Who will hold the key to their special memory?
There are many wonderful things siblings share, but there is one I’d like to chat about today. I think it is one of the most special bonds brothers and sisters share - memories of their mother. These are powerful memories that evoke immediate reactions from the heart. They often cause one to glance to one another. I too have a sibling whom I am blessing to share memories with. We often can be caught smiling at one another recalling a childhood memory of our mother, our little inside joke so to speak. Though there were many challenges and some memories that were unpleasant, we choose to see them as building blocks and we focus on the good ones.
We can recall particular moments in our lives with our mom that brought us comfort, stability, joy, a sense of belonging, and of love. Unknowingly we have taken great care in our memory to recall specific details to create a mental image of that specific instance. We remember what mom looked like; her approximate age; the clothing she wore; her hair color; and how she styled her hair. We could recall what she was doing and where she was. We even remembered other things that later became more significant to us like the smell of fresh baked pies; mom’s perfume; and every detail of the very jewelry mom wore.
The same is true for Susan. Susan is a local high school teacher who shared with her sisters a wonderful memory. A memory of their mother wearing a scarab bracelet. Susan’s desire was that all three sisters would enjoy the bracelet, but how? She would solve the problem by giving each sister two scarabs. What do you do with two scarab cabochons with such importance? You seek help to create unique custom jewelry. A friend of Susan’s suggested she contact me to commission the redesign of the bracelet into three sets of earrings.
Susan and I met for a short consultation where I listened to her story, desires, and style preferences. After I examined the bracelet, it was very evident that her mother loved wearing the bracelet because it had obvious signs of being worn a lot. Such a special piece with all the wonderful memories associated with it is a key element in the memories of their mother. I wanted to bring honor to those memories by making something each sister could own, wear often, and even pass down to her children. Together we agreed upon a process, redesign plan, and I set to work.
The sisters received a double gift from Susan this past Christmas.
A beautiful unique pair of scarab keepsake earrings to wear and a personal story of their mom to share.
Eastern Blue Bird Watercolor Painting
I recently had surgery on my left foot last month, unable to walk around much I am confined to a chair more often than I like. I have tried to make jewelry but I just can’t seem to say focused and I neve seem to have the supplies or tools I needed within arms reach so I quickly became frustrated. I have often admired watercolor painting and thought I’d watch a few videos to get an idea if this was something I thought I could actually do. I was intrigued by the soft flowy effects by some of the skilled artist. They made it look so easy… like anyone could do it. So, I thought why not give it a go. I borrowed paints and purchased paper and sat down to paint. Well, as it turns out it’s not so easy. There are things that ya just don’t know until you invest time and yes, money too. Like for instance that quality paint, paper, and brushes are essential. You don’t have to break the bank but if you think this is something you will enjoy it’s worth spending a little extra time and money to get decent supplies. I did just that. Not the best but got good enough to learn with without getting frustrated that my painting was working like the demonstrators.
My first painting I started was of bumble bees. I followed what the demonstrator was doing, making modifications with the colors of paint I had and starting painting a bee! I was so excited that my bees were actually looked like bumble bees. This was encouraging to say the least. I had to stop for the day, but I was hooked and I ordered a few more paint colors. The next time I was able to open my paint set I thought I’d start with something easier for a beginner where I could learn more about brush strokes and how to mix colors. I found a one hour tutorial on the Michael’s website. Admittedly it was a fast class for someone with on watercolor experience, but I was able to stop the video till I was ready to proceed. I’m no Picasso but I think my Eastern Blue Bird looks pretty good for my first bird painting.
I find watercolor painting relaxing and good for the soul. As an instant gratification kind of person, I like that I can finish a painting in one setting, I don’t have to wait too long for the paint to dry before I add another layer. My mind is relaxed and I don’t even notice the pain in my foot. It certainly keeps me still and occupied which is making my recovery more enjoyable. As an added benefit it’s easy to take anywhere. There is little to pack and sets up quickly. 😊
If you want to give it a try here is the video I watched.
Here is a printout of the drawing of the blue bird you can trace if you don't want to free-hand the drawing.
