Monday, August 31, 2009

Birthday Rainbow

This made me smile...and actually still does when I look at it.

It was from a birthday celebration for a friend of mine. A small thing, I know.
There was something special about the fact that this restaurant actually put thought into having creative candles for their customer's celebrations.

It reminds me that joy can be found by putting energy into the small things. That doing just about anything with intent and thought can make your life richer. This festive, colorful candle made an already special event a little brighter...a little more special.

I don't really know if anyone else at the table even noticed the candle but for me it made an impression.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

For the Love of Nature

Inspiration comes from nature itself.
I am enamored of nature, and that admiration has only increased as I age.

-Benjamin Eisenstat

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Rocky Sink

Last week, my son and I were in a restaurant in Providence and it had the coolest sink surround in the ladies room.

It was several inches of ivory colored stones suspended in a clear, hard material.
It almost looked like the stones were floating in water.

I think one of the most interesting features was that the tops of the stones had been cut or sanded flat and smooth at the point where they broke through the surface. It gave the whole counter depth and dimension.

I think this was a clever use of natural materials in an unusual way.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My Crafty Abode - Where's Charlotte's Web?

I won this adorable concrete pig at a silent auction for my son's school.

It was part of a Garden Basket that his class put together as a gift to the auction.
It is so cute but the best part is that they said it had been "living" in their classroom...kind of like a mascot for a few weeks before the auction.

He was so happy when I came home with it. Like I brought home an old friend.

It lives in a small garden in my backyard...surrounded by plants that were once small clippings from a friend's garden.

After being in that class for the last three years, this September my son is moving up to a new one and I am so glad I have this sweet reminder of his wonderful time there.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Simple Creativity

Creativity is more than just being different.
Anybody can plan weird; that's easy.
What's hard is to be as simple as Bach.
Making the simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.

- Charles Mingus

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Donation - The Best Choice

This is a set that I donated to a silent auction a few years ago.

Most of the time, if it isn't something custom designed specifically for the organization I try and donate something relatively neutral like this. Pieces that would appeal to a wide audience.

In an effort to help the charity raise the most funds at the auction, giving something that would be easy to wear by many different types of people can be a good idea. I also like coordinating several pieces. That way the person bidding gets good value for their donation.

If they decide they don't want all of the pieces for themselves they can choose to separate the set and give part away as a gift.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creative (affordable) Luau Invitations

I recently designed and crafted these invitations for my daughter’s 16th Birthday Luau.

I wanted something colorful and layered…this is what I came up with.

I purchased a thick pad of sparkly, scrapbook paper at a national craft store. Using a weekly coupon it was 40% off. I found some bright green envelopes at an office supply store, which picked up the green found throughout the patterned paper.

I measured the envelopes and cut pieces to fit inside with a slide paper cutter. I was able to get two invitation backs from each sheet of scrapbook paper.

Then I took some printable vellum, printed the invite details and cut them to lay over the backs. I attached the vellum with a small piece of double stick tape.

To finish them off I purchased inexpensive paper garlands of luau themed clips from the dollar store. Each garland had about 20 clips attached to fishing line. I cut the clips off of the thin wire and with double stick tape attached each over the top of the vellum.

So inexpensive but very custom and each was different.

You could use this process for any theme really. Try and think outside the box when hunting for components for party invitations.

I find the dollar store a great place to begin!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Night Mix

When working in one color I think you have to be aware of texture and shape.

This is and assortment I might put together for a bold piece of black jewelry.

A balance of opaque and sheer, solid and patterned, warm vintage plastic and cold stone.
The components are strong enough to support each other but can also stand on their own.

I also like to mix natural and man made materials…old and new.
It feels more like “real life” and more authentic to my artistic voice.

No matter what your craft, play around with working in one main color and see how you can combine a variety of materials to create a new piece of art.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Logan's 10th Birthday Party Invitation

Today we are celebrating my son’s 10th Birthday…
A few weeks early so that my husband can be here.
I LOVE planning and crafting for my kid’s parties, as we usually have some kind of fun theme.
This year Logan decided on an improve, "Lord of the Rings" party.

For the last month or so, I have been busy making weapons, cloaks and satchels for the kids to wear while they perform their improve skit.
These are the finished invitations for the party…photos of the other components will come soon!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Melanie's Sweet 16!

This is a party weekend here!
Today we are celebrating Melanie's 16th birthday
...a few weeks early so that my husband can be here.
It is a Sweet 16 Backyard Luau and I have had so much fun getting ready for it.

These are the invitations...they are all different.
She is a very unique and creative person and I thought having invitations that weren't all exactly the same suited her personality.

More pictures of the other party stuff will come soon!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Breakfast on Shells

There is a funky new Hotel that opened near where I live.
recently I went there for brunch to celebrate my friend’s birthday.

I had been in there before but never to eat.
The tables in the restaurant are actually acrylic boxes filled with beautiful shells.

When the sun came through the shells took on an iridescent glow. It created a very interesting and creative effect…one I think could translate into other home projects.

