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***Please note any and all images you see from our artisans belong TO the artisans so please respect copyrights and our artists by not copying them. If you'd like to share something you see on this blog, please do, but always link back to the artist and ask permission if in doubt.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

4 years ago today...

Our world was turned upside down.

Generally, we don't publish blog posts on the weekend, but I thought surely we could not let the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina come and go and not say a few words.

We all have our memories of where we were that day. What WERE you doing that day? Did you leave? Did you stay? Myself, I was hunkered down in Tallahassee, FL with my husband as I was 9 mos pregnant and we had decided it'd probably NOT be a great idea to stay that pregnant! Thankfully my hard headed little boy waited yet another month and was born, a week late, in Slidell Memorial Hospital. Things were BARELY up and running for the city, but we had a home and a hospital.

Today we remember the lives lost on that horrible day, when the inevitable happened. We know it can happen, we know it has happened and could happen again. Every year it's the same risk, the same possibilities that this season we could see a Category 5 storm ruin our hometowns.

But we accept these risks. We acknowledge these risks as something one has to deal with to live down here. For many of us, although we complain, we know deep down we'd be hard pressed to actually move away if given the chance. And when we do, we keep coming back at least to visit! Louisiana is in our blood, our soul, our hearts. We simply can't just turn our backs on her.

Hurricane season is scary down here (and I want everyone to NOT SAY "at least it's been quiet this year" because those are some famous last words--so just zip it now!) and we pay more in house insurances for several months than some people in other parts pay per year! But we do it. We keep on plugging because that is what makes us unique. (Or hardheaded....whatever!)

We have the best music, the best food, the best art and the best people. Sure, we have our downfalls--crooked politicians, a city built underwater, and streets that even old timers can get lost on---but overall, the good outweighs the bad and once Louisiana has her grip on you, you will never get out!

So today we not only mourn the lives lost on that horrific day when we saw our cities go underwater and treasured memories lost; but we celebrate our future, a better rebuilding, a better growth, a better tomorrow.

I leave you with words to one of my favorite Marc Broussard songs, "Must be the Water" Seriously, download his entire "Must be the water" EP CD. Louisiana music at it's finest.

Long live Louisiana, and stay safe everyone!!

~~Amy

Seen a lot of people come through New Orleans
Get down in the Easy for a change of scene
Now the word is out all over this old town
The big town party's coming, we gonna throw one down

Must be the water
Mississippi River is alive
Must be New Orleans
More than just an alligator bite

Known around the world for the crawfish meat
Got everybody jammin' to the Creole beat
Coming far and wide just to see the show
Just rockin' on the Bayou, so let everybody know

Gotta be the water
Make you play all day, jam all night
Down in New Orleans
Swamp water make me lose my mind

No matter where you from, you ain't seen nothing yet
'Til you come around, party down in Lafayette
My brother serve you up with that etouffee
Just ask for any Broussard if you come this way

Gotta be the water
Make you play all day, jam all night
Must be New Orleans
Swamp water make you lose your mind

No matter if you fly here, drive here, come in on a train
Guarantee that when you leave you won't be the same
If the ladies don't get you, then the hospitality will
If anybody asks then you can say for real

Something in the water
Make you play all day, jam all night
Come on, jump on in, you know the water's fine

C'mon everybody sing
(it's a party jam session)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: The Crafty Kind


Meet Kristin, artisan/owner of The Crafty Kind. After receiving a Murano glass pendant from Italy as a gift, she decided she wanted to learn to make them. She’s now been fusing glass for 8 years and specializes in jewelry-making supplies such as fused glass beads, cabochons, donuts and toggles.

Kristen is most inspired by color. She says, “I like making unusual color combinations that, in the end, make a great piece.”

When asked which is her favorite piece, Kristen replies, “Right now, my favorite is a focal bead set I made in Greens and Blues. Although, I am impartial and love them all! I won't sell anything I wouldn't buy myself."

