Sunday, December 5, 2010

December Artist of the Month~ A.W.E. Jewelry



The December Artist of the Month is the talented and beautiful Deb Soromenho, designer and creator of A.W.E. Jewelry. A.W.E. stands for Artsy-Worldly-Earthy, which describes both the jewelry and the artist very well. The jewelry and artist have gone through a journey to where they are now. The jewelry is handcrafted, most pieces beginning from a hand cut section of metal. Each one is sanded and enhanced with patina, semi-precious stones or wire wrapping. These steps create jewelry that is prefect with personality, no two pieces exactly alike. Also, the creative force behind these has traveled an interesting life to the point of making this jewelry~ read on to find out about it~

Q~How did you get started?

A~ I was making beaded jewelry part-time and started working with wire, found that I loved forming and texturizing the metal and very soon graduated to sheet metal, saws, drills, and torches; the big-girl tools ;)

Q~Why do you continue?

A~ I love the flexibility of working with metal. There's always new techniques to learn, processes to adapt, and designs to explore. I never get bored, which is saying A LOT.



Q~What is your greatest success story?

A~ still waiting........

Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ In jewelry making or ever? :)

Actually one of my biggest failures is what lead to my jewelry design career. I had, oddly enough, decided to open a spa/salon in 2006. It started out great, but I quickly realized that I really didn't like managing a bunch of people who really didn't care about my business; do I sound a little bitter? Lol.
BUT, I carried some consignment jewelry in the salon which inspired me to give it a try myself to sell, as I'd made jewelry as a hobby in the past. The rest is history, in the making.



Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ That's actually what my tag line is about: Inspired by the shapes, textures, and cultures of the world. I travel a lot and love things like old cobblestone streets, crumbling plaster walls, arched doorways, traditional indigenous art, etc.


Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~ I'd love to be able to sell more online and not have to transport my "shop" to shows and such, but I think that jewelry, especially mine, is such a tactile purchase. People love to touch, feel, try on, and fall in love with jewelry before they buy.

Jewelry may look fantastic in photos, but nothing compares to seeing it in person. The buyer just has to trust your description and get a feel for who you are and what your jewelry is all about. I'm working on making each piece about a story or a personal idea so people can make a connection that way.

I do love a good outdoor craft fest though, they're a lot of fun!

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~ Getting feedback from people. It's great seeing peoples reactions to my work and hearing their comments.



Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~ hmmm.... probably having to answer difficult questions like this one ;) lol.

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~ To be able to see my jewelry in shops and galleries around the world. Also to make enough money with it to actually pay the bills :)

Q~What is your mission?

A~ To make only what I love and would wear myself. My customer will love my jewelry all the more for it.

Q~Where are you based?

A~ I have a studio in my basement of my home in Bethesda, MD

Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~ oooooh, that's tough. Winter in Paris, fall in Lisbon, Portugal, summer in San Francisco, and spring in New York.

Q~What would you be doing if not this?

A~ Trying desperately to find something that I love to do. That's what I was doing for 20 years prior anyway!



Q~What is next?

A~ Buying some new (read expensive) equipment to move to the next level in my design.

Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

A~ I wouldn't know that, I'm not the king!

Now that you've read about Deb and her jewelry, I can share the story that I practically had to *beg* her to do this. She was always interested in the concept and liked the honor, but she just didn't quite want to literally have to answer the questions and send photos. I just love her designs, think the jewelry is very well made and simply lovely. I'm not sure if Deb didn't want to be associated with Jen-A-Fusion or was just busy with make jewelry. I'll assume the latter. :)

Deb will be showcasing her wares at the Downtown Holiday Market in the Penn Quarter of Washington DC on Sunday, December 12 and Monday, December 13.



Likewise, her jewelry is also available on the A.W.E. website. If you become a fan on Facebook, you will have the inside scoop on new products, discounts and sales and updated news.

AND, don't forget~ if you aren't already, please become a Jen-A-Fusion Fan on Facebook. The Holiday Swag Giveaway continues with our 3rd winner today! Thanks all!

Hoping you a zen December! ;)~Jen

Green Tip~ Trade up this season with new LED Christmas lights

From a recent e-letter from MOM's (My Organic Market):

"MOM's has teamed up with HolidayLEDS to host a Holiday Light Recycling Drive. Bring your old lights to MOM's through January 31st; we will ship them away to be recycled. Plus, you'll receive a coupon for 25% off new energy efficient LED lights from HolidayLEDS.com! To help facilitate recycling, please bring in lights only (no boxes or packaging)."

How awesome!! Not only were you going to buy them anyway (right?), now you can get 25% off. Not 'sold' on this new lights. Read some facts:

~They don't emit heat, which does often lead to fires on real trees.

~They use about 90% less electricity, leading to lower utility bills.

~They are made from plastic, rather than the traditional glass bulbs and thus more durable.

All facts from About.com.

I just checked out HolidayLEDS.com and think I see at least one or two or five strands I'd love to have and decorate my holiday tent with!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FIRST winner in the Holiday Swag Giveaway!


Serenity now...om...

Congratulations to Tiffany Corl of Middletown, MD!! She's the first random winner in the Holiday Swag Giveaway!

Again, become a fan of Jen-A-Fusion on Facebook and be entered automatically to win some free swag each week between now and Christmas.

This year, I am thankful for the few moments of serenity, when they come my way. I am thankful for my family and friends. I know that sounds cliche, but it is so true! What are you thankful for?

Have a wonderful holiday!~Jen

Sunday, November 21, 2010

FREE Holiday Giveaways Galore!


Ingredients for pumpkin muffins

This is a very long post about me baking some muffins to try to win some free stuff. This is also about me giving away some free stuff. You do not have to bake some muffins.

You can scroll down to The Part Where I Give Stuff Away on Facebook. Also, check out the bottom of the post, the Suggested Use Tip~Fingerless Gloves. It is a funny little story that might help with some of those 'hard to shop for' guys in your life.

The Long Story Longer

Thanksgiving is this week and thus the holidays are officially upon us. And, so it begins- the mad rush for everyone to try to get your money, as you rush to give it to them. Toss in some stress, holiday weight gain and cold and flu season, sounds like a recipe for disaster. How about a recipe for success? Well, in my family, we need this quite literally.

This year, my whole immediate family went gluten and wheat free. Plus, neither of my sisters eats dairy and the older doesn't do eggs. It has been a fairly good journey, not easy, but very much worth it. The thought of eating wheat free- no bread, no hamburger buns, no cookies, no stuffing, no pumpkin pie- makes some people ill. However, now, for me, the thought of eating all that is what makes me ill.

