Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wait... what?!

Somehow it is New Year's Eve. I missed something somewhere along the line - I thought I still had a few days until 2010. I am supposed to start my two week fast tomorrow but that will have to be postponed until Monday. Too many eating opportunities this weekend. :)

So, I won't bore you all with my end of year wrap up/regrets/joys/blah/blah/blah. All I will say is that 2009 was a stressful year for me. Good in many ways, but very stressful in others and I am more than ready to kiss this year bye-bye. So good riddance 2009!! Don't let the door hit ya on the way out!

OK. So, tomorrow will be my annual spend-the-first-day-of-the-year-in-the-studio day. But before I head out I will try to post some info about the book club and how we should all proceed. I am thrilled that there are about 30 people (that I know of) participating!! That is amazing! And of course there is still time to run out and get a copy of the book at your local book store and join us. Everyone is welcome!

I can't believe the response to my button post from yesterday! Man, antique buttons really trigger the drool mechanism. Who knew? I am still sorting through all of them - I'm a little more than half done. Sooooooooooooo, when I am done I am going to put together a splendid little assortment of treasures and then... (wait for it, wait for it...) I will have a giveaway!! Yay! Sounds like a fun way to start off the new year, right? I also have another giveaway coming up that involves a certain bead website and a certain gift certificate. Probably next week, so stay tuned.

That's all for now. Happy New Year everyone. Be safe. Be smart. And get some sleep... we have a big year ahead of us! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This is me happy

Last night at a local auction I scored the biggest, best box of antique buttons in the history of boxes of antique buttons. The photo above shows just a fraction(!) of the loot. A fraction, I tell you! I've been sorting all day and I finally had to stop due to button blindness. I have separated them out into boxes of buttons that I will make molds of, buttons for use in jewelry making, buttons for possible resale (I'm hoping that a few of these little gems will pay for the whole lot) and mother-of-pearl buttons. This is my idea of a good time, folks! I'm a simple girl, really.

(now, it's back to giggling while running my fingers through the piles...)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post holiday post

Hi all! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. The holiday is over and it was back to work for me on Saturday. I spent the entire day in the studio. It was quiet and calm and I got a lot done. The photo above shows a few pieces I am working on. They are prototypes for a special piece I need to finish very soon. I have a vision and I hope I can make it work. I will play around with several versions and hopefully one of them will float my boat.

I also spent a fair amount of time cutting out hearts. Yep, it's already time to think about Valentine's Day, can you believe it? Or course, hearts are lovely all year round and one of my favorite motifs, so I am hoping to really stock up and have a little extra made when show season rolls around next Spring. I'll also be tossing a bunch in my Extra shop as soon as they are ready. :)

In other news, I wanted to share with you all some marvelous bunny themed goodies I received from two wonderful, special people.

Andrew Thornton was so sweet and sent me two of the most perfect rabbit beads I have ever seen in my entire life. For real! They are from his family's business, Green Girl Studios, and as he would say... I AM A SMITTEN KITTEN!!! I love the weightiness of these beads and have been carrying them around with me everywhere. I do that with beads that I love. Just a habit. I am going to make myself something special with them. Thank you so much Andrew!

I have been collecting charms from people I know and want to make myself a special charm bracelet containing all of them. I bought a few of Andrew's bronze skull charms not just because they are adorable, but because they have his fingerprints on the back. The hand of the artist... that is a powerful talisman to me...

The other bunny surprise I received is from my dear friend Lorelei. The necklace below is now my new favorite thing to wear. She used a pendant made by the most excellent Lynn Davis (stay tuned for Lynn Davis Day...:) - a pendant that I had in my Etsy favorites and went to purchase one day only to find that it had sold! I felt sorry for myself and then annoyed that I had waited too long to get it. And then... in my mailbox was this wonderful surprise!!!

I love it so much! Thank you Lorelei!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have a holly jolly!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Can I sleep now?

Is anyone else out there anxious for 2009 to end already? I am. My shows are done for the year but I am still trying to finish up some last-minute special orders. They are last-minute because I can't seem to work any other way. And that is a trait that I do not admire in myself. I make myself crazy. Self-imposed insanity. Now that's insane!

I am also anxious to get to work on new designs. I made some pieces in the studio this week that have me quite excited and inspired. I'm not sure how great they are but I will try to ride this wave for a while. Have you ever made something that you thought was the best thing in the entire world only to decided later on that it actually sucked? When I was in college I was working on a mixed media piece that I was convinced was the most amazing creation in the history of creations. I referred to it as The Masterpiece. I labored over every aspect of the design from the colors to the fabrics I used. I pieced everything together perfectly. I was so impressed with myself, with my skill, with my design choices - it was sick. Well, we all know where this story is going... once I was done I stepped back and really looked at the piece. Man, was that one ugly piece of crap. Seriously. How I could have ever thought it was a masterpiece is beyond me. I must have been possessed by pod people, or something.

