Archive | January, 2012

Candy Apple Crafts: Featured Artisan

13 Jan

Studio name: Candy Apple Crafts blog:


When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
I believe crafting has always been part of my life. My earliest memory is of making a card for my mother when she was in the hospital after my sister was born. I was 2 at
the time. Of course, dad was helping me a lot! Later on, crafting became a
necessity. Throughout my school years, I couldn’t afford to give many gifts to
friends and relatives, until I discovered I could make them something from what
I had. I was inspired in part by Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “The Long
Winter,” in which she and her sister made all of their Christmas gifts from
scraps and things they found around the house, because they were snowed in.

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
I have a lot of favorite crafts that I’ve picked up over the years, and I’m always trying new things. The things I keep returning to are Christmas ornaments, hand-embroidery, and printmaking. I started making Christmas ornaments over fifteen years ago, and I learned hand-embroidery around that time as well. The printmaking started about six years ago in college. They all started with kits and have progressed
to patterns and designs I make up myself.

What are your crafting influences?

Well, like I said, Laura Ingalls Wilder inspired me when I was a young girl
reading her books. I also had help from an aunt who was an art teacher, and my
mother. The two of them made most of the ornaments on my family Christmas tree.
My granddad (their father) never knew a craft he wouldn’t try. He was a skilled
stonemason, but he was always tinkering with wood and other materials in his
shop. He even helped me make some beadwoven keychains once for Christmas gifts.
Moving a little farther afield, I guess certain eras in history influence my
work. I love the 30s, 40s, and 50s in terms of the color and the mood of the
era. So many people went through hard times in those decades, and yet my overall
impression is that they remained cheerful and eternally resourceful. They knew
how to hang on and still find joy in little things. That was my grandparent’s
generation. I want to be like that in my own life and art.

Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
Well, I guess I’ve already answered that question, lol! My mother and sister are always ready to step in and help me out if they are around. I can bounce ideas off them and get tips if I’m struggling with a design problem. They both have no patience for hand-embroidery, though! They claim it makes them nervous. I’m the only one who does prints.

What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
There was a craft fair at my dad’s office and I’ve entered it in the past. I didn’t get
much attention, there, though. Besides that, my Christmas ornaments are on more
than one family Christmas tree, and my embroidery is hanging on quite a few
people’s walls, as well. My prints made it into the juried student art show at
college all three years I entered them.
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I am a published author and run a Christian informational blog that is slowly drawing attention. I am working on a novel series, but I haven’t gotten it ready to send to the publishers yet. Besides that, I’m dating a guy from southern India. My life is pretty full!
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
Hmm. They are all my favorites in different ways. I really love the embroidery I did of the Japanese flowering plum tree in my front yard. It turned out true to life, which was my goal–like painting with embroidery thread. On the other hand, some of my
favorite pieces overall are my elves and mice ornaments. They have so much
character, and I did put a lot of detail into the patterns. Maybe my favorite,
favorite piece is the Art Nouveau lilies monotype print I made for my parents
bedroom. I don’t have a photo of it to share. It is two layers of ink, with a
persimmon orange geometric background, and a sheer light green overlayer with
the lilies removed from the ink (to let the background show through). I then
went in with some darker green pencil to reinforce fainter lines. I feel like it
turned out beautifully, and wish I had the facilities to do more like that.

Why did you make that piece?
Well, it was a gift (story of my crafting exploits, lol). I also was required to make twenty monotype prints for my final in a printmaking class I was taking in college at the time. It was doing double-duty as an assignment and a Christmas gift.
What does it take to create pieces like that?
Whether we are talking about Christmas ornaments, embroidery, or prints, it takes the same kind of creativity. First you think of something you saw and loved, then you imagine having something like that, and then you use the materials you have to assemble it. There are lots of little tweaks and changes made along the way to get things to work out, and sometimes the end product is different from your vision. Usually it’s better.

What is special about your pieces?

With only a few exceptions now, the idea, pattern, and execution is all me. I know everything that went into the piece and how long it took. You probably will never find something quite like my pieces elsewhere, because I design them myself and make them myself. They are all unique and I think fairly avaunt-guard. Also, since each one is handmade, there are small variations from piece to piece that makes each thing unique. Even if you order part of a series, you will have the only one that looks precisely like that.
What makes this kind of craft “good\” to you?
It is all very relaxing for me after a long day of writing and other work. I also find the creative impulse that powers my crafts is great for inspiring my writing. I always figure out a problem in my writing when I sit down to make something with my hands. I guess you could say it helps me think in colorful and inventive ways.


The Singing Beader: Featured Artisan

6 Jan

The Singing Beader

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

The Singing Beader began
creating in April,2009, then started selling on-line in June, 2009.

What are your crafting influences?

My mom and dad were both good with their hands. My dad was a wood pattern maker and my mom sewed a lot of our clothes. I used to sew, knit and crochet before jewelry crafting.
Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?

I’m not sure if anyone else in my extended family makes jewelry, but my immediate family does not do any crafting.
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?

