Monday, July 19, 2010

Etsy Gone Wild: BettyRaeCase

OK, I've been eyeing this Etsy shop for a while- bettyraecase run by Rachel who is an artist with a particular flair... for the unusual, and according to some sensitive folks, repulsive.  It takes a bit of willpower to look at her art without feeling a few heebies-jeebies, but if you can get past what the art is made from and just look at her pieces with a non-prejudicial eye, you can see that they are quite charming, well executed, and (dare I say it?) pretty!  (OK I said it, just don't shoot me!) Before I let you in on the secret ingredients, just take a look first:
Aren't the little teddies adorable?  Will it spoil it for you if I told you they are made from belly button lint? (Well, mostly belly button lint, there is also dryer lint incorporated in the bears.)  I love the different colors the bears come in, especially the red.  I guess the secret to making the colorful furry creatures is wash a whole load of red towels, then glean the riches afterward!

Would you wear one of Rachel's black and white pendant to a formal event?  After all, black and white is classic and would go with that little black dress just smashingly.  Would you still wear it if you knew the little white bits encased in the resin are finger/toenail clippings?  (Some of which are hers, but others of which are from various others who donated to her cause. )  How many of you are still here? 

Lots has been written about Rachel's work and she takes it all in stride, with her tongue nestled firmly in her cheek. 

You can also check out her website at:

Friday, July 16, 2010

I've been featured in an online 'zine: Beading Times!!!

I was approached a couple weeks ago by Sandy, editor of the online 'zine Beading Times, if I would like to have one of my necklaces featured in an article on tube beads.  Of course, I said yes.  And it's up today!.  Here's the link:
Beading Times

The other contributors have some great pieces too- lots of variety in texture, color, and design.  Thanks so much Sandy!!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another Great Jewelry Site on Etsy- AllWiredUp (PPennee)

As a member of the Etsy Team Aspiring Metalsmiths, I have the opportunity to see great metal artists at work.  There are so many talented artisans on this team;  I will try to share some of the best.  Now up for your viewing pleasure is the studio of PPennee also known as AllWiredUp Jewelry Designs.  I love the simplicity of her work, clean lines, not much fuss, the stones and bright silver work are the focus.  She has many different types of jewelry, fused silver work, charms, bangles, and most striking are her solitaire stacking rings.  I think I would like one for each finger, no, make that two for each finger.  They come in loads of different colored stones. (I love gemstones of all sorts;  I am a stone-a-holic!!!)  Come take a look at these fresh, clean designs:

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- SimplyAdorning

Let me introduce you to Laura Pacino of SimplyAdorning. Wow, what this gal does with cabochons will amaze you.  First of all, the cabs she chooses are spectacular in and of themselves.  Then the bezel settings she designs and hand fabricates are stunning.  I love all the detail work, the little side whimsies that adorn the edges of the bezels.  How does she make those little flowers and vines?   A real plus to customers is she has custom services so someone can pick their own stone and design.  Good idea!  Check out some of her work and be sure to bring a drool-cloth to your computer, you don't want to make a mess!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Top Ten Funniest Items on Etsy

OK, We're all familiar with Regretsy (love that site!).  I certainly don't want to imitate them, but I think a post or two about some of the more amusing offerings on Etsy might be fun.  Now I can't say for sure these 10 items are the top all time best chucklers, but it's what popped up on my goofy-radar today.  (DISCLAIMER, DISCLAIMER, DISCLAIMER: I want to assure sellers out there that I am not implying bad art or workmanship,  just that my tastes and sensibilities are different.  In fact, I will only show items that I feel are quality.  I also tend to find humor in many things where it perhaps is unintended. )  Note:  These items are too hard to rank 1-10, so they are in no particular order.

1. Mad Cow Pet Hat
Shouldn't it read Mad Pet Cow Hat?

2. you-damned-old-people-and-your-golf

the rest reads "carts get a real car gramps oh some guy said hey this needs to be labeled as mature i dont know why"  Gotta love Gary from 8088Design!  If you wanna know why it's "mature," (which it isn't, but you know what I mean) you have to see the other photos.


