Monday, September 17, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Line ACTIVE!

Good morning Campers!

I am so pleased, happy, and extremely excited to announce that the Breast Cancer Awareness Line is now ACTIVE! That means all the pins you got a sneak peak of last week are now available for purchase. And remember, a portion of that purchase will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, so you can look cute, show support AND give back all for under $5-yes!

For those Campers a bit late to the party-or who just adored certain pins-here’s a recap of the pins (complete with links to the store, to make shopping that much easier!):

Mom Awareness PinHope Awareness PinThe pins which started it all, “Hope Awareness Pin” and “Mom Awareness Pin.” I created them as a way to honor D’s aunt JoAnn, who just won her battle against breast cancer last winter! They had such a great impact on so many people, they inspired the entire line!
Star of David Awareness PinCross Awareness Pin
The “Cross Awareness Pin” and “Star of David Awareness Pin” I made for those who lean on their religion to help them through difficult times. It doesn’t matter which religion you practice or culture you are part of, Breast Cancer can strike anyone at any time!

I made the “Faith Awareness Pin” and the “Fairy Awareness Pin” in honor of my late Uncle David who lost his battle with lung cancer years ago. What helped him (and myself) through his battle was his intense faith in what he called the “Great Spirit of the Land.” I still feel his presence when I visit the Pacific Northwest and a warm breeze floats by unexpectedly. He would have loved the fairy pin-he always had a soft sport for cute things!

The Simple Pins with a clear, simple message in mind-Keep Battling! Many days, battlers wish they could take a day off from treatments and doctor appointments, but they can’t because cancer never takes a personal day. “Simple Awareness Pin” features two silver and one pink rose under a rhinestoned awareness ribbon, while “Butterfly and Pearls Awareness Pin” shows a crystal butterfly and multicolored pearled beads. Both simply beautiful!

Brand new for the line activation, I present “Buttons Awareness Pin” and “Candy Corn Awareness Pin.” Natural wood finish buttons give a cool, crafty vibe to the pin. And with the Candy Corn pin, you can show your love of Halloween and support the fight against Breast Cancer, all in one cute pin!

Fan Favorites: Little Helper Awareness Pins! “Little Helper Bear Awareness Pin” features a happy teddy bear with pink roses and a dangling pink rhinestoned ribbon charm. “Little Helper Mouse Awareness Pin” also has a rhinestoned ribbon charm, and a shy little mouse peeking out from behind a pink rose. Both little guys want to tag along to errands, doctor appointments and treatments! I created them in honor of JoAnn’s four kids, because every battler needs, and deserves, support and help!

Awareness Pins are a great way to show your support of the fight in general, or to honor those in your life battling every day! You can wear them on your fall jacket, fashion hat, bag, seat belts, dog leash…anywhere you can imagine!! New items will continue to be added to this line, so keep an eye out!

Please remember, I am more than willing-ecstatic even!-to create special orders. If the pin you love is sold out, or you want a special pin or wreath to honor those in your life (or just yourself!) simply email me at:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Breast Cancer: Workaholic

Today is one of those days where I simply do not want to do anything! Well, that's not strictly true-I'd be willing to curl up with a good book or snuggle down with Gracie for a nap. Alas, there is always work to be done, people to see, gyms to avoid, etcetera etcetera.

I do not have the motivation cancer does. I would like nothing more than to bunk my responsibilities and commit the day to Anna Karenina. (That's right, bunk!) But cancer never takes a day off. Its like that guy in your office who wins the Perfect Attendance Award year after year-and seems happy about it! In fact, if cancer joined, its "Interests" section would only say 'work.'

Think about this made me realize exactly what it means when they say the fight against cancer never sleeps. I always pictured some Biochemical Army battling cancer in their camo lab coats, complete with chemical grenades, petrie dish parachutes and bunson burner bombs. And while this is sort of true, (yay scientists!), the fight is more personal for millions of people.

Everyday people fight the everyday fight. I am sure cancer battlers have many days where they simply do NOT want to keep fighting. Days they feel they cannot face another appointment or more therapy. Days they want to chuck it all, go back to bed and give up. But they can't, because cancer won't.

So I will complete my daily responsibilities, and I will even go to the gym. because there are millions of people going through tougher times than I can imagine. And they will soldier on. They may complain, but they have a right to-I do not. So here's a simple message to all of you soldiers, you Cancer Battlers-keep fighting!! For this simple message, I present the Simple Awareness Pin and the Butterfly & Pearls Awareness Pin. The design is simple, but the message is deep.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Uncle David

Today’s post is very difficult for me to write, yet I think it is very pertinent to the topic of the week (Breast Cancer Awareness, if you haven’t been paying attention!)

