Welcome Message

Marvel, Muse, Manifest, Materialize. Welcome to February Jones: The Blog. While you're here I might challenge some of your opinions, show you something you never knew before, or if you're lucky, I just might melt your brain and bring you a new way of viewing the world and your place in it. And I have accessories to help you remember these new ways of thinking! View my Etsy shop items just to your lower right in my CraftCult widget, or by clicking on the Merchverse tab above. See what some of my customers think in the Testimonial section, and check out all on my interweb featurettes in the Media section. You can even watch some awesome Etsy videos in the Etsy Fun! section. I hope you enjoy the World of February Jones and come back often, things are always changing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Handmade Halloween

I grew up with a house rule during the Hallowe'en season,

"If you're trick-or-treating you should earn it by making your costume." 

That made Hallowe'en an event that required planning, and sometimes, hard work. Pulling on the soccer uniform that I'd worn once a week that past summer wouldn't cut it in my household, and the handmade Hallowe'en philosophy has stuck with me.

Tonight my fiance Jim and I took his daughter out trick-or-treating, and we planned her costume the week before- she was going to be a Zombie Bride. We hit up our local Value Village and picked out a satin-ish ivory coloured nightslip and matching cozy sweater to wear underneath as Abby's bridal gown, chose a bouquet of flowers, and found some creepy armwarmers (the only "new and packaged" item that we purchased). We used cotton webbing for the spiderwebs, and made a tiara with wire, a rubber bat, and some plastic flies (also made matching bat earrings). After a little bit of rolling in the dirt, messing up the hair, and makeup application, I had one scary looking Zombie Bride trick-or-treater.

Abigail, age 10 as a Zombie Bride 

Abby got lots of compliments at the doors for her costume, and many fulfilling reactions from the people who came to see. It was wonderful to see the obvious delight that she derived from this experience. It wasn't the obtaining of candy that was the fun part for her, it was showing people (strangers and family alike) something home-made, something that she and I had worked on, and having them react in an emotional and positive way that was her entertainment this evening.

Abby and I in front of our apartment door on our way out... I'm a Foxy Zombie ;)

It was so rewarding for me as a parent to provide for her an environment that encourages this kind of positive reinforcement for doing something for yourself

I encourage you all to make home-made or handmade a normal and treasured part of all your holiday seasons, not just Hallowe'en. You have lots of time to plan a new tradition for Christmas :) Hop to it!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mind Meld: Journal Archives

This is a new regular feature that I'd like to do to help show you all a bit more about what makes me tick, or how I think, or why I am the way that I am and how my life and experiences have contributed to the things I love to make today. So I present to you the "Mind Meld"! If you've never heard the term before, that's okay... it's from Star Trek (I have a geeky-dorky side which I'm sure you'll get to know) and only Vulcans can do it ;)

A "mind-meld" is a technique for sharing thoughts, experiences, memories, and knowledge with another individual. -Wikipedia

It could be a little piece from one of my old sketchbooks, or a page from a journal, or a spotlight on a favourite movie that I just can't ever get enough of... you get the idea. I have a lot of things tucked away, whether they're written on pages or simply memories that I've never shared, but I think they each deserve their time in the sun and you never know, maybe they will change the way you think about something or maybe even help you realize that you aren't alone in the way you feel. Who knows? Think of it as a bit of a show and tell, like you used to do in school when you were a kid- after all, we can all benefit from a little bit of childhood fun, no matter how old we are!

Journal Selection - June 22, 2005

The photo should be large enough for you to read the entry, but if you want to make it bigger just hold down your control button and press the "plus (+)" sign to make it bigger and then the "minus (-)" sign to make it smaller again. I made a photocopy of this entry, cut out the image and tacked it on my inspiration board- for a stick figure I think it communicates a lot! I use this image to remind me that your past is important because it has shaped who you are today, but if you get hung up on it you'll never be able to proceed into your future. When I wrote this entry I never thought that 5 years later I'd be taking real steps to follow my dreams. I don't think it would have happened if I was still trying to lug my baggage around. Instead I now "leave it in storage" and can summon up different parts of it to help me gracefully walk, step by step, into my future. 

