Sunday, November 16, 2008

New Pieces

I've made some new pieces that I will be adding to the store over the next few days.

The first one was added last week. It is similar to ones I've done before with the wire wrapping technique on the pendant. I thought the colors were very beautiful.

This piece will be added to the store today. It is a bit of a departure for me. I had been focusing more on pendants rather than beading. But lately I have felt myself drawn to heavier beaded necklaces with richer colors. I am really liking these new pieces.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I've also been experimenting with drawing. Well doodling actually, I really can't draw. Its been fun, kind of like art class in grade school. I take pens or pencils and any kind of paper I have lying around and just see what happens.

I don't think I'm creating any works of art but I am really enjoying the process. I took some of the doodles that I thought were best and turned them into pendants. I am still working on what protective coating will be the best before I can list them. Of course I'm using other drawings for he coating experiments so I don't ruin these.

What do you think? Is this something you would like to see in my shop? Or should I just keep this for fun?

Monday, October 27, 2008


I've been crocheting alot. It's something I've always done. Usually I crochet with wire to make jewerly. But lately I've rediscovered yarn.

Maybe its the cooler weather or maybe its part of the new me, but I've been making things for my family. I've already made a hat for my daughter. I also made a hat and a scarf for myself.

I find myself drawn to yarn and fiber. I've even been known to skip the bead store in favor of the yarn store. I'm not sure if this is the new direction I'll be taking with my creations or if its just a stop along the way. Either way I am enjoying the process.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Search for Creativity

I've been ignoring ReneeDesigns. Ignoring a part of myself.

For the past few months I have been living at a new home. Blogging about my life with my daughter, my joy. Becoming a stay-at-home mom has been a wonderful experience. But . . .

But, I've let things that I enjoy slide. Maybe its exhaustion that has caused it. For whatever reason I have not felt the spark that lead me to obsessively create. This led me to give up the name of ReneeDesigns. I also considered closing my Etsy store.

But not long after I hit publish on that blog, I began to regret it. I still create on a daily basis. I still make jewelry. I crochet. I paint. I make collages. Maybe its not the direction I saw my life going but it is something. It is creating.

I don't know what direction I am going to take. But I am willing to try new things, to explore new avenues. To find ReneeDesigns again. I want to use this blog as a vehicle in my exploration. I want to detail my new creative endeavors. I want to share the things that are exciting me. I want to profile those who inspire me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Day 4

Today's piece is from the crochet series I am working on for my original store. It is sterling silver with a gold border. It is a beautiful piece and looks stunning on. However as is the case with many of my items, it does not photograph well. The crochet in the middle tends to blur.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Day 2 and 3

Here are two more ACEOs for my new shop Bunnylu. Both use recycled junk mail, magazine and book text and watercolors.

I love playing around with ACEOs. The small scale really appeals to me. You will probably be seeing more of these this month.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A new piece a day for June - Day 1

I've decided to post a new piece on this blog every day for the month of June.

Now this is a bold pronouncement for me. If you've ever read this blog or looked at my store, you know I am not an overly productive person. I haven't posted here in almost a month and I've only listed 4 new pieces all year in my store. Lately I've been all about ignoring this aspect of my life.

So why do this? Maybe because its 11 pm on a Sunday and I can't sleep. Maybe its because I have all of this free time while staying home with my two year old (no that's not it). Maybe its because I've posted nearly every day on my other blog and want to try the same thing here. Maybe I think this will finally be the kick in the pants I need to get my creative juices flowing. Or maybe I just like making grand pronouncements.

I'm not sure what the reason is but I've gone ahead and made the promise. Now I just have to follow through.

Today's piece is an ACEO (Artist Card Edition Original) I've made for my new store Bunnylu (which is not open yet). I've used watercolor on a recycled magazine subscription insert with text from magazines and books. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another new piece in the crochet series. I originally envisioned these earrings being flat circles but as I went along they started to curve and I really liked the effect.

