Sunday, July 12, 2009

Say Cheese!

As promised, I present one of my new creations. What is it, you wonder? It is the mechanism that sheds light on your photos. Yes, that's right, it's the flash unit from a disposable camera. And I must say that this little beauty wasn't taken without a fight. The way flashes work, both big and small, is that they pull power from the battery and store it so it will be ready to go when everyone says "Cheese!" Well, I forgot this little lesson from photography school when I removed the batteries from the camera. I continued dismantling it thinking nothing of it. Well, I received quite a shock when I touched the contacts on that circuit board. Needless to say that was a lesson I didn't need to learn twice. But I survived, and now have this lovely pin to show for it. I hope someone else will enjoy it as much as I.

Friday, July 3, 2009

A New Place To Shop

It's been a while, but in my absence I've been working on some new creations. One of my favorites has been my Lego earrings. Everywhere I go I receive comments on them from people who remember playing with Legos when they were kids. I decided I would have a go with selling them in my online store. But since the store that I had already created was dedicated to my photography, I created a new one. You can find it on Etsy at Make sure to make the shop one of your favorites because I'll be adding new stuff in the coming weeks. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Return From the Madness

I am back from the madness that began with the Spring Fling.  It was an absolute blast.  You can see me and my faithful assistant (and hubby) Chris manning our table.  The other shot is just a small sample of everything there was to offer at the Spring Fling.  I think everyone had a great time.

In our personal lives, we moved right after the Spring Fling.  I am in the process of reconstructing my craft room.  We moved stuff in stages, so I've been able to do some organizing in between deliveries.  I really am quite proud of what I've done so far.  I do have pictures, but because of the way this program manages photos, I'm going to collage them in Photoshop first so you can see them better.  

I also have a new project I'm working on.  It's one of those blast-from-the-past projects.  I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to get a couple finished so I can show them to you.

Have a great Memorial Day everybody!  Don't forget to thank all the service men and women you know.  And jump in that pool and have some fun!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Image Transfers

A couple weekends ago I went to a free demo at Jerry's Artarama, which is located on Old Wake Forest Road, just inside the Beltline, in Raleigh.  Contemporary collage artist Sharon DiGiulio was showing us how to do image transfers.  I was very excited when I received the email about the demo.  I've tried some image transfer techniques in the past, but was never very successful.  Sharon shared a great, simple technique for transferring images onto almost anything.  She also shared some very important tips.

The basic technique is simple.  You take some kind of medium--I use an acrylic medium--paint it on the surface of your choice, plop the photocopy/laser print of your choosing face down, then rub it real good to make sure that it all sticks together and there are no air bubbles.  Then you wait.  After an appropriate waiting period you submerse your item in water and rub off the paper.  What you're left with is the image transferred into the medium.

A couple of years ago I had tried to do image transfers onto fabric using a similar technique.  I had forgotten about this until I started digging through a pile of stuff and came across my previous attempts.  After Sharon's demo I realized what I had done wrong.  The key is to let the transfer sit for at least 24 hours.  I, ever the impatient one, had waited just long enough for my acrylic medium to dry.  Because it wasn't long enough for the medium to accept the toner from the print, the image washed off along with the paper.

Since the demo I have been doing some experimenting.  I have some white canvas left over from the curtains I made in my first apartment.  Because I prefer to print my photos out on a laser printer, rather than an inkjet, I've had a hard time finding ways to get my images onto fabric.  A vast majority of products commercially available for transferring images only work with inkjet printers.  With this method, however, I can do the transfers onto pieces of fabric, and then incorporate them into my work.  I love to wear my photographs, and now I have even more ways to do so.

I have learned some things in my experimenting.  You'll notice that the transfers on the left above are very faded.  I printed those out on glossy laser paper, which is what I normally use for crafting and such.  The second set, the ones on the right, I printed on regular copy paper.  I have surmised that the copy paper absorbs more toner than the laser paper, which means there is more toner to transfer, thus resulting in the deeper image.

