Monday, March 30, 2009

Giveaway Still On

Well the kidlets are sick yet again and home from school, so I haven't had a chance to choose my 3 favorite names yet. I will later tonight or tomorrow and post them tomorrow for voting. Until I do, please feel free to enter if you haven't already. The sale is also still on since I am still 9 sales away from 1500! See the previous post for the details on the giveaway and the sale!

Thanks for your patience!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A New ACEO , A Sale & A Giveaway

Things have been very slow in the shop this week, so I took some time to make a new ACEO (Art Cards Originals & Editions). I haven't made one at all this year, so while my wallet is thin this week, my artistic heart is very full! I decided to include all my favorite things, I carved a new retro tree, used lots of texture featuring circles and used some of my favorite shades of turquoise and green. I thought I would celebrate my new ACEO with a giveaway and a sale. I am only 10 sales away from 1500, so the next 10 sales will receive 20% off & free shipping. Sale number 1500 will receive the discounts & some extra goodies. I rarely run sales (mostly because I'm too lazy), so please take advantage if you can :) To receive the discount, put "1500" in the message to seller at checkout and either wait for an adjusted invoice, or pay and I will refund the difference the same day. Thanks in advance for helping me reach my goal!

Giveaway Details:

My new ACEO needs a name and I think I used up all my creativity on making it, so I need your help. Leave a comment with a potential name and you will be entered to receive a new retro tree pendant (with your choice of either silicon cord or ball chain necklace) made with the stamp I used for the trees in the ACEO. Not feeling creative either? Go to my shop and pick your favorite item and link to it in the comments and you can be entered as well. You can also do both to gain a maximum of 2 entries into the giveaway. I will randomly choose the winner on Monday, March 30th! I will choose 3 names from those suggested and allow my readers to vote on the winner. The person with the winning name will also win one of the new pendants! So I guess it's actually 2 giveaways! I can't wait to hear all of the creative responses!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Be inspired to Have a Handmade Wedding

Please join BEST members at the 8th annual American Visionary Art Museum's Bridal Happy Hour!
Thursday April 2nd, 5:30-7:30. Enjoy food and cocktails and view work by some of Baltimore's best wedding vendors. And best of all, it's free!

Why go handmade for your wedding?? There are many reasons!
-Have custom jewelry, paper goods and spa gifts created that are as a special as your wedding.
-Support local and woman owned businesses.
-Many BEST artists use sustainable and green materials in their work.
-Give your wedding a handmade touch that is unique.
-Show your bridal party and family your appreciation with gifts that are created just for them!

Participating BEST artists:
Block Party Press
Dandelion Blu Jewelry
Elisa Shere Jewelry
Jill Popowich Designs
The Broken Plate
TigerLilly Shop
Spa Therapy Works
Yummy & Co.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inspiration From a One of My Photos

I started this blog as a way to explore artistic inspiration, to keep my self inspired and to hopefully share what inspires me and maybe even to inspire someone else to create something... anything. Imagine my excitement when I found a post on Kim Cavender's wonderful blog showing a beautiful polymer clay brooch made by Oksoon. As soon as I saw it I thought it looked amazingly like a photo I had taken last year of some strange multi-colored berries that we found while on a walk . I started scrolling down as I read and sure enough there was my photo and Kim noted that it had inspired the brooch. How cool is that? My heart is honestly swelling with pride. I'm so excited that all my crazy macro photo taking is not in vain, and so thrilled that someone would be inspired to create something from one of my photos!

So, this is just a little more fuel for my fire to keep on keepin on with this blog! I'm hoping you all continue to follow along with me. If you are ever inspired to create anything from one of posts, please feel free to contact me at and send me a photo. I will be more than happy to feature it here and I will send you a free item from my shop as a little thank you once it's posted!

Here's the photo that inspired the brooch:

Macro 365/152

I hope it inspires you too!

Mother Nature Does it Again

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Through My Eyes - We Have Achieved Buddage

Spring has officially sprung in my neck of the woods and even though the temperature has been up and down, the signs are unmistakeably showing up everywhere. Here are some of the lovely buds I saw springing up this week. I thought they would be some great inspirational motivation for a Monday morning!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Inspired by A Love for Chicago - Interview with Nancy & Andy of Circa Ceramics

One of my all-time favorite Etsy shops is Circa Ceramics. I just love all the bright colors, the super fun graphics and the modern shapes they use. I was so excited when they agreed to detail the inspiration behind one of their pieces. So without further ado, here's what they had to say about the inspiration behind these lovely Chicago Flag Bowls ( you can also find Chicago Flag Tea Cups here):

What's the inspiration behind this piece?

