Sunday, November 28, 2010

Indie Spotting for the Holidays

Looking to buy handmade for your Christmas gifts this year?  You HAVE to check out IndieSpotting.  It's so much more than just a blog!!  On this site, you will find great gift guides for any holiday, "how to" items you can create for yourself or give as gifts, featured artists with links to their shops & other artist shop links off to the right of the website.  (You'll have to check out my new avatar that I created myself, under Our Sponsors - it's also the new header for my blog.)  I actually had hired someone else to create an avatar for me, (since I really wasn't comfortable in doing that myself) & after several attempts at contacting the person to see how they were coming along & never getting a response, I decided to make an attempt at doing it myself!

My shop is featured in their "handmade holidays" section on their IndieSpotting website site & on their sister site An Indie Christmas under their "handmade holidays gifts" section.

If you're looking to support artists, creating handmade unique items & wanting to stay out of the "big box" retail stores, this is a great place to start!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who is that artist?

First of all, grandmas can be SO awesome!! My grandma Elizabeth, is one of them!! I was VERY fortunate to grow up with my grandma & grandpa living right next door. I have noticed throughout the years that I have acquired some of her values, personality traits & "quirky ways" (which I'm very proud to possess!)

It was that same grandma that saved these creations of mine while I was growing up.  We came across these little treasures when we moved her from her big 6 bedroom house of 60 years into a 1 bedroom apartment.  This first one as you'll see in the picture, was done in 1974 (I was 5 years old).

The potholders (remember the little looms we all made those looped potholders on), I was 10 years old. (I still love weaving today.)  At least I had an eye for color in the brown one, not so sure about the other one though :) I remember making TONS of these!!  It was so touching to see that grandma had saved these ALL THESE YEARS!!

One of the many things my family did right was to expose me to some type of art since I was 4 years old (I was put into dance classes & didn't stop that until age 16).  I was encouraged to draw, to paint, to dance (music was in the house at all times) we went to musicals, I was in art fairs, anything that involved the arts, we were encouraged to participate..  I remember taking art & music classes all through K-12.  (Then a college degree in Fiber Art.)

(Time to get on my soap box here) This summer, I went to an Art Fair in Leavenworth, Washington & I had the opportunity to visit with one of the jewelers.  He explained to me that 20% of all of the sales of this art fair, which was every weekend for two months, went to local schools so it could help them have an art program, which was one hour once a week.  ONE HOUR, ONCE A WEEK?  That broke my heart!  Apparently, (I didn't know this, since I don't have children) but with budget cuts, in the schools, the Arts are the first to go?  That saddens me. Children should all have the opportunity of being exposed to the Arts, encouraged to create & to only get one hour a week to do this?  I just hope families are encouraging their children to create at home since they can't get that at school anymore.  
(Ok, I'm down off the soapbox, now)  :)

I am VERY grateful & thankful that my family encouraged me, while growing up, to be creative!!!  Maybe some day, those pieces above will be worth something, lol!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall is in the air...............

........... the trees are turning, which is wonderful, however, with our falls in Seattle, comes a lot of rain with gray days AND with this being a La Nina winter we're to see more moisture than an average fall & winter. I'm not that thrilled about it, however, the DH is excited in hopes of more snow in the mountains for skiing. I have to admit with Whistler at our back door, it is always a beautiful place to visit in the winter.

Along with fall, come the beautiful browns, reds & oranges so I'd thought I'd share with you my interpretation on the browns, reds & oranges in my repurposed art :)

M&M's always does a great job at creating packaging for all the seasons!!

I'm not much of a chocolate person, however, I do love a Snickers every now & then!!

This is entirely new labeling for me to work with.  A friend of mine works in a bar, so she's been saving me labels from liquor bottles.  This wallet was made from Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon.  (Now if I could find myself a coffee drinker to save me their bags!)  :)

And for the beer enthusiasts ................(I think this one might be my favorite) a friend saved these labels for me. I'm not much of a pumpkin beer drinker, actually, I'm not much of a pumpkin anything person however, I have to admit that there are a couple of pumpkin brews out this season that have only the lightest suggestion of pumpkin & are quite tasty!

