Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Huge Holiday Thank You

As the year 2009 winds down, I want to take a moment to extend a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported me in this little venture! Lofted Designs has experienced tremendous growth this year, and none of it would be possible without the support and encouragement of friends, family and fans.

Thanks to each and every one of you – whether you made a purchase (or many!), shared kind words of encouragement (in person or on Facebook), showed up to a craft fair to show support, stocked my creations on your store shelves or just admired my work from afar, you are all a very important part of what I do. So, thanks!

I couldn't be happier to share this little map illustrating the towns and cities I've shipped packages to in in the last two months. Exciting, right?! I get all giddy when I think of the dozens of people who will be receiving my jewelry this week!

Happy holidays! Happy New Year! And thanks a million!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dover Is The Place To Be

Looking for a great place to get your holiday shopping all wrapped up for the season? Then make your way to Dover, New Hampshire this Saturday, December 12th!

First stop: Holiday Open Studios at One Washington Center & The Picker Building (that's the sweet old mill building near the covered bridge). Inside, you'll find dozens of open artists' studios, as well as many other artists and craftspeople set up in the common areas. I'll be there with lots of fresh, new Lofted Designs jewelry for all the people on your shopping list and dog and cat tags for the pets on your list. (10am - 5pm)

Next stop: Lucy's Art Emporium at 303 Central Avenue (across from La Festa). Daisy Adams just opened this adorable little boutique and is celebrating the official grand opening this Friday and Saturday. Stop by to pick up some truly unique gifts (Lofted Designs jewelry, plus paintings, plush, prints, pins, purses and much more). There will also be tasty treats provided by Kate's Designer Delights, a free greeting card with every $15 purchase (while supplies last), and a raffle for one of Daisy's original paintings! Definitely all worth stopping in for. (Mon-Sat 10am-6pm / Sun 11-6)

While in town, don't miss the fabulous Silver Moon Crêperie (20 3rd St., next to the old Strand Theatre), one of my favorite dining establishments in the whole world. Try one of their sweet or savory crêpes (I recommend the fresh apples & brie crêpe!), or stop in for some hot mulled cider to warm up while shopping downtown. (Saturdays 10am - 3pm)

See you over in Dover!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Results Are In...

Thanks to all of you who voted in my dog tag survey!
The winners are as follows:

  • All Bark, No Bite – Joy Ribisi
  • Tail Chaser – Drea Carbone-Kubacki
  • Crazy But Lovable – Guinivere Norrington
  • Attention Hound – Scott Clyatt
  • Butt Sniffer – AK Walker & Drea Carbone-Kubacki (both submitted this one)

Winners get a free dog tag of their choice! All of these new tags will be available soon in the Lofted Designs shop. Thanks for playing!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Vote For Your Favorites

The Lofted Designs dog tag contest is in full swing! I received so many wonderful entries that I decided to create five categories (FIVE WINNERS!) rather than just one. The polls close on Monday afternoon, 11/30/09, so come on over and vote for your favorite phrases right now.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Enter the Lofted Designs Dog Tag Contest

Help me come up with a phrase for the next line of Lofted Designs dog tags! Here's how it works...

1. Visit my Facebook fan page and click the "Discussions" tab at the top.

2. Leave a comment with your idea for a dog tag by 11:59pm on Tuesday, 11/24/09.

3. You can enter as many ideas as you want. The key is to keep them short and sweet! I can fit about 4 words on a tag (max. 15 letters).

4. On Wednesday, 11/25/09, I will post an online poll with the top 5-10 suggestions and ask all my fans to vote for their favorites.

The creator of the winning phrase will receive a free dog tag and the winning tag will be sold as a new item in my online shop!

Here are all the tags currently available:
Bed Hog
Gimme Treats
I ♥ 2 Cuddle
I ♥ Belly Rubs
I ♥ Cats
I ♥ Heavy Petting
I ♥ My Person
I ♥ Naptime
I ♥ Treats
Mama's Boy/Girl
Daddy's Boy/Girl
Naughty and Nice
Naughty on Purpose
Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg
Cutie Pie
Bite Me
Don't Piss Me Off
Dogs Rule Cats Drool
Tail Wagger

Good luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

4th Quarter Earnings

As you may already know, I choose a non-profit organization each quarter to receive a percentage of my sales. This is my way of paying forward the generosity and kindness I've received in support of Lofted Designs. I probably wouldn't be making jewelry at all if not for the help, confidence and support of many wonderful people. So, in turn, each quarter I donate a portion of my proceeds to a local non-profit organization.

