November 27, 2008

Ember cowl on Etsy front page!

My "Ember" crocheted cowl made it to the front page of Etsy today, thanks to my model Krista and this amazing treasury featuring the diversity of Etsy!

A big thanks to Nina of BeadsinTheBelfry for including me in this awesome collection! Her shop is gorgeous as well - I love this little flower ring!

November 26, 2008

Afterglow - Handspun Superfine Merino yarn

I finally finished my fiber from the 2nd All Spun Up spin-a-long. A little behind this time around, since I've been knitting away so furiously over the last couple of months. I love the way this yarn turned out - I had a hard time deciding to list it in my Etsy shop!

"Afterglow" is 184 yards of 2 ply DK-light worsted weight handspun. The fiber was dyed by Kristin of AllSpunUp on Etsy. As always, the colors are incredible, and the Superfine Merino was a joy to spin. The yarn is soft, spring and super squishy!

November 24, 2008

Etsy Monday - Crooked Moon Mosaics

This week I'm featuring the very talented Lisa of Crooked Moon Mosaics. She creates beautifully detailed functional works of art from shards of colored glass and other sparkly things. Here's a gorgeous belt buckle made with glass and beads.

I found her in the forums on Etsy a few weeks ago and have been taken with her amazing shop ever since. I've featured her in a couple of treasuries, and I keep popping back in to check out what she's been working on. My favorite piece has got to be this incredible mosaic guitar. I can't imagine the time and patience that went into turning this old guitar into an amazing mosaic masterpiece! I couldn't resist including a nice big picture of it here. Her photography is gorgeous as well, and you can see more of it on her Flickr page.

I asked Lisa to answer a few questions to help us get to know her a little better. Mosaics have always fascinated me, so it's very interesting to read more about her craft. Here's what she had to share!

1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/artisan?

I think I was predetermined to be an artist. My father is an accomplished sculptor and passed on that artistic gene to me. One of my very first memories is of a fish I made out of construction paper in Kindergarten. It was for a sea mural for the wall. The teacher loved it and I think that is when I knew that art would always be a part of my life. I was so damn proud of that fish!

2. How long have you been working with your medium and what first sparked your interest in it?

I’m not a big fan of the color blue (for decorating) but for some reason, blue glass always intrigued me. So I started taking some stained glass classes at a local shop about 10 years ago. I enjoyed it but being a perfectionist, I found myself getting disenchanted. Not being able to make those solder lines perfect frustrated me to no end! Fast forward 6 years and I found mosaics quite by accident. Because I am a starving artist, I work at a restaurant waiting tables. We have about 70 feet of windows with a 10 inch sill. The chairs hitting the edge of the sill and the moisture from the windows sweating, were causing the plaster to break off. It looked horrible. I suggested a tile mosaic to fix it and next thing I knew.... I was making it! While researching how to do that project I found some truly amazing artists who pushed the envelope on what most people think of when they hear the word “mosaic.” I couldn’t wait to experiment with the glass I already had and find my little niche in the mosaic world.

Mosaic Mirrors

3. What do you find most enjoyable/rewarding about your art/craft?
Taking shards of glass that alone look like nothing, and putting them together to make a picture or a design, fascinates me. Also, the endless choice of materials that you can use for mosaics. Though I love the sparkle of stained glass, using other materials such as marble, porcelain tile, pebbles and semi precious stones (just to mention a few) give dimension and drama to my work. Also the fact that you can mosaic just about anything! My work can be out in the garden, hanging on a wall or adorning your body. The only thing that stops you are the confines of your imagination.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your art/craft?

I am surrounded by shelves of jars, trays and boxes of my mosaic material which inspire me when I walk into my studio. I usually don’t plan out my designs, I’ll pick a color scheme first and then just go through my tesserae, putting pieces together till I like it, then glue it down. Also, other mosaic artists inspire me greatly. There are some that are truly masters at what they do.

5. What message or values do you wish to convey with your art? What does your art say to the world?

No message really, I’m not that deep!

6. Are there any other creative outlets that you use to express yourself? What are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Interior and garden design. I am constantly changing things around! When I was younger I would always rearrange the knicknacks in the house creating little vignettes. A few times my mother came home from work to find all the furniture in the family room moved around. She would get so mad ! I couldn’t help myself though. Through the years I have dabbled in many artistic endeavors including photography, painting and floral design.