Here is the printed instructions from the video
I did not have all the colors or supplies listed on the video but here is a list of the supplies I used:
I'd enjoy hearing from you drop a comment below. Enjoy!
I Won the Wubbers University’s “Spring Break Giveaway”
Back in March on a whim, I entered a giveaway through Wubbers University, they were doing a giveaway for Spring. For those who are not familiar with who or what Wubbers is I will explain. Wubbers is a jewelry tool manufacturer known for their mandrel shaped pliers. They make forming wire into various shapes easy. I own a few of the round plies and use them regularly to shape wire and thin metals. To enter the giveaway you had to follow their rules/terms and conditions. It was easy and clearly stated, so I submitted my information along with a photo of a ring I had made using their pliers and turquoise chips. I kind of forgot about it, because I rarely ever win anything, so I just put it out of my mind. Needless to say, a few weeks later I received an e-mail of Congratulations YOU WON. I was so excited and replied immediately with the required information. A short time afterwards, I received a treasure box of 2 new shaping plies, a couple strands of beads, several loose cabochons, a pair of earrings, and stick-on nail color. What a fun treasure box that totally brightened my day. I am excited to try out the new pliers and add those cute beads to a new design. I’ll keep you posted on what I make.
You can check out the tools and more on Wubbers University on Facebook😊
Have you ever wanted to make jewelry for yourself or as a gift? I can show you how in a private or small group, or zoom session. Theses sessions make great gifts too.
How To Makeover Christmas Tree Angel Topper
I love Christmas. It’s a time when I get to be with most of my family, celebrate our faith, and enjoy the festivities together. The Crow’s Nest is usually the gathering place for our east coast family, everyone comes and goes as their schedules allow and it’s a wonderful time of laughter, games, lots of good food, crafts and projects all going on at the same time for about a week. I love how everyone pitches in and reconnects after a busy year apart. Last year my angel tree topper had finally fallen apart, she was given to me many years ago by a dear friend. It was time to repair her and give her an updated look. I’m a country gal at heart and happen to have four pairs of cowgirl boots in my closet in various stages of worn and worn out. Naturally when the farmhouse style became popular, I was thrilled. This year my angel was going country! I remade her frame and sewed up a gray plaid skirt my momma would be proud of. My niece helped my find the perfect cowgirl boots to complete her new look.
I loved how my country angel so much I even added cowgirl boots! I had extra gray plaid fabric so I traced the shape of our existing tree skirt and sewed the edges. Cute!! I then decorated the tree with gray buffalo check ribbon and added the ornaments. Love it!
Let me know if you make or remake one, I'd love to see it. Merry Christmas!
A Good Day Fishing
I’ve introduced you to Camp Breac back in January with our “Leaping Trout” chainsaw sculpture project. Now I’d like to share with you a bit more about Camp Breac’s mission and how we made a boot rack into art. Camp Breac is a historical site and is a fly fishing community for our military, veterans, and their families with the mission of conservation of natural resources, the arts, & education conveniently located on Spring Creek in Bellefonte, PA.
It all began in September with a phone call from Jim Lanning. If you ever met Jim, you know you are going to spend some time…as you enjoy an Irish Coffee or a cold beer from the tap while you are brought up to speed about the latest happenings within the camp. Jim relies on many volunteers to help with projects ranging from stream improvements, land and facility upgrades and maintenance. Always with conservation, community involvement, and recycling in mind.
During one of these chats, Jim shared a problem, a wet stinky problem. As part of the camp’s mission to educate they offer fly fishing education, hands-on training, and even supply the equipment needed. The problem was lots of wet smelly fishing waders and boots. After a great day on the stream fisherman and women hang their boots and waders up on hooks in an upright position indoors. The result is they don’t get completely dry. Jim’s needed was a growing concern and he desired to have an outdoor boot rack conveniently located allowing the boots and waters to dry out in the fresh air before being stored indoors. As easy as this may sound to do, Jim had some pretty interesting requirements…
First it had to hold at least twelve pairs of boot and tall waders. Next, it had to be constructed of recycled materials, materials sourced from the camp itself or locally. It also had to fit within the camp’s theme and mission. The location had to be easy for the fisherman and women to get to and close enough to the indoor storage area. Jim, Ed, and I scouted the landscape and agreed upon the location. With such a visible location Ed and I knew a board and some pegs just wouldn’t do. We truly wanted to show our appreciation to the many veterans and service members visiting the camp. We left the camp with a 14’ board laying on the passenger side mirror and tied to the side of our pickup truck.
