Thursday, April 30, 2009

Connections

This little pile of colorful fun was listed in my Extra shop today. There are some zombie owls in different colors and some small button-ish connectors. But the pieces that make me jump for joy are these tasty ovals pictured below.

"What's so exciting?" I hear you say! Well, it's the possibilities, I tell you! These pieces are fairly large and would make incredible bracelet focal beads. AND the holes are big enough that you could easily wire wrap something fantastic around the center (I am envisioning a copper tag stamped with a fancy word or etched in leaves). It could also be a pendant from which you could hang clusters of beads and bling. OR you could turn it into a brooch with dangling chains or ribbons. (!!! are you as excited as I am???!!!) (probably not, I haven't slept through the night in weeks and my exhaustion has turned into manic chattiness)

Needless to say, I will be making myself a nice little pile of these to play with.

Tomorrow I will be posting a tutorial on how to use my new porcelain blanks (thanks for the suggestion L!), so be sure to check in. :)

Can I fit under there?

I found these perfect little mushrooms growing amongst my seedlings. If I was extra tiny I would definitely take up residence under this little cluster. Where's a Television Chocolate camera when you need one? (Willy Wonka anyone?)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mixed media is my new best friend

I am having way too much fun with these new porcelain blanks! My paper/fabric/anything-with-a-pattern hoarding obsession is now paying off. The obsession is shifting from collecting (or "serial accumulating" as my former grad school adviser would call it) to making and that is a very good thing (though the collecting will have to continue and probably be increased as I do not want to deplete my supply of inspiration. Right?)

I have had these wonderful copper bails for a while and was quite giddy when I paired them up with the finished pendants. I gave both the bails and the copper ball chain a gorgeous blue patina. I think it adds a wonderful aged feel while still managing to look oh-so-today cool (super important!).

I've listed both of these necklaces in the shop and will be adding more gradually along with building up an inventory for shows. I have so many ideas for these blanks that it is nearly driving me crazy. All night long I kept waking up with ideas running through my head. Ugh. I wish I could sleep like a normal person even for just one night.

Anyhoo, if you want to try your hand at making your own mixed media pieces be sure to check out my Extra shop for some porcelain blanks. And thanks so much to everyone for your super sweet and encouraging comments about my new pieces. We have a wonderful and supportive community going on here in Blog Land and I, for one, am happy to be a part of it. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tiny frames!

These little sweeties just landed in my Extra shop! I can't wait to use them in my own jewelry (I have a zillion ideas swirling about!) but I am equally as anxious to see what others can do with them. :)


Monday, April 27, 2009

Drawing on a blank

In my last post I gave you a sneak peak at my new porcelain blanks. These blanks allow for the use of mixed media while having the nice weightiness of porcelain. The idea came to me one day while perusing the endless rows of scrapbook paper at my local Michael's. Much like my love of fabric, my hoarding of scrapbook paper is verging on an illness. I love all the patterns and colors. The problem is that I don't do scrapbooking (is that the proper terminology?). I don't do anything with the paper other than look through it, organize it, admire it. So I thought to myself "wouldn't it be great if I could somehow use this paper in my jewelry?" The answer is YES, it would! And then I started to think of all the other things that would be great to add; like stamping, collage, painting, drawing, guilding... you get the point. So this is what I made - pure white, smooth, highfired porcelain blanks in a variety of shapes. They can be glued on, stamped on, painted on and because they are porcelain they can withstand heat so they could easily be soldered. Oh the possibilities!

Below are some examples of what can be done. I made all three of these pieces in about twenty minutes. They were so easy and fun - absolutely anyone can do it! :)

This first piece is the simplest. I simply cut out this fancy shmancy lady from an antique magazine that was in terrible shape (I don't condone chopping up perfectly good vintage papers - it breaks my heart! If you find an image that you must MUST have then make a copy and use that) and glued her down with some Mod Podge (one of my all time favorite products!). She was then sealed with three coats of matte spray sealer. Done!

This piece makes use of some of my beloved scrapbook paper. After gluing the piece down I then used pastel pencils to give the paper a little more depth and interest. What was a flat, monochromatic paper took on a more painterly look with the added shading. Three coats of sealer and this piece is smudge proof and super durable.

This last piece was little more involved but still very easy and quick to make. I started with some script from my antique magazine, stamped a faded looking design over it and then glued the piece down. I carefully cut out a floral design and laid it on top of the script. It looked a little lost so I added a little green pastel to the background to make the the branch stand out. Sprayed with sealer and called it a day!
I will add some glueable bails, hang on a chain and voila! I've just added a fun new look to my jewelry line! (I'm sounding extra cheesy today. I don't know what is going on with me.)

