Monday, December 21, 2009

Custom work


I somehow managed to get this custom lavender rose done this weekend for my Aunt Rose. The color comes from Prismacolor pencils and tinted resin, the black is from an etched plate that I made and imprinted in to the metal clay.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Phew!


Here are the pieces pictured unfired in the previous post. They went into the kiln at 2am, and were finished and ready to package at 2pm. A bit of sleep did happen between 3:30 and 7 this morning.


Here are the boxes ready to go at 4pm. My friend and housemate Laura helped out with the shipping so much that I was even able to get some stuff that was ordered today out. Now I can be tired!

Up all night


December has been crazy busy! Not that I'm complaining, I'm just getting a little worn out. In the photo are the pieces I started at 6pm tonight, they are all sold and I'm hoping to ship them tomorrow. That means they get fired tonight, finished in the morning and then packed up and sent on their way. It's only 1:49 am, I have until 6pm to do all that, that should be enough time. Ack! Calgon, take me away!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Photo editing

Right out of the camera


After working some Photoshop magic

I've been getting questions about photography lately (which is crucial if you are selling online!) so I thought I'd post a before and after of my process. After the holidays I'll do a more in depth post explaining the different Photoshop tools I use, but for now you can see the results. You can work magic on a mediocre photo with the right tools, and for me it's actually faster to take a so-so photo and correct it than it is to take a great photo!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quit your day job article on Etsy

I'm this week's quit-your-day-job person on Etsy! You can read all about my glamorous lifestyle here.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Penguin print from Raw Art Letterpress


Sometimes I take my sister's prints and make jewelry, other times she takes the art work from my jewelry and makes prints. Here's a penguin she did using my penguin. You can see here at her Etsy shop, rawartletterpress. I think it turned out pretty cute!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Free Worldwide Shipping 11/27 - 11/30

I'm participating in Etsy's Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion so I'm offering free worldwide shipping through the 30th. All shipping has been set to zero, so there's no codes to enter. Ho Ho Ho.

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're thankful for our sweet old Shar Pei Lily Belle (photographed here with the new camera) amongst many other things. Hope you enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Super macro!






I've got about a million other things I should be doing, but my new camera was just delivered so I had to run outside and try it out in the last few rays of sun for the day. It's a Fuji finepix S1500, which is one of the point and shoots that is trying very hard to be like an SLR (but at a fraction of the cost - $160 on Amazon). I got this one because it's super macro mode got excellent reviews. All I did was put the batteries and card in and figured out how to set it to super macro. Very easy to use so far, and I'm quite happy with the results! These images were just cropped and had a few levels adjustments in Photoshop. Too bad the sun is down now, or I'd be outside taking pictures.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The perfect dog sweater!

I ordered this custom made fleece sweater for Lulu Bug from Etsy seller Hoverfly. We took her measurements and ordered it on Wednesday, and it arrived today - Saturday! Sweet Lulu is a horsecoat Shar Pei so her hair is very short and she doesn't have an undercoat so she gets cold. This fits her perfectly (Shar Peis don't fit off the rack dog clothing), and it's one piece and stretchy, so it's comfortable to lie around in. I'm going to order one for Lily too, she's a brush coat Shar Pei and doesn't get cold like Lulu, but she loves wearing clothes so she has to have one too. Check out her shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/hoverfly and don't hesitate to get one for all your canine friends!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My latest "professional" tool


I can't believe that I just spent $100 for a clothes iron! Before you start wondering what sort of glamorous wardrobe I have that requires such a fancy wrinkle remover, it's not for my clothes (which mainly consist of jeans, t-shirts and Keen sneakers) but for transferring images to brass plates for etching. The iron needs to be at 275-300 degrees for a good transfer. The auto shut-off feature was causing me much grief as I couldn't maintain the correct temperature for more than one transfer without the iron turning itself off. Here in the US, we are apparently incapable of turning our irons off ourselves, and the only one I could find that didn't have auto shut-off is this ridiculously expensive Rowenta professional model. The good news is that it does make my etching process much less exasperating.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hot stuff


