Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twitch and Whiskers New Year Scavenger Hunt - Win a $25 Gift Certificate!

Ring in the New Year by winning a $25 gift certificate from Twitch and Whiskers. Go on a blog scavenger hunt.
You don't have to be a genius to win.
Here is how you can enter to win the gift certificate:

1) There are 12 questions(for 2012...get it?). They can be found here on a Google Doc.  Comb through my blog to find the answer to all 12 questions. Hint: use the labels on the side of the page to guide you.

2) Want to be entered twice? Share this contest on Facebook or Twitter. Indicate that you have shared it on the scavenger hunt form.

3) Make sure you submit your name and email address on the form. I will not place you on a mailing list or share your address with any one. This information will just be used to contact the winner.

The last day to enter this contest is January 8th at midnight. The winner will be randomly chosen from all entries using on January 9th.

I will contact the winner via email on the same day. You can use the gift certificate towards any item in my Etsy shop, for a customized piece, or in person at an upcoming show.

You can DIY (or get help from a friend).
Follow the link above or click here to get started. Good luck and thanks for playing!

Check back each month for a special contest or promo!

Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Beauty in Full Circle or An Elephant Never Forgets

Yesterday Thom and I went to New York City. With the holiday craft show season behind me and vacation upon me, I thought it would be a good opportunity to go and explore some museums. I needed some new inspiration for the New Year.

 stair-ing at Thom - New Museum

First stop was the New Museum (speaking of new). Highlights of our visit included jet propelling down Carsten Holler's Experience slide, watching Thom conduct psychological experiments on himself, and taking a technicolor primate nap. 

Carsten Holler's Experience
Pinocchio Nose Experiment
primary primates
Next, we headed to one of my favorite places - The Museum of Arts and Design. When we came upon its location at Columbus Circle, I nearly stopped in my tracks. Smack dab in the center of the circle were some old friends: two giant elephant statues. Let me explain. Back in mid-October, I had a strange day. It started with finding five shopping carts neatly parked in front of my house on my way to work.
art ala cart
At the end of that same day, I met up with some friends at Molten Java in Bethel. We parted ways on that rainy and dark night and I headed back toward Danbury. A few blocks from the coffee shop, a huge flatbed truck slowly pulled in front of me from a side street, carrying two life-sized elephant sculptures. I drove home behind these colossal creatures in awe. From start to finish that day was both sculptural and surreal.
larger than life drive home
Well lo and behold, these two behemoth buddies greeted me once again in a swirl of traffic right outside the Museum of Arts and Design. It was such a surprise because I never thought I'd ever see them again! It was fun getting up close and personal with the sculptures. On the placard, I found out the elephants were created by sculptor Peter Woytuk and that there were eighteen other whimsical sculptures of his scattered about the city. Things really came full circle at Columbus Circle. 
Well hello again!
a fruitful encounter
The rest of our night out in the city was a whirl of activity. We explored jewelry and mid century design at the MAD, karaoke sang our hearts out until we nearly lost our voices, visited the mecca of all synthesizer shops (it was a religious experience for Thom), and ended the night sharing the perfect little pizza in Little Italy.

burning out my chords
Throughout the evening, I kept having "whoa" moments whenever I thought about my reunion with the elephants. It was the perfect reminder that life is quite spectacular when you stop and take notice of the beauty around you. Sometimes it comes in unexpected forms: shopping carts, glances down staircases, bright blue orangutans. Thanks to two elephants, I will never forget this!

