During the last few weeks I’ve learned quite a bit about how involved and conscious you have to be when pushing your work. Lots of little bits of information keep floating my way and I’m searching for more. Next month will be busy busy busy! I’ll be showcasing my work at a RAW showcase in Scottsdale, AZ on the 9th. If you’re local please show your support and buy a ticket! It’s only $10 and I guarantee you’ll have a good time!
If you’re interested click on the radiate banner and click buy tickets when you get to the page. At the top there’s a drop down menu. Choose Xappa from the very bottom.
There’s going to be a runway show, live art, music, and lots of amazing talent. I’ll be there with a booth set up and lots of new jewelry for sale. I really hope to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones!
In September I’ll be participating in another show…
I’m really excited about painting for this one. Lots of creepiness involved which, is right up my alley! I’m planning on doing 5 pieces for this one. Which is quite ambitious for me since I haven’t painted in quite some time. The time is right and I’m ready to open that part of my life again. Super excited! If you’re local (and even if you aren’t), you should get your butt out here and see this show! I’ll keep you updated with pics of my progress for both this show and the RAW showcase. Did I mention that I’m excited?
I also came up with a new design this week.
It’s called the Enid clutch. It’s made from a pretty caramel colored leather that I got in a stack of samples thrown out from a design company. The things people throw out! Crazy! The inside fabric is a beautiful printed cotton imported from Thailand. I’ve listed it in my shop.
I’ve never been good with zippers but I have to admit that I’m pretty damn proud of myself for how beautifully this one came out!
This week I also figured out a great solution for my record earrings. I went to a local water jet cutting company and had them do some samples and got a price quote. They’re awesome and I was so relieved! It’s going to be a huge shift for me not to do so much work when it comes to the earrings.
I’m going to have to bump my price up a bit to compensate for the services but I kind of need to do that anyway. The prices haven’t really changed that much for 3 years. This was another thing that I learned this week. In fact I’m a bit embarrassed about my way of thinking when it comes to pricing my work. If this is what I’m planning on doing as my job I really have to treat it that way.
Tomorrow I’m meeting up with a friend to exchange some knowledge for some promotion! Such a beautiful thing, let me tell you. The world feels magical right now. Slowly but, surely everything is clicking into place.
I’ve been sort of comfortable in my life for the last 3 years. However, the recent death of my Grandmother really made me stop in my tracks and think about my life. I mean, REALLY think about it. My grandmother ( we called her “Nana”) was someone who always put herself last. I used to think that was a beautiful quality until I was old enough to see how it affected her and the people whom she came in contact with.
She was an incredibly creative and talented person, though she was always quick to dismiss compliments. She knew how to sew, crochet, make pottery, bead work, and was (of course) an incredible cook. Her craftsmanship was impeccable. She taught me how to make anything I asked. If she didn’t know how she would figure it out. This was always amazing to me and even somewhat magical.
It was because of these things that I felt she deserved more. So much more than what she even gave herself! The maybe’s could go on for years if I let them. This brings me to my point.
I don’t want to feel comfortable not doing what I am capable of. If 35 years of creating from my heart isn’t something I’m willing to invest in, than who the hell is? Over the years I’ve avoided trying to be completely on my own whereas my business is concerned. Too scared to let go of the side of the pool. Well Nana, it’s time to take the fucking swimmies off!
I’ve put in my notice at work and have been working feverishly on everything I’ve been putting off for the last 6 years. It’s time, and I’m scared shitless. Honestly though? I feel like this is the right thing to do. You know what else….?? Check this out…
When my Nana started getting sick I started working on new stuff:
I began experimenting with materials and techniques. Challenging myself. I bought a pretty hefty piece of equipment and while I’m still learning how to use it, it’s building my skill. Here’s the first clutch attempt. If you like it you can purchase it here.
The last week of March I flew home to attend Nana’s funeral. It was quite a surreal experience. Crying every night I was there and working on a collage of her for the Rosary/viewing. I felt exhausted. This is a picture I had never seen before, and was overwhelmed by how well it captures her spirit.
I’m the one in the green jumper.
