Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blueberries and Cream Cookies


I admit, I watch Martha Stewart while eating lunch, and/or working on jewelry. I just finished watching a segment on Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. If ever I make it back to New York I hope to visit this quirky little bakery. They create odd and interesting sweets such as cereal flavored milks, "crack" pie, a chess pie so good you can't stop eating it, and crazy cookies. The pastry chef and Martha created these Blueberries and Cream cookies that looked and sounded so delicious. They would certainly be for a special occasion as they require multiple steps and and some unusual ingredients. However, they looked well worth the trouble! Thanks Martha.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Etsy Metal New Release Thursday

Thursday is here again already, almost over in fact. I just finished and listed this new Eyelet Lace Opal ring for Etsy Metal's new release Thursday. Each week as I add new designs on Thursdays I will be offering free shipping on those new pieces. I still have free shipping on my new work from last week as well, so take advantage while it lasts!

For other Etsy Metal members new work see this etsy forum thread.

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This made me happy



My mom shared this video in an email and it made me happy. I thought I would share it with you.


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How flattering


I just found this through the Etsy Front Pagers group on flickr. They are so great! I don't know how I missed this, but I was featured on the front page last week. The selections were part of shop live with Lucky Magazine. How cool is that?! Here is the article in the storque.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Look what came in the mail

I did a trade with my friend Alicia Istanbul (what a great name by the way) of Istanbul Designs. My new earrings arrived yesterday and are so lovely! I feel very elegant and regal wearing them. Look how lovely those faceted apatite beads are. The color couldn't be more perfect for me. Thanks Alicia!


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Etsy Front Page and Gift Guides


I just reintroduced my Heart ring for Valentines. What a surprise to find it on the front page of etsy just now, as well as in their gift guides!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Baby blanket beginings


Baby Fry blanket
Originally uploaded by ashleyjewelry
I got started, and am really loving this! I am using the Chevron II stitch from Basic Crochet Stitches book. I love the color combinations that the random stripes allow me to create.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Etsy Storque Feature

My Bubble Earrings got featured! Here is the article.
The discount is good through today, but I have a great ongoing sale section, as well as some new work with free shipping!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm so excited!

I am about to start making my first baby blanket. I have had the plans in my head, but my friend just found out she is having a girl. I could have gone unisex, but wanted to incorporate pink if it was a girl. I am going to use the Lion Brand Natures Choice Organic Cotton that I used on my shrug. I will use every color that it comes in. I love the yarn and it is super soft, perfect for a baby blanket.
I have been playing with the random stripe generator to get ideas for color combinations. It is really addictive, unfortuntely, but really handy too.
How will I ever decide? Most likely I will just start and do random stripes. Perhaps I will use one of these as a guide.
I am reminded of my Granny who crocheted baby blankets for everyone that she knew who had a baby. She was always making something.
So exciting!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I finished my shrug!

I finished my shrug and I love it! Love the yarn, love the pattern, love the results. I used five skeins of Lion brand organic cotton. This pattern really lives up to its name: Easy Shrug! It really is easy and a great beginner project. This could be made out of any weight of yarn as you can just follow the measurements instead of counting rows and stitches. I am really proud of myself as I just learned to crochet over Thanksgiving. The pattern is from the book Positively Crochet.
By the way, I'm on Ravelry now, so come over and say hi if you are a member too.

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Yummy Dinner

This is how we do it
I made Chicken Chili last night and it was one of the best meals I have had lately! Really yummy, in fact my mouth is watering right now as I think about eating leftovers for lunch. So freakin good. Here is the recipe.
It is a crockpot recipe, but I did it on the stove top. I simmered for a little over an hour. I used chicken, and left out the garbanzo beans. The chili powder that we had was a little smoky and must have chipotle in it. I topped with some shredded colby jack and Frank made the cornbread to go with it. You could leave out the meat to make it veggie too. Really easy, and really great!

Etsy Metal New Release Thursday

All of these pieces are brand new and will be going in my Etsy shop starting today. Check this etsy forum thread for other participating members. I hope you are as excited about my new pieces as I am!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Acknowledge and Celebrate

I have finally completed my Acknowledge and Celebrate questions from Art Biz Blog. I found this thanks to Margaux Lange's Blog. After struggling to get the year going and to wrap my brain around the past year I have finally completed the task. I will post soon about my reaction to my responses and my goals for the new year.