When I was still in middle school, my mother married my step father. Not too terribly long after, his brother, Uncle David, came to live with us because he was “having problems.”

Uncle David was a depressive who liked to stop taking his medication when he was feeling better, which would cause him to slip back into terrible pits of depression that lasted for months. While in these pits, he would sit at the table, muttering to himself, chain smoking.

He wasn’t always a depressive. When he was feeling good, he would play his guitars and sing old rock n’ roll songs. In fact, as teenagers, he and my stepdad formed a band that was mildly popular in Nowheresville, WA in their day. Uncle David loved gardening; he would completely landscape the yard only to rip it up and to do something else. He was always watching either John Wayne or the Three Stooges, chuckling to himself. He was also fond of picking up our shitzu and carrying her for walks around the neighborhood, since she didn’t like to walk herself. (It seems the bratty gene is prevalent in my family’s dogs…)

His depression began when his son died in a tragic accidental suicide at the age of 13. Understandably, that is something which one never truly recovers. But as time went on, he tried, day by day. After a while, he had more good days than bad ones, more music and less muttering.

My favorite memory with Uncle David was when a traveling opera group came to our town, playing Carmen. My music teacher hooked me up with tickets. I was so excited; I love opera but had never seen one live! The four of us got dressed up, went out to dinner and then headed to the local high school for the show. The whole time my Uncle David kept nudging me, sticking his nose comically in the air, saying “Marella, we’ve made it now, we’re off to the OP-era!” It made me giggle all night.

Eventually, Uncle David was doing fantastically-he had held the same job for over a year, bought a little red Ford Ranger and a small house. But he had never stopped chain smoking. My step dad tried to talk him out of cigarettes, but Uncle David joked that he could never quit his “cancer sticks.” As you can figure, he contracted lung cancer. A bad, but short, bout with pneumonia, and he was gone.

Uncle David was part Native American, on his mother’s side, and held a lot of belief in what he called “the Great Spirit of the Land.” He told me he believed that when a person dies they join their ancestors and become one with nature. It was not until years later, upon talking to my mother, that I realized Uncle David did not fight his cancer. He not only let it happen, he actively invited it with his years of chain smoking. When I asked her why, she replied that he had never been truly happy since his son had died, and that he wanted to be with him again.

I know he did not die of breast cancer, but I want to take today to remind everyone that all cancers are they same. And when they claim someone you love, the pain is the same for all those left behind. Even more, though, I want to highlight an important fact: not all cancers are physical-some are of the soul. Just like malignant cells, cancer of the soul can eat away at a person for years until it is no longer strong enough to fight it.

What helped me deal with Uncle David’s death was the same thing that helped him through the darkest parts of his life: his faith. His faith was practically palpable; he did not believe, he knew. He was so sure, it made me sure. The less believing of his family placed a tombstone for him in the ‘family cemetery,’ but I have never been to visit it-that’s not what he wanted. He said, “you can place a stone if you like, but that’s not where I’ll be.” I like to believe that his spirit soars over the Pacific Northwest; whenever a Chinook wind blows up the gorge, in my heart, that’s my Uncle David.

In honor of my Uncle David and his strong faith, I present this breast cancer awareness pin with the word “faith.” Faith in whatever you believe, you simply must have it! I also present for featuration the Fairie Awareness pin, simply because he would have liked it!

I thank you for allowing me to tell the cancer story that touched my life most, and forgiving that it is a bit off this week’s topic. It simply felt right to honor my Uncle David during this week. Thank you again. Now go hug your family members!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breast Cancer Does Not Care!

One thing can be said about all types of cancer-it is very fair and nondiscriminatory. Breast cancer is no different. It doesn’t care if you are black or white, it does not care if its day or night. It does not care if you are poor, it does not care if you are rich. It doesn’t care if you are kind or if you are a complete-well, you get the idea.

It does not care because we are all the same. That’s an amazing thought-no matter where you grew up, what foods you ate and culture you’re a part of, inside we are all share the same biological make up. Cancer can strike any of us equally, and then we will be going through the same struggles as every other cancer battler. The good news is at MarellaDesigns, I don’t care either! Of course, I have my personal belief system. But a large part of that system is respecting other’s systems as well. You can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Agnostic, Atheistic, whathaveyou-I love you!! And I want to make you smile with my work.
Never is this more true than this week, while I am focusing on breast cancer. Every battler needs support, and it does not matter where this support comes from. A lot of people turn to their religions, so I wanted to create some pins especially for them. One features the Star of David, while the other a wooden cross. But my favorite part is they each have one small, white rose to symbolize hope. Because, you see, it doesn’t matter where you get your hope from, but that you have it! Never give up hope!

