DIY: refinishing a neck form

Like most jewelers I had one of those black velvet neck forms to display my necklaces on. Aside from hating it for being so generic {and it's ability to attract dust} it was also falling apart. So, I decided to remove it's black shroud to see what I could do to jazz it up a bit. 
Taking it apart is pretty easy. Just find a corner that is coming undone and tear the fabric away. 
It's easy, I promise!

I thought I was going to save the fabric I removed to use as a template for the new fabric. It turns out that I wasn't able to reupholster it in the same manner.

I cut the base out at least three times before I decided to refer to a bookbinding book to see how I should cut and fold the corners. 

I used liquid stitch to attach the material to the frame. It seems to have done the trick. 

I didn't apply the glue everywhere. On the base I only used glue on the top and back, not the sides. For the circle to the left I applied glue to the back only. With the dowel I put some on the front to hold the fabric still then allowed it to dry. On the board I only applied the glue to the back. I cut many notches out of the fabric to make the curves smoother. It was quite the task.

I then pushed the fabric into the groove with a screwdriver {super fancy technique!}. 

I used some more liquid stitch to apply the circle to the fabric I stretched over the wooden board. 

I used some book cloth for the back. It is easy to cut and has a backing. It doesn't fray, it's super easy to work with and stuck like a charm with the help of sobo glue. The bottom of the base also has book cloth on it. The original finished piece had a waxy white paper and wasn't as durable.

Here it is modeling my daisy chain necklace on my bureau. I almost want to keep it for myself to display my personal jewelry collection. But I think it is best as part of my display, it will attract some attention. 

Sorry to have missed a bunch of steps. It wasn't easy to do with two hands, never mind trying to hold a camera as well. All I can say is dive in, you will figure it out but it will take time.

happy sunday!
xo, kim

new stickers!

I have been playing around with some new little extras for my packaging. I can't seem to stop coming up with uses for paper source labels, my typewriter and hand-carved stamps. 

These little 'thank you.' stickers seal closed tiny envelopes with my words of gratitude typed onto a tiny card inside. These cards are included with shop orders and consignment shipments. I really can't thank folks enough for buying/selling handmade.

And I love the accent of this ruby star on the chartreuse paper. 
I hand-cut these stars from old wine corks. I love the texture the cork creates!

This is generally how my packages are labeled. I do love handwriting a little message but realized that it may not work for reusing boxes and envelopes. 

So, I bought some sticker paper from the paper source so I could make these sweet stickers any size or shape I wanted. And they can be removed for reusing shipping materials.

Of course I carved a heart in an old cork to make the look more, well, me. 

And here is the whole package ready to ship.

This is a great project for days spent home waiting for your car to be fixed. 
happy weekend!
xo, kim

ps: to see these in person, get shopping!

photo skill a day : days 2-10

I came across another photo a day challenge by called photography skills. I really dig this project, it makes you look at every little thing you see in a different way, or every little thing I see through my instagram lens. 
day 2 : shadow
shadow of a railing on the studio grounds

day 3 : portrait
me, part one

day 3 : portrait
me, part two

day 4 : pattern
radiator cover

day 5 : landscape
run down city scape in Providence

day 6 : motion
l'artisan cafe ceiling

day 7 : shape
triangle + circle 

day 8 : still life
objects collected from neighborhood strolls

day 9 : S-Curve
railing in the city

day 10 : ordinary object
coffee measuring spoon by extraordinary makers, Beehive Kitchenware
You can find me on instagram as @kobrienjewelry. 
Join us, won't you? Kim


january photo a day : days 24-31

I am a little late to the photo of the day game, so this is my first recap. All photos are taken/altered with instagram. I'm finding this challenge proposed by fat mum slim to be quite inspiring. My eyes are wide open ready to take in more of my daily life, looking for a different angle in which to capture the theme of the day. I set out with the topic in mind, trying not to go for the obvious keeping this fun challenge fresh.  

day 24 : guilty pleasure... packing peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in my lunch.
day 25 : something I made... new series of forget-me-not necklaces.  

day 26 : colour... red + aqua, my new favorite color combination.
day 27 : lunch.. I stopped by Olga's for some coffee + a delightful seeded bagel.
day 28 : light... light shining through a textured window, creating shadows and depth to patterns.
day 29 : inside your fridge... my new avocado colored butter dish. it makes me feel all grown up.
day 30 : nature... I decided to capture nature indoors, mementos taken from walks, pieces of nature I just can't leave behind.

day 31 : me, again. this one I did on two parts. Me at home..

day 31 : me, again... me out and about, as most folks see me around town.

Won't you please join us? It's great fun. Maybe it is the little kid in me who misses homework assignments. I suppose it is about time I confess.. I am a nerd at heart.
xo, kim

so darn cute

This little lady makes it ever so difficult to leave for work.
She knows the signs, my lunch is packed, I've collected my belongings and brought them to the door. And just then when you thought that cute face couldn't get cuter. 

