Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Thoughts!

So for today's installment of Thoughtful Thursdays.... I need your thoughts! You see, I recently acquired this darling little vintage travel case at Ocean Grove's Giant Flea Market... and I need your help. As with many antiques (anyone who's a junker knows this), I just had to have it... regardless of the fact that I had no idea what I would do with it. But it's too cute and well-made to just let it sit around as a decoration.

So... here's where you come in!

What the heck can I do with this thing? I'd love to use it as storage... but it's round... and I'm having a hard time thinking outside the box... literally! So, if you have any ideas... I'm all ears. The case measures 7.5" in diameter and 3.5" high and is nicely lined with cloth.

Thanks so much for your help!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Snuggling Up With My Favorite Guy...

Lately I've been working on a knock-off of my Knock-Down Dolls... and making these fun little Tillie Pillows!

Thanks to I found an affordable way to print my designs on fabric... Woohoo! And because that makes life so simple... I even created a custom back, filled with tons of imagery (drawn by me) from Tillie's old house... The Palace in Asbury Park.

For some of the pillows I added arms made of ribbon.

On others, I added fluffy vintage trim.

And some of them I distressed to make look like old folk art dolls.

Having the fabric made things run so much more smoothly, that I had time to work on making more Knock Down Dolls! See how happy they are to be relaxing in the sun? Me too!

I was on such a roll I even thought of trying something new... using vintage tacks to secure the Knock Down doll to its base... just like the real old-timey ones!

All-in-all it's been a busy week, but tons of fun. So nice to get away from the computer and get my hands on my favorite guy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: My Happy Place!

Sometimes the demands of life exceed our thresholds and we need to go to... our Happy Place! This is mine. It is Tannery Brook, a millstream that runs behind The Woodstock Inn, located in the Catskills of New York. It is so absolutely beautiful... so intensely green with foliage... and the zen-like sound of the water trickling by makes me feel nice and calm. Whenever I'm stressed out ... or sad... or just having a blah kind of day... I go there in my mind.

Where is your Happy Place?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ta-Daa... I'm "Finished"!

Well, here it is folks... my finished $10 dresser. It was so much fun to get ouside of the house and work on something big! Here's what it looked like when I bought it and here's what it looked like originally (before someone painted it black). Funny how the original had gold highlights also... I didn't see a picture of the dresser online until I was already finished!

I'm so happy with how the piece turned out because it's exactly as I pictured it in my mind. Now I just have to find a place for it. I think it's going to go up in the 3rd floor studio. But first I have to get rid of the futon to make room! So, for now it sits in my dining area. I tell her how pretty she is every time I walk by!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Well... I Was GOING To Relax!

Because I live near the beach, my work schedule is sometimes determined by the weather. And because of that... I found myself having worked 12 days in a row when this weekend rolled up. So I was determined to do nothing but go to the beach and relax for two days straight!

Well, then I had gone to a moving sale and found this dresser. It was only ten dollars! I'll say it again... ten dollars! I had to get it... even if it was based solely on price.

But it was actually the hardware that sold me. Look at that beautiful detail and patina'd antique gold color. Things that dreams are made of!

This beast turned out to have been made with a not-so-appealing laminate facade. Whoever painted over it used a black oil-based paint. Yikes! I was able to actually peel the paint off of the top, but the rest of the unit proved to be a bit unruly.

So, I sanded... just a little (my perfectionist days are over, baby!). Then I primed it... twice!

Painted it with an obnoxiously bright version of a tealy-seafoamy color called shoreline green.

And then added some antique gold highlights to a few key areas. Glad I finally found something to do with those Golden Acrylic metallic paints that are so transparent that I never really knew what to do with them!

I still have to put a coat of varnish over the entire piece, and then it will become a place for me to store my found object goodies from the flea markets and such. I'll show you a picture when it's all done.

So... yeah... ummm.... what was my point? Oh yeah... this is me relaxing! Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Happy Anniversary To Me!

One year ago, it was the very last day of my full-time job! Yes, that's right... I quit a life of weekly paychecks to follow my dream of making art for a living. I've always done something creative in the background... but felt like I had to wait for the perfect time, the perfect circumstances, or the perfect contacts to make things happen. And then I realized... that would never happen! So I found the courage and took a leap of faith!

So... in that time, I've written 84 blog posts, sent 1,868 tweets, finally joined Facebook, set up a YouTube channel, updated my website, vended at 6 art shows, had my work in 5 retail establishments, and sold 52 items in my Etsy Shop!

I've made over 55 pieces of jewelry, 32 Knock-Down Dolls, 10 Carnival-style Assemblages, and countless other odd and random mixed media creations.

I've learned how to shift gears faster... I'm able to work smarter (and harder!)... and I've changed directions as many times as I have categories of art that I love. I learned a lot about myself... about marketing in a social media world... and about what works and what doesn't. And I'm still learning.

