2 Fun New Jewelry Projects, Glue, and You

Blogged under Free Craft Projects by Tammy on Tuesday 31 March 2009 at 6:04 am

I was challenged by Rings & Things to come up with projects using some of its components such as a bracelet blank and brass frame. Though there are other ways to adhere to these items such as epoxy and solder, I went for good old glue. Above is my Fishy Sticky Brass Bracelet. I found the stickers in the scrapbooking section of Michael’s.

For the pendant, I decided to go a little high-brow with a cool quote from Andre Breton: “Words make love with one another.” The result is my Andre Breton Brass and Paper Choker project.

Don’t Let Nay Sayers Bring You Down

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Saturday 28 March 2009 at 12:17 pm

I recently mentioned a presentation I was asked to give about one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. I was really nervous about doing it because I had to present to my peers, people I work with regularly, and of course, they are a smart group to say the least. The group is also very mixed with some tied to “old school” literary ideas and other who are interested in experimental works, so I knew that it was going to be sort of like testing spaghetti when you throw it against a wall. Some of my ideas would stick and some of them wouldn’t. However, I planned to keep it pretty short and open it up to the audience afterwards so they could all put their twenty-five cents in about the poet and what they wanted to discuss concerning her work.

In fact, I had a few members pegged in our group as the nay sayers who would have to argue about some of my comments, and I was fine with that. I certainly don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I actually like to hear the other side of issues when it comes to topics I’m interested in. However, there’s a way to argue a point without actually arguing or putting the other person down, if you know what I mean, which is what I expected from some of these known-nay-sayers. What I didn’t expect was to be dismissed by some of these close-minded individuals, to be told that because I wasn’t subscribing to their beliefs about the author that my ideas where not worth discussing.

What I thought was so ironic about this situation was that we were talking about Dickinson, one of the first modern poets whose work was not understood by many people of her time and still makes many of us scratch our heads. She thought differently than the rest of us, and her different way of thinking helped form a new poetic movement. She was the total opposite of some of these nay-sayers who wanted to suggest that my ideas were not worthwhile because I didn’t subscribe to their personal canon.

Somehow, even though I felt the sting of their words pretty sharply, I managed to dish it right back at them in a polite but firm tone. I was amazed, really, that the words coming out of my mouth were coherent as I explained that what I was discussing has a huge body of academic work behind it and just because they were not personally interested in it didn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile scholarship. It was one of those moments when you hear yourself talking and think, “Did I actually just say that?” But, in a good way because it made sense, which is not normally my reaction when I get upset. I usually either clam up or become Mary Tyler Moore, “Mr. Grannnttt!” [sob, sob, blubber, blubber] Maybe I didn’t lose it because there were only a few people in the group who tried to give me grief and everyone else was, at least, nice enough to pretend they were interested. Who knows why I actually had a decent comeback for the first time in my life?

This my very lengthy (sorry about that) way of saying that even if you have a few folks who are not on the same track that you are when it comes to anything you are interested in, be it your artwork or whatever, if you truly believe in your ideas, then dismiss them just as they dismiss you. These are the small-minded people who feel safe and secure in their little cocoons as they shield themselves from [gasp!] new ideas. If people like Dickinson took them seriously, just think about what we all would be missing now without her work. I’m not saying any of us, especially me, are an Emily Dickinson, but I am saying that new ideas are worth thinking about, especially if you live in a cocoon!

Craft Bloggers Unite 03/27/09

Blogged under My Crafty News by Tammy on Friday 27 March 2009 at 5:47 pm

CraftyPod
Learn how to turn an old paperback book into a cool picture frame.

Cross Stitch at About.com
Would You Stitch With Scented Floss? Vote in the poll and be sure to read the comments and add your own.

Naughty Secretary Club
Get felt up with Jen and her customized felt baby booties how-to.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
With inspiration from Cathi Milligan’s new book Mod Knots a soda bottle goes under the knife and becomes a mod cuff.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge shares one final project from her new book Beyond the Bead! Plus she’s giving away a free copy of the book and a crystal stash!