Choosing my 4th quarter recipient was easy because I have an entire team of craftspeople behind me. More than 40 members of the Etsy Maine Team have decided to donate 15% of their sales between November 13th and 19th to Preble Street, an organization based in Portland, Maine, striving to turn hunger and homelessness into opportunity and hope. Preble Street's mission is to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems.

In addition to all of these really talented Etsy sellers donating 15%, I will base my donation upon all Lofted Designs sales from October through the end of the year. Happy shopping!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Couple of Good Eggs

Recently, I decided I was fed up with using smelly chemicals in the Lofted Designs studio. The studio is an inspirational, calming place for me and not a place for rotten egg smell. The main culprit was Liver of Sulfur, a chemical used in metalworking to create a patina – it's what I used to create a brown or black finish on silver and to turn stamped letters black.

I cannot even describe the intensity of the smell. It's an all-windows-open, burning your nostrils, make-you-feel-kinda-sick smell. So, when I heard there was a way to achieve similar patina effects using an all-natural, chemical-free technique, I decided to give it a try.

I started by boiling some eggs. I only needed a couple of eggs for this oxidation technique, but I went ahead and made some lunch while I was at it.

While the eggs were cooking, I took all of the pieces I wanted to oxidize and tied them onto a piece of string. This way they wouldn't touch one another and I could suspend them over the plastic container that would hold the eggs.

Once the eggs were ready to go, I mashed two of them in a glass bowl to release all the good sulfury stuff from the yolks.

Then, I placed the smashed eggs at the bottom of the plastic container being careful not to touch the silver with the egg. The container was sealed and the waiting began. The longer you leave the eggs in with the silver, the darker the patina. I checked on my pieces every 1/2 hour or so, and ultimately left them in for a few hours.

The results were terrific! The pieces came out just as dark as they would have with smelly Liver of Sulfur and I love knowing that I'm using an all-natural method. Sure it takes a little longer, but in the end I think it's worth it.

Custom birthstone necklaces and other oxidized pieces are available in my shop.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is (and always has been) my favorite holiday. I love all things spooky and scary, but so far just haven't been able to bring myself to make any Halloween jewelry. When I tried to think of ideas, I couldn't get the image of those cheesy store-bought pumpkin pins out of my head. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos of where I live. These were taken a few days ago in Southern Maine. This spooky old graveyard is in the center of York Village and one of my favorite places to visit around Halloween. Tombstones here date back to the 1600s!

Limited edition autumn leaf necklaces inspired by New England fall foliage are available here and here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mark Your Calendars - York Harvestfest

Visit Lofted Designs at York Beach!
October 17th & 18th, 2009, 10am - 4pm

York Harvestfest is a longstanding tradition in Southern Maine, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! This event is HUGE and takes place throughout York — they offer free parking and a free shuttle all weekend. There will be fun stuff for the kiddos, lots of great craft vendors, live entertainment and heaps of yummy food. BONUS: Saturday night fireworks at the beach!

I'll be at the Old Fashioned Marketplace at the York Beach ballpark (close to Short Sands) on Saturday and Sunday from 10am - 4pm. Hope to see you there!

You can find a complete schedule of events and more information here. Click these links for directions and parking info.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Love Custom Orders! (Part Two)

As I've stated before, custom orders are my absolute faves! There's something a little extra special about personalizing a piece with a stamped name or using a unique gemstone that carries its own story.

One of my favorite customers came to me with a special piece of turquoise her mother had given her and asked if I could make it into a ring. We were both thrilled with the results. To tell the truth, I kind of wanted to keep it for myself.

My other favorite orders are personalized birthstone necklaces. I know each one carries special meaning and will be worn with pride for many years to come.

Order your very own now in my online shop, or email me to discuss ideas for your very own custom order.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Custom Orders! (Part One)

Custom orders are my favorite orders. They're usually an interesting challenge (i.e. "match this earring that I bought in South America in 1972...I lost its mate") or an idea I would not have thought of on my own.

