Monday, December 16, 2013

Gettin' Crafty

Sometimes when you're an art & craft shop owner, and the holidays roll around, and you're a little strapped for time, you're tempted to get all your family's gifts from your own shop. Well, this is what I'm doing this year, for the most part. It's not only because somehow Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It's that I'm just way too tempted by all the lovelies surrounding me everyday to not buy some of them (for other people, of course). But there are always a few difficult people to shop for. So in the spare moments here and the spare moments there, I've been making a few people's gifts myself.

Of course I can't show you the gifts I'm buying from gathered, for fear the recipients may be reading this. But here are a couple of my latest craft projects that I'm pretty sure are safe to show.

A new earring layout. 

And these are actually going to be a gift from a loved one,
who kindly commissioned them from me.
Who would have thought the beaded princess crowns would take off like this??

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Official...

... is now where you will find any and all of my beadwork. Don't worry, you can still use my old website address (, but it will take you directly to my Etsy page. Crafty, huh? I did a little investigating and taught myself how to do that! With a little help from my website's tech support, that is. You can even get to it on your phone, in case you want to see my latest work while you're out and about being mobile (just please, whatever you do, not while you're driving!)

And here's a recent piece that you actually won't see on my Etsy page (the aesthetic is just a tad different than my other work...) It's a custom headband crown for a lovely customer's five-year-old princess. I'm always happy to do custom pretty-much-anything,  so please contact me if you ever need a unique, personal gift for a little loved one (or your inner child).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The holidays are supposed to be a fun time of year, right?

Well the last six weeks have gone by in more of a blur than I could have thought possible. Speed of light, to be exact. Somehow we're ending the first week of December already?! No comprendo. My shop gathered has been super busy with the holidays approaching, and I am endlessly grateful for all the local folks who want to support other locals by buying things that are handcrafted right in their own area. The shop is actually doing well for itself, considering I haven't been open a year yet. It's grown to be a mutually supportive endeavor between myself and over 50 (that's fifty, I tell you!) regional artists and crafters! I'm able to make rent and bills for the space, and I'm hoping in the following year to possibly bring home a paycheck of my very own. One can hope...

Also, I've entered a juried market as an art vendor for next May! I'll find out if I've made it in January, so keep your fingers crossed for me, pretty please. It's called the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, and you can find out more about it here. A big thank you (even if I don't make it) to my family, Zoe, Jocelyn, and Kathleen for motivating me to even attempt this. I'll really have to get my beading act together if I get in!

Entering this show inspired me to revamp my Etsy site, as well as my entire personal website. The latter was an undertaking, let me tell you. I'd really like to do even more updating with the look of the website, but the way it's set up I can only access so much that I can change myself. I hope to do something about that soon.

Here is my most recent work:
(all of these can be found on my website or Etsy)

Equilibrium cuff 

 Flux necklace

 Royal Reishi necklace

Stacks necklace

And lastly, some Thanksgiving photos
from my recent trip to visit family in Atlanta:

Fixins' becoming fixin's

The men folk like to claim they do some of the work on Thanksgiving.

Gardenscapes during the mayhem indoors.

This was the best I could find with almost all the family members.
I realized too late that no one took an actual group photo this year. Sad.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Doubling Up

I've decided to really start working on increasing my inventory again. I may or may not try to enter an undisclosed high-end Fine Art Festival for next year, but I figured either way it'd be a good idea to start producing some volume. If I don't do the Art Market (or worse, pay the non-refundable application fee and get denied), at least I'll have a bunch of back-stock for my own shop, as well as enough to shop it around to other regional boutiques/galleries. I've been burned before by juried craft markets, but I think I've waited long enough to have healed from that.

Here are my most recent pendant necklaces:

You can view more info on Spur necklace in moss or indigo on my Etsy site.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Amanitas and Puffballs and Witch's Hats, oh my...

Today marks a full Day 3 of nonstop rain here in the Virginia Mountains. And rain in the fall = mushroom hunting! No, not these kinds of mushrooms pictured below (unless you're so inclined). There are plenty of delectable culinary and medicinal mushrooms pushing their fruit bodies out of the earth and decomposing trees this time of year. Our dear friends Zoe & Matt just brought us a whopping Maitake that we sauteed with butter, onions, garlic, and thyme.

image courtesy of

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Matt (on right) offering us a Maitake

To honor our fungi allies, here is my latest beaded piece. Now go take a walk in the woods.

For more views & info for Amanita Cuff in crimson, please visit my Etsy page.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Newest Work in Shades of Gold

I really don't have much to say in this post. I just wanted to document the piece I finished today. I had a moment of frustration when, after completing it, I discovered the magnetic clasp I used was not magnet-y enough. Grrr. So off it came and another, stronger one got sewn in its place. Ah well. Lesson (?) learned.

See more images of Botanical Cuff in gold on my Etsy site.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ancient ~> Modern

I've been inspired lately by ancient life. Fossils, civilizations, tools, technology. I actually had a recent momentary infuriation at my ancestors (I'm talking 10,000 years ago ancestors) for neglecting the ritual of passing down vital information from generation to generation. Granted, it is how we still download a lot of our current knowledge, by way of passing along history, legends, recipes, skills. From memorizing a great-great-aunt's lasagna recipe to a three-year-old being able to figure out an iPhone; these are the skills and information that get passed down these days.

