Monday, June 29, 2009

YELLAPHANT GIVEAWAY ALERT: Sheila's Inspired Designs

This week has been a whirlwind. I've been in Boston for work since Monday afternoon, churning out 18 hour days and using words like PHP and SAP and WTF and I need a drink. But the good news is I'm back.

And the other good news is, I've brought you present. It's a puppy another Yellaphant Featured Artist! But not just any featured artist. This is Sheila Stewart, of Sheila's Inspired Designs. And if you've been paying attention so far, it also means I have a GIVEAWAY for you.

Today, Sheila searches the world for the finest materials and unique beads for her jewelry creations, all of which are inspired by her travels. She uses mostly semiprecious gemstone beads, and imports Karan Hill Tribe Sterling Silver from Thailand via a free trade site that supports the hill tribes of Thailand.

But not long ago, Sheila was hanging out at my house watching Clarissa Explains It All and farting on my pillow. Sheila is Monica's big sister. We grew up across the street from each other, which pretty much means that Sheila was as much my big sister as she was Monica's. The three of us would zip around town on our rollerblades and make up commercials for our rollerblade wheel washing service, the Wonderful World of Wheel Washing (a giant puddle in front of their house) staring Klancy Nerrigan and Hanya Tarding (it was the 90s).

When I was younger, she babysat my bother and I every Saturday night, and every summer she spent her days at our house watching Nick in the Afternoon with Stick Stickly while my parents were at work. When I got my first visit from Aunt Flo, Monica was the first person I told, and Sheila was the second to hear, along with everyone else in the Acme parking lot. Which also might be when I got that little idea that it's okay to be loud, except for when you're stumbling around your future in-laws' house at two in the morning.

Without a doubt, Sheila was one of the driving factors in my early life that pushed me to be myself, no matter what. And considering that, within our two houses combined (which is where I spent all of my time), I was the only kid out of seven that wasn't diagnosed with ADD and ADHD, I thought that being completely out of your mind was normal and peeing your pants because you were laughing so hard happened to everyone. Is it so abnormal to carry a backup pair of undies? It's called planning ahead, people.

So without further ado, I present to you the artist formerly known as my babysitter and forever known as my friend.

You are what some people consider eclectic, what others would call bat shit crazy, and what I call hilarious. How does your jewelry reflect all of those pieces of you?

Well, I'm definitely eccentric! Most people would consider me a weirdo, but I prefer "artsy." You would too if people called you a weirdo EVERY SINGLE DAY! My interests are so varied and in some ways, I'm a paradox. I love to travel, but I like stability. I'm outgoing, but prefer nature to people. My jewelry reflects every part of me. You will see that the pieces in my shop range from subtle to gaudy. Dark to bright. Small to large. Earthy to elaborate. It pretty much depends on what mood strikes me while I'm making each piece. Having a multi-faceted personality helps me to create designs that appeal to a larger audience. I have something for everyone!

Let's take a word association test. When I say "Wonderful World of Wheelwashers," what do you think?

Oddly enough, Tanya Harding ... if only Nancy Kerrigan had been a rollerblader instead of an iceskater!

What are you listening to when designing jewelry?

My heart. Or the TV. Honestly, I tune everything out when I'm designing jewelry. Its almost like I hear nothing. I'm completely relaxed.

Who is the favorite person that you ever babysat for in your entire life and why?

Bridget Hanahan. Because her parents always paid more than anyone else on the block and had good snacks!

What goes into creating a piece of jewelry, from concept to completion?

The process can be pretty intense. I do a lot of research to be sure that my materials are unique, sturdy, artist-friendly, and relevant. I never stop hunting for unique beads. Thus, my car needs new brakes from me shouting "BEAD STORE!!!" and my husband slamming on the brakes so often. At this point, I can almost sniff out beads from a mile away. So, a lot goes into finding the right materials.

