The Violet Waffle

Posted in business-a-go-go, Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Mind Wanderings, NC, Raleigh at 10:59 am by carrie


I used to be a prolific blogger back in 2006 before Facebook & snap-tube and all those social networking services came around. You had Friendster and Myspace. Period. And you were happy to have that.

But now there’s SO many platforms to explore, it’s surprising we talk to each other at all. I’m secretly hoping blogging will make a comeback… but most of them have ads every 2 inches. I promise not to do that.

So now I will ramble on about the last few years in retail. I tend to like to do that. If you’d like to just scroll down to the pictures, I’d totally get it.

After our first store called Violets are Blue closed in La Crescenta, California in 2007, I thought maybe retail was not in the cards for me anymore. But in 2015… I wandered into a really cool mixed-vendor store in Raleigh that I had found on Instagram (more social media!), met a charismatic, adorable store manager named Dale and signed up to be a vendor on the spot. A 10′ x 10′ spot. Not a huge commitment. But it was definitely a “did that really just happen?!?!” moment.

Then I expanded into the extra large window space, and then another space. And I was spending more time at Inspirations and getting to know everyone, and started doing some of their marketing.

As of January 2019, I was set to occupy even more floor space and then suddenly, we lost Dale. And… I wasn’t sure if I wanted any of it. Dale was the icing on the cake at the store and now it just felt like a muffin. (Dale and I used baked good analogies a LOT, actually.)

After a month of me basically feeling sad, waffling back and forth over wanting to stay, handing in my letter of intention to leave then retracting it… I decided to stay at Inspirations. The other vendors and the owner were so supportive through my indecisiveness, so it was clear that I needed to stay. The new store manager, Edward, had a vision for each vendor, and for me it was for my space to be more cohesive. And spread out. Because we all know I like things to look like a jam-packed Willy Wonka wonderland (it appeals to some!). So being spread out has been a huge challenge for this happy-cave-making merchandiser.

So, here are my sketches…

And this is how it turned out… (always a work in progress!!)

And Dale looking over us…

And even a video!

It doesn’t look exactly like the sketches, but close! Here’s a little behind the scenes…

Willy Wonka what now?

Starting to scare everyone…

It took WEEKS to get this all sorted out. It’s like moving your home while wearing a ball gown haha

Goodbye window booth… you were so good to me, thank you!

I definitely had a larger following and knew more of my customers at Violets are Blue in Los Angeles, but that’s slowly starting to change. I’m getting to meet my regulars in Raleigh because people are slowly starting to discover us, so it’s been fun to see familiar faces come back in. So now I have my West Coast retail memories and my East Coast ones and they sort of converge in the middle (where there is some doppelgänger activity going on! Ohmigosh, there was one day where I had about 7 people come in who looked and acted JUST like friends/customers I had in LA… got me all nostalgic and choked up!).

If you’ve read my older posts, I frequently talk about retail being an emotional roller coaster, very high highs, low lows, so much fun at times, a huge challenge others and like a “baby cemented in the ground” all the rest of the time. For some reason, you put so much of yourself into a shop like this. Maybe if you have a store you can elaborate… but we all do it. I think it’s like a lot of genuinely rewarding things in life, really.

One day there’s so much love, the other… total frustration and maybe even a huge loss to stop you in your tracks. Every January, as you are packing up Christmas trees you ask yourself, should I keep doing this? Can I really do this? Then something gets you excited about a display or a customer tells you how you touched them emotionally and you’re all in again.

Always a back and forth labor of love. It’s a violet waffle.


Spring Gift Tag Adornment…

Posted in Digital Download Art Projects, Fun Stuff, Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main at 4:33 pm by carrie

So, I took those free printable gift tags that I made and shared last week then added a little spring to their step…

First I added a ton of glitter to the flowers, stripes, butterfly and umbrellas in the images…

Then, I punched out 3 flower petals per tag using a Martha Stewart paper punch. I then punched a small hole in the middle of each flower, added glitter to the outsides of the petals…

and then used a grommet to attach the flowers, with petals staggered so you can see each color popping through, to the tags (the cats with umbrellas tags didn’t get a fancy flower).

Then, I put ribbon that matched the tag through the grommets…

And voila! You are done! These tags would make great little gifts all by themselves, too!

I used May Arts Ribbon, AD20 in 3/8″, BM66 in 3/8″ and KA45 in 1/2″.

I also used assorted glitter from Art Institute Glitter.


