Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Feature: Colt Pixy

Filigree Egg with Flowers by ColtPixy
Today's Friday Feature is about an amazing polymer clay artist Angelina of ColtPixy on Etsy. Read on to discover more of her outstanding creations...
My name is Angelina Star but people who know me call me Star. Online I am ColtPixy and my shop is at Sculptures and miniatures are my main focus but I do also create other things.
"How did I get started doing my art?" That is like asking, "how did you start breathing". I have been creating since I was big enough to hold a pencil. My mom said I was born to create art. 
I do quite a few other arts, actually. Until an injury forced me to stop working it full time I was a stained glass and mosaic artist. My work was sold in four stores in two states and I taught stained glass mosaics in both Tennessee and Alabama. I still have a fully stocked glass studio even though I work mainly with polymer clays now. 
Love Struck Snail Figurine by ColtPixy
I have collected fairies for many years. A colt-pixy is a mischevious fairy. I took out the - and ColtPixy was born.
At the moment my favorite pieces are snail sculptures. Each has it's own character and personality. See them here:
I currently only sell on Etsy
Handmade Mosaic Keepsake Jewelry Box by ColtPixy is my blog. 
I'm on several social networks here: http://coltpixy.deviantart.com
I also support several different charities but only locally and in person (not online). 
Thank you Star! Please go to her shop and see more of her absolutely enchanting snails and other pieces here: 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Feature: Nicole Portlock

Smoke Fired, Wheel Thrown Porcelain Vessel by NicolePortlock
 This week's Friday Feature comes all the way from Ireland, with Nicole Portlock's beautiful porcelain work. Read on to find out how she makes these beautiful creations...
Hi my name is Nicole and my shop name is
I make handmade vessels using a potter’s wheel, and porcelain clay. I use a process called ‘Smoke Firing’ to decorate the surface of my pieces. This process is one of the most basic and elemental ways to create marks on the ceramic surface. My vessels surface is totally unglazed. 
I feel that smoke firing is a good counterpoint to my control freak tendencies whilst creating on the potter’s wheel. Porcelain is just fabulous to use on the potter’s wheel, but it does take skill and patience. For me there is no other clay like it, because with a blunt tool you can then burnish (polish) the surface much more than any other type of clay. I burnish or polish my porcelain so that the finish surface has a satin feel and shine, which also makes the piece tactile.  
One of a Kind Smoke Fired Porcelain Vessel by NicolePortlock
I absolutely love smoke firing! I think that smoke firing speaks to the kid in me as well as to my pyromaniac needs (most potters are closet fire-nuts we just have a legitimate outlet). Fire is my paint brush and smoke is my ink, but this suggests that I have control over where the marks will be made, and I don’t. I can use recycled metal wires and various combustible materials to try and influence the smoke marks, but ultimately is it up to the weather and atmospheric pressures that day as to how fast my smoke kiln burns, what direction the flame takes and what marks are left. 
My love for clay begins when I went to a pottery evening class at a local school whilst still working and living in England. I was looking for a hobby and something to do with my hands. I had always loved handmade things, but the main drive was because I didn’t have any outlet for my creativity during the day. I was inspired by the teacher on this night class, but also by the clay process. At this stage I had no formal art training, so I was fortunate enough to be able to go part-time as the company I was working for was reducing head count. This allowed me to follow an access to higher education course two days a week at the local college. Although on this course you try every imaginable creative process, my love for clay had not changed. Amazingly just as I was finishing my access course, the company I was working for made me redundant, which was brilliant! I don’t think I would have had the confidence to take on a full time degree and move to another country if the lure of a regular pay slip had been there. 
Unique Smoke Fired Porcelain Vessel by NicolePortlock
I don’t do any other craft, but I do make some of my own decorating tools out of recycled materials. 
My shop name is my maiden name, and I’m often asked why I haven’t changed it to my married name. There isn’t any feminist agenda, only the fact that my partner and I had bought that domain name and set up my website before we decided to get married. 
My favourite pieces out of my shop are the black ball topped vessels, but I have found that the more archaeological looking pieces are selling at the moment. 
I only sell through Etsy currently, as I only have a few pieces left in this range. I am working on a new range and I plan to have a few pieces in some of the local galleries as well. But Etsy will be my main point of sale as I like the customer interaction. 
I don’t blog at all, mainly as I try and spend as much time as I can in the studio, and I prefer to keep interested people updated using Twitter @NicolePortlock and Facebook. Facebook/nicoleportlockceramics
Isn't her work amazing? Please visit her shop for more beautiful ceramic pieces:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Treasures: With Jewelry, Often You Get What You Pay For

In an article from more inexpensive jewelry has been found on store shelves containing high levels of lead, mercury and cadmium. These items are marketed at children/teens/young adults and are sold in stores such as H&M, Claire's and Forever21, just to name a few (here's the link to the article: ). While I would never recommend anyone wearing jewelry with these metals, growing children/teens are at particular risk of problems from these metals as they are still growing, their bodies absorbing many more toxins than adults normally would.

