Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 A Year in Review for Sj Designs

When I was growing up, my mom would always tell me that time went faster the older you got.  I'm sure that I'm not the only one who heard words like this from the adults in their lives when they were young.  As a kid, this statement made absolutely no sense whatsoever.  I mean, time passes as a set measurement so how can a it be faster or slower?  As I got older (and hopefully a little wiser!) I discovered that my mom was totally correct; the older you get the faster it seems to go.

Now another year has sped by and we are starting afresh with a brand new, shiny year... 2014 here we come!  But before we get there I want to take a little moment to look back and reflect on the year that is coming to a close.

I started the year determined to make Sj Designs Jewelry a "real" business and not just the little side project/hobby that it had been for a couple of years.  While I never got to the point to really go gangbusters promoting my business this year, I've definitely put myself out there and made a ton of progress.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Launched my blog, Etsy shop, and business Facebook page in February
  • Had my first public sale in March 
  • Tried outdoor sales for the first time at the Waconia Farmers Market (and learned a lot in the process!)
  • Invited to participate in the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander in September
  • Participated in a ton of design challenges and blog hops which helped spark my creativity and stretch myself to try new things
  • Got involved with Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Reading Book Club and have enjoyed combining my two worlds:  books and jewelry!
  • Planned and offered two sets of jewelry making classes for teens at the library system where I work.
  • Made my first wholesale order to a Twin Cities shop

In addition to all my jewelry adventures, 2013 has been a year rich in many other ways.  Eric and I did quite a bit of travel going to Kansas City, Oregon, and Tennessee for weddings; Illinois and Alabama to see family and friends; and Duluth for a beer festival.  Eric spent the first half of the year studying hard for his Pediatric Boards which he took (and passed!) in June.  In late summer we were lucky to have visits from our friends Michael and Amy as well as my niece Anna. (While it's great fun to travel we also enjoy showing visitors around our home turf...come visit us!)

Visiting with my family on my niece's birthday.
We have shared many fun adventures, great food, and delicious drink with friends and family this year.  We've made new friends and had the opportunity to reconnect with some of our oldest and dearest as well.

All in all 2013 has been a great year!  I feel so very lucky and blessed.  I'm thankful to all of our friends and family for the support and fellowship that they have shared with me in this year of change and growth.  I'm especially grateful to Eric for all the encouragement, love, and assistance I get from my sweet husband... I couldn't do what I do without him!     

Eric and I at Minnehaha Falls
I'm very excited for what's on the horizon for 2014 and I can't wait to share with you!  Until then, have a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Final Reveal

It's time for more earrings!  We're at the end of this year long challenge from Art Jewelry Elements to make one pair of earrings a week that feature artisan components.  I came to the challenge a little later in the year but have immensely enjoyed participating in this ongoing creative challenge.  I think that it has helped me to stretch my creativity and to dig into my hoard of art beads that I've been obsessively "saving."

Of course another side effect has been me buying lots more art beads from talented individuals that I have discovered through the various jewelry related blogs and Facebook groups that I interact with... so I'm guessing that the net effect on my bead stash has probably left me with more beads and charms than I started with.  I suppose that worse things have happened!

This time of year is understandably busy for folks and I'm no exception.  Holiday shopping, wrapping and shipping presents, parties, and connecting with friends have all taken precedence over jewelry making the last few weeks.  This leaves me one short for this last earring reveal but, all things considered, I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up otherwise.

So I'll leave you with one last pair of earrings that continues my run of holiday themed resin charms from the last reveal.  I had made a pair of subtle spider earrings earlier in the fall (you can seem them in my Etsy shop HERE) and then shared them in the Design Gallery over at Lima Beads (a great online beading supply store with a fabulous community of beaders). From that I got an Etsy conversation that turned into my very first custom order for these earrings!

Christmas Tree Earrings
The customer who bought them from me was just thrilled with them... so much so that she is tempted to keep them for herself instead of giving them to her friend as originally planned.  I call that high praise!

This will be my last post until after the holidays.  I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!  See you all in 2014!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 47 & 48

I can't believe that this year (and the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge) is almost over!  It's time for another earring reveal and another two pairs of earrings made with artisan made components.

I was going to save these two holiday/seasonal themed pairs until the next reveal (and closer to Christmas) but I've been too busy prepping for my Holiday Open House that's going on this afternoon to get two more pairs done.

