Monday, July 30, 2007

My July Ta Da list...

For those of you who stop by regularly, you already know why I do this, but I can't stress enough how it has helped me and why everyone should keep some kind of record of their important achievements -- even small ones! Maybe it's just that I suffer from extremely poor short- and long-term memory, but as the months go by, I frequently feel like all I've gotten done was the mundane... the laundry, groceries, yardwork and housework, over and over again, and I feel as if I'm spinning my wheels artistically. The crazy part is that it's not true, but my mind minimizes my creative accomplishments -- which are so important to me -- and maximizes the drudgery and chores. I don't know why that is, and this list is helping me to strike a balance and to remind myself of all the goals that I actually achieve -- even little ones, as long as they fill a creative purpose in my life.

We are what we think - so think good, happy, creative, powerful thoughts!!!

So without further ado...

I was published in first edition of Artful Blogging magazine (p 20 -23)
I was published in Somerset Home, Volume II (p42)
I helped coordinate and promote a huge rubber stamp sale at Art Connection which was very successful!!
I devoted time in my art room to beeswax collage techniques - I have a half-finished piece that I will post very soon!!
I spent a wonderful half day with my friend Marilyn to teach her Photoshop techniques for her new website & other creative ventures!!
I participated in Art Connection's monthly ATC swap - this month's theme was Bastille Day
I read two books: Mercy by Jodi Piccoult, and Rescue, by Elizabeth Richards
Inspired by a wire-wrapped ring that my sister purchased on Martha's Vineyard, I taught myself some wire-wrapping techniques and made some rings -- pictured- they are much prettier in person, if I do say so myself - particularly the ones made with mother of pearl buttons
I also have a few other art & writing projects in the works, but I'm keeping them under wraps until they're finished!!!

...and in order to do all of these things, I let the house get quite messy, and my lawn really needs mowing, and that's okay!! (alright, it's driving me a little crazy, but it will all wait for me!!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fat quarters...

If you visit my blog, you've probably read mention of my friend Melanie's mixed media studio and store, Art Connection.

Well, I volunteered to help Mel with her pre-loved rubber stamp sale Sunday, and clearly spent too much time surrounded by art materials. I already have a lot of rubber stamps. (More than a thousand is a lot, right?) And I already have reams of paper. Many, many reams...and sheets, and pads, and packets, and pieces and scraps. And lets not talk about beads. Glass, wood, resin, silver, crystal -- round, square, tubular, shiny, dull -- carved, molded, get the picture.

So as the crowd thinned, I had time to browse in this wonderful store, which has lots of beads and lots of papers, and lots of rubber stamps, which I already have lots of... and lots of FABRIC, which I don't have lots of ....yet!!! I am not a fabric artist at the moment. But yesterday, I heard the fat quarters calling me. For those of you unfamiliar with quilting, a fat quarter is not the section of the store where we ask the chubby people to sit (though I would be at home there these days)... it is a piece of fabric cut to 18 x 22 inches, and typically used in quilting and other fabric art projects, and I can't believe I've resisted them for so long. They are folded just so, and in most stores, you'll find them shelved by color, in hundreds of patterns. I had to have some. I have no idea yet how I will use them. For now, I will stack them in a basket near my art table for inspiration and wait for them to tell me their purpose... these were my selections... some fun swirly prints and some shimmery lame, which my limited photography skills cannot capture very well.

...and this weekend, when I go back to Art Connection to teach my Charm School class (pictured here), I suspect I will be bringing home more fat quarters!!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

In her vintage room...

Art Night Schenectady’s Mission

Art Night aims to introduce a wider audience to the unique vitality of the Arts, restaurants, and businesses that Schenectady has to offer. “Art Night” promotes interest in the arts by making it accessible, thereby strengthening the arts and business communities in Schenectady.

