win a free pendant!

just a quick update to let you know i'm doing a giveaway for any one of my yarn and quilt pendants via taylor at maryjanesandgaloshes' blog. stop over and leave a comment about which item in my shop you like best, for a chance to win any one of my fiber art pendants for free! the giveaway closes on monday, august 2.



one of my cute little penelope necklaces made the front page of etsy today. i am so psyched! the necklace is a mix of tiny glass cube beads in shades of cream, aqua blue, green, and bright yellow. the little strand hangs from delicate gunmetal chain at collarbone length. i strung the beads on some flexible clear cord so it would have the look of a bar necklace but with a little more curved shape. i have a couple of these in different color variations -- i like the random assortment of colors and the unevenness of the cubes.

here's the gorgeous treasury from Xenotees that brought it to the front page:


mcguire mountain lookout: a break from the city.

this post is only craft related in that this amazing trip we took last weekend allowed me to take a huge mental break from all my etsy/craft stuff. i really needed a break, though i didn't know it until we got there -- it was incredible and so refreshing to not think about sales and pendants and earrings and views and etc. and etc. for almost 48 hours.

we drove up close to the canadian border on thursday afternoon, about four hours away from missoula, though eureka and into the kootenai national forest. (luckily for me) most of the climb up was done in the car, and the lookout cabin was a 2.5 mile hike out over the ridge from the trailhead. so quiet, calm, beautiful up there, this tiny little fire lookout cabin perched on top of the mountain. all you could see all the way around was mountains - the cabinets, the tobacco valley, and the higher peaks of glacier n.p. with snow still on them. the cabin had a little wood stove and two beds, and was all windows all the way around, incredibly, pink sunset in one direction and orange sunrise in the other eight hours later.

i can't really describe what it felt like to be completely alone for most of 48 hours, just hanging out, cooking, hiking, reading, exploring, on top of this ridge with no running water and just the wind, everywhere, all the time. only one group of hikers came by the whole time. so i'll just leave you with some photos, courtesy of one k. banazek.

(there it is, way up there!)


heirloom paper art.

the theme for this week is decoupage: the art of using glue, paper and varnish to surface an object. according to wikipedia, decoupage is sometimes referred to as the 'poor man's art' because it can be done using scrap you might have around the house. this is generally done on furniture or boxes, but i found some unique uses of this victorian paper art technique to share:

1. place card stones, StonesbySarah.

an eco-friendly replacement for the usual printed paper placecards for a wedding reception or a party. decoupaged with recycled paper and sealed carefully. a beautiful natural addition to your table, one of these would be a pretty keepsake later on for your desk at work or at home.

2. adjustable sewing pattern button ring, natuure.
a perfect antique button decoupaged with vintage sewing pattern paper, so thin you can see right through to the button surface in places. unfortunately this amazing shop only has four items listed for sale right now, but a click through natuure's 'sold' pages shows some really beautiful jewelry and decorations, and i'll definitely be checking back in with them soon to look for new items.

3. medicinal herb chromolithograph necklace, PegandAwl.

i love botanical themed jewelry, and this piece is rustic and lovely and just a little bit different from all those paper / scrabble tile pendants out there. this necklace was made of illustrations from a 1905 german medical book. PegandAwl makes most of their pieces from 'olde growth pine joists and beams from 19th century houses' in the philadelphia area. (which i think is just too neat.) their work is varied and creative and really has the feel of a true heirloom collection.


look what i found - a story in blue and grey.

my allergies are really, really getting to me - this is the first full summer i've spent in montana and it seems a shame to be cooped up inside with all the sun and breeze. so in trying to spend my time inside productively, i'm spending a lot of time poking around etsy for new artists to feature.

today i have three talented shops to show off:

1. untitled card in blue and grey, Melodyeve.

a shop offering handsewn and hand embroidered cards. i love the rough edges and slightly uneven stitching, with such a pretty and unusual combination of fabrics. this would be a perfect card for somebody who sews or quilts.

