Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art Journal Pages: Unfinished

"Color Collage" Pages

I have a lot of pain problems, one of them being almost constant migraines and cluster headaches. The cluster headaches make me restless and agitated. And I have one today so I used my agitation to paint pages in my art journal. My poor art journal has been neglected very much lately. I had planned to keep a page a week going but my pain does not always allow me to work when I want to work.

I thought I would share a bit of my art journal process. These pages were done with specific words in mind that still must be written on the pages. But this is how I start out… painting or collaging backgrounds for future writings. Frankly, I like these pages as is but it’s an art journal so some writing should happen.

The first layer I do is gel medium to add the texture. I also glued some kraft paper down for more texture. Then comes a layer of gesso. Paint colors were picked kind of randomly today as was their placement on the page. I get impatient for paint or gel medium to dry so I force it with the heat gun. This can alter the texture and color a bit, and I like not knowing what I may end up with when it has cooled off.

Close Up of "Color Collage"

I looked around the studio for things to print on the pages. A plastic cup, a piece of that rubber non-slip shelf liner stuff, a rubber stamp of a compass, and my own fingers were carefully painted on and printed. The smaller circles are stenciled from sequin waste punchinella I bought on Etsy. Love that stuff. So useful for collage!

Close Up 2 of "Color Collage"

Paint Palette

This is my paint palette. It is just a plastic plate. I let the paint dry on it and reuse it over and over. This one could easily be three years old! I like to use something up until I cannot use it anymore. Less waste that way.

When I get the writing part done, I will share it with you. Right now I need to go pace off some cluster headache pain. See you on the flip side!

If you click the pictures you will visit my flickr page!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week: Paw & Claw Designs

Die, Die, My Darling - Scarab Scarlet

Nichole Jeske of creates a mix of many different types of jewelry from traditional earrings to fun, geeky necklaces for “one-of-a-kind people with one-of-a-kind taste”. Paw and Claw Designs is filled with necklaces made from 20-sided roll playing game dice, stamped sheet metal earrings, wire and beaded pendants, and beaded earrings. Truly something for everyone can be found in her shop, even for the geeky man in your life. Her shop has been open on Etsy since October of 2006. She offers free worldwide shipping on all her items.

I asked Nichole where she gets her inspiration from and she said, “I'm most often inspired more by the materials than anything. I'll see a beautiful die, or notice a random bend in some scrap wire, and just run with it. I'm a bit of a ‘geek’ and I love to incorporate that into my work. Little elements, 20-sided dice, and other obscure pop culture references make me happy. Since making jewelry makes me happy, too, it was only natural to me to mix the two.”

“When you buy something I made, you are essentially buying a part of me. I would never sell something I was not 100% in love with. If I wouldn't present it as a heartfelt gift to my best friends, you won't see it in my shop. I pour my heart into every piece, and I think it shows in each and every item.”

I asked Nichole to tell me how she makes Twitter work for her and her shop: “I'm a HUGE fan of TwitterFeed. I have it set up to automatically tweet when I list an item in my Etsy shops, upload a new image to flickr, and post a new blog post on either of my blogs. Basically anything I can RSS gets put onto TwitterFeed. This frees me up to tweet about ME. The ‘promoting’ is automatic. I tweet about what I am doing, thoughts that amuse me, funny or interesting links, and to chat with my pals.”

“On Twitter, everything has ‘been done’. I worry less about getting people to look at my shop and more about making friends. Real good friends. That's the stuff of Life. More important than sales, more important than making money, more important than most anything.

I have to agree completely about that… creating relationships is key to using Twitter to make sales.

When asked how Nichole promotes her shop, she pointed me to an Etsy forum thread where she outlines her daily, weekly, and monthly promotional plans. If you need some promo ideas, read this thread for some great information. I have to say, this gal is organized as well as very talented!

Paw and Claw Designs’ Special for this week: Use the coupon code "Twitter” in "Notes to Seller" for an upgrade to free gift wrapping with every order.

Order and shipping deadlines for Valentine’s Day: Domestic - February 6th; International - January 31st

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
Paw & Claw Designs

All photos © Paw and Claw Designs/Nichole Jeske

Saturday, January 24, 2009

New Pendant for Your Valentine: Love & Lace

Incorporating lace into my collage pendants makes me happy. The vintage lace I use came from my grandmother’s garage sale days. It adds such dimension to my miniature collages.

This pendant features a tiny Boston postmark, stamped “XO”s, a red heart, and the word “love”, in addition to the vintage lace.

The back was created with heart and circle shaped paper punches.

Show your special someone you really care with this handmade, one of a kind, beautiful necklace!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I’ve Been Tagged for Seven Random Things

Amanda from beadworkbyamanda tagged me for seven random things about me. Hmmm. I’m up for the challenge!

Here are the rules -
- Link to the person who tagged you
- Post the rules in your blog
- Write seven random things about yourself
- Tag seven people at the end of your post and link to them
- Let each person know they were tagged

1. I have a twin sister and we are best friends. We live seven blocks from each other and talk on the phone or email about 100 times a day. We have a fervent Poke war going on Facebook at all times. She Twitters @beautymama and blogs at

2. When I was about 5 years old I was attacked by a flock of turkeys… big, farm raised turkeys. It was at a farm where they let you feed the animals and I somehow managed to get between courting males and females. I was really only as tall as the turkeys. They began closing in around me. I screamed for my life. And like Superman, my dad waded in amongst the turkeys and lifted me out to safety. To this day, all family Thanksgiving jokes are mainly aimed at me.

3. In ninth grade I played the Wicked Witch of the West in the school play… opposite my twin sister who played Dorothy. I’m melting!

