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Artist Inspired: Inspired by Nature ~ Handmade Card by Hanway, Ink

I’ve been thinking of cards lately. Cards Cards Cards. I’ve been hitting all the stationery/crafty places: Omer DeSerres (DeSerres, Loomis…Loomis & Toles…whatever their name is now in whatever official Canadian language ;)), Staples, Libraries Boyer…even took a trip to Ottawa to Michael’s for inspiration. I have the honour of making wedding invitations and all things stationery for my dear friend who is tying the knot next year (note to self: should do a blog post on *my* wedding invites…*giggle*).

So my mind lately has been drawn to the work of this very crafty chick who knows a thing or two about embellishing paper: Michelle Hanway, author of the Hanway, Ink Blog.

Check out this snazzy card “Inspired by Nature”  ~ her own garden of echinacea being its inspiration:

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Michelle has been crafting since 2007. She says, “I’ve always had crafty aspirations, but never stuck to something…”. Her creative preferences are card making & photography. Being a woman after my own heart, she does not scrapbook. 😉 Her favourite paper technique is heat embossing…something I hope to try my hand at later this week (Omer DeSerres was having a sale. Ahem.). She gathers her inspiration from many blogs, her garden, “whatever pops into my weird lil’ head”. Ribbon is her admitted favouirte embellishment. You will find Michelle’s crafty aspirations contained in a storage room in her home she has nicknamed the “Craft Cave”.

Michelle has been demoing for Stampin’Up! since Aug 11, 2008. (*Drool*…good thing Michelle lives in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia…otherwise, I would be *broke*!) The “Inspired by Nature” card uses stamps from the company by the same name.

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Above: ‘Wings of Friendship” Hostess set Stampin’ Up ~ as constructed by Michelle Hanway

Artist Inspired: Double Duty Diaper Buddy – Diaper Bag and Change Pad by Nana Brown’s

Sometimes I am totally inspired by a handmade item not just for its beauty-artistic appeal but for it’s practical-artistic appeal. So is the case with the Double Duty Diaper Buddies by Nicole Lulchak of Nana Browns.

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I discovered this fellow Canadian’s  Etsy Shop a few months ago, upon preparing for summer with essentially two babies. I was actually drawn in by her adorable sun hats which I ordered (they are totally cute too!). Then while browsing her shop thought I would try the diaper buddy as well. I was immediately impressed at the craftsmanship and by the versatility of the item. It held diapers for both my girls plus was the perfect change pad while on the go (and we have certainly been on the go A LOT this past summer!).

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When I inquired as to how she came up with the diaper buddy, Nicole replies:

“The inspiration behind the Diaper Buddy was truly necessity. We were going on a vacation to Arizona and Mexico and I was trying to find ways to make the diaper bag lighter, while still carrying everything that we needed. I also wanted to be able to just grab the things needed for a quick diaper change and leave the big bag behind. The criterion was lighter, functional and stylish and after some tinkering with the pattern and different fabrics the Diaper Buddy was born. We tested it out everywhere we went on our vacation, it was fabulous, and I got all kinds of feedback from people who saw us using it and wanted to get their own. Mine travels everywhere we go and it really is great to just be able to grab it and go if we need to.”

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Nicole has been designing and sewing for approximately 20 years.

“…not quite longer than I can remember, but a lot of years. I think I made my first piece, a patchwork pillow, on my Mother’s sewing machine when I was about 10 or 11.

“I have a large collection of fabric and patterns, both new and vintage and really enjoy designing new pieces from all the ideas in my head. Both my Grandmothers were avid sewers and I learned a lot from them. One of my favorite patterns is a hand drawn quilt pattern that came from my Grandmother on my father’s side. I use it often and it always reminds me of her.

“I have had a lot of fun since I set up shop on Etsy about a year and a half ago. It has been really incredible to send my pieces to people all over the world and know that they enjoy them. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to make more custom pieces for people as well.”

Nicole is inspired by colours and textures, and also finds her daughter is a great source for inspiration. Necessity will drive the creativity as well, and as a busy mom myself, I can totally relate! She also finds that her creativity & tactile nature motivates her to find inspiration in most things.

“I am a very tactile person – I love to wander through a shop and touch and feel the things that catch my eye. My husband always says it takes twice as long to shop with me because I have to stop and touch everything!”

Artist Inspired: Amethyst/Citrine Rough Cut Necklace by mcstoneworks

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a great stone or mineral sample. My jaw dropped when I saw this necklace made with rough cut amethyst & citrine by Michele Carte of mcstoneworks. This piece combines my love of jewelry and stone specimens all in one! I absolutely love seeing these gemstones in all their natural beauty. A piece like this I would love to examine up close!

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When I inquired about the piece, Michele, a fellow SATeamer, replied,

“I found the amethyst/citrine rough cut beads at a gem and mineral show. I couldn’t put them down. They were just so beautiful in their natural rough state. I decided to use a simple design so the focus was on the rough cut stones. I didn’t want to detract from them. This design is quite different from most of my other pieces.”