2. the quilter in pea green, marysgranddaughter.

i love everything in this embroidery shop, but the details in 'the quilter' make this my favorite piece. a vintage porcelain doll arm on a background of antique linen. she's holding her own threaded needle and a tiny authentic printed quilt. i'm just in love. love!
(read more about marysgranddaughter's materials and process on her blog.)

3. triple tiered felt tear drop earrings, sunflowerexpress.

i've seen a bunch of felt pendants recently, but not many felt earrings - certainly not many as classy as these. hand-embroidered with silvery blue thread and hanging from sterling earwires. sunflowerexpress also offers pendants, bracelet cuffs, and hair clips done in felt.


missoula madefair.

i wanted to share photos of the setup i built for my first ever craft show. last sunday was missoula MADEfair, a show of about 65 handmade artists from western montana and surrounding areas. it was a gorgeous day in caras park and we saw a lot of foot traffic.

here's me, setting up my table in the morning.

i made two super amazing thrift store finds into the main parts of my setup: first, an old picnic basket, which i secured to a crate underneath it so it would stand up with the top hanging down. i attached strips of balsa wood to make little shelves for my pendants to line up on. then i wired dowels across the open space above for hanging earrings. it was just a tiny bit rickety - i think i will try to find a more secure way to attach the dowels for next time.

my other amazing find was this vintage wine rack in the shape of a bicycle that you can see on the right. it had this beautiful distressed green paint on it and was perfect for gluing little s-hooks to for more hanging display space. i hung my larger earrings and a couple necklaces on this.

kerry made my beautiful sign, hand-painted with a lovely handstitched fabric tree. also the cute little price sign holders, made out of river sticks with slits sawed across them for holding the cards. she was super helpful and i really think the sign pulled the whole display together nicely.

p.s. i was set up right next to SaltyandSweet, an etsy artist who makes these great laser-cut mobiles - some kid-centered but also some fantastic ones geared more toward adults. go check them out!



felt the need to take this week off from most things etsy-related, since i was so busy getting ready for the show. i'll post about that soon, including photos of my super cute setup. BUT..

saturday marks my one year since i started listing on etsy. so i'm running a anniversary sale on my whole shop. all weekend, get 15% off any one item, 20% off two or more items. discounts will be refunded via paypal. sale runs until midnight est on sunday july 4th. plus, if you follow my blog, mention it in your message to seller for free shipping. send your friends to come check me out!

p.s. tested a new wire-wrapped bracelet design this week, i think i've finally got the technique down. i think this bracelet came out pretty, a sort of curio collection to wear on your wrist. i wire-wrapped a bunch of odd shaped distressed glass beads in teals/aquas, creams, browns, and bronze on antiqued brass wire. it made me think of a pocketful of shells and stones you might collect at the beach. enjoy:


my blog isn't dead, it was just napping.

my first craft show is coming up in about a week - i'll have a teeny booth at missoula's summer MADEfair next sunday. to get ready, i've been hard at work making lots of new yarn and quilt pendants to show off. i'll be setting up with my beaded pieces too, but my pendants are my unique item - and so much cooler in person than in a photo, i think.

kerry took some photos of my process so i could share a little about what goes into my soldered pendants. for the yarn pendants, yarn scraps get glued carefully to a piece of heavy paper.

i was really excited to try out two new smaller sizes with this batch - little 1" square pendants and medium sized 1.5" long ones.

the quilt pendants start with one or two base pieces, and i hand-embroider the surface, either along with or apart from the design on the fabric, a little randomly until it looks finished. i love how they can come out so different from each other with the same basic techniques.

i would love to learn some new stitches sometime soon.

the most exciting part of this batch was that i figured out how to streamline them a little - instead of sandwiching two pieces of glass, the fabric or yarn is pressed between a piece of a glass and a thin copper plate. this way, they're thinner, a little lighter, and i love mixed metal looks in jewelry.

i got 20 new pendants made this weekend, so i'll have about 50 total to show at MADEfair. anybody in the area that's going to be there too?

p.s. i was featured on a cute blog this week, dzfantasy's fiber art blog. go check her out!


new for summer!

my crafting style doesn't usually involve bright colors, but i guess it's been grey, rainy spring for too long here - here are some my newest pieces for summer.