In this case, you really do get what you pay for. Cheap jewelry is going to be made with toxic metals, inferior connections, and little or no quality control. The prices of silver, gold, copper and platinum are at near record highs, and many large corporations are willing to sacrifice your health to make profits. The article notes that even items labelled as "Lead Free" still often had lead, and, in some cases, were ENTIRELY made of lead. Disgusting!

Here's just a snippet of what these metals can do, taken from the article on DailyMail:


  • The impact of even the smallest traces of lead on brain development in children includes irreversible learning and developmental problems leading to to lower IQ scores, delayed learning and shorter attention spans
  • The EPA has listed lead as a probable human carcinogen
  • Cadmium is classified as a known human carcinogen, associated with lung and prostate cancer
  • Cadmium exposure is associated in animal studies with developmental effects, including possible decreases in birth weight, delayed sensory-motor development, hormonal effects, and altered behavior 
  • Exposure to cadmium can result in bone loss and increased blood pressure
  • Acute toxicity from ingestion of high levels of cadmium can result in abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and death
  • Acute toxicity from inhalation of high levels of cadmium can result in symptoms similar to metal fume fever and severe gastroenteritis from high levels of cadmium ingestion 
  • Laboratory studies indicate that Cr (VI) may cause birth defects, and reproductive problems particularly in males
  • Higher levels of exposure have caused asthma attacks and nasal irritation in people
  • All forms of mercury can affect the kidneys
  • Organic, inorganic, and metallic mercury are toxic to the nervous system, each affecting different regions of the brain
  • Young children are more sensitive to mercury and may be exposed to mercury via the mother’s body to the fetus or through breast milk 
  • Inorganic arsenic is a known human carcinogen
  • There is strong evidence that it is linked to lung, skin, and bladder cancer
  • Inorganic arsenic may also cause skin irritation, skin color changes, blood disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and hormone disruption 
  • Preliminary data suggest that inorganic arsenic may interfere with normal fetal development and cause deficits in brain development and intelligence
  • Preliminary studies have correlated type 2 diabetes with low-level arsenic consumption, implying that drinking low levels of arsenic may lead to type 2 diabetes

THIS is exactly why I started making my own jewelry, so many years ago: I was getting rashes, my skin was turning green where the cheap jewelry touched me, and I knew, deep down, that something wasn't right with jewelry that could look so pretty, but be so inexpensive, lose their finishes quickly, and break so easily.

Camelia Bracelet, Now Available in My Shop on Etsy
While I use Swarovski crystal pearls and crystals, that do contain some lead (it IS leaded crystal, after all!), I am happy to use other alternatives when asked. I also recommend that children do not wear jewelry unattended, as they tend to put things in their mouths, which can lead to them being exposed to unsafe metals. I also recommend that parents talk to their children and teens about the dangers of chemicals leaching into their bodies from cheap jewelry, especially when put in their mouths. I shudder at the recollections of my childhood and teenage years, when I would put jewelry in my mouth. I wish I'd known then what damage I could have been doing!

For use in my handcrafted jewelry, I only purchase gemstones that are non-irradiated and try to give the exact gemstone name when I list a piece for sale. I only buy from reputable gemstone sellers, and I am happy to tell people where the gemstones came from, when I get that information myself.

When I use metals, I mainly use sterling silver, bare copper, and 14karat gold filled wire (I will be doing an article on what gold-filled is, versus gold plated, stay tuned for that). I occasionally use red brass, but I ALWAYS state what is in my pieces, so that if you have metal sensitivities, you will know which pieces to stay away from. I am always happy to make pieces in another metal to suit your tastes and allergies, all you have to do is ask. I get my materials from honest suppliers who also state what is in the materials I purchase, and I am happy to always answer questions regarding my pieces to the best of my knowledge and ability.

My pieces cost more, yes, but they are made with much higher quality materials than the cheap pieces you can get in almost every store out there. My pieces are high quality, and I take pride in making them as strong and as durable as possible, so that when you invest in one of my pieces, you can buy with confidence, knowing that it will last a lifetime with proper care and use.

