Sunday, March 28, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Part Thirteen

For lucky thirteen, and I really do find thirteens to be lucky, I'm honored to introduce you to the wonderful and talented fellow New Jersey resident Kimberly, of Makin' the Best of It.  Make the best of things, she absolutely does, whether it's a piece of glassware, a bit of plain silver wire, or your own wedding invitation!

Huh? you wonder.  I've confused you, I know.  The problem is, this is another one of those talented artists who makes me jealous by being able to do a zillion different things and do them well.  No joke.

Well then, get to the pictures!  Yeah, yeah, gimme a second, I'm getting to it.  First, the glassware.  Kimberly takes the plain, adds a bit of herself, and makes it beautiful.  Check out, for instance, these gorgeous toasting flutes.

These were custom-painted to match the theme of a wedding, as commissioned by the bride.  Would that I had known Kimberly a year ago!  Coincidentally, today is  my one year wedding anniversary to Eric.  No kidding, it's today!  During our eight-month engagement, I was a member of a wedding planning site and all I heard were brides looking for something new, different, unique, and good for their themes.  What's better than this?!  Not much, unless it's the handpainted, custom-designed wedding invitation memory boxes that Kimberly also does.

Is that not a terrific way to display your wedding invitation?  Is that not a terrific gift for the bride and groom you love?  The invitation doesn't have to be previously embellished either.  Look what she can do with a plainer one.

Not a fan of the flowers?  How about this.

And on that one, she had to work with a design already printed on the invitation and make it still look right!  Not an easy feat, my friends, and she pulled it off wonderfully.

It's not just about weddings, either.  This artist, and I do mean artist, does the most creative things with old books!  Check this out.
Gorgeous.  Gorgeous, I say!  And it's all sculpted from an old book, cut, formed, and then framed.  Want a funkier one?  She can do it!

That, my friends, is not just an altered book (appropriately, A Clockwork Orange), but also an old clock face, and gears and workings from an old clock.  Awesome, just awesome.

Speaking of awesome, I need to step back to the glassware for a second, because that's not all wedding-related either.  Look at this terrific handpainted "Four Seasons" candle cube.

Or what about more casual glassware, like these funky tropical mugs?

Having a backyard BBQ?  Personally, I think these sunflower salt & pepper shakers are a must.

In light of the chilly greyness currently lurking outside my windows, I just love looking at those.  They fool me into thinking it's warm and sunny out there.  It's a lie, I guess, but I like lies like that.  They make me happier.

What about that silver wire you mentioned?  Yeah, yeah, I'm getting to that too.  It's not my fault Kimberly gives me so much to talk about!

So... the silver wire.  Well, that has many incarnations as well, so bear with me.  First, I'll show you what she can do with plain silver wire.

I'm not kidding when I say that this piece had me awestruck.  The one that literally made my mouth hang open, though was one that involved her chainmaille.

The way that pendant just glows with the read center bead had me staring at that photo for several minutes the first time I saw it.  Now that I'm looking at it again, I'm staring again.  I can't help it.

One caged bead not impressing you?  OK, how 'bout a bracelet full of them?

Enough of the maille, how about going back to wire wrapping?  What about these pendants?

Or these more delicate ones?

You can also get the sea glass earrings to go with them.

And then there are these amazing wire wrappings with sea glass, to form birds' nests.

By the way, you're not allowed to buy those!  I think I want at least one of 'em.  So there!  Of course, if you did want to buy them despite my admonition, you could find them and other wonderful things at Kimberly's Handmade Artist's Shop.

Then, there's the chainmaille/wire wrap combo.

What a statement piece that is!  That necklace, a little black dress - or red one, for that matter - and maybe a small pair of silver earrings, and you would get noticed.  That's one of those pieces everyone who comes near you is compelled to comment on.

And now for something completely different, check out this handwoven Swarovski crystal heart pendant.

Basically, when you're looking at Kimberly's work, you're going to be seeing things you can't find anywhere else.  She's got a talent and sense of style so varied and unique, it's just amazing.  Look, even when it comes to Christmas ornaments!

Seriously, I've never seen anything like this.  To learn more about Kimberly, Makin' the Best of It, and the other artists she spotlights and supports, great person that she is, check out her blog.  It's a worthy read.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Part Twelve

The artist I have for you this week is Creative Minds, from Vermont.  She's been making jewelry for five years, and enjoys crafting so much that she finally decided to make a business out of it.  She also loves kids, and one day when she's able to open a craft store she wants to be able to teach kids' craft classes there.

She works in various interesting media to make her jewelry, like wooden, glass, gold, and shell beads.

These stardust beads made great Valentine's Day earrings.

She has beautiful bracelets, anklets, and necklaces, made from fimo beads, seed beads, and Swarovski crystals.

This necklace is made with a handmade fimo rose in addition to the glass beads.

She takes custom orders and will even turn items she's already got into any jewelry pieces you'd like.  Her suggestions, for example, for these breast cancer awareness fimo ribbons is to attach a jump ring.  She's also donating 50% of the proceeds on these ribbons to breast cancer awareness.

In addition to all of that, she's got some really cute greeting cards!

To see more of what she's got for sale, check out her site, and to learn more about Creative Minds, check out the blog!

On the Road with Reef Botanicals

This past week, Eric and I took Reef Botanicals to New Orleans for La Fete, a face and body painting convention I attend each year over St. Patrick's Day weekend.

