Monday, February 22, 2010

Love Turned Obsession

I can't imagine anything better than to find something that you absolutely love...your passion! CJ Grand is one such lucky person who managed to find something she loves to do and has built a business on her passion. Her journey began as a scifi costumer and which turned into a love of Steampunk! What is steampunk? Well, it is an art form that combines the romance and softness of Victorian Romance with the metal edge of the Industrial Revolution...think lace and music with gears and cogs.

There are a lot of people that make Steampunk sculptures and jewelry, but to do it well with the proper balance of hard and soft in jewelry is a gift that TheGrandDesign has! Her Etsy shop is full of beautiful pieces that take you to another time. She uses many found and reclaimed pieces in her work and combines them into a Steampunk style is that is so wearable.

Now, more than just being a fabulous artist; CJGrand is also a huge supporter of the handmade movement! She is an active member on the HandmadeArtistsForum and a frequent contributer to the Daily Steampunk thread. Her blog is full of beautiful pictures and articles showing off the work of other artists that she finds around the web. Check out her work and show her blog some love and fall in love with Steampunk!

Friday, February 19, 2010

When did Manners Die?

Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore and it makes me so sad. I had to run a bunch of errands, not my favorite thing to do on my day off by the way, but sometimes things just have to be done. Maybe I was just ultra sensitive today, but I don’t think so. I believe that people have just gotten more rude than they were in the past.

First stop is to Target to grab a couple of silly things for my family. Right away I should have known to turn around. The parking lot was fairly full and thanks to the recent dump of snow, many of the spots were unparkable. I pulled into a spot and another car pulled in next to me…Bang!...their door opens right into mine. Not a big deal really. I understand that things happen, but what got me was that they just got out and began walking towards the store like I wasn’t even standing there. I am not looking for some big drama or anything, but an “I’m sorry” would go a long way.

In the store now and they are taking out the Valentines items and putting up gardening and Easter so some of the isles are filled with carts full of merchandise to be put out. No big deal, they have a job to do. As I am coming out of one such isle a woman on her cell phone runs right into me. I quickly apologized, though I really didn’t do anything, and all I got in return was a glare that would raise the dead…and back to her conversation. Deep breath…don’t let silly things get to me…..

Up at the register I place my things on the belt and say “Good morning” to the cashier. No reply, just a scowl. As she is scanning my merchandise she gets to a print cartridge that is locked in one of those plastic cases. She heaves a big sigh, like I asked her for a kidney, and announces to the woman behind me that she has to call someone to take the lock box off so it will be a while. Rather than continue scanning, she stands there tapping her foot and holding the print cartridge waiting for the magic key. Finally it arrives and my cartridge is free from its prison. Now, before someone jumps in telling me maybe they were having a bad day or their fish just died; I understand having a bad day but it seems to me that there are so many people that work retail jobs that are just miserable. I’ve worked with the public and understand that it can be rough, but to look like you are in front of a firing squad when a customer says hello…well…get over it!

Bottom line, all I wanted to do was go home. Why this rant? Well, I was raised by an old fashioned woman that demanded politeness from me….please, thank you, excuse me we not reserved for company but were expected at all times. Now that I am raising my own children, I expect no less from them. My oldest son is great for holding doors at the store or picking up a dropped object for a stranger. He allows adults to pass him in the isle and says thank you to the cashier. It doesn’t take any thought from him; it is just the way I expect him to be. Maybe a few others could take a cue from a child and the world would be a much more pleasant place to live.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

It's a Soapy Party!

I never thought much about soap until I started meeting some of the amazing people that make the stuff themselves. Now, I admit, thanks to my "I can do it myself" attitude I did a fair amount of research into soap-making thinking "If they can do it, so can I." Let me tell you, it didn't take long for me to realize that to really do it right is a time consuming talent that I just don't want to mess with. So, what does one do when they find they can't do it it from the best!

Larissa and Eric are and amazing pair that takes pride in what they do...and it shows! I met Larissa on the HandmadeArtistsForum and, being the shop-a-holic that I am, had to try some of her stuff. I was instantly hooked, and yes, I've gone back for more. She was nice enough to send us a bar of shaving soap that has even hooked my husband! You can visit their blog and get some insight into the pair behind the soap and their site to try some of this soapy heaven for yourself!

Larissa and Eric are an amazing husband and wife team of soap makers that run Reef Botanicals and work to create the most luscious soap around. On top of that, they also make fizzy bath bars, sugar scrubs and lip balms...everything you could want from one place!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Haffina-Supermom, Artist, and All Around Amazing Woman

The next time I am sitting here wondering how in the world I will get it all done; I'm going to think of Haffina! This wonder-woman mom to 5 (yes, you read it right-5!) is an Aussie artist with amazingly diverse talents! She is a beader, chainmailler, polymer clay artist as well as guildmaster for the ArtFire Chainmaille Guild, a member of the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild, The ArtFire Cafemom Team, Australians on Fire Guild and the We Love ArtFire Guild and a columnist for the Craft Techniques Department of and administrator of Alundra's Conundrum, and Moderator on the Handmade Artists Forum . Tired yet???

Want to learn more about this super-mom/artist in so many mediums? Her blog is a wealth of information as well as a peak into her favorite works of other artists. Haffina's Artfire shop, is a treasure trove of handmade jewelry. Her other Artfire shop is a crafters heaven, full of pretty beads, clasps, and pendants that will had a one of a kind sparkle to any piece. Haffina also, as if those weren't enough, runs an Etsy shop full of treasures.

I am sure you are already drooling over her shops and now is the time to check them out because it is Haffina's birthday! She is offering 20% to 40% off many of her creations! Click on over and take advantage of this offer and support an amazing woman, artist, and friend.