Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Excuse me while I drool..

We are back with another Handmade Artists' Forum blog ring post. This week's featured artisan is kitzbitz, who just happens to be a glass artisan. Now to me, as a jewellery maker, there is not many other things that make one salivate in such a way as Artisan Lampwork beads do. Just a quick look in Kitzbitz's Etsy was enough to make me need to wipe my keyboard. She has some of the loveliest purple lampwork beads I have seen in a long time. It seems to be a difficult colour to get or work with in glass. She also has a website where there is even more to drool over.
Not only does she make and sell lampwork beads, but she also makes jewellery items that include her lampwork beads and she sells frits, murrinis, twists and shards to other glass Artisans. I love the idea of her 'Mojo Boxes', lots of different bits and pieces set to a theme to help spark creativity. If I ever dive into the world of lampwork or glass fusing I know one of the places I will be shopping!
So if you are glass artisan, or a jewellery maker, or just someone who loves looking at beautiful things, drop by the Kitzbiz Art Glass Website, visit Kitzbitz on Etsy or take a look at her blog.. it will be well worth your while.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy 40th Birthday Chainmaille by MBOI aka Andrew

Today I am going to do something I dont usually do, I am going to use my blog to wish someone a very happy birthday. It isnt everyday that you get to the big Four-Oh.
Well, someone I consider quite a good friend has reached that milestone, and I want to make sure he knows that we didnt forget his 40th birthday.
Many of you may well know this guy. He is usually known as Chainmaille by MBOI, some of us know him as Andrew. He, along with his lovely wife Kimberley, started the Handmade Artists' Forum and Shop. He has given a lot of himself, so now is a chance for us to give something back.
What I would love is for everyone who can to tweet, plurk or pass this message around as much as you can today, so that everywhere Andrew goes on the Internet he can see how much we all care.

I hope you have a fabulous day Andrew!! Happy, happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blog Ring Feature Artisan - Suzedablooze/Lynwood Jewellery

Here we are back again with another Handmade Artists' Forum Blog Ring member feature.
This week our featured artisan is Suzedablooze, also known as Lynwood Jewellery. Lynwood Jewellery is actually a two person enterprise, based in the region of Northumberland, UK, in a village called Stocksfield. They work together to create a  fabulous range of jewellery made using Sterling Silver, with the addition of semi-precious gemstones and sometimes Swarovski Crystals.
One half of the Lynwood Jewellery team, Susie, if very active on HAF, as well as blogging regularly and tweeting. The Lynwood Jewellery team has more than one online store, a couple of which are UK based.

The Lynwood Jewellery blog is really interesting, with Susie sharing works in progress, as well as featuring other artisans.
If you would like to see more you can find Lynwood Jewellery on Etsy, Folksy and MISI, and you can read their blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Inspiration of the Week - Teri of TheBeadedBranch

Welcome back to another Inspiration of the Week. This week I bring you one of my favourite online friends.. and I'm sure if we lived closer we would be offline friends too. This woman is a major inspiration to me, and to many other people I know. Despite her own life challenges she is there for her friends and peers with kind word or a warm hug and she delights in sharing the escapades of her gorgeous little boys, with the pride only a parent can display.
I asked Teri to share her favourite 10 things in the whole world and what follows are her responses in her own words. Read on to find out more about this wonderful woman.

1)  My hubby.  I love my hubby (Tim) and my kids (Nick and Joe), even though any or all of them are likely to make me go nuts at any given minute.  But they do help out in the own way, every chance they get.  Tim is not only my hubby, but also my best friend.  Lately, life has gotten to be a little crazy around our house, and not necessarily in a good way.  I looked at him and said "If I had to go through this, I'm glad I'm going through it with you!"  He's a rock at my back, my strength, and my love.  

2)  My children.  My kids are a joy to me, even when they are driving me nuts.  I really never know what those two scoundrels will be up to next.  Whether they are making me a cup of coffee, drawing me a "birthday card" (when my birthday is nowhere in sight), or trying to hide in my washing machine they are my joy.  Life is never, ever dull with those two around, and what one doesn't think of, the other one will.  I've always wanted to be a housewife and mommy.  I was never one the type of woman who felt she needed a career outside the home.  When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say "a mommy".  How many people can honestly say that they have acheived their lifelong dream?

3)  My extended family.  In laws, cousins, aunts, uncles, all of them.  Yes, family can make one crazy at times, but in the end, it's really all we have, and I adore them.  Once again, if it wasn't for my extended, my life would a lot more dull.  (I think someone once hit me with the ancient curse of "May you live in interesting times", but at least I'm never, ever bored!)

