Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Great Gallery and Store in South Florida

If you live in South Florida or are one of the many inhabitants of cold weather locales and migrate south to defrost and get sun during the winter, you must visit Tates Comics in Lauderhill
. I finally ventured down to the store, which is just west of Fort Lauderdale, hoping to pick up a few little holiday gifts for my cool little guy. I didn't expect the sheer awesomeness of the store! As the name implies, there is a vast amount of comics (which I know nothing about) and everything related to comics. It had every action figure related to any comic. Manga. Amazing books (I love cool books!) Collectible vinyl and blind box figures. Funky plush. And a large selection of Japanese snacks (the have snack tasting events - how cool is that?!) And videos. The owners are so friendly and knowledgeable - I asked to see if they had an obscure action figure that my son wanted and they did. And when I talked to him a little bit about my guy and his interests he steered me to a new Godzilla DVD that will be a big hit at the holidays!

Upstairs is the Bear and Bird gallery. They have art show and carry unique gift items and artist-made jewelry. There happened to be a show going on called Small Stuff - small scale artwork from both local and national artists that were available for purchase and affordable.

I finished my holiday shopping for my son at Tates and was able to find some terrific gifts for others, too. Did I mention the Tara McPherson Dunny that I bought for myself for my living room mantle?

Shameless Self Promotion

I am obsessed with these vintage plastic flower beads. I have a little box of them and I like to play with them and make color and design combinations.

I created these bracelets - one in shades of blue and the other in oranges and ambers (with a touch of hunter). I have a red one, too, but I can't part with it. These two are in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Dinner

First, let me say that I love my mother dearly. She is wonderful, a terrific grandmother. I had a good, normal childhood. No major issues that carried into adulthood. My parents are married for 42 years. I am grateful that she is healthy and was able to host my family for the annual dinner this year. My father is happy and loves their traditional dinner.

That being said....

Plus a turkey, of course. And we picked up some pies at the bakery. I was going to bake on of my oatmeal crust low fat apple pies but I thought the effort would be lost. My husband gets nuts over this over usage of processed foods.

More Craft Show Finds!

I was only able to mention some of the finds from Felt Club's Holiday XL craft show in L.A. on the 18th. I shared my plush finds and some goodies I brought home for my kids. I had a blast shopping for myself, naturally, and snapped up some terrific pieces of jewelry to adorn myself this holiday season!

I just adored the jewelry and artist at J-is for Jewelry! There are two designers who create very different styles but equally fabulous! One artist creates silver and colorful enamel pieces, of which I bought these two necklaces (one for me and one for a gift, so if my friends are reading this and you receive one, act surprised).

I had my eye on a ring but my big size 8 fingers couldn't fit into any of them. The artist prefers to do rings to order so they fit properly so I plan to have one made special!

The other artist creates pendants with little, tiny dioramas inside. I saw her on HGTV's Crafter's Coast to Coast (I tivo all the craft shows, zip through them, and keep the ones I like.) I remember being fascinated by the process of getting little people and animals to stay in the resin. When I saw them in person I just had to have one for my self. (Since taking the jewelry class I have an even greater appreciation for the work that goes into creating pieces of unique art jewelry.) I chose this zebra pendant.

My photos don't do this justice. You have to check them out yourself!

The Paparazzi in Me!

While in L.A. I got my fair dose of celebrity sightings. Living in South Florida we get our fair share of celebrity visits,condo stays and club sightings (and don't forget the charity circuit 'cause the Donald lives nearby sometimes). L.A. is the primary home of movie and t.v. stars so they are everywhere. We got to see Robert Redford and John Travolta driving around the fancy neighborhoods (yes, I took one of those tours.) Paris and Nikki Hilton at the famous Mr. Chows for dinner and Larry King and his favorite breakfast place (which was really yummy). In my face after lunch one day was Melanie Griffith. I saw the paparazzi swarming the door of a dress shop and walked over to see who they were bothering. Out walks Melanie Griffith, who had obviously been hunting for a gown. I almost got knocked over by the photographers but snapped this photo myself.

