Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

A new shopping mall for indie booty November 17, 2008

logo_sp1Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.  She also has a new shop at 1000 Markets.

A new marketplace has opened on the net and it promises to be an exciting one.  1000 Markets opened its doors a few days ago and already independent artisans for filling it up with one-of-a-kind shops.

1000 Markets has some aspects of Etsy in that it is restricted to handcrafted items (though Etsy also carries vintage items which 1000 Markets does not), Facebook in that customers can write on the seller’s Wall and leave comments as to particular products and sellers can create and join groups and communities and WordPress in that sellers can maintain a personal blog in their shop so customers can learn about them.

This new website also is in the process of creating markets, where groups of artisans’ shops will be located according to theme, like food or arts, or region or just a group of friends have gathered together to sell their products.  The site promises many developments in the very near future, but already it’s off to a great start.

So as you’re doing your holiday shopping in the coming weeks, stroll through the shops at 1000 Markets to find unique gifts for your special persons and chat with the merchants there.


Indie Jewelry: Sea Glass, Jewels of the Ocean November 16, 2008

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

Sea glass—also known as beach glass, mermaid tears, lucky tears, sea gems, drift glass—is the only man-made litter that makes its way into the ocean and turns into a valued item.  The glass is naturally tumbled by the movement of water and sand and is transformed from broken bottles and jars into beautiful smooth frosted glass. Most of the sea glass found on today’s beaches went into the ocean in the late 1800’s to 1960’s. Sea glass is becoming harder to find due to the fact that we are more conscious of what is thrown into the ocean these days and also because manufacturers are replacing glass bottles and jars with plastic.

Many collectors search our shores to see what the tide has brought in.  Mostly kelly green, brown and clear sea glass is found.  Less common are jade and forest and lime green.  It’s rare to find purple or cornflower blue sea glass. To find pink, black, yellow, red or orange is to find quite a treasure.

Artists and creative folks use sea glass and broken china to create all kinds of mosaics.  Birdhouses, chairs, mirrors, vases and even floors are transformed with their beauty. Here’s a look at the numerous ways sea glass is used to create glorious jewelry straight from the sea.

Some jewelry artists leave the natural beauty of sea glass to stand out by itself without embellishment. This rare blue piece from the North Sea is simple yet so lovely.

Rare blue sea glass pendant

Rare blue sea glass pendant

Other artists drill through the center of the sea glass and use the glass like beads, creating a beautiful look like in the following piece.

Sea glass bracelet

Sea glass bracelet

This is a unique piece where the artist used the sea glass in a mosaic-type setting.

Sea glass mossaic pendant

Sea glass mossaic pendant

Sea glass can also be set into bezels, just like gemstones, like this rare red sea glass ring.

red sea glass ring

Red sea glass ring

Sea glass is also wire wrapped by artists

Wire wrapped sea glass pendant

Wire wrapped sea glass pendant

and used in wire crochet creations.

Rare blue wire crochet sea glass necklace

Rare blue wire crochet sea glass necklace

These gifts from the sea can be used in jewelry in the same way as any cabochon or gemstone.  The look of sea glass is timeless and is always in style.

But beware—all sea glass on today’s market is not naturally formed. Tumbled glass looks very similar but is not as valued by either collectors or jewelry customers.

Click on the photos to find out more about each of these sea glass jewelry designs.


What If Life Were Facebook? November 15, 2008

Filed under: Now Looky Here,The Real Stuff — rebmas03 @ 3:02 am
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This is just too funny! I had to share …


A Charmed World November 14, 2008

poeticaFor a blog that’s worth visiting simply for its sheer beauty, take a peek at Poeta Documenta. As the About Me description says, “Poeta Documenta is a my personal landscape of poetic style … eclectic, bohemian, lyrical.” A dreamscape of romantically gorgeous images, it’s like stepping into another charmed world. If you’re seeking sweet inspiration, take a trip to this universe.


Baked chicken with homemade stuffing: Yum! November 13, 2008

Written by: Heather of Lone Star Vintage Clothing

A few nights ago, I had planned on making baked chicken with veggies. How bland is that? As I turned on the oven, an idea popped into my head: stuffing! I tend to buy things to keep in the pantry to use at a later date and boxed stuffing just so happens to be one of those things. I looked in my pantry and low and behold, I found a box of stuffing! I then started to look in my refrigerator to see what I could add to the stuffing. I found cilantro, mushrooms and onions. I then went back to my pantry and found some walnuts. I also had some apples sitting in my fruit bowl on the cabinet. Horray! I had all of my ingredients to complete my stuffing.

