Spring Has Sprung!

Well the winter is finally past us. I’m so relieved. I was going crazy between the cold and being cooped up. I’ve been spending quite a bit of time outside. We got a grill and a patio set and it’s so nice to sit outside with a drink and a book or eat dinner out on the veranda. We planted a garden too. Spiteful Mother Nature rained this afternoon after I had finished planting and watering it! 

Despite my absence on the internet, I’ve been quite busy creating new stuff. I participated in a fundraiser last month but it didn’t go so well. I made $20 all day. I think part of the problem was people had to pay to get into the event, and I know, I don’t have kids, so why would I have paid to get into an event supporting child care services. Had I been doing the event planning, I would’ve charged people to participate in the games and activities and then kept the vendors separate that people could walk through and shop. 

I made some sandwich board signs for the event and I’ll use them this coming fall in the Second Annual Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival. I’m quite pleased with how well I did, since I’ve never built signs before. They’re HUGE. Four feet tall and two feet wide. Incredibly hard to miss but I kind of wish, given how difficult they are to transport, that I had made them smaller. Oh well, you live and you learn. 

This past weekend was Memorial Day Weekend. Opening day. We all worked so hard to prepare the pools and I’ve been working nearly non-stop the last month straight.

There’s so much going on right now. I’m working on jewelry but not much else. 

My etsy shop is picking up. I’ve made several sales through etsy. Not as many as I would like but we all have to start somewhere! Hopefully one day it’ll be a viable source of income! 

I got to go to the International Gem and Mineral Show! It came to DC a few weeks ago! So much pretty sparkly jewelry! So much beautiful beads and materials! I was good, I set a budget, took cash, and once it was gone, I was done. It was such a challenge but I’m so proud of myself for sticking to my budget! I could’ve easily spent twice as much as I did!

I haven’t been on here in so long, I was surprised to see I’ve got almost 400 page views. I guess I had to leave this alone for it to flourish but I’m glad my blog seems to be doing well and hopefully I’ll be back on it on a regular basis once the summer prep and pool opening craziness settles down. 

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May Day Fundraiser

Hey Everyone~

I’m a horrible person whose been largely MIA from their blog recently but I have a good reason! I promise! I’ve been SUPER busy photographing and cataloging ALL my jewelry for Etsy. I FINALLY have a shop up and it ACTUALLY has stuff in it! I swear! Do you know how labor intensive it is to photograph and catalog stuff? Inventory! Yikes! And I had no idea just how much STUFF I had actually made! Image

In addition to Etsy, I’m pleased to announce that I will participating in the Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge’s annual fundraiser. The event will be held on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Charlottesville N*Telos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, VA. I’m told this is the first year they’ve opened it up to the public and they’re going for a whole street fair/craft bazaar feel to it and I’m super excited since they reached out to me and invited me to participate. It’s a huge opportunity and I’m so grateful they’re giving it to me and it’s really awesome that people are starting to hear about my jewelry and myself and finding ways to contact me with opportunities, since it’s just another step in the direction towards owning my own business. 


Second Annual Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival

I got my acceptance letter in the mail yesterday for the Scottsville Fall Artisans Festival. I did it last year, it was the first year they did it. It was my first craft show and quite a lucrative venture so I’m excited to be rejoining the James River Arts Council (JRAC) and all the participating local artists for what I hope becomes an annual event on my calendar again this year.

The show will be held on September 28, 2014 under the Scottsville, VA Farmer’s Market Pavilion, along the banks of the James River. It’s going to be a very happy birthday for me (mine is the 27th). 

I apologize in advance to my wonderful family and friends for the crazy I’m about to unleash on y’all but I’m going bigger and better for Round Two! 

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2013 Fall Artisans Festival


I Coulda Had a V8!

*face palm*

not really, I think V8 drinks are gross but my flash of inspiration was quite similar.

I’ve spent months collecting brooches for my wedding bouquet and it occurred to me when I was looking through the portfolios of several people I’ve consulted to make the bouquets for me, they use silk flowers (ick!), as well as buttons and brooches and hat pins and what not.