I am still considering opening the new store for the recycled pieces. There is one day left to vote in my poll. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Another day another listing

I am really loving these new bangles I listed. At first I thought about keeping them for myself. But they are so pretty I thought I'd share them with the world.

It seems like spring is actually here in Milwaukee a month or two late. That means more time spent outside, more natural light to take pictures and more inspiration for me. 74 degrees today and a trip to the garden store to get some plants for my window box. This is the life.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New additions

I've finally updated my shop with new jewelry. I added these lovely two tone bracelets.

I took a bunch of photos yesterday so I will be adding more throughout the week. I still don't have my old computer back but I loaded Picasa editing software onto my computer. The combination of outdoor lighting and the new software have resulted in what I think to be some pretty snazzy photos.

Don't forget to take my poll on whether I should streamline by opening a new store for my recycled paper jewelry.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

New Shop?

I'm thinking about opening a new shop. I would transfer all of my recycled paper jewelry and other trashion items to the new store. I may also add some of the ACEOs I've been working on. The new store would be called Bunny Foo, recycled jewelry and art by reneedesigns.

The reneedesigns store would then be used for the new crocheted pieces that I have along with some of my existing inventory.

I like the idea of having a streamlined more cohesive look for my main store and the new store would allow me to experiment.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sales kit

I am still working on a sales kit to take into stores. I have a bunch of inventory but I am not sure how much of it to use. I've been really focusing all of my creative energy on crochet jewlery. I have really liked the results so far. But I also have a bunch of beaded and wire wrapped stuff.

Do I include some of the old stuff in the kit thinking that I may want to go back to it? Or do I just focus on my newer works?

I'd appreciate some opinions.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ok the computer is still broken and I haven't made a decision about reclaiming the data on the busted hard drive. I think I will but I don't really know.

I've been working on these really cool crocheted bangle bracelets that you can stack. Now I know some of you are saying "Oh sure, I'll believe it when I see it" because you've read this blog before. But I really have been. In fact, here's some proof:

So there. But what good does this do me when I can't edit the photos to get them into listing shape? Well none really. Except it gives me an incentive to go back to my local boutiques and have them carry more of my jewelry. So I'm putting together a sales kit as we speak and hope to hit the stores in the next week or so (depending on babysitting avaliability). I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Technological Dark Ages

That's where I've been living for the past few days. My beloved Mac's hard drive crashed and I have lost everything on my computer. And of course I haven't backed it up since well since ever.

The only thing I really care about is the pictures. We had all of our pictures from China on it. To lose all of those pictures just kills me every time I think about it. We have a few saved on our blog and I think I can get some from our traveling companions, but we had so many beautiful pictures of our little girl.

The guy at the Apple store said we can pay some firm to retrive the data on the dead hard drive. It might be fairly costly. But at this point it may be worth it. And I need to make this decision soon because the repairs can't start until we've done this or decided not to do it.

We hooked up an old PC laptop with no software on it. The only thing we can do is access the internet. So there will be no new photos on the blog or listings in my Etsy shop until further notice. Sigh.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Academy Awards

In honor of Diablo Cody , who was filmed for her nomination photo wearing a saucy hat with veil while writing, I will be writing this blog while wearing my favorite hats this week. I will start off with this cloche from melissahappystuff's etsy shop. Will it change my writing style? Probably not, but I'll look cooler while writing.

Every year hubs and I watch the Academy Awards together. We get a list of nominees and make our picks. Of course we haven't seen all the movies but that is what makes it fun. The winner usually wins based on foreign language film or sound editing which are complete guesses.

This year was a pathetic showing for me. I had seen two nominated films, Michael Clayton and Sweeny Todd. That's it, only two films. So everything was pretty much a guess for me. But I only got three right. Three. Hubs had a runaway victory with nine correct guesses. And he only saw one film.

So next year either I'll have to see more films or make better guesses to regain my winning ways.

I missed the red carpet so I don't have much to say on the fashion choices. I'll have to wait for the E! Fashion Police recaps.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Slow and steady wins the race.

