Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dare I Say It? The “V” Word?

As much as I dislike seeing Valentine's Day commercialism in stores right after Christmas, I must admit that it got me thinking about my business goals for 2008. Ashamedly, I write that I didn’t have any for 2007 other than to get a shop open on Etsy. I left the outcomes of that to the wind so as to not be disappointed. But I have been pleasantly surprised. Yesterday, I had my 9th sale happen in just over one month. If this keeps up I actually might be able to quit my day job!

For the past few days in the studio, I have been working on new pendant designs for the upcoming LOVE-ly day. Hearts, flowers, red, pink, and white permeate these designs. Making art about love makes me get all mushy inside about my hunny. Does that happen to you or am I the only one? I love him sooo much and I get to really show it in my art. Super fun!!

As a businesswoman do I get to rue brick & mortar shops that display Valentine's Day merchandise too early if I am making some of my own? I always liked thinking "Stop trying to sell me hearts in January!" and huffing out of the shop. Now I'm trying to do the same, just not in a hit-you-over-the-head kind of way. Ironic. I now realize some of the method behind the madness of marketing.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Merry

This would have been the Christmas card I sent out this year had they been finished in time. Somehow I didn't get a lot of Christmas things done in time. I really love Christmas trees, but we didn't get one decorated. In fact, no stockings are hung by my chimney with care. At least I don't feel scroogy about it. It is what it is. Too much too do and too little time.

We went to my mother's for Christmas Eve. She always puts out a fabulous spread of food. I had a few Kahluas and milk. Wheeeeeeee! My niece was jazzed up for presents and helpfully assured us all of some assistance with opening our gifts. Three and a half is a great age for Christmas spirit and she is full of it. I wonder if she fell asleep yet.

So, I wish y'all holiday cheer and time with family and friends. Be safe on the roads, hug and kiss profusely, sing, laugh, love. ♥!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Busy Week

I'm so glad it's Friday! It's been such a busy week. Three custom orders had to be finished, one item had to be shipped, and three items were hand delivered. I'm waiting for another hand off to get back to me now for a pick up or delivery over the weekend. I wouldn't say business is booming, but it is definitely popping! I got my first repeat customer which was very validating.

My shopping is almost done! Trekking out to the stores this time of year makes my hair stand on end. Even the grocery store is too busy. I'm not a fan of crowds. Being just barely 5 feet tall makes a throng of people scary to walk through. People just do not see me and I get pushed and poked. Next year I'm wearing a big orange flag tied to my back that will stick up 3 feet into the air. Excuse me! Coming through! Honk honk!!

I listed a new design tonight that you all got a sneak peek of recently. The bingo pendant is one of my favorite designs. So kitschy! So fun! I gave one to my friend Joolie and she loves it, too. She's not a huge bingo player, but she enjoys fun things. I secretly envy her ownership of an air hockey table. Not so secretly anymore!

If you live in the Rochester, NY area I will be happy to let you pick up or I will deliver purchases from my Etsy shop through Sunday. If you decide to shop local for this holiday I will be happy to accommodate your need for speed!

Never Felt Better

My mom’s birthday was a few weeks ago. She mentioned wanting to make felt beads. I found this great kit from starathena at Etsy and could not pass it up. She loved it! The two of us have spent many days crafting at her house. I adore that we do that together. She taught me so much growing up, and I enjoy still learning from her.

For her birthday we had an old-fashioned sleep over! Girls only! Mom, me, my sister, my two nieces… we had a ball! Mom and I stayed up until 2 am making felt beads from wool roving. We rolled beads until our palms hurt! We started with a bit of wool in different colors and added hot water and dish soap to the mix. Then we rolled it between our hands gently and increased the pressure as the ball got firmer. We made big beads, little beads, red, blue, green, and multi-colored beads. She strung some together with beads from my stash and made a really nice red, black, and silver necklace.

