Living the colorful life

papier mache boxes

I love color. I really do. I wanted to share a few things in my life that inspire me with popping color! First off, the photo above is a detail of some stacking boxes I bought at Ikea. They break down to fit into one small round box; however, I like to display them stacked. Actually, they are like 2 feet tall if you stacked them from top to bottom, but realistically, that’s just not going to work. It falls over in an instant. I use these little boxes to store small trinkets and embellishments for crafting.

button colander
Love this little colander I picked up at Michaels for only $2 in the value section. Thought I would spice it up with some multi-colored buttons.

colorful trays
Love these trays I bought for 68¢ a couple years back. I actually use the pink one for a paint palette, but I actually own more than this. I have an idea in the back of my head that I want to do down the road with these fun little trays!

drink umbrellas
These little umbrellas were a major steal at the local antique store. I got them for a $1! I want to make something with them…the inspiration just hasn’t hit yet.

button bokeh
Oh, yeah, I’m totally pimping myself out above. These are my colorful button rings. Buttons are just so much fun to photograph! I never get tired of looking through a boxful or bowlful of bottons, don’t you. A couple of rings are posted on my Etsy shop. Check them out here.

Well, going to head off to bed. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Until next time Swellions!


Original ideas are hard to come by

ready for their ring blanks

So last night, I enjoyed myself quite thoroughly while watching the CMT awards (a repeat) and making these little button ring stacks. I have yet to glue them onto their bases, but I plan on doing them this week. Don’t they look like visual candy? I think so.

So, the problem is concerning this project…I have the desire to sell these rings. Why do most people purchase materials to make things anyway? Well, I’m sure there are those people who have rooms and rooms of their creations that they can’t part with, but for the rest of us it is our desire to part ways with our creations and hopefully make some money in the process.

And while I truly love these rings in their color and uniqueness (in my mind), it still kinda bothers me to know that if I do sell them, online in particular, they will more than likely go unnoticed or sit in my shop waiting to be purchased. I know there is something to be said about marketing your work, hyping it up, etc., etc. But I don’t have that much time to devote to that (I’m sure some of you can relate to this as well). I want to put them online and for them to be appreciated and perhaps purchased. The problem is this: there is nothing totally “unique” about them to make them stand out from the Etsy crowd. It is soooooo hard to have an original idea these days, unlike 20 years ago, when something like this would have been purchased immediately for its uniqueness. Is this just me or do you other crafters out there who sale your wares know what I mean? With materials and supplies being so readily available on the internet and stores, and with ideas being so abundant, a basic craft project can be knocked off in no time. It’s so hard to stand out from the rest.

Yes, I could prob. really sit down and hard and think of an idea that would be purchased, but it’s kinda a crap shoot. An item I think is wonderful might not be that way for the next person. And a really good project that is totally original would require a process or style that couldn’t easily be copied. As a lot of you know, once you put it out into the web universe, it is no longer your “exclusive design” becomes something a handful of people or thousands of people want to copy.

Does anyone else know where I’m coming from with this? I’m not meaning to sound all Debbie Downer or anything, it’s just a frustration of mine that I’ve felt for a while.

OK, lunch is over…back to work!

Until next time Swellions!


Postcard pop art project

crafty pop art project

So, I made this tonight. Here lately, I haven’t really had much great craft revelations or things I’ve been dying to make. I guess everyone goes through a more or less inspired phase, right? Well, I have been wanting to make stuff, but honestly, like many people, I have soooo much stuff that I need to use before I buy new and if I do go and buy stuff at the craft store it just inevitably becomes more stuff. So this is another good ol’ recycled project!

My surface

This box top was my surface. It was to a photo box that has now basically collapsed and really doesn’t need a top anymore. I saw it sitting there, and thought, “Hey, I’ll just use that!”. Anyway, I didn’t have a rhyme or reason to what I created. I just created in my own way. I would describe my intuitive style to be graphic, bold, and bright. For me, paper crafting and collage is very planned. Some people take a little more loose and almost spiritual approach to placing their art together, but the graphic designer in me always wants control, grids, and boxes. That’s the way I’ve designed for a really long time. Everything has it’s own space and doesn’t intersect. I guess those sensibilities go beyond the computer screen.

Another thing about my own crafting style is that I am very messy. I just cut out scrapbook paper with scissors and glued it into place with Aleene’s Tacky Glue. I then used a postcard from a POP ART postcard book that a friend got me for the central focus. For this project, I did it for more personal reasons, so I seriously didn’t care if it was perfectly cut even. For me, it’s all about creating, then going back in and modifying and covering up any trouble spots. If I sewed more stuff, you better believe I would be putting lots of fancy trims and ribbons on it to cover up my mistakes. I’m very messy and imperfect.

