Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Breaking Out in 2009 and Having More Fun

Hi all! As 2009 quickly approaches I’ve been thinking about ways to break out of my comfort zone and in the process help my teammates that would like to break out of theirs. Reflecting back, I’ve realized that some of the best times I’ve had or the most satisfaction I have felt was doing something a little foreign to me. Certainly getting on a plane to go meet people I had never met before (the bbest weekend in Boston) falls under that category but look how fabulous that turned out to be.

For sure it is cozy in our boxes and there is nothing wrong with that but isn’t it fun to shake things up a bit? I’m not suggesting that its time to run away and join the circus, just stretch out a bit.

So this month, lets start out with baby steps. I find the bbest members to be a very artistic and creative group of people. I think most of us have other interests and hobbies that maybe we’ve talked about a little but maybe haven’t shown each other. Or maybe we have a desire to try another medium. Well our challenge for this, the first month of the new year, is this….. Make something that we, your teammates would not expect you to make. Take a photo and email it to myself, joonie or six. We will put it on Flickr with no name attached. Then we will all try to see if we can guess which art belongs to which member. You know you enjoy guessing games, who doesn’t? And if you haven’t been very active on the team now is your chance to show us that you would love to get to know your teammates (and yourself) a little better.

It’s a win win for everyone!!!

I’d like to toast one our favorite members, Rosegardenfae for making 08 the year she stepped out of her norm. *applause here*

And on the theme of boxes… here are a few of my fav’s. No need to step out of these.

From Nonnie's Treasuries

from VanFleetStreetDesigns

from HeronKate

from BethPeardonProds

Joon, Six and I would like to wish all our bbest friends a very Happy, Healthy, and Fun, New Year! We love this team and are grateful for all the support, laughs and most importantly, friendship you have given us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Painter's Eye

As human beings we have unique views of the world that are framed by our individual sets of life experiences, and are influenced by our personal perceptions of color and texture. We are somewhat limited by the way our brains interpret what we see. We can never truly know how others view the world. However, through the talents of artists we can catch glimpses of visual viewpoints beyond our own. They capture the essences of beauty and touches of whimsy that are present in our mutual daily experience and express them within their own framework of understanding.

Artistic expression can take many forms: painting and sketching, collage, 3-dimensional forms, photography, and textile arts are just a few. Today let's take a look at the painter's eye within our Boomers and Beyond Etsy Street Team (BBEST).

An artist's toolbox may include oil paints, watercolors, pastels, pens, colored pencils, charcoals, or acrylics. Members of the BBEST team have employed all these tools in the course of creating their works of art. Each artist has a certain special, often identifiable style. The themes of their pieces incorporate elements to which we can all relate, such as scenes from nature, animals, or familiar landscapes. They may also evoke childhood memories or explore inner feelings. Below are just a few examples of the wonderful art works you will find when you search for BBEST art on Etsy.

Poppies in My Front Yard by Kate of Heron Kate captures the beauty of garden flowers (acrylic on canvas)

Inside and Out by Diane Clancy is done in the style of Matisse, and bridges the inner and outer worlds to create a feeling of harmony and peace.

Renee of Fauve Studio brings the rich colors of landscapes to life in her custom oil paintings, like this French Lavender Landscape.

Abstract oil painting Sun Worship was created by Marion of Purely Painting to "reflect the joy we feel on a perfect summers' day, when the sun is high in a sky of perfect blue."

A Vase Full of Spring Lilacs by Carol of Yankeegirl employs watercolors to remind us of the fragrance of fresh flowers.

Judy of Backroom Treasures uses acrylics to create custom portraits of our furry friends, such as this Papillion Dog.

Watercolor painting Birch Creek by Melanie of The Creators Palette brings to mind those relaxing and peaceful natural places that we recall with fondness.

Joan of Sixsisters and Fairy Frond stirs memories of childhood with her Neighborhood Girl series (left), and takes flights of fancy into the fairy realm with fantasy paintings such as Exuberance (right).

