Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Craftmas Everyone!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with friends, family, fun, and perhaps a little bit of creative play time! Sending much love for the holiday...


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bling On The Holidays...

I thought I'd share some more images from my recent jaunt into jewelry making before I go ahead and retire my flat and round-nosed pliers for awhile! This found object necklace is chock full of buttons, baubles, sewing notions and even a vintage jingle bell. I chose an off-white monochromatic color scheme because it complimented the silver patina perfectly. If it doesn't go to a good home during my December showcase at the Oceanic Library... I may just keep this one!

This wedding bracelet is a fun and whimsical statement for that bride-to-be! With silver and pearly-white charms, embellishments and more, this themed piece has an extra-special set of charms made with beads that spell out "YES" and "I DO". It would make a perfect gift from your Prince Charm-ing!

These two golden pieces were made for each other... and gathered from flea markets years apart. A gorgeous opal bracelet-turned-choker, with a deconstructed pin, hung with vintage gold chain makes this piece a simple but elegant necklace. I'd wear it with a throwback party dress or even a tee shirt and jeans.

Keys, keys and more vintage skeleton keys! I have a whole bunch of them, but run out of ideas for what to do with them. So when a vintage metal pin matches the steely grey-blue patina of an old key, it's a great opportunity to combine the two for added interest. Pair them with some vintage costume beads and the door is now open!

And this time I did something a little different... creating necklaces out of squished pennies. I love squished pennies! I've made bracelets with them before, adding tons of beads and charms that went the themes of these awesome 51¢ souvenirs... but they take quite a while to create. I wanted to make something for my jewelry show that would be a great gift at a better price point... and these embellished copper keepsakes were just the thing.

So now it's time to retire my jewelry tools, put away my beads, baubles, charms, and head out into new territory! I've done some really hard thinking this year and I'm going in a different creative direction for 2014. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Don't Mess With My Candy (Apple)!

After a very quick two weeks of jewelry-making... I needed a bit of play time again. I felt like painting, but I wasn't sure what to paint. Then I remembered that I had a bunch of drawings in my sketchbook.

I had done them awhile back... in an attempt to find my own personal style (which I'm finding out is a constant quest!). So I thought, these sketches are very much me... let's see how the candy apple looks in paint!

I also thought it might be a great addition to my current gallery show, since I had sold a couple of pieces already. But when I finished the painting, I loved it so much... I decided to keep it!

Oh, and I have no idea where the eye patch (complete with a red rhinestone heart) came from... it just popped into my brain while I was working on the piece. I think I really wanted to get the point across, not to mess with my candy! And a 3D element on any of my pieces always adds that touch of whimsy I love so much.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Accidental Jeweler...

What happens when you make a plan in November of 2012 to be the Jewelry Artist of the Month at a local library in December of 2013? Well, if you're like me... you totally forget... then you get a phone call 10 days before the month starts, and you scramble like mad to make some jewelry!

So I broke out my stash and pulled pieces that spoke to me. My process is usually... go through silver junk and take out what calls to me... go through gold stuff and take out what appeals to me... go through beads that match... and chains that coordinate. Begin!

I got to pair new goodies with old goodies, which is always fun. I had this two-tone metal bracelet with floral accents for ages... and just recently found this cute little garden party hat to complete this piece!

I was channeling my love of everything Irish when I created this 'Oh, Blarney' charm necklace! I just love using tons and tons of monochromatic and metallic matching mementos. Lucky me!

This was my absolute favorite creation this time around. But it didn't even make it to the show, as it was snatched up after I posted it on Facebook! I do love that it's going to a good home.

I made jewelry every day — and even into the night — for almost two weeks. And even though my little helper is as cute as a button... she didn't get as much done overnight as I had hoped she would. Oh, well.

It was great to take a break from all the painting I did this summer. I got a quick and unexpected reminder as to why I collect these shiny baubles like a magpie... and how I love turning memories of the past into wearable mementos.

My work will be available all month long at the Oceanic Library in Rumson, NJ. And 20% of all my jewelry sales go directly to the library! So if you're local... go check out my vintage upcycled creations this December!

Oceanic Free Library
109 Avenue of the Two Rivers
Rumson, NJ 0776

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale!

After an incredible discount-focused weekend at those big box stores, I have to ask myself, "How can a small art business compete with such low prices on mass-produced goods?" This is how — I don't. I have to look at it like this... they can't compete with me! I'm unique, friendly, real, approachable, honest, flexible... and everything in my shop was made by me... with Love!

So I invite you to shop this Cyber Monday, but also to shop hand made. Shop my shop. Hey, I'm not afraid of shameless self promotion! And, just because I like you... I'm offering 25% everything in my Yesterday's Trash Etsy Shop — Monday, December 2nd for an entire 24 hours until midnight EST. Just enter the code CYBERMONDAY when you check out. You'll find lots of unique items made from vintage, found and everyday items including...