Ed and I were excited about the project and discussed ideas all the way home. After tossing around several ideas, we landed upon one we both had passion to build. It started out as a simple and relatively easy project and grew into a very large and detailed project. We took great care to use recycled materials, selecting materials sourced or manufactured in Pennsylvania. Thanks to the Penn State students who unknowingly suppling us with wine bottles, and Yuengling beer cans as we pilfered through their recycle bins. And a big shout out to the staff at Champs on North Atherton as they collected bottle caps and shared in our enthusiasm.
The Crow’s Nest was buzzing with activity. Ed started his chainsaw and chips were flying everywhere. When the saw stopped, I hardly recognized the plain flat board we brought home. After large holes were drilled into the textured wood, I began painting. Using colors native to the creek at the camp the board was no longer a board, it had been transformed into a flowing stream that 2 large 4’ trout were going to be leaping out of to catch a tasty handtied fly.
With the vision of the art piece was clear in our minds, it was time to prepare the site, the location where the art in boot rack form would like. I was very grateful to be accompanied by Jim, and two volunteer veterans Chuck and Godfrey. They made quick work of pruning and weeding. Chuck being skilled at building rock walls took on the task constructing rock tiers within garden area and Jim filled in the platform with pea gravel.
It was a large project and admittedly I felt overwhelmed, not just by the size, but I had underestimated how much more difficult it would be to turn recycled materials into usable pieces and how many hundreds of pieces I needed for just one 4 foot fish. I truly understood the saying “Nothing is ever as easy as it looks!” Thankfully my mother, Sandy stepped in to lend a hand with cutting hundreds of rows of scales out of aluminum cans.
The rest of the story is better told in pictures. Click here to view the album of our visual story making the fish boot rack.
On Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2020 we honorably dedicated “A Good Day Fishing” aka Art in Boot Rack Form with everyone wearing masks due to the Covid 19 pandemic, to all veterans and service members who were there and will visit Camp Breac. We thank you.
A pair of empty military and a pair of fishing boots in honor of those who served and did not return home will be bronzed and place under the rack on pedestals as soon as possible.
I encourage you to visit Camp Breac, meet Jim Lanning, and see if he has time for a tour and a beverage. Tell him “The Crows sent you”.
Comment back to me and tell me all about your experience at Camp Breac and how you like our art work.
"It is with great respect and appreciation to our family, friends, and community who have served in the armed forces, we say thank you. May the one that got away, be as large as our Yuengling Trout." Janise & Ed Crow
This is an evolving photo story about creating fishing themed art that serves as an outdoor wader and boot drying rack out of recycled materials for our veteran community at Camp Breac.
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This week I want to show you how you can easily freshen up your front porch to be welcoming & bright with odds and ends around your house or with a small budget.
Here I chose a rustic, light, and airy decor theme to blend with the current landscape of the area.
The goal: low cost, no maintenance (watering plants etc.), and easy to change for every season. A bit of creative recycling and repurposing will crucial to this update.
A fresh coat of beige/tan paint on the door, brightens and lightens the brick wall.
Spring is tree trimming time, we salvaged several large pieces of birch tree logs and cut them in a trio of sizes. I recycled a couple of old pine Christmas trees, spruced them up a bit and drilled holes in the logs to hold the artificial pine trees. To ensure stability in the wind, and a decorative finish, I used old rope to tie the three logs together.
The door wreath: A fun and memorable project. We recycled scrap wood to create a square frame, cut letter C, stained them and applied a white wash technique to give them that old barn board look. Lastly, I repurposed silk flowers from a recent wedding, made geometric shapes out of straws to add a bit of modern to the swag and was a key theme in the wedding. Repurposing these items from the wedding really gives this home a very special welcome to all who enter.
