Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Handwired Birdcage Class Photos

First I want to start by saying I absolutely LOVED teaching a Bella Cosa in Long Beach. Christie Pardini has set up a wonderful class space in the back of her shop and I can't wait to go back and have more workshops there. I had some new and returning students so it was a lot of fun for me. Here are the pictures. I just loved how everyones personality shined through their projects. That's one of the things I try to do in all of my workshops, is make sure that there is room to make everything a reflection of themselves. Here are the pics!

Bella Cosa's craft room, I love the cement floors with paint and remnants of artwork on the floor.

Each station has it's own light!

Class kit, and they got to keep everything including the little vintage lunch tray.

A sink! A must for crafting!


the ladies had a great time digging through the goodies I brought to create with

I had them collect things they liked onto their trays for wiring



Janes, she did a little Halloween theme on hers


Julia made a little crown for hers....so cute!

Robins whimsical cage! I love the pom poms on the bottom!

Me :)

Me and Robin, thanks for coming all the way from Vista!

Tori, this was her first ever craft class and I think we got her hooked!

Kathleen and Julia

Me and Jane, loved her dark style!

Julias sweet cage



I hope everyone had a great time, I did! I will keep you posted about when I will be doing my next class at Bella Cosa can't wait to go back.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

To Swap or not to Swap- that is the question!

    I hosted my first swap ever at Kims Moulin Rouge event. I was so taken with a similar swap the Kims Les Sirenes event I know I just had to copy it! The swap was to get a vintage jewelry box, decorate it, if you want, and fill it will goodies, and or supplies for creating art.
        Now swaps can be quite stressful. Especially when it is one on one. You make something for someone and you have one person to please. Now with that said we all have our own likes, dislikes styles etc. so it can be very scary to see if what you created matches up with your "swapees" expectations.  Sadly it seems there is always a few swaps that don't align right, and that's where you feel the pressure as the hostess. You want everyone to be happy and thrilled with their swap. When someone is disappointed, you feel it as the hostess.
       As the attendee of the swap you don't want to feel like you "didn't get it." I know there was one sweet lady who felt exactly that. She didn't want to give her box up because she felt it was inadequate after seeing all of the other boxes. The second I saw her sort of breakdown my heart just sank... how can I fix this, a swap should make you cry tears of joy, not sorrow??? Just at that moment, Kim rushes up to this sweet lady and gives her a big hug and tell her it was going to be okay. This is a supportive environment and I felt so relieved that Kim saw her and did just the right thing.  And then we saw her box! It was very cute, certainly nothing to be embarrassed about and filled with very nice items.
                Swaps can be amazing and exhilarating, but there is sometimes disappointment that can come from any side of the swap. With that said, I want to share some of my wisdom that I have learned about swaps and hopefully will refer back to this post whenever I go to a swap filled event myself. So here are my tips for swapping! They are brutally honest and this list is MY opinion, it is in no way complete, I am sure a lot of you will have some .02 cents to say too so please feel free to leave comments.

#1- Swaps are not cheap!- Be prepared to spend money. I have spent over $100  on supplies for swaps I have done. They are not free. Even my Bijoux box swap...I pulled a lot of goodies from my own personal stash, but I also bought the box, the paint, ordered vintage papers off the Internet etc. Think about the cost. I did a charm swap and you think "oh a few bucks a charm...well if the charms were $5 x15 - now you are in $75 already and you haven't bought the bracelet, ordered the moo cards, mailed them ect. so THINK before you swap about the cost!
#2- Don't overwhelm yourself. Many of you work full time, have kids, or are running mini (and big) crafting empires. You can't do every swap. I would rather do one or two GREAT swaps, then do 6 or 7 and short change a swap or two because I ran out of time. Especially if you have to make multiples of things.
#3- Ask questions! Ask your hostess questions about your idea and if you think it will work if you are not sure. The hostess usually has a good barometer of what the swap "should" look like. But don't rely too heavily on the hostess to make decisions, use them as a guide.
#4- Personalize- If you are making something for someone else try to personalize it as much as possible to them, but also add a little of your own style in. I can tell you the swaps that are most touching are those that are personal, when the person took some time to know who you are. If the swap is not secret send an email or two (not one everyday!LOL!) with questions you may have for them.  If the swap is secret stalk their blog or FB pages and see who they are, or just ask the hostess to get more info for you.
#5- Make it something you don't want to give away. This is my final and best piece of advice I can give anyone. If you have made something you truly love, it is probably going to be hard for someone not to love it too, and even if it wasn't what they were expecting, you can not mistake heart and soul being put into it.