Summer is finally over here in northern California. The pilot light for the heater has been lit, Kelly is wearing his long pants to work and there's been frost on the ground the last few mornings. Day time temps are still quite nice however, and anyone living in a place with real winter would laugh at what passes for cold here. Instead of rolling the kiln outside or firing late at night I'm quite happy to have it on in the morning now. Nothing quite like a little box heated to 1650 degrees for two hours to take the chill off!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tis the season.......

to make lots of stuff!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin mania

It was pumpkin mania around here, courtesy of Laura. She saves her creative energy all year and uses it in a fit of pumpkin and zucchini carving.




Giant Zucchini



Karen and Richard Carpenter (aka The Carpenters)
70's icons immortalized in carved squash



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My sister's treasuries make the front page!


My sister Colette has become quite the treasury maker,
and 2 of them have made the Etsy front page this week!
In the Etsy world this is very exciting. Check out her Etsy shop: rawartletterpress

More custom work


I've been doing a fair bit of custom work lately. Here's the latest, a little compass. I like it so much that I think I will do one for my regular line.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another road trip

My boyfriend Kelly had another enduro this weekend (a 100 mile dirt bike race, all on trails in the woods) so we set off for gold country on Saturday morning. We went through Sacramento and then over to Highway 49, stopping in Jackson for a look around and a grocery store. The tiny downtown historic district is absurdly quaint, but it's very crumbly and peeling so it retains quite a bit of charm despite the touristy nature of it.

It's very popular with bikers, who are mostly harmless these days.


I love the colors in this window.


The trees at dusk. It got close to freezing at night, which for us is really cold!


Kelly making pan fried bagels in the morning. They're really good, but NEVER watch how much butter he uses!


While Kelly raced I went for a 6 mile run/walk in the El Dorado national forest. Running is much harder going uphill at 5000' than sea level and flat, hence the run/walk.

This is a weirdly distorted picture of the San Francisco bay at sunset from highway 37. No crashing, injuries or breaking down van this time, so we'll call it a success!

Friday, October 23, 2009

New stuff!


I've been busy with new designs! Here are some new tiny necklaces, all available at my Etsy shop. I made all of these using etched brass plates. I take my artwork,print it on to special transfer paper, iron it on to a sheet of brass and then etch it with ferric chloride. I then use these brass plates to imprint the design into my precious metal clay. It's a great technique because I can take any black and white artwork and turn it into silver jewelry.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Facebook fan page

If I may rant for a moment....I don't think they could have made Facebook any less intuitive if they tried! Ok, rant over, thanks for listening.

I now have a Facebook fan page, if you'd like to become a fan you can do so here:
http://www.facebook.com/lulubugjewelry.1
If you notice the ".1" after lulubugjewelry, that is the cause of the rant. I managed to set my personal user name to lulubugjewelry, instead of my fan page, they won't let you change it. Argh.

The cute dog in the photo is Lily Belle, who thinks we won't notice the dirt on her nose after she's been digging in the yard.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Front page for my sister!

My sister made the front page today - top row middle. Yay! You can check out her shop, raw art letterpress, here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New stuff!

I've been working on new designs - here's a couple of them. I'm doing a much larger Dia de los Muertos skull for someone right now, and I liked it so much I stayed up way too late last night making a smaller version for my Etsy shop. You can see it here.


I've been trying to come up with a raven/crow design for a long time now, and finally succeeded. You can see this piece here.

