Marina Shafran...custom jewelry artist

Marina's artisan perspective started to form in her early years in the beautiful city of Riga (Latvia), where she was born...she had come from a long line of craftsman of different disciplines.

At the ripe old age of 13, she became a fashion model & for the next 7 years traveled the world...educating herself in a "classroom" we all mistakenly consider glamourous and pampered. If anything it was exhausting hard work...BUT with benefits for a young woman with an exceptional eye for design and the growing skills of an artisan... seeing the "best of the best" made by the "best of the best" is an opportunity that she did not waste.

As you can imagine, true "passion" came from her long involvement in wearable art and the fashion industry. At age 20, after traveling most of the world...she came across San Francisco, and fell in love (as most of us do :D ) . She grounded herself in a position at as waredrobe coordinator of an exclusive boutique, "The Rafael's", which presents handmade wearable art.

It was during her experience at "The Rafael's", that her creativity was inspired by the wonderful handmade designer art jewelry, by some of the most famous and notable artists of the time...some of whom she was able to meet, or view their work in galleries around the world.

It took quite a bit of time to hone her skills & master some of the techniques, BUT a few years ago she finally made the move to being a custom jewelry designer... Marina believes that by wearing handcrafted designer jewelry, you can reveal your exceptional personality. Because of this belief, she feels her designs are very detailed & meticulously handcrafted with hundreds of small detailed & precious components.

Currently Marina has her studio in the heart of San Francisco...and she sells exclusively through Etsy...and loves custom work, so feel free to contact her: contact@mshafran.com with your requests.

Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mshafran

Website: http://www.mshafran.com


Easy Breezy Giveaway Results

Just a quick notice...all who participated in the giveaway are winners...your "grab bag" prizes are being packaged tonight and hopefully will be shipped tomorrow.

Though I contacted everyone by email, some may fall thru the cracks...unfortunately due to prior business & family commitments, if I don't hear from you with mailing addresses within 24hrs. ...your winnings will be forfeited.

Hope to hear back from all of you... have a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!!


My Etsy Shop...Deadline for before Christmas delivery is Dec.19th

JUST REMEMBER... deadline for before Christmas delivery deadline, from my Etsy shop, for the continental US deliveries ONLY, is Dec. 19th.

After that the 2oth seems okay, BUT i can't guarantee. Please be aware that I will be continuing to offer FREE SHIPPING using USPS Priority Mail thru Christmas Eve...WHY? you may ask...I have a theory, that most people buying this late and for who, are all adults (at least old enough NOT to believe in Santa Claus [in public :D ] )... so if this is the case, you can forewarn your friends & family recepients that their gifts are in the mail & may be a few days late.

HO, ho, ho ....Merry Christmas!!!


meredithdada @ Etsy.com...ooak handmade beaded art

Meredith, from the Etsy shop, "meredithdada" considers herself lucky that she grew up in a family of artists. Her mother was the strongest influence being an art teacher by trade and being known for her pottery & ceramic work, as well as being skilled in drawing & painting. Meredith got a well rounded education in the arts at a very young age. Her grandmother was a talented artist as well...taught china painting out of her home & was a avid crafter. Her grandfather worked mainly in wood and has taken up painting recently and at 93 yrs. old & still paints everyday. Her father who was a heavy machinery mechanic, retired and pursued his passion for photography & is submerged in it full-time now.

You'd think that with this kind of pedigree and the fact that for the longest time she thought everyone had a full artist studio in their backyard, that she would have chosen Art as her major in college...but NO, she chose to major in Psychology! ...go figure :)

Creative expression had always been a big part of her life & so natural...like breathing. College is suppose to be a safe place to find new roads, to experiment with different options. There was a time in college though, where Meredith focused only on academics & working to pay the rent and like so many of us who know that "art" is what keeps us sane and happy...Meredith pathed her own way to realize how much "art" was NOT a hobby or even an option...BUT a necessity for the balance and fulfillment in her life. With the early encouragement of her future husband, to take her "art" seriously and to get it out there for people to see & enjoy... she finally found the balance & happiness that had been lost to her for a while.

Five years ago, Meredith's beloved grandmother died. She use to make elaborate Christmas ornaments & ball gowns for Meredith's Barbie. She left Meredith a huge bin, full of glass jars with all sorts of colored beads and rhinestones to touch & inspire her...as you can see thru her work in her charming Etsy shop, "meredithdada".

As if "all-knowing", her grandmother gave Meredith the perfect project & skill to be used in her role as stay-at-home Mom... a transitional creative outlet that lends inself to an energetic 2 year old's erratic schedule ..far better than the messy & somewhat dangerous mosaic tiling she was involved with before...which she may return to as her family dynamics change.


Not in Denial But Still a Little Raw...

My brother, Gary, who had long been suffering from the family curse (heart disease & diabetes), died in his sleep on November 24th, 2010.

He was waiting for his friend/ex-wife to come back home with his 2 grown sons and his little sweetheart grand-daughter. He had plans to spend Thanksgiving holidays with them ....but during this long road trip, his family was on, they were called when Gary didn't show up for work.

Though I know Gary wanted to die in his sleep, it doesn't take away the sense of loss his family & friends all felt...how i felt.. somehow cheated of time & words with him.

The following is the eulogy I gave to show a different side to Gary...the child...the young energetic man I knew and came to admire.

