Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday Night at the market - 01/31/09

I do love pretty paper, and I have blogged about it several times. 1000 Markets has
a great arcade called Papercraft, and I stopped by for a visit tonight. One of my favorite shops is a member of the arcade, Taylor's Eclectic. Their shop is filled with amazing wearable sculptures and decorative vases created from paper and wire.

The stunning 'Under the Sea: Jewel of the Ocean' sculptural vase is a study in vibrant plum accented with multicolored 'bubbles'.

I also love the 'Grains of Sand' earrings, another study in brilliant colors, and just begging to be worn.

Another shop I discovered has just recently joined 1000 Markets and the Papercraft Arcade - Emily Wilson's Paperlace Greetings. Her work is positively enchanting - it was love at first sight for me when I saw her valentines!

Of course, my favorite is the Double Dragonfly Valentine, but then again, the Hearts and Flowers is a total stunner too - I might have to order both of them! I know I'll be a regular visitor to her shop, and the Papercraft Arcade.

Paperlace's valentines got me in the mood for more Valentine goodies, so tonight's 1000 Markets Search Engine Find is based on the search keywords, Valentine & Pink. I got 136 completely relevant lovely pink Valentine-y things.

I love this little box of ceramic chocolates - no calories! All the little flowers are completely handmade, wow! Check out this stunning teapot, too! I found the most perfect mug in the world in Bud and Lucy's Kid's Ceramic Confections shop, too. Yes, I know I have blogged about 'the perfect mug' before, ha ha...but this is my *new* perfect mug, which I just had to order. My very own Violet Rose mug is now on its way to me - what could be more perfect for Lavender Cottage?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hearts .........and Chocolate

I love making hearts - I can't believe I haven't had any in my Etsy or 1000 Markets shops for ages! I've fixed that, and hearts have begun making their sweet appearance in my shop once again. I've had some of this beautiful pink chalcedony for quite a while, and decided that it needed to swing from a dainty little heart, so I made one. And I think I feel another one coming soon - I like the way it turned out!

I also made a variation of the original heart style that I have made for years in wire. I shaped the spirals into a nice taper and made the top of the heart just a little bit 3-D. Of course, it needed a dragonfly and a jewel for embellishment, so there they are! Might do another pendant and some earrings, we'll see.

Thinking of Valentines Day made me think about chocolate. I so wish I had some!! I might just be bad today and make some Fudge Pie Brownies, one of our most popular recipes from my days as an innkeeper chef. The recipe is ridiculously easy, and perfect for a sudden chocolate craving. (Also quite good warmed, with vanilla ice cream - mmmmmm!)

Fudge Pie Brownies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Melt butter in saucepan, remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients, beat well. Pour into 8 or 9 inch lightly greased square pan. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool. Bake slightly longer if using an 8" pan. If you like them extra gooey, just bake for the 15 minutes.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 01/25/09

The nature of things. That's a good title for today's post. Making jewelry for me is often a celebration of nature. I get excited every time I discover a new way to incorporate the beautiful gifts that nature provides us into my jewelry. Etsy is a fabulous place to buy supplies, and today I'm sharing some of the wonderful supply shops I've found there.

The first is a new discovery - StoneStudioToo. She is lucky enough to live in Northern Idaho, and gathers her pebbles from the shores of nearby lakes. Her stones are just so touchable, and come in an array of lovely colors.

I just bought this pile of yummy khaki green stones and another pile of equally yummy purple stones this morning.

A new line of pebble pieces is in my mind, and the first one, the Three Pebbles bangle, was posted in both my Etsy and my 1000Markets shop last week.

Another purchase made this morning was from my favorite Etsy lapidary, Stones in Motion. Ed has a great array of lovely stones to choose from, and he is always happy to cut stones by request, as well.

I bought a beautiful pastel 'mystery jasper' from him a while back, and when I asked for more, he cut a special pendant and earrings set for me! My purchase this morning was this gorgeous Pietersite cabochon that I can't wait to receive!

Of course, that reminds me that I need to get busy on my pile of cabochons that always seems to take a back seat to what I call my "little metal" pieces. I don't know why I never get around to setting stones. It must be because they every time I finish one it sells before I get to look at it enough! I really am a 'stoneaholic', and need help!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday Night at the Market - 01/24/09

Tonight's Saturday Night at the Market is an all-night market, I think. I played hooky from the computer this evening and watched movies. But now I'm in the mood to shop!