So, as this holiday season approaches, I started getting stressed out about my Beloved Stuffing. It is my absolutely favorite Thanksgiving dish. One year for Christmas, my brother in law made me a batch of stuffing for my gift. All for me. No one else got any. YUM.

As anyone with a dietary restriction will tell you, there are versions of things they can't eat made from something they can. Those things are often pricey, sometimes lame, seldom exact replicas of the original. However, the longer you go without eating the 'real' thing, the less you remember it. (I had a 'real' piece of pizza a few weeks ago. I almost cried, it was so good. But, I paid for it later.)

Saved By The Internet

I didn't want to have some shotty substitute for my Beloved Stuffing. So, I turned to Gluten Free Girl to save me. Shauna James and Daniel Ahern are foodies, chefs, writers, fighters and other things that I'm sure I missed that they would not have. Read more about Shauna, her journey to being gluten free and why and what they do.

Most of successful GF eating means just having foods that are naturally without gluten. However, Thanksgiving is not one of those times where you can choose much of that. Luckily, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef have been posting recipes, videos and tips about how to make a gluten free Thanksgiving. YEAH!

Then, I found out they had challenged other chefs and bakers to develop GF Thanksgiving recipes, which they posted on their blog. Then, they challenged their readers and followers to made said dishes, post about them and THEN THEY WERE GIVING STUFF AWAY. Like their new cookbook. Like a Kitchen Aid mixer. Like OMG.

The Part Where I Give Stuff Away on Facebook

Wait, very cool idea. Give stuff away to people to get them to pay attention to you? Ok, why don't *I* do that? So, I am.

Starting tomorrow, Monday, November 22 and each Monday between then and Christmas week, I'll pick a name at random from the Jen-A-Fusion Fans on Facebook. Click here to get to the page and "Like" it. Yes, my friends and family will be included. They have been supportive and deserve free swag too. However, no one will be able to win more than once. Not on Facebook and don't plan to be? Email me and I will include your name in the chance to win. Invite your friends to Like the page, and your neighbors, dog walker and book club members too.

What will you get? Stuff that I made- perhaps a little zippered pouch, or a pair fingerless gloves or a scarf or who knows what. I'm winging it here, people, thanks for putting up with me! :)

Back To Me Trying To Win Free Stuff


So, I decided to be inspired by GF Girl and the Chef, not only passing on the love but also rising to their challenge.

I decided to make the pumpkin muffins from the Gluge Gluten-Free blog. Some of the other items sounds so, so good. Hello, I'll take a slice of the Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll with Mascarpone and Nutella Filling and one of Gluten Free Maple Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Gingerbread Bottom and Sour Cream Marshmallow Topping
but I'm not going to make them. No time, don't have the right pots or pans or ingredients, or even pateince. But, again, would love them.

And, I couldn't even make the stuffing for Thanksgiving that I will be bringing to my friend's house for dinner, as my mom is bringing the bread and she doesn't arrive until Wednesday and I must enter this contest today....

I do love a mean pumpkin muffin, though. I have made two batches this fall already, by altering GF mixes. Both were pretty good, so I thought I would try those.

I come from a long line of bakers. We're not so much chefs in my family, nor food snobs (yet) but we all bake. My grandma was known for her famous cheesecake and my dad won a blue ribbon on a cherry pie he forgot to put sugar in. Baking is also a more exact science than cooking, and I don't have much experience with GF baking, so I am still learning how all these different flours work. Making these muffins seemed easy, but would still be a challenge.


Pumpkin seeds for the streusel

The recipe is pretty simple. Looked like I had all the ingredients. Good start. Tia, the blogger and baker, had a link to a previous post about a crustless pumpkin streusel pie. Hm... streusel would be nice on the muffins. And, thus, my usual MO kicked it- start with a basic recipe and cater it to your tastes, hope it comes out well and eat it anyway.




I made the recipe as called for but ran out of pumpkin pie spice. I put a little cinnamon, and nutmeg in. Then, dumped in a handful of chocolate chips.

Started looking around for streusel ingredients. No oatmeal. I got rid of it during my 'non- GF' purging. While my roommate was rummaging around for some, she found a little package of pecans. She also only found instant oatmeal, maple walnut flavor.

So, I dumped the pecans into and turned on the mixer. Oppss... looks like it was pecan 'chips', not finely chopped, but definitely changed the texture of the batter. Especially since this recipe it just almond flour, wasn't sure how this was going to work out...

I made the streusel from the instant oatmeal package, a handful of pumpkin seeds I chopped fine in the blender, butter, cinnamon and the brown sugar. Popped in the oven. Yummy smells make my stomach grumble.


Fresh out of the oven

They smell and look so good when they come out. Sadly, they totally fell apart when I tried to take them out of the pan. This could be due to the fact they are still warm or that I didn't have muffin liners and ran out of non stick spray, so a lot of the muffin is sticking to the pan. Or, just due to the nature of GF baking. The gluten is what holds the baked goods together. Take out gluten and thus it tends to break apart. This goes for most GF goods.





So, I enjoyed the muffins with homemade raspberry jam my aunt in California made and a glass of apple cider. They are *probably* nothing like the original recipe was supposed to be, but they are really so yummy. Good texture, not rubbery, not too fluffy. The instant oatmeal added just a hint of maple, a nice fall touch. The streusel ended up a little runny, but was a good addition. I'm sure my mom and I will polish them off this week.

Well, enough of this. Between baking, cleaning up and writing this post, hours and hours have gone by. How do those foodie bloggers do it all the time?!

OK, back to my own Holiday Swag Giveaway. Remember, suggest the Jen-A-Fusion Fashion Accessories FB fan page to others that might enjoy free stuff. Check back on Mondays to find out the winner!

Also, this blog and the FB fan page have my up to date schedule for holiday selling. Lots of dates in December. Buying local, from local and it has a bigger impact on the local economy than sending your money out of the area...

I'll let you know how the Beloved GF Stuffing comes out! Thanks for reading~Jen

Suggested Use Tip~Fingerless Gloves



Many (older) people are surprised at my fingerless gloves, think I made it up and aren't sure how to use them. I didn't make this idea up, it has been around since the middle ages. I just put my own polar fleece spin on it.

Also, some folks aren't sure how to use the. They are great for texting, talking on the phone, knitting, typing and whatever else you need to do in the cold, but might need your fingers.

Yesterday, a very nice grandmother type lady suggested something new. She was wearing a red visor, an embroidered holiday sweatshirt and a blinking light necklace.

Her: "These would be good for people who shoot guns."

Me: "OK... when?"