Eulogy for my brother (died 11/24/2010):

Thank you all for gathering here to honor and mourn the death of Gary Ikemoto...I still find it strange to say these words because, I've yet to accept them.

When Sonja asked me to do part of the eulogy...the part that reflected my fondest memories of Gary, I realized I didn't have RECENT ones.

As with all families (I guess), we seem to go off in all directions, only seeing each other during rare family gatherings or sad functions like these.

So my fondest memories were of things I learned from Gary when we were kids.

***May I preface here by saying that Gary, as a child, was a bit of a "rag-scallion"...he was the "golden child" of our family...smart, charming, the only male off-spring...HE COULD DO NO WRONG...and nothing bad seem to touch him.

CASE IN POINT: when he got his first bicycle...he had a bad fall & suffered facial laserations...which healed into one of his most endearing features...A ONE_SIDED DIMPLE.
What can I say, he took advantage with his natural charm & singular dimple of many a fine maiden in high school & college... :D

When we were kids, our paternal-grandfather came to visit...he brought both of us equal size mason jars filled with pennies! Gary & I thought we were millionaires...each of us emptying our jars in the middle of our beds and running our fingers thru this "treasure".

Gary then taught me about loans, line of credit...and BALLOON PAYMENTS...and within a week's time he had all my pennies.

I think Gary was in 3rd grade and I was in 2nd... he had his heart broken for the first time by May Chung, his first girlfriend...it was the first time I felt an emotional closeness to Gary.

To ease his pain, he declared one day that he would never marry AND that he would NEVER have children...BUT if he did, he would name them horrible names so they would always hate him for eternity...names like Ezekiel...Jethro...Poindexter.

I joined in with his pledge and for however long it takes to get over a love like May Chung...

We would go along with our day as usual, BUT every once in a while, one or both of us would squeal out "Ezekiel"..."Jethro"..."Poindexter"...and break out laughing with delight.

(OMG Brian [Gary's first born]...you came so close to being a "Poindexter"!)

When life went on and Gary grew into a fine young man & married Sonja & shared Erin and later his own boys Brian & Todd... that "bad name" pouting child was gone & I saw a miracle...the rebirth of "father knows best" played by my brother, Gary...I WAS SO PROUD OF HIM!

I call it a miracle because growing up...we never knew a father who could show love so openly as Gary...this was HIS CREATION...HIS GIFT to his sons.

I know they will miss their father in the moments, days, and years to come...BUT whenever they express their love to their family or others, or when Lily laughs unprovoked...they will all feel their father's legacy & presence.

I love you Gary...you're the best brother I could have asked for.


Caught in the Stages of Denial

This is just a quick note to say that earlier this morning, i was informed my older brother of only a year, had died in his sleep the day before...i've tried to wrap my mind around this, BUT just can't. In true CSI fanatical fashion, i won't believe it till i see the body, read the autopsy...even then i know he can't be...dead.


Spectacular End of the Year...Easy-Breezy Giveaway!!

I've been meaning to have a giveaway long before this time so everyone could relax for most of the holidays and have a little something extra to look forward to...a SURPRISE to add a little spice to our lives.

But life got in the way and I forgot and so many things are lumming...Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year AND tax time !!! ...So to lighten the load for all of US, I decided to have an Easy-Breezy Giveaway... as trouble free as I can make it for all involved.

I'm not sure if the younger generation had these, but when I was a kid the local drugstore every year around Christmas would have a big bin of "grab bags" for sale...No one knew what was in the bags...but it was always of more value than the price of the bag and all the proceeds went to a local charity. The bags were beautifully wrapped & were a clear temptation for all us kids & visually stimulated adults with child-like dreams..."what could be in the bags??"...mom would let us all buy one, but we had to put it under the tree till Christmas, adding to the "mystique".


This Giveaway will run thru DECEMBER 15th...giving me time to mail everything out before Christmas.

Participants can only enter ONCE, this way everyone will have an equal chance to win..I would prefer you enter by following me on my blog & reporting back, BUT another way to enter is to go to my Etsy shop and pick one item you like & report back under comments...don't forget your email so I can contact you if you win.

blog: http://nineandahalfdesign.blogspot.com
etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/streetnoodles

There will be MULTIPLE winners since I will be reducing my inventory in bundles worth $50-$75+ each.

I would prefer to keep the participants domestic so deliveries should reach you before Christmas, BUT if any international client wants to participate, please know that your prize will contain smaller items (probably jewelry or cards) to keep the mailing cost down...and please know there is no way I can guarantee a before Christmas delivery.

So GOOD LUCK to all...I hope this simple giveaway will add to your child-like wonder and yet be easy on your adult duties over the holidays :D


I'm Ashamed for Many Things, BUT Not For Presenting This Extraordinary Contemporary Folk Art Dollmaker Duo

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My confession to being ashamed is for not acquiring permission to present this slide presentation from "Cart Before the Horse", a remarkable art doll shop at Etsy. I had noticed their shop and their increditable creations months ago...i even convoed them for permission to use their images, but was unable to make contact of any kind.

I only hope that they will understand my selfish motivation to introduce them to my readers & followers. They have done an extraordinary thing in connecting their doll images to our feelings, our common history, our connectiveness instead of our differences. Historical touchstones are referenced, but there seems to be subtle new references, a sense of humor with every stitch, and a dry wit at times.