I'm originally from Chicago, and lately I've been feeling nostalgic for the city and its great shopping (and museums, food, architecture....but that's another blog). I was delighted to see the Windy City Market appear on 1000 Markets last fall. Part of the wonderful shopping experience there is lovely little regional markets springing up from all over the country.

So, here I am browsing around in Chicago, checking where the shops are located and doing a bit of reminiscing about my old hometown. I love to shop at home decor stores (I still remember when Crate and Barrel first opened on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago), so Decorative Instincts' shop caught my eye right away.

I think I need her gorgeous silk file organizer for my home office - silk on the front, and woven suede on the back, I just want to touch it! I also love setting a pretty table, and the feather (yes, feather!) placements in her shop are totally unique. I would love doing a table around those!

Something else that caught my eye in the market were the Chicago wine charms from Diffraction. I'm going to have to buy those, I think!

One more item I fell in love with tonight is Karen Casey Smith's Dharma of the Dragonfly photographic art. This is another one that may find its way to my house. Yes, I'll definitely be a regular visitor at the Windy City Market!

Time for the weekly 1000 Markets Search Engine find. Tonight's search word was Chocolate. I don't have any, and wish I had some of this incredible looking Creme de Menthe Chocolate Bark from A Sugar Affair. It is Creme de Menthe flavored white chocolate topped with crushed Andes Mints. Wow, that's all I have to say!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Salad For Breakfast

I really do think that our bodies make us hungry for what we need. This morning, I listened, and I had salad for breakfast. I had toast for supper last night, so it's not all that weird that I'm eating salad for for breakfast.....right?? I've been busy lately, and when I get busy, I don't eat my vegetables. It's much easier to grab a cheese sandwich instead. But yesterday I finally made some salad dressing, so it was easy to grab a salad today. I am lucky to have lettuce all winter grown by an organic farmer in his covered hoop house. It is a fabulous mix of various lettuces, kale, arugula, spinach, mustard and other lovely greens. It comes delivered to my door, washed and ready to eat, how great is that!! My favorite salad dressing is from Colin Cowie, a simple viniagrette made with dijon mustard and shallots. So quick and easy, and sensational in taste. Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I'm out, so I used japanese rice vinegar, tastes great)
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon chopped shallots ( I usually put in around twice that)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black papper
1 cup olive oil (get the best tasting extra virgin that you can, very important!)

Stir together all ingredients except the oil with a whisk. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking. Pour slow enough so that the oil incorporates fully as you are whisking. (is whisking a word?)

The Oprah magazine featured this recipe with several variations in January of 2007. Check here for the article. I've done the walnut one on an arugula salad, really sensational taste! You can also check Colin Cowie's other salad dressing recipes here. I know I'll be trying some of them soon!

Well, now that I've had my salad and tea, I'm off to the studio on this very snowy Monday to fill orders and sneak in something new, I hope. I'm dying to set one of my Eudialyte stones. I think I need a new ring.......

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 01/18/09

Good afternoon all! Hope you're warm, wherever you are. I'm a little late today, been working on photographs of some new things, and retaking photographs that needed improvement in the shop. I'm taking a break now, and decided I'd go check out some
of the talented photographers on Etsy (in addition to my friend Andee from !WetCanvas, who will, of course, always be one of my very favorite Etsy photographers).

One of the first artists I ever put in my favorites was Irene Suchocki of Montreal. She calls her photographs 'Poems for the Eyes'. How very true! The first photo here is named 'Line of Love' a quite perfect name for her photograph of a subtle and serene single white tulip. The second photo, a hauntingly beautiful tree seemingly growing straight out of a rock is aptly named 'Time is a Tree'.

Another Etsy photographer I love is Allison Trentleman of Nature Mandalas. I've never been to Maine, but I've always wanted to go, especially to Acadia National Park. Her photos of this park are truly mesmerizing, especially the 'Moonrise' Photo. Allison's animal photos are great, too. The 'Trio of Sheep with Backup Singer' can't help but bring a smile to all who view it.

