Thursday, April 30, 2009

Birthstones, Beads and Bees

Charmish beads update:

Birthstones are in at Charmish! I love this design and wear it on my bracelet (with my April birthstone). I don't have them all listed just yet, but have all the birthstones in stock. A nice bit of bling!

I also have a Love Yo Motha, sale going on, with selected heart designs. Easy to spot in the "featured" section of Charmish.

A view of my bracelet. I don't have it filled with charms yet. I'm holding out for some designs still in the works. I have been collecting handmade glass by different artists. Hand made, lampwork glass looks gorgeous next to all the silver charms.

Spring bee friend, hanging out on the bamboo, during a photo shoot. I'm planting some bee- encouraging flowers in the garden and yard this year. Oh and I got a new camera. You probably can't tell the difference, but it's really lovely to use!

Garden project- Spring goodness:

Before: You can see we had planted two curly willow starts in the previous fall. Actually we'd put in three but one died. Willows and threw some leaves on to kill the grass over winter. Oooo, it's gonna be so pretty! It's part of an out door "room" by my art studio.

See that tall green tool against the fence? That's my dandelion puller. I got it for my birthday two years ago and LOVe that thing! It's so much fun to use, neighbors literally stop by, when I'm out front, and ask to have a try. Then I have to wrestle it away from them 20 minutes later.... We had a six year old child over for a play date, and HE got picking dandelions for half hour. I had to lure him away with a snack. Later I told his mum what HE'd like for his next birthday.... oh yea, everyone loves this tool. LOL.

Digging in the stand-up bricks and getting them even was a JOB. I'm glad to have Max's patience! I love the planning and doing parts, but not the fiddly stuff. I put in two lovely bushy flowers, a lava rock and an old stump, and lots of seeds. The funnest part was planting a whole package of alpine strawberries by seed! I put them in all along the bricks, as a surprise for the kids. I hope they grow. Have you ever planted strawberries by seed?

I'll take some more photos for you as things start growing.

This stump has been in our vege garden for two years and we've worked around it. Who wants to dig out a stump that big. One day Max discovered that it was just sitting there on top of the ground! LOL. Turns out you can just pick it up! It was home to a garden snake and many bugs and spiders (sorry for the relocate guys). I brought it to the flower garden as a fun focal piece, and tamped dirt and seeds into crevices to see what happens.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pretty Little Tutorials

My first two tutorial project books came out! What fun!
I have a step by step project in each of these books. The first one is textile jewelry. I really love so many of the projects in the book. Very artsie.

The second is Pretty Little Cozies, with fun, crafty projects that can all be called "cozies". Some of my early coffee cozies are in there. At last! You too can learn my deep dark cozie secrets!!

My project for Stitched Jewels is the lemon necklace. When Live Gives You Lemons- Make ART! I used my favorite art quilting techniques to make this fun necklace with a leaf clasp (see the leaf sliding through a button hole in the right side lemon to open and close the necklace?) You get to chop, layer and fuse fabrics to make a new fabric, then free motion stitch. It's a textile jewelry piece with great graphic appeal, and plenty of texture and detail up close.

Pretty Little Cozies coffee cup cozies that use your favorite fabric print "charms". Get into your fabric stash and put some of your favs to USE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Blissfull Fairies

When all the Easter bunnies hopped off to their new homes, these brand new Fairy Bunnies started showing up. Sparkly tummies and wings! They hop and fly and giggle. Come visit them at Bliss Forest.

This is my table at the recent Meet Your Maker show. A girl has to make much of a 2 1/2' space. I've learned to sit next to my table rather than behind it and miss out on vertical space! You can just make out the bins of eager bunnies, and the wiggly ninja bunnies climbing the ropes. The show was great fun, with a constant stream of shoppers (that's how we like it) who were friendly and chatty (that's also how we like it). I really enjoy having a monthly show to sell my work locally, be part of the First Friday Art Walk downtown AND see so many of my crafter friends at once.

