Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 12/28/08

Wow, the last Sunday of 2008! Where did the year go?? Hope you all had a lovely Christmas - we sure did here at Lavender Cottage! My mom has been here since the 23rd, and we have been relaxing - watching House marathons on TV and just generally wasting time! Today we are actually going to start easing back into normal life. Right after we finish our coffee, yeah, that's it.....

So, continuing on with my Wet Canvas friends who are on Etsy, today we meet Paula from IslandTop Glass Art. I've always admired Paula's bead sets and jewelry creations, but today I discovered her little doggie beads and fell in love! Check out Ben and Bingo - how could anyone possibly resist these cuties!!

In addition to her Etsy shop, she also has a new shop at 1000 Markets where she is showcasing her lovely lampwork jewelry. I adore this lovely pink bracelet and earring set, positively yummy!

Hope you all have a lovely day, and for those who have to go back to work tomorrow, hope it's the start of a great week!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas musings on the Sunday before Christmas...

Good morning to all on this Sunday before Christmas! (Sunday morning Coffee and Etsy will be back next week, by the way). I am sipping the last of my coffee, sneaking a piece of chocolate and thinking about putting up the tree and wrapping gifts. Yes, I am a bit late in that area, but happily so - I've had a lovely time all month creating jewelry for my customers. Although it was a wee bit stressful getting everything finished, I loved being a part of so many people's Christmas giving. I enclosed personal notes for friends, hid return addresses to keep the contents a surprise, collaborated on designs for parents, children and wives, and generally had a merry time being one of Santa's elves! I've learned how to be a faster (and better, yay!) metalsmith by making so many pieces in such a short time.

And last, but not least - I've learned to be a lightning quick packer and shipper - you should see how fast I can tie a bow! Here's a peek at shipping central one busy afternoon.....

Now I am off to work on family gifts, start defrosting the holiday bird, and start decking the halls. Hope you are all enjoying the season - talk to you soon!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 12/14/08

Today's featured artist continues my Wet Canvas friends series. Rita is a very prolific artist in several mediums - jewelry, fine art, and now glasswork. Her watercolor titled 'Nesting' is one of my all time favorite paintings ever, and her 'Cat's Up' whimsical take on a Catsup bottle is a close second.

Rita's little 'Citrus Dancing' earrings caught my eye when I first saw them on the Wet Canvas Wearable Arts forum. I love both the name and the bright mix of color! Check out Rita's blog for more about her art, and her new passion - glass beadmaking. I can't wait to see some new creations from Rita's handmade beads!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 12/7/08

Good morning all! Hope your coffee is hot and your toes are warm this morning! I'm drinking an extra cup before heading down to my chilly studio to work, at least the sun is shining today to warm things up a bit.

Today I'm featuring another friend from Wet Canvas - Shadesongs. Her jewelry is nothing short of exuberant and fanciful. I first fell in love with her style when I purchased a pair of adorable ladybug earrings from her a couple of years ago after seeing them in the Wet Canvas Wearable Art forum. And one of these days I'm going to have to get one of her great tongue-in-cheek altered art bracelets - I love her 'I Read Banned Books' - too funny! Another one that is perfectly adorable for the holidays is the 'Can't Catch Me, I'm the Gingerbread Man' - you just have to smile when you see it!

That's all for today, time to get to work. I feel like one of Santa's Elves!! See you all soon....

Friday, December 5, 2008

My first holiday season as a full-time artist...

I wasn't sure what to expect during the holidays, especially with the daily bad news about the economy. I'm thrilled to say that things are really hopping here at Lavender Cottage! I'm so thankful for my wholesale customers and galleries, as well as the wonderful Etsy shoppers - they are keeping me wonderfully busy. So busy that I've missed a few blog posts. Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy will be back this Sunday with new featured items, and I'll be writing a blog soon about 1000 Markets, a new venue that I am really excited about. I'll alway be thankful to Etsy and my wonderful customers there, but I'm loving my 1000 Markets shop too!