Returning home in a haze and exhausted from my visit. I recuperated with more work and lots of tv. My mom wasn’t doing well and decided to get out of the rain and visit us. It was a very short 9 days but really great for both of us. She returned home sunburned and refreshed.
Not the best picture, but I was happy to have the time with her.
After mom left, I felt rejuvenated. Plans began to propel my business forward began. My time was spent designing and creating. While I was working there was a lot of online television watching. I started watching Rupaul’s Drag Race. Oh the sheer entertainment and “shade of it all”! I love it! I particularly enjoyed this seasons winner, Sharon Needles.
I just thought Sharon (Aaron Coady) was a star! Completely different from any other lady on the runway (or the show for that matter), and so incredibly funny and talented. I was enamored with her and was really hoping she would win. And of course, she did. I went to work right away on something I thought she could wear with pride. I decided to design a lady death headpiece custom for her with a lot of black.
Here it is upon finishing:
The flowers were made from black leather with vintage faceted glass beads in the center of each. Faux crow skull I silver leafed last year. And lots of black, iridescent, and purple feathers. I was really proud of the way it turned out and packaged it up nicely for her. I sent it on Monday the 11th not really knowing if he would receive it, or if he would even like it, (although I really thought he would).
Less than a week later I come home after giving my lovely employer of 3 years a 30 day notice. My post work ritual of checking emails and Facebook was business as usual until I scroll through my news feed and see this…..
There he was as Sharon at an event in NY wearing the piece! Words cannot express how incredibly overwhelmed with emotion I was. It happened just when I was doubting my decision to take that leap. I commented on the photos and he commented back. Squeee!!! Such an amazing day!
After my high died down I went back to work on my stuff. I’m really excited to start the next chapter of my life, and I think Nana would be excited for me too. The first couple of pages are good so far…..what do you think?
I hope that everyone’s holidays were fantastic! Mine were great. It’s always great to catch up with friends and family.
Before my relaxing vacation, I took on a lot of work for the holidays participating in a bazillion craft fairs in addition to my wholesale and consignments. In addition to my many craft fair adventures I finished up my entry for the Sketchbook Project.
I’m going to give you a peek at my favorite pages and once the tour is well on it’s way I will give you all the info so you can check it out in person.
Here are some of my favorite pages.
This project was really fun and challenging for me. At first, the sketchbook sat for quite some time on my desk. I was almost intimidated by it. All those blank pages. Plus, it was the first time I decided to use gouache. Finally, I decided to let go and sketch some ideas that had been rolling around in my head for awhile. I figured if it didn’t make any sense at least it would be entertaining. Gouache was really fun to work with and it will now be another tool added to my arsenal. For more sketchbooks and information you can visit the Art house Co-op. There are some really amazing artists on their site, and maybe you’ll want to sign up to participate in a sketchbook project of your own.
I can hardly contain my excitement for the change in seasons. Hellooooo Fall! Almost. It takes a little while to show its face around here but when it does it’s fantastic!
The first event I get excited about when fall comes is Halloween. I LOVE Halloween!
The goth in me has been inspired to do some Halloween type things. I’m on a roll with it so I thought I’d share a few things with you. First up, my gold leafed skulls…
If you want to gold leaf stuff yourself you’ll need:
1 package of gold or silver leaf (you can find this at any craft or art supply store)
adhesive (I used Old World Art gold leaf adhesive in the 2 oz. bottle)
varnish (Again, I used Old World Art gold leaf varnish in the 2 oz. bottle)
A tooth pick or stick (or anything you can use to move your item around without touching it during the adhesive & varnish process)
Paper towel or rag (for removing ink)
Newspaper or junk mail (to lay under your project
Paint thinner (for cleaning your brush)
A pic of the supplies.
I got some awesome resin skulls from this lovely gal on Etsy. She did a custom order for me. As you can see, I started out with plain white skulls. Black ink was painted onto them for some depth.
They look kind of cool with just black on them, no?
After letting them dry, the adhesive was added. I was kind of amazed how little I needed. Once you apply the adhesive, you have to wait an hour before the next step. I busied myself with putting together the other half of my project which you’ll see at the end.
