Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy 2nd Birthday, PinkBird....Celebrating with a SALE!

Well, no "Terrible Twos" over here! We here at PinkBird Creations are celebrating our 2nd Birthday/Anniversary, and it's very exciting!

So much has happened in the past two years...from donating pieces to Hurricane Katrina Fundraisers, to being featured and reviewed on various style websites, to being in the Crafts Report magazine. And then to being part of The Sampler, and all kinds of Swag Bags for quite a few fun indie art fairs, to being named one of the Washington City Paper's Craftiest Bastard of the Week, to starting a PinkBird Blog...WOW!

I know I am so lucky to be able to do all this, and I know I could not have done it all alone. Thanks so much! We really couldn't have done it without so much support from our customers, fellow indie artists, and of course, YOU!

So, because we know you work hard for your money, and after all, it is Labor Day, and because it's our Birthday, we're gonna celebrate!!!

Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Did you know....


...that you can create an account at PinkBird Creations to create shopping carts, leave reviews, and to receive PinkBird's News from the Nest Newsletter? You can get started by clicking HERE. So, go on, sign up!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Should Have Let Me Drive (SylvieKB)

I am lucky enough to have a fabulous artist friend named Sylvie. I have always known her as quite the wonderful, creative painter, but lately she has been dabbling in various digital media down there at the University of Texas in Austin. Sylvie has always been a great PinkBird helper and promoter, encouraging
me not just because she is an awesome friend but because she really believes in making your own path and being true to your dreams. She's only been working with digital media for a short time and can only get better.I know she is an artist--I think I knew before she did. And, I am so happy that she has realized her Personal Legend and embraced it. Even though I'd like to keep her all to myself, she's too good not to share.

With that said, I really want to show this cute and amazing animated video that Sylvie made.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Learning to Listen

So, some days (most days) I feel like I'm too old to not know what I want to be when I grow up. It's so easy to fall into a rhythm (rut?) of life; it's so easy to forget to live with a real, honest, purpose to keep chasing the dreams.

With that said I have finally decided to go back to school (and, I know you're saying, "but Bekki, didn't you get a degree from the University of Missouri?" Yes. But not in something I am very passionate about). I am starting slow, just with an art class. I have had both day and night dreams of pursuing art. I have been teetering on the edge of actually doing it for years. And, as I stated so triumphantly in a previous post I have finally jumped in.

I have found my Personal Legend, my Path. Or, rather my Path found me, I was just to afraid for so long that it wasn't the right one (and who's to say it is or isn't?). This Path has been following me around for years. The Universe knew this was the way I needed to go even when I did not. So, enough with the metaphors of water and byways, I have learned to listen and am following my intuition, my heart and soul. I have learned from paying attention to myself, my body, my habits, and my thoughts, that I need to be in some more creative field. Art (and travel) excite me. Creating something brand new that wasn't in the world a moment before amazes me. So, I learned to follow what not only holds my interest, but what excites me. When I'm not being creative or creating I'm wasting that energy biting my nails or tapping my feet. But, you know what? When I'm working on a project (or traveling) my fingernails tend to grow...my misplaced energy has the proper outlet.

All the wrong turns I have taken are a part of me. They have brought me here. And it is here that it hit me...I can divide my life into 3 very distinct aspects. 1. Creating art. 2. Travel. 3. Everything else. Perhaps it's those first 2 that keep me feeling alive, keep me curious, keep me feeling like a kid on Christmas (and, yes, that is a picture of me). Why can't I feel like that everyday?

So, while I have been trying to be a good little blogger and post every day, I think that things around here are about to get a little less, um "digital." Please be patient if I don't post every-single-day. Know that I am off discovering myself and the world, creating things and teaching people. At the end of most of those days I plan to share my experiences, but as we all know, plans change. These plans may never be lost, they may have only changed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Pacific Ocean, Kauai


On the Hawaiian island of Kauai we snorkeled in the sparkling translucent waters of Lawai Beach. As the ocean got deeper we saw schools of vibrant fish in every size and shape. This is also where we saw this glorious sea turtle. In awe, we were able to quietly drift right above the giant creature as a couple of smaller turtles swam around us. The moment seemed to last forever; I didn’t want to swim away but I also wanted to leave the turtles in peace. Before heading back to shore, I snapped a few shots with my disposable underwater camera hoping at least one picture would turnout. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite underwater pictures that I have taken. The sea turtle is amazing, the colors are beautiful, and the memory is forever.

