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The Earth Laughs in Flowers

© Eiffel Flower Butterfly Arrangement

© Eiffel Flower Butterfly Arrangement

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers”
R.W. Emerson

On the topic of design, it never ceases to amaze me when I see a floral designer in action. My mother can take a bunch of your run of the mill, midwestern perennial blooms and create a beautiful arrangement. This is a lost art. So when I see my friends Michael and Denise working their magic for a wedding, house walk or party, I notice the magical outcome of excellent design principle paired with the earth’s bounty. Here is Michael’s top ten reasons to stop and smell the roses…

10. A bouquet of fresh flowers is a quick pick-me-up.

9. Flowers encourage creativity.

8. Flowers improve the quality of life.

7. Flowers possess many qualities our souls long for.

6. Flowers help ease the transition between seasons.

5. Flowers set the stage and create the mood.

4. Fresh flowers bring life into the home.

3. Flowers smell good, they are a gift to the senses.

2. Flowers make people happy – happy is good.

The number 1 reason to buy fresh flowers is – just because!

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!Designer’s Connect! Gretchen Hind Designs

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Gretchen of Gretchen Hind Designs. Join us in Gretchen’s interview below to find out more about her stunning jewelry!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

I am the designer and owner of Gretchen Hind Designs. I create affordable, unique jewelry with a vintage, modern vibe – for women of all ages. I use a variety of metals, gemstones, vintage beads, and rocks in my designs.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

Well, my “studio” is my whole house. Ha! I have a five-year-old preschooler and so my working time is mainly while he is at school, in bed, or otherwise entertained. I tend to stay up *way* too late many nights. Next year when he goes to kindergarten, I hope to have a more regular work schedule. A typical day involves checking email, attending to my Etsy shop and all my social networking sites, photographing product, etc., and then I start making jewelry and sending out orders.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I guess I’ve always been rather strangely creative and analytically balanced. As a young kid I drew an entire blueprint house plan for my dream house (I think my parents still have it.) I’ve always been interested in design of many genres and I’ve dabbled in a number of form such as writing, photography (doesn’t every girl go through this stage?), fashion, interior design, and making lampshades – prior to starting my jewelry business.

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

Nature, history and color inspire me. I love creating signature pieces from scratch, using only simple tools and ideas. There is so much jewelry out there, that I hope to always stay unique. I started making jewelry by wire wrapping beach rocks that my little boy and I would find at a Lake Michigan beach near our home and it just took off from there.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: Is there a particular cultures jewelry that you especially appreciate?

I’m a huge mid-century modern fan of all art forms – from jewelry, to clothing, furniture, music, literature, and architecture. I believe that my jewelry reflects those passions.

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

A glass of wine always helps. J Sometimes I take a step back from orders and things I *have* to do and just spread out a note pad, some gems and wire options, and start making a new piece. This typically leads to additional ideas as well.

2Sis: What fall fashion trends do you like this season?

I’ve been seeing lots of gorgeous scarves and cool boots.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be? Paris.

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

www.GretchenHindDesigns.etsy.com

www.Facebook.com/GretchenHindDesigns

www.Twitter.com/GH_designs

www.Pinterest.com/GretchenHind

www.Wanelo.com/GretchenHind

Gretchen is giving you all a chance to own a piece of her gorgeous jewelry by offering a one time use, 15% discount off your total purchase, for a limited time in her Etsy shop. Use Coupon Code 2SISTERSANYTOWNUSA15 at the check out!

Thank you Gretchen for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life! Be sure to check out Gretchen’s Etsy shop for your holiday gift giving.

Working the Green Room with Chess Squares

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

By: Jen

Once again my youth sports experience has tickled my right brain thinking!

Some years ago, I met a local mom who cheerfully presented the very best scones to sleep deprived parents along the bleachers during warm-ups for our first season of tournament team baseball. These delectable treats were a lovely offering. I made a mental note as I watched the summer unfold with our sons team. This gesture brought everyone together.

The days that lead up to a sports tournament supply you with the long laundry list (literally) of items and tasks that need to be completed before our teams hit the field, pitch, court, whatever the venue. It takes a lot of effort to get to your destination and sometimes you forget to eat.

