Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet Your Maker - THIS Friday

We are doing an indoor/outdoor show and will have over 30 vendors this time! I'll be right inside the door, next to my buddy Melissa from Things N Stuff. Come down and say hi to us.

Indie artist/designers and free wine! How great is that?

Meet Your Maker
Broadway Wine bar
200 W Broadway
Downtown Eugene
on the First Friday of each month (Artwalk time!!)

Rain Clouds on a Sunny Day

Photo from Cara Weston Photography

I am blue. A sweet, smart friend was found to be stealing from a mutual friend, that I respect and care about. Is this what the economy drives some people to? I'm so shocked and saddened, it's bothered me all day. We can't loose our values just because the economy is bad. There are way too many options.

I believe in an abundant universe.

As an artist/designer, I believe in working hard, using my imagination, having many baskets with several eggs (multiple streams of income), and staying positive.

As a neighbor and a friend, I believe in helping each other, banning together, brainstorming, sharing resources, lending an ear, and gardening up a storm.

As a mother, I believe in enjoying the simple things in life, being present with my kids, being available, laughing, recycling, reusing, volunteering, being curious, learning how to make things, and being silly.

Because it's not all about money.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Fantasy Series - pandora style beads for charm bracelets

Inspired by folk takes, I designed this series of Fantasy charm beads. Everyone has a bit of magic in them, they may simply need reminding........

The Frog Prince has been arrested? What's the rap? Can he still wear his crown in jail? I think the King will bail him out shortly. He is a real prince after all..... he just needs one simple kiss. Is that so hard to come by?

Don't worry, it's only the size chart photo.

The Wishing Well. Did you know that tourists throw just under 3 million pounds per year into wishing wells? (In November 2006 the "Fountain Money Mountain" reported). Clearly wishing well beliefs are still getting high marks in our modern day world.

I had a wonderful time researching the history and symbolism of wishing wells for this design project. Would you care to learn more? Read on.

From the Wiki
A wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted. The idea that a wish would be granted came from the idea that water housed deities or had been placed there as a gift from the gods, since water was a source of life and often a scarce commodity.

The Germanic and Celtic peoples considered springs and wells sacred places. Sometimes the places were marked with wooden statues possibly of the god associated with the pool. Germanic peoples were known to throw the armour and weapons of defeated enemies into bogs and other pools of water as offerings to their gods.

Water was seen to have healing powers and therefore wells became popular with many people drinking, bathing or just simply wishing over it. People believe that the guardians or dwellers of the well would grant them their wish if they paid a price. After uttering the wish, one would generally drop coins in the well. That wish would then be granted by the guardian or dweller, based upon how the coin would land at the bottom of the well. Traditionally coins were made of copper or silver and had biocidal properties which kept the water from going sour (bacteria produces various acidic compounds which affect the taste, notably Hydrogen sulfide). It was thus lucky to throw coins in the well.

The tradition of dropping pennies in ponds and fountains stems from this. Coins would be placed there as gifts for the deity to show appreciation.

This may be a left over from ancient mythology such as Mímir's Well from Nordic myths, also known as the ¨Well of Wisdom¨, a Well that could grant you infinite wisdom provided you sacrificed something you held dear. Odin was asked to sacrifice his right eye which he threw into the well to receive not only the wisdom of seeing the future but the understanding of why things must be. Mímir is the Nordic god of wisdom, and his well sits at the roots of Yggdrasil, the World Tree which draws its water from the well.


The Good Wizard. What is the castle or the king and queen without a loyal Wizard at their side? He wields his magic only for the good of the kingdom, of course.

Symbolism: knowledge, magic, education, and goodness.

Visit my etsy store Charmish to see the whole fantasy series: Castle Keep, Wishing Well, Wizard, King (Queen coming soon), Frog Prince, Mushroom, Book. Shop while supplies last.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Strawberry Season

Strawberry season is short in the Willamette valley. Our yard strawberries produce all summer long, yet just when ours get going, the big farm strawberry season is over! It catches me by surprise every year.

The kids and I got out this morning, and picked three flats of "end of season" strawberries. That means they are tasty but you have to put them UP within hours! They quickly turn dull. The kids took turns reading out loud as we processed strawberries, and then we watched a few episodes of Avatar. (Have you seen that cartoon? It's a long series and I just love it! Great values, great characters, and such an original adventure. Netflicks). We put bags and bags and bags in our new upright freezer in the garage. I feel like such a "grown up" with an extra freezer. Until now, I've filled my regular freezer with blueberries for eating, smoothies, and making cobbler all winter. Now we can really indulge with lots of fruit and big batches of yummy foods!

Speaking of cobbler, we made two strawberry cobblers today. That's a new version to me. Very tasty! One was for the neighbors who traded us a huge heap of garden edging bricks for summer baking. Yey for good neighbors.

