Monday, January 31, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Part Thirty-Eight

This week's artist is Heidi Coghlan, of Impressions by Heidi.  A crafter for as long as she can remember, Heidi's grandmothers taught her to knit and crochet before she even entered school.  That shows, actually, in her jewelry making.  Check out these earrings.

See what I mean?  But then she discovered polymer clay.

Her love of jewelry making, though, spans more areas than that, and she's built some serious talent in wire wrapping.

And her compositions are so interesting, which intrigues me as an artist in general!

To see more of her work, be sure to visit her Etsy shop.  And to learn more about Heidi herself, be sure to read her blog.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Remember this?  When I told you we were beer snobs?

That, as you may know, is our Mashed In beer soap.  Awesome stuff.  My absolute favorite of our soaps, in fact.

Well, the original batch, the batch in that photo, was made with Sam Adams Noble Pils.  Beer is great for the skin, and that's an admittedly darned good beer.

Wait.  Beer is good for the skin?

Yup.  Good for the skin.  I've read that in ancient Egypt, long considered the birthplace of beer, women of the upper classes used beer for all sorts of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, such as to freshen the skin and reduce the risk of skin conditions.  And more recent scientific studies have shown that brewer's yeast can help improve the symptoms of acne and maintain a balanced pH in the skin.  As a result, cosmetic companies are starting to incorporate brewer's yeast as an active ingredient in their formulas.

So... beer soap.

But we found better beer.  Local beer.  New Jersey Beer.

The NJ Beer Co. is local to Reef Botanicals, just a few minutes away at 4201 Tonnelle Avenue, North Bergen, NJ.  It was founded by president Matt Steinberg.

Photo:  Peter Kennedy

A very nice guy, and exceedingly talented at what he does, his take on it all is that the "New Jersey Beer Co. is dedicated to crafting quality beer for all; from the occasional beer drinker to the beer aficionado.  We believe that good products come from good people, and strive to do our very best for our community and our customers.  We believe we can provide happiness through doing what we love, and that a good beer can make the good times great."

It's that sense of community and quest for good times that led the NJ Beer Co. to open up a tasting room, which offers free samples of NJ Beer and a tour of the brewery from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 2-6 p.m. on Saturdays.

To keep up with their events, be sure to become a fan of their Facebook page.

But that sense of community is going even farther now.  We're teaming up with them to produce our new version of Mashed In, a collaboration between Reef Botanicals and the NJ Beer Co.  For our first batch, we've used my favorite of their beers, the Garden State Stout.

Because we're using a stout and the same chocolate malted barley used to make the beer, as well as hops, this batch of soap will necessarily be darker.

And because it's a stout, in addition to the cedarwood essential oil we used in the original Mashed In, we've added a touch of coffee essential oil too.

It's in the molds and ready to go!

The best part?  Not only will our NJ Beer Co. Mashed In beer soap be available at the Reef Botanicals website, we'll also have it this Sunday, February 6, at the Minerals Resort Winter Wonderland craft fair!

Know what's even better than that?  You'll be able to buy our new Mashed In at the NJ Beer Co. brewery!  Go for a tasting, try some of the amazing beers, and buy Reef Botanicals Mashed In... all in the same trip!

Sumo Sweet StuffToday's Creative BlogHOGTute yourself tuesday red and white

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Artist Spotlight: Part Thirty-Seven

What an artist I have for you this week!  Teresa Rusk of TRusk4U is incredibly talented.  You should know, you've met her here before.  For that matter, you've met her here too.

Not only does she have a blog for her handcrafted items, other artists, and her online Etsy shop, but she's also got a blog for her brick & mortar store in Mebane, NC!

So... to pique your interest...

Friday, January 21, 2011

She's Back

Remember that really cute handmade blueberry pop tart iPod case I won for my Droid Incredible?  And that adorable cupcake pin?  These.

Well, although Alycia a/k/a the author of The Curious Pug kept blogging, she'd taken a hiatus from producing items for her shop.  Well, I follow the blog and saw her announcement the other day... her shop is back open!  It's on Etsy, and it's full of adorable felt cozies and brooches.  Look!


And each case has a handy pocket on the back for your earbuds... or headset if you're using it for a cell phone like I do.

Lots of different brooches, too.

Check her out!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Attention to Detail

I pay attention and notice things.  Little things that are really big things.  And when I won a contest at The Rikrak Studio, and had as my prize a credit toward any item in any of that blog's sponsor's shops, I noticed these.

Sterling silver and garnet, a few inches long, and absolutely gorgeous.  When I was in high school in the '80s, I had a penchant for "shoulder duster" earrings, and my limit was that they couldn't be longer than my hair.  Though I'm now 40 and have a day job as a lawyer, I haven't really given that up, except that my limit now that my hair is much longer is that earrings should be above my shoulders.  These fit the bill, and though they're long, I feel like I could still wear them to work because they are so finely made.  There's really no other way to put it.

They arrived in a pretty organza bag on an earring card.

The shop is Zion Shore, and out of all the sponsor shops, this one stuck in my head.  She uses gemstones like these, as well as rubies, amethyst, pearls, citrine, and others to create her beautiful jewelry.

And so far, I've worn them two days in a row... Friday night to a play and Saturday night to go out with several girlfriends.

How great does that look?  And about the attention to detail... I have a lot of dangly earrings, a lot of earrings with hooks rather than posts.  These are very light, and there could be a worry that they'd work their way out of my ears and be lost.  Well, the artist has thought of that.

Included on each earring is a backer, so there's no danger of losing them.  I love that, and that's exactly the attention to detail I mean.

Wanna know something even cooler?  The Rikrak Studio, a beautiful blog you should be following anyway, is running another contest just like the one I won!  It's open through January 31, so go enter!
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