Monday, December 5, 2011

It's All About The Handmade

What does handmade mean to you?
To me, it means a product with a story, with soul.  Something created with thoughtfulness and love. I know it's one of a kind and that an actual person worked hard to make something just for me.  And because of all this I have decided to buy handmade for all of my holiday gifts this year. 

I'll give you all a sneak peek at some of the awesome handmade goodies I've picked up so far...

Yummy bath products from Starlet Glam Bath & Body


and one for myself :)

A luxurious set of hand crocheted washcloths from Tina Dean Designs

And this super cool set of 4 bots by Gary Hirsch
(pretty sure I'm going to keep one of these for myself too)

So if you want to give a unique gift with a personal touch instead of some lame machine made crap that will end up shoved in the back of a drawer you know where to go...

The Artisan Group for THE best handmade anything...

Or you can visit any of the artists listed below for some of the most fabulous handmade jewelry.  And don't forget to stop by their blogs to read what handmade means to them

Jessica @ Abella Blue -
Stacy -
Elizabeth Brown –
Lilian Genebra -
Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs -
Claire English -
Gayle -
Nancy -
Amy Estelle -

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Style Rocks

You know that friend who will tell you the truth when you ask "do I look fat in this?"
The one who will make sure you look smoking hot when you go out together because she's not a jealous biotch? 
The one you actually want to go shopping with?
I have this friend and her name is Jennifer Barrett. 

Jennifer owns a company called My Style Rocks.  Not only does she sell kick ass clothes and accessories on her website, she makes house calls!  She can organize your closet, style you for a special occasion, or totally revamp your look.  And she's so not one of those annoying salespeople who are all "oh my god, that looks AHmazing on you!", when you totally have muffin top and know that's not true.

Jennifer can also help you pick out some killer gifts for the holidays.  Check out her site and don't forget the fanpage for deals and exclusives on looks like these...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why are Jessica Alba and Hilary Duff so happy....

Why are Jessica Alba and Hilary Duff so happy?
Because they're getting giant gift bags filled with handmade goodies from members of The Artisan Group!

I'm excited to announce that I have been given the opportunity to include one of my pieces in these gift bags. 

Jessica just recently had a baby and Hilary is due in March.  So I created a family tree necklace for each with gemstones representing their kid's birth months. 

Sterling Silver Family Tree Necklace for Jessica Alba

This piece is sawn entirely by hand so no two are exactly alike, even if I tried.  But who wants the same exact thing someone else has anyway, right?
I have to say though, that after the second one of these in a row my wrist was starting to click and my hand was cramping. 
But it was a labor of love.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Too Cool

I like being scared.  And I regularly seek it out. 
Whether it's watching The Strangers while I'm home alone and being totally freaked.
Or paragliding off the side of a mountain in Maui (i'm afraid of heights). 
Or snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea while hanging onto the leg of a very nice local gentleman and hyperventilating into my mask (i can't swim). 

Sometimes it's more of a personal challenge type of scare.  Like what I did this past Friday.  I went to the Henri Bendel Open See.  This is where designers of various clothing, accessories, beauty items, etc...have the opportunity to show their goods to the Bendel's buyers.  I'm not exactly a Bendel's type of girl but I knew I had to try.   
I claimed my spot on line on 5th Avenue at about 6am.  It was 37 degrees.  Not terrible, but when you're standing on the cold cement for 3 hours in the dark it starts to hurt.
 Most of us came prepared for the cold in cute but warm outfits.  And then there were the people who just came cute.  They were miserable in stilettos with no jackets for hours and hours on the cold NYC sidewalk.  But I gotta say, they looked good!
When they opened the doors at 9am the line moved pretty quickly.  I was lead into the basement of Bendel's and ushered into a waiting room.  When my time to see a buyer came I wasn't the least bit nervous.  I kind of had an idea of how it was going to go down anyway.  She quickly scanned my bio and line sheet, took a look at a few pieces and said..."It's very well made and edgy.  But you have this cool factor.  And that's just not us." 
So that's that.  I'm too cool for Henri Bendel's :)

And for all my loyal customers who are like way cool too, use coupon code cool15 for 15% off your entire order from now until Sunday 11.06.11.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Holiday Shopping Guide For People Who Hate The Mall (aka men)

If you're reading this and you're a dude, you're thinking that it's waaay too soon to be talking about the holidays. But seriously man, if you just get it over with, you won't have to scramble around at the last minute and pay for expedited shipping and all that.  The other thing you're thinking is that you don't have the slightest clue what to buy anyone. 
I'm here to help.

Your list should include your significant other, mom, sister, grandma and any other ladies in your life that will make things miserable for you if you don't get them a gift, or if you get them a crappy gift like a toaster.  You could get them something like...

