There was a little glitch with the Interweave store over the weekend and sign ups for my webinar this Thursday were not available. The good news is that it’s been fixed and the link is working. If you have some time Thursday, May 16th at 2 p.m. EST to take my online workshop/webinar on found objects, mold making and casting, I’d love to have you join me. Remember, even if you’re working and not able to join, you can still sign up and watch the webinar at your leisure. Here’s the link: http://www.interweavestore.com/on-the-hunt-for-found-objects-how-to-create-new-and-eclectic-molds
I was playing in my studio over the weekend and wanted to make a sweet little pair of earrings to wear with a T-shirt and jeans when hubby and I have a casual Friday night date night of sushi and a movie. Here’s a little secret: I love to make jewelry, specifically mixed-media jewelry to wear when I’m at art retreats, but….I hardly wear much in my daily life. Most days you will find me wearing a pair of earrings and my favorite stack of mixed metal bangles that I made from forged wire. These earrings are perfect for casual days at home.
Hearts are definitely a Talisman shape for me. You will see them a lot in my work. I’m on a search for a new shape. I wonder what it will be?
I’ve been putting off my health for past couple of years as we’ve been building the company and life ramped up to super speed. I honestly didn’t have time for doctors, dentists and eye exams.
Now in my 40s, I know my patterns well. Stress eating is one of them. Each time I grabbed cookies or chocolate, I knew it wasn’t the best choice. It was, however, the easy thing to do and lovely little sugar rushes made me happy each afternoon as I pushed through and kept working. As the weight inched upward to my pregnancy weight, I didn’t want to look at it, or discuss it or even acknowledge it. It’s just no fun to look yourself in the mirror and own up to the things you wish would just go away!
Earlier this month, I decided to use my Law of Attraction skills to put it out into the universe that I would find the perfect new doctor for me. The universe delivered. My amazing new PA asked my permission for a complete blood work and labs to check me out completely and wrote up the order to get a mammogram as well. A complete H2T (head to toe) exam. When we talked about weight loss and busy lifestyles, she told me about the Fresh 20. This is a woman I can relate to; working a busy practice, 3 kids (one with gluten allergies) and a husband who travels all the time for work! If you are in the same boat of juggling a family, career, art, etc. and looking for a way to feed yourself and your family healthy meals, check out this online plan. I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks so I’m no expert, but it’s working for us so far. (note: the kale, corn and chicken enchilada recipe is yummy!) We print out the list on Sunday. Hubby does the shopping and I do the cooking. My son is now in charge of kitchen clean up after dinner.
My head is in the right place. I stopped eating sugary foods, joined Weight Watchers and have been eating good stuff like lots of veggies and protein and drinking my water again. I posted about joining WW on Facebook and didn’t plan to blog about this, as one’s weight and appearance is such a personal issue. My Facebook friends, many of them fellow artists/designers/authors/instructors, had so many positive comments to share and made me feel beautiful and worthy and loved, just as I am right now, that I decided to be brave and take it public.
This time, my desire to change to a more healthful lifestyle feels different. In the past whenever I’ve approached weight loss (and believe me, I have been down this road many times), it’s always come from a place of lack or frustration. Now, it’s not about what I can’t eat, or what I look like or even what I desire to look like some day. Instead, it’s about being the best authentic me that I can be.
I remember years ago when we took in my troubled nephew to live with us for a summer. He was such an insecure teenager that he would talk badly about people to make him feel better about himself. Every time he saw a teenage girl, he would judge them by two standards; hot or ugly. It would drive me crazy! I blew up at him once and told him he was never allowed to call another human being ugly in my presence ever again. The new comment for someone he wished to disparage was simply this: “She has her own kind of beauty.” Yes, I could have just said “don’t do it, don’t call anyone bad names.” However, I felt it had more power making him think about his words and then having to change them to something more positive.