But, it hasn't been all champagne and cupcakes... that's for sure. Being your own company means you do everything.... leaving little time for laundry, dishes, or vacuuming. Making money means spending money... also very scary, as your outcomes are never guaranteed. Working hard means lots of days exhausted and spent.

However, the joy I get from being able to do what I love is worth the price of admission. Waking up and knowing I might get to work on collage, assemblage, dolls, jewelry, or perhaps peruse a flea market or rummage sale... well, that's pretty damn cool. I'm hoping that in a year from now I'll be writing to all of you about my new discoveries and successes. But until then... won't you come along on this journey with me...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sometimes The Way My Mind Works... Makes Me Giggle

I was always drawn to those adorable, obnoxiously yellow, vintage buss fuse tins. But I stopped in my tracks recently...when I came upon a pair that had the name LITTELFUSE on them! I felt myself take a slight gasp of air as the creative wheels kicked into gear...


Little fuse.

Short fuse.

Who has a short fuse?

Ahhh, yes... Joan Crawford... Mommie Dearest!

And so an idea was born. I went to work on it right away. Thinking it out first and then having fun with my man-tools and hand drill.

What was it mom always said? A hand vice between the knees is the most effective form of birth control?

I had some interesting ideas about construction and actually came up with a few concepts. Since I had two tins, I could try a couple different things. One I incorporated into the chain.

And for the other, I created dangling fuses. And of course... anything that opens has to have some sort of collage inside. So here's Faye Dunaway doing her best Joan Crawford "no more wire hangers" impression from Mommie Dearest.

For such an industrial-looking necklace, I needed to soften the look a bit and had fun using different findings and matching beads to tone it down. You can see the finished choker in more detail here and the double tier necklace here and they are both available for purchase.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Words!

Having a background in graphic design and advertising — including being a copywriter — I always tried very hard to write for the person that would be reading the package, sell sheet, or advertisement I was creating. It was fun to imagine myself in the buyers' place, and trying to determine what they wanted to know and how to convince them to buy... using words. Over the years, I began to place a lot of importance on words... written or spoken!

So it's no surprise, that words have become an integral part of my artistic creations. However, in my art I am not as clear and to the point as I was when writing for an advertising assignment. The words in my art are there to make you think. To make you ponder. To make you wonder. Does this really mean something? Or is it just nonsensical nonsense?

Sometimes I deliberately choose words that don't seem to mean anything at all. But they will to someone. Someone will read it and know that I looked deep inside their soul and pulled out those very words just so they would see them and feel connected.

And that's what I love about words.

How do words influence you... whether it be in your art or just your everyday life?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hold On To Your Cherries... I'm Doing A Burlesque Show!

Oh, wait... what? Oh my goodness... no! Let me be a little clearer about that. I'm not performing in a Burlesque Show... I'll be vending at one! You see, the lovely ladies from The Corsettes contacted me because they thought my kitschy jewelry and circus-themed merchandise would be perfect for their Bazaar Marketplace — a shopping extravaganza taking place alongside their Carnival-esqe Evening of Burlesque & Magic! Here's the info...

Saturday, June 11th - 7:30pm until!
Starring The Corsettes in Appetite for Seduction
Illusionist, Preston Digitation
Shop The Burlesque Bazaar, a Marketplace of Sensual Delights • (732) 952-2805

Seats are limited, so if ya wanna go, fork over the dough! Maybe I'll see you there! Chica-boom!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Flea Markets!

For as long as I can remember, I loved going to flea markets, antique stores and yard sales. I'm not sure exactly why, but I know I absolutely love finding little pieces of history for a couple of bucks.

Being a mixed media artist, I don't know which came first... the flea market or the mixed media? Do I create this type of art because I acquired so much junk? Or do I seek out all this junk because I love mixed media art? Hmmmmm...

Sometimes when I come upon an object, I know exactly how I would use it. But other times, I have to contemplate it's practicality. And yet other times, I have no idea what I'll do with it... I just have to have it!

I really enjoy the hunt that is a very integral part of antiquing (a.k.a "junkin"). And because I have to repurpose all these objects into other pieces of art, I need a pretty low price point. I'm happy to say that I typically will spend anywhere from 25¢ up to $5. Yup, that's it. I usually don't ever go higher unless it's something really unusual. And most of the time, my average purchase is about $2. Love that!

My biggest problem is that I have so many different kinds of art I create from these flea market finds, it's hard to contain myself. I'm shopping for stuff to make collage, assemblage, dolls, jewelry and sometimes home décor items and more! But you know what? If I could only shop in one place for the rest of my life... it would be a flea market.

If you are interested, my home town of Ocean Grove, NJ is having it's Giant Flea Market this Saturday, June 4th from 9-4 with over 300 vendors! Maybe I'll see you there. But unless you look like an antique, you'll probably have to grab my attention!

Happy Junkin!