Cathie Filian
Blythe and Barbie can now have their cake and eat it too! Cathie whips up some mini cakes and pies perfectly sized for fashion dolls with sponges and seed beads.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week there is an Andy Warhol inspired scrapbook page and ATC’s, an interview with Lisa Kettell author of Altered Art Circus!, a super cute clay pot hedge hog how-to, and a link to two free bottle cap graphics.

Crafty Princess Diaries
Expose yourself….in a good way that is…Tammy tells her thoughts on the process of creative exposure.

About Family Crafts
Discover how you can create an entire fairy village using items from nature.

Aileen’s Musings
Check out which names won for Aileen’s Color Mist Sorbet Collection and help BREAK THE TIE by voting once more! An additional winner will be chosen once the tie is broken.

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Swelldesigner gives new life to a plain paper lantern with tissue paper!

Blisstree
Mixing two of Cyndi’s favorite things: fibers and books!

Literary Artistic Inspiration, Thank You Emily Dickinson

Blogged under Design Ideas, Projects in Progress by Tammy on Wednesday 25 March 2009 at 11:32 am

This is an image I used in an art book I made for a class I took a few years ago. Without going into too much boring detail, our project required that we construct an alternative book. The assignment really made our heads spin. What the heck did this professor want? I sent him idea after idea, and he kept saying, “No,” but he never really would verbalize what would bring a “yes” answer. Finally, a friend of mine who was also taking the class who also knows I’m a huge Emily Dickinson fan said, “Just channel her.”

We were down to the wire at this point with one week before the project was due, and we both realized we basically needed to just “do it” and hope for the best. So I took her advice and thought about Dickinson and how she did what she wanted to do with her life (at least what she could do that was within her socially restrictive environment). She wrote poetry but threw out the poetry rule book. She wrote what she wanted to write without thought about what someone else would think, without censoring herself.

And that’s what I pretty much did for the next week as a labored over my project, which I crafted using all types of techniques from cross stitch to decoupage. My professor raved about it, and I really feel the experience forced me to break through creatively as well as academically. I’m such a rule follower that typically my censor is on full blast 24/7!

I’m calling for her help again as I work on a presentation I’m giving about her this Friday. Wish me luck!

Virtual Crochet Groups

Blogged under Around the Web, Charity Crafting by Tammy on Tuesday 24 March 2009 at 6:15 am

Since deciding to venture more into the world of crochet earlier this year, I have joined a number of on-line yahoo groups who focus on the craft of crochet. Originally, I did this for a few reasons. First, if I had any questions as I was trying new stitches and/or patterns, I would have someone to ask. In my off-line world, I know of no one that crochets (mainly I know jewelry designers). Also, of course, I thought it would be a good way to just get to talk yarn with other yarn crafters.

One point I didn’t consider when joining was the fact that most of these groups are fairly active when it comes to crochet and charities. One group, simply called Crochetlist, has a monthly charity challenge. Each month they have a different project they challenge list members to make for various charities, everything from booties for senior citizens to baby blankets. I haven’t been able to participate in all of the challenges, but what I like about them is that they are organized and the projects are often do-able for the most part. You have a clear goal when starting the project. If you end up with time enough to make more than one item, great, but if not, one blanket, square, or whatever is added to the work of many other yarn-crafters, so in the end it can make a big impact.

Another on-line group I’ve joined more recently, Heartmade Blessings, is totally dedicated to making afghans for charities and people in need of even just a warm hug. They are extremely organized with a group of mentors and specific crocheters who assemble the squares sent to them by members of the group. There’s even a database with lists of who needs what.

There are lots of great groups out there. These are just a few, so if you are in need of some crafting comrades, look no further than your computer!

Craft Blogger Unite 03/22/09

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Sunday 22 March 2009 at 9:14 am

I usually post my crafty links on Friday, but I’ve been a busy crafty bee the last few days. I finally decided to just stop myself today and post them already. I have lots of craft projects in the work, many of which are in the drying stages, so it’s time for a break from crafting!

Blisstree
Don’t miss out on the second annual Collage Mania event!

Cathie Filian
Cathie has a dollar store do over! With a scrap of paper and a little flirty flower you can make this easy headband in under 1-hour.

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at a crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a how-to for making a Chinese Knot from Kenneth King’s new book Cool Couture, a Scribble Lace scarf pattern, a woven lampshade made from scrap yarn, and 4 upcycled necklace designs.

