Monday, December 12, 2011

Might I suggest...

"With writing that is both poignant and wry, and visuals that elevate it from just another "dear diary" to fully realized cinema on paper, this summers editor's pick, Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake engages on all fronts. When Crooks' mother stays up all night sewing, we see her stitching on the page, circling perfectly around images of buttons and hems, then cutting wildly through envelopes and black-and-white photos. We see stitches of our own lives, sometimes straight but mostly jagged and blurry.
—Nina Lary, Curve Magazine, August 2011

"Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake is, in fact, one of the more unusual memoirs to come along. Not so much in the subject matter, but in the way that writer and artist Cori Crooks has chosen to present her story about her at-times monstrous mother and Crooks' own efforts to find out which of the two men in her mother's life in late 1968 is her father…What sets Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake apart is its method: a literal collage of images and text, including old snapshots, newspaper clippings, handwritten letters, even the official results of the DNA test. It could have easily seemed like a gimmick, but it's not. For one thing, Crooks' prose often has the economy, even the flow, of poetry so that every scene seems distilled to its essence.
—James Watts, Tulsa World , January 25, 2009

"Cori Crooks’ graphic memoir about her mom (a pill-popping stripper with an endless parade of loser boyfriends) and the unknown identity of her birth father is fashioned like a scrapbook filled with faded black-and-white photos, diary entries and handwritten letters on lined notebook paper. Her six older siblings (yes, that makes the author her mother’s seventh mistake) are scattered to live in foster homes or with various birth dads, and her mother fakes cancer twice before actually dying. It’s grim stuff, but the scrapbook treatment keeps it from getting too heavy while echoing the spotty, disjointed nature of memory."
—Suzanne Van Atten, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 15, 2009

"Cori Crooks offers a quirky mediation on her mother’s life and the search for her own paternity. Instead of a relating a straightforward narrative, Crooks assembles photos and letters, essays and memorabilia. Through them, she allows readers to glimpse a flawed, fascinating woman who had 15 names, seven husbands and seven children. The identity of Crooks’ biological father, which might seem straightforward, becomes even more subtle and complex."
—Mary Colurso, The Birmingham News, January 9, 2009

"With a beautiful and intense sense of intimacy Crooks' teenage angst voice tinged with the insecurity of a reminiscing adult takes the reader along for the ride as she shifts through her recollections of preconceived notions and allows us to share her sacred thoughts of the dead, as well as her fears of forgetting and being forgotten… This is compassionate voyeurism at its best. As Crooks unflinching exposes every one of her dark secrets for all to share, she searches not only for who her family is, but who she is as well. A truly inspiring and fresh approach to a tough coming of age story and must read for anyone, regardless of age."
—Patrick O'Neil , The Sylvan Echo, January 2009

Sweet Charlotte’s Seventh Mistake, recently published by Seal Press, is far more than just a blog transplanted to the page; it’s a chronicle of family dysfunction that is to memoir what sculpture is to Play-Doh. Crooks has pieced together a pastiche from documents, family photos, poem fragments, letters and her own memory. “It’s really the anti-scrapbook,” Crooks says, revealing that the “Charlotte” of the title is Crooks’ mother and the “seventh mistake” is Crooks herself.
—Kel Munger, Sacramento News & Review, January 8, 2009

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Etsy Anniversary

October marks my 5 year anniversary on Etsy!  It's been a fun journey full of learning!  Before Etsy I had an online shop for a year with an embarrassing number of sales. My dream of having a career as an artist and writer was looking pretty dismal. Once I took a chance on opening an Etsy shop things gradually changed. On top of decent online sales, I learned a lot of valuable information about running a craft business from the forums and from Etsy articles. I learned the ins and outs of craft fairs and how to pick up wholesale accounts. Having a support system of other artists at my fingertips (via their forums) and a steady paycheck from things I'd made, made me confident about working harder and never quitting. And of course... In 2009, I got a book deal and released a full color art memoir with SEAL PRESS, titled, "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake". Brag, brag, brag. :)

I'm not sure what the future will bring with our 2nd US recession, but I'm feeling pretty confident that my business will continue to grow and the work will still be there.  I sincerely think there is an art movement afoot!  People want to and will buy handmade when they have the option... and our presence as working artists and dedication to our work via Etsy gives them the chance.

New in shop:

Dia de los Muertos sugar skull earrings

Mexican Talavera tile bracelet

Alhambra Islamic tile earrings

Portuguese tile cabochon drop earrings

Mexican tile cabochon drop earrings

Portuguese tile hair clip

All jewelry pieces can be found at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Notes and pictures from the Solano Stroll, 9/11/11

What a beautiful day and a lovely event to be a part of!  The organizers started the parade off with a touching tribute to our firefighters and police officers.  (I have to admit I got a bit choked up!)  After that... it was all Berkeley!  Woohoo! 

It was an interesting day for me.  It started with my stall not being marked on the street and some confusion and miscommunication with the street managers as to who and what and where and how the hell was I gonna fit there?  But I made it work, thanks to the genius help I got from Kim and her pals at The Details Company. (Stall 107)  I'd love to give them a link, but I can't find them online! :(  So after that fiasco turned fantastic, I set up my pop-up and watched the world's most wonderful people stroll by.  I love the East Bay.

