Foxy G's Den of i-KNIT-quity

01/06/2010

Punky Jane: A Most Interesting Character

Punky Jane on Etsy AvatarGetting to know PunkyJane is like winning the Daily Double.  You quickly learn that she has an extensive eraser collection and has written and self-published a children’s book called Sally the Sheep and the Very Cloudy Day.  First, the eraser collection…

 
Eraser Collection
Eraser Collection

You started collecting erasers in the 5th grade; how did you happen to start? And why erasers?

I don’t honestly remember WHY we started, but my friend, Nora and I began together. We are still friends today and occasionally exchange erasers as gifts.  I do remember that she and I even climbed up on the roof of our school to get the erasers that other kids threw up there. (I can’t believe we did that! I think we snagged a bunch of tennis balls, too. Crazy!)

What kind of erasers do you collect? Are they vintage or recently manufactured?

I collect all kinds – from pencil toppers to novelty erasers to the old fashioned pink and gum styles. Nowadays, I am not longer interested in the cutesy ones so much anymore; I go for the more ‘grown up’ variety!

Henry the Dog Eraser

Henry the Dog Eraser

Where do you keep these little treasures?

I’ve had them stored in a large tackle box-style plastic sewing case until recently when I discovered a strange chemical reaction going on.  Some erasers actually melted the plastic in the case! I now have over 400 in a small drawer organizer and another 30 or so in a clear jar in my office just to make me smile.

Colorful Erasers

Erasers-Colorful!

Do you have a favorite or favorites?

One of my newest faves is an off-white color about 2.5″ long, shaped like a rounded bar of soap with #*?@! printed on the top. As far as vintage is concerned, the ones that I collected as a kid now qualify; the Sanrio ones are the best!

What makes the Sanrio erasers the best?

I have such fond memories of shopping for Hello Kitty erasers! You can see in the pictures that so many of them came in their own little cases decorated with Hello Kitty and other fun Sanrio characters. I haven’t purchased any Sanrio erasers for quite some time, but I consider the ones I have my favorites. And I’ve shared a picture of my all-time favorite, the one that started it all!

Hello Kitty Sanio Eraser

The One That Started It All

 Now, onto the book…

What was the catalyst for Sally the Sheep and the Very Cloudy Day?

Sally the Sheep and the Very Cloudy Day

The best way to explain how Sally was born is to share a conversation I had with Hannah, my then 5-year-old daughter, one night when she had trouble going to sleep:

Hannah: “Mommy, will you draw me a sheep?”

Me: “Sure, Honey. You get some sleep and I’ll have it ready for you when you wake up.”

Hannah: “Okay, Mommy. Is it done yet?”

Me: “No, Sweetie. I will work on it tonight and have it for you in the morning.”

Hannah: “Okay, Mommy. I love you!”

Me: “I love you, too, Baby. Sweet dreams.”

[10 minutes pass]

Hannah: “Mommy, is it done?”

Me: “No, Sweetheart. I can’t work on it until I finish the dishes, but I’ll start as soon as I can. You get some sleep. Count sheep.”

Hannah: “Okay, Mommy. Love you! Oh, Mommy?”

Me: “Yes?”

Hannah: “Can I help you? I’m really good at drawing sheep!”

Me: “No, Sweetie. You get some sleep and maybe I’ll even write you a story. Love you.”

Hannah: “Okay, good night, Mommy!”

After Hannah finally went to sleep, and I was washing the dishes, the little story developed in my head. I sat down at the computer and starting typing and drawing. In a couple of hours, I had something I wanted to share with my girls in the morning.

A few weeks later, I shared it with some kindergarteners and preschoolers, and Sally was a hit! I decided to go ahead and publish it, even if it was just for my girls.

I still remember the excitement I felt the day I found out that Sally the Sheep and the Very Cloudy Day was eligible for ‘Free Super Saver Shipping” on Amazon! Now that’s big time, right??

Right on, Punky Jane!

