Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Just wanted to post a quick update! Sorry I have been MIA on the blog the last 2 weeks. 

Cause you see.. I have been busy in action.. just not visibly!

I have an event, my very 1st event actually as a vendor at a Fiber Festival where I will be selling my pottery so I have been busily working at the studio most every day to crate some new pieces like yarn bowls that will be of interest to fiber artists!

I'll be back soon with new posts on recipes, thrifting, photography and more.. just let me get through this coming Saturday! :)

Here's a sneak peek at some of the things I've been working on at the studio for Saturday! These are all greenware (unfired) in the images but will be glazed and fired by Saturday! Speaking of which.. I need to run! So much to do at the studio! :)

Oh and by the way... Gillian is the winner of the Virginia Brooch! 
I'll be doing another giveaway sometime in April for another handmade piece of jewelry.. except this time it won't be a state.. sorry for those out of staters who would have entered but didn't need a Virginia brooch when the lived ... elsewhere! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Is Here! New Items For Sale!!

Its been a while I know, but I have been busily working on creating some new things at the pottery studio! I am so excited with how they are coming out and have listed a few items for sale in my Etsy!! Just in time you to grab a cute necklace or brooch to your Spring fashion! 

And don't forget to leave a comment telling me where you'd go if you could plan a road trip on this post to enter the Giveaway for one of my handmade Virginia State brooches! 

More items are coming! I'm going to be a vendor at a Fiber show in two weeks at a friends Alpaca farm so I'm holding some of my inventory to have enough to fill my table there! Let me know if you would like a custom order of something!! :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Giveaway!! Enter to Win A Handcrafted Ceramic Virginia Brooch!!

I love traveling! I specifically love traveling by car. I like being able to sight see along the way and stop to take photos if I see an interesting spot. I was born and have lived in Virginia my whole life and growing up always wanted to live somewhere else. Specifically I wanted to live further north- like Maryland or New York. Somewhere that got snow more often than we did. 

After graduating from college I moved to Arkansas for a year and while there I really enjoyed getting to see some new sites but I also really missed my beautiful home state. No offense to any of my Arkansan friends, but living somewhere else (and I honestly think it could have been anywhere else) really made me appreciate all my home state has to offer. 

Virginia has 4 real seasons. Granted they can be a bit wacky in when they decide to show up, but we get a beautiful and colorful autumn and a nice few months of winter (my 2 favorite seasons) as well as at least a hint of spring for a month, sometimes more depending on when winter decides to leave and then of course my least favorite season.. summer. 

Anyway, since moving home I have had the wonderful blessing to get back into my love of ceramics and have finally gotten to bring an idea to life that I had right as I was graduating from college and no longer had access to a ceramic studio. One of my classmates started making some cool clay pendants using sea glass from her semester in Italy and it gave me the idea.. what if I made states out of clay for jewelry? I even have some in the works that will get filled with glass but for now I have some really pretty glazed ones!

I'm so excited to have some of these pendant necklaces and brooches completed and ready for sale and thought I'd kick off the excitement by doing a giveaway for one of them! The rest will be available for purchase in my Etsy shop starting Monday afternoon, March 18th! 

I have several other states in the making including Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, California and Texas! So if Virginia isn't your state, no worries! There will be some other options up in the shop very soon!

Here is the Item the Winner will receive!
This Virginia brooch glazed in golden yellow with some accents of antique bronze!

To Enter: 
Important: Leave a separate comment here on this blog post for each entry!

Mandatory Entries:
Tell me, if you could go anywhere on a road trip, where would you go and what sites would you stop to see along the way?
Like SHE Designs With Grace on facebook!

Additional Entries:
Follow @SHE_withgrace on Twitter
Follow @SHEdesignswithgrace on Instagram
Tell me what state you'd like to see me make next! Or some other item you'd like to see!
Tweet about giveaway and leave a link
Facebook about giveaway and leave a link
Blog about giveaway and leave a link

Remember, the more entries the more chances you have of winning!
Giveaway ends March 24th at 12am EST

*Please Note: Giveaway is for U.S. residents only*

Winner will be announced next Monday March 25th! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Looking Backwards for Inspiration

Three summers ago, while up at the family summer cottage in the beautiful Adirondack mountains, I was digging under the eaves looking for treasures and came upon a box full of very old photographs of my Grandmother's side of the family. It was pretty sweet and really made me wonder about what all these people did. Who were they? How many extended family relatives do I have from all these people in the photographs? 

I asked my grandmother and she was able to answer some of my questions. The Crockers and the Watermans. My great great grandmother was a hat maker. In fact I have a few of the hat pins she once owned and would have used to secure a hat for wearing. All of the women on that side of the family were industrious, and I still have some precious heirlooms of theirs including beautifully delicate handkerchiefs with fine lace tatted edges, crocheted and tatted doilies and several large quilts.

In this picture below my great grandmother is one of the little girls. She's the 2nd child from the left. She is the only great grandparent on either side of my family that was still alive when I was a child but unfortunately had dementia by the time I was old enough to meet her. However my mom has told me all kinds of stories about her child hood with her grandmother and how she always had a freezer full of ice cream sweets for them whenever they came over as children in the summer. 
She sounds like she was a pretty awesome grandmother to have had, much like her daughter- my own grandmother has been. In addition she was an talented quilt maker and crochet/ knitter. I have one of her quilts and several blankets and smaller items she crocheted and knitted. Growing up my grandmothers house was full of dolls. 