Here’s my recipe for chicken breasts stuffed with my homemade stuffing:


  • Two chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 apple
  • Cilantro
  • Walnuts
  • Stuffing
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic (if you choose)
  • Mushrooms
  • Poultry seasoning

First, you will need to find a pan to cook the chicken in. I typically use a glass pan. Lightly coat the pan in olive oil. Turn your oven on bake at 400 degrees F. Let the oven preheat for 10-15 minutes.

Take your onion, mushrooms, apple and cilantro. Dice/cube all of those items into to very small pieces. Take another pan out and turn the stovetop on high heat (I have a gas stove and can control the heat very easily). Add a bit of olive oil in your pan. Once the oil is heated, add your onions, mushrooms and apples first. Cook those items until the onions begin to caramelize (turn golden brown).


Next, you will add in your cilantro (and garlic if you choose). Add your walnuts. My walnuts were larger and I had to crush them up a bit.


During the time you are cooking your veggies, you will get another pan and fill it will approximately 3/4 cup of water (I never read the directions on the back of the box). You need enough water to cook your stuffing in. Add a tiny bit of olive oil to your water. Bring the water to a rapid boil. Turn off the heat and add your stuffing mixture. Cover for several minutes. Remove the lid and lightly fluff with a fork. You are now ready to add your cooked veggies, apples and walnuts to the stuffing. Your mixture should look a little like this:


During the time you have been tending to your stuffing mixture and your oven is preheating, prepare your chicken breasts. Take each breast and cut down the center (slice an opening in the center). When you finish, they will look something like this:


Place the chicken breasts in the pan. Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil (just a tiny bit on both sides will be fine). Take your stuffing mixture and place in the center of each chicken breast:


Once you’ve added the stuffing mixture in the center of the chicken breasts, you will then flip one side of each breast over. Add salt, pepper and poultry seasoning:


Bake your chicken for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. Once your chicken is finished cooking, it should look like this:


This is one of my own creations! Enjoy!


The Little Black Box November 12, 2008

Excerpted from Adventures in Vintage, a blog by Athena contributor Heather Lewis

The Little Black Box: What a great idea!

Many of you who are crafters are probably aware of The Little Black Box. Kimberlee Keane is the mastermind behind the glorious The Little Black Box.

I found The Little Black Box about a month ago as I was researching different indie sites to promote my own handcrafted site Mattie Reid Chicago. I contacted Kimberlee and asked if she had any additional spots open for her November box (this was pretty close to the deadline for submissions). She replied and said she still had a few spots left. I submitted 150 samples of vintage buttons rings like this one:vintage button ring, mattie reid chicago

Not only did I donate samples for the November box, but I also became a customer. I subscribed to her blog and received an email from her a few days ago saying that all October boxes were on sale for $15. I went straight to her site and purchased a box. I love sales, especially sales on indie designer stuff!

My box arrived today. I opened the box and this is what I found:
Tons of cute samples including soaps, bookmarkers, a pair of earrings, magnets-all sorts of cute things.

There were two cute little soaps by Sweet Lollipop Shop. Here’s one of their soaps:
Katherine Quinn included this really cute little magnet and notecard:
Under Glass included this cute lil’ snowflake pendant:
Lastly, one of my most favorite things in the box was this lavender mint soap by Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen: It smells sooooo good!

I do highly recommend stopping by Kimberlee’s Little Black Box site and ordering a November box. There’s supposed to be Spoonfudge by Glutenada in quite a few boxes. I went to their site and all of their goodies look so yummy and they’re all gluten free!


Holiday Entertaining Made Easy November 11, 2008

entertainingBy Julia Pantoga

This is a sociable time of year. For some of us, entertaining is fun—a chance to show off our lovely homes, our cooking and our planning skills to friends; a chance to work on the puzzle of how to fit 15 people into a home that feels crowded with 3 people in it; and a chance to drag out party games and toys that have gone unplayed since last winter.