4)  My home.  I love my little home, even if it does look like a whirlwind hit it most of the time.  But it is my favorite place to be.  I can relax here, and be myself.  I can let my hair down.  Soon, I might even be able to repaint the walls and add color that I so desperately want.  I have to admit, that after almost 5 years of living in this home, I'm still re-organizing and paring down all the nonessentials that we don't use, but it's fun, instead of the chore it used to be when I was still living at home, with my mom and dad.   

5)  My books.  I'm an avid reader.  I pretty much always have my nose stuck in a book.  I always have and (God willing) always will.  I love to read.  And I read just about anything.  I think in the 40 years I've been on this earth, I've actually only come across 3 or 4 books that I *don't* like.  Pretty amazing, huh?  I do, of course, have some books that I love more than others, but all in all, I just love my books.  So does my hubby, thankfully, and he's willing to indulge me in my little obsession.  And our boys are become avid booklovers too.  How wonderful is that???

6)  My online buddies.  A year and a half ago, I never thought that I would part of such wonderful online communities.  I was always a little shy (okay, a lot shy) of taking the plunge into online forums, and things like that.  And then I discovered Plurk, and through that, The Sassy Sisters in Sales.  These two groups are my friends, my confidents, my equals.  Growing up, I never had a wide circle of friends, and through these two online communities, I have made friends that I laugh with, cry with, hug, hold hands with, and are just generally wonderful to be around.  I'm really looking forward to the day when we can all meet face to face, and hug in real life.  To all my Plurk buddies and to the Sassy Sistahs:  I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

7)  Coffee.  I love coffee.  I love the way it smells.  I love the way it tastes (sugar and creamer, please).  I love the way it makes me feel.  I love the way it helps me to wake up in the mornings.  

8)  Chocolate.  When I was younger I thought I loved chocolate.  And then about 10 years ago, my boyfriend (now my hubby) brought back some chocolate from Switzerland, where his brother lives.  He brought me back 150 bars of chocolate.  It filled his carry on bag.  The guards at the gate in the airport were jealous.  And that is when my passion REALLY began.  I adore chocolate.  GOOD chocolate.  Rich, creamy, smooth decadent European chocolate.  Made by the people who KNOW what chocolate is supposed to taste like.   It's not just a snack, it's an obsession.  And woe to my darling brother in law, Andrew, if comes back to the US without at least one bar of chocolate for me.  And he knows it, too, although, it's always his darling wife Isabelle who picks it out for me.  (Another reason I love my inlaws.... they are my suppliers....)

9)  My slow-cooker.  Call it a crock pot or slow-cooker, it doesn't matter.  I love mine.  I know, it's weird.  But I love the fact that I can dump a bunch of food into it at the start of the day, and by dinner time, there is a wonderful, home cooked meal ready and waiting.  I love that it is versatile, and I can use it to make main dishes, side dishes, breads and desserts.  It's just awesome.  They are so awesome, that I actually have two of them, a really big one for large pieces of meat, large amounts of broth (yes, I make my own chicken broth in my crock pot), chili, whatever, and a smaller one for dinner just for the family.  

10)  Crafting.  You knew it had to come in here somewhere.  I love crafting, all sorts of crafting.  I'm not sure if it's a "love", "favorite", or "obsession".  DH would probably say obsession, but I think it qualifies.  

So,  perfect day for me would be:  working on a bunch of crafts with my hubby and kids in my home, while dinner simmers in my crock pot, with several calls from extended family members, drinking coffee and eating European chocolate, chatting with all my online buddies, and then fall asleep reading one of my favorite books.

Thank you so much Teri. Your joy in life, your family and what you do is in every word, and this is one of the reasons you are an inspiration to me and many others.
Teri briefly touched on her craft, and let me tell you, she is very talented. You can see for yourself what I mean by visiting Teri at her online stores - The Beaded Branch on ArtFire and The Beaded Branch on Etsy

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Haven from the Maelstrom

Here I am back again with the second in the series of weekly Handmade Artists' Forum member features. This week's feature artisan from the Handmade Artists' Forum is Heather from Heather's Haven.

Heather and her partner are both artists with 6 kids and 2 dogs... there is the Maelstrom. As a mum of 5 myself I know how difficult it can be to parent lots of children, with their multitude of differences and personalities.
Art is their therapy.. there is the Haven. Heather has a particular gift with seed beads, producing some wonderful pieces.

She also not only has an Etsy store, but an ArtFire studio as well. She is one of the driving forces behind the Etsy HAF team, particularly the daily Spread The Love promotion.
And she likes Harry Potter.. what's not to love about her!

Drop by Heather's blog to see what she's up to, and drool over her creations in her Etsy and her ArtFire. She is a fabulous artisan and an asset to the handmade community.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Artisan Feature - Jewelry To Keep

Last year I did some artisan features where I asked participants 20 questions, which was a huge amount of fun. One of the participants was travelling around across the US at the time and her responses were delayed, and then the Christmas season set upon us and I sort of forgot..oops. So here is the feature of the wonderful SuzBax from Jewelry To Keep.

