New! Cave Painting Star Necklace

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Inspired by 4,000 year old cave paintings in Guam, this Sky & Light pendant is an interpretation of the images ancient peoples illustrated on the walls of caves.  Primitive lines and dark, pulsing color depict the skies and what may have cross– the Milk Way, the tails of comets and meteors, or maybe a calendar what marked the passage of time by the stars’ location? All my jewelry is hand painted and no one is the same. Get yours at Sky & Light.

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Night Sky Cave Painting Pendant on 18″ silver chain

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Just an idea for Mother’s Day– give her the stars

My mom (in the green) with one of her many lovely sisters, on our trip to San Francisco.

My mom (in the green) with one of her many lovely sisters, on our trip to San Francisco.

My mom has everything– she’s smart, creative, holds her liquor well, has a great husband, two daughters that love her (but should call more) and a questionable collection of Santa Claus statues. What do you get a woman like that for Mother’s Day? Don’t tell me to make a pack of paper coupons for foot rubs and mowing the lawn (we don’t live in the same state, and I hate giving a coupon to a family member). If I was there in Arkansas, I’d make her dinner, because that crazy woman has a set of dishes for every occasion and I’d like to give her a chance to use them.

Obviously, I can’t say what I’m getting her (Hey Mom! I bet you’re reading this) but I can take suggestions. I’ve already given her one of my favorite gifts, which was made from an idea she gave me.

The hand-painted astronomy pendants I sell at Sky & Light were my mom’s idea. I don’t pass up an opportunity to tell people who’s idea it really was. Not only did she come up with it, she let me have it. She didn’t even make me sign a contract or give her royalties– just wanted me to have fun and be successful.  Thanks Mom!

If you are looking for something new this year that will knock your mother’s fuzzy house socks off, consider a personalized pendant of the stars on your birthday, or on your sibling’s birthday.  Better yet– her birthday.  Without that date, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.

My pendants show the exact stars in the sky from the location of your preferred event (birthday, anniversary) at the time you want. What would she have seen in the sky if the roof of the hospital had been lifted like a jewelry box?  Each comes delicately painted on a vintage optician’s lens with a sprinkle of stardust and backed with a translucent blue sky.  The lenses are made of medical-grade stainless steel and glass, dainty to look at but durable enough to withstand the grabby hands of a toddler.

Each pendant takes about a week to make, so order one now for Mother’s Day delivery!  She’ll never have seen another like it– just like you!  And to sweeten the deal, I’m offering a coupon for 15% off all my merchandise on Sky & Light.  You can find the coupon on the Nerdwallet page.  You may even find something for yourself!

Check out the Nerdwallet Contests page for more great Mother’s Day gift ideas.

Get your mom, wife, friend, girlfriend or daughter one here!


Do you remember your best Valentine’s Day?

What about your first kiss, or the first time you saw the person you fell in love with?  I have a one-of-a-kind gift to recognize the time and place!

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Handpainted on a vintage monocle, my Sky at Night pendants depict the exact stars visible in the sky at the time and place of your choosing.  Past, present, future- the stars are not inconstant.  If you are looking for a Valentine’s Day gift for someone who has everything, or loves something out of the ordinary, you can order a custom painted star pendant on a platinum-plated 18″ chain.  Order by February 7th for V-Day delivery.

Pendants take approximately 4 days to paint and finish.

Also available are zodiac constellation pendants, available for immediate delivery.


Aaaaargh– Taking Photos Makes me Go ARRRRRRGH

I love, love, love making things, which is why I so rarely update.  I’ve decided that I am going to slash “craft blogger” off of my list of What I Ams.  When I think about blogging, I get anxious.  Every once in a while, I will come back over here for something special, but updates for the sake of updates are now out the window.  Go to The Crafty Crow, Hands Occupied or Miko Design for your reading pleasure.  Those ladies are better at it.

Product photography is one of my big AAARRRGHHS.  But if you want to sell online, you not only need pictures but GOOD ones.  In the case of Etsy, you can sell more items if you are espouse the Etsy Aesthetic.  Creamy backgrounds, perfectly clear pictures over tea-soaked notebook pages scrawled with fading French scripts– throw in an Eiffel tower, long white neck, or hell, put a bird on it.  That’s what gets onto the front page.

My items don’t fit into the greater aesthetic– they’re smooshy and bright, downright gauche compared to the most popular items.  My favorite thing on Etsy is the pizza-shaped sleeping bag, but you don’t see that kind of thing very often.

I’m armed with an iPhone 4S, a handmade lightbox, a few clamp lights and whatever props I can find around.   I just started making little fruit bead earrings, which are small enough that a lightbox and lights at 10am in the morning were not necessary.  If you can find a place inside with good, indirect light (if you have trees around your windows it’s golden) you don’t need them.  But that also involves remembering the good times of day to shoot. 🙂

I used blank, white printer paper, color pencils, thread spools and my hands.  A tripod helps, but you can do it without if the light’s right.  That’s my grand photo studio, right there.  I kneel on the carpet.

Make sure your colors are bright and the paper is free of debris.  I kept a stack of it nearby so I could draw on the paper.  Don’t skimp, make sure it’s a clean piece.    Use the props to highlight the item, but don’t let it overpower the scene, like this:

 

The spools are a good idea, but there’s more of them than the earrings. Danger!