I also search the Internet to find quality free-trade components so that I can contribute to this crazy world of ours while enjoying the satisfaction of my hobby. The inspiration for the designs comes in tidal waves. I find the most inspiration in my travels, particularly the beach and nature. It strikes me as odd when people see just one color. I tend to see a color and all of the colors surrounding it, and then my mind starts processing all of the colors that would look good with that color. So, if you see purple, your mind tells you "that's purple." My mind tells me, "Purple ... OoooO! That would look amazing with lime green! Oh! and light blue!" Am I sounding like a weirdo ...OR am I sounding ARTSY? Anyway, the inspiration never stops. The hard part is finding the time to craft all of the designs. Luckily, I'm hyper and like to keep my hands busy.

Remember when we used to spell the names of our crushes in Twizzler Pull N Peels while watching SNICK? What was your favorite SNICK show and how does that relate to the way you make jewelry today?

Yes, I remember. I can’t believe I spelled out boys names on your basement floor with Twizzlers and then ate the Twizzlers off the floor. My favorite SNICK show was ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK. However, although he never had his own show, my good friend Stick Stickly taught me that popsicle sticks with googly eyes can inspire children to memorize addresses … and remember them for life!

The name of your Etsy shop is Sheila's Inspired Designs. So besides me, what inspires you?

Nature, the beach, relaxation, and beauty.

How does it make you feel that you were the driving influence in my life that made me completely comfortable to fart in public?

I’m married to a man who’s family doesn’t find potty humor funny. I cannot discuss my feelings on this matter in a public forum. P.S. Please make sure that your public farting doesn’t occur in my presence. Note to self: Don’t invite Bridget to parties.

If you had to choose a name for your style what would it be? Beachy? Hippie? Slightly drug-addled?

I would describe my style as casual elegance. Even when a girl is hippie-ing-it-up, she should look cute! ESPECIALLY if she's farting in public!

And because Sheila wants to be awesome to you too, she's offered to give one lucky winner a $20 gift certificate to her Etsy shop. To play, you can spend your long weekend at the beach browsing through Sheila's beautiful beach-inspired creations. Leave a comment with your favorite piece of jewelry, and you'll be entered. Tweet it with @Yellaphant in the tweet, and you double your chances.

Since it's a holiday weekend and chances are the crickets are chirping even now out there in the interwebs, the contest will be open until midnight on Monday, July 13 and I'll announce the lucky winner on Tuesday, July 14. ONE TWO THREE GO!

And don't forget, if you want to be a Yellaphant Featured artist, hit me up with I SWEAR I'M NOT DRUNK in the subject line.


Hilary said...

Oh! It is too hard to choose just one piece from this collection! I am a big, big time fan of the Galapagos and Chinatown designs. Amazing!

blueviolet said...

The Kokopelli earrings are irresistible!

blueviolet said...

I tweeted!

Robin said...

Tranquil Palm bracelet is my favorite. I feel relaxed just looking at it!

Beth Parker said...

My favorite is Winter Getaway.

Beth Parker said...

I tweeted the giveaway:

Jessica said...

I am loving the Limoncello necklace!

Anjali Merchant said...

I LOVE Tibetan Sunrise! I tweeted too :)

Hayli said...

The Neptune's Daughter necklace is my favorite favorite. NOT ONLY is that my favorite color, but I seriously think if you took apart my insides, that is the EXACT color they would be.
Just sixty years my coroner will be thoroughly confused.

Bellacantare said...

I can't decide between the Galapogos or the Great Barrier Reef.

Anna said...

Soooo hard to choose, so I'm going to pick two: the eye of the tiger bracelet and the bollywood earrings!

P.S. Great interview, so cute ;)

Megan said...

After the Rain is drop-dead lovely: a must have!

I tweeted as well!

The Novelista Barista said...

okay this is my favorite one

AND i am tweeting it...

Kristen said...

I love the Tibetan Sunrise bracelet, although Jaipur is a close second!

Anonymous said...

I love the Thai Protection Amulet -- beautiful!

De in D.C. said...

Everything was so gorgeous, but I think After the Rain was my favorite.

De in D.C. said...

I tweeted your giveaway!


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