Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Felt Enlightened

Ya know when I set out to make funky felt cocktail rings, I bought a package of colored felt like the kind I used in grade school. Yet when I was researching felt projects and tutorials for my etsy shop, I discovered that there are different types of felt. Who knew? So, I feel that it is my duty as a felt artisan to edify the masses as to the differences. After all, I felt enlightened myself.

 The most widely used felt among crafters is acrylic felt. It is formed from acrylic fibers and is readily available in a wide range of colors at a reasonable price. This is typically sold in sheets of different sizes and colors. The felt sheets that are commercially available are formed by tightly pressing fibers together and then agitating them until all the air is removed and a firm tight fabric has been produced.

A second type of felt is handmade felt. There are many fiber artists who produce handmade felt using a variety of techniques. These are beautiful textiles that work well for a variety of projects. The traditional way of making felt is known as wet felting. The woolen fibers are laid out on a board and then dampened with hot water and agitated. The combination of heat and movement causes the fibers to mat together and then shrink forming a firm fabric. Felt is also made by fulling (shrinking) knitted and woven fabrics. Anyone who has popped a wonderful new wool sweater into a washing machine only to retrieve an item that has shrunk to a fraction of the size will understand the process. The only difference is that producing felt from knitting is done on purpose! The felting of knitting and weaving pulls the fibers tight and, like other felt, the fabric will not unravel. Some examples of handmade felt are wool and bamboo.

Needlefelt (also known as prefelt) is half way between commercially produced and hand made felt. Made from pure wool, it is a loose fabric formed from lightly felted fabrics. These can be worked with as normal, but will still shrink and felt further when finished, meaning that these are a good alternative for people looking to make creative surface designs or 3D projects.

So that's what I came upon during my research. I just ordered some felt books from Amazon so I'm sure there are other types as well. I'll keep you posted.

I hope you FELT somewhat enlightened.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Treasury Chest

Today I'd like to pay homage to etsy treasuries. Treasuries are theme-based compilations containing etsy shop items. I'd like to display both the treasuries that I've curated as well as the treasuries that I've been featured in. Firstly, the treasuries that I've curated:

Acrylic Adornments

Bite The Bullet

Leather & Lace

Scoring Skulls

The Star Sparkled Banner

Toot Your Horn

Zip It Up

These are treasuries that I've been featured in:

A Forest Of Green



Burn, Baby Burn!

Color Me Pretty

Is this BRIGHT enough FOR YOU?

Lilacs And Lavender

My Darlin Clementine...

Neurotic Neons

Pretty In Pink

Red And Pink All Over

Ring Ring

Spring Part 2 - Bright Colors

Turning Back The Clock

So check out some treasuries. They're fun and a nice way to discover new items, especially for a specific event, holiday, etc.

Happy treasury hunting!!

FunkyFeltFlowers Shop

Me 'n Mo'

I'm in love with my dog. There - I said it. The 40lb, all white English bulldog named Mo' is my angel, my child, my world. I can't help it. He gives me unconditional love, is always happy when I come home, kisses me and never chewed a thing in my home. He's perfect.

And, its not only me that thinks this way about pets. They really do improve your mood. It's virtually impossible to stay in a bad mood when you're holding a super-soft kitten in your hands, or when your eyes meet those of a loyal dog. Pets also stave off loneliness and offer companionship and comfort in times of solitude. Research shows that nursing home residents report less loneliness when visited by dogs than when spending time with other people. Impressive.

Pets can push you out and exercise. Whether walking your dog for a bathroom break or because a walk is more enjoyable with a buddy, dog owners spend more time walking than non-pet owners. And as we know, exercise is a key component to stress reduction.

Pets can be better than people. Pets offer unconditional love and support without the judgment that humans add. They're great listeners too!!

 I consider myself more than just a "dog owner." I'm a mother, companion, caregiver, coach and friend. And, I have a major responsibility in my life. This "responsibility" gives my life more meaning, discipline and happiness.

So the next time your feeling lonely, visit a shelter, pet a dog on the street, entertain the idea of adopting an animal. You won't regret it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Gilliauna's Jewels aka "Bits n' Beads"

Gilliauna is a 20 year veteran jewelry artisan who hails from British Colombia, Canada. She loves color and infuses it into her unique handmade designs as much as possible. She also incorporates recycled, re-purposed vintage beads in her items in order to keep our environment green and clean. Her emphasis on color and quality is meant to enrich the lives of those who wear her designs. Her jewelry can be found at craft shows as well as various websites (which I'll post at the end of this blog.) And, in addition to jewelry, she makes items such as purse charms, zipper pulls, eyeglass chains and beaded bookmarks. She's quite the talent! Here are some of her designs:
 These are an array of her "Teardrop Wire Wrapped Earrings." They're made by wrapping tiny colored glass briolettes with silver tone wire. Each set is 1.2 inches in length and are light and delicate to wear. They're simple, lovely and affordable. I think that they would look beautiful on anyone in his or her desired color. My personal favorite are the clear glass ones with an iridescent shimmer. Exquisite.
I happen to love this "Striated Black Onyx Bracelet in Gold." A thick square striated black onyx gemstone is linked to smaller black glass beads with plated accents and a matching toggle clasp. Simple and elegant, the unique onyx stone demands attention. The bracelet is 8 inches long and surely makes a statement.
  I looove this necklace. It is so ornate and richly infused with redness. It is entitled "Beaded Gothic Necklace, Blood Red, Gold" aka "Elizabeth Bathory." It is the vintage gold rings combined with the teardrops of blood red glass that evoke a look of majesty and royalty. It is one-of-a-kind and measures an adjustable 18.5 inches to 20 inches in length. It can be worn as either a choker or a slightly longer necklace. One can't help but stare at its elegance.