1) What do you like to be called? Suzanne

2) Were you named after anyone? My grandmothers

3) How many birthdays have you had? 58

Where in the world are you located, and where would you like to be located? Sanibel Florida and I would stay right where I am. If anything I would move more of my family closer to me.

5) What defines you as you? I love being a grandmother. I have 7 beautiful grandchildren and I hope they enjoy me as much as I do them.

6) What was a defining moment of your childhood? (happy/sad) Being an only child. I always wanted a brother and/or sister. Now that I have seen sibling rivalry at it’s best with both my children and grandchildren I wonder if I wasn’t better off. I was the center of my parent’s world.

7) If you could be an animal which animal would you be and why? Dog. I think they are the most loving and loyal animals around. Of course I would want to be a pampered house dog and not a street dog.

Do you believe in miracles? Yes they happen everyday. You just have to be receptive to see them. Anyone who knows Lance Armstrong’s story has to believe. That man should have died.

9) Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Usually I can’t get them off my feet if I don’t

10) Favorite smells? Vanilla and citrus

11) What is on your mouse pad? My dog

12) If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Green

13) Do you still have your tonsils? Yes

14) Do bald men wash their head with soap or shampoo? Soap. Why waste good shampoo on a bald head

15) What is the first thing you notice about people? Their eyes

16) What color pants and shoes are you wearing? Pink

17) Scary movies or happy endings? Both

18) When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say? Yum

19) Where can people find you and what you do on the internet?

20)What do you want to be known for, both in terms of your‘art’and personally? I want to be known as a caring family person who enjoyed doing fun things and making casual, everyday jewelry just for the enjoyment of it.

Thank you Suzanne. Now it is my chance to show you a few of the wonderful items in her artfire store.

Suzanne is a fabulous lady and very talented. Drop by her ArtFire studio - Jewelry to Keep and see even more.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

An Enveloping Lass

This weeks Inspirational Artisan post is about a wonderful lass I know, Nicky. She is the heart and soul behind Ambient Girl Designs and Ambient Girl Supplies. I asked her the for her 10 most favourite things in the world.. and once again I will let my blog guest answer in their own words.

10: Coffee...without it I would be a total zombie, it gets me up in the morning and I like to relax with a coffee later on in the evening or when I'm working on tweeting, blogs, stuff.

9: Camping: I love love love camping! Once a year we go camping and it's our time to relax, have a drink, make a mess with marshmallows and have fun in the sun. I love being in the outdoors...minus bugs..I'm not a bug fan!

8: Wine... me and wine, we mesh well together! I get a lot of ideas sipping on a glass of wine and brainstorming. For those days when my creativity just needs a boost!

7: Dance: I danced for 24 years of my life, ballet, jazz, tap, Latin American, ballroom and Irish. Dancing has always been a huge part of my life and even now after retiring due to 7 foot fractures I support my fellow dancers. Dancing has always given me that feeling of freedom and nothing can take that away from you.

6: My animals. I had three cats, Gabriel, Kaleb and Smokey. Kaleb passed away at the end of April and it was one of the worst things I have been through. I also have a rescue chameleon named Pandora, she's my beautiful girl! I also have three fish. My cats are my cuddle monkeys (as odd as that sounds) and they follow me around and talk, how cute!

5: Friends: My friends are so important to me. They have been a shoulder to lean on through the hard times and we can share all our secrets, be goofballs and have a laugh.

4: South Africa: I was born and raised in South Africa. Even though it was a dangerous place, most of the best memories of my life took place there. I miss my family terribly and would go back in a heartbeat if I could.

3: Being creative: This is such a huge factor in my life that has helped me in some rough times. I love to craft and try anything new. Right now I'm obsessed with paper even though I Crafts & Design in college with a major in glassblowing and a minor in ceramics! I love getting my hands dirty and I love helping others out.

2: Other artists & crafters. I gain so much inspiration from other people especially artistic people that I can bounce my ideas off of. I have met so many wonderful people in the past year that share my passion and it's an incredible feeling when we can all come together to create something beautiful.

1: My family. I have a wonderful supportive husband and the most beautiful little boy who is so sweet natured. My parents and sister are also amazing people who work hard.

Thank you Nicky! Now I will talk about this wonderful person is an inspiration to me.

Nicky has a medical condition that will only worsen over time, one that causes pain and discomfort on a daily basis. Yet she selflessly gives her time and support to other artisans, as well as running her two Etsy stores. Her most recent gesture to fellow artisans was to open up a Ning called Indie Junction with a friend. They promote the talents of members, regardless of where online they sell.
Nicky is wonderfully talented, as can be seen by her fabulous creations in store at Ambient Girl Designs, and she loves to do custom pieces. She is my Inspiration of the Week, and I hope you will all check out her blog, Ambient Girl Designs, Ambient Girl Supplies and Indie Junction for yourself.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Planting the Seeds of Greatness.

