Monday, November 23, 2009

Hall of Fame {Violet Bella}

Howdy! Welcome back for this week's interview and giveaway. Let's get this holiday week started off right ;)

Meet the beautiful and talented Laura of Violet Bella.
Her shop is brimming with unique jewelry, accessories, photos, and art. She also has a shop devoted to her photography - Violet Bella Photography.

You'll fall in love with every photo in her shop - they're all so beautiful! Read on to learn more about this drum-playin, craft crazy, pet lover and life explorer.

What inspires you?
- So many things inspire me. Nature has to be the biggest, especially autumn. The colors of the leaves, the overcast days (perfect for photos), the smell in the air. Next would be other artists. Etsy has opened up my eyes to the realm of craftiness out there. I live in a small town, so before Etsy and really interacting on blogs, I had no idea so many people my age were interested in the same things I am. That is very inspiring. Basically my eye is drawn to so many things. We may be driving in the car and pass an old rusty barn, or I happen to catch the light coming through the tall grass as the sun is setting, that really gets me going!

Where do you call home? Are you from there originally?
- I call being with my husband and animals home. But I also call the hillcountry my home, as yes I grew up here, in Bandera, Texas. I love being surrounded by nature. As much as I love the old buildings, cool shops, and people watching, I would never survive in the city!
Name something unique to where you live?
- Lets see, Bandera is the Cowboy Capital of the World, so as you can imagine, I stick out in a town like this. On regular occasions you will see people riding down main street on their horses, or even see a longhorn in the middle of town. Oh, and our local museum has a shrunken head thats been stolen twice! It was found and recovered on the side of the road somewhere!

Share an interesting fact about yourself?
- Hmmm...I wore all black in high school! I mean all black, with the blood red lipstick and all. Its a good thing there is a such thing as fazes! Ive always been an individual in the way I dress - if I like it - I wear it! Oh, and I love to play the drums. But I dont have a set anymore. I would oh so love to have a pink drum set one day!
If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would that be?
- hard question - either CRAFTY or COMPASSIONATE. {sorry, I cant decide}

What made you decide to open up a shop?
- After losing my mother to breast cancer, I became a waitress for a year. Then circumstances happened that made me want to leave, so I did. I had no experience in other fields, I had worked with my family's business, Broken China Jewelry, since out of high school. I took a huge leap of faith, with the support of my husband, to go for my dream - to support myself as an artist! I have always dreamt of creating lovely things that people would cherish, just like my mom did. I know that she would be so proud of me and that keeps me going everyday.

How did you come up with the name Violet Bella? Any special significance?
- Yes! It just kind of happened naturally. I adore my animals, they are a huge part of my life. My dog's name is Violet, and my cat's name is Bella. They just sounded so pretty together, I didnt think twice about it!
Name your favorite thing about selling handmade.
- the satisfaction I get knowing that someone loved something I made with my own hands enough to spend money on it, especially in such tough financial times. I also love being able to reuse and repurpose old or discarded things, reducing the purchases of new items in this world is always a plus in my book!

Do you have a day job or sell on Etsy full time?
- I am currently doing Etsy full time, along with selling in two local shops, Gunslinger and Cowboy Caliente. I love selling in the shops because I get to fix my space up how I want it, its like playing shop without actually having to run it. Although, my big dream is to own my own shop one day, I just dont ever want to be married to it! I do work for a friend of mine who owns an herbal company, Earthlight Energies. We make all kinds of completely organic herbal products from scratch. I am learning alot about herbs and what they are good for. I also clean her house once a week. I am getting her to set up an etsy shop as well!
You seem to have many talents as a 'photographer, jewelry designer and clothing designer'. Have you had any formal training?
- No. I took a photography class in high school, but I was more interested in finding ways out of class, and actually crushing on my husband :) {we didnt know it at the time} But even in class, I did not like to pay attention to the rules, I just wanted to take the pictures. Same thing in art class, I just wanted to draw, I didnt want anyone telling me how I was suppose to do it. So needless to say, I never learned the 'techniques', I just play until I get it right. My mom taught me the basics of sewing, but again, I cant use patterns. My philosophy in all that I do is to just get in there and try until you get what you want. Rules and patterns are too confining and take away from my creativity. I like never knowing how something is going to look until its done, whether thats a photograph, a dress or a necklace.

