Monday, November 29, 2010

Give Handmade

The Give Handmade Sale was this past Sunday - previously known as the Secret Society Sale - it outgrew its old location (the Secret Society Ballroom) and moved to the Left Bank Annex this year (and took on the new name)
Here is my spot (fuzzy picture) next to Isaac Watson and Amy Stoner - excellent neighbors! The show was full of all sorts of wonderful things...
there were owls
chocolate and flowers
glass and mosaics
artwork, prints and paintings
soap and lotions

here's my neighbor Isaac and his cuffs made from camera lenses
this amazing old hoist was hanging from the ceiling. I want one of these in my studio :) The Left Bank Annex is a really great space. Its an old building that was re-done a couple of years ago... this was the first time I'd been inside.

I had fun, sold lots of little miniature mobiles and earrings... and I sold some terrariums - they make me smile.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Team Building Exercises

This garland of handmade panties has been hanging as an installation at the coffee shop across the street from Tim's apartment, the Albina Press.

While waiting for our drinks we were admiring this garland of underpants the other day... Tim told me that when he first noticed it he asked the coffee barista if it was a team building exercise. She said it was not.

This makes me laugh. A garland of handmade panties = a team building exercise?! And why would baristas have team building exercises? And panties? Why? They are pretty crafty too, some are embellished g-strings and whatnot, some are paper creations. Its pretty awesome, and strange... and I simply love the idea that making such a thing could be a team building exercise.

Maybe for my Idle Hands Ladies Auxiliary Club... now that could be a fun crafty get together!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

4 Years on Etsy

I opened my Etsy store 4 years ago today!

Four years of sales and hearts and feedback and forums and street teams and trunk shows and meetings and get-togethers. Its been pretty amazing. I have sold a lot of mobiles thru my Etsy shop - and I have worked hard for each and every one of those sales! Whew, its sure not easy!

Want to help celebrate my four years of success - I am offering 25% off all day for my anniversary! Help me share my mobiles with this holiday season - this is my way of saying Thank You to all the Etsy shoppers out there.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Rain in Portland

Its been raining a lot in Portland, supposed to snow. Up at elevation around here it has been snowing a lot... down at my house its just wet and the grass is freezing at night. Tim and I want to head up Mt. Hood to go to Bagby Hotsprings while we still can (its too remote and they don't plow the roads so its not accessible during the winter if there is a lot of heavy snowfall) but I fear it may be too late... and I have so much work to do... we'll see. I would like to see Bagby one last time before the Forest service sells that chunk of old growth forest.

My Dad took the picture above. It arrived in my email box today. I love how you can see one little flower in the rain drop. Delicious. Great photo Dad!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chocolate Party!

Oh my goodness I went to a chocolate party last night. It was exciting! We made chocolate creations out of chocolate modeling clay at the Chocolate Studio in NE Portland.
some chocolate was tasted
and we brought libations to honor the chocolate
the proprietress made us chocolate blanks on which to craft our "cards" - they are delicious!

we had tools to work with and all sorts of cute little embellishments, edible balls and hearts and skullz and such
Glitter. Yes there were lots of edible sparkle options. There were various ways to use the sparkle on the chocolate. In particular the neat modeling clay became sticky right after sculpting (from the heat of my hands) so the sparkle luster would adhere easily with a simple paint brush.
This is the beginning of my first project... I started with a glass of wine and two different shades of orange and a white chocolate blank. I didn't know what to make! I'd been making mobiles for quite a few hours that day (holiday production is in full swing) so I went into production with the chocolate and made little tiny petals, with which I made little tiny flowers... they sparkle
My friends made all sorts of wonderful cards. There were cutters and rollers and piping chocolate, chocolate on brushes, chocolate with prints. It was pretty insane :) I think I touched about a bazillion things I wasn't supposed to. I felt like an idiot.
There were lots of different types of flowers made...
and balls... the ball tool was quiet popular as well...
In all the chocolate was both fun to eat and fun to play with - I want to buy some to play with at home!
It was a great chocolate experience - I think I might buy some kits and have a party :) Chocolate snowmen? Chocolate terrariums? Chocolate warm fuzzies?
below is a picture of the kits - as you can see they are very affordable, and they come with the "wondertool" which was the little purple number with which I made my flowers, as well as a bunch of other tools and clay... you can buy the kit on the Chocolate Craft site

Tiniest of Terrariums

The tiniest of terrariums are knocking my socks off. They beg for photos. My friend Naomi took some scrumptious shots of them as well! (check out the photo below - she found some mini flowers and used the tiny empty vase!)
They make great gifts for any plant lover, even someone who is not that good at keeping plants alive. Terrariums require very little water, very little sunlight and really very little attention. All they ask is to be swooned over occasionally!
Each one is so sweet!
I love these "String of Pearls" succulent - so hardy and so cute in the little glass bubbles. They seem to thrive in these conditions. Well, they seem to thrive in just about any condition, but still!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Made in Oregon Sign RIP

I love this sign. Its a landmark in Portland Oregon and literally a visual reminder of what I do for a living.

