Friday, January 30, 2009

New magnets for the Lancaster Yarn Shop and a little sign too!

Rachel-Marie gave me this little sheep to paint for the LYS shop yesterday. She also gave me some of her destash. So I used her awesome pinky handspun yarn on the sheep's pole, and painted it to match. I love this little sheep! I kept putting him around my living room:-)
now it's at the shop in the window!!!

and these are little mixed-media magnets I made for the Lancaster Yarn Shop to happily compliment their shop full of gorgeous yarn! find them there tomorrow!
The sun was made using Rachel-Marie's handspun yarn. It's adhered to a wool felt circle.
Find more of RM's yarn at

I built it!

this is a holder I built for our Indie show at Square One Coffee, and to use at my booth for shows.
It is a corner shelf, turned horizontal, with some left over molding I SAWED myself. I nailed it together, put a hanger on the back and painted it.
Each pocket will hold an encased 8x10 matte. or smaller items of course.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Play Kitchen

another one of my goals this year is to make Max a super wooden kitchen area with handmade fabric/wood food - I have this vintage oven for him but I would Love to get him a bigger wooden setup, with an upper shelf above the worktop, and a play sink. Here's a couple pics of the current set up-
I made him some donuts and some little things out of felt he calls ice cream scoops, but to me they look like won-tons.
there is some great play food on Etsy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I live in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania when I was 17, from northern Massachusetts. We moved to a rural area on a new suburban street. For the first year I was transfixed by the Amish, their farms, their buggies, Amish children working in their fields in the mist...Amish people at Root's market.
After a while I realized that because of their dress they all look very similar, so it's no use peering into a buggy because you already know what the people look like:-)
I have since moved right outside Lancaster city, and I don't see many Amish at all except for at the hospital or a movie or something. Yes! Amish sometimes go to movies.
Some of the area grocery stores have areas in their parking lots where you can tie up your buggy under a covered awning.
When you have to pass a buggy with your car you have to be very careful to go around the horse slowly and not startle it. There have been accidents and it's frightening.
Amish children, especially little ones are absolutely beautiful and very well behaved.
My Dad found this Amish bonnet several years ago. It is available now in my shop:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Secret New Studio Space!

My goal in the summer and fall was to take a month during these cold months and organize a studio space for myself. However, my art and new job have really kept me busy this winter. Also my plans included making my 1950's rec room more of a second living room, than romper room.

My 1950's house has a cool and surprisingly big rec room that encompasses 2/3 of my basement, the remaining 1/3 is a workshop, storage, bathroom, and laundry area.

after an hour on the "workshop" side tonight, trying to rearrange my big table and create a studio of some sort, and other things, and a frustrating attempt to try and relocate my 1950's bar from the laundry area to the workshop area (wouldn't fit past the furnace)...I gave up....and then had a cool idea!!!!

I left the bar where it was (currently serving as a folding area near my new HE washer and dryers), and I thought, "hey! what a perfect little nook for my studio!!!!" My laundry area is small, but the bar is L-shaped and situated in the corner of the area. I decided a few years ago that I'll end up in the laundry room a lot, and so I had already painted this area a sunny yellow and hung up matching curtains on the little basement windows.

The bar has a retro red linoleum top, and the inside of it has white shelving and a door which opens to shelves too. One wall that the bar is up against is brick, the other is drywall, so I've already hung up some arty things- and they weren't hard to find since I had things all over the workshop.

I can't wait to post a photo of my new 1950's bar studio on my blog, but I want to organize it some more and add some little shelves to the cinderblock wall. I also need a comfy bar stool to sit on while i work.

For two years now I've "known" that the workshop area, although dark, is probably the most practical place for me to store all my supplies. well it is, but it isn't the nicest place to work and it's still the truth.

I NEVER would have thought that working way in the back of the basement near my washer and dryer would work, but it's so tucked away and private, I just LOVE it! You could tour the house and you wouldn't know where it was, so it doesn't infringe on any one.

I am so happy to have a colorful little place to work and keep all my little things....

I guess it's like how those magazines and shows that tell people to carve out a little niche inside a closet or something, they were right.
what I find coolest about it, is how because it's small, it's easy to figure out how to organize it . I had no idea how I would turn a big storage filled workshop into an art area- this is like an instant little studio.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Friday!!!!

It's Friday and it's warm! Check out these cuties from cutecumber...
Mr. Little and I had an adventure at the park today when we were SURE we found the missing dog advertised Lost in the neighborhood with a Generous Reward Offered if Returned! he was tied up in the yard next to the park.
we even called his name, "Xander?" and he turned to us. again and again.
We went back to find the poster, brought it to the dog to match him to the picture, "WOW!!! We FOUND him!" red spots, curly tail..even the same collar!
rushed back to the house. called the number: "are you still missing your dog?"
"no, we got him back"
He was back in their yard!!!

Max on TV!

Check out Max on TV today on WGAL, visiting the Science Factory in Lancaster:

He is SO cute in the beginning especially with his: "WOW!!!!!!" my little movie star.

he had a great time there with my parents yesterday and they walked in with Lori Burkholder.

off course I don't know how to insert a video on my blog, maybe I can get some help later.

if you have not been to the Science Factory here it's really cool, and very similar to the one in Seattle if you've ever been there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Updates about me....

So yes, I've been leaving out a couple important details lately:

I have resigned from Cultural Care Au Pair, and am no longer the coordinator for Lancaster.
I enjoyed my time working with the au pairs for the last year and a half. Working with the au pairs gave me a greater viewpoint of the world.