When I was in college, I would submit my stuff into shows and it would rarely get in. I was often discouraged about this. I didn’t really have enough insight at the time, but I really think it was judged more crafty than art. It was like having a crafty sensibility was a bad thing. I wish now that I would have been able to realize that my craftiness is a good thing and that I should have pushed myself harder to create high-concept craft pieces (I think a lot of stuff back then lacked general direction). The act of creating is so powerful and different for different people. I’m glad that I’m able to accept how I create now. It’s something I would get discouraged about. I think just getting older and more knowledgable about my skills has helped in this area.

So have you ever felt like you had to defend or downplay your craftiness in the name or art and did you have to come to terms with your creativity? Or have you always just gone your own way and totally owned your creativity? I think this is definitely something we as crafters think about! Let me know your thoughts.

Until next time Swellions!


Pretty Pin-up Shrine

pretty pin-up shrine

This is a project I whipped up over the weekend using the Crafty Chica™ Love Shrine™ Workshop in a Box™ as shown here (with all its contents).

Crafty Chica™ Love Shrine™ Workshop in a Box™

I have always, always loved these little shrine boxes that Crafty Chica developed with Duncan Enterprises (a.k.a. the company I work for). I was super excited when the whole line came out last year at CHA! It was something very fresh and different and bold and glittery! The one thing I admire about Kathy Cano-Murillo (the Crafty Chica) is that she really wants people to explore their own creativity and to make things their own. That’s what I tried to do with this project.

While her style is much more Mexican pop art, my style is much more retro meets modern kitsch and I wanted to celebrate that in my shrine. I also wanted to finally do something with some great images I got from a Cynthia Hart’s Retro Calendar from 2004. Oh, and the center image is Gil Elvgren Pin-up Postcard book.

Pin-up page in old calendar

I chose pin-ups, cause I wanted to place my shrine in my pin-up/glamourized bathroom. I currently have a couple of other 50’s images in there and I thought I could somehow mount it onto the wall. I’m sure a little mounting bracket will work just fine! Anyway, I decorated it with craft paint, glitter, Glam it Up Iron-on Crystals (I love adding bling for earrings on images like this), and the contents of the kit (there’s a lot of goodies that come with the kit, so you prob. won’t end up using it all, but it’s nice to have options!).

I just wanted to share this little project this Fat Tuesday! Until next time Swellions!


A festive feast for the eyes this Friday

I love getting holiday mail and sale stuff. It’s the time of the year that companies go all out to catch your eye. This week, I got my Pier 1 catalog, which was a festive feast for the eyes! I just love holiday colors, sparkle, glitter, bling, metallics, lights, and inspiration!

Here’s just a few of the things I fell in absolute love with!

Mosaic Mirror
mosaic mirror
I just love jewel tones and this would totally look awesome in my place all year long!

Dotted Tumblers
dotted tumblers
These were my favorite thing in there. I love all these colors! I know these are reproductions of old glass from the 30’s and 40’s, right? That must be why I like them so much. You can NEVER go wrong with dots! It spans the generations!

Bold Pink Walls
chair with wallpaper
So technically, they aren’t selling the wall, but I love so much and appreciate the styling in these catalogs. You can tell they really put a lot of time and attention into every detail. Seeing hot pink walls like this makes me want some in this style. I can’t say that I want the hot pink for certain, I’m kinda thinking orange walls with this twist would be cool as well. It makes me REALLY want my own place to decorate. I know I would have so much fun doing it.

Have you seen any fabulous holiday retail or online mailers that are totally making you drool this season? I’d like to hear about them!

Until next time Swellions!


I am so inspired by this and I just had to share!

I have been perusing through the flickr page of Kim Ripley a.k.a. Stoopidgerl for the past couple of days, and she’s been very actively “wrecking her journal”. Now that may sound a little weird to you, if you’ve never seen it, but there’s actually a book called Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. I know I’ve come upon this journal online at some point or in a bookstore and didn’t really think too much of it; however her posts have made me really want one! I actually went to Joseph Beth (a really cool bookstore in Lexington) tonight and attempted to purchase my copy, but the only copy there was not to be found. The clerk said it had probably been stolen. Seriously? Well, I wasn’t too miffed by it, but I do plan on ordering one.

The very cool thing about this journal is that you are supposed to actually WRECK it. There’s crazy things inside, from covering pages with office supplies to making lots of random stains to rubbing the pages with dirt. As a designer, I am often very rigid in what I design…I stay very blocky/in the lines. I don’t break beyond my barriers. It’s one thing I’ve actually always struggled with in my art. On a couple of occasions, like in my fibers class in college, I was able to break free from this. We did projects in bleaching and silk painting, where the dye/bleach totally did it’s own thing and you had to just deal with the outcome. I love the idea of using this journal as a way to let myself just be free to create without boundaries and with wreckless abandonment. I just think it’s a really super cool concept!

