Friday, December 19, 2008

It's almost here...

Are you ready? Are the gifts sent? Has the list been checked? Twice? Are the stockings hung? With care?
Are you enjoying the hustle and bustle of the season?

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

(Image from Dover Publishing.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


At this busy time of year....
s33 T R E S S

Stress: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some jerk who desperately deserves it.

In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. do you deal with stress?

Monday, December 15, 2008

For the love of cranberries, part 2

I still love cranberries! I love to make cranberry bread, cranberry sauce, cranberry salsa, frozen cranberry martinis, and sugared cranberries. Here are two of my favorite cranberry recipes. I hope you enjoy them!

Sugared Cranberries (from Cooking Light December 2003)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked
3/4 cup superfine sugar

Combine granulated sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat, stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer (do not boil), and remove from heat, let cool slightly. You do not want the cranberries to pop. Stir in cranberries, pour into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain cranberries in a colander over a bowl. . Place the superfine sugar in a shallow dish. Add the cranberries, roll to coat with sugar. Spread the sugared cranberries in a single layer on a baking sheet; let stand at room temperature until dry. Store in an air tight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.
They look so pretty in a holiday bowl. They pop in your mouth, and are a surprising sweet treat. The contrast between the sweet, candy like shell and the tart, juicy berry is nice. These are great to put out when entertaining, to use as a unique gift, or serve at a cocktail party.

Cranberry Salsa
1 bag cranberries, washed and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
½ cup (or more) cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes, juiced
½ - ¾ cup sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced

Mix together gently. Serve with corn chips, crackers, or tortilla rolls. Also works well with roast turkey or pork tenderloin.

To make spicier, add more jalapeno
Let sit in refrigerator 1 – 2 hours.
Can be made a day ahead, add cilantro before serving.

I hope you enjoy these recipes. What are your favorite holiday recipes?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Working

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
-- Josh Billings

Winter is here, and I said that we are usually closed when the weather is too cold. So, I was wrong. We do sometimes have to be open on some of the colder days. Tomorrow may be chilly, but Kerry and I will be there. Our strategy is that we will crank up our little space heaters, and wear our warmest sweaters. Thankfully, the orders are still coming in, and we do need to put in a few hours.

So, we will do our best to warm up the little place. You should stop by, too. We are running a special on non-jewelry items, 15% off. What a deal! We also have our drop in to make art time tomorrow. Come in and make a gift of your own. Drop-in workshops. Make your own gift each Tuesday and Friday from 9:00 - 11:30, December projects include Gypsy bracelets, large journals, Gypsy journals or glass ornaments.

Brave the cold, we promise it won't be too bad! Also, we are the perfect place to look for that special gift you still need.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Inexpensive gifts

At this time of year, in this economy, we are all looking for an affordable gift. Our studio can help you out with that quest. One of our many affordable gifts are these beautiful keyrings. We love them so much; the colors and textures are fun. They also make life a little bit easier, they slip over the wrist so you can keep your keys handy when you have your hands full!

Key Fob - $5

What's more, they are handmade. Stop by the studio Tuesday or Thursday to pick one up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rules of the studio...

When it's 32 degrees (or below) we generally don't have the studio open. This little building doesn't have enough heat to keep us (or you) warm.

This morning the temperature is 14, with windchill 3 degrees. Brrrr!

Next week looks good, though.

See you then!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Buy Handmade?

You may ask, why buy handmade for the holidays? Why buy handmade for gifts? Why buy handmade for yourself?

The website addresses those questions. This is what they say:

"Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.
The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

Buying handmade is better for people.
The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.

Buying handmade is better for the environment.
The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production."

Conveniently, Kerry and I make homemade. We have lots of artisan friends who make homemade, too. We also have links to lots of other blog and Internet friends that make and sell homemade. If you want to buy homemade, too, come to the studio on one of our open studio days. Or check out our website or our Amazon store. Or look further and find your own local artisans to support. Even if you can't buy entirely homemade this season, try to find just one special gift that's handcrafted. Maybe you will be lucky and receive handmade.