Working with glass, Kristen explains, “is like working with a new material every time I make something new.” She elaborates, “if I make a design and expect it to look a certain way, it may take a totally different direction once it is fired in the kiln. Then again, I may throw something together in a minute and it looks fabulous. It's always a fun surprise.”

Her biggest challenges are the increased competition and increased material costs. “Fused glass has become so popular and there is a lot of competition to sell supplies. The price of raw fused glass has gone up, but I now sell for less, which is really sad,” she says.



She offers the following advice to other sellers: “Make things you love because if you're successful, you may be doing it for a while.” Creating your own unique look is important, too. Kristen says, “I try to make things that others don't, which is hard for a glass artist. I have signature pieces and develop new designs all of the time.”

What’s next for The Crafty Kind? “I have two daschunds and always wanted to make them sparkly accessories,” Kristen says. “I just got a metal lettering punch set, so I see that for a future project.”

Kristen recently moved to Louisiana from Florida. “I hope to develop an event production company to promote arts/crafts fairs and festivals with music,” she explains. “That is why I joined Handmade Louisiana. I recently put together a local craft club for crafters to hang out and swap techniques; we'll be meeting every month at different locations.”

She is not currently selling off-line, but hopes to have her items in a bead shop someday. In the meantime, visit her Etsy shop to view her beautiful work:


Monday, August 24, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Folk-Art.com / Southern Heart Gallery

I’m pleased to introduce Folk-Art.com at Southern Heart Gallery, featuring original paintings and prints. Artist and owner Barbara has been creating since childhood and began painting in 1990. She says, “I have always had a creative nature. When I started painting, it was because of a love of folk art and a desire to create some of my own!”

Her favorite materials to work with are acrylic paints, usually on canvas. Barbara also loves quilting and crafting in general. She says, “I love getting a new idea, and then putting it into a creation! I love the Louisiana culture, and love depicting that... the people and rich cultures of the state...so many unique places and experiences to draw from for my art, and to enjoy in my life!”

When asked about her favorite piece, Barbara replied, “I have so many! But I think my favorite is Louisiana Saturday Night.” (pictured below)


The busy artist is also the mother of 4, grandmother of 8 and great grandmother of 1. “My family is my life,” Barbara says. “I have worked for more than 30 years in computer programming...it has allowed me the luxury of pursuing my art.” Her biggest challenge, is finding time to paint, as well as balancing the creative process and the business side of things.

Southern Heart Gallery will soon be featuring a new series of French Quarter images. “I am always pursuing historical images of things that are gone from our lives, or going soon,” Barbara explains, “I love to capture those for the preservation of the memories.”

When asked what skill she would like to learn next, she replied, “To paint people...I can capture the animals and houses, trees, etc...but my people always look funny! On the other hand, they are kind of my signature now, and they usually make me laugh after I am finished and I look at them.”

Her best piece of advice for other sellers/artists? “Believe in yourself! It took me a long time before I could call myself an artist. I believe the more confidence you have, the more successful you will be!”

Barbara says, “I am excited to be a part of this [Handmade Louisiana] forum! I like to help others promote their art; I have selected other artists on my website to hopefully help them sell. Everything we can do to help each other is a good thing!”
Her work can be found in galleries, including the America, Oh Yes folk art galleries located in Hilton Head, SC and Washington, DC.

Barbara’s creations can be found online at:
http://www.folk-art.com/
Southern Heart on Etsy

She can also be found at www.twitter.com/southernfolkart

Thursday, August 20, 2009

HUMOR

Worrying works! 90% of the things I worry about never happen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Rustic Treasures



Meet Brandy¸ creator and owner of Rustic Treasures. She creates handcrafted furniture, such as benches, coffee tables, shelves, side tables, and so forth. Her favorite material is cedar wood.

Brandy got her start when looking at a garden calendar and noticed a bench in the photography. “I thought, ‘I can build that,’” she explains. She’s been building ever since. Brandy doesn’t use any plans for her Rustic Treasures – “just my good old imagination,” she says. Each item is unique and one of a kind.