7. Do you have any advice for other artists/artisans

Do what you love and love what you do.


In closing...

What's on the horizon for you right now?

I just finished up a guitar I’ve been working on, should have it in my Etsy shop this week. I’m about to start another full size guitar. Debating on doing a Beatles tribute or another abstract.

Are there any great websites you'd like to recommend?

My bookmarks are all mosaic sites! I recently joined ArtsinRI, a Etsy street team. It’s a very diversified group of talented artists from Rhode Island. You can find them at

To read past interviews with "Etsy Monday" featured artists, click here!

November 19, 2008

Out of this world Etsy Front Page

Okay forgive the blatant pun but this Etsy front page really is amazing. Created by duckduckGoosestuff on Etsy, this treasury was on the front page this afternoon and I immediately wanted to share it here. It's not often that you see a truly unique treasury, and the combo in this one is just so cool! I especially love the Orbit pendant, Jellyfish earrings and Gold Retro Rocket ornament.

Her shop is amazing too - just look at all that awesome jewelry! If my budget included treating myself to great handmade adornments, I would happily buy any one of these rings or necklaces. I love her original take on settings and her cool use of color and texture.

Ahhh, Etsy. Creative people promoting other creative people makes me really happy!

November 18, 2008

A New Look

I've just spent the last couple of hours giving the blog a make-over, and I'm loving the new look! I've lightened it up a bit to make it neater and cleaner looking, and added a third column. Over on the left is where you'll now find any advertising opportunities, such as Project Wonderful ad spaces, as well as links to other blogs and sites I'm following. On the right is a link to my Etsy shop and other places to find me online (Ravelry, indiepublic, etc), and all the other bloggy stuff like the label cloud and archive. Ahhh, organized!

Here's a screen shot of the old layout for comparison's sake:

And the new look:

And the new look

The part I'm really excited about is that I figured out how to work with the HTML and change this around by myself! Normally I'd go running to my web-designer brother to do it for me, but I was determined to learn how to do it. I'm pretty pleased with myself that I was able to persevere and accomplish what I set out to do! I've got to thank Amanda at BloggerBuster for the great tutorial that helped me do this!

November 17, 2008

Etsy Monday - Melody Sage

I'm kicking off my new "Etsy Monday" feature today. Mondays could use a little something, I thought, and it's a nice way to start the week - showing a little love to some of my favorite Etsy sellers. Each week I will feature a different shop - for more Etsy Monday features, click here.


First up is Melody Sage. She creates gorgeous works of art with pen and ink and sells prints and originals in her shop, Rain Garden Arts. Her work is rich with detail and each piece evokes a distinct mood, from optimistic to dark and contemplative.

"The Windows of the Soul"

A recurring theme I see in her work is the melding of human forms with elements from nature. This seems to me a reminder that we are part of the natural world, even when we think we've managed to remove ourselves from it. This has been on my mind a lot lately, so see it in Melody's work strikes a chord with me. And she's clearly not afraid of exploring the darker side of beauty, which I absolutely love!


I sent Melody a list of questions to give us an idea of who she is, what she does, and what it all means for her. Her answers are thoughtful and intriguing. I especially love her advise for other artists. Without further ado, here's Melody!

1. When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist/artisan?

I remember announcing I was going to be an artist when I grew up at the age of three. I am one of those lucky people who were born with a sense of purpose, although there years where I resisted it for my own convoluted reasons. I went through various phases where I said I wanted to be a filmmaker, a geneticist, an art therapist etc. Meanwhile I kept filling sketchbooks, and everyone kept expecting me to become an artist. I am so glad at twenty five that I finally listened to myself at three.

2. How long have you been working with your medium and what first sparked your interest in it?

Frustrated with pencil smudges at a young age, I turned to ink and never looked back. Working with pen is rigorous. An elbow bump can mean the waste of thirty hours, but I like it. The unforgiving medium means I have had to learn to adapt to errors or make fewer of them. I enjoy working with all materials, however. Recently I have begun experimenting with oil paints, archival markers, and pastel. I also like sculpture, although I carry none in the shop yet. On a day to day basis, I think I prefer the intimacy of a small watercolor or drawing I can hold in my lap and concentrate on.