What do you think of this article on Daily Mail? Are you surprised that cheap jewelry has toxic ingredients?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Feature: Banana Orange Apple

Blue Patchwork Twirly Sunfrock by BananaOrangeApple
This week's Friday Feature is Hannah of BananaOrangeApple on Etsy. She's from Canberra, Australia and makes the most playful, cute clothing you could ever imagine. Read on for more...
My name is Hannah and my shop is called BananaOrangeApple. It is I sew sweet little dresses from recycled fabrics. I love taking something no-one else wants - an old pillowcase or some dressmaking scraps - and making something new that will bring joy.
Mum taught me to sew many years ago, and gave me a sewing machine for my wedding present. I kinda went into overdrive ten years ago when my daughter was born. 
As a high school teacher I sew as a way to relax after a busy day at school. But the things I love to sew don't fit on my darling daughter anymore, so I opened the shop to share them with the world.

Pastel Patchwork Twirly Dress by BananaOrangeApple
I love to do patchwork, and sold a beautiful patchwork quilt I named "Sawpit Creek" (you can see it here I am an "old school" quilter in that I like to reuse material rather than cutting up brand new stuff. I think of it as a way to make old fabric last a bit longer. I was also hopelessly addicted to cross stitch for years. 
They're not bestselling just yet, but I love the two patchwork twirly dresses I have made. So many different fabrics, each with its own story, and they look sooooo pretty. All 100% repurposed

Say Hello to Hannah from BananaOrangeApple
Currently, My only shop is on Etsy:
I try to blog. My blog is Also, you can find me on facebook: and twitter too @banoranapple
Most of my fabrics come from the charity shops round here, so my products do support their good works. 
What a great story of a great woman and a great shop. Thank you Hannah! Please visit her shop for more adorable fabric goods here: They'd make great gifts for any occasion.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday's Fashion: A Little Dose of Color!

A great Casual Friday or Weekend Look is easier than you think!
Hello again everyone, I hope you're doing well after our Daylight Savings change yesterday. Today I have a great, easy way to update your Casual Friday or Weekend Look with a few of this spring's fashion trends.

A few weeks ago I showed you a great outfit of patterned browns: but today is all about COLOR!

Bright colors are very in (and SO refreshing after a winter of white, grey and brown!), and really easy to do if you know how. I know brightly colored, pencil-thin jeans are really in style, but I'm going to be honest - I have normal curves, these kinds of jeans don't really look all that great on my curves. If I were a super-skinny size 00, and looked like the models in all the adverts, it might be a different story, but that is life, and I'm working with what I have :)

So, to get us a nice pop of those super-stylish colors everyone is talking about, why not go with a poppy red jacket? It'll brighten up your grey, rainy mornings, that's for sure! Red is a nice warm, happy color, and this great cropped pea coat from is fantastic. It is bright, but still stylish and is a great shape for almost any body type. For a casual Friday, put on a nice white button down shirt underneath and you're ready to roll. For weekends, try a white or black t-shirt. Good to go!

For a casual Friday look, it is usually advisable to go with a dark jean, which is infinitely more flattering to our rear regions, so I found a fantastic pair of "Kimmie" 7 For All Mankind Jeans from that are great for those of us with curves. They are a mid-waist, with a dark wash and nicely positioned pockets to flatter our bottoms. A slight flare helps to elongate our legs, which is always nice!

For your feet, why not try a sexy black flat? These "Lula" black patent flats from are a bit of a splurge, but they'll last for years, and keep your feet feeling great. For a little extra oomph, try a black court heel. It'll lengthen your legs and give your bum a little lift, which is always nice too :)

For accessories, stacked bracelets are very in style, so how about this great set of 5 adjustable bracelets? This "Summer Seduction Set of 5 Bracelets" in my shop on Etsy, found here: is great no matter what your wrist size, and because there are 5 different bracelets, you can wear all of them, or just a few, depending on your mood. This necklace is also great - the "Boudicca Coins Celtic Spiral Necklace" is right on trend with mixes metals and wire work. Find it here: It is a great mid-length so that it can easily be worn over a collared shirt, but isn't too big and  busy so it still looks great for work.

What do you think? Would you wear this? What would you change?

Coming up this week: A new bracelet, Arwen's staying healthy, a great feature on a children's clothing artist and your weekend dose of Squee. Keep checking back for more great posts!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Feature: Belle Cosette

Clara Bow Bracelet by BelleCosette
Today's Friday Feature post is all about gorgeous vintage, upcycled & elegant jewelry by BelleCosette from Etsy. Read more to learn about this great artist and her creations...