The White Stag sign (its real name) was originally built in 1941 as an ad for a sugar company, it read "White Stag Sugar". In 1959 the tradition began of lighting the nose on the stag with a red bulb for the holiday season. In 1978 the sign was designated a City of Portland historical landmark. Its changed messages a number of times over the years as the building has changed hands. Officially it became the sign I know and love in 1997 when the letters were changed to "Made in Oregon" (and the bottom little letters were changed to "Old Town" - they used to read "Sportswear"). When the Naito family sold this building in 2004 the cost of upkeep and maintenance on the sign became an issue. Actually, the monthly electrical bill and upkeep have been a problem for decades, but the last few years have seen a push to reconcile this issue.

Working down at the Portland Saturday Market I have watched the transformation of this building. Made in Oregon (the store) moved out and Venerable Properties moved in with demolition crews. They renovated and developed the White Stag Block... in 2008 the University of Oregon took a lease on the building and I was quick to note they specifically leased the sign as part of the deal. A request was put into the city to change the sign to "University of Oregon" - personally I had my own theory that they simply wanted it to read "Go Ducks!" or "O". Ug. Fortunately these plans were turned down and by 2009 the University had ceased leasing the sign. Wikipedia offers the whole story with all the details, but basically the short end of the story is that now the sign will read "Portland Oregon" and the city will be paying $2000 a month (note: not taxpayers money, its all $ generated from a city parking facility) to the previous owners of the sign to continue the monthly upkeep and maintenance. The property owner (Venerable) put up the $200,000 to have the letters changed. There is going to be a grand re-lighting the day after Thanksgiving.

Today when I drove across the Burnside Bridge I happened to notice the transformation of the sign. I didn't know that the change was happening right now, so this took me by surprise. Literally I exclaimed "Oh Snap!" and lunged for my camera. Um, I mean I stayed focused on driving while quickly snapping a few pictures.
This is what I saw. *gasp* I knew it was going to change eventually. I just didn't know it was changing today!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crafty Display Ideas

I've been thinking a lot about neat display ideas to spiff up my craft booth stylin' this holiday season... and I saw that Naomi at Splurge had put a bunch of my packaged mobiles in a large glass vase (see below)
and then I was at Stumptown indulging in some liquid coffee yumminess and I noticed they had put the coffee cup to-go lids in these big glass jars (see picture below) and little labels on brown craft paper were taped to the jars (these could be price tags right?!). I really like how this looks and even more, I like how it functions as a retail display. The price is clear but small, the container is glass and it holds a lot of product... and its a crafty use of something that is meant for something different!
So I have been prowling local GoodWill for big glass jars/containers (no luck so far)... I went to the craft store and stood in front of their large glass vase assortment for a while. There were a lot to choose from and I always get 40%off coupons in my email for these crafty stores, so this could be an option. I had thought I'd like the big tall cylinders, but honestly they are either too small or so tall that if I filled them up with packaged mobiles or little DIY kits, once some of the kits had sold it would be hard for customers to reach the rest at the bottom of the cylinders. This would not do! As these are supposed to entice retail purchases, not prevent them. So among the various jars/vases at the craft store I found myself captivated by the huge size round fish bowl type vase. I like em'.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Positive Feedback

I received this email after a class I taught last night:

I totally appreciate you, your class and your teaching style! I've listened to you teach various torchworking classes over that past few months and love how much fun you make it. I'm glad that I asked you about the torchworking for fusers - I think it is really what I need to just add some additional little loving touches to my pieces. As I was falling asleep last night my mind was creating those little twisty piece candy cane type pieces (latachino?) and imagining how to use them.

Your laugh is infectious and it helped make the atmosphere so light and simple that, like you said, it really was like kindergarten and there was nothing I could do wrong.

Thanks again. Not everyone can be a great artist and also be a great teacher. I think you have done both!
-Gina Granato

Thanks Gina! And thank you for letting me share your kind words on my blog!!

I hope my students know I appreciate them as much as they appreciate me! Teaching classes for the past 7 years has been a pleasure, an act of reciprocity and a constant challenge.

Come take a class with me - I promise to show you a good time, certainly laughs will be had and you will get to play with hot glass in the flame!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why I Love Portland Oregon

Okay, so this video is too wide for my blog... but I still had to share. Its a video love-letter to Portland and its wonderful.