I've been playing with resin and holiday scrapbook papers again.  I've really been having a blast (and perhaps making up for lost time) ever since I got the correct sized small circle paper punch!

First up is a little set of snowflakes in silver plated bezels from Nunn Design.  I added little mint alabaster Swarovski crystals dangling on sterling silver headpins and used sterling ear wires accented with more crystal for some winter sparkle.

Week 47: Snowflake Sparkle
My second pair just might be one of my favorite things I've made this season.  I love the combination of the swirling peppermint print paper (it's got a little bit of glitter in there too from the paper) with the swirled red and white lampwork beads from the Spacer Bead Shop.

Week 48: Peppermint Swirls
Well, I'm off to finish getting set up for my sale today.  Maybe these little lovelies will sell...if not I'll get them up in my Etsy shop ASAP!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Buzzing with Happy Bee Jewelry News

This summer when I was selling my jewelry at the Waconia Farmers Market I had the pleasure of meeting Kelley Flanders as he was selling honey next to me.  In chatting with him I learned that he and his wife Debbie were opening a shop in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis and that they might be interested in selling some of my bee and honeycomb themed jewelry when they opened.

Things got a little crazy for me (that seems to be a theme in my life lately!) and I was delayed in getting things made for them, but now that fall has set in I've finally been able to follow through and get some new bee jewelry made and take it to the shop.

Look at all that honey!  And that's just one part of the store.

Here are a few of the exclusive designs from me that you will be able to find over at Minnesota Honey Company:

Twin Cities peeps should definitely take some time to buzz on over and check out their fun little shop!  I was just there today and there is a TON of stuff that would make great gifts this holiday season.

Minnesota Honey Company
4956 Xerxes Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sj Designs Holiday Open House

In just one week I'll be hosting my second annual Holiday Open House for Sj Designs Jewelry!  I can't believe how fast this year has flown by or how much my business has grown and evolved.  It's thanks in part to many of you that I am where I am and I appreciate the support and encouragement!

If you are interested in shopping for some unique jewelry (for holiday gifts or yourself!) please consider stopping should be a good time and I have lots of great items at a variety of price points.

The sale will be at our home (on the basement/bar level) from 1-6 pm next Sunday, December 8.  We will have beverages (including Eric's homebrew to make it guy friendly) and some snacks too.

If you want to come but don't know our address, please shoot me an email at sjdesignsjewelry[at]gmail[dot]com or leave me a comment here with a way to message you back privately.

Hope to see you then... but for now, it's back to making jewelry for me!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Artists for Disaster Relief Silent Auction

Terrible things happen in the world... that's just an unfortunate fact.  But how we as humans choose to respond when those bad things happen can be a beautiful thing.  People pull together; open their hearts, their homes, and, yes, their wallets; they find a way to help.  Sometimes the tragedy seems too big while I feel too small... yet I want to be able to do something, even a small thing to try to help make things better.  That's how I'm feeling now and what this blog post is all about.

You'd have to be living under a rock to not be aware of the devastation in the Philippines from the recent typhoon.  As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, my friend Andrew Thornton and his partner William have come up with a number of ways to help raise funds for the relief efforts in the Philippines.  Andrew's mother is from the Philippines and he still has family there that have been affected by this disaster.

One thing that they are doing is hosting a raffle to raise money.  There are tons of great prizes that have been donated and you can find out more about the raffle on Andrew's blog HERE.

Another way that Andrew is rallying artists to help raise money is by organizing this blog hop of silent auctions.  I hope that you will take a few minutes to hop around to the links at the end of this post to see what everyone is auctioning off and to consider making some bids.  The money earned from the this auction will all go to a good cause and you can feel really great about buying something beautiful and helping relief efforts in the Philippines at the same time!

I thought it appropriate to auction off a necklace that I made for the Inspired by Reading Book Club that Andrew Thornton started.  Especially a piece that features a resin focal made by Andrew himself.  If you are interested in reading more about the inspiration behind the design, you can read about it HERE.

Clasp Detail
The design includes a mix of gemstones including pyrite and labradorite, a variety of Czech glass, and Swarovski crystal.  The chain, wire, clasp, and leaf charm are all Vintaj Arte Metal along with a small Vintaj Natural Brass filagree piece.  The necklace measures approximately 19 inches and the pendant is just over 2 inches from tip to tip.   