3.  neon-orange-fluffy-boot-coverslegwarmers

Pity the poor gay day-glo yeti that sacrificed its life for these...

4.  Warning: mature cuntent  content coming up next:


Made from a "sculpted" clay mold, according to the artist, by hand I guess she means.  Wouldn't have been easier and more realistic if she.... well, I won't go there.

5. timmy-the-dopey-snail-original-sculpture 

Well, it is upcycled, that's gotta count for something!  Can you guess what the antennae are made from?  (Hint- humans don't have one, but raccoons do.)  For answer- see bottom of the post, that is, if you haven't figured it out yet.

6. IMMATURE CONTENT! nutria-fur-pelt-pubic-hair-merkin 

In case you need a primer on merkins, this shop supplies the info.  I sure needed the lesson. Did you know that (and no joke, this is a quote): "Nutria are a lot like beavers." Geez, they didn't cover that in my European History class.  I should ask for my tuition money back.  No, maybe not, that was 30 years ago, and the prof is dead now anyway, so what the hell.

I know it's a bit early for Xmas, but,  honey, could you surprise me with this under the tree?

8. stuffed-hipster-zombie-doll 

Perfect for your angst-ridden teen (or tween, in my case).  Just prop him in the corner and say "It could be worse, you know.  You could be like him!"

9.  catnip-filled-severed-heads-cat-toys 

So, there might be some of you who think this will only encourage your cats.  They might get ideas.  Imagine a cat with ideas!


10. love-angels-wedding-cake-topper-love 

Hmm, look at those glassy-eyed visages.  Do you think they know what they're getting into?  They must have some inkling- I mean look at their shocked expressions!  Geez, it almost makes me wish I were getting married again.

Answer key to question in #5: baculum.  Now if you don't know what that means, you need to "bone up" on your biology!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How I Got My Start

There's a saying that you can never go back.  OK, that may be true in the relativistic sense, but we can always go back in our minds.  Though memory is not perfect, snippets come back as powerful as steamrollers.  I live an ordinary life, filled with the usual trappings of exurbia.  However, I am not an ordinary person.  I am a bit eclectic and have unusual tastes and interests, some of which are seemingly opposite.  For example, I am extremely logical, rational, skeptical, and totally into science (in fact, that's my day job- science teacher!).  I am a control freak, a Miss Smarty Pants, an Eeyore if I let myself become one.  But I am also creative, artistic, and imaginative ( and that's my night job- artist!).  So, how did I get this way?  I asked myself many time what is the source?  Well, I can look to my dad, who was a medical doctor and also a frustrated artist (since he was limited in artistic ability or just didn't bother to discover it, he decided to collect art rather than create it).  My two sisters are also artistic, in fact, one majored in art and became an art teacher.  Family history aside there was something nagging at me that connected the two in my memory.  Then the other week I ordered a gem and mineral book for my collection and while I was perusing the digital bookshelves, I noticed a book I had when I was small.   It was The Golden Guide to Rock, Minerals, and Gems by Herbert Zim (of Curious George fame- yikes- another artist/scientist type!)  My grandparents purchased the book for me when we were on an outing at Howes Cavern, a popular limestone cave attraction in central NY.  I remember carrying this book around with me everywhere I went, dog-earing the pages, starring, checking off minerals and rocks I had seen.  I wanted so badly to find some of these earthly delights in my own backyard (or my grandmother's, whichever), but I realized that many of the fabulous gem and mineral collecting areas were way out of reach (Sri Lanka, where's that again? I'd ask myself).  In reading and loving this book, I was feeding into my duel interests:  science, particularly earth science, and sparkly things, i.e. gems.  When I think about it, this book was the start of it all for me- what better way to combine competing interests?  I ended up becoming a science teacher and one of the courses I teach is high school level Earth Science, so my passion for rocks, volcanoes, and astronomy is now being fulfilled.  My other lifelong love of glittering gems has also been realized in my jewelry making.  I always incorporate semiprecious beads and metals into my work.  The more glittery, the better.  One day I might "graduate" to precious gems and gold, but they are a tad costly and my jewelry budget does not currently allow it.  But I am loving the semiprecious minerals and silver!