I challenge you to leave some stuff behind (metaphorically) and join me in taking small steps, bit by bit, towards the future of your dreams. Do you have a dream that you've always wanted to pursue? Share it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today, Small Craft Table... Tomorrow, The World

I finally got all of my creations together in one place- or rather, on one table. It's something that I've wanted to do for pretty much my whole life so this first experience was a bit of a dream come true. I became a member of my local artist's community, Art-in-Guelph so that I could take advantage of discounted table fees at the different events that are hosted by Art-in-Guelph. It was a small step in the right direction, and perfect for my first time working a table.

 Free "small space" setup during a weekend event that I couldn't get a table for- Quantum Squiggles

There were 7 or 8 other artists present and our tables were set up in the wide open aisleway of a uniquely styled mall space in Guelph called Old Quebec Street. I spent 2 weeks preparing my table, arranging my jewellery and accessories, and of course, creating as much stock as I could. In my free time I researched different sites and blogs to find tips for first timers and this blog post from Mermaid's Closet was awesome!

My first event table set up... Such excitement!

When the big day arrived, I was rushed but calm. I woke and drove my fiancee to his carpool, got my (future) stepdaughter up and off to school, then quickly dressed and prepped myself before heading to my studio space to collect my things and motor to the show. I had a dream that morning that I forgot to load a chair, so I was confident that I couldn't possibly forget it. I did... (Thanks for coming to my rescue Mom!)That morning was much busier than I had anticipated, but the excitement I was feeling balanced out my emotions. Shortly after getting set up, some of the other artists started to visit because they noticed a new face among the regulars. I was building up my confidence to introduce myself (sometimes I can get a little shy, which a lot of people find hard to believe) so having people come to me made those introductions a little bit easier. The warmest welcome that I recieved by far was from Nicole, who runs a shop called "Fawn" and I absolutely fell in love with her feathered headbands.

 A new earring display made of steel wire inspired by my new friend Nicole of Fawn

I made a Facebook event and invited lots of people so I did have a few familliar faces stop by the table throughout the day. Visits from people that I knew was a great way to increase my sense of familiarity and comfort with the whole experience, it really did feel like this was something that I did all the time- almost as though friends were stopping by my place for a coffee and a chat. Having them show their support was also just a great feeling, regardless of whether or not they purchased something. When you have a group of people behind you that support every step you make, you really begin to feel like you could do anything.

Treasury Tuesday! "All Hallow's Eve"

I spent a long time searching for all of the amazing items in this spooky and macabre treasury. I wanted a Hallowe'en themed treasury that went beyond costumes, clothing, and traditional Hallowe'en colours and captured the essence of where this fun day came from. The shops featured here have beautiful pieces (or in some cases, services). Give it a click and enjoy your browsing!

All Hallows Eve Treasury


Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Maker of Things

As a Maker of Things, I have come to appreciate everything that goes into small-scale production. And by “small-scale” I mean as small as an army of one. The World of Handmade is a vast and wonderful place where hard-working, committed, creative people are manifesting their dreams with their own two hands. In a world as interrelated as ours is showing itself to be, that is worth so much more than the carbon copies or artificial self-differentiators that are rampant in today’s marketplace. 

 One of a Kind (OOAK) Custom Betty and Veronica Bubble Danglers

Two years ago when my fiancee and I made the decision to cut cable tv out of our daily lives, I thought I would finally see the end of my life's constant commercial bombardment. I was excited to live in a world where I wouldn't have to experience the constant tumult of brands being shoved down my throat that promised to make me a unique individual if I purchased them along with the rest of millions of other people who were purchasing the same thing. So many products are espousing benefits that are supposed to add to your self-definition or allow you to "express yourself". But how can these products effectively do that when the exact same thing is also in the hands of many other people? In any case, cutting our cable did not bring an end to corporate sponsors entering our home, but at least it modified the frequency. Lessening the presence of corporate culture in my life has allowed me to appreciate the real value of handmade goods that much more.