My friend, collage artist Marilyn Rock, was one of the participating artists at last Friday's Art Night Schenectady, and I was so excited to see her incredible collage art on display along with so many other talented artists in our area. Above are some amazing fabric and mixed media greeting cards that I purchased from Marilyn that night. After I had left, I wished I had taken a photo of her work on display. Among her many altered art pieces, Marilyn makes the most amazing altered birdhouses, and I would have liked to show one here.

In addition to being one of the most talented collage artists I know, she also teaches classes, and I've never met a more nurturing and inspiring soul. She has an amazing talent for helping new artists find their creative voices.

Her website --, is new, so I encourage you to stop there periodically as she adds artistic inspiration!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another publishing debut!!

See page 42...

I was sent a preview of the new Volume II of Somerset Home, which I think will be in stores on August 1, and they included my soldered glass tea lights! Somerset has recently introduced several new publications to their already impressive lineup, and their "Home" publications are full of amazing ideas for artfully beautifying the home.

I only wish they had been able to take a photo of them lit up. They're very warm and pretty when lit. I took my own photo before I sent them along for submission, but it's a little bit fuzzy. The Somerset professionals do a much better job!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adventures in gardening...

I love to watch things grow. -- Maybe I should qualify that. I get no enjoyment out of watching my waistline grow, or the mold and mildew that flourish in my bathtub. But I do love to watch my garden grow. I didn't know when we settled into our first home in Fall '03 that I would want to garden. I hadn't really considered it, but in the spring of 2004, when the first buds pushed through the thawed ground, I marveled at the miracle and resiliency of nature, and I could not wait to sink my fingers into the loamy earth, plant some seeds, and watch them as they reached for the warmth of the sun and transformed from tiny grains into fruits and flowers and vegetables.

That first summer, I learned that although we were in a busy suburban neighborhood, there were still plenty of hungry little animals waiting to decimate my first vegetable crop. I planted just a few tomato plants and was beaming with pride as they grew tall and bore fruit. As the tomatoes began to ripen, I anticipated picking that first one, smelling the unmistakable scent of the vine, and savoring it with a little salt and black pepper. Yummmm. Unfortunately, when I returned a day later to pick that first ripe tomato, there it lay... in the middle of my lawn, with one giant bite (or a hundred little nibbles) taken out of the side. Since I had planted my tomatoes among my perennials, I was not able to fence them without creating an eyesore, so I dejectedly watched as the squirrels and rabbits beat me to my harvest day after day.

The following spring, I decided to try "container gardening" on my deck instead, and was relatively successful, but I felt like I had cheated, as I bought all seedlings and small plants rather than planting from seed. I did lose a few seedlings to a late frost in May, but by mid-summer, I had tomatoes, an assortment of herbs, and some wonderful hot chile peppers. Buoyed by my success, the next spring I decided to do the same, but with seeds. I might have been successful, but last May it rained 29 out of 31 days, and most of my garden drowned. I did have a decent pot of lettuce and a few herbs, but not much for all of my effort.

This year, I went with mostly seedlings again -- what was I trying to prove in our short and unpredictable growing season? On a whim, I also bought some sweatpea seeds and planted them in two large pots, complete with bamboo poles for them to climb. By early June they were climbing, twining in curlicues two feet high around the bamboo poles, and budding with little white flowers that would evolve into peapods. Over the past few weeks, the peapods grew, and I waited patiently to harvest them.

... And after all that, this is the sum total of my sweat pea harvest....
If I put them in a salad, there might even be enough to share with my husband.

Footnote: I blanched the peas and did indeed sprinkle them on a salad. They were delicious! Now I just need to figure out a way to fit 100 pots on my deck next spring and I'll have enough peas to share!!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I'm in Artful Blogging Magazine!!

Somerset's newest publication... Artful Blogging (visually inspiring online journals)... I was sent a preview copy, but I think it will be available in stores on August 1. This is the first edition of a new Somerset quarterly publication that features artist's blogs, and like all Somerset publications, it's wonderful --- a snapshot of some absolutely amazing blogs. I found myself wanting to sit down and read it cover to cover... but I'm savoring it a little at a time!!!