How many people can trace a source for the path(s) their lives take?  I doubt many could, in fact, it didn't dawn on me until a couple of weeks ago that my vocation (science teaching) and my avocation (jewelry making ) were birthed by the same book!

Do you know what shaped the path of your life?  Comment below if you'd like.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Etsy Gone Wild Site of the Week: Nanopod

Are you tired of any of the following jewelry trends on Etsy:
  • personalized stamped jewelry with obligatory Swarovski bicone?
  • lazily wrapped briolettes in shades of dusky browns and golds?
  • scrabble type resin pendants with cutesy pic and/or saying?
  • steampunk clockworks with some insect that inadvertently landed on it and got stuck?
(not that there's anything wrong with those trends...)

But, if you are tired of the same old, see this stunningly original artist on Etsy:  nanopod

Hey, I'm lovin' it, especially since I made a jellyfish themed necklace last month out of PMC, sterling sheet and wire.  But nanopod has so many intricate and wondrous pieces that evolve here, like this medusa- handmade glass cnidarian inside (see- my MS in teaching bio filters thru here):

 Although I'm not sure which biome (or planet) this evolved from,  I don't care because it's unbelievable gorgeous!!:

I'm thinking slime mold here, but I am not sure, but whatever it is it's spectacular!! (And it's a RING!!!- imagine this on your finger!!)

OMG, look at this next piece- I'll call it radar love because I don't know quite what else to call it!!
Pleae check out this site for some of the most inspiring pieces of jewelry art on Etsy!!  Are you as thrilled as I am about seeing such originality?

Top 10 Online Jewelry Suppliers

Want to know the best online jewelry making suppliers?  Look no further- in no particular order (all are great- some specialize in certain items more than others):

1. MonsterSlayer
specializes in findings, metal, tools

2. Rio Grande
you can get just about anything here related to jewelry making, more focused on metalsmithing aspects rather than  beading

3. Stachura
specializes in gems

4. Fire Mountain Gems
mostly gems and beads

5. FDJ Tool
specializes in tools and supplies

6. Contenti
tools and supplies mostly

7. Otto Frei
tools and supplies

8. Fundametals
metals, supplies, tools

9. Cool Tools
specializes in metal clay and supplies

10. Whole Lotta Whimsy
specializes in metal clay and supplies

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Etsy Jewelry Site of the Week- CoryBethy

Why it's a beautiful piece of jewelry and a toucan!  OMG, it's adorable!!  What a way to highlight a cab that is stunning in its own right!   This is a remarkable item from corybethy, a seller on Etsy.

But the cute toucan is not all she has.  Check out this gorgeous pendant:
Besides creatures in beautiful gems and silver, she has other eclectic pieces.  Here is a modern geometric ring in resin and sterling that is simply stunning:
I love this cab and the setting of this necklace.  The details are amazing:
If you like fun, eclectic, and beautiful jewelry you should check out this site.  She's very inspiring! She sees the designs in the stones, not just the stones in the design. What do you think?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Great cabochons!!! Great service!!! Great prices!!!

If you like cabochons, check out rocfeathers

She (Sheila) has the greatest cabs!  There is also a little slide show showing how she makes the cabs, always a great plus in informing the public about a product.  Her cabs are shown in a caliper, so you get an immediate sense of size.  I look at cabs from a lot of dealers and sometimes photos are deceiving- the cabs look bigger than they are. 

Sheila has some nice looking gems- very pretty and very affordable.  You can buy directly from her website or you can go to her eBay store where you will have to battle others down to the wire in order to win her stones!!! (I am not kidding here- some folks sniped at the last 5 sec on several items-  I don't like that- but what can you do?)  Have fun cab shopping!!!
rocfeatherz on eBay