In this special case, my friend Holly has a dog named Snuggles with an odd affinity for watermelon. I make dog tags all the time, but never before have I stamped a tag for such a particular pup. This tag is layered sterling silver over copper with a heart cut-out and Mr. Snuggs stamped on the back.

Holly was kind enough to snap some photos of Mr. Snuggs wearing his new bling and delighting in his favorite treat!
"Best photo shoot EVAR!" -Mr. Snuggs

Know a pup who needs some bling? You can order your very own here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Picnic Music + Arts Festival - 9/12/09

This Saturday is the 2nd Annual Picnic Music + Arts Fest in Portland, Maine! I am very excited to be one of 100 crafty vendors...the list is fantastic, and I will certainly be in great company. In fact, I just took a look at a map of the event and I will physically be surrounded by greatness!

Colleen Kinsella of
Kinsella Art will be directly across from me, peddling wonderfully imaginative and beautifully executed art prints, cards and possibly even silkscreened pillows. Next to her will be my friend Nikaline of Little Garlic Press who re-imagines vintage clothing and fabric into gorgeous fashions. I already have a few of her pieces in my collection (a dress created from old curtains and t-shirts, and a gorgeous skirt made from psychedelic 60s fabric) and I just adore them both. And just across the path from those vendors will be my friend Molly of Boom Chick-a-Boom, sewer of amazing creations and soon-to-be new mama! Angela Adams, who hails from Maine and whose handbags, wool rugs and paper goods make me swoon, will also be represented at the show.

I hope you can come out and see us! This Saturday, 11-6, Portland, Maine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Art In The Loft

From time to time, I enjoy cleaning and re-decorating my workspace. I'm constantly on the lookout for interesting things to inspire me, whether it's a new favorite candle, tacking an old Polaroid to the wall, or in this case, hanging a new print.

I discovered this print during a recent exhibition at Space Gallery and couldn't resist. The artist, Megan O'Connell, hails from Portland, Maine, and does some incredible work. I love everything about it – the paper, the typesetting and especially the colors – not to mention what it actually says. Brilliant!

(And in case you were wondering, my favorite candle is Mango Tangerine soy from Archipelago Botanicals. I welcome candle donations at any time!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Great Music = Great Inspiration

I have always found music to be an incredible source of inspiration. From the time I was five years old and got my very first cassette tape (Michael Jackson's Thriller), I can remember being moved to sing, dance and create.

Many years have gone by since that time, but my love of music hasn't changed. I find it pretty incredible that a song can have the power to completely change my mood.

Lately, I've been inspired by two artists in particular.

The first is Grizzly Bear, a Brooklyn-based band that is often described as "indie rock" although that genre name gets thrown around so often it has begun to lose its meaning. Their songs are grand, sweeping landscapes of sound with rhythmic layers and a dreamy feel. Their recent release Veckatimest has gained "repeat" status on my iPod, although I also love their earlier release Yellow House.

The second artist getting repeated plays in the loft is Devendra Banhart, whose music is described by most as freak folk or psych folk. I only recently began listening to Mr. Banhart, and I started with some earlier favorite at the moment is Cripple Crow. I have no idea how to describe his music, but I think the man is a creative genius.

Lots of great jewelry is in the works, thanks to inspiring sounds!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Picnic Music + Arts Fest - I'm In!

HOORAY! I woke up this morning to find out I have been accepted as a vendor at the 2nd annual Picnic Music + Arts Festival in Portland on September 12th. I am very excited about this show!!!

I attended last year (their first year) and was so impressed with the quality and variety of handcrafted goods for sale, not to mention how friendly everyone was.

It's less than a month away and I have lots of work to do to get ready. I'd better get up to the loft! More details about this show will be posted soon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fancy Bling For A Gorgeous Dress

I love a good challenge, so when a friend contacted me last week to say she needed some bling I jumped at the opportunity. She had purchased a gorgeous dress and was attending a wedding in less than a week, but could not find the right earrings to complement her evening wear. No problem!

I whipped up these pearl earrings from scratch, soldering the silver findings from sterling wire and finding just the right color pearls to match the dress. I also worked some chocolate freshwater pearls into the design. Lovely!

Contact me to order your very own custom jewelry for any occasion.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Seaglass Jewelry for a Seacoast Wedding

Beautiful bride Jess is tying the knot this weekend! I had a great time working with her to create a collection of one-of-a-kind seaglass jewelry as gifts for her bridal party and family members. They fit her beach wedding theme perfectly and will be keepsakes of the big day for many years to come. Congratulations, Jess and Alex!