Sometimes art delves into the inner self and explores elements of our personalities. Brett of Van Fleet Street Designs creates unique characters with her series of faces like Frellin Dorkins.

Jean Levert Hood's oil paintings, such as Chicken Strut, are vibrant celebrations of nature.

Pat of On A Whimsey introduces us to encaustic art with paintings like Awakening Number 1. She explains, "Encaustic art is created using beeswax which has been melted and worked with heated tools to create individual effects. To protect the wax surface this painting has been painted with a wax sealer to stop it scratching."Several BBEST artists apply their painting talents to fabric. Janine of Althea Peregrine and Klaire of Mystic Silks both use silk as a base for their beautiful art works.

Left: Silk Chiffon Balloon Scarf, Althea Peregrine
Right: Fickle Winds, Mystic Silks

We usually think of painting on canvas or paper, but paint can be applied to wood, synthetics, and even stone. Brett of Van Fleet Street Designs adds her unique style to wood in her Frido Kahlo Nicho (left), while Elizabeth of Paintdrops employs a folk style to decorate a wooden Birdhouse (right).

Berit of Clinging Images applies paint to the vinyl window clings she designs, as in this Butterfly Suncatcher (left), and Carla of Carla's Creations uses acrylic paints on Oregon river rock to create lively forest creatures, such as this sweet Fawn (right).

Sometimes art reminds us to keep positive thoughts and follow our dreams, as in this colorful pencil drawing from Diane of DB Hoyle Art.

Good words to remember for 2009!

Be sure to visit these artists on a regular basis
to see their latest inspirations!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Meet the Boomers!

This week we get to know Gunnel, our Boomer friend from southern Sweden.  Her shop has caught the eye of many of us, and her friendliness on the forums is well known!  And, for those of us who are Americans, here's a map of where Gunnel is.sweden

The name of my shop is Gunnel Svensson, where I show and sell art quilts, fabric collage, embroidered art, mixed media collage, and textile jewellery.

How long have you been engaged in your art/craft? I have always created things. My mum taught me to sew my own clothes when I was ten years old, and I think I was the same age when I started my first class with clay, too. Since then I have done knitting, weaving, quilting, embroidery, silver smithing, etc. For the past ten years, however, I have been creating more free-style textiles . . . may I dare to call it textile art?  More and more I’m concentrating on making mixed media pieces. I love to do collage, but I can’t only use paper; I have to have some fabric and stitches in them, too! I have a big love for vintage items, old photos, letters and stamps, old sewing materials, buttons . . . a lot of buttons!

Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson? It’s a difficult question to answer; I can’t live at my craft/art, but I can’t live without it either! Luckily, I have a husband who works and earns money ;-)

What inspires you?  Nature, especially the sea. I love the sea! I love to look at old houses on my walks, as well as people, old things, flea markets. I try to visit many art exhibitions. I also watch what other artists are doing on the internet. There are so many creative people out there in the cyber world. I also read a lot of magazines and books.

Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio. After breakfast I’m in the habit of checking my email, Etsy, Flickr, catching up on others’ blogs, etc. This is an area where I have to limit myself: leaving the computer and going in to my studio. ;-) If I have an order from a customer I do that first: I try to post them very fast. Then I start with my creating. If I have work in progress I continue with it, maybe sewing on my machine, or dyeing or painting more fabrics, or making a collage with fabric and paper. After my lunch I try to take a walk, before I continue in my studio again. If I have things to photograph, I will do that now, when the light is best. In the warmer season, I try to do much of my work outside. Painting and dyeing fabrics is the best outside, and I love to do my hand embroidery in my garden in sunlight! By the evening, of course, it is time again with the computer, and I upload and list things to Etsy, Flickr and my blog.

