Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things I'm Thankful for-41 through 60!

41. Getting a seat on the el! (espcially nice if I get one both ways on all four trains that I ride every day!! I have to switch from the brown to red and vice versa)
42. Amazing architecture and the fabulous engineers that figure out how to build it! (I'm totally amazed at highways, who plans and builds these things!!??)
43. Chirping birds (unless they're outside my window when I'm trying to sleep!)
44. The smell of parents used to have a tree in their back yard and I could smell it from my bedroom window!
45. Wildwood Girls!!!
46. polaroids
47. Birthday Cake!!
48. holidays
49. white out
50. graphic design
51. salad
52. sarcasm
53. architectural scales and tape measures
54. fabric!!!
55. facebook and myspace
56. bead stores (dangerous places!!)
57. paisleys
58. the internet
59. re-usable bags being sold at grocery stores (ban plastic!)
60. great movies and t.v. shows

Weekly Win It - jaC Jewelry!!!

Today's Weekly Win It artist is another fabulous jewelry maker (and also a JLC Studio sponsor)! I'm so excited to introduce you to Janna from jaC Jewelry!

Janna makes one-of-a-kind, absolutely beautiful pieces featuring a number of different materials. She specializes in making custom pieces and really enjoys creating jewelry on request for any occasion! I absolutely love her pieces and am very impressed with the delicate quality I see in everything she has to offer!! My favorites are the items she makes using gorgeous and unique pearls (that's why I'm super-excited for today's give-away!!). Let's take a look at how Janna got into making jewelry and learn a little bit more about her shop and her inspirations!

Your jewelry pieces are absolutely gorgeous, how long have you been creating your fabulous pieces? In 2004, while on vacation visiting family, I went to a bead store with my aunt, and walked out of there with a big bag of beads… I came home and made my first piece from those beads immediately.

I made a few more pieces after that, but did not get absolutely addicted to jewelry-making until a year and a half ago, during my (now) husband’s first deployment overseas. Now, I’m hooked and don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

Where did you learn your craft? Have you ever taken any classes or had any training? I have not taken any classes – I started with a strand of beads, beading wire and a clasp, and just went from there, much the same way I learned how to crochet. Back in college, I was in Barnes and Noble once, and saw a beautiful afghan on a cover of a crocheting book. So, I said to myself: “Oh, that looks neat – I am going to make one!” I bought that book and figured out how to crochet an afghan. It would have been much easier to start with a scarf, but I made my first scarf after I made six or seven blankets. Unlike crocheting books, I have yet to own a book on jewelry-making. I learn the best by doing, so I am constantly experimenting with different techniques and continuing to hone my jewelry-making skills!

What are your favorite materials to work with? Favorite type of jewelry to create? I make my creations with gems and semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, and gold-plated and brass findings. Freshwater pearls are my most favorite (especially keshi and biwa stick pearls). I have pearls in every single shape, color and type that you can possibly imagine! However, I use all types of stones to be fair to the other beads. :)

Also, I absolutely LOVE Bali sterling silver beads (especially frame beads) and toggle clasps!

I don’t really have a favorite type of jewelry – I love making all of it! I started with necklaces, moved on to bracelets, and then finally earrings. I like to wear everything equally; maybe that’s why I like making it all!

You create customized bridal jewelry for the entire bridal party…when did you start offering this service and how did you get into it? After designing and making wedding favors, place cards and thank you cards for my own wedding, I thought it would be a great idea to offer customized bridal accessories to match a wedding theme. With encouragement and sage advice from my wonderful husband, I created a website and started selling both “regular” jewelry and my wedding creations! One of my objectives is to create versatile designs that people are able to wear with multiple outfits, styles and occasions. Specifically with bridal designs, my goal is to create versatile pieces that the bridal party will be able to wear long after the wedding, and this aspect appeals to the brides, as well as bridesmaids. My latest bridal order will be traveling to Canada for the wedding!