Well I've slowly started working on my craft room. I'm following Martha's advice and am getting rid of a lot of paper. I have a pile for recycling and a pile for shredding. Hubby convinced me not to spend the money on a shredder since he has free shredding at work. I guess its also a good thing I didn't by a shredder because I found an article given to me by our doctor about baby proofing areas that often get over looked - the article mentioned a toddler who lost an arm in a shredder. Yikes! So that's enough for a paranoid mom not to get a shredder.

I'm not quite ready to take another picture because it actually looks worse than before (with the aforementioned piles). But I know that I am making progress and that's the most important thing.

Above is a new pendant I've finished. Its a basic crocheted circle with a garnet in the middle. I really like the simplicity.

I'm not sure if I'm happy with my new pictures or not. I don't think I have a bright enough light for the light box to be making a difference. I am using two halogen desk lamps aimed right at the box. The pictures are definitely brighter but I am still not getting the definition or contrast I want with the crocheted pieces. I've been playing around with Photoshop and hopefully I will hit on the right combination.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Peace and Quiet

I don't get a lot of peace and quiet in my day to day life. Well I guess I have peace but quiet is hard to find around an active 2 year old chatterbox.

But this morning I couldn't sleep because I was having trouble breathing from my new cold (and I just got over the last one), so I got up at 5:00 am. Now me and 5:00 am are not really good friends. In fact I've only seen it voluntarily when I had a plane to catch or an early meeting.

But there is something so interesting about sitting in a quiet house when even the cats are still asleep. I can hear the heater kick in from time to time and the rain outside my window. I sat on the couch looking out at the rain (thankful that it hadn't turned into snow - yet) drinking my tea. I sketched out some ideas for new designs. Depending on when the wee one wakes up, I may even do some cleaning.

I know I'll pay for this early morning later on and have to take a nap. But for right now, I am grateful for the solitude.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Martha Stewart I think I love you

Now that is a sentence I never thought I'd write, but its true. I was planning on tackling the mess that is my craft room this weekend and wasn't sure where to start. There is a home for all of the craft supplies, so its just a question of putting stuff where it belongs.

The real problem for me was / is paper. I have so much paper - bills, records, miscellaneous info etc that I don't know what to do with it. My filing cabinet is full. I have piles of stuff to be filed. And I'm pretty sure I don't need to keep more than 1/2 of it. But I do.

But then the new issue of Martha Stewart arrived in my mail box. I have been meaning to cancel the subscription for years but its on a credit card so I always forget. Well on a whim I opened it looking for new collage images and there it was, an article on how to organize your office. What to keep and for how long and what you can shred. Just what I needed.

Now I just need a shredder.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines Day or a meditation on love

Love, love, love is the most wonderful thing in the world. If we had more love in the world, there would definitely be less problems and conflict. So why is it that we have only one day to celebrate our love?

Shouldn't everyday be Valentines Day? Now I don't mean every day you have to get chocolate or flowers (although that would be nice - especially the chocolate part). But shouldn't you tell those you love that you love them every day? Shouldn't you want to shout it from the roof tops? Isn't that what love is all about?

Now since I've been waxing poetic you would think Valentines Day would be really special in our house. Not so much this year. Hubby gave me a peck on the cheek (because he has a nasty cold), told me he loved me and wished me a Happy Valentines Day. That's it, short and sweet.

Did I do anything special for hubby? Um well no. Its Thursday and its all I can do to keep my head above water during the week. Tomorrow night we'll have a special dinner after the wee one goes to bed. A nice time to reconnect.

Now as for the wee one, the object of my undying affection, she got a special present, the lovely (ok homley) handmade plush monsters pictured above. It was my first try and I had fun making them. She looked at them, squeezed them, said "Squishy" and then threw them on the floor where they still sit. But I don't mind.

Happy Valentines Day. Tell someone you love them today and every day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mom friends

Now that I am a stay at home mom, I am working on developing some mom friends. You see all of my friends who live in town don't have children so they can't really relate to anything that is going on with me. So its time to meet some moms.

