Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Gourd By Any Other Name...

I love going to arts and craft shows...the talent and creations are amazing, and when I run across an artist that works in a medium I never thought of, well, I just have to share.

This past weekend I attended (and particiapted) in a local fair, Faith Community Fest, and while walking around I came across this booth.

 That mask caught my eye.  I have to admit, that at first I said, ewww, this is so not my style of decor, and kept walking.  But I was pulled back to that booth, and decided to take a closer look...

With my second look, my response turned into "how cool".  The detail and color just pulled me in.  Once I was able to look away, I started to check out the rest of the items.

This bear vase would be perfect for Chuck's study, and I loved it, and the one next to it, and the one next to that, and so on, and so forth. I spent a lot of time in that booth. lol  Then the artist's friend turned me towards this dragon.  WOW.  Look at that detail!  The background is where she carved away the outer skin of the gourd so the dragon and leaves all stand out, and it goes all the way around the gourd.  The detail carving on the dragon is so minute and perfect.

The artist is Dionne and she has her work showcased in high end stores all over western NC, and I can understand's a few more...

This is Dionne, and I had a wonderful visit with her.  She is not only a talented artist, but a lovely and gracious woman.  So was her friend, and supporter, but she refused to stand still in front of my camera. lol

Of course, I had to tell her that The CraftStar is THE place for artists like her, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she will join our crafting family.

Have a great Memorial Weekend everyone.

Monday, May 18, 2015

What's Trending Monday - Week 7Mond

Time to get cracking and plan our weekly posting with trending hashtags...


#BBMAs (Billboard Music Awards)
#1yearofDon'tStop (a music video of guys dressed as super heros?)
CHINX (killed rapper)
Bob Hewitt (former tennis star convicted of rape)
Victorino Chua (nurse guilty of murdering patients)


Bob Hewitt: South African Court Sentences Retired Tennis Star to 6 Years for Rape and Sexual Assault
WWE Payback: New WWE World Heavyweight Champion Named at Sunday Pay-Per-View Event
Police Lab Tests: London Force Finds Arsenic and Rat Droppings in Seized Fake Beauty Goods
Taylor Swift: Singer Releases Video for 'Bad Blood' at Billboard Music Awards
Goulburn, New South Wales: Millions of Baby Spiders Appear to Rain Down on Australian Town
#SimpleMinds: Band Performs Tribute to 'The Breakfast Club' at Billboard Music Awards
Kanye West: Television Broadcast of Billboard Music Awards Mutes Minute of Rapper's Performance


#Monday Motivation
#Attractions (travel destinations from Discover)
#ViratKohli (cricket player)

Now for my top picks to hashtag this week...
Monday Motivation
Coupon Code
Memorial Day


Friday, May 15, 2015

TCS Artist Feature - Jerry Cowart from Fine Art Photography by Jerry, and Jerry's Cardocopia

When I sent my standard questionnaire to Jerry, I got a wonderful surprise in return, the full story of Jerry and his shops.  I enjoyed it and I'm sure you will also.

My good friend Schelesia Mangus introduced me to The CraftStar and it was her idea along with some of her friends who came up with both of my two shop names. Fine Art Photography By Jerry Cowart where I sell my photography and Jerry's Cardocopia where I sell my fine art frameable greeting cards.  Schelesia (I call her Shelley) has been a mentor and friend in getting me set up and running on both of my both of shops. It has been about a year that I have been working with Shelley and she has been a real God send. 

3 wild mustangs stallions

I love the art of photography and being out in nature with just my camera. When it comes to selling my work online and having to learn about the process of using the social media to get my name and my brand out to potential customers, I hated that part. It takes the joy out of taking and sharing my photography with others. Shelly is a brilliant writer and knows the ins and outs of selling on line and how to use the social media.  We came up with a great idea and she was willing to take it on. I would do the photography and she would help me out on all my listing and selling on line. Bingo problem solved and we both get to do what we love doing. I get to go out into nature and experience it's beauty and bring back home and look through the photos I have taken and then Shelley will make up listing for each photo. 

