Monday, July 20, 2009

Pretty Pretties

I've been a busy girl. In addition to obsessing about BlogHer, I've actually been making jewelry.

Today I actually listed some pieces:



Black Lace



Sunstone Circles

I also redid the pictures on these listings:



Pearl Clusters



Amethyst Circles

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bag It

I am currently obsessing about BlogHer. You've already heard me whine about what to wear. I won't go into that again, suffice it to say I am going to bring everything in my closet to Chicago with me.

I made a list of all of the things I need to take with me so I wouldn't forget anything important. One of the first things on my list was my laptop. Its a blogging conference so I'll need to have my laptop. But what am I going to carry it in?

I have the sleeve that came with it. It is very utilitarian and functional. In other words, it is black and ugly but it protects the laptop. But it doesn't have a handle so I'd have to carry it in something, a purse or bag.

Or I could find a new, snazzy carrying case. Yes that sounds much better. And during a quick perusal of Etsy I found these.

The Orangina from Mareri. It also comes in mustard, lime, midnight blue, periwinkle and lilac.



This beauty from Track and Field.


This great messenger bag from Sinem Inugur.


The Maiden Dove tote from majkatree.


Or I could just make one like the swanky suitcase bag by Jennifer Perkins on the Craftzine blog.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Do Clothes Make the Woman?

Or does the woman make the clothes? An age old conundrum that has me running in circles this week.

As I mentioned, I am going to the BlogHer conference next week and I'm kind of obsessing about it. What to do, who to meet, making sure I open my mouth when I meet them, and what is currently bothering me, what to wear.

When I was in the working world, I was confident wearing pretty much anything. I could dress up or dress down depending on my mood. But since I've been at home, comfort (and washability) is the key when getting dressed. In fact I gave away a lot of my "fancy" "dressy" clothes. I didn't need them because I had nowhere to wear them. Until now.

So now I am pulling everything out of my closet and pulling my hair out in the process. I have two vintage sundresses I want to wear during the day - one is hawaiian retro and the other is very 50s. I love them and I feel comfortable in them so they are in. I'll throw in capri pants and tops for the more casual times.

Footwear is a bit easier. Flats and sandals are all that I own so that is what I'm wearing. I'm tall, I don't need the height.

But the parties are killing me. Dress up or dress down? Fancy dresses or jeans and a nice top?

Or maybe I should just plan my wardrobe around the jewelry I'll be wearing. That might be easier.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Busy, Busy

In eight days I leave for the blogging conference, BlogHer. I will be meeting bloggers from all over the country. Bloggers who I read and "know". Bloggers who I read and admire. And bloggers who I have not yet discovered.

I am relatively new to the blogging game having only started But Why Mommy last May. Many (okay 99%) of the bloggers won't know who I am. I need/want to make a good impression.

In order to make said good impression, I am going to be very busy for the next few days. There are clothes and shoes to buy. Pedicures to be had. Business cards to order. But most importantly I want to make a good impression where it counts, here (and there). I also want to get my Etsy shop in good shape.

So over the next few days, I will be running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to make jewelry, post it here, get it in the store. I hope that you like what you see.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesdays Are For Sharing - The Winner

Thanks to all those who participated in the giveaway. It's nice to have this kind of support for my new venture.

So I put all of the entries into the Random.org number generator and came up with the winner (drumroll, please):

#28 - The Fragrant Muse - Twitter

So Liz from the Fragrant Muse please contact me at butwhymommy @ gmail . com with your info so I can get you your lovely necklace.

I had fun doing this and I hope you did too. I may offer more drawings in the future if you are interested.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Camp Crafty

First a housekeeping note: Today is the last day to enter the necklace giveaway. The winner will be drawn using Random.org and will be announced sometime tomorrow. Don't forget to leave me a comment for all the ways you've entered.

Now back to our regularly scheduled post:

Because my daughter is too young for camp this summer, I decided to hold our own camp. We would do special activities and crafts to make the summer more fun. For our first craft, we decided to make a butterfly garden for her room.

The butterfly garden will essentially be paper butterflies hung on string from her ceiling. I am hoping to hang them over her bed like a mobile. When her fan blows it will look like the butterflies are flying.

