Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Charming Challenge using images from Rian Design! Would you like to join me?

You will see some new eye candy, coming soon- using the fun and colorful digital art from Rian Designs!

Shrink plastic with gold leaf.

If you have not yet been to Rian's site- take a look!!! Here is the link to her Shop<--

I will be giving away several charms made using the images as well as some miniature pop up books!

So what is the challenge? I am hoping that other charm making artists and designers will try using Rian's images to create charms & miniature art with! If you would like to participate, all you'd need to do is use any of her images to create your charms or minis, post them to your site or blog and then leave a comment with a link to view your work. If there are enough of us, perhaps we could also work out a charm swap or blog hop as well.

I chose a bunch of sheets from Rian's shop to work with and I've made mini books, shrink plastic tags, charms and 3D collages as well as some of the images mounted on metal and wood.

Here are just a few "test" pieces... I will post finished pieces through July.

Shrink plastic, more saturated color, test piece.

Paper experiments...

Book in progress...

Pop-up book layer experiment...

Shrink Plastic experiments... 

Color saturation tests...

 Miniature cut-out of Shrink Plastic.

MORE to come! This was just a preview of just some of what I have been working with!!!

Let me know if you too, start to create charms with her images! They are great to work with!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

~*Charming Frozen Charlotte Charms by, Colleen Athens*~

~*Designed by the talented sculptress and costumer, Colleen Athens, these adorable little shining and shimmering charms double as wands which dangle by a loop on the crown. Colleen is currently featured in Art Doll Quarterly! You can see much more of her work here- A Dollmaking Journey*~
Happy Charm Day!

~*Thank you for participating with us Colleen!*~

Friday, May 4, 2012

~*Getting to know the *VIBRANT* and charming, Margot Potter...*~

You may have already noticed the vibrant and colorful 
energy that  ~*Margot Potter*puts forth and shares with the craft industry, if not, now may be the perfect time for you to get to know her a little bit better. 
Down to earth and full of juicy thoughts and ideas, Margot is making good things happen.

Describe your work area.

I have a room in the basement level of our home that is a fully functioning studio.  It has a desk, computer, storage and a jeweler’s bench.  It’s painted lilac and accented with black and white fashion and vintage images and items.  Very clean, uncluttered and conducive to creating.

Looking around your work area, what feeling do you get?

Happiness.  I have a lovely studio that is my own little creative sanctuary.  When I first started out, I had a tiny desk between the fridge and the stove in our kitchen of our small rental home and my beads and supplies lived in a room in the attic, I feel really blessed to have a real studio now!  Virginia Wolfe was right when she said every woman needs a room of her own.  I think it’s crucial.

What is an impatient crafter?

The Impatient Crafter brand came from an email to my husband on the day that I came up with the idea for my first book The Impatient Beader.  I had an epiphany.  I realized that my approach to finding the path of least resistance in my design work was the key to my creativity.   What I actually said to him was that I was either the world’s laziest woman or a Zen master in training.  I am impatient, but also a firm believer in good technique, it’s a weird combination.  I don’t have the kind of personality that wants to spend weeks on a single design, my brain moves very fast and there are lots of ideas in there at any given moment waiting to get out.  I want things to look beautiful, but not take too much time.  That approach is how I had figured out new pathways to doing things and I thought it might help other people who are time and technically challenged to see that it doesn’t have to be perfectly perfect and it doesn’t have to take forever.

Were you always an impatient crafter?

I was always impatient and always creative.  I recently read a pile of old report cards and there are endless comments about how creative and smart I was, but how messy and disorganized.  Apparently I also lacked the normal understanding of knowing when it was appropriate to talk in class.  I have since become organized and I like to keep my studio clean, but when I’m knee deep in a lot of work it can get pretty bad in here!  I love making messes, but I hate the cleaning up part.  If it gets to bad, my husband has to help me.  I can get overwhelmed by clutter.  The impatience is really a restless creativity that keeps me moving forward.  Because of that restlessness I can be messy and make ‘mistakes’, but I turned those weaknesses into strengths.  I don’t really believe in mistakes, I believe that creativity is all about pushing the boundaries and seeing what is and is not possible.  It’s that messy, impatient, passionate approach to my work that helps me learn new ways to do things and by sharing that I am hopefully helping other people give themselves permission to make glorious messes and color outside of the lines.

If you could be doing anything you dreamed of- what would be the perfect professional career for you?