So, I'm back to my trusty camera, inspired anew. Here's my favorite jewelry photo from my attempts today - my 'Little Black Stack' with black star chrome diopside. I'm no Allison or Irene, but I'm working on it!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday Night at the Market - 01/17/09

I've settled in for my Saturday night armchair shopping with a glass of wine and some toasted Spanikopita bread (from Scratch Brick Oven) topped with aged Australian cheddar. A perfect Saturday night supper. So, on to the shopping!

Soon after I opened up shop at 1000 Markets, I received an invitation to join the Wearable Art Market. I was thrilled to be included among such an innovative group of artists and their stunning work.

The market was founded by Rachel of Dreamwoven, and her work truly is the Stuff of Dreams! And, oh my, I sure could have used one of her hats during the last 2 frigid nights near zero degrees!!

My two personal favorites are the sweet and soft Claudette hat, and the delightfully abstract Ambrato hat. Both are created with a combination of felting and needle felting and embellished with glass and stone beads, wooden buttons and more than a little 'attitude'.

Another favorite of mine from the Wearable Art Market is the Springtime Bamboo Nuno Felted Scarf from Nunofelt. In an array of the most delicious colors of pastel violet, goldenrod, aqua, and peach this scarf is made from, of all things, bamboo!! The felt used here was made from a mix of 50% bamboo and 50% merino wool. I had no idea that bamboo could be used in this way!

Being the dragonfly lover that I am, I just have to mention this glorious cuff from Art To Wear Diva - the Golden Nightingale. This cuff is a magical mix of dragonflies and a peacock feather dancing among golden lace and tiny purple glass beads. Just divine!

These are but a few of the delights waiting for the shopper who happens into the Wearable Art Market. And Wearable Art is but one of many delightful markets that make up a truly wonderful place to spend an evening armchair shopping, cuddled up in your jammies with a nice glass of wine.

One more thing before I go - this week's 1000 Markets Search Engine Find. Search word this time was 'Spring'. Once again the search returned a nicely relevant group of choices all having something to do with Spring. My favorite pick is Spring's Return, a gorgous pair of earrings from School of Charms. Yes, Spring is just around the corner, right??

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee, er....Tea and Etsy - 01/11/09

Coffee has just not been doing the trick anymore, and I've begun to crave tea again. Specifically, the PGTips tea from England that I became addicted to when I was over there for a month a few years ago. I have some coming in the mail, but Twinings English Breakfast tea is having to do for now. Okay, on to today's Etsy shopping - it seems I've already missed the morning!

I just found out that January is National Hot Tea Month - must be why I'm craving tea so much. I was delighted to find that Etsy has a grand selection of amazing and delicious gourmet teas (and teapots, too, for that matter). Although I love my PGTips in the morning, I also love trying various herbal and flavored teas as well.

Here are two that will be finding their way to my house very soon...Chocolate and Roses Tea - or better yet, how about Bourbon Street Vanilla? These two delights are from Tea For All Reasons' shop, and are made from African Rooibos tea, also known as redbush tea. While white, green and black teas are all made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, Red Bush or rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) tea comes from a completely different plant grown in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The leaves are actually green but turn red when oxidized. Rooibos tea has most of the same great health benefits of black tea, but none of the caffeine. As a bonus, it is actually recommended to drink before going to bed as it can help with insomnia.

And of course you need something to go with all that tea, so make yourself some delicious scones - Tea For All Reasons' has four delicious flavors of scone mixes - Chocolate or Cinnamon Chip, Pumpkin Spice or my favorite, Lemon Currant. Well, I hear my kettle boiling, so I'm off for a spot of tea, and wishing I had some scone mix! Til next time......

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Night at the Market - 01/10/09

Welcome to the first Saturday Night at the Market post! Pull up a chair, and come along with me for some armchair shopping ....and 1000 Markets is definitely a great shopping experience! Browsing through the markets is as much fun as an outing to your favorite artsy little village. New delights await at every turn. If you're not in the mood for browsing, type what you are looking for into the search box - the results will more than likely be just want you wanted - The search at 1000 Markets works better than most I've used.

Each week I'll be highlighting one Market, as well as my favorite find from a specific search topic. My other passion in life is gardening, so this week I'm featuring Beau Jardin, a market specializing in amazing garden art. The fresh new garden catalogs that are arriving daily in the mail have dreaming of spring, and Beau Jardin is just the place to continue that dream.

I have been dreaming of one of John T. Unger's Bowls of Fire for years now, and I was thrilled to find his gorgous work is part of the Beau Jardin Market. I'm also in love with Julie DeGroot's whimsical copper moon windchime. I've got the perfect place to hang it! And what garden would be complete without a fairy shoecottage?

