched & Layered Cuff Bags

I finished the class bags last night.
My newest line of cuffs come in these delicate little muslin bags.
I design each one differently, adding torn vintage lace & netting, satin bits & pieces, then most often finished with a gorgeous vintage rhinestone or mother of pearl button.
I thought my students would appreciate finding some of their class supplies in one.
When they finish their cuff on Saturday, they too will have one to keep their precious piece of jewelery inside.

Etching is quite an art.
I have worked on my own style.
I call this my
damask etch. I think you can see why.
It is where I add just a kiss of texture to the metal.

But, once oxidized, the gorgeous texture I applied with etching, really shines.
These are two class examples. The befores.
I want students to see the cuff before we begin adding the layers.

I am always amazed at what beauty lies before me.
You can see some of the afters right over to the left in my slide show.
Yes, I am smitten.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

imprints on my heart

Look what came home with me from San Antonio!
My daughter found it under her carport.
This is surely a sign of love. She is so very allergic to wasp bites, and is deathly afraid of anything that even looks like a wasp or bee.
She picked it up for me. Isn't
that real love?
Just this morning I was listening to the radio....the speaker said something that's struck a cord in my very soul. She said there are things that happen very early in our life that will put an imprint on our heart. It will give us a direction. It causes us to react or not react.
It will case us to walk a certain path.
I am sure of it.
You know how much I love chandeliers.
I saw some of the most beautiful ones ever at Marburger Farms.

Photos to follow after the weekend,
as I have been oh so busy preparing for the second class I'm teaching for
The Art Guild of Rural Texas

Etched & Layered Jewelry

There are still a few spots open.
Won't you join us?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

more time

Align CenterHow often do we wish we had more time?

More time.....to learn.
More time.....to play.
More time.....to love.
Perhaps all it takes is a conscious decision to, as you know who puts it,
Just do it?
Mother's Day came a week later for me,
as my mother and I traveled to San Antonio to visit my daughter.

We sang.
We danced.
We laughed.
We cried.
Need I say more?
(Texture by: Pretty Petal)
p.s. my mother is Josie's daughter. she was number 9 of 13.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

project completed

I love it when a plan comes together, and with no real premeditated plan. It always amazes me....and makes me realize just how blessed I really am.
Have a great weekend my friends =)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

walk the walk

"Road to Fayetteville"

The first weekend of May I participated in the Fayetteville Art Walk. It is a juried show which for the second time, I had the honor of being a part of.
It was also my first opportunity to use my new banner, which I am so in love with.
(I even had a customer ask if he could take a picture of it Susie!)
I am so pleased with how it turned out, and it hung so perfectly at the back of my tent.
The weather had been threatening rain every day heading into the show, so we were really biting our nails hoping the clouds wouldn't crack open until after the weekend's event. Turns out we had two days of mostly overcast weather, which was great, but wow....the humidity!
Sunday was simply the best.
I have come to know, and should have way before now, that if one day is not that great, then the next seems to make up for it double time. It did, once again.....on Sunday.
I left that weekend with very tired feet but smiling happily to myself, thankful for new friendships, and so very happy to come home with a little lighter load than when I left.
This little etched & layered cuff came home with me.
I am so in love with etching. It is by no means a walk in the park, but the results far outweigh the steps to get there.
(I am teaching this class in Fayetteville, at the art guild, on May 22nd.
There is still room. For more details, look on my left margin).
I remember exactly where I found the gorgeous vintage art deco brooch I used in this piece. It was lying in one of the large glass jewelry cases that stands in the front of Uncommon Objects in Austin. This store is so chic and so organized that all their vignettes are color coordinated. So, yes, even the jewelry in their cases are coordinated, which makes for quite a display.One of the nicest surprises I had that day, was when I looked up and saw this lady walking into my booth. I knew her. "Are you Annie?", I asked. She said, "Yes!"
It was indeed
Annie Lockhart.
I jumped up, ran around the table, and we hugged like
we had known each other for years! It is just that way isn't it? We read about each others lives so much, that we come to know each other way before we may actually meet. It was a great surprise to have her and a friend stop by and visit. She has a beautiful spirit about her. We didn't get to talk near enough, but I believe one day we will meet again.
I just know it.

