Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What's in a Name?

Welcome! Today I'm participating in Shelley Turner's "What's in a Name?" Blog Hop, where several designers are telling the story behind the name of their blog, site, or business.

The name of my blog and studio actually started from a dream-- a dream my husband and I shared of building our own home. Not the traditional way of hiring contractors to do  most of it... no, we thought we'd like to do it ourselves.

That's me, the chop saw chick. You might think we were contractors, or somehow otherwise qualified to take this on. No, I was a stay at home mom at the time, and my husband worked in an office. We had done quite a few DIY projects in the past, but the most we'd ever built was a shed. A SHED. Until 2003. And somehow... we're still married. But that's another blog post...

We bought property, worked with an architect at First Day Cottage, and came up with a plan. The property we chose to build on was a heavily wooded ravine. At the top of the hill, looking down to the building site, were two little paper birch trees. Eventually, I thought, they would grow into a beautiful gateway to our home, so we named the place Twin Birch Cottage, and of course, started a blog.

Here are my kids and a family friend watching the 'dozers from the birch trees.

Construction was underway! Then, just as the site was cleared, the driveway was in and the basement was about finished, a storm hit and knocked down one of the birch trees. I was crushed. But we carried on and my dad planted a new birch tree for us-- this time a River Birch, better suited to our site.

Soon we had a basement, and a floor, and rafters.

 The idea behind the First Day Cottage is that a couple or family could purchase all the materials and the plan necessary to get a house weather-tight in 12 weeks. With the help of lots of family and friends, we got our larger model weather-tight in about 16 weeks.

Over the next 6-7 months, we worked on the interior, hiring a mason to build a masonry heater, building our two tall staircases, and adding building our kitchen around this antique surgery sink salvaged from a local landmark.


The second summer of the project, another storm hit and took out the second paper birch. I'm not making this up.But this time we just laughed and shook our heads. Twin Birch Cottage had no more birches, but this is the view from where the birches used to be. When it came time to name my business, my studio, my blog-- what else would I choose except the name of our one-time dream-- a dream we made reality with a lot of hard work and a lot of help from family and friends!

Hope you enjoyed the story of Twin Birch Studio-- please visit the rest of the participants, and don't forget to wish Shelly Graham Turner a happy birthday!


 Blog Host/Birthday Girl! - Shelley Graham Turner of Tori Sophia

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Bead Soup Partner is Mixed Media Artist, Jeannie Dukic

Let's just talk about how talented my Bead Soup partner, Jeannie Dukic, is.  When my box arrived, I had no idea the variety of artwork and thoughtful goodies that would be carefully packaged inside. Sure, I expected beautiful beads, maybe even a few of her stunning polymer clay beads or, if I was lucky, a focal. But did you know:  Jeannie is a mixed media artist! Take a look at what I found--
Jeannie created two art journals where I can capture my sketches or ideas for the pieces I will design, gorgeous collaged boxes, and a 4"x4" mixed media canvas with my initial and the lovely guidance "follow your heart" on it.

Let me repeat that: I received a piece of original Jeannie Dukic wall (or desk) art. Look at those luscious colors. So beautiful. (We're not even talking about the beads yet!) Jeannie is so utterly thoughtful, she included a beautiful cup and special teabags, and even sweet treats in the "provisions" canister. You are going to have to trust me that it came full of candy; my children found it before I shot the photos and enjoyed it immensely!

Then I opened the lovely art boxes and found the beads, clasps and patinated copper wire. Look at the special packaging for the beads! And inside the baggies... 

Can't wait to start using these lovelies. I'm going to go make myself some fancy (iced) tea, and sketch a few designs!

I also wanted to toss in the soup that I sent to Jeannie-- featuring a glass focal by Jennifer Cameron of Glass Addictions and etched and patinated discs by Lisa Liddy of Metal Me This.

Have a beautiful day!