Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Kinda Sprung?

We're supposed to have snow tonight in the city, but prior to this blast, it was starting to actually look like spring.  The weekend before last, I got my garden cleaned and flipped by beds; and this last weekend, I planted one side (with winter tolerant things like kale, lettuces, radishes...), and worked on lowering the pH of the bed where I will later plant tomatoes and peppers.

Also, there will have to be new herbs.  Both my rosemary plants died in the cold, and my oregano, nearly 7 years old, seems to have not made it through.  My regular thyme may have also passed, though the lemon thyme seems fine; as is the sage.  This kind of puts a severe damper on the herbal components in my Magic Vial Pendants when my garden is reduced to thyme, lavender, and sage.  With this cold snap, it will still be a few weeks before I can get bedding plants.

That said, after the time-change, I have noticed an up-tick in energy and creativity, which is a good sign.  The other weekend, after gardening, I put some work in on a long neglected drawing of a dragon, and started a new watercolor painting of a unicorn.  Most likely, neither of these will end up on etsy, but it's a good sign for productivity.

Speaking of, obviously trying to be a bit better about blogging over here, though most of my blogging energies are still going to keeping up the 3-times-a-week updates over at South Eats North, my foodie blog.  Having a chronic addiction to eating everyday means there's normally something to blog about most weeks, whether it's recipes or restaurant reviews or whathaveyou.

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I've also been poking around on pinterest more, in need of aesthetic inspiration.  It may officially be spring, but it still looks cold and grey up here, and that's not very inspiring or motivating.

It was actually through pinterest that I found out about hair chalking and this etsy seller:  Sexy Hair Chalk.

I haven't yet played with hair chalk, so I can't really say anything much on it, except it looks cool, and I look forward to playing with it this summer.  Here is a WIKIHOW about how it works.  There's lots of how-to's on google, and on youtube.  I admit, I'm surprised it will work on non-blondes, and am trying to figure out what colors might work with my red hair?


The above is her wheel of available colors, and she has lots of listings whether you want to just buy one stick for $1.49 (some colors on sale), or buy a big set of $48 for $39.99.  I'm personally trying to think about maybe just 2 or 4.  It's just a matter of deciding on which colors; but what a fun way to play with color without worrying about weird looks at the office!  


Saturday, March 1, 2014

March Means Spring, Right??

Well, maybe not in New York ...

Anyway, it is the first day of March, and I have something exciting to say - I actually made more new Magic Vial Pendants for my etsy shop! *gasp*  First non-commissioned batch of 2014!

Blue Seas here is the latest incarnation of one of my favorite themes.  I love the sea/ocean themed pendants, even though I'm not a water sign myself.  I just love the deep color saturation that apatite (normally for seas) and iolite (normally for oceans) lend to vials, whether I pair them with pearls or sapphires, or anything else!

This one is a new type of apatite that was gotten for me from the AZ Gem & Mineral Show.  The texture and crystal structure is really fascinating compared to the little glassy pieces I normally find at my gem shop in the city.  It gave it a whole different feel, I think, that directed it more towards creativity, intelligence, mental clarity, than just peace, calm, protection... it's paired with freshwater pearls and lavender leaves with sterling silver wire.

A new theme is this one at right, "Foundation In Love."  I had a nice little fight with this Rhodonite stone while trying to break it down the other night, and got some really good insight to how different it is than Rhodochrosite, which is what I had previously used for these a-typical love charms.  This charm is very much more about having a strong and stable love of self and internal sense of emotional stability more than drawing any kind of external love.  Paired with the Rose Quartz for some added softness, and healing, this is a really different kind of love charm for those who might need some reminding to love, trust, and have faith in themselves, and from that foundation, build their love and light upwards and outwards.