3D beaded costa's hummingbird necklace

Thank you Shelley (Schelesia Mangus} for all you support and getting me going on The CraftStar. I just looked at your The CraftStar shop, Unique Beaded Gifts and Jewelry and I love the 3D Beaded Costa's Hummingbird Necklace, it is my favorite. For those of you who don't know Shelley take a look at her Hummingbird Necklace you will love it!

Before I started selling my fine art photography over two years ago, I was an award winning graphic designer and I was the principal designer of my own advertising design business. I learned what I am really good at and what I am not so good at. The things I love to do, I do, and the other things I don't enjoy doing, I find great people who love doing those things. I met Shelley who loves doing the things I am not good at and she agreed to work with me and take those things on so I can enjoy the art of photography. 

Memorial Day Greeting Card

Life has taught me that good things come to good people and not to be afraid of the unknown. Sometimes easier said than done, but I keep trying. Bingo Shelley shows up in life and it just reinforced the belief good things come to good people and just keep putting your dream out there and a friend will come along and be part of your journey and help make your life and dreams easier and will help show you the way. God has been good to me and has given me the gift of photography to be able to share with others and bring joy into their life. I feel so fortunate at this stage in my life that I have been given a gift that takes me out of my depression while dealing with cancer.  Life is good and thank God for good friends and new friends that are supporting me as I fulfill my dream as a nature fine art photographer. 

I am happily married to my wife Hilary and we have two children, Shona and Michael and one black Lab. All have been instrumental in making me success in life. I am one fortunate man to have them, and friends standing beside as I continue my ongoing journey into nature photography. What a blessing to have their support. 

Inspirational Original Art Photo
I live in the Chatsworth California and within a half mile of the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park and it's great hiking trails. A lot of the Roy Rogers TV shows were filmed in the hills around the Santa Susana Pass foothills and it’s beautiful scenery. Great hiking and a wonderful place to take landscape and nature photography. I enjoy hiking with my son, our dog and of course my camera, which I take everywhere. 

As a successful award winning graphic designer for over 40 years, my interest in photography started during my tour in Vietnam in 1968, when I carried a Kodak 35MM Instamatic every place I went. Now I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and carry it every place I go. After I got back to the states, I enrolled full time at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California, graduating in 1972 with a BA degree in advertising/graphic design. Through my love for graphic design, I got involved with some of the top photographers in the Los Angeles area and photography has been a passion ever since. 

I have found that when one door closes another always opens and it’s even better than the one that just closed. When I was diagnosed in 2008 with none curable non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer that I am currently dealing with, I went into a depression and could not figure out how to get out of it. A lot of prayer, family and good friends helped me see the new door that was opening before me. The love for giving to others and my photography. Both cancer and photography have opened my eyes to a world I had not seen and felt for a while. My photography has been a life saver in more ways than one.  A new door is opening for me, one that is taking me out into nature and letting me feel again. My eyes have been open, but now I can see!
sun rays over calm ocean

I get great satisfaction knowing my photography has touched the hearts of others. My photography is a gift that and it is very rewarding to share it with others.   I give a portion of my sales to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society which helps blood cancer patients live better, longer lives and to Veterans, Inc., an organization that serves veterans and their families across America as a way of being thankful for all I have been given.

My journey with photography is an ongoing and ever-evolving process. I am challenged to slow down each and every day in this busy world and to stop and admire all the beauty by which I am surrounded. What I have discovered is to enjoy the moment, to love the sound of the shutter as it goes off and be lost in the joy, for in the blink of an eye it will be gone. I see the perfection and beauty in a world that is not always as kind and loving as I would want it to be. My photography is about seeing and experiencing the beauty all around me and hoping it will move the viewer in a way that they feel what I felt in that moment, in that once in a lifetime moment that has now been caught in the beauty of a print for all to see. Black and white or color photography both make my heart sing.
the stare of a stallion

I have several favorite photos of my work, but my most exciting and rewarding photography I have done is a series I did on the majestic wild horses on the Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico.  The honor and opportunity to be among these wild mustangs is something I will always remember. My photography has taken me places and shown me things I never would have experienced, if it were not for my love of photography. 

