Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's been a productive day! At 2:00 a.m. (yes, a.m.) this morning I finally got a treasury of my own, which you can check out here: A Vision of the Future. The expiration time will be New Year's Day, 6:26 in the evening. I put it together a week ago and have been jockeying to get a spot all this time! Phew. See why I can't do that too readily while school is in session? I wish it were easier; making treasuries sure is fun.

At a more reasonable hour, I went to Frederick to get new tires. We ate at Brewer's Alley and I had some rather historic macaroni and cheese. You know how Oprah sent her friend Gail on a U.S. tour to find the very best burger? Boy, I wish I could do that with mac and cheese.

Once we were through I thought, "What the heck, how about I stop in the bead store?" If you know me you know how this story ends! Since then, I have made three new bracelets which will be sold as a unit, a set of four new napkin rings, and did some MAJOR reorganization of my bead boxes. Therefore, I have lots more destash (extra stuff I don't need) to put on Etsy now. I also made three new cards for Valentine's day, and I hope to take some pictures of all this tomorrow.


Salutations! I am an elementary art teacher and freelance artist, and I’ve lived here in Maryland all my life. Ever since I was little I have spent hours upon hours making things. In her basement, my mother has hundreds of my old drawings- dinosaurs, monsters, dragons, flowers, and all kinds of animals, even bizarre ones. My fascination with jewelry began early, too. I made earrings out of whatever I could find- paper, sequins, puzzle pieces, ribbon. I remember making a pair of paper frog earrings with googly eyes and I was so proud of them that I taped them to my unpierced ears with band-aids and proceeded to WEAR THEM IN PUBLIC! The nice lady at the bank gave me two lollipops because my earrings made her smile. The creative seed was planted!

At Towson University, I majored in Art Education and was able to take a wide variety of studio courses: drawing, design, sculpture, ceramics, painting, computer graphics, photography, and printmaking. I loved sticking my finger in all those artistic pies!

I have the best job in the world. I get to play with crazy awesome kids, make messes, and be creative! My students are always surprising, amusing, and inspiring me, and things are never, ever boring. Life is good!

If you are so inclined, you will find me on Flickr, and also on Etsy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bakerswife’s 20 things:

  1. My full time job is teaching elementary art. It’s the best job in the world! I love my kids so much.
  2. I adore Sondheim musicals. The most widely-known of these would be Into the Woods, from which I have drawn my username, my favorite character. She is known as “the Baker’s Wife” throughout the play.
  3. My brother got into Juilliard for grad school! He begins this fall. He is an awesomely awesome trombonist.
  4. Next to teaching and making art, singing is my love. I’m in a chorus and I take voice lessons. However, I am now having vocal problems which seriously bum me out. I wasn't able to sing much in the Mozart Requiem we did last week! That masterpiece does a lot to explain all the fuss over Mozart. Much of his other work can sometimes appear to lack passion, but a guy who could be responsible for such music must have had something astonishing. It’s close to perfection.
  5. I’m a bit of a music junkie in general. iTunes informs me that I have 10,304 songs. A basically alphabetical artist sampling:
    1. Air
    2. Bjork
    3. Chopin
    4. Dale Warland Singers
    5. Ella Fitzgerald
    6. Feist
    7. Gnarls Barkley
    8. Hooverphonic
    9. Imogen Heap
    10. Jane Monheit
    11. Kanye West
    12. Lauryn Hill
    13. M.I.A.
    14. Neko Case
    15. Outkast
    16. Psapp
    17. Queen
    18. Rachmaninoff
    19. Sufjan Stevens
    20. TLC
    21. Univeral Hall Pass
    22. Van Hunt
    23. West Side Story
    24. ?
    25. Yael Naim
    26. ?
  6. I once tried to be a jock. For a few years in high school I played basketball and volleyball, but determined that I am too sensitive and intellectual for that, and I really belong in choir.
  7. Baking is something I do for fun, and I would like to branch out a lot more, but the bottom line always seems to deliver a reality check- nothing is better than chocolate chip cookies.
  8. I can watch babies like other people watch TV. They’re just riveting. I adore kids of all ages, really.
  9. When I read to my students I do all the voices and funny noises.
  10. I majored in Art Education at Towson University.
  11. Someday I will buy myself a potter’s wheel, because I find throwing on the wheel tremendously satisfying and calming. It’s something I picture my self doing well into old age.
  12. I come from a family of musicians. My mom sings and plays piano. My brother is a trombonist. My dad plays cello, violin, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass. He bought an accordion off of eBay but no one uses it because it smells funny.
  13. Evidently, my current TV lineup is somehow dominated by reality shows! This I admit with chagrin. It includes: Jon and Kate Plus 8, What Not to Wear, Mythbusters, and when possible, the Daily Show and Colbert Report. My true favorite, and the only thing I do watch every week, is Project Runway. Currently, I am concerned about its welfare.
  14. I heart MarioKart.
  15. School is something I always loved as a student, so it should come as no surprise that I am now employed in one. Yay!
  16. My taste in food is akin to that of a nine year old. Macaroni and cheese, pizza, bread, hamburgers- these are all favorites of mine, but then I do adore crabcakes which might be cause for hesitation in some kids. I do eat my veggies, though.
  17. When I was a little girl, I loved earrings so much that I would make them out of anything I could find. Puzzle pieces, leaves, construction paper, you name it. I would then tape them to my ears with band-aids and proceed to WEAR THEM IN PUBLIC. Once I wore some frogs with googly eyes and the nice lady at the bank gave me an extra lollipop because she liked them.
  18. I enjoy fishing and camping, as long as I don’t have to touch the fish or bait, and there are shower facilities on site. I know it sounds odd but actually, we do this quite often as a family. My dad takes good care of me, what can I say? He’s just happy to have a girl that likes fishing.
  19. When I go to the beach, I spend hours collecting what must be gallons of shells. They usually make it home, but after that, they seem to get sucked into a black hole. Or, mom pitches them. Not sure which.
  20. My roommate and I often converse in Kelly-speak, used in the hilarious (or inexcusably silly) shoes video. Sometimes we forget ourselves and do it in public.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