Here’s a blurry pic of one of the bird heads with the adhesive applied. it starts out white and dries to a clear tacky surface.
Get your leaf ready to apply. You have to be pretty gentle with this stuff.
Once the adhesive was dry, the gold/silver leaf was applied to the skulls. The instructions said to use a soft brush. I started with a super soft brush and realized I needed one that had quite a bit more stiffness to it. The skulls I’m working with have much more texture than a flat surface. For the effect I wanted, the gold needed to get into some of those crevices and the stiffer brush really made all the difference.
Here is the cat skull with the gold leaf applied before burnishing.
Another of all of them after burnishing. I didn’t take a photo of this step, but after the gold leaf is applied you want to polish the skulls with your burnishing tool. You do this by rubbing the surface gently with your tool. Do it in small circular motions. This smooths the surface, makes sure the leaf is pushed into the crevices, and gives the leaf a more natural look.
After burnishing my skulls I added some black ink to them.
I then rubbed the ink off with a moist paper towel. This will take the ink off the high spots and leave it in the low spots. It defines the detail and gives it a weathered look. You can skip the inking step entirely if you want a cleaner look.
Here’s one of the skulls after the ink has been rubbed off.
Once the ink has dried (which just takes a few minutes if even that), you’ll want to add your varnish. Definitely do this in a well ventilated area or outside.
Here are my lovely bones. The varnish takes 2 hours to dry. I put them in my laundry room with the vent fan on and left them overnight.
Here’s what I did with the gold bird skull. I made a head-piece with recycled leather flowers, copper studs, and feathers.
What do you think? I can’t wait to do the other skulls. It’s always satisfying to have an idea executed from start to finish. This was fun. It’ll be for sale in my shop.
I also couldn’t help myself. I’ve been wanting to do a bat for a while. I cut this one out of copper and enameled it with an opalescent charcoal grey. The result was more of a brown, but I like it just the same. It’s available in my shop for purchase.
I know this isn’t Halloween related but, I’ll be participating in the sketchbook project this year! I finally took the plunge. There are so many stories brewing in my head, it’ll be great to have them on paper and in all kinds of people’s hands. There’s still time to participate if you’re interested. I’ll be posting my progress as it goes.
Well, my jewelry isn’t going to make itself so I’m going to get back to work. The holidays are right around the corner ya know! Thanks for hanging out with me.
Okay, so I’m not the most consistent person in the world when it comes to blogging. Lets just leave it at that, shall we? For now, I offer you a recipe and a quick update of the goings on in the warped world that is Xappaland.
So here we go with the recipe…
This my friends, is one of my favorite dishes to both make and eat. Veggie enchiladas with home made sauce. Delicious with lots of yummy vegetables and the sauce is fantastic! By the way, the sauce tastes nothing like the canned stuff. Don’t get me wrong! I do like the canned stuff, but you can’t beat home made!
Veggie Enchiladas with roasted sauce
Makes enough for 4 servings. Takes about 1 hour with 30 minutes prep time.
For the sauce:
5 good-sized tomatillos (or you can use tomatoes for a red sauce)
1 green bell pepper (You can substitute red for a sweeter sauce)
1 small white onion
2 Hatch chilies
3 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno (optional)
1 cup of fresh cilantro
For the filling:
8 ounce package of mushrooms
1 yellow squash or zucchini
1 medium white onion
2 large carrots
2 broccoli crowns
1 can of good quality olives
2 c. panela cheese (you can substitute any cheese you want, but I’m telling you this cheese is the best!)
Package of flour tortillas (larger size ones)
Sour Cream, green onions and avocados (for garnish)
P.S. I feel silly telling you this, but if you want to make this vegan just sub the cheese and sour cream or omit it entirely. You won’t even miss it because the sauce is what gives it so much flavor.
Fire up the grill (with mesquite for best results), or the oven to broil (which ever suits you). In the meantime, rub a small amount of olive oil on all of your sauce ingredients (with the exception of the cilantro, leave that aside), until they’re coated.
