Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stitch, baby!

Calling all crafters from near and wide (including me!). The Stitch craft and fashion show is accepting applications as we speak. I haven't filled one out yet mainly b/c I have so much photographing to do and I don't want to apply until I've shot my "best" and most recent work. Once I get my laptop fixed and my pics from Boston uploaded and off the digital cam, I should be good to go.

Last night I made about 7 new pendants using sterling silver wire, freshwater pearls, wood, and glass. Sooooo pretty. I also wire-wrapped a chunk of seaglass I found on the beaches of Glouchester, Mass. New project idea: collect pieces of broken glass from sidewalks and other urban areas, tumble them to remove the sharp edges, wrap in sterling wire to make pendants. Brilliant!

The pieces I made are reminiscent of my Luck of the Irish (peridot, sterling silver, freshwater pearls), which sold over the weekend at Shambhala. Double brilliant!

Craft in America

Last night I watched Craft in America and it was really good. I would have liked to have seen more on the current "hip" craft movement in addition to a lot of the "traditional" crafting the documentary showcased, but the history and stories of artists and crafters was so inspiring. All of the artists and craftspeople were interesting and very talented, and all had a common thread running through their stories. A thread that binds those of us who use our hands to create beauty: There is nothing like making something by hand. There is nothing more fulfilling.

I especially liked two craftspeople in particular:

Jan Yager uses local flora and found urban trash to make her distinct pieces.

Garry Knox Bennett decided one day to be a furniture maker having no experience in woodworking or making furniture.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Birthday Anatomy 101

Yesterday for my birthday, the three J's (Jason, Jen, Justin) and I went to see Body Worlds at the Science Museum in Fair Park. In a word, it was exhilerating.

But there are a million other words I could throw out there: interesting, freaky, disgusting, fascinating, artistic, nettlesome, colorful, smelly, overwhelming.

It will be in Dallas for 9 more days and then it moves on. I am seriously considering donating my body to an exhibit like this. I've always known I'd donate my body to science in general, but the idea of being plastinated and displayed for others to be wowed, educated, etc. is a really cool thought. I told Jen, "That way even in death I'm entertaining people!"

Check it out if you can!

Side Note: The plastination process uses a polymer much like the polymer clay I used to make this hot pink Tweet Tweet pendant. Freaky.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not exactly 9-to-5

Here's a sneak peek into my main workspace at home. There's a lot more to it than you can see, but I'm not going to give away all of my secrets!

Note the TV with Deal or No Deal and my new earring holder courtesy of Jen and Justin for my birthday!

Here's an older shot of my workspace. Note Law & Order on the telly. I loves to watch me stories!

Loads of beads.

Close-up of new earring holder and Howie.

Um, this is what we professionals call paperwork. (Okay, so I do have a filing system in place that flirts with Monk-style organization. This is just paperwork that hasn't made its way to my files yet!)

Today I listed a ton of new handmade goods at my etsy shop, including paper beads and decoupage pendants. Also available at my etsy shop are other beads/supplies and my Juicy Fruit collection. Check it out today!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Peep peep

Now I really can't seem to stop. Etsy mania has taken over me. (See what happens when I spend hours in front of a computer?)

Here's my latest Etsy purchase (my third today!) from Madison Craft Studio:

I bought this pendant for two reasons:

1) I love birds in design. There's nothing cuter.

2) Madison Craft has inspired me to get back into the paper collage pendant craft. She uses wood and paper, both of which I have tons of at home. In the past I've used polymer clay, and it really is a little too time-consuming for me if I want to keep prices low for you. So I'm going to see about using up some of the wooden scraps and pretty paper I have lying around my studio. We'll see!

In the meantime, I'll string her pendant on a chain and show it off in Look-what-I-bought-on Etsy! fashion. *wink*

I can't seem to stop.

Bought one more print on Etsy today, this time from The Black Apple. She quotes Belle & Sebastian and Interpol in a couple of her prints. She's good people!!