She pulls off a face that says, 'mama, please don't go' and my heart melts. Those brown eyes are pleading for attention. So I give her a few more scratches and belly rubs and a treat, tell her I love her and sadly slip off. 

It's nice to be so loved.
happy tuesday!
xo, kim


January Photo A Day # 30 : Nature

As an avid user of Intagram I had been wondering what the tag #janphotoaday was all about as I scrolled through my feed. Then the lovely Linda of à la mode stuff explained the photo a day challenge she was partaking in. Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim has come up with an inspirational list of themes for us followers to capture each day. Thus far, today's theme was my favorite. Nature.

These are sweet little pine cones from Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. They sit with my other dried winter weeds collection right outside the coat closet.

Being winter and all there isn't much thriving outdoors.

So I decided to take some photos of nature which has been brought indoors. 

Most of these photos are of natural objects collected by my neighbors. 

They decorate the windowsills for which I am grateful. 

But I have my own collection in my studio and home.

I keep objects I want to fabricate in metal. 

Or pieces that I want to have cast. 

Above are eucalyptus pods that I've had cast into silver. They've been around for a few years, waiting to be enameled and made into jewelry. 

Today's theme was so inspiring that I couldn't take just one photo. Once I started thinking of how to overcome the dilemma of capturing nature in it's weakest season I realized that I've surrounded myself with pieces I've collected on walks. It seems I am not alone by the looks of our back porch.

 In the future I am planing on sharing a weekly wrap up of my photos of the day here on my blog. Why don't you partake in the fun? Get your inspiration here

happy monday!
xo, kim

toil and trouble, keeping me cozy

I made a special trip home yesterday to get these lovely mitts from my mailbox. I just couldn't wait to get  my special order from Ana of toil and trouble
I am smitten with them. The color is perfect, the texture is divine and they are perfectly cozy.

Take a look at Ana's etsy shop. You will be smitten too!
xo, kim

save the usps 2012

A few weeks ago on twitter the lovely Sarah Coyne of eggagogo started a call out to gather addresses for her campaign of saving the usps through letter writing. 

I immediately jumped at the chance to get in on the fun and sent out my own request for addresses. Callie Rose and I got some cards together. We sent out a mix of our own handmade winter cardsheatherjeany stationery, and jill bliss cards. One of my secret indulgences is stationery and I was happy to send part of my collection out into the world.

Seeing as Callie did such a great job posing for the stamp used to help save the usps, I thought she should have her name in with the return address.

In case I haven't told you before, Callie has her own last name.

And the best part of this campaign is my letters just starting arriving! I am amazed at the effort these other ladies put into their parcels. Picking stationery, writing personal notes full of encouraging words..

..and even putting together sweet care packages. This one is from Tabitha of a lil expression and tbell photography. This is one of my favorites. Even her business card is adorable. 

If you'd like to join in on the fun send your name and address along to with the subject of 'save the usps 2012'. I'd be happy to send some more stationery out into the world. And there are still some Callie stamps left which should be even more incentive to email me. 

I've been thinking of extending the fun and sending out monthly letters. It gives me a good excuse to buy more stationery. It keeps us corresponding on a more personal level. It keeps the usps working. 
Are you in?

xo, kim

in need of cheering up

I'm in need of some cheering up today. Life has been challenging lately. One thing I can always count on to cheer me up is spending time with my Callie Girl. 

We have been cuddling a lot lately. Mostly on the floor since our girl still has an injured knee and can't jump on the bed in the mornings. I have really been missing our walks. I miss the time with her and the time exploring our city, capturing it all with my phone to return home to share with you. But what I am grateful for is that our girl may have an injury but she doesn't show it. She is still happy, playful, cuddly and loving. Callie still thinks she is a puppy and loves life. I have a lot to learn from this pup. 

i hope these pictures warm your heart a little.
happy friday, kim

winter blooms

In the early fall I bought some amaryllis bulbs. I set out to get something to brighten up the studio but found myself buying two bulbs, one for home and one for work. The one at home quickly flourished, while the erratic heating at the studio caused an early demise for that plant. I don't think it will be the same again.

It bloomed early and was it ever pretty while it lasted. I am hoping there is another stalk waiting to come out when winter decides to arrive. I'd like some pretty blooms to look at while it's snowing outside. 

happy friday the 13th.
xo, kim


handmade holiday, what I treated myself to..

I started my handmade holiday early. While it was still warm and sunny I ordered myself a little houses coat. I wanted a longer coat and I wanted to indulge in a little houses coat so it was a match made in heaven. 

You can't tell here but it clears my bottom. No lower back draft for me. She was also sweet enough to line the cowl because this girl can't deal with wool touching her skin. I am in dire need of a better picture of me in this coat. It fits like a dream and I get many compliments on it. 