What keeps you company while you’re working on a project? I listen to the radio — the Swedish Public Service, P1. It’s more talk than music, but it’s nice and I learn a lot from that. Sometimes I listen to an audio book — a good story or novel. When I’m doing freehand embroidery or freehand quilting on my sewing machine I need to listen to rock or pop, to do fast and good sewing! But very often I don’t listen to anything, I like the quiet time. It’s good for thinking, and I think about so much when doing my handstitching. My cat keeps me company, though sometimes she is too good and tries to help me ;-)

What is your favorite task related to your art/craft? It depends on my mood! It differs from time to time, but when I’m involved in what I’m doing, time flies, and I don’t notice the hours rushing by at all.gunnel1

What is your least favorite task related to your art/craft? I think it is listing new items on Etsy; it takes time and I find it boring. And here’s a secret for you: I think it’s very, very hard to begin a new work. I can think about them for a very long time. [More on this further on.]

 gunnel3 What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop/ware? Do you blog? Are you a member of other teams? Do you use other sites? Which ones? I don’t think I am very good at promoting myself, but I have had a blog  for two years, and a Flickr site, and it seems to be from these sources that many of my customers come. I am a member of two ning groups, mixed media/fibre arts and stitching fingers, and Facebook, and . . . as you see, the computer can take all day if you don’t watch out! I am a member of four teams at Etsy: Quiltsy team, mixed media team, Bbest team and Europeanstreetteam, and that is too many! But when I was new at Etsy, I didn’t know what it meant to be on a team or how much time it can take, so I joined several that looked interesting.

Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself in. I don’t know what to say here, but all the friends that I have made through my crafting, in real life and also through the internet, are generous, friendly and amazing women who give me so much inspiration and joy! And because of the internet and all you who don’t speak Swedish, I have to use English. I think it’s very hard to express myself in another language, and I am very, very glad you don’t have to hear me, only read my English ;-)

Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know about you by talking to you in the forums. I find it very hard to begin new work! I can think about a new project for a very long time. I look at my fabrics and thread, try different colour combinations, put it back again, do something else, and next day or maybe the next, I’ll start. So even if I am very pleased and happy when a work is done and finished, it’s so hard to start again. I’ve learned to have many works in progress, so I always have something to do, and while I’m working I can be thinking and planning the next work “in my head.”

gunnel2 What’s your favorite book and why, favorite movie and why, favorite kind of music? I think my favourite books and films are Swedish or from our Scandinavian neighbours, but I like to see films with Richard Gere, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Robert De Niro, Hugh Grant, and many more. I listen often to REM, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Enya, and a lot others and of course also Swedish music. And I think the TV series Six Feet Under was great!

Would you care to share any words of wisdom with other aspiring artists or crafters? Yes, DO IT!!!! Don’t wait; you never know what will happen in your life, so do what you have to do now!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meet the Boomers!

This week we get to talk with BBEST's Magdalene Jewels.   [I was going to introduce her as one of the Boomers' more serious voices of reason until I learned how many tattoos she has!] 

What kind of items do you sell? My shop consists of many different types of jewelry, all of which I design myself. One can find necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. I just started making “personalized bracelets” which I have in my shop. They have to be custom ordered.  So far I have done 12 and last night got another order for three more. I also have added some neck warmers and scarves which are either knitted or crocheted. (Of course, they are seasonal only.)

How long have you been engaged in your craft?
Since I was very young, I was always into doing something creative. I started with embroidery  – I can’t even count how many pairs of jeans, etc., I embroidered for friends:  you have to be of that era to understand!  From there I started crocheting, knitting and quilting. It has only been three years since I learned the craft of making jewelry. Every craft I have done, as well as my jewelry, have all been self-taught. I never use patterns; when I get an idea in my head, I just start creating.

Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson? I don’t know if I could categorize myself as either. I am doing something I truly enjoy.

What inspires you?  I imagine that my inspiration evolves from what one would term my very vivid imagination. All my pieces are made with Swarovski crystals. Often I see a beautifully colored crystal, which when in the light can reflect so many possibilities. I think my personality inspires me the most. Those that truly know me will understand this.

Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio. Since I don’t work outside of the home, my time is my own. I am usually up by 5:30am everyday, which I find the most peaceful time of the day. It is then that most of my ideas come to fruition. Once I start working on a piece, I create it until finished. There are often days when I have no inspiration – I call these my days off! That is when I will do a lot of my writing, which is my other passion. I also like to work late at night; again, it is that peaceful time that opens my mind to all sorts of visions.

What keeps you company while you’re working on a project? My main audience are my two cats, one of which sits next to me continually and loves to help by trying grab the wire as I am beading, or trying to run away with my yarn if I am knitting. Since I truly love music, I have to have that on all the time.  Pam2
What is your favorite task related to your craft?
The completion of something I started, and knowing that I put my whole self into what I have been working on. My favorite thing is when I find a totally different color crystal, or pendant. It is truly exciting to be creating something of beauty.

What is your least favorite task related to your craft? My least favorite thing is time. When I know I have to complete something, I start to feel the pressure. That is usually when I work at the last minute. Guess that goes back to my days in school when I would have a month to do a report, and then get filled with angst, and find myself up to all hours the night before doing my report.Pam3
What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop?  I have two different blogs which I love to write in: Magdalene Jewels and Magdalene Jewels Blogs. I belong to the Bbest team, Etsy Bloggers, Flickr, Twitter, and just yesterday joined Pluggers United on Flickr, which are mostly members of “Blockhead Rod’s” radio group. Although I have only just joined Blockhead Rod’s radio groupies, we have a great time, and do a lot of promoting there also. Besides being on Etsy, I also do a lot of shows, and promote a lot of my work through my many YouTube videos from which I have gotten many custom orders.

Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself in. My most enjoyable part of my craft is the Christmas Fair in my parish, which starts tomorrow for three days. What I truly enjoy is on Friday the children in the school come to do their shopping. The little ones come in with $2 to spend, which to them is like a million dollars. Last year a little boy about five came up to me and said he wanted to buy something special for his mommy. Of course he picks out my most expensive necklace. I took a pair of earrings that were about $10 and said, "Oh, I think these are $2!"  The smile on his face was worth all the money in the world! So I am truly looking forward to the little ones shopping tomorrow. Pam1

Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know about you by talking to you in the forums. I have three great children (ok, one of them really keeps me on my toes, perhaps because he is so like me) but they are my main support and best friends. As a single mother since my boys were toddlers and my daughter was four, we have truly lived through a lot of ups and downs through the years, which has only brought us closer. I have also been on disability for the past six years, but as I say, “I am the happiest unemployed person,” I can now do all the things that I love to do! I also have five tattoos!

What’s your favorite book, favorite movie, favorite kind of music? I am an avid reader, at times reading 2-3 books at a time. I do not like fiction. I love reading about Russian history and early Christianity. As for movies, I still love the old classics – Casablanca, and any Bette Davis movie. I am a diehard Beatles and Janis Joplin fan. I also love Guns 'n Roses.  Finally, after 14 years, they came out with their newest and long-awaited CD last week.

Pam4 Would you care to share any words of wisdom with other aspiring artists or crafters?  “The smile you send out always returns.”  This is a very old quote from a little book called Indian Wisdom.  It was given to me on my 17th birthday, and I still carry that book with me everywhere.

Please let Magdalene know you've dropped by and leave a comment for her!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

C is For .......

Now, don't you think I'd be a fool not to say that C is for CHRISTMAS?  You have to admit that it is an absolute gift reaching the letter C in the middle of December!  The problem is that there are just too many Christmas choices to make when searching through the Bbest team listings. I decided that I would have to stick to a plan, so here it is. 

