Thursday, May 28, 2009

Visit my Vendor Booth at Silver Bella!

You heard right! I'm going to be one of the many fabulous vendors at Silver Bella this year and I couldn't be more excited! For those of you who aren't familiar with Silver Bella, it's a sort of art retreat for like minded ladies to create and have a blast! Workshops are hosted by well known artists like Jennifer Murphy (a favorite of mine!), Kaari Meng, Pam Garrison, D. Shard, Rebecca Sower and more! It's this November in Omaha. This is the first time I'll be attending and I can't wait! I'm not much of a globe trotter (the farthest west I've ever been in Buffalo NY!) least not yet and am so excited!

My booth will probably look something like this, hopefully not as messy!

I'd love to know if you're going to Silver Bella too! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Vintage by Crystal logo Revealed!

That's right! It's been on my to do list for a while now but until recently I had more important things to do.

My original logo featured an old majestic ship. I know what you're thinking..."what does that have to do with cat/bat/bunny people and spun cotton?" When I first started Vintage by Crystal, I was making all sorts of vintage inspired goods, including shell art. I must admit I didn't put tons of thought into it, but vintage shell art and a ship both went with a nautical theme...I thought it was brilliant! After that things shifted and I pretty much never do shell art any more, hence my desperate need for a refreshed look.

Here's the original/previous/old logo:

And here's the new one:
This little cat girl actually didn't take long to come up with. I love making cat girls and it seems that every one else likes them too (yay!), so it only makes sense that she would be my official mascot. I wanted it to be a basically round logo as well because instead of signing my pieces (which on most of them is very hard to do), I put little round stickers on the bottom, back or under the skirt of each little guy or girl. My new stickers are going to be even smaller than the originals too, which will make them a little more discreet. The two designs at the top of this post are the before and after stickers.

I'd love to know what you think! :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Neighborhood Garage Sale

I LOVE neighborhood-wide, town-wide, village-wide...any kind of wide garage sale and I'm there! The great thing about these events is that you get a lot for a little. Many garage sales, many vintage finds, for a little bit of effort. Unlike conventional garage sales, there's no following garage sale signs for an entire mile before you realize that no one took the sign down from last week or even last month. No scouting out the most stratigic route to cover as many garage sales as possible while burning as little fuel and spending as little time on the road as possible. No more driving one, two, three miles only to discover that the garage sale is a dud. Nope...none of that nonsense. You just drive to one neighborhood, or one town. Park the car (don't forget your giant shopping bag or cart), and then walk from house to house. If one sale looks like a dud...just bypass it and continue on to the next one. If you purchase large items, just tell the seller you'll be back with the car in a bit and make a mental note of what you bought and where (this takes some practice). Carry the small stuff in your bag. If you circle around and are close to your car again, just empty the bag into the trunk and continue on. When you've seen it all or are tired of looking, hop in the car and pick up your too-heavy-to carry goodies and you're all set!

That's exactly what I did on Saturday morning. :)

I love little old bottles. These glass bottles have metal tops and their original labels. And that melted ice cream with the spoon? It's fake. I love pranking on Ben and had to grab this for .25 cents. Yesterday I ran upstairs to his studio and he came after me wondering why I was up there. He asked me what I was doing (he's very protective of his musical equipment) and I gave him a guilty look and said "nothing...". Then he looked down and saw the melted ice cream with the spoon right next to the keyboard of his precious mac laptop. He nearly had a coronary. "What did you do??!" He's so gentle and calm...but he was mad...well...mad for Ben. I got him good and we had a good laugh after he realized he wouldn't have to be dealing with sticky buttons. lol Now...who else can I fool....?

I have this thing about map puzzles and games. I was homeschooled as a kid for most of my elementary education and spent a lot of time studying maps and geography, so whenever I see anything having to do with learning geography, it's hard to resist! And I LOVE that fanned vase. I have to scout the flower bed outside for something pretty to display in it. I also nabbed those industrial kitchen storage containers. I really don't like things made with plastic and thought they'd make great tupperware.

And I love this nifty kitchen storage unit. I have another that I use in my studio...this one will join it. Plus some Christmas glasses to add to my collection.

Aren't these vintage children's backpacks just darling?! I love them so much! I wish I had some kids!

I also found a box of dolls. I was second guessing myself as to whether to buy them or not. They were kind of expensive for garage sale items. These two gals are quite large.

Two Ginny dolls with clothes.

These pretty girls with crocheted dresses.