Once I had my new coat I needed some accessories for it. After perusing Liz Smith's booth at Bazaar Bizarre I couldn't get this heart brooch out of my head. 

Now I have myself a Made In Lowell brooch for my new coat. I'm smitten! It is the perfect shade of orange with green stitching. That crafty Liz has an eye for color. 

I came across this bag by accident. I swear I was looking for a gift for someone but the lace had me mesmerized. So, I came home from Mass Market with a Forest Bound bag and I haven't looked back since.

I just had to accent it with this pin from Rar Rar Press. That's right.

Have I mentioned that it is dangerous to live so close to Craftland? I never seem to deliver a batch of bling without buying something. While chatting with the sweet Devienna I tried on some Candy Thief headbands. On that day I left empty handed, rare I know. When I returned for meet the artist night I left with this headband. I'm in love. 

Looking back it seems I may have an addiction to buying handmade. 
There are worse things in life to get hooked on.
xo, kim

taking time for me

I spent a nice long day at the cable car cinema and cafe. Many bagels and lots of good coffee were consumed. Blog posts were written and I was able to sit and relax in a cozy cafe in my city. 

I love my new spot, it may just be my office when I have to catch up on paperwork. I left the cafe to a lovely sunset and quarter moon. The city was just beginning to sparkle. 

happy monday!
xo, kim


DIY finger paints

I found this finger paint recipe here on pinterest. As I have never before used finger paints I felt the instructions needed a little more, shall we say,  instruction. The ingredients listed below are what I started with. Since I was making two batches of six colors and had some trial and error problems I made one batch to start, tripled this the second time and then made one final batch for good measure. 

I started with these ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. 

It started out looking like warm milk. I made certain to mix most of the time it was heating, mashing up areas where the cornstarch started to thicken first. 

Once it is all heated and fully incorporated it takes on the texture of petroleum jelly. Since I was mixing all the while it is pretty consistent. 

I removed enough to fill one 5 ounce spice jar {bought from Ikea} and put it in a pyrex mixing bowl. I didn't have a small spatula so I used a plastic spoon to mix the color. The food coloring was a gel colorant used for cake icing. {Had I been making these for toddlers who may want to sample it I would have used a natural food colorants. I'm not all that into red #4.} There wasn't a hard and fast rule to the amount of color I added, just enough to achieve a rich, consistent hue.  

Also, I found that while I was mixing the colors it helped to keep the remaining uncolored paint in a covered saucepan. It was much easier and consistent to mix while warm. I scooped them into the spice jars while warm too. As I had to add water to the first batch because I didn't think to cover the pan while I was mixing colors it started to thicken too much as it cooled. I thought any condensation that built up while the colors were in their jars would help keep them moist and consistent. 

And here we are, I decided to mix secondary colors for my nephews. They are 5 and 6, color theory can wait a few years. For now, they just need to have some fun and get their fingers dirty. 

Right before it was time to deliver these I realized I hadn't thought of packaging. Then I came across some clementine crates. I wrapped them up in holiday paper, used some tissue paper inside for padding and addressed them with my ever so favorite paper source labels. Of course these were given with rolls of paper from Ikea. When it comes to supplies that place can't be beat. I just hope they have enough paint to fill the roll. 

I thought some of you may still have some kiddos home on vacation so I shared it sooner rather then later. This is a easy way to keep them busy and maybe even play along. For one time use you could easily get away with a batch or two instead of my hefty 12 jar quota. 

happy monday!
xo, kim

happy new year from Callie Rose

the sweetest face around has a new year greeting for you...

here's a few tips on how to live like a Callie girl..

*when someone does something to make you happy show it. if you don't have a tail to wag, smile or give a hug. people like hugs.

*greet those you love like you haven't seen them in ages. I prefer to get a toy and dance and squeak but hugs, hellos and exclamations of 'it's so good to see you' are perfectly acceptable. don't ever let those people forget just how much you appreciate them in your life.

*dance like no one is watching. let loose, you only live once. and dancing with a partner is even better!

*always be excited to go someplace new. be happy for adventures in the car. some rides end up someplace scary like the vet but others bring you to pretty cities and with new smells and yummy food.

*always find time to snuggle. it's nice to feel loved and give love in return. there is always time in your busy day for a snuggle. and I promise, it'll make your day better.

*spend more time outside sniffing and getting to know your surroundings. once i get my knee surgery and recover i vow to go for lots of walks and know where every last dog in the neighborhood likes to pee. while i do this mom gets to take pictures which inspire her work and she samples coffee in new neighborhoods. exercise and inspiration go a long way to living the zen life. 

*and think of yourself first. for instance, when an itch comes on when your mama is calling you to eat, stop and scratch that itch. take care of yourself first so you can give your loved ones your full attention when you answer their call. if you treat yourself well, you will be even better to the ones you love. 

happy new year!
xo, Callie Rose 
{yes, mama gave me my own last name}

happy christmas!

