Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A Charitable Project in Conjunction with Sojourn Artisan Market - TAPS.org 2017

Hello Dear Readers,

 You may know that I am a part of the Sojourn Artisan Market team. They asked me to create a charitable line of work and pick a worthy cause. 

 As a military US Navy wife, it was a 'no-brainer' for me to choose TAPS.org as my philanthropic charity. [ http://www.taps.org ] 
TAPS is the very best organization; you hope you'll never need. Yet each year more members are added to their roster. 
  Their mission statement from the website explains it best: The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers compassionate care to all those grieving the death of a loved one serving in our Armed Forces. Since 1994, TAPS has provided comfort and hope 24 hours a day, seven days a week through a national peer support network and connection to grief resources, all at no cost to surviving families and loved ones.
 I had heard of this group for years, but came to know more about it 10+ years ago, after my husbands US Navy Helicopter squadron HSC-25 in Guam lost a service member while on a training mission. I saw how quickly they jumped in a supported the widow in a way most of us could not. They helped to ease her suffering, and gave her the guidance and support that she needed at a terrible time.  From then on, they have held a special place in my esteem.

 Fast forward to 2017. I am pleased to be a launching member of the Sojourn Artisan Market. As I was deciding to join; the founder told me that she hoped at a certain point to donate a portion of the proceeds to a charity of our choice. 
  I immediately went to work and settled on a simple anchor pendant for several reasons. As a Navy wife, the anchor symbol is a common denominator in our nautical life. The anchor however, also has deeper symbolism which is also appropriate for this charity. 
 From the online encyclopedia New Advent.org: The anchor, because of the great importance in navigation, was regarded in ancient times as a symbol of safety. The Christians therefore, in adopting the anchor as a symbol of hope in future existence, merely gave a new and higher signification to a familiar emblem. In the teachings of Christianity the virtue of hope occupies a place of great importance; Christ is the unfailing hope of all who believe in Him. St. Peter,St. Paul, and several of the early Fathers speak in this sense, but the Epistle to the Hebrews for the first time connects the idea of hope with the symbol of the anchor. The writers says that we have "Hope" set before us "as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm" [Hebrews 6:19-20].

 So with all this, I am pleased to offer a selection of up-cycled vintage tin anchor pendants on an 18in silver tone chain with lobster clasp. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these will be donated directly to TAPS.org. The pendants are $20 and are available only from Sojourn Artisan Market. Sojourn Artisan Market on FB

I hope you will consider supporting this worthy organization with a purchase or your own private donation. You have heard the saying 'All gave some, but some gave all." Let us all continue our support of those who gave more than they ever thought they would.

Warm Regards,

Monday, May 15, 2017

Starting a FB Group "HANDMADE VOLUSIA" 5/15/2017

Hello Friends~

Here's a quick note to share an idea I have had. 

When I lived in Virginia I belonged to a FB group called 'Handmade Hampton Roads', Hampton Roads is a nickname for the coastal area of Virginia around Norfolk and Virginia Beach. 

This group was a great, friendly and informational resource. Having moved to Volusia county Florida last summer I see that there is not really an active group resource like that. 
So after a lot of thought, I decided to try and recreate that vibe for this area that I now call home.

If you are an artist, a crafter or a creative person and you live in, to have a connection to Volusia County, FL please consider joining. We would love to have you! 

Monday, April 24, 2017

4/24/17 'Brain Dump' What I'm Doing, Seeing, and Acquiring...

Playing with some large gauge copper wire

Hi Friends
This is a picture heavy post as I use them to explain what is on my mind in the last week or so!

Two weeks ago at my St. Augustine, FL show I had a great show and consequently sold out of many things. [A very good problem to have by the way!]
So I got busy making for both my next event and more pieces for the Sojourn Artisan Market that I wholesale to.  The turquoise oval piece above came together easily. I often take stone beads with me to shows and work wire wrapping them in-between customers. I had finished these ovals a while back and knew I wanted to create a coordinating pendant in copper. I also made the clasp with a cool resin technique to match.


  I also needed to make a few new belt leather cuffs. I love this colorful belt from Costa Rica and the patina beach creatures are a perennial favorite among my customer base.

  Next on the list was to share- the awesome Stanley brand aviation tin snips I purchased. 
  I adore my fine metal shears, but I felt like there should be an better tool for the basic deconstruction of the tins. I have found it here! These cut like butter through the tin, but they are rough cuts and so it gets through the metal fast and makes it easy to clean it up with the fine shears. They are spring loaded too, so easy on the hands....Well worth the $15. 

Next on the show and tell are a pile of awesome tins I got for free! 
You may know that I volunteer at my churches thrift shop. Last week they were purging and reorganizing and were about to throw out these Christmas tins. As you can imagine I scooped them up ASAP. :-)

The Lenox tin is especially pretty!!

Last, but not least I was a first time participant in the Port Orange Art Fest. 
This show is two days and just 5 miles from my house in the city center of PO.