Since my own business is all about cocktail rings, which I happen to love, I had to include this piece in the blog. It is aptly called "Seafoam Princess" and is a cluster of vintage pearls in shades of seafoam green, pale pink and white with an adjustable copper ring back. It is approximately 1.3 inches wide and exudes elegance. It is also a one-of-a-kind piece. You can't help but think of a princess when you see it. The shades blend together perfectly to present a delicate, "bubbly," pearl piece of perfection!

So as you can see, Gilliauna really does use color as the focus of her jewelry. Whether simple, ornate, vintage, etc., the colors evoke all kinds of emotions and wake up your senses. Her designs are unique and her talent is obvious. I'm going to go to her shop and do a little shopping myself!

Below are all the shops, blogs and websites where Gilliauna can be found:

Bits n' Beads Website

Bits n' Beads Etsy Shop

Bits n' Beads Artfire Shop

Bits n' Beads Facebook Fan Page

 Gilliauna's Twitter Page

Bits n' Beads Blog

The Meandering Musings of a Consummate Shopper Blog

Bits n' Beads Artfire Destash Shop

Bits n' Beads Etsy Destash Shop

Friday, February 18, 2011

Loving Laser Cut Jewelry

One of my favorite types of jewelry is acrylic (or plastic) laser cut. It has "carved" a niche of its own in the jewelry world. It seemed like an involved process as I was researching the manufacturing of it. Firstly, you need a laser cutting machine that will be hooked up to your computer with specific software. You also need sheets of acrylic. A graphic editing program is also necessary to draw the desired design. The sheet of acrylic is loaded into the machine and the design is then printed to it. Sounds complicated, doesn't it? Well, I don't know if I'd ever be able to learn, but I sure do love and purchase laser cut jewelry items. Mostly, I get them on etsy. Here are some particular ones I fancy:
So if you're looking for something a little more funky and edgy than traditional jewels, try on a laser cut piece. You might get addicted!

All items shown are currently featured at

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Daily Jewel

Today I'd like to pay homage to my bestest friend, Norah, and her amazing talent. She is a self-taught jewelry designer and maker, and the most loyal and caring person. She's my advisor, my rock, my co-conspirator, my jewel. Her etsy store "Your Daily Jewels" has beautiful unique pieces made from vintage items and semi-precious stones. They're bursting with color and color your life. I can't seem to stay away from her store myself! Her endless giveaways and sales represent her generosity and benevolence. All of her pieces are one-of-a-kind and personify the beauty that comes from within. Her passion is limitless, not only for her jewelry, but for all of her endeavors in life. She embodies compassion. The prices of her items are extremely reasonable, especially for the quality that you're purchasing. I can't imagine anyone not being attractive to her creations. She's also a physical therapist by day (a most fitting profession for someone of her sensitivity and kindness) and jewelry maker at all other times. She's found her niche and it suits her well. She also likes to share her creations with her young clients as a means of bringing a smile to their faces while they face their pain. I can't say enough about her. I've known her forever and convinced that we're separated at birth. Here are some photos of her work:

While her website is under construction (, you can find her in the meantime at the following:

And here she all her glory!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bar Method Madness

Instead of talking about my usual arts aesthetic, I'm going to talk about a physical aesthetic - as in "the body." It's coming upon a year now that I've been taking daily classes at the Bar Method in Soho. I guess you could say I'm obsessed, an addict, an aficionado. The first class I took on the day it opened in April, 2010, I was hooked. The studio itself is a big, open airy loft converted into 3 studios. There are changing rooms, showers, towels, a complimentary coffee and tea bar; the works. The staff is disarmingly cheerful and welcoming, and you only have to introduce yourself once, for thereafter, your name will never be forgotten. The class itself is a combination of yoga, pilates, ballet, isometrics and light weights. It's fast paced and you don't have a chance to rest for the entire hour. However, each exercise is followed by a complimentary stretch, which I find to be a most healthy fitness ethic. You use your muscles until they fatigue, and I can't help but smirk when I look around the room at 20 women on their tippy toes with their legs shaking uncontrollably. This is not only typical at Bar Method, but expected, and not harmful in the least. The concentration is mostly on the thighs, glutes, and overall buttocks, and the burn is unrelentless. The movements are small and precise, evolved to promote a long, lean dancer-esque body. The results can be seen relatively quickly, if you take class a few times weekly. All exercises can be modified for those who have injuries, are pregnant or do not have the flexibility. I absolutely find it to be the most well thought out, well structured class I've ever taken (and I've taken quite a few in my day!) I can't picture my life without Bar Method. And, when I ask myself "Am I a masochist or what?", the answer lies in the mirror, when I stare at my Bar Method butt and smile contentedly.

The Awesome Co-Owners, Amy Duffey (left) & Kristin Kelleher (right)