We had an absolute blast, having fun with other artists and their significant others, attending the St. Patrick's Day parade, feeding off of each others' creativity, and going to the zoo and the aquarium.

During one class, an interesting thing happened.  Mark Reid, a master body painter from New Mexico had purchased one of our Purity soaps to clean his brushes and sponges.  He already knew that Castile soap was the best for this purpose, as it is as gentle on our expensive supplies as it is on the skin, while still being a strong cleaning agent.

The day before, Mark did a demonstration with a black body paint that's got a tendency to stain our sponges and brushes.  During the evening, he washed his supplies with our Purity, and the next day during his class, he demonstrated the result.  The new sponge that had been heavily loaded with black face paint was as clean as it was when he'd pulled it out of the package, and another sponge he washed with Purity, one that was several years old, was nearly as new-looking.

I was ecstatic to see how well it worked!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I went to the hairdresser on Saturday... the one who loved our Hair Dew Shampoo.  He still does, and in fact said that the next time I come back, he wants more!  He's also willing to sell it with our other soaps in his shop and endorse it for us, which is huge.

Back to my reason for going, though. I'm 39 and somewhere along the line, my hair started coming in white. Not all of it, mind you, not nearly. Just enough that it's noticeable. And not grey, white.  Uck.  So I color it.  The majority of my hair, which isn't white, is naturally a dark brown, and I always have it colored to its original hue.

I don't really time when I go, though it seems to happen every six weeks or so.  But the notice that I need to go... that comes probably the same way some of you realize you need to go.  Every once in a while, I'm in the bathroom under those bright lights, and I look into the mirror and say, "Yikes!  Wow, I need to make an appointment!"  That's when I go get a cut and color.  That happens to you too, right?  It's not just me?

I've checked the calendar, and my last appointment was on January 31, so it was about six weeks ago.

In between, my hair color changes.  We've all seen it, a few weeks after you dye your hair a nice dark brown, it starts to turn red.  Not Crayola red, but definitely red.  I've noticed it when I notice my white roots... the dark roots that also come in and comprise the majority of my hair are several shades darker than the rest of my hair, the part that's been dyed, even though my hair was quite dark when I left the salon.

Not this time.  I noticed it for the first time on Saturday, just before I went to the hairdresser.  The colored part of my hair and the dark hair that had grown in at the root were pretty much the same color.  My hair color hadn't changed!  The dye hadn't faded!  The only difference, only difference, is that I've been using Reef Botanicals Shampoo on a daily basis rather than commercial shampoo, mostly Mock Turtle.

So... what was fading and changing my hair color before?  Personally, I think it was the chemicals present in pretty much all commercial shampoos.  "No more tears" aside, they're pretty harsh stuff.

Is this a scientific fact?  Of course not.  We haven't run real tests.  I haven't even washed one side of my head with commercial shampoo and the other with Reef Botanicals just to see what happens.  I'm honestly not brave enough to carry two-tone hair should I be right about those chemicals.  But I've convinced myself that I want to continue using our stuff rather than the brands I used to use.

Artist Spotlight: Part Eleven

The artist I have for you this week is the wonderful Teresa Rusk of T.Rusk4u:  Handcrafted Jewelry for Every Woman.  And she'd know what "every woman" wants, too, as a happily married woman with two grown children and two rescue dogs who lived all of her life in the midwest until moving to North Carolina.

As she puts it, she's been a creative and resourceful person ever since she can remember.  Her first love of crafting came in the form of sewing, and she's tried countless others.  That's one of her tote bags, above, for sale in her WinkElf shop.  Jewelry making, which started as another hobby, grew into an obsession for her, and she keeps learning and designing.

She recently celebrated her Etsy shop's two year anniversary.

One of her trademarks is multiple-strand jewelry, which makes for some serious statement pieces.

Her simple pieces are beautiful too, though!

My favorite thing, though, is what Teresa does with wire wrapping.  It's an art in itself, sculptural and beautiful.

And my very favorite of Teresa's pieces, this bracelet.

To learn more about Teresa, her art, her family, and her home, be sure to read her blog!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunshine Award!

Thanks to Jewelry by Nala for nominating us for this special award!

Rules for accepting this award:
* Put the logo on your blog or within your post.
* Pass the award onto 12 bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world.
* Link the nominees within your post.
* Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

I nominate the following blogs for the Sunshine Award, no particular order:

The very talented fabric crafter, Tuppence at Momfetti!
The amazing author, Melinda at Melinda Lancaster:  Author and Poet!
The drool-inducing baker and snack-maker, Robyn of Cakes 'n' All!
Hilarious and awe-inducing magician, Daniel Greenwolf!
Killer baker and artist Rebecca of What's Cookin' in Fat Cat's Kitchen?
The phenomenal body artist, Shannon Fennell!
Knitter, cook, and hockey fan, Vikki of Confessions of a Blond Sports Fan... Knitting Optional!
The talented and creative Christy of Embellished Bayou!
The jewelry making extraordinaire, Haffina, of Haffina's Creations!
The phenomenal creator of lampwork beads, Jolene of Kitzbitz Art Glass!
Purveyor of all the information we could possibly want about any animal of which we could possibly think, Nathan of Wild Facts!
Crafter of primitive Halloween dolls, Sue of Spooky Spells!

Be sure to check out their blogs; you'll enjoy, I promise!

Meanwhile, I've just found out that we were also nominated by Elizabeth, at Paradise Purls!  I'm surrounded by wonderful people!
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