Getting ready for summer

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, the days of backyard barbecues, fresh garden veggies, cold refreshments and trips to the beach are finally here. The summer is the most fun time of year for a lot of people but it can also be the most overwhelming. Here’s how I’ve been preparing…

Keeping up with the messes – I’m a busy body, just can’t sit still. I feel like I’m always cleaning up a new mess so the easier cleaning can be the better. My can’t-live-without tools for cleaning my little house are as follows:

  1. Disinfectant wipes: These have been around for a while now but I’m shocked that people still use spray bottles and paper towels. The wipes are so easy and so much more effective. Plus, they don’t tear or leave bits behind when wiping rough surfaces. My favorite ones are made by Seventh Generation, which use botanical ingredients rather than harsh chemicals.
  2. Shark Rocket Vacuum: In 2008 I bought a Shark stick vacuum for $30 at Best Buy. This vacuum worked great for nearly 7 years but finally gave in to the wear and tear a few weeks ago. Since I was so impressed with the suction power and ease of use, I decided to stick with Shark and bought the new Rocket model. I really like it a lot – still has great suction, weighs only 9 lbs and is very easy to use. It’s actually shortened my vacuuming time because it doesn’t have to go over the same spot multiple times. Plus it comes with a million attachments for various uses, including a detail kit that makes cleaning my car much more tolerable.
  3. Organization: Baskets are my best friends. I really love them because you can just fill them with random crap and keep your space looking clutter free.

A fun antique window project – A few years back I bought several old windows at a flea market for $10. I used one as a “canvas” for a painting of a cow, which I’ve since sold. The others have just sat in our basement collecting dust. Until I came across this awesome pin on Pinterest, and made my own serving tray. Set atop a vintage tablecloth-covered table with candles and a rustic planter, this tray makes the perfect beverage station.

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Antique window serving tray with bar setup

With all my preparation I’ll never feel quite ready to get into a bathing suit for the first time. It does help when you find a fun new one to show off. Modcloth has a great selection and they’ve put together this infographic about the history of bathing suit fashion. They’ve also made a point to let us know that any body type can look beautiful on the beach, so don’t be discouraged and check this out:

“It’s a pool party over at ModCloth, and you’re invited! With so many bikinis and one pieces to pick from, you’re bound to find a standout look that suits your style. And while you’re at it, check out ModCloth’s exploration of so-called “ideal” beach bodies in their new Swim-fographic! It’s an intriguing look at how arbitrarily beauty standards have changed over time. Of course, ModCloth knows that every body is a beach body — the only requirements are a beach, your bod, and a swimsuit you can’t wait to flaunt!”

Swim-fographic 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

 

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Now that the warm weather is finally here, it’s time for outdoor BBQs, vacations, and outdoor festivities. Some of these events can be more formal, such as bridal showers and weddings, so it’s important to find a cute yet appropriate outfit. Most clothing websites are not the most inspiring and also don’t show their clothes on average women, in every day situations.

Well,  ModCloth has the solution to these problems! Not only is this a great site to shop for the most adorable outfits, but now they have a community Style Gallery where normal folks like you and me can upload images of ourselves in our fave summer digs! With each photo you also include specially selected items from ModCloth, that are either featured in the photo or were the inspiration for the outfit. This is really cool because you can view other photos and then shop for the exact clothing or accessories!

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I can’t wait to get some ideas for new and adorable outfits, and maybe even shop for some new clothes too! Here’s one of my favorite outfits so far:

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If you want to join in on the fashion fun, include the hashtag #ModSummer when you’re posting your adventures and you could be featured on one of their social networks.

(This post contains affiliate links which means I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)

Enjoy your summer!

~Tara

Here’s a peek at some of the things I’ve made this Spring…

I wanted a beachy but rustic welcome sign for our front door so I painted the word on a piece of old driftwood, attached it to an old, weathered basket and embellished it with scallop shells and vintage mother-of-pearl buttons.

Welcome Sign ~ Handmade by me out of a worn shallow basket, driftwood, shells, buttons and paint.

For Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to make gifts for my mom and my mother-in-law. I had acquired a huge bag of vintage fabrics, including tablecloths, dish towels and doilies, many, many doilies! So, when a doily bag post from Sew Mama Sew came up in my blog feed, I was beyond excited. I came up with this bag for my mom. I altered the pattern a little by using the trimmed outer edge of my green doily as an accent for the top edge of the bag.