1. cordelia cuff bracelet: four strands, tiny jewel toned faceted glass, sterling silver bar clasp. $30.
this is VERY different from anything else that i've made before. i was thinking about using these beads as a multistrand necklace, but i found this clasp sitting around unused and decided to go for it.

2. cordelia earrings: multicolored glass beads, gunmetal chain loops. $14.
a little matchy to the bracelet, but not too much - i love the look of the gunmetal with these colors.

3. penelope necklace: multicolored glass cubes, gunmetal chain. $21.
i sold the first version of this necklace to a good friend and immediately wanted to make more of them - a simple row of slightly irregular cube/rectangular beads. the colors and shapes of the beads made me think of greece and primitive art, hence the title.

4. buttons necklace: bright colored button disk shaped glass beads, wire-wrapped on gunmetal. $23.
i just think this one came out so cute. again, gunmetal against these bright colors is a nice change from the softer colors i usually work in.

5. lime necklace: bright green glass statement beads, gunmetal chain. $23.
almost gave these beads away...they are so not me. i'm glad i didn't though, the movement of this necklace is what i really love - a little bit slouchy the way you can wear it off-center, good for layering.


mango and ginger.

of all the things i did not get done this week, we did make really beautiful sushi one night. the sushi making supplies were a congratulations gift from the girl for getting into grad school.

roll #1: crab, avocado, cucumber.
roll #2: rum-soaked mango, pickled ginger, marinated tofu.

roll #3: radish, cucumber, sunflower sprouts, carrot.
roll #4: marinated tofu, shiitake mushroom, radish.

(this me, waiting so patiently.)

we also managed to get our garden planted. some beautiful zucchini sprouts on the kitchen windowsill:

more photos to come - tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, in the ground and ready to soak up some montana sun. photos credit of kerry.


pear and sage.

for this week, a beautiful trio of items in pear and sage: three etsy artists with gorgeous uses of fabric and paper.

1. prickly pear stud earrings. (DancingJellybean)

cute little stud earrings made from polymer clay and covered with yellow-green origami paper. just under 1/2" wide, with silver plated earring findings. i'm so attracted to little stud earrings on etsy lately, even though i don't ever wear or even own any studs. (maybe a future feature? hm...)

2. embroidered silk lily pad hair clip. (TheFaerieMarket)
lots of handmade organza flower hair clips on etsy, but i've never seen a lily pad before. 3" wide, made from olive green silk with teal embroidery done freehand with a sewing machine - 'drawing' with the machine.

3. hand embroidered linen coasters. (BobbiLewin)

i just think these are so beautiful and perfect. i love anything in linen, and these are done so meticulously, yet they look handmade in that one of a kind way. these little bees are embroidered by hand! hey bobbilewin, you should do pillows. pincushions...

p.s. just found out today that i will have a booth at missoula's MADEfair craft show at the end of june. SO excited, this will be my first craft fair. anybody in the MT area going to be there too?


can't stop eating it:

got some beautiful rhubarb at the farmer's market on saturday, so i decided to make strawberry rhubarb jam with it. it came out absolutely perfect - i love making jam but have had many problems with strawberry jam, sometimes it comes out too thin, too sugary, too hard set, or the fruit doesn't break down - so i thought i'd share this recipe, which came from a book i got for christmas, well preserved: small batch preserving for the new cook.