Her: "You know, when you are out, shooting."

Me: "Like... hunting?"

Her: "Sure, like then.... you know, because the fingers are free, they can shoot their guns."

Me: "Great, I'll keep that in mind."

So, if you have hunters, gangbangers, snipers or assassins on your shopping list, I have you covered. :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trash to Treasure:Green Craft Fair



I'm working hard and getting many many little cross body bags ready for tomorrow. All made from recycled and reclaimed upholstery fabrics. Also, making lots of fingerless gloves! Recycled materials are incorporated with some new materials too.

This show is great in ways that go way beyond all the wonderful artists and items that will be there. I *loved* the book exchange last year, picked up a few good ones. The clothing donation is so needed around this time of the year, as it gets colder and more people are being faced without a permanent residence.

NEW this year, SCRAP-DC will be at the show. SCRAP-DC is a east coast extension of an organization started in the west that takes and redistributes supplies, mostly of the artistic nature. I have several bags of fabric bits and some odds and ends to offer to SCRAP. What have you been planning to get rid of? :)

What: Trash to Treasure: Green Craft Fair

When: Saturday, November 13, 10am-4pm

Where: Watkins Nature Center, Watkins Park Drive, 301 Upper Marlboro, MD

Website: www.pgparks.com

Click on the poster above for more information.

This is a great event that will teach you a few new things, allow you to clean out some supplies and clothing, and get some holiday shopping done! See you there!~Jen

Green Tip~ Green up your knit

Just took up knitting or crochet? Making hats for Christmas this year? Experiment with sustainable fibers, such as hemp, organic cotton and bamboo.

Bamboo yarn has a beautiful hand, a silk like texture that can be worn year around. It takes dye wonderfully and the colors and weights available are stunning.

Search through Etsy for some wonderful examples. Such as this one. Or, if you are working on a bigger project and need more skeins, check out this website for a large selection of colors.

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Artist of the Month~ This Little Piggie



In my industry, there are many layers of people that participate in making my business a success. Of course, there are all my supportive customers. There are my family and friends, there is me. And, there are the wonderfully underappreciated show promoters, market managers and the like. They are the behind the scenes people who constantly and consistently toil away to create a successful show, for both the vendors and the clients.

What most folks forget is that this relentless, hidden force is usually headed by a creative individual, that got into the role of organizing shows from the position of being in shows. These people are often talented multi taskers that excel not only in the diplomatic running of markets, but in producing artwork or craft that is just as successful. Jessica Blaszczak is one of this ambidextrous people.

Jessica is one of the best market managers that I have had the pleasure of working with AND she creates fun, functional, affordable craft. This Little Piggy is simply decoupaged piggy banks, created one at a time, to bring smiles to little and big two legged piggies.

Read on to find out why Jessica is always smiling!



Q~How did you get started?

A~ Well, started with art in general? Always ... since I could cold a pencil. With decoupage, I remember going into Anthropologie (LOVE that store!) and I saw a decoupage tea pot for $200. I thought, like most people do when they see a decoupage teapot, hey, I wanna do that. And I did. And it was fun. And I got to use my love of paper to make something useful and pretty. So, from there, I basically combined my two loves: art and animals and got decoupaged piggy banks.

Q~Why do you continue?

A~Because pigs ROCK!

Q~What is a great success story?

A~Okay. This is kinda cool. Homeward Trails, a local Arlington animal rescue organization, holds a charity art auction each year called PawCasso. I donated a large-sized cat-themed piggy bank to the live auction, which usually goes for around $75. I didn't really expect it to go for much because they was a lot of killer art there. Anyway, they started the bidding at $20 and someone bid. Then, another person bid. Then another. And then there was actually a bidding war! The Kitty Piggy went for about $130. And 100% of the proceeds went to Homeward Trails. That's a lot of dog food! Yep, that was pretty awesome.

Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~Oh, Lord. Where do I begin? In life? In art? Do we really wanna go there? :)

Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~All around me. Literally. I manage a local art market, The Ballston Arts & Crafts Market, and I help out with the Fenton Street Market, so I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work with talented artists all the time. So, really, art in general inspires me. But I also find inspiration in my friends, my coworkers, my husband, my pets. I'm surrounded by beautiful things. I think we all are.

Q~Why do you make/create what you do?

A~I think with art, you get a glimpse into someone's personality. Into their complicated minds without being intrusive or questioning. And when someone buys one of your pieces, it resonates with them, and some sort of connection is created. You get a glimpse into their personality, too. Art is personal. It's fun. It's fulfilling. And, I think the piggies make people smile. It's always nice to make other people smile.



Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~The Ballston Arts & Crafts Market is my favorite show, of course! Check out the blog (shameless plug)!

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~I get to make piggy banks in my spare time. What's not to love? Special orders are fun, too!

Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~Nuthin. I make piggy banks. :)

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~I'd like to be able to go further with it ... maybe branch out a bit. It would be cool to see my piggies in a boutique store as popular as Free People. But I have a lot of work to do before I can even entertain that idea.

Q~What is your mission?

A~To have fun. That's it. That's my mission.

Q~Where are you based?

A~Arlington (Clarendon!), Virginia

Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~Ooooo ... good question. My two favorite US cities are Charleston, North Carolina & Seattle, Washington. Very cool cities for very different reasons.

Q~What would you be doing if not this?

A~Well, piggy bank-making isn't my full-time job. I'm an event coordinator and a freelance writer, so ... I also love to paint and sculpt. I like to make these cute, little art dolls that are also kid-friendly.



Q~What is next?

A~You name it!

Q~What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~What's your sign? Seriously! I love astrology!

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~Gemini!

Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

A~I don't know. I'll Google it. ;)



Meet Jessica and her piggies in person at Cocktails and Craft, a happy hour party type thing, where you can buy all your holiday gifts and have fun too. It is TOMORROW night, Saturday, November 6, 5-9:30pm, at 3213 Kinross Circle, Oak Hill, VA 20171. Also, future shows can be found on Jess' website at www.thislittlepiggymarket.net.

Likewise this weekend, I'll be gearing up for major holiday shopping to start! Don't wait until the last minute like every year! Start early for the best selection!

I will be at two markets this weekend for you to kick start your holiday shopping!


What: Alexandria Art Market

When:Saturday, November 6, 10am-4pm

Where: The Del Ray Artisans
2704 Mt. Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA

Website: www.thedelrayartisans.org


What: Bannockburn Craft Show

When: Sunday, November 7, 11-4pm

Where: 6314 Bannockburn Drive
Bethseda, MD

Website: www.bannockburncommunity.org


Hope to see you there!~Jen

Thursday, October 7, 2010

LAST Ballston Arts + Crafts Market of the year!