4. I lived in Plano, Texas, from ages 8-14 and, although I live in New York now, I still consider myself a Texan, y’all.

5. I have a torrid love affair going with a pair of scissors and all things monkey.

6. I keep at least three to four journals and notebooks at any given time. I do a lot of writing and note taking because I cannot remember what I was doing five minutes ago.

7. When it comes to politics and voting my house is a net zero. My dear boyfriend is a Republican and I am a Democrat. Our votes cancel each other out. Needless to say, political discourse in my house is very interesting.

The following people are hereby officially tagged:
Stefani Tadio
Deanna Roux
Satin Doll Co

Monday, January 19, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team Shop of the Week: Flying Zoo Toys

First of all, let me welcome you to our new project called “Shop of the Week” where a different Etsy Twitter Team member will be featured each week. I’m looking forward to getting to know our team shops!

Our very first Shop of the Week is Flying Zoo Toys. From flying ladybugs to flying fish, this shop is filled with handcrafted fun! Each of the flying wood mobile toys has wings that flap when set into motion via a tug on a string. The artist, Monika Mrozkova, originally from Czech Republic, has been making these wooden mobiles for more than 15 years. She is a full time artist whose work can be seen in galleries across the USA. She has been selling on Etsy since April 2008.

Currently, she only ships to the US and Canada. To receive your purchases for Valentine’s Day, order by February 6th.

Her toys are painted brightly and have a whimsical quality about them. Anything from her shop would make an excellent gift for a baby or adults of all ages.

Everything in Flying Zoo Toys is 15% off for this week. A refund will be issued through PayPal after completion of your purchase. Take advantage of this offer – you won’t be let down by the magic of these toys.

(Photographs © Flying Zoo Toys/Monika Mrozkova)
Reposted from the Etsy Twitter Team Blog

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Etsy Artist Feature: Wildflower Hill

One of my favorite things about Twitter is meeting local people. I find it fun to manage to “bump into” someone from the Rochester, NY area in the big, big online world. To run across a local Etsy seller is quite rare in my own experience. Being a firm believer in shopping local even if the shop is online, I wanted to let more people know about this great shop, run by Cindy Macca, called Wildflower Hill. This shop is chock full of gorgeous and very unique beads.

Cindy chose her shop name by taking inspiration from her Bloomfield, NY surroundings where she lives in a log cabin among a big hill of wildflowers that bloom in spring, summer, and fall. She is a wife and mother and has two dogs, five cats, and a guinea pig to care for. Running Wildflower Hill takes up much of her time and is her full time job. She openly admits that her house “looks like a bead factory exploded in it”. Her father and a brother are gemologists and appraisers of fine gems. One might call her bead store just part of the family business of working with precious and semi-precious stones. Her shop offers “a wide variety of stone, shell, fresh water pearls, coral, and glass beads along with copper, sterling, stone and ceramic pendants”.

What struck me most when I first visited her shop were her absolutely gorgeous photographs of her beads. Honestly, are these great pictures or what?! Plus the beads themselves are quite distinctive. I haven’t seen such a unique variety in many small business bead shops online, and trust me when I say I’ve spent a lot of time in online bead shops. The “Matched Set of Beads” section of her shop is genius. She does all the work for you by selecting great bead combinations and coordinating pendants.

I highly encourage you to stop by Wildflower Hill and to take some time to look around. You won’t want to leave empty handed!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Friday, January 16, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team

Late last year the Etsy Twitter Team was created thanks to Sarah from I thought this was a great idea and joined immediately. Since then Sarah has been kind enough to make me an admin for the team. We have a blog and a Google group going, too.

I’m really enjoying helping to promote other Etsy shops. It’s a nice break from working all the time just to promote my own. Plus I like giving back to a community that has taught me so much over the last year and a half.

I’ve had so many ideas for the team that I needed to start keeping a team journal! Quite a lot of people have joined so it was clear to me we required a big database to store everyone’s information. The better part of this week was spent creating that database. Don’t ask me why because I don’t know, but I really like making databases! Geeky!

My first project launched today. “Shop of the Week” has been born! We’re asking team members to sign up for the week they want to be featured on our team blog and promoted on Twitter by our members. As of this writing we already have three shops signed up. I hope this takes off and brings the sales fairy to our featured shops!

One problem I am still trying to solve is that of the Twitter tweets showing up on our blog. My dream is to see the tweets by team members in the sidebar of the blog, but I cannot figure out how to do that yet. If you know how to do that, please let me know!

So give three cheers for the Etsy Twitter Team! Yay! Yay! Yay!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Domino Charm Swap

Home Sweet Home Domino Charm

For the December swap in the flickr group Altered Dominos & Other Altered Game Pieces.

This is a vintage wood domino altered with paint, paper, pen, vintage text pieces, beads, and wire. It’s sealed with Mod Podge and spray acrylic gloss sealer. So now it is off to the Post Office to ship to prpldy15. I’m a bit late for this swap due to my wrist injury.

I know I have been a bit lax on the blogging. Not much has been going on so you have not missed anything. My wrist is slowly healing and is almost pain free. I feel like an athlete on the bench with an injury… cannot work the way I want to and for as long.

My holidays proceeded with much fun and joy. Our New Year’s was a bit low-key and made me feel, well, old. Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve was filled with rock bands I have not heard of before. Is that how you know you are out of the pop culture loop? Is this how my parents used to feel when I was a teenager? I mostly listen to my CD collection of mostly independent musicians. I rarely hear pop radio because I cannot stand listening to ten minutes of commercials between songs. Maybe I’m just too cool to listen to pop radio. Yeah, that’s it. If you need me I’ll be rockin’ out in the studio to something obscure.