Here's how it works: to place a bid you just leave a comment on this blog post with the amount of your bid and an email address.

Bidding starts at $15 and should go up in $5 increments.  The retail value for this necklace is $50.  

The auction will run from today until midnight CST, December 5th.  The winner will be announced on December 6th and a Paypal invoice will be emailed to the winner.

I will cover shipping costs for domestic shipping in the U.S. Sorry, due to shipping costs the auction is only open to folks in the U.S.

All proceeds from this auction will be donated to CARE's typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) relief efforts.  CLICK HERE to find out more about what they are doing and to donate.  

This is a blog hop... please check out what everyone is auctioning off too!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November Art Bead Scene Challenge

When I first saw the inspirtion painting for this month's Art Bead Scene Challenge, "Basket of Apples" by Paul Cézanne, I wasn't really sold on playing along.  Thankfully, the cool proportional color palette that the talented Brandi Hussey did changed my mind!  You can find out more about the painting over on the ABS blog HERE

Basket of Apples by Paul Cézanne, 1893
Oddly enough, I didn't really realize how much of that pale aqua/turquoise color was in the painting until I saw this version of the palette.  I wanted to go with something that reflected the colors and feel of the picture without being too literal this time, but none of my art beads were speaking to me.  I had just snagged an orphan strand of gorgeous lampwork beads from Erin Davenport of Firelily Glass and one of those little lovelies looked like just the thing for a starting point.

Now at 14mm by 9mm, this bead on its own isn't too terribly large when it comes to focals.   I wanted to highlight the luminous quality of the borosilicate glass without overwhelming it.  Per my usual process, I started just grabbing beads that might work in a design and made my very patient husband take a look and listen to my thoughts.

While I can take credit for thinking about using the red recycled glass ring from Trinket Foundry somewhere in the design, it was Eric who thought it would be cool to put the lampwork bead in the center.  When he saw that the ring wasn't drilled he figured his idea was a bust, but I knew with a little bit of work, I could do some fancy wire wrapping and turn these two beads into a really cool focal.  Now what I needed was some time, lots of patience, and a whole lot of wire!

It wasn't at all easy but I did finally get the pendant wrapped reasonably well on my second try.  (On my first attempt I seriously underestimated the amount of wire I needed!)  It might not be the most refined wire wrapping job ever, but I was hoping for a more rustic look anyway.  I decided to go with a symmetrical design this time and made wire wrapped links with dragon blood jasper, China variscite, petrified green opal, and Czech glass for each side of the necklace.

My original design.
I was originally thinking that the pendant would go horizontal as shown in the picture above.  I just wasn't happy with the angles of how things set so it was back to the drawing board for a little reworking.

I switched the pendant's orientation and added in some little dangles off the bottom using Czech glass, turquoise, and little brass charms.  I also added some length to the chain now that it was no longer a choker style.  I'm happy with the overall effect and the colors in this piece.  My wire wrapping skills still have a ways to go, but I'm proud of myself for trying something totally new!

Take two.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 45 & 46

I've been radio silent again lately due to lots of stuff going on in my personal life and with my day job at the library.  Luckily I have a nice stretch of time off for the Thanksgiving holiday so I hope to be getting a lot of new jewelry made in the coming week.  Fingers crossed!

Time just keeps speeding by and it's already time to share another two pairs of earrings for the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge.  I really haven't gotten too much made lately, but I did manage to get my earrings done.  The challenge (for those of you who are unfamiliar) is to make on pair of earrings each week using at least one artisan made component or bead.  

First up is a pair that's a little bigger than I normally tend to go.  I used some cute little spotted lampwork beads from Michelle Bryant at The Spacer Bead Shop as my starting point.  (These were more freebies from my order... I've used more of the free sets than the ones I paid for so far!)  As soon as I saw this pair I knew that I wanted them to dangle from the Vintaj Bohemian Teardrop pieces I had recently purchased.  I added in a mix of glass and crystal beads in colors that coordinated with those lampies to finish off my design.

Week 45

My second pair is on a smaller scale size wise and once again uses lampwork from The Spacer Bead Shop... this time with a pair of beads I actually bought!  I kept these pretty small and simple with the lampwork just dangling from some small TierraCast blackend hammered rings.  There's a little jet crystal for a tiny bit of sparkle.