P.S. Regarding my last post...we are actually not moving. We had planned on it, since the place next door to ours is bigger and quite cute, but after having a second look at it, we realized we'd have to buy all kinds of new furniture for it (since it's lacking storage space). So, rather than spend more money monthly and spend money getting new stuff, we decided to head over to Ikea and buy new stuff for our current place, which seems to be working out well. Maybe all I needed was a little change of scenery. (Story of my life....)

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Items in Stock!

Howdy, my feathered friends, we randomly decided to move today (just next door, it's a loft and bigger than our current digs) so, instead of rambling, I'll just show you some moving pictures of new creations that are now in the shop (head over to www.pinkbird.net to see more!):

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Revisiting the Fear....

Today I am releasing The Fear. Again. And, I'm OK with this. It is different this time though, I swear. A few weeks ago I resigned from my 9 to 5 job and have been doing PinkBird Creations full time and wholeheartedly since. It's brilliant. I get up at the same time I used to and instead of "going" to work, I "get" to work. I get to create little works of art that make me happy; things that I then get to share with other people and make them happy.

A friend of mine recently found time to read all of my blog posts in one sitting and found my post about releasing the fear to be very universal (as she works in a field much different than I). Perhaps it's conditioning or upbringing or experiences that sometimes make us to afraid to seek our dreams. Maybe it's those things that keep us from even realizing our dreams have changed since we went to college or never were real to begin with. What if we aren't living our potential because we were taught, somewhere along the way, to believe we couldn't. What if we are only doing what we've been told is the "rational" or "responsible" thing to do. (Although doing something everyday of your life, like work in a career you don't enjoy, doesn't seem very responsible).

The other side of this is the fear of failure or of falling. What if we do follow our hearts and try to live out our dreams and fail? What if I don't make it? What if I fall? The fear of falling is a very big fear; especially after you take a giant leap expecting to land. My friend commented, "I believe that [it] is simply the difference between toeing the water and jumping in. If I would have jumped in a long time ago, I believe my life would be worlds different. " I think the same could be said for most people. Jumping in is very scary. There are so many "what if's" that I wouldn't even know where to begin.

So, today is the day I jump in! And, let me tell you: it was not an easy decision and there were some roadblocks and I definitely cried today when it seemed that it might not work out--but I think it has.

Today is the day that I quiet the voice in the back of my mind that tells me to "play it safe," the voice that says stay in the boat or on the dock. Today I get up off the beach and dive head first into the biggest wave. I will listen to my intuition. So I'll have to be living in the moment. The only voices I will “shhh” are the ones of doubt, insecurity and intimidation. It's so scary that I get goosebumps and I don't want to think about it...Ahhh, goosebumps. How telling are those? My body knows the answer before I realize it. My body is me showing me that I have the energy for undertaking my dreams. Goosebumps are chilling in a way that forces you to move. Rather than running away I will run with my arms open toward what I probably always knew was the right path. These are the omens we deny ourselves everyday. This is my Personal Legend that I have been too afraid to face. Failure be damned, I've known how to swim my whole life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Stonehenge

Today's picture comes from a trip we took to London. Stonehenge is only a few hours away.....I've been doing some serious thinking about travel and life lately, but that will have to come later. For now, I leave you with this:


There is something inexplicable in the air at Stonehenge near Salisbury, England that hints at mystery and power. The energy at Stonehenge is quite intriguing and seeing this mystifying ancient monument for myself peaked my curiosity. I really like this picture because it's sort of a "close up" of the stones than you usually see. I like to be able to see the moss and the weathered areas of the stones because it helps make them look so much more real, so much more ancient. This was a place I had always seen in photographs and on TV but had never thought I would be fortunate enough to see up close. Despite the dreary day that I traveled through to get there, the countryside was beautiful and bright green. I was surprised to see the countryside surrounding this monument teeming with sheep from all the neighboring farms.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Make Your Own Travel Journal (a Tutorial):