All the Greens here is a bit of hyperbole (and based on a joke from Hyperbole & a Half.  I knew I wanted to make another trees/forest themed vial - they're another favorite, especially in winter, but I wanted to mix it up  more.  So, instead of using only 2 gemstones, as is my usual formula, I mixed together 4 different green gemstones from my stash:  Chrysocolla, Malachite, Peridot, and Moss Agate.  The meanings follow the same as with most green earth elemental themed pieces, lots of growth, prosperity, health, stability ...  and I always like to pair these with contrasting red cedar splinters, not only for the sharp red against the variegated greens, but cedar has wonderful properties itself, for purification and protection.

The last of the new batch is this new theme, "Success."  I've been feeling really great in this department recently, and wanted to make one in this theme, even though the vials in this color spectrum don't always sell the best.  (I don't know why, I normally don't like or wear yellows or oranges either, but in these vials, I think that color ray is gorgeous!  And it has a great energy/feel, too, especially when you're feeling deprived of sunlight!)  This one is a mix of Citrine and Garnets with a big, glowingly yellow "immortal flower" to finish off.

So, there's the latest four!  I'm hoping that as spring starts to finally rear its head (hopefully before May up here), that I'll get back on balance with crafting and making art on a more regular basis despite the full-steam-ahead day job (which I am REALLY enjoying!!!).

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Also, the other members of FAE (Fantasy Artists of Etsy) are also dreaming of spring.  Their latest monthly exhibit is called "Lucky Charms" and hoping to pull a little bit more spring and green into all of our lives.

Check it out HERE!




Friday, February 21, 2014

Still Too Much Snow

I still had a lot to say after my last post, so I decided to just break it into two posts and schedule it for later.

The thing is, some of you might have noticed, if you've kept up over the way too many chatty and rambling posts I've put up over the years, that certain things are a reoccurring theme at certain times of the year.  I've made a few "I Want Magic Socks" posts, and this time, with all this grey and snow, I'm repeating my dreams of Afternoon Tea on a sunny afternoon.

I have become fixated on Afternoon Tea in the garden.  I've even made a pinterest board, I'd Like to be Sociable, to keep all my Tea Party dreams and wishes.  I did some reading up on the differences between Afternoon Tea and High Tea (definitely want to do Afternoon Tea), and about menus and traditional sandwiches and snacks.  I even went to the thrift store and bought some plates and tiny candlesticks so I can try and build my own 3-tiered tea stand.  (Note - if you're not that crafty, *after* I'd just spent $11 on plates and tea cups, we went to Home Goods (part of the TJ Maxx chain) and found 2-tiered pre-made tea stands with the most lovely patterns for $13.  So, there's an option if you're not as far down the DIY rabbit hole).

DIY stands, by the way, are apparently growing popularity on etsy as well.  I featured one shop some time ago, but they were in the UK, and shipping can be so expensive for a large item.  And, even though I'm kinda DIY, the idea of getting out the power tools on china makes me a bit nervous - but it does look nicer in the end, I think.

Well, I found two shops on etsy that aren't afraid of the drill:  Tea Party by Britgal and Haute High Tea.

Tea Party by Britgal is the younger of the two shops by a couple of years, and cute cozies and aprons to go along with her tiered stands.  The one pictured here at left, is my favorite stand out of her selection.  It goes for $55 with a $16 S&H (packed and shipped flat with assembly instructions included).

There is also a mention at the end of each description for custom orders, should you need a specific color spectrum or don't see what you're looking for in her shop.

Haute High Tea has a very different kind of aesthetic.  The artist shoots for an "Alice in Wonderland meets Marie Antoinette."  She pairs off her stands with decorative napkins and bracelets.  The price point does seem to be a bit higher, but errs on the side of over-the-top glam and gilt.  From her shop, on the right, is shown my favorite of her stands, which sells for $125 + $17 S&H.

As an odd note, the only two US etsy stand crafters I could find (not searching vintage, only searching handmade) are both out of Ohio.  Just a coincidence, I suppose.


Monday, February 17, 2014

Too Much Snow.

Long time no check-in!  However, I wanted to write in today and do a little catching up and talk about what's been on my mind.