Believe it or not, it worked. He’s 22 years old and when he starts his old habits during family get togethers, he looks at me slyly and repeats, “I’m sorry, Jen. She has her own kind of beauty.” I’ve come to love this, and I realize it is a positive statement. Nothing disparaging whatsoever.
As I’ve been taking these next steps in my journey, I keep thinking about how everyone has their own kind of beauty. We may not all look like Julia Roberts or Johnny Depp, but when we’re moving confidentially in the direction of our dreams, engaging in the things we love and supporting others who are authentically engaging in their dreams, we radiate joy. We beam our unique kind of beauty.
As I was looking through my photo files to find a picture to go along with this post, I came across this necklace that was just returned to me from when I sent it to Stampington almost 2 years ago. Normally the magazine never keeps my art this long, but I presume this little piece must have gotten put in a corner somewhere for possible publication and her time came and went. She never did get published, just returned to me in a box full of my other published artwork.
I made this necklace during a time in my life where I was feeling particularly vulnerable, and what came out of me was a melocholony I felt at the time but didn’t necessarily acknowledge. When I unwrapped it from the box, I was surprised to see it again since I had totally forgotten about this piece. After joining Weight Watchers this time around and looking at health in an entirely new light, I’ve titled this piece, “Her Own Kind of Beauty.”
This weekend has been spent in the studio making jewelry to sell next week at Adorn Me, the mixed-media jewelry retreat in Houston, Texas. I finished new samples for my classes. Proposals for workshops are usually due a year in advance, so try to go in right before I teach and freshen up my work a bit. Since I bought some really wonderful new beads, charms and fibers to work with at the To Bead True Blue show in Tucson, I was itching to get into my studio and play.
I really adore Green Girl Studios and all their whimsical charms. My dear friend, Carol LaValley, was shopping with me and fell in love with a flying pig charm. I spotted these new chubby little potato fairy charms with sweet wings resting above a little rump and just had to have them. I kept the necklace design simple here by focusing on the Cold Enameled Heart bezel, where I used our brand new Iced Enamels in ivory and filled it with ICE Resin, of course, and then made a charm dangle using the fairy. A tiny bit of this gorgeous pink velvet ribbon from Thailand that I discovered at a friend’s booth in Tucson adds the final pop of color. This little wee baby will be up for sale at the Adorn Me expo.
For all you Texans out there, my Bangle Angle class is nearly full, but there are still spots open in my other classes. If you are around next weekend and want to make some jewelry with me, I’d love to see you there!
Here’s wishing you a truly Artful week.
Remember when I said there were A LOT of big things in the works last year that I had to keep quiet about? Well, I finally can tell you the last of the secrets! My work is being featured in Belle Armoire Jewelry as the March/April issue Designer Showcase. The issue — with my necklace from my book Making Metal Jewelry on the cover (!!!) just arrived in subscribers’ mailboxes today and I’ve heard a resounding positive response from soooo many of my artist friends.
To say it’s an incredible honor to have my work featured is, truly, an understatement. I know there are people who will think that it was a natural fit for me because I write a business advice column for this magazine every issue, but the truth of the matter is that being a “regular” with the Stampington publications can actually make the selection process tougher. I liken it to being a mother and not wishing to play favorites to any of your children.
The editors go out of their way to judge every piece of art work that comes into the magazine based on some pretty high standards. That’s why I’m always impressed when I meet someone whose been published in Belle Armoire Jewelry because I’ve seen the editors at work during the selection process. It takes a considerable amount of thought and consideration on their part each month.
When Editor Cynthia Levens emailed me to say that she wished to feature me, I jumped up and down in my studio and couldn’t help but have a big smile from ear to ear. Then she told me what I had to do. Not much, just submit 25 pieces of jewelry (!) for photography and then catch up with Ricë Freeman Zachary for her to do the interview. I’ve known Ricë for a few years now, but it’s always nerve wracking to be interviewed, particularly for something as wonderfully big as a Designer Showcase profile.