Look What I Can Do Wednesday – Gradient Gemstone Cluster Pendants

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 6:15 pm by carrie

Something a little different… I love this technique because it showcases each stone and it’s easier to do a linear color gradient line-up.

Spinel, tourmaline, sapphire and quartz…

London blue topaz, sapphire, tanzanite and iolite…

Rectangle faceted citrine surrounded by green tourmaline…

Peridot, tourmaline & citrine…

These will be online in a week or so. They still need the necklace part… just a small detail ;)


Back to Making Jewelry!

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 2:25 pm by carrie

I feel like I have postpartum Christmas depression… the whirlwind of packing, shipping, rushing, inventory checking, the festive sounds of packing tape unrolling… all sort of came to a screeching halt!

Can’t I just go into suspended animation until September? ;)


I really like the color and whimsy of Valentine’s, St. Patty’s and Springtime pastels… but there’s just something about the Fall into the Holidays that I really love. Can’t I just give everything a Christmas or Halloween flavor? Trees with hearts, snowmen at the end of rainbows, pumpkins with bunny ears… eggnog hunts. Yep. Someone call Hallmark.

Changing gears a wee bit… Here are a few jewelry pieces I’ve been working on… some are a work in progress :) I really like the simpler earrings with only a few stones.

Hoping to muster up some inspiration to paint tomorrow… come on Valentine’s day bug… bite me! ;)

Speaking of inspiration, we’ve been playing Little Big Planet 2. It has oodles of inspiration. Shooting cupcakes, riding fluffy robo-bunnies, dodging flaming marshmallows… it’s pretty amazing.


LWICD Wednesday – Nobody. Does it like…

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main at 11:59 am by carrie

Sandra Lee.

Where do I begin…

Was it her Kwanza cake, her pork loaf, her “baked potato” ice cream sundae complete with lemon icing pat of butter… her lush lush lush drink recipes?

I’m not sure.

There’s just something magical about her, and her semi-homemade-iness that sucks you right in.

She mashes up perfectly good food into other food (See her pumpkin tartlets!)… she uses tubs of processed dough, icing, meat and other “stuff” to create culinary masterpieces. Not to mention her tablescapes and kitchen dressing. And on Halloween, she’ll dress up like Cher, or Cleopatra or Madonna… see what I’m saying?? Magic.

Oh, Food Network… you broke that mold, didn’t you. (Please tell me you did). If you were “processed food assembly” network…. I’d get it. But… Alton Brown and the Iron Chefs must wonder about this setup… so…. “one of these things just doesn’t belong… one of these things just isn’t the same”. And so forth.

Enough ;)

The reason I am here, is to show you the lovely packaging I did for a friend of mine who loves Sandy Lee JUST as much as I do! (Probably more… since in one of her letters she sent me SEVERAL magazine subscription cards that she found time and time again falling carelessly out her cooking magazines. She was perplexed that they existed, so she sent them to me to inspect and enjoy.)

Behold… it’s the Sandra Lee fringe gift wrapping complete with many screenshots and publicity book tour pictures!

and when we lift the fringe here…

Peekaboo! A little surprise! It’s my favorite shot!

So, you want to know how to make this masterpiece, do you?

I started with making a collage sheet of all the pictures of Sandy that I could find…

Click on this and you’ll get the HUGE version for you to print, too!

I printed this sheet on a sheet of sticker paper. I sliced this sheet in half, long ways and cut scallops along the sides to make it super fancy (you’ll see that at the end).

You’ll need 3 sheets of tissue, a wrapped present, scissors, tape and your Sandy sheet

Layer your tissue like so…

fold the tissue in half, length wise…

Accordion fold your tissue, about 4 times, a third of the way up the tissue

Cut the accordion to make fringe

It’s looking super festive already!

Cut out your fringe, an inch above where the fringe starts. Tape this to your package on one side, leaving room for fringe #2 to go on at the top

One side…

Then the other…

Get ready to add the sandy sheet…


Remember to keep it simple, keep it pretty, make it special and always keep it… Semi-Homemade!

(Apologies to anyone who likes Sandra and her work. But you have to admit… that Kwanza cake was prettty side-eye worthy!)

I love how she so accurately measures her spices! And while watching her ice that cake, my teeth started hurting… is that normal? Oh, and in another picture, the candles were bigger AND they used cornuts. I hope they were cool ranch flavor! This totally gets me in the Holiday spirit!