I’m a performer.  I sing professionally and am a classically trained actress...and I fully intend to get back to these things when my daughter goes to college.  I have fronted rock bands, acoustic duos, jazz bands and orchestras.  I’ve performed some of the greatest roles in the classical and modern theater canons.  Being on stage is home for me, it’s where I shine.  I took a break from that career when I had my daughter Avalon for several reasons.  Being away at rehearsals at night and hoofing it to auditions became too hard and I really wanted to be present for her.  So I put the performing career on the back burner for a while.  I also love writing, there’s definitely a novel or two in me that will eventually emerge.  The dream would be to have a career that allows me to integrate all of my talents in one place, which is pretty much what I do now.  I’d like to host and produce a TV Show where we craft, cook, decorate, entertain and I break out into song with my guests, kind of like Julia Child meets Martha meets Rosie meets Dina Shore...with a generous dose of Lucy Ricardo.  Lucy and I have a lot in common.  

Did you grow up in a creative home? (crafters, performers, musicians etc.?)

I come from a family of performers, writers, artists.  My mother is a fine artist and a graphic designer.  She can pretty much do anything at all and whatever she does is meticulously executed.  My grandmother was in Vaudeville before she retired, married my grandfather and moved to the suburbs.  She was also a master seamstress.  My father is very creative, though I didn’t see much of him after the age of 5.  I had a tough child hood, lots of moving, sadness and unrest, so creativity, reading and being in nature were my escapes.  In my imaginary worlds, everything could be shiny and happy and magical.  The good thing is that there was never any impediment to my creativity and my family never ever poo pooed me or made me feel like being creative was a waste of time.  I was a weird kid and I didn’t really fit in, so I spent a lot of time by myself.  I’m still weird, but I’ve embraced my uniqueness. I think that all kids should grow up in an environment where their interests and passions are fostered, not re-routed.  I’ve met a lot of folks over the years that grew up being made to feel like the arts were less important than other pursuits, but life without art would be dismal.  We are surrounded by the fruits of creativity in every aspect of our day to day lives.  It would be a pretty dull world without creatives. 

What mediums are your favorite to work with?

I have no favorites; I just enjoy exploring, playing and finding new avenues of expression.

If you could travel the world, for free, where would you go and what would you want to see and do?

I would go everywhere (though I prefer warm climates to cold.)  I would see everything. I would do all of it (with the exceptions of what I am unable to do because of my asthma.)  I love travel!  I love adventure!  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  We live in an endlessly interesting world.

When you create, do you plan your work out first or does it happen spontaneously?

I don’t sketch.  I do have a plan of sorts in that I always have a little queue of ideas in my brain waiting their turn, but I don’t limit myself at all.  I just let it unfold and enjoy the journey.  What you make isn’t the point; it’s the making of it that has the real resonance.  

Do you write poetry, songs or stories?

Yes...all three.  I’m a writer!

Do you like to collect things?

I am firmly convinced that all crafters are hoarders. I have been thrifting since I was 17.  I collected vintage clothing for a number of years. I move a lot so I’ve had to pare my thing collecting back to things that can move more easily, so now it’s mostly paper and bits and pieces that are easier to transport.  Ephemera, magazines, old game pieces, old toys, costume jewelry....  

Have you ever joined a charm swap?

Nope!  I don’t have a lot of time for swaps since my day job is making stuff, so when I’m not working I generally don’t make stuff.  But I’m happy to give it a whirl!

Do you collect charms?

I collect tiny things that can become charms...does that count?

How long have you been making charms?

I have been making mixed media jewelry since my second book The Impatient Beader Gets Inspired and the charm/bead making really started there.  My fourth book Beyond the Bead is all about making your own charms, beads, pendants and components.  I really love turning things into other things, to me that’s fascinating and fun.  

What is it about making jewelry that brings you the most joy?

I like making things.  My new motto is ‘I Do Stuff.’  Jewelry, food, music, doesn’t really matter what I’m making.  Creativity is the opposite of destruction, it feed our souls.  That’s good stuff.

Do you have a favorite piece of jewelry to wear?

Yes.  It’s a simple sterling ball chain with a tiny handcrafted heart charm that is stamped: mom.  My husband and daughter bought it for me several years ago from Sundance for Mother’s Day.  I wear that more than any other piece of jewelry.  I like either delicate and tiny jewelry or totally over the top pieces, nothing in between.

Tell us about your new puppy!!!

