5 sites o’ the moment that I just love!

Thought I would do a fun list of sorts today of 5 sites you really need to check out!

Craft Critique
I’ve been visiting this great blog called Craft Critique. They seem to really be on top of stuff on there…new products and whatnot. They also do thorough research on all types of craft products, not just scrapbooking stuff. It’s a great resourceful site.

Betsey Johnson
OK, so I perused around on Betsey Johnson’s site today. I love her jewelry so much. I remember first hearing about her back in middle school, when she had a “Get a cool look for under $50 at K-mart” featured in Seventeen. I always loved what she did with that (I remember her teenage daughter Lulu was always the model). Anyway, I don’t know why I haven’t been visiting this site more often, in fact. If you know of any other quirky designers that is in this vain, please let me know. I’m not the most fashionable of people (I mean I keep up on some stuff, but it’s hard not being immersed in that world. Must.sign.up.for.more.fashion.feeds.

Your Face Blog
I love this fun illustration site called Your Face. Artist Damien Weighill does some really original and fun drawings with basic photographs that people send in. I actually sent him mine, but I doubt he will ever get to it. I’m sure he gets hundreds of requests daily and has to weed through them to find just the right one to draw. He has the craziest, most off the wall ideas. I love the randomness.

Culture Soak Blog
I found this great Bluegrass region blog called Culture Soak. It’s really nicely designed and doesn’t fixate itself totally on Lexington, but it also deals with cool design, photography, and art all over the world. I love posts like this lego photo reenactment, Polaroid Mirror, and one that led me to this bad design police link Hilarious!

Marketplace article…”Knit 1, Pearl 2, Point & Click”
Heard today on Marketplace this story about the decline knitting shops that were booming just 2-3 years ago. Considering that I don’t knit and haven’t visited a shop or talked to a knitter in depth, I had no clue as to what was going on with this industry and the downturn of the popularity of local knitting shops. Looks like more people are going online or turning to other venues for their supplies. If you are a crafty pro, you should def. check out this article. Very insightful.

I hope you guys have a chance to check out atleast one of them to be inspired and possibly learn something new! Until next time Swellions!

Alexa

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

Ribbon
ribbon

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!

Alexa

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

bachelorette party idea and a shoutout!

dana and the kiss frame

So, this is going to be a fast and furious post. That’s what I always say and it ends up being a novel. Ha! Anyway, I didn’t succeed in my Wednesday/Lensday post tonight. Just missed it and it is now Thursday, but I guess that is ok. I need a break from the norm every now and then.

So, I wanted to show a pic of my friend Dana, the Bachelorette (not to be confused with Trista or Diana or anyone of those reality show fembots). We had, as I previously mentioned in my earlier posts this week, a great time in Louisville filled with lots of hijinks! Bachelorette parties are one of those times where you just whoop it up! I wanted to express that sentiment in a frame for my friend that I concocted on the fly from a basic frame with a matte. It was so quick and easy. You just take out the matte board, get the other bachelorette party ladies to kiss and sign, write a fun phrase, decorate, and flip it back into the frame and voila…an instant keepsake! Of course, a pic of all of us from the night…one like this cute one, will go in there to be a memory of our wild and crazy time!

the girls

We really did have a fun time. These are all of the great girlfriends I made through Tasha (the one in the middle). Tasha used to work with me. She just got a new job with an established non-profit in the area and her career path in marketing is looking bright, so yay Chica (that’s our term of endearment for each other). I will be sad; however, that I don’t get the Panera perks (the job she is leaving, where she was a main manager).

Oh, and here’s a photo I took of Tasha that I thought was moody and made her look exceptionally beautiful. She doesn’t even have to try!

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Well, off to bed. I’m so excited. I have off tomorrow. I think I’m going to organize my craft stuff and do some chores. I’m sure since this will pretty much consume me, a post will follow.

Until next time Swellions!

