Tuesday, August 3, 2010

a new camera, a new necklace & a yippppee!

Greetings Friends...
Do I look incredibly happy??
Maybe even ecstatic. Possibly overcome with pure unadulterated joy?
Well, that would be because I AM!
Yes, I finally did it...I got myself a NEW CAMERA!
Does my hubby know? Well, not quite yet.
Did I hide the bag & the box in my bedroom last night so I didn't have to ruin my high with any fumbled explanations? Yes.
Will I be in trouble when I finally cough up the truth tonight? No.
My hubby is fabulous to me!

So, here's my story & I'm sticking to it!
I'm a jewelry designer now :) & I'm trying to sell my work on etsy & my old camera, which is probably only a year old & also a Fugi, took horrible close-ups.
I needed a camera with a much better zoom & this one has an 18x optical zoom.
It's a Fujifilm Finepix S1800 & I think I'm in love!

Here's my newest creation...
'Key Chain'.
I even took the picture on something other then my rusty desk...I was inspired!

I love the way the deep colored, garnet beads look with the tarnished, aged, vintage keys.

And the sweet pearl adds just a hint of sophistication.

What do you think of this one???
It's a perfect combination of grace & grunge.
I will be listing it on etsy today just in case it must be yours!
OK, now I have 1 more reason that I'm so darn ecstatic & overcome with joy today!
Can you guess why?

Lorraine in Ontario Canada bought my 1st hand wired, rosary inspired necklace that I just made last week & I heart her so much!!!
Thanks Lorraine!
And thank you friends for putting up with my OCD & the nonsense that goes along with it!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

do you want to play paperdolls?

{check out the Ed Hardy high tops}
When I was a little girl I loved to play with paperdolls!
I don't remember thinking of my family as poor & I had my fair share of Barbie's & Skipper's,
but paperdolls seemed to be the one luxury I could possibly talk my Mother into while shopping at our local pharmacy in Belmont Shore.
Jumping out of the car with my new acquisition, I would run to the kitchen, grab a pair of scissors & frantically cut EVERYTHING out.
Do you remember how they had little tabs at the shoulders & on the sides to fold behind your doll to keep the outfits on & how you had to make a tiny, little slit in the hat to slide it on? That was always hard!

So...would you be surprised to know that at 53 years young, I get paid to make paperdolls?
I am! I could never have imagined, in my wildest of dreams, that 1. I would be a shopgirl & own my very own store & 2. I would make whimsical paperdolls & sell them there.
Now I don't cut quite so frantically, glitter is always included, they almost always have wings & are riding on something magical, but yes...I truly do get paid to make these delightful, paper fairies!

Can you imagine my excitement when I was asked to create a custom order for a dear friend's, Mother's 80th birthday? Overjoyed!
She provided me with the black & white photo of her Mommy when she was just a wee lass.
Looking at that sweet little B&W face, I knew she had to have some soft color, so off to Photoshop we went. I then gathered together some of my favorite elements...black & white striped tights & high tops being a favorite.

I'm under some strange illusion that all little girls need to look a little bit like 'Alice'.
I then print all the components on a white card stock, cut them out, add glitter & let dry. I edge them with a dark chalk for shadow & attach the elements with brads allowing some of the parts to be movable. The final touch is to add a colorful wire for hanging & again..
Viola!! C'est Tres Magnifique!

Thank you Carol for the chance to rekindle my passion & play again!
And I wish your dear Mommy,
the Sweetest of Birthdays!
Look how happy she looks flying on a bluebird!

PS: Just email me if you'd like a custom doll made for someone you love!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ocd & a jeweler's hands

Greetings Sweet Hearts,
Thanks so very much to Miss Lesley Venable
for her fabulous guest post!
I LOVED finding out more about her
& getting a chance to see some of her amazing & creative mixed media arts.
I want to take a class on each & every one of them...especially the burnt tins. I'm totally enamoured with those lost & tattered looking boxes!
So, my questions to all of you...
Is this the way a jeweler's hands are suppose to look or am I just having difficulty in wire wrapping? lol

Next question...
Am I the only one who when starting a new project or passion, becomes completely OCD about it & can do nothing else, or do I really need to find some medication to control my urges?