I will be adding the blanks to my Extra shop just as soon as I am done writing this post. You will notice that some have holes in them and some don't. I prefer no holes but that might just be me. I would really appreciate some feedback as to whether or not you guys would like more holes, less holes, no holes or just a nice, big variety. Let me know what kind of shapes you would like as well. I am open for suggestions! :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Challenge - The Birth of Venus

Sandro Botticelli's painting, The Birth of Venus, was chosen this month for the Art Bead Scene's challenge.

My inspiration for this piece came not only from the gorgeous color palette of the painting but from Venus herself. It is presumed that a young woman named Simonetta Vespucci was the model for many of Botticelli's works (and the work of countless other artists as well), though most of them were painted long after her early death. Simonetta's beauty was considered the ideal in Renaissance times and it is believed that she had a cult-like following among both men and women. Since her reputation as a muse was already established I thought it might be fun to make a necklace that Simonetta might have worn. So it was with that in mind that I began this piece.

The two main focal beads of the necklace were made by me. The top piece utilizes a new porcelain blank that I am making that provides a foundation for any mixed media application. (Coming to RoundRabbitExtra soon!)

For this bead I started with a piece of beautiful scrapbook paper that had a subtle monochromatic floral design and adhered it to the porcelain. I stamped an architectural detail and then used pastel pencils to add color. The piece was then sprayed with a sealer several times. I love how the texture of the paper looks like canvas or even tapestry! Very fitting for a Renaissance era look.

This bird piece is a new design that I just began making. I made the mold from an antique button that is over 100 years old. I was pretty excited when I realized that the floral motif mimicked the flowers that are throughout the painting so I quickly glazed one in blue and giggled like a school girl when it came out of the kiln.

To further the Renaissance aesthetic I used (my currant favorite bead of the moment) these gorgeous pierced metal beads. They have such an ancient, religious feel and the antiqued copper color gave the necklace the dark tones that are found in the trees and foreground of the painting.

Finishing off the piece are vintage satin blue plastic faux pearls (rescued from a 1940s necklace that was falling apart), spiral seashell beads, my favorite Czech glass luster beads and wire wrapped copper rings with coral shell beads.

Now I just need to figure out how to travel back in time (my greatest desire) to give this necklace to Simonetta. Has anyone figured out how to do that yet? :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Breather

I've been taking a little bit of an Etsy breather for the past few days. Sometimes I need to get out the the Etsy atmosphere and focus on other things. That can be hard, especially when a large part of my business is housed there. But it needs to be done now and then. Anyhoo, I have been working like crazy trying to replenish a lot of my staples along with some new pieces as well. I am hoping to build my stock up in order to get ahead for the Summer shows. It would be nice to not have to scramble the week before a show. I always say that and yet somehow I am still scrambling.

I put together a bunch of post earrings and some dangles and then I had the chance to work on some new designs. This little fairy below is one of them. Isn't she sweet? The glaze is new as well. It's kind of periwinkle and kind of delicious, don't you think? It was also kind of a mistake (I mixed up two chemicals and had to do some fancy math (totally guessed) to get them right-ish) so chances are good the next batch won't look like this. Bummer, that.


These lovely Art Deco earrings are a new design as well.

These little fawns aren't new but they are always cute, so I thought I would share. :)

Today I will finish up my piece for the Art Bead Scene challenge. I just have some final composition issues to work out. So look for that post either today or tomorrow (I hope). :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

After the fact

I put these lovely Art Deco peacock beads in my Extra shop earlier today and then skipped off to the studio. My plan was to blog about them when I got home and let everyone know that they were there. Many people have asked about them since I used one in an Art Bead Scene challenge a while ago and I have been pretty bad (downright dreadful) in letting anyone (Heather!) know when they would be available. Anyhoo, I came home from the studio to discover that all but one had sold. My plans for a big unveiling have been foiled (in a good way, mind you). So, I guess this post is about the promise of new peacock beads. I am making more this week and will try to have some glazed as quickly as possible. Along with more owls. And pretty connectors (did you see Lorelei's necklace?). And anything else I can think of. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rachel Lucie

The sixth package I received in my creative exchange came all the way from the Untied Kingdom! Rachel Lucie sent me this wonderful package full of fun. Included amongst the chocolates (ate them immediately) and the heavenly scented bath melt was this beautiful pair of earrings that just happened to be in one of my favorite (possibly my allllll time favorite) color combinations of pink and green. Needless to say, they have taken up residence in my ears and show little signs of leaving any time soon.