Week 46

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Artists for Disaster Relief Raffle

I wanted to let you all know about the raffle that my friend Andrew Thornton is hosting to help raise money for disaster relief in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.  Andrew has family in the Philippines so this is a cause especially near to his heart.

Raffle tickets are only $1 each and there are some really cool prizes that artists from all over the place have donated to the cause.  You can find out more about the prizes and how you can enter over on Andrew's blog.  CLICK HERE to check it out.

Raffle tickets will be sold from November 14th to December 5th, so there's still time to buy them.

This is just one of the many ways that Andrew and his partner William are raising money to help with relief efforts.  Another avenue that they are organizing is a silent auction blog hop... I'll be participating in that when it starts next week, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 43 & 44

Happy Sunday!  It's earring time once again with the AJE Earring Challenge reveal.  For those of you new to these posts, the challenge is to make and share a pair of earrings that use at least one artisan made component.

This week I'm showcasing two pairs using cute little lampwork beads from Michelle Bryant at The Spacer Bead Shop on Etsy.  Truth be told, neither set of lampies were the ones that I actually bought from Michelle... they were unexpected thank you beads.  Such a nice surprise when I tore into my package!

I kept it pretty simple this for this reveal... just adding the little lampwork beads to silver plated or pewter findings.  Enjoy!

Week 43

Week 44

Monday, November 4, 2013

D.E.A.R. Shopping Event

Just a quick post to let folks I'll be selling my jewelry this coming Saturday in Waconia as part of the annual D.E.A.R Hunting event.  Don't know what that means?  D.E.A.R. stands for "Divas Enjoy Awesome Retail" and is an event sponsored each year by the Waconia Chamber of Commerce to coincide with the opening of dear hunting season.

Myself and several other vendors will be at DMA Dentistry this Saturday, November 9th from 9 am until Noon.  The address is 133 West 1st Street, Waconia and we'll be in the lower level of the building.  As an added bonus, there will be coffee, tea, and light refreshments to keep you fueled for your shopping day.

I've got some great fall pieces to wear now and tons of items that would make wonderful holiday gifts.  It's a perfect time to start taking care of your holiday shopping!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me - Inspired by Reading

Continuing my rash of late month design challenge reveals, it's time to share what I made for the latest installment in the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  You can check out more info about the group (you read the book and create something, anything) over at Andrew Thornton's blog HERE.  This month's book was My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, a collection of new stories inspired by fairy tales and edited by Kate Bernheimer.  

I have been entranced by fairy tales since I was a little girl, so this book was right up my alley.  Two of my earliest book memories involve collections of fairy tales.  The first was a Little Golden Book called The Blue Book of Fairy Tales that belonged to my big sister Kathy.  I was thrilled by the dark artwork and a bit terrified by it actually.  (Seriously, look at that witch on the cover...she's scary!)  It made such an impression on me that as an adult I spent years combing used book stores and garage sales looking for a copy of my own...and I eventually found one!

My other early fairy tale memory was devouring the stories in a big fat collection from Readers Digest that my grandparents gave me for Christmas one year called The World's Best Fairy Tales.  That volume introduced me to many new tales as well as the non-Disneyfied versions of stories I already thought I knew.   

As I've grown older, I've developed a notoriously short attention span when it comes to short stories.  Despite that, this collection really held my attention and imagination.  I only managed to read about 12 of the stories and I was sad that I needed to move onto other things since there were still tales between this book's covers that I was interested in reading.  Perhaps I'll check it out again someday, but then again, there are always stacks of new books I want to read!

I mostly tried to read stories based on tales that I was less familiar with and authors that I have enjoyed in the past... I'm not sure why this is the strategy I took, but there you have it.  In the end, I decided to go with an idea from the first story I read, "Catskin" by Kelly Link.  I started there because I had read and liked a collection of dark stories by her called Pretty Monsters and was unfamiliar with the inspiration tale.  (Oh, and I like cats...true confession time!)