This is my 2nd charming handmade necklace & earring set 'Buttons & Baubles'
& I really do love it.
I made this set from vintage buttons & faux black pearls, with Vintaj brass findings. The white flower button is made from an abalone shell & is just adorable.
As I continue to practice, I have begun to have a feel for the wire.
The round nose pliers have become my friend rather then a stubborn bureaucrat unwilling to bend. My 2 long noses, help he hold my creation firmly as I work & my sweet wire nippers give me a feeling of accomplishment every time I nip the tiny tail off of 1 of my links.

For my 3rd set I found a fabulous source on etsy,
Studio on the Hill
where Karen creates amazing hand torched wire in different colors. Her fishhook ear wires are so beautiful, there is no need for me to try & duplicate them as I could never make them as lovely!
I chose her brown copper penny wire & love it. The 22 gauge is perfect & just what I wanted to use to make this next set.

My inspiration for this piece was a gorgeous vintage rosary I had seen made with natural stone beads. I used a wonderful old vintage brooch as the focal point & accented it with smoky quartz. My photos so don't do it justice & I should probably use a different surface to photograph on other then my rusty old desk top...but what the hey! It's what it was sitting on! lol

{check out those great fishhooks Karen made}
I've listed these in my etsy shop, all though I'm still learning how to let go.
Who knows?
Next week I may decide to run away & join the circus,
but for today I'm a
jewelry designer!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Monday Morning...

Hi Everyone!!!

First off I want to thank Susie for so graciously letting me come over and visit with y'all!

My name is Lesley Venable and I am a self taught Mixed Media artist who lives in Virginia with my wonderful hubby, Tom (aka Mr. Lesley), and our furry family of 4 (Clancy, Lucy, Cagney & Squirrelene). I was born in Texas, raised in Louisiana and moved "North" about 12 years ago so I am a true Southern girl.

I always considered myself a rebel although I must admit that most of the time I was the rebel without a clue.....well that is until I came across the world of Mixed Media. This art form really allowed my artistic side to shine and it allowed my artist the space to color outside the lines. My mom, Ginger Edwards, is a traditional artist who creates beautiful oil painted canvases, watercolors and more. I have always been in awe of her work but the style just wasn't what my brain needed to wrap around creatively so when I "found" Mixed Media I jumped in feet first and never looked back.

I've been teaching Mixed Media art for the last 4 years and have taught at small studios as well as at major art retreats (Art Is, Art & Soul, Artiscape). My art has been published in Somerset Weddings, Somerset Gallery and I have two pieces which will appear in the next issue of Sew Somerset. 2010 has been a busy teaching year with more still to come.

First up I will be teaching at Art Bliss in September at their Inaugural Event. I will be teaching the Altered Coaster Book, the Altered Tags and the Altered Vintage Photo Album (see photos below). This is going to be a wonderful event and I hope that if you are interested in taking Mixed Media or jewelry classes that you will come and join us. The classes look fantastic, the hotel is fabulous, the room rates are absolutely terrific and I promise you will be amazed at the feeling you get being surrounded by other like minded souls. Click on the link below to be magically taken to their site....
Then in October we will be traveling to Connecticut for Art Is You. Where I will be teaching an altered tin class, altered album class and altered cuff class. October in Connecticut is a beautiful time of year and this is an awesome retreat. You can check it out here:
My final "away from home" class will take place in Waxahachie, Texas at the Paper Cowgirl Wicked Tea Party. This is a one day, 4 teacher event which promises to be nothing less than spectacular!!! Check it out here:
So, I am hoping you stuck around long enough for me to show you just who I am and what my art is all about.....
My First Ever Altered Book

I began by altering books....I loved working on the pages and building little niches to place vintage images. Tom had no idea what I was doing and my co-workers, to this day, still look at me like I'm totally out of my head...maybe I am but I'm happy here.

My next steps were into altering tins. It was the happiest day of my life when I learned that you could burn off the paint on the tin instead of having to sand it off. Tins are one of my all time favorite things to work with, little boxes that hold mysteries and secrets.....

Altered Tin With Booklet

The more I created the more I learned about composition, then I had to learn (or try) about shading, layering and drawing the eye across the page or piece. Sometimes my "necessary job" wouldn't let go at the end of the day and I found I was too technical and could see my rebel brain making a break for it. I finally figured out that I had to just let the piece flow like it wanted to and to quit looking for perfection. Art is supposed to be fun and inspiring and (ack!!) I was stomping down my muse with my banker brain. So I started creating with out of the ordinary items.....