The problem is I'm shy, kind of a loner and get nervous when I meet new people. I never know what to say to break the ice. I've been taking the wee one to all sorts of group activities where there are other kids for her to play with and moms for me to meet. But they all seem to know each other and tend to congregate in their own groups while the kids play. Now if I were normal, I'd just walk up and say hi. What are they going to do laugh at me? ignore me? Well maybe but probably not.

Someone describe making mom friends like dating and it is so true. Well I hated dating and was infinitely lucky that the cute boy that is my hubby decided to ask me out. Now I have to wait for a cool mom to ask me out too, until I can work up the courage to do the asking.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An object at rest remains at rest unless . . .

Or a messy room remains disastrously messy unless I get in there and clean it up.

Inspired by my recent cleaning frenzy, I've decided to tackle my craft room. And by tackle I mean try to wrestle a Gilbert Brown sized lineman down to the ground.

Now my faithful readers (who am I kidding, nobody reads this thing) will remember that I "cleaned" my craft room last summer and actually made some "progress".

What happened in the interim? The usual, laziness and procrastination. I would just put stuff in the room when I wasn't using it and then when I had something else to put away, I put it on top of the other stuff. Sad and pathetic I know. But on the bright side, it really hasn't effected my work. I usually just work with a spool of wire, a crochet hook and my wire working tools (which are neatly contained in a case) so I can do it anywhere.

So now what? Well first we'll work on the floor, so I have a clean path to get to the other stuff and then we'll go from there. And by we I mean me.

Next Tuesday I'll post another photo so you can see if I've made any progress.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Budding Fashionista

Lately I've been wondering if I have a budding fashionista on my hands. That is the only way I can understand what is happening. It only makes sense, right? I make jewelry, I love clothes and accessories. My daughter must be the same way.

What is happening is there is a huge battle being waged every morning when its time to get dressed. I will lay out two outfits for her to choose from. Whatever she chooses is what she wears. No problem, right?

Wrong. Big problem. It seems she does not want to make a choice. She does not want to get dressed at all. She would be content to run around all day in her pjs or in her diaper. Who needs clothes seems to be her motto. Well unfortunately its wintertime and its cold outside (and inside) so you need to wear clothes. Plus I think people might call social services if I take a toddler wearing only a diaper to the grocery store.

So every morning its the same drill. I usually leave an hour for both of us to get ready. It will take me about 15 minutes and the rest of the time is for wrangling clothes on to the wee one.

The problem starts with the onsie. The second I pick it up she gets ready to run. If I succeed in pulling it over her head she manages to stick up her hands and tries to pull it off. When we finally get the head and both arms in then the screaming starts. Its a high pitched, break glass, make the dog next door cower under the couch in fear kind of a scream. Once the onsie is securely fastened then she can run around for a while and my ears get a break.

Pants usually aren't too much of a problem, especially if I pull them on after I finish changing her diaper. The shirt on the other hand goes much like the onsie. This morning after her shirt was on, she kept lifting it over head yelling "Take it off, take it off!!!". Its a shirt, it cannot possibly hurt or offend her in any way but she thinks it does.

Total time to get ready this morning. Mommy 15 minutes (clothes, hair and make up), wee one 1 hour 15 minutes. Calgon take me away!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clean Break

I hate cleaning. I really do. I will vacuum the floors, clean the bathroom and the kitchen but I rarely go to town when I clean.

For some reason, today was one of those rare moments where I decided to go nuts and do a full clean. I was cleaning up from lunch and got down on my hands and knees to scrub some spots off the floor. Well one thing led to another and I found my self on a ladder cleaning the walls and ceiling.

You know what I found out? It was actually enjoyable. I felt a real sense of accomplishment knowing that my kitchen was cleaner than it has been in a long time. Maybe this will be the inspiration I need to do a deep clean of the other rooms I've been neglecting.

Now if I could only get some help. While I was a cleaning dervish, hubby was setting up his X-box. Sigh. But I did manage to get him to fold laundry while watching TV. I really can't be too hard on him because he does the dishes but . . .