Well, they say all good things must come to an end... But, what do 'they' know? Who are 'they' anyway? And, why do 'they' have to end our fun?!

I don't know all the answers to the above questions, I just know that the Ballston Market must end this coming Saturday, very sadly. Please stop by and see a special dance performance from 11-12:30. Music will resume in the afternoon from 1-3pm.

Start stocking up for the cooler months ahead, with hats and scarves and the like. Also, think ahead to the holidays and get a few gifts crossed off your list.

What: Ballston Arts + Crafts Market

When: Saturday, October 9, 10am-4pm

Where: Welburn Square, Ballston, Arlington, VA

Website: www.ballstonarts-craftsmarket.blogspot.com


I'll have some fun Halloween trick or treat bags, polar fleece hats, sun hats on sale and many great new fall purses. I just love fall, the colors and the fabrics. Come see what I've been working on! ~Jen

Green Tip~ Plant for the future
Fall is the time to plant bulbs that will pop up with color and energy in the spring. It is a great thing to do after you have raked and before any snow falls. The sprouts not only will be signs of spring, they will help remind you of the fun fall memories you had planting them.
Check out this article for more information.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Art on the Avenue and October Artist of the Month



Join me, the artist below and about 300 other crafters, designers, photographers and the like, this coming Saturday for the 15th annual Art on the Avenue. Started as a neighborhood gathering of families and friends, it has blossomed into a region gathering of families and friends. Included are kids activities, music, a pie making contest and more. The weather is supposed to be great, so come out and start the celebration of my favorite season, fall.

What: Art on the Avenue, Alexandria, VA

When: Saturday, October 2, 10-6pm

Where: Mt Vernon Ave, Del Ray

Me: Space # W54

www.artontheavenue.org


At Art on the Avenue, you will be able to meet the following talented artist in person. Erika Rubel of Had Matter creates versatile and vibrant functional art. She combines "recycled materials and vintage images" to create wall sculptures that double as key holders, lights and more. As an environmentalist, and designer who does similar work with fabric, I am drawn to products that recycle 'junk into funk'. Many people are out there doing this, but many people do it badly. Erika's work is so well made, clean lines and finished edges, it is sometimes hard to believe these items had other lives.

Erika's eye for form and function make the zany combinations seem natural and normal. Then you look again and realize the edge of this shelf is a toy train track and the side of that bin used to belong in a kitchen. However, the design has been married with such finesse that you accept it just as surely as you would accept a shower in a bathroom.

Erika has stepped slightly out of function into more artistic works with her turn toward insect sculptures. Using such materials as spatulas, screens, and old auto parts, she creates larger than life creatures that look too cool to be cruel. Makes me almost like bugs!

Read on to find out more.



Q~How did you get started?

A~I was becoming very disappointed in my office job and wanted to try to live by my design abilities. I was creating a lot of stuff for my house from salvaged materials so I thought I'd try to make something to sell.

Q~Why do you continue?

A~ Because I love making stuff and I like being self employed. Now all my hard work is for me.

Q~ What is a great(or greatest) success story?

A~ I don't have one particular story. I feel lucky to be successful to live off my work. All the constant sales and returning customers are what makes it worth it.

Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~Hard question. My forays into wall lights didn't prove to successful.



Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~From the materials. I love working with old stuff.

Q~Why do you make/create what you do?

A~I think that even the practical stuff we live with should be fun and interesting. Not my idea, but one I believe in.

Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~I like Eastern Market the best. It's home.

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~Making the stuff.



Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~I don't loathe any of it though it's a business and some things are just not as fun. Like unloading and loading my booth in the same day.

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~I'd like to always be able to push it further. I've started to learn how to weld and I'd like to more sculpture.

Q~Where are you based?

A~I've just moved to Capitol Hill in DC.

Q~What would you be doing if not this?

A~Maybe running a store. That's what I enjoyed most out of my other jobs.

Q~What is next?

A~Keep pushing my art as far as I can.


Q~What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~Do you like what you do?

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~Yes

Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

A~two coconuts per hour

Erika's work can be found most weekends at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. This weekend, she can be found at Art on the Aveune and the MPA Artfest in McLean. Need some fun organizatin in your life? You need Had Matter.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Arts on Foot


Crisp cool weather, leaves just starting to turn into golden hues, pumpkins showing at farmers markets. Fall, LOVE IT!

And, with fall, comes some of my favorite shows. This weekend is Arts on Foot, a completely inclusive arts festival that celebrates the visual, musical, dramatic and theatric arts. There is wine tasting and juggling and child's crafts. Behind the scenes tours and of course, an art market.

I love being a part of this festival, due to all the kinds of arts and people who love them. Come and be a part of it too!

What: Arts on Foot,

When: Saturday, September 11, 11am-6pm

Where: 7th and F Streets, Penn Quarter, Washington, DC

*I will be in space # 72

Website: www.artsonfoot.org

The art market has been set up for the last several days, but Saturday has the whole shin-dig going on. Check out the website for complete details about what is going on when.

Also, make sure that you being a Fan on Facebook, updates and details come more often on my fan page. Click here to get to page www.facebook.com/jenafusion

Thanks! Happy fall~Jen

Friday, August 13, 2010

Ballston Arts & Crafts Market


Looks like as of this writing, the storm gods have been satisfied with ruining Saturdays for awhile and the forecast for tomorrow is clear... well, that's right now. However, let's all go with that, ok?

Last month's market was canceled due to bad weather, so come get your fix off Route 66. I have a large selection of reversible sun hats, little purses and back by popular demand, Jen-A-Fusion shopping totes. Made from upcycled tents, they can be rolled up and tucked in a purse or larger bag for carrying all your goodies home from the market.

Likewise, tons of fun and funky finds. Birthdays, wedding gifts and the like can be found. I'll going on vacation next week and plan to scout out a host gift for family we are visiting... a photo, some soap... hm.. we'll have to see!

What: Ballston Arts & Crafts Market

Where: Welburn Square, Ballston, Arlington, VA

When: Saturday, August 14, 10am-4pm

Website: www.ballstonarts-craftsmarket.blogspot.com

See you there~Jen

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

25 "Random" Things about Jen-A-Fusion

Photo by Erica DeJoannis, on my 29th Birthday


In the spirit of the Facebook viral note that went around a while back, here is a list of seemingly random things about Jen and Jen-A-Fusion.