For others, entertaining is a stressful required chore of the holiday season—this year, it is your turn to host the family (including all the nieces and nephews and their children) for Christmas Eve. You don’t keep your house visitor-ready (i.e. clean and neat with valuables put away), you don’t feel comfortable around a lot of people, and cooking doesn’t come naturally to you. Whether you love to entertain or not, here are some tips to make it less stressful:

Entertaining is for you to enjoy
As you are preparing to entertain, remember always that entertaining is meant to be enjoyable for you. Don’t serve food you don’t like. Don’t invite people into your home you don’t like. Close off rooms of your house that you don’t want people in. If cooking doesn’t come naturally to you, or you don’t enjoy it, buy food from a restaurant or a caterer. If you really feel uncomfortable having several people in your home, throw money at the problem: entertain in a restaurant party room.

Prepare EVERYTHING in advance
You may want to serve foods to your guests that you can’t prepare much in advance, such as spinach salad. I’m sorry, but you really need to knock that off your planned menu because you need to prepare EVERYTHING in advance! There are two reasons for this:
1.    When you are entertaining, the only thing you should be thinking about is enjoying yourself.
2.    If you have a small space, you can use your food preparation areas as flat surfaces for putting out food.

This lovely display of family photos will be put away in the service of snacks!

This lovely display of family photos will be put away in the service of snacks!

Use every surface
And I mean EVERY surface: the stove (if you don’t have a flat top, use planks of plywood and table cloths to make it flat); the top of the coffee table where you usually keep magazines; the end table where you keep awesome photos of your kids; the kitchen counters (which you don’t need since you already prepared EVERYTHING in advance).

bookshelf-barUse the rest of the house creatively
Empty a bookshelf and use it as a bar. Keep the cold drinks in your bathtub or kitchen sink. Put everyone’s coats on the wicker sofa in the screened in porch.

Final reminders.
•    Enjoy yourself.
•    If you have only one bathroom, don’t use that bathtub for cold drinks.
•    If you don’t want people to go in your bedroom, don’t put coats in there.
•    Before you have people you aren’t close to in your house, snoop-proof it. Paper bags are helpful for this. Say you keep several medications in your medicine cabinet in the bathroom that you’d rather not have just anyone see. Put them all in a paper bag and put the bag in your underwear drawer. That is not a great hiding place to prevent burglaries, but it is good enough for a party.  While it is entirely likely that someone will open your medicine cabinet; it is improbable that a party-goer will rifle through your underwear drawer and open a paper bag. Use a paper, rather than plastic, because it makes more noise. Since your medicines are all together in one bag, they will be easy to return to the medicine cabinet after your party.

party-toys•    Leaving toys and reference books (atlases, dictionaries, etc.) out are always good for getting lively conversation going.

Easy and fabulous party foods:
•    Figs, cut in half topped with cream cheese mixed with chopped pecans (you have no idea how great this is until you try it)
•    Homemade cookies
•    Apple slices with lime juice squeezed over them, served with good cheddar cheese

The best party foods:
•    Don’t require a fork
•    Don’t require a plate
•    Can be eaten standing up and with one hand
And here’s the deal about serving:  Nothing you serve has to look fantastic. Rather, it should be easy to get to and serve, and it should taste great. Your friends are there to enjoy you and your hospitality, not to be impressed.



Indie Jewelry: Jonara Blu Maui November 10, 2008

Posted by Marjorie Cunningham, broken china jewelry designer at Marjorie’s Cracked Plate Jewelry.

One of the nicest things about entering the world of jewelry design for me has been meeting so many wonderful artists. Learning from them and being inspired by them has been invaluable to me.  One of the most helpful and inspirational artists I have met is Jamee Jones of Maui, Hawaii, whose jewelry line is known as Jonara Blu Maui. Jamee is a wonderfully talented jewelry artist specializing in beach wedding jewelry. She’s gaining quite a reputation for creating jewelry of exceptional quality and beauty. Here’s one elegant example of her work.


Jamee has two online stores—one at Ruby Lane and one at Etsy. In addition to her lovely beach wedding jewelry, Jamee is known for her “fresh and funky beaded jewelry with an island twist”.   Look at the glorious colors of the beads she uses in this one.
















And of course, being in Maui, she creates jewelry that’s inspired by the ocean, like this fabulous necklace.



Jamee’s busy life includes being a dedicated wife and a mother. She home-schools her son Cameron. And she’s the bookkeeper for the family business. She mentions on her blog that she and her family have been on Maui since 1992, and although they do miss friends and family back on the mainland, they will never leave their beautiful island home.  Who could blame her for that?!