…in my compulsive mind I am thinking how cool an entire floor would be filled with something…don’t know... what but basically anything!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blue Sky Trunk Show

A display set up from a Trunk Show I did with my sister-in-law...
who is also a jewelry designer.
We do shows together often because our styles are different but would appeal to a similar customer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nick's Shark

My son loves sharks...

This is a small spot mural I did many years ago in his room.

I added actual bolts with rubber washers and painted some rust running down.

The Yellow and black painted "caution" tape was added later because I felt the room needed a little pop of color. Everything was gray...including the painted whale on the opposite wall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Meeting Inspiration

"When inspiration does not come to meet me,
I go halfway to meet it."

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Crafty Abode Series – Snow Spirals

Ok, so there is no trace of snow on the ground and the sun is shining bright right now... I still love our front door mat in the winter.
I took this picture when it was packed tight with snow and thought the pattern was so pretty…definitely inspiring for jewelry design!
In addition to being really pleasing to my eye, it is also made of a sturdy, utilitarian, thick, rubber …perfect for extreme north east weather.
I think the symmetry and scale of the pattern is bold and delicate at the same time…a nice balance for any type of art.
It welcomes me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A “Burning” Desire to Start a New Craft?

Several years ago I found this wood humidor and decided to make a custom gift out of it for my husband. I knew I didn't want to simply paint the box...that I wanted something a little earthy and more highlight the wood.

After a trip to the art store I came home with a slab of unfinished wood and a wood burning tool set.
Never mind that I had never "burned" wood but I was a woman on a mission.

My husband is a fan of mermaids so the theme was easy to decide on. I took elements from illustrations in a book I like and learned how to wood burn as I went. Kind of like on the job training!

Above is the finished product. It was really fun...a little tough on my hands, but fun. I liked building the layers as you darken the detail.

I sealed it with several coats of a matte polyurethane and adhered the wood slab to the top of the box with a powerful glue.

I didn't wood burn much after this project...although I do think about it every now and then.
I still have the tool set and I am sure that I will put it to use at some point.

Actually now that I think of it, my wood stair railing is pretty boring and in need of an update! ...hmmmm, winter project?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What's Your View?

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns
in order to look at things in a different way.

- Edward de Bono

Friday, August 14, 2009

Amazing Detail

This was a type of starfish (I think) we saw in an aquarium on a recent trip to St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick, Canada.

I just can’t take my eyes off of this lovely creature. The more I look at the twig like scrolls them more I see. It is like a delicate sculpture with movement and texture.

I love the porcelain color and the little spikes that balance the fluid swirls.

It is hard to believe that at one point this was alive and made by Mother Nature.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Crafty Abode Series – Filling a Cornice Need

We had a lot of windows to cover when we moved in our house and money was going out in many directions…not a good combination.
A couple of the windows were large and I needed to be creative with how I dressed them…both financially and artistically.
I am not very traditional when it comes to home decor...above is what I made for over our slider.
Steve helped me make a simple 3 sided wood cornice box out of basic plywood and with some paint and faux, gold leaf it was transformed into a custom window treatment. It was heavy so we needed to be careful to secure it well with "L" braces.
I created the pattern as I went and didn’t really pre-plan any of it. I knew what colors I wanted and I knew I wanted something simple and graphic. Stripes seemed an easy choice.
I figured if I didn’t like it I could always paint over it or as a last resort could just cover it with fabric!
Lesson...don't be afraid to experiment!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Signature Star Bracelets

I have been involved with The Make a Wish Foundation of Rhode Island for many years. I have done numerous trunk shows to benefit the charity and designed a piece of jewelry inspired by their symbol.

I created the Signature Star Bracelets that they sell at functions and events with a percentage going back to the organization.

Their symbol is a star so that is the unifying component to these bracelets. Each bracelet is different, just like the children they support…but they all have a star in some form.

Some are simple like the one pictured above and some are more ornate.

All are made with love and good wishes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Birth of an Idea

I love painting murals but I don’t like creating detailed drawings before hand.

I prefer to do loose sketches like these that I did for a potential playroom mural.
I like to keep it loose just focusing on the shape, movement and feel of the item or landscape.

The actual details are much more fun for me to do on the spot. Letting them come through me…new and fresh.

I didn’t end up doing this job because they had water damage in the room that needed to be repaired but I really like the feel of these sketches…especially the sitting mermaid.

Who knows…maybe they will end up in my house somewhere!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Family Affair

While in Afghanistan, my husband has filled some of his free time weaving bracelets from parachute cord. I guess it’s a pretty common thing to do over there.

Anyway, I sent him some special buttons to finish off his creations and this is one of the bracelets he brought home to us. It was originally made for our son because he LOVES eagles…but lucky for me it didn’t fit his wrist and I got it! Steve has since made a new one for him.

When he was home a few weeks ago he taught us all how to make them and had the whole family knotting and braiding. We hunted for the cord in different colors while on a recent trip but haven’t found any yet.

I love wearing it and thinking about his hands creating it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sometimes Less is More

This is a display from a trunk Show I did a few years ago.

When I look at this picture I realize even more that I have a hard time editing.
…and maybe I work too fast.