Anyone who's read any of the recent posts has probably picked up that my production has dropped incredibly due to new day-job (actual, perm, for realz, all the bells and whistles day-job, not just temp, we'll see day-job!) (YAY!! Very happy about that, by the way - still am!).  However, certain things haven't been helping - my silver supplier is ONLY open M-F 9-5, and has crazy expensive shipping rates if I can't physically go to the shop (which, I can't, because I work, M-F 8:30 - 5:30).  I know, I should probably try and find a new place to buy my silver, or just go back to ordering everything online and having it delivered (though I do prefer to see things in person whenever possible).  And, let's not forget - THE WEATHER.  It pretty much sucks - and has sucked, and apparently is going to continue to suck for quite a long time.  Not only is being outside difficult with all the slipping and falling and the air hurts my face, but my garden is now under so many feet of accumulated snow that I'm not sure I could find any herbs for more pendants.

(There have been **2** more snows since this picture!  The table very nearly disappeared at one point)

But, I get off track.  I have made two custom pieces for a coworker, and seeing them get excited and each one has kind of given me a new desire to get back into making Magic Vial Pendants.  So often, selling only online, you never really get to see people react emotionally to your work.  It's almost been 10 years since I first started making these vials, and it's understandable, I think, that would lead to getting a bit jaded sometimes.  But seeing an honest reaction, face to face, with someone getting exactly what they wanted.  It made me remember why I make these.  So, hopefully, I'll find a way to make some new ones soon.  Maybe nothing with herbs, just yet, but I have some cedar wood stored back, and those immortelle flowers I got almost a year ago haven't aged a bit, so they're about the only bright/sunny thing I have to work with right now.

(immortelle flowers thanks to pinterest)

The vials I've made with the little golden flowers haven't sold nearly as well as expected.  I'm not sure if it's just that people aren't always that fond of the yellow/orange color spectrum as colors to wear, or something else that makes them less attractive than lilacs and rosebuds.

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So, I did a quick search on etsy to see if anyone else is working with them.

There aren't a lot, only 19 results came up, and a lot of them (not surprising) are bath/body products.  However, my favorite is this resin necklace made by Resin Sun.


And if it is the color that's off-putting to some people, don't worry, she puts all sorts of colors of flowers in these pretty resin spheres.  All this snow and grey, I think we could all use an extra dose of color and sunlight.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Belated New Years

I know I haven't had a lot of time for the blog, but I wanted to drop the link to the last exhibit of "On Enchanted Wings" before the next exhibit gets rolled out!



Enjoy the exhibit, and I'll at least pop by with the next one!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merry Christmas - Happy Yule - and Glad Tidings All Around!

'Tis the season . . . to not have enough time to go around.  Am I right? (heh)

I just wanted to post a little notice that Izile's Oddities will be closing its doors for the holidays starting late tomorrow (12/17), as I prepare to go home for the holidays.  Purchases made today or tomorrow will go out Wednesday, and then I'm gone-baby-gone!  It's been a very busy fall/winter, and I'm looking forward to some Southern sun in my winter.

I also wanted to say I just celebrated my 500th sale on etsy, the lucky customer got the cost of the item totally refunded, so all she paid was S&H!  Thanks to everyone who's been with me and Izile's Oddities through all the crazy ups and downs this hobby of mine has had!

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Completely unrelated, except for the fact that I'm still trying to plug a new artist every time I actually get around to posting, I thought I'd share something that just popped up on my etsy feeds this week:

Sunny Skies Studio was featured in a Frozen Fantasy treasury on etsy, and the piece at left caught my eye.  I always love ear jewelry that doesn't require any piercings (as I have none), and this one is delicate and perfect for the season.

Of course, I then went on to browse the other 9 pages of pieces featured on this etsy shop, and was quite happy to see some very original and different takes on the ear-cuff theme.  And while I normally prefer sterling silver, or which there are many pieces, I admit this other brass piece has a lovely style that I think would be great for the Ren-Faire season.