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I wouldn’t mind if they weren’t so blatantly obviously fake

I hate silk flowers, with a passion. They look fake, they feel fake, they’re not terribly attractive or durable. Don’t get me wrong, I like making flowers from silk organza ribbon but that’s totally different. I’m talking those ugly monstrosities you find in the flower arrangement aisle at Michaels. Yikes! 

So then I was faced with solving a problem I’m sure isn’t so unique to my severely limited budget. The most obvious solution seems to be using a mix of brooches and real flowers. Or using brooches exclusively. 

My original plan was to use brooches exclusively but I really liked what some of these artisans have been doing mixing flowers and buttons and brooches.

Then it dawned on me. 

I make jewelry. I am an artist. I handle beads on a regular basis. I design on a regular basis. I’m crafty and more artisanal than fine artist. Then the lightbulb went off! 

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Ding!

I do make jewelry. . . I do handle beads on a regular basis. . . SOB! I’ll MAKE some flowers to add to the bouquet! I’ve gotten instructions around here somewhere for French Beaded Flowers (also called funeral flowers). It’ll keep with my desire to not use real flowers (yay, budget pfffffftttttt), incorporate my crafting and beading passions, and the flowers won’t wilt so I’ll still have a bouquet to pass on as a family heirloom. Genius! I can’t believe I didn’t think of it moooooooooonths ago! 

I’ve ordered my seed beads in my wedding colours. I’ve downloaded several patterns for different flowers. I’ve read a bunch of tutorials. Watched a bunch of tutorials. I’m ready. I got this. It’s gonna be awesome. I’m not gonna lie, it’s one of my more brilliant DIY project. And relatively cheap to produce.

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not my colours but this is what I’m going for

I bought my bags of seed beads from artbeads.com. Each bag has 3500 beads and retails around $2-4/each. It’s probably going to be fairly time consuming, at least until I get the hang of it but materials wise, each flower will probably cost about $2 to produce but I’ve got over a year and I only want maybe a dozen total, so I figure 1 flower/month, maybe more, depending on my motivation, is fairly realistic and cost effective. Plus they’re small so it’s something I can do sitting on the couch watching tv or sitting on my break at work. 

I’m pretty excited. I really can’t wait. I’ve been wanting to make these flowers for ages but it never felt like the right time. Now I have a reason, more than just my own innate curiosity and I’m excited to surprise and wow people on my wedding day 🙂

 


So I’m Having a Little Contest

Alright! My Facebook page finally hit 300 “likes” so I’m going to hold a contest to celebrate! If you’d like to try to win some of my jewelry, head over to my Facebook page (here) and like my page then check out these contest details:

CONTEST TIME!!!

This is how it’s going to work. There’s going to be three (3) winners.
First place (1st) gets whatever the hell they want.
Second place (2nd) gets a bracelet.
Third place (3rd) gets a pair of earrings.

So here’s what you need to do:
Browse my pictures.
“Like” the picture for the product you would like to win and then COMMENT on the picture that you would like to win the item and how you would wear it- I.e. Describe the fashion statement you would make with it.

Or, if you’re trying to win it for that lovely significant other in your life, tell me how they’re special to you and why you think they’d like to receive it as a gift.

The best, most interesting, creative fashion statements win!

The only exclusion is the commissions folder because, yeah, paid client work ^_^

The winners will be decided and notified next Friday, February 14, 2014. I can mail your prize to you, or if you live locally, I can also arrange to meet you.

You have seven (7) days. Good luck. Have fun. Get creative!


Here Comes the Bride

So we finally set a date. I’m not going to put it out here until the venue is found and booked but I’m quite pleased that we’re finally moving forward with wedding preparations. I even got my dress 😀 I had no idea how much went into planning a wedding! It seems so simple, “dress, tux, church, feast” but good lord, some of the stuff that’s on these budgeting checklists, I would have never thought of (chair covers, SERIOUSLY!?!?!?). 