I have actually gotten a couple of new designs done which I am excited about - a new ruffled piece titled "A Breath of Spring", and the petite "Bright Berries" earrings with red garnets.

Well, better sign off for now, and get down to the studio, lots to get done before Post Office time. Talk to you all soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Walnut Toaster Bread - Yum!

I admit it - I love toast a little bit too much. And it's not a good thing when there's no bread in the house, and shopping day is still 3 days away. (First rule of getting a new business off the ground - stay AWAY from stores as much as possible!). Just happen to have buttermilk, flour and walnuts, so I made Walnut Toaster Bread for the first time in years. Yes, I'm definitely getting back into my cooking mode. There is nothing like this quick and hearty little bread freshly toasted and topped with butter and honey.. mmmmmmmm!

Walnut Toaster Bread

3 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups whole wheat flour

2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup honey
1/2 cup oil
grated rind from 2 lemons
2 eggs

1. Measure all dry ingredients into large bowl and stir with fork or whisk to combine.

2. Combine all wet ingredients in another bowl, stir until mixed. Stir in walnuts.

3. Mix wet ingredients into dry until just moistened.

4. Turn into 2 9-inch loaf pans, and bake at 350 degees for 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before taking out of pans and placing on cooling rack.

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 11/23/08

Good morning! This week I'm continuing to highlight my friends from Wet Canvas who have Etsy shops. Today, I'm highlighting the incredibly talented Andee, a jewelry artist and photographer from Germany. Her touch with beads and metal is truly inspiring, and even the most simple pieces have that special 'Andee' look to them. And her photography is nothing short of amazing. She has a way of looking at things that can make even the most ordinary a work of art.

Andee's photography talent clearly carries through to her jewelry. This pair of Peruvian opal earrings, 'Mopopal', are a brilliant study in blue, and the photography shows them off in a most spectacular way! And of course, since I am an avid gardener, I love the way her photos show off my favorite garden helpers - ladybugs!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Earring Monday - not exactly earrings yet, but...

Okay, this is a pendant, BUT - I am working on earrings with the same design. I have wanted to make ruffles in my metal pieces for ages now, but didn't have the tools to do it well. Now that I have my new hammers, and have learned to make wooden forms, I am ruffling away! I am planning a series of ruffled pieces, many of which will hopefully be earrings. So, does this count for new earring Monday? ha, ha.....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 11/16/08

I've been sitting here this morning going through recipes for Thanksgiving, and I started thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. I'm so happy to be doing something I love for a living, and I have my friends at the Wet Canvas Wearable Arts forum to thank for that. I had never posted in a forum before, and waay back in the summer of 2006, I posted a little beaded necklace, and they made me feel so welcome, that I stayed and never looked back. I was encouraged to try new things, and included in fun gift exchanges, and yes, introduced to Etsy.

It was Pam's excitement about her Etsy experience that prompted me to sign up last November, and I opened my shop in February of this year. Each Sunday for the rest of the month, I'm going to feature a few of my Wet Canvas friends' Etsy shops. Today's shops are all about lampwork. I love lampwork, and have quite a little collection of great beads started - some I purchased for myself to wear, and others will be featured in very special pieces in my shop.

Pam, whose Etsy shop is called the Blue Between, makes beautiful and whimsical pieces, and when I saw this great heart with a dragonfly (lord knows, I love dragonflies, lol) and a dinosaur bone bead, I just had to have it. She also makes spectacular necklaces that showcase her beads, as well as beads from other artists.

Another WC friend, Gwen, from Valley Creek Studio, makes the most delicious etched beads (along with a lot of other fab beadies from cute cows to elegant tapestry. I bought these beautiful etched pastel 'sherbet' beads last summer.

They will be featured soon in pieces for a new Spring 2009 series. I've also got my eye on this set of rich and vibrantly colored beads for myself.

