Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year - bring on 2010!

I have neglected this blog shamefully as someone close to me has had some medical issues, so one of my New Year's Resolutions is to blog more regularly! The holidays slipped by in a blur and I feel as if I did *not* have enough Christmas this year, but I did manage to stop and feel the magic here and there. I hope that you all enjoyed a beautiful holiday with friends, family and dear ones, and that 2010 brings good things only, good health and exciting opportunities.

Happy New Year from New York City on a snowy, wet day. I will be spending the evening by the fire with my peeps, watching the ball drop, and being thankful for the good that we enjoyed this year, as we wave goodbye to a tumultuous decade and await....?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Etsy Front Page Sunday

It's a rare occurrence, but my shop was on the Front Page of Etsy for an hour very early this morning (or late last night). The "Dark Romance" theme pops up from time to time, and I was in this Admin-curated group once before, with this necklace that has over 2000 views. It's a favorite of mine, the Steampunk Romance Necklace, because of the sweet cherry red Victorian sequin sew-on beads that have so much candy-like appeal. They're like little translucent red hots. Do they make that candy anymore?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering Family Veterans

Thank you to all veterans, past and present, for your service and sacrifice. It's always a sobering day, remembering how many have served and died defending our country.

In my family, I thank my father, Maurice Finnell, who is happily, still with us at almost 94, who served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, during WWII. I like this picture of him on leave at home in New Jersey one winter, where icicles behind him threaten to fall any second. He's wearing his army issue coat, which he still has and can probably fit into again!

The second picture is of my late uncle, Benjamin Kaufman, who served in WWI. Uncle Ben won the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Croix de Guerre, among other medals, for bravery in the Argonne Forest in France; you can read a little about him here and even more, here. He was an Executive Director and National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans, and was honored throughout his life for this achievement. Uncle Ben was a modest man and elderly by the time I came on the scene, and I so wish that I could have talked to him with an adult's sensibility about this seminal event in his long life. He traveled all over the world with his beloved Dorothy - they were a fabulous couple, devoted to each other, who worked hard to improve the lives of veterans and the disabled, and were the heart and soul of our family. I miss you both so much, Aunt Dot and Uncle Ben.

I have been updated by a cousin and want to remember my late uncle Albert Finkle, who also was a WWII veteran. My cousin Joel Popkin is a veteran of the Korean War at Fort Benning, Georgia, and his brother, David Popkin, served in the Army Dental Corps.

New in the Shop

I've had these clock hands for a couple of months and finally had some time last night to make the earrings I'd planned to with them. They're wonderfully long and dangly, nearly 4 inches long including the ear wire. I'm drawn to the Medieval era, and the spiky points called to me and were most inspiring. As the hands are asymmetrical, I compensate for the shortness of one by adding a length of copper-plates steel chain, from which dangles a black iridescent glass cathedral-style bead. The red beads are vintage beauties: blood red glass with silvery veins of hematite, for a very dramatic accent. The rest of the hardware is brass, for contrast.

Not everyone can wear such long earrings, or wants to, but for the right occasion, they will serve nicely for those who do.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday Featured Seller - Nancy Wilder on Etsy

I just spied a wrap on the front page of Etsy that led me to this shop, Nancy Wilder, maker of gorgeous felted wool accessories and clothing in polar fleece and jersey. There's lots of lovely texture especially and beautiful colors, and I'm quite partial to the felted scarves and cocoon wraps with colorful dots. I urge you to check out this shop from the San Francisco Bay Area that's new to me, and a happy find!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Calendar Girls

It's time to buy a desk calendar for 2010, and while I'm happy with the one I bought last year from Digtal Paperie, I am hankering for something completely different. I decided to go back to Etsy to find some great graphic choices, and I wasn't disappointed. I'm featuring ones that I loved so you can discover some of these talented artists and possibly brighten up your desk or (heavens!) cube with something fresh to delight your eye. These cards come inside a clear jewel case that serves as its own stand and takes up very little space on all but the tiniest of desks.

First up is J Hill Designs, whose bright, modern-yet-retro cards are just stunning. These patterns are so colorful, rich and complicated, and are sure to inspire.

For tree-lovers, here is a sophisticated set of 12 cards from InkDropDesign.

Another pretty choice are these botanical gocco printed calendar cards by Anna Cote. The colors are so well chosen, and the illustrations were created from ger own photographs.

These sensational Victorian-themed cards by InkaDinkaDoodle are so elegant - I love the quiet palette of gray, ochre, white and black and the artfully composed period illustrations and patterns. Great for a lover of Steampunk!