These pins will launch on Monday, September 17th! Please remember, I am always willing to create special orders, especially for my readers! You all can email me any time at

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Inspiration

I have been incredibly lucky in my life-I have a fantastic family, D is probably the best bf ever (in my opinion, anyways!), Gracie as my ever present helper, and my team won the Super Bowel last year.

There is an old cliche that says when you marry someone, you marry their entire family. The same is true for dating, D’s family has become a part of my family. So when we learned that his aunt, JoAnn, had breast cancer in the spring of 2011, it scared me.

JoAnn is part of the branch of the family that lives in Maine, dubbed the “Maine Cousins” by D (He’s very creative like that!). She has four great kids, a smile that lights up a room and an infectious laugh! While I do not know the full, inside story and I do not wish to post all of her personals here, I would like to share her journey from my point of view.

In the spring of 2011, JoAnn was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her youngest daughter, B, was planning a wedding for the following spring and JoAnn insisted the plans continue as the doctors stated she would be well by Christmas. Her older sister had fought and defeated the same disease in the 1990s, so everyone had hope. It was a long, hard road ahead of her that she may not have completed on her own.

JoAnn and all her kids visited us in Brooklyn last February. (I say ‘kids’ but some of the cousins are older than me! Think somewhere between 22-32.) She was sporting a pixie cut-due to chemo treatments-that looked adorable on her. At dinner, we got to talking about the last year, and she told me how instrumental her children were, each with a role they played. One was the goofy kid, who’d always make her smile. One always had the hopeful outlook. One was the ‘shoulder,’ who’d always listen to her problems. And of course, one was the task sergeant who made JoAnn go to her treatments when she REALLY did not want to. Beyond that was the mother’s motivation-she wanted to watch her kids continue to grow and have kids of their own-and B’s wedding was right around the corner!

JoAnn’s doctors were right-she was in remission by Christmas! She got to dance at B’s wedding, with all of her kids. She told me through tears how she takes these little moments, when everyone is together and happy, and stores them in her heart. When times get tough or she does not feel good, she pulls them out and they make her happy. (She’s going to have many more happy moments in 2013-B is expecting a baby, the first grandbaby for JoAnn and her husband!)

Unfortunately, right before B’s wedding, we learned that JoAnn’s younger sister now must face breast cancer herself. We are all praying for this lovely woman, and sending her all the love and support we can-hopefully, she will have the same courage, tenacity and luck her elder sisters had.

JoAnn’s struggle and bright spirit were the inspiration for my first two Breast Cancer

Awareness pins, and continue to be the inspiration for the entire line and launch. What I really learned from her was how important supporters are in a struggle for life and death. Sometimes, when someone we love is in such a scary situation, we tend to pull away from them for whatever reason: we don’t want to see a parent helpless and sick, we don’t want to get hurt too badly if they die, we just don’t know what to say, what have you. Yes, JoAnn could have given up because it was hard, but her family would not let her. Yes, she could have succumbed, but look at what (and who) she would have missed!

As a sort of tribute to JoAnn’s kids, the Maine Cousins, today’s pins are ‘little helper’ pins, who are there to give just another small push of support! They are full of love and hope, and will be there every step of the way!
Who is your inspiration to keep fighting? Or who will you not let give up?

Please remember that I am more than willing to create special orders, so your fighter can have the perfect little helper with them always! You can email me at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Line Announcement!

Hello Crafters!
Last week, I debuted two Breast Cancer Awareness Pins:
For my first pin, “Hope Awareness Pin,” I wanted to bring even a small smile to those going through the arduous ordeal of breast cancer, to offer something that says “yea, it sucks, but I will get through it!” With the “Mom Awareness Pin,” I wanted to give someone whose mother is going through the battle, or lost their fight, and they want a sweet, simple way to remember and honor her.

I never imagined the response these two little pins would generate. While they are both still available in my shop (as of September 10), it made me realize-breast cancer is a huge deal in the world, and many people could use a little extra strength, or a reminder of hope in their everyday life. So I made a decision-and now I make an announcement-I am going to present a Breast Cancer Awareness line of pins, and a portion of each sale will go to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

This line will launch in my Storenvy store on Monday, September 17th, 2012. But you don’t have to wait until then to see the sweet designs I have created. Everyday I will be offering sneak peaks on my blog and my Facebook page. Additionally, I will be sharing the stories of the strong people in my life who have faced cancer, and I welcome you to share yours. Cancer is something that doesn’t care if you’re a democrat or republican, rich or poor, black, white, Asian, man, woman-it just does not care! We need to come together to find a cure and offer support for those fighting everyday. Please spread the word and join me!!