Vintage doily flower bag ~ handmade by me following pattern from Sew Mama Sew.

I was able to use a combination of some fun fat quarters that I had in this adorable little tote, pattern courtesy Oliver + S blog. I gave this to my husband’s Mom along with the Family wall hanging inside.

Multi-fabric tote ~ handmade by me following tutorial from Oliver + S blog.
Family wall hanging ~ collaged book pages, acrylic paint and metal leaves on canvas.

I decided to make something for my Mom to hang as well. She now works from home, using my sister’s old bedroom as an office, so I thought an office sign would be neat. I attempted to make it look old-fashioned, and even painted a vintage rotary telephone on it.

Office door sign ~ collaged book pages, printed text, acrylic paint on canvas ~ a Tara White Studio original.

The wall hangings / signs were relatively easy and fun to make, so you may see some in my Etsy shop in the near future!

… straight into my arms, straight into my arms. ~Laura Marling

The ocean is almost everywhere you look on Cape Ann, so it is no wonder that it provides inspiration for so much creativity.

Here are some photos of Cape Ann from this weekend, along with some crafts that were inspired by it.

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Magnolia shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.
Whale statement necklace by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Nautilus Earrings by Tara White Studio. Click to purchase on Etsy.
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Horseshoe Crab on Wingaersheek Beach. Photo by Tara White 2014.
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Handpainted shell plates by Tara White Studio.
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Magnolia Shore. Photo by Tara White 2014.

I came across this draft for a nature photography post this past summer. Since I am over this cold, snowy winter weather, I thought this would be appropriate to share now!

I love nature and really enjoy photographing it, even though it sometimes takes a lot of patience! Here are my favorite nature photos I’ve taken this summer:

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Hello Summer!

I can’t believe this is my first post in nearly two months! Since the weather is so beautiful here in New England right now, the theme of this post is nature. I’ll be sharing some woodland animal-inspired jewelry, photos of my first kayaking trip of the season and some random photos taken on walks with my dog.

I’ve mentioned my Etsy shop and team participation a few times. I recently joined some new teams, one called Animal Totems (check us out here: Animal Totems Team). Inspired by the other amazing shops run by members of this team, I created a series of animal spirit jewelry. A while back I had made some bear paw prints out of clay and wasn’t sure what to do with them at the time. So I made some more paw/claw prints as well as some clay claws, teeth, antlers and a feather:

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Initially I planned to use an animal track and a claw or tooth together as part of a more eclectic necklace, like this one for the cat:

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While I do love how this one turned out, it seemed it may be too much for some people to handle, plus if I separated them out, I could make way more necklaces!

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Each of the necklaces shown above and more are available for purchase in my Etsy shop: Animal Spirit Jewelry

Since today was too hot to not be near the water, I took old Nemo (yeah, that’s my kayak) out for the first paddle this summer. Our street is on a river, Little River, which feeds into the Annisquam River in Gloucester, MA. Here’s a map showing my route with the red line:

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I paddled down Little River and passed under the Andrew Piatt Bridge…

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I paddled further and in the middle of where marshes are at low tide I saw a tiny little island, with rocks and small trees on it…

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I had to pull up here and check it out. This was a pretty cool spot that I came across and definitely beat the beach since I was the only person there!

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This certainly was a great weekend and I am looking forward to many more kayaking adventures. Here are some cool pics I’ve taken around the yard and neighborhood to keep with the nature theme!

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A dog day at the beach

While I didn’t do much crafting this weekend, I did make a few trips to the beach with Jackson. Our favorite beach to visit before the summer is Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.  Here are some photos of our trip.

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I certainly found a lot of new inspiration in this trip and can’t wait to go back. Although I bet Jackson is even more anxious to go! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Talk you you soon!

Tara

My Dad’s antiques and a beach-inspired project!

What a beautiful weekend we are having here in New England! And thank goodness because I was pretty sick last week and the warmer weather was just what the doctor ordered!

Since I was feeling better Saturday, I stopped over at my Dad’s house for a bit. He had a bunch of old jewelry, coins and other items he wanted me to check out, thinking I could possibly use them in my work. Well, was he right! In case I have not already mentioned, my Dad, sister and I love antiques, especially hunting for them! Once the warm weather returns for good, we will definitely be going on some antiquing and flea market excursions, so I am sure I will have plenty more to share!