His name is Pilkington or Pilky for short, after Karl Pilkington on The Ricky Gervais show.  He’s an 8 week old shih-tzu mix we rescued from a local animal shelter at a PetSmart event this past Saturday.  He’s a tiny little playful ball of fluff.  Our other two dogs are not down with Pilky yet, but we’re working on it.  Hopefully in a few weeks, they’ll all be fast friends.  
(((He's so cute!)))
~*Thank you Margot, for sharing a slice of your life with us!*~
Here are a few pieces that Margot has composed with her own handmade art charms.
Buddhalicious is from Beyond the Bead 
with charms molded from UTEE


Nice and Naughty has shrink plastic charms with 
vintage French images from a Dover publication

Peekaboo was in Bead Chic and is made from 
a vintage key hole with a decoupaged image  

 Pirate King has polymer clay crystal encrusted bones and skull pendant.

Anachronist was in Steampunk Style by Jean Campbell, it's a combination of charms made by Green Girl Studios and Earthenwood studio.  The pendant is an image from my ephemera collection which I sized to fit into the watch fob and added the 'cyborg' watch part detail.  I also made the wood and chipboard charms and the glass vial.  Lots and lots of work went into this design, it's one of my personal favorites.

Inspired by Margot's 'Pirate King' charm necklace---
GIVEAWAY!- Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win 3, 2 ounce blocks of Premo polymer clay and a colorful selection of 40 point back Swarovski Crystal Rhinestones in various colors and sizes!
Margot's links

~* Ornamentea Lucky Charm Swap!*~

I joined in on a charm exchange entitled "Lucky Charm Swap"- a few months ago- hosted by, Cynthia Deis at Ornamentea, in North Carolina (USA).
Here is what I got in return...

Michelle Mach

 Renee Goodwin,

Donetta Farrington

 Diana Keever

Melissa D. Eller

 Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan


Charm swaps and exchanges can be a lot of fun!
Little pieces of art that each person makes- which can be shipped from all over the world and then worn or displayed.
Thank you to Cynthia Deis for the invitation to join and for organizing the event!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

~*Cynthia Thornton*~ GreenGirlStudios A charming interview :)

I've been an admirer of the Thornton/Ogden family, for several years now.
My familiarity with them has grown year by year while reading through blog posts, enjoying photos of life and work they've created, listening to friends speak highly of and praising them, corresponding with Andrew via email & FB and most recently, interviewing Cynthia.
They are smart, talented, hard working and well spoken.
These are just some of the reasons of why I chose to highlight GreenGirlStudios as part of this years festivities!

It's so charming getting to know you...
What would you say is the coolest part about designing your own line of charms?

The best thing about designing your own charms is the instant gratification of having an idea and transforming that thought into something tangible. It's very satisfying to make a pendant or clasp when the need strikes.

What is the most rewarding aspect of creating and running your own art charm business?

Running a business is a wonderful, challenging, exciting and occasionally tiresome thing. There are parts that are lots of fun, like making new designs and coming up with ideas to try....but there are aspects that are really boring, like keeping tax forms for each state, ordering materials and grinding off sprues. So, it's definitely a balance. The fact that we are our own boss is pretty much the best part! Chocolate break at 2? Why not?

How would you describe your design style, for those who've not yet seen your work?

I would say our style is a blend of organic shapes, bohemian flavor, with a healthy dash of whimsy.

Do you feel a strong connection between your love of nature and your style of design?

Natural elements play a huge role in my work. I find that strong design often imitates forms in nature, like the graceful spiral in a fiddlehead fern, or the type-like shapes in pine needles. I find these simple things to be my biggest source of inspiration. 

Where can your work be found?

Green Girl Studios pieces can be found  the world over, in bead galleries in Japan, Europe, Australia and even Iceland! Our beads can also be ordered through our friends sites or They can be found at our site or my etsy shop cynthiathornton.

What are your top 5 'must have' mediums to work with?

Jewelers wax, micron pens, Daniel Smith gemstone watercolors, Premo polymer clay and Hand Book brand journals.

Top 5 current favorite books?

This is tough, I listen to audiobooks continuously, but here are some of my favorites right now:  'The Hunger Games' series by Susan Collins, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Sookie Stackhouse Novels by Charlane Harris, The Amelia Peabody Series by Elizabeth Peters and I'm really enjoying Cassadra Clare's Clockwork Series. 

Top 3 favorite songs that always strike a chord?

This is a fun question and a little hard, too. I love so many songs, here are the one's that popped to front of my mind: 'Crash' by Dave Matthews Band, 'On top of the World Tonight' by Tom Petty and Pat Benatar's 'We Belong'.

Do you have a collection of favorite charms?

Yes! I love the gorgeous work of Anne Choi (, whose work I've been collecting for a long time. I also have some of my brother Andrew Thornton's (
bronze pendants and his amazing skeleton keys. 

What are your most prized designs?- The ones that you've been most pleased/proud of?