Altered Coaster Book - Page Detail

Altered Coaster Book - page layout

Then I began adding other elements that I had never used before like fabrics and sewing...

Altered Vintage Photo Album

And incorporating my love of all types of transfers into my work....

Altered Tag with Transfer

Then I began making books instead of just altering them.....

Altered Book Page - Paper & Fabric

Adding embellishments, although still keeping with my more simplistic collage style...

Altered Tag with Transfer & Embellishment

and I found that I fell in love with Mixed Media all over again and my muse was happy which in turn made me happy.
Thanks again Susie for allowing me to share a bit about myself...hope I wasn't too boring!!!!
Have a wonderfully blessed Monday everyone!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

hearts from the sea

For your visual pleasure...
My first newly designed necklace & earring set,
'hearts from the sea'.
I made this set from
abalone hearts, fresh water pearls
& antiqued silver, metal findings.
I used bits & pieces from here.

A few pretties from in here.

And Viola!!!
A creation.
You Likey???
It's gorgeous if I do say so myself.
I adored making it.
{I will be listing it in my etsy shop just in case there's any takers}

Thank you friends, for following me along lifes ever changing journey of exploration, creativity & new challenges to pursue.
I guess I'm still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up! :)

Smiles & Hugs Friends,


Sunday, July 18, 2010

inspiration & making jewelry

{1 of my shop's sidewalk displays yesterday, doesn't it just make you want to wander through France?}
Happy Sunday Sweet Friends,
As I sit on my bed this morning surrounded by the new tools of my trade,
I am reminded of the grandness of serendipity!
Because of a post I wrote awhile back about my
I made a brand new friend, Diane Cook of
She had read the post & new instantly we were
kindred spirits.
She contacted me to work on some digital designs for her.
A new logo, some hang tags & 2...2 sided postcards.
Together we created some wonderful designs, but all the while I was smitten with the
beautiful imagery of her jewelry.

The textures & patinas, the color of the stones & the
mix of old & new.
I am amazed & in awe of her creations!

Then as serendipity will have it, I was contacted by
Cindy Wimmer of Sweet Bead Studio
to work on some digital designs for her upcoming weekend workshops for
taking place this September in the Washington DC area.
She had been referred to me by Miss Diane , so together
we designed the flyer & blog badge for this must go to event.

While visiting Cindy's blog, I am again struck by the beauty & creativity I find in all her amazing designs. These 2 beyond talented women's jewelry sing to my soul so loudly that I began to believe that maybe I was a jewelry designer in another life.

I have always loved to play with vintage buttons & came up with this little line of accessories called 'Button Up' a year or so ago.

Then I started playing with vintage domino's, painting them with alcohol inks & adding sweet little vintage images on them, accented by some pretty beads.

{tutorial at the top of my blog}
Next came my Frayed Fabric Flower Brooches, which are such fun to make, but using only a glue gun to create...it doesn't really feel like I'm making handmade jewelry.

{tutorial at the top of my blog}
Finally, I jumped on the bird nest bandwagon & touched wire for the very 1st time. I twisted it & wrapped it, twirled it & made spiral tendrils. Many of my early nests were literally tossed out, but as I continued to work through my 'wire frustration', I got a little better at it. I got a little more comfortable with manipulating the wire & making it do my bidding.

And all of this fuss leads up to a bracelet I made last week.
My 1st piece of inspired by my amazing muses, jewelry designs made from vintage buttons & vintage religious metals on antiqued brass findings.
What do you think?
I adore it.
My wire wrapping still sucks & I'm in critical need of some classes, but I have a new love in my life & my hubby isn't even jealous. Last night as we sat on the bed watching 'Practical Magic', my new tools & supplies surrounding us both, he picked up my new copy of 'Easy Wire' magazine & while thumbing through it said, "These are nice earrings, why don't you try & make a pair?"
So, thank you to the Gods of Serendipity.
Thank you to the muses who have touched my life.
Thank you to cupid who shot the arrow through my heart for my amazing soulmate.
And thank you my friends for allowing me to share.
Now I just have to ask my muses 1 simple question.
How do you learn to not want to keep everything you make just for you? LOL

Smiles Friends!