A beautiful hand-dyed scarf

A glittering gemstone bracelet

or a lovely handmade box

Your list may also include another dude.  Maybe your dad, brother, grandpa, or some other manly man.  There's plenty of gift options to make it seem like you didn't try, but that don't suck.  Like...

A portable speaker for the music lover

or a hat for the outdoorsy type

And you may need a kid gift.  There are endless options for kids but these will insure your "cool" status with them.

A one of a kind Monster Doll
Their very own crayon tote

Or a killer tutu

And it never fails that you find yourself in one of those stupid Secret Santa gift exchanges at the office because you didn't want to be the only one who didn't participate and look like a cold-hearted grinchy asshat.  So here's a couple of under $20 options... 

Everyone loves a candle
Or be different and give a crazy little lovebot

No doubt there will be others on your list but this will get you started and help you avoid the dreaded mall.  So when your buddy tries to convince you to go to the mall with him the weekend before Christmas you can say, "Nah man, I'm good".  And he will be soooo jealous. 

All of these amazing products were designed and handmade by the super talented members of The Artisan Group.   Click here or on the gift guide button below to see tons of other options from The Artisan Group members. 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

All Things Emmys - Part 4

These past few days have been filled with excitement (holy cow a ton of celebs and press are going to see my work!), nervousness (holy cow a ton of celebs and press are going to see my work...and they might think it sucks), and anticipation (holy cow a ton of celebs and press are going to see my work and maybe take a cool photo with it but I won't know until later in the week because Valerie and Nikki like to torture us).   
They don't really like to torture us, they had legit reasons. 

But finally, today is the day!  I couldn't be happier with the feedback and photos I got from the GBK Productions Emmy Gift Lounge.  This entire experience with The Artisan Group  has been amazing.  I was totally scared in the beginning but the advice and support I received, not only from the founders Valerie and Nikki, but from the other members was priceless and just beyond words.  Love to you all, my fellow TAG members!

And now for the good stuff...

Anthony Anderson, known for his roles in Me, Myself and Irene, Scary Movie IV, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle...and a million other roles, posed for a photo with my guitar pick skull necklace

 Michael Trucco of Fairly Legal, BattleStar Gallactica, Next, and too many other movies and shows to name, also posed with the necklace. 
"Oh, wow! This necklace is great!" -- Michael Trucco
Timm Sharp from Six Feet Under and Enlightened was kind enough to pose with the necklace as well.

Nasim Pedrad, from SNL, liked my horseshoe earrings so much she asked to take them home!

And Nia Peeples tweeted me a personal thank you!

So yeah, it's been a pretty good day :)

The Artisan Group represented over 20 handmade artists at the 63rd PrimeTime Emmy Awards GBK Productions Gift Lounge.  Check out their amazing work...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dark Star

Some dear friends of mine recently lost their beloved dog Dark Star.  She was a sweet loyal girl who lived a long happy doggie life. 

My friends asked me to make something to honor Dark Star and remind them of the joy she brought to their lives.  After a bit of collaboration we came up with something that would work for both of them.  I just hope that I was able to bring their vision to life and do their ideas justice.
Here's to Dark Star!  May her light shine in your hearts always.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All Things Emmys - Part 3

Holy crap it's done!!  After approximately 230 working hours, I have finished all my pieces for the Emmy Awards and they are on their way to California!   

So, as of my last post the 100 horseshoes were all soldered.  I still had to sand, oxidize, buff, and attach the chains.  Then I put each one in little folded tissue paper boats along with a bio/product card and packaged them up in my custom made black velvet pouches.

I also made 10 extra horseshoes for the press bags, and one more horseshoe necklace, a pair of earrings, and a guitar pick skull necklace for the display.

The display pieces will be going in the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards Gift Lounge hosted by GBK ProductionsThe Artisan Group will be representing my pieces along with a few other super talented artists in TAG.  This gift lounge gives members of the press and select celebrities the opportunity to check out the swag and hopefully take a few pics.  I could totally see Nina Dobrev in my horseshoe necklace or Ian Somerhalder rockin the skull (can you tell i like the vampire diaries?).

So yeah, I'm super excited to see where this will lead and so thankful to Valerie, Nikki and all the members of The Artisan Group for all their help and support. 

And now I'm leaving for a little Caribbean vacation!  I need a few horseshoeless days to recharge and let my hands heal.  Then I can start on all the custom pieces my amazing customers have been waiting for me to get around to.  Ariel, Adrienne, Tera, Brian, Heather, and Chris.  It baffles me that I actually have a waiting list! 
Love you guys!

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's Happening

It's that time Aspiring Metalsmiths Team blogroll.  This month we're talking about what we're working on right now. 

