Friday, March 30, 2007

Gearing Up

I feel that soon everything will happen all at once. The wedding, moving into my studio, doing craft shows, etc. For now I am working on the invitation and learning new craft techniques. I learned to oxidize silver with a hard boiled egg! Here's a set of before, during and after pics to show what I mean:

The first shows the silver still bright, the second shows how the earrings look after sitting in a container with a crumbled, warm, hard-boiled egg for over an hour. The third pic is after I took some 0000 steel wool and lightly buffed the surface to bring up some highlights and create depth.

I know liver of sulphur is a liquid that does the same thing, it probably works faster and creates a darker patina, which would be nice, but I can't even imagine what that must smell like!! If I ever try it, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

W l o e p i g!

So this title make no sense, I know. It comes from a sign that someone posted in the lobby of our apartment building. Back when the elevator was only decorative, someone carefully made and posted on the elevator door a construction paper sign. An adult did this, I believe, and the sign said: Welcome Spring! But every other letter was yellow and didn't show up, hence the effect in the title of this post.

Anyway, it's coming. I know there's a large amount of snow and ice on the ground, but I am not disuaded from feeling spring fever. Here's a pic out the apartment window onto the roof of the parking garage during the height of the Nor'easter on Friday night. You can see the SUN sign is having its usual storm-related "issues". They are good about getting it back in shape quickly though. It's a landmark in Lowell, like the Citgo sign in Boston. I like to say, "The SUN is always shining in Lowell." But it's probably annoying that I always say that. Facing the opposite direction is another lit sign with the SUN letters in a different color my husband says is green. It looks blue to me, it's probably aqua.

I have been working on designing and making the invitation for my Nephew's wedding, which will happen this June. Some months ago, I went to Paper Source with his lovely fiancée, Emily, and we picked out paper colors and sizes and I tried to envision her dreams for the perfect invite. I hope I succeeded, I'm pretty pleased in any case. They wanted an Adirondack chair theme. I decided to emboss the motif on a vellum overlay using a rubber stamp. But I couldn't find the perfect one so I had one made! I drew a picture of two chairs and took it to Owl Stamp right here in Downtown Lowell and they made one for me. I've always wanted to have a custom rubber stamp made. Very cool.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

There is always something new

I'm excited because I listed another card! This one is "Tulips in Becky's Pitcher". Becky gave mom this beautiful spring-time pitcher last summer. When mom filled it with tulips, the inspiration was complete to make this gorgeous image. These cards are a collaboration between me and my mother. I take her wonderful watercolors and scan them, then I print them on textured, ivory, acid-free paper, cut them out and mount them on beautiful acid-free colored cardstock from Paper Source . (That store is a huge obsession for me. I feel happy and content and creative every time I walk through the door there. I'm lucky to live nearish to two of them, one is in Coolidge Corner in Brookline and the other is in Porter Square in Cambridge.)

Mom was trained in oil painting and worked in that medium for many years. In 1984 she took a class in journaling with illustration from nature and began drawing and making watercolors. She always paints from life and often shows up early to various appointments so she can draw the scene out the car window. She is also inspired by the elegant shapes of fruits and vegetables, flowers of all kinds, and the vessels she has been collecting for years. Everyone loves giving her flowers as she is likely to make a painting of the bouquet! We have chosen to make cards from over 70 designs in her watercolor journals, I am slowly trying to create listings for all of them. I especially look forward to having a display of the cards in my studio "gallery". I have a card spinner rack ready to go! Eventually, we will also offer small matted prints. I expect to get a professional mat cutter this summer. Having been a picture framer comes in handy in endless ways.

I was able to sell the cards when I worked at the now-defunct Newton Pottery House (pictured), and they were a big hit. As the technology (ie: printers, scanners, software) improves, I am able to make better and better looking printed materials. I think this current arrangement produces beautiful cards that look like actual watercolors. Very pretty.

Monday, March 12, 2007

This is what is new

I made a necklace from my felted beads, and I love it! Super cute. I have trouble wearing short necklaces (they make me feel like I'm choking) but this is so light and the wool is so soft! I may have to make one for myself. Of course I used all the colors I am currently obsessed with. Now I am working on matching earrings and bracelet.

D and I were able to take a walk along the river on Sunday, the weather warmed up to spring temps and the extra light is wonderful. Since we live up in a building with no yard, it's wonderful to walk where we can smell dirt. Soon, we will be able to wrestle open our enormous windows and let the cat smell the city again.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I'm In!

I got a space! My first choice! Yes, I'm shouting! Now I have to worry if I chose a good studio, 'cause that's how I roll. Sigh. :) I wanted to be across from the elevator for maximum exposure to clients. I'm already designing the interior in my mind.

I am truly excited. Now I have some months leeway to learn what I need to do to be a legitmate biz in the eyes of the local and federal governments.

Meanwhile, my good friend had her baby last Saturday - little Sofie. I am already in love, and I haven't even met her yet. I got her a fuzzy bunnie from Chet and Dot (link on the right), and for the mom, something feminine and soothing from L'Occitane. For the 2 1/2 year old big sister I made this bag...

I don't really know how to sew or construct bags, but hey, the little girl won't know that! I'm determined to learn though.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Inspecting the Potential Studio Space

So today was the day. D and I drove over to Western Ave at 8:30 this morning, my stomach was in knots (yesterday too). The entrance is a different door from the main mill building that has all the other studios. The entrance to Mill A is more accessible I think; there's an elevator right inside and we took it up to the third floor of the 5 story building. The building owner was there, and the woman who is the head of the Artist's Association.

It's a vast empty space right now, so with floor plans in hand, we tried to picture where the future studios would be. How far out from this post, would this space have good light, and at what time of day, would it be too hot in the summer, was the double glazing foggy in any of the windows? The heaters are loud, I want to stay away from them, that one has plumbing pipes coming down into it, that space has a scary oil stain on the wood beamed ceiling. This kind of thing. Also, I have to think about access for customers. I liked the space across from the elevator, but there was a large buzzing light overhead. I scratched that unit off my list until the owner said he was disconnecting the light, then it was #1 again.

I submitted my three top choices but I have no idea where I stand on the list, so I anticipate the possibility that I may have to make 4th, 5th, and 6th choices. I find out Tuesday or Wednesday which unit I get, then I secure it with a check for one month's rent. After that, I jump up and down and wait for construction to be completed by June 1.

Meanwhile, I spent the Nor'easter yesterday making wet-felted beads, too cute!! I love my new wool colors...I worked on making the beads into earrings today. I'd like to figure out a good way to make them into bracelets and necklaces; it's all about what you string them on, how you end them and the clasps.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Winner of the Polymer Clay Challenge is...

...announced here in this PCAGOE blog post. Congratulations to the winner! It was a lot of fun participating in the challenge.

For March we are challenged to create something that is inspired by a favorite song. I have thousands of favorite songs, so this should be interesting. I dread going literal (shades of 1980's music videos haunt me) so I am considering using a song with lyrics in Portuguese, which I don't understand.

Meanwhile, I have news about the studio! I have an appointment this Saturday morning to meet with the bulding's owner to look at the floor plan for the new section they are developing and pick out my top three studio space choices. Spaces will be assigned by order of where we are on the waiting list. Of course I don't know where I stand so this remains nerve-wracking. But at least it's finally moving forward!! Stomach hurts.

I listed 3 new eggs today. I have six, but the wisdom is to list a little every day so your shop stays fresh. I have a hard time holding back because once you get on a roll, it's hard not to just get it all done at once. But I believe the advice and I'll try to spread it out.