Making the butterflies was so easy, I thought I'd share a little tutorial with you. All you will need is:

Paper
Crayons, pencils or paint to decorate the butterflies
Scissors
Yarn or string

I had Bunny color a picture on the paper to start off with. Because she is three, it was easier for her to do than to color on the butterflies themselves. However, if you want to decorate each butterfly individually you can do that too.

To make the butterfly, you fold the paper and draw a B on one side of the fold. Cut along the B.


And you've made a butterfly shape, easy peasy. If you've decided to decorate each butterfly do so now.


Next fold the butterfly like an accordion. The folds should be tighter in the middle and the edges should be left unfolded.



Then tie a string or yarn around the middle as tight as you like making sure that the edges (or wings) are not folded.


If you are planning on hanging the butterflies, leave one end of the string long enough to hang from the ceiling. If you just want to use them for decoration or play, you can cut both ends short.

That's it. A super easy and super fun project.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Looking Out, Looking Up

I've been sort of a Debbie Downer lately. A lot of things have gone wrong lately and I have been focusing on them too much. Its hard not to.

But the focus of this blog is to create and look for beauty in everyday life. I can plant a garden so I have pretty flowers to look at. I can pick up a paint brush or a pencil and doodle for a while. I can grab my wire and hook and make something.

Or I can look out the window



and admire the beauty all around me.




Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot, Hot, Hot


(This necklace will be added to the shop later today. It is a larger version of the necklace in the giveaway. )

Summer has finally arrived in my corner of the world. It apparently has decided to come in full force, August-type weather, with the sun and humidity competing to see who can be more wicked.

When its like this, I just try and survive. We don't have central air in our house, which normally isn't a problem but now it is. There are a few cool pockets here and there, usually right in front of a window air unit or fan. But you can't spend all day in front of an air conditioner (believe me I've tried), you have to get on with the business of life.

So one of my favorite (air conditioned) places to go when its like this is the library. The library is great for so many reasons but most of all for free books. I can pick up some new books for my daughter and a few Charlaine Harris books for me (I love watching True Blood so I picked up her books and love them too, perfect summer reading).

I have also started perusing the art and craft books the library has. I've recently picked up Altered Art by Terry Taylor. I put Kelly Rae Roberts book Taking Flight on reserve and can't wait to get it. I love these kind of books because they really spark my imagination. I get so many ideas and I can't wait to try them out, even if they are just for play. And I will, once I get a new fan for the studio.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Beauty Pick Me Up

(Don't forget to enter our giveaway. The deadline to enter has been extended. Just leave a comment for each thing you've done so I can keep track.)

Over the weekend we had a house-related catastrophe. Now if you read my other blog you will know I hate my house. There are so many, many things wrong with it. Things that take money, and lots of it, to fix. And now, just as we were getting ready to put the finishing touches on our basement remodel, the basement went and broke some more.

I was just beside myself. I couldn't belive that something bad was happening to this house again. I started to wallow in pity, thinking of everything that went wrong and of everything that could go wrong. Not the healthiest behavior.

I had to do something to get myself out of it. I thought if I was going to get all dirty I might as well get something out of it (other than a dry basement). So I grabbed my gloves and my shovel and dug in the dirt.



I felt better the instant my fingers hit the earth. For just a little bit of work I would have something I would enjoy all summer long. It was worth it and it helped me escape my troubles for just a little while.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Business is Business


except when there is no busniess.

My poor Etsy shop. It has been langishing in a virtual wasteland for more than a year. I haven't had the time or energy to devote to it, so it just sits there untouched and unloved. And because I haven't visited it, no one else has visisted it either. So it's not much of a business. Its more of a placeholder, a placeholder with some pretty things.

But what if I did something novel, something unheard of (at least in these parts)? What if I began to use my store in the way it was intended. What if I actually listed things, pretty things? What if I took clear pictures of those pretty things? What if I cleaned up the store and filled it with the things that I love?

Would people visit? Would people love the pretty things the way that I love them? Would (fingers and toes crossed) people actually buy those pretty things?