Just to give you an idea of what Kim’s doing, check out these fun photos that she took to document her wreckage. So fabulous! Her photos just by themselves inspire me!




wreck 3

The last photo is of her pulling her journal by a string…she posted an awesome video of this. I think it’s a pretty entertaining clip! Here it is:

So does this kinda wanna make you wanna do this too? I think it looks like so much fun! Thanks Stoopidgerl for inspiring me to want to try 🙂

Until next time Swellions!


Colorful crafty photo day!

Yo yo. This week is just flying by! I am a busy bee as of late. Spent last night trying to actually organize some things. I don’t know about you, but I have to be in the mood to that and then when I’m on it, I’m on it! If I get distracted or have to go somewhere, everything goes to pot. I just have to be in that mode. I get really frustrated when I clean/organize for two nights in a row and get really excited about my progress, and then have a string of out of town/out on the town activities to do. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing these things, but by the time I get back into organizing again, my place is worse or and I have to start over all over again! Ugh!

So, I took a few photos last night that I wanted to share. They’re crafty inspirations, I guess you would say. I’m actually thinking about selling some of my old scrapbook/paper craft stuff like these things and putting items into mini bundles on etsy or ebay. I have a lot of things I just don’t use and they are just sitting around not being used (the types of things I bought for just one project, but have no use for otherwise)…if I can make a little bit of money off of them, I’d rather do that than just hand them off to Goodwill, ya know?


letter chipboard

star of the show

I wanted to remind everyone of my current contest/giveaway
Just leave your name in the comments and check back next Wednesday. I’ll announce a winner then to win my cute vintage-inspired pumpkin man!

Also, a reminder for anyone wanting to participate in Terrorific Tuesday! Get those blogs posts up before next Monday at 6pm! And then e-mail me. Read all the rules here if you are interested in participating.

Have a great day Swellions!


Inspired by Rainbows

rainbow mosaic
1. Rainbow T’s, 2. After the rain has fallen…, 3. Eye Candy, 4. Colorful Rainbow Balloons 114/365, 5. Rainbow of Peace, 6. A Vibrant Glow, 7. bookshelf, 8. 222 – Fargay, 9. 100_6449

I love color. I love seeing it together in rainbow shades or just by itself, but especially when it’s bold and intense (this must be why I’m attracted to the neon chunky jewelry I saw at Target tonight). I wanted tonight’s post to be colorful and fun and thought I would share the spectrum of colors from my own personal photos as well. I love looking at photos and illustrations. Sometimes someone’s image or view of the world helps me leap off the page and go out on my own tangent. I love that feeling! Following the ROYGBIV color sequence, here’s my photos:


the irish rover at night

yellow lamp

looking out

tiny bubbles

moody marriot

sparkly deception

Until next time Swellions!


All content/photos copyright, © Alexa L. Westerfield, 2008

Wednesday is Lensday: It’s Craft Time!

I wanted to share today some of the many materials I work with in my crafts. I have so much stuff that I have yet to use on an inspired project!! Atleast it can take center stage in my photo, even if it doesn’t turn in my next best project.

Colorful Beads
colorful beads on display


I’m one messy painter!
i'm one messy painter

A couple quick things about today….

1. My friends Retta and possibly Chris are going to the Renegade Craft Fair in a couple months in Chicago. I have never been to one and have been dying to go. Retta and I share a lot of the same sensibilities, so she is super psyched as well. Yippee!

2. Bought some stuff tonight at Old Navy…a pair of black pants for work, a green top with smocking detail (I noticed all the styles are so dainty and girly pretty right now), 2 pairs of flip flops and get this – a red denim skirt for only 99¢! I love deals like that!

3. Wal-mart has nothing copper-colored in their craft section other than one roll of wide organza ribbon. Boo! I did notice that they were putting up the new planograms and Martha Stewart has a huge new section in there. It looks different than the look for Michaels…must be an exclusive Wal-mart deal. I bet some people aren’t too happy with her being in there. I also noticed a lot of really unique new cutting tools including markers that also cut while you use them. Yeah, it was weird, but I was intrigued enough to see how it worked…it’s like an exacto blade is in the marker!

4. I heard on NPR’s Marketplace that Flickr is partnering up with Getty images and offering some of the photographers licensing deals to use their images. I need to read up more on it, actually…found an article This a link to an article from the Seattle PI Newson it.

Yeah, this post is short and sweet. I’m super tired and have to clean up that paint mess. Ick! I hate doing that!

Until we meet again Swellions!


All content/photos copyright, © Alexa L. Westerfield, 2008