Remember, I also take special orders on pins, small wreaths (approx 8″ in diameter) and larger wreaths (10″ in diameter) If there is someone special you’d like to honor in a unique way, just email me and I will do my best to make it happen! Please email me at

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Little Helper

It has come to my attention that many women my age, and in my life position, are mothers. Most of my friends, and several family members, have little versions of themselves toddling around, getting everything sticky, and being generally adorable.

Well, I’m not to that point yet (Mom!). But just because I don’t have a pint sized pipsqueak of my own, does not mean I’m completely void of the mothering stuff. You see, I am a proud Puppy Mommy!

Gracie (she doesn't like being photographed!)Four years ago last July, my mother called me to visit, saying she had an early birthday present. I should have been skeptical seeings how my birthday is in October-and I’m relatively sure she knows that-but I have always had an affinity for presents. So I drove home and was instantly ushered into the back yard where a tiny little brown thing was hopping around.

“What is that? You have giant bouncing rats!” I exclaimed.

“Happy Birthday!” My mother said.

I still don’t know why she decided I needed a dog, but that was our beginning. That night, I made a little doggy bed with pillows and blankets galore, turned off the light, got in bed and felt a tiny little wet nose nudging me. ‘Oh no you don’t!’ I thought, putting her back in her own bed. Not two seconds after I was back in bed, there she was snuggled close. And I was hooked. Whether I needed or wanted a dog before that day, I certainly had one then! (And not one night has gone by without her in the bed-D really had to get used to that!)

It took a week to name her. I am a full believer that dogs will let you know what their names are-and she seemed to like the GRR sound. We went through Lady Gertrude, Ginger, and just Grr itself until I hit Gracie. Her little ears perked up and seemed to say, “hey! That’s my name! I’m Gracie!!”

We’ve been together ever since. She’s helped me get through college and grad school. She’s helped mend broken hearts and gotten me through the loss of loved ones. She’s dances in the kitchen with me while I make dinner. She watches movies with me. She’s moved across the country with me. And she helps with MarellaDesigns.

When I pull out my crafting supplies, she hops up in the recliner-a girl’s gotta be comfortable, ya know!-and watches me create. I often ask her opinion, and she’s always supportive, if a bit snobbish. I can’t tell you how many pictures of wreaths I have with her hogging into the picture (little diva!). Her favorite, though, is when I blog or work on my online store because she can snuggle in my lap with the laptop over her, keeping her warm. She wanted a post to introduce herself-she felt she deserved some credit for all of her hard work!

She never fails to make me smile, and keep pushing on day after day. So much unlimited love in a 10lbs bundle! Plus, she’s a killer! Honest, if you lay down, she will lick you to death!! Life could be worse :-)

cough She asks you go check out all of her hard work in the store. I told her it was improper to blatantly ask like that, but she said you wouldn’t mind!

Tell me about your pets! I adore pet stories!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Organization Level: 1

Much to D’s chagrin, I have always been a bit behind the times. I don’t have an iPhone, I play video games on my PlayStation2, and I refuse to get a Kindle. (Yes, I know they are more convenient and  blah blah, but you’ll never convince me to give up the smell of the ink and the feel of the pages! Plus I’ve always dreamt of building my own library ala Beauty and the Beast…*sigh* someday!)

So it was kicking and screaming that D forced me to upgrade my craft organization. I had a system-boxes. Lots and lots of old, falling apart cardboard boxes that swallowed up my supplies and were a pain in the @ss to move. But it was functional enough.

Then Target had a back-to-college sale, featuring all sorts of drawers, cubbies, bags, shelves, pillows, blankets, movies, 60″ TVs, Xboxes, ATV’s, etc etc. You know, the typical essentials for all American college students. On the front page of the circular, down in the right hand corner, was a picture of a rolling 3-drawer organizer on sale for $10. I had to have it-according to D.

“Nah, I got my boxes! They work,” I said.

“…” he replied.

“They work enough…” I countered.

“We’re going.”

So with that, we headed to Target where we proceeded to intellectually argue how many were required. I opened with,“oh, probably just one. I don’t have that much stuff. Won’t even fill it!”

“You’ll need at least two, maybe three. You have stuff everywhere,” was his rebuttal.

“Not EVERYwhere…just, you know, the corner of the apartment!”

“Marella, work with me!”

“Well…do you think they’d let us purchase one and a half?”

“…? What?”

So we settled on two; 50% more than I thought I needed, 33% less than D voted for. It was less a compromise and more a thats-all-Target-has-left-in-stock situation, but it seemed fair at the time.

So we trucked them home and I set to work reorganizing all of my supplies. A drawer for Christmas stuff, another for fall things, then beads and charms and whatnot…oh, that’s the first one filled. Ok, well on to number two! A drawer for essential supplies, and one for birds and bells and buttons, and one for small flowers and another for…uh-oh.