Two more super talented glass artists that I have met at WC are Maggie from Beadtowne who makes the best

shell and yummy chocolate beads, and Angela from The Blue Lagoon - I particularly love her Lagoon Blue set, and I purchased this delicious Creme Brulee bead set from her a while back - I'm saving this one for a bracelet.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 11/09/08

I'm starting to get going on my Christmas shopping in earnest now. One of the favorite traditions in our house is the Christmas stocking - I think this is because this gives us an excuse to shop for little fun tidbits that we like, but never buy for ourselves. My mom and I both love paper and writing stuff - notepads, cards, lists, calendars, stickies, pens - anything to make us feel more organized.

This weeks picks are from the great array of paper artists to be found on Etsy. The first shop is Rista's Shop, Papier de Fantaisie. Her fancy clipboards and and beaded pen/notepad sets are totally adorable.

And for those looking for something to make them laugh, be sure to check out this shop for great tongue-in-cheek notepads, recipe cards, greeting cards and tags: Terri Taylor's Designs. I love her to do list and 'awesomely proper insult' notepads - had to laugh out loud when I saw those! Also love the Bite Me gift tags - perfect for edible gifts.

That's it for this week - time to shop - see you all later!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 11/2/08

This is starting to be my favorite time of the week. Relaxing with coffee, and doing a bit of shopping. I'm getting ready to start serious Christmas shopping, and this year I am definitely sending cards. The last couple of years I haven't had time to send cards to anyone but a few close friends, and I missed it. I've been searching for cards all morning on Etsy, and I've picked a few favorite shops to share here. I can't wait to start sending some of these gorgeous cards! The adorable red boot cards are from Ella Parry's shop. Her cards have been in my favorites list for a long time, especially this one - that'll be me this spring in my organic garden!

Then we have the totally festive holiday invitations from YesUMay's shop - I fell in love with these. I'm going to have to plan a party so I can use them!

Check out my favorites on Etsy for more cards!

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Earring Monday - 10/27/08

Today's earrings were actually a boo-boo I did at the retreat. I picked up tiny 4mm bezels instead of the 6mm, and didn't notice until after I had soldered them to the domes. I set little onyx stones instead of the 6mm denim lapis I had planned, but I thought the stones looked way too small, so I kind of set them aside for a while. However, the more I looked at them the more I liked them, and now I'm keeping this pair for me! I've decided they look a bit zen-like in their simplicity, and I really like the way they look on the ear. Soooo, they became this week's new design. I'll be making them with different colored stones - nice little red garnets, iolite, jade, moonstones, and whatever else strikes my fancy, or comes my way as a request. I'm making a pink rhodochrosite pair for my Mom - she likes them too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/26/08

I might be single, but I don't live alone, ha ha! I have a whole herd of critters - 3 parrots, a kitty, and a sweet dog. I couldn't live without any of them, each one is a special personality. Of course I think they're all beautiful, but today I'm featuring my dog and official office assistant Roxy(pictured here, performing her most important, um, "duty") along with a great Etsy shop, Annie's Sweatshop. You'll find everything for the well-dressed and ecologically-minded dog in her shop. I especially love this great blue bandana collar.

Roxy looks really great in black, though, so I'm also thinking about this chic black polka dot matching collar and leash.

Annie's products are not made of the usual nylon, which is a petroleum product. She uses renewable cotton webbing, and also gives a $5 rebate if you send in your old collars and leashes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If I had a hammer....

I want forging hammers!! I'm so tempted to just go and buy Fretz hammers so I can get started right away, but they are sooo expensive, gotta watch my spending more carefully now that I'm a full-time "starving artist"! So, I'm going to Lowes and look for cross-peen hammers that I can adapt myself, thanks to Lisa's instructions. I'll be checking out bench grinders to use for shaping the hammers. I can get a whole bench grinder for less than the price of one Fretz hammer!! (I'm definitely putting Fretz hammers on my Christmas wish list, though). Here's a closeup of Lisa's hammer that I'm hoping to re-recreate....