There's magic everywhere!
Happy New Year from Twitch and Whiskers! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

On the Road: Hot Cup o' Handmade 2

My last hoorah for the 2011 holiday craft show season was the Hot Cup o' Handmade 2 show at Molten Java in Bethel, CT. And what better way to end the year than being surrounded by my talented friends in one of my favorite places? We set up early for an afternoon show. The gals all charged up with toasty drinks and snacks from the counter. We were visited by many of our local friends, including Julie - who was knitting colorful goatees for an upcoming Pantera tribute party. My pal Alex also stopped by to say hello wearing one of my pieces. She looked fabulous!
caffeinated craftanistas
Jen Matlack of Milly Gilly Home and Garden (aka Daisychestnut on Etsy) brought a lovely array of whimsical terrariums, vintage utensil garlands and garden markers, and creatively embellished ceramic goods. I adored her hand dyed cotton ribbon that was wound with care around wooden sticks. Her vintage ceramic plates are specially marked with poems and quotes, but my favorite had to be the "Crap" plate. Jen also had a new terrarium with a grazing deer that was oh-so-sweet. I love how she used the candle holder on the deer's back to hold a tiny spot of moss. Visit Jen's shop on Etsy for a charming holiday gift from the heart.
Alex and Jen
Milly Gilly's goods
the dearest deer
My favorite Little Cowgirl, Lys Guillorn was adorned with a new fringed outfit that shimmied and shook the day away. Lys displayed new snazzy Christmas stockings, fabulous purses, and jewelry with candy-colored vintage buttons. I couldn't resist getting one of her adorable collaged Christmas cards with sewn details and a little clear pocket o' sequins. I like it so much, it just may be a Christmas card to myself. Don't can get one for yourself in her Etsy shop (in addition to many other unique gifts). Word on the street is that her shop will have many new things in it soon!
Shake it cowgirl!
Bags for stuff and stockings for stuffing
stationery go round
Folk Couture's display is ever-changing and inspiring thanks to Grace Napoleon's busy hands and clever point of view. I got to thumb through racks and racks of dramatic dresses and swanky sweaters. I was so impressed when her friend Laura showed up in a Folk Couture original with a dramatic floral neckline. She looked like an absolute knockout! You can find Grace and her fabulous frocks this weekend at IDM Boston, SoWa Holiday Market, and Craftopia. Pepper your conversation with the phrase "grace and glory" when you see her and get a special discount. Pass it on!
Grace had Laura the acupuncturist on pins and needles.
sweater land
two beauties
It was a pleasure having Jean Maimone of Vintage Gems join us for Hot Cup o' Handmade 2. I had first met Jean at Dawn's Vintage Jewelry when her striking redesigned vintage creations were being showcased. I have always appreciated Jean's use of color n' glitz in her statement pieces. From beaded tassels to brightly hued chokers she offered an amazing array of showstoppers.  I fell in love with her orange and gray acorn necklace and was thrilled when Thom surprised me with it during the day. Visit the Vintage Gems website and Facebook page to find out where to find Jean next.

Jean of Vintage Gems
make a statement with these pieces
I squirreled away the gray and orange acorns!
Throughout the day I got hellos from local friends, pals from school, and family. A fun array of jewelry scooted out the door, including thimblism necklaces, REcap bracelets, and one of a kind pieces. A 1920's powder compact locket called "Encharma" and a vintage bicycle headbadge necklace called "Knight Night" went home with happy customers. The day rounded out nicely with a fun visit from Gwen (who looks splashingly sensational in her whale tail thimblism necklace) and hubby Keith. My in-laws, sister-in-law Marnie, and niece Darla also popped by to show love. It was a superb Sunday all around!
Twitch and Whiskers
Knight Night

Gwen and Keith
we are family
If you're looking for a unique handmade gift or a personalized present - I'm your go to gal! Shop local and handmade this holiday season. Pop on by to my Etsy shop or email me if you would like me to make ya something special.

Happy Holidays from Twitch and Whiskers!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kimblism Thimblism at the Toy Room

I got a visit from my pal Kim Ramsey at Hot Cup o' Handmade 1 back in November. She brought with her a pretty silver thimble inscribed with "Kate" (her grandma's name) and asked if I could custom make a thimblism necklace for her. Of course I was more than happy to! I swung by her shop, The Toy Room after school one day. I love any opportunity to visit her shop because it's chock full of wonderment and the coolest toys around. I brought with me containers full of kitschy charms, bead caps, and beads. Kim chose a bright plastic apple charm to dangle below her thimble. It came off a vintage Carmen Miranda/ fruit salad type necklace.