I welcome the opportunity to work with you to update or makeover your porch into a welcoming version of your style and personality.
If you need directions: see this previous post
We are in a volatile time in the world right now as we experience the Covid-19. We wanted to create a space / place for our community express words of encouragement, fear, art, and other feelings in a safe and simple visual way.
The Community Rock Garden – you matter, you are not alone, and you are part of a community
Why: We are all experiencing something new (covid-19) which impacts us all and we have many thoughts and feelings about it. Our community has a rich history of supporting each other and I thought a community rock garden would be a good way to express ourselves to one another in simple, but visual way.
How It Works: Select a rock, paint/draw on the rock images, messages, encouragement, feelings, art, or what ever you want. Then add it to the tree line garden area located in the middle Greenbriar/Saybrook park, barked/natural areas (not grass) around the trees.
Who: Anyone who wants to participate, all ages
What: rocks painted your expressions on a rock and share it in our garden
When: Started 3/27/2020 – no end date
Where: Greenbriar Saybrook Park, in State College, PA (row of trees in between near the Greenbriar pavilion) Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/X6av42yNZz3LLYJ16
I used symbols on my rocks here is where I found some symbols along with their meanings
More inspiring images
Share pictures of your work, your story of the meaning behind your art work, the rock garden, you at the garden, etc on social media (be sure to tag us or checkin at Crows Nest Arts) Facebook Instagram CrowsNestArts1
Thank you so much for sharing this lovely rock garden idea. I just added one and would encourage others to do the same. The process of creating and then taking it to the designated spot in the park felt nourishing. Good for the soul. Jody
Design: size built to hide the air conditioning units, visually pleasing, colorful
Bottles: collect used bottles, sanitize, remove labels, drill holes, and rewash
Spacers: collect items to use as spacers in between bottles, we used gears on this project
Build Frame: purchase pressure treated lumber, cut lumber, assemble with screws and bolts, drill holes, stain and seal, and then mount in location.
Bottle Rods: cut rods to length, string on bottles & gears in desired patterns.
Final Assembly: place rods with bottles through holes in frames, add top bottles.
This is part of a bigger custom garden re-landscaping project using recycled materials. Yes, Ed did have to hold on to my feet a few times as I had to dig pretty deep in those recycling bins! Haha! The gears were left over from Sarah Etchells and Will’s wedding decor.
Follow our updates on Facebook See March 22, 2020)
Design: height with visually pleasing, colors, playfulness, and holes for plants
Concrete Blocks: collect used blocks from around the house, clean, prime the blocks
Color & Design: researched the web for design ideas, and rummaged through paint stashes to come up with a color pallet
Hand painted each block, some needed several coats, then sealed with block sealer, and allow to dry for several days.
Want to work with Janise on your own DIY projects? contact Janise
On to the next items needed. I will keep you posted on the progress of the larger garden makeover.
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It was a privilege to work with Crystal to surprise her husband CJ to honor the memories of his father who's motto was "Never Give Up". Ed
Leaping Trout Chainsaw Carving
After a tour of Camp Breac and one of Jim’s famous Irish Coffees made with local spirits from Big Spring Spirits the place begins to feel like home. You quickly settle in and the many faces you meet are new family members that you share a common connection to. For Ed and I, we are children of veterans with many family members that were part of the armed forces. I particularly felt at home. As I sipped my coffee, surrounded by veterans listening to their stories, my mind drifted to images of my childhood surrounded by military and civil servants and the feelings of comfort and a sense of belonging came over me. Memories of my father, an Army veteran, came to mind as I sat chatting with and observing several more veterans. I wondered if they realized how simply being in their presence brought me joy. We left that day honored to be a part of Camp Breac’s mission and became part of the family.
Jim had a dream to turn that ugly stump into something special for everyone to enjoy. As family members do, we help each other out with time and talents, it was not different to Ed and I. We agreed to take on the project and understood why Ed was recommended for the task. Ed is known for his giant leaping fish carvings and this tree stump was perfect for one.
