Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Design This - Dragonfly Earrings with Purple and Hearts

There are many teams on Etsy and I belong to a few. They are organized around different purposes. The one I keep up with the most is the Texas Friends Team, especially their general chat threads. We chat about what is going on both on and off Etsy and give each other support when we can. Occasionally I post new listings photos, just to share. I like it when other team members share a few of their listings too because it helps me remember what they offer for sale. I consider it pretty low maintenance networking and figure every now and then it will result in a sale for someone. I was the lucky recipient of a custom order because of this recently.

A couple of months back I shared a photo of an amethyst and quartz necklace and earring set. It was the incarnation of a thought that had been in my head for a while. I was very happy with the way the jewelry set and the listing photos came out so I wanted to share with my team. Then last week I shared a new listing for some dragonfly earrings. I liked the story the stones suggested that I paired with a couple of the dragonfly charms. A fellow team member, who makes wonderful quilted items, connected these two shares in her mind for a custom request. Could I incorporate the amethyst diamond beads from the jewelry set, the largest
dragonfly charm and perhaps a did I have any heart beads that were purple? After asking a couple of questions, I also added sterling silver findings to the requirements list. I looked through my stash of supplies and came up with three design option mock ups as starting points for discussion.

It turned out that the middle design option was deemed perfect, so that is the one I used to complete the dragonfly, heart, amethyst and sterling silver earrings. I enjoy creating and especially creating something for a custom request because I know my finished design will be enjoyed right away instead of waiting for the right person to find it and take it home. Let me know if you have a custom request, whether a jewelry design or photographic art image and I will let you know if it is something I can create for you.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

New Digs - Birds and Dragonfly

Last year I went to a friend's house to help her open an Etsy shop for her amazing polymer clay creations. What a nice surprise when we sat down at her computer to see three of my avian photographic art pieces hanging on her art wall behind the computer. Two of them, the female cardinal and the goldfinch were purchased as matted prints, which she later framed and hung. The kestrel was acquired as a ready to hang piece. (It is a variation of the same photo I created "Iridescent Dreams" from, which I shared in its new home a while back.)

I was focused on helping set up her Ellengant Creations Etsy Shop and did not think to take a picture of my artwork to share. Ellen was nice enough to send me a picture along with a couple of others from where she had my work hanging. My "Blue on Blue" dragonfly gallery wrapped canvas hangs with a fanciful school of polymer clay fish Ellen created for the Inspired by Nature exhibit we were both in last year. She also displays one of my "Psychedelic Gazelle" prints on a wall in her house.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bluebird Sightings Make Me Happy

While bluebirds hang out in North Texas year round, there are often gaps of time between when I see them in my backyard. I was experiencing one of those bluebird sighting droughts before I mowed a couple of days ago. As I rounded a curve in my mowing pattern I noticed a male bluebird perched near the top of my jujube tree. I looked around to see if there was a female nearby and sure enough, she was sitting atop my chain link fence. It just made me smile to see them around again. Perhaps this response comes from growing up during a time when bluebird populations were very low and there was a push was being made to save them. To learn what you can do to support bluebird populations in your area of
Texas, Texas Parks and Wildlife has an extensive, informative pdf on all things bluebird.

I usually see bluebirds in my yard when they're looking for food. They like to perch on my chain link fencing, tall plant stakes, trees or anything else from which they can swoop down and catch an insect in an adjacent open patch of lawn or pasture. I sometimes see newly fledged bluebirds and have even seen their parents feeding them. I don't know if they are breeding in a natural nest cavity on my property or in a bluebird house provided by one of my neighbors. Whatever the reason, I enjoy seeing them around. The photos in this post are from previous years and show a male and female sitting on my chain link and a young bluebird perched on a wooden structure.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Welcoming the First Day of Spring

Often I share images of blooms from my yard to welcome in the first day of spring. This year my fresh blooms are in the form of a new pair of floral earrings I created.

