Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How To: Greener Silver Cleaner

I make jewelry crocheted with fine gauge silver wire. I incorporate all kind of beads from wood to pearls to resin. Over time the necklaces would tarnish and look dull. Cleaning with a cloth or paste toothpaste & toothbrush just didn’t get in all the nooks and crannies. I try to prevent tarnish by keeping them in a zip lock bag with a piece of chalk as a desiccant (my mom’s trick), which works well, but unfortunately, they don’t always make it into the bag. In my search for a cleaner that would be safe for all my beads and non toxic I happened on a recipe in Real Simple magazine that proved to be the solution. Here’s the “recipe”


Piece of aluminum foil

¼ cup baking soda

Boiling water

Start by washing your silver with a bit of dish soap to remove any oils.

Line the bottom of a glass pan, like a baking dish for lasagna, with a piece of aluminum foil. Put in baking soda and add boiling water. The mixture will fizzle. Add your silver and make sure it’s covered with boiling water. In as little as 10 seconds your silver is clean, but for heavy tarnish, it may take longer, up to a minute.

When your items are clean, they will have a gritty coating from the baking soda, so it’s important to rinse them again with dish soap and lots of water.

The chemical reaction between the aluminum and the baking soda removes the tarnish which then adheres to the foil, which will have a coating of tarnish on it and should be discarded. I have found this to be safe for all my beads and even fibers, with the one exception being unsealed, died wood beads, which run, but not so badly that the bright, clean silver isn’t worth it. Freshwater pearls seem to do fine, but for more expensive pearls, I wouldn’t want to suggest this, as the boiling water might affect their finish.

I include a business card sized “recipe” for this when I sell silver jewelry as a convenience to my customers, who seem to really appreciate the guidance.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What I'm Working On: Atelier Beads

Quilted with love for a bride and groom.

From June to November of 2009, I spent some time away from my beadwork to work on a very special project. I created an Album Quilt in honor of the marriage of my son, Gregory. His bride-to-be, Erika, approached me earlier in the year to ask if I would make a quilt block to
embellish their chuppah, or wedding canopy. In the Jewish tradition, the chuppah symbolizes the couple's home, their hospitality to guests, and the presence of God above them. The marriage ceremony is conducted beneath it. One quilt block seemed a bit skimpy to me, so I set about designing the entire canopy--a six-foot square. The quilt can also be used as a counterpane on a double bed.

I chose two very old traditional applique blocks and designed two of the blocks myself. I abandoned the traditional Nineteenth Century vivid colors (red, green, and yellow) in favor of lighter shades of the same colors (rose, pale yellow, blue-green). The quilt is entirely hand stitched and hand quilted. The first block is an old design called the
President's Wreath. It was often used in presentation quilts and is symbolic of the importance of the occasion.

The second block is the traditional and very complex Rose of Sharon. This pattern is found in more variations than any other American quilt block. It honors the bride with a verse from the Song of Songs (I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley...). The third block is my own design and is intended to honor the groom. It depicts a thistle, national flower of Scotland.

Because it is so plain, it is the most heavily quilted of all the blocks, incorporating old Scottish and Irish love tokens. The fourth block is also my own design, featuring a wreath of tulips. It's intended to evoke memories of the couple's honeymoon in Amsterdam.

The final picture shows the chuppah in place awaiting the bride and groom.

Written by Anne of Atelier Beads

Monday, March 29, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shops: Colorful Inspiration!

Color is both an inspiring and a calming influence for me. There are so many great etsy shops that make me smile as I surf etsy, which I can do for hours on end if I gave myself the time - here's a few of my absolute favorites -

I like color to begin outdoors. This stained glass panel is the japanese kanji character for Flower.
From FeralGlass

A big bold bright wall mural as you walk through the front door - gets my mind charged every time! Aptly entitled Sensory Delight from MadArt

What a way to recycle old records! I love this work! Rainbow Mandala Record Bowl by Eye Pop Art

and of course...yarns. The colors, the textures and the inspirations they bring. I love looking, buying and creating with so many of the great etsy fiber artists! Here's a soft wonderful handspun merino from Syrendell.