She finds inspiration and ideas looking through magazines. “I can always find at least one thing interesting. If it is a color, pattern, style...something always gets my attention,” she says.

Brandy’s favorite part of her work is the process itself: “I enjoy building so much. When I am outside building ... I am happy. I find peace and serenity in each and every piece.”

Her favorite piece so far is the fan back bench (below).


Brandy’s biggest challenges include finding ideas for new items, and learning how to use different tools. On her to-do list is learning to operate a scroll saw.

The busy mother of three (ages 3 to 6), Brandy says, “I feel very blessed to have found something I am passionate about and can make a living doing it to be able to stay at home with my children.”

Brandy was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and lived there until the age of 12. She returned at 21, and “found the man of my dreams,” she explained. Brandy and her family now live on Lake Bistineau in Doyline, Louisiana.

Her best piece of advice for other sellers is this: “Never stop creating -- even when it doesn't sell. There is something for everyone.” When she first began building items that were very different, someone might say, ‘Nobody is going to want to buy that!’ “They were always my best sellers,” she says.


She sells both online and offline to people in her area. “Almost everyone on my street owns something I built,” Brandy says. She is also ready to put some pieces in a store on Texas Street in Bossier City.

To learn more about Brandy’s Rustic Creations, visit her Etsy shop:
http://www.trueconnection.etsy.com/

Brandy also enjoys painting and photography and has set up a second Etsy shop:
http://www.birdcottage.etsy.com/

Friday, August 14, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: GAR Sticks and String


"Man enough to Knit, Strong enough to Purl" - the tag line says it all.

Meet GAR, one of our younger – but certainly no less talented – members of Handmade Louisiana. GAR creates hand knitted and felted items for his Etsy shop, GAR Sticks and String. He began creating at the age of 11 and has been working steadily at it for 3 years now. How did he get started? He explains, “My mom has always been artsy and when a knitter opened her home for lessons we jumped the opportunity.”

When asked where he finds inspiration, GAR again credits his mother: “My mom is really creative. Not so much me. Just tell me what to do and how to do and I'll get it done.” (Disclaimer: this writer, and customer of GAR’s, disagrees when he says he's not creative. I purchased on of his plushies, a felted hedgehog, for my teen son. The quality and craftsmanship is impressive indeed!).

His favorite material is wool, and he finds knitting relaxing. His favorite piece is the lily baby booties.

When asked what challenges and obstacles he faces, GAR replies, “Just trying to get through teens years. Bringing less drama along as possible and trying to set a good example for my peers.” His words of wisdom for other artisan/sellers: “Never give up, promote, just love people, and pictures matter a lot.”


What’s next for GAR? Llamas, purses, more baskets, gloves and so much more. Perhaps pottery, too. “I’ve done a little pottery and loved it but that was a couple years ago,” he says. “I would love to go back to that.”

Although his mother is from California and his father is from Ohio, GAR has a strong connection to his birth state (Louisiana, of course). “I love that people are SO friendly and love you the second they meet you down here.”

His family is a major influence, rightfully so. “My dad and mom are always there for me and my sister (13 months older than myself) just loves to be around people. We serve God with the best of our ability at an amazing church and have found MANY awesome friends there,” GAR explains. “I personally hope to be the salt and light of the world and be a leader and an example giving hope to a fallen world.”

His creations can be found in his Etsy shop: http://www.garsticksandstring.etsy.com/

He also sells offline to family, friends, and word of mouth. When asked if there was anything else he wanted us to know, he said, “Well, I love all my customers and sincerely appreciate them. I give glory to God that he gave me this talent!”

Monday, August 10, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: DebiDeaux

Meet DebiDeaux, creator of handmade flamework glass – beads, sculpture and wearable art. Her fascination with beads came at an early age when, as a child, she would catch glass beads at Mardi Gras parades and would restring them, explaining, “I just had to do something with all those pretty little baubles.”

DebiDeaux began creating with glass for years ago. Her favorite material – no surprise here – is glass. She uses dichroic, pure silver and cubic zirconium in her beads.