I am still experimenting.  I tea-dyed some of the white canvas to age it and am now waiting the excruciating 24 hours until I can peel off the paper and reveal the results.  I am hoping that it will add some character to the image.  If all goes well it will make a nice wall-hanging.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Painting the Town Red...Or Me At Least

Before I get started on my current project, I want to make a note about photography.  When it comes to digital photography, red is the hardest color to photograph accurately.  Apparently highly textured red fabric is even harder (hence the reason there are no photographs of the felt fortune cookies I made for Valentine's day).  "But Jen," you must be saying to yourself, "you're a photographer.  Surely you know how to photograph red."  Yes, I do.  But when I'm covered in paint and glue, I'm not really motivated to pull out my $2000 camera.  So, judge not my photography skills when I am in craft mode.  If you haven't had the opportunity, check out my photography website to see my work.

That being said, it seems I've been doing a lot with red recently.  I did the valentines, which we're still enjoying.  I've also been wearing a red shirt lately (this is the closest you'll see me come to a sports metaphor).  I injured my right hand at work at the beginning of this week.  Needless to say I haven't been able to do much since I couldn't hold anything in my hand.  Finally today I was able to do a little bit of work in my studio.

I've been trying to get ready for the Spring Fling that we're having at Church in April.  This year is the second year and I'm really looking forward to showing off all the new stuff I've been working on since last year.  I know it doesn't look like much, but above you is a clipboard I'm working on.  I'm planning to decoupage some of my Hawaiian photographs on it, postcard style, so I'm trying to paint the background to look like a Hawaiian shirt.

I tend to get really impatient when it comes to painting.  I was so excited about what I was going to do when I got home that I started painting the clipboard right away.  After two coats the clipboard looked a reddish shade of brown.  I remembered the lesson I have learned so many times before--prime.  In the art/craft world priming means pulling out the gesso.  Once I applied a couple coats (I had to cover the red paint I'd already applied) I got what you see now.  

The next step is to paint it red.  The first couple coats are drying now.  I found a really cute pineapple foam stamp that I'm going to stamp in white to try to get the Hawaiian shirt effect.  I will keep you posted on how it goes.

As you can see a good portion of the red paint got on my hands.  I have never been able to paint without covering myself in it.  I have no problems keeping it off of my clothes, but just about any piece of skin that is exposed is going to have some paint on it.  So, can you blame me for not pulling out the big camera while I'm crafting?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Inspirations from IKEA

This is us at 4:00 in the morning, February 18.  What, you may ask would possess us to get up in the middle of the night, get in the car and drive over two hours to Charlotte?  Well...

It was the grand opening of the new IKEA in Charlotte.  There was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity like this.  It's certainly not everyday that you get to witness the grand opening of a store like IKEA.

My original plan was to chronicle the whole morning--waiting in line, the band, the hundreds of other people anxiously awaiting the opening of the doors--but I was thwarted by mother nature.  Before we left at 4 am I checked the weather to decide which coat I should bring.  Unfortunately I failed to notice the little rain symbol next to the 50 degrees.  It started raining in Burlington.  It got worse when we got to Charlotte.  Our umbrellas were in Durham.

Luckily they were handing out ponchos to us fools who were standing in line.  The lucky (crazy?) few who had been there since Monday had a cover over their heads, while the rest of us who decided we didn't need a free chair bad enough to camp out for three days were left out in the rain.  We were fortunate enough that a very nice couple got in line behind us, equipped with a giant golf umbrella.  We got to know them quite well during the two hours we huddled together underneath it.  

The store was originally supposed to open at 9:00.  They started the opening ceremonies at 8:00.  First the appropriate anthems were played as first the American, then the Swedish, then the North Carolina flags were raised.  There was a men's choir from Sweden there to sing the Swedish national anthem.  There were speeches from the store manager, the local district politician, and even Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory (whom I'm told never misses an opportunity like this).  Finally at 8:30 they asked us if we'd like to go in a little early.  The crowd responded more loudly than when the television crews asked if they were excited.  And I felt the happiest I'd been in several hours--we were going in.

This was the scene when we entered the store.  All of the employees were lined up, cheering and clapping us as we came in the doors and headed up the escalator.  It was so exciting.  It was like iPhone day, only I'd been the idiot waiting in line, not the one inside the store clapping.

