Friday, December 18, 2009

Looking for Some Last Minute Gifts?

If so, come visit me (and a few other artists) at the Maine Grind tomorrow, Saturday, December 19th from 9:00 to 2:00. I'll be there with my jewelry and I know there will be some beautiful paintings there, but I don't know who the other crafters/artists will be, but there is sure to be something for everyone there. And you can warm up with a cup of coffee!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Irrational Fears Challenge

Fellow Etsy Maine Teamer DreaBunny issued us a challenge: to make something that represented an irrational fear we have. I thought about it, but wasn't sure if I wanted to do it. How in the world would I depict my irrational fears:

Fear of people not liking me
Fear of people laughing at me
Fear of making a fool of myself
(obviously, I have issues).

So I thought about it some more and even mentioned it to my therapist, which prompted a discussion about WHY I have these fears, and I remembered a certain incident that happened when I was in grammar school. So for the first time, my therapist set me homework and told me to do the challenge.

And here is what I came up with. But bear with me, there's a bit of a story to go with it.

When I was in second grade I had a teacher who did not like me. I never figured out why. I was a pretty good kid and always did what I was told, didn't talk back, etc. She was mean. And scary.

So one day we had a project to make houses out of milk cartons. We had a lot of fun painting and decorating them. Some people even put them on stilts.

Then Mrs. Crowley spread some newspapers on the floor in the back of the room so the houses could dry. The problem was she had stuck me in the back of the room and had put the newspapers and houses so close to my desk I barely had room to move. I asked her if she could move them a little but she said there was plenty of room.

Well, this scared me. I was sure I would do something to the houses. I am, and have always been, a klutz.

At some point I had to get up. I don't remember why, but I do remember putting it off as long as I could. I tried to balance myself and walk carefully through the little space, but I was so afraid something would happen. And it did....

I lost my balance and fell on top of all the houses and ruined them!

Some kids laughed at me, but most were mad because I had ruined their projects.

Mrs. Crowley was really mad at me and yelled.

It's funny the things we remember, isn't it? Most of grammar school is a big blur, but this incident is very clear in my mind, even these many years later.

The kids are made from wooden figures covered with polymer clay. The teacher is all polymer clay. The school stuff (map, chalkboard, books, milk cartons and newspapers) was downloaded and printed from a site that makes printables for dollhouses and stuff. I made the desk and shelves out of toothpicks and mat board. The tiles and wallpaper I designed on the computer and printed out. It's all set up in a cardboard box diorama.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Art of the Thank You

They say that the art of letter writing is declining. I agree and, unfortunately, I am as guilty as anyone of contributing to its demise. Another slowly declining art is the Thank You Card. I used to write a lot of thank you cards, but the busier my life is, the less I tend to sit down and write a card to thank someone for a gift or a kindness.

It's a shame, too, as far as I am concerned. Everyone likes to be appreciated and thank you cards are a wonderful, inexpensive, and quick way to do that. I don't know about you, but I still get excited when I get something in the mail that isn't a bill or junk mail. This holiday season I have decided to send lots of thank you cards.

I have been complimented not only on the fact that I send thank yous but also the way in which I write them. I'm not Emily Post, but I do believe there are certain things that should be included in every thank you card:
  • A mention of the gift (or kindness) - specifically, not just "thank you for the gift".
  • If the gift is money or a gift certificate, tell the giver what you plan to use it for (or already have used it for).
  • How you will use or what you have done with the gift.
  • Even if you don't really like the gift remember it's the thought that counts. You can find something nice to say about it (it's useful, colorful, etc.). If you can't think of anything nice to say, just thank the person for thinking of you.
I always keep on hand a bunch of cards I can use for thank you cards, some specifically meant for that purpose, other just blank all-occasion cards. For me half the fun is choosing the card. I recently purchased these cards from fellow Etsy Maine Team member Cozink. I can't wait to use them.