Seaglass Bracelets

Seaglass Pendants

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Mommy Necklaces

So many of my friends are becoming new mommies this summer. Very exciting! But knowing more new moms meant I needed to come up with some new gift ideas.

I'm pleased to debut the new "My Heart Belongs To..." series, featuring kids' names (and pet names, too). Yup, you'd better believe I made myself a "My Heart Belongs To Sandy & Zooey" necklace.

Read all about it here and order yours today! (I can deliver quickly if you waited 'til the last minute.)

Carrie shows off her new bling!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Sun & Fun Festival

I had a great time this past Saturday, July 11th, at the Cocheco Valley Humane Society's Summer Sun & Fun Festival! So many lovely people came out to enjoy the day and many brought their wonderful pups along.

My new line of pet tags made their debut and were met with glowing reviews. Thanks to all for the great feedback. Look for them in my shop and hopefully in a few local pet stores soon as well!

Here are a few photos of my booth at the festival:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Perk Up People...Pet Tags Are Here!

I'm getting ready to sell some pet jewelry (dog and cat tags) this weekend at the Cocheco Valley Humane Society Craft Fair. All this week I've been an ID tag factory, cranking 'em out in the loft. Check it out by visiting my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Email Newsletter Coming Soon

I'm getting ready to launch an official email newsletter! It will be sent about once a month, and will include announcements about new projects, upcoming craft shows and special offers. Sign up by visiting this page. Thanks!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cocheco Valley Humane Society Presents the Summer Sun & Fun Festival

On Saturday, July 11th, visit the Lofted Designs booth at the Summer Sun & Fun Craft Festival in Barrington, New Hampshire. The festival will be in the field of Calef's Country Store and proceeds benefit the cute little animals cared for by the Cocheco Valley Humane Society.

As most of you already know, I am an animal lover and I couldn't be happier to support this great organization.

Stop by and say hello between 9 am and 4 pm. I'll be selling my new line of pet tags, as well as lots of people jewelry. More details can be found here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Arts Fest Beverly - June 20, 2009

I spent most of the day today hanging out on Cabot Street in Beverly, Massachusetts, during Arts Fest Beverly. The weather turned out to be perfect (despite forecasted rain) and what a great crowd of people! Everyone was super friendly and also very encouraging. I received tremendous compliments on my work as well as several suggestions of beaches to visit where I might find seaglass.

I imagine Arts Fest Beverly is what Portsmouth's Market Square Day used to be like before it got too big. Market Square Day in recent years has become much too commercialized and too crowded to be enjoyable (in my opinion), whereas Arts Fest Beverly still has that quaint hometown feeling about it. I hope to participate again next summer!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bright Colors for Summer

I've been inspired by the warm weather we're experiencing in New England (finally!). The sun is shining into the loft skylights and bright, colorful beads are finding their way to the Lofted Designs studio. You can find these babies (and a whole lot more) at ellO Gallery in Portsmouth, NH.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Tower of Song

Photo by Cara Slifka

Last weekend I participated in the Tower of Song Festival in Portland, Maine as an arts vendor, and I just wanted to say how amazing it all was! Thank you to my friends Will, Alicia and John for putting together such a great event. It was their first time coordinating something like this and usually things don't go that smoothly the first time around, but they had all the details ironed out ahead of time which made for a fantastic day.

I mingled with a very colorful audience in the square below while some of my favorite bands (like Chriss Sutherland and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) performed from the Tower above. What a treat to be serenaded by lovely music all day! Sales were great and I met a lot of really nice people. Can't wait until next year's Tower of Song fest.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Positive Side of Credit Cards

As most of you well know, credit cards can be dangerous with their high interest rates and ability to induce disgusting amounts of debt. And then there's the fact that they are always conveniently there, lurking in your wallet, ready to jump out and be used at any time.

Well the time has come to finally cut that malevolent little card to bits and put it to better use! This website presents interesting ways to recycle and enjoy our credit cards as jewelry and even gives step-by-step instructions. Why didn't I think of this first?

If any of you lovely readers would like me to make a custom credit card bracelet for you, just email me. I promise not to steal your identity in the process.