Travel journals, what can’t you use them for? I am a big fan of little notebooks and have tried all kinds, spiral bound, waterproof, handmade, etc. I use them even when not traveling. When I am traveling I use my journal to jot down ideas or thoughts I don’t want to forget; I use it as a memory book or diary, sketch pad, address book, scrapbook, and photo album. They are perfect for slipping that beautiful postcard or bar napkin into. When you make new friends while traveling you can have them write their info into it and even show-off the pictures of your home, friends and family that you have tucked in there. Sometimes the best souvenirs or mementos I have from trips are the journals I kept. It’s amazing to go back years later and review your actual thoughts and feelings word for word rather than just through pictures.

I first made a journal like this one (which eventually morphed into a photo album) a few years ago when I was traveling from where I lived in Hawaii to Phish’s last shows in Coventry, Vermont. Since it was the last weekend my favorite band would be performing together, I wanted a special little book to carry with me to jot down any notes or feelings or new friends while I was there. I also brought my (now defunct) i-zone camera so this little journal was a perfect place for those little pictures (which, by the way, aren't in my picture on the right).

Now, why don’t you make one?
(This tutorial is adapted from a post I found on Craftster a few years ago).

Travel Journal:

You will need:
-thin cardboard (2 pieces large enough to be the front and back covers of your book)
-paper
-scissors
-ruler
-hole punch
-hair band/ponytail-holder/rubber band
-1 chopstick or kebab skewer
-sandpaper (optional)
-utility scissors, small saw, or steak knife
-pencil/pen
-glue (optional)
-any collage materials or paints you chose to use to decorate the book’s cover (optional)

First, determine how large you’d like your journal to be. For this project I’m making mine 5.5” by 4” (because that is the size of a ¼ sheet of computer printer paper which I will be using). Then, measure 2 pieces of your thin cardboard (it could be from a food/drink package, or even a thick envelope or folder. Here, I am using thick cardstock). Cut the 2 pieces to the same size and set aside.

Follow this same procedure to cut pieces of paper to the right/same size--these will be the books pages. I like to use a nice variety of paper since I never know what I’ll want to write or sketch on while traveling. I tend to use a lot of recycled papers. I use brown paper bags for different texture, construction paper, ruled paper, sketch pad paper, etc. As for other recycled papers, old photocopies are great (photocopies of pictures of your friends and family are cool to use because they are nice to look at if you’re missing them and you can show them off to the new friends you make while traveling).

Second, you will be punching holes into one end of the covers and papers. Holes should be centered and about 1” away from each other (not too close but not so far that the band that holds it all together stretches too much). You can choose to use a plain round hole punch or one of those fun novelty shaped hole punches, it doesn’t matter. Set these papers aside.

Third, take the chopstick and cut/break it in half. Usually my utility scissors won’t cut all the way through, but can sort of perforate the chopstick making it easy to smoothly crack in half by hand. You could also use a small hobby saw or even a steak knife. Once the stick is in 2 pieces you can smooth it down with sandpaper (or even paint it if you’d like). You will only be using one half for this project, so you can set the other half aside for the next journal you make.

Then, starting with the back cover, string the hair band (or rubber band, etc) through both holes. One end of the band will go into one hole while the other end goes through the other one. Now, slide the
chopstick through one of the loops and string the (hole-punched) paper onto the other loop. I think it’s best to do this a few sheets at a time, then slip the chopstick out and into the loop with the paper, and slide the other hair-band loop through the other hole. Continue this until all the paper is on both loops.

Now you can chose to decorate the cover of your journal before putting it onto the hairband loops, or you can add the cover and then decorate the book. You will put the cover on the same way you put the paper onto each loop. However, once you get the cover through both loops you will then slide the chopstick through both loops to secure the binding. And, there you have it!

You may want to add extra security to your journal with a few drops of glue near the chopstick and hairband on either side, and even a few drops spread on the spine of the book can help.