3 c. chopped rhubarb
4 c. sugar
3 c. sliced strawberries
1/4 c. lemon juice

combine rhubarb and sugar in your cooking pot and let sit for 2 hours*. add strawberries and lemon juice, bring to a boil over medium heat. turn heat up to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes. take pot off heat and continue stirring for 3-5 minutes*. (test if desired) ladle into prepared jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 min. makes ~4 8 oz. jars.

*i have a feeling that these are the important steps many might overlook. not sure why.

(one of my 4 jars is already empty.)

my girlfriend kerry took these photos. (also ate a bunch of the jam.) please check out her gorgeous photoblog to see more of her work.


memorial day and some golden yellows.

we had a great weekend with some friends who drove out from seattle. took a necessary couple of days off from etsy - and decided now would be a good time for my first feature!

i love artists who find creative uses of paper, fabric, and yarn, especially in jewelry designs. so here are three of my recent beautiful etsy finds.

1. AnBlathPaipeir : yellow star flower earrings.

these gorgeous little posts are made from recycled paper, painted yellow and sealed with acrylic sealer. so intricate and tiny, i love the idea that they're made from paper you'd normally throw away.

2. LavenderField : sunny crochet earrings.

LavenderField has been one of my top favorite shops on etsy for a long time. little crocheted disk beads in beautiful colors paired with beads and chain for a completely unique piece of fiber art jewelry. i believe her shop has recently really taken off after being featured in a bunch of magazines (and rightly so!).

3. Suffix : goldenrod paper beads.

i love the neutral pattern of these glossy sealed paper beads. makes me think of early summer, like airy damask fabric curtains by an open window. according to their profile, this shop is apparently run out of a dorm room by two students at kent state in ohio - can you imagine not only fitting an etsy shop into a college schedule, but also into a tiny dorm room?


my newest product line!

i am so excited to introduce my new line of soldered quilt pendants. if you've visited my shop, you've seen my yarn pendants, which are glass slides with colorful strands of yarn arranged and captured underneath:

my new pieces are made from scraps of vintage fabrics, which i hand-pieced, stitched, and embroidered. each one is completely unique. tiny little art quilts to wear on your neck.

so far i've made four of them and soldered and photographed two. here are those first two, which will be for sale in my etsy shop this week:

quilt pendant #2.

i love the delicacy and intricacy of seeing the texture of the fabric and stitching close up, and the depth of the thicker glass that makes the piece seem like a little glass curio case. can't wait to make some more of these little pieces of art!



dropping in to say that i'm featured on a gorgeous blog today, french revelation's featurama mondays. one of my yarn pendants is featured, along with my burgundy freshwater pearl coin necklace that i recently listed.

i love that i'm featured alongside another fiber/jewelry artist, melsartbuffet - somehow she incorporates these beautiful thread inlays into her clay pendants.

amazing, right? so much creativity out there - who knew?


trying to connect.

i've been considering blogging for a long time, and have had the average reservations about it (will anyone read it? will i know what to write about? will i end up doing nothing in my life but writing to the outside world?) and decided that, among other things, i need more productive me-time, and i think this blog will encourage me to schedule some of that for myself. i'm a preschool teacher and i have an etsy shop for my jewelry creations, both of which have eaten up so much of my brain for the last year that recently, when asked what i like to do i my spare time, i couldn't think of a thing. so here's the beginning: a documentation of what-i-do-in-my-spare-time and aiming to make time for wonderful things to fill it with.

for my inaugural blog post, i thought i'd show off today's project, the first thing i've made for myself in a while. i volunteered for the first time this morning with living art of montana in one of their 'creativity for life' workshops, a series of free craft workshops for people facing illness or loss. the workshop was run by a friend / mother of one of my students, and we made mobiles. here's mine, hung on my kitchen wall:

i'm quite in love with it. various found objects, beads, a stick found while walking by the clark fork river, some fishing line and yarn for hanging.

everyone's piece came out different and beautiful. i might do a series.