Alexa

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

It’s all good…

Today was good overall, had a couple of rough patches, but everything worked out in the end. Jeremy was waiting for me when I got home, and then we went to Panera where I got my favorite black bean soup and then onto Goody’s. The Goody’s near me is going out of business. I thought I would snag a good deal, but ended walking out paying $15 for a shirt I liked, but didn’t love. I mean, I’ll wear it and all, but I contemplated putting it back. A “Store Closing” sale sure should be better than 40% off, don’t you agree? Also, Ashley Judd has a line of clothing there that is ok (that’s actually the brand of shirt I ended up buying). Does anyone remember the time when she was the “It” girl in Hollywood and on her way to winning all kinds of awards? Maybe that was some kind of pressure Hollywood was putting on her and not what she was going after in life, who knows? It just seems every celebrity has a label of some sort, oh, and a fragrance, too. Remember the days when Liz Taylor was the only one with a celebrity fragrance and people thought having a celebrity clothing line seemed a sign of desperation? When did that change? I guess when people figured they could make money off of a person as a brand, I guess.

OK, just rambling on. I also went tonight to the local Goodwill. Jeremy wanted a lamp and found a cute one that can be spiffied up and repainted (the shade was a basic craft paper practically begging to be painted). I noticed, while in that section, a pink shell lamp, that was just like one that I had owned as a child. It is nice when you remember something you forgot that was a fond memory. I also saw all kinds of vintage ornaments that I craved, but figured I didn’t need…Oh, and I played the wedding march on a wurlitzer piano that was for sale. I’m sure people found me pretty bizarre, but ya know I don’t care. I did buy a few random things:

goodwill trip

A tae bo tape, a yellow purse with buttons, and a silver star for my co-worker’s vintage tinsel tree she just got. Why a tae bo tape? Well, I do need to exercise and this one at one time was really kicking my ars (remember that Amy?). I just need to get on it! Let Billy Blanks whip me into shape! The yellow purse, of course jumped out at me with all those crazy buttons!! And a lot of them don’t make any sense to me at all. The one that stood out to me was the Wonder years one. The wonder years came up in 3 points of my conversation tonight with Jeremy…very random indeed.

I also completed a little project for a co-worker tonight for his daughter’s birthday (she’s turning 6). I thought this turned out swell and sweet. Just wanted something simple and girly – something a little girl would feel special wearing when she “dressed up”.

pink girly set

See ya tomorrow, swellions! Until then, party like it’s 1999!

Alexa

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

Places to go and things to see

In the world of swell, there is always something going on. Tonight, in fact, I am going with my friend Chris to take photos around downtown Lexington. Chris is an amazing photographer and we are Flickr compendres. If you aren’t familiar with Flickr, I suggest you get familiar! It’s a great way to meet like-minded creative folks who love to share photography and interests. So you are not into photography? Peruse the many craft groups, shoe groups, kitsch groups, fetish groups, etc. Whoops. Did I say fetish groups? No, there’s some truly bizarre stuff on there. I have found that out by randomly clicking on members icon (don’t let this scare you off, though, it’s not all bad). Who knew there was a fetish for old school Reeboks? I’m not saying just regular shoes, I’m talking a specific kind of Reeboks! Yikes. I find this out by clicking on a profile of someone complimenting my sexiness (ha ha) while sporting a pair.

Anyway, that should be super fun. Also, going to whip into shape and do a set the timer for a ten minute cleaning frenzy. Does anyone else do this? I just hurry and rush around and clean as fast as I can. Kinda reminds me of some skit from Sesame Street while “Flight of the Bumblebee’s” is playing. Wouldn’t it be pretty funny if we could have soundtracks like that in our life while we did stuff? It would make things a lot more interesting.

I was planning on my Tuesdays featuring products/trends I saw out in the marketplace, but I don’t want to force myself into following such a rigid blog schedule. I do want to incorporate that as much as I can, but I don’t think I have anything to prove to myself or my readers, so I will do as I darn please, when I darn please.