I recently acquired a strand of carved jade flowers. When I was storing my new supplies this strand and the spring-like weather we were having called me to create something using the flower beads. I pulled out several other strands of jade to see what I wanted to pair with the carved flowers to make a pair of earrings. I settled on using a head pin with a ball end on the open side of the carved flowers and a darker green jade sphere on the stem side. For some reason the spherical beads made a more pleasing design than the cylindrical ones that mimicked a stem better.
Now that we have reached the spring equinox marking the first day of spring, we begin to enjoy more light than darkness from now through the fall equinox.

As the daylight portion of your days lengthens, I hope the weather is warming where you are and that flowers and trees are budding out. Sunshine, flowers and spring green everywhere is a great tonic after a very gray winter.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Monarchs on the Move

While the fall monarch butterfly migration seems to be more concentrated through my location than the spring one, it is time for us to be on the lookout in North Texas for the butterflies are on the move. Sightings of monarchs laying eggs on milkweed in Austin have already been reported. Report your sightings too.

You can help sustain monarchs on their journey north by planting milkweed and nectar sources for them. There are many good native nectar sources as well as
flowering shrubs, annuals and perennials found more commonly in the nursery trade.

I have also seen well traveled monarchs on several flowers not included in any of these lists such as sunflowers and hyacinth vine bean flowers as seen in this post. I suggest trying to fit in some of the plants in the lists but if you can't, put out colorful nectar producing flowering plants and hope to see a fluttering patch of orange land on your flowers to refuel on its journey.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Mansfield Arts Week Includes Work by C Stein

Arts Week in Mansfield coincides with spring break. This ten day event (Thursday, March 7 - Sunday, March 17) combines arts from every spectrum. I posted last week about one facet of Arts Week that I am participating in, an artist reception from 6-7 pm, Friday, March 8 at the Mansfield Public Library for artists whose work is currently hanging in the library. This week I wanted to share a few more opportunities for you to find me and my work in Mansfield as part of Arts Week. I have five of my photographic art
pieces hanging inside Calibration Chiropractic, one of the businesses who have offered artists space to show their work as part of Arts Week. I will be there at specific times Monday - Wednesday, March 11 -13.

Monday, March 11 is Kids Day. A potter will be doing pottery wheel demos from 10am - 2pm that day at the clinic my artwork is hung in. Many other events are happening for Kids Day throughout the city. I will also be at the clinic for both days of the Historic Downtown Mansfield Arts Walk, Tuesday the 12th from 1-4pm and Wednesday the 13th from 5-8pm.

There are plenty of additional activities and events going on during the rest of Mansfield Arts Week. My art is scheduled to continue to hang at Calibration Chiropractic throughout the month of March.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Dragonfly and Wildflower Art on Exhibit at Mansfield Public Library

The theme of the new art exhibition at the Mansfield Public Library is the 2019 Spring Mansfield Reads! book Before We Were Yours. Art was accepted for this exhibition that embraced imagery and themes that pop up in the novel. Two of those themes were dragonflies and wildflowers, right in my wheelhouse.

I created a new wildflower piece of photographic art that was accepted as part of the exhibit, along with two of my existing gallery wrapped canvas dragonfly images.

The Mansfield Public Library is hosting an artist's reception as part of their kickoff of this exhibition at 6 pm on Friday, March 8. I plan to attend and would love to visit if you can make it too. If you can't get to the reception, the art will be on display through Thursday, June 20.

This exhibition kick-off is part of Mansfield Arts Week. I will share another opportunity to see more of my work in Mansfield as part of Arts Week in next week's blog post.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Fashion Show in AVAA 2019 Regional Exhibition

If you enjoy viewing a wide range of media, styles and subjects of art by local artists, then you need to stop by the Bob Duncan Center in Arlington to view the Arlington Visual Arts Association's 2019 Annual Regional Exhibition. My matted and framed entry, "Fashion Show", of a leafy sea dragon was selected to be included in the show this year. (You will find it in the display case. The reflections from the case and the picture frame made it difficult to see some of the details of the image so I have also included a
watermarked version of the original in this post.)