My two new organizers!Yes, he was right, I have a LOT of supplies. I still have bags of large flowers and the wreaths themselves are still in a cardboard box. But the bulk of the supplies are organized!And what’s more, I LOVE them! Its so nice to have all of my supplies right there, easy to see and access whenever I wish. And they roll!! Don’t feel like crafting in the living room? Okidoki, roll into the bedroom! No more lugging heavy boxes back and forth. Lately I’ve simply been rolling them around the apartment for no reason, just because I can!

Someday, I hope, I will have an entire room-or at least a large corner-where I can spread out my supplies. Tons of shelves and drawers and cubbies to put things in, and an entire wall of finished wreaths waiting to be sent to their new homes! And one corner with great light that I can stage for photo shoots. Knowing me, though, I’ll still roll and lug all my supplies into the living room and craft there while D plays his Xbox on his 40″ TV!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Unsellables

Every crafter has one. The product that came out a little wonky. Or took twice as long as any other project. Or practically jumped out of your mind in frantic hours in the middle of the night, fueled by almost unnatural  crafting compulsion.

However they got here, every crafter has that one project they simply cannot let go. Perhaps its not their best work, but for whatever reason, it has been dubbed an Unsellable.

Marella DesignsFor me, it’s my Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs wreath, for its story.

When D (who we met in an earlier post and is, in fact, my Significant Other) was a small child, his mother, like countless other across the world, would make him a birthday cake every year. She would always top it with something he really loved at the time. One year it was Sesame Street characters, another it was dinosaurs. And one year it was Snow White and the Seven dwarfs.

I first saw the pieces in a home video of D when he was a little, maybe four or five. Now, I may be biased, but he was the epitome of adorable as a child-pretty blond hair, bright, excited blue eyes and a smile that could melt your heart! When he saw his birthday cake his happiness was almost tangible and my girly heart went tha-thump, tha-thump! And then, his mother said,

“You know, I still have all those little toys. Wouldn’t they be great in a wreath?”

Light bulb!

We scavenged around boxes of old toys until we found all eight pieces. I cleaned them off, repainted a few worn spots and they looked good as new. Never have I crafted a wreath with such care and patience-every piece had to be placed perfectly! Each supporting element was selected with more thought than I put into my SATs. Not only was I creating a wreath, I felt like I was connecting with D in a way I never could before-I got to touch a part of his childhood.

I have taken this wreath to side walk sales, but its always been hidden in the back. I have never been able to post it online. Every time I go to, something inside of me shouts “No!! Maybe tomorrow, but not yet!” Eventually I looked at it and said, “Nope. This wreath is mine!” Perhaps someday I will sell it, or pass it on to a friend. But for now, it has a place of honor in my home, and I smile every time I see it.

What is your Unsellable? What’s its story?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Inspiration: New York City

Where I come from, the first thing tourists flock to is the Mighty Columbia River. It’s large, its mighty, its historical, its…really really wet.

The second thing people flock to in my hometown is the highway, heading to Seattle or Portland.


Now, I’m all for small towns, especially when its your hometown. Small towns have a kind of charm nothing can replicate. I love the neighborhood barbecues and family-friendly block dance parties. And who doesn’t love running into your sixth grade teacher at the Mexican restaurant-you know, Taco del Familio-where she reminds you that your paper on President Clinton is very over due.

However, life goes on. You meet a guy, you fall in love, you move across the country and start a whole new life amongst millions of strangers who don’t care about overdue middle school papers. They do care, however, about what you wear and if you support the Yankees or Mets.

New York City is full of history, culture and beauty everywhere you look. I could ramble on and on about such structures as Trinity Church, The Chrysler Building, Central Park Zoo, Grand Central and even Time Square-all the famous structures you see in every movie set in the city. (Seriously. Ever notice how every apartment in a movie has a perfect view of the Empire State Building? That building gets around!)

However there’s so much beauty in small ways, too. Places tourists never think to notice. An old fashioned bronze mailbox in a corner of Grand Central. The sea green foam on the Staten Island Ferry. Rows of restored old brownstones on tree lined streets. Or seeing the face of the person you love most in the world as he comes out of his office building at the end of the day.

Ok, enough mushy! Sorry!

What I’ve learned from this city, in terms of my crafting and my art, is to always include the unexpected detail. Find a way to add tiny surprises and bits of charm-like simple peach beads and brown feathers on a sea shell wreath. Or tiny fairy charms amongst fall foliage and  acorns. It could be something as simple as a fun name for your product, such as a wreath of daisies called Daisie Mae!