Dylan & Jo are the creative force behind this charming shop, a modern "mom & pop" collaboration . Each doll is individually sewn, drawn & painted. They usually come as limited editions of 25. Pieces are signed, numbered, and dated by the artists themselves, Dylan & Jo.

Along with a charming variety of art dolls, Dylan & Jo also have very affordable quilt pattern kits of their own creation & style... which I can only guess is an off-shoot of their instructional FREE blog articles that walk you through some of the most delightful craft projects... see their blog; http://thecartbeforethehorse.blogspot.com


My favorite new Fall TV series...Terriers

Donal Loque and Michael Raymond-James are the stars of this series about two buddies who due to a series of strange circumstances become "unofficial" (no license) private eyes. Donal is a disgraced "clean" alcoholic ex-cop doing whatever odd jobs to survive...Michael is talented ex-thief who has become tight friends with Donal helping him with whatever odd jobs arise...they drive an old pick-up that has the faded name of the previous owners' business painted on it's side...in a depressed ocean side community.

You've probably recognize the actors' faces...great contemporary character actors have that great distinction to be recognized BUT not quite really. I've seen Donal over the years in comedies, dramas, & vampire films & have had a crush on him for years...with Michael i recognize him, "but not really":D

What makes this my favorite new Fall series is the acting & writing, BUT i really like the maturity of the producers to not expect instantaneous bravado or recognition of the characters, BUT to show a slow burlesque-like tease of each character introduced from Donal's stressed out old cop partner trying to quit smoking by chewing & inhaling thru an endless supply of nicotine filter tips and Michael's relationship with a gorgeous vet student, who he burglarized & fell in love with on the spot (unbeknowst to her)...add the only dog in the mix, a stout & loveable english bulldog.

There is one more thing i have to mention... more of a prediction really about Michael Raymond-James...my husband thinks i'm crazy, BUT this is my thought....remember "Thelma & Louise" and the monumental appearance of a young Brad Pitt introduced as a charismatic convenience store robber...so polite & charming. I get the same vibe from Michael's character in this series...a comical, zany, polite, sweet, charming & sexy "outlaw".

Whatever it is...i hope you will at least watch it once or TIVO it & watch it at your leisure...would like to hear what you think.

Conclusion: Facebook is like an abusive boyfriend...that your parents like!

This is dedicated to Erica who made a comment on the previous "Facebook entry"... my opinions are my own, and based on a 7 hour bout with Facebook trying to get my fan page up and running.

Facebook is like an abusive boyfriend that your parents like... everyone told me i should have a fan page with Facebook, even though i told them i didn't trust them, found them confusing & hard to deal with...following the "rules" they set, and yet with every inelegant programers' frustrated "loops" & turns there was an obvious intent to make me feel stupid and inadequate..HEY, i'm a college graduate, went to grad school, got my masters...BUT i'm suppose to find a microscopic phrase or single word that is inherently frought with "misdirection".

"4Q" you Facebook! ... no Faceless, mega entity, hiding in the darkness of annonimity is worth 7 hours of my time...unfortunately you've got the general public ("the parents") bamboozled...so sorry Erica...i did get my fan page up, BUT I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I DID IT! ...my only hope in some alternate universe, all of us abused victims will gather mattresses around the faceless Facebook building & burn it down...using self-defense due to post-traumatic stress as our defense.


Facebook...devil or angel??

this is just a short blurb for me about my confession that Facebook is a total mystery to me...i HATE IT, yet i keep returning to it because i know it must have mystical powers i should be tapping into...i just don't have the magic sword or key or "portal" that will allow me to navigate without getting lost and frustrated beyond belief.

there is a wonderful blog called "I dreamed I saw"...if you see it you'll see how special it is...visually & content-wise. It was developed & designed by an amazing branding & website design/ development group, www.houseoftearsdesign.com . at a blissful time a few months ago i was under the delusion that i could make enough in sales to employ them to help me shape my empire...but alas, the sales have slowed and I had to tell Kirk, the rep there, that I couldn't afford their services. I guess we hit it off, because he spent a little longer on the phone telling me some good "free" advice of what i could do for myself...the first being, to create a Facebook fan page for my business.

so in honor of kirk's patience & generousity... i plan to dedicate a few hours daily to conquer my fear of Facebook! ...let the challenge begin!


JunqueGypsy @ Etsy.com

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My blog followers will attest that this is the first time I've ever done a promotional write-up for a vintage shop. When you see Leonda's shop, JunqueGypsy, you may also ask "why?"...a few pics are a little dark & some blurry, and the items aren't "staged" like Etsy might like them to in the "Etsy-way"...BUT if you look at the items themselves you'll see the quirky, eccentric, fun nostalgic mix you get from her shop and the passion that this woman gives in her collection...my video doesn't do it justice.

It all started 30 years ago when Leonda first "absconded" (nice way to say, ripped off, stole, took without permission) with a wide collar swing 50's classic black "Donnybrook Original" coat from the high school drama department.

Since then over a dozen different countries, the thrill of the "hunt" and "discovery" is the same from a foreign bazaar or a local flea market. Her fondest "hunt" was a local dumpster diving incident with a friend holding her by her ankles as she braved filth, disease & dignity for an antique watering can.

