Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Featured Etsy Seller: Leksidesigns

Today's featured Etsy seller is Brooke from Leksi Designs!

Her shop is full of pretty shiny things, as she specializes in handmade flower accessories and custom hand-stamped jewelry. She named the shop after her daughter, Aleksis, nicknamed Leksi. She got into metal jewelry stamping when she was shopping for a piece for herself - isn't that a natural place to get started with any artist? ;) She thought that she would just make it for herself, and people asked about the pieces she was wearing = ETSY SHOP!!

When not stamping pretty things, she works full-time for a school district while taking Master's Courses at night (awesome.) She's also a cheerleading coach and hopes to run a few marathons this summer, which is a few more than I will ever run. Ever. Her jewelry time is wind-down time in the late eventings, and she hopes to one day find more time to pursue it. But for now her creative outlet seems to be working out great!!

For new artists, she advises taking time to dream up something really unique before advertising. Both quality and quantity are necessary to really "make it", as well as fantastic photographs of your work, and top-notch customer service! While most of her promotions are through word of mouth and her blog, she gets more sales through email than anything else.

You can find more info on LeksiDesigns here:

Facebook Fan Page:!/pages/Camdenton-MO/Leksi-Designs/109971549035743

So far, her favorite piece is her Handstamped Quote Cuff. While browsing her shop, I really liked her vintage pieces as well, and my favorite is the Colorful Butterfly Ring with Filigree Center, $18.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is hands-down my favorite contemporary fiction writer of all time. I love the simple way that she writes, that is easy to read quickly while not being boring. She always includes plot twists, and in this book she includes flashbacks to build up to the present. The only negative I have - other than the fact that I don't get why her books are so thick and it feels like I finish them in a matter of days - is the predictability of the story line. Pretty much every book she writes has a crime take place, then goes through a trial. But what better place to address two sides of an issue than in a courtroom?

I also love how she picks such controversial topics to write about. I actually read in the back of this book that she gets inspired by news headlines, and likes to make her readers aware of the issues through her work, and likes provoking thought - which is why all of her books are "read this and then we can talk about it" types.

Nineteen minutes is about a school shooting that takes place in a quiet town in New Hampshire. While it certainly does not justify any type of school violence, it definitely makes you think about it from a different perspective - by depicting the shooter in a very human way. When you think about it, we try and justify things we don't understand and fear happening by saying that the shooter - Peter, in this case - was a monster. A result of negligent parenting and misconceptions of reality. However, she depicts his parents as being loving and normal as well as devastated about what their son has done.


What I loved in this book was also the depictions of bullying. The jocks were indeed the victims in the story, however she goes back continuously throughout the book showing their cruelty to Peter. She attempted to paint a picture of how he got to the shooting - combining his oversensitivity - which made him a target in the first place, his not noticing or caring how he appeared to others, and submission into the fantasy world of video gaming.

The last twist I liked was a girl named Josie, who was best friends with Peter when they were little, then became part of the "popular" crowd. Picoult successfully enter the mind of this adolescent with not just the contrived notion of popularity, but the loneliness that she felt. And the bond that Josie and Peter plays out in a way that I was both surprised and happy about.

So, please, go read one of her books. Any book. And we'll talk about it! :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dyed Howlite Bracelet

Newly listed item on etsy - Howlite Bracelet! After making a few earrings out of this simulated turquoise stone, which is actually dyed howlite, I was left with four - and wanted to make a bracelet. It was definitely a challenge to do, as the stones are large and heavier, so putting them on any wrist can be a difficult fit.

After fooling around with too many jump rings in between each stone, I finally just connected them to each other, and it made a huge difference. I compensated the length with a jump-ring chain, so that it can fit anybody's wrist. I also chose to use a lobster clasp instead of my go-to toggle, because I was afraid that the bracelet's weight may cause it to be more susceptible to fall off.

This was also my first time working with such thick silver plate wire - I believe that it is 16 gauge - but it looks great with the blue. I also discovered that the boat is the best place to photograph jewelry. Look at these images!! I was on the boat creating, and brought my camera, so I figured I'd take some images. And whoa. The key is that the inside of the boat, right above each photograph, are 3 huge windows. The sunlight wasn't shining right into them because it was afternoon, but I got great, diffused light to take the pictures with. My mom's lime-green mats didn't hurt as a background, either :)

I'm on a jewelry bend. I've stopped for too long, so now its all coming out. So stay tuned for more pieces!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

To Do Daily Agenda

New Item listed on Etsy! Handmade To-Do Daily Agenda book

I feel as though lately my life is nothing but lists and lists of things to do and things I didn't do that I should have. So, I thought that this may be a great way to better break down tasks: and I know that we are in a digital age, but turning a page is so much more satisfying and screams "accomplished!" than deleting something off of your calendar, or not doing anything to it at all.
This is a first edition book, so I did it in the classic black color scheme. I covered it with black handmade paper with silver "windows", that I thought looked very orderly and systematic looking - perfect for a daily agenda! Then I used a small strip of shiny, crocodile-textured paper to designate the front of the book. I recommend this book for artists, and at the discount price of $10, what have you got to lose?

Inside, there are 2 pages for each day:

-The left page shows the date, with lines for you to mark all of your tasks that you have to do for the day.-You come to the next page at the end of the day, where you carry over unfinished tasks.-There is also a helpful area with names and addresses that have to be followed up on, like clients.
-Additional notes to self!
There are approx. 200+ pages, and the pages are made out of recycled cream paper. Dimensions 6" w x 8 1/2" h. The pages are bound with hand sewn signatures, and the book is also lined with handmade paper. More editions, colors, and styles to come!

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