Once your grill has reached proper temperature set each ingredient on the grate and let it blister on each side checking often. If using the oven do the same thing by putting the ingredients on a cookie sheet. You want it to look like this:
Once the peppers have blistered on all sides take all ingredients off the heat and set them aside until they’re cool enough to handle.
In the meantime dice the onions and carrots. Give the mushrooms, broccoli crowns, and squash a rough chop into relatively the same size so they cook evenly. Saute the onions and carrots in a little bit of oil until they’re slightly browned. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, and squash with a little bit of salt then turn the heat down to low and cover.
Now it’s time to make your sauce! Peel the skin off of your peppers and tomatillos/tomatoes. Make sure you de-stem and de-seed your peppers! Put your naked peppers, tomatillos/tomatoes, garlic, onion, jalapeno, and cilantro into the food processor and blend until liquefied.
At this point you should be tasting and seasoning your sauce. It’s important you don’t skip this step cause you’re going to be covering your entire meal with it! Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust.
Once you have your sauce to your liking, add about half of it to your cooking veggies and turn the heat up to medium high. Add the olives and stir often until the veggies are cooked through (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside.
Now you want to set up your enchilada making station!
Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of your glass baking dish. Fill each tortilla with filling and cheese to your liking. Fold it up like a burrito and place in the dish, repeat until the dish is full.
Pour the remaining sauce onto the top of the enchiladas (you can do that with any remaining filling too). Sprinkle the cheese on top and put it into the oven on broil. Keep a close watch on them bad boys!
Once the cheese on top has browned slightly they’re ready!
Here’s a rough idea of my process. I forgot to take a pic of the sauce and cheese on top of my enchiladas before I baked them, but you get the idea.
I like to garnish mine with some delicious avocado slices, green onions, Mexican sour cream, and a drizzle of hot sauce.
So, this summer has been very eventful. Here are some of the highlights:
We went to see the Black Keys in Mesa. A really good day and night with some great people. Those guys know how to put on a great show!
I took a trip to California to participate in the Getty Crafty event and visit my family.
On the first day, I visited with my sister-in-law and my niece. Isn’t she the cutest baby you’ve ever seen?
My mom’s garden. Apparently, it has been quite fruitful. Still waiting on that zucchini bread ma…
I sent my pop some make-shift plans for display items. Of course he went above and beyond what I asked of him. Check out the cuff display behind the earring rack. Crazy! Thank you again, pa!
Mom and dad helped out with so much for this show.
It was such a beautiful day.
I ran out of battery power for my camera so the other photos I took weren’t so lovely.
Sacramento is so green and lovely. I miss that so much living in the desert.
Aaand a few more. Sorry about the blurriness. I took these from the car.
The next day we went to my favorite ice cream spot in the whole world.
Brock’s Ice Cream Palace. I’ve been going to this place since I was little and it NEVER disappoints.
Still looks the same.
Even though Violet wasn’t eating it she enjoyed the ice cream just the same.
I believe my flavor was caramel cashew. I wish I had some right this moment.
On the last day of my visit my mom and I went to breakfast.
Real cute spot and the food is consistent and reasonably priced.
Isn’t my mama pretty?
My mom playing with her food. I kinda wish my trip was longer but, I just don’t got it like that…yet. It’s always nice to have a taste of home even if it’s a really tiny one. I’ll see you again in the fall my lovely family!
Over the summer I fixed up some new display cases made for my local shops. Here’s one I did for Blueberry Deluxe from start to finish.
I got me a stinky train-case (it seriously reeked of Jean Naté), and took the top handle off.
Gutted it of the unsightly vinyl glued inside.
Here it is gutted.
I traced the pieces I took out onto some vintage fabric. Cut it out leaving about 1/4 seam allowance and sewed each piece with finished edges. Once that was done, I just hot glued the fabric onto the inside. As you can see here, it is slightly too long. I just snipped a little off folded it over and glued it in place.
After I finished glueing everything in place I added some wire to hang various items off of. I just drilled holes into the existing plastic for the wire to hook onto.
I re-attached the handle and sewed the wire onto the fabric for the top of the display.