The entrepreneur side has always been there since childhood. Her grandparents, Mammaw & Pappaw, were true Kentucky hill people. She remembers their house always nice & tidy, but on closer inspection, all the knick knacks & such had price tags on. People would come by regularly and have private shopping tours...and on weekends, they set up a table at the local flea market.

Before she opened her Etsy shop, Leonda had accumulated a huge collection of stuffed animal toys, but when her husband complained to "get rid of those typhoid toys" she immediately placed in a trunk in the basement and 30 years later after a career in teaching, she rediscovered them and also rediscovered herself & her passion in a "vintage" business. When in her first antique show, a woman ran up and grabbed one of the stuffed animals, squealing, "Billy! It's Billy". Turns out her mother had thrown her favorite stuffed friend out decades ago.

Not only is Leonda having fun digging out her vintage wares, researching the history, and on occasion, hearing "the rest of the story" from their purchasers...BUT she is part of a cherished few who DON'T think that Wal Mart or the urban mall are all that great. In a society where we don't think twice about throwing away "stuff"...or people. It's nice to know there are people who value things for their iconic beauty & their personal history to people

Please visit the JunqueGypsy and have fun remembering :D


Would you believe...a free full length video as a "Cracker Jack" surprise!

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This is what you get if you make an ungodly amount of "free" 30-second videos... a free full-length video. i actually could have used up to 3 minutes worth of time...but i just lost count of the number of pics i was downloading from my files :D

It's not going to win any awards BUT i love it anyway :D ...i hope you'll all enjoy.


daisical... handmade nature & vintage inspired jewelry

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Brittany is the energy & style behind this relatively new shop at Etsy (just over a year old)... i say this because since finding her shop thru her blog, i've been so impressed with her style AND "styling" of her shop & blog. Beautiful & professional presentation, yet an obvious warm human factor, making all her work so approachable & wearable.

please visit & spread the word about Brittany's shop & blog:

shop... http://www.etsy.com/shop/daisical

blog... http://prettylittlevintage.blogspot.com/

A Beautiful New Blog I'm Following...

just a quick announcement about a wonderful little new blog that i'm following:

brittany who started the blog also is a fellow Etsian and has a lovely shop there:

brittany has graciously invited me to be her first Etsy interviewee and i'm so honored i could spit :D Get comfortable...get some popcorn...it's long like one of my story-telling sessions here.


Fidana...unique, high quality, handcrafted jewelry

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The unusual shop name comes from a combination of the owners' name, Hana, and her beloved yellow Lab puppy, Fido.

Hana who came from the Czech Republic found her way to America when after graduating with her Masters in Pharmacy wanted to travel to the US then settledown back home....BUT as we all know about "the best laid plans"...she met her future husband here and now calls this "home". She works at Apple currently...don't get me started here....I'm still trying to figure out how to ask her if she gets store discounts for the iPhone & iPad....but then I realize that I'm still trying to figure out how to use my cell phone!!! I would definitely be a waste of technology : (

Since early childhood, she has been making creative use of her hands & mind through many ways...the sand in shoes, twigs collected in pockets, & pretty pebbles hidden under pillows.

It was about 7 years ago that she picked up wire into her hands for the express purpose of making jewelry. Since then she has strived to perfect her craft and to specialize in unique, high quality handcrafted jewelry. She focuses on detail and infusing her own style to each piece as well as using the best quality natural stones & materials.

Checkout her website: http://www.fidana.com

and Blog which is brand new: http://www.fidana.wordpress.com

Etsy shop: http://etsy.com/shop/fidana


ElenaMarySiff...collage & assemblage artist @ Etsy

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I first met Elena as the energetic manager of more 1000 Market groups than was (i thought) humanly possible. I became a fan when we both had dealings with another 1K individual, who shall remain nameless, who basically pissed us off.

I guess "fan" does not quite explain it...more like "goddess"! I know in any venue group, it is usually against some unimpeachable rule that you can't say anything bad about anyone else...even though they were raised by wolves and hurt people right & left, we can't righteously react to them. Where did being an online artist/designer equate to losing your moral compass & BALLS???

Before I blurt out the secret...I'll move on to Elena's work which is as dynamic as she is. Here are a few of her sites & sites she's vested in:

Etsy shop... http://www.etsy.com/shop/elenamary

Elena's personal website... http://www.elenamarysiff.com/

Blog: featuring Etsy artists who are members of the "making change" etsy team, concerned with political,environmental & social agenda... http://artofmakingchange.blogspot.com

This group is also opening a store at 18th St.Art Center for 3 months... http://18thstreet.org/events/making-change-elena-siff

She has also created custom books for birthdays, graduations, and any special occassion...see examples: http://www.vampandtramp.com/finepress/elena-mary-siff.html

Face Book page: http://www.facebook.com/ElenaMarySiff

Noah Erenberg...extraordinary abstract artist

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Noah Erenberg is the son of Elena Mary Siff who has grown to be a fine abstract artist in his own right. His obvious talent being inspired and nurturned by family & friends.

Asked what his favorite colors are...the straight forward answers are red, blue, pink. When asked what "art" means to him, he says it makes him feel wonderful & happy he's an artist. He does his work outside...being directly inspired by the neighborhood, trees, ocen, surf.