Well there is only one way of finding out. I'm just going to have to do it and see what happens. The piece above is my first try.

And don't forget to enter the giveaway. Just click on the link in the side bar. The giveaway runs through June 26th.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Magical Place

The world outside my door is a magical place filled with wonder. I used to know that. I used to believe. But the realities of grown up life got in the way and I forgot. Grass had to be mowed, flower beds had to be weeded, bugs and critters were a nuisance.

Now I view the world through the eyes of a three year old. When I venture outside I see the limitless possibilities of the world around me. Every step we take, every corner we turn brings new and wonderful things to see. A walk must be stopped to pick a flower from a lowly weed growing through the cracks in the sidewalk. Ants are not to be stepped on or over, they should be examined closer. Worms are not gross, they help our garden grow.

The leaves and sticks that clutter the sidewalks should not be pushed aside. They can be taken home and made into something new, something wonderful. You just have to see it. You just have to look with the eyes of someone who is discovering the world instead of numbly wandering through it.




Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wednesdays Are For Sharing - Free Stuff

In honor of the relaunch of this site, I've decided to host a giveaway. I am going to be giving away this beautiful necklace crocheted with my own two hands:



So I am sure you want to know how you can win this beauty. Of course you do and here are the ways you can enter the drawing:

1. Follow me.

2. Follow me over at my other blog.

3. Tweet about it. (for example: @butwhymommy is having a giveaway over at Juniper and Coffee, check it out http://www.juniperandcoffee.blogspot.com)

4. Blog about it.

One entry for each of the above. And if you are really ambitious and do all of the above, I'll give you an extra entry. Its that simple. Just leave me a comment for each thing you do.

The contest will run through Tuesday June 30th at 11:59 p.m. central. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be announced here on Wednesday July 1st. (please note the deadline has been extended so share this with all of your friends for more chances to win).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Renovation

When I first started this blog, I wanted to claim something that was just for me. I wanted to expand my boundaries and push myself. So I challenged myself to craft everyday for 365 days.

It just wasn't realistic for me to do. I have so much stuff going on. I am constantly being pulled in a million different directions all at once. In other words I have a normal life with a family and children.

I could have taken down this blog and held it up to a failed experiment. Lesson learned. But I didn't want to do take it down, I thought this blog could be more than just a show and tell. I thought I could make it into something I could be proud of. So I kept it up. I posted here and there while I was running through things in my mind.

And I've finally decided that I am ready to give this thing a go again. However its going to be different. Its not going to be about me and what I make. Its going to be about bringing creativity into your daily life, sharing that creativity with your children. Its also going to be about taking my business off of life support and getting it up and running. I'm going to be trying new projects, posting tutorials of things that turn out and highlighting some really cool creative people.

So I hope that you will join me in my endeavor. I hope that you will follow my journey and share it with your friends.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Vacation State of Mind

Every year our family goes on vacation to the same place. We have our things that we do, the places that we can't miss. It is a nice ritual.

One of my things is to visit this little bead store. Generally I ban myself from going to bead stores because I have a huge stash that I need to use up (one of the perks/drawbacks to having worked at a bead store). But I can't resist this little shop, so every year I go back.

But I find myself drawn to things I would never buy at home, more ethinic, more eclectic. I always bring my tools with me and make pieces with those bead right away. Sometimes I don't bring any jewelry with me, I just create my vacation accessories on the spot.

This year I found some vintage glass beads with a 40's feel to them in aqua and green. They made the perfect pair of earrings. I've worn them almost everyday since being home.



I also found a vintage Ethiopian pendant which I had to buy. We are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia and I thought I would help to pass the time if I had something from his birth country. I added some vintage beads and a leather cord to make a great necklace. Normally I would not use leather cord but it fit the piece and my vacation mindset.





I also wanted to let all of you know that the fabulous Christy from A Lil' Welsh Rarebit is having a giveaway. She is giving away a necklace, decals and some eco-friendly cleaning products. You should check it out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Showing Some Love

Its been a while since I've posted here. Part of it was laziness and procrastination. Part was trying to decide where I want to take this blog. I'm still working out some things in my head but I figured I should still post from time to time until I can figure things out. So today I am showing this blog some love.

