Thursday, May 28, 2009

Award Winning Blog

ByCoco's Art for Everyday Enjoyment is now an award winning blog thanks to Studio618. That blog received this award from MandiBeads who received it from from Anna of Life, Craftiness, and Everything Else who received it from Leslie of Shrimp Salad Circus... You get the idea...

I'm thrilled to have received it, not only because it's my first award, but because I really enjoy passing along good things and this gives me the opportunity to do just that--sort of like playing Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

Let's see, while envisioning myself as One Lovely Blog Award Fairy, whose blogs come to mind?

In my humble opinion, I think these fellow blogs also deserve this award because... Well check them out for yourself.

Cheers! & Congratulations!
This is one of Studio618's jewelry pieces for sale on ArtFire.

If these blogs choose to accept this award, they should post it on their blog along with my name and a link to my blog and then pass the award on to 15 other blogs.

Thank you, Studio618 for passing this award on to me for this blog and for the opportunity to introduce my readers to these other noteworthy blogs. Hope you had fun checking them out and I hope they enjoy passing on the honor by recognizing other blogs.

I can't resist showing off one more piece of Studio618's jewelry. This wire pendant with turquoise beads is for sale in her Etsy shop. I thought it was both unique and intriguing.
Click on the picture to take a closer look and get the details about this piece.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trash to Treasure Using Old Plaques

Fellow artist, Sayo Granich-Lee, found some old discarded plaques and wants to turn them into display pieces for her jewelry. In an article entitled "New Displays" on her blog she solicits ideas from her readers. Her article got my creative mind to whirling and believing that the more ideas the merrier, I thought I'd try to direct a few creative geniuses her way.

I'm thinking she should go ahead with her plan to strip and refinish the plaques. I'd do it in a natural wood finish (either light, medium or dark). I would then mount a hand on one, a pair of ears on another, and maybe a neck (with or without a manikin style head) on yet another turning them into 3D displays similar to taxidermy mountings. The protruding forms could be made of styrofoam, paper-mâché, clay, or other easily sculpted material and then covered in a black flocking giving them a velvety felt like finish. Plaques could then be hung on a wall or other vertical surface and rings could be displayed on the fingers of the hand, earrings could dangle from holes in the ears, and a necklace could be draped around the neck.

The remaining plaques could be topped with a raised black velvet pad and placed flat on a table or shelf (like a plate or tray) and Sayo's jewelry pieces could be laid on top. Or maybe...

Oh, Oh, Oh, my brain is racing away with me. Another option would be to affix a cork pad to front of the refinished plaques and a frame brace on the back. Pins could hole the jewelry in place and the plaques could be displayed angled slightly back on a table or shelf. Or she could prop them up on an angle for a more sophisticated look.

Enough of my ideas. If you enjoy transforming trash into treasure as much as I do, why don't you head over to the article on her blog, let your imagination run wild and leave your ideas in her comment section. I know she would appreciate your creative insights as she takes these ordinary plaques and turns them into an extraordinary display for her artwork.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Memorial Day Thank You

As a retired military spouse, I know first hand the sacrifices required of service members and their families. Some are huge like loss of limb or loss of life for the sake of others' freedom. Some are not that life altering, but still huge, like missing the birth of your child, missing milestones in their life, or not being to together to celebrate your anniversary. Some are small, like early morning PT (physical training), living on a tight budget, or short TDY's (periods of involuntary separation because of a temporary duty assignment).
My husband has been retired for over a decade now, but we still miss those good old days. Looking back in time and reflecting on our time in the military, I can see all the sacrifices we made. Back then, while living it, we were too busy sacrificing to notice. It was a way of life, and a way of life that brought the best out in us and our children.
Anyway, as a tribute to all those who have served, and all those serving, I wanted to say "thank you." So I started the following thread on and hope that you will go there and leave a comment of thanks.
I had originally planned to send the link to my husband as a present this Memorial Day, but think I will also forward it to many of our military friends. Feel free to do the same.
When I last checked there were 41 comments. Hope there's many more by the time you add yours.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Proud to be a Mainer and Even Prouder of My Fellow Etsy Mainers

Click here to read all about it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fiber Artist Makes Pouches with Pizazz

Had it not been for Jenny, author of Creature of Craft, I may never have stumbled upon fiber artist, Robyn of ShibaNg Designs, who creates these attractive pouches and purses. I was immediately drawn to her use of splashy color on neutral backgrounds and kept hearing the fuzzy texture whisper in my ear an invitation to reach out and touch it. Ooh, la, la.