Rachel's Esty shop is full of lovely beady creations and her blog is equally delightful and rather addicting. On top of it all she is a truly great photographer and comes up with some rather clever ways of photographing her jewelry. While browsing her shop I came across this shot where she used the little heart dish I sent her in the exchange. Doesn't it look great as a backdrop to her beautiful earrings? (the answer is a resounding YES!)

Thanks for participating in my exchange, Rachel!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend slippage

Somehow the entire weekend slipped by and now I find myself hurrying to meet deadlines and very far behind in my shipping. My sale was a success (thank you so much everyone!) and now I must fulfill my end of the deal and get everything in the mail. I apologize to anyone who might be wondering where their package is - it is on its way!!

The weekend consisted of doing the Syracuse Farmers' Market and being in the studio. The Market was less than great. I took the Winter off because I needed a break. Getting up at 4 in the morning on most Saturdays, when I didn't have shows, and driving an hour and a half each way was really starting to get to me. I did it for a year and a half straight and it was great in the beginning but the Market has changed a lot. There is more import dollar store junk and no consideration for placement of vendors. Many times I have been placed right next to other jewelry sellers - most selling very cheap made-in-china type stuff - and on more than one occasion I have had to listen to people say "I can get three pairs of earrings for $10 in the next booth over. Why are you so expensive?" That loses its charm very quickly. So, after being away for nearly six months I thought that perhaps it would be different. It wasn't. And to add insult to injury they are raising the rates considerably which will make it completely not worth my time. I will probably be there one more time this month and perhaps I will give it a try several times throughout the Summer, but that will be about it. So bye-bye to the Syracuse Market.

In other news, the new bunny is doing very well. Thank you to everyone for all your well wishes. I know there was a lot of positive energy sent this way. :) She (I call it a she but I still don't know for certain) is slowly getting comfortable in her new surroundings. She spent the entire weekend eating and sleeping. Two things she probably hadn't done very much of during her time outside. Last night she was busy fluffing up her blanket and was so content that she did a series to flops and rolls. Those who know bunnies know that is a happy bunny. I will post pictures just as soon as she is comfortable with the camera. :)

PS - The photo on top gives you a little sneak peak at some new rings I have been working on (on my finger, not the little pieces). Stay tuned for a drawing coming up soon to win one! ;)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Success!!!

Well, I am now officially the crazy rabbit woman of Owego. Yes, we were able to catch the little abandoned rabbit!! What started out as a very disheartening day ended in success and we now have a sweet baby rabbit to add to the family.

After several searches throughout the day turning up nothing I headed out to the studio feeling very down and helpless. I knew that the bunny would probably come back out once evening hit so my plan was to leave the studio early and resume searching once it started to get dark. We had spoken to a friend who lives on the street where the rabbit was found and she spread the word to her neighbors. They all came through in a big way. Someone spotted the bunny hiding under their car and called my friend, she called me and then Paul. I started to clean up at the studio and before I could get in my car I got the call that the bunny had been caught (with a butterfly net! Dani, you and Paul must be sharing a brain - he had the same idea!).

We don't know if it is a boy or a girl yet but he/she is a real beauty! Dark brown with grey/black paws, ears and nose - similar to Siamese coloring. I am completely smitten! I have no idea how I will manage this whole rabbit situation now. We are still in the early stages of bonding Finch with Petey and Laurel which is going slowly. But I am determined to make it all work, so I will.

I slept so well last night knowing that this little rabbit was safe, warm and eating up a storm. It is quickly adjusting and getting comfortable after its terrible ordeal of being outside. My friend saw it being chased by a cat earlier in the day. I can't imagine it would have survived for very long. No one on the street knew where it came from so it was either dropped off or wandered a very long way. It doesn't matter now. It's my bunny. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just say no to the Easter bunny

It's that time of year again. Easter. And that means it is time for me to ask everyone not to buy a rabbit.

Late last night as we were driving to the grocery store Paul spotted a small round lump sitting in the gutter along side the curb. We stopped the car and realized that it was a young rabbit. This was not a wild rabbit, it was domestic and it was very small and it was, no doubt, an Easter bunny purchase. I have no idea how this bunny came to be outside in the freezing cold. It was scared and hungry and would not let us anywhere near it. We spent several hours trying to catch it. We tried to lure it with fresh greens but it clearly had never had such food in it's life and didn't know what to do with it. We went back with pellets but by then it was in hiding and we couldn't find it. It was midnight and we had to give up.

I can't really explain how sad this situation makes me. I didn't sleep at all. I just kept picturing this defenseless creature in the cold, in a part of town that is overrun with stray cats and a busy, high traffic road. The chance for survival is slim. My anger towards the irresponsible people who purchased this rabbit is growing. I hope I never know who they are. They are safer that way.