1. I had 3 majors before I finished college.

2. I went to 5 different colleges before I graduated.

3. By the time that happened, I had enough credits for almost two degrees.

4. I'll be paying back student loans in the senior's home!

5. I'm a horrible speler.

6. My customers continue to surprise me with their appreciation.

7. My favorite colors are green and purple.

8. But I love all the other ones too.

9. I would love to travel to all seven continents. I have 4 down so far. (Can you guess which ones?)

10. My absolutely least favorite food: raisins.

11. One thing I really like about my work: always being able to defend it by saying "It's art!"

12. Don't worry, I'm not as strict an environmentalist as I might seem (oh, wait, as I go through the trash for recyclables...)

13. My first real job was a counselor at a girl scout camp. Now, I head up an art camp for kids.

14. The 'real life' talent I wish I had: to be able to sing.

15. The 'super hero' talent I wish I had: to be able to fly.

16. I love seeing someone random on the street with one of my purses. It makes me so happy!

17. My studio is a pig sty. Really, totally out of control.

18. I am the middle daughter of three sisters.

19. My older sister is a saddler by profession, but also a very talented artist.

20. My younger sister is a sports psychologist by profession, but also a sky dive instructor.

21. I have way too much fabric, thread, buttons, ribbon, beads and the like.

22. I *really* wish I could garden, but I just end up killing plants.

23. My friend Erica helped me come up with the name Jen-A-Fusion.

24. My friend Stacy created my logo.

25. I eat way less veggies than I should.

Monday, June 28, 2010

July Artist of the Month~ Bette's Bags



I personally get kinda tired of looking at my own stuff sometimes. The same fabrics, the same shapes, the same, the same.... going to new shows and being exposed to new customers sometimes helps. So does looking at the wonderful work other accessory crafters are doing.

I first met Betty through our Etsy team and was taken with her cute designs and unique business arrangement. My mom and I can hardly agree on the color of the sky, let alone an artistic atheistic. However, they make it work out and have some wonderful bags to prove it.

Beyond the luscious fabrics and attention to detail, the practicality of Bette's Bags can't be denied. I especially love the Purse Pocket Roll-up Organizer! These little guys are awesome. You pile all your stuff in it and stick it in your purse. Then, when you switch purses, you pull that out and put it in the other purse. No more leaving behind your favorite lipstick or that pen you always need. And, for $10, no way I'm going to try to figure out how to make one myself, I'll just get one from Betty.

In addition to the sewing, Betty has developed a line of knit accessories and even sells the patterns. I love that she doesn't mind sharing the secrets so you can make your own!



Read on and learn more about the background of Bette's Bags.

Q~How did you get started?

A~ Maggie, my daughter/partner, complained for days about seeing another woman carrying her very expensive "Designer" brand new bag as soon as she walked out of the store. As a Joke I made her an Original One-of-a-kind Bette's Bag so that she would stop complaining. She liked it and used it. When friends and co-workers asked her where she got her bag, she suggested that we sell them. So we started with out with just one design at local Holiday craft shows.

After a while we developed more designs and set up a table at the Arlington Court House Market once a month....the rest, so they say, is history. We do shows throughout the year and continue to design new styles as well as adding hand-knit accessories to our line.

Q~Why do you continue?

A~We still enjoy what we do! It is our avenue to express ourselves creatively as well as offers us an opportunity to be a part of a very special group of artists. My greatest pleasure is meeting and building friendships with other artists and craftsmen at shows and markets.

Q~What is a great success story?

A~Having people "inspect" our work and share with me that they recognize it to be a very high quality. One that I will never forget was a woman who was raised in the Amish faith (know for their hand-made quilts). She not only appreciated my work but she purchased several items as gifts for her daughters. I will always remember our conversation and her very kind and supportive words.

We were also very proud to be voted as third runner-up in the Washington's City Paper's Best of DC 2010 Reader's Poll of Best Local Crafter. Now that was a surprise and a great honor!

As far as a successful product goes I would say the our "Purse Pocket Roll-up" probably gets the most questions and attention. It's such a simple little accessory, but very useful.



Q~What is one of your greatest failures?

A~SO many to choose from. Failed designs are a normal part of the creative process that I have come to accept.

Q~Where do you get your inspiration?

A~I draw my inspiration from listening to friends, co-workers, family discussing what they like, what they need, what I should make next.

Q~Why do you make/create what you do?

A~We typically make what we would like to carry. We joke that every "new bag" that we make is our "Favorite so far"...until we design/construct the next one.

Q~Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~In the DC Metro area Ballston Arts & Crafts Market is a great market. It has great location and demographics, friendly vendors and artists, supportive management and very supportive shoppers.

In the Baltimore area I enjoy the Squidfire Shows (Holiday & Spring Marts). Squidfire has more of an edgy - hip vibe, very stimulating show.

Q~What is one thing you love about your business?

A~Connecting with our customers. So many have become friends.

Q~What is one thing you loathe?

A~Paper work!

Q~What is your dream about your art?

A~To be able to devote my time and attention to Bette's Bags full time.

Q~What is your mission?

A~To continue to develop and grow as an artist and as a human being.

Q~Where are you based?

A~Our actual Studio is in my home in Bryantown, MD. It used to be Maggie's bedroom but the fabric, sewing machines and purses have officially taken over.



Q~Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~Pittsburgh, PA. It is very supportive of the Arts and is the friendliest city int he US.

Q~What would you be doing if not this?

A~ I'd be crafting and creating something. I've been sewing and crafting all of my life. Creating is a part of who we are. Maggie has started her own Photography business this year and it's doing very well.

Q~What is next?

A~Only "the Force" knows.

Q~What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~Ohhh, That's really nice. Did you make that?

Q~What is your answer to that question?

A~Why yes I did. Thank you!

Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

A~ African or European?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=

To learn more about this talented artisan, the following links can be used to:

Purchase a bag: www.bettesbags.com

Find a show: www.bettesbags.blogspot.com

Friend on Facebook: Bette's Bags Fan Page

Purchase through Etsy: www.bettesbags.etsy.com

I also got to know Betty through being vendors at the Ballston Art & Craft Market. It is the second Saturday of each month and she will be there on July 10th. Please come and meet her in person and see these darling bags.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I'm always charmed by Charm City


Jen-A-Fusion has been busy. Jen-A-Fusion apologizes for not posting up pictures of works in progress, more Facebook updates, new items or pictures of shows and for the oil spill... what?? Sorry, I got a little carried away with the apologies...

And, don't you hate when people speak in third person?

So, thought I would take a few minutes to give a mini tour of the studio at large, the projects and products being worked on, but first, I will take a moment for this week's show.