How did you promote your art and your online presence?
I worked on posting on my blog regularly.
I joined Facebook, Twitter and CraftHaus.
I Sent out emails about sales to my mailing list.
I gave out business cards and postcards at shows.
Participated in two shows in Dallas and one in Fort Worth.
I had seven home shows, some successful, some not.
Posted new work on flickr.
Joined Ravelry (for knitters and crocheters, but links to my etsy shop)

What technological skills did you learn or improve?
Blogging! Digital Photography
Photoshop (by no means proficient, but learning)

How many people did you add to your mailing list?
Not as many as I would have liked.
I did ask people to sign my guestbook at the local shows that I did.
Added a sign up on my blog, but it never worked for me. I need to figure this out.

Who were the most cool or influential people you met?
Danielle Miller/Fellow Etsy Metal member, met in Atlanta. Danielle is extremely professional and successful, but couldn't be more open and friendly. Danielle has shared a lot of information on the business and wholesale side of the business.

Lena Echelle/I found Lena online and then met her in person at the beginning of last year. She has been extremely patient in answering all of my questions. I also learned a great deal when I accompanied her to Atlanta for her show.


Sara Westermark/Met online and then in Atlanta. Sara is one of the most generous and giving people I have ever met. Her work is lovely, she is full of energy and her enthusiasm really is contagious!

Margaux Lange/Met online. I am a huge fan, yet she is friendly and her blog is very informative. She just quit her job and is really succeeding in this business.

Lynette Andreasen/Met online, fellow Etsy metal member. Lynette's work is amazing, and her blog is also very informative.

Whom did you mentor or help out?
Didn't Mentor, but did help Lena at the Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry show.

Did you create a new business card, portfolio, or other marketing piece?
Business card, check
Wholesale Line sheet, check (but needs to be redone)

Postcards, check

Magnets, check

New Banner on Etsy, check


What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
Tube bezels Tube Rivets Polymer Clay with Silver
Trying to improve my bezel setting techniques

What did you try that was completely new?
Making Tube Bezels
Working with Polymer Clay
My first prong setting

What did you try that was uncomfortable, but helped you grow?
Approaching galleries about consignment.
Quit my job!

What worthy cause did you support in some way?
I didn't, this is a goal for the new year.

What new art events, galleries, and museums did you visit?
Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston
Houston Museum of fine arts-Ornament as Art jewelry show

Haven Gallery, Austin
Midnight at the Modern, Fort Worth Modern art Museum

Art 251, Keller

Oxide Gallery, Denton-Grand Opening Night

Carlyn Gallery, Dallas

Southwest Center for Arts and Crafts, San Antonio

Fiesta, San Antonio
Atlanta Contemporary Jewelry Show

What resources did you discover?
Tons!
My fellow Etsy Metal members are my biggest resource and help answer many of my questions.

How did you improve your studio habits?
Stayed on Schedule for the most part.

What books did you read to help your career? What videos or films were useful?
Discovered you tube jewelry how-to videos posted by Art Jewelry Magazine
I'd Rather be in the Studio by Alyson Stanfield
And her Art Biz Blog

What seminars/workshops/lectures did you attend or teach?
None, unfortunately
Hoped to go to Penland but didn't get financial aid.

How did you enhance your office or studio environment?
Large calendar for deadlines
Added another bulletin board
File cabinet, try to keep up with filing

What organizations were you involved with?
Etsy Metal

What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
Got into the Fiesta Fine Arts Fair in San Antonio for this spring!

What articles were written about your work?
Interview on Indie, Pretty, Perfect Blog
Spotlight on 18K blog
Mention on The Carrotbox Blog
Interview for Pegasus News, and online, local newspaper

What exhibits, grants, contest, etc. did you submit your art to?
Scholarship and work study at Penland Scholarship at Revere Academy Lark Books 500 Gemstone Jewels Craft Texas 2008
Fiesta San Antonio
Art on the square, Southlake
Texas Metal Arts Festival

Where did you save a wad of money?
Dad made me a hydraulic press!

What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2008?
Quitting my job to work full time on jewelry!
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clay

Happy Clay

Shoshona Snow
I am really enjoying these two ceramic pieces that I acquired back in the fall. The top one is from Happy Clay and I love everything in that shop! The work has a very painterly and bright look with touches of real metal, in this one it is gold.
The second piece is by Shoshona Snow who I have admired for quite some time. This little tripod dish was actually a free gift with a purchase that I made. The other piece was a Christmas gift for a friend.
Both of these sit on the shelf in my bathroom and make me smile each day!

I got a treasury!

I was at my folks house yesterday and thanks to Sophie of DuckDuckGooseStuff I grabbed a treasury. I filled it with both jewelry and other funky stuff, all really bright and happy. I am the happy owner of pieces from some of these Etsy seller, and the rest are on my wish list! Go check all these great sellers out, please.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Things that make me happy



This American Life and Gourmet Diary of a Foodie both make me really happy. We caught a bit of the newest episode of This American Life on NPR yesterday on the way to work. Then yesterday afternoon on our local PBS station we caught an episode of Gourmet about Vietnam. Both shows have the ability to capture the imagination and create a sense of nostalgia. Is it still called nostalgia when it is for a place you have never been to, or a situation you have never been in?

