Sunday, March 15, 2009

Dragonflies and Damselflies

Although I thought it was still pretty early (and too cold outside), I saw my first dragonfly of the season in my backyard today. So this months artisan collage is all about dragonflies and damselflies.

This is but a small sampling of some of my favorite handcrafted dragonfly pieces. Support these fine artisans and enjoy!


Retro paper with a bit of whimsy. Each hand-cut and hand-stamped hanging card or tag is also enhanced with a bit of color in the dragonflies. Great for gifts, floral bouquets or whatever you'd like.
Check out the rest of Rustic Diva Designs creative crafts here.


Karina at Kabi Designs is one of my personal favorite polymer clay artists on Art Fire. She has an artistic gift which allows her to create far beyond one's wildest imagination. This dragonfly pendant is completely made of polymer clay, Pearl Ex, and liquid clear medium Kato clay. The dragonfly wings were made with a cane handcrafted by Karina. To view more Kabi Designs artwork, click here.

PEACH DRAGONFLY GOAT MILK SOAP - by Maple Street Creations

A bright and cheery welcome spring soap. Dragonfly shaped and colored in peach and yellow and made of goats milk. Goats milk is good for sensitive skin, or dry skin. This is a 3.5 ounce bar. Just peachy smells just like it sounds. Yummy! For more scrumptious soaps and lotions, visit Maple Street Creations here.


6 sheets of handmade recycled paper embossed with dragonflies and butterflies. Each sheets measures 5 x 7 (12.7 cm x 17.8 cm) and is a yellow-green hue and also has wildflower seeds embedded in it. These sheets could be used for many different projects,such as card making,scrapbooking,book binding (I think they'd make lovely endpapers!),art journals,photo backgrounds,handmade soap wrappers and more. For more of Jupiter Sinclairs creative work and embellishments, visit here.


The button is made from a gray clay with a dragonfly design. The design is created by putting a paper dragonfly cut out on the wet clay. The clay is then covered with seagreen, lavender and a touch of yellow slip (colored clay), fired, and then covered with a clear glaze. To see more art by PS Pottery, click here.


This is a limited edition ACEO Giclee Print, Digitally created by KDuff in 2008.
Although KD' Art Studios is a relatively new shop, I hope they will continue to add more items and enjoy the Art Fire experience! KD's Art Studios can be found here.


Made from a discarded auger bit, this whimsical dragonfly never strays very far. Actually, he never goes anywhere! He's permanently perched atop a 14" stake and will accent your favorite garden flower. Check out more of Dwayne's "junk metal art" here!

DAMSELFLY DREAMS - by Fo-Shizzle Design Studios (me)

Gorgeous polished white turquoise with deep brown matrix suspended from antiqued brass chain. Two small brass damselflies dangle below the 25mm round focal. Wire clasp closure. To see more of my latest creations, visit our Art Fire store here or our webstore at

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The (almost) Finished Store!

There's still a few finishing touches left to do... like hanging the spool racks in the work area, installing the rest of the storage bins on the back walls and installing the actual sign on the front (no more paper banner). The last two pics are of my small (but definitely manageable) workspace. However early this morning (before the rest of the building was even opened) I took a few pics of the "new store" (I just love saying that..."New store" LOL!) to show you how things have progressed. If you don't know what it looked like before, here's the link: the old pro shop

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Store - BEFORE

Not sure why it looks like it rained on my camera lens, but if you look in-between the "sprinkles" You'll see what a mess this place was before.

Wow... seems like it's taken an eternity!

In one of my last blog posts (a month ago already?) I wrote about how I was moving my jewelry store to a new location, and out of my home. It's been an extremely long process preparing the new building location for move-in, but it's almost finished. You see, I received the keys to the building on January 20th, but we were not allowed to enter the store until the previous tenant had completely cleared his belongings. At that time, the landlord had told my husband and I that he would not allow any alterations, or any painting done to the building. The whole place had very dark wood slatted walls inside, and the previous tenant had left carpeting that probably had some of every type of alcohol available at the bowling alley bar spilled on it. It wreaked heavily of beer and the smell was overpowering. Definitely not the best atmosphere for a jewelry store.

January 28th we were allowed access to the store. I spent much of that day steam cleaning the carpet. The next day, I had to clean it all over again and even after I had it cleaned twice, the stains remained and it still wreaked. We decided to tear out the carpet and replace it with a large chiseled area rug that we had purchased several years ago. My husband pleaded with the landlord to let us paint the interior walls and he finally said "ok". This is when most of the headaches began.