He was invited to join an international exhibition of visionary art called, "Internal Guidance Systems" which traveled the world from 2006-2008.

His art is featured in a new book titled, "Drawing Autism" by Jill Mullen, Mark Batty Press, NYC http://markbattypublishers.com/books/drawingautism

Also see more of his work on a website he shares with his mother: http://elenamarysiff.com/noah/index.html


Axels Castle...lovely vintage inspired jewelry

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Sorry for my language BUT hell I just don't know why this Etsian isn't selling her jewelry by the truck load.... and just as I was going to blow a gasget I read her convo to me that she confessed she was the worst at any kind of self-promotion of her jewelry...thus her esquisite shop remains "obscure".

OMG, I've seen inferior pieces from shops who charge twice as much for less quality, style & "panache"...if this artist isn't placed under your Etsy favorites at least I'm going to spit ...and you don't want that.... spittel on monitors and keyboards is just so messy.

PLEASE check out her jewelry shop, Axel Castle, and also her very successful supply shop, Blueladore.

Coty Lee @ Etsy...handmade ooak women's apparel

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Coty Lee is a self-taught seamtress & designer. She started her clothing line in 2007. Passionate about her work using new & recycled fabrics, stretchy cottons a particular favorite of hers, the recycled finds find its way organically into her designs as she goes thru her reconstruction phase.

What caught my eye was that her designs are simple silohettes & so wearable & comfortable ...PLUS i love, luv, lov the return of the "dress" WITH POCKETS no less. What can I say, I've never been a fan of purses, just for purse sake, when a pocket can hold the essentials... ID, credit card & folding money (just in case)...okay, maybe "tic-tacs" & lip gloss too.

I've always wondered what the BIG BAG said about a girl.... "my right shouldar is 1 inch lower than my left", "guess what I have at the bottom of my purse; spare diapers or petrified pieces of doggie doo-doo?", "take me home, I have my toothbrush & hair dryer with me"..."please, don't notice I'm homeless".

Sorry...(back to Coty Lee's shop)... her dresses seem to have a simple silohette BUT then you see some interesting darting, or blocking, and buttons that draw your eyes like a well practiced magician's act to appealing focal points.

If you're lucky enough to live in the area, she sells at the "Honey Pot" @ 86 Lexington Ave. in downtown Asheville, NC.


Fluxplay...wonderful flow of methods & technique

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Maria Whetman's online presence was first introduced to me thru the wonderful "carrotbox" blog quite a while back. I recently rediscovered it when i saw her Etsy shop under my "favorite listing"...talk about "a mind is a terrible thing to waste"...mine in particular :D

Maria has 22 years experience as an art-jeweller & metalsmith as well as being a well qualified teacher & lecturer.

She has always admired the designs & colors of many printed steel biscuit tins, tea caddy's, olive oil cans, and using these recycled tins along with silver, copper, brass & steel; she'll combine traditional silversmithing & jewellery techniques with mixed-media & non-traditional approaches to make one-of-a-kin & limited edition handmade jewellery.

Want to see more of Maria's work?:

BLOG: http://www.fluxplay.blogspot.com

WEBSITE: http://www.fluxplay.co.uk

FLICKR: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fluxplay/

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/FluxplayJewellery

UK HANDMADE COMMUNITY: http://ukhandmade.ning.com


A Bygone Memory of My College Days...plus I still love the song

Bethenny Getting Married?...exchanging one addiction for another

I know a couple of weeks ago I proudly confessed that I was a "Housewives of New York" junkie. I also know that there are those who love the Orange County original wives over the New York & those who can't live without the Jersey wives or the Atlanta group...and god knows what will happen as the D.C. wives make their debut. BUT I DON'T CARE...I LOVE BETHENNY & JASON!

I was pretty much vested in it only because I loved Bethenny's humor & openess in the "New York wives"...and my OCD came out when I kept on watching the island vacation, 3-part reunion, & the lost NY wives tapes OVER & OVER again...only coming up for air to watch that late night Bravo show ("what's Happening?") ... and just to add (since i'm not vested in the Jersey wives), the live performance of Danielle, tho coming out of left gay field...was very good to excellent (she has a good voice without the help of recording "magic")...I just wish I didn't have this idea in the back of my head that she looks more & more like a transvestite as she gets lost in cosmetic surgery.

Back to Bethenny's new show...I finally hit the crossroads of fan to possible fanatic when the "perfect man" Jason dismisses Bethenny's perfect impression of "Bride-zilla" demanding he help her with the wedding decisions... and his response is "...but honey, the games on".

And though at the time of this blog print, it hasn't been shown BUT in the trailer, it is suggested that Bethenny has to make a decision to pee in a champagne bucket in her wedding dress... I salute her assistant & wedding planner for going WAY BEYOND their job description.

I can't wait to see the next episode!


Almapottery @ Etsy.com

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Almapottery...narrative pottery that begs us to slow down & listen

I'm one of those people on Etsy who love to be inspired by other Etsians...gathering "favorites" for my wish list & endlessly planning to buy them all with money I don't have :D

Remember those TV programs about "hoarders" (people who can't throw away anything...piles of papers, magazines etc. for years)...well I'm one, except I collect "invisible things" in all my "favorites" listing & waiting till my computer can hold no more :D

So when I decided to find more inspirational Etsians I decided to just rummage thru my "favorites" file and was delighted by my rediscoveries...Almapottery, being my first.

