Monday, March 22, 2010

Hunting Easter Items!

Still I can recall the love and creativity my mom placed in making my Easter basket when I was a child. While I did not appreciate the time she spent intricately placing items for the best viewpoints then, I do now. We lived in the country, so for us, Easter was a time of a fabulous lamb dinner (the only time during the year I recall that we had lamb) and other delicious food and spending time together. I still enjoy coloring eggs and making a big breakfast Easter morning to be complete in time for watching Disney's Easter parade. This year, I did not have the chance to create something special for Easter, but my fellow artisans have certainly been busy doing just that. Here are my picks for the Easter season. Hope you like them!

Is your young at heart recipient a dog lover? How about giving Lilly the Bunny Dog a new home, no need for piddle pads or walks for this one....better watch out for your carrots though.

I love this intricately hand scratched real Lithuanian Easter Egg. This item description is a must read, so much delicate work has gone into this item, it would be a lovely decoration in any setting.

Here is the cutest pair of ducklings for your home, one duckling and one almost there duckling.

Want to have something different in your little one's basket instead of the traditional stuffed bunny, why not this adorable Easter stuffed rag doll, this is one that will be cherished throughout the years.

Okay, are you making a basket for an older loved one? Well, here is a funky glove bunny that is sure to put a smile on anyone's face. Yes, Glove bunny, this bunny was crafted from a glove, how cool is that!

Here is a Easter ornament or basket tag that is personalized to add that extra touch.

Here is a lovely birthstone angel necklace that would make a lovely gift for a basket.

I found this awesome video for those of love the idea of having a "green" basket and it is by an Etsy artist! This is a wonderful idea instead of going to buy a basket just to use for one day. This would be fun to make with your little one as well and is exactly what I plan on doing this year. It will give me a way to utilize some of my scrap material, get my GD involved in something crafty, which she loves doing, and hey, maybe give me an excuse to get a new pair of shoes!!! Woo-Hoo!! What's that....I already have enough of those in my closet...sigh, okay. Happy Easter everyone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Inspirations from Ireland

Happy Saint Patrick's Day dear friends. Today, in celebration of all things Irish I wanted to feature a fellow artisan from Ireland and during my search I had the luck of the Irish by meeting Iris whose shop Iris O' Connor is a sight to behold. Below, please enjoy some of Iris' works and our interview:

1. Tell me a little about yourself:

I was born in Germany but came to live in Ireland in 1987. After living in Dublin inner city for about a year I decided it was just too noisy and crowded for my liking so I moved to Dun Laoghaire which is a beautiful little seaside town just a few miles outside Dublin.
I am married to Mr. O’Connor and we – including Mouse the Cat – live about 3 minutes away from the harbour and we love it here!
It is only natural that I go for daily walks and more often than not I will collect sea glass and seashells which then end up in my shop.
I do work part-time in a second hand bookshop, which is absolutely wonderful as I am an avid reader and I can borrow books from the shop which means I look at the bookshop as my own personal library.

If you want to see a few pics about me and the bookshop:

2. How long have you been crafting?

I think forever.
There isn’t really a point in time I could pick out and say: ‘this is when I started crafting’
And of course it was part of school life as well.
But I was about 10 years old when my love affair with pebbles began. It started at a riverbed in Austria where I picked up a big granite stone, beautifully shaped, with black, gray and green specks of colours which was lovingly varnished to give it that ‘wet’ look that makes the colours look stronger.
I still do a lot of work with pebbles as you can see in my flickr but unfortunately the pieces are too heavy to sell on Etsy.

3. What are your inspirations and for your Irish Street Sign Collage, what draws you to a particular sign?

It’s usually colour that gets my creative juices flowing and a vague idea what I would like to create.
I usually start by cutting out a shape and applying the base coat to it. After that it is trying not to force my idea onto the MDF or paint but to let the creative process take over and usually what comes out at the end of the process is very different from the initial idea.

I love photography and I love the fact that Irish street signs are in both English and Irish. As I do a lot of collages I tend to use some of my own photographs and it just struck me one day that maybe someone out there might like a digital download of the street signs. That’s all. I have no plans to go into digital downloads, the street signs are the only digital file I have for sale in my shop.
Having said that, I do have a lot of digital images sitting on my computer …..