Mid-week Bench Check and More About the Retreat

Whew - Thursday already?! Wednesday just skipped right on by - so I'm a little late on the bench check this week. It took me a while to recover from my week at the retreat - I miss all the great conversations and laughter (and the chocolate, ha ha), but I brought the inspiration home with me. I can't say enough about how wonderful it is to spend a week creating with so many other talented artists. I learned tons, even though I didn't get as many new pieces made as I did last year. I was part of the "garage girls" - we all set up our worktables in the garage, and there was also a huge workbench with a bench shear, rolling mill, big vise and stakes for forming, and a flexshaft. Along with the music and the laughter, it was the perfect environment! That's my table in the foreground with Lisa's forging hammer - I made my dragonfly leaf with that hammer. Angela and Christy are at the other busily working away.

I bought a rolling drawer caddy while I was at the retreat, which is the start of getting my workbench better organized here at home. I'll be getting a couple more of these to get the rest of the clutter off my tables, and then I'll be starting on a hanging system for hammers, pliers, etc. Here's my bench all put back together at home. I can't wait to turn this pitiful space into something a bit better than the basement dungeon it is now - starting with white paint on the walls, that will go a long way in getting rid of that dungeon look!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back from the Retreat!

What an amazing week it was! Non-stop talking, learning, creating and eating - lots of eating!!! I learned fold-forming and anti-clastic raising, and am busy buying hammers and figuring out how to get a wooden stake made so I can get busy making more pieces. My Etsy shop hummed along all week, too, so I am busy today getting my bench back together and getting orders out. Here is a quick peek at my fold-formed leaf piece from the retreat. Copper leaf, with a brass dragonfly, and tiny little bezel set peridot. Already sold!! I'll be back soon with more pictures and details about the retreat.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/12/08

Just a quickie this morning, since I'm in the middle of packing for the retreat! There are tons of great things to eat on Etsy. Not the least of which are these fabulous caramels in unique flavors from Earcmra's shop. The last two that I tried were Pumpkin and Chocolate - totally, totally, scrumptious!!! They are my two new favorites. And a close third is the licorice - yep, that's right, licorice flavored caramel - try it you'll like it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This week's work 10/11/08

It was a good week! I've finished up the wholesale and gallery orders and am starting on new ones after the retreat. I finished up my retreat gift exchange piece (shhh, it's a secret), and made a new pair of fall earrings that I've fallen in love with. I had some little copper discs left over from another project sitting on the bench, and I made these little acorn earrings while I was waiting for some pieces in the pickle. The texture on the background is made with one of my new chasing tools. Hoping to get to try some chasing and maybe some repousse at the retreat.

Can you tell I am excited about the retreat? I've had to delay leaving from Sunday to Monday morning due to a problem with my house/sitter and parrot watcher's schedule, but that may be a blessing in disguise since I'll now have time to pack carefully rather than throw everyhing in the car and run! Ha, ha, I'll probably forget twice as much if I have too much time to think about it.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Mid-week Bench Check - 10/08/2008

Just getting this one in by the skin of my teeth - still 20 minutes left of Wednesday! Today was a good day, I finished 5 1/2 pendants, 3 pairs of earrings, 2 sets of stacking rings, and prepared ring shanks for 2 of tomorrow's pieces. I am officially in full panic mode trying to get everything finished before it is time to leave for the retreat!

I must say I'm actually having fun trying to streamline my process and become more efficient. The better I get at this the more time I'll have to create new pieces. i wanted to get at least two new one of a kind bezel set pieces done before Saturday, so that means I need to get a LOT done tommorrow. Here are a few shots of today's work in my new favorite stacking ring set - a gorgeous center-line Tiger Eye is the centerpiece. I put it in the Etsy shop today.