SO a bad swap item would look like this:
Made from craft room left overs, looks like someone threw it together in two minutes, totally impersonal to you and the person who made it, and will go straight to the recycle bin or get re-purposed

Now a GREAT swap item LOOKS like THIS!!!
This is the box I received from Danielle Muller. Danielle's style is creamy and vintage, hey so is mine!

I am primarily a papercrafter and she had lots of paper ephemera for me

I also love baby blue and saw lots of little baby blues in here

more goodies

supplies! I love the colors she chose for me.

hey whats that? A D stamp..for Danielle and Denise! Hmm how personal!

seam binding, a vintage lovers ribbon!

I also love a little bling- look at this vintage belt buckle!

Danielle's blog is the Vintage Dragonfly, so this is what I am talking about personalizing it, something that makes me think of the person who created it for me.

another special piece. 


it had writing in it from the owner I love that

and this great vintage image.

  So you can see, Danielle used a mix of new and old, she thought about me and my likes, she added her own personal touches, she put some items of great value in there, probably some things she did not want to part with. Make sense now?

The really difficult thing about swaps is you will never really know if someone does not like your creation. No one is that insensitive to call anyone out, nor should they. Gifts should always be accepted with gratitude. So I am putting this out there as my own General Guidelines.  I am not directing this towards anyone person, it is from my own personal experiences and those of the people I have talked to about swaps in general, trust me we have ALL talked about swaps, I am just laying it down!

So if you think this post is about "you" it isn't. I have appreciated every swap I have ever received and display them all proudly in my home. 

For me swaps are one of the most exciting parts of any event. At 41 years old they are the closest I get to that "Christmas Morning" excitement I got as a child.  
I highly recommend participating for that reason and I hope you will too!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Moulin Haze is clearing!

So where are you going again this weekend? It's a question I am often asked as the sweet anticipation of attending one of Kim Caldwells Artistic Affaire events approaches. "Well it's sort of an, art retreat, surprise party, banquet, dessert buffet, friendship making, gabbing, shopping, pajama party, martini drinking, weekend of bliss!" Does that explain it? NO? Well maybe a few pictures will! I took plenty and they sort of explain the whole weekend! Here we GO!
it started off taking these lovely ladies to my favorite downtown shopping haunts. From Left to Right: Michelle Geller from Oregon, Valita Baxley from Texas, and Rachel Velder (my sweet roomie for the weekend) from Nebraska.

I just had to snap a pic of the cutest little dress shop EVER! Make me want to run out and have a baby...okay NOT!

Rachel at Tiara cafe in the Downtown Fashion District

The first of MANY cupcakes on this weekend trip...Rachel and I have a passion for cupcakes!

Tiara Cafe

Boa shopping

and we ran across some other attendees who had the same idea! Robin Sanchez and Tina Capriotti

did you say you want to buy some buttons!

more buttons...

Michelle in heaven at the "so good they have to be locked up" button counter

it was super hot that day even though there was no sun out

how sweet is this pic.."Rachel declares! OMG E6000 is only 4 bucks here!"

and Miss Michelle so so happy to find these awesome little labels that have so become her trademark!

trust me, if you don't go here without focus, you will lose focus! Bohemian Crystal- Maple Ave.

ahhhhhh I love beads!

the back of the subie after shopping day!

our room at the Belamar Hotel, Manhattan Beach, Ca.

The Belamar

Michelle representing her company HOLD DEAR- Moulin vendor night, please stop by her shop, she has such wonderful finds

I could kill myself for not remembering the name of this awesome vendor. I think it was maybe Linda Fitts, please correct me if I am wrong. She has some lovely items.

