Thursday, January 29, 2009


We continue to dig out from the week's big snow storm. If I wasn't such a snow wimp I'd wander around and take more pictures. It really is beautiful. This is a pix I snapped standing on my porch in my fuzzy slippers. Okay snow, you can melt now.

psst: I've decided to have my first ever 3 DAY Print Sale over in my
etsy shop celebrating my three months as an etsy seller. From now until Saturday, all prints are 25% off which makes them $13.50 (reg. $18). Head on over to add a little color to that wintery landscape.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow days

Today everybody is home from school for the second day in a row due to snow, freezing rain and everything in between. My peeps have been having a fabulous time playing outside in all of it...building snow sculptures and forts, sledding and breaking into the occasional snowball fight. Me? Well, I'm more of the "how about I bake cookies and keep the hot cocoa warm for when you decide to finally come in" kind-of-mom. Nothing wrong with that right? ; )

Monday, January 26, 2009

Birds of a Feather

A few weeks ago my daughter came home with one third of a poster from a school group project. It turns out that all of the members of her group wanted to share a piece of the art they worked on. I liked the sharing-of-the-poster idea. It inspired my latest print which is made up of nine cheerful little tweeting pieces of original art. Kind of like a spin off of the Doors of whatever city posters.

Here's a peek at the 8" x 10" "Birds of a Feather" print which is a cinch to stick in a inexpensive frame or frame with a matte if you choose. In addition, I have posted all nine original birds for sale in my etsy shop. They're ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) size at 2.5" x 3.5" and come with a signed certificate stating that they belong to the original flock of nine.

These are thick ACEOs. I'm not a delicate painter by any means. Gesso, matte medium, paint, inks, vintage music, designer paper, trim and a feather all stuck to what was an actual playing card. In some of the cards, you can see actually still see the hearts or spades peeking through. I love that. Now I'm off to devote 30 minutes to my photos. I have so fallen off the wagon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Get down

Three-year-old Nora came home with this frameable drawing yesterday. I laughed out loud when she told me that it was "Mommy shaking her booty." I can hear KC and the Sunshine band now...woWohoo, yeah! Nora went on to explain that the purple on my one arm is a cast (matches my purple dress.) Apparently, I had a fall while stirring up the dance floor which would not be too surprising.

I'll have to say, besides being very amused I was quite impressed with Nora's figure drawing action nonetheless. WOW.
You go girl.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seven You Are

After Brendan and I had our annual birthday cake consultation, we decided that Yoda would be appropriate for year seven. This is what I came up with. I designed it much like the puppy cake from a couple of weeks ago. Two round for the head with the second cut to form Yoda's ears (I think they're ears?) I called upon the force several times hoping that Yoda would look like Yoda rather than a scary green monster.

The most important critic was thrilled with his cake grinning ear-to-ear when he saw it. He commented on how he didn't know I could make a Yoda cake. I used that opportunity to rant off my creativity speech including how artists never really know how the end product will turn out and often question whether it will fulfill their vision. I went on to reinforce that attempting new things is what makes one grow as an artist. His response to that inspired burst of eloquence was, "It looks hard."

Yoda strikes me as a guy who is green all the way through so my sense of humor took great delight in making a green cake with a bit of food coloring. Brendan's out-of-town grandma asked him over the phone what flavor cake he had. He responded, "Green". She said, "No honey, I mean yellow, white or chocolate." Again Brendan correctly replied, "Green." We like to keep her guessing. ; )

In addition to the Yoda cake, you're looking at another first. I never ever thought I'd have a birthday party here. Brendan, this is proof that I love you very, VERY much.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

preschool artist + a giveaway

She's shown tremendous growth since way back then. Here is a glimpse of her artistic process.

Studying the surface marks...perspective is everything.

Perfecting the line and movement of the painting.

Embracing a wide color palette to create both harmony and dissonance.

Knowing when the piece is complete.
(above painting currently "Untitled".)