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Light Box

In an effort to take better photos of my work, I made a light box today. It was a fun little project and was so easy.

I used the instructions on Strobist for creating a light box for under $10. I had the box lying around my studio (and lets be honest - what isn't lying around my studio). However, I had to hit the store for the tissue paper and poster board. Total cost $2.41, not to bad. Though in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have bought the poster board because I use different backgrounds for my photos (but I am sure I'll find a use for them).

Armed with a Hazelnut latte, I spread my materials on the dining room table and set to work. It only took about 10 minutes to cut out the windows using my trusty exacto knife. The part that took the longest was cutting the tissue paper and taping it to the box. This was only because I kept tearing the tissue. Total time to create the box about 25 minutes. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. Well yes I do but we are not going to revisit my master procrastination skills again.

So next step was to get a light and start photographing. I used a halogen desk lamp for my first try and it seemed to work quite well. I think I might try two lights next time to see if it makes a difference. So I re-photographed the garnet bangle I initially posted on January 29th. Here are the two photos. I think the second one is vastly improved. Don't you?

If this keeps up I might be able to list more items in my store. Shocking I know but it might just happen. Stay tuned.

Monday, February 04, 2008


I asked for critiques of this blog on the Etsy forums today. Most people had good things to say, however, there were a few issues that I wanted to address.

1. Etsy Mini - This is a great advertising tool for my Etsy shop. It shows items currently available for sale. So why wasn't I using it? No reason except I forgot about it. So that was the first thing I changed. I added it to the sidebar and think it looks rather spiffy don't you?

2. Pictures - This is the bane of my existance as an on-line seller. I don't take very good pictures of my jewelry. I think its a combination of a lot of things, user error, not understanding my camera and not really understanding how to use photoshop.

I love my camera, I really do. In fact it will always hold a special place in my heart because we purchased it in China about two hours before we met the wee one for the first time. It takes great snapshots but I haven't really explored the other facets of the camera at all. Part of the reason is because the instruction manual we have is in Chinese and well I don't read Chinese. Its a model that is only sold in Asia so there are not a lot of people here with the same camera. I need to download the instruction manual in English and study it. I know there is a way to enhance the pictures I am taking.

I also need to sit down with Photoshop and take some tutorials on editing pictures. I bought the software, I might as well use it properly.

Finally, I need to build a photo lightbox. I just can't rely on getting outside and taking pictures in the Wisconsin winter. If its not snowing, its raining - yuck. So this is my priority for Saturday, figuring out how to get this done.

3. No links to my shop in my posts. Part of the reason for this is I haven't been listing any of the new stuff I've made. Why is that? See number 2 above.

So today I sat down and listed the Red Crochet bangle I wrote about on January 2nd. Only one month later, not too bad.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Just like the old days

Today was my day off. I get every Saturday morning off to do whatever I feel like doing and hubby gets to spend some quality time with the wee one.

Usually I'll go to the gym and maybe hit a movie (say 27 Dresses last week). But today I decided to go shopping. Not at the mall but at my favorite local boutiques and thrift stores. It was so much fun. I found some really cute sundresses that I'd buy if winter ever ends.

I found a really cute vintage apron, that has inspired me to want to bake cookies. Of course I don't bake but I can probably buy some of those Pilsbury cookies in the tube and slice a few off. Or maybe I can make banana bread with those soon to be black bananas sitting on my kitchen counter. Mmmm that sounds good.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I love music but I am not a music snob. I'll listen to anything from country to rap to pop to metal to opera. Some people may laugh at my tastes but I like it so who cares.

But there is one thing I cannot stand - kids' music. I know that kids love it but I seriously cannot listen to it for more than 10 minutes without wanting to pull my hair out. This is difficult when you are at home with a toddler who loves to listen to music and to dance. What's a mom to do?

We've gotten some CDs from Putamayo that have Reggae, Latin and World music that is tolerable, but you can only listen to them for so long. Then what?

