If I was sitting down with my therapist aka "my lady" (everyone has one right?) and she asked me: "Well, what do you do for you? Besides your work, what do you do?" ...I'd probably be able to name a few things, like: hanging out with my brothers...going to junkshops...buying crafting supplies, (really, I love supplies, even though I have so few!). But I'd probably forget to mention the one thing that I do most regularly outside of work. And I'd forget it because it kinda goes hand in hand with work. And that's : Swaps. I always like to be in a swap. I think in the past year there has not been a single time when I didn't have a swap deadline on my horizon. Doing a swap is just so rewarding. Whether it's a handmade swap or one that involves hunting and shopping for the perfect stuff. You have to put in some effort, but in the end there's a payoff. I just love the concept of trading talents. It feels so old world. Instead of trading money for goods or services, You're trading goods and services for goods and services. And handmade swaps are great for working artists because the swap will force you to work outside of your comfort zone. For instance, this sweet little nest swap I just took part in. I was lucky enough to be partnered up with the swap hostess herself...the lovely and so so nice Heather. Now there is no way that me and Aar could incorporate nest making into our artistic offerings. And I just know that even though I'd love to make a little springtime bird's nest for myself I'd never ever take the time to do it. But if I sign up for a swap and know that I'm making one for someone and they're making one for me...then I'm gonna stay up late a few nights and make a little magical bird's nest. It's so fun to put a little bit of me in there while always keeping Heather in mind, and thinking of what she'd like. And by the looks of the fabulous little number she sent me, I think she really had me in mind while she put this together. I love that this nest belongs to a bunny! As I type this, if I were to swivel my head in any direction, if I looked anywhere but at my monitor, my eyes would fall upon a bunny of some sort. Bunny's rule my shelves, table tops, walls, windowsills. And she got the color scheme oh so right. And of course, she sent a ton of happy extras along with the nest "just because". A flocked bunny bank and friend, velvet pastel ribbon, and some other crafty goodies. I love it all so much. This was a top swap for me.
The next pic is the nest I sent. I decided to go sorta natural. Well, I had in mind the idea of setting out supplies for the birds and letting them weave your stuff into their nests. At the nest making time of year you can go in your backyard and put out ribbons, tinsel, fabric scraps, yarn, etc...and wait for the birds to take them away and maybe beautify their nests with the stuff. Although I love the idea of this, I've never actually put it into practice. So in lieu of the real thing I added some mini pom pom trim, tinsel, vintage paper shreds, a pastel feather, and mini faux blossoms, to my own little nest. The finishing touch for me was the addition of one of my favorite little mercury glass Christmas balls. I also threw in some extra springtime gifts...you might recognize the bird ornament. He's made from our original painting, he's the same little guy from our kit.
And now onto another swap. The Hippity Hop Easter Swap. This one required a bit more effort. You have to put your production line skills to work. The concept is to match up groups of twelve people and each one person makes eleven of their own original Easter creation. Eleven of the same exact thing, because each person represents one of the twelve days 'til Easter.( I was day number 8). So once you make your eleven identical items you mail them to a central location and at that central location there lives the (out-of -her-mind----I-myself-could-never-ever-take-on-that-much-responsibility!) swap hostess (God bless Heather ), who sorts, packs, and ships back to you a variety box full of 11 different Easter creations which you get to open one by one during the 12 days leading up to Easter. The theory is to open only one each day but lots of gals break the rules. Holly admitted unapologetically that she'd tear into each one just as soon as they arrived on her doorstep! I'm a rule follower myself. Anyway, I was in the Pink Group. This was a big swap and the dozen girls in my group only represent a fraction of the whole. Since I'm day#8 and my day has not yet arrived I'm showing here a picture of my eleven pieces all wrapped up. I like the look of random, primitive style, hand painted polka dots. So I got a roll of Kraft paper, moved some furniture aside, and rolled out about 15 feet across my dining room, and went to work with a big brush and some pink paint. Carlos the chihuahua was just aching to walk all over it. I had to have Aaron speed up the process with a blow dryer.
First there's the group shot of all the stuff I'm gonna open. Two items aren't pictured because two girls missed the deadline by a bit and are shipping theirs directly to each of us. And since I'm playing catch up I've got three days of opened up goodies to show so far.