3. What do you find most enjoyable/rewarding about your art/craft?

When I am immersed in a piece, I swing between soaring thrills of exhilaration, and periods of deep calm where word balloons of thought pass through my mind like clouds and dissolve. In particular I love the first pale glimmer of an idea, and the synchronous mistakes that take the work to surprising places. I love the waltz of concept and material, and the hours I forget to eat and do not notice my cup of tea went cold. When I look closely at any one moment I cannot articulate what exactly makes the process so fulfilling, but it is.

4. Where do you find inspiration for your art/craft?

Inspiration is mercurial for me. Sometimes I start a piece with no preconceptions to see what happens, more often I start with an idea. Ideas are like moths. They hover near sudden areas of illumination in the dark of my head, then fly and disappear, unless I pin them into a notebook with a couple descriptive lines or a quick awkward sketch. Later I page through and see the remnants of the silly, strange, and beautiful notions I have caught and forgotten. If the wings of the idea did not turn to dust, and it still has a halo of borrowed light, I begin a picture.

5. What message or values do you wish to convey with your art? What does your art say to the world?

I do not know what my art says to the world, only what it says to me. It speaks in many voices tinny and soft, musical and insistent, murmuring and loud as a thunderclap. If I could distill this into a single message, it would be that magic exists to be seen and created by each of us. Each person, each tree, each thing, each thought, is a precious universe of shared particles, nothing truly is separate, everything is connected.

6. Are there any other creative outlets that you use to express yourself? What are they and what do you enjoy about them?

Oh there are so many! I write poetry and fiction seriously and have been published in fifty plus literary magazines. My tiny squirrel’s nest apartment overlooking Lake Superior is filled with books and plants. I collect orchids, and dream of the day when I can have an actual garden. I take pleasure in dancing and improvising in the kitchen. I like to cut my own hair and dabble in crafts. All these outlets satisfy different aspects of me.

7. Do you have any advice for other artists/artisans?

Please be kind to your fellow artist. No one can understand the creative part of you better. The success of another person does not eclipse you, but casts more light for everyone. Any way you can, find a method to be happy, and make what only you can make.

In closing...

What's on the horizon for you right now?

I am doing an art bazaar at a local college. This is the start of my career, and the possibilities are exciting.

Are there any great websites you'd like to recommend?

These are not art websites but I love Verse Daily and FreeRice.

November 15, 2008

Snowscape - Handspun Alpaca Merino Silk yarn

I've had a bit of a dry spell for spinning, having been focused on knitting lots of warm Fall accessories for my Etsy shop. My goal is to finish one new yarn each week, starting tonight. I just added another new yarn to the shop, and it's a beauty! "Snowscape" is a luxurious blend of Alpaca, Merino and Silk that is so soft and has a beautiful drape. 125 yards of 2 ply sport weight.

I love the colors in this yarn. Light greys, golds and pinks mix with lots of natural white to create a dreamy winter soft palette. Ths Alpaca also lends a beautiful halo to the yarn that accentuates its delicate beauty.

I bought the roving for this yarn from Erica of Squoosh on Etsy. She also dyed the fiber for the equally dreamy Castle in the Clouds yarn. I love the way she leaves a good amount of white in a lot of her rovings, which creates a beautiful pastel effect. Here's the roving (photo borrowed from listing).

November 4, 2008

Etsy Mexicoteam Day of the Dead Contest

I was perusing the forums on Ravelry the other day and I came across an announcement for a contest being put on by Mexicoteam on Etsy. The contest involved searching through participating shops to find the Day of the Dead logo in a listing. I poked around the shops (finding a lot of great pieces in the process) and submitted my answers. Well, today I was told that I won! Very cool - I haven't won a contest in about 10 years!

Here are a couple of the talented artists I came across while looking through the mexicoteam shops. At The Cornfield Shop you can find beautiful baby carriers like this one, as well as sock monkeys, jewelry and more!

Norma from Cara Carmina sells absolutely gorgeous art dolls, cards and prints. I absolutely love this plush doll of hers - it's so quirky and cute and kinda spooky (in a really good way).

And here's what I chose as my prize - a set of cards from Cara Carmina featuring her Cyrano Dolls. It was a tough choice, since there were lots of great items available for me to choose from. I can't wait to see them!

I just wanted to let everyone know about the great artists of Etsy's Mexicoteam and thanks to all of you for putting on such a cool contest!