And here is the case finished with the items waiting for new homes. What do you think? I think you’re pretty much up to speed on the goings on in Xappaland except for a few things here and there. Hope your summer was an eventful one and I’ll have some more updates for you soon. Good night for now, and enjoy your weekend!
Spring has definitely sprung here in the desert. The season here is very short and makes way for the blistering sun in a few weeks. We’ve been taking advantage of the weather and enjoying time outdoors as much as possible before the heat hits.
Our first attempt at a composting bin has been successful and we purchased herbs and some pots to put them in. So far, they’ve lasted longer than any herbs I’ve owned before. Which isn’t that long but, for me it’s quite an accomplishment. We’ve already put some to use in our cooking. Using fresh herbs makes a huge difference.
I used some of our fresh rosemary for some Italian greyhounds. I used the recipe here. Deeeelicious! Such a refreshing drink.
We had them with black bean burgers, chips, salsa & guacamole. So good!
I get so excited for light drinks during the warmer weather. If you have any drink suggestions or recipes please share with me!
Even though the swaying trees and smell of jasmine in the air make me want to lay in the grass and daydream my life away, Space Cadet has been keeping me busy. I’m proud to say that Firefly Gallery is now carrying my line! If you’re in or passing through Paso Robles, California stop by and check the place out. Locally and handmade items by some very talented artisans. It’s adorable!
If you’re local and you don’t know about this place, shame on you! Lots of art supplies, locally made wares, crazy selection for all your spray paint needs, and an impressive stock of art related magazines, books and dvds. Now get your ass in there and buy something! Jess and Dump will take care of you.
On top of the new locations, I will be participating in the upcoming Getty Crafty Event in Sacramento, California.
So far over 70 vendors have signed up for this event and I’m proud to be one of them! There will be live music, food, and very talented crafters slingin’ their wares. Learn more about the event and the cause here.
I’ve already started on some enamel pieces for the show. Can’t tell you how excited I am about using my kiln! It’s a love affair, really.
I can’t wait to turn these into necklaces and rings. And yes, that is an octopus and an anatomical heart up there.
Here’s some pics of the last batch I made that were more illustration oriented.
There will be a good mix of the two for the show. I plan on making more hearts in the future. maybe even teeth with pretty designs on them. I’d love to hear some suggestions on what you’d like to see on a necklace.
Don’t get me wrong, he absolutely, without a doubt, loves me. He’s a very kind, thoughtful, and loving man. These are qualities that I’ll take any day over romance.
With that being said, I just wanted to share a day we had together to let everyone know that their partners just may have a trick or two up their sleeve.
On Wednesday, I turned 34 years old. I woke up happy to go to work. Let me repeat that. I was happy to go to work. My job I realized, makes me happy. Weird right? The day was fantastic. The weather was gorgeous, my friend boss bought me lunch from Postinos, and I received two really cute drawings from her adorable daughters. A scene in outer space from Sophia, and a robot with Saturn and the moon from Debbie.
How awesome is that?
That night Dominic and I made shrimp scampi and spent some quality time talking and genuinely enjoying each others company. It was a mellow night because Dom had a special date planned for us the next day. The next morning we got up and took the dogs on a walk as per our usual routine. Dom made breakfast and we hung around the house for a few hours. Then, we headed out for our date. As usual, we stopped at a few thrift stores along the way. When we started getting closer to our destination Dom made me close my eyes. When I opened them I saw this…
The Mesa Arts Center. I was so excited! When we got inside we went to see the exhibit he thought I would like.
Turns out he was right on the money. The last time the arts center had some of Cheech’s collection up I wasn’t able to make it. So this was really awesome. It was his collection of small paintings. I did a show a few years ago where all of the pieces on one wall were small. I should have invited him. Maybe he’d have bought one or two. In my mind he would have for sure.
There were some really awesome pieces. I’ll definitely be cyber stalking a few of the artists. We wandered around looking at the other exhibits also being shown. One was called “Rust Farm”. It was interesting and the pieces were beautiful in a creepy sort of way. Right up my alley. The artist is local and also on my cyber stalking list. Oh the world the interwebs have opened up for me!
We took some pictures outside after we were done getting artsy fartsy.