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Michele has been designing jewelry for about 3 years, and I think I am drawn to her work because she too is inspired by nature (on a side note: Michele & I share the same birthday of April 22nd. So it’s no wonder to me why we are so drawn to nature ~ April 22nd after all, is Earth Day & makes us the very earthy sign of Taurus. :)).

“Most of the pieces I design are inspired by some aspect of nature. I use a lot of flowers, and leaves in my work. My husband and I own an interior plantscaping company so my designs are a natural extension of my love for plants and flowers. I also like flower gardening.”

See Michele’s other nature inspired pieces in her Etsy Shop. I also really like her resin flower jewelry!


Artist Inspired: Mother and Child Pendant by Dianne Karg Baron

When I joined the Starving (Jewelry) Artists Etsy Street Team last year, one artist that caught my attention right away was Dianne Karg Baron. Her wire work is absolutely perfect: the attention to detail & craftsmanship is second to none & the designs truly inspire me. I knew that I had to have an example of her work featured here for future reference. Although there are several other pieces that are far more intricate, I was totally drawn to this pendant entitled: Mother & Child.

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I chalked up my intense interest in this pendant as the result of being a young mother, having given birth twice in an 18 month period. Then Dianne shared the background on this design, and it was then that  I understood why this particular piece held such a powerful energy:

“…And sometimes, the inspiration for a piece comes from an episode in my own life. In the case of “Mother and Child”, it was a miscarriage. Back in May, I discovered I was pregnant. It was a surprise pregnancy – completely unexpected. On the Monday I took the test, had a positive result. On Wednesday I went to my family doctor to get the process of finding an OB started and to schedule an ultrasound. On Thursday I started bleeding… After a couple of hours of sitting in Emergency, I had some tests and was sent home with the advice to come back if it got heavier. On Saturday, I started cramping severely, went back to Emergency and miscarried while waiting for a second set of test results.

It all happened so fast that I barely had time to wrap my head around the idea. Originally, I had planned on delaying doing the pregnancy test until Thursday, and then got impatient. It occurred to me that if I had followed through on the original plan, I would have never known I was pregnant.

I knew the chances of going full term were slim: I have underlying health issues that would have made for a very difficult pregnancy. So, the miscarriage wasn’t a surprise, but I was still sad. More than anything, it made me wish I’d met my husband 10 years earlier.

I’m of the opinion that every pregnancy is a soul connection between the mother and the child. That connection continues regardless if the pregnancy is terminated, miscarried or goes full term. Part of my grieving process has been to think in terms of still being “Mommy” to an angel who didn’t quite make it to Earth.

The pendant is my expression of that soul connection: it clearly shows the baby growing safe and secure in its mother’s belly. The foetus is abstract, and to my view, also looks a little like an angel wing. So my hope is that it works on both levels: celebrating the ones who join us, and remembering the ones who are growing up on the other side.”

When I received this background on the pendant, I found myself welling up with tears. I wanted it to remain in Dianne’s words rather than edited as I am sure many women will be touched and even comforted by her story. This piece is a true testament of how we can use our creative abilities to heal & inspire others.

Dianne has been making and designing jewelry for almost 15 years. She finds her inspiration from art, from architecture, from nature, from history – and of course, from personal experience. See more of Dianne’s work, including tutorials, at her Etsy Shop & visit her website.

Artist Inspired: Not-so-delicate Delica Ring – Gold Bling by Maked

I come across the most wonderful handmade work & it pushes me to keep creating and keep evolving. So I thought it would be nice to have a section on my blog just for work that moves me, influences me & speaks to me. I also wanted to get background on certain pieces. How and why were they made, what inspired the particular piece & the artist. This will be a place for me to refer back to especially when I need some extra inspiration, as well as share it with all of you & give these talented artists some recognition!

The first piece I wanted to share is this delica beaded ring by Lisa Brideau of Maked. I have always admired her skill to make such beautiful items out of seed beads (something I have tried my hand at but I just don’t have the patience or the vision!!). These rings not only look great on, but are comfortable to wear!

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Lisa started beading in Jr. High after her mom gave her a cheap plastic bead loom. She took to it instantly, and so started an obsession with seed beads. The beadwork was shelved while Lisa attended university, but soon after she picked up the hobby again, this time discovering delica beads.

“I’ve been making the delica rings in particular since the 2nd year of my graduate program (a few years ago now) – I needed a small, portable project to do during my law class – not because I was bored but because I didn’t have to take notes so my hands were restless. My classmates loved them and they became a staple of my beadwork.”

These rings are great for those of us with busy hands. Says Lisa: “I love the way they feel – when I need something to fiddle with, I can take my ring off and squish it. Weird, but satisfying. There’s something lovely about the texture of woven beads. It’s also very pleasant feeling the perfect delica beads lock into place one by one as I stitch the ring.”

Although the delica rings give her a nice break from the long, involved & intricate work she normally does, larger projects are more to her liking.  Check out her most involved beadwork project to date. She had to build a loom big enough to create it on:

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