FOLLOW ME with Twitter Handle and Hashtag Necklace

FOLLOW ME with Twitter Handle and Hashtag Necklace

Etsy Shop: http://punkyjane.etsy.com

Web: http://www.PunkyJane.com

Blog: http://PunkyJane.blogspot.com/

Become a fan on facebook: http://facebook.com/PunkyJaneJewlery

Follow PunkyJane on twitter: http://twitter.com/PunkyJane

Advertisements

12/28/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Char Anderson – A Character of Olympian Proportion

Brown Orbital Earrings by Char

Char is a woman for all seasons. To date, she has or still swims, scuba dives, rock climbs, snow skis, water skis, rides horses, plays tennis, cycles, lifts weights, and has studied karate and gymnastics.  Char grew up in Hemet, California, on a Thoroughbred horse ranch.  She raised pigs, sheep, cattle and horses for Future Farmers of America while in high school. Char majored in Animal Science in college. It will be far more interesting if she tells you herself…

I was into gymnastics in high school, but was too tall to be any good. (I am 5’8” and was that height at 12 years old!) At the time I was in high school, gymnastics was the only sport in which a girl could letter, and I wanted a letter. So, I joined the gymnastics team, worked hard, got my letter, and it currently resides on the wall in my office.  I was a really, really good swimmer, but somehow lacked the commitment it took to get to the Olympic level.

I think I had the potential to be an Olympic swimmer, and am lucky to have many friends who are quite famous Olympians. I met Mary Lou Retton on a cruise in 1999. There was “Olympic” competition among the guests, and with Mary Lou Retton and her husband, Shannon, participating, you can imagine that the competition was especially fierce. I beat Mary Lou for the gold in the three events in which we competed against each other.  After the final tennis match was over, she said to me with that great smile, “Boy, you are competitive!” What a compliment from one of the best athletes America has ever produced!

Char and Mary Lou

In September 2000, I met many more Olympians. One of the major sponsors had chartered the ship as their headquarters in Sydney during the Olympics, so the cruise line made an Olympic-themed cruise to get the ship from San Francisco to Sydney. As part of the onboard activities, there were competitions in many events, including tennis, triathlon, running, cycling on stationary bikes, swimming, and basketball free throw.

Olympians on Ship

The Olympians on board were kind enough to make me an “honorary Olympian” (as swimmer John Naber wrote in a book he gave me) and we hung out and got to know each other over the three-week trip to Sydney. Two days before we arrived, I was asked, “If we can get you a free hotel and free tickets, do you want to stay for the Olympics?” (I had no intention of staying in Sydney and had an airline ticket home for the day after the ship arrived!)  But twist my arm!  

I spent six glorious weeks at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney with the likes of Nadia Comaneci, John Naber, Bart Conner, Dwight Stones and Louis Zamperini (a 1936 Olympian!). It all happened on the spur of the moment, and I am so thankful that I trusted my gut and went for it!  I met so many of my heroes at that Olympics (including a 15 year old Michael Phelps and his lovely mother, who gave me a handmade button to wear in support of her son) that I can honestly say it was the best six weeks of my life.

Japanese Weave Bracelet by Char

Now, it’s my turn again with a non sequitur: After growing up in California, Char spent twenty years living in Hawaii (sea level) before moving back to the mainland in Jackson Hole, Wyoming (6237 feet above sea level – oxygen tank optional). She lives at the base of a mountain with her British import husband, Ron, and her Hungarian Vizsla, Arazi the Wonder Dog.

Char’s website: http://charanderson.com

Follow Char on twitter: http://twitter.com/char_anderson

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/charleneanderson

10/12/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Londi Mathieu – Jewelry Designer, Mushroom Hunter, Philanthropist

Londi

Londi

In a word, Londi is an experience.  You can feel her presence long before she arrives.  And when she does finally arrive, you are immediately caught up in her charm, energy, passion and creativity.  There are absolutely not enough hours in the day for this jewelry designer-artist-philanthropist.

First – a little background in her own words: I was lucky to be born in to a family full of talented artists and grew up with both a jewelry shop and potter shop in my home.  The feeling of melting or manipulating metal, touching stones or having my hands dirty with clay has always stuck with me!

You are a 3rd generation jeweler.  Who else designs and makes jewelry in your family?  My father is a master goldsmith; his mother was a jeweler and her father as well. I started making jewelry at a very young age.  When I was little, my mother bought my brother and me little pocket knives and bars of Ivory soap for us to carve.  By the time I was 16, I was soldering, sizing and wax carving, to which I took a real liking. I grew up in the US but live in France now. I return every summer and work closely with my father and Mark Webb who has designed one of the world’s most beautiful diamond cuts. http://www.libertystardiamond.com/  I’m very honored and pleased to sell this diamond!