Hello! My name is Scharlyn O'Connor, my Etsy shop is: BelleCosette, I make mainly jewelry, with an emphasis on upcycling & repurposing. I also love vintage ephemera, and recently made a quirkly Valentine's banner from one of my favorite pieces. 
Initially, I had a retail store in a small tourist town that was hit hard by the economy, and I started making jewelry to keep myself busy during slow times and as a way to add to the store inventory. I eventually closed the shop and kept my new creative love going by opening an Etsy shop. 
Alice in Wonderland Cuff by BelleCosette
I'm a serious Pinterest addict, and I'm open to creating anything from gifts to home decor items. I've started posting some of these as tutorials on my blog. I also love making embellished greeting cards from an amazing collection of family photographs I have...Organizing my photographs is the big project I hope to get done this spring.  
 I actually started a blog around the same time I opened my Etsy store, and I created the name as my ‘alter ego’, to take the edge off of putting it all out there. I have a page on the blog with a picture of me dressed up as a little girl, and as you can see I was obviously destined for a life in the style and design world. 
I've really only actively started working on my Etsy shop for about two months, so I can't say that I have a best selling item yet. My favorite item is the 'Return to Paris' Upcycled Cuff Bracelet, I made a second one for myself and wear it all the time! I've made several versions of these cuff bracelets. At my day job we ship large quantities of merchandise every day, and I started making cuff bracelets from the core of the packing tape rolls. The possibilities are endless!
Vintage Style Sparrow Bracelet by BelleCosette
Currently I sell only on Etsy, but I do get the occasional request from friends. I recently had a friend bring me a big bag of old jewelry from her mom's jewelry box and I created some matching bracelets from the old pieces for gifts for her to give to her nieces.
Do I blog? Yes, it's a lot of work, but I learn something new every day, and I'm really enjoying exploring the world of blogging. There is an endless number of amazing people out there, and the amount of inspiration is overwhelming sometimes! I have a big spreadsheet of ideas for the blog as well as my Etsy shop and I try to do something to improve them every day, along with creating, listing and posting! Um, and that's of course after family, farm, full time work, friends, you know, life! I try to incorporate a little bit of all parts of my life in my blog.
I'm on Facebook: Pinterest: 
Thank you for this opportunity! I have an amazing and challenging life (don't we all?), and I feel so blessed to have such a fullfilling creative outlet. Sales are so rewarding, but only second to being able to do what I love.
Isn't she amazing? Please visit her shop and see more of her romantic jewelry today:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sick Day...

Hey everyone, I'm sorry I missed last week's Wednesday and Thursday posts. I've caught a nasty cold (thank you hubby!) and I'm having to spend some time without technology as I get better. Please forgive me if I miss a couple of posts this week... When I'm feeling better I'm going to have to spend a day just answering emails!
Thanks for your patience, at the very least, please check out this Friday's Featured artist - you won't be disappointed!
See you soon (I hope!), Cold, cold, go away!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Features: Memorable Imagery

Army Boots and Baby's Black Shoes by MemorableImagery
This Friday Feature is full of great photography from Memorable Imagery on Etsy. Read on to learn more about this great artist...
Hello, my shop is Memorable Imagery - and I create Digital Photography. 
My passion for photography dates back to my early childhood with a strong admiration for my family's photo's and the historical value they hold in my heart. Over the years I developed an interest for creating my own photography and it has led me to further schooling and ultimately Etsy.
Occasionally I create hand made items as gifts or for the holidays, but no other art seems to interest me as much as Photography. 
I chose Memorable Imagery as my shop name because it explains exactly what I want my photo's to portray.
Soft Pink Shadow Heart by MemorableImagery
My most popular photograph is "In a Soldier's Footsteps". A little over a year ago it was on exhibit at the Bakersfield Art Gallery "the Foundry" as part of the Wounded Heroes Fund. The personal nature of this photograph touches the hearts of so many who can relate and for those who support the sacrifices the military and their loved ones make.
I sell my work on Etsy here: and through word of mouth.
My blog consists of both my Photography and Vintage shop. I write about new items, treasuries, features, recipes, and anything else I find interesting enough to share with others. You can see it here at: I'm not on any other social networks at this time.
Loving Leaf by Memorable Imagery
I'd like to thank you, Meghann, for the opportunity to be featured in your blog. I love being a Photographer and hope that others will enjoy my art as much as I enjoy creating it. 
As for charity, I have offered assistance in a range of areas, from helping the homeless to organizations such as the Salvation Army. I've been blessed in many ways and enjoy sharing such with others.
Such a great artist, and a wonderful person to match! Thank you for reading about Memorable Imagery, and be sure to see their amazing shop here:

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This is now a copy of my main blog, Little Studio Photography and Jewellery If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will gladly try to answer it :)