Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Movers and Shakers

Hey y'all, it's been a while I know! But, in my defense, I have good excuses. We finally sold our house and made it through the closing. We have moved into an apartment until our new house is ready...whenever that may be. Moving was chaotic, to say the least, and I never, ever want to move like that again! Because our byuers were very fickle and iffy all the way to the end, we never knew if the closing would get through, so I was totally disorganized in packing.

Are you moving? I found this blog, Steps to Organization, which has some helpful moving checklists. The blog's author, Wendy Cross, is a professional organizer, and aside from moving, she has some pretty cool organizing tips! Check out her moving checklist 1 and moving checklist 2 if you are preparing to take this journey. I must warn you though, realistically, you WON'T get totally organized, but at least you can smooth out a lot of the wrinkles!

So now we are back to apartment living, and I must confess, it's not that bad. Of course, it's smaller, and we have a LOT of stuff in storage, but I like it! I like having the option to just call maintenance to come fix something rather than figure out how to fix it myself so that we don't have to pay someone $200 for some little thing. Of course, when we move into our new house, I am going to brush up on some home maintenance skills.

A lot has happened in the past few months! Both Fazal and Zahra had their birthdays, so I am now a proud Mama of a 4 year old and a 2 year old. Stay tuned for a lot of updates in the next few weeks and some oh-so-adorable pics :) Here is one that I love!

My Etsy shop, Treasure Box Jewelry, is still up but with all the wackiness going on, I have taken a little break from things. I have a lot of items that need listing, so I will be doing that also in the coming days. Of course, being on a temporary hiatus still doesn't stop me from buying endless amounts of glorious beads and findings! Since we are in the midst of fall, I love the the La Terre Necklace from my shop reflects the burst of color that comes with the season!

La Terre Necklace by Treasure Box Jewelry

And now a parting treat for you! One of my best cyber-friends, Lisa of Jeweled Ambrosia, has branched out into fabulous hair accessories! They are all so amazing, but this one is my favorite!

Vintage Rhinestone, Rosette and Sequin Headband by Jeweled Ambrosia

So adieu for now and have a blessed day!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Life's a Beach!

I love the summertime in Jersey. This year, it seems like it took its pretty time getting here, but at last it has arrived! I love being able to step out of the house without lugging coats and jackets and mittens...all the trappings of winter that seem welcome and charming the first week of cold, but then get tiresome. Just a t-shirt, capris, flip flops and of course, my favorite summer accessories, anklets and sunglasses and you're out the door!

We've already been down to the beach this season, numerous times. We went for the Fourth and watched the fireworks at Pier Village in Long Branch, NJ. Then we went kayaking with some friends a couple of weekends ago (though technically not at a beach, it was a lake reservoir, but still there was water and sand!) Then this past weekend, when Nasir came home from work, we packed up some food, towels, blankets and chairs for a spur-of-the-moment outing. This is the advantage of living so close to the ocean. You can totally be spontaneaous!

When we got out there and set up, I took Zahra out of her stroller. This was the first time that she actually ventured out onto the sand, barefoot and excited to be exploring this new environment. I took her down to the water and saw that there was no fear in her, only awe and curiousity as the waves crashed on the shore. She made a decision to go farther and tried to get me to let her go. Not a chance!! But I did let her get her feet wet and she absolutely loved it! I remember the first time that we took Fazal down to the water...he wasn't having any of it. He was scared and clingy and was satisfied with admiring the view from far away...very, very far away. But this little firecracker of mine wanted to dive right into this unknown that she was facing. For a few minutes, I let myself think of everything from her perspective, the newness of the experience, the intital awe that we get from encountering something so breathtaking that there is no room for fear. It seems like that feeling is getting so hard to come by as the years go by, and even if it does come, we tend to skip over it.

And now some lovely finds from some wonderful and talented Etsians. I hope they fill with you with awe and inspiration!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Going With the Flow

Apparently, though I am fast approaching a milestone birthday (my 30th, gasp!), I have yet to neatly package myself into a certain type of person.

Who says I have to?

Life is complicated and tough without having to fit into pre-set molds that we must try to squeeze into...who wants to squeeze into something that will just make you all tense and tired and smothered? Not me and I hope not you either!

So though things are utterly crazy right now (not EVEN going to get into it!), I am going to teach myself to lay back, relax, not to take things so seriously. I started my blog to muse about the little things in life that we all tend to miss, and what happens? My evil, type-A, everything-must-be-perfect-or-it's-not-even-worth-it half overtook my other laid-back, beach-bum, sunshiny gal half and I totally neglect everything but the hassles and trials of the "real" world. Well, no more!!

I am going to walk a new path (that's me in the first pic, in my favorite black flowy skirt, walking a new path). I have been taught to schedule everything to the last second and to systematically work through everything until all is done. And though there is something to be said about scheduling and to-do lists, we all get so caught up in doing stuff, that we never just sit back and let things happen. So many things are overlooked and so many things, the truly important things get left undone.

I'm tired of being tired everyday, just drained from all the unnecessary and often imaginary stresses that I put on myself. I need to trust in God, and trust that my faith will see my through anything. I think a lot of our stress comes from the pressure that we put on ourselves to be bigger and better than everyone else....but why do have to be bigger and better? Why can't we just be ourselves and be content with that? If you have the drive that definately go for it. But the minute that you are unhappy, you need to stop and take a break and re-evaluate. I am not saying quit, not at all. I am saying that you should pace yourself so that it never comes to the point that you get burned out and do quit.

My daughter Zahra is a free spirit. Always smiling and laughing...until she really wants something and then she'll let lose a scream that will make your ears ring. But she gets over it pretty fast and goes back to her happy self. I used to be like that...And I am going to get that back.

Here's Zahra enjoying the simple things in life, a summer rain.

I am a woman, a wife, a mother, a human, a daughter, a sister, an artist, an intellectual (at least I think so, I love to read!) But's that not all that I am. We are all so much more than these labels....

So burst out from that ill-fitting mold...I am. It didn't do much for my figure anyways.

Friday, June 05, 2009

First Home Jewelry Party

These past few weeks, I have really neglected everything besides making jewelry, in preparation for my first home jewelry party. It was nerve-wracking to have a deadline, but it was good to build up my inventory. I don't have a studio, so as you can see from the picture, my dining rooms has happily agreed to fulfill this least temporarily! It's hard to keep organized and since we STILL have out house on the market, I often have to pack up a few times a day. REALLY kills by creative buzz sometimes, so when I really am working, I usually just keep working, even when people are going through the house. I have actually been asked for my card a few times so, hey, not a bad idea!

But I digress. The first picture is of my popular Sweet Dahlia Ring in my shop. I made 8 of these and they have all sold out. I made another version, in a pinky coral color. I have ordered more supplies for the Plum version, so stay tuned! These rings were among the 95 items that I managed to make in time for the jewelry party on May 29th. My hostess said that it seemed like there would be about 50 people there so I was totally stressing about not having enought items. As it was, only about 20 people came, but that was totally fine by me! I ended up making 11 sales and got 2 custom orders, so all in all, a pretty good first run!

My two biggest hurdles were 1)Packaging my jewelry and 2)How to display the jewelry.

For hurdle one, I made earrings cards out of cardstock. I just used Word to make template and then copied and pasted it until it covered a page and then printed them out on cream cardstock. The square measure a little larger than 2 X 2. I found an image of a treasure chest in my clipart so for the earrings, I just faded it to a watermark. You can definately see it, but it doesn't compete with the earrings. Across the top I put my shop's name and then I just poked holes with a safety pin and put the earring through! For necklaces, I used a dark coffee brown color, and the cardstock was heavier than the paper that I used for the earrings. Also I changed the treasure chest to an actual picture instead of a watermark. Instead of squares I made rectangles measuring about 2 x 4, so when I printed them out, I cute them out, folded them in half, put the necklace into that space, and then stapled the top! All done!