Robyn’s zippered pouches come in several sizes: a 3.5" x 5" coin purse, an 8" x 5" pencil case, and a 2" x 4" x 8" cosmetic bag. Not only are they beautiful, but they are functional and versatile as well. For, instance, the coin purse is also the right size to keep keys, most cell phones, mp3 players, tissues, rosaries, or individually wrapped hand wipes. Just use your imagination, and fill them with whatever pieces you need to keep protected or bundled together inside a pocket, a bag, or even a drawer.

The process Robyn uses starts with a screen print. Then she applies hand-dyed felted wool to create the flower applique, making each one unique yet in a style that is recognizable as her own. Her pouches feature a vinyl lining for durability and a zipper closure for functionality. In my mind, Robyn takes these ordinary useful items and gives them artistic pizazz, making them extraordinary and a delightful way to keep items organized in your purse.

Speaking of purses, Robyn also makes purses. The purse pictured here is 17”x13” with a shoulder strap that is 25”. To help the bag hold its shape and to add durability, Robyn uses heavy duty polyester interfacing as an interlining between the bag and the cotton lining. This purse also features an inside zippered pocket and a magnetic snap to keep it closed.

If you’d like to learn more about Robyn, her education, and her craft check out Jenny’s May 15th Artist Feature Friday article on her blog, CreatureofCraft. And while you are there, check out Jenny’s bead weaving. She too is a gifted artist, offering some exceptional handmade items through her store, JMackJems, on Etsy.

Clicking on any picture in this article will take you to that item’s online listing. If you know someone else you think would enjoy Robyn’s pouches and purses, please send them the link to this article. And don’t forget to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions to either Robyn and her work or Jenny and her work.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Favorite Time to Shop Online

Time has run out to vote on your favorite time to shop online, but the results are in.
And, there was a tie!
The two most popular times to shop on line were, in the morning with a cup of coffee/tea in hand and in the evening after dinner while one's spouse watches TV. Both of those times received 33% of the votes.
The second runner up was late at night when one can't sleep with 22%.
11% voted for "Other", and I wish I had figured out how to allow them to leave comments. My curiosity has me wondering when they shop online or maybe they don't shop online at all.
Believe it or not, no one took advantage of their lunch hour or down time during an afternoon lull to shop, which didn't take me totally by surprise.
I also ran the same poll on another site with similar results but late at night came in first by a narrow margin.
My conclusion, is that most of us who shop online, use the quiet time in the morning, in the evening, and late at night.
Thank you, to those who participated. Though not definitive, I found this interesting.
What is your take on the results?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Swine?

With all the scuttlebutt about the swine flue, I thought I give us some reasons not to fear our farm yard friend. So I went looking through Artfire and Etsy, and rounded up some handmade items that made me fall in love with pigs all over again. Click on an image to go to that item in the Artist's online store or click on Artist's name to see all their items.

First up is a Piggy Pincushion from Blackbirdfashion of Etsy. Measuring approximately 4" tall and 5" wide, this sweet pincushion was crafted from a Japanese pig mug, some fiberfill, and a scrap of wool sweater. Any crafty guy or gal would enjoy having this little piggy hold their pins.

Then I found this adorable pink Pig Hat by Pigatopia on Artfire. This one made me wish it was Mardi Gras time all over again. The artist is donating all the money generated from the sale of this item to help pay for food shelter and vet bills of abandon abused and rescued animals.

This rubber ducky pig soap made me giggle. It is hypo-allergenic, non-comedogenic(does not clog pores) and meets vegan guidelines. DuckySoaps of Etsy makes a variety of rubber duck soaps that are soft and child safe. They come in many different fun themes for any occasion, and they'll even take custom orders.

This wonderfully vibrant piggy bank makes me want to feed him all my spare change, which could be very helpful in this time of economic penny pinching. He measures 5 3/4 inches high, 6 inches long and 4 1/2 inches wide. Ronalyn of Artfire, covered this ceramic bank with slices of her polymer clay cane and added solid color clay details using Premo brand clay. With proper care, this bank will last forever.

I had never heard of a clean pig before. Offered by Lesliejanson on Etsy, this 22" grain sack pillow is made of cotton cotton and has a lapped back for easy removal of the down and feather insert for cleaning. It sports a great pig graphic and a sense of humor as it reads "A clean pig is a happy pig". If my kids still lived at home, I think I'd buy one for each of them.

Now here is something for all the piggy lovers out there. Approximately 10" x 32", this piece of garden art was cut from heavy 16 gauge steel and then welded onto an "h" shaped stake for easy "planting". The artist, SteelMyArt, coated it with Instarust to initiate the natural rusting process and has this pig listed in her Artfire studio.