It was so pleasing how many High Flying Easter Bunnies found lovely homes all over the world via etsy. One went as far as Greece! And one Neen Jah Buhn Nee got customized for a special home in Singapore. xoxoxoxs to all my bunny friends in Canada and the UK. Making plush cuteness is a very rewarding job.

xo xo

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oregon Lottery for Schools!

I participated in a most unusual activity yesterday. I played the lottery for the benefit of our grade school. It doesn't quite bead performing in drag as a fundraising experience, but the pay is good.

The Oregon lottery draws names and invites different schools to their big scratch off event. Our Family School was invited. One teacher and one parent are paired with two local radio personalities to scratch off as many tickets in five minutes time. Our school gets to keep whatever we win.

Teacher Peggy and I arrived at Valley River Mall, to find a fairly large media event, hot coffee and cinnabuns, and tables set up for each team. Our celebrity team mates were no were to be seen, but we settled in to read instructions and plot quickly on strategy.

Our school, like all others in the nation is underfunded. I'm currently part of the largest fundraiser of the school year, and we plan to take in $3000-$4000. It takes months of preparation, and lots of volunteer hours to make this happen. Yet in five minutes, our scratch team might make a thousand dollars, if we are lucky? A big opportunity.

We were ready to kick #%%! We stretched and limbered up and wondered where our team mates were. All around the room, four people were at each table, ready to go, reading instructions looking at the their scratch off survival guides. This is serious business! Luckily, we had the BEST lotto team captain. He's the coach, and helps count the tickets at the end.

Each participant is given a card scratching tool that resembles an ice scraper. Technique is key because you have to remove enough of the latex gum to reveal the numbers, and clear as many tickets as you can in the allotted time, but not tear them! Everyone kept warning us that it was more physical than imagined.

No, our team mates weren't in yet.....

And in walk two young radio jockeys, one looking very sleepy, but at least they are more muscly than anyone else in the room! Turns out they both have tons of experience at this event and were ready to rock!

We stood at the tables scratching the heck out of reams of cards for five minutes. When our scrapers got gummed up, we flung them and our coach replaced them. He was a great guide, and encouraged us to claw our way to the finish line. When the whistle blew, we noticed that our table had moved forward three feet! LOL!

Not to be competitive, but we easily scratched more than anyone in the room. Our team rocked it. Then for the counting...............

Alysse and Peggy earning our Cinnabuns!

It took 1 1/2 hours to count all the tickets we scratched in five minutes! We threw the bad tickets on the floor, and at the end we recounted those ,finding an additional $80~
The highest number on the ticket was $500, and lowest was $1.

Our Oregon Lottery coach! He rocked. There's the tally! $1,715 for our school in one morning's work. We were thrilled. Only one team earned more than us (again with the competitiveness) and they happened to get two big number tickets in their share.

It was funny to see the radio and local news folks competing. They do this all the time, so like to earn bragging rights and such.

Peggy and I were presented with a temporary check, which I posted in the entry way for all to see.

What a fun morning, and unusual activity. I think I've had my fill of lottery tickets now. Seriously. Though I'd do this again for our school in a heartbeat. (And yes, you do get a little sore the next day! I was surprised.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coffee Cuffs and Spring

It's lovely to get away to the snow, but returning to the valley to find the daffodils blooming, and the plum trees in full throttle pink, it's lovely to be in the next season.

This is my new purse sketchbook.

Celebrating seasons: new wrist cuffs/cup cozies in my AlyTheRed shop. On the left is "Spring", and the right is "Summer".

Textile jewelry is hot hot HOT, but your hands shouldn't be! This art cuff transforms, with a literal snap, to become a cup cozy. Fits 12-20 oz coffee shop cups, cold cups and pint glasses.

When you are an Oregonian, happiness is an afternoon of sunshine!

Ski Trip

Me and the kids at Odell Lake during Spring Break. It's hard to get away for four days in a row, but boy is it fun!!! We don't get snow like this in our valley, but in the mountains, only an hour away, we can play in winter wonderland! We rented a cabin with friends, and enjoyed cross country ski trails, sledding, games, and food. Lovely.

Long Legs MacCormack after a sledding wipe out.....

The boys enjoying a tow back to the cabin for cocoa after a long morning of sledding.....