That being said, these things are so darn cool

that I just have to share…I’ll let the pictures do the talking…just click on the links below for more info…

Get Well Soon masks (from Samira Boon) for the sickly people around you…
orang_utan_mask__codeMaikoGetWellSoon
Find it here…

Porcelain paper plates (by Virginia Sin)…a must for avoiding a baked bean catastrophe.
porcelain-paper_LRG
Find it here…

And is it so wrong that I want this organizer from Close to my Heart, cause it reminds me of Connect 4?
IMG_0172_1
Find it here…

And finally, a crafty shout out to the Impatient Beader, Margot Potter in her completion of second crazy and fun craft video. Check it out…

I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna have to try some of that Utee for myself! This makes me want to video blog too! One of these days, one of these days.

Until tomorrow, loyal Swellions!

Alexa

not too pure to be pinky and other fun news

not too pure to be pinky mini lunchbox

I made this last night for my friend Kristy who is moving away. Kristy is one of the most genuine, fun, laugh out loud girls I know and I wish her luck as she makes her way in the big state of Louisiana! Her name on flickr was Pinky, so hence the nickname. She is also called “Posey” as well. Hmmmm, I bet you can’t tell it by that pic (my friend Chris took it by the way.

So, got my project on Craft Magazine’s blog. It’s my first time to be featured! Hopefully it won’t be my last 🙂 Been trying to get some exposure online and in some mags as of late. Not having as much success with the mags, but I’m going to keep trying. The editors must be overworked, on deadline, or short-staffed, cause most times when I send a submission in, I hear absolutely nothing back. I guess I expect that with the scrapbooking mags (they even tell you a lot that they may not contact you about your submission), but I guess I thought I would have better contact with the smaller mags. There’s still lots of time, so no worries.

So I’ve been thinking about a redesign as of late for my web site. I really need to revamp it and make it more current. I like the look of this one, but I did it all in html and I have no clue how to design any other way, and that is a problem. I need to read up, consult with a friend on some ideas, and layout some general content and a ladder for how I want it to flow. If you’ve never created a web site, you really have to think of all of this stuff before you begin or it is a nightmare to go back and fix. Everything on your web site is an extension onto something else and you have to not only concern yourself with the design, but also with the navigation and flow of the whole entire site. I think I have a good eye for layout, but as far as executing it, that’s a whole other story. I think for the content, I’d like to incorporate more of my sites, my blog, my photos, and my crafts, rather than it strictly being a graphic design site. I think I’ve evolved a lot in the 3 years or so since I designed it and I’d like it reflect my growth and knowledge. I still like the overall concept (me as different roles). I think just needs to be expanded upon or tweaked. So stay tuned.

And finally, here is the packaging I have spent the past 8 months of my life art directing, laying out, photographing (the whole shebang)…it’s for Laurie Speltz’s Instant Images. It’s a fun, new painting program that we are offering at my company, DecoArt. By the way, it is available now at Hobby Lobby. For more info on the line, check it out here.

i designed this packaging

OK, off to bed. Until tomorrow, Swellions.

Alexa

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

I love the 80’s

You can’t tell, can you?

in it's element

Yeah, I’m a fan. I took this today. Thought I would share.

I had a craft show last weekend. Made a lot o’ stuff, but sold very little.

Woe is me.

I just have to find my right market/niche. It is frustrating. Gotta get in gear, focused and organized. Last I looked, buttons were haphazardly strewn all over my living room. Ahhhhh. Attack of the buttons. i guess that wouldn’t be the worst thing, though.

So much to do, so little time, but for those who actually read my blog, this is the story of my life. I need to get a new one, don’t I? It’s like a broken record.

Speaking of records, my brother used to play all kinds of good tunes back in the 80’s…lotsa Duran Duran,. Tears for Fears, and Thompson Twins. I actually still have the first record I ever bought….Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”. She was my idol back in the day. Love the look she had going on here with a passion (as seen in her “I wanna dance with somebody video”. There was a dress in particular that intriqued me…it was red with one sleeve long and one sleeve sleeveless. So cool.

