Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Nesting!

One of the many recurring themes in my art seems to be that of birds, nests, and eggs. I'm not exactly sure why... I mean I love all kinds of big and little birdies. They're so colorful.... they're extremely intelligent... and they are definitely fun to watch.

But the thought of these wonderful creatures... putting so much creativity into building their nest of a home.... carefully choosing bits of grass, twigs, string, and other random trash that's readily available... well, it kind of reminds me of... me. Much of my art is making due with what I have, or — if I don't have what I need —finding something that will work just as well (if not better!).

Then there's the love and care that these birds put into protecting the nest of eggs and feeding their young once they've hatched. I love to hear that peep-peep-peeping of the oh so hungry babies calling for their momma bird. I mean... how cute is that?

And I really do love all kinds of animals in nature... birds being no exception. I love to watch how they interact with each other... how they go about their tasks for the day... or how they deal with unforeseen circumstances like Mother Nature.

But when I really think about it... I like the word nesting and the images it brings to mind in my own life. Building my own home... making it feel comfortable... surrounding myself with "birds of a feather"... and nurturing something I love very much... my creativity. And the birds, nests, and eggs just immediately inspires that personal image of mine. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

What recurring themes do you see in your life? And what do they mean to you?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two For The Show...

Whew! Art Show's almost here and I've been making, making, making... for weeks now. Just two more categories of "stuff" and I'll be all set. Last week I was working on a project from — dare I admit — a few years ago! A while back, I had created some tiny little 4"x4" canvasses with a flower theme and thought I'd make some more for the Boardwalk Art Show.

I had some already in the works and thought it'd be very simple and quick to finish them up. Silly me! But I gave myself two whole days to get done as much as I could and ended up making 8 more. Not too shabby.

Then it was on to upcycling more jewelry from vintage pieces and parts... and of course other assorted oddball items... like these adorable, perfectly patina'd vintage cookie cutters.

The moment I saw them I knew they'd turn into a cascading trio of pendants. I love it when my visions finally come to fruition! Especially when it's only been a short while since I found the treasures. Yay! for almost instant gratification!

And a Buster Brown watch face I acquired (with a squeal, I might add) at a local flea market became this whimsical reminder of what fun it was getting my first pair of those very popular shoes at the age of 5!

A few mermaid necklaces later and I think I'm nearly done. Once I get on a roll... I certainly could keep going. But for now it's best to stop and clean my house. What a wreck! Everything else kind of gets put on hold when I'm creating. Now if I could only make enough to hire a housekeeper! Oh, yeah!

9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Ocean Ave at the boardwalk • Ocean Grove, NJ 07756
74 juried vendors • free admission

So if you're around, come on down to the Art Show! I'll have lots of circus-themed art, delightful dolls, colorful collage, awesome assemblages, upcycled jewelry, unique home decor, and a few surprises! Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: The Beach!

Having grown up near the Jersey coast, my love of the beach took hold a very long time ago. Today, I am lucky enough to live in a quaint little Victorian shore town called Ocean Grove. So, you might have guessed that Summer is my favorite time of year. I love going to the beach with my mixed-media magazines, sketchbook and colored pencils, or perhaps an interesting art project that's "portable". 

However, sitting around doing nothing but listening to the waves crashing with my toes in the warm sand ain't bad either!

And there's plenty of wildlife to watch as well. Birds, fish, little crawly creatures, and the like!

And if you get tired of just sitting around (which does not happen that often, for me at least)... you can always take a stroll on the boardwalk. I just love the clip-clop sound of my flip-flops on the aged wood!

But no matter what time of day it is... what season it is... what mood I'm in... or why I felt the need to go there.... the beach is always a place of inspiration for me.

Whether it's the gorgeous colors of nature, the shells that collect at the edge of the sea, or the serenity that I feel when I'm there... for me it's like going home again.

I'd love to know... what places inspire you?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting Back To Nature...

Happy Birthday to me! This past weekend—as an early birthday present—I went on a little excursion with my family. We took a trip down to the South Jersey Pine Barrens and had a fun camping trip. I knew we were renting a cabin, but had no idea that this would be our "front yard"! How awesome is that?

And speaking of front yards... I just love how many of the permanent campground residents decorate theirs! Fun little nick-nacks and doo-dads all over the place.

Mom packed lots of good stuff to eat (and plenty of bad stuff too!) Here she is cutting up strawberries... not only to eat, but also as healthy additions to our wine and champagne for later on!

 The first night we cooked everything over (or in!) the campfire. Yum-yum! First we made hamburgers.... then twice baked potatoes... and topped it off with a snappy Thuman's hot dog. Oh, and let's not forget the bacon!

