Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Shop, New Ideas, New Fundraiser

Times are tough and fundraising for a great cause is even harder! Just ask any high school student wanting to attend Spring Tour on 2011 all the way across our U.S. continent to New York City. 

I have two...yes TWO students who have the grand opportunity to attend this great tour and experience the art and creativity that NYC has to offer...if only they can raise the money to get there.

Our school does not provide the funds. Yes, we have a fundraiser booster, but it will take much more than what they are offering to get these guys on the trip.

Solution?  Well, one is that I have opened a new shop on Artfire and with this shop, I plan to list some great items that my teens have created to help raise the funds needed to attend. They will be making a variety of items. Currently, we have dog treats up and going. These are without preservatives and monitored by mom to ensure quality and cleanliness. 100% of the proceeds will go toward the Spring Choir Tour to New York City for Evergreen High School Choir Students. More items will be showing later since this is a new shop site.
One more thing: ALL items on Ai Chihuahua will be dedicated to this Spring Choir Tour until May 2011! Fifty percent of all proceeds of all other items on this site will help defray the costs.

Are you ready to help a student with a once in a lifetime experience? Want to show your support for music in the public schools?  Stop by

I just thought I would add a video of our District Honor Choir from last year, which my teens were participants. Don't they sound great? Sorry for the picture quality. I am truly an amateur at videos!  Please click the music off my blog site to hear this fantastic choir. Many of these same students will also be going to New York this Spring...if they can raise the funds needed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lovely Slippers by Shelly

Lovely Slippers by Shelly on Etsy

I loved opening up my mailbox today to find that my order from Shelly came today.  These slippers are so soft! The colors are bright and beautiful!
Shelly makes awesome knitted and crocheted items!  Not only does she have knitted and crocheted bottle cozies to slippers and ponchos, but she also has ceramic coffee mugs with personalized saying and water bottles! Very versatile!
If you are looking for knitted, crocheted items  or personalized mug and water bottles, I highly recommend Shelly's etsy shop!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Personal History of Crafting and Arts

Most of you know me as the lady that makes soap.

Soaping is a fairly recent endeavor that I dearly love to take part in for the past 5 years. For me, handcrafted soaps was the beginning of a crafting "breakout" in my life after years of doing NOTHING related to arts and crafts. Instead, I was too busy working, raising kids and being a married woman. Other life endeavors had me going in other directions. I don't regret them, but I wished that I had taken more time to allow some creative fulfillment in the mix.

Even as a small child, I was a crafty, creative sort with something of an entrepreneural spirit. At the tender age of 4, I was picking OTHER neighbor's flowers (we didn't have many of our own) and knocking on doors to re-distribute them. Around the same time, I recall creating some sort of rope contraption to help steer my tricycle that had broken handles.

At age 7 or 8 I learned the joys of styrofoam and made all kinds of wacky projects from the stuff. THEN I discovered artificially colored feathers you could buy in large packages to make various crafting projects. I concluded that styrofoam and feathers were a good combination and created Christmas wreaths and tree ornaments from them. I actually sold a fair amount of them too, probably because I was a cute kid with an eclectic crafting vision. Around the same time, I learned the joys of writing and wrote, illustrated and "published" my own book. I showed it to my teacher who was so impressed, she decided it would be a great class project. All the kids hated me for that. Nevertheless, I continued illustrating and writing as a regular pasttime throughout my childhood.

In the meantime, I discovered my mom had some material that she made curtains out of several years before. The rest of the material lay in closet, un-used in a dusty little corner. I got some of the stuff out and began creating an odd version of a toga/robe/lounge around the house dress from it. God forbid that it should EVER be worn outside in public. I asked my mom if I could make her one too. She tactfully declined.

Around age 12, I discovered a new medium...LEATHER. In particular, SUEDE LEATHER. I was into all things leather and poured through books on how to work with it. I made purses, moccasins, vests, hairpieces, bracelets. This time, they weren't half bad and I sold quite a few items. Also, my grandmother showed me how to do embroidery. I made quite a few embroidery projects. I also learned some interesting arts in beading.

Then, I took a class in sewing at my school and discovered the joys of sewing and latched onto it. We sewed a basic dress in the class which was quite wearable and was one of my favorite summer dresses. After school was out, I was bored, so dug out my mom's cantakerous, old sewing machine she never used because, well, it was cantankerous. She also had never really learned how to use it, which was another reason why it was a tad cantankerous. It also needed a little oiling and some care. I got the machine to working with some scrap pieces of cloth I had found in the same closet I found the other material a few years back. Then I found the bonanza! Material that had been tucked away for over 10 years. My mom had made some curtains for my brother's room with it. It was beige/brown with all sorts of old-time automobiles on it. I LOVED it and dug it out, pinned my favorite (and my only) dress pattern on it, cut it out and began to sew. Now, I had TWO dresses I made myself. Only one problem though; the second dress had all the old-time autos upside down!!!  It was a lesson learned in making sure the pattern is pinned on the material correctly, especially when dealing with one-way designs. Still, the dress fit, so I wore the thing around the house.

I stayed with sewing throughout my high school years, making most of my own clothing, designing many of them myself, fitting the design to fit my buxom figure since most of the current fashions were made for girls without boobs.