Written by Deb of GlowGirl

Saturday, March 27, 2010

In the Studio with YJennings

When I'm working on a piece of jewelry, it's usually really early in the morning or really late at night. I turn on my favorite station, or SPA - NEW AGE to be exact. I was just listening to Elixir for Sunsets, by Phobos and the CD is Buddha Cafe. Imagine that!! These soothing tunes help to inspire me to create. Here is a piece that I made while listening to the wonderful relaxation station.

Written by Yovetta of YJennings

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Finds: The "Eyes" Have It!

I'll admit it, I'm an eye-shadow junkie. I love the colors, the shades, the sparkle! A dreary day could be made better by just a swipe of a brush, and suddenly your face looks brighter, and you feel better! The best eye-shadow enhances the natural beauty of your eyes, and when those eye-shadows are made of natural materials themselves, you have my attention! All the products in Pink Quartz Mineral's shop are made to order, and are 100% vegan - down to the brushes and applicators.

The best part, is that they don't irritate, for people with sensitive eyes!! You can join the eye-shadow of the month club, or just pick out a color shot sample pack to try a few colors at a time.
If you're really daring...order the "one of everything," and you'll have the color and sparkle for every occasion!

written by Lauren of JerseyGirlDesign

Thursday, March 25, 2010

BMA Print Fair

The Baltimore Museum of Art will hold its biennial fair this month, March 27 and 28. The Baltimore Fair for Contemporary Prints and New Editions will showcase new works and print editions from a huge variety of artists and printmakers. Students and alumni from the Maryland Institute College of Art will also be exhibiting- they stole the show last year with an impressive showing of incredible prints!

BEST member Val Lucas of Bowerbox Press will be showing with the MICA table- come see her alphabet bird prints, woodcuts, and The Raven!

Not sure where to start? Enjoy an informative tour of dealers, presses, and galleries with Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs Rena Hoisington. Saturday, March 27, Noon & 3 p.m, FREE with admission to the Print Fair.

For more information see the BMA's website.

written by Val of Bowerbox Press

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Around Town: Glen Echo Park

Should you find yourself south of Baltimore in the DC area, consider visiting Glen Echo Park. Only 6.5 miles and a 15-minute drive along the Potomac River from Georgetown, it is a popular amusement park for families with kids (it has a 1921 Dentzel carousel) and provides an opportunity for artists and craftsters to pursuits creative activities.

Glen Echo Park is home to resident artists and arts organizations and if you would like to take up painting, kilnformed glass, blown glass, pottery, photography (or restoring your old photos) and hundreds of other classes/workshops held all-year round, check the schedule here.

Written by: Therese of JumpSheep

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What I'm Working On: CEK Custom Designs

So, we are now into 2010 which should have been a happy exciting time for me. I was supposed to deliver my 4th child (and 1st boy) on January 7th, 2010. Sadly, I lost him at 20 weeks into my pregnancy due to several complications. I don’t think there’s anything worse to go through then the loss of a child no matter if it’s at 8 weeks, 20 weeks or after giving birth. There were so many things we were looking forward to as a family with this precious new baby we were expecting….so many dreams lost. It was a very sad time for me. I am thankful that I was able to spend a small amount of time with him in the hospital after I delivered him. I held him and tried to give him all of the love that had been growing inside of me for him. I took a few pictures of him and I had the nurses get me a set of his footprints. I had decided that I would one day take those footprints and make a special piece of jewelry just for me so I could have a small piece of him with me always.