Many Felt Beads

She bought some wool yarn that week and we knitted and crocheted that together to make a felted bag. It’s fun to shrink wool in the washer on purpose! I got some yarn, too, and have been knitting away at a soon-to-be zippered pouch. I’m going to ditch the pattern that calls for kitting on 4 double pointed needles because I cannot figure out how to do that. I knit it too tight anyway. A big rectangle folded and sewn up on the sides will do just fine. Different colored flowers go on the front made from knitted squares that are felted. The flowers are cut out and sewn on with little beads for accents. I don’t really need any more new projects right now but this is too fun!

Mom Sewing Our Felted Bag

Mom is stitching the felt bag together.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shipping Upgrades - Don't Miss Them!

Right now and through tomorrow, I am offering FREE shipping upgrades to USPS Priority shipping! Get your pendants in time for Christmas! That’s $5.00 in shipping for $2.50 for one pendant! More savings the more you buy! How can you beat that?

Sales must be completed and paid for by midnight Tuesday, December 18th.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Friday, December 7, 2007

Working Away Like An Elf

My studio work this week has been filing and sanding pendants until my elbows give out. I came up with some new designs and thought I would give y’all a sneaky peeky!

filing pendant

sanding bingo pendant

pendants in a row

Either something is wrong with my soldering iron or something is wrong with me. Probably the latter. All my lines are lumpy and require a lot of finishing to look nice and smooth. I’m beginning to think my iron is too hot or not hot enough. And I don’t know how to tell which it is. So a new soldering iron may be in my future. The time and expense this one is causing me is too much. I’m going though a tip every 10 pendants. The tips get very “eaten away” and don’t conduct heat well after that happens.

The Weller soldering irons seem to be more what I need as far as professional durability. They are made for the serious stained glass artist. Now I just need to decide which one I want to try. Anyone have suggestions? I am more likely to make the leap into stained glass if I have a better soldering iron, too.

Shopping for tools is fun! My significant other loves that I ask for power tools for presents. That way he gets to shop at manly stores and never has to enter the mall! Win, win! Last year he got me a Dremel and the current soldering iron I am using. This year he got me a sewing machine, which I consider a power tool. (You have to plug it in, right? You use it to make other things, which is the definition of “tool”, no?) I picked it out so he didn’t have to walk into the estrogen-filled JoAnns sewing center. He “gets” me as far as gifts go. No frilly or scented junk for me. I’m practical. But I have been known to gladly accept shiny things of the jewelry kind. Hee hee.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Founder of Interviewed

I thought this was really interesting about the start-up of by Robert Kalin. Software geek or genius? You decide.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Take the Pledge

I Took The Handmade Pledge!

This year I took the Handmade Pledge. Have you?

Being an artist, I feel very strongly about supporting other artists. This doesn’t just mean I provide verbal or written support or encouragement. To me it also means I put my money where my mouth is. I personally (and thankfully) know the feeling of having someone enjoy my work enough to invest money in it and me. It’s one of the best feelings in the world. So why not spread the love and the wealth?

That’s why I took the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season. While I may not be able to do this for my entire gift list (because someone on my list wants a hot plate for candle making), doing some of it this way and doing it consciously makes a difference to artists out there. It makes a difference to people on my gift list, too. It makes a difference to me. Win, win, win.

When you buy and give handmade items, a little love gets passed through the object itself. It means more to the giver and receiver because it is a unique item and took time and thought to make and pick out. The person to whom you give it really sees that you “get” them and what they are into. Giving someone an iPod or a digital camera may say you “get” that person is into music or photography. If you give them a handmade iPod cozy with a rhino on it you are saying, “I know you are into rhinos and collect them. I value that in you as a person." If you give them a handmade pendant with a camera on it, you say more about the connection to the person that you share. You know them. You know what moves them. They and their uniqueness move you. And you took the time to find something that was “made for them”, not manufactured in an assembly line.

The massive consumerism that the more industrialized cultures of the world live with is causing us to lose our connections with people. We buy from faceless big-box stores and grocers. We shop like sheep for the next big thing. When was the last time you spoke with the person who made what you are buying? Personally, I really enjoy making that connection with an artist. I enjoy creating that relationship with people who invest in my work. Some love gets passed through this exchange as well.

That’s why I encourage you to take the handmade pledge, even if you cannot do it for your entire list. Some of anything makes a difference. Help me spread the love.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s a list*!