Jamee is also a moderator of the Beadingaholics Yahoo Group where she gives advice and encouragement to other jewelry designers on a daily basis.  I know I’m not the only one who benefits from her help and example.


Aussie Man Style: Rufus Green is Cool for Cats November 9, 2008


“Those Were The Days” has been landing in select stores across Australia over the last week or so.  I LOVE their clothes, am a huge fan, so do yourself a massive favour and check out their amazing new website for a sneak peak or go to your nearest stockist for a closer look!

R U F U S    G R E E N

This post from Enkha of Fashion Birdcage. Thanks, Enkha, for keeping us on top of fashion down under! Of course, the seasons are reversed, but it’s something to look forward to, as if we don’t have enough already!


Too Many Decades in One Closet November 8, 2008

Filed under: Fashionista Files,Worldly women — rebmas03 @ 3:17 am
Tags: , ,
Gabrielle Ruvolo, an entrepreneur, has carved out her place in the fashion world. Hot Moon Collection was created to meet the needs of style conscious women over 40.

styleBy Gabrielle Ruvolo

Part of my resolution this year is to organize my life. Today, my chore is cleaning up my image, well at least facing my closet head-on.

After a strong cup of coffee, I open the louver doors of my walk-in closet with a sense of ceremony that turns quickly into a sense of hopelessness. My closet is a mish-mash of this and that, pieces of color and texture so different from one another, yet each piece in its time an exciting treasure. Each garment is an individual find for its array of colorful attributes, comforting stylish textures and dynamic details—all acquired without regard to necessarily combining in anyway.

I am about to make a stab at cleaning up,while facing up to a new era of myself as a mature woman. So many possibilities of transformation and one realization—that a new time of my life is upon me, simple time, less formal, more carefree, and with a shifting, changing figure and an altering image of myself. I am in a new era of liberation completely over the idea of being a slave to trends. But still acknowledging trends set by a youthful standard, with an appreciative nod and maybe a purchase, thereby avoiding that dreaded look of an aging dowdy matron, which is so not me.

Looking back at each era gone by, I see a distinct image of myself struggling to keep pace with the fashion world. First, it was all about looking great to feel good, often working against my profile and happily sometimes very in tune to what statement I was attempting to make within the fashion structure of the time. In the beginning, clothes could be fitted like a glove on my young, vibrant in-shape body, while diaphanous fabrics making a very decorative statement exploiting my sexuality. Clothing was my identity. Next, it was about preoccupation with fashion itself, spending more money when there was precious little to spare, fueled by ambitious desire and very little logic.

Dreaming of a retrospective of my personal world of fashion sends me into peals of uncontrollable laughter.

In approaching this chore of cleaning up the clutter of my closet, there will be no room for sentimentality. Sorting through the past trends that once represented me: modern, artsy, bohemian, provocative, freewheeling, outrageous, elegant and sometimes classic. They are all happening here in my walk in.

Pragmatically, I gather colors together and separate by type. After some time it appears that, well, things are sort of sorting out, but “ugh” this is not to be an easy task of dispensing clothes. I remember wearing this geometric wool patched comme des garcon skirt at some fun art openings with my black enigmatic puzzle sweater by Ann Demeulemeester, and wow this magical silk Shanghai Tang jacket always made me feel exotic and alluring.

I need to assert my sense of new self and envision what that means to me. Following my instincts: out with all patterns with of course, an occasional exception. Anything over 2 years old and definitely everything that hasn’t been worn in the last two years. Out with the pouf. They are just taking up space, and I know of some charitable groups, like Dress For Success that gladly accept a generous donation.

My new look should define the changing me: confident, sophisticated, smart, calm, comfortable, relaxed, organized and uncluttered with my sense of femininity. Paring down what I do have to basic colors, and a narrow focused collection that is void of unnecessary detail yet retaining a style and functional design with inspired elegance, changed only by the seasons.

I adore the movement of fabric, movement with free reign; fabrics hold such chance for elegance along with comfort and style. And keeping alive a bit of freewheeling love of adventure by taking fashion risks with a touch of subtle ethnic.

After the morning spent reminiscing about my clothes and their relationship to my life, reality nudges my illusions and hope of some form of transformation stays aloof.

Thank my lucky stars for friends, in this instance, a friend, who brought me a divine lunch and a fascinating book, “Nothing to Wear?: A Five Step Cure for the Common Closet” by Joe Lupo & Jesse Garza

I think I’ll spend the rest of the afternoon curled up in my reading chair.