Most of the reason I'm busy working away is due to Baltimore, for several reasons. First and foremost, I'm headed there this Saturday for a very special market. Americans for the Arts, which "is the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in" the country. They are turning the big 5-0 this year and hosting a Mid Century Summit in Baltimore this coming weekend. It includes talks for nationally known figures such as Robert Redford, seminars on how to start a local crafts day, dinners to rub elbows and of course, a marketplace of local and region craftspeople for some retail therapy.

Given the importance of the occasion, I was honored to be selected to represent the area to this national audience. Although we are set up next to where the convention is being held, this a completely free event, open to all. Artists will be on hand to talk about their craft, demonstrate some of the work that goes into it and sell the finished wares.

What: Americans For The Arts, Artists Marketplace

Where: Promenade in Harbor East, Baltimore, MD
Near the Baltimore Public Works Museum and the Marriott

Use 751 Eastern Avenue for GPS/ map directions

When: Saturday, June 26, 12-8pm

Website: convention.artsusa.org


Personally, I can't wait to see some of the soapmaking, wood working and other textile artists... and here's a peek at what I'm working on in the studio:

Sun hats waiting to be ironed.





Sun hats ironed, sandwiched together and waiting to be sewn, lunch waiting to be eaten.



Working to refine my sun hat design. I'm getting feedback that the brim was too wide, so I have scaled it back. Looks pretty good, no?



The hats are reversible, so this is the other side.




And, boring.. More purses...OH, wait, these are actually kinda fun and nice. Same old shape, that's not new...But fun fabrics and great summer hues. I personally really like the peachy ones...





This are just a few of my most recent things... and more to come soon!~Jen

Remember, you can friend Jen-A-Fusion on Facebook. One stop lurking when it comes to finding out what is up to date in the studio.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Day in the Life of Jen-A-Fusion

So... I have been thinking lately about other people... and other people's lives... and what they do and who they see and what happens next...

And, thus, I thought I would chronicle A Day in the Life of Jen-A-Fusion. (Hm, do I smell another artist series here? A Day in the Life of Fill in the Blank Here...) This begs the questions, who cares what a day in my life is? Really? Who cares? Well, I do.. I thought it might give me a sense of what is getting done. What I need to do. Insight and reflection. An active meditation, if you will.

It is about 12:45. I just sat down to start writing this entry. At 12:30 was looking around for camera. Found camera. Looking around for memory card. (I took my camera to Texas with me, yahoo!, without the memory card inside, blah!) Found memory card. Tried to turn on camera. Batteries dead. All other batteries in car, in a fan that I was using at market yesterday.... ok, charging batteries. Will commence photo journaling later.

Sat down at computer. Got distracted by Facebook. Decided to change profile picture. Am back at writing this entry.

This morning was a somewhat typical Monday morning in the life of a market vendor. I think I can generally say that many market people take at least part of Monday to relax a little, re-group and get ready for the week. This is what other people do on Sundays.

(Bathroom break)

This morning, I slept way way way in. Again, what people usually do over the weekend. However, I had a Sunday festival in Maryland, about 45 minutes from my place. Got up at 6am to pack car, make lunch, get on road with enough time to get lost and still make it there on time. HOT HOT HOT out yesterday. Good people and good vibes, but long day. Heat makes me tired and hungry and tired.

Pack up, drive to studio. Unload car some, not enough energy to unpack all the way. Drive home to apartment, where boyfriend has dinner waiting at 9pm. Have dinner with boyfriend and our friend. Cool shower and to bed... zzzzz

Oh, I guess that was a day in the life yesterday.... oh, well... Did I mention I got an allergic reaction/ heat rash thing on my neck? Still trying not to scratch it, as when I do, looks like two big hickies. yuck.

Back to today. Slept in majorly. So majorly that I won't say what time, as 'regular' folks might get mad I slept that late on a Monday. However, it was no later than others sleep in, on a weekend morning. Did some chores around the apartment. Ran a few errands on the way to my studio, including a stop at Macy's to pay my bill and do some 'market research'. Aka, look at the mainstream purses to see what other people are designing, making and buying...

Get to studio, unpack weights, tent walls and tablecloths from my car, left in there yesterday because I didn't have the energy. Inside, put in a load of laundry. Then, make some brunch... look for camera... look for batteries (see above scenario)

(Break to let my old laptop cool off. It wasn't keeping up with my typing. While I wait, I unpack the suitcase from my Texas trip that I got back from almost a week ago, clean up the kitchen a little, take dry clothes off the drying rack.)

Well. Hm. What *needs* to be done today?

~Run charges from yesterday.

~Complete and mail an application for a show, due July 1st, show is in September.
Application has been filled out, CD will images has been burnt, check is ready. All sitting there, waiting for me to finish it up and send it out.

~Clean up common areas of studio. Studio roommate having visitor later this week. Time to clean kitchen?

~Finish up laundry.

~Work on Etsy shops, which are in shambles. Update, delete and add things in?

~Try not to throw computer out the window when it is old and slow and just trying to survive.

~Re-new audio books from library. I listen to books on CD while working on in my studio. Much more interesting than music. I've listened to about 40ish this year so far!

OK, should get to it, right?!

Well, just as any human will tell you, the road to hell, good intentions, blah blah...

Computer just totally froze up as I was trying to update Etsy shops. It got completely overheated and I tried to shut it down and cool it off. It won't really shut down. It actually just made some weird noises and I think, the Mac 'blue screen of death'.

Meanwhile, I cleaned up around the studio's common areas, finished laundry and then went to sew a little, to let the computer chill out for a while. Kept coming back to check on it, computer seems dead.

I try to get everything else on the list done, try to clean up my work space. Took some pictures to post. BUT, of course, I am now at my apartment, where I do not have my camera and thus can not post those pictures.

I get caught up with my studio roommate and leave for my apartment about 6:30pm, which is about the time a heavy rainstorm hits Alexandria. The highway is crawling, gutters overflow. I have a vague sense of what folks around the country have been going through.

I decide to take surface street instead of the highway... and am at sitting at a red light when I look over and see, one of the biggest rainbows ever in my life. It goes from one horizon to the other. FULL rainbow. I snap a pic on my cell and try to navigate without being caught in a pothole.

Head home where the boyfriend and I make dinner together (Bayou beans and rice, farm fresh sausage, fresh salad that includes lettuce from a friend's garden). Try not to think about my possible dead laptop.