**ShOp GivEAwAy! Head on over to Funky Finds and leave a comment under my shop feature. I'm hosting a giveaway for both a Frustration Pencil kit and a pack of Glittery Birthday cards. You have until Midnight CST, Tuesday, January 20. Good luck!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Archivist

Archiving family photos haunts me especially when I fall now...I'm really behind. First, let me say that I am NOT a person who actively participates in the art form of scrapbooking photos (However, I do appreciate and admire those that can keep up with beautiful scrapbooks!) In years past, I managed to get a pretty decent 'first year' Creative Memories type scrapbook completed for child #1 and #2 (I am so sorry little #3!) with fancy layouts, papers, type, stickers and all. But, I quickly jumped off that boat. Despite being the artsy/craftsy type, scrapbooking is not for me. I think it was the pressure to make every page a work of art coupled with the falling behind feeling of drowning in photos that I personally couldn't handle. Although here I am, all guilt ridden and drowning even with my simplified scrapbooking system.

Since the year 2000, I have been putting photos in chronological order with a short caption. I use photo books like the above which have a 4" x 6" photo slot and a space on the side of each photo for captions. Compared to trying to really scrapbook, this seemed more manageable. My system is as follows:

1) transfer photos from digital camera to computer
2) upload photos (every month or so) from computer to Kodak Gallery
3) add captions to each online photo
4) digitally share album with family and friends
5) order actual prints (every few months) of all digital photos
6) place actual prints in the above type of photo book in chronological order
7) hand write identical captions that appeared with online photo
8) breathe sigh of relief and enjoy feeling of MAJOR accomplishment

My thought is that with this system, I have both an online record (that I'm assuming is safe in the hands of the big K) and actual books that our family can hold, look through and reminisce. I can't tell you how much my family enjoys our photo books. Completely worth it, but still time consuming especially when I fall behind. This morning I managed to catch up so that all pix have at least been through step #2. The bad news is that I have pix from September '07 that are still stuck on step #7 so I'm over a year behind in my process (even though I managed to find time to make matching throw pillows for my office...see top photo...hmmmm). I'm pledging right now to myself and anyone reading to spend AT LEAST 30 minutes per day on family photos until I am caught up. You heard me...30 minutes per day. Archival guilt be gone.

Thanks to Cuteable for doing a write up on my Frustration Pencil kits last week. Also thanks Amy and Gary from the Cincinnati Enquirer who came to do a photo story on my new studio space. Stay tuned for that article coming soon!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The making of jail bird

He'd been in and out of the coop ever since he cracked his shell. They couldn't keep him contained behind bars for long. Once again he was out and headed South for the border.

His story starts with a world map my daughter brought home from school. (The girl knows cool collage supplies when she sees them.) The map, with a bit of designer paper, black ribbon and white card stock make the bird, his scrubs and a post to stand on. Matte gel medium makes it all stick.

The hardest part is walking away so the guy can dry between layers. I made myself refill coffee and do a computer task or two. When things dry, a bit of paint and ink hit the first layer. Next, more of the composition gets adhered including proper jail attire and a key which is floating now, but will soon be hanging from his beak via a key ring.

I step back again for more dry time before building on the last layer. Then, I adhere the type and add more matte medium to create texture which will be painted over in the final step.

A funky fuchsia feather is added along with more paint on top of all of those layers. Finally, a few finer details take place and he's complete. Jail bird is born. Call the proper authorities if you spot him on his flight to the border.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Plugging a sampling

I remember as a kid being enthralled by the brown paper grab bags often found at gift shops. You never knew what you were going to get (no fair peeking), but for sure it would be a deal and a little thrill to open once purchased. I don't see them as much any more, but the Sampler kind of reminds me of that. If you're not familiar, the Sampler is a super fun marketing and promotional tool for indie businesses. Each month, independent crafters, artists, shops, zines and record labels who run web-based businesses send samples and promotional materials to a contribution pool. All the samples are photographed, posted to the site, put in little packages and sent off to Sampler Subscribers, Sampler Contributors and members of the Media all over the world. You're not guaranteed to get a sample from everyone who contributes, but you are guaranteed to get a certain amount of samples depending on the size Sampler you order.

Right now Samplers are on sale (peek over there quick!) I guarantee that you'll be waiting anxiously for this package. Not only is it the most fun thing to open and go through during the doldrums of's a great way to discover and then support indie
businesses. It also makes a unique gift for that person in your life who has everything. Plus, if you are an indie business, it's one more inexpensive way to get the word out.

extra credit: I was a contributor last month...can you spot my sample?! : )

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

you're groovy

Here they are...a freshly designed frustration pencil kit for Valentines day. I'm a big fan of the February holiday which brings a burst of warm, bright color in the middle of an often dark and cold winter. Valentines day is right up there with girl scout cookies sales if you ask me. I couldn't help but design a special craft kit to celebrate. Each kit will make a total of 6 pencil friends to keep or give to teachers, friends, grandparents, etc. I'm also thinking these would make for a unique girl or boy scout craft activity, birthday party or classroom craft. The enclosed pattern/direction sheet illustrated by me guides any age through the pencil making process. The sheet includes valentine wishes to adorn the pencils reminiscent of the age of frustration pencils like "U R Outta Sight". Here's a peek at the Valentines kit contents:

And just in case you missed this craft in the 70s (or you missed the 70s), my daughter Cara demonstrates below how to melt your frustrations away.

