Friday, October 31, 2008


Hope all you ghosts and goblins have a very spooky, trick-or-treat-filled Halloween. My three pumpkins are VERY excited to hit the streets tonight and gather obscene amounts of candy.

This witch is holding on tight to the candy we'll also be passing out.

After our three collect and eat way more than Mom and Dad would approve of in one sitting, we've got a party or two to attend.
Be safe and have fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The van gets a trunk

Yesterday after dropping my youngest at preschool, my van shifted into auto pilot and took me right to my favorite thrift store. It tends to do this every few weeks or so. I try to act relatively cool at my thrift haunts, but I could feel my mouth making a big WOW when I saw this.

An absolutely gorgeous antique trunk. The best part (besides the price) had to be the shipping labels all over the back and sides. Remember when people shipped their trunks i.e. railroad travel and all of that?? Me neither, but I've seen it on TV. The incredible weathered colors and markings made by time on this gem are simply amazing (and if I could figure out how to make my pix larger than "large" on my blog I'd blow these babies up so you could see even better.)

I love the bits left of the broken handle. Not that an intact handle wouldn't have been nice. It was quite a trick both lugging this awkward, huge thing up to the register and getting it out and into my van.

And then there's the hardware...

Here's a closeup of the inside lined with ghosts from the past.
I want to put this awkward 50lb+ trunk on my scanner and scan every inch. However photos will have to do. Wouldn't the above make a great background/starting point for a collage?
(I left the pix big here so if you click and print you can do just that.)

I know this isn't the best use or place for my Tuesday find, but for now it'll sit here as a printer stand. I'd love the trunk for a coffee table, but I can see my three dears picking at the barely-still-intact mailing labels and therefore causing a mother to yell...LOUD.

The other best part...the price. I even shocked my husband who is used to my bargain hunting prowess. I purchased this trunk for a mere $4.00 (USD). Kid you not. That's why it's just silly to ignore your vehicle when it wants to take a quick jaunt to the thrift store.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bricks Along the Journey

This past weekend was the 7th Annual Breast Cancer Brick Auction, "Bricks Along the Journey." I created the brick, "Wind Beneath My Wings" (pictured above) to donate to this year's auction.

from the auction website: "The "Bricks Along the Journey" Project was established as a symbol of life, rejuvenation, and hope. Bricks salvaged from the rubble of old buildings have been transformed into stunning works of art. This transformation is the perfect metaphor for the experience shared by all Breast Cancer survivors. We take these bricks that have been knocked down and bring them to life again. The brick auctions have been instrumental in raising money for various, local Breast Cancer agencies."

I was in awe of the beautiful and unique bricks—over 300 in all!—up for auction to support this important cause.

This spunky gal was one of my favorites by the talented and acclaimed Pam Kravetz.

A few more personal favs...waaaaaay too many to post here!!

The goal of this year's auction was to raise $120,000. With the positive energy and the large crowd this event drew, I'm sure once final tallies are in that goal will be met. One brick closer to the cure.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grand Opening plus lots of Frustrations

I'm now officially a "store owner". My Art Just for Fun Etsy shop is OPEN for business. Stop on over and take a look. Whew I'm exhausted...long day of moving inventory, sprucing things up and staff training.

This is one of my favorite new products for sale. I have always had a thing for whimsical writing implements and at one time had quite a collection. I was even part of a pencil club with a few of my more eclectic friends. Seriously. At any rate, frustration pencils bring me back to my childhood. I posted about them way back here after finding craft fur at a yard sale. I received tons of e-mails from people unsuccessfully trying to locate craft fur. Thus the idea for a Retro Craft frustration pencil kit was born.

I'm starting things out with a basic kit available in three funky fun colors. Included is a piece of premium craft fur. Much better than anything I've used in the past.

Here's the kit out of the package. Also included is a whimsical set of instructions and patterns illustrated by yours truly.

My basic patterns include ideas to make this happy pencil family: Mr and Mrs. Frustration and little baby Frustration. Of course the best thing about a kit is using your imagination to come up with your own creations. My kids are in absolute craft nirvana right now. Math is going to be a lot more fun with a furry friend to help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Raevn's Nest

I'm just returning from an incredible weekend spent in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. It was the first year for this venue and a first art retreat for me. And self-pat-on-the-back, I picked a good one. If the rock star mixed media instructors weren't enough, the town oozed with charm. Plus after a long day of being creative, cushy B & B accommodations provided a place to unwind and prep for more. Usually I can come up with a few constructive criticisms. Not so here...except maybe longer classes....which really wouldn't be practical, just me wanting more of a good thing.