I highly recommend listening to This American life podcasts while working in the studio. They are so consuming that I don't get distracted from my work or take so many breaks.


Dang!


Frank got inspired to try to make homemade Kettle Corn last night. I googled a recipe and after some trial and error came up with a surprisingly good batch. I wanted to take a picture, but was enjoying it too much to get up and grab my camera (the above picture is from the blog post where I got the recipe)!
On the first try the sugar got a bit burned so we tried again. Make sure all the corn kernels are coated with oil and stir it around when you add the sugar. You have to be pretty quick! Keep the pot moving as it pops, that is very important. I took the pan off the heat when the popping slowed and still had a couple of burnt sugar pieces in the second batch. We just took those out and enjoyed the rest. I will definitely do this again, yummy.
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Featured Artist


I'm am the new featured artist on Art Garage Sale! Go check it out. I am also offering my work at a slight discount while I get set up over there, so take advantage.
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Best.Blog.Ever

Thank you Alisa Miller for introducing me to this blog. It just made my day. Now go back to work Ashley!

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Art Garage Sale


I am experimenting with a new site called Art Garage Sale. Not sure how I feel about that name, but I'll give it a shot. I will be setting up a few listings in my shop there to see how it goes. My pieces will be offered at a slight discount while I am getting started over there. Please check it out.


I needed that



I had a bit of a down day yesterday, just couldn't get motivated to work on jewelry. The third season of Rob and Big came in the mail from netflix and it was just what I needed. It is one of mine and Frank's favorite shows and provided us with hours of laughter and entertainment!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SALE

I have marked down even more items in my etsy shop. Some items are up to half off! Please check out my sale section. Also, the buy one get one half off for earrings in the sale section still applies.

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Arts Stimulus Petition

I have been thinking lately about the wonderful programs that were created during the Great Depression to create jobs for artists. I was wishing there was something like that again; what a great way to stimulate the economy, and morale simultaneously. I was lucky enough to visit Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon the summer after college (Ack almost ten years ago!). It is a beatiful testament to the WPA.

This iconic alpine lodge sits on the south slope of 11,239-foot Mount Hood, where it was built in just 15 months at the hands of hundreds of blacksmiths, stonemasons and farmers who scavenged the area for its timber and stones. Wildlife motifs and Native American symbols were hand-carved or welded into every corner of this three-story, 70-guest-room lodge, helping to make Timberline as much a museum as a hotel.

I came across this petition on facebook this evening,
From One Percent for the arts:

Many artist and writers live without health insurance and struggle with issues of housing and security. Deep cuts in federal funding for the arts and education have exacerbated difficulties.

In the less than a month, Congress will pass a $600 billion stimulus package in order to stimulate the economy and help create jobs. We ask that the arts be included in this package.

Please join us. Sign our petition. Contact your legislators. Post a link to our petition on your facebook page, and ask all of your friends to sign.

ONE PERCENT FOR THE ARTS

Programs that paid thousands of artists and writers comprised one of the most creative aspects of the New Deal. Thousands received relatively small outlays of funds for their work, and the nation's artistic heritage was greatly enhanced. The same kind of initiative is needed today.

We call on Congress to recommend that the government spend 1% of the stimulus plan on arts and culture ($6 billion if the final package totals $600 billion), building on the New Deal's Federal Art Project, Federal Theater Project, Federal Music Project and the Federal Writers Project.

The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was created in 1935 to bring jobs to those who had become unemployed or underemployed during the Great Depression. Since artists, musicians, performers and writers were also hit by the economic hard times, divisions of the WPA were assigned the task of creating suitable jobs for such people--jobs that would not only take advantage of these individuals' talents, but also serve to enrich America's cultural heritage and embellish public spaces.

The Federal Art Project, along with several other WPA-backed programs, created well over 5,000 jobs for American artists. These artists created more than 2,500 murals, 17,700 sculptures, 108,000 paintings, and 240,000 prints. The project's legacy lives on: it supported artists Jackson Pollock, Arshile Gorky, and many other abstract expressionists whose work helped shift the most dynamic center of the art world from its traditional location in Europe to the largest cities of the United States.

The Federal Writers' Project created more than 6,600 jobs for writers, editors, researchers, and many others who exemplified literary expertise. The project compiled local histories, oral histories, ethnographies, children's books and other works. These writers created over 1,200 books and pamphlets, and produced some of the first U.S. guides for states, major cities, and roadways. In addition, the FWP was responsible for recording folklore, oral histories, and, most notably, the 2,300 plus first-person accounts of slavery that now exist as a collection in the Library of Congress. The Project's contributions to American literature were significant and long-lasting, giving Saul Bellow, Zora Neale Hurston, John Steinbeck, Sterling Brown, and many others the opportunity to continue their work in a time of difficult economic circumstances.