Besides craft fairs, I have a display of jewelry at my local hair salon. I often sell earrings there. My sister has a cottage at a Lake Erie resort community and I occasionally set up a table and sell there, too.


What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?

The Singing Beader loves to sing and make recordings. I have learned how to use recording software to mix music with my voice and add all kinds of neat effects. I post my songs on singing websites and have many listening fans. I love rock music, but I also enjoy singing 60’s girl group songs. Here’s a link to my singing page
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?

There are many favorites, but I’d have to say my Amazonite gemstone necklace, bracelet and earring set. This gemstone is so gorgeous. The stones are so smooth and glossy; they feel so good to the touch.
Why did you make that piece?

I had made several others with the same style and many sold. A friend of mine bought three of them. Each one was made with different gemstones.
What does it take to create pieces like that?

Imagination. Most of the time, I just get an image in my head what I want
to make and what I want it to look like. I rarely use beading patterns or
instructions. This is probably why I always end up with left over gemstones.:)

What is special about your pieces?

Variety and quality. When I first started making jewelry, I was buying gemstones at local craft stores. I learned that the quality wasn’t very good. Now, I buy from either on-line suppliers or gem shows. I love going to gem shows! I also use extra findings in my beaded jewelry, like wire guardian protectors and crimp covers. These findings add a professional finished look. You can also find a lot of variety in my studio,
including a section for music instrument jewelry, featuring music instrument
charm necklaces.

What makes this kind of craft “good” to you?

It’s addicting, but addicting in a good way. It’s relaxing, too. I also lost weight
when I started making jewelry. You can’t do it and eat at the same time. But,
you can sing and make jewelry at the same time. Here is a link to the Amazonite
Gemstone Necklace Set

Quote of the day: Temptation

3 Jan

“There is not any memory with less satisfaction than the memory of some temptation we resisted.”

James Branch Cabell (1879 – 1958)

As we enter into the new year, I see many people talking about changing their lives and how hard it will be to resist temptation to hold to those new changes. I see this with people wanting to get into better shape and how hard the temptation to just stay home and watch a new movie instead of heading out for that workout when it is pouring down rain or really cold. I see this with people wishing to lose weight (we do we want to lose weight anyway? I don’t care what that scale says as long as my body FAT levels are going the direction I need) and having to pass up that forbidden food at the company parties or out on a date or even at home when others in the house still want said item to be on hand. Last year when I went gluten-free people wanted to know how could I possibly pass up things like Pizza or bread and my answer was as first that I did miss these items but when my throat swells shut due to wheat and my digestive track and body as a whole can not handle gluten it becomes easy to pass on these things because all of a sudden you feel better than ever in your life. I see most positive life changes in the way that they may be challenging for the first few weeks but then they should be EASY as you feel better physically, emotionally, or spiritually. If you don’t then you might want to take a step back and evaluate if those changes are really for your betterment and not just something that someone says you should do… the one exception to this may be if your physician recommends that change.

Bead Shows and all that fun!

2 Jan


Ever wonder where people find the best stones, gems, tools, and goodies for making amazing pieces of jewelry for a reasonable price? Tammy and I wonder about these things as well. We LOVE creating with some of the BEST quality stones and while we try to find the best deals to pass on to you, sometimes we score and others we find the best pieces but not at the best prices. It happens. The last time we went to what is called a “trunk show” I have to say, we more than scored and you have been seeing some of the stunning pieces we picked up in our creations that have been making it to our Site such as the amber in this pair of earrings:

These will be making their way onto our Artfire page on January 21st so keep an eye out for them with the matching bracelet and Goddess Necklace. Tammy has several pieces that she is working on at this slower time and I will share those as she gets them online as they are just so striking that I can hardly wait.


Now where did we find this trunk show? We had a tip from another artisan just before it hit town… Other times we look at listings for our local show spots to see if there might be anything that we could be interested. That is how we found “The Gem Show” and a few others this past year. Look on the web pages for places you like getting supplies from and see if they will be coming to a town near you in the future or shoot them an email. Also talk with other artisans and SHARE information. We all make different things and we really can help each other grow in fabulous ways.

Our New Year

1 Jan

Tammy and I were invited to a New Year party here in the Milwaukie area and although neither of us tend to; drink, party, or stay up late we decided to go and enjoy the company of old and new friends. It turned out to be a lot of fun with; live music, a live band, and amazing food. With the turning of the wheel we have both been looking at living a more Paleolithic lifestyle in the ways of food, socialization, and physical activity. Tina officially started this transition back in October with amazing results and Tammy has been slowly working in the same direction because she has been finding she is feeling better with this. Anyway, we brought for the potluck table some simple yet yummy food; paleo fudge brownies, dates stuffed with italian sausage and wrapped in bacon, and finally the best stinkin’ deviled eggs (we take the yolk and mix with just fresh stone ground mustard and a much of garlic chili rooster sauce) that were just hot enough to give that devil the what-fore. All in all even though we called it an early night we still had a blast and look forward to what 2012 brings even if we do not make resolutions but just continue to work on ourselves as well as or business. How was your new year?