Thursday, September 29, 2011

WIN a Swag Bag

Wanna win your very own swag bag? With over $950 worth of awesome handcrafted items from members of The Artisan Group

Yes, you say? Then visit Fancy Designs blog for all the details. 

Here's a summary of what you can win (this is not a sample bag, these are full-size items and pieces actually for sale in our shops):

Set of stationary from Fancy Designs

Set of note cards from Beez Kneez

Ceramic plaque from Seeing Is Believing

Boutique headband from Baby Button Tops

Copper teardrop earrings from A.W.E. Jewelry

Necklace from Jewels for Hope

Jasper earrings from Kath’s Elegant Accessories

Plarn phone case from Tina Dean Designs

Hand-painted bookmark from 13 Black Cats Designs

Rosie apples facial toner from EdenSong Essentials

Cloth ball from Little Free Radicals

Jasper wire-wrapped pendant necklace from Care More Creations

Wanderlust silhouette necklace from Release Me Creations

Handcrafted pendant necklace from Kathryn Designs

Calendar from Helena Pion Photography & Design

Beaded bracelet from Autumn Bradley Jewelry Design

Choker & earrings from Hearts of Stone

Mesh & pearl bracelet from DBK Design

Quartz and silver earrings from Pam Hurst Design

Shoe clips from Good Little Things

Bracelet & necklace from Clover Stone Designs

Lucite earrings from Sahetah’s Jewelry

Coptic journal from Thenibandquil

Glass pendant necklace from Ilene Price Design

Stationery note card set from Sparetire Designs

Hand sculpted blossom earrings from Stranded Treasures

Anti-aging face cream from Fancy Face Naturals

Sock monkey from Sock Monkey Emporium

Mini-journal organizer from OC Styles

 **I didn't include links to the above shops because you need to visit Fancy Designs Blog to enter the give-away. So go do that NOW! --look at all that swag!!!


(comment on my post now as one of your entries but make remember to let them know over at Fancy Designs that you did so you get credit for the entry)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Emmys Excitement!

There were some AMAZING celebs at The Artisan Group's display at the Emmys! I really wish I could have been a "fly on the wall" and seen it all in person.

I did get to see all the photos that were taken with them though! Here are some of the pics that we, The Artisan Group "Emmy's Team", got with them. Amazing celeb shots with equally amazing artisans! --All our shop's are linked with the picture, be sure to browse through them all, it's worth it!

Nia Peeples LOVED TinaDean Designs upcycled purse
Janina Gavankar seriously studying The Beez Kneez stationary

James Woods' girlfriend wearing a Seeing Is Believing's necklace!!!

Loretta Devine with HoneyPrint's Thank You card!
Christopher McDonald having fun with Ilene Price's Mandala print.
Niecy Nash wearing Stranded Treasure's Flower ring!
Mayim Bialik with Aromatic Health's Aromatherapy spray.

Beau Bridges holding a cute crab doggie toy by Wags & Wiggles.
Jeff Probst enjoying Sweet Stella's stationary.

AJ Buckley with 13BlackCat's Illustration.
Maria Canals Berrera with her daughter hiding behind
Atutude's gorgeous Tutu.

Jordan Bridges with PaperMuseDesign's Upcycled record journal.

Penny Marshall with an O.C. Styles journal!
Jason Isaacs with Gary Hirsch's super cute Joybots illustrations!

H├ęctor Elizondo with a Lonely Pixel Art Print.

Grace Phipps wearing a ReZip It Upcycled bracelet!

Virginia Williams with an art print necklace by The Light Fantastic!

Beverly Mitchell showing off Bellaroma's Cleansing Mask!
CS Lee enjoying AJ SweetSoap's Banana Split soap!!