Give us a little glimpse into what a typical day in your life looks like.
- starts with feeding my animals, I also have a little lovebird, Nico. Then straight to the coffee pot! As I drink my coffee I check all my online sites, email, etsy and blogger. Get super excited if I sold something! I make alot of lists each day of things I want to accomplish, it keeps me somewhat organized. Usually house cleaning is on the list. I post new items, make blogs, try to hit a treasury, as much networking as I can. Then I will begin to craft. This is where the lists come in handy, or else I am all over the place and cant focus on what to work on, the only down side of doing so many different crafts. Then depending on my husbands schedule, I will make dinner and we will watch an episode of House or Psyche. He will usually play a video game, so Im back online! Maybe some more posting, chat room or just general browsing new fun blogs!
Then playtime with our dog Violet, maybe a walk to the post office or just around town and then off to bed!
Share with us a favorite etsy purchase or shop.
- oh man, there are so many good ones, that is a hard choice...I am going to have to say, my friend Renea's shop pennythreads. She only has three items in her shop so far, she just started! But she already has over 100 views on one of her items. if you follow her shop, i know you will be pleased with what is yet to come. She is an amazing painter, you can see a custom portrait she did of me in her shop. She also crochets the most beautiful scarfs and cowls ive ever seen. amazingly talented artist. she is also a poet by the way :)

List a few of your most favorite pastimes. - I am assuming this question means things I like to do to pass the time. I hope so, that is what I am going to respond with :) I love to hand embroider things. Or handsewing in general. I love to read. I love to go to coffee shops. I love to take drives in the hillcountry. And one of my favorite things to do is to just lay in the bath tub! Oh, and yoga!!!
Read any good books lately?
- I dont read novels so much. I read inspiration books, usually buddhist ones. Check out anything by Jon Kabat-Zinn or Thich Nhat Hahn.
my favorite on soul work: Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore
my favorite thought provoking book: Think on these things by Krishnamurti
my favorite daily inspiration: Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie
my favorite love story: The Unimaginable Life by Kenny and Julia Loggins (yes, the musician)
my favorite art inspiration: Letters to a young artist by Julia Cameron

What is your most prized possession?
- I would have to say its a kaliedescope that my mother made when she was about my age. She was working for a company that made them and she was commissioned to make one for Tiffanys. So she decided to put some old china pieces in it, and long story short, this was the seed for her Broken China Jewelry business. Which I am proud to say that she was the original creator of this, now there are so many other people making it!
What are your three favorite foods?
1. Nutella french toast!
2. homeade pizza
3. my moms green chicken enchiladas!

What would you like to learn to do?
- Crochet, Bellydancing, be a better cook, to really play the drums, really cool stuff with photoshop

What are you listening to now?
- currently Coralie Clement (french), Ingrid Michaelson, and Dashboard Confessionals new album (the acoustic version)
- all time favorites: Neil Young, Joni Mitchel, Bob Dylan, Blind Melon, Tegan and Sara, White Stripes, Willie Nelson, etc.
Name one place you must visit in your lifetime and why?
- since the fourth grade I have wanted to go to Maine after reading a story, I dont even remember the story now, just the wonderful description of Maine. Ive already been to France, Spain and Germany. I would so love to go back to the country side of France. I was not too impressed with Paris, I like the funky outskirts much better!

Laura, thank you so much for stopping by to share with us. It was a pleasure getting to know you better.

Please take a moment to visit Laura's photostream on flickr. She has so many lovely photos! And for the latest in Violet Bella's World, stop by her blog!

Time for a Giveaway!
Laura is so generously giving one lucky winner their choice of any 5 x 5 print from her shop Violet Bella Photography!

To enter, just leave a comment on this post with your favorite item from Violet Bella or her photo shop. Don't forget to include your name and email address or Etsy username!

Good luck!

For extra entries you can:
Tweet this giveaway: 2 additional entries
Follow my blog and/or Laura's blog: 5 additional entries
Blog about this interview/contest: 7 additional entries
Purchase from Violet Bella or Violet Bella Photography: 10 additional entries

(Please include this info, if applicable, with your comment for additional entries. You do not need to leave separate comments for additional entries. Important: Don't forget to include your name and contact info!)

Contest ends Sunday, November 29th at 11:59 pm EST. Winner will be chosen by traditional drawing and will be announced Monday, November 30th.


SewSweetStitches said...

My favorite piece is the Birdies in my Garden bracelet!
I follow your blog and Laura's too!


Joanna said...

I love the Bows and Lavender earrings. She is very talented. Thanks for the entry! I also follow your blog.


Ave said...

I really like Serenity - 5x5 Fine Art Print.

Follow your blog.


madeincanarias at yahoo dot es

Angela said...

I love the feathers and pearls necklace!

Pony Girl said...

Great interview. Wow, she is so talented, love her work! I especially loved the Lavender Fields vintage inspired necklace, because I am digging purple right, love things vintage, and my birthstone is amethyst! :)
I am already a follower. My email address:

S and O said...

What a sweet interview and you couldn't have picked a more awesome person!
I loved the whole thing, esp Laura's answer to question 10, as I can totally relate with her. I'm not much for following the rules when it interferes with flexing my creativity.
Olivia :)

S and O said...