I brought Chess Squares to the “green room” during our latest Nike Classic Cup 2012 soccer tournament. It’s really the awards area for the winning teams. Your volunteer task is to shuttle dozens of teams through the awards process. The volunteering adults, our tournament director, photographer and the very enthusiastic Jeff from Ford Motor Company loved this recipe. It brought this unlikely group of personalities together and the men want the recipe! Who would think that five ingredients could bring such happiness? Our director says that every bakery in St. Louis has this bar cookie. So here it is! Simple and successful.

Chess Squares

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 300°.
Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan with butter or non-stick canola oil spray.
In a large bowl, blend the cake mix with the melted butter and one egg.
Press this dough into the bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, blend the eggs and cream cheese and carefully add the powdered sugar. When it reaches a smooth consistency, pour over the top of the crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top layer is golden brown.

Bake these squares in a 9” x 13” disposable aluminum pan if you will be traveling with these. It works like a charm!

Lastly, a shout out to Jeff from Ford Motor Company who emceed our event. You really had the crowd going! I wish you safe travels and a little R & R to indulge in your culinary creations. It was great meeting everyone!

!Designer’s Connect! – Megan’s Beaded Designs

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Megan of Megan’s Beaded Designs . Join us in Megan’s interview below to find out more about her amazing designs!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

Megan: I design and create beaded hair accessories and jewelry. I’ve done a lot of other avenues in the past as well, but for now my beadwork is my main focus.

Sparkling Beaded Black and Silver Crystal Rhinestone Hair Clip

Megan’s Beaded Designs – Sparkling Beaded Black and Silver Crystal Rhinestone Hair Clip

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

Megan: I have a day job (that I love!), so obviously the majority of my day is spent in the office. I do, however, always bring my work with me to plug away at on my lunch break. I also make sure to check up on my shops via smart phone during that time to. (Hooray for modern technology!) Overall though, this does limit my time to work on my Etsy shops for the evening and weekend hours. As a result, I have to manage my time as effectively as I can, so my customers and followers can’t tell the difference.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

Megan: I have always been the “creative type.” I’ve been beading since I was 5 or so. My grandfather was into the native beadweaving and dream catcher making, and he got me into it very early on. I even started selling my work as an early age, attending barter fairs and craft fairs before middle school. Besides beading, I’ve also loved to draw and paint, and write fiction.

Glass Dome Covered Digital Image of Watch Gears in Silver Plated Cuff Links

Steampunk Dream – Steampunk Cuff Links – Glass Dome Covered Digital Image of Watch Gears in Silver Plated Cuff Links

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

Megan: I’m all about originality. What’s the fun in dressing and looking like everyone else? What I stress the most about my pieces is their unique nature. As a result of being completely hand beaded, no two items are ever exactly alike. I don’t make JUST a hair clip, or JUST a necklace, but a piece of art that you can wear!

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

Megan: Honestly I usually have the opposite problem: too many ideas and not enough daylight. I’ve already had to force myself to focus on one craft so I’m not scattered all over the place. For me, the challenge is honing in on what I’m lacking in inventory. Keeping a proper stock of certain times means I don’t always get to make what I feel like making. Perhaps I’m in the mood to make a necklace, but I need to make more bracelets, and so on.

Beaded Lace Collar Necklace

Megan’s Beaded Designs – Citron Yellow Necklace – Beaded Lace Collar Necklace

2Sis: Do you collaborate with anyone on your work?

Megan: I’m pretty much a one-woman show. I do like the feedback I get when I enter pieces into team challenges, it’s always productive to hear what fellow beaders have to say about my goodies!

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

Megan: I freak LOVE traveling – but unfortunately haven’t gotten to do very much of it: YET. My wish list currently has New York City and ALL of Europe on it. Someday…

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

Megan’s Etsy Shops:
http://MegansBeadedDesigns.etsy.com
http://Glamour365.etsy.com
http://SteampunkDream.etsy.com
http://MegansCreativeDesign.etsy.com

Megan’s Blog:
http://megansbeadeddesigns.wordpress.com

Megan’s Facebook:
http://facebook.com/megansbeadeddesigns

M’s Twitter:
http://twitter.com/Glamour365

M’s Pinterest:
http://pinterest.com/glamour365

M’s Wanelo:
http://wanelo.com/megansbeadeddesigns

Thank you Megan for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life! Be sure to check out Megan’s Etsy shops for your holiday gift giving.

Halloween’s Month

Author: Jen Schmidt

Green and gold collide
One is the victor
The other one dies

Bright sun descending it’s light
The crow feather reflecting blue and black
Bonfire takes flight

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