Scott Adslet playing with Little Free Radical's stacking rings!
Greg Itzen with Make It Mine's Handcrafted party supplies!
Wes Ramsey holding FancyDesign's super cute iPhone case!
Michael Trucco wearing AutumnBradley's awesome skull necklace!
Alan Cumming with an ElleMoss Photo Portrait!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Incredible Emmys

Wow! What a ride the past days, weeks, and months have been!

lots of hard work (cutting and hammering 200 teardrops!)
stress (WHAT, my package hasn't gotten to California yet?!)
excitement (following along for 2 whole days hearing about all the celebs visiting TAG booth at the gifting lounge!)
anticipation (am I going to get good pics with celebs, are they going to like my jewelry?)
• and pure joy (O.M.G. Nia Peeples is wearing my earrings in an episode of Pretty Little Liars!!)

I couldn't have been more happy with the response and feedback to my jewelry! I got: Some awesome celebrity shots with my jewelry! Some personal requests for my jewelry! Tons of Primetime celebrities receiving my earrings in their swag bag and seeing my jewelry on display! And my hammered teardrop earrings are going to be on TV!

...and it's only been 1 week since the Emmys! Can't wait to see what's next...

Some of the highlights!

Some of my favorite celebs that got The Artisan Group's Swag Bag!

...up next, gifts for the press at the Golden Globes in January and the whole shebang (swag bags, display, and press gifts) for the Oscars in February! :D


I also wanted to give a shout out to all the other Artisan Group members 
who participated in the Emmys, they've had their own awesome ride!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emmys = Awesome

This weekend was the long awaited and anticipated Emmy's gifting lounge, where my jewelry, along with lots of other handcrafted items from members of The Artisan Group were gifted to celebrities and press!

The TAG table in the GBK gifting lounge. That's me on the left on the wood & blue display board!

I was unsure of how I would actually respond to the event, since I have never followed the awards programs and really don't even watch tv. So I was really surprised to find myself feeling antsy and quite giddy to hear all the little tidbits of info and celeb names given to us by Valerie and Nikki during the two days of the event. Granted, most of the celeb names I didn't know, but that's what Google and IMDB are for, right? :) I did recognize most of the faces and names of the shows, so at least that!

Next week (or so) we'll all get detailed info on which celebs loved our stuff, what their comments were, and actual photos of celebs with our products! I am honestly so excited I can hardly stand it; so much for being the cool and collected; "...oh, I lived in Hollywood and am OVER celebs!" Deb. lol. --It's going to ROCK seeing my jewelry being modeled with anyone who is ANYONE!  --I'm going to have to keep really busy so the week flies by...

I did get SOME instant gratification by being able seeing the feedback and comments from celebs on twitter! A couple examples are:

Some awesome feedback from celebs!

AND the best part so far... Mr. GBK himself (Gavin B. Keilly), founder of the hottest celeb gifting lounge, asked if he could have my necklace that was on display for, I'm assuming, his wife! AWEsomeness!!! --Now I gotta stalk them to see if she wears it! lol. Oh, and we, the TAG Emmy's team, put together a special swag bag for Gavin and I made special cufflinks just for him, so maybe I'll catch a photo of him with the cufflinks and his wife with the necklace at the same time! :D ...I'll keep you posted. ;)

Ok, there's the rundown for now. Very soon I hope to have all the photos and whole scoop on what the celebs said. Stay tuned...


Extra, Extra: READ all about the Emmy's Weekend from the rest of The Artisan Group members (so many fun posts!) starting with Shannon's of Sweet Stella's

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine

I've been published! Woo-Hooo!

The cover! That's me, in large type right in the center! Yay!!

First page of inside article. *Love the shot they took of my necklace!


My article on texturizing jewelry is published in this issue (Autumn 2011) of the gorgeous Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine!

And I was ecstatic to see my name huge on the front cover! I was so excited when I saw it on the news stand in Barnes & Nobles that I almost turned to the stranger standing next to me and screamed "Hey, Look, That's me!" lol. --hmmm... on second thought, maybe I should have, maybe she would've liked my jewelry and taken a business card? and told all her friends about me? and they all bought jewelry from me! --I really need to get over my reservations in that area! :)

Anyway, next time you're at a news stand, look for the magazine in the arts & crafts section and let me know what you think!


Monday, September 5, 2011


Two shows, one weekend. What do you do?

The super fun and festive Takoma Park Folk Fest.