In the interest of buying local, I try to buy from my fellow Etsy Maine Teamers when I can. Fortunately, there are many Maine Teamers who make awesome papergoods.

I love these little butterflies by KT Paper Crafts:

Here are some cute ones that would be great for baby gifts by whimsidoodle:

Here's a great idea for getting your kids to write thank you cards after the holidays from

These tiny cards from oliodesigns would be great to send to your Etsy buyers:

Speaking of sending thank yous to your Etsy buyers, I ordered these little Moo cards for that very purpose:

You may prefer to make your own cards. Blank cards of nearly any size and shape can be found in craft stores, along with rubber stamps and endless supplies of embellishments. I made these little cards in a leaf printing class at Sweetland Retreat.

So when you are holiday shopping this year, pick up a package of cards and be sure to thank those who think of you this season.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two New Show Dates

Great for your last minute holiday shopping, I have added two new dates to my show calendar:
Saturday, December 12 - 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday Holiday Market
The Maine Grind, Main Street, Ellsworth

* * *
Saturday December 19 - 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday Holiday Market
The Maine Grind, Main Street, Ellsworth

These will be small shows and I will only have a limited amount of inventory there, so if you plan to be there on a particular day and you know that you would like to see something in particular, email me at and I will be sure to have it there! Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Sometimes I struggle with taking pictures of my jewelry for my Etsy shop. Usually the lighting isn't right or something, but sometimes it is a matter of something getting in the way of the camera. If you look carefully, you might be able to see the piece sticking out under her legs.


A big thanks to everyone who visited and purchased from me at the Gifted Hand. You made it my best show of the year!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Gifted Hand: Fine Art and Craft Show - This Weekend

This coming weekend I will be at The Gifted Hand: Fine Art and Craft Show here in Ellsworth.

Friday, November 13, 10:00 to 5:00
Saturday, November 14, 9:00 to 4:00

Holiday Inn Convention Center (Tennis Court Area), 215 High Street, Ellsworth, Maine

It's an awesome show with locally and nationally recognized artists, nice music, wonderful food and lots of fun! Their benefit this year will be for Birdsacre Bird Care Facility and Shelter and Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary. There are many door prizes donated by artisans as well.

For more information, including a list of artisans and directions, click here. I hope to see you there!

So Proud of My Etsy Maine Team Peeps!

It has been an amazing few days for Etsy Maine Team people! Three Maine Teamers were finalists in the DIY Wedding Crafts Contests in Martha Stewart Weddings (only 20 people were chosen as finalists out of 3200!!!!) They were: Fabuluster, Little Pink House and Mosey Handmade.

And today on the Today Show our very own Autumn Equinox had a ring featured in the InStyle Guide segment. The video and an article are on that page. To see Jenna's ring on the video, it's on the third model (the Casual L.A. Style). Towards the end of that part, she holds up her hand and they have a close up of the ring. So very cool! And the InStyle Editor really talked up Etsy, too. Yay!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NEW! Sale Section in my Etsy Shop

I have added a new Sale Section to my Etsy Shop, which will contain out of season items or things that have just been in my shop a long time. Check back often, because I won't be adding to the section at a set time, just whenever I have the time or feel something has been hanging around too long.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Worthy Cause

The good folks at the Etsy Maine Team will be donating 15% of all sales from participating seller's shops from 11/13 to 11/19 to a local shelter, Preble Street.

Preble Street is a Maine organization which provides accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty; and advocates for solutions to these problems. Watch their PSA here:

Help keep Maine women, men, children, and teens warm and empowered this winter!

A complete list of participating sellers will be posted on our blog--

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Buy One Get One Free Sale This Weekend

This weekend, Friday, October 30 through Sunday, November 1, I will be having a BOGO sale in my Etsy Shop. Buy one piece that has matching earrings and get the earrings free. Just put "Weekend Deals" in the notes to seller. You could save from $20.00 to $35.00, depending on the set you choose! That's a great deal, and this is a great time to start your Christmas shopping!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sneak Peek

Have I mentioned before that I like tools? I think it may have come up in passing... Well, I've been having tons of fun assembling tools and supplies for a Beginning PMC Class I hope to be teaching at Sweetland Retreat at some point in the future. I still have kinks to work out and a dry run to go through with the wonderful ladies at Sweetland, but I thought I would give a little sneak peak of what I am planning.