Etsy – buy and sell all things handmade
Trunkt – art and design buyers guide
i shop indie - supporting independent designers
Artisans Market - unique handcrafted art and gifts
IndiePublic: not an online shop but a great way to find independent artists to buy from

(*I am not officially endorsing any of these sites. Use at your discretion.)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Consignment Pendants for Pink Andie Beads

Pendants for Pink Andie Beads

Pink Andie Beads contacted me through for 10 pendants on consignment. These are what I shipped off to her last week. It's my fist consignment job!

From left to right top to bottom:
1. Bingo "lucky lady"
2. Little bird (pendant design also available at my etsy shop now)
3. Angel with blue bead
4. Green and brown swirls
5. "Wish on a star" fairy
6. Cherry blossoms (has tiny origami frame on back)
7. "She is going places" woman
8. Brown tree branches
9. Lady in fancy hat
10. "Elegant" fairy woman

They all have different designs on the reverse side.

See something you like? I'll be happy to make one for you. Contact me!

All designs and packaging © In My Head Studios

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Craft Show & Tell

My mother and I went to do some craft show reconnaissance on Saturday at two small shows held at a local high school and at a local recreation center. We wanted to see how people had displays set up, how big booths were, and what they were selling. Our plan was to look and not buy, but I'm sure you can guess how long that lasted.

Most people had small tables and tablecloths. Jewelry was displayed on stands or racks. Some of it was just laid out on the tables. I was not very impressed with the displays, but it was nice to see that I don't necessarily have to get all fancy with them to sell my items. Many tables were filled to the spilling point with things. That looks good to me because this person appears dedicated to their craft and makes a variety of items. Nothing looks sadder than a sparse display.

Also for sale were many items of the ever perennial kitschy country décor. I thought (or at least hoped) that stuff had gone out of fashion!

What struck me most were the low, low prices. I'm not sure how some of these folks are able to turn a profit at their selling prices. I got a beautiful ceramic vase for just $10, a table runner in silky ivory for $2, and hand knitted mittens for $4.50 among other things. I purchased several gifts for Christmas and still got out of both shows without spending more than $30.

I have been greatly pleased to see knitting come back into fashion. A lot of sellers had knitted scarves, hats, doll clothes, mittens, and felted bowls and bags. My grandmother owned and operated a knit and yarn shop in her day so knitting and crocheting is part of my family heritage.

I spoke with the people who set up the shows in order to get on the mailing list for next year. My mom even offered to help me lug tables around and sit with me at the show. I’m really looking forward to doing this. It will be my first foray into the craft show world.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another First

my first ATC

Last week at work, I made my first Artist Trading Card. At work? Yes, I had to fill in for the art therapist while she was away. Poor me. Not doing my own work and making art instead. Someone should call the Department of Labor.

We had a group of artists who have wanted to learn about these for a while and some who knew nothing about ATCs at all. It was strange to run a group about something I know about but never actually did. So I was kind of winging it. 

Last year I bought a book called Artist Trading Card Workshop. I highly recommend this book to all ATC enthusiast and beginners. The book is filled with techniques for backgrounds and collages from easy to more advanced. Some projects included are painting on paper towels, stenciling, transfer techniques, embossing resists, and using resin. Directions for making an accordion book to hold all your cards can be found at the back of the book. Hundreds of full color images of ATCs are sprinkled throughout to add more juice to your imagination. 

I passed this book around the room so the artists would get a visual sense of what I was talking about. And then we spent two hours creating. Nothing beats being in a room full of artists working on art and talking. The air is electric with ideas and creativity. Sometimes I like to just watch them work and interact with each other. It's so important to belong to a community and where I work we strive to provide that for artists who struggle with mental health issues. 

Now my brain is full of ideas for more ATCs. Since the working area consists of only 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" I think some designs might translate to my work with the 1" x 1" pendants. 

I made the card above on a piece of heavy watercolor paper. A tag, a picture of a model with fairy wings, and the number 6 were collaged onto the card after I painted the background pink with Lumiere paints (my favorite!). Then the fairy got teal polka dots. The back has my signature, the date, and the edition of 1/1. 