Creative writing continued to make an impact with pages upon pages of poetry and short stories. I seriously considered a career in writing. It was about that time that I discovered I could sing. Actually, I ALWAYS sang all the time when I was a kid ( I still do). But, I took a choir class on a whim and found that I actually had a talent for it. It never really went much further than just enjoying the fact that I could carry a tune though. I wanted to take voice lessons, but our family didn't have the $$$ for such whimsy. Kind of like piano lessons...wanted that too, but never had the opportunity. Nowadays, I just play by ear even though I can read music up to a point.

But back to the crafting. A friend of my mom's was an artist and when I was around 18, I took lessons from her, mostly oil painting, although I dabbled in a few other mediums. LOVED it! I still have a painting in my living room that I made back then. I also have a painting my teacher did that was a gift when I moved to Alaska.

As a young adult in Alaska, I continued painting and sewing. Sewing became a mainstay as I perfected my skills at designing, alterations and working with clothing designed for warmth. I made winter coats, ski outfits and such. I also learned some tailoring techniques and made some men's suits and designed wedding dresses for friends. THEN, one fine, frozen 50 below zero night, a friend of mine showed me how to crochet. I made a potholder. But the next project I made was a ripple afghan. From there, it was granny squares and so on. I created out of my head patterns for hand and finger puppets for local kids to help prevent the boredom of cold Alaskan winters. I made hairpieces, pins etc. And of course, slippers were always a hot item there (no pun intended).

On a trip back to the lower 48 states, my friends introduced me to belly dancing. I loved the dancing, but I REALLY love the costuming. All that draped and gathered material and the intricate top and belt designs. I was HOOKED! I created numerous embellished designs via embroidery, beading, pleating, draping. All of my sewing skills and many other of my skills were used to create these funky/beautiful costumed designs.

Moved back the lower 48 eventually, got married, had kids, had a full time job with everything else and I found I didn't have room in my life for crafting, writing or much else. It all geared down to a screeching halt for over 10 years. The artist inside me was still there, screaming to get out, but I had to keep stuffing her back inside.  I finally couldn't take it anymore. I wrote a book...a novel. Not a great novel, but my first. From that, I discovered soap-making and slowly, the artist in me began creeping back out again. I began drawing again, sewing, and trying new things.  I'm still a busy mom, wife and hold a full time job, but I'm not longer the frustrated artist screaming inside; well, except for wanting more time to create.

Now, I have 2 etsy shops that contain some of that creativity...not all of it, but some. One I have specifically for soap .  The other is for a variety of crafting mediums that I am just beginning, from tote/grocery bags to furoshiki cloths and more to come.

What I've learned from my experience is that no matter how busy you become, if you don't satisfy that creativity you have inside of you, it will come back to bite you in the butt. If you are a creative sort, don't stuff it. No matter how busy you are, make time for your creative side. God made me the creative person I am for a purpose. Who am I to stuff that away?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

My Summer Secret Pal Gift

Summer Secret Pal Gift by Elektrajewelry
I just received my Secret Pal Summer gift from Dina at elektrajewelry on etsy.

She is a fellow collaborators in cahoots team member and amazing at her jewelry making skills.

The bracelet shown is in lovely iridescent peacock colors...truly my favorite! If I had a choice of colors and design, this would have been it! Understated yet a lovely accessory.

I'm a bracelet freak. I wear bracelets more than any other type of jewelry. For me, bracelets are an extension of your natural movements when  you express yourself with your hands. Bracelets become a show-stopper when used this way. They are an active expression piece vs. necklaces, which tend to be more stationary. I think of necklaces as "lovely divas" vs. bracelets which earn their place by active participation as they enhance your natural movement and become an extension of your expressions.

Stop by elektrajewelry for some lovely "extensions" of your own personality and expression.

In the Land of Simplicity

In the Land of Simplicity  there is also the unique, eclectic and practical. There are the recycled...things that gained new purpose in new ways to make them something loved in their "old age".

Plain n' Simple Large size Grocery or Tote Bag

There are things that boggles your mind and things that make perfect sense.

Floral Design Grocery or Tote Bag

They are simple things, usable things, practical things, and all are beautiful in their simplicity.

Plain n' Simple Medium Sized Tote Bag

With an extra touch, a simple twist, or a careful tuck, these simple things become amazing and delightful.

Furoshiki Tote Bag

They carry things...all those things we need when we are out and about. No need for the checker to ask if want paper or have your own, thank you.

Re-usable, responsible, practical.

Ever wanted to be where things were simple again? You can. Find your simplicity

It is the (purple) evening of the day...

This blog post is copied with permission from Linda

This Kaboodle Styleboard features handmade and vintage items from some of my Collaborators team members.

The vintage necklace is in Kelsi's Etsy shop. Kelsi organises our monthly challenge.

The Blackberry soap is from Patricia's Etsy shop.

The handmade necklace is in Dina's Etsy shop.

The lovely hand knitted scarf is in Susan's Etsy shop

The 5"x7" painting, "Evening" is found in my art shop and the sunset greetings card is in my card shop.

To leave a comment on this Styleboard, click here.
Once there you can promote it on Twitter and Facebook.

Some Great Etsy Sellers You WIll Love

I would like to feature three great Etsy sellers.

First is hamnahamid who makes custom clothing and costumes for you. Featuring children's clothing, her style is simply adorable!

The second is susanneedlehands who makes handmade knitwear, home decor and crafts all with knitting and crochet!

Third is elektrajewelry who makes one of a kind artisan jewelry

Stop and visit these shops. They are all highly recommended.