I like this guy, although I don't know why. He looks a little clueless....and his fat arms and legs are adorable! lol My "too-big-to-carry" items included a child's rolltop desk and a vintage croquet set. I forgot to snap photos though.
That's it for show and tell! I'll be posting a bunch of these goodies for sale in my Vintage from Crystal Etsy shop (I love scouting out goodies to share!).
I'll be looking for more "wide" garage sales...stay tuned! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Peek at some Custom Creations

I love making custom creations that cater directly to a person's tastes and wishes. I do a lot of custom orders and it's wonderful because it prompts me to create something I never would have thought of on my own. Like the gorilla and bear musician duo in the photo above. Who would have thought? It's actually a wedding cake topper and the base is a stage with a curtain. Even the sheet music paper I used was so appropriate for a pair of musically inclined love birds...or animals I should say... This piece really reflected the personalities of the people it was made for.

And who would want a rat on their wedding cake? This is certainly something I couldn't have dreamed up on my own...but look how cute they are in their wedding garb! The bride mouse actually did end up with a wedding dress but I didn't get a chance to photograph it. Who knew rats could look so proper and charming?

This is an example of a totally custom face cake topper. This bride and groom opted for custom faces (they send photos and I digitally re-size and antique them to match). They even sent photos of the backs of their heads to use instead of the usual mirrored image. Her dress is made to match her real dress, their wedding colors were incorporated, they chose the style and color of his suit and they even wanted their two precious pugs to be present on their topper! So cute! My favorite part? The base inconspicuously doubles as a box for storing wedding keepsakes. I've done many of these types of cake toppers and it's so much fun! Plus I feel so special getting to be a part of the happy couple's special day. :) I have recently made up custom wedding cake topper order forms. You can download them here.

I don't often do books... but a wonderful gal and her hubby to be wanted a guest book to go with their customer cake topper. I found an old book on trees in a shabby outdoor bookstore right here in Boston. The book has to be from the 1800's...and it was in dire shape...the binding was totally ruined and the book was held together with a rubber band. This was perfect for me however! I took about 20 of the prettiest pages (the rest I'll use for future projects) and flipped them over so the blank sides were facing front and the printed sides were on the back. I then rebound them along with the covers and embellished the front with old papers, dresden, ribbon, flowers and two kissing whales! This book will be used during the wedding for guests to sign and give well wishes. :)

These two resting gals weren't exactly a custom order... My two cousins (who are sisters) are each marrying a farmer this summer. Both of their weddings will take place at our own family farm and I thought it was appropriate to make them a pair of spun cotton cows. I modeled them after the first cows they showed at the county fair as kids (like we all did...what great fun that was!). Samantha had "Snowy", a beautiful white cow with lots of polka dots. McKenzie had "Bookie", who's personality matched her own so well. I gave these to them as bridal shower gifts. I hope they like them! :)

These two pieces are probably my favorite custom pieces of all. They were both ordered by the same sweet mother, who wanted seasonal depictions of her with her two little sons. The first one she order last Christmas. It's snowy and white and cozy. The second one she ordered this spring. They have magically turned into bunnies and are so super colorful (you've probably seen this one in a previous post)! I wanted so much to keep each of these peices for myself! But alas, they are in a good home now. :)

Yay for custom orders! Of course if you have a desire to collaborate on a Vintage by Crystal original, by all means, drop me a line. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Website Update and a little Martha feature!

Yay! Finally I have finished updating my website. I've been so non-stop busy since last fall that I literally had no time to give my website the attention it deserved!

After sifting through many many photos of pieces that have found new homes long ago, I picked a select grouping from each category to offer on my website as made-to-order pieces. My whole website is now made to order, with the rare exception of just a few one of a kind pieces. You order, I make! Just to make note of, my selection of made to order pieces can change at any time. Sometimes it's because I ran out of a certain vintage material. Sometimes it's because I've made lots of a certain piece and I don't want too many of them out there, and sometimes it's because I just want to make room for new pieces. Also, I am no longer offering candy cones or plaster figures. I have a handful of the last original design candy cones that I will be offering at a special very low price very soon in my Etsy store...stay tuned for that!

In addition to revising my "for sale" section and other little tweaks here and there, I've also updated my "who's Crystal?" section, added an entire page devoted to my favorite links and added a bigger and better gallery section that I can easily add to over time. Phew! So glad I'm done...for now!

Enjoy perusing! (And if you happen to come across a bad link or a funky page, let me know!) :)

Also, I was surprised to see a photo of me and my pretty Magic kitty on Martha Stewart's website featuring guests and their pets! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

To paint or not to paint...