I recently showed someone the pendant that I had made for myself and she was so touched by it she was brought to tears! This woman shared with me that she had lost 8 pregnancies throughout her life….8 babies lost! She told me that I should be making these footprint pendants for all the mothers out there that had lost babies and didn’t have anything to remember their babies by. She suggested that I pick a charity and donate a portion of sales from the footprint pendants. It hadn’t occurred to me before to do that. I thought about it for awhile and decided that maybe I should do this…..maybe I could help another mother or grandmother or father get through the hardest time in their life….maybe this could help me continue to heal….maybe I could make a difference by donating to a charity that does research to help prevent the loss of pregnancy. After much thought I decided on donating to the March of Dimes to help with their mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

This line will simply be called Samuel's Footprints. There will be a variety of round pendants in assorted sizes, earrings and eventually bracelets and rings. Price range will be from $10 - $75. All $10 item sales will be donated 100% to March of Dimes. Anything above $10 will be donated at 25% of sales. Please help me in raising money for this very special cause! There is nothing more precious than a new life and nothing more special than helping to be a part of bringing lives into the world safely and unharmed!

Also, if you or someone you know, has lost a baby and you have the babies footprints I can make a piece of jewelry with those footprints. If interested contact me at cekmom3 at to discuss details.

Written by Erica of CEK Custom Designs

Monday, March 22, 2010

My Favorite Etsy Shop- Artisan Graham

I know this may not sit well with everyone, but I love leather! I love the way it smells, the way it feels…I just love it! So when I was looking for a refillable journal for my sketches I searched etsy and found ArtisanGraham. Available in several vibrant colors, I fell for this lovely Violet Rhapsody Journal . What sold me most was the really cool turning lock (available in nickel or antique brass). This keeps the journal nicely closed while it’s bumping around in my bag so the pages don’t get bent or smudged! Also, I really love the way everything in my bag smells like leather!!! If you are looking for something a little smaller and less expensive check out this Sunshine Yellow Pocket Journal. This would make a great gift for the artist or writer in your life! ArtisanGraham also has these really cool Leather Cuffs that are customized to your wrist size. If you know someone who loves leather as much as I do you will surely find them a nice gift here!

Written by Erica of CEKCustomDesigns

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bread Baking 101

I admit it I've never really been much of a baker but every couple years I give bread making a try again and this recipe has been a friends staple bread recipe for years so why not try again. Worst case scenario my house would smell great my kitchen would be a mess and I'd have a brick I couldn't feed even to the birds. Instead what I got was BEST case scenario. Yummy house, not as messy kitchen as I thought, and bread that was not only edible but YUM!

CHALLAH Photo by Bowerbirdknits; click here for more info

2T. yeast
2C. warm water
2 eggs
1/4C. honey
2t. salt
2T. butter or olive oil
7 to 8C. flour (I've been using unbleached all-purpose, but I don't use w.w. for this recipe)
egg wash

1. Dissolve yeast and honey in water (100-110 degrees) in large bowl. Let rest for 10 minutes.

2. Add eggs, salt, butter, and about 3 1/2 c. flour. Beat well with mixer. Add as much remaining flour as possible in your mixer.

3. Turn soft dough out onto well-flour surface and knead for 8 minutes (5-10) Use as little flour as possible for a delicate Challah. It should be velvety soft (like a baby's bottom my mom always said.)
Photo by Cooking with Friends; click here for more info (
4. Place dough in greased large bowl, greasing top of dough as well and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let rist for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled.

5. Punch down (kids love to do that part!) and let rise again.

6. Cut dough in half, set half aside. Cut into thirds and roll dough into "snakes." Braid the 3 strands of dough. Repeat with reserved half. Place on greased baking sheet, let rise until doubled.

7. Brush with egg wash and bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes, until golden brown.

Photo by little m:); click here for more info

Variation: Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls

1. Butter a large baking dish sprinkle a handful or so of Brown Sugar on the bottom.

2. Roll half the dough into a large rectangle til about 1/4 in thick

3. Sprinkle 1 chopped apple (or 2 I had a large apple) handful or 2 of chopped walnuts and a good amount of brown sugar and cinnamon (I mixed mine together in a bowl first) and 2 T softened butter and a pinch of nutmeg I also used a little cardamom because I like its flavor.

