My So Charmed Life

A Few of My Favorite Things #31… THE GRAND FINALE!


For the final post in this Decebmer series I wanted to bring you something really special and unique and brilliant, so here is the incredible work of pop surrealist, Mab Graves.

I visit Mab’s shop just to hang out with her wonderful characters; stopping by to see what she’s been creating is like having tea with the most charming people in a long lost dream of childhood. There are paintings, prints, and cards as well as some lovely jewelry and the occasional accessory.

At Mab’s Web site, you can see more of her work and read a bio and connect to her blog. I believe the picture below is the pink-haired artist, herself.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this month of daily posts from the vast world of handmade goods and art, and that the next time you feel the urge to shop for yourself or a loved one that you might return to this collection for reference, or just go on your own journey to find something dear, charming, and made with love.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you and thanks for reading my blog!

Newly Finished


Finished up the Maintain Balance necklace yesterday.

The clasp turned out cool, with a handcrafted toggle and a found rubber gasket.

Here’s a close up of the main elements.

And, modeled by the lovely headless zombie torso, Missouri-Abigale. PS: Two words I am TIRED of seeing together: Statement & Necklace. AGHHHHH, make it stop!

Home Sweet Home was also finished yesterday.

In love with this picture frame scored at half price on the Hobby Lobby field trip!

Another nice aspect of the new model is that she is lifesize, so this will give a sense of scale without my having to constantly provide measurements of everything.

Full size images over on flickr.

A Few of My Favorite Things #30


While we’re on the subject of people treated unfairly on Project Runway, here is Danielle Everine, whose work I love and adore and will be wearing soonest. As of this writing, Danielle’s etsy shop is sparse, but I’m crazy for ALL of the pieces.

Love this Water Buffalo tee with great graphics and a pretty ballet neckline which I greatly prefer.

Danielle has a Web site with portfolio here, as well as a blog, from which I grabbed the above. Don’t you love when artists share their process sketches and the thoughts behind what they do? Here’s hoping we’ll see/hear more from Danielle in 2012.

A Few of My Favorite Things #29


I was, and always will be, a member of Team Mondo. Since fanning him on FB, every once in awhile I hit up his Web site, to see what the adorable trashy one is up to. BTW, when you hit the site, wait a bit for the front page images to load… you’ll be treated to fun slide show of the many moods of Mondo.

How much do you LOVE these earrings?

This special edition t-shirt, which raises funds for the Colorado Aids Project, is really cute too. Hopefully some of his work in addition to these kinds of items will become available soon.

Yeah, Mondo Guerra was the clear winner of Project Runway Season 8. Of course the idiotic judges didn’t realize that, but I’ll save that rant for another time.



Molly and I spent all day driving around and shopping and eating at Chipotle and laughing and carrying on. One of the stops we made was Fixtures-Plus (Brentwood, locals, also one in Balto) a warehouse of old store fixtures and displays, including a room full of mannequins. I’ll take my camera next time; it was INSANE in the membrane! Of course the mann-girl I wanted was on a shelf three stories up, so this guy had to go lug a ginormous ladder over to git ‘er down. Next stop was to score some plaster of Paris gauze strips and when we got home we covered up her ugly plastic self, zombie-style. I can’t believe how cool she turned out. And it was so messy and fun! Total cost: $40. Which beats the hell out of the mannequin Filene’s was “liquidating” for $75. Anyway, look for my new undead model when So Charmed relaunches.

Here is Earl Moth, he was once a tea tin, of the Earl Gray variety. I’m testing out photographing with just a few additional props so that I can give you a sense of how the pieces look worn (and without nagging Molly constantly to model for me). So it’s cool to see the moths upright instead of lying on the white seamless for one of the shots. Right? Oh, and that’s a hand we picked up at Fixtures. It had white dust pouring out of it, which made me instantly think of cocaine smuggling. I have been watching a LOT of Breaking Bad via Netflix. A LOT!!! Hand was $5. There was a spooky pile of them. Some with arms! Legs and feet too. I’m telling you, the place was too much.

Here are some sweet little spool necklaces that have been around here forever (never listed. Why? I don’t know!)… these are the ones that have poetry and other writings handscrawled around the vintage wooden spool, underneath the ribbon. You can see them undressed on flickr. The frame was scored at my new other favorite place on planet Earth, HOBBY LOBBY. Is that not the queerest name ever?!? It’s just lame! But people, this place kicks. We had so much fun and it took hours to make our way through the airplane hangar sized place. Only drawback… a biiiiiiiig shlep out to the exurbs (Laurel, locals). A field trip, for sure.

Anyway, the light was gone for the day, so these photos aren’t the best, but since they are just ideas at this point, let me know what you think! I’ll still do lots of white on white, b/c I think those are so pretty and really show the work.

A Few of My Favorite Things #28


Having invented the Blog Post with a Soundtrack, I bring you Favorite Things #28, entitled, Who Says I’m Not Relgious?

How much do I love the St. Winehouse candle?

Well, almost as much as I love the St. Johnny candle.

Both of which may be trumped by the MJK Krishna candle.

All of this fabulosity is brought to you courtesy of Berndt Offerings, by LA-based artist, Vicki Berndt. Stay the hell off the drugs, kids.

A Few of My Favorite Things #27


This post comes to you with a soundtrack! So hit the play button on the CocoRosie performance above and read on.