Once upon a time the marketplace was the center of the city where everyone gathered to exchange their skills and handmade products for things that they needed but could not make or services they required but could not perform. Money, or a medium of exchanged allowed people to trade their wares and skills for credit that allowed them obtain those things and services they required. It was simply easier than searching for what is called a "double coincidence of wants" in which you exchange something you have with another person who has something you want. Money didn't have any value in isolation. Classical economic models apply to this market system, not a global market. With all of the economic fluctuations that have been occuring in recent years, it has come to light that economic predictions simply are not panning out. No one wants to say that the "market" these predictions are trying to forecast is simply to large. No one wants to say that a global marketplace might be a bad thing. Bigger is better, right? But the planet has been trying to tell us that this isn't the case, and it's time that we listened. Why put so many of your hard-earned dollars towards expensive items when you are clearly paying so much for the brand power? Companies that have the money to pay for a prime-time commercial slot during the Superbowl pass the expense on to you, the consumer, through their high price tags. You pay for the name, not necessarily the product.

Comparison of designer label Tiffany & Co. vs handcrafted couture label Ghost Love

Be proud of the things that you can do for yourself, and be proud to own something that you know came from the hardworking hands of another person just like you. Take an interest in learning a new skill. Fall back on the ways of living throughout human history that brought people together and built up communities. Don't be afraid to become A Maker of Things, and challenge yourself to learn about the amazing things that people in your very own community can do.

Visit Etsy and use the Shop Local option (clicking on the link will automatically load Guelph shops, but you can enter your own location), and keep an eye on your community listings for different artisan events. Visit your local Farmer's Market (listings for Ontario, Canada) to get an idea of all the great things that you can find close to home made by hands that you probably know through six degrees of seperation or less ;)

Enjoy your browsing, I hope you'll be both amazed and inspired.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deoxy Doodle Giveaway!

Take a look at this blog Joy De Vivre Designs (joy of living) where Heather shares her fabulous fashion finds, interior design ideas and bits and pieces from her life. Every week she also does a feature called "Have You Seen This Etsy Shop?" and this week the feature shop is none other than February Jones. You can even enter a free giveaway contest for a pair of Deoxy Doodles earrings, just follow the simple "How To Enter" instructions at the end of her feature. The deadline is noon on Monday (October 25th) so what are you waiting for?! Go take a peek :)

 This fabulous pair of Deoxy Doodles are anxiously awaiting a new home! Enter Heather's contest at Joy De Vivre Designs and they might become yours!


Candy is Dandy - A Treasury

A totally tasty treasury of treats! Not only is Hallowe'en on it's way, but I sort have a major thing for candy. Satisfy your sweet tooth with your eyes instead of your mouth and surprise yourself with all the succulent situations you could use these savoury items. Here, take a napkin- it isn't polite to let your drool drip ;)

All items are from various crafty Etsy sellers. Just click for a closer look!

Candy is Dandy 
Mmmmm... Enjoy!


Taking the Leap

Breathe, and jump right in. You never know where you'll land if you never get off your feet, so...

Photo is Card 0 - The Fool from The Trascendental Game of Zen, Osho Zen Tarot

My name’s Maria. "February Jones" is a bit like my alter-ego mixed together with thoughts, dreams, and the creations that are available in my little Etsy shop of the same name (www.februaryjones.etsy.com).

I make things.

Correction… I love to make things. I’m crazy about it. It excites me. It challenges me. It’s just fan-freakin’-tastic, and I would not be who I am if I was denied the privilege of creating as often as I can and as freely as I want. I am a Maker of Things.

Right now it’s mostly jewellery, but I also crochet and knit, and I love finding new ways to repurpose and recycle things. Sometimes I paint, or collage, or write. I’ve always been “different”, and not always by choice, but you play the hand you’re dealt- or so I learned in time. My mom wouldn’t buy into the trends that I demanded as I grew up, and though it may have been hard to take as a kid, I can’t thank her enough for it now.

My fiancĂ©e James and I don’t subscribe to cable (which has gone over fine with his soon-to-be eleven year old daughter. Imagine that, a Tween surviving without cable tv...) and I hate paying full price for new clothes, or well, anything “new” really (I thrive on second-hand shops, “previously-viewed” DVD’s, and free entertainment) because, really, is anything ever actually worth the original sticker price? (as a holder of Commerce degree specializing in Marketing, I know that it never is). And besides, who is to say that we all value the same things equally? I love who I am and I stand by the choices that I make. I love to learn, and share ideas, and think about weird things… often while I’m making other things, so sometimes my brain is running on overdrive.

I hope this blog will encourage people to look for more not just in their consumer products, but in themselves, their lives, and their world. There is more meaning out there for those of you who are willing to look, but don't take my word for it. Go and find out for yourself.