Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake your jewelry!

Check out these cases of jewelry charms and pendants and such...

When Ruth and I began receiving these elements from all the contributing artists in A Charming Exchange, we had a plan. By the time we finished the book the plan had changed several times. We had picked themes and color schemes and metal colors for projects in the book to try to create a more cohesive selection of finished pieces. But when you have 30+ people all working singly in different locations, you will learn that one person's ideas of romantic vintage are different from another person's...and that's what made it fun but also challenging.

We had so many beautiful pieces that didn't make it into the book. That was hard for us. We tried to get at least one piece from every contributor in the book. And at the same time we had a limited number of projects that we were to create. And, while a particular pendant might have been a real stunner, it also might not have worked with any of the other pieces we had. So we would either create new elements around the one piece or use all the others in the piece without the one. Hard choices.

And now today I've been sorting through five of these blue cases that each contains the earrings, talismans, and some of the found object pieces that were in the book and several charms and elements that were not. When we were working with them in the creative process we had to take all the labels off. So now I'm running back and forth from computer to bags, from boxes to lists trying to sort it all out.

It has been such a crazy summer that I haven't gotten to sorting all the pieces out before now. But I had let it hang over my head long enough. I know everyone is eager to have their treasures back. And I want to get them to them. It has been tough because I have these two little boys here with me who are not too pleased to be in the house while I sort jewelry. Sadly, the littlest dude had a fever this morning so I knew we'd be stuck inside all day. So after making him as comfortable as possible (Children's Tylenol - check, silly Underdog movie - check, cool washcloth on his forehead - check) I got down to the job.

I had literally written the names of three girls on plastic bags containing their items when I felt my chair start moving. Since I live in Southern California, this isn't an altogether new sensation. But first I had to ask myself, is there a big truck outside in the cul de sac? Did my 80 lb dog bump into my wheeled desk chair? All this goes through my head in a matter of seconds. As the shaking continues and a small canvas topples off a bookcase, I spring to my feet and shout, "Earthquake!"

I don't think I've ever been home alone with the kids and animals during a real shaker. My husband is usually here. And in the past when we've had big ones, I was still single. So it was a little scary to know that I was the one in charge of getting everyone safely out and one of them had with a fever of 103.

Luckily, by the time we got down the stairs, the shaking stopped. Everyone and everything here was fine. And I kept on working until I got everything sorted. I only have a tiny handful of charms that are unaccounted for. I am happy that we thought to take photos of each set of jewelry labeled with the contributing artist's name as they came in.

If you are ever doing a project like this or a swap, I highly suggest your keeping such a file of images on your computer. It is so much easier to identify the pieces visually than to merely write down a description and hope you will know exactly what you were describing as much as a year later.

The reviews of the book are continuing to pour in. You all have been so kind with your comments to us. Thank you so much for your awesome support and encouragement! And if you want to check out what some folks are saying about the book, visit these fabulous people:

Holly Stinnet
Michael Johansson

They are both amazing artists. You will surely be inspired when you see their lovely creations!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Preorders Are Shipping

I've heard from a couple of people just this morning saying they have gotten messages from Amazon.com that their pre-ordered copies of A Charming Exchange are on their way. I admit it. I am very excited. It's been two years that we've been working on this project! And the book is finally reaching the readers! Hallelujah I am so very excited!!

Also, if you want to read the most glowing reviews of the book, be sure to stop by Amber Dawn's Inventive Soul. As she tells it, "this book will blow your mind even if you are jaded!" And visit the lovely Catherine Witherell's Happy Day Art to see some of the awesome work she contributed to our book.

Thank you girls!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Book Is Coming!

Many of the artists who contributed to A Charming Exchange are starting to receive their copies of the book in the mail. I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is to hear from them as they see the finished pieces for the very first time. I have butterflies in my stomach and shivers up and down my spine. Seriously! They have all been so generous with their gifts and their friendship. Ruth and I so wanted to produce pieces that they could be proud of. And I think we did it!

Check out these wonderful blogs for previews and reviews as the artists are seeing the book for the first time...

Amber ~ Dawn

Jess Moreau Berry

Sally Turlington

Deryn Mentock