Me in my ski hoodie by ThingsinStuff. Check out her shop! Her hoodies rock and they are all on sale for spring! Catch yourself an up cycled wool hood, lined in soft fleece, with needle felted designs! It's ever so warm and snugly and naturally waterproof.

Sledding hill. View from the top.

Snow cave that someone built. We can fit the family of four in there, and even our dog Toli liked being inside.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coffee on the mind

Isn't that beautiful? I love it when I order coffee and I get something pretty in my cup. This was NOT my cup, nor my photo, nor have I ever been handed something so elaborate, but a girl can dream, right?

I'm designing a series of coffee and tea charm beads for my Charmish store. There's a long wait between design and having the new goodie in my hot little hand. Sigh. I think I'll go make some tea while I wait.....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Birthdays and Gold Star days

I'm having a great birthday! Thanks for the emails and birthday greetings. xoxoxoxo

Hugging Kitties. I wear this one on my charm bracelet for my two beloved kitties.

I have some fun new European beads charm designs in my shop, Charmish. European beads is the name for this style of charm bracelet, that's popular all over the world. Many people call them "Pandora Beads" because that's one of the top companies who make these styles. Its nice that all the major brands have standard sizing so everyone can mix and match their charm beads from different companies.

Bracelets are IN!!! You can see the thick 4mm sterling bracelet, the enclosure clasp (great engineering to keep that bracelet closed) that also looks like a bead, and the first part of the bracelet with the threading. Threading allows the beads to twist on, the slide freely without falling off again.

Measure your wrist, and let me know your size when ordering. I add one inch to the length to allow for the beads. Start with one bead or a whole set! Very fun to collect.

Fortune cookie charm. 6mm wide. Tiny with perfect details, and the "777" good luck fortune just peeping out. Love this one!

Example of a fuller charm bracelet, including birthstone beads, dangles, locks and lettering beads.

I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new bead series:
Gnomes and Mushroom home.
Tree of Life series, with six different leaf styles, acorn, tree of life and leaf dangles.
Aussie animals, including some most Americans have never heard of!

A little later this summer:
Favorite dog breeds.
Yoga, meditation, kung fu, healing arts energy series.
And dun da dun! Right before the big "Talk like a Pirate" celebration day, I have a big pirate series arriving! So exciting!

What's a Gold Star day? Some of you have heard me talk about a gold star day. It means I've sold something out of each of my three etsy stores on that day. It's really fun, and rather pleasing to sell an item from each store.

The Meet Your Maker indie craft show was so fun last night! Lots of my High Flying Easter Bunnies went to good homes. The crowds were constant, and people were so chatty and friendly. That's how we like it. It's fun to interact, hear people's thoughts, know if they have been in central downtown at the gallery tour, or just here for the wine bar, and hear what they like in my shop. Very fun to sell in person when folks are chatty and friendly. And I always love seeing my etsy vendor friends and meeting new vendors. We support one another and exchange ideas and fun.

Thanks for coming down!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where oh where?

where oh where have I been?

Let's guess..... have I been locked in the studio, training heaps of wild High Flying Easter bunnies??

Have I been hiding in a snow cave??

Have I been on a journey to the ends of the Earth??

Have I been sitting at the computer till my European beads jewelry store got it's first treasury???

And the answer is...

Yes, yes, and yes, but not the last one, although I am nicely pleased about that!

We took two actual vacations in March, and one day trip out of town. Including a get-away during spring break and now I'm BUSY. Holy mackerel Easter Bunny!!! I am sooo busy.

I planned well, but life has a way of gently expressing,

So I've been a tad busy this week.

************* onto the news with dates*************
I am at Meet Your Maker indie craft show
Friday evening
Broadway Winebar
as part of the First Friday Artwalk

Come down and say hi, see your local artists and crafters in action, and please please please take home a bunny. You have no idea what it's like to live with all these High Flying Easter Bunnies in training.......

And tomorrow is the big Birth Day!

Stay tuned for next episode, of As the Plush Turns, in which I host a birthday give-away, and reveal WHICH plush bunny I created but could not put up for sale!!!