Wednesday, December 23, 2009

holly pins for the holidays

Yesterday a group of us at work gathered together for a little crafting party. We had all fell in love with these adorable felt holly brooches from the December issue of Martha Stewart Living and thought a nice way to kick off our Christmas break would be to make some pins for our families. They are so simple to make and so extremely satisfying that I made some for my girlfriends yesterday and today made a couple more as little favors for the nurses at the hospital where my Yiayia (Grandma in Greek) is. I packaged them up in cellophane bags and have a couple ready to give. My mom is trying to convince Yiayia to come over on Christmas—she's 93 & a bit weak— so either way, if we pick her up or just visit, it will be nice to bring some holiday joy into the sterile walls of the hospital. The pins are warm and fuzzy and who could resist a little bit of tinsel! I encourage you all to make some right now!

All you need is some scraps of felt and tinsel garland, a piece of ribbon, a couple beads or maybe a cute mini vintage ornament, a pin back or a safety pin will do, an iron and hot glue gun. Once you start, it's hard to stop!
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

del kathryn barton.

I received an email earlier today from one of my best friends who bravely traveled around the world, about a month ago, solo, to Australia. She sounds like she is having a marvelous time, so in honor of Amanda and her not being here for Christmas :( I wanted to share with you a contemporary Aussie artist that absolutely amazes me and will maybe fascinate you as well.
I first discovered Del Kathryn Barton when I was in school and came across a story about her in some art magazine. I tore the spreads out and have cherished the pages ever since. They were the only images I could find of her work at the time and only until 2008 when she was awarded the Archibald Prize has there been much info on her out there that I could get my hands on.
I was initially drawn to work for it's line aesthetic (similar to Egon) and style, but her abrupt smuttiness certainly caught my attention. I have had the first picture below in a frame for quite some years now and you would be surprised how many people look at it and see right pass what it going on in there...

I believe many of the above paintings were done before Del had children or perhaps while she was pregnant. They have titles like, "As my own suckers began to swell & ripen I was anxious to learn from the other mothers" and "I was a little surprised to observe the mid-wife drive up in a hot-rod" and "the little one had become aware of the baby's presence".
Below are some works from her exhibitions at the Karen Woodbury Gallery.

And some more randoms... Oh I wish I could show them all! When is she going to publish a book? I would die to see the whole collection of her works, heck I might have to go to Australia just to see her work in person...well that wouldn't be so bad...

Merry Christmas Minger. ox

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little green to warm up the Christmas cold

I got home late tonight from a work holiday gathering and Pico is ignoring me. She is mad I left her alone all day—little does she know, she was all I was thinking about as I sipped on my one comped drink at the bar! Here's a little green video Ashley shot of her when it was warm outside...

Oh how I just love her!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

14k gold plating

Jewelrymaking is a craft that can be a lifelong triumph. There are many fine skills that must be mastered and all the elements of the trade take years of experience and practice to conquer. The understanding of metals and knowledge of gems seems explicit when one is introduced to all the tools used in this craft. There are hand tools of course and then there are the power tools. I am limited to what I can accomplish at home with my files, saws, mini torch, crock pot and Dremel with all it's various attachments. There are certain things I want to make (and maybe someday will have the tools to do myself) that I need to outsource and that is when I hop on my bike and ride up to 47th street, the jewelry exchange. Within one block's length is a metallic world of jewelry heaven—you have the salesmen in the storefronts and the makers above and below, stacked one on top of the other. Each and every craftsman specializes in a different skill—there's the contractors, the mold makers, the casters, the polishers, the stone setters... it seems obvious, it just might be impossible to do it all!

One of my absolute favorite masters is Zaven. After 40 years in the exchange, he certainly knows the ropes. You buzz through 2 locked doors to enter his tiny studio, crammed with all the equipment to get any job done. Today, he is gold plating my sterling silver faceted drip pendants. He gave me a little lesson in how it's done.

Zaven Sarafyan

I was amazed to discover that 14 karat gold liquid is purple!
And everything is electronically charged through this machine.
Here's Zaven's full plating setup.
First step in preparation to gold plate my pendants was to string them on copper wire.
Zaven cleans and activates them in a chemical solution.

Then he rinses them with a quick steam bath.

Then they are shaken around in the 14k solution for about a minute where they bubble and fizz a bit.
Here they have just been pulled out and are magically gold!

Zaven whips out his little portable hair dryer and blows them dry to prevent any water marks.

And they are beautifully plated! When the base metal is sterling, like these are, and they are coated in gold, the fancy name is vermeil.

Every little drip of any of the solutions that Zaven uses, he saves and disposes of correctly. He really has his system down pat!
Thanks Zaven for my lesson in plating and for always doing a wonderful job with whatever you touch!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I came across this artist and wanted to share her amazing paper work with you. Yulia Brodskaya's aesthetic and the inclusion of typography in her work is distinctive to others in the quilling world. She has a clear graphic design sense and skilled crafting hand and together, her work seems flawless.

A thrifty Christmas, something we should all consider.

A quilled Hermes

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

artist unknown

Before people were really using the internet, I used to collect magazine tears.
The other day when I was looking through my old file folders, I came across this painting that I'd enlarged on a color copier, and once had hanging in my dorm room. I don't know who the artist is, unfortunately, and even with the use of the web now, I still can't track it down!
Anyway, I've always admired how the artist used different blocks of color to define the shape of the girl, only using a black line for face detail and the midriff. It doesn't quite make it dimensional but tricks the eye into understanding.
I would like to call this piece, bra free.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I posted some stuff on etsy tonight and will post more tomorrow, like a few of these iphone cases...
I feel like Christmas has passed already because I am already in January organizing mode. Maybe it's because for the past handful of weeks my bedroom/studio looked like a human version of Pico's cage after a week—a disaster! Working on so many different projects in one space can be quite the material headache! Bit's and pieces flung everywhere, dust and piles of I don't know what! I can't stand walking around barefoot and having little things stick to the bottom of my feet! Ewww! At least there were no turds dried up and stuck to anything like there are in Pico's living space.
Last night I did some major cleaning, starting with Pico's cage. It wasn't bad but I like her to feel clean also. I changed the branches also and she was a little disoriented when she went back in there. Then when I pulled out the vacuum, she got really freaked. She hates cleaning tools—vacuum, broom, mop, etc.
I feel a little better now about my room being actually "clean" but it still needs to be "organized". I have amassed so many crafting supplies, tools and materials—I am beginning to feel like a hoarder. Next project for me is putting my "things" in order.
On that note... good night.

Monday, December 7, 2009

so here's what I have been making...

the harry collection.
Exhibit A:

the multi-stud leather cuff.

with a sterling silver buckle, hallmarked with K.

cuff shown buckled.

Exhibit B:
the sterling silver double wrap bracelet.

and the brass double wrap bracelet.

Exhibit C:
the debbie gem necklace— gold plated sterling casted gemstone, wired with 14k gold wire, each accompanied by the one of many colors of a tourmaline stone.

available on different silk cording, all packaged in a mini Debbie Harry framed portrait.

also in solid sterling, these only on black waxed cotton cord.

2 stone shapes– an oblong or squat, both with many facets.

Exhibit D:

for the tech geeks—a sterling studded 4gb flash drive & tassel key chain.

also available in brown leather with brass studs.
drive and tassel also available separately.

Exhibit E:

chain brooch in all sterling & leather. option to wear as necklace too.
currently available in my etsy shop.

More to come from the craft fair and the leftovers soon to be updated in my etsy shop as well! ox