Do you sell your jewelry at places other than Etsy? Yes, in addition to Etsy, I sell my jewelry on my personal website ( and home parties. I also take the jewelry to offices around the winter holidays. Several months ago, the owner of the beauty salon I go to generously offered me to have a show there, and that was great! I also do custom orders on request. Whenever I work on jewelry designs, I always imagine them a part of an outfit, so I thought it would be great to make pieces on request for people who want them to match certain outfits or colors. As it turns out, sometimes it works the opposite way - one of my friends is a huge fan of jaC jewelry; she buys necklaces from me first, and then buys outfits to match them!

Where do you get inspiration for your beautiful designs? Most of the time, I buy the beads and findings that I think are gorgeous, without any idea for a design in mind. Combining several colors is as far as I will go when coming up with ideas for designs. Then, I put them together and discover that the most unexpected combinations look the best together!

This is fabulous!! I'm always interested in finding out a little more about a fellow jewelry maker! I'm very impressed with Janna's wonderful jewelry (and totally wish I could enter this weeks give-away!). What is the give-away, you ask? It's this beautiful pair of pearl and crystal earrings!!!! They're absolutely stunning!

This weightless pair of earrings is so fantastically summery! They are made with white Biwa stick pearls (my favorite!), sterling silver components and Swarovski crystal bicones in clear, two shades of yellow and two shades of blue. They measure 2.25" from top to bottom (1.75" without the ear wires).

In order to enter to win these fabulous earrings, leave a comment on this post!!! Check here for contest rules and regulations.

Janna is also offering free domestic shipping for 10 days, beginning today, to any buyer that mentions JLC Studio! Just drop a note in the notes to seller section that you saw her creations here to take advantage of this offer!!

Thanks soooo much Janna for participating in the give-away as well as being a terrific sponsor! You're the best and so sweet too!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Things I'm Thankful For-21 through 40

My niece and nephew

21. Kind and generous people! Thanks for all your comments're the best!!!!!!!!
22. The smell of baking chocolate cookies!
23. Art and those who create it...
24. Being able to talk to my closest friend's about anything
25. Having a sense of humor
26. Terrific parents who have been married 32 years and have raised my sister and I to be well adjusted human beings!!
27. Getting two tax refunds...Whooo Hoooo!!! (I usually don't even get one!)
28. Great music and even better musicians
29. The ability to laugh at myself when I do something stupid
30. My new printer!!
31. The terrific people who have participated in my Weekly Win It guys rock!
32. The sound of a baby or little kid laughing (especially when being tickled!)
33. My love for grammer and writing
34. Drawing and sketching
35. Shopping
36. Etsy!!
37. My great relationship with my Dad and the fact that we know what each other is going to say when we make fun of things we see on t.v. (we're a couple of smart aleck's-same sense of humor!)
38. Coffee!!!!!!
39. My handwriting (architecturally inspired!)
40. The fact that my mom and I have grown closer over the past few years and have a lot more in common! She got me into jewelry making!!

Weekly Win It-Rik Rak-WINNER!!!!

Congratulations to the winner in the Rik Rak give-away!!!! The lucky reader is:


Yay! I'll be sending you an email to let you know you're the lucky winner!

There were 20 entries (less two for Rik Rak and myself!)

Be sure to check out this week's give-away!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

100th Post!! Whooooooo Hoooooo!!!!!!!

So it's officially my 100th post, I can't even believe it! I've been blogging since December of 2007 and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would enjoy it so much! I've met some truly amazing people through this great community and look forward to the many more I hope to come in contact with! In honor of my 100th post, I decided to list 100 things I'm grateful for. I'm going to post twenty per day (in no particular order) so as not to overwhelm you lovely readers! So sit back, relax, and join me in thinking about all those things/people/thoughts you are most thankful for!