I mean FULL- like the entire living room and sitting room had dolls in all the china cabinets and the basement had 2 built in walls full of dolls and they were in little buggies and glass display cases all over.I think when she sold the house when I was a teenager and many of the dolls because she was downsizing she had over 2,000!  Fine china dolls, ones that my grandmother had collected with her mother over the years. As a little girl it was so cool to have all of these gorgeous antique dolls at my disposal to play with. And my Gram let us play with pretty much all of them so long as we were careful. I felt like I was more spoilt than Sarah and all of her dolls from A Little Princess. And I have some of them now, my grandmother let me and my cousin each pick out our 10 favorite to keep. They reside in the china cabinet in my parents living room.
This is the house my great grandmother grew up in. If you have ever been to Binghamton/ Vestel, New York and shopped at the Wegmans there... all of that land that the grocery store and mall sits on once belonged to my grandmother's family. My grandmother had her store in the house years later, Crocker's Corner before she finally sold the land after a lot of pressuring from big land developers. How I wish I'd had the opportunity to wander those horse pastures and streams that my grandmother and mom did. They kept horses and were avid riders. My Grandmother's identical twin sister, Aunt Jan's family continued that tradition as several of her granddaughters, my cousins are nationally ranked riders in their respective equestrian sport. 

Finding these photographs inspired me during my last year in college to do some self portraits that harkened back to this earlier time. I've been told since I was a pretty young child by relatives and even strangers who I may have only had a passing conversation with, that I am an old soul. I'd have to agree. I mean I love the time I'm growing up in and living in but I deeply cherish those who lived before me and certainly would be up for a trip to the past if time machines actually existed!

Here are a few of the self portraits I took. Each is edited in color and with a vintage finish. I wore a dress from my childhood dress up box full of some cast off dresses that my mom wore as a young woman but which had an older era look even back in the late 1970s/ early 80s as well as a cameo brooch from my grandmothers collection of vintage costume jewelry.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Collection of Olyphants

I love Elephants. 

This is my very 1st one. He is as old as me, 25 years old. He came from my Grandmother's store (she owned a specialty gift store back in the day) and resided in my crib. 

My two favorite animals have always been Pandas (my other childhood stuffed friend is a well loved Panda teddy) and Elephants.
As I've grown up I've especially come to love elephants. I own books on them. Ones full of National Geographic quality photos and ones full of information on them. They have such beautiful souls. They are deeply emotional and have long long memories. They function as a family unit, one that frankly our society could take a page or two out of and they will stand over the body of a deceased elephant for hours, even days mourning them.
 My love of them is closely tied to my Nana (my other grandmother) as she had an affinity for them as well.  She passed when I was only 8 but I recall even in the years after her passing finding little elephant statues here and there around my grand parent's home. When their estate was divided upon my grandfather's moving to a nursing home I was given the majority of her elephant collection.
It is a beautiful collection that includes her travels all over the world as the wife of a Naval Doctor- my grandfather. I cherish it. And recently I have started adding to the collection myself whenever I see a unique or pretty statue here or there and have expanded from just statues to include broaches, pendants, earrings, home decor.. really anything that represents my love for them in a unique way. 

Today I thought I'd share some of my little statues with you! 

From My Nana's Collection:
 This guy is my favorite. Probably because as a ceramic artist I really love/ appreciate the beautiful way the glaze blends on this and the crazing thats started to appear in it.

I call this tiny fellow Puca (poo-kah).

Can you see the baby elephant carved inside of the larger one's back! This is one of my favorites and such an intricate carving.

Some of My Additions:

Believe it or not, these are not the smallest ones in my collection! I actually have one that is even tinier than the smallest of these but didn't grab him to take a picture. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dreaming of an Adirondack Summer!

I really can't believe I'm saying this... because I NEVER say this.. because Autumn/Winter is my favorite time of year... but I'm dreaming of summer. To be specific, I'm dreaming of an Adirondack summer. 

My mom's family is from upstate New York and they grew up going camping in the Adirondack mountains up until my grandparents bought property and my Poppy and uncles built a nice little cottage on it. 

That's where my mom and her brothers spent their summers. Its where my Dad came to visit my mom during summer breaks when they dated in college and even helped in the building on of the addition that was added. Its where my brother and I spent 2 weeks of most of our childhood summers. 

I have always been in love with this place. These deep loamy woods, fallen trees covered in springy green moss, crystal clear glacial lakes and mountain streams running over granite and garnet rich rocks is a place I dream of when I'm not there. Its my go to place when I meditate. 

I've never liked summer, its too hot, too humid, too sticky. But up in the mountains, its bearable. With cool dewy mornings and fresh crisp mountain air. 

Its also my favorite place to take photographs. I love the dappled filtered light that falls in the forest. Maybe its because I didn't get to make it up there this year.. so the last time I went was 2011, but I have been dreaming about this beloved summer home all winter!

2013 will definitely see me there, hopefully for both some summer days and back again for autumn... which is my absolute favorite season and these mountains come aflame with colors!