After dinner, fold and put away some laundry. Now, back online, about to post this blog and make some plans for tomorrow. See, work never ends! :)

In all, a fairly good day. It didn't go completely as planned, my laptop might be dead and I didn't finish my whole to do list. However, a truly typical day in the life of Jen-A-Fusion, a few bumps, a few successes. This is actually a typical day in the life of many small business owners, designers and vendors. And, it all ended in a rainbow....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Artist of the Month~ 3 Ring Necklace



June is the month for Gemini, The Twins. Geminis are often known for their basic versatility and intelligent, yet airy, nature. Right brain, left brain. Thinkers, doers. Dreamers, realists.

Beth Athanas, who happens to be my sister, is the June Artist of the Month. The Gemini duality helps describe Beth, who will be celebrating a big birthday this week! Being the twin personified, Beth excels in many areas. She's smart and physical. Talented in the arts, the books and the muscle. While skydiving is her love, she is also a talented painter, award winning baker and jewelry maker. Her area of concentration, kinesiology, has lead her to a career as a Performance Enhancement Specialist. And, also lead her to design and create her signature jewelry, the 3-Ring Necklace.

While I'm not a skydiver myself, I truly appreciate the intricate detail of the 3-Ring Necklaces. The different colors, designs and textures the necklaces embraced are endearing in their uniqueness. The design is vaguely Celtic, vaguely modern, vaguely weird, vaguely familiar, and at the same time, all inviting.



Read on to find out why and how Beth decided to push her jumping passion toward a more creative outlet.

Q~ How did you get started?

A~ I started skydiving in 1999. One day I saw that I had three keychain rings of differing sizes. I decided to make them into a necklace that resembled the 3 ring release system on skydiving rigs. I was wearing the necklace in the packing room when a girl mentioned that she liked it, and asked if I sold them. I said no, but she planted a seed in my brain that didn’t sprout until years later.

When I was in graduate school and suffering financially, I decided to start making the necklaces to make some money. After I graduated, I continued out of pleasure.

Q~ Why do you continue?

A~ Skydiving is a sport for non-conformists. The closing pin necklace is very popular in skydiving, but it seems to me that people who are wearing them are conforming!

I take pride in being different and unique. When people ask me if I make closing pin necklaces, I tell them, “No- these are better.” NO ONE else makes this necklace! :)



Q~ What is a great success story?

A~I was thrilled when some top skydiving gear companies placed some orders to sell in their gear shops. It is always wonderful when I come across someone and they are wearing the 3 Ring Necklace!

Q~ What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ When I first started making the necklaces, I need a wholesale ring supplier. I found a crafting company in Canada and placed some orders with them. Unfortunately, their poor shipping standards and horrible customer service forced me to find another supplier. My current supplier is awesome; I just hope they stay in business!

Q~ Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ I get my inspiration from the incredible experience of jumping out of airplanes. Skydiving is source of empowerment, something that a lot of people need in their lives. I would not be the same person today if I was not a skydiver.



Q~ Why do you make/create what you do?

A~ I make what I do because I believe in my product. I think it truly is a beautiful necklace that represents something wonderful. I love sharing that with other people.

Q~ Where is your favorite place to sell? Or favorite show?

A~ I do most of my selling online. I love vending in person because I get to meet people and they get to design their own necklace. They create ownership of the necklace and they are more likely to wear it if they like it. It bugs me when people buy the necklace but don’t wear it.

Q~ What is one thing you love about your business?

A~I love meeting new people and making connections.

Q~ What is one thing you loathe?

A~I dislike when people make excuses why they don’t like the necklace. They say things such as, “It is too bulky,” (I make a mini three ring necklace as well) or “I don’t wear jewelry.” Not everyone is into the necklace because they are bigger than the closing pin necklaces.

Q~ What is your dream about your art?

A~ My goal is to be sold by every skydiving gear supplier. I want the necklaces to be just as popular as closing pin necklaces. Also, I want to be able to sponsor a skydiving team, but I don’t make that much money!



Q~ Where are you based?

A~ I live in Killeen, Texas because I work at Fort Hood for my full time job.

Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~I would live somewhere warm where I could skydive all year round, make good money, be close to my family, and be close to my boyfriend. That place has yet to exist!!!

Q~ What is next?

A~ Future plans for 3 Ring Necklace include more advertising in skydiving publications. I also want to make stickers and patches, which are very popular in the skydiving world, and a great way to advertise. I’m just working on making business cards. :)

Q~ What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~ Where do you jump?

Q~ What is your answer to that question?

A~ Right now I’m not jumping because of my injury, but I’m working manifest until I heal up.

Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

A~ What do you mean? And African or a European swallow?
“I don’t know that- AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!”

How do you know so much about swallows?
“You have to know these things when you’re king.”

3 Ring Necklaces can be custom ordered at 3ringnecklace.blogspot.com. Chooses from all different colors, sizes, types of leather cording and length. Get a completely unique necklace, from a completely unique type of artist. Also, you can friend 3 Ring on Facebook and keep up to date about new retail locations and styles.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 2010 Artist of the Month~ Karma Krafts by Kimberley



I'm always impressed by 'multi artists', people who are truly good at more than one medium. Like a painter who also plays beautiful piano, or the sculptor who can likewise weave luxurious fabric. Many creative people do have their fingers in more than one pot. Myself, I absolutely loved photography while in high school, while sewing took a back seat. Now, I have to force myself to pick up the camera.

However, I know few people that actually make and market more than one type of media. Kimberley Bush is one of them. She has tackled one of the more challenging mediums by working in clay and excels at one of the most difficult ceramics methods, raku. In addition, she makes soaps from "all natural and organic herbs which are combined with essential oils that give the soaps a long lasting smell that can fill a room with freshness." My favorite is the Cinnamon and Oatmeal, smells just like a cookie, I have to resist biting it!

Now, come to think of it, her soaps are so fresh and lovely, so clean and crisp, they look perfect in her dishes. Perhaps not so strange after all, making a pot, and then making something to put into it?

And, if creating these products wasn't keeping Kimberley busy enough, then she goes and starts up a new art market! The Alexandria Art Market will be held the every first Saturday of the month, June through November, with the exception of October, when Art on the Avenue is going on. Located just down the street from the farmers' market, shops, restaurants and plenty of parking on Mount Vernon Ave in Del Ray, the market will feature local and regional talent.

Read on for a very personal look into the philosophy of this creative individual as she speaks about life, helping others and moving through the tough times....

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Q~ How did you get started?

A~ About 8 years ago, I fell in love with clay when a good friend of mine asked me to accompany her to the pottery studio. I touched the clay, played with the clay and formed crazy shapes that in fact, were completely non-functioning and quite unattractive.