We spent the rest of the morning going through the enormous showroom.  We made time, of course, for some Swedish meatballs and ligonberry juice.  If you ever get to go, you must try the meatballs.  If you're smart and pack a cooler you can even bring some frozen meatballs home to fix for yourself.  Though, keep in mind, that the cooler could take up precious cargo space in the car.  You can only buy the furniture that you can take back home with you.

So what, may say, does any of this have to do with craftiness and inspiration?  Well, IKEA is not just about furniture and meatballs, it's about accessories and organizing too.  

This is what I brought home from IKEA.  I knew when I went that I wanted to get some of these jars.  We bought some a couple years ago for our kitchen, and they are wonderful.  They have a really tight seal on them so they keep things fresh.  Well, a couple months ago when I was working on organizing my craft room I stole a couple out of the kitchen, because they look really nice too.  I've got bottle caps, buttons, scrap ribbon stored in them, and they look nice enough to leave out on shelves.  I also came across this really cute tin set.  I couldn't resist the polka dots, and it was only $2 for the three tins.  The big white board in the back is a metal board for magnets.  I've been displaying my magnets on the back of a Christmas serving plate, so I was very excited to find this, especially with a craft show coming up in April (more on that later).  The mirror I found for $4.  It's unfinished wood, which I plan to decoupage.  

The most surprising inspiration of all is in that big blue bag.  We have a couple from our previous trips to IKEA.  You can purchase one of those for $2, and it's big enough to fit everything you buy in, or you can pay $.50 per plastic shopping bag.  It's the Swedish way of encouraging you to help the environment.  They're really nice and heavy, but for me they're too big to be of any real use in day-to-day life.  I certainly wouldn't fill them with groceries.  I would never be able to carry it in from the car.  Well, while we were in line for our meatballs I spotted something interesting.  A woman had on her shoulder one of the IKEA blue bags, only it was the size of her purse (granted one of those huge suitcase-sized purses, but still).  She had taken the bag, cut it, and re-sewn it to the size that she wanted.  How ingenious is that?  I've looked at those bags a dozen times and never thought to do that.  Since it was the grand opening they gave everyone new blue bags for free, so I have a crisp new one to play with.  And who knows, maybe it will start a new fashion trend.

My final find, and perhaps my favorite, is this nine drawer organizer.  Yes, I realize it looks like a box of wood right now, but that's the fun of IKEA.  I get to put it together myself.  And since I get to do that I get to paint it and decorate it any way I want.  I'm really looking forward to playing with it.

So, I guess if I were to sum up this blog in a couple of sentences (for those of you who have scrolled down) it is this: 1)Do something crazy like get up in the middle of the night and stand in the rain for hours just for a store opening at least once in your life.  2)Keep your eyes open.  There is inspiration everywhere and some things aren't what they seemed when you first looked at them.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fortune Cookies That Would Make Martha Blush

I was trying to come up with a cute Valentine idea to give my hubby this year when I came across this idea on the Martha Stewart craft page.  They are these cute little fortune cookies made out of felt.  You can write your own message to your sweetheart.  I decided however to give them a special little twist.

Instead of writing sweet little nothings to fill the fortune cookies, I decided to write naughty suggestions on them.  Decorate a box from Pei Wei and voila, you've got a new Valentine's game to play with your hubby.

Of course you don't have to make this a naughty.  You could put in charade suggestions and use it as a party game.  Or, if you want to go the traditional way, there are tons of "Chinese proverbs" on the web that you could use.

To get the instructions and see the video just click on the post title and it will take you to Martha's page.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Blessing of Friends

During a hectic day of running around and cleaning the house it's nice to be interrupted by the mailman at the door.  Especially when he has a package with your name on it.  And the day is made even better when you open the box and inside is a wonderful book, full of crafty inspirations, lovingly picked out and packaged by a friend.  These are the best kind of days.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Great Pincushion Dilemma

Lately I've been doing a lot of sewing.  Mostly motivated by my desire to make something useful out of my old work t-shirts, but also because this is the first time I've pulled out the sewing machine in two years.  I've made two really cute purses, which I'll post soon.