First off, when I read her profile I was so engaged & vested in her story about her great-grandfather and her love and creative connection to him.

Lavinia came to Michigan via Romania right after college following her soon to be husband. She had studied ceramics in college & high school (an art academy) and as i've come to admire her even more...she says she SURVIVED an art academy! Though she has at least 22 years of experience in ceramics, she's restless & eager to get involved in so much more as a creative person; photography, painting, drawing, glassmaking, & printmaking.... BUT she recently found out she can't sew (shhhh, let's not bring this up again...an apparent sore spot for lavina :)

When talking of her art school days, her friends are more important than what the school could offer...feeling more like a bubble, insulating the students from the real world, creating pietre dishes of "idealism" & "cynicism" that seem somewhat hollow, lacking the human passions & exchanges that could cultivate a bit more beauty & pleasure in the world.

Lavinia has been interviewed in Etsy, and other blogs which she has listed on the front page of her shop...i didn't list them only because the list is so long... a sign of so many fans. She also has a fan page on facebook...with my lack of facebook navigational skills, for the life of me I couldn't find it....just to let you know, i haven't been able to find my OWN fan page!

She also has her own beautiful blog: http://almapottery.blogspot.com


Anuart at Etsy.com

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Anuart...a ceramicist in love with the unpredictable "process"

I'm witnessing this artist's work with some history & knowledge of this medium, though I confess I'm NOT an expert so please read this review with that in mind.

Troughout the history of our country, there have been "craft movements" come in a "fury" and fade back BUT never really die out totally...and amongst all the craft disciplines, ceramics has always been near the "eye of the storm". Back in the early 70's I was fortunate to be able to study under several great ceramicist, ALL of whom I didn't appreciate until they left my school.

The first was Rita Yokoi, who was one of the youngest Fullbright scholar recipients who was granted study with Japan's ceramic master at that time...she had confess she loved the experience BUT hated the regimented way of teaching...spending months just throwing a "simple" tea cup/s...until it was perfect and up to the level of excellence of her teacher.....than months of doing repetitive glazing techniques til her "sensai" felt her skills "good enough"...than the firing process...

The other instructor was a young guest professor...highly recommended & was working on his Master's. His skills were amazing BUT his teaching sucked... I remember he showed part of his work at the end of term...they were simple thrown plates, bowls, cups...BUT what was so different and amazing was the glaze work.... amazing true reds, cobalts, oranges, gold, silver with textures and surprizing bubbles & craters on the surfaces.

Both these artists taught me to appreciate the unpredictablity of the process... Rita never made the perfect tea cup, but it didn't stop her from trying or knowing the importance of that action. That guest professor got his Master's, but i would imagine he keeps trying to control the glaze formulas & predict the outcome & smiles broadly as he opens the kiln and finds it's nothing he expected.

Anu & Tracey are studio partners and make up "serenity studio ceramics" ... and have that same sense of wonderment that ceramicist and watercolorist alike have...i wish them well on their journey...checkout their adventures thru their blog.

Anu's Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/anuart
Tracey's Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/primativepots
Anu's favorite charity: Pennies for Peace www.ikat.org/


Grace Potter & the Nocturnals...live performance of "White Rabbit" 2009

Who Knew Ellen D. was right about Grace & the Nocturnals

This was the first year I ever watched from beginning to end, "American Idol"! I always thought it cheesy and more concerned to expose the drama between the judges than finding the "talent" of the year.

BUT I'm more surprised that I found Ellen DeGenernerous an excellent judge of talent & well-knowledged in popular music. ...so as the ball bounces, I watched Ellen and found her with a guest band one day ...and again I was surprised....Grace Potter & the Nocturnals are a welcomed throwback to that "golden age" of the early 70's where the music was "perfect".


Chatham Girl by Zara Carpenter at Etsy.com

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Haute Couture Hats at Etsy? OMG!

I hope I'm not overstating this observation... but I think you could see hat designs of this level of wit and style sitting on top of the heads of beautiful models on the runways of Paris.

I've been a long-time fan of the designers of the UK, from my early exposure to the Beatles, Barnaby Street, Mary Quant...and please don't ask me what I did when I first heard of Alexander McQueen's death...balled like a baby for days.

There is something lovingly cock-eyed & irreverent in their view of "the classic" or "historical" references that always returns to an exquisite interpretation of "modern".

Zara Carpenter is inspired by her surroundings of the historic naval port of Chatham and her favorite artists & writers; Mark Ryden, Edward Gorey, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Carroll, & Angela Carter.

She makes her own hats from found objects & materials and also mends & repairs antique hats. Please feel free to contact her if you would like to have her create something custom & special for you.


Sas Colby...mixed media artist (video)

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Sas Colby... a Facebook reaqaintence surprise!

Recently, just when I was about to walk away from my "Facebook" membership due to a rather negative "South Park" episode which scared the shit out of me... I got this email announcement that a "Facebook" member was answering my call for a "friend".

OMG! ...I had almost forgotten that I had seen my old art instructor on "Facebook"...Sas Colby.
She was a visiting professor from Connecticut...back in the early 70's, she had come to our college through the Feminist Art Program at that time. It was amazing back then when the art department was male dominated and very conservative & "narrow" in it's definition of what constituted "art".

