Friday, June 25, 2010

Summertime With the Alberta Street Team

All the items in this shop have one thing
in common, they are all handmade in Alberta. A wide variety of items from very creative and talented people that have formed a team to support each other and promote the work that goes into running a shop on Etsy.

BarefootClips always delights with her fresh and bright photos. If you're looking for a wonderful hair accessory or an adorable pair of baby leg warmers, look no further.

SimplyTempted is a delicious shop that is overflowing with bath bombs, body creams and parfaits, handmade soaps and many other sinfully indulgent items that would make fantastic gifts for anyone, especially yourself.

Annakozi features wonderful, elegant earrings and these fantastic and versatile leather flower accessories, that could be worn as a brooch, hairclip or attached to any bag to change things up a bit.

Then we have DollfaceDeville, our very own Etsy model, whose face and items have made the front page more times than I can count. Her shop is filled with wonderful crocheted items as well as beautiful jewelry.

The very cleverly named LittleBowTeek carries wonderful hair accessories and pacifier clips in her shop. With over 100 items in the store, you're bound to find that perfect something.

Cindylouwho2 runs a magnificent shop filled with jewelry created with paua abalone sea shell, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls and sea glass. A stunning assortment of choices, with photos that always make it easy to include in a treasury.

Do yourself a favour and visit Bluefuze. This shop is filled with some of the most stunning fine art, including drawings, paintings, digital paintings and mixed media works. I promise you, you'll be impressed, especially if you have ever tried any of these mediums.

TheMegShop offers a wonderful selection of jewelry. Earrings, necklaces, bracelets and bangles all come in a wonderful, unique assortment of styles.

Asecondtime specializes in steampunk and hanforged silver jewelry. Nearly 300 beautiful and unique pieces fill this wonderful shop. Pour yourself a drink and enjoy the detail that goes into each of these one-of-a-kind items.

Help out a critter and do some shopping at TwoStrayCats. This generous shop owner donates a portion of every sale to help out our animal friends. I can personally vouch for the quality coming out of this shop.

FPwear combines whimsy and comfort to create unique items. Baby booties, quilts, notecards and more are all here for you to chose from.

Looking for a unique decoration for you home? Look no further than Kidsloveletters. Fabric-covered wooden letters are available in a huge variety, and are actually only limited by your own imagination, as custom orders are more than welcome here.

Unique rings, bracelets and necklaces are a few of the unique handmade pieces you'll find in Frogprincessdesigns ' shop. From everyday to bridal, you're sure to find something you'll love.

You'll find only stunning, heartfelt jewelry creations in a little shop called Tinged. Today jewelry, tomorrow...who knows? Keep your eye on this shop, the owner is very likely to surprise you.

FarrenSquare runs a unique and diverse shop specializing in wonderful handmade journals and notebooks. Take a peek, there a few fun surprises here too.

I love the clever names this team has come up with and here is yet another - OffTheHooks is a wonderful shop centered around fiber. The handspun and handpainted yarns are beautiful as are the accessories created from them. Enjoy this wonderful shop and get some of your Christmas shopping out of the way early.

There are many, many other beautiful shops on this team, all with wonderful people behind them. Keep an eye on this blog, as I feature more wonderful creations from not only Alberta, but from across Canada and who else knows where. For a complete list of Etsians from Alberta visit the Etsy Alberta Street Team Blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Something Different

This blue and white cabochon reminds me of a perfect summer's day, bright blue with just a few wisps of clouds. I don't enjoy a cloudless sky. Clouds give the sky form, texture and interest. Without at least a few clouds, I would describe the sky as lifeless.
I originally thought I would wrap this piece in silver, but decided on copper for its earthiness. Green, being the other dominant colour of our planet, seemed to be the logical choice for accent beads. I actually did try several other colours and bead styles, but I kept coming back to these Swarovski emerald beauties.
As a beginner at the art of wire wrapping, I am, so far, quite pleased with what I have created. I am still in awe of how many wire artists do what they do. So I will continue to read and try out new ideas, hopefully finding my own style with this wonderful medium.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Fascination

I've always been drawn to pottery. Anytime I go to a farmer's market or craft show, I look for the pottery stands. I almost always walk away with another blue piece for my collection. Over the past 13 years, I've collected mugs, bowls, vases, planters, platters, casseroles, and I even have a gorgeous bundt pan. Recently, I took a pottery class, and gained a very healthy respect for the art. I can now really appreciate just how much time and practice it took to be able to create that beautiful tea pot, or carve those perfect celtic knots. My goal was to create a large vase, like the one in this collection. I didn't come anywhere close. I did manage to come out of the class with with several usable and enjoyable pieces however, most of them blue. I was encouraged to try experiment with other colours, and I did, but those pieces have become gifts for friends.
Pottery is limited only by ones imagination, and while I favoured the wheel, others in the class created stunning hand molded plates, platters, bowls, beads, and little statues. I didn't think to create a pendant or a brooch, but what a wonderful idea. I'll definitely be looking for another class to take in the future, and taking all of these wonderful ideas along for inspiration. In the meantime, I'll continue to browse through Etsy until I come across the piece(s) that I just simply cannot live without, and continue to build my collection. That shouldn't be difficult.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Summer Picnic