I think I am going to keep this one since it is my first. But for future reference, does anyone want to trade?  

Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Etsy Sales!

Beautiful Flowers on

I got my first sales yesterday on Etsy! I am so excited! Someone not far from where I live bought two pendants. Sales to someone who lives in my town somehow feel more special. They're my peeps!

The first pendant is called "Beautiful Flowers". The second pendant is called "Handle with Care". (click the photos to go to the Etsy pages and read the descriptions.)

Both are glass collage pendants, which means they are tiny original works of art sandwiched between two pieces of microscope slide glass that I cut down to 1" x 1" and soldered together. They are different on the backside. Two pendants in one!

That was a very nice surprise to find as I returned home from shopping on Black Friday. I posted those pendants within a few days of October 20th. They took about a month to sell. Could it have been my offer of free shipping that lured a buyer in?

I was actually beginning to get worried about my jewelry as people were looking and "heart"ing but not buying. Now my hope is restored! I was waiting for something to sell to justify the costs of listing more items. Four pendants are about 90% ready to go to market. They need to be sanded and polished. Then begins the photographing, which can be a pain to get right. But I have to replenish my store's stock. I'm starting to feel like a real business person! Yay!

By the way, I only went out on Black Friday to get good deals at the craft store, and my mom and I didn't bother to venture out until the mobs had gone home. I try to stock up while the prices on paper are low! I got some great deals! Plus my hunny bought me a sewing machine for my birthday and Christmas! It was marked down from $299 to $179. Couldn't pass that one up. Now I will be sewing paper together and making all sorts of new things. And shortening pants because I'm not even 5 feet tall. :)

Now I am off for a reconnaissance mission at two local craft shows to look at how artwork is displayed and priced. I'm a bit shopped out so no buying today unless I fall deeply in love with something. ♥

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Snow of the Season

cold catcher

Happy Thanksgiving!

We got our first flakes of winter today. It did not affect travel too much so we made it to my mom's safely. She only lives about 20 minutes from our house.

Today was actually Second Thanksgiving for my family because we had the big Thanksgiving last Sunday so my sister and her family could be there, too. They went to her in-laws' house today.

Nobody felt like cooking again so we were treated to a free dinner at Old Country Buffet by the brother of a friend. I ate too much roast beef and then I ate too much dessert. My body has had its fill of turkey this week so I went for something different. It paid off as it was the best roast beef I've had in a while.

There are so many things to be thankful for this year, such as the healthy births of a niece and a nephew, the birth of In My Head Studios, learning more about myself as an artist, the ability to try new art techniques, finding Etsy, the continued good health of my family, the engagement of my best friend to a fantastic guy, and the continuation of my romance of a lifetime. I am so lucky to be surrounded by family and friends who love and respect me, the community of artists I have found in 3D and online, and the knowledge and experience we all have been sharing. Despite some tough times these past few months, things are on a whole looking good for me and I am VERY thankful for that.

I hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


In My Head Studios is offering FREE SHIPPING on all items purchased from November 17 - 30, 2007! Shop and ship in time for the holidays!

Now is also the time to request custom glass collage pendants. They start at $29.99! I can put practically anything in the glass collage pendants: pictures of your kids, pets, vacations, or mementos photographed or scanned… you dream it, I can do it (if it I can make it into a 1”x1” piece of paper). 

Make your mother cry with pictures of her kids or grandkids in a pendant! Give your "cat lady" friend a pendant displaying her precious feline so she can show him/her off to everyone! Send me a picture of you and your sweet heart and show her you are always thinking of her. Big bonus points!! 

Can't beat that with a sharp stick, can you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pumpkin Eater

My twin sister finally solved the mystery of the holes in the pumpkins. She took this from her front door today.

The thought of this image made me crack up all day. I had to share it with you!

Thanks, Sissy! You put a smile on my face today!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thick Purple Paper

paper edge

The thick purple paper finally dried after some prodding with a hot iron. It may be my favorite piece. The finish is so soft and velvety.

it won't bend

It is so thick it has no flexibility at all. Here it is balanced on my finger. I love the textured surface and the color.


The edges are deckled nicely. You can see where I tried to fold it on the corner. Wasn't budging much!