To be featured along with the likes of Nina Bagley, Claudine Hellmuth and Misty Mawn (among others), is thrilling, and I truly hope that some of what I share here inspires, amuses and entertains, as I chronicle my art and life. Actually, I think I had particularly good timing to have been included...I happened to submit a number of articles and art pieces to other Somerset publications, which included my blog along with contact information, when this publication was in the planning stages. In addition, it was during the month of March that I decided to make "art every day" and post it to my blog, so I happened to have a lot of art on my blog at the time.

So I encourage all of you who've been thinking about submitting art or an article to one of your favorite magazines, to just DO IT. You never know where it will lead!!!

PS.. You'll find my blog feature on pages 20-23.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Favorite things, Part II

Inspired by this blog, I've taken some pics of some of my favorite trinkets and chotchkas that sit around my art room. What draws us to these silly things, I wonder??

These are my naked baby twins with articulated arms and legs... I think I found these in a box of old stuff we bought at an auction. I'm not sure. I like how the eyes are not painted quite right and they look a little crazy.

This is my painted rooster. He's made of cast iron, and I like the weight of him in my hands even though he's very little. I also like his bright Pennsylvania Dutch style of folk painting. I don't remember exactly how he came into my possession.

This is my collection of little chairs, all purchased for me by a wonderful, sweet friend. I once taught a rubber stamping class where we used a stamp with the image of a chair, and I confessed that I loved chairs, and images of them...and my friend Nancee took the class and never forgot that little tidbit about me, so when she sees little chairs, she buys them for me, and surprises me when I least expect it.

I was absolutely doll-obsessed as a little girl: Newborn Baby Tenderlove; Timey Tell; Baby Alive; Chrissy and Velvet; Cabbage Patch Dolls, Barbie, Francie, Skipper, Ken (and their Malibu counterparts); Dawn, Angie and Gloria; Little Kiddles; Flatsies ... should I go on?? I owned all of these and I'm sure others that I'm forgetting, so these little dolls just hang out to remind me of all the dolls that were once a part of my life.

African carved stamps - these were a gift from a friend. I'm not even entirely sure they're made of wood (or coconut shell or something.) I have never used them, they're just a visual and tactile joy.

My porcelain schnauzer is a recent addition to my silly collection of favorites. My inlaws bought this for me on a recent trip. It really looks very much like my Max, and I love all things Max. -- And this little knickknack is the exception to my house rule of NO knickknacks. I truly hate clutter in the rest of my house.

True confession... if I were not an artist, I would be a professional organizer. I LOVE Mission Organization and Clean Sweep, and I love transforming messy spaces into neat, organized rooms!!! -- A ridiculous confession from a woman who covets the whimsical items above, but true!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Update on Art Connection rubber stamp sale...

As some of you know, Art Connection is having a HUGE pre-loved rubber stamp sale this coming Sunday, July 22, from 11 am to 4 pm. (Socha Plaza in Scotia, NY, for you locals). I am helping to coordinate the event, and I can tell you, it is going to be spectacular!!!

I have sorted just a fraction of the stamps, and there are already over 500 of them, (there will be about 4 times that amount by Sunday) and the selection is amazing. Lest you think that these are just leftovers or badly used, they're NOT!!! Many are like new and the prices are going to be out of this world.

The sale is by stamp size, and prices start as low as 2 for $1, and will cap at $4-$6 for HUGE rubber stamps that retail for three times that amount -- not to mention there are a BIG selection of rubber stamp designs that have been discontinued, so you can't purchase them new anymore... and better than online shopping -- no shipping charges and no waiting.

And if that isn't good enough, we're giving this original collage sheet (that I assembled) to the first 50 people at the sale. (Retail value $5)

AND, we're offering refreshments!!!

AND, we'll have helpers at the event to make sure that you can shop quickly and easily!!!