I have a few designs that I find pretty good. My heart in hand piece reminds me of vintage designs. I also like my little blessings series; they have a nice pebble-like shape and simple design that makes them appealing. I took my time carving the text on the back and I'm pleased with how they turned out.

What is the history- how did the idea, to make art charms, start in the first place.

The first time I got the idea to make charms, was after I checked out the book 'Ojime-Jewels of Japan' and was completely blown away. I studied sculpture in art school and wanted to pursue that as a career, but was unsure how. I found that gorgeous book and knew I could make beautiful, tiny things as well. With a goal in mind, it was a matter of designing and carving and then learning the techniques to make my own. It took a while, but its such an interesting field with so many things to learn, I still feel excited about it.

What are some of your other creative passions?

I love dolls and have been making and collecting them for years. I'm working on a 13" ball jointed doll and one that is 5 1/2" for 1/12th scale dollhouses. Its a lot of fun designing their little joints and carving their faces. I hope to make the dolls and use them in picture book. 

Thank you Cynthia, for sharing so much of your heart, time and energy with the crafting community. 
I hope that you'll go and visit GreenGirlStudios!
Help support her family business! Make a purchase! :) They've got BEAUTIFUL toggles! and LOTS of other goodies to choose from!

etsy shop cynthiathornton

FaceBook Cynthia Thornton

BTW- If you do not know who Andrew Thornton is yet, take a moment to browse through his blog and visit him from time to time. He posts from the heart with a thoughtful look at life, people, nature and art.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

~*Charm Supplies DimeStoreDaze & DimeStoreEmporium $50. gift certificate & 15% shopping coupon!*~

 I am happy to share a wonderful sale offering & generous gift from Terri Ventura from Dime Store Daze and Dime Store Emporium!

Leave a comment to enter your name 1x for a chance to win a ~*$50.00*~ gift certificate, good to use in any of her shops!!! If you make a purchase, using the 15% discount code, you will be entered into the drawing for the $50.00 gift certificate - 5x! (Five Times!!!)
Leave your comment after you make your purchase! I will draw a name on SUNDAY May 6th! 

Terri is sharing a 15% discount to both of her web stores and her Etsy store!
The sale is good until Friday May 4th at 11:59pm
Receive a 15% discount when you use the code word, CHARMS , at the checkout on either website or Etsy 

Here are some links to some popular charm making items- Be sure to browse through her shops- she finds some really lovely old antique and vintage goodies that she adds patina to as well. I have been buying from her for years now. She provides fast and friendly service! Excellent quality materials!
I highly recommend her!

Here is the section that's bezels,

Here are some art charms that Terri created, using some of the materials that she sells!.

Thank you for celebrating Charm Day with us Terri! 

Amber Dawn's Charm Day Party Pastry Bead Giveaway!

Here is a tutorial that shows how I get the shape of my cream with polymer clay.

 I will pick a winner on Sunday, May 6th!

If you leave a comment, you will be entered to win one of these pieces.

If you also post this giveaway to your blog, your name will be entered 2x.
These have actually been converted into charms. (Not shown)
They are 100% polymer clay through and through- no silicone!

~*A Charming Land of Enchantment!*~ & a Giveaway!

 Whenever I see or hear the name, Debrina Pratt, mentioned, I smile, my eyes widen a bit and I eagerly look to see what new wonder of cute/pretty/beauty she has created.
 I just love her colorful design style and even more than that, the way in which she composes her 3 dimensional mixed media sculptures. She is so gifted with the art of *cute and pretty* visual arrangement.

This is just one of her many handmade art charms, to wear that she has created.
You have to visit her blog and her site on Earth Angels to get a better view of what she creates!

If you love to use colorful and pretty imagery to create your charms with, check out her Etsy shop- LandOfEnchantment on Etsy where you can find an inspiring array of colorful and warm images to incorporate into your own creative designs.

Here, below, is just a sampling of the image sheets that
 she had available for you to pick and choose from!
If you have an editing software program, you can adjust the sizes to fit
your charm or other mixed media projects! There are thousands of possibilities of how to use the images. I hope that looking at her site, work and shop inspires you as much as it does me.

WHiMSiCaL 1.5 inch CiRCLeS inpirational words quotes phrases RounD antique Vintage Images original digital art collage sheet download s8a

2.5 x 2.5 inch block quotes digital download collage sheet altered art collage atc aceo scrapbooking
Would you like to enter a giveaway?! Leave a comment!

Debrina is happy to offer 3 single sheet listings (4.98 or less) to the winner. :)
I will pick a winner on Sunday May 6th!!!

Wishing you a charming day!

Colleen won the drawing!