Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Some of my favorite animal art finds on Etsy

As animals are one of my favorite topics, along with art, what better thing to post about but some great animal artwork I have found on Etsy?  I think that nature provides us with some of the most lovely creatures and creations...great inspiration for an artist.  Here is a sampling of some of the beautiful artwork I have found on Etsy when searching for animal art.

First up, k9artgallery .  Artist David J. Rogers's watercolor paintings of dogs really bring smiles to my face.  He has one of a dachshund frolicking on the beach that reminds me of my little dachshund Chilli.  It really conveys the spirit and fun these little dogs are capable of.  The expressions of the dogs he paints could melt your heart as you think of all the furry friends that have been a part of your own life.  I think these paintings would appeal to anyone who loves dogs!  He also paints other animals and subject matters but it's the dog paintings that grabbed my attention first.  Here's the dachshund painting that I really adore:

My own dachshund has never been to the beach, but I can just picture him chasing a sea gull like this.  It's the look he gets when he's in pursuit of a squirrel. 

The next Etsy store I'd like to talk about is lulabies.  The artist, Vera, is so passionate about animals that she volunteers her time and some artwork to conservation organizations that work on saving endangered animals.  The piece that originally drew me to her shop is an exquisite original watercolor of an owl in flight.  Look at this:

OWL 10x8 original watercolor illustration by Vera
I love the colors and the way she conveys the feeling of the bird in motion.  She also paints other animals like cats, dogs, rabbits for instance and other subject matters like landscapes.  Vera will custom draw an illustration for you from your favorite photo, visit her shop and send her a convo on Etsy for more info.

The next shop, Mirthquake, features bird illustrations by artist Myrte de Zeeuw.  Her fascination with birds is evident in the beautiful home decor and clothing items decorated by her gorgeous bird illustrations.  I'm absolutely in love with her new line of silk summer dresses.  This one is my favorite:

Silk Aline dress tunic top with black crows jackdaws by Mirthquake
It's just my style and I love the colors and the crows in flight.  She also has a great collection of bird illustration pillows that would really add a pop of color and a point of interest to any living room. 

The next shop is not all animal inspired work but it is "Eco-chic jewelry designed to make your soul smile" !  How could you go wrong with a smiling soul?  The shop, happygolicky , was featured in the Etsy blog interview here:  http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/quit-your-day-job-happygolicky-12817/  and that is where I saw this absolutely fabulous ring that I will be adding to my birthday wish list this year:

Gathered Wings Custom Size Ring by happygolicky
 The artist, Melissa, makes custom handmade silver jewelry with hand-crafted allure, combining a "hint of steampunk edge mixed with patterns & textures inspired by Mother Nature."  I just love her style and her absolutely original designs.

I hope you've enjoyed my quick look into the world of animal art on Etsy.  Of course there are thousands of artists on Etsy with animal artwork in their shops but this is just a few of my favorites that I've found so far...I am sure I will give updates on this topic in the future as I discover more finds I just can't live without.  I hope you will visit these fine shops on Etsy and show them some love!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Power of Stones

There are those that believe some stones hold power, power to heal, give you peace, make you stronger in some way.  Different stones and gemstones are said to have different properties to aid and assist us.  I am not making any claims here, other than what popular beliefs are said to be.  I cannot state that wearing a particular stone will make you lose weight or fall in love... All I know is that I believe all natural things have an inner power, an energy that comes from them and maybe that power does help us in certain ways.  Maybe you just have to believe in it, maybe you just have to be more perceptive of what is going on around you.  I don't know. 
My good friend BJ Bigham-Trupp was kind enough to share with me her knowledge and her beliefs on the subject.  BJ believes that God created everything and everything has a purpose.  Many times this purpose is hidden from people but it is there all the same.  She custom designs jewelry for people to reflect and enhance the energy/personality/spirit of the specific person.  She uses her vast knowledge on the subject of the metaphysical properties of materials, not just what they are made of but also the color and shape of the items.  She has given me her permission to share and pass on the knowledge to others through my blog.  I want to thank her for this because there is a vast sea of knowledge out there regarding this subject and it is easy to become overwhelmed by all the different opinions and viewpoints on the matter.  Keep in mind these are opinions or commonly held beliefs and not proven facts...I do not have scientific data to support this info, it is for entertainment purposes.  Of course you are welcome to try your own experiments on the subject...wear a stone for a while around your neck and see how it makes you feel! You may or may not believe in the power of stones but it is still interesting to read about and I think it is an intriguing subject.