If you've been listening to me blabber on for the past few months you know that I am working on about a bazillionish horseshoe pendants for the Primetime Emmy Awards celebrity gift bags.  I also have customers YAY!!  So in between horseshoes I work on their orders.  
My organized chaos

As you can see, I'm in various stages of completion of horseshoe pendants, 1 Star of David dog tag, and 3 personalized double disc name necklaces.  
It may look like a hot mess but I know exactly where everything is.  If so much as one horseshoe gets moved out of place I WILL KNOW.  And heads will roll.  I'm serious man.

Oh and I actually finished something last night!  There are those rare occasions when I get an idea, sketch it out, and finish it all in one day. 
So, besides providing jewelry for the gift bags, a few of my pieces will be displayed at the celebrity gift lounge by The Artisan Group.  This lounge is hosted by Gavin B. Keilly of GBK Productions.  Mr. Keilly gets his very own gift bag and he doesn't exactly seem like the skull/dog tag/guitar pick type. 
This was hard for me!  I thought and I pondered and I consulted and I finally gave up.  And wouldn't you know, as soon as I stopped thinking about it I had an idea!  Isn't that always how it works?

A sterling silver Trash Metal Collection® personalized key chain.
I had to throw a little of my "trashed" vibe in there, I couldn't help it.  I hope he likes it!

Check out what my super talented friends are working on...
  • Esmeralda

  • Happy Tortoise Designs

  • Crow Steals Fire

  • Contemporary Jewelry by Beatriz Fortes

  • steph

  • Jessica @ Abella Blue

  • Pennee- All Wired Up Jewelry Designs

  • Sylvia Anderson

  • Stacy

  • Mary Anne Karren

  • Brightstar109

  • Amy Nicole Artisan Jewelry Http://

  • Resurrection Silver

  • Kwant Essentials

  • Kit and Caboodle Shop

  • Julie

  • Lilian


    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    All Things Emmys - Part 2

    At the risk of developing rough scaly man-hands, I chose to make 100 Trash Metal Collection® horseshoe pendants for the Emmy Awards celebrity gift bags.  Way back in April I made 1.  No problem.  As I set out to make 100 I slowly realized what I had gotten myself into.  And being the procrastinator that I am the clock is ticking...louder and louder.

    I've recently set aside all household duties (not that they were ever high on my list anyway), friends, family, and beautiful sunny days in order to make some progress.  So here's what I've been up to...

    The process begins with sawing
    I saw all the horseshoes and rectangular backplates by hand from sterling silver sheet.  I also threw in a couple of copper horseshoes to mix it up a little.

    Then I file them all to get out the rough spots.

    Next step is to drill 5 tiny holes in each horseshoe.  The holes serve no purpose, they are just part of the design because I thought they looked cool.   After drilling 500 freaking tiny ass holes I began to rethink their coolness. 

    Now the rectangles need to be treated to my signature "trashing" technique and the backs stamped with my logo.

    Ok so now horseshoes and rectangles are ready to be soldered together.  But since I saw them all by hand none of them are exactly the same size.  So I sort through them all pairing up the ones that look best together.

    Let the soldering begin!
    My favorite part, playing with fire heeheehee...

    After the torching all the pieces go in the pickle pot for clean up

    Take them out, rinse them off, and now I have a big pile of pendants

    They still need to be sanded, oxidized, buffed, tumbled, polished, attached to chains, etc...and finally packaged. "I'll get to it, I swear.  I do my best work under pressure", said the procrastinator.

    Thursday, June 2, 2011


    Summer is finally here!  We had a pretty rough winter in New York.  Blizzards, record snow fall, and freezing cold temps.  But we survived and can now enjoy the crazy heat wave and 99% humidity YAY!!  OK, really, I shouldn't complain.
    Anyway, the sudden onslaught of oppressive heat and humidity has me reminiscing about summer and what it used to mean to me. 
    When I was a kid, summer vacation was just the most absolutely magical time ever.  It meant hanging with my cousin who was like a sister to me, riding bikes, meeting skater boys in the cemetery, and spending time at my grandparent's.
    Even though my grandparents were only 20 minutes away I would stay by them for days at a time. 

    I would get to play with Pete The Schnauzer

    And chill with grandma and grandpa

    I even remember playing in the woods behind their house for hours by myself, and this was totally fine!  I guess no one was worried about creeps and kidnappers back then. 

    Grandma LOVED to take photos.  One day she made me hold hands with the neighbor boy for a photo op.  This was the first boy who ever held my hand.

    I was totally grossed out but sure that we would get married someday. 

    When I look back now my summers seem almost Wonder Years-ish, complete with bicycles, an older sibling (cousin) who tortured me but I loved it, and my very own Kevin Arnold. 

    So here's to summer!!!  May you ride a bike, spend time with the ones you love, and hold a boy's hand...or a girl's hand, whatever you're into.