I also had the pleasure to meet Deb Taylor. She is quite the spunky lady! I didn't get a picture of us together, and I am so sorry I didn't. She and I visited several times during the weekend, and even did a little tradin'. She and her partner own a gorgeous B&B in Round Top, and she is quite the artist/photographer.There were 65 artists represented in this 11th annual event.

I used my vintage card rounder for the first time. I picked it up from a vendor outside of Cole's in Warrenton this Spring. I think I paid $16 for it. Quite the bargain! I love how it sits on top of my table and can easily spin around. It holds my earrings perfectly. I think I will dig out my grandmother's old wooden clothes pins to use as clips next time.

I can't begin to tell you how soothing it was to hear the beautiful harp music each morning.
The notes seemed to float thru the air like butterflies.
And, I have been sewing!
I am smitten with all the vintage lace, netting, ribbon, tatting, silk and buttons I scooped up in Warrenton and Marburger Farms. Remember in the previous post where I told you about the bag full lying on my studio floor? Well, it has slowly been landing on top of pieces of soft leather and is now part of my romantic line of cuffs.Yes, there was also lots of great food, including a sea of pies being served by the famous Royers Round Top Cafe. I managed to resist this time.
But a piece of it really looks good right about now....

Thursday, May 06, 2010

He believes

I ached for a space of my own. I think I have since I was a little girl. Being a middle child...well you probably know what I mean.
I have a workspace on one side of a 10x12 office in our home. It is my studio. It began crowded. But, it was great after working on our kitchen table for a couple of years.
First I had to get rid of a sofa and side table, bringing in a writing desk to work on. I then quickly added
two wire shelves to store my bins.
It was adequate. I designed a lot of pieces on that desk.
But, you know I soon outgrew all of it! Things started piling up on the floor. Folders, projects, beads in plastic baggies, paper sacks full of goodies. I'm not saying that still does
n't happen.
But, not nearly as much.
Last summer, just after our anniversary and right before my birthday, my husband ask
ed if I wanted a carpenter who had been next door doing work for our neighbors, to design a work bench for my studio. What? Mean it? Why....YES!
So, he and I sat down and designed a huge work bench/station. I still can't believe it! It is incredible, and it was completed at the end of September.
It has a tower on each side of the center work table, with double pull out trays that are 18" deep and are like the ones you might find under your kitchen cabinet. In fact, there are 6 pull out trays in each tower, just to my height, then above that are three additional d
eep shelves, making it 7' tall. It is a total of 8' wide. My work surface/desk, located between the towers, is 4' long and 2' deep. It is the best present I could have ever gotten.
At that point, this very point was when I knew..... he believed i
n me. In my passion for art and my jewelry. It isn't that he really didn't. It's just that he has known me for 30+ years. He has seen me go thru stages and phases of more things than even I can remember. But, it was at this point, with this very act, that made me believe that he believed. And, for that I am so very grateful and so very blessed!
It has changed my creative world.
I have often wanted to share it with you since then. If you knew me....really knew me, you would know that I wanted everything to be perfect before I let you into my new space. To show you just how gorgeous it is. How useful. How perfect! And, it is. But, I came to realize that my space is never perfect. This is something I share with my stu
dents, as I work thru my own thoughts on perfection. Perfection is just an excuse not to try. To not do it. It can be a huge stumbling block in our artistic worlds.
So I share all of this with you, saying there is still always
something on my floor, and pieces all over the desk. But, it is okay. This is my work station. It is the place where what has been spinning around in my head, comes out. It is my space. My little part of creative Heaven.
And, IT is perfect!
(Click to enlarge the picture)