We went to a few more thrift stores and headed to our favorite sushi spot on the East side. Sekai Sushi. If you live on this side of town, hell even if you don’t you should go to this place.
I’m so excited that a place like this exists! I ordered a sasparilla and Dom ordered a beer. They were playing great music, they had a great beer and wine list and it looks like they serve apps too. Awesome all around. After the show was over we headed home and crashed. An amazing end to an amazing day. Dom surprised the hell out of me. I can’t wait to see what he has planned for our anniversary! I kid, I kid.
Seriously though, it really was the best date ever.
I hope your holidays were lovely including the heart one. The new year has been good to me so far. And with a new year comes new goals and plans.
On the business side my finances are in order and I now have some much needed help. My studio is about 95% the way I want it. I got myself one of these:
Stalking Craigslist on a daily basis always pays off. Now I’m looking for a workbench. I want something that looks similar to this;
with just a few adjustments here and there. That is a beautiful piece of equipment, no? I’ll just have to be patient and hope I run across one that suits me. It’ll happen, hopefully sooner than later. Just this one object and my studio will be complete! In the meantime, I scored two 4 drawer lateral filing cabinets, a new lamp, a work table for outside, a metal letter file aaaaaaaannnnnnd this:
An industrial snap setter. EEEEEEeeeee! I love, love, lo00000ve this! And even more awesome is that it was a gift! No more raw finger tips or bruised knuckles from my mallet. I gotta tell ya, the way to this woman’s heart is through tools and equipment!
Okay, enough about that kind of stuff. I’m excited to say that a new member has been added to our family. My brother and his wife have welcomed a baby girl! I am so excited to meet her! I’ll be flying out in a few weeks and couldn’t be happier for the two of them. Here is a photo.
Isn’t she the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? I can’t wait to be her favorite auntie! The weeks just aren’t moving fast enough. She is so cute it kills me! My brother updates us with photos almost weekly. Love it.
The boyfriend and I have also added to our family.
Her name is Gabby, she snores, she and Gary get along great, and she is awesome. The end. I’m going to stop here for now. I’ve got a grip of work to do for an event next Saturday. I’ll fill you in on that later. Enjoy your Sunday!
As you may or may not know, I’ve been on a hiatus from painting. There’s been a little dabbling here and there, but I haven’t really made the time to sit down and create a piece from start to finish. That is, until recently. An old friend of mine asked me to collaborate on a piece with him for an upcoming show. “Yes!”, was my immediate answer. I was surprised that I agreed to do it and so soon at that. The idea was robots. Which is great because I LOVE robots! I love drawing all the joints and cogs and wires and figuring out how they would be functional.
I got the canvas first and the idea was that he would finish it. So, I decided to document my process and show you the end result. Here are the idea sketches. I wasn’t sure what body position would work best.
I decided to go with the position on the far right.
So, I forgot to take pics of the background coloring process. It’s 4 different shades of spray paint. Nothing too crazy. I sketched her basic shape onto the canvas after I was done with the background. Then covered the sketch with gesso and sketched her again, this time with detail.
After I had her mostly sketched out I started adding the base color/s. I started to add the outlines here and there. I go back and forth with color and outline.
Once I had the outline completed, I added more detail and shading. Then the “babies”.
Once I added the bronze onto the details of her seams and rivets, I went in with spray paint to “clean” her up.
I handed the canvas over to Jules and he finished it with some truly amazing results!
This was our first collaboration together, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I only wish we had done this sooner! Here are some really blurry pics of the rest of the paintings from his show. I didn’t want to use a flash because it just makes everything look flat and unappealing.
And finally, a pic of me and Jules and my boobs. If you’re interested in any of the artwork you see here or more from Jules you can go to his website www.julesdemetrius.com it’s fantastic!
And of course, I can’t let you go before I tell you about another place to eat. One of my favorite things to do!
The spot is called Thai Rama and it is located at 1211 W. Camelback rd. in Phoenix. As per some suggestions we stopped by this place before going to the art show. It was delicious! Here are some photos of the evidence. Almost all of the entrees are under $10 so, it’s pretty easy on the wallet too.