The Toy Room on Greenwood Ave in Bethel, CT
After making the necklace, Thom and I returned to her shop last Saturday to drop off the piece and to do a little holiday shopping. Kim looked absolutely radiant in her new necklace! To honor Kim, I named it the "Kimblism Thimblism" necklace. I just couldn't resist! I love it when I get the chance to work with items that hold meaning and sentiment and I especially enjoy making things for friends.
an apple a day
Kim in her "Kimblism" Thimblism necklace
There was so much to look at in the store. Last year, I purchased a bunch of realistic looking chocolate chip cookie purses from Kim and they were a big hit during the holidays. Imagine my excitement when I saw a whole new line of products from the same company, including big ol' pizza and cupcake pillows! The Toy Room was filled to the brim with all sorts of cute stocking stuffers like goofy rubber faced hand puppets (I remember having these when I was a kid), colorful marbles and glass critter figurines, and mysterious socks that expand to full size in water. I asked Kim what was one of the hottest items in her shop right now and she said it was the "Loopdedoo" friendship bracelet maker. This jewelry maker gives this crafty kit a big thumbs up!
good enough to eat
faces only a mother could love
hypnotizing colors
a friendship bracelet maker's friend
And then of course, there is the toy that I want (hint, hint). I almost forgot to mention that one of my favorite parts of visiting Kim, is the fact that we both have an extremely immature sense of humor. Knowing this, she pointed out the GAME OF ALL GAMES a few weeks ago while I was visiting: Doggie Doo. Let's just say that it features a dog, goopy green dog treats, a leash that you squeeze, and gaseous noises. I hope the man in the big red suit is taking note.
I really doo want this.
Every time I visit Kim, my day is filled with toys and laughter. What else could you possibly want? The Toy Room has perfect gifts for kids of all ages. Support a great local business this holiday season and if you swing by, please bring a hat or pair of gloves. Kim will be collecting these items for the Dorothy Day House in Danbury until December 15th. Happy Holidays!
Princess Charming - Upcycled Rouge Locket Necklace
Looking for a memorable holiday gift? Swing by my Etsy shop for unique upcycled rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Monday Meet Up With Alex

My friend Alex stopped by Hot Cup o' Handmade back in early November. She had been poking around my blog and Etsy shop for a while and finally decided upon the one piece she wanted to get in person. Of course, it was the one piece I didn't bring with me to the show! We fixed that problem by meeting up after school/work last Monday. I was met by Alex and her adorable son Ehren - who is quite the talented photographer.

Alex and Ehren
Alex tried on "Welcome Home Embrace" and it looked nearly perfect on her. We decided to add a few inches of vintage chain in the back for more length. After the small adjustment, she looked like a million bucks! 

Alex couldn't look more lovely!
Alex was also kind enough to pass to me some vintage jewelry, buttons, and components. That's one of the best parts of upcycling - you never know where your treasures will come from! I cannot wait to delve into my new materials for inspiration. This was definitely one of the best Monday's I've had in a good long while.
love these pieces to pieces
Now is the time to grab something from Twitch and Whiskers.  I am having a Small Business Saturday Sale going on from Saturday November 26th to Saturday December 3. Visit my Etsy shop and enter "HANDMADEHOLIDAY" at check out for a 15% discount. Spread the word!
Lockets and all jewelry on sale!
 Here's another chance to catch me locally before the holidays. Come visit me (and 3 other amazing artists):

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT. 