It is great when a customer looks at your product falls in love and takes it home. Its an even better feeling when they return and say, “You know, that wreath has been hanging in my dining room for six months and I just now noticed that cute little charm on the left hand side! Its so sweet, I fell in love all over again!”
New York is like that. At first, you’re taken up by the major glitz, glam and lights! After a while, though, when the fascination begins to ebb and the romance fades away. But when you take a second glance and see all the tiny bits of charm, you fall in love all over again.

(Ahem and if you’d like to fall in love with a wreath, head over to my store! Lots to choose from, and more coming soon! And they’re all hand made in New York; hang a bit of the Big Apple in your home!)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Product Feature: The Claybourne: Medium Messenger Bag in Fresh Poppies by EchoLand Bags

I am very proud to present to you the first of my featured products! A featured product is an item that I did not make nor do I sell, but is so fabulous I simply must share.

Today’s featured product is this amazingly cute bag by EchoLand Bags!
This sweet bag crosses over the body, which is great added security for New York! I love the light green color because it makes this perfect for spring and summer. But what I adore most are the adorable fresh poppies!

Ever since I was a little girl watching The Wizard of Oz, I have had an odd love of these little flowers. I remember the Wicked Witch of the West cackling that “Poppies! Poppies will put them to sleep,” and wishing a field of pretty poppies would spring up around me. Admittedly, I did not quite understand the whole ‘Forever Sleep’ part of her evil plan-I just thought they were pretty, and that was good enough for me!

This bag takes all I loved from my childhood and fast-forwards it to my grown up tastes, minus the doping side effects! It’s win-win!

You can find this bag over at click!
While you’re there, check out my store too! Everyone loves online shopping!

Inspiration: Nature

I love nature.

I’d love it more if it was screened in with a roof, wall-to-wall carpeting and central heat and air.

Okay, I love to LOOK at nature.

 But that’s all I really need to inspire my designs.

I enjoy the different textures contrasting against each other-the crystal smooth water on the rough sandy beach, the silky leaves against the scratchy tree bark. I appreciate the differences in dimensions-the tiny, delicate baby bird at the base of the sturdy, sky scraping cedars. I am always in awe of its presence. No matter where you are in the world, there is nature-forested mountains, wide open plains and trees that grow in Brooklyn. And I delight from the sheer number lists one can form describing nature!

But what I absolutely love about nature is how it never subscribes to rules. As humans, we set up boundaries and standards, trying to gain control over all that is around us. Yet nature will not be curtailed. How many times has a zebra worn white after Labor Day? And has a seed ever submitted permit forms before taking root? Sure, we try. We weed our gardens, deforest lands, pollute the air, and I’ve even heard of people dying their poodles! But we will never succeed. Nature was here first, and will remain long after we’re gone due to its resilience and giant F-U attitude.

Ok, I hear you-how does this tie in to crafting? The cliche answer is to notice the wonderful dichotomies surrounding us and embrace them in our work. Which is great, and I highly recommend it. But my point of the day is to adopt nature’s F-U attitude, create what you love and have no cares to the contrary! Love black and brown? Who cares if the fashionistas call faux pas? Think dandelions will make kick ass bracelets? Go for it!

Unlike nature, our time on this planet is limited. So we need to love what we craft, and craft what we love, while we still have the time.

What dichotomies do you love? What do you love to craft/do? How does nature inspire you, in any way?

A Few of My Favorite Things

While I do enjoy rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens, wet flowers don’t rank high on my list of favorites. And D is highly allergic to cats, so kittens with or without whiskers are out of the question.
I must be completely honest with you-the following list doesn’t comprise my entire area of interests. I enjoy things outside of crafting such as baseball, movies, classic literature, puppies, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Nevertheless, these ARE some of my favorite things for one of my favorite activities. And since this is my blog, I will tell you why!

1. Birds
Craft birds add an element of realistic nature without the creepy aspect of taxidermy. In my opinion, dead animals are not art. They are food for omnivores. Craft birds are brightly colored, come in different sizes and if you listen really carefully after hitting your head against the freezer door, they sing! It’s like having a tiny feathered friend, right on your wall! Essentially, they make me happy and I like to put happy things in my designs.

2. Bells

Jingle bells. Jangle bells. Liberty bells. Silver bells. School bells. Glockenspiels! The tingly sound of all sorts of bells are like the sweet sound of laughing angels, usually warning of some sort of impending disaster or alerting people of your demands. Tingle sounds, angels, disasters, demands-all wonderful things for life and wreaths!

3. Sea Shells

I must tell you a secret-I do not really enjoy the beach. To be fair, the only beaches I have been to are the Oregon beach (very cold, buggy and sandy) and Coney Island (very cold, buggy and sandy). In all, one could say they are not my favorite places on Earth. But I DO enjoy sea shells-the natural colors and patterns are gorgeous, and playing with natural elements is a fun challenge, all for the low price of $3.99 at my local craft store. So, I can have the beauty of shells and avoid the cold, buggy and sandy mess all together!

