Garnet. The great thing about garnet is: 1, it’s red– I just love red; 2, red is a great color for this holiday season; and 3, it is January’s birthstone and January is right around the corner. Remember, I said I wanted to do more with birthstones in the future?
The creative bug bit me this weekend and I’ve been working with garnet I bought at the beginning of MaggieMakesIt. I pulled apart a few items that were too simple to be interesting, and the result has been a more Modern Art flavor. The necklace below looks freeform without actually being freeform. It’s very ordered, in fact: 22 identical pieces are joined in a chain with a modified, longer 23rd piece joining the chains in the middle front. I think it’s my new favorite piece. I have also made several earring options to wear with it, or on their own. Stay tuned for more garnet items, as I still have some carved leaves and briolettes to add to this garnet collection.
Today is the anniversary to the end of Prohibition, so it’s time to dress up like it’s 1933 and let the bubbly flow. (Please drink responsibly, everybody.) The time period of Prohibition coincides with the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and this is one of my favorite time periods. The Fremont Theater, while it was opened in 1942, still rocks the Art Deco style Architect S. Charles Lee did so well. I modified the motif on the marquee into a headband below. While I’m really pleased with the way the piece turned out, I was disappointed with the way it looked pointing backwards, like a 1950s kerchief on a cleaning housewife. Even moving it down to the side didn’t look quite right. Last week, I had this epiphany to point forward instead, and now it totally works for me. I also want to add a few loops to the back so it can also be worn as a necklace.
You may have noticed I let a few things expire on Etsy, but everything is still available at MaggieMakesIt.com. As you can see, I am continuing to deliver on my promise to add new products before the holidays. Stay tuned for five new items next week, and if time allows, I may be able to add a bonus five more products the week of Christmas. We have 19 days to go for Xmas and Chanukah; keep that in mind while you are thinking about your orders.
I added five more products to Maggiemakesit.com and Etsy this morning. That’s 20 of the 30 promised by the week of Christmas. Of course, don’t forget with the volume of packages being sent over the holidays, you’ll have to be early to make sure your gift or holiday party accessory will arrive on time. Priority mail is fast, but still subject to holiday delays.
In other news, I’m making holiday gifts. I broadcast jams and fruit butters to my family and friends. It’s an item made with love and you can do so much with it; toast/waffles/biscuits, ice cream, meat glaze, brie-accompaniment, oatmeal-flavoring… Today, Apple Cider Butter with Orange, and next week I’ll make apricot and peach. I have loads in the freezer from this summer.
As promised, five more products for Cyber Monday on MaggieMakesIt.com and Etsy. Fifteen more to go until Christmas. Between now and then, there is the End of Prohibition Party to prepare for. I’ve got some new hair adornments in development.
In other news, I’m applying to get on StorEnvy’s featured brands list. It feels a bit like the college essays, but with less existential crisis so I’m able to have fun with it. I’m turning it into a mock interview. They’ve also asked for some pictures of my brand (workspace, projects– you know, stuff that’s part of my “story”). Might change the pictures around, and find some more professional ones. Please enjoy my mock interview!
Maker Spotlight by Cat Edward of SLO Business Times
I got to sit down with one-woman-show Maggie Przybylski of MaggieMakesIt.com on a moody day in November to get to know her and her creative drive. We sat down in a coffee shop while the sky alternated between showers and sun. She has two vintage rings that belonged to her great grandmother on her left ring finger, a watch with rectangular face and kitty background on her left wrist, a hand beaded necklace and matching earrings and a simple string with Maori bone carving.
Me: How did you get involved making jewelry?
Maggie: I got a few kits before my teens, and I used to make macrame friendship bracelets in grade school. Really, seriously I got into jewelry while in college. I got a job as a gift shop clerk at the Mission in downtown San Luis Obispo. In addition to the normal retail, I was asked to dust/sweep/clean fingerprints off glass in the museum, respond to 4th grade mission project mail, and make rosaries. I’m not even Catholic, but I got really good at rosaries and what patron saint metal you should buy to sell your house or find your car keys.
Me: How long have you been making jewelry? When did you have the job at the Mission?