One Through Twenty!!
1. GOD!!!
2. Family (especially my niece and nephew!)
3. Friends and acquaintances
4. My job as an interior designer
5. Creativity and ambition
6. My apartment!
7. Delicious food.
8. Jewelry!
9. A good book
10. My city!!
11. My car
12. My blog (and my lovely readers...LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!)
13. My sister who is my best friend and also my business partner
14. AutoCAD!! (Yes, I'm wierd!)
15. Living in a place where there are four seasons and being gratful for each new season to arrive!
16. Flowers, gardens, plants, trees, NATURE!
17. Sleep (my bed! Thanks Opa!!)
18. My grandparents (miss you Nana!!)
19. The beach
20. Health and happiness! (maybe this should have been near the top!?)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Flickr Find

Ahhh...bed, how I love you...and sleep, sleep and I get along really well. These photos make me want to curl up for a long nap (which I wish I was doing right now!). Have a great weekend!!!

good evening, originally uploaded by original_ann.

Day 293: Cold and alone, originally uploaded by Gods Emerald.

hm? ;), originally uploaded by TommyOshima.

The Master Bedroom, originally uploaded by (Erik).

bed, originally uploaded by sfgirlbybay.

Dream a little dream of me, originally uploaded by Jon Block.

sleeping feet, originally uploaded by Orrin.

jazz it up, originally uploaded by Sunny Shum.

enter sandman, originally uploaded by Voight Kampff.

Lying on the bed, originally uploaded by manganite.

Just Out of Bed, originally uploaded by yvestown.

Failed Attempt, originally uploaded by sMacshot. 23 alt, originally uploaded by TeeRish.

soft to the touch, originally uploaded by The 10 cent designer.

bedroom 002, originally uploaded by yein~.

custom closet door, originally uploaded by The 10 cent designer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Favorite Photographers-Jennifer Squires

A while back (okay, quite a while!) the lovely Jennifer Squires contacted me to see if I'd be interested in doing a post featuring her fabulous contemporary photography. After looking at her Etsy shop as well as her website, I was more than elated to share her great pieces with all of you! She has a great eye for composition and is also very adept at capturing gorgeous still life images! I was also happy to see that she has a section on her website featuring portraits of babies ('cause I'm a sucker for the little ones-I actually think this is my favorite series from her!!). Here is just a small collection of my favorites! Be sure to check out her shop as she is currently running a promotion (Buy one 8" x 10", get one FREE)for Earth Day! Check it out soon though because the offer ends tomorrow!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Weekly Win It-Rik Rak!!!

This week I'm sooooo excited to welcome the Weekly Win It Etsian for a few reasons! First, she was the Etsy featured seller yesterday (what timing!). Second, she makes sustainable items using repurposed fabrics (perfect for Earthday Week!) and third, I am the lucky owner of one of her fabulous pieces so I can speak from first-hand knowledge when I tell you how terrific her items are. Please help me welcome Kristal from Rik Rak!

I absolutely love Kristal's colorful and graphic designs and her sewn pieces are beautiful...the stitching is perfect and so neat and tailored (trust me!). I love the creativity she seems to have in spades and it seems that her son has taken after her as well! Kristal uses repurposed fabrics to create new, one-of-a-kind wallets, clutches, bibs, blankets, cards, the list goes on and on...Let's get to know Kristal a little bit better, shall we?

How did you learn your craft and how long have you been sewing? My wonderful grandmother was a master quilter & craftsperson, so I was always surrounded by her beautiful work when visiting her as a child & young adult. I'd count her careful construction of materials as the seed for my own work. When she passed away several years ago, the fabric I inherited from her collection became the first materials I used for my early rikrak projects, and really helped me to push my sewing - which I had been doing on and off for the past few years - into a wonderful new realm.

Where do you do your crafting? How much fabric do you have “collected”? Oh, my poor husband! Our home is seemingly lined with shelves stuffed abundantly full of vintage fabrics and crafting gear. I work from home, when my son's away at school, and I also spend many evenings a week with my sewing machine at the dining room table, designing and creating while my wonderful husband reads books aloud for us both to enjoy!

