Tuesday, February 24, 2009

American Craft Council Show

I am fortunate enough to live just 1 hour from Baltimore, MD, a hub of art and culture. Honestly I don't take enough advantage of this fact but this weekend will be different. I'll be heading to the American Craft Council Show at the Baltimore Convention Center, wishing I had a couple thousand dollars in my pocket!

Several fellow Etsians will be there such as Nervous System.

Other well know craftsman such as Eric Silva

and Karen Gilbert,

and Ben Neubauer will be showing there as well.

This year I am most looking forward to seeing one of my favorite artists Tayla Baharal. Below is her necklace listed with the 2009 exhibitors but be sure to check out her site and take a look at her rings, wall pieces and sculpture.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Going bananas...in a good way

It has surprised many people, that while we spent 2 months last year on a sub-tropical island, fresh fruit was often in short supply. Long story short, lets just say that the political and economic situation there has greatly hindered the island's ability to provide for itself. So there we were on an island paradise where mangos, nectarines, figs, cherry mias and loquats CAN grow...eating apples from a continent 1200 miles away. Mind you, they were good apples but I had a bit of trouble concentrating on that fact as I stared out the window at a banana tree. Surely this was a strange place.

Seeing my distress my husband brought me this lovely "bouquet" one afternoon! They turned yellow in a week or two and thereafter we were blessed to find plenty of the tastiest bananas ever. In fact we had enough bananas to try a local recipe for Banana Cake. Goes as follows...

Saint Helena Banana Cake
This recipe has been adapted for the American kitchen from "What's Cooking on Saint Helena?", collected and published by The Ladies Craft Group of Saint Helena.

2-3 very ripe bananas
2 tsp. lemon juice
8 oz. butter
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups self-rising flour

Mash the bananas and stir in lemon juice. Cream together butter and sugar then beat in eggs followed by banana mixture. Stir in flour just until combined. Bake in a greased 9 x 9" pan at 400F for 45 mins. or until a toothpick comes out clean.

* For a chocolate version, add 6 TBSP. of hot cocoa mix with the flour.
* For a special version created by my son Samuel sprinkle with a handful of chocolate chips before baking.
* To make self-rising flour - 1 cup flour +1 tsp. baking powder + 1/2 tsp. salt

This is a deliciously moist cake that has become one of our favorites.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Understanding Inspiration

Just thought I would post some new work before it hits the Etsy shop. I have been giving a grey and black pair of these a test drive. The are so light weight but hang nicely and stay on securely.

I recently ordered some lovely handmade script beads from Field and Sea on Etsy. I was enamored with them straightaway but wasn't...quite sure...where to...go with them. I finally decided I would just go ahead and buy them with confidence that inspiration will arrive when they do!

I have come to the conclusion that if I am able to make pieces that look like they are ancient or at least old, unearthed at some archaeological dig, I am relatively happy. And if my husband can take photographs of abandon buildings, with a possible bit of trespassing, he is extremely happy. We are well suited for one another.

His photos below were taken on the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, June 2008. This is the lovely Georgian mansion, Teutonic Hall, which now stands crumbling. Shame.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


12 months ago today I sent up my Etsy shop!

12 will be the theme for my anniversary sale. The first
12 customers will receive a FREE pair of post earrings, choosing from those listed in my shop as
$12 or under, with any other purchase they make.

I don't think I have ever even HAD 12 customers in one day so we'll see how this goes...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lovely Spot of Green

My eleven year old son is quite keen on moss and wanted to give my daughter a moss terrarium for Christmas this past year so in true DIY fashion, we helped him put one together.

Now a month and a half out from the creation of this little indoor garden the moss is healthy and lush and lovely. I thought I'd share the easy instructions.

Collect supplies.
- Clear container - Glass containers can be found in any craft or garden supply store but may I suggest trying your own cupboards or a second hand shop first? A container with a lid is nice but a make shift lid will do as well. My daughter uses a lovely saucer from an old tea cup.
- Gravel - the kind for fish tanks works well.
- Sand
- Topsoil
- Moss - Look for a spot of moss growing in the wild, carefully taking just part of it if it is in a spot that you want the moss to continue to grow. We have moss growing on our roof in a spot that was safe and easy for my husband to get to.

Fill the container with layers, about one inch of each, gravel, then sand and then topsoil.

Lay moss on top of topsoil neatly and spritz with water.

Place your terrarium in indirect light (away from the window in a bright room) and water every 2-3 weeks.

Total cost for our terrarium $2! What a deal!

All photography for this post was done my daughter. Thanks Ema!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Etsy Anniversary!

What an amazing year I have had! To celebrate one year on Etsy I am going to be running a one day special all day February 17. Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Widget and Wonder

Here are some new pieces that I am working on, venturing out from solids as I think and learn about how to make connections using polymer and sterling silver.

The grey and black earrings (which haven't yet had the bottom circle glued in place yet) even have handmade earring findings. I am really happy about this because I want to move toward totally handmade, beginning to end, pieces. I think when my abilities catch up to what I see in my head, I am going to be happier with my end result.

I went to the Baltimore Museum of Art yesterday on a group homeschool field trip. What a fantastic museum! (*Mental note to self: when I get stuck, don't sit staring at the studio walls, go to a good art museum!*) The docent made 2 minor errors (oh! I did listen in art history class!) but it didn't take away from the overall trip.

Museum photos were taken by my daughter, Ema.

The mosaics from Antioch are one of my favorite parts of the museum.

My son Ben can be moved to tears by artwork because he is so excited about seeing pieces from an artist that he knows and loves. I was alittle concerned that I would need to distract the other children from this teary eyed 11 year old when we went into the room with the Calder mobile. (do you think Alexander Calder imagined moving people to tears with his work?) Ben was beside himself! The first time we noticed this in him was when we had him at the MET when he was five and he stood in front of a Van Gogh self-portrait and cried! Awestruck he whispered "mommy, is that the REAL thing?" Another woman and I just stood there and watched HIM!

Photos don't do this mobile justice.

At the BMA my sixteen year old amazed me with her art history knowledge, discussing paintings she recognized. And at some point during the day my seven year old tugged my sleeve and said "I want to be a wood carver." I am not sure where that came from but unfortunately I had to tell him that he isn't quite ready for a knife and would he please consider starting with another material.

Little Dancer by Degas