Anyhoo, I hope I am capable of seeing my work more realistically these days. I can certainly be enamored with my own work, for sure, but I am also aware that I can make some pretty hideous things now and then. (And for some reason those are usually the first pieces to sell at a show... go figure.)

In other news, I got my copy of The House at Riverton today. I am so excited and thrilled to bits that so many people want to participate in this book club thingy! There is still time to get a copy, be it from your local library, Amazon or Alibris... so please join us! I am going to start a Flickr group where we can all post our inspired creations. What shall we call it? The Rabbit Muse Book Club? (Kind of dull.. help!)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Petey and the sheet music

After a long day of practicing the piano Petey had had it with music. This one song was giving him so much trouble he did what he does best and nibbled the heck out of the sheet music.

So he nibbled...

...and nibbled...

...and nibbled...

...and nibbled some more...

Just when he was about to fling the whole operation across the room...

...Laurel showed up to give him a hand (paw).

And together they nibbled...

...until Laurel saw the camera and came over to put an end to the show. She roughhoused the paparazzi with her whiskers...
It was a bad scene.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let's read a book together!

A while ago I proposed that we all read a book together. Then, of course, I never mentioned it again. Typical. So here I am now mentioning it again. Let's read a book together! At first I was going to compile a list of all the books that you fine folks recommended and have a vote on which one we should read. Then, as I was catching up on a blog I like to read now and then, The Deliberate Life, I came across the recommendation to read The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. I zipped over to Amazon and read the reviews and I was sold immediately. Below is the review from Amazon:

In her cinematic debut novel, Kate Morton immerses readers in the dramas of the Ashbury family at their crumbling English country estate in the years surrounding World War I, an age when Edwardian civility, shaken by war, unravels into the roaring Twenties. Grace came to serve in the house as a girl. She left as a young woman, after the presumed suicide of a famous young poet at the property's lake. Though she has dutifully kept the family's secrets for decades, memories flood back in the twilight of her life when a young filmmaker comes calling with questions about how the poet really died--and why the Ashbury sisters never again spoke to each other afterward. With beautifully crafted prose, Morton methodically reveals how passion and fate transpired that night at the lake, with truly shocking results. Her final revelation at the story's close packs a satisfying (and not overly sentimental) emotional punch.

Sounds good, eh? I ordered my copy today. If any of you would like to join me I suggest we start after the first of the year. That way everyone can get a copy in time and we can all start together. I really liked the suggestion by Bellajoya that we could create a piece of jewelry inspired by what we are reading. I would like to take that a bit further and open it up to any kind of medium, not just jewelry. AND it is not a requirement, just something fun to do. If you don't want to create anything and just want to read a good book that is just fine and dandy.

So tell me what you think. Let me know if you want to participate. We can make this fun! (Any ideas and suggestions are welcome!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An original steampunker

Meet Miss Emma Josephine Miller from Middletown, NY. Born October 1, 1868. Died June 9, 1888 (most likely not long after this photo was taken). I found her today while browsing around an antiques shop and was quite thrilled to see that she is wearing a skeleton key brooch. Last month I pondered the origin of the use of skeleton keys in jewelry so the discovery of this photo seemed quite fortuitous. And take a look at her embellished dress! She has more rigging than a sea-bound warship! (You know, back when there was such a thing as sea-bound warships...)

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy Emma like I do. Her brief twenty years on earth can still bring a smile over 120 years later. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Flipping the bird 19th century style

It's been a while since I shared any of my antique photos with you all. I can't even remember when the last time was, so I owe you a good one.

Click on the photo for the close-up... you will see that sister number three is indeed flipping the bird, and I believe (because I realllly want to) that she meant to do it. Just look at the hint of a smirk on her lips! And then look at the other two sisters. If they were your sisters you would be flipping the bird too. The one standing looks like she might be trying to control the photographer with her mind. The girl in the middle seems to be torn between the two - she knows what the troublemaker on the floor is doing but must remain dignified since sister number one is holding her down with her vice-grip of a hand.

Three lovely sisters from Pennsylvania, USA. Photographed by Nick & Knecht, Excelsior Traveling Artists, circa 1865.

(Before anyone says that it's not her middle finger... just work with me! It's funnier to think that she is being naughty... don't you think?)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The princess and the pea

New in shop: Pink Princess necklace with a sweet little vintage Austrian crystal dangling below. (So cute I could almost puke.)

Modern Peapod in deep ocean blue with a hand-forged copper band. This is the first of my copper rings that I am listing. It's a size 8.