You might be wondering with Christmas around the corner, where's your Christmas repurposed art? I worked in retail for over 7 years & I always hated how Christmas came out earlier each year in the stores.  I prefer to celebrate each holiday when it comes, so for now, Halloween (one of my most favorite holidays) Thanksgiving THEN Christmas!! I'll have some Christmas & "winter" themed repurposed art, but I promise that I won't put it out until the week OF Thanksgiving :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Seattle EtsyRAIN Pre-Holiday Show

badge / web graphic

I apologize from being SO absent in my postings, but as soon as I heard about this juried show that's put on by my local Seattle EtsyRAIN group, I've been creating like a mad woman so I'd have enough "opportunities" for people to purchase at my booth.

It's a 2-day show, at Intiman Theatre (in the Seattle Center), October 16th & 17th, from 11-5 pm.  With Christmas right around the corner, it's a great opportunity to purchase handmade art from local artists!!

If you're in the area, stop by & say hello, I'd love to see you!!  :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Published in the UK!!!

I have to admit, this have been a fabulous year for me, so far.............wait, find a piece of wood to "knock on"  :)

A wonderful friend of mine, Marion Barnett, published a journal of mine that I created using Evolon.  You might remember a blog post I did on this journal back in June of last year.  Marion introduced me to Evolon, told me to work with it & see what happens.  I tried to give up twice, but Marion wouldn't let me & I'm glad she didn't! I was able to have the opportunity to work with a fiber I didn't even know existed & it really challenged me since I was used to working with natural fabrics & this is more of a synthetic.  (Which is why I stumbled & hesitated so much!!)

Once I started working with it, it reminded me a lot of Tyvek & since I had played with Tyvek quite a bit, my fear subsided (a little).  

Both Tyvek & Evolon can be melted using a heat gun, however, Evolon takes a lot longer to melt & I think it's more toxic smelling than when melting Tyvek, so make sure you wear a respirator & do your "melting" outside, just to be on the safe side!!

You can read about the the techniques I used here.  (Thank you Lynda Monk & Carol McFee for introducing me to Golden Fluid Acrylics).  The beautiful colors with the synthetic fibers of Evolon created a beautiful shimmering appearance!

I was SO excited to see my work published in Marion's book, that I didn't even notice when I read through it the first time that I was the only US artist published in this book!!  (Didn't know I could get anymore excited than I already was, but it happened!!)


Below is an "up close & personal" look at my journal.  I think, um..........those might be my fingerprints in the paints (I used my fingers to "move" the color around on the surface) we'll just call those "the artist's textural marks".  

Monday, July 12, 2010

Published in Draft Magazine!!!

Does anyone know of any fiber artists that have recently been published in a National Beer Magazine? I do, I do..........................ME!!! :)

Recently, I was contacted by the editor of Draft Magazine to see if I was interested in sending them some of my repurposed "beer art" to be professionally photographed for their next issue (as you can see, they chose to feature my luggage tags). I jumped at the have my art published in a National Beer magazine (my other true love) I'm on cloud 9 & still haven't come down yet!!

I've always viewed brewers as artists, refining & crafting their recipes & techniques to create a product that people will want & enjoy (what every other artist strives to achieve!) I've always wanted to work in some aspect of the brewing industry, but haven't researched what's all available for a person with no home brewing experience. The thought of home brewing has never seemed as appealing as brewing in a brewery with all of the beautiful metal beer tanks & working with others that share a common & another reason I haven't considered home brewing is if I take on one more interest, my DH will kill me!! :)

Wow!!! The thought of working in the beer industry & being able to create my art................................sigh!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Repurposed Art from Pacific NW Brewers

Black Raven Brewing Lanyard

I am VERY fortunate that I live in the Pacific NW for many reasons, but high on the list is the HUGE amount of brewers that brew FABULOUS beers!!

Deschutes Brewery Wallet

Not only do I have the endless opportunities to sample great beer, but also to create repurposed art from the colorful labels on those beer bottles!!