The new year is fast approaching and I thought it might be fun to begin a blog. My intention is to use this to discuss my works in progress, share my trials and triumphs in the Etsy world, and maybe talk a bit about real life, too.

My holiday was a wonderful one! There was much eating and much singing! I was lucky enough to get some time off in addition to Christmas and New Year’s so I have been busily beading. So far, I’ve finished a new ring, the Raspberry Tangerine Ring, and three sets of new napkin rings. I thought it might be wise to make more napkin rings since I have received some positive attention on the two sets I have made so far. One was bought (Woohoo!) and in regards to the other, a kind woman known as starlightdesigns on Etsy wrote to ask me if she could feature the set in a book she is writing! I am so exited and flattered! Please go and check out her handmade lampwork beads if you create your own beaded jewelry.

I’ve made a total of six sales to people I don’t know since opening my Etsy shop in late June of this year, and sixteen sales to awesome folks I do know. Thanks for the support, you all!

Also, monkeydoodle was nice enough to feature me in a treasury on Etsy. A treasury is a collection of stuff you like that you arrange by theme and post if you are lucky enough to get a slot. This has only happened to me on two other occasions, to my knowledge. Anyway, it’s greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Amazing Craft Tutorials

Hi folks! Here is a list I intend to continue updating anytime I find a great craft tutorial that demands to be shared. I've tried a number of them, and shared some of the results.

These blogs have lots of nice tutorials for crafts you might like to try, and they usually update often.

A Little Hut- This is Patricia Zapata’s blog, and she focuses on paper and recycling crafts. She also has a book that looks really great but I haven’t bought it yet so I’m not certain about that. I just know I want it!

How About Orange- Jessica Jones writes this blog, and it has many tutorials, but also links to neat artists’ pages and posts occasional freebies like downloadable backgrounds for your desktop. Very clear instructions, varied difficulty.

Folding Trees- This blog is no longer updating but is so full of fun things it doesn’t matter. You’ll find a lot of origami here, but other paper specific crafts as well. I recommend the lucky stars for ease and charm, and the origami box lights look really neat, too. I tried one, and it was pretty simple to follow. Look at the Flickr photo group for Folding Trees if you want to be amazed at what paper can do! She had a book, too, but it’s out of publication.

Creative Jewish Mom- You needn’t be Jewish to enjoy this wonderful site! Lots of different craft media here: crochet and knitting, basic sewing, stamping and printmaking, paper and cardboard sculpture, basketry, and more beyond all that. She links to lots of tutorials on other sites, too.

The Painted Fish- The painted Fish isn’t solely tutorial based, but this is a link to the ones she does have. Very sophisticated style.

Polka Dot Pineapple- This happy go lucky blogger lives in Hawaii and has some Hawaiian themed crafts. She is big on sewing and fabric, but there are other types of crafts here, as well.

Totally Tutorials- Enormous database, growing daily!

Martha Stewart Crafts- Varied difficulty, taste you may rely on. Great stuff from guests on her show as well, including videos which are much easier to follow than the written word.

Not Martha- Nice tutorials and HUGE raft of crafty links.

That Artist Woman- LOTS of well described tutorials for projects to do with kids from an elementary art teacher.

Aunt Peaches- Terrifically innovative tutorials, focusing often on charming jewelry and accessories, but there are things here that would be wonderful to do with kids. I love her coffee filter flowers and pipe cleaner crowns.