As a first time grandmother to be, this bib caught my eye. It is offered on Etsy by SherrifPeanut, a one woman bib making machine hailing from the Berwyn, Illinois. This bib was inspired by the scene in "A Christmas Story" where the mom says to the little brother "Show me how the piggy eats!" It is
covered in clear vinyl for easy wipe-ability, is machine washable in cold water, and should be hung up to dry!

I had a nostalgic moment when I happened upon this wooden pig toy made by HappySquashToys of Etsy. This farm friend is an originan design, and was cut by hand from poplar wood. It stands 4 inches tall and is 6 inches wide. Two coats of non-toxic water based paint were applied for a smooth finish and then topped off with a child safe protective coating to ensure that this piece will provide years and years of imaginary play.
Last but not least, this set of four 1" plus half marbles feature 3/4" inch rare earth magnets would look wonderful on any fridge. These piggies are darling as they flirt from their blue-green background. Their creator, HoboMoon of Etsy, says, "The magnets are super strong, however all fridges are built differently. They may or may not adhere to your fridge depending on the surface or build of your fridge."

Hopefully viewing this collection of friendly pigs has taken your mind off the swine flue and restored your trust in these wonderful animals. Let me know which of these is your favorite pig, or if you know of another noteworthy pig themed piece of art, please leave a link in the comment section below. Have a happy Oink Oink day, and don't forget to wash your hands.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Overcome Procrastination

Thank you, Mr. Wordsworth, but that's easier said than done. None the less, today's art quote, "To begin, begin," by William Wordsworth is simple, direct, and full of truth. At least for me, beginning a project is the only thing that is harder than knowing when to say it is done.

"To begin, begin."

By William Wordsworth

I remember in high school sitting in front of a blank piece of paper wondering how I should start my essay. As the minutes ticked by, my brain seemed to freeze up all the tighter, until the teacher leaned over and whispered in my ear, "just write anything, so at least you have starting point."

She, like Mr. Wordsworth, was absolutely right. Once the first few words were on the page, I immediately scratched them out and replaced them with what I really wanted to say. Then, the rest seemed to just flow out of my pen. I’ve applied that lesson to many aspects of my life, but when it comes to my art work, well… if the truth be told, I often get stymied.

So why do I still get "stuck" before I start a project? Most often it's my fear of failure, my fear of wasting good art supplies, or my fear of running out of time. Yes, I'd say it's always fear of some sort that causes my procrastination, my writer's block, or more accurately my artist's block.

Overcoming my fears is the key to overcoming my tendency to procrastinate. This process always seems to start with self reflection and the ability to recognize my unconscious fears and bring them into my conscious thoughts. Once I know what my fear is, I can decide if it is a legitimate fear that I should heed or if it is something I can choose to ignore without suffering any severe or unwanted consequences. If it’s not a legit fear, I’m freed and ready to dive in and begin.

So the next time you think you might be procrastinating, ask yourself, "What’s your worst fear?" Decide if it’s valid. If you’re afraid that you’ll burn the studio down trying a new technique, then maybe you shouldn’t begin, but if you’re worried about the embarrassment of failure, you might upon further thought decide that trying and failing is better than not trying at all.

If you’ve ever caught yourself procrastinating, how did you overcome it? Let the rest of us know in the comment section below.

An After thought: Procrastination is just one form of artist's block. Other issues artists and creative types might face include physical or emotional exhaustion, stressful circumstances, bad habbits or vices that are taking a toll, etc. And there are many great articles out there addressing the topic of artist block. Gail Miller has written "Overcoming Artist's Block" and "Overcoming Artist's Block (part 2)", both of which are worth a quick read.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Vote in Artfire Cafemom's Weekly Contest

See if your favorite is the most popular. Go to the Artfire Cafemom Team's Blog to place your vote and see the results. Just click here:

This weeks theme is flowers, and the pieces submitted range from a felted broach, jewelry, a zippered pouch, a painting, polymer clay creations, and a hand painted box. Voting takes place on Saturday and Sunday and the winner is announced on Monday's.

The Artfire Cafemom Team is a guild of artists who all sell their artwork through a studio/store on The common detonator is that all of their members are Moms, which makes this an eclectic group representing many different artistic mediums and many different geographical locations.

Their blog is also full of recipes and helpful hints for Mom's like time management and parenting tips. It's a great group, and I'm proud to be one of their members.

And, yes, one of my pieces is entered in the contest. To see which one go to: