Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mah Crafty Space

Those of us who clutter and embellish and adorn the world with previously un-thought of creations seem to have a need for a corner, a room, a table that becomes our work space. I have a love seat. I sit on one half of it and I put stuff on the other half of it. This is what it looks like:

I can hardly believe it myself, but that is my bottom half strewn about with my paper cutouts for collage, or my "paper dolls" as my mother calls it. I made the table with beer bottle caps for my husband last Christmas, the opening in the middle is just big enough for a beer in a cozy. I'm surrounded with yarn and magazines and glue and other necessities of life, content as a wren in her nest. It's sad, really, just sad. but when I'm sitting there, I'm happy, all I need is around me, and if my husband and son are home too, well, usually there's no place I'd rather be.                                                                                                                                  

Monday, November 2, 2009

Confetti and Other Things

I love to cut pictures out of magazines and then stick them together in other ways. I call it collage, but it can be seen as simple rearrangement of fragments of ideas. My favorite materials are catalogs, but I like magazines and I collect and save a wide variety of different topics.

What to do with the collages I make is sometimes an issue because while they all have a theme, their use is not always apparent. For instance, I made a Christmas theme one last year, scanned it into the computer and put "Have a Very O'Bryan Christmas!"on top of the picture and used it as the inside of my Christmas cards. Friends and family were baffled. Did you cut out every single one of those Santa Clauses, they asked. Well, yes I did, and the reindeer antlers and a lot of other things besides. I find it relaxing to dissect the printed pages into useable for something else files. I have a load of envelopes with sorted out in theme cutouts. My father asked me one time if it limited my creativity to have just one theme at a time to look at. I thought about it for awhile, then dumped all the cutouts into a tray. While it did suggest things I hadn't thought of, I was soon sorting again because I needed an envelope of various kinds of florals, and snarling at Dad under my breath.
Here is something I did for Halloween this year

Isn't he cute? And the whole can came out good, I thought. It's a can that used to hold breadcrumbs.
Here's another view:
That's the other side. Just a bunch of pictures cobbled together in an artistic fashion, maybe, to tell a story.

This is the goth can from my store, It's a little harder to get pictures with a dark theme, so it took several magazines of unusual types to get the pictures for this one. And the piece of a bird wing I found just like that on the ground outside my house.                                                                                                                

Friday, October 16, 2009

How I spend my time

As you might imagine, I spend a lot of time on my computer. My favorite forum is over at the AntiCraft, and I post and laugh and cry and talk to my friends over there. I also spend a lot of time at etsy, working on my store and looking at what other people have made. This is an endless source of fascination for me, the creativity and genius and genuine dedication of the sellers there, and the encouragement and feedback of the buyers. I thought today I might showcase some of my favorite things-
just saw this today:

this is from                                                                                               
I thought it was a nice sentiment, clever on the anatomical heart too.                                                           
Everything in the shop is handmade with a twist, like an etched metal bracelet that has actual buttons on it   , nice twist, you see? go visit them. you'll love it.                                                                                            

This amazing spiderweb for the corner is made by Kay is the proprietor of celadon and her work never ceases to amaze and delight me, and I chose the web for my blog today, but she has made some new pieces for the holiday, can you imagine glass stars? go see her store, you will love her stuff, and she is just as lovely in person as the beautiful objects that she makes.  
This most excellent chainmaille bracelet is called "Byzantine" and is made by This artist is another friend of mine from the AntiCraft, and even though I know she uses her knitting needles as mandrels for cutting rings, the results are fabulous, and much better even in person than in this picture.       

This is one of mine, I call it "these links are made of what?" because they are made with soda can tabs and beer can tabs and whatever other ones I can get my hands on. They are 100 percent post-consumer and are currently staying the heck out of the landfill and on people's arms. Or necks, I've made a couple of neck rings like this too. My newest venture on etsy is a shop called, it's all recycled items and stuff made out of things that might otherwise be thrown away. So go see, I think it's fun, and I really like the WarKitten logo artwork drawn by my oldest son.  Thanks, Scott!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Halloween is Teh Scary

Halloween is sort of my favorite holiday. I love it because you can dress up and stuff and nobody thinks you're wierd. I, however, never seem to make it to the dressing up stage. I think up an awesome costume and then something happens, like I'm missing something and then poof! it never happens.