Where does she find inspiration? “My garden and the wonderful colors of nature are my biggest inspiration, “ Debi says, “but sometimes all it takes is just the right combination of colors in a magazine or book and off I go to put those colors in a bead.”

Confetti Necklace

Her favorite piece changes regularly, but she is partial to one called “Beached.” Featuring an ivory base with dichroic* and handmade murrini**, it looks like something that might have washed up on a beach.

Debi’s favorite part of the creative process “I can hardly wait to see how a piece comes out after waiting overnight for it to cool down.

DebiDeaux has a deep Louisiana connection. She lives in the New Orleans area. “I grew up in Mid City and now live in the Algiers Point neighborhood,” Debi says. “I traveled extensively in my younger years and never found another area to equal the fun, pleasure and cultural diversity that can be experienced in New Orleans, Louisiana.”DebiDeaux works from her home-based studio in Algiers Point neighborhood. In fact one of the biggest obstacles she faces as an artist is the incredible summer heat. “On excessively hot days my studio can get unbearably hot,” she explains.

Debi walks her dogs on the levee every day and often returns home full of fresh ideas for her studio. In addition, she’s looking forward to a very busy this fall with the local Arts Markets and Festivals.


Glass Rosebud Ring
Her advice for other sellers: “Hang in there! It can sometimes take a while to get started but with networking, a good product and a steady work ethic you can do it.”

What’s next for DebiDeaux? “I would love to learn glass fusing, which is a totally different discipline but when I look around at all the leftover glass from my beadmaking, it just seems like there should be a way to use it.”

DebiDeaux’s amazing glass pieces can be found:
On her personal website: http://www.debideaux.com/
On Artfire: http://www.debideaux.artfire.com/
On Etsy: http://www.debideaux.etsy.com/

Finally, her show schedule is posted at http://www.debideaux.com/shows.htm

* Dichroic glass dates back to at least the 4th century AD. It features multiple micro-layers of metal oxides which provides optical properties.

** Murrini refers to pulled cane, when cut the cross section reveals either a picture or pattern. The multiple-step process, spread over several days begins by layering different colors of glass, once squared in shape, stretched vertically and placed into the annealler (a cool-down oven). Slowly cooling the cane through the annealing process allows the glassmaker to cut 1/4″ slices without the cane shattering. Slices are then arranged into a mosaic, heated and rolled onto the exterior of a crystal bubble.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

WISDOM QUOTES

A WOMAN IS LIKE A TEA BAG - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water......Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, August 7, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Butterflies & Rainbows



Butterflies and Rainbows features handmade custom clothing for babies and toddlers (even adults too). Artist and owner Candice has been creating for years, but was really inspired by the birth of her first child five years ago. She now has two children and loves dressing them in her incredible, one-of-a-kind outfits. “I love creating new outfits for my children and I love when they are excited about wearing them,” she explains.

Candice’s favorite materials include cotton and cotton blends, but “any beautiful fabric will do and I probably have most of them,” she says. Candice jokes, “buying fabric is a sickness for me.”

She cites her family’s support as a key component to her success. “I have a great husband that supports me greatly in this endeavor of my life and two wonderful children that make me so proud to be their mother,” she says.

Her biggest obstacle, however, are time constraints. “Being a stay at home mom to a beautiful girl and a rambunctious little boy, it is hard to find time to fill orders and make new things to offer,” she explains. Occasionally, Candice will put her Etsy and Artfire shops on a brief hiatus while she fulfills orders and develops new product lines.

One of the favorite aspects of her craft is the time alone that she needs to release her creative juices and make extra income for her family. Candice is currently working a new fall line, in addition to creating items for adults to enjoy as well as children.

Her favorite piece of advice for other sellers is: “Do your best and you will shine!” When asked what skill she’d like to learn, Candice replied that she’d like to design her own patterns.

Although she moved to Birmingham, Alabama two years ago because of her husband’s employment, Candice’s local connections run deep: she’s originally from Lafayette. “Louisiana is dear to my heart,” she explains, “because it is where I grew up and it is such a diverse place.”