Alicia Bock has the perfect calendar for lovers of Paris photography. I have admired her work on Etsy for some time, and love that her photos are not sterile travelogues but have a point of view and a feeling of lightness.

For Drama Lovers, how about a Shakespeare Calendar from Immortal Longings?
This shop specializes in Shakespeare-themed illustrations and gifts and the drawings are colorful, accessible and modern.

Finally, from Sure As Blue, here is a colorful calendar with apt seasonal illustrations that cheer me up no end. It was a tough choice, but I went with this one. I have 2 desks, though, so I MIGHT have to buy another....which will you choose? Let me know!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Wrap-Up

The sneakers are an interesting shoe choice for Ancient Rome.

Definitely Phillies Fans at this house!

Book giveaway!

One family had the idea to give out garlic shrimp on a stick, which is my kind of treat! I loved seeing families on the porch enjoying a meal with wine as kids trooped up for their goodies.

Some lovely orange skulls and a festively decorated house.

Greeting callers at the door

The boys carry on under hot and sweaty maskes. The gangster's shoulders were inflated and also hot to wear.

I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and Happy Halloween last night. The warm weather and rain were an odd mix, but fun was had. We enjoyed a sensational meal in the burbs, enjoyed the kids who came to the house and then ventured out in the rain to do a little T & T-ing with the boys. I have not had time to make them costumes since they were small, and now they prefer store-bought costumes as they can change their minds at the last minute. This year they chose some kind of skull ghost and Scarface, a "Wiseguy" which I thought was insulting, though most people thought it was Richard Nixon! With scars.

My pics are only so-so this year (The weather had a lot to do with this) but it was a ghoulishly good evening. The most inventive house was one we visited owned by the publisher of Scholastic Books - he gave out small bunches of books to the children, which is an insanely generous thing to do. My neffs were very excited, as were the teenage girls hoping to get their hands on a "Twilight" book.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Colors 2009

I was in Central Park this weekend, on a rainy Saturday (too bad for the kids attending the Pumpkin Hunt!) with camera in hand, but thankfully, it was still a photo-worthy visit. The leaves this week are green with lots of yellow but not too much red, but I expect that by this weekend, we will see some changes. It hadn't been that cold here, so fall color hasn't advanced that far. It's still awfully pretty, and I hope to capture more leaf extravaganza as October advances...

More pictures at my Flickr here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

When I Get My Brownstone, I'll Decorate for Halloween Like This, Too

There is a brownstone building on East 83rd Street that is sporting the most bewitching Halloween decorations. I was literally struck dumb last week by the sight as I got re-acquainted with my old neighborhood by the wonderfully creative and tasteful Halloween and Harvest spirit. Tall corn graces the archway, fake cobwebs have been stretched across the iron fences, spiders are dotted here and there and cheery/spooky orange pumpkins stand out amid potted mums and fall flowers. I wish I knew the names of the people involved and really should drop a thank you note inside the gate.

More pix at my Flicker here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bright Color for a Rainy Day

The weather has been cold and rainy and I was cheered by this Treasury on Etsy, curated by A Jewelry Boxx, which featured brightly colored, adorable items that would make charming gifts to cheer someone up. I have some felted wool earrings in this group, so thank to AJB for finding my baubles and including them!

Tea at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

In late summer I had a request for a wholesale order of tea cup cell phone charms and key rings from their imaginative gift shop director, who had seen my Cream Tea Necklace and Earrings on Etsy. It was a challenging project, and was the first time that I had to design the packaging, which was a great experience.

I checked the gift shop website last night and was thrilled to see my Tea Cups listed there. This is an exclusive design for the Centre, not available anywhere else!

Monday, September 28, 2009

All Buttoned Up Market

Do you love buttons? Have a button fetish? Then check out this fab market, All Buttoned Up, at the new 1000 Markets. There are so many clever and appealing items here using vintage and new buttons - for the home, to wear, cards and paper goods - you must check it out if you love buttons as much as I do.

I joined 1000 Markets this spring - it's a beautiful site for shopping handmade. I don't do enough promotion for them, and I'm trying to fix that. A bunch of us sellers have items with free shipping this month, connected with an Amazon promotion, so check out my shop and others. They take Amazon Payments, not Paypal, but doesn't everyone buy from Amazon these days? It's US-only, so overseas folk will have to buy from my Etsy shop, but many pieces from OTT on Etsy are on 1KM.