Ivey (Taras daughter)Me and and Tara Wislon from Lu Lu Max. I bought a great necklace from her and got compliments on it all day long at work. Thanks Tara!

Me and the magical Angela Howard, I friggin love this chick! She is funny and talented and so much fun.

This is a little taste of what you get when you walk into a Kim event. A velvet bag FILLED with killer goodies from the sweetest shops around!

A surprise gift with a sweet chocolate Eiffel tower from Teri Frias, I am so glad I got to know Teri better this time around. I needed this bag too, to haul away all of the projects and presents we get all weekend!

Its all in the details, Kim made these lovely ladies all trimmed in gold.

My trusty tablemates Andrea Villareal who's blog The  Freckled Star is one of the wittiest you will ever read. And Sherry Bamsey my early AM facebook buddy (she is the only one awake in the am when I am on!)

First project from Shea Fragoso from A Gilded Life. Her Mom Debbie was on hand to help. 

Michelle Geller, Cheryl Stoneham, and Valita Baxley

Kims lovely Can Can girl

Moulin Decor

The "Stage"

My finished necklace

Loved meeting Lu Lu Kellog, Lu Lu I know you read my blog and it was so nice to finally meet you in person. I love my necklace I got from you on vendor night. Check out Lu Lu's creations at Coastal Sisters.

the food spread... impressive!

Tablemate Jenny Morgan. OMG Jenny is the neatest crafter I have ever seen, I bow in awe of you Jenny. Poor thing had to sit next to the messy crafter..me!

Earleen, she had to sit at another table, but that didn't stop us from socializing. I love hearing her laugh!

My sweet cupcake baker Julie Gordon Weller

Valita and Rachel working on the Jenny and Aaron project

Caydee and Shawn

Later we slipped away to Marmalade Cafe for dinner...me and Caydee

my two besties-Earleen and Andrea, but we were so missing our sister Annette, but someone HAS to go to Costa Rica for the rest of us.

Swap Tables-

Bling bracelett swap

pocket full of positivity swap

Paper Doll Swap

Julies Canvas swap

bling choker swap

yes more cupcakes! (behind that yucky fruit!)

Macarons- not to be confused with macaroons....these have NO yucky coconut in them! LOL!

My Bijoux Box Swap and little did I know at the time this one was mine!

this one was for Kim filled with goodies!

My amazing book from Michelle Geller. I have video of this one coming soon!
And below are a bunch of lovely ladies opening their boxes!

Kerry Lynn Yeary class a cute little dry erase board.

Andrea and her creation

Colleen Moodys class, wait till you see how this little extra terrestrial came out!

I gave her boots!

here she sits!
and finished in all her glory!

I changed her from a can can girl to a little witch, because I love Halloween!

And lo and behold! My girl Tina won my giveaway prize. I made a moulin rouge themed birdcage. now Tina has two of my creations, she was my swap partner during Kims Alice in Wonderland event!

So things got a little crazy Saturday night when we finished Collen class early and decided to drive across town and hit French GeneralSheas french beading class!

Valita looking all recharged after we ate at HOME in Silverlake

This is one of my favorite pics from the whole weekend!

and I made these...

...with these lovely ladies! Debbie and Shea. My Mom and I do a lot of things together so I can really appreciate how much fun these two must have!

uh and did I say I love CUPcakes, this one had mocha icing from HOME

And then the last day. I don't do the amazing field trips Kim has planned on the last day, because I am just too exhausted (as you probably are if you got to the end of this post!) to spend all day. So me and Rachel hit the Long Beach flea market..rain didn't keep Rachel from finding the cutest little vintage first aid kit to take home.

a mess! but a fun mess! And the vendors were dealing!

ready for the rain

Well that was my weekend in a nutshell. The best part as always is the friendship. I loved being able to spend time with Andrea and Earleen, but also got to hang with some great out-of-town girls, and also meet some more local friends. I always feel so enriched and inspired when I return home.
I want to thank all of the ladies that participated in my swap and also for the sweet hostess gifts you gave me!
Till the next event...oh Kim do tell, when is it? What will it be??
And most of all won't YOU join us?