Enjoy your holidays!

Monday, December 1, 2008

December Studio Events

Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, with company coming, and special dinners and parties to host, with shopping to do and baking, too, we have both been so busy. You have too, I'd bet. We can help you out, we hope. With affordable, handcrafted gifts, check out the specials at the studio. And if you want to make your own handcrafted gift, we can help you do that, too.

We've planned a special sale item every week. (Purchases must be made at the studio for special prices to apply.) This week:

Stone pendants on a leather necklace, only $10. Mix and match to create your own combination.

Do you want to make a gift to give? Join us for Drop-in workshops.Come to the studio to make a gift for someone special. We are open on December 2, 5, 9, 12, 16 and 19; 9:00 – 11:30am. Come make Gypsy Bracelets, Collage Journals, Glass Ornaments, or Gypsy Journals. Other projects may be available, just ask.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quote of the Day-

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary
- George Orwell

Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.
-Henry David Thoreau

Do you tell the truth?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

November Earring Sale

Come to the studio Friday, November 21 and Tuesday November 25; 9:00 am - 11:30 am for our November Earring Sale. All earrings on sale for $12 a pair. Great deal!

Looking for more affordable, unique gifts? We have tons of gifts under $20! Key rings, Wristlets, Pouches, Candles, Mini-Journals, Kids Drawstring Backpacks, Headbands, and jewelry, too. Don’t miss our Holiday One of a Kind jewelry line for your Holiday parties and our Littlest Miracles Collection for the younger ladies in your life.
Shop with us: December 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, and 19; from 9:00am – 11:30

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Display ideas

As we were getting ready for our art sale, Kerry and I spent some time working on displaying our jewelry. It is always a challenge for us, as we have a functional studio, where we not only make jewelry, store jewelry, but also display it in a fashion that is appealing to visitors. Our old stand-by is a converted drawing table. When we renovated the studio three years ago, we had my mom's old drawing table. We covered it with batting and then a solid material. We then used upholstery tacks and satin ribbon to make loops. We hang our necklaces and bracelets from the loops. Last year we removed the base of the table and mounted the table top on the wall, it now is a handy display place, as well as an attractive piece of wall decor. Looking for some new display techniques, we came up with some creative ideas that gave our pieces a fresh look. Our next idea was to use mini clothespins and clips to hang carded earrings from yarn strung on our bakers rack.

We used the clip idea several times around the studio. Here is another shot where we used the clips to hang earrings from a wire frame.

Some of our ideas would even work with your jewelry at home. Here we used an old photo display stand to hold earring cards, but you could hang bracelets and necklaces from the rings, or hang french hook earrings over the wires.

This earring display is a favorite of mine because our friend Lisa gave us this...

She found a wooden frame, distressed it and then inserted a piece of metal radiator sheeting. the cut-outs in the metal are perfect for hanging earrings. You could also hang small s-hooks from the holes and use those to hang your necklaces and earrings.

Our last jewelry display was a gift from Kerry's dad. He made several wooden display stand for us, using a wooden base with dowels, and beautifuly stained, this stand is perfect for displaying our pendants.

It is always a challenge for us. We want to display items in an attractive way, but also have to maintain the functionality of our studio. What unique jewelry display ideas do you have?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sale Shots

We're sorry if you missed the sale last weekend. We had a great time. Kerry and I were so impressed with the quality of everyone's work. We are lucky to know so many talented artisans. Our photographer friend, Elizabeth, snapped these shots as everyone was straightening out their spaces on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect, crisp and clear. I love how the sun is shining through the trees.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Art & Fine Craft Sale - Today

What are you doing for National Arts and Humanities Month? Have you visited a gallery recently? Do you have tickets to see a play or a concert? Have you supported your local artisan?

Now is the time! Come and support your local artisans - Today and tomorrow at the Helen Parker Art Studio, you have the opportunity to view and purchase a wide range of quality art and fine craft items, ranging from textiles to jewelry, lamps to pottery, children's clothing to photography. Don't miss out!