You have such a great eye for fun and bright colors as well as composition and design in your shop as a whole…tell us about your background? Thanks so much! As I mentioned, my grandmother's traditional work was really my initial inspiration, sort of a blueprint for how a quilter - or craft maker - works. So, I suppose my designs come out of a respect for an old-fashioned sensibility, but mix in my love of simple lines and bright flashes of colour that I’ve long loved in Scandinavian and Japanese design in particular. I just love being able to showcase the amazing, historical fabrics that I’ve come across in fun & functional wares for everyday use! Seems to me that a tiny, well-place detail will always mean more in a design than a complex pattern. And I think beautiful vintage fabrics lend themselves so well to that!

My artistic background was fostered from a young age by my fabulous & amazing parents. They taught me a wonderful appreciation for handicraft (they cherished antiques & the stories behind handicrafts) and making things ourselves. I’m so thankful that they gave me the room to experiement with my own creativity and space to think & problem solve creatively.

You use a lot of vintage fabrics in your designs, what do you like best about vintage fabric and how do you find these fabulous patterns? (I’m not asking for sources…just how you came to be interested in using them and how you search them out!) By being steeped in old crafting traditions, I came to really respect the wonderful age-old ideal of repurposing, re-using, and re-inventing materials born once upon a time out of economic need, but now used as more of a kind of ethical statement, I suppose, on the value of respecting where we've come from, and where our materials have come from. This sense of history and nostalgia is important for me in my work, and it allows me to apply older materials and historical methods to new designs and new aesthetic approaches. I am lucky to have friends and family who keep an eye out for great vintage fabrics, maybe their aunt’s apron, or a nostalgic bedsheet – and send them my way! Thanks, nicies! Sometimes folks that I create custom works for will actually have special, nostalgic fabric that they’d like me to incorporate into a project for them. I just adore doing that!

I absolutely LOVE the photographic cards featuring photos taken by your already talented 3 year old! He takes better photos than most adults! Tell us a little about them... Thanks so much, JLC! He just loves taking photos! From a very young age, he seemed particularly interested in using the camera and being careful with it. My husband and I are both keen photographers, so the fact that we always have a camera on us seemed to encourage his avid love of it! Since he is so little, his wonderful, unique angles, and the objects he was interested in recording were of great fascination to me. I just love seeing his fun ideas and what appeals to his own artistic eye! And since digital is so prevalent – he can take 100s of photos with such minimal cost, so he can experiment and play with the camera for hours! I think it’s safe to say that his fun angles & look on life have inspired me in my own creative photography!

What is your favorite item to make and what is your best selling item? I really love making a wonderful range of quilted items. I think doing a broad range of projects is that part I love most! I’d have to say that my best selling items seem to be seasonally dependant. I’m lucky to also sell to over 40 brick and mortar stores now, and in general, I’d say my quilted vintage bibs, my quilted vintage wallets and my custom-designed baby playmats are my most popular items. And for the Holidays, certainly my rikrak felt stockings are my best sellers. It’s an exciting mystery for me what might come next!

I love it!! I absolutely love her fabulous pieces and highly recommend anything that she offers in her shop! Kristal has graciously offered one of her Sustainable Quilty Wallets in an array of fabric choices for one lucky JLC Studio reader to win!

I own one of these and, let me tell ya, they're absolutely gorgeous and the perfect size to hold business cards or that extra change floating around in the bottom of your bag!! The winner will get to choose their fabric from the group of available fabrics in her listing. As always, shipping will be free to winners in North America, international winners will have to pay a small fee...Please check here for contest rules and regulations!

Thank you so much Kristal for your fabulous interview and great give-away prize!! You have been soo nice to get to know!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Young Me-Now Me...

I totally have to post this fabluous site I came across on A Cup Of Jo! One of our client's has an art series based on this idea but I like this site even more! It's called Young Me-Now Me, it's a great site where people can upload a photo of themselves as a child along with a matching photo of them taken in the same pose as an adult...this is such a great way to capture how a person (and photography) has changed over the years! Check it out for yourselves but here are a few of my favorites!