4. Spread mixture to edges.

5. Roll into a log and cut 1 inch pieces and place into baking dish.

6. Let it rise again until nice and fluffy.

7. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown. Enjoy! Makes many so share with friends.

Written by: Jenni of Lana Bella

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Into Art five, Benefit Auction for PPPCS

Tigerlillyshop donated 2 pieces, one copper necklace and one kimono button bracelet, to the Spring Into Art Auction this year that benefits PPPCS. I believe in the future of the Patterson Park Public Charter School and want it to succeed. The school has been a grassroots effort from the surrounding neighborhoods and I am proud that it is a great option for parents choosing to keep their families in the city. Please come out and bid this weekend!


A unique art exhibition and sale showcasing local talent and
benefiting Patterson Park Public Charter School

A chance to buy fine art from more than 20 Baltimore area artists and support the
Patterson Park Public Charter School. 40% of all art sale proceeds will be donated to the school.

Opening Night Silent Auction

Saturday, March 20th—6 pm to 12 midnight
VIP Reception—6 pm to 7 pm.

Enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres + cocktails, music, and the opportunity to place the
first bid! Tickets are $35 and include the Opening Celebration + After Party.

Opening Celebration—7 pm to 9:30 pm.

An evening of great art, food, drink + music. Get your auction bid in before 9 pm!
Tickets are $25 each or 5 for $100 and include the After Party.

After Party—9:30 pm to 12 midnight.

DJ, chill tunes + cash bar keep the party going!

For ticket information please visit

Open Gallery + Family Art Day

Sunday, March 21st10 am to 2 pm
Browse + purchase art at this free open gallery. See (and hear) the talents of PPPCS students. Learn more about the arts programs at PPPCS.

Patterson Park Public Charter School
410-558-1230 x396 | | 27 N. Lakewood Ave. Baltimore, MD 21224

Friday Finds: Etsy Road Trip!

Take an Etsy road trip. Some of my favorite creations made from upcycled license plates by Etsy artists. Who knew old license plates could be so beautiful?!

Recycled License Plate Wall Quilt by carolsennstrom

Mosaic Vintage License Plate Belt Buckle by randitan

Recycled License Plate Map Wall Art by recycledartco

Missouri License Plate Guitar by runningonempty

Written by: Lola Miren

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Have you Applied?

Calling all crafters and makers! Silver Spring, Maryland’s Handmade Mart is back and with a brand new website!

3590162384_a2b2442b5d 3589540913_07012b93de
The Handmade Mart is gearing up for a full day of awesome crafts, live indie rock, and tons of outdoor crafty fun…. so if you knit, make pottery, draw comics, sew clothes, screen print or make anything by hand, the Handmade Mart is a great place for you to sell and showcase your wares.

3590149882_4ca13e55c9 3589537823_d1b843e391

The show will be held on Sunday, May 23 on Ellsworth Drive, in Downtown Silver Spring. The vendor application process is open until April 10th. Just go to to fill out a application and submit photos of your craft!

See you there!

In the Studio with Doxallo Designs: a short story

Ever have one of those days (nights) in the studio?
Where everything you touch either melts, cracks, or somehow just ends up garbage?
I know we all do, but I have to be hoenst, I haven't had one in a really long time.
Or at least not to this magnitude.
Truthfully, I'd call comedic error but there was nothing funny about it.

Not even remotely.
Except possibly my persistence.

When every shred of evidence suggested I should turn off the tanks, put down the pliers, and just step away from the bench....I failed to listen.

So I melted more.
I burned my finger.
I pinched my thumb in a pair of scissors.
I got my specs stuck in my hair.
I created a lot of scrap.

But I just could not walk away.

At first I was sad - then frustrated near tears.
Then I was mad.

You see, I only get ONE night dedicated to the bench. I may be able to grab some other time here and there over the week - but Tuesday night is my ONE guaranteed 'me' time to create. To try to alleviate my brain from a weeks worth of designing, and dreaming and planning. But a clean schedule is no guarantee of clean work - or any work at all. There have been times when I have begun aching to get to my bench by Sunday night and when Tuesday rolls around I am DYING to dig in...and then I get there...and strikes.

