Yelp’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete: Yelp Plays with Fire

November 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Last night was my fourth event as part of Yelp Tampa Bay’s amazing eight day PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete extravaganza.

Yelp Plays with Fire

Click here to read about Tuesday night’s Yelp’s the Mac Daddy event at MacDinton’s.

Click here to read about Wednesday night’s The Gallery of Yelp event at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery.

Click here to read about Thursday night’s Yelp’s 50 Shades of Plaid event at The Birchwood.

I have been excited for all of these back to back downtown St. Pete events, but I thought this one was going to be really special because we were going to get to create jewelry! My friend Kelly agreed to be my date for the event and we met up with my friend Charlotte (of Charlotte Smiled) just as we were arriving.

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Painting with Fire Studio is located in the Grand Central district amidst an enclave of creative businesses.

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They rolled out the welcome mat, or put up the welcome sandwich board, for us Yelpers!

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One of my favorite thing about Yelp events is getting to see lots of friends. It is my wish that all of my BFFs would become active Yelpers and attend events so that every event would just be like a private party for my friends and me. Sounds good, right? Well, I’ve gotten to know quite a few of the regular Yelpers already, so it kind of already is like that. But I’m on a mission to get all of my friends to a Yelp event with me at some point!

My friends Joe and Crystal:

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When we first arrived I met Jim Lewis, one of the owners of Painting with Fire. He is a foodie and a talented chef…he made all of the amazing food for this event!

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It was beautiful and there were so many options that I could eat (NSNG…no sugar, no grains). Jim also told me that all of the produce and food items came from Keep St. Pete Local business members. I love how KSPL businesses support each other.

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The cocktail sauce did have some sugar as it contained ketchup, so that was my splurge. Otherwise, this was a fabulous NSNG dinner for me. Thank you Jim!

Later in the evening dessert appeared…

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but I was so happy and satisfied with the copious hors d’oeuvres that I was not tempted…much. Yelp provided craft beer and red and white wine at the event, but I just stuck with water since I’ve had several NorCal margaritas lately.

As we ate and drank and mingled I wandered around the store taking in the eclectic and cool mixture of jewelry, pottery, and art.

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All of the workspaces and jewelry/art supplies on display were inspiring me to get my guest room/craft room in order and play with my stuff!

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But soon enough we were directed to the FIRE room where we were going to get to play!

Painting with Fire is a family business started by Barbara Lewis. She enlisted her husband, son, and daughter into the business and you can tell that it is a passion project for all of them.

Barbara also wrote the first book ever to focus on torch-fired enamel. “Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: a Workshop in Painting with Fire” was named the Best Craft Book of 2011 at Amazon. It has a five star rating on Amazon with over 240 reviews!

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Barbara was so welcoming to all of us and she explained about the unique work station/ventilation system and the bead pulling system that she created (patent pending).

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Her son David gave us all a tutorial on how to use the torch and create the enameled beads.

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Charlotte creating her masterpieces:

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Joe and Crystal in deep fire-play concentration:

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David explaining to me how to light a match:

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Me torching the entire studio:

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Just kidding.

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You roll the bead in the apex of the torch flame until it is glowing red then roll it into the ground glass and then torch it again to melt it.

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Then you slide it off into the cooling tray lined with gravel (the stuff that they use in auto mechanic places to absorb oil on the floor, so it is heat proof).

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Then you have to fire up the stainless rod to “clean” it and then dip it into water to cool it before you use it again.

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Kelly getting crafty:

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My beads and Charlotte’s beads (ok, David actually made two of the blue ones in my tray):

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We really were all proud of our creations.

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There were quite a few pieces on display to give me inspiration for how I can use my beads to make something beautiful:

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After playing with fire we went into the other workshop room to create sea glass pendants.

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All of this sea glass was actually collected by Painting with Fire employees (no Shell Factory sea glass here).

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This was our inspiration piece:

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Crafting is fun, ya’ll.

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When it was my turn I picked out three small pieces of sea glass from the tray.

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I used a little E6000 glue to hold the glass together while I wrapped it with silver wire.

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I’m quite happy with my pendant.

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This was a really fabulous Yelp event. I had so much fun. Good friends, good food, good entertainment. What else could you ask for?

Thank you to Barbara and her family at Painting with Fire for hosting us! And thank you to Yelp Tampa Bay (especially Brett, our Yelp Tampa Bay Community Manager) for another great event.

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I am FOR SURE going to attend a workshop at Painting with Fire.

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Who wants to go with me? Let’s plan it!

Be sure to check out the Painting with Fire Studio Facebook page to see what they are up to!

Cya.

Yelp’s PASSPORT: The Gallery of Yelp

November 7, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Last night was the third night of Yelp’s PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete, but it was just my second night since I didn’t get into the Bella Brava event on Monday (sniff, sniff). The Wednesday night event was held at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery on Central Avenue.

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My friend Lily (of Lily on the Lam) agreed to be my date for the event.

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It was exciting to be going to what felt like my first holiday party of the year. The Florida Craftsmen Gallery had their windows beautifully decorated for the season.

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Going to Yelp events makes you feel special…

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but anybody could do it. My brand was recognized (CaroFine)!

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Lily and I checked in…

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and wandered around the showroom, trying to take in all the beauty and unique items that surrounded us.

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The variety of items in the Florida Craftsmen Gallery is endless. Everything from jewelry to fashion to furniture is on display, all created by Florida artisans.

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I especially loved all the holiday items.

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Florida Craftsmen Gallery recently opened their Holiday Boutique which will run through December 31st. Check out that link for special holiday hours.

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Also, Florida Craftsmen’s premier event, CraftArt, is coming up the weekend before Thanksgiving. CraftArt is a two day outdoor fine craft festival. Central Avenue and 5th Street are closed to traffic as 130 artists offer their finest work. This event is attended annually by over 10,000 people. I definitely need to make it to CraftArt this year!

As we wandered around the galley we came to tables laden with delicious looking food.

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The food was catered by Eat This!

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I managed to avoid the above sweet items (with some difficulty), but did indulge in the savory items on display. Not that Figs In Blankets weren’t sweet (yes, I ate some honey, but only had one):

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Everything was yummy.

We were given small group tours of the Florida Craftsmen-owned building which is the historic Rutland Department Store location.

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There is only one studio housed on the ground level:

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Next we went inside…

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and rode one of the oldest elevators in St. Pete up to the second floor.

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This building houses 18 artists studios and classroom space known collectively as ArtLofts.

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Many of the artists were there last night and it was really neat to get to chat with them in their studio spaces. First we visited Marie Gagne Organic…

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and tried on some of her amazing hats.

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The artist in her studio:

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Then we wandered all over the building meeting artists and admiring their works in process.

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The studio space is a gallery unto itself, but eventually Lily and I headed back down to the showroom.

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I was so inspired by so many things at the Florida Craftsmen Gallery. I was decorating my house in my head. I’m definitely on the hunt for a “can’t live without” piece for our living room (above the mantle), and I want it to be by a local artist. Thank goodness there is no shortage of talent in Florida. I can’t wait for CraftArt!

Thanks for another great PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete event Yelp Tampa Bay and Florida Craftsmen Gallery!

Click here to read about Day 2 of the PASSPORT to downtown St. Pete: Yelp’s Mac Daddy at MacDinton’s on Tuesday night.

See my Yelping friends tonight at the next event! Otherwise…

Cya.