She was actually very nice to the swarm of rude photographers surrounding her from the shop to her car - which by the way has the license plate MG-AB (heart where the dash is) showcasing the love of her gorgeous husband, Antonio Banderas. How cute is that!?

How is it the holidays already?

I went out of town with the family this weekend again, only to realize that it is basically Christmas - well the season in full swing, anyway. On Thanksgiving Day the lights were being hung everywhere and trees were for sale. I know the ornaments and gifts have been in stores fora while already but I ignore that, seeing that Halloween starts in August. I am just not mentally prepared for the season to begin. I feel like school just started. Naturally I have given no thought to cards and parties. I have started making and buying little gifts but that is a constant thing. Christmas music was playing in the restaurant at dinner tonight. Gotta start shopping! Gotta get in the spirit! But I want to talk about my trip to L.A. and Thanksgiving first!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crafty Mommy Shops L.A.

For the first few days in Los Angeles, while exploring all of the different fabulous areas like Melrose, Santa Monica, Malibu, and Beverly Hills, my husband kept asking me why I wasn't buying anything. I let him know that I like to buy things that I can't find at home and that nobody else will have. And certainly not emblazoned with the store name across the chest or sneaker. I told him to wait until Sunday and he'll stop asking. He went to the Automobile show, I went to the Felt Club Holiday XL craft show. I want to share some of my favorite finds and terrific people I met along the way.

I was first on a quest for things to bring home to my kids. For one son, that meant something stuffed. I was excited to meet Narumi Ogawa, author of the Mr. Funky Super Crochet Wonderful book. The very first amigurumi I crocheted was Sebastian from her book.

I promised her I would post his photo for her! I purchased an owl for myself along with this stuffed donut from My Paper Crane.

A bear came home from Hotdog N' Bun - each bear seemed to have a unique personality so I had to choose carefully. I always seem to go with the chubby ones. Must have something to do with all of the cupcakes I ate!

My son's favorite item from the entire trip was the slug monkey from Planet Tokki.

(This photo is from their adorable gallery - I haven't been able to take ours away from my kid long enough to photograph him. It snuck to school with him each day in his backpack!)
Each creature has a story told on a little booklet that came with him. If it is a little odd, my son loves it. This one was a big hit!

Monday, November 19, 2007

L.A. Goodness!

I am back from L.A. and had the best time!!! We certainly packed a lot into 5 days. I had not been to Southern Cal. in many years so it was basically all new to me. We had fabulous food, did some shopping, poked around the beach communities like true tourists, took in some art, and did some star gazing (of the famous kind - Paris and her sister, Robert Redford, Melanie Griffith and more!).

We dined everywhere from Wolfgang Pucks restaurants and the famous Ivy to great little sushi restaurants and artisan cupcake shoppes. I need a good diet now.

My husband was surprised that I wasn't getting much shopping done - after all, it is L.A. I tried to explain that I would never buy what I can get at home or what everyone else would wear. He dropped me off at the Felt Club Holiday XL craft show (and he went to the L.A. Auto show, where I wouldn't have the patience to go.) When he came to pick me up a couple of hours later I was laden with bags! Stuff to bring back for the kids, my friends, holiday gifts. Oh, and me!! I'll share my finds at a later post. I have too jet lag and am too tired to sleep, if that makes sense. I am not focused enough to upload photos and give proper credit to the many crafters and artisans that I met.

Let me say that I do think that the people I met in Los Angeles are the friendliest! The guys and gals in the shops and restaurants (and next sitting next to us in restaurants)_ we so nice! We got the best tips on things to do and places to go from them. So thanks to everyone I encountered in L.A. - you are fabulous!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Art School Happenings

Nothing like instant gratification when it comes to jewelry making. Some of the gals in my art school jewelry fabrication class spend an entire 6 week session working on the same piece of jewelry (of course they are fabulous!). What separates me from the true jewelry artists is my desire to wear the stuff home from class! Today while my friend and I played with various texturing mediums for holiday gifts for our friends I worked on my own prototype. I used a sterling silver sheet (I feel brave enough to work with the good stuff and graduate from the copper and brass)and created a thin, hammered bracelet. By the end of class we had found the right texture for our bracelets (wire mesh) and I have a pretty addition to my ever-growing accessory drawers.