While I was sewing my first bag I realized I was missing a key piece of sewing equipment--a pincushion.  I vowed that the first thing I would do when I was finished with the bag was make myself a pincushion.  Since I wanted something unique and creative, I scoured my craft room for something that would work.  And when I say "great pincushion dilemma" I'm not exaggerating.  I pondered for several hours, wanting to create the perfect pincushion.  

Finally I had a vision.  I had some scrap red satin, left over from my sister's bridesmaid dress, and I had some very cute little Halloween favors that had been in  my drawer for two years, waiting for the perfect project. A little batting and a few stitches later and voila--a pincushion.

And as if that wasn't perfect enough, when I was at my crafty slumber party at Panopolie, I got to make another pincushion.  Since I was playing around with felting (and sticking myself with the needles) I decided to make another pincushion.  It turned out quite nicely, though it is certainly different from the first.  But I love both of them, and in a strange way they each represent my personality.  

And if you think of it in a really odd way, it's like having a flower to put on the coffin.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Mommy

Felicia Gayle Hudgins

A friend of mine made this suggestion to me, and I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it earlier.  Since she is the inspiration for my blog, it is only fitting that I have a picture of my Mom posted.  

This particular picture is a little poignant.  It was taken four days before she died.  Mom had just gotten her hair cut and wanted to share it.  Sadly, because of the technology of the day, I can only print it big enough to put in my locket.  Luckily I have plenty of other photos of her.  And as I said before, I always have the full moon to see her face in.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Learning New Things, The Painful Way

Last night I had the pleasure of participating in one of the craft slumber parties at Raleigh's Panopolie.  It was five hours of crafting, food, fun, and classes.  And perhaps a little shopping too.  :-)  I came away with lots of ideas for my photographs.

The first part of the evening I was introduced to felting.  For those of you who haven't felted before, you take raw wool and, using very sharp needles, and combine the layers into whatever shape you desire.  Now, when I say very sharp needles, I mean very sharp needles.  And not just any needles, barbed needles.  You have to have the barbs to catch onto the wool fibers and interlace them, making the felt.  Remember that.

I discovered that felting can be quite relaxing.  Place on a tuft of wool and just start poking away.  Before long you get so into it, you just keep poking and poking, and you forget where your finger is.  Believe me, you realize very quickly when you've stopped poking the wool and started poking your finger.  But, after a carefully placed band-aid, I was back to poking--just a little more carefully.

My second project of the evening was to make domed and riveted necklaces.  The metal texturing and doming were quite fun.  Again, like the felting, you just keep whacking away with the hammer (I kept my fingers out of the way this time).  The riveting was not quite as relaxing.  Where you got to whack away at the metal disc to texture it, you had to gently tap the tip of a tiny piece of wire very precisely to create the rivet.  The ideal is to have the bead tight against the domed metal.  Both of mine had a little "wobble-age" (my instructor, Tracy, said this was the technical term for it), but I did manage to make both of my charms without breaking the glass beads.

So, I learned a lot last night.  1) Felting can be quite relaxing, as long as you avoid the needles.  2) Riveting, not so much.  3) Crafting until midnight is a lot of fun!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Mommy Moon

While I have a blog on my photography website, I decided to create a blog to discuss the other part of my life--crafting.  Although my crafting often includes my photographs, I do a lot of things that don't.  So I thought it fitting to share my crafty life on a separate blog.

That's the why of the blog.  The why of the name is another story all together.  The creativity that flows through my veins is genetic.  I owe it all to my mother.  She started grooming me at an early age so that I may one day pass my creativity on to my children.  My sophomore year of college my mother moved to Florida.  It was the furthest away we'd been my entire life.  She used to tell me that she could see my face in the full moon and know that I was with her.

After my mother passed away in 2004 I began to see the moon in a whole new light.  I remembered what she had told me when she moved so far away.  I now look at the full moon and know that she is with me.  I call it the Mommy Moon.  And since it my mother who inspired and nurtured my creativity, I've named my blog Mommy Moon.