Ok, day one is Holly. I so love that instead of a number 1 she wrote "me first"! It's just such a cheery little pink bag. And wow! what a sweet little nest...the millinery flowers, the tiny eggs! LOVE IT!!!
Day 2. Martha. A fun fun fun handmade/sewn pin featuring one of my favorite things. An image of an antique bisque doll. Lots of fun fibers...so cool. Def gonna put her on a denim jacket this spring!! LOVE IT!!
Day 3. Shosh. The sweetest blown glass blue bird...so tiny and delicate. And an altered walnut shell made into a miniature bunny home. This is Shosh of Hannah Grey fame...super fab site. And I'm honored to be able to report that I am one of the newest members of the New Hannah Grey design team. I'm really looking forward to thinking outside the box and doing some new things with some new stuff! So some new creations and ideas outta me will be forthcoming! Hannah Grey is such a great place to shop. By all means, stop by there for a visit and tell Shosh that Jenny sent you!!
I'll try my best to get on here and post the rest of the dozen days as they roll out. I'll definitely be posting the goods over on Flickr so be sure to check out the Hippity Hop Easter Swap Flickr pool!
I love simpatico collections of usable stuff. This is a pack of springtime collage elements I picked up from Lilia at Flea Market Studio. She has a golden eye for what's good and what goes together. Her packs feel like a great designer's inspiration board. Everything is so carefully chosen and she spoils you with a great price. Especially when you thinkof all the hunting and gathering you won't have to do.
I made some new online friends and I couldn't be more excited!! First, Miss Holly over at Pink Grapefruit Designs. This gal is a ray of sunshine!! Sometimes somebody picks a name for their business and it's just perfect. This is the case with Holly and her Pink Grapefruit Designs Etsy shop. Everything she offers is just so colorful, cheerful, happy. Her whole vibe and style is so fresh! She has all sorts of crafty supplies. I nearly died when I found these vintage pink and aqua pipe cleaners! Like are you kidding me?! Why on earth do they only sell these in like kelly green, red, silver, and gold now? Bring back the old colors Mr. pipe cleaner manufacturer. And these teeny 'lil vintage crepe paper nutcups! They are just edible! And these are just a few of the amazing candy colored buttons I picked up. All of this is just the yummiest stuff ever! Definitely a brand new favorite. And now I've gone and shot myself in the foot again by giving away my newest best kept secret, (kept secret for all of a week!). So let the feeding frenzy begin. But when you go over there and buy up all the stuff be sure to tell Holly that Jenny sent you. Maybe she'll be cool and give me a sneak peek before she lists stuff...lol! kidding...well sort of ; )
And the other new friend,Dara ! Such style, such an eye for detail! I saw this incredible creation over on Ning in the Etsy cottage style group. I nearly fainted...it was just so pretty. And wouldn't you know it that this sweetheart offered to swap with me! I was toooo excited. When I opened the box and took this piece in my hands it just got ten times better. I'm sure you're loving what the pics of this look like but if you can even imagine...it's wayyy better in person. It's heavier than you'd think...it's base is very old wood coated in very oldwhite chipping paint. The detail is endless. The crepe paper ruffle is so dense! There is probably ninety feet of crepe if you unruffled it. It's a modern twist on a Victorian keepsake. A real work of art! I so look forward to owning more of Dara's work!!
I've been so spotty with my posting that I forgot to post one of my giveaway wins from the wonderful One World One Heart event. This sweet little book and bookmark are from Nan at Pandora's Artbox. (Thank you!!) So bright and springy. As I scroll up and look up at all the photos I've posted you'd never ever know that it's a cold, gray, and rainy night where I live. I've obviously made up my mind that Punxsutawney Phil was wrong.
Well, I just had to post all this stuff. There is a mountain of work waiting for me but I'm trying to strike a balance of business and pleasure. Sometimes me and Aar get in the "time to make the donuts" mode, just filling orders, filling orders, filling orders. It's a little hard to keep up sometimes when we have to do a lot of the same things and we always worry about being late with shipping to all the wonderful people who've connected with our art. We're not ever really bothered by all work and no play. We just get full of nerves when we think of letting people down time wise. And that also goes for this blog. You guys are gracious enough to stop by all the time...least I can do is give you some fresh eye candy! Well, it's either bedtime or movie time, not sure yet. I'll be sure to follow up with the rest of the Hippity Hop Easter swap goodies over the remaining days 'til Easter.