Our love of Chicago. This city gets such flack everywhere, it's really sort of comforting whenever we see an artist/artisan/crafter come up with city representing pieces. We wanted to be one of those artisans.

When we came out with our logo, we thought that adding the city where the creation of our pieces took place was enough to show pride (and it is to an extent - People seek us out because we are making ware in the city and brand it as such), but what really set us off was the commercially manufactured souvenir cups we saw online at a boutique here in the city. There's something that's just not right about buying a cup (in our case) to show your city pride, that has no real connection to the locale other than it did make it to the shop shelf it sits on.

Our posting those 16oz bowls on Etsy also coincided with the February 10th Forbes article claiming Chicago was the 3rd worst city to live in - We got a lot of comments on them, all positive - So we know it soothed some a bit!

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?

Our city flag is quite simple & lends itself to many incarnations, and the colour palette is limited - So the transition from 2D to 3D object was easy. I did try to paint the stars at first, using a stencil, but the crispness of a screenprinted image is what was needed, so we went with that instead, and I'm glad we did because it makes a huge difference.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?

Honestly? For both of us, lately it's usually when we see something and immediately decide it needs improvement - It can be from looking at one of our own pieces, or something we see or hear about.

Right now, the lack of colour in tableware out now is what is driving us to come up with colourful designs/layouts. This may also make it to the screenprinted imagery, but we'll see :)

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?

Take a look around you - See what other artists/designers/crafters/artisans are doing with their work now (not necessarily in your medium) and then look at your work - Write or sketch any and all thoughts that pop into your head - Try not to censor your thoughts! Often, this kind of research shows refreshing insights, and when you take the time to refine them, more things pop into your head.

If an artist/designer/artisan/crafter you like and admire has a blog, go read it - Many times, they write about their creative slumps, and it is comforting to know that it happens to everyone at some point in their endeavors; you may even read about how they pulled themselves out of it - It can be very inspiring & motivating :)

See more Circa Ceramics goodies in their Etsy Shop and be sure to check out their blog too!

Here are some of my favorite Circa Ceramics pieces.

I love that Circa Ceramic's bowls were inspired by the love for their City! Take some time this week to think about where you live and how it can inspire you. Don't just take in the visuals of your surroundings, but go a little deeper. Look at what makes your city, town, suburb, etc.. unique. What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? What would you like to change about it? What are some of the stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding your city, town or suburb? What is the history (good & bad) behind your city, town or suburb? How has it changed over the years? Create something from the answers to these questions.

Can't get enough of Chicago? Check out more Chicago artists found through the "Shop Local" tool on Etsy. Also the ChicagoStyleCrafters/IL Street Team has a Windy City Sampler Bag for sale! Yep, it's a little Taste of Chicago all bundled up in a handmade recycled paper bag :) and it includes some Circa Ceramic goodies!
Get your's here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Inspired by the Sound of the Rain - A mini tutorial

It's been raining here for the last couple of days and despite the fact that it is still pretty cold, there is still always something cleansing and refreshing about the rain. I thought it was the perfect opening for me to share a fun tutorial about how to make a rainstick. The recycled crayon tutorial was really well received, so I thought I would post another one. This one also uses mostly recycled items. It doesn't have as many photos because we actually made them awhile ago, but I think you'll be able to follow along pretty easily.

Materials needed:

1 cardboard paper towel roll
approximately 30 1 inch nails
beads - assorted shapes, sizes, glass and plastic
1 sheet of cardstock
masking or duct tape
papier mache paste
strips of newspaper
tissue paper
white glue

1. The first thing you need to do is insert nails into the paper towel roll approximately 1/2 inch apart following the spiral of the card board on the paper towel roll. Make a second row of nails about 1 inch below the first row and spiral it around the roll. This is probably best done by parents if you are doing this with your children. You can also pre-poke the holes and then it should be OK for the kids to insert the nails. The nails should be short enough that they don't puncture the other side, but long enough to span the diameter of the roll. When you are finished, this is what the inside of your roll should look like:
The spiral "staircase" made by the nails will slow the beads a bit as the travel down the roll and create the rain sound.