Friday, October 17 9:00am – 1:00 pm and

Saturday, October 18 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

We are proud to announce the following artist will be participating:

Christiane Robinson of Aspengold Artisan Jewelry
Elizabeth Hagen of Elizabeth Hagen Photography
Tiffany Shively of Bebe Sniklefritz
Hope Swenson of Mod Dot Textiles
Linda Brookover of The Light Idea & Boutique Unique Handbags
Sandy Robinson of Sandyland Pottery

Kerry Feiman & Rachel Hanson of Milagro Jewelry

Thursday, October 16, 2008

more artist news...

Look for our friend Christiane Robinson in the Friday's Boulder Daily Camera. Her beautiful pendants, Aspengold Artisan Jewelry, will be featured in the fashion column.
Congratulations Christiane!

Artist Profile - Linda Brookover

Today, I would like you to introduce you to Linda Brookover. Linda is a repeat artist at our annual fall art sale. She does double duty as the artisan of The Light Idea, offering delightful lamps, and Boutique Unique, with her high quality fabric handbags.
With The Light Idea, Linda makes beautiful lampshades! She finds adorable lamps and matches them with the perfect shade which she embellishes with fringe, ribbons, tassles and beads. These creations are quite the focal point in a bedroom or on an end table. Her eye for combining texture and color is fantastic. These lamps evoke a sense of softness, femininity, and style. This year she will also offer us a line of fabulous nightlights. These are mineature, wall versions of her elaborate lamps. Each embellished with rich looking fringes and beads, the perfect accessory for your bedroom or bathroom.

Linda is also the maker of high quality fabric handbags and purses which she offers under the name Boutique Unique. She uses interesting yet durable materials. She has an eye for combining fabrics, buttons, and ribbons to make these fantastic creations. Her bags also have lots of detail, with lots of pocket, magnetic snap closures, and even a hook inside to snap onto your keys.

Linda says this about coming into creativity:
"My love for arts and crafts started at a very young age, while taking art classes at the McNay Art Institute and all the way to college. I love many forms of art from painting, stain glass, pottery, but there is not enough time to do them all. Along the way I became a flight attendant and was able to experience the world and many different cultures. With that came new forms of art and color combinations I had never seen before. Unfortunately I was in an accident and I am not able to fly again, but now focus on my art and bring to you some of the experiences of the world through the art that I create. I live a few miles from the Flatirons range near Boulder Colorado with my husband and two kids."
We love Linda's attention to detail and her lovely color combinations. Her work is high quality and first rate! We know you would agree.

Join us at the studio on Friday from 9 - 1 and Saturday from 10 - 2 to meet some fabulous local artist, find some unique handmade creations and to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Artist Profile - Sandy Robinson

Sandy Robinson of Sandyland Pottery is today's featured artist. Sandy is also a repeat artist at our annual event. We were charmed by Sandy's whimsical work from the moment we saw it. When asked about her craft, she says, "I call it functional eco-art! It's hand-painted pottery with a unique twist." She finds the pieces of white and light colored pottery at antique shops and thrift stores, she then gives them new life by painting her magic on them with special paint, then re-firing them so the colors are permanent and dishwasher safe.

As to the inspiration for her work, Sandy says, "Inspiration is everywhere! I often feel like I live in a cartoon world and see the funny in most things. Many snippets of what I hear and see spark images that turn up in my work. Life is so rich... and inspiring!"

Being a painter is just one facet of Sandy's artistic life. Her early artistic experiences includes ceramics (hand-building and greenware molds), finger paints, decoupage, wood carving, leather designs, candle making, dried pasta art, scratchboards, macrame, watercolors, acrylics as well as photography, film and animation. She is also caterer and chef, and a practitioner of the healing arts, including reiki and aromatherapy.

One of her current goals is to open a community cafe, with a zero-waste kitchen and a pay it forward style of payment. Find out more on her website, Sandyland.

Sandy says, "My deep love for our precious Earth continues to encourage me to look for ways to reduce waste on our planet. Painting on existing pottery that might otherwise end up in a landfill is a way to blend my need for creative expression and love for the environment. The Sandyland "catch-phrase" is: RECYCLED, REUSED, RENEWED, REBORN. What does that mean to you?"