Whimsy is an important part of product photography.  People want a story, they want it to be special.  Listing products online is where you English majors get to shine– ham it up in the item description.  But even if you aren’t much of an artist (drawing-wise) a few swipes with a color pencil can add effortless whimsy:

 

At least, I think so.  I sold two pairs just a few hours after listing them!

I used the Preview application on my Mac, lowered the temperature to get the paper more blue-white than yellow, and cropped to accentuate.  Don’t mess with the color saturation or exposure– if you have to, then your light isn’t right.

In summation: get a background, find a good place where the light is natural and get a little silly (but not too silly).


Look up in the sky, what do you see?

Work in progress on light tab

 

So, I was born at a time of day when stars aren’t visible in the sky.  But my mom knows they were there, and came up with the magnificent idea of making star charts into jewelry.  We were discussing my Universe in a Locket piece, and she said, “Wouldn’t it be cool–” and when my mom starts a sentence that way, something good is coming– “if you could use the stars the way they were arranged the day someone was born?”

Thanks mom!

I use the website Your Sky to make the charts, then manipulate them into the proper size and orientation.  I hand paint each star, then cover the back with a wash of blue and a few layers of sealant.  And a little glitter, of course.  I’m currently painting with a series of sewing pins sanded down to the proper size.  I’ve been told there’s a better way (nail art supplies).

I market them as birthday jewelry, but it can commemorate any day.  Sports victories, deaths, first kisses, invention of the internet, all of these things would be possibilities for this piece.

 

 

Optician lenses make a great base for this artwork.  I use +1 or less lenses to prevent magnifying the artwork.  I also like that they are sturdily made, for medical purposes, and have a simple, clean look.   This is not your usual piece of jewelry.

 

Work in progress on my light table.

 

Before blue wash and protective coating.

If you are looking for a special gift for someone you love or a tangible reminder of mistakes made, trot over to the Jumbo Jibbles store and see if it fits you.


Tripping to San Francisco

So you would think that an Arkansas girl living just an hour away from the Big City of San Francisco would find all manner of excuses to get up to the city.  But nooooo, it’s always “too far away” and “I should have fun in San Jose!” and “leave me alone I’m taking a nap” (that’s from my husband).  We really are a lazy bunch here at Jumbo Jibbles, but we got up the gumption to get on a train and visit Fog City last Saturday.  My only to-do was to visit Britex, and once that was done (too rich for my tastes/wallet) we took a bus to the Mission and wandered for HOURS.

Left to right: Me, photobombing hungry dude, Justin, Big Mouth Burger dude

We really had only one agenda: suss out awesome clothing boutiques, especially for handmade dresses or spectacular men’s clothing.  Justin has been loving the Put This On webcast and blog, and wanted to check out a few places mentioned by that particular fashion authority.  This agenda was not adhered to strictly, and I’m afraid I didn’t find the bespoke clothing I was looking for, but Justin found a ridiculous shop selling $1,000 jeans.  I’m not giving up my search, but I’m looking forward to the day I can find a dress made of something other than freezer paper, doesn’t have birds all over it or exposed zippers.

Image from Craftsman and Wolves

Highlights of the trip: Craftsman and Wolves–  we got to this fancy bakery late in the day, so it had the look of high-end boutiques showcasing a single shirt or tie in a large, industrial space.  Only a few croissant and cake slices were left, but we also found a few glass jars of their hand-made fruit jellies (like fancy gum-drops) and store-made granola.  Craftsman and Wolves, to me, sounded like another rich-mans-blue-jeans store, or a nightclub you had to have specific period-garb for.  I’d like to go again earlier in the day when the shelves are stocked.  The jellies were delicious.

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Whisky Study by Telopa at Fabric 8 Gallery in San Francisco

Fabric 8 was a gallery and curiosity shop that I may try to sell at (I hope).  It had neat little t-shirts and hipster novelties, but also a winding gallery that ended in a tidy backyard garden.  Even the bathroom had an installation (koi-filled bathtub, which I WISH I’d taken a picture of).  When we went, they were showcasing a number of artists from classic portraits to surreal and somewhat gross oil paintings.  Their next exhibit opens today, called Tight But Loose.  Check it out if you’re up there!

Image from Gravel and Gold

When I read the name Gravel and Gold, for some reason I knew exactly what the shop would be like– except for the boobie pillows.  Mostly barnwood and stolen rocks in decor, this place had an mix of rustic jewelry, printed pillows and books.  The clothing was mostly silkscreened in SF (not just screenprinted tshirts, but actual fabric made into clothing) and was beautiful.  The “boobie” theme was throughout the store, with shirts, pillows and jewelry emblazoned with breasts.  Not in a crude way, just celebratory boobies.  I was tempted by the necklaces, and wish I could find a picture to put here.  Let me tell you, that was a Google image search I cannot unsee.

There was more, oh so much more!  But now it is Saturday morning and I can smell the fake bacon crisping in the pan.  Get off the computer and enjoy yourself today!

 


Update! Two options for Mother’s Day Star Pendant

I just got these beautiful 1.5 inch (4cm) glass monocles in the mail from a lovely supplier on Etsy.  You can now buy the Sky on My Birth pendant painted on this dainty monocle.  The lines etched are faint when the paint is applied.  Order by Wednesday, May 9th to get it in time for Mother’s Day!  There are still a few locket pendants left, also.

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