I plan to teach the basics of PMC (Precious Metal Clay) and show how to work with textures in PMC, including making our own rubber stamps. At the end of the class, each person should have at the very least, a finished necklace and earrings. Part of my plan is to show the class alternatives to kiln firing, as well as other things I wish I had been taught in my beginner's class.

Below are photos of the tool kits and supplies kits I have assembled. My next step is to put together a booklet of all the information I want to give to the students and then actually go ahead and make my projects to make sure my directions are understandable and complete. This is a lot of fun!

On the top: Supplies kit which includes the PMC, findings for the jewelry, finishing supplies, a work surface and rubber stamp-making supplies. These can be taken home by the student.

On the bottom: Tools kit available for use in the class and also available for purchase. It includes some of my favorite tools, as well as tools that you won't find in other beginning PMC kits.

Friday, October 16, 2009

University of Maine Homecoming Craft Fair

That's where I will be this weekend? Where will you be?

If you want to check out this huge fair, it is Saturday, October 17 from 10:00 to 5:00 and Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00 at the Field House on the University campus, Orono, Maine. For a map and directions, click here.

This is a great place to start your Christmas shopping. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

PMC Leaves and More Pussywillow Jewelry

I have listed some new items in my Etsy Shop that I'm very excited about! I have finally finished another set of pussywillow jewelry, but as suggested by several people, I have made it a bit daintier this time. And, instead of a bracelet, I made a necklace.

I have also made some lovely leaf jewelry. I'm very happy with the way it came out. The texture was made by pressing a rubber leaf skeleton into the clay and I think the texture reproduced beautifully. I made a necklace with coordinating earrings for this set.

I have been working a lot with PMC, which I have said many time is my new passion. I think one of my favorite things so far as been the Itsy Bitsy Mini Ghostie Pin. It was made from PMC paper, which I will do a tutorial on at some point because it's so much fun to use.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Please Join Me...

This Friday (10:00 to 5:00) and Saturday (9:00 to 3:00) at the Maine Coast Memorial Hospital Volunteers Eight Annual Craft Fair. It will be held at the hospital parking lot on State Street in Ellsworth, rain or shine. All the vendors are under one big tent, so it will be dry even if it rains.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Making of a PMC Piece

Below is the web version of a small pictoral I have made to display with my PMC pieces at shows. It is a very simplified outline of the process I go through when making a piece of jewelry out of PMC.

The Making of a PMC Piece

PMC (Precious Metal Clay) is a clay consisting of tiny silver particles in an organic binder. It comes in a lump and can be worked with simple tools much like any other clay.

While wet, the PMC is shaped and cut...

. . . Assembled and allowed to dry.

When the PMC is dry, repairs and refinements are made and the greenware is filed smooth.

When it is completely dry, the PMC is fired at a temperature just under the melting point of the metal for a length of time to allow the metal particles fuse together.

After firing, the silver is fully sintered. It is burnished to compact the structure of the silver particles. (The piece appears to have a white film on it. In actuality, that is the silver molecules sort of "standing up" and burnishing compacts them, making the piece shinier). At this point, the piece is fine silver (99.9 percent silver) and can be filed, soldered, polished or worked like any other metal.

This piece was patinaed with liver of sulphur.

Below are some examples of finished PMC pieces made by me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On the Front Page of Etsy

For the second time, my Pussywillow Earrings were on the Front Page of Etsy, and this time it was on my birthday! What an awesome birthday present. I missed it, but my friends on the Etsy Maine Team made sure I knew! I got over 600 views on the earrings and about 25 more shop hearts! And I'm pleased to say the earrings and matching bracelet sold.