Some other ideas for this type of book:
-use ribbon, rope, or hemp to secure the binding rather than a ponytail holder.
-paint the chopstick, or use part of a pencil or twig instead
-paint the cover rather than collage
-seal your cover’s collage or paint job with Modge-Podge or a clear finishing
-glue an envelope into the front of back cover so that you have a place to store any papers or ticket stubs you’d like to keep from your travels
-buy a small set of watercolor paints (one of those cheap plastic sets for kids that usually have about 3 colors and a paintbrush that’s about 2” long) to paint any unforgettable moments. (You could also get a small pack of crayons).
-glue a small flat mirror (usually available at craft stores) and/or a nail file to the back cover of your journal, “just in case.” Your travel journal can become more of a “Swiss Army Journal.”
-reinforce the covers with clear contact paper
-if you come up with any other awesome ideas, please share them with me!

Take it light and Happy Travels,
Bekki

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Welcome to the (2 years ago) Future, PinkBird.

I think I was the last person on earth (or at least in my group of friends and family--yes, my parents had mobile's before we did) to get a cell phone...I resisted, and resisted until about 3 years ago when I got my first cell phone. It was a Nokia and it had a clear case so you could add your own paper or whatever to give it personality. So I did. All excited (and a bit embarrassed) about my new phone, I put some pretty origami paper in it and got a cool (polyphonic) ring tone...the theme song from the movie "Life Aquatic." And, well, that's how my cell phone stayed (plus a few srcatches here and there) until about 2 weeks ago when my husband decided we needed new phones. (Was it that our phones where begining to look obviously outdated? And not in that cool, ironic, Zack Morris kinda way, but in a our friends were like, "I had that phone in High Shcool," kinda way? Or, was it that the Nomad's we met in the Moroccan desert had a cell phone they charged with a small solar panel? Who knows....)

So, always hip with the times we got Razrs (of course, it didn't hurt that they were free with our calling plan). Yup. And, since I think the whole pink Razr thing has become a bit cliche (sorry, Mom) I got a blue one. I was a bit disappointed by the color when it arrived! It's a really dark navy blue--not pretty like in the picture on the website....as you can see in my pictures. So, consider this a warning if you want the pretty blue Razr....it's business suit boring if you ask me. Maybe silver or black (which is what the husband got) is the way to go. But, at least it has mp3 capabilities so I can have a better ring tone (the Flight of the Conchords theme song) for the next few years until I get my next new "old" phone.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Mosaics....


A few weekends ago we went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, and it was amazing! I fell in love with Loring Cornish's mosaics. As per the museum's no photo policy, I have no pictures to show you, so I guess that means that the next time you're in or near Charm City (that's Baltimore in case you haven't heard) you'll have to check out the American Visionary Art Museum for yourself.

Aside from Mr. Imagination's work with recycled bottle caps, Loring Cornish's mosaic work really amazed and inspired me. In the museum there is a large mixed media installation piece/mosaic (it's own room in the museum) by Cornish. The floor in this room is actually artwork that you can stand on--it's a large colorful mirror and glass mosaic. The rest of the installation includes chairs and other furniture (a bed, a trunk, etc.) that Cornish has covered in recycled objects, anything from spoons to shoes, to coins. One of my favorite furnishings in this area was a vintage plastic chair completely covered in nickels. Yes, 5 cent pieces! I would love to know the thought process behind, "do you know what this chair needs? To be covered in nickels!" Talk about putting all your money into your art....

It was the fantastic, "outsider art" works at this museum that inspired me to run right home and cover everything I own with mosaics and mirrors and sequins. Then I realized how much of that sort of thing I have already done, as you can see from the pictures scattered around this post. And, I have more stained glass mosaics (that are really pretty scenes, like flowers, animals, etc) in storage somewhere--in college I worked at an art studio, so I would take the classes they offered and then go crazy with all the tools and supplies they had available. It's funny how you may never call yourself an artist (which is something I had been hesitant to do for quite sometime) and then see works or ideas similar to your own in galleries or museums...what do you do then?