Not a great photo, but you can get an idea of the fun I have each Thursday. And don't you just love my Cathy of California pincushion in the background?)

Smart Cars

How cute are these?

We snapped photos of these smart cars all over Italy last year. They are now in the USA and were set up in a display outside our local mall for curious folks to check 'em out and drive them around the parking lot. I would save a bundle on gas but don't think I'd fit the cello inside.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

While I am in L.A.

Dare I tell my husband what my plans are while I am in L.A.? I don't know if he shares my passion for peacefully perusing the aisles of the handmade, indie, slightly offbeat craft shows making chit chat with very friendly vendors (of course I havent' been to many like this!!) Felt Club's Holiday XL show just happens to be when I will be in California.

Maybe I'll just have him drop me off and come back a few hours later. I already have one of those fold up extra bags to add to my luggage on the return flight.

Sooo Tired from being the Crafty Mommy

Soo tired. Lost my voice. Fell asleep with my kid at 9 (I am NEVER asleep before midnight!) It was the Halloween parties. The progressive dinner. The birthday parties. I mentioned the Halloween parties. We had a group from the school's progressive dinner over. It was terrific. The overall theme was 'Back to School' and each entree house had a different school subject. Ours was 'Oceanography'. I decorated the table with inexpensive curtain panels in sheer aqua blue (one with sparkly circles that looked like bubbles.) These were found in the teenage girl room decorating section of my local Kmart! I had some glass bowls that I re-use from flower arrangements past and filled them with water and goldfish from my local pet store (my son has happily welcomed Freddy, Jason, and Jaws into our home as newest pet additions!). I filled tall glass votive holders with shells from my large collection of Sanibel island treasures and had a lovely table. Where are the photos you ask. This crafty mommy didn't think to take any.

The very next day my son had nearly a dozen of his pre-teen sports buddies over to play football, watch the Patriots, eat pizza and Carvel cake and generally wreck the house. Oh yes, I am a good mom. A tired mom - but a good one.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Art School Creations

I am loving my jewelry fabrication class at the local museum art school. It is such a fun and relaxing way to spend a half a day. I am learning so much and the people in the class are terrific! One of the ladies makes butter soft leather bags with large set stones. The embellishments are set in hand crafted silver and hand riveted in. They are gorgeous. Today I finished my copper owl pendant. I decided to learn how to etch and had left it in an acid bath at the end of last weeks class. I polished it today and think it is very cute. I have some copper chain that I will add some small glass beads to. Here is the finished piece:

The image isn't that clear because I took it on my iphone (I am not a big lover of the iphone but when your camera isn't handy or working the phone fills in just fine.)
Now that I am comfortable with soldering, drilling, torches, and acid I will move on to silver. I have a blank sheet just waiting for the saw to create something unique and hand made by me!

[Finally] November

It is November, which means that Halloween is over. I can (sort of) have my house back. Or at least not have it make eerie sounds from the many electronic decorations scattered throughout. Halloween starts very early (my younger son would have decorations out in August, when the first catalogs came, if he had his way. By Halloween I have had it with web and rubber rats. This does mean that all of the other holidays are coming upon us rapidly. More decorations!

We have to get Halloween outta here tomorrow. Saturday night we had our arms twisted into hosting 12 people for one of the entree legs of our school's progressive dinner. I love theme parties very much, but I am overwhelmed with the number of parties, holidays, birthdays, etc.. that we are having over here. The checkout ladies at the grocery store thank me by saying "see you tomorrow" (this is true.) The progressive dinner theme is a "Back to School" or college theme and each entree house has a different school subject. We are 'oceanography' (seafood dinner). I have my round glass bowls out and instead of flowers will put goldfish in them for the table decor (my children are thrilled to have even more pets) and candle holders filled with shells. Simple. And no web.