I have lots more that I hope to get done in the next few weeks - a series of African animals, a sea otter, a goose, a colored hummingbird, a concrete dogwood flower and some winter designs too. I better get back to work!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Road trip

On Hwy 37, looking across the mud flats towards the San Francisco bay


Crossing the bridge over the north fork of the American River, just outside of Auburn


The creek I hiked down to in the El Dorado National Forest, still flowing despite the drought


Kelly before the start of the race

I took a little road trip this weekend with my boyfriend Kelly. He was riding in the Fool's Gold Enduro, which is a 100 mile dirt bike race, mainly on single track trails in the foothills outside of Auburn, CA. The trip was full of minor misfortunes and Kelly ended up crashing out of the race, giving himself quite a black eye. His knee is pretty sore too, but nothing appears to be broken, and we made it home in spite of the rear differential on the van sounding like a jack hammer for the entire drive. The way the weekend went I fully expected to arrive home in a tow truck! It was nice to get away, but after all that I'm glad to be home.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Barbara Simon workshop




A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking a two day workshop in San Francisco with Barbara Simon. She's been working with PMC since the very early days and she makes some amazing things! This is one of the two projects we did (I still need to finish up the other one.) We bent copper wire into a free form shape and draped a textured sheet of of clay over it. I used one of my own textures, a squiggly line that I never get tired of. After that dried, it was removed from the wire form and the back piece was cut out, following the edge of the front. Then the fun began - fitting the two pieces together with a mitered edge. It was a bit tricky at first, but once I really got what we were supposed to be doing I quite enjoyed it, and was able to make a really nice edge on the piece. It's all in her latest book, but if you have a chance to do a workshop with her I recommend it. She was a good teacher and shared lots of information with us. This piece is quite different than what I normally do, but that's what I like best about taking these workshops. I do something I might not otherwise try.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fun with google analytics

Google analytics is an amazing free tool offered by google that tracks a ridiculous amount of information about who is looking at your website, how they got there and where they are from. Big brother really is watching you, and his name is Google!

One of the things I find really exciting is that people from all over the world see my work, which was not really even a consideration to most of us back in the olden days. It was all about craft fairs and getting into galleries and shops. That's all changed now, and I have sent my jewelry all over the planet. The map above shows where all the visitors to my Etsy shop have come from since the first of the year. Pretty amazing! Click on the map to see a larger version. The countries I haven't had visitors from are off white.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Boris the Spider



Continuing with the Halloween theme, here's Boris the spider. I don't usually give my pieces names like that, but I've had "Boris the Spider" by The Who playing in my head since yesterday, so it seemed fitting. He's available at my Etsy shop.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

More etching


Here's my latest piece made from an etched brass plate. I did this one so the spider web is raised. I wasn't sure if it would turn out, but once again etching didn't let me down!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello Romania!

There is a cool little widget over on the right side which shows where in the world visitors to my blog are coming from. I've been noticing a fairly steady stream of visitors from Romania lately, including someone in Timosoara, which is not far from the town of Triebswetter, where both my grandparents on my Mom's side are from. When they lived there (before WW2) it was still Austria-Hungary, buy my family is German speaking and we consider ourselves German.

I was really fortunate in that I got to visit Triebswetter in 1984 with my grandparents. It's a very small farming town, and at that time not all that much had changed from when my grandparents lived there. My great grandmother was still alive, and we had many relatives there, most of whom are now in Germany. This was during the Ceau┼čescu era, so I got to experience a bit of his brand of Communism first hand. I would love to go back sometime and see what has changed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New owl piece


I've been wanting to do an all silver version of my little owl in a tree and finally got to it this week. I drew the wood grain texture in Illustrator and made a brass etching of it. The texture is on the sides and back too. He's now available in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The view from Fort Baker

I had a lovely meal with my old pal Terry tonight at Murray Circle, which is in part of the old Fort Baker on the Marin side of the Golden Gate bridge. I've never been here before, you take a winding road down the hill right before you get to the bridge. It's all very hidden away and quite nice. My favorite part of the meal? The grilled corn creme brulee' with corn waffle and brown butter ice cream. Yes, you read that right. Brown butter ice cream.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shar Peis love blue Octopus

Lulu Bug and Lily Belle (especially Lily) love this blue octupus enough that whenever we see one at Western Farm Center we have to get it. There used to be tiny pink ones too, but they don't last long.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tiny leaves


Here are some new tiny leaves I just finished. They are all available now at my Etsy shop!