Sunday, June 30, 2013

We Make Portland Awesome: GlassCast

"We make Portland awesome" is a bi-weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Shannon of GlassCast

Who are you?
I am Shannon Feltus. I own and operate GlassCast with my sister Boni Dutch.

What do you make?
I hand craft jewelry mostly using silver and semi precious stones. My sis makes art jewelry and millinery creations for bridal and formal festivities.

Besides making things, what do you do?
Besides my crafting I am massively obsessed with my garden. It's a bit much. My husband lovingly calls it our farm and he isn't far off the mark. I have planted enough quantity and variety of vegetables to begin my own farmers market I think. I also enjoy blogging.

What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature more than anything. I idolize other jewelry artists that can make such sleek yet organic looking things. I continuously hone my craft and try not to attempt too many different things at a time. Creativity can make you scatter brained when it strikes. Especially in the spring when it is bursting with new green lush leaves and ferns and all the things I want to capture in silver and adorn with stones.

Where can your work be found?
It's very exciting for us to have a key piece in Made in Oregon right now. This has been a goal of mine for 3 years and to have it come true is absolutely incredible. A version of our City and State necklace of the silver or copper variety can be found there. We also have our Big Cartel shop where we have a variety of pieces currently.

What do you love about Portland?
My very favorite things about Portland are probably similar to most, the scenery, the people, the falls, the gorge, mountain, beaches ect. But my all time favorite thing if I had to choose one would be Powell's Books downtown. I just feel like if someone new to town came and spend a few hours there, they would just "get" us. I used to sneak off to get a coffee and hide in the nature section swooning at all the books about trees and native plants like a total geek for hours. It was my mecca when I discovered it. Still is. I hope to have stuff in there someday. I would feel pretty legit.  

Make sure you check out GlassCast's website and blog.
Thanks for sharing, Shannon!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Garden Update 6/27/13

The garden is now growing well! After we planted most of the first round of seeds too deep, I re-planted them, and now they are thriving. The peas are nearly ready for their trellises, the beans are about 5 inches tall and showing their pointy leaves, and the squash and cucumbers are in various stages of happy sprouting. 

It's an explosion of green growing things– including weeds! You can see in the photo above, in the back near the mounds, just how overgrown it got while we have been so busy. 

Many thanks to my parents who dropped by last weekend to help us get a start on laying down newspaper and straw in the walkways, and clearing out the weeds from among the rows.

As you can see, it's not quite finished, but between Erik's 55-hour work weeks and sprained wrist, and me being sick for the last five days, that can wait a little longer.

In other news, my gigantic order of 2600 acorns is on track to be finished within the next couple of days! I will post pictures of them when I have all the colors finished.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lately (because you deserve to know why I have been so quiet)

It's because I am drowning in acorns. And spending entire days watching Arrested Development. Let me explain...

Last week, I was surprised by the biggest order in House of Moss's history so far. An order of 2600 acorns, destined for the display windows of a chain of 20 clothing stores in Tennessee. Hooray!

This order came with a very tight deadline, one in which I must spend over 2 weeks straight making more per day, every day, than I've ever counted as a full day's work. But I do love a challenge, and having my items as window displays has been a dream for me. And since over the years I've acquired decent hand-eye coordination with my sharp felting needle, I can at least spend the time entertained by one family's hilarious shenanigans.

So please understand my absenteeism from the internet world. I'm just over here wearing out the tendons in my hands and dreaming of piles and piles of acorns.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

We make Portland awesome: Elizabeth Jewelry

"We make Portland awesome" is a bi-weekly series. I’m interested building our community of artists by helping us all find out more about each other.
This week: Molly of Elizabeth Jewelry
Who are you?
I am a native Oregonian, mother of two (almost an empty nester with a 17 and 19 year old), wife, sister, daughter, friend, volunteer, lover of books and old films, and professional snacker. Oh you wanted my name? Henrietta Rita. At least that will be my nom de plume should I write a book. It's a name I had to make up on the fly when, at 16, a guy asked me out at a bowling alley. Having never been approached by boys before I came up with this bit of dorkiness when he asked my name. OK. My real name. Its Molly Rae Rahe. Both Rae's are pronounced the same. Because I married someone with the same last name as my middle name.