There’s so much to do, it’s quite daunting and it’s so worrisome to be thinking about how it’s going to be paid for as well. A lot of places we’ve looked into require payment. In full. Up front. Who has $10,000 CASH to plunk down in one go!?!?!? 

We’ve got almost 2 years to pay for everything but I’m so afraid the money just won’t be there. How many of you out there, reading my blog, have planned a wedding? What sort of budget did you have? Resources? I’d love to hear y’all’s advice and experiences with such things! 


Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend

but it’s make up most of us can’t seem to go without. A friend of mine posted a brief post on her blog today about her daily beauty regimen (see her post here)  and it got me thinking. Not just about my own beauty regimen (or occasional lack there of), but also us, as a society and how hard we strive to mask imperfection.

My own beauty regimen is pretty low key. I really just make sure my face is washed every day and moisturized. I rarely wear make up, it’s impractical when I have to be at work at 7 AM and I work at a pool so it’s going to wash off anyways but I do really like wearing make up.

When I was younger, my mom used to tell me that she wished I would try more girly things, like wearing make up (I was a huge tomboy) but it seemed silly to me, as well as a waste of time. I could barely get out the door on time when all I had to do was get up, shower and dress, I couldn’t imagine adding make up or hair styling to that regimen, especially after several girls at school told me they would get up at 5 AM to start prepping for the day.

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Eek!

I think I really started wearing make up my senior year of high school, maybe my freshman year of college but now that I look back on those pictures, I had a really heavy, clumsy hand with it and I can’t help but cringe. I know, I was young, and no one was really teaching me how to do it. I was trying to combine what I knew about painting/drawing with some tutorials I was tearing out of my roommates’ Cosmopolitan magazine!

I look back now and I know I was heavier, I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life, but when I started wearing makeup, I could hide some imperfections (acne, redness), if I drew peoples attention to my face, they weren’t judging my body and I feel like a lot of people use makeup for this very reason.

These days, I rarely wear make up. It’s a waste of time when I go to work so early and it’s really pointless when it’s just going to be sweated or washed off in the pool and I’m OK with that. Really, I am. and I’ve also noticed, my skin is healthier for it too.

My skin’s combination oily/sensitive so I’m really picky about the products I use but lately, since I’m really not wearing a whole lot of makeup, if any, the only break outs I’m seeing are before my period and if I’m really stressed. It’s not even as oily as it used to be.

Last weekend I went to a bridal show and since I was going out, I did put make up on. Don’t get me wrong, just because I don’t wear it that often, doesn’t mean I don’t like it! I love make up. I love dressing up. I love being girly on occasion, I just don’t get to do it as often as I’d like!

Anyways, I ran into one of my sparring partners from the gym and he didn’t recognize me with makeup ON! Go figure! He was like “I’m sorry, I know I know you from somewhere but where. . .?” The transformative power of makeup is quite amusing to me, as well as saddening.

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Liz Taylor as Cleopatra, 1963

Makeup has been around for thousands of years. Sometimes it serves a practical purpose, like for the Egyptians, that black kohl they used? In an age before Aviator sunglasses, that kohl helped protect their eyes from the intense desert sun! Face paint among various tribes protected their skin from bugs, as well as the sun. Slowly, that practical purpose evolved into one of vanity. Those Egyptian kohl-lined eyes served as the inspiration for the “cat eye” make up that first emerged in the 30s and 40s and is enjoying a resurgence today (and which I often do, when I do wear makeup).

I am a staunch believer in enhancing what you LIKE about yourself, versus hiding what you don’t and it saddens me that so many people feel like they CAN’T leave the house without makeup. I’ve been there, I was one of you. I felt naked without it. I felt ugly, but in the long run, I got used it it and I’m healthier without it.

Most days I don’t wear any. Sometimes a little mascara, but, and I can’t reiterate this enough, it’s important to know your face and what works. I have very strong features that can sometimes come off as masculine and I’ve learned that less is more, lest I end up looking like a drag queen, so, since I really like my eyes, I prefer, when I do wear make up, to enhance them, and play down the rest of my face.