Firstly we need to decorate the house!  Where better to look than clingingimages?  Here you will find a good selection of window clings just waiting to advertise the holiday season.  This is just one of them:

You'll find it HERE, and wouldn't it grace any window?
So the decorations are up, and hopefully you have shopped Bbest for all your Christmas presents, but they now have to be wrapped.  Small is often so beautiful, so why not choose these from greenwillow for your little gifts:
 These delightful little bags would grace any tree, and add to the recipient's delight.  You can find them here, and by visiting the shop there are more choices of design.
So. the house is decorated, the tree decked and presents wrapped.  Christmas morning arrives and in the midst of all the celebration there is one thing youneed more than anything.  Yes, you've guessed it, it's that first cup of the day!  Whether it is tea, coffee, or another begerage, it's a fact that that first one is the best!  So why not continue the celebrations by having these delightful little mats to protect your Christmas surfaces.
blazingneedles has used her skills to their best effect in these lovely little items.  Don't they look good?  Bring them out year after year for festive cheer.

As always the festivities are over too soon.  However, memories are there to be cherished.  Photographs, lists, anecdotes..... they should all be recorded, looking back is never a bad thing with happy memories.  Why not keep them all together?  bbdesigns is offering you the ideal solution.
You have to admit that this Christmas Journal would be the ideal place to keep it all together.   With 40 pages and a cover made from handmade paper it will be a joy for years to come.
Enjoy your Christmas, wherever you are, and if you don't celebrate have a time of peace and make the most of any rest you may be able to squeeze in.

Now don't limit yourselves just to these choices, don't forget that you can do a search at any time on Etsy and you are sure of outstanding results.  Click here to find the current results for Bbest and Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Boomers Are Where? asked Sally.

"Oh, Sally, I am so glad to see you! Come in! Do you remember once before I told you that Boomers and Beyond team members are almost everywhere in the world? And do you know that as of this morning early, there were 267 listings under the title: Bbest team? I just checked out the first 100 and I can't wait for you to see some of them and where the artists are located."

"This is going to be so much fun," Sally said. "Let's get started!"

Wire Wrap Jasper Bracelet

"As we look up some of these shops, I am also going to be posting them on our team blog. I have to confess, Sally, that I have a lot to learn about blog formatting! When I try to get my blog posts in a nice orderly arrangement, it never works! Things are all over the place. I'm really going to have to ask someone who knows how to do this to tell me!" I sighed.

"Don't worry," Sally comforted. "I'm sure everyone will enjoy it even if you are a messy blog poster," she laughed.

JN Originals Rebecca Bag

Cardinal Christmas Cards

Moth or butterfly Window decal

Butterflies IV - Fine Art Card

Native American Blue Iris and
Purple Fan Earrings

Raku Incense Burner

Camelot Mother of Pearl Earrings

Victorian Christening Gown
Sussex, UK

Willow Eye Candy Homemade Soap

Fabric Origami Peace Crane

Blue Butterflies

Calypso Earrings

Modern Silver and turquoise Arrowhead Necklace
New Mexico

Tina Brown and Blue Batik and Beaded Bag
New York

Nefertiti Copper Lampwork Necklace and Earrings Set

Iris Original Painting
North Carolina

Wildflower Coasters

Shawneee River Original Watercolor

Asian Coins and Crystal Earrings

Fleece Hat and Scarf

Lavender Gardens Earrings

Magnetic Needle Nabber

  • Chicken Strut Original Oil Painting
  • Texas

    Female Cardinal

    Red Poinsettia Focal Bead Pendant

    Magnolia Christmas
    North Carolina

    Lucky Ladybug

  • "Wow!" exclaimed Sally. "These are all so beautiful, and look at all those states and countries that have Boomers and Beyond in them."

    "Oh, that isn't even the half of it! Boomers are everywhere, and I wish we had time to look for all of them. They are all so talented, and they make such lovely things, and use so many different media to do it! I'll tell you what. You just keep on looking while I stir up something chocolate! The Boomers will be pleased to know that you and I are eating chocolate while we look up all their shops! Chocolate is one of the favorite topics when they get together and chat! Just type in Bbest team in the Search box, and click on will take you to all the listings....and meanwhile, I'll grab that spoon and mixing bowl and .....