Now I really cannot wait to make a card out of it or something. My goal is to figure out how to do this the "traditional papermaking" way, not the "straining leftover pulp" way.

Have you ever made paper? How did it go? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Thickest Paper EVER

The vat had quite a bit of paper pulp left in at the end of purple paper making. Since this pulp will ruin my plumbing if I just toss it down the drain, it had to be strained through my deckle into the sink. I was left with a sheet that when wet is about ¼” thick! It has been sitting under heavy books and newspaper for 2 days. It still is not dry. I changed the newspaper out for dry paper today and added more cloth.

The weight is like heavy cardboard, kind of like egg crate material. I cannot wait to make something out of it. I’ll post pictures as soon as it is completely dry.

Monday, November 5, 2007

How to Tell if You Have Overdosed on Etsy

I had a terrible nightmare last night that my avatar on Etsy was a broken link and no one could get to my store! The horror! Maybe I should not dicker around online so much today and actually work.

Today's projects include finishing pendants, making chains for them, and writing a short biography for a very nice consignment offer I received via Etsy.

At the craft store today, I managed to spend under $20 even though I was in there for an hour, which is a rather big feat for me. I usually take hours wandering the aisles dreaming about what I could make with this or that if only I had an unlimited spending budget. But today was all business choosing chains and findings for jewelry. I would have ordered them from a great seller on Etsy but I'm in too big a hurry to get them finished. Most of what I bought was from the $1 clearance bins! Love great finds like that!

Tomorrow I have to run to Sears for soldering iron tips after work. I go through them too quickly. If anyone knows what I'm doing wrong with that, please enlighten me.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Today's Featured Item

My favorite pendant I have for sale right now has to be the Believe Glass Collage Pendant. So vibrant. So sparkly. So versatile. Each side is different so it is like buying two pendants in one. This art is original and not digitally collaged or made from a print of another collage. Each side is a one-of-a-kind work of art protected by pieces of microscope slide glass - remember those from biology class? Well, now they’re fun!

One side features three punched flowers from magazine pictures and the word “believe” cut out from an old book that was sitting in my grandmother’s eternally-ready-for-a-garage-sale garage. (Seriously, no one could ever pull a car in there for all the tables!) The other side has a single flower. Both sides have a deep red background; the front has sparkly silver lines rubber stamped across it.

Made with lead-free skin-safe metal (4% silver). Pendant measures approximately 1” x 1” and comes with a 21” silver-colored chain with round clasp.

be·lieve v: to be of the opinion that something exists or is a reality, especially when there is no absolute proof of its existence or reality.

I believe everyone needs a little reminder sometimes that there are plenty of good things in this world to believe in. Fairys, for instance. Or angels. Or the love that is in your heart even during those times you do not feel it there. Wear this pendant to remind yourself or others that we all have something to believe in, ourselves!

You could also use it for a charm or bookmark! Possibilities are endless!

I can put pretty much anything that can be made into a 1" x 1" piece of paper into these pendants. A photograph, a picture of a memento, or other small flat items... you dream it, I will try to do it! Custom 1" x 1" pendants cost only $29.99. You supply the digital image or object and I will resize it for your pendant. Email me about custom orders!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

All Hands on Deckle!

Since having about 1000+ sheets of paper someone else made in my studio is not enough, I embarked on a papermaking project in the last few weeks. My hunny made two sets of deckles and moulds out of ½” x ¾” wood trim. A mould is a wooden frame with a screen or mesh fabric secured tightly over one side used to strain paper pulp from water. The deckle is a wood frame the same size as the mould that catches the paper pulp as you pull the mould up out of the water. It causes the beautiful untrimmed, naturally irregular edge of handmade paper. The deckle sits on top of the mould.