I could not have asked for a better person to interview me. Ricë is a very accomplished mixed-media artist and independent writer/author. She’s been in the trenches teaching and selling her work. She knows when people who are being authentic with her and she can spot from a mile a way when someone is being politically correct..aka saying what they think they’re supposed to say rather than speaking their truth. I love talking to Ricë because she’s real and ensures people respond accordingly. I knew I’d have some tough questions, but that was part of the fun. The article is wonderfully written. After reading it through for the second time, my favorite part is this (page 23):
She (meaning me) turned her focus on the most salient detail of the life she wanted: learning to value her creativity and skills enough to give them the time and space to flourish, and then learning to value the concrete results of the process enough to share them with the world instead of putting them in a drawer.
I know I pulled this out of context, and I do hope you find the time to read the whole article, but every time I read this paragraph that Ricë wrote, I get chills. It’s an incredible thing to feel that someone “got me” and she really, truly understood what I was trying to say as a human being and an artist.
Thank you, Ricë and Cynthia and Christen for your faith in me and my work. This Designer Showcase is a major highlight in my life. Also, as always, my incredible appreciation to Susan Lenart Kazmer for making such gorgeous and high quality hobnail bezels and creating ICE Resin so myself and millions of other artists can explore their creativity.
Since I’m heading off to teach at Seaside this weekend for Charity Wings, I’m feeling quite charitable myself today. Did you know that ICE Resin now has a three-volume collection of Ebooks filled to the brim with amazing projects done this past year by the 2011-12 Creative Team? Oh my goodness, inspiration oozes from the digital pages of these books.
So here is the deal. Leave a comment here about what inspires YOU to make your art. I will choose one lucky winner by random number generator to receive a free download of Imagine, Create, Explore (get it? ICE) Vol. 1.
You have until 10 p.m. AZ time Wednesday Nov. 28th to enter.
After this one, we’ll move on to Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.
My classes are kitted up, my bags are packed and I spent some time making new ICE Resin jewelry to sell at the Artist’s Faire night next Friday at the CREATE mixed-media art retreat in Irvine, California. There are still spots open for some amazing classes. Check out the roster of instructors if you have a minute and then figure out how to join me next week.
My dear friend Carol La Valley helped me make some fun Mixed-Media Mad Bags for the faire. I took a lot of my paper and bits an bobs of things I have left over from my classes and projects that are taking up too much space in my studio and we made some fun creativity bags. There is some resin paper in there, some French paper, metal charms and trinkets, grungeboard and chipboard shapes, and a funny soft plastic baby party favor with movable hands.
If you are around Wednesday and Thursday, I still have some spots left in my classes. Mermaid Dreams necklace, which is all about mold making, resin clay and making your own beads is all day Wednesday. Wednesday evening is Whimsical Rings, where you will learn how to make an adjustable ring shank from copper or nickel, how to use a circle punch and dap and dome metal and then proper cold-join attachment for colorful lampwork beads. My ICE Resin class Thursday is almost sold out. Only a spot or two left. But students will collage 3 mixed-metal bezels and learn how to work with a jeweler’s grade resin.
As always, I’ll do my best to blog from the road and update with some fun pics. That being said, I always have the best intentions of this but then get to the retreats with all my friends and such creative students and I just tend to soak up all the great energy and get lost in the camaraderie of creativity.
Oh my, I looked at my calendar today and realized the CKU Reunion event is right around the corner. My son started asking about Halloween and I thought to myself, gulp! I better get the kid’s costumes together before my usual scrambling because I’ll be spending time in the lovely Hyatt Regency La Jolla in one of my favorite places, San Diego, California from Oct. 27-29th.
I’m so looking forward to teaching this event with my dear friend and fellow ICE Resin expert, Kristen Robinson. I’m jazzed that we both published resin books this year and are teaching classes using the techniques. That’s precisely what we’ll be doing at the CKU (Creating Keepsakes University) event next month with nearly 400 scrapbookers gathering together to share their love of family, friends and creativity.