Love is actually the reason for this post. My husband and I recently celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. We have always exchanged the traditional gifts. While the traditional gifts of diamonds, gold and silver can be fun, we are't quite there yet.

The traditional gifts for the earlier years are a bit more interesting - paper, linen, leather, tin etc. For 11 it is steel. Steel kind of had me stumped. Should I buy some silverware? A new grill? A new car? Well no, money is a bit too tight for that.

Then it hit me, the hardware store has tons of steel stuff. I love the hardware store even though I'm not very handy. I just love all the tools and stuff. I've even used some hardware in my jewelry. So I decided to get some washers, nuts and bolts to make a pair of cufflinks for Bubs.

I experimented with a few things before hitting on the perfect design. I took two nuts, a few beads, some wire and toggles and came up with these beauties:




I was thrilled with the way they came out and Bubs loves them.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ch ch ch changes

I haven't been happy with the way this blog has turned out. What was supposed to be an experiment in crafting everday, in living a crafty life in the midst of a normal hectic crazy life, turned out to be pretty boring.

It was just pictures and posts about what I had done the day before. The pictures weren't that great and the posts were just plain stupid. "Yesterday I did this". "The other day I made a hat." "Ooh look at this pretty picture I painted." Reading through some of these posts, I was bored and I wrote them.

I did have one good post that I was proud of. It was more reflective of the way I view myself as a writer. And it really captured the essence of why I am creating, for myself and for my daughter, to find beauty in every day things.

But one good post out of fifty-one is not a record I am proud of. I wasn't happy with the blog or the process of blogging so I ignored it. Ignoring something does not make it go away. It does not make it better. It just makes it lonely.

The way to make something better is to work at it. I work at my crafts. I try harder every day to do better than the day before. I am proud of what I have done. I want this blog to reflect that pride. I want this blog to show how I am crafting my creative life, how I am re-building my business, how I am finding inspiration, and how I am inspiring creativity in my own family.

So there will be some changes coming to this space. I'm going to be posting more about inspiration and creativity. I want to find some other people who are doing the same things and have them share their ideas. I want this to be a place I am proud to come to and a place that other people want to visit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 56 - Wednesdays Are For Sharing

I've been addicted to wire crochet ever since I saw my first piece. I think that what I create is pretty darn wonderful, however, there are so many people out there who are more talented than I. I thought I would share some of those wonderful artists with you today.

Over at Etsy, one of my favorite artists is PreciousMeshes. She combines crochet, pearls and stones in such a lovely way. Some of my favorites are:

The Protozoa earrings

The Captured necklace (it also comes in a bracelet)


And the Bird's Nest necklace.

Arline Fisch is one of the premiere jewelry artists in America. She has used textile techniques such as weaving, knitting and crochet in her jewelry using metal rather than fiber. I have several of her books that I often look to for inspiration. I recently discovered that she would be teaching a 3 day workshop at a museum an hour from my house. Needless to say I am thrilled at the prospect. Now I just need to work out how I can attend.

Finally, here is the completed piece I showed yesterday. I've been doing these for a while but this time I sewed it closed using seed pearls. I love how it turned out.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 55 - More WIP


The beginnings of a crocheted bangle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

51, 52, 53, 54

Yes I did craft over the weekend, I just didn't blog. So here is a peek at what I did over the weekend:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49 - Wednesdays Are For Sharing

I've decided to share my favorite things with you on Wednesdays. Its a nice little break between posts about baby sweaters, jewelry and ATCs.

I am obsessed with planners and journals. I am constantly buying small little books with blank pages, hoping that these little treasures will help me on my quest to get organized. They never do, but I still cannot stop buying them.



I currently carry the native herbs journal by Jill Bliss. I absolutely adore her work and this journal is beautiful. Each page has little flowers that look like the user had doodled them herself while deciding what to write. It makes me happy to write in. It doesn't make me organized, but it makes me happy.