After all that strawberry business, we had some play time, me a wee tad of studio time, before piling into the car to pluck Max from the work week and doing important family evening errands such as
#1- buy new water squirter for the six year old
#2- zip to Joann's and snap up a whole bolt of canvas for new experiments in the studio
#3 - friday night out to dinner at a fresh, design your own burrito place
#4 - take the pup with us in as many places as will let us (It's a new family hobby)
#5 - discover a new fun park on our after dinner walk, and invite a mass of kids to play a game called "fling everyone off the spinner."
#6- pop into the hardware store to fetch big washers to keep the knots in the new tire swing from pulling through.

I am loving summer with the kids.

New music: I just discovered Jack Johnson's soundtrack to Curious George. So sweet!
And I'm playing all the early Michael Jackson songs and videos for the kids. You know why. He was once the king.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Gnome Friends

Willow Wildwood

New gnome friends at BlissForest. I love making plush gnomes. I may cut several colors of body shapes out at a time- just based on colors I want to work with, but when I go to make one the personality emerges so fully, I'm unable to go any other way. Each one is unique and special. Their little life stories form in my mind as I sew and stuff. I think I smile a lot.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Australia Series - pandora style european beads charm bracelet

I'm pleased to share the Australia charm bead series. I have been eagerly awaiting the first production of these beads to arrive. Eventually there will be more animals in the set, but these beauties are a great place to start collecting.

This is the Australian flag super-imposed on a map of Australia, and wrapped around the bead. I have designed one for the US, and UK as well! (soon soon). Unique pieces for your European Charm Bead collection.

This shows the scale of the tiny tiny work and the craftsmanship. See Tasmania down there? So cute.

Koala mum and baby. Many of the Australian souvenir jewelry and other company's charm beads show a single animal. I wanted to celebrate the special animals of Australia and motherhood! Coming soon: Mother kangaroo and joey, Echidnea and Platypus.

Sydney Opera House. I wear one of these on my own charm bracelet along with the Eucalyptus Leaf bead. I feel like I have a little pieces of Australia with me. I was inspired to design this series for my children who have dual citizenship, but haven't visited yet, my beloved Australian clients, and of course my natural love for Australia.

If there are any opera fans out there, you might like to know that many SOH productions are available to view on Netflicks! Huh.

Koala, Kangaroo, Clown Fish, Eucalyptus, and Sydney Opera House are still available. The sample set with the Map/Flag of OZ sold out, but I'll be getting more in. If you are interested in these, please ask to be on my waiting list. :-)

Fight Crime with Flowers

Why is it WEIRD news that folks in Japan are planting flowers to fight crime?

Apparently a neighborhood watch program came out with a statistic that there were less break-ins in homes with flowers in front. Sounds good to me. And pretty. :-)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Good Teacher

“A Good Teacher “
By Finn age 9
June 2009

A good teacher is a really good person first.
In their own life.
Then they become a teacher.

A good teacher is also like a mother-
they care about you,
they try to understand you,
they make reasonable rules,
while they teach interesting things.

(if you would like to use this poem, please ask permission first)

Finn's last day as a Third grader, and his last day in this 1-3 classroom. We love Beth and Peggy!!! Luckily, the little guy is still in their room, so our family gets more time in their presence.

Each year the third graders graduate with the hat ceremony. After a compliment circle with the first and second graders, Beth and Peggy call the thirds up, one at a time, to share what they love about them, and place a personality hat on their head. They search all year long for the perfect hat for each child. Finn's was an Aussie hat, and they thanked him for teaching them all so much about Australia. He smiled happily, hugged Beth and corrected her pronunciation of "Aussie". LOL!

Welcome Summer Break!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magazine Totes

The Magazine Totes are in the shop. The perfect grab and go bag for your goods.

Do they only tote magazines? That phrase refers to the general size. These are 11 by 14", all cotton, fully lined with vintage interior decorator cottons, with sturdy cotton handles.

Three fav prints out of Bliss Monkey Studio to your hands....

New print from designer Alexander Henry. A curious collection of owl friends.

London Calling - hard to find print with a delightful map. Great for Brit fans.

"Run" , another great, hard to find print that I've been saving just for you running fans.

Totes are great to grab and go!

-Wanna carry your book or needle work to the doctor's office, or the kids' band practice? Pop them in your tote.

-Knitting club date? A great opportunity to show off your new tote.

-A change of clothes and water bottle for yoga class.

-Carry it to farmer's market and wash as needed. Rolls up to fit in the glove box, or bike basket.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Birthstone Series- European Beads Charm Bracelet

New birthstone charm beads available at Charmish! I love the two styles I have in my shop, and wear both on my own bracelet, marking my children's birthday. This is the Pebbles Birthstone style, which comes in all birthstones of course. :-)

Special of the week: $10 off a bracelet with purchase of one bracelet and one bead. It's a great time to start your very first bracelet, or enjoy a second one. They look great in two's and three's on the wrist. Be sure to send me your wrist size in the message to seller's box. We add one inch or 3cm to allow room for the beads.