As Canadians, we seem to wait forever for our summers. We imagine ourselves doing all sorts of wonderful things when that beautiful weather finally arrives. When it does, however, we often find ourselves busy, too busy to enjoy any of that rare 25 degree weather.
We're off to our regular jobs, hauling our kids to their summer activities, taking advantage of good driving conditions to visit distant family and numerous other duties, that seem to swallow our summers whole leaving us wondering where the time went. In the past, this has left me wondering if I really had a summer at all.
This year, I truly intend to slow things down a bit. We have already started to eat outdoors more, and I am planning meals that don't leave me cleaning the kitchen for hours afterward. I am simplifying, and storing my hobbies away until the winter inevitably comes again. If it cannot be enjoyed on the deck, or taken in the camper, then it is being lovingly stored away for now. Picnic supplies are at the ready, just add a few bites to eat, a couple of drinks, and off we go. "Meet us at the park Honey, the kids are on the beach, and we'll eat when you get here." That is something I'll be saying a lot this summer. I encourage everyone to slow down, really soak up these next couple of months and store up some extra 'Vitamin Happy' to get you through that long Canadian winter that makes us appreciate our summers so much.
Need a few supplies to make the summer more enjoyable? Take a few minutes to browse through Etsy, and trust to the wonderful shops, and the mail to get it to you. Why not just go down to the local Wal-Mart? Simple, because this shopping can be done on the deck with an iced-tea, and you'll find far more selection and tons of unique and wonderful items. Just look at all the fantastic items I found and put together in this treasury, and it only took me a few minutes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grandma's Bread

It does not matter how many times I do the simple task of baking bread, it is always a very satisfying experience. From the time the ingredients come together to form the perfect dough, to the moment I'm buttering up that wonderful crust, I find myself very pleased with the entire process. Every time I knead the dough, I remember my Grandma in her kitchen. I would sit and watch her work that dough until it was perfect and when she was shaping the buns, she would always give me a playful smack on the cheek with the dough. And then I waited, and waited until it had baked and cooled enough to cut into. That slightly warm, freshly buttered crust, pleased like nothing else could, and still does today. I miss the company though, and I can never seem to get my bread the same as Grandma's. Have you ever noticed that wine tastes better with a good friend? Perhaps it's the same with bread.

I've shared this post over at Stephanie's beautiful blog for Roses of Inspiration.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sage and Ivory

Today I am recovering from a sunburn accomplished while gardening the entire day away yesterday. Today is a bit chilly and so I have been mostly indoors and thinking a lot about my little sister and her wedding that will be happening in just under 3 weeks. So with the washer and dryer running and the bread rising in the oven, I had some time to create this lovely treasury in honour of the event. Her colours, as you can well guess, are sage and ivory, and in my opinion, a stunning choice. Timeless, elegant and romantic are words that come to mind when I see this colour combination. Of course, as is our nature, we are doing everything ourselves for the occasion. My baby sister is doing the majority of the flowers, and I'll finish them. I did the invitations, and will also do the thank-yous. We are doing all the decorations, including the cake, which I will be creating. My sister has done much of the food already, and is leaving just a few important details to the caterer. We really did try to figure out a way to get around supper without a caterer, but then the most important people in her life would be too busy to enjoy themselves at the wedding, so this is the one splurge we allowed ourselves. Regardless of all the crazy goings on at these large family gatherings, I am truly looking forward to this event. The laughter, the tears, the chaos, all add up to one big roller coaster ride for the senses, and something for my sister and I to talk about on the phone every morning for a long time to come. Not that we really need anything to talk about, that phone line will be busy regardless.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Copper Wrapped Turquoise

I've attempted this several times, attempted and failed to create something I liked. Finally I have something worth listing in my Etsy shop. I really like to try and figure out things on my own, but sometimes it is definitely worth taking some advice from an expert. For myself, wire wrapping was one of those things that I couldn't just look at and figure out on my own. I really had to do some serious studying. I borrowed several books, by several different authors, and I just wasn't 'getting it. And then it came to me, the right book, an author that spoke in a way I understood. So, I grabbed a nice stone, and my favorite wire, copper, and began the process. I'm not usually one to create a project out of a book. I take the basic principles and apply them to what I have on hand. No where in this book was there a free form piece of turquoise wrapped in copper wire. As a matter of fact, the process I used to create this pendant was used to create a ring in the book. So, now that I have a new basic skill, I have a million ideas to use it with. Realistically, many of my ideas are still way beyond my skill level, but I'll get there. Either by finding my own way, or by finding a suitable teacher to set me in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Copper and Emerald Bib Necklace

Here is something a little different from me. I am still playing with wire, just trying to branch out a little bit. Oddly enough, the design for this bib necklace came to me while I was folding the laundry. I guess doing such a mundane task has the benefit of clearing the mind well enough to let some inspiration through. I've always loved the colour combination of copper and emerald. For me, this necklace feels romantic, yet classic. It is quite a formal piece, and did look quite out of place when I put it on with my t-shirt. I've also wrapped a stone in copper wire to create a pendant, and I created a cuff bracelet that has pearls set into it. These were just practice pieces and didn't turn out quite well enough to add to my shop, but, I definitely learned a lot from doing them. I'm still trying to find my style with this medium, and will have to play around quite a bit more to find it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pottery Class

To get out of the house, meet new people, and of course to learn something new, a couple of friends and I decided to join a pottery club. I came out with a lot of different pieces, some hand molded, but mostly I worked on the wheel. Out of all the pieces, these are my favorite, not necessarily for what they are, but because of how the glaze turned out. I never put much thought into the glazing. This part of the pottery process was very random and experimental for me. These little bowls were dipped entirely in a clear glaze, and then 'rimmed' in a blue. The blue glaze ran down the inside and out, creating this wonderful, organic look. Now seeing as how I don't usually use dipping bowls in my kitchen, I think I well move these to my crafting space where they will become bead organizing bowls instead. This way, I will get a lot more enjoyment out of them.