Precious Primrose Necklace

Precious Primrose Necklace

Please explain wax carving. Carving wax can be a very intricate process that involves many different wax types, tools, files, dental tools, knives and a flex shaft. The wax model is used to create the finished metal product through the lost wax casting process.

WaxCarving

From where do you get your inspiration?  I am really just a kid at heart, inspired by tradition, nature, lighting, flowers, anything from a rock to a grain of sand – a piece of gold to a piece of glitter! (You will see what I mean at Christmas!)  I love to cook and bake (don’t like the calories), and it is reflected in the work I do as well as my titles. I like my jewelry looking like “eye candy” and my Christmas ornaments looking and smelling edible – with sweet touches of cinnamon, punchy peppermint twist and delicate forms of nature!

Teddy Loves Cranberry Wreath

Teddy Loves Cranberry Wreath

What  prompted you to open a second shop?  I’m opening CranberryDreams because my bulbs have been a success here in France for the past ten years with a faithful cliental! I am actually know around here for my Christmas and glow-in-the-dark bulbs, but ventured into jewelry because of my love for it! When I opened LondiCreations, it was with all intentions of being ready for Christmas this year. Cranberry Dreams will feature Christmas items, but during the off season will feature home deco and children’s deco.

Holly Berry Baubles

Holly Berry Bauble

Your children’s sand bulbs are quite unique.  How did they come about?  About ten years ago, I was feeling a strong need to get back in touch with jewelry fabricating; however I was lacking the tools and space to start such an adventure. With the holidays approaching, I decided to experiment with making bulbs, but still wanted something that would fulfill my desire to touch and look at metal. I started working with glitter, but still needed to feel something more natural; this is where sand came in! I developed a mix and a technique and got busy creating!  After years of trial and error, I ventured into the world of craft shows, where I was successfully received!  I also have a shop on Craftiz, an online venue like etsy that features high quality, handmade goods.

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Loving color as I do, I started playing around with children’s cartoon characters and took the bulbs to another level with glow-in-the dark paint.

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

Soon to be added to Cranberry Dreams

 Making these bulbs is a very time consuming and intricate process, often requiring 20 hours each. That is why I prefer to do them now by special order.

Baby Photo Christmas Bauble - First Christmas

Baby Photo Christmas Bauble - First Christmas

My best selling bulb is the personalized “My 1st Christmas” with baby’s name and date!

By Special Order

By Special Order

By Special Order

By Special Order

In addition to jewelry design, you also do volunteer work with children and adults with disabilities and homeless children and adults.  I love volunteering my time! I work with an organization call VSArt, an international nonprofit organization founded 35 years ago by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith to create a society where people with disabilities learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.  This is a hands-on effort where we supply the materials and help them children and adults with floral composition, jewelry making, painting and music! Out of everything I do, this is the most satisfying!

VSArt

You have some very interesting hobbies, yes?  I have many hobbies – my favorite being mushroom hunting! My most favorite mushroom to find is the Morel. I also love going much higher in the French Alps to find chanterelles and cep mushrooms! When it is mushroom season, you often won’t find me at home.  I am always out looking for a new patch to discover! In the evenings, I’m busy preparing four-star meals!

MorelMushrooms

Morel Mushrooms

My other hobbies include photography, hiking, refinishing furniture and painting.  And when I have time, I’m on twitter where you can find me “FLYING BY” (my next hobby!), blowing you kisses and wondering “How was your day?!”

flying

Need a nap?  I do! But before you go, Londi is giving away three of her fabulous handmade ornaments to one lucky winner.  To enter, all you need to do is go to CranberryDreams, and post your favorite item in the comments below.

Giveaway

To gain additional entries:

1)      Tweet about this giveaway, using the hashtag #londi. Post in a separate comment, and get one additional entry each time you do this, up to ONCE a day.

2)      Become a friend of Londi Mathieu on facebook, and post in separate comment below.  If you are already a friend, post in a separate comment below as well.  One additional entry.

3)      Follow LondiCreations on twitter, and post in a separate comment below.  If you are already following, post in a separate comment as well. One additional entry.

4)      Blog about this giveaway with a link, and comment below with the URL.  Three additional entries.

The more times you enter, the better your chances of winning!