Now for this week's favorite from the 1000 Markets search engine. Today's search topic was 'Pottery'. Those who know me know that I am a true pottery addict. I have been known to give away or sell sets of dishes just so I can buy new ones. I also have a weakness for unusual cups and vases. This fabulous vase from Fehu Stoneware's shop was my hands-down favorite from today's search.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Treasures from the Gemshow...

Oh, my how I love to buy new gems! I blogged about my latest gemshow outing at my 1000 Markets blog. I am just completely inspired by these gorgeous moonstones and labradorites, and hoping to squeeze in time today to make a couple of new pendants - just simple little silver wire wrapped around the stone will be enough to show off these beauties, I think. And oh, joy - I found some high quality chain that has big enough links that I don't have to solder 24g jump rings to finish a necklace, what time-saver that will be. More time to make new things! And, best of all, they gave me a discount on the discount for buying the whole spool - does it get any better than that? Here it is - hope my customers like it as much as I do!

In addition to what I blogged about at 1000 Markets, I bought some cool new 'solar quartz' a very interesting geode-like stone and some new ring stones: larimar, charoite, moonstones with moon faces carved in them (making one of those for me), labradorite ovals, deep blue lapis, delicous pink kunzite, and some Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. I'll be making one ring out of each of these (for myself and my mom) then posting the remaining stones for a custom-sized ring of the same design in my Etsy shop. A girl just can't have too many rings, right??

Well, time to get off the computer now, and down to the studio. Talk to you all soon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1000 Markets - the Next Big Thing?

It's time to admit it - I've branched out from selling exclusively on Etsy. Like any first love, Etsy will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will be forever grateful for lessons learned and the fabulous opportunities that have come my way through my shop there. And yes, there's still no place like Etsy to reach an enormously huge audience if you are a seller. But.......I have found a new online artisan venue that I am truly thrilled to be a part of - 1000 Markets. If you are a shopper, you will be amazed at the variety and quality of what you can find there - everything from exquisite cookies to masterful paintings and photographs, to garden art, fine jewelry, and wearable art. Oh yes, and yummy artisan food! ...Homemade chocolate marshmallows, anyone?

If you are an artisan looking for a place to open up shop, 1000Markets is the place to be. Their link for potential shopkeepers is a perfect example of the professionalism, technical expertise, and pure marketing knowhow that this venue offers to artists. Check out the forums to gain an idea of the sense of community that is already present among the artisans there. Visit Matt's blog to read about the launch of the site in September, the concept of markets, and some of the exciting publicity the site is generating. Yes, indeed, 1000 Markets could be the Next Big Thing.

Lastly, in honor of my excitement about 1000 Markets, I'll be adding a new weekly feature to compliment my Sunday Morning Coffee series - Saturday Night at the Market. I will feature artists, markets and news about 1000 Markets each week. Be sure to stop by for the first installment Saturday, January 10th.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee and Etsy - 01/04/09

What better way to start the year than with Coffee, Wet Canvas friends, and Etsy! One of the first people to welcome me to the Wet Canvas Wearable Art forum was Shirley of Jumping Jack Glass. Her lampwork is amazing, and she's no slouch at fiber either!! I've always loved her kumihimo necklaces, and now she's creating amazing felted work, too! I didn't know Shirley was felting until she posted this gorgeous scarf in the !WC Wearable Arts forum.

After I saw the scarf, I visited Shirley's Etsy shop, and discovered her felted vessels. I am in love with her Golden Peacock Vessel. The combination of blues and gold with the beautiful leaf lampwork is inspiring, to say the least.

And speaking of Shirley's lampwork, I've found several new favorites there, too! Her leaf beads are always stunning, but I particularly love her tree and floral beads. She brings them to life with a realistic relief technique that often includes the back as well as the front of the bead. This Meadow Tree bead is particularly beautiful; I can almost feel the breeze on my face when I look at it. Another favorite is the Night Blooms bead with pinky mauve nestled against deep indigo blue, yum!

Hope you've enjoyed this week's eye candy! I'm off now make slow cooker split pea soup to go with the last of the cornbread casserole from last night. Then down to the studio to make new things. More soon! Hope you all have a great first week of the New Year!!