4. What goals/plans do you have for your shop in the near future?

Right now I am working really hard on building up some serious Ballinasnoot real estate. My aim is to have at least 5 pages of houses in the shop to give customers a good choice.
Have a few different designs and maybe use a bit more paper instead of paint. Different house sizes, that sort of thing.
I really need to experiment a bit. Apart from that I am working on some bigger pieces which I want to have in a gallery. Selling in a B&M store or even in a market is a great experience and quite different from on-line selling, so I’m looking forward to some feedback from that...
And of course have the houses and some of my other collages for sale on my blog.
I really need to spread myself out a bit more.

And then there is my photography. I really got back into it last year and I’m thinking about offering prints some time in the future. But that won’t be in the near future….I think…

5. What is your favorite item in your shop and why?

I honestly don’t have a favourite item in my shop because everything you see in there started out as something I made for myself and only after I run out of wall space do I list the items in my Etsy shop.
But I have to say that at the moment I am really taken with my Ballinasnoot Houses.

I have always loved painting houses and those particular ones have evolved from houses painted on MDF to being Real Estate in a fictional Irish village.

Even how the story of Ballinasnoot came about is somehow typical irish: in my local
Of course I had the idea of a village before that but I wanted some input from my friends and over a few pints of Guinness one night we made great progress into the write-up of it all. Even the owner of the pub got involved and between the lads there was lots of ‘no, you can’t put that in ‘cause we don’t have that here in Ireland’ and ‘ well now, if you want to mention a traditional roof you better have a thatched one on your houses’ to ‘how about some historical background’
It was great fun and although the story is in itself fixed I still add a few bits or change something with every new house I list. I suppose Ballinasnoot will evolve naturally, just like any other (real) town here in Ireland.

As you can see, Iris is a wonderfully talented artist who has a lot to share and a genuine warmth about her. Hopefully you will take the time to visit her shop, blog, or look through her works on Flicker, it will be time enjoyably spent. Have a wonderful Saint Patrick's Day until next time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Reflections from a Non-techy Childhood

While out for my daily walk this morning, I was thinking about the DVD release of Disney's Princess and the Frog and how excited my GD was to watch the movie again and add it to her ever-growing collection. I thought of how lovely the animation was and how lively the songs were and it made me think of what I used to enjoy watching when I was her Show N Tell recorder, it had a filmstrip with a 45 record with the corresponding story on one side and a neat song on the flip side. In a dark room, the Show N Tell was the bomb, well, for me anyway, couldn't quite grasp why mom and dad did not find it as entrancing. Now, we have Alice In Wonderland in 3D with surround sound..

I remember before our microwave we had popcorn in a dome popper that you put pieces of butter in the lidded top to "melt" onto the popping kernals, yummy stuff, but then something even better came around!! Jiffy Pop!! Oh yeah!! There was excitement just watching it expand on the stove and you actually got an upper body workout with all the manual shaking over the burner. Now, we have the microwave, not as fun, just quicker,,,,,okay, maybe tastes better too with more flavors and we can get it light as well, but really, we were not worried about "diet foods" back then, just your basic 4 food groups.

I recall having the 3 main stations and PBS when I was a kid, not many choices right, so we all sat together to watch TV, now, there are 100s of stations and everyone scurries off to their corners to watch what they want, and since it is now 24 hours a day, there is always something on, no more need of the board games I used to play as a child now, kids probably refer to them as "bored games" behind our backs now folks since most pale in the "excitement" factor compared to today's X-Boxes, Playstations, Wii, Leapsters, and the multitude of other attention grabbers that are out there.

Now, I am knocking the advancement of technology, I am the first one to go nuts if I leave my cell phone at home, even though I spent the first 20+ years of my life not even thinking of having one, or my computer which is my livelihood as well as provider of information and entertainment, or my microwave which can fix me a meal in 3 minutes. However, I do miss some of the simpler enjoyments that did not revolve around something electronic, maybe that is why I still continue to read books daily, not Kindle or something on the computer, but a nice book, both to myself and to my GD. What will the next 20 years bring? I cannot imagine, but I am certain that I will be able to look back to today and find things I will be missing from the 20-teens.

Enjoy your day and take a look at a snippet of what caused all of these reflections.

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