This is the personal blog of Michelle Cali, creator of Wine Coutures and John8eight. Here she plans to get overly personal with you by giving details of her creative process along with rants and raves about her two favorite subjects- alcohol and weddings. She will write often, (not sure if that's a promise or a threat), so please visit as much as you can tolerate. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

In The Beginning....

So, how did this all start? No, I'm not talking about the start of mankind. I'm talking about Wine Coutures. Just how did all these wine charms come about?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Let me tell you...

It all started back in October of 2005. That is when me and my hubby got married. We had planned our honeymoon for Cancun, Mexico. Unfortunately, Hurricane Wilma had other plans that month. So, a day before we were suppose to leave we were able to change our entire honeymoon to the California wine country. We stayed in Santa Rosa and made trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley.

It was in Napa Valley that we became members of the V. Sattui wine of the month club. This was my first real introduction to wine and from the very first sip I knew it would become a life long passion of mine.

Forward the clock to September 2007, where are family is unpacking boxes after being stationed in California for my hubby's shore duty. Being that we were still wine club members and enjoyed wine tastings, we started making frequent trips not only to Napa Valley, but other wineries in the surrounding area. One day, as we are browsing through a winery gift shop, my hubby happens upon a package of wine glass charms.

"Honey, look at these. They are so cheap looking. I can't believe they are asking $20 for these things. See, you should make stuff like this. You can totally do a better job then whoever made these".

My hubby has a way of coming up with bright ideas. And history has shown that the ideas my man comes up with tend to prosper if followed. Whether it was too much wine in my system that day, or maybe the thrill of having an excuse not to do house work- I don't know. But that night I pulled out some old jewelry and my old pliers and in a couple of hours I had made several cool miniature necklaces that fit perfectly around our wine glasses. I was hooked. And the dishes still lay dirty in the sink.

From that moment it would take another year before Wine Coutures got its name and a life on the web. In the meantime, I just kept creating more wine glass charms.
The name came about during my time watching pictures from New York Fashion Week online. I realized that my charms didn't fit the mold and pattern of all the other wine charms currently being sold. I felt that mine were a bit above the norm. Taking a cue from the fashion world I used a word normally associated with high fashion- couture. (I added the 's' at the end because when I started my website, was already taken and I wasn't about to pay some crazy price to buy the domain name from some greedy nerd. So, being the cheap chick that I am, I just simply added an 's' at the end and it all worked out.)

So, that is how it all started. And now it continues to grow from a simple idea to a growing interest with a following of admirers eager to see what I create next.

Recycle, Reuse, Renew

There has always been a small group of artist on the fringe who have done work involving recycled materials long before recycling became cool.

There are now stores that specialize in saving items that with usually in up in a landfill and instead selling them at dirt cheap prices for artist and teachers to use in their art work.

Check out the following article about such a store. There are also some great links at the bottom of the article that are work checking out:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Star Is (Re)Born

Some people have asked, even fewer have cared, but for the sake of feeling important I am going to allow you to glimpse inside my creative world! Prepare to be amazed as I reveal to you how I create a wine glass charm. *sounds of 'ooh' and 'aw' coming from the audience*

Yes, only here can you witness the remarkable journey of a lonely, discarded and unloved necklace as it is magically transformed into a sexy and highly desirable wine glass charm. (Sexiness may not be available in all areas. Some restrictions apply.)

So, prepare to be wowed and amazed! . . . . . .
The magic all starts with a simple, unsuspecting necklace. Once living a life of glamore and intrigue, this necklace has now found itself abandoned and fallen from grace- a mere shadow of its former self.
Yet, within the darkness of despair shines a small glimmer of hope. Hope for a better life beyond the gutter that it now finds itself in.
Realizing that in order to move forward it must let go of the past, this necklace took the brave step of getting rid of those things that it no longer needed.
With a renewed sense of self worth this necklace began to surround itself with those things that would be beneficial in rebuilding a new life for itself. (chain, shell disk and small pearl are also pieces from former jewelry)
Slowly, but surely, the pieces started to come together and for the first time in a long time it seemed that there was finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Now people can hardly believe that this is the same necklace that everyone said was ruined and had lost its glory. No longer hiding in the shadows of the past, this baby has made a comeback performance that people will be talking about for years to come. "Don't hate me because I'm recycled. Hate me because you're not!"

Friday, April 24, 2009

Belly Dancer, Snake Charmer

After learning of and recovering from my liver transplant, I created a 'bucket list' of things that I wanted to do but was always afraid of doing before. The first on my list was to open my own store, which I've now done and can't believe I waited so long to do it! Another thing on my list was to learn belly dancing. I'm loving the moves and the introduction to Middle Eastern music. What I didn't expect was my sudden love for tribal jewelry.

I'm now finding myself spending time on the web searching and studying tribal jewelry worn by belly dancers. They are so unique, exotic and almost other-worldly. It is easy to find some of this tribal jewelry now creeping its way into some of my wine charms. Not that I'm saying its a bad thing. :-)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Twilight Tuesdays Challenge 27- Jasper Hale

As if I really needed an excuse to do this challenge.
Jasper Hale is my favorite character in Twilight.

I made this bracelet out of crystals. Crystals are known to absorb negativity and create a sense of peace for the wearer. The light blue crystals also add a calming effect to the piece. It looks like the type of bracelet Jasper would buy for Alice, and one that she would love to wear often!
Since I haven't been able to run into Jasper lately, I keep myself calm by being creative. As long as my hands are at work doing something creative, then my mind is at peace. Knitting, crochet, scrap booking, jewelry making- if it is creative, then I am at peace!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Twilight Bug

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I've been bitten by the Twilight bug. Now lately, I've been toying with the thought of making a series of wine charms inspired by Twilight. A quick search online and you can find so many beautiful things made by Twilight fans. The books just beg for creative expression.

Now, Twilight is not the only thing getting my creative juices going. I also realized the amazing body of work that can come from my love of all things Harry Potter too! I guess all this inspiration is going to lead me to making several collections based on fantasy books and/or movies. My mind is already coming up with a few ideas for Lord of the Rings. ;-)
I'll keep you posted on how these inspired pieces are coming along. Since these pieces are inspired by certain books I think I will sell them as a set rather then my usual individual pieces. Might also create some coordinating packaging to keep the whole theme going. Hummm....