I would love to win this beautiful giveaway;)

I follow your blog and Laura's and I've tweeted and facebooked this link:)

this is me on FB:

this is me on twitter:

my email:

Carly said...

O Bella Naturals said...

Thank you so much for featuring this seller! She has fantastic photography prints, I love her jewelry, and I love her dresses even more... it's really hard to pick just one. I love the Serenity print, The Hazel Dress, and First Fall Leaf Ring.

Definitely one of my favorite etsy sellers ever. She seems like a lovely person and you can see it in her artwork.


Following both blogs

Blogged about it:

or etsy shop

Thanks to Lory and Laura!

April said...

OMG I adore both your blogs! Im following both! So hard to decide which item Ilove of hers as I love them ALL! I really love the peacock photo necklace. Im so inspired reading and looking at all the beautiful items. I want to be like you when I grow up lol TY so much for sharing! I look forward to reading more. I am artful goodies and wallexpress on etsy.

April said...

Forgot to say I tweeted and Im following you on twitter! Here is my etsy shop for contact!

Megan said...

I really love the way that Shy is composed. Beautiful work!

Sherry said...

I like A Time To Fly - patina birdie necklace

sherrygo at hotmail dot com

Sherry said...


sherrygo at hotmail dot com

zup said...

I love the violet bella 2010 calendar!

zup said...


Stacie said...

I love Butterfly Series 4 - 5x5 - Fine Art Print.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Betsabè said...

I love "Sorry Im Leaving - 8x10 Fine Art Print"
thanks for this chance,

Betsabè said...

I'm a follower. +5

Maria said...

i love the calendar!

Jaime said...

I love the bluebird and sunshine necklace.
foolishfire at gmail dot com

Lily said...

i love the Autumn Delight Skeleton Key necklace!

Sydney said...

I think her photography is stunning, I really love the Peacock Feather.

**I follow your blog

Sydney S

Tamera said...

Wow! Great interview Laura.
I found Laura and I follow her blog and love her etsy shop. Can't wait until I can do some shopping. So Laura sent me to you and I am thankful she did. I am now a follower of your wonderful blog! So I posted that I am a follower on google. I will mention you on facebook as well.
I hope to have an etsy shop someday. I suffered a brain aneursym and my life has cahnged. I have found blogs to help calm me and I love to read, learn and most of all come away with some sort of an inspiration. I am going through a tough time so it has been very inlighing to find people like yourself and laura.

abby said...

I like the Serenity print. It is lovely. Thanks for the giveaway!

reviewsbyabby at gmail dot com

Selene said...

Loving the Autumn Inspired Charm Bracelet. Love the charms on it!

shiki6210 at gmail dot com

rebekah said...

You have always been such a blooming talent and beauty. keep blossoming. Thank you for bringing beauty and charm and mystique into the world. I totally love your work and looked at every single image. If I had to choose, I would say that Sing Me A Song would have to be my favorite. I love the way you blended yourself into the wallpaper, if that is what you did. It's awesome. Love you. Mikey

pippirose said...

Wonderful interview.
Beautiful stuff...
My favourite is the Butterfly Series 4 print. Love it!
pippirose59 at gmail dot com

PixelatedMushroom said...

my fave is the 'Daydream' print :D

pixelatedmushroom at gmail dot com

Carly said...

Amber said...

I love the Peacock Feather print


roro said...

Love love love the First Fall Leaf ring!:)

I've also been a follower of your blog!


bison61 said...

I like the Autumn Collection Photo bracelet

tiramisu392 (at)

Shrimp Salad Circus said...

I. Love. These. Photos!!!

My favorite is 'Peacock Feather' because of the beautiful, rich jewel tones and interesting angle, but 'Feather' drew a close second!

shrimpsaladcircus at gmail dot com

Shrimp Salad Circus said...

Extra Entries:
I'm a blog follower!


Katey said...

I love the lockets- so cute!!


Hayley said...

I like her Find a heart print - really pretty!

Fit for a Child said...

Wow, this was SO hard to choose. These photos are stunning! I love Feathers and Mirror Mirror. I really couldnt pick just one.

I follow you and Laura :)

iloveyouhecried at gmail dot com

Candy said...

I love her Owl and Lime Earrings from her Violet Bella shop (not the photo one)

Candy said...

i follow your blog 1

Candy said...

i follow your blog 2

Candy said...

i follow your blog 3

Candy said...

i follow your blog 4

Candy said...

i follow your blog 5

Michelle said...

LOVE the Serenity 5x5 print... Beautiful!

mandm_2002 at hotmail dot com

danciingfool said...

hard to decide; everything is lovely! but I did have my eye on Bows and Lavender earrings...
Caroline =]

Lisa B. said...

Her art is just beautiful!! I really love the Morningtime Art Print!!

Lisa B. said...

I follow The Sunshine Studio!