Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Asymmetrical Brass River Bed

Wednesday item of the week in my Etsy

~hand-forged brass earrings~

inspiration: dry river beds, the way the dirt cakes and cracks, all the little fissures running this way and that

Enter the coupon code "TangleweedsBlog12" at checkout on Etsy to receive 30% off these hand-forged brass earrings. Discount applies to this item only, from now until February 1st,2011.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An Ode to Handmade

Part of the reason I got into the business of making and selling my jewelry was simply because I love to create things with my own two hands. I love the art of the handmade, the process from start to finish. I especially admire the crafty and cunning folks out there who through one way or another attempt to thoroughly immerse themselves in the process. Whether it's a jewelry maker who creates their own findings rather than simply buying pre-made ones, or the artist who creates their own poster designs and then screen-prints them themselves in their kitchen (yes, most of those close to me probably know who I'm referring to: Jeff of Crumble Diamonds), they all have earned my deepest respect and admiration.

Besides wearing my own handmade jewelry, I love donning the wearable of art of others'. It's a good feeling knowing that I was able to help someone do what they love to do by purchasing one of their gems. Because what I do is made possible by the hundreds of folks who decide they want to wear what I make.

This outfit is from last weekend (I get so horribly behind on posting to Wardrobe Remix). My parents came out to Oakland for the day. We did some shopping at bookstores in Berkeley and my mom and I went to our favorite bead store in Berkeley as well, Baubles and Beads.  (My dad also helped me install my torch! Eek! I'm so excited to start using it! More details to come on that later. . . )

You can see them better in the first shot, but I'm wearing earrings by Molly M Designs and a feather hair fascinator by Remastered Virgins. You can find Molly's earrings and other jewelry at stores all over the east bay, but the feathered hair piece is another story. The two girls I bought it from were selling at the Telegraph Avenue holiday fair in Berkeley and they pretty much only do fairs, but their work is really lovely and they combine unusual elements in their hair-pieces like driftwood, pieces of fossilized coral, even dried mushrooms!

That's the great things about selling at so many craft fairs: you get to meet other creative folks, some of them doing it for a living, some of them clearly just doing what they do because they HAVE to, as in their conscience and their soul wouldn't have it any other way. The two girls with the feathered hair-pieces seemed to be those kind of magical people. I loved their work so much I bought 3 of them. Maybe they'll be selling around here again soon.

All of these shots were taken in the backyard of my Oakland home:

outfit details:
skirt, blouse ~ thrifted
stockings and knee socks ~ Hue
necklaces ~ Tangleweeds
earrings ~ 
hair fascinator ~ Remastered Virgins
bangles ~ all thrifted or gifted
booties ~ DSW shoes 

Have a lovely day! Time to get back to making some more jewelry.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Women and Bikes in southern California

Back in November Jeff and I took his kids to see his folks in Southern California (they live in Escondido). We make this short trek every year, the week of Thanksgiving. There’s lots of down time; time to just sit back and relax, read, watch a movie. But we also make plans for a day or two to head out and take in the sites and sounds of the area.

This last November Jeff’s parents took us to the island of Coronado to see the historic Hotel del Coronado. The hotel has an ice-skating rink around the holidays and while the rink is fairly small, it’s right on the beach, which is kind of amazing. While you glide around in circles on the ice (or attempt to glide as is the case with me) you can look out over the waves and seabirds and sand literally a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Afterwards we had lunch in the downtown shopping area. It was while we were there that I stumbled upon this  lovely exhibit, “Bicycles & Bloomers: Women’s Emancipation and the Bicycle.”  at the town’s small, historic museum. It was a delight to find something like this in the middle of our family holiday.

The exhibit detailed how the rise of bicycling as a means of transportation led to a revolution in the way women dressed. And while there was resistance at first, people didn’t want to see women wearing pants!, eventually more practical forms of dress became acceptable “women’s wear”. 

I can only imagine what a pain in the ass it must have been to be getting ready to set out on your bike but only after tightening your corset and pulling on layers and layers of skirts. A bicycle was my primary means of transportation for three and a half years of my life (up until about six months ago when I bought a used car) and the way I dressed for the day was heavily determined by how much bike riding was ahead of me.

I'll end with a quote from Susan B. Anthony: "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling…I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Personal Plumage

Time for some fun! For those of you who have followed this little 'ol blog for a while, you know that I do like to do the occasional "wardrobe" post. While this is certainly not a personal fashion blog, I enjoy sharing my wardrobe choices with you readers. The way that I dress is an integral part of my creative expression. I love to try new things. A few years ago (maybe five years!) I discovered Wardrobe Remix on Flickr and thus began the outfit photos. 

I found that it was a fun way of documenting what I wore for various occasions, or, as was usually the case, on an ordinary day! I have found, as I get older, that the urge to document what I have seen and done is very real. I, more than anything, want something to look back on when I am old and feeling nostalgic. While I am not always that great at keeping up on all of the photo organizing, editing, filing, etc, etc, I still try to make a valiant attempt.