There was good and bad about this event. 
The good: 
Pretty park venue
Nice to be on asphalt and not dirt or grass
Close to restrooms
Easy load in and out
Good food vendors
Saturday was in conjunction with a Jazz fest so there was good foot traffic and nice music all day
Fairly well organized
Had a piece selected for judging!
Sunday's musical a cappella group was great entertainment

The Bad:
A new organizer this year. They were not terrible by any means, but I think there were some definite 'growing pains' as they took over the reins. Lack of advertising, maybe???
Poor foot traffic with very few sales on Sunday! This was pretty awful. In reality this could almost be considered a one day event. 

A pano from my tent showing the juried artists
The piece chosen for jurying, not my favorite by any means, but  hey art is subjective after all!

 The only good thing about lots of down time at a show is that I ALWAYS take work with me just in case. So I had the chance to cut and file a lot of discs, make some pendants and do some small project planning as you see above.

Well that's it for now. I feet so much better getting all that off my mind. Now on to the week. Hope yours is a good one! Thanks for stopping by~
Warm Regards

Monday, April 17, 2017

Sojourn Artisan Market 2017

Hello Friends~
A few weeks ago, I was approached by a young lady, named Acara that I have become friends with while doing shows in Virginia.  She is also a jewelry maker and does a very successful line of copper enameled washer jewelry. 

She was interested in developing the concept for a line of handmade artisan jewelry by multiple artists that would be sold in a collective setting. Similar to direct marketing in that these shows and events could be held in peoples homes, public events or in more traditional art show venues, but different in that all the pieces are handmade by artists and not mass produced in huge quantities.

After some thought I decided to give it a try.            
I came up with a few limited edition runs and also did a grouping of my one of a kind tin pieces.
A few wire bangles I had on hand rounded out the initial offering.
So far, through Acara's hard work things are beginning to pay off.  She has begun to employ reps who also sell and promote the concept and the events are becoming more numerous. 
I am grateful for the opportunity. Since moving to FL last summer I have been slowly rebuilding my business and this fledgling enterprise is one of those baby steps. 
Please check out the website and if you are interested in becoming a participating artist, a rep or hosting an event, let us know! 

Copper embossed pieces in progress

Repurposed, embossed & patinated tin
Project board- pieces in production with a template and description card for each

Copper embossed


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lenten Charity Wall Cross Project 2017 - Food for the Poor

Hello Friends~ 
Just a quick but meaningful post today. As Lent is drawing to a close, I want to offer a sincere thank you to the wonderful friends who made purchase to support my annual charity project. 
With your kindness and contribution I am pleased to able to donate 
$120 to Food for the Poor!
I feel strongly about this charity and have been blessed to be able to help them for the last 7 years. I plan to continue indefinitely as they do such good things for those with so little. 

Although Lent ending and several of the crosses pictured are already sold, technically speaking this charitable project is ongoing, year around.  
Do contact me if you are interested in purchasing a cross and contributing to this effort. 
Thank you,  HAPPY EASTER and God Bless you! 
Warmest Regards,

Monday, April 10, 2017

My First 'Sleep Over' Show / St. Augustine, FL 4/10/17

I am so happy to be writing this post today.  I had my first 'travel out of town' show this past weekend in St. Augustine, FL.  St. Augustine is the nations oldest city and is situated on the Atlantic coast of FL between Jacksonville and Daytona.  It's just about an hour north of me.
I was able to participate in this show because I won the entry as a prize in an artists group called Art Fair Insiders.  
I convinced my husband to accompany me and that we would make it a fun working 'vacation'. We drove up on Friday afternoon and were able to set up the tent and heavy hardware on Friday afternoon. The weather was spectacular, although quite windy. We were well situated with my new Flourish Stay-bars, plenty of weights, dog tie out stakes, etc.  Once we were set up we had the whole afternoon to play. 
Got checked into our bed and breakfast and set out to do some day drinking and discovery of St. A.
The beautiful Cathedral in the heart of town
So quaint and historic

We started a pub crawl of sorts, having a beer or a snack at a few places along the way. We always opted to sit outside and enjoy the amazing weather and of course the people watching. 
We walked everywhere and enjoyed seeing the sites.  We had so much delicious food. Thanks to YELP we had several fantastic meals over our 3 days.
We were also able to attend 7am, Palm Sunday Mass at the Cathedral downtown. That made me very happy on a couple different levels. I love to go to new parishes when we travel, one of the beauties of being Catholic is that the mass is the same no matter where you go, there is a comfort in that for sure. The second thing is that when I do weekend events, I am sometimes not able to make it to church and so this was a win- win for me. :-)

Scrumptious BarBQue
I'm such a kook
Now on to the business end of things.  I've finessed my set up over the last few months and I am reasonably happy with it. I use two of the shelving pedestals and 4 grid panels to keep the floor clear and utilize the wall space to the most advantage.  
At this event, every artist had a corner set up. I hear that is very desirable and great for sales $$, but I was unprepared for that.  With some advice from some fellow jewelry artists I found a way to tweak my usual set up for this corner variation you see below. I also added a single grid panel at the outer corner to catch the interest of passersby. My display fills my car pretty tightly so this was a way to add some more display area without taking up too much extra space.
It was very windy this weekend, but that was truly my only complaint. The traffic was moderate, but the customers who came were there to shop! I had one of my best financial weekends in well over a year.