We’ll be spreading the word that one of the best things about resin jewelry is how easily and simply you can customize it. Those wonderful photos of your children make sweet charm bracelets or necklaces for grandmas and aunts. In addition to pictures, I love using my paper scraps to make resin jewelry. As a mixed-media artist, I have a bit of a hording problem when it comes to all those lovely little snips of patterned paper that wind up on my desk after making a paper-based project. I scoop them up and save them in plastic baggies for collage bits when creating my resin bezels.
If you haven’t had a chance to look at the CKU Reunion event website yet, please take a peek. I’m getting really excited when I think of the community scrapbooking spirit that’s waiting for me just a little over a month away. I hope you’ll be able to join us.
Here are the details:
October 27-29, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla in San Diego, CA.
Cost is $295 (does not include hotel room or food)
Includes: album track, four 90 minute classes, evening activities, goodies, prizes, and more
Register online at www.creatingkeepsakes.com/cku
It was a busy weekend with a trip to the Valley (aka Phoenix) to attend my nephew’s 9th birthday party. We live in the mountains, the place where Phoenicians flock during the summer months to get out of the sweltering 110-115 degree temperatures. So when my family has to decend into the heat (reminds me every time of Dante’s Inferno), we can get quite cranky.
Hubby, the kids and I were driving home along 7th Avenue, just north of Camelback in an area that’s quickly becoming a hot spot for funky home decor, vintage and architectural salvage. The corner of my eye caught a glimpse of a green metal trunk and I yelled to my husband, “STOP! Turn around NOW. I have to look at that trunk!” My son groaned and told his father to keep driving. My husband, of course, turned the truck around because he knows the thrill of the hunt for that perfect vintage or architectural salvage piece for our home or my studio is one of my life’s great pleasures.
I jumped out, looked at the trunk, checked out the $89 price tag and stood there a moment, lost in thought. Then I turned my head to the inside of the building and my chin, literally, fell to the floor at what my eyes saw. A visual feast every place my eyes landed. Vintage vignettes so artfully conceived and executed that I had to whip out my iPhone so the inspiration could stay with me much longer than the mere 20 minutes I had to look.
I managed to do some serious damage to my checkbook in the little time that I had to shop. I passed on the green trunk, but absolutely had to buy a rare metal French vintage seed cabinet that came from the South of France and carries the gorgeous patina of a full life lived in the land of sunflower and lavender fields.
I could not pass up a rhinestone sacred heart vintage metal ornament. It was $39, (minor ouch) but what its speaking to me to become is priceless. I also bought some red metal signs for my kitchen and some vintage grocery tags for a soon-to-be journal.
I had planned to do a whole write-up here on my blog about Sweet Salvage, but it’s just too good to keep to myself. Stay tuned for an article that will also feature my photography. I can’t say where yet, but I can promise it will be beyond fabulous.
I’ve been working on some designs for Susan Lenart Kazmer’s™ Industrial Chic™ line, which is exclusive to Michaels® stores. My design team sisters and I have been making some fab jewelry using the components and charms for upcoming projects.
I was also given the opportunity to show creative ways to use Industrial Chic in non-jewelry applications. It was great fun to return to my paper roots after spending at least the last 6 months on jewelry alone. I used some luscious scrapbook papers, my favorite Distress Inks™ from Ranger, some ribbon and, of course, lots of Industrial Chic lovelies.
Since the project was turned in last week to the powers that be, I’m technically not allowed to publish anything more than a sneak peek. But I had to show the new Key Ring pendant charm from Susan’s line. The ring makes a perfect base to add lots of other cool charms. If you haven’t seen the new Fall releases, please take a trek to your local Michaels store and check them out.
That’s all I have for now. Here’s wishing everyone a truly Artful day!