Some of the art can be viewed whenever the Bob Duncan Center is open. These pieces are on the east wall of the main hallway. The rest of the exhibit hangs inside the room on the west side of the building. As long as the room is not in use, you can view the remainder of the show when the center is open as well. The exhibition opened on February 5, 2019 and runs through April 8, 2019.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New Digs - Iridescent Dreams Kestrel

By now, quite a few pieces of my photographic art prints have found their way into customers' homes. And sometimes I am lucky enough to have a customer come up to me at a later show and tell me how much they love their purchase hanging in their home. It always makes me feel good to know that something I created brings joy to someone else. What is more rare is for me to get a glimpse of what my artwork looks like in its new setting.

The very first time that happened was when a customer snapped a photo of a recently purchased matted print they framed and posted the photo to my facebook page. Recently a customer texted me a photo of a ready to hang piece of art in her home that she purchased from me at the Happy Holidays Pop-Up Market this past holiday season. My customer was actually also a vendor
at the market and liked my "Iridescent Dreams" kestrel series matted and framed print so much when she dropped off her product that she purchased it and took it home with her.

While I usually don't share identifying information about my customers, when I got permission to share this customer's photo on my blog, she mentioned she would share my post once I published it. Since she was a vendor at the market and has an Etsy store, it only seems fair to thank Sabrina of The Sleepy Cottage publicly for sharing. The eyelashes pillow in her photo looks like her brand.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Great Backyard Bird Count Event in Dalworthington Gardens

On Saturday, February 16, 2019 come take part in the 2nd annual DWG Great Backyard Bird Count event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. beginning in the Annex of City Hall. A short presentation about participating in the GBBC will start at 10 and then participants will divide into groups that will head in different directions around Gardens Park and Pappy Elkins Lake to become citizen scientists for an hour or so while collecting data on the birds we find.

Guided by knowledgeable birders, we will identify and record the many birds who live in or are visiting Gardens Park, make new friends and enjoy the time outdoors, rain or shine. No experience is needed. Bring binoculars and/or
your camera if you have them. Download the Merlin App or we can help you that morning (works with android or iOS devices). Last year, spotters identified 34 species in about 1 hour, including the two species photographed in Gardens Park and included in this post. Light refreshments will be served when we meet back up to discuss our discoveries. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Fellow Etsian Sighting - Ellengant Creations

If you happen to be at the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (DAMC) office, you should be able to see this cute ray from EllengantCreations in person. How did this come to be? DAMC partnered with 817ArtsAlliance to bring the community a unique holiday shopping opportunity last year in the form of the Happy Holidays Pop-Up Market (HHPM), held in the front portion of their space. It was filled with creations from fifteen local artisans. Ellen's whimsical polymer clay creatures were part of the assortment.

The admin at DAMC kept being drawn to Ellen's sand colored ray and finally decided it needed to join her family. As a token of appreciation for sharing space with HHPM however, 817ArtsAlliance would not let her purchase it but gifted it to her (after paying the artist for her work). I embellished a plain black stand with seashells to complement the ray. Last time I was in the office, the ray was hanging out as part of the decor. One of these years I imagine it might go home with the admin. Until then, you can see one of Ellen's creations in person. More whimsical creatures can be seen in her Etsy shop, EllengantCreations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mistletoe - Friend or Foe?

Some things that I have heard during my life about mistletoe are: 1) stand under it if you are looking for a kiss, 2) it is poisonous and 3) it will kill your trees. You may have mistletoe in some of your trees, so it would be nice to know if it is friend or foe. The answer however is somewhat mixed and might be subjective based on your situation.