Last year I wrote a post by the same name that can be read here. This year I will make some simple statements:
  • Instead of purchasing a rabbit for Easter donate the money you would have spent to your local chapter of the House Rabbit Society.
  • If you must have a rabbit please do not keep it in a cage whether it is inside or out. Most people would never consider keeping a cat or a dog in a cage its entire life and yet that is what people do to rabbits on a regular basis. Rabbits need exercise, they need to run and play. They need soft ground to lay on and they need and enjoy interaction with people.
  • Rabbits are easily litter box trained.
  • If you have a house full of small children, cats and dogs, a rabbit is not for you. They enjoy calm, quiet surroundings.
  • If you already have a rabbit please have it spayed or neutered. A female rabbit has a high probability of having uterine cancer if not spayed. They must be spayed!
  • Buy a chocolate bunny instead.
I am off to look for the rabbit again. Perhaps in the daylight I will have more success. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going for 1000

OK, so my sale is still up and running. Why? 1. I still have not found the interest in changing each and every listing back to normal. (It took me three hours to do it in the first place! - Ugh! ) 2. I realized last night that I was getting very close to 1000 sales. So I figured that I might as well turn the sale into a celebration and keep it going until I reach 1000. So there you have it. I will be adding new pieces today (including some bird necklaces which many have been asking about) so be sure to check out the shop. :)

In other news, my little baby seedlings are coming right along. Even though the weather outside is pretending to be Winter at least inside I can pretend it is Spring. I still need to start my nasturtiums and some morning glories. Better late than never, right? :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

I'm lazy...

And that's why my %25 off sale continues for one more day. The thought of spending hours amending each and every listing in my shop was a real turn off late last night so.... I didn't do it. But that's good new for you! Be sure to take advantage of my lack of ambition! Yay!
Shop the sale here.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Studio therapy

I made my way to the studio yesterday after a change in plans. I was supposed to be at the Farmers' Market for the first time this season but they were full, or so they said. Turns out (according to my on the scene sources) that there were in fact empty spaces. If I had driven the hour and half at 5 in the morning I would have been able to get one, but somehow that didn't seem like a fun idea. After the shooting tragedy in Binghamton the day before I wasn't feeling too "get up and go" on Saturday. So I went to the studio and did some work.

As I mentioned, the studio is on the same street as the American Civic Association where the shooting took place. I chose not to go see it. There were dozens of huge vans with satellite dishes on top from every major news source lining the street. People all over taking pictures. It was cold, windy and raining. A dark day all around. Working helped to take my mind off it all but somehow the whole atmosphere seemed dangerous. I see this morning that this tragedy has already been knocked off the top story list by other shootings and deaths. Such is life in the US, I suppose.

In other news (no more dwelling) my sale continues. I want to thank everyone for their support. It has been a great sale so far! There is still one day left and I will be restocking many items today. So be sure to check the shop a little later to snag some more bargains! :)


Friday, April 3, 2009

Shooting in Binghamton, NY

As many of you know at this moment there is a shooting and hostage situation happening at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY. The studio where I work is literally within walking distance on the same street. I have received a few calls from friends and family worried that I might be there - I am not there so please do not worry about me. The authorities have asked that we stay off our cells phones to keep the lines clear so if I do not answer that is the reason.

Please keep Binghamton in your thoughts. This is a terrible tragedy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things I want...

I'll take pretty much anything from Villavillakula. I especially love (!) the Mary Poppins shirt and desperately want to own it and wear it this summer at my shows and have people look at me and say "Man, that Nancy is one cool chick in her ultra cool Mary Poppins t-shirt. How does she do it?"

Meanwhile, my sale rages on! Please be sure to check it out - everything is marked down until Sunday evening. Don't miss this opportunity to grab some Rabbit at the lowest prices ever. They won't be this low again for a veeerrrry long time. (was that too beggy?) :)

Enjoy some more Villavillakula goodness below.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I'm having a gigantic sale!!!

No April foolin'! Starting today, April 1st and going through Sunday, April 5th, Round Rabbit is having its first ever sale. Every single item in my Etsy shop is 25% off! That is BELOW my wholesale prices!

Be sure to take advantage of this massive Spring Cleaning - chances are good I won't be doing this again for a very long time (as in until next Spring:). This sale includes all 180 pieces in the shop and I have already adjusted the prices so there is no need to wait for a new invoice (you would not believe how long it took me to change every single listing!).

Feel free to pass this sale info along to anyone who will listen. I would greatly appreciate it and would give you all a huge kiss on the forehead if I could. XO! :)