Lots of good elements to work with here... witches, poison, cats, strange "children," and more.  Not surprisingly, I found this story unsettling and creepy.  While Mother's Revenge, the main cat in this story, was not black like the focal I chose, I decided this pendant from Earthenwood Studio still worked since this could be her silhouette with eyes glowing in the moonlight.  I kept things pretty simple for my design, just adding some Czech glass that has some bronzy sheen, rectangular bronzite pieces, and Vintaj brass chain and findings.

I also whipped up a pair of earrings based on the same story.  I was a little fascinated (and horrified) by how Mother's Revenge directs Small to lock all of the witch's cats inside her house and burn the whole thing down.  The next morning when the fire is out, Mother's Revenge retrieves bundle after bundle out of the ashes... catskins that no longer have cats inside.  And from the catskins fall golden coins that were "sloppy, slippery with fat."  Ok, totally gross, but that's the inspiration for these pretty little earrings made from pearls and gold filled findings.  I think I found the perfect prop for them!

As always, thanks to Andrew for thinking up and hosting this great book club.  One of these days I'm going to plan ahead and take a little mini-vacation for the in person meet up!  For now, I have to settle for checking out what everyone else made virtually... I hope you'll take a peek too!

Andrew Thornton  Our host!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween - Day of the Dead Blog Hop!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, so I just couldn't resist joining in the fun when Diana Ptaszynski from Suburban Girl Studio put out the call for a blog hop around Halloween and/or Day of the Dead!  Part of her challenge was to include at least one art bead in each design.

When I think Day of the Dead, I think sugar skulls, flowers, and bright colors.  I originally wasn't as focused on the Day of the Dead aspect of the challenge, but I knew I had some Green Girl Pewter sugar skulls (and other skulls!).  When I started looking at my art beads, I found that I was draw to a super bright and fun lampwork glass bead by Beadygirl Beads and I thought it would work great with the pewter.  I added in some other colorful lampwork beads from The Spacer Bead Shop and some Vintaj arte metal chain and other blackened pieces, and here's the result!

I got so excited by the Green Girl skull pieces that I had that I decided to make a second Day of the Dead necklace.  This time I used some faux cinnabar, lampwork lovelies by both Tanya McGuire and the Spacer Bead Shop, and a silver plated ring by TierraCast.  I used Vintaj arte metal wire for my links again, but this time used silver plated antique silver chain from Nunn Design.

I'm not 100% sure if these designs count as art beads, but I'm going to include them anyway.  I had some fun with some subtly seasonal scrapbook paper and some copper plated bezels.  I love the way this spider set turned out!  I had hoped to get some other Halloween themed things done, but my travels this month got in my way.

Big thanks to Diana for thinking up and organizing this fun blog hop!  All of these pieces are available in my Etsy shop.  Click HERE to check it out.

You can see all the other great jewelry that my fellow participants made too, please consider hopping around to see everyone's great stuff!

Sarajo Wentling   You are here!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 41 & 42

Wow, this year keeps on flying by!  It's time for the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge once again.

It's the end of October and fall is officially in full swing.  To celebrate my favorite season, I thought I'd share a couple of pairs with a fall theme.

For the longest time I kept trying to cut a perfect one inch circle to put in my smaller bezels.  Why?  I have no idea...cutting circles is super hard!  I finally took the time to find the correct sized punch for those little buggers and now am having some fun with the TierrCast bezels that have been in my stash for quite some time.

Week 41

Week 42

For both of these pairs I cut some fun fall scrap booking paper with my new punch and then poured in UV resin over the top (after sealing everything, of course).  The orange leafy pair sold at the Art Wander, but I've added the pumpkin pair to my Etsy shop.  You can see the listing HERE.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

October Art Bead Scene Challenge

Oh fall, how I love you!  (Even if your arrival means the long, cold winter is heading our way.)  This month's Art Bead Scene challenge really captures the feeling of late October to me... I think it's a combination of the muted colors (very different from the brighter fall hues of last month's challenge) and the owl and moon imagery (which make me think Halloween).

Owl on Gingko Branch (Scops Owl Under Crescent Moon) 1915
Ohara Koson
Woodblock Print on Paper

To find out more information on the artwork and the artist who made it, click HERE.  I love how cranky the owl looks... perhaps he's annoyed that he's been disturbed in his hunting!  When I saw this piece, I immediately thought of the "Sweet Owl" bead set that I had bought from Gaea a while back.