It was winter when Ed began cutting into massive stump with his chainsaw. It took him two weekends to carve the “Leaping Trout” that stands about 9 feet tall and faces Spring Creek. After the color was added to the base to resemble the creek, Jim and veterans painted on the clear sealant coat. Another avid fisherman tied the large fly that hangs above the trout.
Art in the outdoors is part of our mission and teaming up with Camp Breac is a natural fit. We look forward to meeting more of our community and working on projects together in the future.
It is our hope that many conversations and connections are made around the old spruce, now a brown trout that serves as welcome to everyone visiting Camp Breac.
When you meet Jim, tell him "The Crows sent you". :)
You can find these necklaces and bracelets here
Style: owner's chosen style is retro / eclectic vintage
- Created 2 different spaces in one room 1) crafting work area and 2) sitting lounge area
- Craft working area:
- open work space for multiple people with seating
- up-cycled vintage kitchen table top, added vintage manual sewing base as legs -
- re-purposed cube storage drawers
- custom made cushions to create seating over cube storage drawers
- re-purposed retro chairs
- vintage dress form holds craft tools near working table
- vintage tins, tray, baskets decorative organizer containers
- vintage fur accents from old coats
- refurbished vintage fan for cross ventilation
- standing work bench: created several stations: hot torch area, grinding & polishing, sawing and shaping
- mounted movable lights, magnifiers, and tools
- recycled lazy Susan under workbench for easy access to organizers
- recycled jars, plastic containers, baskets, and trays for organizers
- table top tools organizer
- re-purposed plastic chair mat as carpet protector
- storage cabinets
- up-cycled and vintage writing desk: added custom shelving, and made door handles from deer antlers
- recycled jars, plastic containers for organizers
- converted boat shelf into cleaver storage for beads & findings
- recycled old beer crate into book storage cabinet
- re-purposed lamps for extra movable lighting
- re-purposed deer antlers, fur, deer head for decorations
- open space behind the boat shelf to store in process projects (windows were the current projects when photos were taken)
- up-cycled old suitcases into a stacking side table with storage
- re-purposed an old couch
- re-purposed pillows
- up-cycled old vintage wig box into retro style side table
- re-purposed vintage lamps
- refurbished vintage accessories, decor, & props that are functional and ascetic
- dress forms that are used to design and display
- working fans for ventilation
- deer heads
- fur accents from vintage coat
- pull down shades for filtered lighting
- white cotton curtains - serves as sun control and photography backdrop
- open work space for multiple people with seating
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This was part of a craft studio remodel project, look for next posting about the entire room.
My good friend Michelle's mother was down sizing and relocating her home of many many years. She asked me to assist her with cleaning out her mother's attic which had been use by many many family members as storage. Little did she know, I was thrilled to do it. My inner child came out and I was imaging all the forgotten treasures, special memories of tokens, keepsakes, dishes, wedding dresses, hats, toys, movies, photos, etc... My imagination went wild thinking of all the possible oddities that await in the attic.
It was clean out weekend... we ventured up the stairs to find an attic full of stuff that needed to be gone through and sorted by what to keep, trash, sell, or donate. As we sorted through, the memories and stories started to come to life. The experiences of those who came before and childhood memories filled the air. It made a dirty job very rewarding.
Out of the trash pile I gathered these old suitcases.
Design: to create a side table that doubles as storage.
- determine height needed
- secure stacking of each suitcase
- how each case could be opened or removed individually
- room style would determine legs
Purchased ready made legs from hardware store along with appropriate hardware.
Stained and attached the legs
Use double sided sticky Velcro in between the suitcases to secure one to the other, also allows for easy removing to access the storage areas.
Want to work with Janise on your own DIY projects? contact Janise
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Update: We have two tables and bench sets completed. Our second table set turned out to be a beautiful blue gray slate color (first photo). Really lovely color, but not the color we were going for so back to the stain development process to get the warm brown gray undertones we originally planned.
I will update the product page soon, but if you are interested in this color, please reserve it now as we will only be making one set. (just put a comment on the checkout page "I would like the blue gray set" or contact us.)
Ed has our shop buzzing with sawing, drilling, sanding, and assembling. Janise completed the developed a custom stain and fishing technique to provide the warm gray brown undertones with the white wash overlay we desire. Now back to the finish work of staining, white washing, sanding, and clear coating of the remaining sets.