Alisa Burke- Whimsical artist and teacher with ideas for fun clothing, accessories, and decor. If you are a fan, you can sign up for a class, or buy her book.

Modern Art for Kids- Another tutorial blog by an art teacher, nice ideas here.

Made by Joel- A wonderfully creative, playful artist father creates toys for his kids, offering up amazing ideas and tutorials. This guy is really something! I'm so glad to see he is getting work from major magazines.

Origami Database Links

Origami Resource Center- There are a lot of modular (multiple pieces combining into a whole) origami designs here. A few of them are simple to build, but if you are very ambitious there are amazing ones that are rather complicated. I tried the rose curl model and had to start over at least four times, but the result is really awesome! This site’s diagrams are vague and sometimes difficult to decipher. I created the above Sonobe ball from diagrams on this page.

Origami Club- Origami site with varied levels of difficulty.

Oriland- More origami, varied difficulty. Lots of great plant and flower diagrams.

Kusudama Me- These are very challenging but beautiful kusudamas designed by a Russian origami artist.

Canon Chiyogami- This is a site with free printable origami paper.

Other Excellent Tutorials

For Your Kids

Monster Feet from me ;)

Fall Tree from me, naturally

Starburst Wrapper Bracelet from Fluffyland- 10+

Paper Bag Gingerbread Village from Disney Family Fun- 6+

Egg Carton Fish and Rocket- from Paper Crafts- 8+

Newspaper Hut from Pepper Paints- 10+ to build, younger can play in it and help

Crayola- Full of crafts, coloring pages, and games.

Magic Sparkle Playdough from The Crazy Gecko

Fall Tree Painting from No Time for Flash Cards 5+

Bubble Art from the Lovely Paper Blog 3+

Make Your Own Bouncy Balls from Scribbit

Jackson Pollack Painting from your cursor is the paint brush, and a click of your mouse changes paint color. Mess free painting!

Watercolor Initials from Plum Pudding 3+

Recycled Robot Monsters from AlisaBurke 7+

Painted Puzzle from AlisaBurke 7+

Matisse's Painting with Scissors from Modern Art 4 Kids

Surrealist Collage from Modern Art 4 Kids

Best Playdoh Recipe from Dried Figs and Wooden Spoons

Valentine Crayon from The Long Thread

Silk Tie Dyed Eggs from Our Best Bites

For Your Home

Magazine Paper Coasters from How About Orange

Flower Ornament from How About Orange

Paper Mache Bowl from Painted Fish Studios

Paper Mobile from Design*Sponge

Decorative Rope Design from Design*Sponge

Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier from Design*Sponge

Recycled Scrap Paper Notebook from Design*Sponge

Coil Basket from Plastic Bags from Lucky Ladybird (Very challenging!)

Newspaper Woven Basket from Craftstylish

Pom-Pom Wreath from Bleubird Vintage

Decorated Paper Lantern from Not Martha

Tree Stump Trivet from Martha Stewart

Giant Paper Poppy from Martha Stewart

Recycled Paper Ornament and Garland from Martha Stewart

Victorian Beaded Flower from Craft Cove

Felted Eggs from My Eclectic Mess

Floral Paper Towel Tube Art from Paper N Stitch

Denim Tree Pencil Case from Michele Made Me

Toilet Paper Tube Pincushion from Michele Made Me (humble beginning, I know, but ends up super cool!)

Yarn Pom Pom Mobile from Hausfrau in Melbourne

Japanese Temari Ball from Abigail's Crafts How To

Japanese Paper Tape Basket from Abigail's Crafts How To

Canvas Layers Wreath from AlisaBurke

Fall Fiber Wreath from AlisaBurke

Reversible Rick Rack Napkins from Film in the Fridge

Coffee Filter Flowers from Aunt Peaches

For You

Paper Beads from Creative Jewish Mom

Wrapper Purse

Felt Dahlia Corsage from Not Martha

Tee Shirt Yarn for Knit and Crochet from Polka Dot Pineapple

Fabric Carnation from Little Carnation

Rolled Fabric Roses from A Scrap of Fabulous (video)

Fabric Covered Buttons from Michele Made Me

Felt Needle and Hook Book from Michele Made Me

Japanese Kansashi Flowers from Abigail's Crafts How To

Altered Hoodie from AlisaBuke

Marbled Paper from Design*Sponge

For You to Fold

Origami Lily from UHandbag

Paper Box and Lid from UHandbag

Kusudama Flower from Folding Trees

3D Moravian Star from

Origami House from Origami Club

Modular Origami Ring from PaperUnlimited, by Mette Pederson

Cherry Blossom from Style of Japan

Paper Party Decorations from Creative Jewish Mom