And before I forget to mention, yes, there, are some regular earrings, ear pins, and even some rings and a couple of necklaces.  Definitely worth the time to browse and see.



Friday, November 15, 2013

FAE - Druids & Dryads

It's time for yet another monthly Exhibit from the Fantasy Artists of Etsy! (FAE)

This month's Exhibit is Druids & Dryads - lots of autumn colors, leaves, and woodland themes.

(or Click Here)

And, remember, you can always look at everything that FAE has to offer by searching "faeteam" in the search bar at etsy.com


Monday, November 11, 2013

I'm alive!

I know this is my most neglected space, and that's saying something considering how the new 4 pendants I just put up on my etsy site are the first 4 since spring!  I'm taking a moment to make a go at updating here, though, as well, since I just updated my DeviantArt gallery and blog.

Mostly, I'm doing semi-OK with keeping the Izile's Oddities Facebook Fan Page updated on a semi-regularly basis.  I did a Halloween costume give away!  That was fun!  And the not-for-sale artsy things (some unicorn art, mostly, and other sketchy-doodles) made their way onto the DeviantArt gallery over a month ago.

As far as blogging, I'm mostly working on keeping a regular schedule on my South Eats North blog, about food.  It's proved fairly difficult to keep up with that, but I'm making a real effort, and over the past summer/fall I've found myself a lot more passionate about food - especially due to my whole conflict over not sure if I want to keep being a customer on etsy - I mean, I guess I can just not leave feedback on anything I buy.  Just tell the artist in a note "hey, this is great, I love it, but I'm not leaving feedback because I don't want the entire internet to see my entire purchase history."  - This also gets more tricky as I don't want people who know I shop on etsy looking through my purchases (which would now be public), and seeing if they can figure out what I bought them.  It's dubious that would happen - but I know some people are sneaky that way.  So, I'm trying to reconcile my "must shop small business" mantra with "desperately want to keep every shred of privacy I still have" need.

That said, I did put up four new Magic Vial Pendants this weekend.  Mostly rehashes and variations of past favorites.

I make these vials just about every winter.  For one, I love forests and trees and how this vial seems to be a bit of an upside down tree.  I also love how beautiful cedar wood looks in the oil; and cedar wood is something that I can use all winter long, and has great properties of protection and purification.  Sad I could never work out the cedar/cinnamon bath salts the way I wanted them.  That, combined with the chrysocholla and peridot, beautiful contrasting green stones for earth, life, regrowth, vitality of nature . . . it's just a good feeling vial.

I also made a Clear Seas (aquamarine, pearl and lemon balm), Eternal Sunshine (sunstone, citrine, and immortal flower), and a variation of the Snow White vial I had made that was really popular, but finding snow quartz has been a bit difficult, so I'm trying one with white moonstone instead - still black onyx, one ruby and a rosebud.  Still a great looking pendant for those who love the fairytale princesses.  (I tried making a Sleeping Beauty one, but it went over less favorably, and I never got around to designing more fairytale princesses, though, I still want to, one day.)

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As for shopping on etsy - it's up to you.  I still encourage people to shop small business and independent artisans whenever possible.  Some people don't care if everyone can see that they spent $XX.xx on _____ .  Others are more secretive - like I said, I guess you could always just send your feedback privately to the seller, so they know you liked it, but you're not giving up your privacy.  I dunno.  I'm still unhappy with etsy on this point, but I think they're committed to this path more than to however many artisans they've pissed off.


My friends over at Dark Side Customs have been rolling out some GREAT new designer pieces with some amazing original flare and artistry.  If you're in the greater NYC area, they also show up at a lot of fairs and markets, so you can always try and keep an eye on where to find them locally (bypass all middle-men).

Speaking of gifts - take a tired old cliche of a gift and turn it on its head.  Cyberoptix is a shop promising you "ties that don't suck."   There are quite a few really great designs in both silk and microfiber; not to mention bow ties, because bow ties are cool; and even scarves for the truly tie-phobic.  