Before we became "civilized," though, (especially in the western world) there were certain other skills and information that got passed down. Where the good springs were; the importance of family, extended family, and elders; how to make our own "clothing" and shelter; and, basically, how to live in accordance with the earth, instead of constantly at war with it.

I'm upset. I'm mad I don't know how to not live in a bubble of poorly designed vinyl siding calling itself a house. I hate being a slave to oil. I'm frustrated I don't know how to identify enough wild edibles in my landscape to live off of. I'm scared and too emotional to hunt or fish. I'm sad I live eleven hours away from my immediate family.

My husband and I try to incorporate as many wild edibles, fresh spring water, barefooting, hiking, natural materials, and homegrown goodies as we realistically can. But these are passions and hobbies that I'm sad to say we have to go out of our way to achieve. They didn't come naturally to us, and it is not the norm for most of the western world. Living just the same as all the other inhabitants of this earth got lost somewhere in the craziness of civilization.

Can you think of a way you can live with a slightly lighter footprint? Try. Try bringing in one new zero-waste habit that our ancient ancestors might have done. I'm just trying to get those thinking gears going...

Here are my latest creations:

More info on both Charmer Necklaces available on my Etsy site.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stocking Up

I'm officially in creating mode. Everything I make, I'm doing at least two of at a time. Some will go to the Front Royal Women's Resource Center's upcoming silent auction at their Fall Breakfast, some will go to the Loft Gallery in Culpeper, VA, and the rest will stay here with me at gathered. Right now my focus is earrings; next, it'll be more beaded leaf hair clips; then, bead-embroidered cuffs. I'd better have all this done in just a couple weeks, though-- the holidays they are a-coming!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Old Becoming New

I was so excited to finally use these beads I've been hanging onto. They contain real, actual fossils. The maybe-I-should-have-been-a-scientist in me has been hoarding these, waiting for what?

But I wanted to make a new piece to have in my shop, as well as test-drive it as part of my bridesmaid ensemble at my sister-in-law's upcoming wedding.

If you look closely, you might notice that the design as a whole is an enlarged replica of one of the tiny fossils within the stone. The colors are sort of art nouveau meets ancient Egypt.

See more images and info on Traces Necklace on my Etsy site or my full website.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working on new earrings...

For some reason the jewelry I wear is very minimalist-- the same few simple rings/earrings everyday with a few go-to statement pieces in circulation. Yet I feel the jewelry I make are stand-alone pieces, bold accessories to revolve the rest of the day around. I wonder why this is?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

And a Necklace to Match

I don't often create matching or coordinating pieces, but I had a recent request for a necklace inspired by one of my cuff designs. You may remember Pepe the Peacock, who inspired the King Pepe cuff. Well, here it is, in its necklace incarnation:

What do you think about the chain resolution? I tried something new and used a combination of delicate chain and sheer ribbon. Too much? Should I have just used one or the other? I like the idea of just using sheer ribbon, it would give the pendant a floating effect. But I really liked this particular chain so I went for the both of them. I'd love feedback!

See more photos and info about King Pepe Necklace on my Etsy site or my full website.

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Work

I just completed this collar necklace to add to my collection on Etsy and here at my shop, gathered. This is actually a design I came up with years ago, and have been wanting to recreate it ever since.

Shaded Path collar

Come stop by gathered and see it in person!

Friday, July 26, 2013

This Is Summer

Summer is crazy. The days are longer, but somehow they go by so much faster than the rest of the year. The shop is going great, and I am infinitely grateful for every single person who wanders in. Here's a glimpse of what's been going on when I'm not at gathered, or doing something for gathered from various remote locations...

I took a much-needed road trip down to Georgia to visit family. First stopped in Athens to visit my sister. We went thrift hunting.

We ate. A lot.

Then we caravanned down to Savannah to spend a few days with our folks. Where we made and ate food. A lot.

At a frozen yogurt joint. In case you can't read the flavors they're recommending you Mix, it's Strawberry Lemonade Sorbet with Coffee Yogurt.

My dad and I tried for a long time to try to i.d. this beautiful moth. It was about the size of my hand and looked as cuddly as a teddy bear. Look at that punham!

Neighborhood pool. Note to self: playing Name That Tune underwater is still pure hilarity.

Best friends in Savannah! And patriots? Red = me, White = Orea, Blue = Christy. Unplanned.

Back on the mountain, Drew and I harvested a pound and a half of wild wineberries in about an hour.

Good friends Brenda & Carson had us over for a garden dinner. Look at those cuties!

Surprise visit from Savannah friend, Kirsten at my shop! So good to catch each other up on our lives since our Terra Cotta days 6+ years ago. 

Had the entire band of Circle Takes The Square stay with us for another week right before leaving for European Tour numero dos. Mostly work...

... and some play. This was right after we all jumped into a freezing cold waterfall-fed swimming hole.

Drew's band is still in Europe, getting back August 10. It's hard having him gone, but I get to pretend I'm there by looking on YouTube to see which thoughtful audience member has recorded their set. Here's a good one from their first show in the Netherlands:

And last but not least, I got a Subaru! Hopefully no more worrying about winter drives up our mountain! Hooray! Although it's hard to think about winter right now...
Whew! And this was just July.