Bridgeport Brewing Hop Czar Wallet

Ninkasi Brewery luggage tags & wallet

For you Ninkasi lovers, I spoke with Jamie(one of the fabulous brewers) & I have GREAT hopes of acquiring some Maiden the Shade labels :)

Rogue Dead Guy wallets & lanyard

I have been fortunate in working with some brewers in obtaining beer labels, others (mainly) are from bottles of beer that I've either purchased or have received from wonderful friends!!

Widmer Drifter Pale Ale wallet & luggage tag

Elysian, The Immortal IPA wallet

And yes, I have been known to buy beers just because the labels looked cool & I have to say, I haven't been disappointed yet :)

You can find my work in my Etsy shop & if you live locally in the Seattle area, Reconstructed Clothing Co now carries my repurposed "beer label" art. If you want something that you don't see in either place, feel free to convo with me. One person from Nashville, Tennessee who's favorite brewery in Nashville, Yazoo Brewing, sent me labels from their beers to make luggage tags for her & her husband. (LOVE the colors!)

The only sad thing is that some brewers either haven't started bottling yet because their in-house sales are so fabulous (Black Raven Brewing) that they can hardly keep up with demand OR they package into aluminum cans, which I have used before in luggage tags. The main two problems I run into with creating my repurposed art from aluminum cans.................they don't lay as flat as I would like & I can really only use them in my luggage tags. With my wallets & journals, there is constant bending of the materials & I'm afraid, the aluminum would eventually crack.

Have I gotten tired of any of this? NO!! I LOVE creating this art. Check back either later this week or early next week, I'll be posting about my HUGE order that I received from Deschutes Brewery!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Featured on

My repurposed art has been featured on's website again, yeah!! (Thank you, Rebecca!!)

May 17-23 is American Craft Beer Week & what better way to support American Beer Craft Week (other than drinking wonderful craft beers) but also by creating art from those empty bottles, beer labels, bottle caps & 6-pack cardboard containers!!

Check out my wonderful friend :), Michelle's
bottle cap bracelet!! I think some of those might be from caps that I sent her!! We constantly support each others' art habits by Michelle saving & scavaging curbside recycle bins while walking her dog, Rosi, while I save her all the caps from what I drink & from when I attend social events that serve their beer in bottles. Just last night at my office's Cinco de Mayo party, I was able to get her over 20 usable bottle caps. :) (Will be mailing those out soon with bunch of others, Michelle!!)

I have to say, since I've started creating art from repurposed materials, it really makes you realize, how many missed opportunities, get tossed into the garbage that could have been used to create art. (I have 5 Rubbermate totes FULL of possible opportunities!!)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

PUBLISHED!!! 1000 Artisan Textiles

Woot!!! My Green Apple Martini Quilt aka "GAM" was published in 1000 Artisan Texiles!! What a wonderful book to own, so many beautiful colors, so many wonderful pieces!! A definite "must have" to any art book collection!!

(If you didn't know, I'm the one up in the top right corner!!)

I've blogged a lot about Green Apple Martini in past posts, but for those that are just meeting her for the first time................GAM was created using hand dyed bamboo poplin (LOVE that green!!) She was machine quilted, then layers of hand dyed cheesecloth, misty fuse & Angelina Fibers were added. Metal squiggles & cast paper triangles were added as embellishments.

My intentions originally for GAM were to try to enter her into a couple of shows, but when those options fell through, I decided to put her up for sale in my Etsy shop. A couple of months later, the opportunity arose to submit this quilt for possible inclusion in a new book that Sandra Salamony & Gina Brown were compiling called 1000 Artisan Textiles, so I took Green Apple Martini out of my shop & awaited their answer. Which I am very happy to say was accepted!!
Now that GAM is a star (lol) I can't seem to part with her, so she happily resides on a wall in my home!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

might have sunken to a new low............

This post isn't really about the wallet & tag that I created from repurposed New Belgium Fat Tire beer labels, but how I obtained the labels.

I ride the bus to & from work every morning & as I was walking by the copy center that's about a block from where I work, next to one of their trash cans (this wasn't a dumpster) was an empty 6-pack of New Belgium Fat Tire beer bottles (still in the cardboard container). It seemed odd that they were sitting there & with their bottle caps at the bottom of the container (Michelle, I will be sending them to you so you can use them in your work) :)

Were they just waiting there for me to pick them up & give them a new purpose? When I first walked by, I thought, how strange & I took a couple of steps, walking past them, then stopped, turned around & then you cannot imagine the train of thoughts that ran through my brain.