Come to see more of Sandy's art at our fall art sale this Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Artist Profile - Hope Swenson

Hope Swenson, owner of Mod Dot Textiles, is another local artist we found on Etsy. She creates fashion accessories, children's clothes, and home goods using designer fabric and trims. She uses bold colors and patterns in stunning combinations. From her full sized women's purses (left) and wallets, to her little cell phone bags (see green bag below right) to her adorable girls dresses, we love her work!

Also a Colorado native, Hope was inspired to sew by her "two very patient grandmothers and mother." She and her sister, Tiffany (see yesterday's post), started their textile careers in Barbie fashion, but have grown since those days!

Hope has a wide range of talents including sketching, painting, embroidery, knitting and crochet. She also has experience in metal smithing and jewelry making as well as home renovation. She and her father worked together to restore an old ranch house and a 1900's Bank building.

Even with that wide range of talent and skill, Hope is focusing on design and creation of children's clothes and other textile creations. She describes her artistic process as an explosion! She says, "I throw fabrics together on the floor or tack them to the wall, stand back and contemplate, decide what looks good together, cut and sew. I usually develop a pattern from something that I have already sewn and want to recreate. My best time to design is right before I go to sleep and when I am driving."

Her business, Mod Dot Textiles, grew out of necessity. After their father suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, Hope and Tiffany made the decision to care for him themselves. Hope says, "I was required to find a way to create income while being able to have a flexible schedule so that I could participate in my Father’s care and rehabilitation to the fullest extent possible." While difficult, this transformative experience has helped Hope follow her "Bliss" by choosing to, "concentrate on my priorities of family and simplicity, and continue along my creative path." Both Hope and Tiffany contribute a portion of their proceeds to the Colorado Brain Injury Foundation and Boulder County Hospice.

Their story is inspiring and their work is inspired. We hope that you will enjoy Hope's bright, fun, and well crafted textile creations as much as we do!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Artist Profile - Tiffany Shively

We found the textile art of Tiffany Shively and her sister (tomorrow's post) while looking for local artists on Etsy. Looking to add a variety of mediums to our fall art sale, we were drawn to Tiffany's use of bright colors and patterns as well as her eye for combination. Plus, she has something for everyone, as she says she offers, "accessories for everyone from birth to 102!" For the little ones she offers baby boutique items like blankets, bibs, burp cloths and onesies and for the rest of us she has beautifully crafted and stylish headbands.
Her love for sewing and the name of her business came from her German grandmother, a quilter, who called Tiffany "sniklefritz," and thus bebe Sniklefritz was born. A true Colorado native, Tiffany has been sewing and designing since she was a little girl, making stylish clothes for her barbies. Her craft has come a long way! Now her craft is all about expressing yourself with modern and chic textiles using original and unique designs. She makes hip accessories for the little ones and their moms.
Tiffany tells us she is inspired by bold and modern prints, and looks for unique ways to mix and match prints and bright colors. She strives to create a unique product that is different from the run of the mill baby gift. With her attention to detail and quality crafted items, we think that she has done just that!In addition to being an talented textile artist, Tiffany is also a full time mom and part time attorney. And, after their father suffered a brain injury in 2006, Tiffany and her sister are committed to spreading awareness and supporting Brain Injury survivors by donating a portion of their net proceeds to Hospice of Boulder County and the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.
We hope you enjoy Tiffany's beautiful craft. You can view her work on her etsy site and see it in person at our sale this weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Artist Profile - Christiane Robinson

Kerry discovered Christiane Robinson's beautiful pendants and we couldn't resist inviting her to participate in our fall art sale. Her work is amazing!

Christiane describes her work as whimsical and colorful, we would also add beautiful and unique to describe her pendants. Under the name Aspengold Artisan Jewelry, Christiane makes pendants and earrings by applying high quality papers, including Japanese chiyogami and Florentine papers, to glass, dominoes and wooden Scrabble tiles. The papers are often accented with swarovski crystals or micro beads and sealed with a special process. Strung from a leather cord, organza ribbon, or silver necklace, the effect is stunning!