February 2nd I went to our local Home Depot to get a gallon of primer. Knowing that these wood slat walls were 70+ years old, I didn't think slapping some paint alone one them was going to do the trick. The paint department manager decided that I needed a special kind of "bonding" primer, and proceeded to sell me a gallon of it at the cost of $43.00. Although this was a bit more than I had hoped to pay, he assured me that this was the best stuff to use for the surface I needed to prime. As I returned to the new store, I called my husband and broke the news to him that instead of our "usual date night dinner out", I had spent a great portion of my pocket change on primer, so he'd have to settle for my own cooking and possibly a rented movie.

Later that night, we decided to go to the store and start priming. We were hoping to get it done in one night, painted the next and I could have started moving things in on or around February 4th. I was just hoping to be all set up by Valentines day -- HOWEVER -- we ran into just a few snags. You see, during the "old days" (or as my husband says "when I was just a young boy") people used to be able to smoke in the bowling alley. In fact, it was until just a few years ago that people were allowed to smoke in there and because of the years of prior cigarette smoke, my dark wood slat walls were filled with nicotine. My husband and I spent two days priming the whole building inside, only to have all of that nicotine come pouring back out of the walls! On Feb 4th, I went back to Home Depot for another gallon. This time, there was a new "manager" on duty. He told me that the previous "manager" had sold us the wrong primer, and that we should have been using a Kilz123 to cover the nicotine. Another gallon of primer, another $40.00, another couple of days set-back. After using the entire gallon of the Kilz123, we realized that it was no better than the first stuff. The nicotine still came out of the walls. So -- after a third gallon of primer and yet more lost days before I could move in, we decided that three coats was going to be IT. If the nicotine still showed through. TOUGH BEANS!

On February 10th we headed back to Home Depot for some paint. I decided on a nice pale violet color for the walls (after all, it is my "signature" color ) and after completely putting the first coat of paint on, and going through the entire gallon, we knew that the walls were going to need a second coat. February 12th - Back again to Home Depot. I handed the guy behind the paint counter (possibly the only employee at Home Depot that didn't have "manager" on his name tag) the paint chip selection that I had saved from the previous gallon. He swiftly mixed up a second gallon of paint and I headed beck to the store to finally finish painting. I was so excited at the thought of being able to start moving display cases in and maybe even opening on Valentines day!

But as we were putting the second coat of paint on, I noticed that it didn't quite look the same. My husband assured me that it was, and that it probably looked different because I was now painting over a lighter color, rather than the dark wood walls -- but when it dried it would be the same.


Early morning on February 14th, I loaded a couple of display cabinets in the van, and drove to the store. When I opened the door and turned on the lights I was horrified! The room was a bright pink! I immediately called Home Depot and told them that the two gallons of paint they had mixed weren't the same color. I brought both cans back where the mistake was finally discovered: Our original paint color was called "Misty Violet". The second can was labeled "Violet Mist". Two different colors!

Now Home Depot realized they had made a mistake, so they gave us a third gallon of the correct color, free. But once again, we had to take the time to paint the whole room again, and this (again) set us back yet another couple of days.

February 17th --I was completely bummed that I wasn't able to open for Valentines day. We finished painting and went home to crash. I felt so sorry for my husband. He works very hard all day long, and had still spent the the past 19 evenings working with me until sometimes 2:00am, trying to get my store ready. And it wasn't over yet! We still had lots to do, like move supply cabinets in and hang them on the walls, build a work bench and do some other finishing touches here and there.

Today, as I write this blog post, it's March 9th. I've been opened for one week now. It took from January 28th until March 2nd to prepare the store. There's still a few minor things that we are going to do, but for the most part. It's done. You'd think that for a small place (9 X 13), it wouldn't be so difficult. NOT.

Even though I've overheard several passers-by make fun of my store name (hey, at least they'll REMEMBER it), sales were pretty good for the first 7 days of being in business in a new location. In-store sales alone totaled approximately $660.00 and I've already received four requests for custom work.

If things stay moving at this pace, I'll be real happy. If not, You may just see me behind the paint counter, working at Home Depot.

I'll be the one with "manager" written on my name tag.

~ Mzz Thang