...and then the bees came.  Yeah, bees.  And yellow jackets too!  I first noticed one hanging off of a glass bead attached to the bottom of one of my tile earrings.  I tried to catch a photo, but it buzzed me.  Through-out the day I noticed more and more wasps and honey bees flying in to get a look-see at my wears. Then I realized that some were collecting at the top of my tent!  What to do, what to do?  Denial.  Denial works.  I did my best and pretended they weren't there.  Kinda.

Then... the gust of wind thing happened!  Yeah, really.  I felt little gusts rattling my tent frame most of the day, but this one was sneaky.  In a matter of a second I found my pals from The Detail Company running to grab the corners of my tent as it lifted up and started to fly!  Hahaha!  My Eiffel Tower earring stand rose off the table and earrings flew all over the corner of Neilson and Solano!  But as quick as it happened, lovely strollers swooped in and helped me recover.  A pack of little girls collected the earrings off the ground like little birds collecting bread crumbs.  They were tweeting sweetness. People passing by picked up my business cards and arranged them back on the table. Kim and her crew helped me get secure and tie my poles down.  "Home," I thought.  "It's so good to be back home."

Me and Kayla
My dear friend Lisa and her beautiful daughter Kayla (pictured above) arrived just after and helped me sort and reorganize at least 30 pair of earrings that had become mismatched and displaced!  It would have taken me more than an hour to do alone!  I heart friends!  (New and old!)

The day ended with a "dream" sale.  This wonderful woman purchased from my newest line, "The Craftsman".  I designed a mahogany bezel pendant for my miniature tiles to sit in as a romantic nod to the Craftsman houses that I love so very much.  What made this sale special is she told me her husband was from Mexico and when she learned the pendant she chose was a Mexican Talavera tile design, she had to have it!  She tried the necklace on and patted her chest as she looked at herself in the mirror.  You could see the love!  Just the idea that I made something that could represent a sentiment for someone else... well that's a kick for me.  That's what art is.

You think the bees liked my hat?

All the jewelry in this post can be found at my ETSY shop.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An evening with Richard Buckner, 8/17/11

Richard Buckner, Great American Music Hall, SF 8/17/11

Richard Buckner's 8/17 Great American Music Hall show w/the Crooked Jades was truly captivating- with hypnotic moments of rhythmic musical crescendos.  The vibrating low E, the harmonium and lap guitars, the maracas that fell just behind the beat- it was intimate, sincere, and often surreal.   No chair this time,  he was up and swaying... alive.  A majority of the songs new,  trance state eyes, interesting orange pants, and lilting vocal highs and lows that gently crashed in that Buckner way- up and down the twisted hills of San Francisco.  Unforgettable.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Craftaluma in Petaluma!

I'll be hosting a table and slinging copies of "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" here, Sunday, 8/21.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The art of being positive...

photo courtesy of

Hmmm... My book came out on Kindle and I didn't even know about it. Whelp... *scratches head* Ahhh... YAY?  Though I'm not sure if Kindle is the right choice or the best platform for "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake"... I do hope she is loved by it's enthusiasts.  Maybe they'll become curious about the mysterious black-n-white cut-off layouts and give the paper version a look-see.  

Click to see what Kindle readers are missing...

There are times as a working artist where one learns to let go of their work.  

Full color art, empheria, and collage surround prose in decorative text.

SC7M is all grown up and I wish her the best.  Go get 'em!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Designing Season

Cabochon tile earrings in copper

Craftsman ring in mahogany wood and sterling silver

The Mother's Day/Cinco de Mayo rush is over.  Now I can play around with some ideas I've been toying with all year.  I think I'll have a new line by September- and maybe even a t-shirt!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Waiting for the snow...

photo courtesy of Chef, Cathy Shambley

There is a chicken roasting in the oven and I just finished cooking Cathy, The Showfood Chef's, amazing Kaboucha Soup with Cilantro Chili Drizzle! I know it's amazing cause I've already had a little bowl, OK a BIG bowl!  It hasn't snowed in the SF Bay Area since 1976... when I was in kindergarten.  I remember it with every ounce of my soul!  It's a magical night here.  There is such a strong feeling of inspiration and possibility!  As the temp drops our bellies will be warm, full, and ready to make this winter's magic a reality.  Let it snow!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Sunset: home

Last night from my back yard. 
Sometimes it comes in your favorite colors.

Friday, January 28, 2011

BOOK love!

"Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" got some love, love, love!

*Ben Tanzer, author of such notable books such as, "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine ", and "99 Problems", gave SC7M love galore! "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" made his 2010 Top Ten List!  See: This Blog Will Change Your Life.  Thanks Ben!

*Antonia Monacelli, a brilliant Hub Pages writer, gave "Sweet Charlotte's Seventh Mistake" an honorable mention in her article, "Addiction, Insanity & Polygamy: The 10 Best Memoirs".   Her glowing review put my book in the company of Alice Sebold's "Lucky", and Elizabeth Wurtzel's, "Prozac Nation". Thanks Antonia! What an honor!

Monday, January 17, 2011

ETSY love!

Mexican Decorative tile earrings at

Malibu California tiles in miniature, post earrings at

Two front pages plus an Etsy Finds Editor's pick! 
January has been a good month!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Newest 1/11

I fooled with color on this classic Mediterranean tile design, going for the old school effect with green and golds.  Stainless steel posts. Khaki green Swarovski crystals.