Beauty, and the perception thereof, is a very heavy and often explored theme in my work though I’m rather dubious about labeling myself a feminist, but it breaks my heart when I see girls, especially young girls, who won’t leave the house without makeup, or layer it on to the point where they look like their face is going to crack if they smile.

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Me, c. 2009

Hunny, acne and imperfections are going to happen, they happen to everyone. It will get better. It will clear up and go away. Diet and exercise are just as important for healthy skin as bathing and SPF are. Take care of yourself and you won’t NEED to wear make up and when you do, it’ll be a fun transformation, instead of a dubious defense mechanism!

Seriously, if you’re going to wear makeup, take care of your skin. Make up is fun. There’s so many different looks. Wear it to enhance your natural beauty, not to create a whole ‘nother person!

Seriously. If I was going to give any advice on taking care of your skin:

1. wash it every day with a gentle cleanser.

2.moisturize! Especially given how dry and COLD this winter has been! Pay attention to your moisturizer, if you have oily skin, make sure it won’t add extra oil. If it has SPF in it, all the better. I’ve actually gotten sunburned on long car rides! Protecting against sun damage is just as important as cleaning your skin to keep it healthy.

3. pay attention to your skin, don’t use certain products if they irritate it (I can’t wear covergirl mascara, it burns my eyes!). There’s always an alternative that’s just as good if something doesn’t work or irritates your skin.

4. SWEAT! Sweating opens our pores and helps release toxins from our bodies. A lot of those toxins cause your skin to break out, sweat more (exercise!), experience less zits!

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Trust me. IT GETS BETTER! January, 2014.

5. go easy on the tweezing. If you start too early that hair may not grow back and penciling in your eyebrows is just awkward. Embrace the natural shape of your brows.

6. if you’re going to wear make up, have fun with it. Seriously. It’s okay to experiment but just because looking like you have two black eyes is a poplar look on the runways, doesn’t mean it’s practical or attractive in real life.

7. Having people question “did she or didn’t she” can be just as fun so try to keep it subtle.

Trust me, if you are surrounded by people who make you feel like you have to paint your face, tweeze your brows, tan, or otherwise alter your skin, apply extensions or false eyelashes to feel pretty, or attractive, or wanted, they’re the wrong people for you to be around. Friends and family should make you feel good about yourself, regardless of your appearance and you should be able to look in the mirror with a clean and fresh face and say to yourself “I like this about myself” instead of “what can I do to hide or alter this part of myself?”

Everyone has insecurities. Trust me. I’m well aware of this scar, that blemish, my stretch marks from gaining and losing weight. I have fat days where I look in the mirror and hate everything I put on. I feel self conscious when my skin breaks out a week before my period but part of the perks of growing older is knowing it’s not permanent.

My face will clear up in a week or two. Changing my exercise plan and watching what I’m eating will help me like the outfit I chose to wear today. I’m my biggest critic but I also have the advantage of being 10 years away from my pizza-faced 15 year old, high school sophomore counterpart and I KNOW I’ve gotten better and wiser and if you’re reading this, you should assure yourself, or a younger person you know, of the same.

You will grow up. You will get better. You can change the things you’re self conscious over. Acne will fade. The glasses can be traded for contacts. The braces will come off. So will the weight. It’s okay to take pride in your appearance. I wrote in my last post about spanx. I still like to wear them for my own vanity but that’s the big thing:

I CHOOSE to wear make up for MYSELF. I CHOOSE to wear spanx under my dress because it keeps that extra skin, that by-product of weight loss, from jiggling. Again, I do it for MYSELF. I wear what I like because I THINK it looks good. If you’re going to do it, do it for yourself, not because you need to impress or attract or detract attention from anyone else! See how much happier you are when you make that realization for yourself.

However, when I DO decide to wear make up. . .

However, when I DO decide to wear make up. . .


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