Last week was Ben's birthday. And he wants to go out to dinner. Since it's his birthday, his brother Matt, friend Dave and I give him free reign to chose a place to eat. I could have guessed ahead of time...he picks all you can eat sushi. This boy is a fiend for seafood...especially of the Asian persuasion. I personally have a strong dislike for seafood and Asian food (except for greasy mall Chinese) and I don't eat meat or fish anyway. So I ate falafel in the car on the way over.

You're probably wondering what that has to do with painting... Well...while the guys were eating mounds of colorful and artfully made sushi, I was inspired to do some sketches. I used the back of the order sheets and the red pens they provided us and did three handsome sketches with the idea to turn them into paintings.

I used to paint and draw a lot when I was in school. I would enter my work into art shows and contests and even the county fair and collected my fair share of prizes...but it's been years since I sat down and finished a real painting. But now I have a new breeze of inspiration and was dreaming up a whimsical series of paintings with my spun cotton characters as models. They'll be in fantasy land surroundings in soft colors with fun props and pretty borders within a border. You'll want to jump right into the painting and explore the crazy world yourself...or at least that's my aim.

The sketch above is my favorite out of the three. These birdies aren't gathering on the usual telephone wire, but on a series of perches in a vast field with a string of stars at the top.

I like this one too. A cat girl swings from a flying arbor while rabbits nibble on cabbage below her feet.

This is the first one I did while sitting at the sushi restaurant. It needs a little revising, but the main idea is there...a talented ballerina bear performing at the circus.

I want to show you some paintings I did a few years back. I plan to paint my new pieces in a similar style as the marriage of frog and bunny above and as George Washington below.

This painting I did while I was in college. My professor kept trying to push political view points and beliefs into our paintings while I just wanted to paint something pretty. This under water scene is called "Undoing Pollution". It's suppose to look like humans (the guy in the boat) are trying to replace the ocean they lost by abusing it. It's hard to tell from this photo, but the fish are fake and are tied to the ocean floor with string. One still even has a price tag on it. And someone got their facts mixed up and tied a seagull to the ocean floor as well. The seaweed is actually the plastic seaweed you buy for your fish tank with the plastic anchor at the bottom. The guy in the boat is dumping seashells into the water...even though there are no living animals in them. There's an old upholstered chair too. etc. etc. This was as close as I could come to a political painting...but at least it's a cause I believe in!

Some simple graphite and charcoal's been a while since I've done that too!

And photography...this is something I'll most likely never do again! While it was fun taking the photos, developing them in the dark room with the smelly chemicals and all the disappointment in the many terrible photos...I think I'll leave the picture taking to the pro's. These three are some of the few that turned out ok. My dad poses with his gun (he wouldn't let me take a photo of him without it...sheesh). Little Phil (a family friend) reaches to pet a cow. My sister Sara with a fake smile.

Well...what do think? Should I put down my cotton for just a bit and pick up a paint brush or would you rather see more figures? Be honest! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finally! New pieces have arrived!

You heard right! After about a month and a half I finally have a plethora of brand new designs made up and available for sale! After my appearance on Martha, I was crazy making made-to-order pieces and custom work (both of which I love doing, don't get me wrong!) and didn't have time for new creations. Well, the ideas piled up and I've finally been able to get them from my head and into the real world! I'll be posting them to Etsy all this week. This quartet of flower children is probably my favorite from this latest batch. They have petal faces and leaves growing from their arms!

I've been wanting to make unicorns for a while now. One in pink and one in white with a little mica for magic sparkle!

I'm really into fun colorful birthday themes lately. Pinks and polka dots... Plus I found a little bag full of colorful old birthday candles that graced birthday cakes way back when. Some have neat patterns and some are white with funfetti glitter...I love it! And check out Little Ms. Elephant. She's real shy and is hoping the birthday boy or girl loves the present she's giving!

I can never resist kitties. I love the red and teal color combo on this big sister and her little brother.

Some parties girls here. For a long time I had a strong aversion to purple. I'm not sure just always looked tacky to me. I've recently rediscovered purple and it's passionate love affair with pink! They go soooo well together. I'm having a lot of fun rediscovering color and color combo's in general. :)

These guys don't have a lot of color, but they certainly aren't lacking in spots! A dalmation, giraffe and snowy owl are proud of their dots.

This striped snake might be poisonous...I'm not sure. lol A circus dog does tricks with a hoola hoop and unnaturally colored wolves are more playful than their grey companions.

Last but not least are the birds! This cleverly painted owl is a little different than my original owls. A sparrow sporting a party hat stretches out it's wings and a simple crow enjoys being simple. :)

A bunch of these pieces have already been sold, but I'll be posting the remaining pieces and more all week in my Etsy check back often! :)