The Federal Theatre Project employed 12,700 theater workers at its peak. State units were established in 31 states and New York City, with most states in turn creating more than one company or unit within their own jurisdictions. Federal Theatre units presented more than 1,000 performances each month before nearly one million people -- 78% of these audience members were admitted free of charge, many seeing live theater for the first time. The Federal Theatre Project produced over 1,200 plays in its four-year history, introducing 100 new playwrights.

Employing around 16,000 musicians at its peak, the Federal Music Project ensembles -- orchestras and chamber groups; choral and opera units; concert, military and dance bands; and theater orchestras -- presented an estimated 5,000 performances before some three million people each week. Music projects had local cosponsors -- schools or colleges, government or civic groups -- and small admissions charges helped meet costs.

The Federal Music Project also provided classes in rural areas and urban neighborhoods; in 1939, an estimated 132,000 children and adults in 27 states received instruction every week.

An Arts Stimulus Plan today could be used for increased funding for the NEA; preservation of archives; a secretary level-post for culture/arts; arts education; arts in public space; workplace literary readings; to document history; American artists overseas; fellowships/ scholarships; support for black college writing programs; artist- and writer-in-residence programs in public libraries, and more.

Join artists and activists in calling on Congress to make the arts a priority.

Sign our Petition:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/artsstimulus/


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My first art yarn!



I received an exciting package yesterday from Barbe St John of Saints and Sinners. She makes this beautiful handspun art yarn. It is the first I have acquired after much admiration and I am excited to think of some special projects to use it in. I am imagining it will be an accent on something like edging on a scarf. How fun.


Back to work

I finally got back to work yesterday on jewelry after about a two week break. Between making Christmas gifts (crochet), vacation and obsessing over my new crochet project I took quite a break. I eased into jewelry yesterday by finishing up some orders, but need to get going full swing.

**Exciting news** I got accepted to the Fiesta Art Fair in San Antonio. This will be the biggest show I have been in so far and I am quite thrilled. This does mean that I have lots of work to do. Mom and I visited the show last year and it is a really nice one. I am so proud to be participating. finished Easy Shrug by Jane Izzy
I think I need to make some major to do lists to get myself on track. I have so much to do that I don't know where to start. I am trying not to be as obsessive with the crocheting either. I have been working on this easy shrug by Mary Jane Hall from the book Positively Crochet. I am using Lion Brand organic cotton in Walnut. It is a perfect first garment to make and I can't wait to see it finished. However, in my quest to live a more balanced life I am forcing myself to only crochet after 9 pm on weekdays! Good luck to me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm missing this

My creation



Mom just uploaded her photos to her flickr. It is nice to see another perspective. After the ice here today I'm wishing I was back by the fire with my hot cocoa in the cabin.

Oh yeah...


I forgot to mention the Ace Hardware in Truckee. When mom and I were dropped off at the Yarn store everyone else found the Ace Hardware and they raved about it. I know it sounds strange, but this is no regular hardware store. They have sporting good, home decor, mountain gear, etc, etc, etc. It is stuffed to the gills and even has an espresso bar, now that's my kind of hardware store! If I lived in Truckee I would visit this place regularly for sure.
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Things to see in Truckee

Mom and I had one thing on our agenda for Truckee, which is about 10 minutes North of the cabin we stayed in. We wanted to go to the Lake Tahoe Yarn Company, and we did. I discovered several other really cute small business within walking distance of the yarn store as well. The cute little shed pictured above is called Drake and Lulu's Art Shed. The art shed is run by jeweler Lorien Powers and clothing designer Heather River. They also carry a whimsical selection of local art. There were so many things here that I would purchase for myself or for gifts. Check out Lorien's cute little teenie weenie, Barnaby below. He was a bit shy, but so sweet!
See Frank and I in the reflection? We are drooling over the peanut butter fudge being made at Sweets. They were kind enough to give us a sample.
I just couldn't resist a picture of the Flying A service center. I suppose it has been lovingly restored by someone.
Other great shops within walking distance of each other (actually Frank and I walked all the way through town)
Lake Tahoe Yarn Company
A beautiful selection of yarns. I bought books, but no yarn and keep wishing I had purchased the yarn that I had my eye on.
Drake and Lulu's Art Shed
Jewelry, clothing and lots of cute items for your home.
Riverside Art Studios
Handmade leather goods, ceramics and more.
Taraluna
Fair trade and green items from around the world.

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