It happened well one time, though, a number of years ago. Here's a picture I call "Halloween with the Master"

Yep, that beautiful sexy witch is yours truly, and the teh scary man is an actor friend of mine who was really good at the scary makeup, he'd actually already lost the prosthetic chin by the time this picture was taken. It was the best party I've ever been to, though, for a lot of reasons.                                                                

So, I've been making Halloween stuff this year, here are the tiny earrings:

and the spider, yes he's purple. I was going for non-threatening, and the flock has since expanded to include silver and gold. That's my witches' hat he's perched on, isn't it the best?   He has a stickpin in his butt, that's the silver thing you can see under him, so you can wear him on your shoulder, or on your hat, for that matter.

Little tiny pieces of paper hold endless fascination for me, so I make sure I have as many of them as I can find room for in my filing system. That means that I have millions, maybe literally. This is what I do with them:

Amazing, right? And incredibly useful. I didn't even make that one for me, and it's got can tabs in it already. Oh well, guess I'd better make another one.
To buy any of my stuff, go to

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's a funny thing to be famous for

I got called "the lady who makes the skullies". Isn't it a funny thing to be famous for? But I make them, and I sell them in my etsy store, and I've sold quite a few sets between the new store and the 2 other stores that I attempted to use, but never loved. Not like I love my new store. Ampersand is the symbol for "and" that sort of resembles an ess or an eee. &&&&& that guy right there. To me it means "this and that and the other thing" and what it really means is that I can make and sell in the same store anything I can dream up, it's not a jewelry store, it's not a recycled items store, it's not a de-stash store (though I'm considering that one seriously). My mind races sometimes with all the possiblities out there, things that can be made out of other things and then shared with the world. I keep my prices small so things will leave me and go to good homes quickly (not having a lot of success with that one yet) and so that I can move along to my next idea. Currently I'm causing confetti all over my house cutting pictures out of magazines and catalogs to feed my decoupage/collage habit. Hopefully you will see the results of the storm soon!                                   

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Coca Cola and Beer

There is a jar on the coffee table in the living room that has been there forever. It occasionally gets full, gets emptied and goes right back where it was. This is the repository of the sacred can tabs. None shall pass out of my house, all must go in the jar. You can never have too many can tabs.

Why? Well, they are useful items, to be sure. And I have always wished that I could make them into chain maille, but that almost, almost eluded me. Then the AntiCraft had a contest. Make a hat for Vlad the Impaler. He was a soldier, he wore maille, didn't he? out came the trusty crochet hook and some generic black yarn and this was the result:

Sort of like maille, right? And I won 3rd place in the contest, btw. And I was off and running again.
I love to recycle objects, not only does it save the landfill, it saves my wallet and makes me feel like I'm teh genius for coming up with this stuff. So then I learned about plarn.
Plarn is yarn made from plastic bags. The cheap liquor store near my house uses solid black plastic bags which is unusual, and they coincidentally sell both coke and beer, so I was all set for designing more craft projects with the materials at hand. Here was the next project, made with black plastic bags and can tabs:

It's tiny, about the size of a folded in half dollar bill, but it sold in the etsy store!
This summer, I was longing for a purse, so I made this one:

and of course there is the bracelet, currently for sale in my Etsy store, go look!
I will keep saving those can tabs, there is someone who is inspiring me so much in the art of can tabistry, you can see her stuff here:
The Art of Can

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Labor of Love

Hey, remember when I mentioned that a friend had asked me to make a snake? And how it got ripped apart and re-made like three times? Oh, I didn't mention that part? Hm. Well, it did. Because it had to drape around her neck in a graceful fashion, and when I bent it, the inner curve pleated up and there was just no living with me until I fixed that problem. I got some more beads much smaller than the original beads but the same colors, and used them on the inner curve/belly. Nice. Then, how do you make a snake head? As it turned out, you make it separately and then sew it on and bead over it and pray. You pray a lot. So, today it arrived in the mail to its new home, so I think I can post some pictures now. Heh. You're gonna love it. Now I have to make another one for me---

This is how it grew, a plate of beads and some skullies to keep it company while I was otherwise occupied. Looks like a snake, doesn't it?

This is a finished shot. See the little wire around the inner curve? To make it lay flat.

At first, I didn't think it would squiggle, but it did! Yay!

And, this is hiss cute little face, complete with mouth deliniation. I don't know his name, but I'm hoping that Labrys will tell it to me soon.