Maggie: Well, I wouldn’t count the mission days. I’d count when my then partner, now wife, wanted to build a website. She saw I was skilled making the rosary beads and encouraged me to take it further. That was 2005, after I graduated college. I’ve been developing my style ever since, collecting new techniques and practicing them. I made all the products, took and edited all the pictures while Mrs. MaggieMakesIt kept the website code up to date until the software developers abandoned that store platform. That is how she found StorEnvy and here I am.
Me: What was your first tool?
Maggie: Of course, rosary pliers. They have the needle nose and also a cutting tool. I love the two-in-one tool. I take them with me everywhere in case I, or anyone, has a jump ring stretch and their jewelry fall off. Then I can give it a fix right away.
Me: That is so handy. I fell like I should buy some pliers now. What other tools do you have?
Maggie: I have a metal punch, a mallet, a ball peen hammer, a tiny anvil, and a metal square to bang on. Uh, five sets of different types of pliers. Needles, soldering torch, rulers, glues, shears, clamps… Um… I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things.
Me: That is quite a list. Tell me what inspires you.
Maggie: Oh, how much time do we have?
Maggie: Well, I’ll try give you the summary. I love museums. Those pioneers of art continue to inspire shapes and colors. I especially love the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements, because one of my favorite childhood memories is of going to see the Oakland Ballet with my mum and dad at the Paramount Theater. The Egyptian motifs there got me obsessed with antiquity, and ancient Egyptian art in particular. [She reflexively pulls on her earrings, a scarab with hand beaded bird wings).
I have crafty friends that show me what their working on, too, and I like to riff off some of their ideas. For example, I have a friend that sews all his own bow ties and makes them reversible, more versatile, and now I absolutely want to bead a few bow ties. I should put bolo ties on my list as well.
Oh, and vintage! I love fashion especially from the 1910s to 1950s, so I make things that fit those time periods, as well. It’s also fun to see how later those motifs get incorporated back into current fashion.
Me: Do you have a favorite technique?
Maggie: I am in love with all the stitches you can do with seed beads. I have seen and aspire to make the most elaborate and beautiful things, like Jamie Cloud Eakin and Melanie Potter. Of course, those are things you can pretty much just wear a black dress with, and that’s all you need– your whole wardrobe could be one black dress–okay, two black dresses, so you have something to wear when the other is in the wash.
Me: Haha! Very practical.
Maggie: Yes. But I also sew dresses, and design costumes ( I love Halloween), so there is also a place for more reserved items, really simple one string beaded type things. I’ve tried Kumihimo, and can’t wait to get back to it. Wire wrapping is great for making filigree. I must have spent an entire week making nail enamel flowers. Soutache braid is next on my list to try.
Me: What is the biggest project you’ve ever done?
Maggie: Hmm. The biggest or one that took the longest?
Me: Why don’t you tell me both?
Maggie: Okay. I’d say my two biggest sewing projects were the canvas cover to complete our geodesic dome/Burning Man house, and my late-Victorian-era dress, complete with bustle. For jewelry, I have three biggies. I made a very elaborate mask for Mardi Gras one year. A beautiful appliqué or headband thing inspired by the motif of the Fremont Theater marquee. I also did an Egyptian style bead net dress like one I saw in a museum, I think LACMA, the King Tut exhibit when it passed through. I think that one took me the longest.
Me: Well, Maggie, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. I look forward to seeing your new creations.
Maggie: Thank you so much for this opportunity. It’s been my pleasure.
Disclaimer: Cat Edwards is a nom de plume, and SLO Business Times is a fictional publication.
Great news, everyone! I have added a new collection to my StorEnvy marketplace highlighting fascinators, hair clips that feature jewels, flowers, netting, and feathers, usually with a vintage styling.
Also, with Mrs. Partner’s help, we took down the old website so now my StorEnvy Storefront will dominate the webs.
AND I added those five new products I promised, so check them out. M’k, well , I confess some of them are from the old site that hadn’t made the transition yet. But hey, they are new to Etsy and StorEnvy. And they are quite delightful, so please enjoy.
Right? Yeah. I’m trying to sell jewelry. My goals are to add five products a day so there will be fun new things from Small Business Saturday to Cyber Monday. That’s a minimum of 15 new items total for my StorEnvy Marketplace and Etsy. Here’s to making a few sales this weekend! Clink!