Rag Dolls! Like these fun and whimsical cupcakes!

Upcycled Jewelry! Made from vintage items, interesting finds, and antique pieces and parts... like this metal purse necklace using an upcycled coin purse, vintage brass and enamel baubles and filled with the most gorgeous faceted red crystal beads!

Tons of Carnival & Circus Fun stuff! Including arcade-inspired Knock-Down Dolls, Shadowboxes, Side Show Banners and more!

Mixed Media Art! Including shadowbox-framed collages and some really weird and interesting stuff too! And Prints! The newest addition to my shop... prints of my original art. Lots of fun and whimsical pieces to choose from. 

So skip the malls, don't fuss over parking, avoid the crowds... and be a Cyber Shopper. Shop loud. Shop proud. Shop in your underwear if you like, because I can't see you! And... Thanks!

Visit my Etsy Shop!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks...

On this day that we call Thanksgiving... I thought it would be a really good time to ponder that prefix a bit more...


On any given moment of any given day, I'm most likely rushing around... trying to get stuff done... completing my daily tasks... doing household chores... working on freelance graphic design jobs... or making something creative to sell. In those same moments, there are constant worries and fears as well. Where is my next dollar coming from? Do I have enough energy to keep up this pace? What's up with all these health issues? Can I even afford health insurance? Is our town safe from another storm? Is our house?  There are too many to list.

But lately, I've been making it a practice to say "Thanks" at the end of every day. Thanks for the good stuff that's happened. And thanks for the not-so-good stuff too... for there are lessons and learning and growth in those! But in doing this, I've realized that I have so much to be thankful for. That every moment of every day is a thankful moment. And most moments — when I stop and think about them — are actually pretty darn good. And that any worry I usually have is picking up on events of the past and projecting them onto my future. In other words, they haven't even happened!

So I think to myself, that right now... in this moment... everything is fine. And I say... Thanks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's My Party!

Recently I got a new graphic design client, and I'm doing some work for an events company. They needed someone who could create logo designs for clothing and apparel that are given as gifts at their parties... mostly for teens. So I would have to come up with modern and cool looks for Sweet 16 parties, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and the like. Certainly pushing the boundaries for me, as most of the designs have to be create!

Because now I have to think like a teenage boy (no, not those kind of thoughts!)

Or a 16-year-old girl! And because these logos are ultimately screen printed, it creates additional challenges to be limited with only 2 or 3 colors.

But logo design is one of my favorite things to do. It kind of incoporates all my graphic design skills. And the themes I design for are pretty interesting.

They usually include the name or initials of the coming-of-age star of the party and the event date. I create small logos for the fronts and bigger designs for the backs of sweatshirts, hoodies, tees, and more.

Okay, so I have to admit, some of this stuff is pretty fun to make. I mean, pink and white on black with a disco ball and some bling? Yeah... that's my kinda work.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Me, Owww...

There are some times in your life where you just feel like being snarky.... but you still want to look cute doing it. Meow.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Rainbow Touched My Heart...

One day I was driving around running errands and I saw... a rainbow. Only it wasn't a real, prism-in-the-sky kind of rainbow. It was a logo on a local park sign. But I thought it was cool. So I jotted it down in my notebook for future use, and let it go.

But when I was working on this piece recently, the space to the right of my little blond-headed girl needed something. I wasn't sure what. The elements at the top of the page were rather "heavy" which is why I made her dress black... to balance that all out. And i really liked the cloud, so I wanted to keep that element in there somehow. And then I thought of the line in that Andy Grammer song that goes...

"...only rainbows after rain..."

And bing! The multicolored image from my journal popped into my head. And although I was planning to use it with a shooting star... why not a rainbow straight to your heart?

It worked as the perfect element to fill up the space and I loved the story that went along with it...

"The storm passed and then a rainbow touched my heart."

That's kind of how I feel when life hands me something that I didn't think I could handle... and then I get through it and feel so much more empowered. And I thought this was a great visual reminder of that sentiment.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gallery Show Opening, Saturday, November 2nd!

I'm so excited! The date has been set, and I'll be gathering up my art for Saturday's Opening Reception. Stop by and see my latest works of art... whimsically playful paintings, drenched in bold, fun colors, with layers and layers of paper, paint, pastel, vintage ephemera and modern day embellishments. It's a mashup of visual texture and playful characters... with a few surprises thrown in! If you're around, come on down and enjoy Asbury's First Night gallery crawl festivities, and stop by to see what I've been up to!

The Art of Whimsicality
featuring mixed media creations by me!
at The Paint Place
605 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ
November 1 - December 31

Opening Night Reception
First Saturday, November 2nd
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Light refreshments

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One Year Ago Today... Oh, Sandy!

One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast. The devastation was simply mind-blowing. So on this anniversary, I thought I'd give you a look back at my own personal view of the after-effects of one very scary day and one terrifying night...