One more local trunk show is in the works. Check back soon! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the Road - Wellesley Marketplace

In true "on the road" fashion, Grace Napoleon of Folk Couture and I miraculously fit two displays-worth of materials into the back of her car with not an inch to spare. We hit the highway on Friday night and headed to Cambridge to stay with her daughter Siena. It's great having a friendly face and nice place to go to when in the Boston area. 
And there was even room for us!
Bright and early on Saturday we set up for the Wellesley Marketplace at the Wellesley Middle School. It was the 35th year of the annual event to benefit the Wellesley Hills Junior Women's Club and their community service projects. The event is always well-attended and offers a great variety of handmade and manufactured goods. Displays were spread out throughout the school's cafeteria, gyms, and hallways. There was a great buzz in the air when the doors opened at 9 am and enthusiastic shoppers came rushing through.
Twitch and Whiskers in the lower gym
Folk Couture in the hallway
Set up next to me was Zandra Zuraw of Zeal: Handmade Home. Zandra's decoupaged trays, coasters, frames, and map ornaments were a big hit at the show. Her use of unique papers, bold colors, and eye-catching graphics made her pieces a standout. Birds, whales, and vintage labels were cleverly collaged onto her wares and made everyday items not-so-everyday. Zandra also does custom orders where she can create trays using maps with specific locations, for the world-traveler in your life. I especially loved her use of Japanese papers with bold floral prints. If you are looking for the perfect hostess gift or holiday present that would make any home more vibrant, visit her website or go see her in person at one of her upcoming shows. You'll absolutely love her stuff!

Zandra Zuraw of Zeal
birds of a feather
a variety of great gifts
Karen Capralos Grant of Simply June is simply wonderful! We briefly met each other before the show began and quickly learned that we loved each others work. Karen hand-embroiders pendants with floral bursts and bees and makes vintage-inspired, asymmetrical necklaces to accompany them. She also creates framed embroidered art, and most impressively, she offers the unique service of turning your child's artwork into an embroidered pillow (you can see the tiger sample in the pic below). Before we left I traded her one of my rouge locket necklaces with a bee inside for one of her embroidered bee necklaces. I wore it out to dinner that night because it matched my black and yellow dress perfectly. Visit her website for a touch of handmade whimsy and bee impressed! 
Karen Capralos Grant of Simply June
box o' surprises
two bees (or not two bees)
When Carrie Sullivan of Sheabella Tutus came to visit my table, my eyes were instantly drawn to her bold ribbon necklace with bold red and turquoise beads. Upon further investigation, I learned that the beads were actually made of gumballs! Carrie carefully strings the bubblicious beads onto grosgrain ribbon with a touch of tulle. She offers all sorts of fanciful, handmade tutus with adorable embellishments and light fairy wings. When I visited her website, I saw that she even offers mermaid tails in the summer. Now, why weren't those around when I was a kid? Twirl on over to Sheabella Tutus and you will find the perfect gift for the sparkly one in your life.
Carrie Sullivan of Sheabella Tutus
good enough to eat
a flight of fancy
At Wellesley, I got to try out my newest favorite thrift store find - a small suitcase. It was the perfect sized display for my REcap bracelets. Some of my more colorful compact necklaces went home to happy ladies including: Owl Moon, Mirror Mirror, and Last Call. I was thrilled to find out that many of my Thimblism necklaces, REcap bracelets, and Fun 'n' Games rings were going to be holiday gifts for kids. My favorite moment was seeing a 4 year old walking away wearing a necklace with a toy airplane hidden inside a compact. I'm definitely inspired by kids and couldn't be happier when they wear my pieces!

REcaps to go
a happy customer with Owl Moon
Last Call
Mirror Mirror
Grace's Folk Couture racks emptied of many dresses, sweaters, and tunics. Lots of ladies were drawn to her carefully constructed and composed clothes with mixed patterns, textures, and surprise details. She had an incredible dress with a growling bear graphic on top and iridescent formal dress bottom. It really found the perfect gal. She still has a busy season ahead and you can catch her in the weeks to come at Festival Fete, SoWa Holiday Market and Hot Cup o' Handmade.
style 'n' smile maker
Folk Couture
The night ended with friendships (old and new), smiles, and a great dinner. You really can't beat sharing your passion with others and knowing that many will be getting gifts - handmade with love this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving from Twitch and Whiskers! 

My last holiday show will be Hot Cup o' Handmade in Bethel, CT. Hope to see you there!

Hot Cup o' Handmade - Sunday, December 4 from 12-4 at Molten Java in Bethel, CT.