Found on Etsy: prints

I just bought the following two prints on Etsy from MarmeeCraft:

The hedgehog print just made my heart tingle with all its cuteness. And wouldn't you believe, I take my coffee (not tea) with cream, no sugar, too! Who knew I had something in common with a hedgehog?

And the owls? All aboard the Sleepytime Dreamland Express! God, I love buttons.

When I get around to putting down my faceted gemstones and pliers, I'll frame these prints and put them up on my wall in my workspace. I'll put them right next to this print by Carla Sonheim, which I bought on Etsy about a year ago and love looking at every chance I get:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tefi Says I

Recently a friend asked me for some advice on starting her own artsy business. I very humbly replied with this caveat emptor: I did it all the D.I.Y. way without any formal training. No animals were harmed in the making of this D.I.Y. business. Made in U.S.A.

(At least I don't think any animals were harmed. You never know. I think I had to kick George off of my work table a few times in an effort to keep cat hair off of my sterling silver wire.)

So I thought I would impart, piece by piece, the lessons I've learned on my own. Maybe you'll glean from these little tidbits something that will help you launch your own D.I.Y. business. Or perhaps you'll think Whatever, I'll do it my own way. Either way, more power to ya sister!

Tefi Says I
Don't spend what you aren't willing to lose.

Some people spend their extra paycheck money on shoes, DVDs, clothes, a nice car, eating out, etc. I spend mine on beads and jewelry-making components.

It's a hard truth to face, but if you have a lot of debt, don't launch a business. Get your finances in order before you jump headfirst into a venture that will most likely sap a lot of money and time. That's not to say that you can't launch a business if you have debt. But if debt is consuming you, launching a business wouldn't be the best thing to do.

Right now I don't have any debt other than my mortgage. My ghetto Toyota is paid off, I live fairly frugally, and I never spend what I can't pay off at the end of each month. Now, I don't deny myself a few splurges here and there, but I keep my focus on my passion - handmade jewelry - and that keeps me from overspending on crippy crap I don't need. This is key to running a successful business: Focus.

I know from experience that having personal debt is hard enough. Adding business debt to that can be very stressful. If you are drowning in debt, esp. fluff debt like overshopping and charging to your credit cards, get that in check first. Chances are, there are other forces at work here. Find out what the void is, stop charging, get your debt in order, and focus on becoming self-sufficient. Expect this to take a few years. It took me nearly four years to pay off my credit cards. But in the meantime, hone your craft and learn new techniques. Prepare yourself for the day when you can say - I don't owe you anymore money!

Tristan + Isolde

Let me spew some hyperbole before I launch into a real blog entry: OMG, Tristan + Isolde is one of the bestest movies EVER. Seriously, it's super fantastic almost better than Romeo & Juliet oh my I can't believe I just said that I hope my English degree is still in good standing.


What a great movie. The story is as tragic as anything and there's fighting for independence galore. There is just something great about people who fight to be free. I put it up there with one of my all-time favorites, Braveheart, and I don't even like Mel Gibson. Sometimes the story is greater than its individual parts.

But the individual parts - i.e. the actors - in Tristan + Isolde are fantastic. The men are beautiful, the women (well, Isolde) is striking. She reminds me of Kate Winslet, whom I think is one of the prettiest women I've ever seen. And at the risk of sounding like a twelve year old boy, the sword fights are really cool. It's like a visit to Medieval Times without all of the cheese.

I've yet to see the Wagner opera, but I hear it's, well, long. There was a recent production of Tristan + Isolde at the Dallas Opera that was 5 hours long. The original opera, if I understand correctly, was written to be 8 hours long. That's a whole work day of sword fights and unrequited love!

Here's a necklace from my Pottery Shard collection that I appropriately dubbed "Tristan & Isolde." I sold it last week and miss it already!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

My New Favorite Outfit

My obsession over necklaces causes me to plan my outfits around what I want to wrap around my neck. I recently splurged on a top from Anthropologie - one can only use the word "splurge" when shopping at Anthropologie - and paired it with my new favoite pair of red shoes. I topped it off with one of my Spring 2007 designs et voila! This piece is for sale on my web site, but I'm secretly hoping it won't sell just so I can keep it. But seriously, you can buy it here.