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This weekend, I was very lucky to acquire a giant lot of items from my Dad and Grandmother, everything from primitive glass and stone arrowheads, to antique jewelry.

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This piece, a vintage brass locket or pill case, is one of my favorites. It has amazing detailed flowers and scroll work on both sides but there are no markings indicating when and where it was made, unfortunately.

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These two pieces are also very interesting. The top one is inscribed on the back with “W * F 1/40 10 KT R.G.P.”, which I just learned means 10 Carat rolled gold palladium, but am unsure about the “W F”. The emblem on the front reads, “Syracuse University Founded…”. There is some deposit that would have to be carefully chipped off so I cannot make out any date that might be there. The bottom one is a sterling silver ID bracelet belonging to a Donna Faye Norwood. My father actually found that in a stone wall in front of a place he used to live, so it is possible we may be able to locate someone who may have known her.

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Then there was the tiniest ring I have ever seen! Shown above inside of my own size 4 engagement ring. It looks and feels like silver but there are no engravings that I can see. Maybe it is just a charm, but it is adorable!

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My father is a coin collector and while he has many unique and valuable coins, he comes across some not-so-valuable yet very cool looking coins in from time to time (top left). I liked the ones with holes in them because I do not currently have drilling capabilities and these can easily be incorporated into jewelry. Some are just old toll tokens that were punched after use, they may be worthless but they have a lot of character! He also gave me a horn (top right), an abalone shell (bottom left) and several quartz crystals (bottom right). I think these will be very cool as props in some of my jewelry photography.

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The last item, and biggest item, is this cast iron stand, that I have not been able to identify, but think must have held a bell at some point. Felt was glued to the bottom a long time ago on which someone wrote, “Deacon Home”. My Dad is fairly certain it came from a church. That adds to the probability of the bell holder theory in my mind. While I really should not be bringing more items into my already cluttered and tiny home, this was way too cool to pass up and could be used as a unique jewelry display. And if you’re thinking, “I can’t believe this girl is taking all of her dad’s great vintage finds”, well, rest assured that there is enough stuff in his one bedroom apartment to fill a museum. We actually had that conversation while I was there, I suggested that he charge people admission when they come over!

Also this weekend, I finished a project I have been thinking about for a few weeks now. On one of many walks to the boat landing down the street from us, I came across a cool, weathered piece of wood with awesome chipped blue paint and a couple nails sticking out of it. I also found a horseshoe crab carapace, the animal’s hard outer covering. I knew I wanted to make some type of sign incorporating the two as well as other objects, to give the look of a pile of stuff washed up on the beach.

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I was super excited about the finished product and it looks awesome on the front of our house. And yes, it is that way to the beach!

Do you love to find things? What’s the best thing you’ve come across – whether at a yard sale, flea market, thrift shop, walk on the beach or even in the trash?

Saving the environment and money, one button at a time!

Welcome to the blog for Tara White Studio! I am so excited to share my first post with you on this lovely snowy day!

I’d like to begin by giving you a quick tour of the actual “studio” space that I work in.

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Here it is! Since our place is small, this is actually the corner of our living room, which was previously the dining room, but who needs one of those? The beautiful cabinet on the right was my Nana’s and I recently bought the desk and bookcase to match. They provide necessary storage space, while reducing the cluttered look of such a small space. I just have to be careful about how many “supplies” I keep at once; I tend to be a slight hoarder.

My material of choice lately is polymer clay. It is so fun and easy to work with, leaves very little mess and can be baked in your oven. I always hand-sculpt each piece and never use molds, that way each is completely unique. Then I paint, add textural elements, bedazzle, you name it!

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When possible, I utilize pieces of broken or vintage jewelry for the necklaces I make. I also love to incorporate found objects into my pieces. This jar of buttons, accumulated over time, could translate into many, many new and beautiful works of art. Not only is this method environmentally friendly, but it saves so much money. I love going to flea markets, antique stores, yard sales, even…I’ll admit it…”free” boxes on the sidewalk! All great places to find materials to give new life!

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I just completed photographing several new necklaces featuring handmade clay sand dollar charms as well as buttons from the old jar here. I’ll be listing them shortly, but here’s a sneak peek at one of the final products:

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Now it’s time to get listing! I am excited to get these in the Etsy shop these because it means I can get started on my next project!

Thank you so much for checking out my new blog! Hope to see you again next week!

~*’*Tara*’*~

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