Maybe most of us are all "outsider artists." I believe that creating objects that have meaning or convey ideas (or ideals) is an undertaking we should all feel qualified to partake in. I think that enjoying works of art should be something we can all experience. For a long time (and even still today) art was created for and by the wealthy and educated; well, this is just plain silly. Everyone should be able to create and enjoy art. And, the fabulous American Visionary Art Museum here in Baltimore really reinforced what I already felt.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

PinkBird's Picture: Tōshō-gū Shrine, Tokyo

In an effort to add a bit more "travel" to my blog, I have decided to feature one of my favorite pictures from my travels. This series of posts will simply be called "PinkBird's Picture," obviously. Anyway, this first one is from a Tōshō-gū Shrine in Tokyo, Japan.



We walked from Tokyo’s Ueno Station to Ueno Park were we visited a Tōshō-gū Shrine. We had the grounds of this Shinto Shrine to ourselves. The silent peaceful energy of the Shrine transferred itself upon me and I strolled through the area in quiet self reflection. It is said that the original Shrine was built here in 1627; I find it incredible that it still stands so beautifully and mysteriously. This serene Tōshō-gū Shrine is definitely a special place to pause and contemplate rather than rush and scrutinize. Though it’s located in downtown Tokyo, it feels far away from the busy glamour that is Tokyo. In this photo the Tōshō-gū Shrine takes the background to the beautiful collection of small wooden votive tablets, or ema, that hang here bearing the wishes and petitions of those who came before us.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Origins of Some Selected Creations Part III:

Yup, it’s that time again for me to share with all of you lovely readers some of the interesting stories behind some of the pieces I create. Now, let me just say that I am usually not all for artists divulging the reasons or meanings behind their art, as I think part of what makes art art is what the viewer/experiencer brings to it. What the person who sees the art thinks and makes of it for themselves, how that person fits (or doesn’t fit) that work of art into his or her own world.

With that said, here are some more origins of PinkBird Creations jewelry:

First, I drew these PinkBirds onto shrinky dink plastic, melted them, and voilà! Here are these fun PinkBird logo earrings. When I was living in Hawaii, the awesome girl behind Indie Honolulu ran a review of my shop on her (former) site, in which she included these earrings. (How nice, I still blush just thinking about it).

Next, I have a whole bunch of goodies made with shells or coral. These beautiful, natural things were found on different beaches on the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai or Oahu. Let me just say for the record that I have some really amazing PinkBird helpers. My sister came to live with us for awhile in Hawaii and she helped dig up some lovely cowrie shells on Maui. Also, my husband is a super-happy-fun PinkBird helper and went so far as to throw on his snorkel gear and really dive into finding lovely treasures to make creations out of. I guess I can also mention that a really cool girl I know (one of my sister's best friends) bought one of these necklaces and I've been told that she wears it all the time, which makes me so happy! I'm happy when my customers are happy!


Here are a few pieces of jewelry created from recycled objects. The earrings on the were part of an old keyboard we had that mysteriously stopped working, so I found some of the keys a better life as a pair of earrings (I also have other keyboard jewelry too!)

I have also done a little more recycling in these clock-hand earrings on the right. These are actually some of my favorite earrings because they are so long and dangly that they are kind of dressy (at least for me) and I love the element of surprise that they are recycled clock hands. Fabulous! And one last recycled pair of earrings that I'll mention are these cute brown earrings that are made with recycled magazine pages. Yes, you read that right. I handmade these paper beads myself and then made them into earrings.

And, finally, as this will be a short "Origins" blog this time, we have some wonderful items that I created from beads I bought at the cutest bead shop in Cairns, Australia as well as in Sydney, Australia. After snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, we spent forever in the bead shop in Cairns and even my husband helped pick out beads that is until he got bored and waited outside (but still, what a great helper!).


And rather than leave you on that note, I'll leave you with one of my favorite photos that I took in Australia of the Sydney Opera House. While on a ferry across the harbor I snapped this photo from aboard the little boat with an inexpensive disposable black and white camera.


Enjoy and g'day, Bekki