Now it's back to waiting for the FedEx guy to get here with my jewelry box order. I am out o' boxes and need them TODAY. I hope I don't scare the guy too much when I run up the street, jump on his truck and rifle through his packages. (huh, that almost sounds naughty...;)

I almost forgot! Thanks to everyone who signed up for my newsletter yesterday! You guys rock! I'll be working on a very special first mailing for sometime around the first of the year. Keep your eyes peeled! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New newsletter news

Some of you have already noticed the new addition to my blog sidebar. You guys are so observant! For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about... I have finally started a newsletter! You can sign up for it just by entering your name and email address (and then you have to confirm it by responding to an email). Easy peasy.

Why should you sign up?? Good question! Well, my goal is to offer special sales and discounts via my newsletter every now and then. These are deals that will only be available to newsletter subscribers. This will apply to both my RoundRabbit shop AND my RoundRabbitExtra shop - so jewelry buyers and jewelry makers alike will be happy happy happy!

If you have made a purchase from either one of my shops or if you have signed up at one of my shows you will automatically be on my mailing list. (Automatically - as in once I input over 2,000 email addresses - I guess that's what snow days are for...) Of course, you can still sign up now if you want - and it will save me from entering one more email address.;) Anyhoo, be sure to sign up to receive some Round Rabbit goodness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The hoop earrings that took over the world

I listed this fabulous pair of porcelain hoop earrings in my shop today. They are officially the biggest hoop earrings I have ever made (2 1/2" long!) - I am quite certain that you could jump a poodle through them if you wanted to. And yet they remain feather light! Imagine that!

I call this pair North Star Diamond and I think they are just perfect for the holiday season. They have that Wintry, meaningful look, do they not?

I'll be listing a lot of new things this week so be sure to check out the shop. There is still plenty of time to get things before Christmas. I am shipping daily, sometimes twice a day.

In other news I want to send out a nice big Thank You! to everyone who came to see me at the Plowshares show last weekend. It was my last big show of the year (I just have one more weekend at my studio show) and it is always such a nice note to go out on. I'm not sure what it is but the crowd, the organizers (Syracuse Peace Council - woot!), everything about this show gives me the warm fuzzies. It's a great way to end the year. So, thank you. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Solved mysteries and last minute making

So, I finally found the new issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry magazine. After going to three stores, dealing with the holiday crowds and having my car stall at a red light, I finally found the desired issue! I ran to pick it up... I flipped to the Table of Contents.... scanned for my name...


No name. I'm not in this issue. Huh. So, I zipped home and sent off an email of inquiry. It turns out that I was bumped due to size constraints but the editor was never told, so in turn, I was never told. Oh well. No biggie. I'll just have two articles in the Spring issue. Which is just dandy with me. :) Anyhoo, be sure to pick up the latest issue - as always it is a true stunner with so many amazing contributors it's mind-blowing. (And honestly, I can't wait to finish this blog post so that I can take my issue upstairs and read it cover to cover. Tee-hee!)

In other news, I will be setting up for two shows tomorrow. The studio where I work will be having the second weekend in our annual three weekend Holiday Sale. I know, I never mentioned it last weekend. I kind of suck at that now and then. But it was a GREAT sale last weekend, you should have been there! ;) This weekend I will only have a very small set-up there - mostly just ornaments - because I will be at the Plowshares Craftsfair and Peace Festival in Syracuse, NY. Needless to say I am still making bracelets and necklaces - last minute as always. I often wonder what it would be like to be the kind of person who gets things done ahead of time. Would I be happier? Would I sleep better? Would my creative juices keep flowing the way they do when I have a gun to my head? Hmm.... I wonder.....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yet another gorgeous magazine!

I went on a quest yesterday to find the new issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry (which for some reason isn't out anywhere yet and I never got my advance copy so I am dying to see my latest article - it's making me crazy [I know, not far to go]) and came home with this delicious new magazine. Opening an issue of Art Quilting Studio is like wrapping yourself in the most beautiful, warm, creative, inviting blanket imaginable. (Yep, that was one my overly dramatic statement for the day. No more.)

Seriously though, I love this magazine. It has made me very smiley. :)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pretty pusher

I'm in a bit of funk these days and am trying to push it all away by making pretty things. This time of year is stressful for me, as I am sure it is for many of you. Stressful for different reasons, but stressful nonetheless.