"I could really use these in my work. Is anyone around to see me pick up this 6-pk of empties? It's still pretty dark out, could I make it all the way to work without being seen? If I take these, how am I going to get them home on the bus? It's 6:30 am now & no co-workers show up to work until around 7:20, could I get the labels soaked off in our kitchen sink before anyone made it in? It generally takes a good 24 hours to soak the labels........could I actually soak them off any sooner? " (By the way, luck was with me that morning........the labels came off with no problems!)
You can laugh now (if you haven't been already) & now, I can too. I have to tell you that I'm a little embarrassed & have lost a little bit of dignity, but then I look at what I was able to create from them & it makes it all just a little bit better.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Think Pink.....

Ok, so you don't really have to if you don't want to as some of you know pink is not a color I really prefer to work in, but I think these turned out kinda cute AND I hope it will help mask the thought that I haven't posted in awhile. 2010 has seen a lot of ups & downs for me & it's only March?!!

My most favorite grandma (whom practically raised me) suffered a massive stroke earlier this year. Doctors said she wouldn't be able to feed herself or even get out of bed. We flew back to Iowa the very next day to be with her & right before we boarded the plane, my cousin called to say that my grandma (who is a very tough 'ole lady) had just got done walking 40 steps back & forth down the hospital hall & was feeding herself whole food!! She seemed to sleep a lot while we were there, but she recognized us & was able to carry on conversations. It broke my heart to see her in this condition.

She has improved more than the doctors & nurses ever expected at the nursing home, however, I don't forsee her ever living alone again, which she seems happy with & I do too!! Since my grandma's son, (my Uncle) died of lung cancer a few years ago & her daughter, well, long story, but her daughter has nothing to do with her, I'm the oldest grandchild, so I've been the one that has had to make a lot of plans & decisions for my grandma (with the fabulous help of my cousins, who live close to her.) I wouldn't have been able to do this on my own without their help. So you can kind of imagine the ups & downs & how it really forces you to do a lot of growing up. (I thought I was all done with that!) :)

In early February, we lost my 15 year old Abyssinian, Sydney, to some unforseen illness. It absolutely broke my heart!! He was momma's boy. He would sit on mom's lap while watching TV, but if the heating vents were putting out that nice warm air, you'd find him laying on top of one of those. Bedtime, you'd find him under the covers with mom.

It's amazing how the loss of a pet can really affect you. I felt like I had a permanent dark cloud hanging over me. The creative juices just would not flow & I almost felt like I was in a depression. As you might know, we still have Matisse, our Bengal & Taryn our German Pinscher, but we had Syd for 15 wonderful years & now being gone, there was an empty hole.

About a month later, we rescued Milana (melawna). Well her name was Lizzie at the time we adopted her & she told us that she didn't like that name & asked that we give her a new name. (She thought her new name fit her SO much better!!) :)

As those of you that have had the pleasure of introducing a new pet to your family, trying not to freak out the new pet, while trying to reassure the pets you had in the house before the new one arrived that you still love them just as much. It's been leaps & bounds with trying to get everyone to like each other, but I think we achieved success!!! Milana loves sleeping with us at night (she actually beats my DH to bed each night). You can either find her laying between us or on papa's pillow closely spooning his head, which he still hasn't gotten used to. :)

AND, she's my little studio cat!! She loves hanging out with me while I'm in the studio & her personality really comes out when she's hanging with mom. She's very good at reminding mom, with little meows ,that I should take breaks from time to time to pet & play with her :) She's an absolute wonderful addition to our family!!

One other bit of happy news (I think), I'm doing my first Arts & Crafts fair in April & I'm SO NERVOUS!!! I went out & bought my 6ft foldable table & am slowly gathering items I need, but oh wait............I need to fill that 6ft with my art. My luggage tags & mini wallets are pretty small on that 6ft table, so you can imagine, that I've been a creating machine ever since I found out I was accepted for the show. I have plans for other items as well, but I really don't have a surplus of items I've created just hanging around in my studio, so I will be a VERY busy woman up until the show comes.