Candice’s creations can be found on Etsy (http://www.brkids.etsy.com/) and on Artfire (http://www.brkids.artfire.com/). She also sells offline to friends and family or by word of mouth. Most of her items are custom made, so if you see something you like, she invites you to ask. She can make almost anything!

To learn more about Butterflies and Rainbows, visit her ...
on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cdoucet1
on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cdoucet1229
on her blog: http://www.brkidsonetsy.blogspot.com/
and on: http://picasaweb.google.com/candice.doucet

Thursday, August 6, 2009

RECIPE

LINDA'S CHICKEN A-LA-KING

BOILED CHICKEN
1 Chicken, whole
1 Onion, quartered
1 Bunch of Shallots, halved
6 Sprigs of Parsley
6 Cloves Garlic, whole
1/4 Bell Pepper
2-3 Chicken Boullion Cubes
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
Season-All
Salt
Pepper
Garlic & Parsley Salt
Water
Rinse and clean chicken. Put into Dutch Oven. Add about 1/2 pot of water. Add seasonings, bouillon and sprinkle seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook till chicken is tender. Remove chicken from pot to a large pan or bowl. Reserve chicken broth. After chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones. Set chicken meat aside. Large pieces can be chopped or torn into smaller bite-sized pieces.

SAUCE
1/2 cup butter, or 1 stick
2/3 c. flour
Melt butter in saucepan, blend in flour, stirring with wire whisk to prevent lumps. Once well blended, add 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of milk a little at a time, stirring with the whisk as you add liquid. Cook and stir till sauce is thick and bubbly.

PIMENTOS
2 large jars of Pimento
Use chopped or sliced pimento. Add chicken and pimentos to sauce. Stir well, adjust seasonings and serve over toast.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Member Artisan Profile: Lemon Jitters

Katie, of Lemon Jitters, launched her line of jewelry created with vintage and upcycled materials in January 2009. However, she is no newbie to the creative life.

She explains, “My family has a lot of creative thinkers so I grew up making things. We did not have much money when I was growing up so we were constantly having to improvise and make things work without spending a lot. That is where my creativity was born. Now, I can look at almost any situation and think of a DIY solution. My mind often puts things together that do not traditionally fit each other. “

Katie is inspired by items she discovers in thrift and antique shops. “I marvel at the possible history of a piece and instantly visualize the piece in a new setting (such as, dangling from your ears...),” she says. “I love to place an old, abandoned item in a new home, with a new meaning.”


One of her favorite materials is raw brass. “I especially love oxidizing it and watching it turn different shades,” Katie says.

Her favorite piece tends to be the one she’s working on at the moment. She’s currently working on several pieces incorporating vintage hardware. She explains, “I have some pieces in my Etsy shop with vintage keyholes and whatnot. Those are my favorite because they are unexpected.”


Her biggest challenge is time management. A busy graduate student – with a graduate assistantship, no less! – Katie says “maintaining the pace I am working at now will be SUPER difficult [in the fall]. I'll find a way, though. Because I love creating and running a small business.”

If she could offer one piece of advice for new artisans, it is this: “Be willing to invest an enormous amount of time promoting your shop in the beginning. I am still in the beginning stages and it is very hard to get noticed in the online world. But my views are steadily picking up. It just takes a lot of effort. Oh, and offer exceptional customer service. That is key!”

So what’s next for Katie? She is currently developing an idea for a luxury line, Lemon Jitters Luxe, and is further developing her line incorporating antique/vintage hardware. Her items are available exclusively online, but is considering offline venues.

Other skills Katie would like to learn include soldering metal for jewelry making, crocheting and knitting. A Louisiana native, she now lives in the Ruston area. She moved there to attend Louisiana Tech five years ago and stayed.

To learn more about Lemon Jitters:

Visit her Etsy shop: http://www.lemonjitters.etsy.com/

Visit her blog: LemonJitters

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Lemon-Jitters/112811350791?ref=ts

On Twitter: http://www.twitter/lemonjitters

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