AND, if you haven't yet been to Art Connection, you'll get to see all that this unique studio/store has to offer - quilting and fabric arts, beading and jewelry making, rubber stamping, paper arts, collage, scrapbooking and classes!!!!!

I hope to see you there!!!

PS - In the (not to far) future, I will be setting up an online store to sell my collage sheets and custom artwork, so stop back again!!

PPS - Happy Birthday (Aunt) Roberta - I just went to post this and saw the date - hope your day is wonderful!!! Love, your favorite niece.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Favorite things....

I recently discovered the blog of a wonderful collage artist Actually, she discovered me first... but then I visited her blog, and I found someone across the country with whom I immediately found common ground - isn't blogging just a wonderful way to bring the world together??

Well, one of her recent posts was "Things I love." And it was photos of the fun little chotchkas that sit in and around her when she creates. I think we all have these "things" that just make us smile or somehow stimulate our senses and invite a sense of whimsy into our worlds, so I'm going to share a few of my favorite things... but one at a time, as I'm stretching my blog content here... (actually, I started at work, where I have just a couple of things... next time, you'll see what's in my art room, which is chock full of chotchkas.

I found this teacup at an antique/thrift shop, and it was love at first sight. The handle was broken and glued back on, which made her an incredible bargain. She sits on my windowsill at work holding spare change, and winking at me when I need it. Occasionally, she talks to me, but I've probably share enough with you now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The June Ta Da list...

I am quite late in posting my June "ta da" list, as the beginning of July was vacation time not just for me but for my laptop. Thanks to all who sent cyber-sympathies. Fortunately most of my photos and important work was backed up, so all I lost was some blogging time.

I should be refreshed from having some decent time off work, but I made a horrible discovery with five days in a row off --- I have forgotten how to relax. I really used to be an expert at relaxation...before I became a homeowner... I LOVE down time, so I am going to get back into practice!!

So this is my list for June

Taught Home Sweet Soldered Home
- A class to teach others how to solder jewelry pieces - I was much better as a teacher than student... most of my students really excelled at it in a short time and I am still struggling!!!

Taught Spotlight on Art Journals - this was a very fun class to get people started art journaling. I focused on some background techniques to break the blank page, as well as inspiration to help students find their own voice and use their journal as a vehicle for creative expression and abandon.

Read book: Rise & Shine by Anna Quindlen - I love her books.

Planned & taught seniors class
for June - my last seniors class until fall. We did some greeting cards and also iris-folding techniques. I thought the seniors might not like the meticulous folding involved, but the results are so cool, they seemed very pleased.

Submitted greeting card set & article to Take 10 Magazine - This was just an unsolicited project that I decided to submit because I think it's a good fit for their magazine. We'll see!

Wrote article for next issue of Somerset Life
- This article was solicited by the editor for a project I submitted. I am hopeful it's just what they wanted and I'll see it in January 2008. (wow, that sounds so far away!!)

Planned new class for Art Connection called: Charm School - We'll be making 2 each of 4 different charms/pendants...two with mica fragments, two with fabric, two with a small glass bottle and two with mat board and beads. I had a great time planning this class - I should have posted a picture of the samples but I submitted them to the store before I took a photo. Art Connection is about a half hour away and not on my normal route, so I may not get to take a picture before the class on July 28.

Was paid for my first article!!! - This was very exciting for me, as I am finding ways to make my living doing what I love, which includes making art, teaching classes and writing about it as well!!!

...I will leave you with these DELICIOUS images I took at Beadniks, a store I visited recently on Martha's Vineyard. Have you ever seen anything so LUSCIOUS!!!


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Laptop lament....

We've been experiencing "technical difficulties" this week and my husband had to reinstall our entire system... needless to say, all of my stored photos are gone, along with my desire to sit here and whine about it. I will be taking a brief break from cyberspace and return next week, hopefully refreshed and full of good blogging material.