I'm going to start today with agate.  It comes in many colors and varieties.  According to Wikipedia, "Agate  is a microcrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks."
According to BJ's research on the subject, agate in general is thought to bring long life, family happiness and prosperity, protects against jealous rivalries, improves one's health and financial stability.  It is the zodiac gem for Gemini. 
Agate was used in ancient cultures for carving.  The Egyptians, Sumerians and Greeks used it for making jewelry, beads, and decorations.  It was even used for religious ceremonies.  Some types of agates are cut into thin sections and used in stained glass panels and creations. 
I love agate because it comes in so many varieties, from delicate blue lace agate to jungle-like moss agate, greyish-brown Botswana agate and even black or black and white.  It is very hard and stands up well for use in jewelry and can be polished til it is shining. 
Each kind of agate is known for it's own properties for instance blue lace agate is thought to bring harmonization, enhance creative abilities (especially in singing, painting or writing), helps the wearer to communicate more effectively, brings harmony in life and is healing/calming/balancing. 

Here is a necklace designed by me that features moss agate.

In the Forest necklace

Moss agate is supposedly one of the most powerful of agates if you believe in the power of stones. It is said to help balance emotional energy. It could help the wearer let go of anger or bitterness to do so. Also known as the abundance stone, it is believed to bring health, friendship and bounty to the person that wears it.

These earrings feature Botswana agate and will give you some idea of the unique color variations of the agate family.

Botswana Agate Swirl earrings

Botswana agate is said to promote creativity, finding solutions and an understanding for the need for deeper meanings.  It supposedly has anti-depressant abilities and can help those with repressed emotional issues.  It is said to have a soothing and calming affect on the wearer and encourages eternal and constant love.  It also is said to help stimulate the exploration of the unknown and helps one in the quest for enlightenment.

My Hearts Desire necklace features one of my favorite agates, a large black and white agate focal stone.

Hearts Desire necklace
Black and white agate is said to be a stone of protection.  It is good to wear when traveling as it can supposedly help guard against physical danger.  It also is said to help relieve stress and increase courage. 

All of these examples are currently available in my Grey Girl Designs Etsy shop.  They are all handmade by me and one of a kind.  Perhaps you'd like to try one out and see if it helps you in some aspect of your life?  I would definitely be interested in any feedback from those of you who have felt the power in a particular stone you may wear.  How does it make you feel?  Do you think there is anything to all this talk of "metaphysical" powers?  Leave me a comment and let me know your experiences!
If you would like to visit my friend BJ you can find her on Facebook here:  Fantasyfaces KC
Besides being an excellent jewelry designer and friend, her and her husband Bob spend late summer weekends painting faces at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival in Bonner Springs, KS.  They bring smiles to faces young and old and have a great time doing it!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Father's Day Ideas

Hello!  My Etsy team, It's A Madcap Life, had a team treasury challenge this weekend to create a treasury with a Father's day theme.  I thought I'd share my treasury list with you all just in case you needed some great ideas for gifts for dad.

'Father Knows Best' by greygirldesigns

A collection of madcap finds for your father on his special day.

Unisex Wanderlust B...

Light in the Tower ...

Recycled antique li...

Sterling silver gui...

Bike Handlebar Bag ...

Pocket wallet - Nut...

ENGLAND porcelain T...

Mens Knit Hat - Car...

Browned Butter Brow...

Crusaders Iron Cros...

Boys in a Canoe, Ca...

Rustic Birch Bentwo...

water color paintin...

Urban City Bicycle

Trumpet Lamp - squa...

Compass Rose Flask ...


My dad loves travel and adventure, spending time with his family, sailing, his chocolate lab Buster, reading, playing on-line computer games, and cherry pie.  He is such a great dad and he has always been supportive and full of great advice for me and my sister and brother.  I hope he has a wonderful father's day this year and every year because he deserves a day (at least!) to feel special and appreciated.
If you see an idea you like for your own dad from my list above, just click on it and you can go directly to that item on Etsy and check it out.  There is still plenty of time left to shop for Father's day and there is nothing like a handmade gift to make dad happy!