Well I've got tons of CDs and even more on my ipod, why not try some out on the wee one? After all I used to listen to Billy Joel and John Denver with my parents. We started off with No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. She loved it, she gets up and starts to dance whenever it comes on. Okay great now lets try the Gipsy Kings and Madonna. She likes them too.

So now I am on a search for more tunes my daughter will like. I'm going to make a mix CD for her (and for me too). Its fun, just like being back in high school and college only a bit more high tech.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ransom note

I've been going through my stash of magazines (I have Elle and Vogue from 2000 - its a serious problem). As I was tearing out articles and pictures I liked, I started cutting out letters. I made a little ransom style love note for the wee one who thought it was funny.

I had a few letters leftover so I decided to make some initial pendants with them. These are my first draft. I'm going to coat them and hang them on a chain to see how they look.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sick Days

I have now learned that when you are a stay at home mom, you don't get sick days. When I was working in my old job, if I felt the way I did today, I'd stay home. Both for the my sake and for the sake of those around me, but I can't do that anymore.

So here I am with a cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, a voice like a career smoker and a head that feels the size of a racing sausage. But I can't just lay on the couch watching soap operas and Lifetime movies like I want to. I have to figure out a way to entertain a two year old without infecting her and without causing myself too much distress. Fun times.

Maybe we'll build a fort that mommy can hide in or perhaps we'll do some art projects or maybe sit on the couch and read all of our books 10 times. Or maybe we can beg dady to come home early. Yeah that last one sounds good.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Resolutions part 2

Well its been 4 weeks since the new year started and I've been hit or miss on keeping up with my resolutions.

So far I've lost 8 pounds. Yeah me! So I've stuck to that one.

But I haven't been making that much jewelry and I haven't been posting much here either. So that is bad. I'm still trying to figure out how to fit everything in my day. It seemed like I had so much more time to post when I was working and was sitting at a computer all day. Now I only have a limited amount of free time and don't always want to be sitting at a computer.

But here are two of my latest creations. The first is another take on the crocheted bangle using fine silver wire and garnets. I love the way it looks.

The second is an ACEO using magazine images and subscription inserts. I've had a lot of fun doing these and have a few more in process. Not sure if they are any good but I like them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Its safe to say that I am much happier now than when I was working in the corporate world. Its hard not to be happy when you are being served the best imaginary coffee and treats by someone who only wants your smile and hug as payment.

I think that happiness is translating into my jewelry creations. I feel that I am creating from a place of joy rather than a place of obligation. I still look critically at my work - thinking is this good enough to send out in the world. But I am finding that the joy of creating is making my work better.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I used to view routine as a bad thing. Something that I would do over and over. Get up go to work, come home, make dinner, play with baby, put baby to bed, hang with hubby, go to sleep. Wash, rinse, repeat.

But now that I am not working in an office, I am craving a routine. Doing something fun with my daughter, working out, cleaning the house, making jewelry. These are all basic things but I am having trouble fitting them all into my day. And of course I also need to sneak a shower in there somewhere (for my sake and for the sake of others).

I've joined a mom's group and there are a lot of activities that we can do during the week. We've also signed up for a music class. So we are now trying to figure out where this all fits. But of course when you are working for a two year old, what you think is a great idea is not always what she thinks is a great idea.

Right now we are in the experimenting stage, finding out what works best for us. So far its been fun but there have been a few tears both mine and hers.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New jewelry take two

I love stacking rings. I love the way that tiny rings can be layered to create a great effect. I have lusted after a few on Etsy, especially the ones created by Gemmafactrix

So I decided to try my hand at some. Working with wire, I crocheted three rings.
I like the way that they've turned out, they have the effect that I was going for. However, I'm not sure that they are durable enough. I'm afraid that they will get caught on things so I'm road testing them now. So far so good.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

In keeping with my goal to make more jewelry, here is my first post for 2008:

I've been working on wire crochet and this piece is one of my first success stories. It is crocheted with red craft wire and red seed beads using a 2.00 mm crochet hook. I think it turned out beautifully.