I didn't particularly care for this pic of myself [why am I slouching? -ugh] , but I wanted to show the extra little grid I added to the corner of the tent.
So, there you have it. A great weekend all the way around. Now the good news is that I will be cranking out some work over the next two weeks before my next event- Yay me!!  haha
Have a great rest of the week,
Warm Regards,

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Thrifting Thursday 4/6/17 'Repurposed Photo Posters'

Hi Thrifty Friends~
Today's post is a quickie. Just wanted to share how I repurposed some of my photo posters.

Back in December of 2014 I ordered 4 18x24 photo posters of my work from VistaPrint. 

They made a nice impact in my show booth and worked well for over 2 years. In the past few weeks though I realized they were showing their age. Not only has my work changed and improved, but even with care, the posters were beginning to look tattered and then, they got damp at a show and the paper warped even though they were in poster frames.

So, I ordered 4 new ones when VistaPrint had one of their ever present sales.

This coming weekend I have a show that I discovered has my booth on a corner. Corners are great for increasing sales, as they encourage people to walk through more often. 
This is also my first 'sleepover' show. This means I am taking on the expense of a hotel and food, etc. Because everything has to fit in my car, I don't have the luxury of adding a bunch of extra display items. My car is already usually packed to the brim and I need room this time for my hubby and a suitcase!
I needed a little corner display without a ton of materials.  After much thought I am adding one 2x6 footed grid wall which can sit at an angle on the tent corner to add interest to passersby. 
How can I decorate and display on that with minimal cost and have it all still fit? 

Today's thrifty idea was to make use of my warped posters.  I had two dollar store frames that were just sitting around so I decided to cut out a portion and use them as accents on this corner grid.
I won't have a picture until Monday, so we will all have to wait, but I think these will make a nice addition to the small display.

Using the 'earring' portion of the posters made the most sense. 

You can really see the wrinkles where the posters are warped.

Voila'  All done and ready for the weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.  
Check out my TTE Facebook page for pictures from the weekend and drop by next week for a follow-on post. 
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Deland, Prizes & Statement Necklace Production 4/4/17

Hello Friends! 
It's great to see you again~ Today's post is an attempt to show you what's been going on on my work bench the last couple of weeks. 
March 2017 was a good month for TTE Designs
Two weekends ago I was at the Deland [FL] Outdoor Art Fest. A pleasant show in a nice venue, although sales were pretty slow for me and most of those around me
 [The large tree of life wall hanger people across from me sold only one thing on Saturday-the wood worker next to me sold not one thing on Sunday] . 
I did have the good fortune to win an honorable mention for my jewelry which was extremely nice and it came with a cash prize which helped offset some of the lack of sales.  
Interestingly, the sales that I did have came mainly from what I call my 'statement' category, the big pieces you create that are showy and that I do for the judges and to show my range of skills.

40 of these babies
Playing around with the discs

While I had slow time at the Deland show I hand cut, filed and sanded about 40 metal ovals for bracelets like the pictures you see above.

Well, 40 was way more than I actually needed. Unfortunately that tin was dented, a bit rusty and far from pristine. Many of the discs were more scarred up than I normally like to use.

Fast forward to yesterday. I have been working the past two weeks on creating some new statement pieces to fill the void before my big event in St. Augustine this coming weekend.
I had made several bright springtime pieces [which you can see below].

Yesterday I was playing around. I hated to waste the work that went into cutting and shaping them so I thought perhaps I would alter them in some way, but I had no plan what so ever.

"O well" moment #1
I decided to emboss the ovals and sand the surfaces. That would help to blend in many of the scars and scratches on the tin.
As luck would have it, I loaded the embossing plate backwards and the design was recessed instead of projected outward I had wanted.

"Oh well" moment #2, I'll sand them anyway. Maybe I can make it work.
"Oh well moment #3, I'm not loving this. :-(  What if I can add color to the discs with alcohol ink in sort of an ombre' [light to dark] scheme?

OK, liking these colors, now to attach them.
The usual jump ring links were weird and too floppy. :-(
...So what if I rivet them instead? 

OK, like the look of this but there is an odd space between two of them.  try and rivet a flattened 'floral look' bead cap there as an accent and also hid the odd spot.

OK so how do I finish it off? Add the chain and clasp at the front, so that it becomes part of the design and not just an afterthought.

I absolutely ADORE this!
Sometimes the serendipity of free style creating can be the perfect storm.
What do you think?

Here are the other statement pieces I have made in the past two weeks. Let me know your feedback, maybe your favorite one?  I always take your comments to heart.
Have a great week and if you are in St. Augustine, FL this weekend [4-8/9-17] please stop by the Old Town Art Show and see me. 
Warm Regards,

Cobalt and Beach

Abstract washer style discs with vintage Monet chain accents

Segmented with moving panels and floating dangles
Flirty and feminine, soft turquoise hangs from a silver plated neck wire

Rich coral pink with quatrefoil motif. Vintage rope chain and custom tin and resin clasp created just for this piece.