What do you make?
Handcrafted sterling jewelry. When I was pregnant with my now 17 year old daughter, I was bedridden. My mom, sensing my boredom, gave me a hat box full of colorful glass beads and a "How to make jewelry" book, and said, "Have at it!" I got some basic pliers and wire from the garage and soon miles of wire-wrapped beaded chain appeared. My daughter, Elizabeth, made it full term, a very healthy baby. She was, and still is, the prettiest thing I have ever made, so I named my jewelry line after her. A few months later I cut up the beaded chain and made necklaces, which I sold at my friends garage sale. I made $70, and reinvested it with genuine sterling silver and gemstones. Then I sold those items to friends and family for a few months, always reinvesting to make more product. Soon I had enough to make a small sample line and took it to dozens of local stores. They all bought because locally handcrafted beaded jewelry was all the new "IT" thing then, however the pieces I made my first year just sucked. It was my "learning how to make quality" year. I think the stores just bought it because there was no one else showing locally handcrafted jewelry. Can you imagine that? I am thankful for them so much. So anyways, now I do a lot of hand fabrication with sterling, 14k gold fill, pearls and gemstones. I cut, grind, saw, hammer, wire-wrap. I also bought this year a makerbot Replicator 2 3D printer. This opens up a whole new world for design and jewelry makers. After creating a 3d file with a new design (which can take dozens of hours), then slice it in Makerware, and print. Once it prints successfully (dozens of hours more...), I can cast them into sterling or bronze.
I also use my prior experience working with Monet jewelers and Liz Palacios Designs to establish a line.

Besides making things, what do you do?
There are about 9 of my friends that have gotten together every Monday night for Bible study for ten years. They are solid, honest, real, genuine women who mentor and support each other. I also love to go boating in the summer with my family.

What inspires you?
I do a lot of shows. Nearly 80 a year if you count trunk shows. This allows me to interact with so many people. I listen to them and pay attention to what the average woman on the street is wanting with her jewelry. I am constantly hearing their wishes and needs. They are my inspiration. With my "build your own" necklace collection, where people hand pick out any combination of initials, birthstones, and charms, I get a sneak peek into peoples lives. They tell me what each letter, each stone symbolizes. It's all very personal, and I am always wanting to make more things that people identify with in their everyday lives.

Where can your work be found?
Mable and Zora, Yamhills gallery, Made In Oregon, The Embassy Suites, The Marriott, Timberline Lodge, The Rose Garden gift shop, various hospital gift shops, and about a dozen out-of-town boutique shops.

What do you love about Portland?
Since establishing my business I don't have much of that free time that 9-to-5ers get to venture out and about. However One of my favorite places to stroll around peacefully is Elk Rock at the Bishops Close. 5 acres of mature gardens. Skyline burgers. Duffs Garage. Roller skating on the waterfront, starting at Omsi and doing the bridge loop. I love the fact that I have been told by many European travelers that Portland is the most European city they have been to in America. Polite, they say.

Make sure you check out Elizabeth Jewelry's Etsy shop and website
Thanks for sharing, Molly!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Favorite Things Friday: Spring Cleaning

Sorry for the gap between posts, folks. Sometimes life is just happening and I get behind in photographing it and writing about it.

Anyway, I'm back now! And as our weather has been warming up, I've been doing some spring cleaning. I thought I'd share my favorite products here.

• Vinegar: I've just recently discovered the wonders of this liquid for cleaning. It might smell like salad dressing, but it's a natural, effective cleaner for so many surfaces in the home! Plus it's nontoxic, so getting it on your hands is no problem. You can dilute it and use it on so many things, from kitchen floors to counters to toilet bowls. My absolute favorite use for it so far is removing mineral buildup on sinks. It has [relatively easily] removed calcium deposits from sink fixtures that no other scrub or product could get clean!

• Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap: Not technically a cleaning product, but I love this stuff as hand soap! I dilute it with 2 parts water for every 1 part soap, and it smells amazing. I have read that it can be used for everything from dish soap to toothpaste, but I haven't yet explored the outer reaches of its usefulness.

• Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products: For the surfaces that need a little more scrubbing, I use these. The Lemon Verbena scent is wonderful, but I think my true favorite is the Geranium scent (yes, I love weird things). I also like Basil, but I have only smelled it in the store.

• Agave fiber / recycled plastic sponges: I'm not really a big fan of sponges in general, but these are pretty nice. They work the same as the normal synthetic ones, but they come with less guilt. I get grossed out by sponges, so I used to go through them a lot faster. Now I mostly use a brush on my dishes, so the sponge gets to dry out on the windowsill between uses, and that cuts down on both the gross mildew smell that sponges get... and my need to throw them away when they get like that. So it's a win-win solution with this natural/recycled kind!

Do you have any favorite household cleaning products? I would love to read about any tips, tricks, and products you love!
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