I decided to use most of this set in my design along with a couple of natural stones... a really cool piece of black agate and a red creek jasper round.  Because of how much grey is in the palette, I used Vintaj arte metal wire to make the beaded links.  The copper elements, including that cute little gingko leaf from TierraCast, pull in the warmer tones from the palette.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 39 & 40

I've been pretty quiet since the Art Wander wrapped up since my husband and I have been off on a road trip to the South.  But I'm back now and the rest of the month should bring more posts from me as I attempt to get three design challenges completed.  (Hopefully the supplied I need for a couple of them have arrived while I was gone!)

But for now, you know what time it is, don't you?  Time for earrings, earrings, earrings! It's once again time for the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge reveal.  The goal is to make one pair of earrings each week that features an artisan made component.

Once again this week I'm showing off two pairs with components designed/created by me, Sj Designs.  (I promise I'll be back to highlighting work from other artists soon!)

My first pair is all about copper and turquoise.  I etched a pair of copper blanks from Vintaj and worked turquoise paint into the grooves.  I did a little doming action, sealed them, and added these great chandelier cut Czech glass beads to finish things off.

Week 39

My second pair is a variation on a pair a made a while back in Week 16.  This time I went for a bolder color scheme with the turquoise and red.  I started with Vintaj brass circle blanks that I embossed and painted (and added some extra holes to!).  You can't tell it, but there is a faint shimmer to these where I mixed some metallic patina in with the protective glaze.  The red Swarovski crystals and blue Czech glass dangles give the design some movement and pizazz.

Week 40

I'll be posting more of my jewelry exploits soon, but for now enjoy the earrings that everyone else made this week!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Art Wander Wrap Up

Happy Monday, everyone!  I just wanted to take a quick moment to capture my thoughts on this year's Art Wander and let you all know how it went.

First off, I just want to say again how lucky and blessed I feel to be able to take part in this fabulous event.  It is truly amazing to see how many talented and inspirational individuals we have tucked away in Carver County!

This year the artists had the opportunity to go on a little pre-Wander tour so that we had a chance to see what our fellow artists were up to.  (During the actual Wander we are all bound to our own studio locations and don't get to have the fun of seeing everyone else, so this was great!)  A lot of the artists as well as the art students from Waconia High School all met up last Thursday night and proceeded to tour nine of the eighteen studios (by school bus, no less!).  It was so much fun to hang out with everyone and get a little sneak peek into the homes and studios of some of the other artists.  I know I'm now super inspired and motivated to add to our art collection and fill in some empty spots in our house!

I kept making and pricing new jewelry until Friday night when it was finally time to admit that what I had was what I had and it would all be what it would be.  Luckily, what it would be was a fabulous couple of days hanging out with the multi-talented Cathy Jo Menssen, meeting new people, seeing old friends, and talking about life and art.

Here are a couple of photos from the beginning of day one... apologies for the iffy photography, but you can at least get the idea!

A very blurry pic of me behind my main display.

Some of Cathy Jo's gorgeous work!
I love all her little vases and tiny paintings.

Aren't her bird houses adorable?
I have to admit that I was pretty darned tired at the end of the two days, but it was such a fabulous experience and a great opportunity for me as an artist and jewelry designer who is really just starting out!  

I have to give huge thanks to my husband for being so supportive, patient, and understanding of my jewelry making madness and for helping me out in any way he can.  I couldn't do it without his help!  I also want to thank Cathy Jo Menssen for being such a wonderful host and just a lovely person to spend two days with.  She and her husband Dave made it so comfortable and easy to come in and show my work in their beautiful, art-filled home.  To find out more about Cathy Jo and her work, click HERE.  You can also find more of her work locally at the Curly Willow in downtown Waconia.

It's really hard for me to put into words, but the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander really is a very unique chance to see a large number of artists working in a wide variety of media in a fairly short time.  As an artist, it was a lot of fun talking to people about what I do (and why I do it!), hearing about what they had seen and enjoyed on their wanders, and just being excited and inspired by art.  I hope that the Art Wander will continue to grow and evolve and that I have the opportunity to be involved next year.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to see us at Studio E!  Lots of pretties went to new homes... some after minor adjustments to make them perfect for their new owners.  It's always special and gratifying when someone finds just the perfect piece for themselves or for a gift.  As always, I hope the people who bought my pieces enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoyed making them!