In this video Ed is demonstrating biscuit and pocket holes joinery, the techniques he uses to build farm tables modeled after Amish style farm tables.
The purpose is to join two pieces of wood to each other. The benefit to biscuits is that they add strength and durability to a project. Their main purpose is as a joiner.
Pocket hole joinery is a very simple process - it involves nothing more than drilling an angled counter-bore into a piece of wood and joining it to another piece of wood with a screw. The screw sits inside the hole and provide a sturdy out of sight joint.
The labor of love has begun as Ed steadily hones his furniture making skills and Janise fine tunes her custom finishing processes. The goal is it turn the piles of raw lumber acquired from a local Amish mill into beautiful gray farm house tables and benches before June of 2019.
We are thrilled to say have one table and two benches completely finished. We have had so many complements on them, we decided to offer them for sale. They would be available for pickup/delivery at the end of June.
The test was to see if the future bride would like the prototype and want to use dad's hand made tables for her wedding reception. She loved them, now Ed had his wish come true, a special project for his daughter's wedding day, 15 handmade custom farm house tables with benches, in a gray white wash finish.
We will post our progress of making the 12-15 tables and 24-30 benches along the way, so keep following us.
I recently learned of a local art gallery looking for art submissions using recycled/re-purposed materials. Naturally I was curious so I investigated more. The theme is "Beasts Among Us" I couldn't stop thinking about it. Ideas flowed in and out of my mind quickly. I grew more excited about what found treasures I could use to convey my message. I quickly scavenged my stash. I connected with friends to ask for their unwanted items and I dug through the local recycle bins.
This is to be my first large art piece I have ever submitted to a juried exhibit. My goal was to stay true to who I am as a fashion and jewelry artist. I want to create a wearable art piece that is unique and beautiful with lots of interest. That sparks enough interest to make you want to look closer and explore all the details. that are not so obvious. All the while pondering the question what are the "Beasts Among Us". This is an introspective view of the Beast In Me.
Consider This While Looking at "Beasts in Me"
A beast is usually thought of as a large and dangerous four-footed animal. There are many types of beasts in the world. A domestic bovine farm animal is one. Dogs, cats, horses, monkeys, birds, and fish are all beasts. Even tiny critters like bugs are beasts.
People can be called beasts, too, when they behave in a beastly way. Anyone acting in an uncivilized, depraved, savage, violent, or cruel way is being a beast.
Beasts are considered powerful and can be cunning. Consider how they might use its skills toward prey, unnoticeably observing, listening, and learning. Beasts make subtle and strategic moves to lure, demobilize, and devour its prey.
Beasts live among us and they seem normal and a vital part of daily life. But they can be deceivingly attractive either in appearance, beneficial use, strength, power, and acceptance.
What happens when the beast is human?
What is happening today?
What is the beast within me?
What's it made of?
Discarded and recycled materials from nature, fashion, food, electronic, and construction industries.
- Train Station Gallery, Clinton County Art Council
June 8th 6-9 pm Opening Reception
June 8 - July 7 2018
Train Station Gallery Hours:
Thursday-Friday: 1pm-5pm ~ Saturday: 9am-4pm ~ Sunday: 1pm-4pm
- Crows Nest Arts
July 8, 2018 - (by appointment)
Stop by our booth, carver #12, on Center St and say hi!
Don’t forget to vote for your favorite carver!!
Saturday, April 28
9am - 5 pm Carver & Artist booths open Around the courthouse
9am - 4pm Vote for People's Choice Award
9am - 4 pm Collaborative Carving - Nature Pole Tribute to Dave Love
11am - 4pm Live Music
1:30pm - 3pm Carvers demonstrate during Quick Carves, carvings will be auctioned at the end of the carve session.
5pm awards for carvers
Projects by Date
Hi, I'm Janise Crow a jewelry designer and mixed-media artist. Here you will find our latest projects, experiments, and even how to's.
We welcome you to be a of our community. Leave a comment, get updates in your email, or shout out to us on social media, we'd love to connect with you.