Any pointers or helpful ideas for a person who's never done an Arts & Crafts fair, would be MUCH appreciated, since I'm a nervous WRECK!! The one nice thing is that this show is indoors, so I don't need a tent. And, what about a tent? If I'm not sure that I'm going to do many of these Arts & Crafts fairs, is it smarter to rent a tent?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Are You Over 21?

I've been wanting to create items from repurposed beer labels for so long, but I just haven't had the time. Well this week, I made the time :)

The first two pics are luggage tags made from repurposed beer labels from Flying Dog Brewery in Maryland (very good beer by the way!!) :) These tags were designed just a little bit different than how I ususally make my luggage tags. I usually leave the back of the tag blank, however, the beer labels from Flying Dog Brewery, had so many interesting graphics on the labels, I decided to add some of it to the back of the label. Something only the owner of the tag will know that's there (since the name card will normally be covering it up.)

I'm hoping to obtain some more Flying Dog Brewery labels very soon as I'm really looking forward to creating some mini wallets with them. The artistry on these labels themselves are just fabulous!!

(This might be my most favorite matching set, LOVE the blues!!) This luggage tag & mini wallet were made from Widmer's Drifter Pale Ale beer labels & of course, hand dyed bamboo for the interior.

This tag & wallet was made using repurposed Hoegaarden beer labels & you can find them here in my shop.

LOVE the colors in this luggage tag made from a repurposed Ninkasi Spring Ale label! I almost didn't add this one to my shop, but I decided, I have enough tags & maybe someone else would love this one as much as I do & would like to give it a new home :)

Should you wonder where I get my stock of all of these fabulous labels? I'm very fortunate that where we live in the Pacific NW, there are a vast amount of micro breweries not only in Washington, but also Oregon & California, all creating wonderful beers to be enjoyed!!

You'll have to check back often as I have plans for other items to be made from these labels :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wonderful Website for Etsy Sellers

I wanted to share a wonderful website/marketing tool with you, if you have your own Etsy shop!! It's

There are no membership fees, no log ons with passwords, just enter the name of your Etsy shop in the box & hit enter!! From there, you can see who hearts your shop & where they're from (if they've entered that info into Etsy when registering.) Under the "item hearts" tab, are pictures of each of the items in your shop & how many hearts they have.

(Here's the wonderful thing about this tab)....under each item you have for sale, there is a Twitter & Facebook icon (I haven't tried out the Etsy icon yet to know what it does) but with the Twitter & Facebook icons, you can click on them, put in your passwords that you use to access both applications, type a little something about the item you have for sale & it posts your comment & a link back to your Etsy shop of that item on Twitter & Facebook's site for all of your friends & followers to see. (How awesome is that?!)

There is a shop statistics tab, for you number crunchers out there, a helpers tab, that actually can create product flyers of items in your shop & a widgets tab (LOVE this)!!! If you look up in the right corner of my blog, you'll see a flashing widget of the items in my shop & if you click on it, you'll be taken right to the item in my Etsy shop where you'll have the opportunity to purchase that item that you originally clicked on in my blog. (Nice, huh!!)

Oh & if you didn't notice already, in the photo above (mine's the third shop announcement down) you also have the opportunity to purchase advertising spots for your shop at a very reasonable rate!!

I just think it's a wonderful little site to use along with my Etsy shop & would love to give kudo's to whomever created the site!! Thanks!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Twizzlers.... As Always a Low Fat Candy

As a custom order, someone requested that I create a mini wallet from Twizzler bags. I thought about this for a moment & realized all of the clear see-thru packaging & asked if they were sure (since a dyed background fabric was going to show through where all of the clear packaging was), which, if you happen to look at a bag of Twizzlers, you'll notice that it's MOSTLY clear packaging.

She said she was totally fine with it, as I was dragging my heels, fearing that this just wasn't going to turn out ok. So, what do you think? (I think it turned out better than I had planned!)

I have quite a few gatorade labels but have been dragging my feet since I was unsure how to deal with the transparent labels. I think this might have helped me get over that hump.