Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jewelry by Hart

I met with Patricia Hart recently to get a preview of what she will be selling at the Winterfaire Craft Show this year.  Pat tells me that she has been making jewelry for over 25 years and although she doesn't work on her creations every day, it has become a big part of her life.  You may have already seen her at local craft and jewelry shows in Grass Valley and Nevada City because she is a regular participant.  Pat says she expects to do about five shows this year, having cut back a bit from a more active selling schedule.

In Pat's booth, you will find jewelry at reasonable prices and she says the reason is because she buys jewelry making supplies from a wholesale house.  She admits that she finds it hard to resist buying more beads than she needs to get better prices and has quite a stash of supplies on hand.  With the large array of beads and materials available to her, Pat can lose herself in the creative beading process for hours on end. For a coordinated look,  Pat often makes earrings to match her necklaces and bracelets.

If you are looking for something special in the way of a gift or want to add accent jewelry to match an outfit in your closet, Pat Hart's jewelry booth at Winterfaire will be the place to visit.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Connie Alexander - Maker of Collectible Teddy Bears

I met with Connie on a rainy afternoon in her Nevada City home.  Connie showed me to her cozy studio, with sewing machine, cutting tables, and lots and lots of supplies for making her special teddy bears.  As Connie explained, these aren't toys for children but rather collectibles for adults with the heart of a child still within.  Connie uses the very best  materials for her bears - mohair fur from Germany and synthetic furs that look like the real thing.  Her husband Bill helps out too - he installs the joints to make the bears lifelike and often cuts out the fabric for Connie to sew into lovable bears that you just want to hug. Each bear is stuffed with poly fill and  plastic pellets to give it a nice firm, but touchable feel.  Connie also sews coloring book totes and soft, cloth books  for children which are included in her sales booths.

Connie says she started making bears in 2000 and attends many craft fairs and quilt shows each year.  She has been trying to cut back recently on her travels, but says she is still having fun with her business. 

Here is a little side show of bears, Connie at work in her booths and a glimpse into her studio.  Just click the arrow on the picture below and sit back and enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rich Irwin's Fabulous Metal Sculptures

Rich Irwin has been a professional artist since 1965.  He owned a small furniture store in Roseville and started painting pictures to go with various elements of home decor, but soon found that painting wasn't his real talent.  Three dimentional metal sculpture was his forte and he embarked on a successful forty year career with his wife Sue as business partner.

Rich told me that he and his wife participated in as many as 30 shows a year.  In order to keep up his inventory, he worked on his scuptures while they were on the road.  It was a seven day a week, 10 to 14 hour a day job.   After one particularly cold Christmas show in Minnesota, they decided they would try Las Vegas the next holiday season.  It was a win win location with the warmth of Vegas and its abundant cash flow so  they made it their holiday show destination from then on.

When it was time to retire about 8 years ago, Rich and his wife sold their large home in Placer County and moved to a smaller place in Grass Valley. Although he has slowed his pace, Rich still manages to make unique and wonderful pieces in his smaller workshop these days and he is ready for Winterfaire with Victorian houses, elaborately decorated bird houses and smaller dragonflies and roses for your garden.  His bigger sculptures of biplanes and locomotives are filled with rich detail that left me in awe of this fabulous artisan's work.

Please come by Rich's booth at Winterfaire this year. Not only will you love talking with this interesting man, but you will find distinctive art that will make your home and garden sing.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Winterfaire Vendor: Jackie Milhous

Jackie Milhous

I paint on glass, wood, tin, and ceramics. If anything else comes in my reach I will paint on it too; sea shells etc.. I also create on ceramics, love making and creating new and usable things. I make spoon rest with bottles, ceramics and also crochet scarves and doilies and tie dye scarves.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Barbara Wilson and a Tale About Quillos!

Well, what in the world is a quillo?  After Barbara Wilson retired from her postmistress job in 1992, she had the time to invest in creative endeavors.  She had seen a pillow/quilt combination at a craft fair, but wasn't impressed with some of the details.  Her mind started to work on a design of her own.  She really didn't have an idea what to call a quilt that tucks away for storage in its own pillow case, but a friend who owned a fabric store coined the term "quillo" which turns out to be a fine description.

Quillos are made in one piece so that you never loose the pillow case; the case is sew to the quilt so that you can sit in your recliner and use the pouch for a foot warmer.  When you are ready to tidy up, the quilt folds into the pouch to make an attractive throw pillow.  Barbara says she likes to make her quillos extra long to accomodate people like her 6'7" son, but there are lots of designs for the kids in the family as well.  Barbara has spent much time and effort in collecting fabric that will reflect just about everyone's hobby or particular taste.  Antique cars, bears for the mountain cabin, horses and dogs for the animal lover.  The list goes on and on. Barbara says the favorite theme of customers seems to be eagles and her collection is full of the great symbolic birds.

In addition to her quillo business, Barbara appliques, paints and decorates T-shirts.  She does about four craft shows a year, but has many repeat customers or referrals from previous sales that keep her busy all year long. 

What follows is a little slide show of Barbara's work and a glimpse into her studio, filled to the brim with quillo materials!  Click on the white arrow to start the show.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Handmade by Betty Weibert

Betty was six years old when her grandmother introduced her to a treadle sewing machine.  Betty caught the bug; sewing and making things from fabric has become a life long passion.  She says that even when she had a career and was raising two sons, she found time to relax with her sewing and embroidery.

Betty and her husband moved to Rocklin from Clayton, CA six years ago so that they could be nearer their two sons and their families.  Betty had retired from Sumitomo Chemical and her husband from the telecommunications business where he was an engineer.  They were ready to enjoy the good life. 

Today, Betty spends many hours at her favorite activities of sewing, quilting, painting silk scarves, knitting -- the list goes on and on. Betty is a member and past president of  Roseville Quilters and she showed me some of her beautifully designed quilts including a couple of very special smaller art quilts. Currently she is working on a large quilt for a family gift.  She admits that she usually has at least six projects going at one time and is always looking for a new pattern to try or the perfect fabric.  A thrift store fabric find may have been turned into purses mere hours after it was discovered. Betty has a fully equipped studio, complete with  large quilting and sewing machines.  However on the day I visited with her, there was also a project going on in the kitchen, which she says is more to her taste for a working area. 

Betty keeps quite busy by  participating in about 20 craft shows a year and has an online Etsy shop that you will want to check out and you can now visit her Facebook page Elizabeth Jane Designs!

Click on the arrow in the picture below for a sampling of Betty's wonderful crafts.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dan's Woodworking

Dan Davis is a house painter and finish carpenter by trade.  About 15 years ago, he started making yard art with lumber scraps and leftover paint from his various jobs and gave his pieces away to customers and friends.  With the down turn in home building, Dan found more time on his hands and ventured out into craft shows with his brightly colored whirly-gigs and birdhouses. 

Dan says that he likes nothing better than to bring his two dogs into the workshop, turn on the rock and roll and spend the day, immersed in his craft.  While looking around in his well stocked workshop, I found a collection of wonderfully rustic birdhouses.  Dan tells me that these are Audubon compliant, with clean out doors in the back of the house. 

I don't think you can go wrong with yard art from Dan.  Using repurposed materials, this local craftsman's work will delight you and find a special spot in your yard or garden.  Enjoy this little slide show of his work and be sure to visit Dan at Winterfaire in October. If you would like to contact Dan directly, you can call him at 530-272-4110 or e-mail him at

Click on the little white arrow in the picture below to watch a slide show of Dan's work.