These creations lead me to taking classes at The Clay Queen and The Art League School in Alexandria, VA. At the Art League School, I got involved with their student/work program to learn the ins & outs of ceramics. Whether I was working on the pug team, glaze team or the kiln team, I was enthralled with the entire, glorious process of taking a mound of earth & transforming it into a work of art. Over the years I have been evolving as a potter and have a lovely line of porcelain and raku soap dishes, vases, bowls and display plates.

Q~ Why do you continue?

A~ Working with clay keeps my mind and spirit moving positively forward....I am all about progression not regression plus when I see the smile of happiness come over the face of someone looking at my work....the work that I left a little bit of myself..my karma....all is well with in the world and I live..happily..to make another piece of art for another day.

Q~ What is a great success story?

A~ Every day of my life is a great success story..this may sound very trite and corny but it is a sentiment that is true to me. But I can say that being asked (recently) to be the chairperson of a national juried exhibit is a success story. Being held in such a high regard to be asked to take on such a HUGE undertaking....allows me to have a heightened sense of accomplishment.

Creating the Alexandria Art Market is a success story. Taking something from nothing that will benefit and touch numerous individuals is simply amazing!

Q~ What is one of your greatest failures?

A~ I feel that ceasing working on my art after my Mom very sadly and unexpectedly passed away last July, while understandable, was a huge internal let down. Logically and sensibly I wanted to work but just couldn't find the energy to. I am fortunate not to have let her passing overcome my spirit so much that I was debilitated for too long.

Q~ Where do you get your inspiration?

A~ I get bored easily so I would say that other artist's work provokes me to explore other shapes or ways of decorating my work. Although, sometimes ideas just come to me out of the blue and I just run with that.



Q~ Why do you make/create what you do?

A~ The sheer instant gratification, unexpectedness and spontaneity of Raku and Horsehair pottery supplies my drive to keep creating it. It is kind of like that line from Forrest Gump...you never know what your gunna get. Both processes allow for unimagined variances and it just makes me giggle when the piece is complete.

Q~ Where is your favorite place to sell? Or Favorite show?

A~ I have a funny feeling that the Alexandria Art Market is going to be my favorite place to sell and show. I think that because it is something that will truly touch many lives, it will become one of the best endeavors I have ever been a part of and made come to life. It was something that was my idea and will be the product of my efforts and will be a good thing for many..many people. Life doesn't get better than that.

Q~ What is one thing you love about your business?

A~ I get to do me and be me. It is all me that the world sees and feels. Not some huge conglomerate or an entity that has some random individual as its CEO...I am my own CEO and that is what people will receive and at the base of that title is a woman that doesn't have a PhD, MBA or even completed college but that has a soul that is in touch with doing the right thing which is giving rather than receiving.

Q~ What is one thing you loathe?

A~ Oh lord...this list can take up a wholelotta MBs on a website but the main things are lack of compassion/understanding/tolerance/patience/kindness, inability to let go and be the bigger person and selfishness. I guess inability of being able to effectively love someone or something for who they are and who they are not.



Q~ What is your dream about your art?

A~ Again I am living my dream everyday. My art lives a life that starts in my mind, goes to my hands and completes its cycle living in someone else's life. That is a dream come true.

Q~ What is your mission?

A~ Keep on Keeping on. Put my two feet on the floor each morning and move through the world with positive energy for myself and all I encounter.

Q~ Where are you based?

A~ I live in Alexandria but at this time I have my studio in Fredericksburg.

Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

A~ Again...do you have time to read this list?

I have traveled to several countries and really all of them would be an amazing place to live but I can say it would have to be a location that had definitive seasons. Some place where fall is full of colors, winter is billowy with soft flakes of snow, spring is newborn and summer brings on a great deal of perspiration.

Q~ What would you be doing if not this?

A~ Well, when I am not creating I am a Realtor and really enjoy being the catalysis for people in finding the home of their dreams and aspirations. I also volunteer for a organization that helps individuals in their homelife and their children in their educational life. I teach ceramics in an afterschool program in Southeast DC...this is incredibly satisfying. I am led by what I do and at this time it is taking the attributes I have been blessed with and sharing them with others.

Q~ What is next?

A~ Making Alexandria Art Market the place to be, the talk of the town and a unilateral GIGANTIC SUCCESS, even if by my own standards and not of others...and I must say my standards are pretty high. I am also in the process of being the chairperson for a grant program of a non-profit arts organization in DC..the grant that I will work diligently to fund will contribute to allowing an artist to complete their next project...again..it doesn't get any better than that...helping others..that is the essence of simple, gratifying existence.

Q~ What is your favorite question to ask people?

A~ The one question that really lets people know you are into them and not all caught up in your own affairs and makes them feel you really sincerely care is an honest to goodness from the heart.."How are you"?

Q~ What is your answer to that question?

A~ Well, for the last several months since my mom passed the answer to that question has been "I am ok" or "I am fine" but I have progressed through my mourning and unfathomable sadness and can embrace my Mom in a different way and can appreciate her and her blessings in a different way. I can now actually say the word "good" and can say "I am good" or "I am well"..I can now greet people with a "Good Morning" versus "Hello or Morning"...it is very amazing how your lexicon can change because the players in your game of life change or in my case VERY SADLY expire.



Q~ What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen sparrow?

A~ I would have to say maybe 5 knots if she is not pregnant, carrying food for her young, carrying tree bark or leaves back to a branch on an oak tree to create a home for them or not fleeing from some a sparrow eating predator:)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

More information about Karma Krafts by Kimberley, ceramics and handcrafted soap can be found at www.karmakraftsbykimberley.com.

She can be found at the Ballston Art & Craft Market THIS SATURDAY, May 8th, from 10am-4pm. The Alexandria Art Market will begin June 5th and run every first Saturday of the month (barring October) through November.

Likewise, plenty of other 'Artists of the Month' from this blog will be in attendance. Full Sanction, comic book stick figure drawing experts, will be out in full force, with some hidden goodies. Boxboy, with all his kooky little boxes, will be there too.

Can't wait for Saturday! I always love the Ballston Market. The lineup of artist, crafters and musicians is the best ever. And, I'm not just saying that because I'll be there! ~Jen

Green Tip~ Get your in touch with your interior little kid!


I just found a website called Stubby Pencil Studios, supposedly 'eco products for creative kids'. Wait, there's some really cool stuff here! Only for kids? Well, I wanna be a kid and have it too!

I especially like the Pebble Crayons, they look so pretty..


I've gotten the Smencils for Christmas and they smell good enough to eat!


And, I LOVE the party favors section. Gifts, stocking stuffers and grab bag ideas starting under $2! This would be great for wedding favors, even.



So, calling kids of all ages, heights and artistic talents, get over to Stubby Pencil and get your eco art on!