Some weird sort of performance anxiety.....where I go blank.
I freeze up and just stare at all my lovely tools and stones and metal.

In reality, last night was a little bit like that. I had cleaned off my bench over the weekend and I arrived there last night and thought "hmmmm, what to do, what to do..?" I didn't have a clear objective. Well, I might have had an objective - but it involved LOSing and polishing already finished work and I just ummm, well, decided to ignore that and turn my energy in a different direction.

Big mistake.

So I wasted more than an hour fiddling with a prototype box. . . before deciding I just wasn't meant to make a box last night.
Then I decided to use a stone that I bought earlier this month -- pulled some materials and made a bezel. Ooops, a little small - hammer it on a mandrel to stretch it.... errggggg, ok, it fits. Grab a piece of leftover sterling that had a lovely texture on it.
Flux, heat, apply solder....great. Cool and quench.

RATS. Bezel popped open just a tad -- ok, easy fix.
Heat, flux, solder........ARGH!!!
Melted part of it.
No big deal, do-overs are relatively cheap at this point.

Grab metal, measure bezel big enough this time, snip, file, solder, quench, grab a different backplate, heat, flux, solder (yea, yea yea lather, rinse, repeat blah blah blah)...great.

ouch, gap under bezel. Tiny one. Fix it. No problemo.
Flux, solder, yadda yadda....oh NO!
I wasn't watching my flame - melted a tiny bit of the top of the bezel.
Hmmmmmm, stop, inspect. Measure stone.......
OK, was going to shave it down anyway. Quench, dry.....ok...not bad. (so tired.....)
Clean up backplate - carve decorative edge - grab some metal wire for ring shank - solder.

OK, success. FINALLY.
But wait.

Howzabout adding a little sparkle. Some visual interest...
Yeaaaaaaa, how about a little faceted stone up there somewhere?

*rummage* *rummage* oh look - a sparkly little blue sapphire - 2mm - It's PERFECT!

I know I need to be careful now - lets go to some easy solder (lower melting temperature).......
drill hole, apply solder, balance setting just so...heat.

melt setting. Clean up hole, grab new setting.....apply solder, heat.... reposition setting, heat...reposition setting, heat, repeat
And then, just shy of throwing the whole thing across the room. . . .


Grr, why doesn't it FEEL like success ? ? I left the basement around 10:30 half promising never to return.
In reality though, in the end, my perserverence won out. Once cleaned up, it looks pretty good.

Actually, its better than just 'pretty good'....
My completed ring.

It may have a few issues. (I have issues too)
I think we were meant for each other.

Written by Janice of Doxallo Designs

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Arts Advocacy Alert

Earlier this week, the Senate subcommittee on Health, Education, and Human Resources.. recommended that no cuts be made to the 2011 budget for the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) or the Special Fund for the Preservation of Cultural Arts!

This is a huge accomplishment, but we are not yet finished with the struggle. The House subcommittee on Education and Economic Development will be making its own recommendation on the MSAC budget by Monday. The Arts still need you to contact your legislators:

If you live in the following districts or you know people that do, it is especially critical that you reach out at this time! Please urge those you know who live in these places to take one minute and send an email to their Delegates:

Wicomico & Worcester County - district of Appropriations Committee Chair, Delegate Norm Conway
St. Mary's County - district of Subcommittee Chair, Delegate John Bohanan
Montgomery County - district of Subcommittee Vice-Chair, Delegate Hank Heller
Prince George's County - district of Subcommittee member, Delegate Melony Griffith
Howard County- district of Subcommittee member, Delegate Guy Guzzone
Baltimore County - district of Subcommittee member, Delegate Adrienne Jones
Carroll County - district of Subcommittee member, Delegate Nancy Sticksdale

Please take action in support of public funding for the arts in Maryland! Please then continue your support by encouraging your contacts to do the same via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and other venues!!