And then there were my fellow retreaters. Everyone was so nice and supportive. These way cool gals were soooo funny and talented and nice. Thank you for hanging out with a Fufffff.

This photo makes me miss it already. Just look at all of those paint supplies, the diet coke and water within arms reach...a day to spread out and do nothing but create. big sigh.........
The fabulous Judy Wise taught this all day Encaustic Collage class. My collage piece featured one of my greatgreat grandfathers holding a bunch of whimsical balloons. The guy looked to me like he really needed to loosen up and have some fun.

That evening the unbelievable Laurie Mika taught her polymer clay Ancient Amulets class. Mine are on the left. More total fun.

And last, but certainly not least, I had the pleasure of learning a trick or two from the brilliant Michael deMeng in his Morpheus Box: A Transformation Chamber workshop. What an amazing class. I'm buying the book for sure. The box on the right is mine..not completely finished, but well underway.

So I'm thinking of becoming a professional art retreater. This time reminded me of how much I enjoyed my college art classes and creating just to create. Lots of sleepy brain cells were reawakened with new ideas and possibilities. Thanks go to all of my friendly classmates, instructors and especially Kim Rae Nugent for putting together such an inspiring retreat. To quote Arnold, "I'll be back." (for sure!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Apron strings

You think there are any strings attached in my kitchen? What? You kids can't fit your complaints in that teeny box?! Really??? Hmmm......not sure what to tell you. How about if you behave nicely and compliment the chef often??

I did this piece using the old too-small-for-complaints-box-joke over the past weekend. I think it fits right in with Illustration Friday's topic of the week: strings. I'm planning to include it as a print for sale when I open up my Etsy store next Friday. Please check back then and take a peek!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall pickings

We've added a new kind of pickings to our usual fall routine. This year we visited a turnip patch. A farm, not far from where we live, offers this opportunity. A horse drawn wagon takes you out to a patch where the goal is to search for really BIG root veggies. I've learned that no one wants a puny turnip. And if you're thinking we came home with a bunch for turnip soup this was not the case. You see our primary goal was to take our fresh picked turnips to some furry friends.

After a short wagon ride with turnips in tow, we stopped here. Look sheep! We have turnips! Apparently these particular sheep are pregnant females. The goal of our quest was to feed them nutrient packed turnips so that their ewes would be healthy and maybe even be twin ewes next spring. However, the sheep acted all nonchalant...completely ignoring our delicious turnips. So we left the pickings and headed back. It turns out, those aloof sheep didn't want dinner guests for once our backs were turned they were all about turnips.

The next wagon stop involved our more traditional fall outing...a trip to the pumpkin patch. We selected three future jack-o-lanterns and snipped them fresh from the vine.

Finally, we loaded up the wagon with fall produce (saving a turnip or two) and rode back to our mini van. A charming country outing for my little city mice.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

now charming

In more retreat prep, I've been making charms for swapping. Yet another first for me. As with many of my art projects, I wanted to repurpose something and use materials I had on hand, purchasing as little new as possible. In the end, the only item I ended up buying was a pack of 7mm jump rings.

I experimented with several charm-sized items to use for the body of the charm, but ended up settling on metal bottle caps. To start, I pounded each cap flat with a hammer.

I then cut imperfect on purpose circles (a little smaller than the cap size) out of handmade paper scraps from my stash. I glued these to the underside of the cap using matte medium. I also coated the top of the paper with matte medium.

Using my laser printer, I printed out a sheet of love, hope and gives' on transparency film.

After cutting out a single word from the transparency, I glued that to the cap using matte medium. After the cap dried, I painted just a bit using acrylic paints. Then using my Crop-A-Dile (awesome tool) I punched two holes in the cap. One hole in the center of the heart and one at the top for the eventual jump ring.

Using a flattish bead and a mini brad I inserted both through the heart's center hole. To give the look of soldering (no torch involved) I painted Jim Holtz silver alcohol ink on the edge of the charm and around the jump ring circle.

I repeated the step of attaching handmade paper to the back of the charm to cover the legs of the brad. I then painted a bit to enhance (but not cover) the paper. Next I matte mediumed a piece of transparency film with my name to the back. I coated both the front and the back with a satin sealer and inserted the jump ring.

My next challenge-to-self is coming up with something to do with plastic diet coke caps which multiply like bunnies around here. If you have any ideas please share. : )