My brother and his girlfriend joined us as well and we had lots of fun playing bocce ball, hanging at the pool, listening to the awesome country rock band they had at the campground, and just sitting around talking. Although I have to admit... opening birthday presents around the campfire kind of topped it all for me!

We took a jaunt into the quaint little shopping village of Smithville where they have unique stores and pretty stuff to buy. I just loved this garden table and chair set made from trees.

Being on a lake, they also have lots of wildlife to enjoy. Like this very large family of ducks following mommy all in a row. Don't worry... my mommy went into the street to stop traffic so they were safe!

On the way home, mom and I did a little antique shopping (more like browsing), but it's always a pleasure. You never know what you'll run across that you "need" to have!

And in our travels we even found this amazing architectural salvage place. A veritable Rusty Heaven, I tell ya!

All-in-all it was a great trip. Very nice to get away from it all and back to nature with the family. And in case you were wondering... today is my actual birthday and it's my 43rd year around the sun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Can't Complain!

Okay... well, let me set the record straight... I really can complain... 

...but I wont!

You see... it's been hot as heck this week here in New Jersey. And that's actually typical for this time of year. We get a few weeks every Summer where you kind of have to hide inside... in an air conditioned room... and not move around too much.

But after the 9 insane snowstorms, and otherwise chilly weather that we had this Winter... I promised myself I wouldn't complain when it got too hot!

And so... I'm going to take inspiration from my little Tillie snowman here... and I'm going to put on a big giant smile... and deal! Wait one moment, while I pretend I'm made of snow...

Brrrrr! Hey... it worked!

So, how's the weather in your area?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh, Where... Oh, Where... Has My Paperclay Gone?

 ...oh, where... oh, where... can it be? As you may know, I've been working on my mixed media assemblages for the past two weeks and using my favorite Creative Paperclay to make some of the components. Of course being someone who waits until the last minute to see if she has everything... I realized I was out of Paperclay.

So imagine my surprise when I got to Michaels and couldn't find any! I panicked and asked a sales associate if they had any in the back. She picked up a package of something called Clay Mache and told me that it was the Paperclay... only a special private label for Michaels brand. Now this confused me because the packages were different sizes, their country of origin was different, their instructions were different, and they even felt different when I squished them (yes, I do squeeze the Charmin!).

So I just had to call the people at Creative Paperclay and ask them what was up. As I suspected, the Clay Mache is not the same as Creative Paperclay. And after using them both, I can tell you... it's not even a close substitute. So I'm telling you now...  there is still Creative Paperclay left in many of the Michaels stores... and if you see it... snatch it up! You may not find it there in the future.

But Michelle! Say it ain't so! What can I do to make sure Michaels Craft Stores
continues to carry my all-time favorite Creative Paperclay?

Well, I'm so glad you asked! Here are a few things you can do:

• You can contact Michaels Customer Service via e-mail and let them know you don't want Creative Paperclay to go! Michaels really does respect what their customers think!

• You can give Michaels Customer Service a call at 1-800-642-4235, and let them know you'd hate to have to shop elsewhere for your one and only Creative Paperclay!  :o( 

• Go to your local Michaels store and let them know that you really need to be able to get Creative Paperclay there. They're pretty good at passing on customer's comments to the big guys up at Headquarters.

So, let's turn up the volume and create some noise folks. What do we want? We want our Paperclay! Where do we want it? We want it at Michaels!

If you take any action... I'd love to hear about it in the comments! And thanks for helping me (and I'm sure a lot of other Creative Paperclay fans) to try and keep this conveniently at our local Michaels Craft Stores!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thoughtful Thursdays: Excited About Cleaning!

Okay, well... you may not notice it, but there is cat hair covering every inch of this house. Holy moly! After 3 weeks... 13 Tillie pillows, 6 knock-down dolls and 10 carnival assemblages... I have to tell you that the household chores were neglected in the worst way. I think I've done dishes 4 times in the last 2 weeks... haven't done laundry at all... and the dusting... well, all I can say is... Achooo!

So, I'm actually looking forward to cleaning this house from top to bottom. Making messes is fun when it pertains to art, but too many messes make my head cluttered! A clean house will give me a clean slate to think up and work on my next round of projects.

What strange and unusual things are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Carnival Fun Time!

Well... I'm up to my old tricks again! It's time to make more carnival assemblages... yay! One of the (many) fun things about making these, is that they all start out the same... nice little wooden boxes (can you smell the fresh wood? Mmmmmmmm).

Then they get pretty vintage light bulbs, matching stripes and fun antique book pages.

And everybody gets distressed... only it's the fun kind!

Clown molds are made and painted....

Bunnies too! (and an elephant as well, this time!)

Oh and don't forget the stars!

But after that, they all develop their own personalities.

Now that's what I call Big Top Fun!