IKM is juried, which means that shops are vetted for quality and handmade standards. You won't see any resellers there!

Five Treasuries in One Day

Yom Kippur has just ended, so Happy New Year to everyone! I have been very busy this month; family obligations and work have kept me from posting much or making new pieces, which is unsettling. I have so many ideas for fall but no time in which to realize them!

Here I am doing some self-promotion again as a post, as I am featured in FIVE Treasuries today, an almost unheard of event (lately) for this shop. I love Fall on Etsy as there are so many gorgeous pieces to look at and covet from so many shops.

I'm posting four as I don't know what piece was chosen for the fifth Treasury - we don't get to see that info.

I was also a staff pick on 1000 Markets last week, and am still visible today on the page if you scroll down a bit. On the left side of the page, my Orange Juice Vitamin C Jade Necklace was chosen and has garnered many new views!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Found Handmade Blog Feature

Here's a lovely golden brown Fall/Autumn Blog feature that features your truly at this link. Click on the shop links below if you choose to visit the page for closer looks at pretty Autumn wearables!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From Sunrise to Sunset

I worked on a commercial last week for Avis, and we spent half of our day at a heavenly spot, Lookout Point, on Long Island. More pretty Photos on Flickr here. The weather was glorious and a fine time was had by all under such lovely circumstances. The product was Avis Rent a car and we ended the day at their spot at JFK Airport.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Random Photos

Quick shots of some Bergdorf Goodman windows from last week!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Etsy Front Page Thursday

Front Page last night on Etsy, but I was in bed and found out this morning. The featured item was "Mrs. Danvers' Romantic Gothic Necklace", here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Love A Good Storm!

I have been offline for a week (not including trips to the Apple Store and my local library to use the computers) and after having the logic board and video card replaced this morning, couldn't wait to upload this storm video that I took last week, on August 18. I was hoping to upload it to NY 1 so they could show it as the lightning was RIGHT THERE and seemingly hitting the next rooftop.

I've lost electronics in the past to lighting hitting my building, so I was pretty happy not to have lost anything this time. I notice that other people also filmed this storm, so you can see it from a few different vantage points.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Front Page Feature!

Very nice to see this on a day when my computer has had a meltdown and I am without one - I'm at the library and am hoping I can upload this widget!

Yay! It worked! Mine is the orange coral necklace.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Newport Nostalgia Costume Ball

I was entranced by this set of pictures by New York Times fashion reporter Bill Cunningham commemorating the 22nd Vintage Dance Week of the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers held last month in Newport, Rhode Island. Mr. Cunningham's copy states:

"The group's members share an interest in the dances and the clothing of the period between the Civil War and the Jazz Age. Each of the five nights is devoted to a ball or dance of a particular time. The daytime activities includes tea on July 28 at Blithewold, an Edwardian mansion with an arboretum in Bristol, R.I. On July 29, a formal ball unfolded at Beechwood, the Newport Home of the Mrs. Astor, Caroline. To see Beechwood under those circumstances was a step back in history at a time when the will of the last Mrs. Astor, Brooke, is being dragged through court in New York. The original Mrs. Astor still reigns supreme in her gilded Newport ballroom."

Here's the link to the page at the NY Times so you can see the pictures more clearly.

I was jolted by photographs 8 and 11, which show one Judith Holcomb wearing a famous gown by Charles Frederick Worth. It looks at a distance to be a beautifully made, somewhat simplified replica of this dress, owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have seen this dress close up, and it looks as fresh today as it did over 100 years ago.

It's lovely to look at these wonderful photographs and see how much care was put into this event so that the fashions for the most part actually look correct, with appropriate hair dressing, shoes and I imagine, jewels. If you look carefully, you'll see different silhouettes, from the 1860s (#22)to the Edwardiam Era(#29).

I wish that I could see them in larger detail so that I could see what the menswear looked like as well. I am thrilled by the visuals from the Garden party and daytime shots - so many of these photographs look like they could be paintings of the period by Tissot and others. #2 and #23 especially could be paintings. #21, which shows a lady in a fabulous bustle ensemble, could be a lovely scene from the French Impressionist room at the Met.

If one is fortunate enough to be able to afford, prepare for and attend an event like this, what a week this must have been! Here's some information about this year's event. The site also offers some interesting costume resources full of fashion history, patterns, reproduction historic clothing retailers, fabric sources, etc. A great deal of effort was clearly put into the clothing, and why not, in that setting? You'd hardly want to show up is some sad ersatz costume at an opulent Newport mansion! Bravi to everyone involved!