Crafty Princess Diaries
The Crafty Princess catches you up on her various crafting projects and asks, “What’s on your crafing plate?”

Cross Stitch at About.com
Use the free Street and Traffic Sign Motifs to decorate a cake, a child’s jacket, or whatever your imagination can come up with.

Naughty Secretary Club
Jen asks the question: Would you wear an apron out on the town as a fashion accessory? According to some trendsters, it’s all the rage. Join in the discussion about Apron-ology.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
Sweater Surgery meets Sublime Stitching with a fun gun embroidered altered sweater.

The Impatient Crafter
Madge is hooked on Drew Emborsky’s new book The Crochet Dude’s Designs for Guys! Check out her book review!

About Family Crafts
Discover some ways you can save money on your crafting without stifling your creativity!

Aileen’s Musings
Looking for a new spin on store bought plastic Easter eggs….Aileen offer’s you a Glitzy Easter Egg Project!

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner

Swelldesigner upcycles some old tins with Collage Pauge and scrapbook paper!

Magnetism of Magnet Clasps?

Blogged under Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Thursday 19 March 2009 at 6:36 am

Pictured above is a light and delicate necklace I attached a magnetic clasp to: Olivine Briolette Crystal & Chain Necklace Tutorial.

What are your thoughts on magnetic clasps? That’s what Ken Fron, the “necklace guy,” is asking on his blog, Necklace News. You can read my 25 cents worth of thoughts on using magnetic clasps in his interesting article about the pros and cons of these unique jewelry components.

Creatively Expose Yourself!

Blogged under Crafting a Career, Getting Craft Work Published by Tammy on Wednesday 18 March 2009 at 7:31 am

After speaking at a writing workshop last weekend, the creative energy came home with me, and I decided to dust off some old creative writing pieces of mine. I’ve been mulling over my next major writing project, and I’m really torn: part of me thinks I should write some kind academic piece that will be a total PIA to get published, few people will read, and I won’t get paid for, but if it were to get published, even in the tiniest little no-name journal, it would be another bean to add to my CV; part of me thinks I should get another jewelry proposal together and get back out there and get another jewelry book published and some more checks rolling in; and then part of me thinks I should finish that ancient novel manuscript I’ve been working on for a ridiculously long time that probably won’t ever be published but at least I can say I finished it.

So, obviously, I’m torn.

However, I did make some progress in this dilemma and sent out an old creative non-fiction piece I’d written for a college class a few years ago. I sent it to a small journal with my fingers crossed and an uncomfortable feeling of angst. It doesn’t matter if you are sending your jewelry piece out there, favorite art work, or personal essay; we all have to expose ourselves somehow when we literally put our work out for criticism, and hopefully, acceptance.

It is so easy not to expose yourself. It is safe. It is a comfortable place. However, if you want any kind of recognition, you can’t hide your creative work under a rock and hope someone famous will come along and trip over it and discover what a brilliant and talented artist you are. Just ain’t gonna happen! Probably won’t even happen in your dreams.

So, this is a challenge for all of those closet creative types or anyone who has hesitated to send out that book proposal, approach that gallery with your portfolio, or whatever it is that you have been avoiding with the idea that you could come back with a big sore spot on your you-know-what: Do it today! Yes, you will feel that same angst, but you may also feel something wonderful down the road.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Blogged under Yada, Yada, Yada by Tammy on Tuesday 17 March 2009 at 6:42 am

Are you wearing your green today? I’m wearing my Lucky Four-Leaf Wire and Crystal Earrings and thinking about 24 years ago when my DH and I had our first “official” date.

Etsy Love and More Thoughts

Blogged under etsy by Tammy on Sunday 15 March 2009 at 5:52 pm

It was nice to meet many fellow writers at the IRSC Writer’s Workshop yesterday, and though I was rushed for time, I managed to rip through my presentation on how to create book proposals in record time. Just like when you meet up with fellow crafters face to face, when you get a group of writers in one room, you can’t help but feel good vibes. I even came home and blew a little dust off an old fiction piece I’ve been working on for the last billion years.

Other than the workshop and the usual web work, I’ve done a little jazzing up of my Etsy shop this weekend as well.

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