4. Holiday Ornaments
Who isn’t tired of the holiday pine wreaths with just pine cones and a big holiday red bow? Holiday ornaments add a festive touch to the holiday wreath, making the holiday so much more fun! Not quite as fun as Christmas or Chanukah or Kwanza. But holiday is very fun in a generic sense, too!
5. Charms
Charms are for more than just bracelets and necklaces. They are tiny, pretty things that enhance the beauty of whatever surrounds them. Which is why women enjoy them-tiny, pretty beauty enhancers rate above flowers and right below expensive champagne. Seeings how I am a woman by conventional definitions, I very much enjoy using them in my wreaths! And perhaps they make me a tiny bit prettier. They’d make you prettier, but I don’t think you could look any better!
When dogs bite and bees sting…well, my wreaths probably won’t help with either of those situations. But they will be beautiful on your walls, and hopefully bring you some happiness and become something you will love!! Get one with a bird, it will sing its love to you for years to come!

(And, you know, if you want to find something you will love, you should check out my store Take a look, adopt a wreath, share the love!)

Inspiration: Desperation

If you’re anything like me, one reason you enjoy crafting so much is because you enjoy shopping so much!
And my goodness, do I love shopping!

I love the seeing, exploring, touching, feeling-but most of all, I love the creativity it inspires! When I see a black and white bedspread, I begin planning how I will add pops of color through accent pillows to make my bedroom into a sanctuary. Or if I happen upon a hat (my personal guilty pleasure!), I immediately formulate the outfits I will create around it. (I also picture the stunning influence I will have upon society in my magnificent hats! Just you wait, I will bring them back ala Katherine Hepburn and be renowned world wide for my forward fashion-sense.)

As you may have guessed, crafting supplies are one of my weak spots. I can’t help it-I love pretty things! And I love taking one pretty thing and combing it with another pretty thing to create something new. Hopefully its something unique and beautiful that will bring joy to people.
So where does the desperation come into play?

Well, it’s not MY desperation I’m talking about. It’s my boyfriend, D. (Yes, we’re doing this. D’s desperation. Alliteration for the win!) You see, I have a lot of craft supplies. A. Lot. And it has spread all over the living room. And the hallway. And parts of the bedroom. The only reason it has yet to seep into the den is that we don’t have one.Every time he catches me perusing supplies online, he eyes the mountain of stuff and says “sweetie, don’t you already have raw materials?”

I can understand D’s desperation. I mean, this is New York and real estate space is at a prime. And a lot of our prime is taken up by craft supplies. So I do what I can to help-by crafting! The more I craft, the more the supplies disappears and the happier D is.

Until I inform him that I have ordered more supplies! I mean, really, how can I craft without supplies? And he can’t expect me to NOT craft, can he?

Tis the Season...?

It’s that time of year again! The thermometer is reaching up to triple digits, A/C’s are on full blast and the pools are flooded with children-yes, it’s time to focus on Christmas Crafts!

Wait, what?

This is one of my favorite crafting idiosyncrasies; in order to have enough stock for the Holiday season, you must work out of season. Given that I must be in the right frame of mind, this requires a bit of “environmental ingenuity” on my part. Lately I find myself running around my apartment singing Christmas Carols at full volume, watching Christmas or winter themed movies and starting my Christmas shopping. (The last one never sticks. I will finish all of my shopping by October, but inevitably am lured into shiny shops come the Holiday Season. On the other hand, I am the best gift-giver I know!)

For me, this is great! I absolutely love Christmas, Santa Claus, snowmen, candy canes and gingerbread men. Well. I love them in July. By the time the calendar catches up with me, I am more than ready to shove candy canes down Santa’s jolly throat while throwing burnt gingerbread men into my snowmen ala ninja stars.

Nevertheless, it is July, and I am in full Christmas mode!  And Halloween. That’s the other odd idiosyncrasy-your Holidays tend to run together. I do not know who’s grand idea it was to shove all the holidays together at the end of the year, but I’ll be you a jar full of buttons he was not a crafter! Just the other day I was trying to decide how best to combine spiders and penguins into a wreath. (Trust me, it just looked silly-there are no spiders at the South Pole!)

Personally, my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. No, not for the food (but, wow, I do love the food!!) I love the idea of dedicating a day to step away from the fast rat race called life and just be thankful for our friends, family and life-and all without any expectations from anyone! No kids screaming for candy, no “oh, what a great pair of socks…really!” or demands of flowers and chocolate. All you gotta do is show up and love the people you’re with-and order a pizza, cause really, it’s Mom’s Thanksgiving, too!