Just this last Spring, my daughter and I found the cutest little pink chandelier in Warrenton to hang right under the shelf that spans across the top! It is just the right size for the space I wanted it to hang in. Right above it is the long shelf that holds the towers together. All this was securely built in place, but we made sure it could easily come apart, just in case we ever decide to move.
I know this top shelf should be full of supplies, but I am such a collector, that instead it holds some of my books. With no particular reason these few are here, as I have so many more in an armoire in my spare bedroom. It is also my little vignette full of beauties from friends. Fellow artists whom I adore and love, and/or have made trades with!
Other pieces may be from swaps. And some I bought, because I took their class and truly appreciate their art.This jar was also purchased this past Spring, at Marburger Farms, and it holds hollow quail eggs I bought from my good friends,
Agnes & Carla in Tent W.This l
ittle girl, which you might have seen on my sidebar, stands in the back leaning up against a vintage baking rack. She was made in the class I took with Stephanie Rubiano, called Magnetic Personalities. Those are real waxed butterfly wings which Stephanie showed us how to do that day! What fun!
Right in front of her and to the right, is the space that holds one of the pixies I bought from Stephanie. I am in love with vintage baby pictures. I have quite a collection of leather baby shoes, along with vintage cabinet cards of babies, so Stephanie's pixies are very precious to me. Just left of this collection stands a gift received in an art exchange. It is a tiny chair, made by none other than a fellow class mate of mine in the Stephanie Lee class I took in California a year ago, Connie Freedman. She makes the most unique art seats, and mine is called "Rambling Rose". How appropriate is that?Now on to the top shelf of my tower to the right, holds a couple of gorgeous pieces one of my mentors, Diana Frey, gave me this past March when she came to Houston for Adorn Me! I have been so blessed by this lady, as she helped answer my questions when I first decided to submit pieces to the Stampington magazines.
She is truly, truly a good friend, and art sister to me.
Isn't this the most gorgeous bottle that Diana soldered? And, of course she added some divine hand-dyed silk & ribbon she is famous for sharing, maybe from her designer Robin Kaplan.

And, look at this journal she made and also gifted me that day.
I am in awe of her many talents.

This is a trade piece from another friend, as well as the art which hangs down each side of my two towers. All made by a beautiful artist from New Mexico, Paula Snyder.
So, what's in the towers? You might see anything from cigar boxes full of ink pads and rubber stamps to several sizes of shipping labels. You can never have enough shipping labels! I have oodles of ribbon and vintage seam binding. This is not even a glimpse of my stash, but it is the only lot on my shelf at this moment. Some may be sitting next to my sewing machine in another room. The rest is....you guessed it. In a paper sack on my floor waiting to find a home on one of my shelves. I can't possibly show you all the gemstones, beads, crystals, pearls, vintage jewelry, brass filigree, found objects and findings that are crammed onto my shelves. Trust me, I have filled every inch of my pull out drawers with either a vintage jello or candy mold, muffin tin, tiny box, glass ramekin, cigar box or plastic bead holder. All called to hold my precious goodies.
Vintage rosary chain.
Rows of vintage rhinestone screw back and clip on earrings.
Brass filigree, both vintage and new.A grouping of vintage mother of pearl buttons and freshwater pearls.
A large sterling silver mold full of typewriter keys.
And, then you might see some of these things on top of my desk
(right now).

Right under one of my two Ott lights, sits the gorgeous frame my dear art sister, Riki Schumacher, made and gifted to me in an art exchange. This picture reminds me just how much fun we had in Stephanie Lee's class last year at Carol Park's Studio in North Hollywood. Riki is truly another great friend, art sister and mentor.
We call ourselves the three amigas!

There is always work in progress.
Etched cuffs that have been oxidized, ready to be sanded, and then layered to perfection!
And, then there are some tools of the trade.
Pliers lined up like colorfully dressed soldiers.
A basket of favorite sanding blocks, sand paper and pads.

I could share more, but if you hung in this long, you are way better than I!
Hope you enjoyed seeing where I create. It has been a long time coming!

I am surely blessed.