I've been absent for quite awhile because Hurricane Sandy swooped in and devastated parts of New Jersey! But, wow! We made it. We’re safe. We’re so, so, so, very lucky! Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey shore on Monday, October 29th and she was relentless. I’m sure many of you saw the destruction she caused on TV. It’s really heartbreaking. 

this gazebo is from the OTHER side of the lake!!
I live 3 blocks from the shore and 2 blocks from a lake and the Atlantic Ocean actually came up to our front steps!

I had some damage to the third floor studio. . . an entire piece of wall caved in during the height of the storm! 

And it was just me bracing myself against it at the height of the storm with 70mph winds, while I tried to drag a dresser over to keep it from completely caving in! Then we found a neighbor to help us batten down the hatches and as he was putting the last screw in.... Poof! The electricity went out. And stayed out for 11 days. Yes, 11 days. It was cold. I was cranky. It was a whole new world. An Amish life. It was like indoor camping. Not only that but our cellphone towers were knocked out. So there was no way to communicate with friends and loved ones for quite a few days. 

We're back up and running now and I'm trying to catch up on 2 weeks worth of life, work and sleep! I could tell you all the stories I heard, but I'm sure you all saw more than me on the television (that we were without for nearly 2 weeks!). So I'll just let the pictures tell most of the story of our little square mile that is Ocean Grove... which was lucky!

Neighbor's gigantic that did not hit our house!!

Lots of fish on the streets and sidewalks.

End of pier and fishing house gone!

The debris and cars just floated everywhere. This is a few blocks in from the beach.

And so is this!

Bulldozers piled all the sand from the roads back up toward the beach before another Nor'Easter hit only days later!

The boardwalk actually has so many peaks and valleys now... that it looks like a roller coaster. But the funny thing about the shore and the people that live here is that they were walking on it like nothing ever happened. We're just like that. We live at the shore. These things happen. We stay strong and we rebuild. We work together and help each other. Neighbors helping neighbors. And that's the beauty that comes out of something like this. Amen!

Update: So other than the third floor damage you saw in my post, we had flooding in the basement and plenty of roofing issues with the high winds from the hurricane. After lots and lots and lots of conversations with the insurance company and FEMA, all the construction and replacement work has finally been completed. Our tiny town of Ocean Grove is actually back up and running. But I cannot say the same for others. In times of distress we really do help each other and work together... but the point of all this is to remember that's the way it's supposed to be all the time. So let's not forget it. Let's not make it take more disasters to remember. We are all in this thing we call life... together. So let's just help each other out all the time.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Let's Party!

So I was painting my little heart out these past few weeks... having been invited to be a featured artist at a local Asbury Park gallery next month! I was so ecstatic when a graphic design client of mine came over to pick up a job I did for her... and was enchanted by my most recent slew of paintings. She said, "these are awesome... now paint more!" And I did.

This week I'm busy getting all my art together, creating some marketing materials (that graphic design background really comes in handy!), and coming up with ways to promote the event. And I have to admit... I'm getting kind of excited! We're still working out the exact opening date, but I can tell you that it's right around the corner!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What Does A Deer Dream Of?

I had this idea to create a painting featuring a deer girl character and needed something to fill the open area over her shoulder. I put out a Facebook poll and got lots of fun answers like: clover, butterflies, romping in the sun, ancient elk, bejewling their antlers, several eating-the-flowers-in-my-garden references, and few deer-hunts-people suggestions, including a twist on the old "Hunters Stew"! But in the end, I decided that my cloven-hoofed girl was dreaming about a pair of pink Mary Jane pumps. Sometimes we want what we cannot have!

I began by creating a two-toned sky using a funky number stencil. I figured she'd be dreaming about numerous pairs of fun shoes.

I created the impression of flowers, grass (and clover) by using layers and layers and layers of all shades of green paint, applied with foam stamps from Claudine Hellmuth's Studio collection (my all-time favorites!).

Then I transferred my image onto the completed background. I confess that many times I'm still not brave enough to draw directly on the canvas. I don't want to mess it up! This method suits me just fine though, and now I have a template to create lots and lots of deer, dreaming of lots and lots of other stuff.

A layer of white insures that whatever cheap acrylics I paint over top will keep their color integrity without a lot of wrestling with tons and tons of layers.

The faces always intimidate me and I end up working on them somewhere in the middle of my painting process. She was the first girl I did in this style with her eyes closed and it really came out very dreamy looking. Hooray!

My favorite shoes are Mary Jane's and they make an interesting-looking illustration as well. Making them obnoxiously pink... well, I couldn't resist!

A few swirls of pink in the flowers to pull it all together and a few dots of white on her body to create more texture and the painting is complete. I'm totally in love with her. And hey... if I were a cloven-hoof girl, I'd be dreaming of high heel shoes too. And maybe a few bucks. Oh, deer!