The wood trim was glued, clamped, and nailed together. After they were varnished, we attached fiberglass screen to one frame with a staple gun and trimmed off the excess screen. It’s a lot like stretching canvas over stretcher bars if you have ever done that.

wood frames for paper making

cutting screen

pounding in staples
(click pictures to visit my flickr page)

My hunny had been on a year long job search since attaining his MBA so we had a large quantity of résumé test prints coming out of our printer all year long. Hating to toss out paper that still had a clean back, I have been saving it to use for test printing my art, business items, and eventually to recycle it into “new” paper.

paper for recycling

To make paper from this scrap I tore it into roughly 1” squares and soaked it in a bucket of lukewarm water for about an hour or until most of it would come apart if I agitated the bucket a bit. It needs to be to the “translucent” stage for the blender to do its work properly. A $3.00 garage sale blender I got this past summer for this purpose worked great!

I rang out a few handfuls of the soaked paper and put them in the blender that was half full of clean water and puréed until no letters from the paper were visible anymore (unless you want that because that can add a unique touch to your handmade paper). It looks kind of clumpy and feels soft and slimy.

At this point you can add various kinds of dyes if you wish. I added a half teaspoon of powdered purple RIT dye and a dash of salt to the second batch. Never before have I dyed paper so this was all guesswork at this point. Dying fabric calls for salt so I figured it shouldn’t hurt here. Blend in the dye until the color looks uniform. It is going to dry lighter than it looks right now so keep that in mind. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to let the dye do its job.

I set up my paper couching station and stocked it with a lot of newspaper, flour sack towels and cotton muslin cloths. Those blue reusable towels work well too. I bought 10 yards of white muslin at the craft store for $0.99 a yard and had a 40% off coupon. I hemmed them after I cut the cloth down to roughly a square yard each.

I purchased a 20”W x 26”D x 6”H vat that is large enough to accommodate the size of my deckle and mould at the home improvement store. Fill the tub to 3” deep with clean lukewarm water (my hands hurt if they are in cold water for too long). Scoop the pulp from the blender with your hands into the tub. Mix well. I chose to wear my bright yellow dishwashing gloves to keep the purple dye off my skin.

The thickness of paper is directly related to how much pulp is in the water. Too much and you’ll make cardboard. Too little and you’ll make tissue paper. It takes some experimenting to get it right. I had too little in the first non-dyed batch. You can see right through it. Might make some luminaries with it.

I set the deckle on top of the mould and at an angle dipped the bottom edge into the water and pulled towards myself as I pushed the mould flat down into the water. I let the pulp settle a bit and then pulled the mould straight up so its surface was level with the water surface. Pulling it out at an angle will make one side of your paper thicker. I let the water drain off, removed the deckle carefully so water did not drip onto the surface of the new paper, and turned to my couching station. I set one side of the mould on the towels and flipped the mould face down. Using a sponge I squished out the excess water. Then I delicately lifted the mould off from the top. Voila! Handmade paper!

I made 16 sheets in the first plain batch and I lost count in the purple batch. They sat to dry pressed between cloth, newspaper and heavy books overnight. The newspaper soaked up a lot of water. I got impatient for the paper to dry and used my iron to dry and flatten the sheets.

Right now I have one batch each of plain paper and various shades of purple paper pressing flat under a stack of big books on my dining room table. Since there is printer ink on it the plain paper is more grayish than white. The paper sheets are 8 ½” x 11”. Cut in half and folded they will make A2 sized greeting cards.

I might keep making more paper and sell some on Etsy. I also purchased some green liquid RIT dye. The next batch will be shades of green.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome to In My Head Studios!

Hello! Good to see you!

Since I began the journey into finding myself more as an artist than what I do for my "day job" I thought it might be good to make a blog about it, share with other artists, "commune creatively" if you will. So this blog will tend more towards arts and what I am working on and maybe some other daily ephemera from my life and photographs. Sounds like fun to me!

I have been making things all my life. Never could have enough paper, glue, markers in my house growing up. Now it seems I have too much as look around my eternally messy studio space in the second bedroom of our apartment. ("Our" means me and my life partner's home together.) I cannot manage to work in a clean environment. Everything must be at hand at all times for when I might need it. So maybe, if you are good, you might see a photo of my studio someday when it isn't quite so embarrassing.

Current projects: setting up my shop, a huge paper making project taking over my kitchen and dining room, 6 glass collage pendants need polishing with the dremel, need to rubber stamp and paint something for an art swap with a pal locally, and, ... oh, my I better get busy. See you soon!