This blog marks the first in a series of blog posts highlighting some fabulous artists from the Handmade Artists' Forum. Every week a new artist will get the HaffinaCreations treatment, starting with Seedlings: Jewelry Because.

In an effort to write this blog I checked out Seedlings' blog, her Etsy store and her dot com. I discovered a number of interesting things.
Firstly, the brains and talent behind Seedlings is called Sharon, which is said to mean 'fertile plain'.. and I have to say this is definately quite appropriate. Germs of an idea flourish into blossoming creations in her hands. She is also heavily influenced by nature, favouring natural or recycled materials to make her creations with. She also supports Heifer International, which is about 'ending hunger, caring for the earth'.
The second thing that took my attention was her joy in sharing her knowledge with others. Her blog has many posts about optimising your online presence, with the aim of increasing sales. This includes posts about SEO and the type of photos that sell creations.
And lastly, but no means leastly, I discovered the beauty of Seedlings Jewelry Because creations. She has a wonder eye for colour and form, as well as ensuring a wonderful, quality finish on her pieces.
Take a look around her Etsy store and see for yourself, and have a read of her blog, you will not be disappointed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It just happened.

Today I was sitting at the computer, not really accomplishing much, when I had the overwhelming need to create a Mandala. My mum was just about to put a bug bomb in the garage where all my painting and drawing stuff had been moved due to lack of use. I was going to just search through the boxes for what I needed, but instead I grabbed the boxes and dragged them to my room.
I found a couple of watercolour paper pads, and my very favourite watercolour pencils. Then armed with my requirements, compass and ruler included, I sat down and drew and coloured until I was finished.
It isnt big, or complex... but it is colourful. My mum commented that I hadnt done one in a while, and when I thought about it I realised I hadn't drawn a Mandala since just after my daughter was born.... she turns 3 in few weeks.
So here is today's Mandala
I have had quite a large burst of creativity in the last few days, which will hopefully continue. I'm considering doing a few mandalas and listing them... but I'm not sure yet. It was a fabulous feeling to create a Mandala today and I hope to create more over the next few days. I have them tapping away in my soul.. time to free them.
Edit: I went looking and found a picture of the last Mandala I created.. back in June of 2008.. so not as long ago as I thought..but does seem a lifetime ago. It is symbolic of the changes that having my daughter made in me.
This one is actually painted on a canvas and sits above the fireplace on the mantlepiece.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A new year, and new shop.

2010 has officially begun!! I am so excited about the possibilities for this year. I have several goals I am working towards, both in terms of my business, but also to do with my creativity, and several of them are very closely connected.. unsurprisingly!
One of the first changes for this year is that I have opened up another online shop front.
The newest addition to the HaffinaCreations family is on the Handmade Artist's Shop. I have been a member of HAF since very early in its life, and have watched it grow in leaps and bounds. I am a proud member of the HAF staff, and when I heard that there were plans to open an online selling site in conjunction with the forum I was very excited. The HAF shop is merely days old, but I am confident that it will grow rapidly under the guidance of our leaders, Andrew and Kimberly.
To any readers who might be interested in setting up a shop there as well there is one thing you will need to do, and that is sign up at the Handmade Artist's Forum and become a subscription member. Subscription costs $5 a month and this is the only cost you will have to pay, no listing fees, no commissions, nothing else. The shopping cart software is incredibly customisable and it would be a fabulous stepping stone for those who are considering opening their own website with shopping cart.
Yes, I have an interest in it growing, like many of my fellow artisans I would like to make regular sales, and the way to do that is to tell people about it.

One of my goals for this year is to make regular sales, preferably in all my shops. I know this is going to take a fair bit of work, including promotion. But I am so excited! One of the things I am looking at doing this year is some tutorials of particular polymer clay techniques, with the aim of listing them for sale in my stores.
One of my other goals is to promote at least one other artisan right here on my blog every week, along with continuing to write for
I wont go in to everything I will be doing this year.. it might make me chicken out LOL! Suffice it to say I will be busy, but in a fabulous kind of way. 2009 was a year of huge growth for me as an individual, and I am hoping for even more in 2010.

So keep an eye out for more promotions, both of fellow artisans, and also my growing 'family' of stores. You can now find me at
HaffinaCreations on ArtFire
BeadsByHaffina on ArtFire
HaffinaAgain on Zibbet
HaffinaAgain on Etsy
HaffinaCreations on Handmade Artists' Shop
And of course at the original HaffinaCreations on Alundra's Conundrum

To all my wonderful online friends, colleagues and fellow artisans.. Thank You for all your support and encouragement in 2009, I wish for the best for all of us for 2010.