Look at all of that stuff!
That isn’t work from a group of artists…that is all me. It’s too much.

For most customers it can be overwhelming to walk into a show with that many options. What to look at first…how to see everything…which is the “right” choice.

I think it would be OK if it was a store where you expect a large variety of items to choose from and where you can visit repeatedly but a home or trunk show is generally more successful with fewer choices and a more focused approach.

I also think it is kinder to customers who might be unsure of their tastes and a little indecisive to narrow the options.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Kitchen “Storyboard”

Throughout my career I have consistently seen clients not trusting their creative instincts.

I don’t know if somewhere in their past someone told them they were wrong or if they were criticized for expressing themselves…but it seems to be universal.

I did this grid of all images from my personal kitchen.
Hard surfaces, soft surfaces, painted surfaces, wood, metal, ceramic, etc…

What I wanted to show is that none of this really matches but over the years I have purchased items or painted based on what I truly “like”. I buy things that make me happy. I paint with colors that make me feel good. I surround myself with surfaces and finishes that I find interesting.

Along the way I haven’t really put much emphasis on “matching” but because I am true to myself…it all works for me. It may not be featured in Architectural Digest anytime soon…but it is “me” and my family and that’s enough.

All to often I have seen clients try to fit into some kind of mold that society or their peers have created. I think it’s sad to loose your creative voice especially in your home.

Buy what you love and it will work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

My Crafty Abode Series – Copper Bloom

I really love metal and all of the wonderful textures and finishes they come in.
I especially love the rusty patina copper gets when left outside in severe weather.
This photo is a little metal flower sculpture in my garden…a small detail…just stuck in a random plant…but one that makes me smile every time I see it.
It was probably less than $3 from a discount home goods store. ..but I think it adds a little sparkle. Like a piece of jewelry. Once the rust started, I am sure my husband thought it was ruined and should be thrown away but I like that it looks old and worn.
Like a memento or treasure from the past.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Steve!

Happy Birthday...we will celebrate when we are together in a few days!

I love you and miss you...

(This picture was from our dear friend's wedding several years ago - we were both in the wedding party.)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some Older Press

This was something that came out several (wow, maybe 9) years ago but I just found this copy and thought I would post it here.

My website address has changed and I have since taken my business in a different direction but I remember at that time being really excited about that phase of my company.

Looking back I couldn’t have imagined where I would be today and that’s kind of cool.
Life is a journey and I am trying to learn how to take each day as it comes and not live in the future.

If you are at a point in your life that is happy…great, enjoy every minute of it.
On the other hand, if you are at point that is not happy…just wait, for “this too shall pass”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Crafty Abode Series – A Hard Working Turtle

I love this little turtle…In fact I love him so much that I couldn’t part with him even after the little, glass, rain gage beaker he held broke.
For a while he sat in my garden…arms empty…looking bored and unfinished.
Then we found this odd shaped rock with a flat end and suddenly he had a purpose again!
I know it is a small thing…but he makes me happy and now he is “working” again. He sits on our front step, upon a pile of stones…holding up his rock.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It’s Ok to Cut up Your Clothes

I bought this dress a while ago. I wore it a couple of times but didn’t really feel great in it.

Then one day when I was cleaning out my closet I took it out and threw it in a box we keep items we want to donate in. It was between seasons and it took a wile for the box to get filled…mostly with clothes my son outgrows.

Not long ago I went into the donation box to bag up the stuff to drop off…and there was this dress. Summer was coming and I thought maybe I had been too hasty getting rid of it. After trying it on, I had an observation and an idea…

It wasn’t really the dress I didn’t like…it was the thick (rather unattractive) black straps.

I thought, what do I have to loose…I was getting rid of it anyway. So I snipped off the straps.
I went to a fabric store, bought some trim and sewed new straps….voila!

It was like having a brand new dress. The trim was light and interesting and all it took was a needle and thread.

Look at your wardrobe and see what you might have that could be given new life with a tiny bit of trim or an embellishment.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Get Outside!

“There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all of the life to be found around them in a real forest.”
-Maria Montessori
I took this photo outside of my son Logan's Montessori school.
I think there is no substitute for getting out in nature and soaking up the creative inspiration.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Creative in the Kitchen

I would not classify myself as an avid cook but over the last several years I have found a style of “un-cooking” that has fueled my fire…so to speak.

My husband and I have been exploring, learning, enjoying, savoring…raw foods and juicing.
We have even gotten out kids involved in this healthy journey.

Anyway, I had taken some pictures recently of a juicing session and thought I would share them here as I think (for me) being creative spills into every area of my life…including food.

Throughout my entire career I cannot count how many times I have had someone say to me “I am just not creative” or “I can’t even draw a straight line”…etc…

But I want to remind you that you don’t have to be a painter, artist, sculptor or designer to be considered creative. Maybe you’re a great baker or maybe you design clever games to play with your children or maybe it’s as simple as making a killer raw juice…or “greenie” as we call it.

It doesn’t really matter what it is you do as long as you allow your creative voice to be heard…the creative voice I believe is every one of us.