A Few Words on Failure

I would like to say a few words on failure. But before you read my words, I present much better words by a far greater wordsmith than I:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

Well said, Mr Churchill, yet not so easily heeded. The only difference between the leader of a country and a struggling artist is the number of mouths depending on his success. And possibly death to millions. In a way, it is reassuring that failure can reach out from my craft box and wring his icy fingers on every rung of the ladder all the way to the top. At least I know I am not his only target, even if I seem to be one of his better friends!

However, retaining enthusiasm is not as easy as Mr Churchill claims. In fact, if you exam the above statement, you will notice ‘failure’ shows up twice as often as ‘enthusiasm.’ So one could argue that it is twice as easy to succumb to it.

Like everyone, I have had my tastes of failure. In fact, it hasn’t been so much a taste as a full blown meal. My most recent course occurred a few months ago. I submitted to a local art fair my beautifully gorgeous and elegant wreaths (available for your viewing-and, ahem, purchasing, if you like, at Surely, thought I, my neighbors will fall as in love with them as I, they will snatch them up and I will be sold out by noon! So much for lofty thoughts. Countless people stopped by my stall and ‘ooh’ed and ‘ahh’ed over my products. If compliments were dollar bills, I’d own 50 yard line season tickets to the NY Giants.

But not one sale.

I was ready to chuck it all. Every flower petal was cursed, each bead was destined for the dust bin. For weeks I refused to pick up my trusty glue gun, even to shoot away invisible monsters (blessedly they were all on vacation!). I told myself and all who’d listen that my creative “phase” was over, never to return again. Thankfully, my friends and family simply nodded their heads and tucked away my craft supplies. Eventually, of course, I started gingerly poking around and was crafting in full steam before I knew it.

So what brought me back to the creative side? My undying enthusiasm for success? Alas, Mr Churchill, it was not. It was an itch. A compulsion. An inner driving need. You see, creativity and crafting are as much a part of me as my spleen. I can’t help it! I wish I could ascribe to those lofty quotes by great people that say things such as “failure is only failure if you never try again!” or “your want to succeed must outweigh your fear of failure!”* But, in my case at the very least, failure does not matter, for neither does success. I can’t stop creating. I will always be striving for beauty in life, and no matter how often Mr Failure rings my doorbell, that will never stop!

* (While paraphrased from countless admirable people, I must give credit to Bill Cosby, Oscar Wilde, Michael Jordan and Abraham Lincoln, from whom I primarily borrowed.)

Why Wreaths?

The other day, my friend posed this question to me.

“Why do you make wreaths?”

In other words, why not bouquets if I must play with flowers? Why limit myself to boring hanging door decorations only seen by unwanted salesmen and mercenaries? Obviously, I disagree with this assessment.

 Yes a wreath can, and usually is, a cheap round thing hung on a boring door that falls down while you shlepp in groceries. However, I see them as something more.

When I was a little girl, my mother had a painting of a path leading into a garden. Benches with pillows sat under an arch with wisteria flowers hanging down. In the distance was a fountain. I would sit and stare at that painting, wishing I could enter that secret garden. I looked for my own white rabbit that would transport me into that wonderland, for I was sure it was the most wonderful place imaginable. As I grew older, I tried to create that same sense of wonder on my own through drawing and painting. Alas, my talent in this area is gloriously inadequate; if I had wanted to escape into a world of stick-men and paint blobs, I was well on my way!

So I hung up my paintbrushes and pencils. I switched to already made flowers and grapevine wreaths became my frame. Soon flowers alone were not enough-I began incorporating birds, acorns, leaves, butterflies. I then moved to charms, stuffed animals, ornaments, beads-anything! I was addicted! What was I addicted to? I had finally found a way to create a glimpse into another world. My wreaths are not mere decorations-they are art, and each one has a story attached to it. I have created fairies playing in the forest during the fall and butterflies flitting about a lush rose garden.

So I ask you-why does a wreath need to be limited to a door? The truth is, if it’s a great wreath, it doesn’t! They are great INSIDE your home-in the living room, a nursery, even the bathroom! And I challenge you this: rethink everything! Art is anything you find beauty in, so find a way to use it that you will appreciate everyday. So find something you love and put it on your wall (please, no children or pets!)

Mission Statement

Hello, and welcome to my blog!

I have created this blog to discuss inspiration with fellow crafters and artists. Sharing is more than welcome so please comment freely! The only bad thought is a thought not shared.

I believe the art a person creates comes from within them and is a true reflection of who they are. That said, here is my online store, where you can get a visual idea of who I am!

I invite all my fellow artists/crafters/makers/creators/what-have-yous to follow me and share their ideas and their stores!