Merry Merry!


Stuff I’ve made… the late edition…

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 2:51 pm by carrie

This cold has gone bronchial and I’m feeling really spacey and out of it… sometimes in a fun way, but mostly not. The light headed-ness and fever spikes are helpful for coming up with creative scrabble moves, ordering colorful scarves and for seeing the world in a whole new way. But, in terms of getting work done and focusing on stuff like… Math, actual fact-fortified blogs, remembering to grab your purse at Panera… not so good. One flight of stairs and my lungs wave the white flag, too. TMI? Probably.

So, I sort of made these charms below, about 10 years ago.

I sculpted each little design out of Sculpey and took it to a fabulous place that does lost wax casting. It’s a fascinating process, if you get the time to take a look at that link :)

In a nutshell…they took my little original, made a mold, then injected that mold 40-something times with wax to make 40 little wax charms. These little wax guys were put into plaster. The plaster was then heated up, removing all the wax and then silver was injected into each of these little channels and behold… lots of little silver charms are born!

I called these Knick Knack Paddy Whacks… charms for your pet’s collar.

The owners of the silver casting studio that I got my charms made at then commissioned me to make them some… very different charms. They wanted primitive-looking goddess charms. These look so primitive that I’m sure you could use some to trade for a goat or two.

No laughing…

Most of you are familiar with the Venus (of Willendorf). The original clay sculptures date back to 24,000–22,000 B.C.E. There is speculation that this is the type of woman that was desired at the time… well fed and fertile in a droopy sort of way… you know, the opposite of today ;)

This is the goddess of Earth or Spring… or… life. It was modeled after several famous goddess figures.

This one was completely made up… it’s the fairy goddess… armless for some reason.

This is modeled after the Storyteller doll, made by the Pueblo people of New Mexico.

Lastly, this is the Inuit Angel. I totally made it up. She’s a cross between an Edward Gorey woman, an Eskimo and an angel.

I have a few of these up for sale in my ebay store, as well as some other sterling silver charms I am clearing out :)

I haven’t heard from the lost wax silver casting people in many years… we kept in touch for a few, then they moved twice and merged with another business. Last time I was there they were making promotional silver rings for the first Lord of the Rings movie… pretty cool!

Charming charms, don’t you think ;) hehe.


LWICD Wednesday – Jewelry Mess…

Posted in Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 3:46 pm by carrie

I guess I should say… look at the mess I can make!

Beads make a mess… they roll around, they get into things, the boxes get dropped and frantically get scooped back together in no particular order… it’s really gotten out of hand over the last 18 (!!) years.

So… here is what I’m starting with…

There is SO much to clean up (And there is actually about 12 more boxes I’m not showing here… eek!!) … I should just sell it all on ebay and start over ;) hehe

I did manage to get some jewelry made, though (and yes, I hung it on the chandelier again)!

This gold/fall color necklace can be found here.

This silver/gray/red/peach necklace can be found here.

And I’m still working on more earrings to match these guys ;)

So… it’s a jewelry-centric sort of day! And outside, it’s windy and tropical and unseasonably warm… The two counties north and west of us are on a “tornado watch”. This translates into… “stock up on beer” for most folks :/ I think I’ll just organize baubles! :)

18 years of beads… wow.


LWICD Wednesday – “Company is Coming” OCD

Posted in Interior Design, Look What I Can Do Wednesday, Main, Sharing the Handmade Love at 3:01 pm by carrie

Those around-the-house projects that are backing up on the conveyor belt of project shame… they get a much needed power-up when people are coming to stay with you… usually 24-48 hours before said guests arrive.

It started out small… cleaning the house, moving some stuff into the basement…

Put out clean washcloths, tiny shampoos and soaps…

Clean the sheets, put out clean towels…

Then… it got out of hand… (which is totally normal for me)

Paint a vanity/dressing table…



Finish painting the hallway…



And then finally… the room was put together…

Given more time, I’m sure I would have done (obsessed) more… the guest bathroom needs painting and some art… and the bedroom needs new curtains aanndd art, too… aaannnd… (will it ever end??)

So ask many of our guests… they will tell you that the smells of fresh paint will surround you as you drift off to sleep or perhaps it will stick to your luggage and you’ll take a chip of it home as a souvenir… (I apologize in advance…)

But at least the house dog will keep you company :) (When guests are here… Meg completely ignores us… )

Sweet dreams! :)

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