Necktie tee from Anthropologie

Isabelle red patent shoes by Rampage

Caribbean Sea, necklace by Tefi Designs (me!)

Whoop, whoop (Arsenio-style)

I'm very liberal with the shout-outs. I figure, you can't give too much love. But when I'm the focus of the shout-out, I feel life has come full circle in a "pay-it-forward" kind of way. So I'm going to repay it forward, or rather, return the forward payment, it forward, well, you get the picture.

As many of you know, I had a blast at the Urban Street Bazaar this past weekend. I sold a ton of handmade jewelry, met some really great people (customers and crafters alike) and generally enjoyed myself, rain notwithstanding. So imagine my joy when I stumbled upon a shout-out directed squarely at Tefi. Check it out:

What's funny is both of the other stories she mentioned (which we both happened to catch on NPR) have what I consider to be more interesting topics than my little ol' necklaces. I mean, 18,000 nekkid people in D.F.? Well, I'm not complaining. She rocks!

Here. A little something to titilate ya:

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Goodbye Girls

I'm being totally ridiculous right now. I'm actually crying over a TV show.

I learned this afternoon (about 6 days after the fact) that my staple Tuesday night event is ending. And next week no less.

Yes folks, Gilmore Girls is about to become a thing of reruns. While I watched last night's episode that Jason had recorded (I was busy kung fuing), it hit me. I savored every bit of it, and didn't get emotional until the end when they showed a preview of next week's episode under the banner "Series Finale." I sort of got the weepy eyed thing going at first - you know, where the corners of your mouth turn downward and little tears begin to form. Then I got to thinking of seven years ago when the show started, when my addiction started. Cue the waterworks.

Seven years ago was when I took the leap into teaching. Then I met Jason. Then 9-11 happened. Then Jason and I moved in together and began a new phase in our lives. I suffered a miscarriage, semi-adopted Ketchup, then later adopted Oliver. My grandmother died, my stepmother died, my grandfather died. I spent four years teaching in the public school system and lived to tell. Each summer I watched episode after episode on my newly delivered GG complete season DVDs (thanks, Amazon). Jason and I went to Colombia and he met my family. I began a new career as a grant writer and later launched my own jewelry design company. I bought a house. I watched seven years of Gilmore Girls.

Those close to me know that on Tuesdays nights I am out of pocket. They know I don't answer phones, emails, doors, smoke signals, or SOS's. They know that if I do happen to pick up the phone during commercial breaks, I'll simply say, "Watching Gilmore Girls," and hang up. They know not to take it personally.

So ends an era. I've got all the DVD box sets on call, ready to feed my addiction - to give me the jolt I need when I feel an emptiness on Tuesday nights. It seems silly, but when a ritual ends, whatever it may be, it's a loss that is felt deeply and immediately. It's just really sad.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Burst of Color

In the wake of my immensely successful studio tour last weekend, I have been furiously creating new and mega-fabulous designs. I completed my inventory for Shambhala Body Gallery, and now have more than enough for the upcoming Urban Street Bazaar @ Farmer's Market this weekend. Some of the pieces I plan to unveil are just bursting with color - all bright and vibrant. Visit to purchase. See the colors for yourself here:

Caribbean Water: $88

Rock Candy: $42

Sea Turtle: $42

Sweet Apricot: $42

Easter Egg: $40

They say it's going to rain all week, and should subside by Friday. Hope, hope, hope. I'll be under a small tent at the Farmer's Market both Saturday and Sunday, putting in 11 hour work days. If it rained that would mean no business for Tefi, and no business makes Tefi a sad designer.

Here's the flyer (front and back) for the Bazaar. Hope to see you all out there. Don't forget to wear your wellies!