Various kissing traditions about standing under mistletoe have flourished for hundreds of years. I will leave it to the reader as to whether this informs the mistletoe as friend or foe discussion.

Yes, mistletoe is poisonous to some living creatures including humans, dogs and cats. Mistletoe varieties growing in America are purported to be less toxic than mistletoe found in Europe. In Europe extracts from mistletoe are showing signs of being less toxic than chemotherapy and effective against colon cancer. Some mammals consume mistletoe as part of their normal diet, especially during the
winter when other food sources may be scarce. These include squirrels, deer and cattle. Many birds such as robins, bluebirds and waxwings eat the berries. Other birds such as spotted owls, chickadees and nuthatches use the "witches broom" mass of branches to nest in. Mistletoe provides an early pollen and nectar source for bees and 3 species of hairstreak butterflies depend on this plant as food for their caterpillars. These are just some examples that can confuse a friend or foe discussion with regards to mistletoe.

Mistletoe is a parasite. It does draw its water and a portion of its nutrients from the host tree. The place on a branch where mistletoe attaches to will become noticeably thickened and if you wish to permanently remove a mistletoe clump, you can't just chop off the base of the cluster of mistletoe branches. You must also cut the limb about a foot towards the center of the tree from the thickened attachment point. But should you do this? The answer will vary depending on your situation. I read about a biologist whose work with mistletoe began with a focus to find a way to eradicate it. After decades of studying the plant he came to appreciate its part in the overall forest ecosystem and introduced some to a few trees in his own yard. Mistletoe can definitely weaken a host tree, especially if there is a heavy infestation and/or if extreme drought occurs. As part of an overall forest ecosystem, mistletoe infected trees will likely have shorter lifespans and according to several studies will contribute to a higher percentage of snags and nest cavities and therefore a larger population of cavity nesting birds in the forest.

So, mistletoe, friend or foe? You will have to decide for your own unique situation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Design This - Sheep Jewelry Part 2

In my previous blog post I described how I came to make a pair of sheep earrings for a friend of mine to give as a gift. The byproduct of this process was a sheep bracelet mock up that sat on my bench for a couple of weeks before I decided what to do with it. Between the holidays and running the Happy Holidays Pop-Up Market, I did not have time to put away unused supplies from the few pieces I managed to create during December.

When I finally had time to start putting away those unused beads and findings, I contemplated what to do with the bracelet mock up. I really liked the way the faceted black agate beads complemented the single lampwork sheep bead
that would be opposite the clasp in a finished bracelet. It would have taken a similar amount of time to disassemble and properly stow the parts as it would to complete the bracelet so I decided to finish it up. The mock up anticipated a sterling silver toggle clasp and findings to finish off the bracelet. Since I was no longer constrained by the request for sterling findings, I could now consider other options. With the beads being mostly black and white, I thought gunmetal would be the perfect color for the crimp bead covers, jump rings and toggle clasp.

Now that I had a plan, I gathered up some beading wire, crimp beads and gunmetal tone findings and set about to turn my design into a finished bracelet. I liked it so much I listed it in my EDCCollective Etsy shop.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Design This - Sheep Jewelry

When a friend of mine visited the Happy Holidays Pop-Up Market and spied my lampwork sheep earrings, she said her mother liked all things sheep. The only problem, she saw with those earrings was that her mother did not like long earrings and the metal in her jewelry needed to be sterling silver.

We talked about some options and we decided I would mock up a bracelet design for her consideration. After some back and forth on that design we reconsidered what my friend's mom would likely enjoy the most. We went back to discussing earrings. I had some
sterling silver posts with a loop to attach the sheep to that would create shorter earrings than the pair on French ear wires she saw at the market. She decided to go with this option and I made them up in time for her to take them with her for a Christmas gift. I was thrilled when I saw my friend after the holidays and she reported that her mother loved them.

In my next post I will share what I have done with the bracelet mock up that sat on my bench for a couple of weeks.