Though Sas was introduced to many of us thru that program, her real secret to longivity has always been the art. For 30+years her use of diverse mediums (textiles, photography, painting, drawing, collage & assemblage) to create her art from abstract to representational work has served her well.

She's noted for her artists' books, engaging her audience with her medium, her intimate scale...inviting the viewer to see, feel & smell her art>>>pushing the boundaries of books.

Sas currently lives in Berkeley, but spends her summers in Taos, New Mexico. She has taught her popular "mixed-media workshops" at the Mable Dodge Luhan House in Taos and also frequently accepts "visiting artist" positions with universities and conferences.

Website: http://www.sascolby.com/
Represented by: http://www.fenixgallery.com/


Mustardseed & Moonshine video....

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Mustardseed & Moonshine...an extraordinary crockery

The slide video above captures only a small selection of extraordinary botanically based crockery, which could stand on it's own as art objects, BUT it's also so practical; being safe to use in conventional ovens, microwaves, and dishwashers.

It is a South African based crockery founded by Kate Carlyle in 1992, who wanted to celebrate her love of the botanical form in Cape Town.

I grew up in the 60's & 70's and fell in love with "Fiestaware"...remember them?..so colorful, heavy as hell, and though it was hard to break, it was fun to know you could always buy cheap replacements in different colors to add to my collection...these are far from "cheap", but well worth the artful rendition...plus for the "modern purest", white on white is available :D

Checkout their fabulous website: http://www.mustardseedandmoonshine.com/


OMG! my name is Ellen, and I'm a "Real Housewives of New York" junkie!

Just to preface this...my Tivo has been on the spritz for over a week because my cable company found another way to hold me ransom and squeeze more money out of us.

Finally had to give in if only to see BRAVO'S Real Housewives of New York...my favorite of the wives series...almost missed the Housewives' "vacay" in the Virgin Islands. ..OMG!

Several things seem to gel for me with this episode...a justified "public" resolution.... like finally making it into the room with the "portrait of Dorian Grey"....pulling off the cover to see the real character and soul of Dorian, NOT the beautiful public creature, BUT the monstrous being... (Jill will never look beautiful to me again).

There was a "curve ball"...the truly beautiful soul of Sonja who diffused the psychotic break of Kelly at the dinner table and made the rest of the group realize that Kelly was "broken" and she needed support and care NOT confrontation.

I found that in that one dinnertime... Sonja brought out what no one else had nurtured... what I had seen of all these women (Bethenny, Alex & Ramona), a loving supportive nature...resulting in a true concern for Kelly's well being.

Now in contrast, I see Luanna as question mark...maybe if you buff her real hard you might find a "sincere heart", BUT she still seems mismerized by her own title as "the countess".

With Jill I see the "publicity hound" that she claims Bethenny is.... and the wielding of her social power and need to be the center of attention as a dangerous trait. When Kelly accused Bethenny of daily attacking her & her children in the press, I felt a strong belief that Jill would be the more likely to generate hurtful gossip, she's been doing it since day one...she has been doing that with Alex & her children and when Kelly did the Playboy spread, it was Jill who made her opinions known.

Jill I think has found a kindred spirit in Luanna...both of them in awe of her "countess"-ship, and an attraction in their own narcisstic view of things...when they do something vile, they laugh it off & dismiss any kind of criticism, everything was meant as a joke...BUT GOD FORBID if anyone they feel is "beneath them" does the same, it is an unforgiveable SIN & they are bannished from their "world"... with the infamous words, "WE'RE DONE!"

On a last note...I find Jill's husband to be the best of all the husbands... so level-headed, gentle, loving & loyal...and another necessary note, Ramona's husband, Mario, is the SEXIEST, not only in looks but the way he loves his wife & daughter...and of course he could talk to me in Italian any where & anytime!!! :D


streetnoodles does "custom" :D

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My first "creative" custom order...

i really like getting custom orders, but it is so rare that you get a customer who gives you free rein with the design choices. i will say that she was patient and bought little things from me at first...then convoed me about adjusting a bracelet to fit her... than more small purchases...and finally this >>> a fantasy, bridal necklace for her winter wedding...how "cool" is that! hope she likes it...i just shipped it out today!


Chana Bean at Etsy.com

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Chana Bean... mysterious & pinch of surreal

I'm quite sure she is better know in her country of Japan... BUT here, i hope her name will become more familiar to us all...NATSUO IKEGAMI

I saw her artwork shown in a group presentation of the Etsy Japan Team and I was awestruck ever since. it reminded me of something...

when i was a young girl my father subscribed to the "New Yorker"magazine...not sure why, since he couldn't speak or read english (or so he said)...tho I suspect he knew some, being the "intellectual" that he was. I use to like the little cartoon-like illustrations that had no captions... they seemed to have a "secret" joke or view that was meant to be mulled over in my head that always "filled me"... with the "secret" answer, or a controversial view, or a confusion of thoughts & ideas I hadn't contemplated before.

As she says in her profile, her art work is mysterious, inspired by experiences in daily life & contains a hint of surrealism. Her Etsy shop is beautiful BUT if you want to spend some inspiring time looking at a chronological journey thru her world, go to: http://www.little-planet.org
here you will see the more professional artist... resume, galleries, past & present shows and, more importantly, see the progression of her drawings & paintings.