Highlandtown Spring Artfest / Home and Garden Show

Kick off the Spring Season with a visit to the Skylofts Gallery of the first annual Highlandtown Spring Artfest! Elisa, Anne, Allison, and Jeni from BEST will be there selling their wares. The event will be showcasing local talent with a diverse selection of painting, pottery, papergoods and jewelry. See container garden demos and enter to win a herb garden from Baltimore Contained!

Make a day of it, pick up some of the best-ever donuts at Hohen's Bakery (always a treat) and some Italian goodies at Di Pasquales Deli (an even bigger treat). See you there!

Highlandtown Spring Artfest / Home and Garden Show
Skylofts Gallery
3701 Bank St.
Baltimore, MD 21224
Saturday March 20, 10:00-3:00

St. Patrick's Day - Let's Go Out!

It's bloody freezing in Baltimore. I mean seriously, ridiculously cold, the kind of cold where you start thinking 40 degrees is 'warm'. That won't stop yours truly from going out for St. Patrick's Day, but it does mean I will be wearing long underwear, jeans and boots with a good tread.
Not much fun, huh? Nothing glamorous, you say? Well I say 'Nay-Nay!' there's always something gorgeous to wear when you shop the Etsy way!
For cold weather, when you're prone to wandering the streets, watching the drunkards fondle the Fells Point mermaid, it's all about that top layer.

Over my sensible jeans and boots might come a glorious wool trench like this one from VeriteVintage:
Look at the size of the pockets on that beauty! Enough room to hold cell phone, keys and a couple of protein bars so March 18th won't feel so bad.

Now for some colour, this not too chunky scarf from GreenCouch:
Soft, warm and not a giant cowl that I might spill my drink into - perfect.

And finally (because with my hat and gloves there's no where else to add colour!) lovely little enamel earrings from StacyHatfield:
Why yes, tiny spring leaves are just a heartbeat away!

Written by Tarabu.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ten Question Tuesday - Sofia Masri

Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
My name is Sofia Masri and I make jewelry out of porcelain clay! I'm 31 and live in Chicago.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like to go to antique stores and watch movies. Look at fashion and interior design magazines and drink tea. Daydream about exotic vacations. Go to museums. Sing in the car. Cuddle with my chubby dog and cat. Spend time with my loved ones. Travel when I can and make beautiful things. Eat cake!

What first made you want to become an artist?
It really wasn't a choice! I'm pretty sure I came out of the womb this way. Drawing and painting were my favorite activities as a child and teenager. I went to art school to study fashion design and tried almost every medium before settling on porcelain.

What inspires you?
I'm most inspired by classic, timeless design and interesting textures. My favorite periods are Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco.

What's your favorite thing about your craft?
With the exception of the night before a big craft show when I'm frantically putting pieces together, it's really relaxing. I take out some clay, start working and the next thing I know, six hours have passed.

Where would we most likely find you working? I work out of my parents' house, where my mom and I have our kilns. She makes beautiful porcelain trays and dishes.

What's your favorite music to listen to while you work? I listen to the tv. Mostly crime dramas and shows like Cold Case Files. I love true crime shows.

What's your favorite thing right now?
It's a person- my fiancé, Brian.

If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?
That people would stop underpricing their work and give their craft, skills and time real value.

Check out all of Sofia's beautiful work in her Etsy shop.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Favorite Etsy Shop - The Cupcake Mint

I am excited to say we have found a vegan cupcake company on etsy that is everything and more than we expected. The Cupcake Mint delivers specially crafted sweets in adorable packaging and every bite is wonderful and surprising. In a town where we boast Cakelove, Baltimore Cupcake Company, and Ace of Cakes, we're hard to please but The Cupcake Mint has done it. For those vegans who love the Whole Foods vegan chocolate cake don't miss out on The Cupcake Mint's Triple Chocolate Heaven Vegan Cupcake.
Our personal favorite in the Buttons for Babes Studio is the Crimson Red Velvet Vegan Cupcake.
Treat Yourself!!

Written by Buttons for Babes Studio.