Here are two coupons you can use in my Fine Art Photography By Jerry Cowart shop or Jerry’s Cardocopia greeting cards.
25% Off Coupon code for my Fine Art Photography By Jerry Cowart shop: Photo25 
15% Off Coupon code for Jerry’s Cardocopia greeting cards: Card15
I invite you to look at my work and also to become friends on Facebook. I hope you will enjoy viewing my photography and it touches you in some way. 
Thank you Jerry for your story, and we are so glad to have you as part of The CraftStar family!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tuesday Night Live Recap - Google+ collections

We had another great show last night...and here's all the great shops and business stuff we talked about...

Rhonda gave us a great talk through tutorial of the new Google+ app

we can now make collections of our favorite posts!  I'll post Rhonda's in depth step by step instructions on Friday, but until then, watch the show. :0)

Next up, and most important, IT'S TIME TO VOTE!
The CraftStar is competing for an amazing grant from Chase help improve our site, which in turns, improves your shops.  So click on the link and vote...and then share, share, share.

How about this wonderful interview Bethan did on this great blog...
My favorite quote from this interview is Bethan's response to the question, "How are you currently growing your business?"
"Persistence, passion, persistence, passion!!"

Then we toured some outstanding The CraftStar shops...

Bethan's shop choice was Starfall, a new shop on site.  And full of adorable, and affordable, crocheted items for the whole family.  I love this group of Babushka Dolls.  My mom wore a babushka, and she wasn't even Polish. (except by marriage). lol  So here's to you Mom.

Rhonda's shop choice was Calliopes Attic.  If you need crafting and jewelry must visit Claudia's's all American Made supplies in custom finishes and patinas.
This dogwood flower is in a Mexican chocolate patina.
Claudia is a master of "patinaing" and has several colors that are exclusively hers.  So than anything you create with her supplies would truly be unique.
Claudia also has a second shop, Anarchist Couture, featuring some of her finished pieces.

My shop pick is Linda's shop, Warmth.
How adorable are these mice????
Linda has mice for almost every occasion and career.  One of my favorites is this American Flag Mouse, just in time for Independence Day.
I remember while growing up that my Mom had a few felt mice, I don't know who make them or where she got them, she just always had them, and I loved them.  Now I can visit Linda's shop and think of Mom.  Oh, and Linda...we need a yoga mouse and a Kim Kardashian "selfie" mouse. *hint hint

And last but not least, we talked about a new Facebook community, just for The CraftStar shops,
The CraftStar Creative.  Join us there and share your new, and old, creations, plus tips and encouragement.

That's all for sure to mark your calendar for next Tuesday!
And don't forget to VOTE!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

What's Trending Monday - Week 6

Time to plan our week....

#qanda ( ABC question and answer)
American Idol
#dwtsnz (dancing with the stars, New Zealand)
Lebron (Lebron James)
Tate Modern (Tate Modern Dance Takeover)

United Airlines: Woman Plans to Sue Company After She Says Her Autistic Daughter Was Forced Off Plane
Seymour Hersh: Author Accuses President Obama of Lying About Raid That Killed Osama bin Laden
Revere Beach: More Than 100 People Involved in Brawl at Massachusetts Beach, Mayor Says
Chris Burden: Artist Dies at 69 From Malignant Melanoma, Friend Says
Hattiesburg, Mississippi: 2 Officers Fatally Shot During Traffic Stop; 4 Suspects Charged, Police Say
Morgan Freeman: Actor Calls for Full Legalization of Marijuana
Paradise Valley, Arizona: Town Mounts License Plate Readers Inside Artificial Cactuses

#HarryNobodyComparesToYou (Harry Styles)
#MCM (man candy monday)
#KatrinaKaif (Bollywood actress)

Have fun this week...and don't forget this hashtag...


We'll see you tomorrow at our Tuesday Night Live Show