2. Next cut 2 circles out of the cardstock to cover the ends of the roll. The cardstock will add another dimension of sound as the beads hit it. Cover one end and tape down the cardstock. Remember to add the beads before sealing the other end. I recommend using different sizes of beads and both plastic and glass for a realistic rain sound. Test your rainstick by tilting it and listen to hear the rain.

3. Cover the entire stick with tape. This will secure the nails and help the roll keep it's shape during the papier mache process.

4. Take strips of newspaper and dip them in the papier mache paste (follow the link above for an easy recipe, or just google it. There tons of different recipes out there) and wipe off the excess. Layer the strips of paper, making sure to change directions for each layer to increase it's strength. You'll need at least 4 layers. Let it dry overnight. If the rain stick feels sturdy and strong when dry proceed to the next step. If it is still a bit flimsy, add a couple more layers of papier mache & newspaper strips and let dry again before proceeding.

5. Seal the rainstick with gesso or primer and then paint or cover with strips of tissue using slightly watered down white glue. I recommend sealing the stick with matte sealer spray to protect your design since it will be handled.

6. Have fun and enjoy the soothing sounds of the rain!

Here's a tutorial that outlines how to make a polymer clay rain stick.

Here are a couple really cool polymer rain stick's made by Alyssa of She even used the paper towel roll core, which I hadn't tried before with polymer clay.

Update: My tutorial made it onto the Totally Tutorials Blog! They have some really great free tutorials there. Make sure to check them out!

Totally Tutorials Blog

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be inspired by Green, Shamrocks, Leprechauns, Rainbows and a Pot of Gold

Happy St. Patrick's Day! I am a little bit Irish, so it is only natural to take a little inspiration from the holiday! I can only imagine that these items were inspired by St. Patrick's Day. Hopefully they will inspire you!

The obvious inspiration for the day is obviously the color green. I just love the splash of green in this Spring Fern Ring by Tigerlillyshop.etsy. So fresh, a perfect way to celebrate Spring, and it will keep you from getting pinched if your wardrobe is lacking in the green department.

Shamrocks have a lovely shape and color and their leaves are very reminiscent of hearts. thebrokenplate.etsy found the perfect shamrock plate to create this lovely necklace. To me it says St. Patrick's Day without shouting it and honestly would be perfect to wear any day of the year!

What would St. Patrick's Day be without Leprechauns? I immediately fell in love with Brady the Leprechaun by . He looks like he'd take you right to the pot of gold just to see you smile!

Personally, I think rainbows are perfect for any day, but St. Patrick's Day reminds us that there may just be a pot of gold at the end. This little rainbow by urastarhouse.etsy is crazy cute and sure to bring a smile to your face even if there isn't a pot of gold at the end.

Finally, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If I found Joyfulcrow's fantastic piece at the end of a rainbow, I would be thrilled!

May the Luck O' the Irish will be with you all day and may the inspiration flow like the rainbow to the pot o' gold!!

Check out the St. Patty's Day finds on the BEST blog too!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

BEST Springtime Giveaway!

I'm finally back. This time I had a real excuse. My son, Kyle, was admitted to the hospital (He's OK now) and then the day he came home I got a wicked kidney infection which took me out of commission for over a week. I thought it was the flu, so suffered with for like 4 days before ending up in the ER. Then we had another scare with Kyle, but thankfully everyone is OK. I really had to shut everything down for about 3 weeks and I am finally getting back into the swing of things. Since I didn't want to stress myself about my first post , I am posting about the BEST Springtime Giveaway! Unfortunately I didn't get a piece in because all the health drama started just before the items were due. I am thinking about a giveaway and/or sale for the shop though, so check back to see what I come up with. I have a lot of post ideas in my head, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that I can get them out of my head and onto my computer to share with you!

Here's the BEST Giveaway Info. Don't miss out on the all the free hand made goodies!

Hooray! Springtime is almost here (just don't look outside right now.) To celebrate, we put together this mega-giveaway of springtime goods just for you. All you need to do is be on our mailing list and leave a comment here about a favorite work from one of the many talented BEST artists. If you are not on the mailing list yet, you are missing out on giveaways and newsletters delivered straight to your inbox (we promise to not be annoying, we only send you mail a few times a year.) So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now! The sign up page is on the right hand side of the blog.In this giveaway you will find work from these great BEST artists
1. Jersey Girl Design 2. A Stone's Throw 3. nfall2rt designstudio 4. Greenstartstudio 5. Yummy & Company 6. Herekitty Pretties 7. The Baker's Wife 8. The Giving Tree 9. Zetta 10. Tigerlillyshop


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