Me, I just saw Gravity, and the s/o is a big space-guy, so these two pictured below, I think are my current favorites.  There are hundreds of entries and variations, though, so go and see for yourself!  
 
(project Mercury rocket schematic)
(Apollo cockpit print, in red)  


Monday, September 23, 2013

Happy Autumanl Equinox!

And Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Fall-rites, and Mabon, and all the other lovely celebrations that mark the rotation of seasons!

I'm not always the happiest when fall weather starts encroaching too early on my green summers, but once it's here legitimately, I can warmly embrace the season (as long as winter doesn't start pushing its nose in too early! Wait your turn, winter! All things in their time!)

I don't really have a lot to report on the Izile's Oddities front.  I haven't honestly had much time, with day-job business recently reducing me to work-food-sleep-repeat for the past couple of weeks.  BUT, the big "stuff" is done for now, and I'm hopeful for some more time to work on my own projects, soon.  Currently, I'm working on a commission piece that's very interesting, but a bit outside my normal aesthetic - it involves a LOT of teeth.  Yes, teeth, big incisors, molars, canines.  I was given a bundle of teeth and asked to create.  I've been making some slow progress, but as I've never worked with teeth before, I'm trying to take my time and get a feel for them.  I know 2 of the teeth are human (came in a sealed medical bag labeled as such), and 2 are from a dog - and the rest?  I'm not quite sure ...  I know they were acquired perfectly legally from an oddities shop in Manhattan, so I'm not worried about anything unethical - it's just odd work - fun, and sometimes being pushed outside of our normal comfortable patterns is good for growth.  So, we'll see where that goes.

I still need to find time to finish up my Night Circus picture frame, too.  Autumn definitely lends itself to more indoors times (and winter triple-y so!), so, we'll see.

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The Autumn season definitely has a gorgeous and inspirational color pallet to work with, that's for sure!  And the amount of treasuries going up on etsy with all the warm golden, bronze-y, and russet colors are boundless!

In a recent treasury on my following board, I found Rainwater Studios.  While she focuses on bridal accessories, her handmade jewelry is what caught my attention - particularly this "Fall Splendor" piece - which has a decidedly vintage feel to it.

And with freshwater pearls and glass leaves, this piece is a real bargain at only $25!  It's found under the Shabby/Boho Chic category, though there are also Vintage/Victorian, and Magical and Mythical categories for non-bridal-themed accessories.  But, the bulk of the store (over 130 entries) goes to bridal hair flowers (not that you can only wear these flowers at weddings, but that's the target), and at 9 pages, there's plenty to browse through!

Happy Autumn!!
 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Friday 13th!

I'm currently having rather mixed feelings about Etsy these days, after the last update and s***-storm that followed their decision to piss off tons of people and become more like ebay.

But I'm not here to really get into all that right now.

I haven't been posting, because I don't know how I feel about always doing the etsy plug every post, when, I, myself, am thinking I won't be buying through etsy anymore.  I will try and find sellers who have their own .coms, or sell on other sites, and buy that way.  I'm not very comfortable at the moment with etsy, either as a seller (haven't put anything new up since this debacle), or as a buyer.

However, a lot of etsy sellers do have their own .coms (like Dryad Tea .com and I know Dark Side Customs is working on a way to sell off-etsy, too. ) - and that way you're still buying from a small, craftsperson/artisan and supporting the little guy, but you aren't having to worry about politics and drama that are apparently inevitable when idealistic young companies like Etsy was 8 years ago turn into mega-corp "to hell with the little guy" monsters like Ebay.  For now, at least (until Etsy decides to follow Ebay even more, and start banning links from etsy shops to independent .coms), etsy shop owners can still link off-site to their own personal sites for sales, giving you the choice on how you want to purchase.

I guess this will be my first post where I don't like back to etsy.  Instead, go look at some pretties, as Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (who has etsy shops and their own .coms) has just put up the first part of their Halloween update!  FUN!!

(I love this graphic this year! They're working with an amazing artist!)