So, sometimes trying to figure out what shows to apply to is a PITA! Tracking all the entry deadlines and show dates is an effort in organization and pushes my naturally disorganized nature to the limits!

Some shows have deadlines up to a year in advance, some allow you to apply with-in days of the show date. Some let you know if you've been accepted right away and some take agonizingly long to get back to you.

What really gets confusing is when you want to do two different shows equally bad that are on the same day. If you just apply to one and *gasp* don't get accepted, you're screwed. So you have to apply to both... just in case. And in the very awesome case of being accepted to both you have to make some hard decisions.

And this is the situation that I'm in now. I REALLY, really wanted to attend Takoma Park Folk Fest, which I've attended twice before and it's by BEST one day show of the year. But I also really, REALLY wanted to attend Arts on Foot because it's just an awesome 2 day show in downtown DC and likely to be a good show for me also. So I applied to both... and got accepted to both! Yay!!!!

The huge and diverse Arts on Foot.

But that means that I had to figure out what to do. I obviously can't be in two places at once, but I really wanted to do both shows, it'd really suck to have to say no to one... and then which one? So I decide to do both and just figure it out.

My husband could sit one show for me, he sort of knows what I do and he's helped me out at shows before, but that'd be asking a lot of him because really, he's quite clueless when it comes to jewelry, how it's made, what metals I use, what in the world a lariat is and WHAT you do with it! lol.

So in comes Jen! My amazingly awesome friend who's also a jewelry designer and metalsmith. She's totally saving my bacon by sitting my booth at Arts on Foot on Sunday while I attend my booth at Takoma Park. Yay Jen. :)

Now to work out the little details... accepting credit cards in both places, finding extra tables and table cloths, making a LOT more jewelry, and juggling setting up and tearing down... Ugh.

But, I will have my booth at both shows this weekend and am super excited to see how it all goes.

Please come visit me on Saturday or Sunday at Arts on Foot and/or on Sunday at Takoma Park Folk Fest. Tell me you read this post for a 20% discount on any item!!!

Arts on Foot -- Washington DC -- September 10 & 11, 2011
Saturday 11am - 7pm
Sunday 11am - 6pm
8th & F Streets NW in Penn Quarter
Gallery Place-China Town Metro Stop

Takoma Park Folk Fest -- Takoma Park, MD -- September 11
10:30 am- 6:30 pm
Takoma Park Middle School
7611 Piney Branch Rd.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Off to the Emmys

Everything is finished, packaged, and on it's way to California. Yay! (but not without some last minute issues, of course ;)

I LOVE the way the "gift" came out! The little note in the box was a last minute idea. I think it makes it polished with a personal "artisan" look and feel!

The last week!
O.M.G. The finishing up process of 100 pairs of earrings was WAY more complicated than I was expecting! Sooo many problems that I didn't expect!

Problem #1:
So, apparently (and honestly I did NOT think of this beforehand) when you start a long hammering session (30-40min) the texture looks completely different than when you're finishing up the session. --You start out nice and strong with bold strokes and end up with lighter strokes that are kinda small and dimply-- This causes a huge problem when trying to match up pairs of earrings!

Texturizing 200 teardrops is killer on the arm (actually the elbow)
Problem #2:
I normally only oxidize (apply a patina) to a few items at a time and so I did not realize that how critical the temperature of the oxidizing solution is in determing the final "color" of the patina. The first half I dipped had a blue-ish hue (a warmer solution) and the second half (a cooler solution) had a yellow-ish hue. Both are valid, I guess, although I prefer the blue-ish hue, but again this makes it super difficult in matching up pairs of earrings!

Oh, and I also didn't consider the time it would take to polish each and every one. The patina may look pretty in the picture below, but it definitely doesn't look so great up close; and besides, the point of the patina is to emphasize the texture, so the surface needs to be buffed and polished. (and remember, boys and girls, this is front and back)

200 teardrops with patina, before polishing. Aren't they gorgeous? Like fall leaves.

Problem #3:
Putting a finishing coat onto 200 teardrops. This wasn't a problem so much as it was a HUGE job. I absolutely didn't realize the amount of time it would take. 