Ornament Thursday – Luck

The theme for this month (and the upcoming one) was luck. Not one to celebrate St. Paddy’s day, I struggled with this one a bit. I seriously don’t think I’ve owned a pendant, shirt, or home décor item for St. Patrick’s day…

After some thinking…I decided to whip up this fun pair of bangle bracelets to honor the day…the cool thing (or atleast I think so) is that once the day is through, you still have 3 very different bracelets that you can mix and match with other outfits.

lucky jewelry

Basically, this is what I did:

1. I used Americana paints in different shades of green and orange with a large flat brush to paint the outsides of my bracelets. When dry, I painted the insides with an alternating color. Let dry. On the penny bracelet and inside of the striped bracelet, I used Green craft twinkles to give it sparkle appeal.

2. For the green stripe bracelet, I wrapped shiny Rainbow Tape around it. This tape is really cool and stays really sticky. I actually got it at the CHA show and it is a wonderful product. I totally recommend it (it comes in lots of colors – shiny and matte).

3. For the penny bracelet, I simply used E-6000 glue to glue super shiny pennies heads up (of course, for luck!) in place.

4. For the lucky bracelet, I simply used a liner brush to paint on the four leaf clovers and the word lucky freehand. I added Craft twinkles afterward to give extra sparkle.

On a somewhat related “lucky” note, I’m a master at finding 4-leaf clovers. Well, that may be a bit of an exageration (It’s not like searching for them is a competition). Give me a field or yard of clovers and I can find one lickety split. It’s not really hard…you just have to focus and look. In high school gym class, when we went outside I would sit on the football field and look for them. Afterwards, I’d laminate them with tape and give them to my friends. I’m sure everyone thought I was the weirdo girl in class, but I didn’t care. I guess I’ve always been a bit random. People always seemed impressed by it.

My Punny Valentine

Hello all. In this new installation for Ornament Thursday (yep, it’s still going on, just not ornaments and it is bigger and better than ever!), I made some funny Valentine’s.

my funny valentines

Admittedly, I’ve been making Valentine’s like this for years. If you didn’t know this already about me, I love celebrity gossip and puns, so mixing the two together is one of my favorite things. I think these Valentine’s are a lot more personal of a gift than a lot out there. You can find images that relate to people (I mean, who out there doesn’t have a celebrity crush or fave tv show?) It’s also a really quick craft – something you can embellish as little or as much as you want.

I am dog tired, so I don’t have the energy right now to type out step by step detailed instructions. Here’s the basic rundown…

1. Make a simple heart pattern (mine was about 6″ inches wide) and trace your hearts onto posterboard, scrapbook paper, or construction paper.
2. Find images in magazines that fit the basic shape of your heart and cut out.
3. Paint on your paper designs, stripes, dots, etc. I actually painted my hearts entirely with DecoArt Americana Acrylics on posterboard, cause it has a nice weight that you don’t get with cardstock, but it’s totally up to you.
4. Use craft glue or glue stick to mount images on your hearts.
5. Embellish around images using glitter (I used DecoArt Craft Twinkles Writer), rhinestones, buttons, etc.
6. Write a funny/punny phrase on your card using markers, rubons, and stickers, whatever tickles your fancy.

At a local ad club meeting a few years ago, Michael Osbourne, a renowned creative director, speak on branding and marketing for his design firm. His company sends out Valentine cards instead of Christmas cards each year. I think this an incredibly ingenious way to market yourself or company! Think about it…how many Christmas cards do we toss or not give a second glance to? A LOT! A Valentine card is a nice welcome, and it doesn’t have to be uber mushy or meant just for a loved one. It’s a nice little statement that can truly make someone’s day (especially those single folks who would like to nix it all together). Oh,check out the stamps at the bottom of the Micheal Osbourne bio…he designed them for the postal service…how cool is that? Now that’s one awesome gig! Everyone gets to see your work!!!