Smooth hair up nice and straight. Rub pencil between hands, Laugh at ridiculous looking pencil. Repeat.

These kits will be available in my etsy shop for the next month or so. Standard frustration pencil kits are also available in a variety of colors. I've redesigned the packaging on those, but the kit contents haven't changed with one color of fur per kit. Okay now, you all have a dynomite day. Dig? : )

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

love birds

And they resolved to love each other forever like true love birds do.

I put away the last of the Christmas decorations today...that is except for a lonely wreath on the outside of our house that requires a ladder and a husband and many sweet suggestions that I would soooooo appreciate having that wreath down : )

Now I'm looking toward the February holiday of love. Prints of this illustration will be available in my etsy shop as I decorate things for the upcoming season over there. xo xo

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A sweet puppy

My first born turned ten a few days ago and oh how she wants a puppy. Unfortunately, Mom and Dad aren't ready to add the live kind to our household just yet so a sugary one had to suffice. Around here, as I've mentioned before, a homemade cake happens for every birthday in the shape of whatever the birthday child dreams up (that's within reason...this isn't Ace of Cakes.) Sometimes, I'll surf the Internet for inspiration and other times I'll just wing it. This time I was winging it.

Here's a very easy cake pattern if by chance there's a puppy lover with a birthday at your house. I used two cake mixes filled the 10 inch cake pan and the other filled a 9 inch with batter left over (the leftover made extra cupcakes.) A furry cake is pretty easy to decorate since the icing doesn't need to be all perfect. I gobbed it on and swirled it this way and that to get the furry doggie effect. I used a lighter color of the fur icing to make the snout area and then used pink icing for the collar. The dogs eyes and nose (nose cut into proper shape) are peppermint patties. White chocolate chips decorate the collar. Finally, I did some very basic piping with black and white icing, but candy (licorice, etc) would also work to get a similar effect.

It's officially birthday season around here, so they'll be two more kids cakes happening between now and March. I'm not sure what shape those will take on yet...but I'll keep ya posted.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New threads

I feel like I'm waking from a long, dreamy know the kind that makes you question where you are, what happened and what time is it already?! The past week flew by like that. Actually, I'd say right after Thanksgiving things were on fast forward and haven't stopped since. Our family had a great time celebrating the holidays with friends and family. The above was one of my favorite gifts. A very modest, beginner-style sewing machine. Perfect for someone who said to her helpful mom..."You mean thread comes down from the top AND up from the bottom?! At the same time! WOW." And that would not be my daughter talking to me, but me talking to my mom who guided me through my very first sewing project.

disclaimer: I did have a Holly Hobbie toy sewing machine way back when, but that couldn't really be classified as sewing could it?

So from a "Pattern for Dummies" with Mom standing by, I made this table runner for the dining room. It even has a fancy navy cord detail on the edges that is hard to fully appreciate in this photo. Trust me it's there and I have to say I'm pretty proud to have managed this.

After the runner, the sewing bug officially took hold. A day or two later, I wandered into the fabric section at IKEA and fell in love with this fabric. And like many of my project ideas, I couldn't sleep until I had whipped up two valances for my office with a touch of vintage brown seam binding. This project was a little bumpy with no pattern or Mom to guide me, but I'm getting better.

Two no sew projects (my specialty) also happened over the last week. First, I decided to cover my drafting table chair. I used my fancy upholstery tool a.k.a.flat head screw driver to shove fabric into the crack between cushion and rim.

This actually was a piece of cake. That fabric is wedged in really tight and is nice and smooth all around. Now I've got a spiffy "new" chair for a new year of art.

Finally, Modge Podge and leftover fabric scraps transformed my office switch plates. Another easy, inexpensive, satisfying kind of project. So besides the usual holiday stuff, you've caught a glimpse of the threads I've been working on here. Time to flip on 2009. Happy New Year to you!