This giveaway will begin October 12, 2009 and end at 11:59 pm EST on October 21, 2009.  Random.org will be used to pick the winner, and he or she will have 72 hours to get respond.

This giveaway is open worldwide! Good luck!

10/05/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Meet Megan Lewis – Firespinner and Juggler

Megan has been juggling and firespinning for about two years now.  She joined the Purple Mermaid Circus Society as a “fresher” at the University of Birmingham. The Society is made up of students and residents of Birmingham, UK who have an interest in learning, practicing and performing circus skills.

Megan Juggling in Handcuffs

Megan Juggling in Handcuffs

 (Do I have your attention?)  Why don’t I let her tell you all about it in her own words…

Exactly WHAT is firespinning?  Firespinning is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – spinning fire! You use either poi (two wicks on the end of a length of chain held in each hand) or a staff with a wick on either end. The wick is soaked in paraffin and set on fire. You then spin your staff or poi to create fantastic visual displays. 

One of our members also makes fire frisbees. They’re basically just juggling hoops with a wick suspended in the centre. They’re not quite as dangerous as they sound and are a lot of fun once you get the hang of catching them!  

spinning3

Firespinning

Do you wear a costume when firespinning?  We’re not usually in costume; firespinning ruins clothes far too easily for that! Some people have nicknames that they put on their circus shirts or hoodies, but that’s really just a society thing. They’re often related to any committee positions a person holds – the person in charge of the equipment is known as the “Ball Holder,” the treasurer is “Embezzler.”  When I was the Society president, I was referred to as “Ring Leader.”

O.K., now that you have survived firespinning, how about we look at something a little less dangerous. I have always wanted to learn how to juggle, and I didn’t know of anywhere in my home town where I could learn. Prior to going to the uni, I did some research to learn what societies were available.  As soon as I saw that there was a circus society, I knew that I had to join!

I personally can juggle only three balls or clubs at the moment, but we have members who can successfully juggle up to six or seven.

Megan Juggling with Another Member of the Circus Society

Megan Juggling with Another Member of the Circus Society

 

I am pretty certain that you don’t juggle and firespin in your house, so where DO you practice?  We have weekly meetings at university where we can practice whatever circus skill we wish, maybe learn something new and have a drink in the bar afterwards. We take safety very seriously though – no firespinning whilst under the influence!

Firespinning

Firespinning

And once you are done practicing… The society gets hired regularly to spin and juggle for university events; we are usually the half time show at the American Football matches!  We also do a lot of “goodwill gigs” for fundraising and charity events. I was the president last year which included organizing Ballring, our annual circus convention that we hold at the university. This included games, workshops and both amateur and professional shows. We’ve also had a team on the UK quiz show, “Eggheads.” We didn’t win anything, but it was so much fun.

Eggheads

Eggheads

Your other hobby is customizing “My Little Ponies.”  Please explain. “My Little Ponies” are children’s toys that were first popular in the 1980s. They’ve enjoyed a recent revival though, with Hasbro redesigning and re-launching the brand. I really enjoy customizing them when I have the time and usually take commissions for particular designs.  This includes changing their hair, painting them and sculpting additional parts such as wings or tails.  

Candy Girl

Candy Girl

Have you always been creative?  I have always loved creating things. When I was a child, we were allowed to draw on the walls of our playroom and encouraged to do things like play with clay and paints. By the time I was in high school, I drew almost non-stop. I ended up doing a one-year art course at college, followed by a year of a Jewelry and Silversmithing degree. When I felt that I could no longer continue in such a structured environment where everything I made had to have some kind of meaning, I switched to an Ancient History major and started making jewelry for my own pleasure. When it became apparent that other people like what I was creating, I decided to open Eirel and turn my hobby into a business.

White Mermaid's Pearl Necklace

White Mermaid's Pearl Necklace

Once I graduate I’m planning on looking for a career in book publishing. I’m a compulsive reader and find the industry a fascinating one! Of course, I’ll keep the jewelry going. Who knows, one day I may manage to give up my day job!

Megan’s Blog

Megan on Twitter

Megan’s Facebook biz page

09/28/2009

Monday Morning Musings: A Most Interesting Character

Meet Sandy “Pants” – Purveyor of Pearls and Poker Player

What role does poker play in your life?  How are poker skills “relevant in so many aspects of life?”