So the second hurdle was how to display everything. I got a lot of great ideas from picstues and of course my Etsy friends! I love Etsy, how people you have never met before are always so willing to help you! I basically just used what I had around the house. A cardboard box, binders for necklaces, serving trays....and I bought some inexpensive black fabric and just draped and covered everything. I used a silver dip bowl for my business cards and added a mirror and VOILA! My simple and easy display! My favorite part was using a decorative box that looked like a treasure chest and I filled it with crumpled newspaper, tucked in black fabric, and put my necklaces on these! An instant treasure box!

I really enjoyed meeting people and I am hoping to have more of these parties! Plus the food was really good ;) The hostess set it up as a Victorian-Style tea party, with little finger foods and all kinds of teas, so it was wonderful.

Have you done a jewelry party? Share your experiences!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Cape May in Pictures

I have a lot of wonderful pictures from our recent trip down to Cape May. I thought I would do a two-part series on it, just so that I could get everything in. This post features the pictures that I took. This pic features the Emlen Physick Estate, a gorgeous Victorian mansion. Ironically, there was a craft show going on there...which we missed!

This is the old 5 & 10 store in the downtown Cape May area...things cost a little more these days!
Zahra splashing in the fountain in downtown Cape May. When I pulled her away, she immediately let me know that she was not appreciative of my interruption.

Carpenter's Square Mall that had even more cute little boutique stores. To the left, under the teal green tent is Gecko's, the Southwest cuisine restaurant that we had dinner at one night. They had a delicious tomato and basil salad and tiny cornbread muffins with jalapneno jelly. It was divine!

I took this picture on our foray into Wildwood and the boardwalk there. They have a amusement park there, Morey's Piers, and Fazal had the time of his life riding the rides. This was of the balloon ride and I love that I got it just as one of the balloon cars (or whatever they're called!) eclipsed the sun.

Fazal riding the cars at the pier! He rode this ride twice, since he wanted the racecar the second time around.

The beach at sunset. Both kids loved playing there in the sand, though it was starting to get chilly. Still the weather was beautiful!

Congress Hall, a lovely hotel in downtown Cape May. Very Victorian and elegant, I hope we stay there on our next trip!

Another lovely Victorian house, this time functioning as a bed and breakfast. The architecture was so stunning, I think I may have gone overboard with the pictures!

So that is a tiny piece of of our trip. I still want to mention the shops that I really liked, but I'll leave that for another post!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Twilight Jewelry, Treasuries and Twitter

At first, I really could not understand the whole hype behind the Twilight saga. Sure, I read the first book, and the writing was not the best. Of course, you have to take into account the target demographic (of which I am NOT, but shhh, don't tell!) But then I read about Stephenie Meyer and how she incorporated her own values, such as abstinence, self-control, etc., into the themes of the book. Though I am not Mormon like Stephenie, I also uphold the same values. So the books really started taking their hold on me. Plus, who could resist all that star-crossed romance and those supernatural love triangles! So I have become an almost-crazed fan. Almost I say, because, after all I am a busy mom and I simply don't have time to totally surrender to the vampire voodoo!

I make Twilight jewelry in my shop, though I only have a few pieces. The picture above shows my latest, just listed today. It is the Covered in Feathers Necklace, and you know what that means!! So go show some love to this necklace :) You can also view my other Twilight Jewelry in my shop on lovable Etsy!

Happy day! I always feel like that when I am in a treasury...and also when I get to make one of my own. Here is the lovely treasury that I was featured in, my Blue Danube necklace is at the bottom...

It features other members of the EtsyNJ Street Team and it is a lovely collection, curated by CreationsbyRobin. Check it out while you still can!

I love the color purple; passion, royalty, grapes, plums :) So I chose that color as my theme for the Passionate Purples treasury I curated yesterday, again featuring members of my team. Check it out and click away!!