Every year I always pick up a date book/ planner that I can keep in my purse. I am really bad at writing things down and I never remember to check the planner anyway. But again I always buy them. I used to get them for free when I worked in an office, some vendor or client would hand out these utilitarian, pre-printed pieces of junk. They worked but they were ugly. One year I bought this lovely bright green leather planner. I stopped writing in it around February but I still carried it in my purse and would occasionally pull it out to look at it.

I didn't get one this year. I don't really have all that much going on. The standard wall calendar at home can handle the play dates and library story times just fine. But I still look for just the right book, when I'm at the book store, on Etsy, or any where for that matter. Because maybe just maybe the next book will be the one to get me organized.



So imagine my delight when I was surfing new blogs and came across these beauties from Implexus. They are everything I could possibly want, planner, journal, sketch book. They even have places to store my ATCs and other art work. They are beautiful and handmade. And they are refillable and expandable. I couldn't ask for anything more. So of course I had to buy one.

Note - no pictures of the sweater today because I completely over-estimated my ability to get things done yesterday. I worked on the sleeve I started the day before and its still not done. Too much other cr*p to do.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 48 - Sleeves

So I have vowed to finish the baby sweater this week if it kills me (and it just may). I started on the sleeves yesterday so there isn't much crocheting left to do. I should be able to finish them tonight. Then comes the big test, assembly. I've never done that before so it should be interesting.

I'll post pictures tomorrow of the finished pieces before assembly.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Catch-Up Post Days 45, 46 and 47

So yes I did craft over the weekend. I did a lot of stuff, just none of it at the computer so I'm going to throw it all up here:



Friday - I worked on the baby sweater. I finally figured out what I was doing wrong on the skirt of the sweater, I had to switch needles to get the right gauge. I may actually finish this one.



Saturday - I decided to make myself yet another skinny scarf. Yes I know I only have one neck but I do love scarves so I make them all the time.




Sunday - This was the tastiest of all of my endeavors. Vegan chocolate truffels. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian but my husband is allergic to cream so when I make deserts I tend to look for vegan options. These were super easy and super delicious. I can't find a link to the recipe but if you want it mention it in the comments and I'll post it here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 44 - Ritual


Every morning I go through a little ritual. I clean off the little white table. I carefully select a clean sheet of paper and place it on the table. I slowly open paint pots, one by one, until the rainbow of colors is ready to be used. I grab the brushes, paper towels and water, ready to clean up any messes that may occur. Then I sit in a tiny pink chair and wait.

The master approaches the paper. She selects a brush. She peruses the colors. She pauses over one before moving on to another, to the right color. She grasps her brush. Wielding it like a weapon, she stabs it into the paint pot until it is covered in her chosen color.

She turns to the page, looking for the perfect place to make her mark. The brush slowly touches the paper, one stroke maybe two. Having served its purpose, the brush is discarded and another is selected. The ritual begins again.

As the master's apprentice, it is my job to clean the brushes. To make sure that all traces of paint are removed so that the colors remain bright and true. An errant splash of green in the white paint would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. The paint must not mix in the pots, it can only mix on the paper.



So there I sit in my tiny pink chair, wiping the brushes on the paper towel. Rinsing and wiping until no color remains. I repeat this task many times, waiting for the masterpiece to be complete.

When it is finally done, she hands it to me so I can marvel at her talent, her brilliance. There is no denying it, what she has created has no equal. It deserves to be hung in the Louvre, the Prado alongside the other masters. I am humble in her presence.



The menial task of clean up falls to me, the master cannot be bothered. So I slowly, carefully close the lids on all the paint pots. I gather the brushes. And then I glance down at my own work. The simple paper towel used for wiping the master's brushes appears to have been touched by her genius. There is no way that I, her lowly servant, could have created something so wonderful. But there it is, a reflection of her work and of my efforts, a thing of beauty has been created.

I look forward to tomorrow so our ritual can begin again.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 43


Its warm, but it won't last. Winter will be back. In fact its coming back as I type. But I can't go back to the warm, comfortable winter clothes I own. I can't handle winter and cold anymore. I need to have spring colors, pretty short sleeved shirts and pretty ballet flats with no socks (ok maybe I'll hold off on the last one for a while).

Can something keep you warm and remind you of spring at the same time? I don't know if its possible but I gave it a try.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 41