More goals: five new products a week until Christmas! Plenty of fun bling-bling-gifts. That’s a total of–wait, let me look at the Calendar–30 new products including the ones above! I had better get busy.
Of course, I can add the products, but I can’t make anybody buy them. However, if you have Etsy or StorEnvy accounts, I would certainly appreciate a few favorites/envies. Don’t make me beg.
Here’s a preview for the next 4 weeks! I had a lot of fun writing descriptions.
Hope everybody had a tremendous turkey day!
I was honored this year that my manager asked me to be responsible for decorating a room at the restaurant for the Halloween bash they throw every year. This is my favorite holiday and I so miss being a part of the veterinary clinics haunted house (Joel!), that I naturally said, “Eff, yeah!” Her only parameters were, “Haunted and creepy, not cutesy,” to paraphrase.
I had a super grand idea to turn the Garden Room into an ossuary, but I don’t have access to huge amounts of bones anymore (I used to walk over all manner of animal bones at Oceano Dunes when I worked out there), and buying bones, even fake bones, gets expensive. I did find some great budget faux animal skeletons at various shops. I had to scale back my plan to make the budget and resort to dollar store purchases, thrift stores, coupons, and good ol’ ingenuity. I’m particularly pleased with the modeling clay vertebrae that I made for the wreaths, black and purple bouquets, and spider-web-bone-bundles. Excavated a bunch of scrap fabric in my closet to add texture to the wreaths (I knew I kept these scraps for some reason), which I am the most proud of. I finished out the room with the assistance of my neighbors who do flowers and fabrics for weddings; they let me borrow 100 pounds of beautiful driftwood and curly willow to round out the room (Thanks, Laurel and Matt); I’m sure I brought much entertainment to Downtown SLO by wheeling it down there on my wagon.
I am sad Halloween is over (Can we do it again? Do I really have to wait a whole year?!). I am stuck in a vacuum now that these projects are finished, but don’t worry. I working on reordering my project priorities. I’ve been toying with the idea of making more seasonal jewelry items and featuring birthstones. I also sewed a new costume this year, and it went together fast, which has me all excited about a new sewing project every month. I’ve been meaning to do a series of vests for ages. You’ll see some more beautiful projects before too long.
I think we can agree that the picture below is not my best work. Clearly, I was not inspired when putting this together. I may have been experimenting with colors and trying to emulate the Sundance Catalog jewelry, but this necklace never really did it for me. It’s not boring, but it’s not remarkable.
So, I pulled it apart last week so I could make a fringe with the chips. We can agree this new item is inspired, no?
The cabochons and chips from this piece are a mystery to me, as I bought them in an assortment. My nearest guess for the chips is amethyst, but it could be purple fluorite. The cabochons could be glass, though I’m sure one of them is amethyst because of an occlusion (you can’t see it unless you pry it out) that looks like other amethyst occlusions I’ve seen. The very left is glass or aqua colored gemstone. The 2nd from the left could be iolite or colored glass. I do just love this color combination; Mrs. Partner and I went to see a Cartier exhibit in SF (Palace of Fine Arts, 2009) and she got me a book picturing amethyst and turquoise together in jewelry, so of course I’ve been waiting to put those colors together ever since.
Meanwhile, it’s been about a month since I starting putting products on StorEnvy and Etsy. I’ve been taking careful pictures of my favorites and new items I’m proud of. I’m tagging all my items appropriately and writing good descriptions. It’s everything I can do without spending money on promotion because that money is earmarked for Two Broads. Predictably and despite my efforts, I’m not getting much attention; the views, favorite-ing and “envies” are few. There is so much jewelry out there for people to look through, it’s a wonder they find my stuff at all. It’s rather disheartening to think, “what am I doing here?”– an existential crisis in jewelry. But I’m going to stick with it. I can hand out cards to people who compliment my items in person, and I can keep writing blog posts, and you can view, “envy”, and “favorite” items, perhaps even on Pinterest. That’s right, readers, I need YOU to help me be seen. Help me shamelessly promote my creative obsession.
In other news, it’s my birthday weekend! There will be dressing up with my jewelry, photographs, and the consumption of lots of sparkling wine. Stay tuned for pictures.