This above outfit was worn to go out with a couple good girlfriends for excellent food (if you live in the Oakland area I highly recommend getting yourself down to Boot N' Shoe Service) and divine cocktails. Yes, the top is a bit risque, but it was worn with a large drapey black scarf and the above jacket. And, I felt great in it, which is really the key to making any outfit work!

This outfit was worn on a bit of a hodge-podge day. I dropped in to see my boyfriend at a local record swap/poster sale he was selling his posters at and then it was off to lunch with a friend who was visiting from out of town. I kind of love texture and prints and love to mix them up. The cardigan I recently purchased from Mod Cloth and it has quickly become one of my "go-to" layering pieces. It's dark navy color and it's generous dose of lace make it very versatile in my wardrobe.

This outfit was a fun one to put together and was basically built entirely around the hat, which a friend made for me in exchange for one of my handmade necklaces. You can't really tell in the photo, but the top has nearly the same shade of green in the center of the cheetah-like spots as the hat. I wore this to deliver more jewelry to two shops in the city, Needles and Pens and Urban Bazaar.  

Dressing has truly become an art-form for me. This new year has led to a lot of reflecting on my part about what I wear and why I wear what I wear and I will say this: I'm hoping to branch out a bit more this year. Shake things up a bit. Wear that amazing feathered headpiece of mine, mix patterns in new ways, experiment with accessories and try things I want to try but then decide not to because I'm simply being shy. I used to be much more bold with my fashion. 

The last few years have found me taking a bit of a step back from the boldness. But I think I have tried many things in the last few years that I would have never worn as the younger me. . . I think maybe I had to play it safer in order to feel comfortable enough to try new styles/pieces/accessories, etc. This year I'm hoping to merge all of that playfulness I had when I was younger with my more newly found eclecticism.

And while that is not really a new year's resolution, it is a heartfelt intention. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Leaves

Wednesday item of the week in my Etsy

~hand-forged brass necklace~

inspiration: cold blustery early winter, late autumn days

I have one of these necklaces and I wear it all the time! It blends seamlessly with most any outfit I put together. This piece is custom made and can therefor be customized! Copper leaves can replace some of the brass, or the whole piece can be made in copper!

Enter the coupon code "TangleweedsBlog11" at checkout on Etsy to receive 30% off this wintery-rustic-leaf necklace. Discount applies to this item only, from now until January 18th, 2011.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

All of it

Phew! Yes the holidays have passed. And, no it is not lost on me that we are already well on our way into January. The holidays this year were busy busy busy, with little space to move or breathe. I found myself only doing what was absolutely necessary to get through each day, and the list of what was "absolutely necessary" was quite long. Most of what kept me so busy revolved around my business, around Tangleweeds. More and more I found myself pushing other priorities down to the bottom of my list, like a dirty pile of laundry in the middle of the room, the sheer number of things in my life I was ignoring grew and grew. And this did not make me happy! I never set out to be my own boss because I wanted to be a 24-7 workaholic. No, actually I set out to work for myself so I could create my own schedule.

Arlo. One of the two cats Jeff and I adopted back in October.

When December drew to a close, and the new year was ushered in with drinks and dancing and good times spent with my boyfriend and my sister and her husband, I was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. It felt like a huge space had opened up in my days, a space that had not been there for the last two months. My days went from feeling small and restrictive to large and expansive, without definite borders. All of a sudden I could find the time to just sit and drink a cup of tea, to just sit and do nothing.

my booth at the Holiday Renegade Fair in San Francisco

No, this is not the post about how I tried my hand at the arts and crafts selling business and "that's it", "enough for me." No. I am more determined than ever to stick with the handmade jewelry biz and see what comes. . . I am anxious for this year because it will most likely be my biggest year yet. What this post is about is this: I need to plan for the holidays more thourougly. I don't want to feel like I have to ignore my friends, my boyfriend, my family because I'm so in over my head. And while I know that the holidays will always be crazy for me if this is to be my profession, I also know that I can find a balance that allows me to enjoy the holidays as well.

on the beach in San Diego. Our Thanksgiving trip to see Jeff's parents in Escondido.

I am eternally grateful for everything 2010 brought me. A new home with my family. Two adorable cats. Lots of laughs and good dinners with friends. Time with Jeff: our trips to Nevada City, our Sunday nights at Jupiter listening to live bluegrass music, cooking dinners at home together. And, of course, all of the wonderful people who have come my way via Tangleweeds. You all are part of what keeps the creative wheel turning!

photo of a custom design I created from a sketch of mine for a Etsy customer.

Yes, I could ramble on and on about all the many many things I am grateful for from 2010, but I'll stop there, keep it short and sweet.  Sleep well tonight, all of my lovely readers! I will be back tomorrow with my "item of the week post" per the usual.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Holidays and Good Cheer

Some snapshots from Christmas and New Year's. Thanks to my lovely boyfriend, Jeff for many of these photos.

We spent Christmas day at my sister's place in San Jose. There was lots of family, good food, and good laughs. 

Jeff's and my tree at our home (it was our first Christmas at our new place):

And New Year's. . .  Deanne and Ricky came out our way, to Oakland for dinner and drinks and dancing. Lots and lots of dancing!