Check out the other cool OT ladies here

Hali’s Flowers of LOVE in Ancient Bulgarian 2 paintings in stylized Cyrillic spell out L-U-V

Art Bead Scene The designers at Art Bead Scene have two jewelry love stories for you! Elaine Ray links together a little love with her ceramic heart components while Melanie Brooks Lukacs tells a little tale of romance in a Gothic Garden

Cindy Gimbrone Beads Cindy’s Love Story is about a hook and beads

Earthenwood Studio Bead Blog What is sweeter than a mix CD for your Valentine? A yummy gift box in which to present it, filled with candy themed decorations, including a cute bracelet and cell phone charm!

Heart mobile Jenny’s painted paper pulp hearts.

Humblebeads Heather shares her favorite bracelet design in a Valentine inspired color scheme.

Jennifer Heynen of Jangles Jennifer has made a fun “Ornament” for her neck that looks good enought to eat.

Joolz by Lisa This “Love Story” will last all year long! Lisa shares how beads and books work together.

Katie’s Beading Blog Here’s a happy little heart project for you – use it to embellish a bag or your jeans, or as inspiration for a necklace or bracelet.

Kriss Cramer – Art Interrupted Grow Love! Nurture and care for your loved ones every day. Use this heartfelt book, you can make yourself, to remind you of all the love you have to give.

Linda Augsburg at Make It Mine magazine Linda’s love story project is a dress she embellished by stenciling dancers and a big band along the hem. Read why and learn how to do it yourself on the Make It Mine blog.

Michelle’s Love Story… The band is getting back together again! Ornament Thursday celebrates the story of love…

Ornament Thursday Blog January is coming to an end and Valentine’s Day is looming on the horizon. Whether you wish to shower the people you love with love or show yourself a little well deserved affection, the Ornament Thursday Gang has a bevy of beautiful ideas to inspire you!

Savvy Crafter Candie’s love affair with big rings continue…she’s making her own now! Love Stories and more over at the Savvy Crafter! XOXO!

Snap out of it, Jean! There’s beading to be done! Ah, Love ! This satirical creation of Jean’s immortalizes certain women’s profound affecton for their … handbags!!!

Strands of Beads Love speaks many languages. Learn how to say “I Love You” in an untraditional way with Melissa Lee’s whimsical jewelry project.

SwellDesigner Alexa shares with you her truly swell and punny Valentines!

The Impatient Blogger Love is in the air at The Impatient Blogger! Margot shares two vintage inspired jewelry designs that are oozing with romance…in a good way!

Magazine Gorgefest

First things first, if you haven’t gone to Elf Yourself, you must check it out as soon as you get the chance. It will make your day.

I went to Kroger tonight. One of my guilty pleasures in going to the grocery is wasting time at the magazine stand. I have to get my celeb/craft/home décor fix. These are some recent purchases:

my current reads
Tonight, I purchased Ready Made and seriously scoped out the new Organize magazine. Ready Made had some seriously cool holiday projects and Organize had a really cool article on packing a suitcase and a great article on Lisa Bearnson. Me digging a magazine like Organize is kinda an oxymoron, considering my tub o’ magazines and books are overflowing like this:

P1010926

I just simply can’t deny magazines. Every time, I try to tell myself that I don’t need that 2004 Martha Stewart Living magazine, I find myself seeing a great craft idea for paper doilies I must try and it goes back into the box. I seriously mean to pull out ideas and pages from them and make an inspiration binder, so that I can relieve myself from the growing pile, but I never get around to it. That’s just another thing to add to my list.

I actually have subscribed (have to send the little postcard mailers in) to 2 other mags: Entertainment Weekly and Martha Stewart’s Blueprint. I ordered them from my nephew and a co-worker for a fundraiser. I really couldn’t find a single thing in that fundraiser catalog that was worth having (admit it, you know what I’m talking about). I didn’t need to gorge on the peanut butter turtles or summer sausage and I could buy that calendar that they sell for $8, but I had just seen pretty much the same one at the Dollar tree for $1 (just ridiculous). So, instead, I decided to gorge on more magazines.

Oh, the gluttony.