When I first saw the work of Mia Kunyo — BeWakeful, on Etsy– I honestly thought I’d stumbled on the secret clothing design business of Sierra Cassady, the “Rosie” half of sister-duo CocoRosie. First of all, Mia (who models much of her work in her charming photos) possesses the same classic beauty and looks like Sierra’s long lost twin, but more importantly, her imaginative freaky clothing designs, as well as her colorful styling (crayola tribal warpaint!)… instantly put me in mind of the childlike playfulness of a band I obsessed over for many months!

Mia’s work is so original and fun, the dress pictured above is flirty-cool.

Hats, too! Visit Mia and check out her entire adorable line of goodies which include handmade tights, unitards, and collars among other things.

This week one of my FB buds posted a video by Sia, who I had somehow missed hearing about, and I’ll leave you with this amazing video, the styling for which immediately brought to mind the BeWakeful shop, CocoRosie, etc. You’ll need to get through ads on this next one, but trust me, it’s worth it. Spine-chilling good stuff.

A Few of My Favorite Things #26


If you’re joining us late, we’re crusing down the home stretch of an ENTIRE MONTH’s worth of blog posts cleverly titled (not) A Few of My Favorite Things. Originally conceived to invite you to consider buying handmade for the holidays, at this point I’m saying: Didn’t get anything good? Then why not GO TREAT YOURSELF to something gorgeously handmade? This entire post features the incredible work of Angela Rossi at Beat Up Creations, who likes to have fun with cast-off china plates.

Rossi’s shop is chock-full of delightful animal and pop-culture hero images, each married with their perfect plate, as if by destiny. She also sells very handsome art-prints and some art objects as well.

Ironic, hip, and very punk, if you ask me.

Pictured above is the series of plates I commissioned from Angela for the BF’s 60th birthday. Ray Davies, Keith Richards, and Johnny Thunders. They are DIVINE and she was a blast to work with!

Here’s a close-up of sexy-boy Keith, snuggled up with the old wedding china and a collection of cups I snagged from me mum. Spot ‘o tea anyone?

A Few of My Favorite Things #25


In the blurring worlds of visual arts and crafts, there can be simultaneous explosions of ideas, subject matter, supplies, and inspirations. Those that truly take hold become trends, and a trend run amok sadly becomes that wearying thing you wish would go away. Think owls, deer, mustaches. Fortunately, the things that don’t take hold simply act as threads linking artisans from across the world together. When I began experimenting with a simplistic cloud form in metalsmithing class, the idea bubbled up out of who-knows-where, and seemed to work as a shape that would not require the skills of a master, could absorb mistakes and inconsistencies, and had the potential for variation and expression. So I went with it. You’ve seen the results on the blog here, and above is another of the finished hollow-form brooches, entitled She Wept Crocodile Tears. That’s a vintage 1930’s cabochon with a vintage crystal chandelier drop.

I hadn’t seen loads of clouds out there in the marketplace, but a recent search pulled up a few… mostly sort of pedestrian, but some that were lovely, cute, scary, weird. This post collects and displays my favorites. Pictured above, from JessQuinnSmallThings in the UK, the delightful Clarissa Cloud brooch. There is much art to admire and purchase at Jess Quinn’s shop.

This adorable mobile, Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, is by BabyJivesCo in Philadelphia, PA, and is one of many tres cute handcrafted baby things available.

This rockin’ crochet scarf is by Manifested Dreams, from Pittsburgh, PA. Very disco kawaii!

Cloud and Thunder Handbag Minaudiere Purse, from RandomIntent in Atlanta, GA, is very cool. The artist, Debra Gavant’s work, has been written up in major publications (NYT, Art Forum, WWD) and sold at Henri Bendel.

I’ll leave you with the adorably creepy Rain Cloud Dolly, by MungoCrafts of British Columbia. You’ll also find stylin’ handmade hoodies and other fun things at her shop.

A Few of My Favorite Things #24


As the perfect piggyback to yesterday’s post, allow me to introduce you to the work of Karen Ruane, who I believe is single-handedly (pun intended) keeping alive many traditions of sewn craft, with a particular focus on embroidery. Pictured above, from Karen’s Etsy shop, Contemporary Stitches, is one of a pair of handmade buttons. What a gorgeous treat for the closure on a handcrafted garment!

I first met Karen over on flickr, during my aforementioned personal adventures in stitchiness. When she put something of mine in her favorites list, I was entirely blown away, and although intimidated by her masterful work, I got in touch and we became fast friends (of the virtual kind). Pictured above is another of Karen’s works, entitled Precious Textile Fragment. This white on white art object, precious indeed, features a broad variety of stitches and techniques carried out with masterful skill.

Karen applies her craft in service of both the functional (such as buttons and cards) and museum-quality fine art works that are conceptual and personal. From her wonderful blog she states: For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors.

Published in Handmade UK magazine, Karen will also soon be offering an online course (hit the link and scroll 2/3 down) with 19 other artisans as part of Alma Stoller’s 2012 STITCHED WORKSHOPS. She also offers hew own online class Embroider, Embellish, Create, here.

BTW, Karen’s works of art are copyrighted (this post and all others in this series appear with the artist’s permission). In the New Year, I shall be posting a lengthy rant on the subject of “copying” in crafts, a topic of great debate that I have been burning brain cells on of late. And aren’t you looking forward to that?

← Older posts