This gives a good sense of the actual size and detail in each bead. Centimeters on top and inches on the bottom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Design- Toothfairy Pouch

I'm excited to be holding in my hot little hand, the newly released Tooth Fairy Pouch design. I've been planning this for a year now (one designer = many many many ideas and never "enough" time!) and so happy to have made a batch.

It's a wee tooth fairy pouch to keep those loose treasures safe under the pillow until the tooth fairy comes- perhaps to leave a treasure of her own in thanks. It features my own silkscreen print of possible baby creature teeth that the bag could contain, like baby dragon, or baby polar bear, or giraffe... they all loose their baby teeth..... the idea made me laugh and I had to make it.

It starts with a series of sketches in my design book. I narrow those down to my favorites. I sketch pouch ideas, and settled on the smallest pouch I could make (including lining!) and still get enough of my tooth "choices" on there to be fun.

I finalize the drawing and ink it in with a graphite pen. I put it through the gocco machine which burns the screen for me. I make a frame on the screen out of duct tape and "pull" ink over the screen to make the prints, just like silk screen printers do by hand. When the prototypes are sewn up and look good, I sew a real batch and finish it off with a set of nifty snaps.

Note to parents: some children are unsure about allowing a fairy free access to their bedroom while they are asleep. Smart kids, I say. I offer an alternative ritual that may be even more fun: have the child create a fairy bower in the back yard or at their place setting on the kitchen table. Fairies LOVE a sweet little place to rest, with flowers, nectar offerings, and pretty things. The tooth fairy would love to receive the tooth in the wee pouch, and leave her note, a pretty stone or crystal, and a coin in it's place. The waking child may notice a trail of glitter where the fairy entered the house and where's she's been!

Do you have any fairy traditions to share from your family?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bliss Bag Collection

Bliss Bags are up in my etsy store. The collection is made up of bags, magazine totes, and pouches.

Bliss Bag: "Wildwood"
This bag features Erin McMorris fabrics and my quilted leaf motif. Bliss Bags are solid cotton, including quilted cotton middle layer. No crinkly, plastic, iron-on stiffener, just soft sturdy washable cotton. The perfect summer bag!

Magazine totes: "Run".
Grab and go .....
-your towel and book and snack for the park.
-with your book and water bottle to the Dr office.
-your towel and gym clothes.
-your notebook and pens for a walk through the new museum exhibit.
Whatever it is, you'll be ready with your cute tote!

Bliss Pouches have many uses:
- great for a camera and money clutch purse for a walk to the coffee shop,
- keep your tunes and cords from tangling in your purse,
- make up bag,
- I use mine to keep my check book, my punch cards, gift certificates, and receipts in which lightens the load on my wallet and keeps it all organized.

I'm still listing these, so if you don't see the perfect one yet, check back tomorrow!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Indie Craft Shows

Me at the June "Meet Your Maker" show, Friday evening, Broadway Winebar, downtown Eugene. I like to create a different display each time, and bring new things along with my classics. I'm debuting my new line of Bliss Bags: the big bags on the stand, totes and lots of little zippy pouches to keep all your goods organized.

It's a fun challenge to make an interesting set up on a 2.5 foot table!

Birthday Bunny gift set made it's first public appearance, and super fun Tooth Fairy pouches. Both are found in my BlissForest store.

A view down the row just after we set up. There's a flurry of activity between 4:30-5pm, then we all settle down. As 5pm work lets off for the week, folks start arriving. 6pm brings the art walk gallery crowd. And throughout the evening many folks are visiting the wine bar and happy to come down and browse our wares. The floor fills up!

There was a little too much browsing and not enough buying on this night, for me, but I always have a great time seeing all my etsy and crafty friends, and getting direct feedback on my products. We show off all our latest inventions and talk craft. My mom and several friends visited- I love that!

I'm posting all my new bags in my AlyTheRed-BlissMonkeyStudio shop this weekend! Enjoy.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Butterfly Garden

My butterfly garden seems to have attracted some very large, furry specimens! I can't spot their wings...... but they are cute.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Local folks can find me at the Meet Your Maker show this Friday. I'm releasing my summer line of bags and pouches!

Friday: 5-8pm
Broadway Winebar downtown Eugene

It's First Friday, so visit all the gallery openings, THEN come to the Meet Your Maker venue where you can actually afford something! All the handmade goodness is at your fingertips. Bring home a piece of wearable art, functional art, or simple cuteness. Shop for a unique gift for the teacher or grad in your life.

Do NOT forget to score some raffle tickets! Always a great prize package.

I love this craft show with the mini tables packed with great work. The vendors change each time, but there is always a great variety of indie crafts. I try to get around and see all the wares and make my purchases early in the evening.

Come see my teeny tiny toothfairy pouches. They are as small as I could get them, and still have a readable silk screen image on. I can't wait to blog about them, once I get a photo.