Poker is a hobby that I enjoy a lot. I would actually like for it to be more than a hobby, but that’s not where I’m at just yet. But the dream is still alive.  This may sound strange, but when I enter a casino and sit at a table, nothing else is going on in my world except what is going on with those other eight players. It’s relaxing in a sense, but on the other hand, it’s not an escape. If there are a lot of heavy issues weighing on my shoulders, my play will be affected by it. I do like the social aspect of poker, but I also play better when I’m quiet and focused.  The way I present myself depends on the vibe of the table.

There are two major aspects of poker that take a lifetime to master.  One is the math involved, and the other is people reading skills. I understand enough of the math to know when I’m making a call that is worth my money or betting the right amount to outplay my opponent. I love reading the other players, though. They give off so much information from the way they talk or body language to the way they perceive me.  There is a lot to learn from people watching. A really good way to study people is to step outside yourself and try and understand the motives as to why they make certain decisions. A great book (non-poker) I read on this is How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer.

Sunset Bohemian Medallion Necklace

Sunset Bohemian Medallion Necklace

How did you get started playing poker? 

I grew up just north of Atlantic City, NJ, so casinos have always been a part of my life. When I lived in New York City, I would take the bus to Atlantic City to play. I later moved to Florida where I began playing in the card rooms, at the dog and pony tracks and at the Indian casinos. My ultimate destination was either Las Vegas or Los Angeles.  Because I could still work as a designer, enjoy the beach and nice weather and play poker in L.A., that is where I ended up!

Green Apple Jade Earrings

Green Apple Jade Earrings

I assume that you are good at it.  Was it just practice, practice, practice that made you so good?

Practice, practice, practice is necessary to learn and become good at anything in life, and it is beyond true in poker. I’ve read a dozen poker books, study the players on television and in casinos, but nothing compares to actually sitting at a table and playing (or playing thousands of hands online).  You can study a foundation of skills, but there is nothing like logging hours at a table and seeing various hands and situations play out. You really do not know what you would do in a situation until you are actually faced with it.

Double Chain Pearl Silver Bracelet

Double Chain Pearl Silver Bracelet

Is there a correlation between poker and designing jewelry?  If so, what is it?

Well, I don’t think poker and jewelry design have anything directly in common, but I will say that understanding people and how they make decisions has come into play when considering marketing ideas, brand development, target customers and what turns a window shopper into a paying customer.  I also want to understand how my customer perceives my jewelry line, the pricing structure and me, as a person (through social networking and blogging). It has helped bring a connection through my understanding of my customers. The mathematics of poker helps into any form of business when deciding if, for example, an ad campaign is worth the money based on the sales or visitors you receive from it.  Comparing the statistics and analyzing the value works the same.

Cranberry Blue Drop Silver Earrings

Cranberry Blue Drop Silver Earrings

How do you juggle your two passions?

While I was working as a full time apparel designer for a company, I would go to the casino after work or on the weekends. (I’m a single woman with just a couple of cats who understand why I come home so late). I frequented Las Vegas and played in many tournaments and cash games. When I was laid off from my last design job in February 2009, I thought of many ideas of what I’d do to make money while unemployed. I considered playing poker full time, but after trying it out, realized that there was too much pressure on my game for things like food money. I could not afford to lose and didn’t have the bankroll needed to play comfortably. So, I stuck with what I know best – designing – and built my own jewelry line. For now, I have put poker on the back burner, but I still read, play small stakes online and follow the poker community through podcasts, twitter and blogs.

Pink Pearl Silver Tassel Tie Necklace

Pink Pearl Silver Tassel Tie Necklace

Anything else you would like to add?

I blog about my poker games at http://poker-kat.blogspot.com, but not nearly as often as about my jewelry at Dig Under Rocks.

I played in the World Series of Poker Ladies Event in 2007 and did decently for my first major tournament – placing 200 out of about 1,270 players. I was happy with my play, but you can’t change the luck factor that still will show up in poker, regardless of skill.  You can just reduce the odds against you by playing a lot and causing your opponents to make mistakes (and not making any yourself). If you can do that, in the end you will come out ahead.

Sandy Pants @ 2007WorldSeriesof PokerLadiesEvent

Sandy at 2007 World Series of Poker Ladies Event

Dig Under Rocks on etsy;   Website: Dig Under Rocks;  Design blog;  Follow on twitter

Blog at WordPress.com.