I have joined Twitter, so if you Twitter, go ahead and follow me! It really is fun and you can use it for promoting your crafts and just let everyone what's going on in your daily life. I've put up the Twitter widget on my sidebar so you can see the updates on there too. And you can find other Etsians on there and see all of their new handmade treasures! Have a fabulous Friday everyone!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sweeping Down the Plains

I am back from my 2 week trip to my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. No matter how long I go for, it always goes by way too fast. I found this gorgeous painting of Tulsa titled, "Downtown Dawning." It is by Celeste Vaught, an amazingly talented artist and a fellow Tulsan! I found the painting on her Flickr page and when I emailed her to get permission to use her painting in my blog, she couldn't have been sweeter! She has a whole Downtown Dawning series, featuring other cities as well. Her work has been featured in numerous galleries and has graced many magazine covers. She is inspired by the Impressionist artists such as Monet and Cezanne. I think that is one of the reasons that her work really resonated with me. I have always loved the Impressionistic style of painting. Her work is now being featured in the new Water Street Gallery in downtown Sapulpa, Oklahoma. To learn more about this wonderful artisit, read her blog and visit her website. I hope to meet this extraordinary person on my next trip to Tulsa.

Going home always brings back old memories! I especially love going through my old books and reading them again. On this trip, I picked up the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This series always make me feel so warm and comfortable. It is so perfect for today's hectic, chaotic lifestyles that we all tend to lead. The simple morals and day-to-day lessons are so valuable, I think, especially for today's tweens who whine when they don't have the latest cell phone! (I know, of course, that not all of them are like that, but I have seen a few, and that's STILL too many!) It is so refreshing to read how Laura and her sisters relish the littlest moments in their loves, like how they are so excited about getting real glass windows in their house! They are postively skipping with delight...and me along with them! I can't wait until Fazal and Zahra are old enough to share these books with me.

This post would not be complete without some Oklahoma-themed finds from my beloved Etsy. Here is this awesome journal made from an upcycled vinyl record album cover of Rodgers and Hammersteins musical Oklahoma!

And I found this print of a Oklahoma state sign. It is a "through the viewfinder" photograph, which means that you take a photograph of an object through the viewfinder of one camera with another camera. The effect, as you can see is very shabby vintage feel and I love it!

How cool is this photo album made from an Oklahoma license plate? I thought that this was so creative and wonderful!

After I came home, Nasir was off for the week, so we spent the weekend down in the delightful town of Cape May! Stay tuned for the details of that trip, especially all the fun things that I bought :)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Diving into ACEOs

I have always loved drawing. Crayons, colored pencils, finger paints, oils, pastels, name it, I've dabbled in it. My favorites are colored pencils and acrylics. Colored pencils because they are so versatile and vibrant. Acrylics, for the same reasons, but also beacause they are paints and using them makes me feel like a real artist :) Also, they dry pretty fast making them a good choice for hectic lifestyles and impatient personalities!

So I have opened another Etsy shop, called Chameli Creations! Chameli is the Hindi word for that lovely flower, jasmine. The word "jasmine" is derived from the Persian word (also used as a a name), "yasmin," which means "gift from God." I am not a classically trained artist. That is to say, I have never had any formal training, other than those elemantary art classes, but I don't let that hinder me from trying. Flower, trees, nature in general is a great inspiration for me. I am not good at drawing life-life portraits and such. But I do like abstracts and strong, vivid colors. I use the world around me, our gift from God, to inspire me.

The ACEO pictured above is one of mine, entitled "Mountain Home." I have 3 more in my shop and I plan on drawing more. It's very exciting getting into a new art and learning all about it.

ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. They have only one rule, and that it that it must measure 2.5 by 3.5, the size of a baseball cards. If it is any other size, it can not be called an ACEO. The size makes it easy and affordable for are collectors to collect a variety of art from all over the world and place them in card albums or shadow boxes, give as gifts....the possibilities are endless! I LOVE the idea of collecting mini masterpieces and I am looking foward to starting my own collection.

Here are some of my favorites that I found on Etsy.....

Happy Together ACEO by PaintingPrints

The Clamshell Mermaid by SusanRodio
Hope you enjoy these and are inspired to start your own art collection!