Monday, October 6, 2008

New Earring Monday - 10/06/08

One of my goals now that I am a full-time jewelry artist is to make sure that I am productive yet still fresh. I'm always thinking about new designs and sketching them, but they don't always become reality when I am busy filling orders. Everyone loves earrings, including myself, so look here every Monday for the week's new design. Today we have Casual Swirl earrings in handforged fine silver. They are just about 1 1/4 inches, and are great little everyday earrings, yet still a bit different. I put them up in the Etsy shop yesterday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 10/05/08

Good morning all! Hope everyone had a great week. I had a busy one, that's for sure. Still working on getting extra things made before I leave for the retreat next week. So busy I didn't get my Saturday "This week's work" posting up. I'll be doing that later today.

So, on to the Etsy lovlies for this week.....With the weather turning cooler, my thoughts have been turning to comfy, cozy and warm mode. I've come across a couple of wonderful shops on Etsy that do beautiful jewelry with merino wool. The first is a new shop, AmyAmbros, with beautifully made felted and crocheted shawls, scarves, bags and bangles. I've got my eye on these gorgeous technicolor bangles....

Another shop I love is EasternSky, with tons of beautiful bracelets and necklaces made from merino wool and vegan cotton beautiful mixed colors. I bought top bangle of turquoise in this photo, and can't wait for it to get here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Countdown to the Jewelry Retreat!

Wow, only 9 days left before I leave for my annual Jewelry Retreat with a wonderful and inspirational group of jewelry artists from all over. This is one of the highlights of my year, and I can't wait to see old friends, make new ones, and, most importantly, learn new techniques! I'll be trying Kumihimo for the first time, and perhaps silver clay, as well as new stone setting and metal forging techniques. Ha, and hopefully I'll remember my camera cable this year so I can post pictures while I'm there!

Needless to say, this week I've been working hard on getting extra pieces made for my gallery and wholesale accounts, and staying caught up on customer orders. Hope no-one noticed the absence of the mid-week bench check, oops! Nothing new is actually finished yet, but working on a new pendant and earring set design that I will be posting later today.

I also have gotten in some gorgeous new cabs that I'm determined to have set, along the pink opals I mentioned earlier before I leave next weekend - here's a sneak preview of one of them:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 9/28/08

Hope you are having a great Sunday! I really look forward to this blog post each week. I love my coffee (maybe tooo much, ha ha..) and I love talking about the incredible talent to be found on Etsy. So, without further ado - here are this week's treasures....

As I mentioned last week, I am a pottery addict. Actually, it goes further than that. I am a full-blown dish, glassware, and pottery addict. I love to set a beautiful table, and I never tire of collecting unusual tabletop treasures. I fell in love with this stunning handblown wine glass the minute I saw it! Elijah Aller's Etsy shop is filled with beautiful glasswork from Martini glasses to rings and pendants. I especially love this lovely deep blue spiral pendant.

And if you love a good cup of tea.... here is a lovely teapot set from HappyLake's Etsy Shop Her pieces have a beautiful organic feel to them. I would love to have her two gorgeous pod gathering baskets on my living room coffee table.

Well, my coffee is finished, so time to get down to the studio to start today's creations. See you all soon!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

This Week's Work - Saturday 09/27/08

I can't believe it's Saturday already!! I've gotten my two gallery orders finished and I'm working on a wholesale order, and a couple of new pieces, including that yummy moonstone - hopeing to finish that one tomorrow. I'm in the mood for pendants, it seems, and the new pieces this week are both pendants again.

A simple little silver and copper piece, and a sweet brass swallow with one of the little iolite stones that I got last week. I also made a couple of buttercup ring and pendant sets for the Local Palette Gallery in middle Tennessee. I've been drooling over many of the paintings there, especially these two, and can't wait to drive over for a visit in person. If you're passing through Lynchburg, Tennessee, be sure to stop and visit!!