She says her inspiration often comes from the beautiful chiyogami Japanese paper she works with, or from nature, her children and travels she's made. She also has an eye for color, trends, the seasons, and art. Christiane will look for paper in the style of artists like Mondrian and Monet.

Currently a Colorado resident, Christiane's childhood was spent in Pennsylvania and Germany. She can trace her artistic tendencies to her youth; she said, "My love of arts and crafts goes all the way back to my childhood. I was born in central Pennsylvania. My father was a college professor of history and art and my mother was an artist trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. As my father is European, I spent periods of my childhood growing up in Munich and Heidelberg, where I was frequently exposed to the arts and music of Southern Germany. I graduated from Salem College in 1992 with dual degrees in history and German. While attending college, I began my first foray into the arts by taking an art class on stained glass windows. For the next decade, I periodically assisted my mother in building leaded glass windows as part of her studio, Arran Art Glass. I am still a member of the International Guild of Glass Artists."

We love the whimsy of the pendant on the back of a scrabble tile or domino. Her glass pieces are equally beautiful with their clean, crisp look. We are impressed with the quality of her craft as well as her eye for color and style. Surely you will agree.

Her work has been sold across the world, from California to Australia and we are pleased she will be joining us next weekend. Come and see it for yourself; it's simply beautiful!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Artist Profile - Elizabeth Hagen

Elizabeth Hagen will be offering her hand tinted, color and black and white photograps at this year's art sale. This is Elizabeth's third year with us. We introduced you to her last year in this blog. Since that time, she has expanded her horizons a bit. Kerry and I were drawn to Elizabeth's black and white photos which she brings to life with her hand painting skills. She revitalizes a skill from the days when photos were only black and white, and the only color had to be added by hand. Using photos from her worldwide travels and her local finds, she captures the essence of the landscapes and history in film. Since last year's art sale, she has expanded her repertoire to include numerous color and black and white photos of botanics, local sights and hot air balloons.

Her black and white photos are printed on canvas or matte and hand painted with oil paints, adding color and texture. She uses other photos on note cards, thus offering her work in a wide variety of formats and prices.

Elizabeth's background as an economics major with experience in the mortgage banking industry is a far cry from her artistic calling now. As she says, "Good thing I got out when I did!" She says she was always interested in black and white photography but when she took a hand tinting class 15 years ago it, "renewed my passion and inspired me to try something different with my photos."

Elizabeth says this about her artistic process, " I may decide to paint a particular photo to bring out particular characteristics of the image. For example, one of my favorite photos is of the buildings in Venice with water and gondolas in the forefront. As Venice was built on water, the buildings have been through incredible wear and yet they are beautifully built and have wonderful detail. I use the black and white photo to give the old feel of Venice and add layers of color to the buildings to bring out the detail of the worn walls. "

You can find more of Elizabeth's work at our art studio next Friday and Saturday at our annual
art sale or on her website.

We hope you enjoy her work as much as we do!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Fall

Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter.
~Carol Bishop HippsDelicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
~George Eliot

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Art & Fine Craft Sale

October Art Sale--

We are hosting our annual Fine Craft and Art Sale
Friday, October 17 9:00am – 1:00 pm and Saturday, October 18 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
We are proud to announce the following artist will be participating:
Christiane Robinson of Aspengold Artisan Jewelry
Elizabeth Hagen of Elizabeth Hagen Photography
Tiffany Shively of Bebe Sniklefritz
Hope Swenson of Mod Dot Textiles
Linda Brookover of The Light Idea and Boutique Unique Handbags and
Sandy Robinson or Sandyland Pottery.

This is a talented group of women. They have amazing skills in their craft. Each one will bring something unique and beautiful to share with you.
There will be a variety of items, from handbags and totes to lamps and photographs. Don’t forget the stunning jewelry! It is a perfect time to start your holiday shopping or find something unique for yourself.