It's been a few years now since I made my own cards so I went all out this year.

I bought some linoleum blocks thinking that I would carve them. 

In the end I cut triangles from pieces of rubber blocks and mounted them to the back of the lino blocks. 

I had fun mixing the paint.

And using a briar for the very first time! 
{well I guess I did give one a little roll on the moveable type truck} so this is the first time I've used one all on my own like a big girl. 

I wasn't happy with any of the green paint options so I mixed some gold in with the basic green. Each tree was a slightly different shade but they all shimmered.

I enjoyed seeing progress. 

And the third tree got some silver mixed in. 
I couldn't make a card without it looking like it was covered in metal dust. 

I really loved hanging them on the clothes line to dry. I felt so accomplished. 

It seems that we needed more than triangles with stumps. So, I cut some stars from an old cork. 

And the trees were topped. I used a regular old ink pad for the stars and stumps. It seemed easier considering the size. 

Keeping with tradition I made the Callie stamp. It's been seven years now in which I have been putting my girl's face on holiday postage. I have family members who collect her stamps. The first year I did it we received a ton of compliments. While everyone was discussing the Callie stamp one of my aunts asked how everyone liked the stamps she made of her kids. No one noticed those. Callie proved to win the popularity contest.

Finally, my completed pile. Signed, sealed and ready to deliver. 

happy christmas! happy everything and anything you celebrate!
xo, kim + callie too

an east side stroll + a french bulldog

This past week I took le petit chien, also known as Emmett, for a little stroll.
I guess his neighbor was holding an impromptu used book sale on their stone wall.

Back to le petit chein, it is funny to actually walk a dog. See, it is usually Callie that walks me. 

And Emmett doesn't mind one bit if I stop to take pictures. 

He doesn't pull in the opposite direction to sniff something more interesting. 

He perks his bat ears up even more to be on the lookout for a new adventure.

And he has a photogenic neighborhood. With good coffee nearby. And the best chocolate croissants.

Aren't these doorbells charming?

But this letter slot wins in the charm department. I have letter slot envy.

And, well, I am just a weird gal who is attracted to rusted, deteriorating metal.

I left le petit chien to go get that amazing coffee and even better croissant. He was sad to see me go. I bet he knew I would have snuck him a crumb or two (without any chocolate on it of course).

I've never been in this bakery. It's the sign I'm smitten with. Do you have a favorite treat here? I'd love a recommendation. 

This is my absolute favorite rooftop on the east side. 

In fact, this photo pales in comparison to the one above. 

I just realized the time, this girl needs some shut eye. After all, I am the hostess of the turkey and non-turkey festivities tomorrow. 
xo, kim

callie rose

My blog has been slow running as of late. My Callie girl has been under the weather and we don't get out for our adventures in the city. Therefore, I take far less photos than usual.
A few weeks ago miss Rose hurt her knee while on a jaunt with her daddy. She let out a yelp and hasn't made a peep over pain since. She is one strong little lady. It seems she tore her cruciate ligament. So, it's been lots of bed rest for this girl. We've been taking good care of her, mixing up supplements in yogurt to slip them into her food and taking her for acupuncture or as we call it, pupupuncture. As always, Callie Rose takes everything with a wag of the tail and with big puppy eyes. We still get dances with her toys when we get home from work, always the gracious hostess giving you the warmest welcome you'll ever receive. She knows just the right thing to make your day better, sweetness and love. 

Here's to short walks and a speedy recovery!
xo, kim + callie too


oxalis shadows

On Sunday I noticed this shadow cast on my wall from the oxalis living in the windowsill. 

The results fascinate me. It looks like a charcoal drawing 
done on grey textured paper. The sort that you use white chalk to make highlights on, a la middle school drawing class. Only, this is way classier.

happy tuesday!
xo, kim


bristol instagrams

here are a few instagrams of an evening autumn stroll in Bristol, RI.
these are the windows of the bristol post office. i am use to the grand post offices of cities, this location is quaint and colorful.

a sweet camera shop. 
{in case you were wondering, this was taken without a filter.}

and here is a sweet, modern light. 

it was difficult to photograph our stroll in the dark. i stopped at the beehive. i only left with tea but i wish to return for brunch or dinner, though it won't be the same without meeting my little sister there. she is moving across the country to california in less than a week and i'll miss her so. the beehive is our little place. this was a great brisk autumn stroll. i hope to do again it soon.

happy thursday!
xo, kim


the city i love

It's been a little bit since I've posted photos of my city here.
And I have these three that I am in love with.

Especially this one.
Join us and keep Providence Beautiful.

This may be my new favorite signs. It's a simple design and minimal wording. And I love the reflection.

happy tuesday!
xo, kim