More sites: http://www.flickr.com/photos/natsuo & http://www.japanfocusetsy.blogspot.com

Wilde Moon at Etsy. com

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Wilde Designs...art, crafts, designs & geekiness

Wilde Moon or Wilde Designs... one in the same, or maybe a prophecy of more things to come??

Wilde has been interested in crafting & jewelry since she was a little girl...now she's all grown up & is a graphic designer, sharing her work & joy thru the internet & her Etsy shop.

Here are just some of her other links you might be interested in:



what drew me to Wilde Moon's site was her hystrical "CSI-like" depiction of the Barbie Murders...which i wish i could have included more pics of...BUT what can you do with a 30 second FREE video :D


Balanced at Etsy.com

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Balanced...handmade beaded jewellery from Dublin, Ireland

Rachel created a handmade jewellery shop inspired by nature, women, and her surroundings....and what more inspirational ancient land than Ireland. She is originally from Northern California, and found her "road less traveled" with her husband & baby, ginger cat :D

Please checkout her Etsy shop, her website/blog, and her other venue (in Australia), Robin Street Market.


Between May 10th-16th, Rachel will offer 20% off anything in her Etsy shop (excluding shipping)....just use the code "streetnoodles" at checkout.

Mother's Day Thought...

As I look back and remember the most important woman in my life…my mom, I’m shocked to see that I share more general characteristics with my dad when I was younger…artistic, moody, and wearing my “angst” on my sleeve at all times.

As I’ve grown & lived in the “real world”, my life seems steered by my maternal side….the planner, the worrier, the “what-will-people-think-of-me” person. Afraid to follow my dreams because that would be selfish, or too afraid to fail, or even too afraid to try.

Now finally my turn, though a bit late, finding the “Age of ME”. Finding out that the classic “break-up” line…”if you love her set her free” really is a east-meets- west philosophy of “letting go” of everything & having the faith that everything will come back to you stronger.

I still feel my mom’s presence in our family home…still at times hear her footsteps going down the hall checking in all the bedrooms making sure we’re all alright. I hope she made time to find herself.

Crist Pottery at Etsy.com

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Crist Pottery...handbuilt pottery

The styling of Beverly Crist's handbuilt ceramic pottery has been a long time in the making. Always making art since early childhood, she got her B.A. & B.F.A. degrees from Florida universities and wherever she lived she always had a ceramic studio practice...in Florida, Texas, California & Germany.

She's been published in numerous ceramic/art books & magazines, as well as, had commissioned art work in Florida & California.

Not letting the moss grow under her feet, she also has been active in professional guilds & associations as an exhibiting member, instructor & board member.

Her work has been on display in several TV shows as well as a guest segment for HGTV's "That's Clever".

A couple of future gigs for Beverly is an impressive entry in a published ceramic/art book coming out in the Fall... "500 Vases". She'll also be in the ACGA Clay & Glass Festival, July 10th & 11th in Palo Alto. Come up and support her there & at her etsy shop.


Leeya Engel at Etsy.com

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Leeya Engel...uniquely handcrafted jewelry

I saw Leeya in the Etsy forum, talking about her blog, asking others to join in on sharing their own on the "thread". I was so impressed with her Etsy shop and blogsite, that I immediately asked her if I could do this entry on her & her shop (see slide show above).

Leeya has been creative for a very long time...let's just say that crayons were involved :D ... and as soon as the concept of money crept into her life she spent all her "birthday money" at the bead shop.

She grew up in Manhattan and 5 years ago moved to Israel. Recently completed her B.Sc. in Physics and now lives with her husband in sunny city of Modi'in, Israel; pursuing her Masters in Materials Science & Nanotechnology.

Her life has truly been math/ science juxtaposed with crafts/ visual arts... creating a wonderful dynamic.

* member of the Etsy IsraelTeam
* http://leeyaengel.blogspot.com
* http://twitter.com/LeeyaEngel
* jewelry created in Pet Free & Smoke Free environment

HELP! ...I Need Inspiration! ... (a contest?)

Have you ever just hit a wall ... losing all sense of creativity... getting a little depressed everyday that you can't express yourself with writing in your blog, your journal, going to your studio area and getting lost in your projects.

If you noticed I did a hell of a lot of slide videos for other people recently...animoto.com must have gotten pissed I took advantage of their "FREE" video setups :( ...BUT I was very happy to help promote others especially when I hadn't created anything in weeks.

But I feel the juices flowing again (slowly, but surely)... and I want to nurture it BUT I need your help.....I also want to keep promoting other artists, as well as having inspirational entries to help my readers...SO I PROPOSE AN ON-GOING CONTEST...

Open to anyone visiting or following my blog... IF you have any favorite websites, blogs, pictures (your pics, with permission to use them), movie critiques, your own writings, favorite TV show, recent art show you've been to, a group you belong to (book club, girl's lunch out)....ANYTHING & EVERYTHING that YOU find inspirational in someway.

Please write a brief proposal for your inspiration.... with a way to contact you...I'll contact you for more details...and IF your "inspiration" is choosen, I'll send you a free jewelry gift from my studio...and place it in my blog with full credit to you. This I feel should be an on-going contest... to give everyone time to think of things that really inspire you in small & big ways.