I listed a bunch of lovely things in my shop today. I am particularly fond of the flower brooch above. :)

And I am pretty certain that these earrings are the most perfect earrings for the holiday season. I mean, the snowflake design, the red and green glaze that came out superbly... what more could you want? (A million dollars, yes. A new car, I know. Five days of uninterrupted sleep, uh huh. For now, let's just stick with the earrings. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm a rebel... in my own mind

I have some strict rules for myself when it comes to jewelry design. I keep a list of things/themes that I promise myself NEVER to use when making pieces. The title of my list is Avoid Cliches Like the Plague. Now don't get me wrong, just because something might be on the list doesn't mean that I don't like it. On the contrary, in most cases I like it very, very much... and so do a zillion other people. That's why everyone is using it in their own jewelry and precisely why I avoid using it in mine. Skeleton keys have been on my list from the get-go. Which is a shame, really, considering that I have about 500 of them (I've collected them for years) and love them to pieces. But something happened last week when I was browsing through my favorite antique shop, making myself yet another pile of antique keys. I suddenly had an idea, a way to use the key that would be different and unique and wouldn't make me feel like I was breaking my own self-imposed rules.

The idea was to turn the key into a hinge. I used two copper tube bails from Rings & Things - the same bails I use for my mixed media collage pendants. I patinated them and then put them around the key, drilled two holes at the other end of each one and voilà! A new component to build a bracelet from! The rest of the bracelet is comprised of my own porcelain bow tie connectors, some vintage copper links, and two of Cindy Gimbrone's gorgeous glass and silver beads.

Thankfully it is actually very comfortable (always a concern when making an odd-ball piece) and it looks pretty darn cool from all angles - so if it spins around on the wrist you can be assured of looking most awesome at all times (so very important!).

Just for kicks - I just put the words "skeleton key" into the jewelry search on Etsy. Guess how many pieces came up... over 2,000!!!!! See for yourself! Huh, I guess it is safe to say that skeleton keys are played. I still like them. I will still wear them. But dang, everyone and their uncle is using them in jewelry design. I wonder who the very first person was who used one? Or who made them popular? Any ideas? They should be getting royalties at this point...

In other news, I listed these two new designs in the shop today. I love them both.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's a mixed media pendant party!

Once again time has played tricks on me and somehow I lost a week. I mean, I had it right here, right in front of me, but now it is gone. Once I realized that my week had flown the coop I got my bearings (at the dollar store, real cheap) and had a full day of mixed media pendant making. A lot of glue was sniffed (a Mod Podge shout out to Amy!), a lot of paper was snipped and several pastel pencils were sharpened. In the end I had a nice pile of one-of-a-kind pendants all ready to head to my studio show this week. Yay!

Above and below are my four favorites. I love them. And notice how incredible that turquoise patina is on the copper bails and chains! Dang!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happiness is...

...going to my mailbox to discover two of the most beautiful lampwork beads I have ever seen waiting there for me. Thanks Anne! (That's Anne of GardanneBeads!)

...dark chocolate & peppermint lip butter that I found in the checkout line at the grocery store. I'm going back today to buy the rest of it.

...walking into a wonderfully empty studio to find a bag of bunny-shaped cookies and a note that simply reads "To Nancy." Thanks Ilene, you totally made my day!

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Good Wife

At my show last weekend I was across from a booth that had beautiful handmade items from around the world. One of those items was a wonderful rabbit softie from Nepal - he was made from felted wool and had a hand knit sweater on. He was most excellent but a bit out of my price range. Ever since then I have been obsessed with finding a pattern so that I can make myself something that will appease my need for a stuffed bunny.

I came across The Good Wife while looking around on Etsy. Stacey Mead is the artist and her patterns have me in a tizzy. I love them! I ordered the rabbits shown above. I cannot wait to get to work on them! (I get very sew-happy this time of year - it's a nesting thing, with the cold weather and all) She has even more goodies on her blog!

How funny is this cat?!

I know there are a lot of owl fanatics out there - this little guy is a MUST have! (And he looks fairly easy to make - even if you have little sewing experience - give it a try!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Toxic brain

For the past few days my house has been filled with toxic fumes due to some work the village of Owego has been doing on its sewer lines. No notice, no warning, no information. I woke up to a strong chemical smell several nights ago that proceeded to get worse. My eyes, throat and nose were burning. I felt nauseous and shaky. The windows and doors had to be wide open with fans running just to make the air somewhat breathable. It's November in NY, mind you, so that means COLD. When I demanded to know just what chemicals I was breathing I was told nothing more than "there are no long-term effects" so don't worry about it. Thanks. My throat was burning so badly that I was certain I could breathe fire (which would have been a fabulous response to that lame-ass answer). This morning the fumes seem to have dissipated a bit. Not entirely, but some. My head still pounds and I feel thoroughly poisoned but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Needless to say, I cannot wait to do my two week fast/detox starting January 1st and flush this evil poison from my body!)

In an effort to distract myself from the idea that I might grow a third arm or sprout horns in the future as a result of this experience I listed these two pretty little numbers in the shop. (and if you check me out on Twitter you will find a little secret special offer that is good until Friday)