Several things have to be done. 
Normally, I attach the piece of jewelry onto a little s hook to dip into the finishing solution and to hang to dry. Well, I didn't want to have to make 200 little s-hooks so I decided to attach the earwires to the teardrops before dipping. I also normally hang the piece to dry onto a small tin pan with holes for the hooks, but that obviously wouldn't work for 200 earrings so it took some thinking (more time) to come up with a solution: my oven racks on top of veggie cans!
Each piece needs to be cleaned before coating, so I had to sniff acetone (the best cleaner for oils, etc) for a bit too long while doing the cleaning. I really should have opened a window, but hindsight is 20-20, right. lol.
After dipping each teardrop individually into the little cup of finishing solution they need to be hung to dry, which is ok (I have my oven racks) except for the fact that the solution drips a bit at first, so the pieces must be watched carefully for drips and the excess solution wicked off with a paper towel (not doing this is very bad as the final dried piece looks horrible with a thick dot of finishing coat at the bottom!)
After hanging to dry for an hour, the whole dipping process is done again! 
...dip, wick, hang, wick, check, wick again... dip, wick, hang, wick, check, wick again...........

--have I mentioned I'm not good with repetitive tasks?

I'm very proud of my drying rack, lol.

Problem #3: (the biggest problem I had and I don't have a picture! I was far too frustrated to think about pictures and blog posts and such!)

Matching the pairs of earrings. Between the different hammering textures and the different patina hues, matching was a bitch! I really have to remember to think about issues like these BEFORE I start on my Oscars gift bag items (which I still haven't decided on anyway!)

No more problems, just lots of work:
1. Finding a place to hang the matched pairs (I had to clear my oven racks to make room to do the "matching" task)

100 pairs of earrings waiting to be boxed.

2. Put business and artist cards in each box.
3. Card each pair of earrings and place in boxes.

100 boxes pairs of earrings.

4. Place cute little artist note in each box.

I love images that are askew and sort-of artsy.

5. Lid each box
6. Attach the labels.

Somehow, 100 boxes pairs of earrings doesn't look like as much as when they're unboxed. :)

 7. Tie ribbon around 100 boxes (with my About card on the bottom)
--thanks for helping me out Tiago (my awesomely artistic husband who I totally trust to make perfect bows on celebrity gifts :)

Simple, elegant, and a little earthy packaged celebrity gifts! :)

8. Boxing it all up.
I'm a little anal about shipping. I'm totally paranoid of packages being left out in the rain or being tossed unceremoniously into trucks and so I really try to package well. I lined the box in trash bags (waterproof) and surrounded everything with bubblewrap. Better safe than sorry, right?

Boxed up and ready to go!

Sterling cufflinks: 
My gift to Gavin, head of GBK -- the company that hosts THE most awesome celebrity gift lounges!

Sterling cufflinks for Gavin!

My display for The Artisan Group's table at the Gift Lounge:
I'm displaying different items than I'm gifting. I wanted to show variety of work, but also the teardrop earrings just didn't fit well onto the display with the necklace (and I did NOT have time to rethink my display)

I did have trouble finding a color for the backdrop that showed off both sterling silver and copper equally well... black was too formal, white didn't show off silver, beige/brown didn't show off copper, etc. etc. :) --this is watercolor paper with torn edges that has been hand painted.

Gift Lounge display items.

C'est finis!
I'm sooooo excited to see (well, hear, since I'm not actually there) what happens at the gift lounge. Valerie and Nikki are going to try to tweet or FB updates all day and I'm quite sure every member of TAG will be glued to their "devices", I know I will.

Thank You Valerie
Thank You Nikki
I really do appreciate you putting together this very personal and friendly group that allows us to participate and be WELL REPRESENTED in these events. I have total trust that you care about each of us and will do your best to promote our items.


Wood & Copper! My jewelry display at the Weekend Boutique trunk show.

Display views from the Weekend Boutique! I love designing my display almost as much as I love designing jewelry! What do you think? Do you...