I started a new job, that is also work from home...working for the YGS Group, which actually had bought my former company RMS at the same time I started to work with Cultural Care. I am helping in the events division. I am very very grateful for this opportunity.

The new job is very nice as I work a limited amount of time (self imposed), only in day hours, and so it leaves my evenings and weekends completely open to enjoy my family and create art.

Big Day USA, and my day in reverse

late afternoon today, Obama gets out of the car and worries the Secret Service. They all keep their coats open in the cold so they can easily access their weapons if they need to. I make calls for my new job, and every time I'm on hold, I turn the mute off and smile as I listen to the cheers from the huge crowd and the commentary.

After dropping off the knitting chair at the Lancaster Yarn Shop, Max and I went to market and got lots of fruit, lemonade and cornbread. A cold day to be outside, and I thought of all the people outside in DC during the inaugeration.

I wake up, and while Max watched a cartoon, I photographed the knitting chair (my 17th folk art chair!), and made a little tag. Delivery to the Lancaster Yarn Shop is today. The chair will be for sale there for $185.
After breakfast, Max and I watch the inauguration. I was very moved during Aretha Franklin singing- I remembered my visit to a plantation outside of New Orleans, and I remembered how I felt like I could die on the edge of the cotton field due to the heat. I thought of all the suffering that black people have endured, and how if you had told the slaves of that plantation that a black man was going to be President in 2009, they would not have believed you.
As I listened to her beautiful and black voice, I couldn't help think that the slaves who sang would have had a similar voice, and today their day had come- and it was a better dream then they could ever had imagined.
Max marched around the living room and we practiced saluting each other. I say, "it's Obama!" and he says, "Omama?"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Little House Display and Magnets

This is my little mixed media "house", that houses my mixed media house magnets. I made this for the Habitat for Humanity show at Square One Coffee next month. I think it would be fun to make more of these, only I would add shutters to the sides of the cabinet door.
I think they'd be cool to sell alone as a display for your jewelry, and I think the whole thing (with magnets) would be cute in a shop. The little houses are painted and assembled with fabrics on blocks of wood.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to spray paint in the cold:

So I am painting a chair to sell at the Lancaster Yarn Shop! It is a knitting chair:-)
But here's the situation. I put my base coat on (usually, and yes in this case) with Rustoleum spray paint. is 23F degrees today, and about 8F expected for tomorrow.

I really needed this chair painted with a base coat, so that I can spend my favorite weekend painting time writing the words on it, and all the fun stuff.

Last year I ruined a few pieces trying to spray paint in the cold. A terrible thing happens. The paint crackles and peels off.

Today I mastered how to spray paint in the cold. It works with moveable items. I wouldn't try this with like a dresser or anything. And remember, when it's cold, you take your chances that you'll ruin your piece. but if you want to ("try") get something painted, here's how I did it.

shake the can inside the house.
bring the can and the item to be painted outside onto the already protected surface.
quickly! put a layer on.
immediately bring the piece inside and set it on a protected surface inside (being careful not to touch a wet part, or get paint on you or anything else)
it will smell- FYI.
let it dry in your nice warm house for about half an hour.
repeat this process as often as needed, until you've painted the whole thing.

when you finish the last painting, let it dry inside for another half hour.
open a window near where the item is in your house, to air the house a bit. don't open a window that looks out to where you spray painted, or you will let the fumes in.

when I finished my chair and it was totally dry, I set it outside for a few hours to air out. It did not crackle.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

All clean now, thank goodness...

This weekend was so crazy. For some reason I LOVE to paint on the weekends, and on Friday. So here was the state of my kitchen when I was making the collages in my last post. I kept thinking, "Mixed Media is super Messy."
We waited and waited for our first big snow here on Saturday, but it never came. It was too messy for me to make dinner Saturday night, so we had a late one out, even though the roads were a little icy.
I felt so delirious.

I love my little creations though, and since the weekend, I came up with mini cottage magnets on little pieces of wood. They are so cute! and like little paintings. I painted a cabinet door and then added a roof, and it turned into this little house display thing for all the magnets. It took about four hours to figure out I could/should display them this way. Sometimes the creative process is embarassing, it's like, "mess up, mess up, mess up. Mess up. OH! this is cool! this is the way I should do it!"

then last night and today was gathering what I needed to package the magnets up (these will also go to the Home Sweet Home show). I needed to stop at Jo Annes fabric- but I found it was surprisingly little what I needed. Everything else I had or was salvaged. I am excited because I would like to market them to little shops, and I think the little magnets could be different themes, depending on the business.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Houses for Habitat for Humanity

so this was the big to-do this weekend, as I worked on this and worked on this, and worked on this. It took so long! this was done on a cabinet door and it's really big and heavy. I think about 3 feet wide. I am still putting a sealer on sections of it. I have dreamed of making a large piece like this for several months but I was busy with red and black Lancaster city birds, and matching Lancaster city folk art chairs. It was really fun to work with this much color again, and incorporating more texture in my art. I am really inspired by "my favorites" from Etsy. The colors in this piece tend to be the colors I favor in other peoples art, so that was interesting for me to pin down. Also I really love felt-y cottages, and great big bright flowers and buttons, and this piece incorporates all of that. I think it would be a great piece for a kids area, or kids room.
It is made with:
cabinet door from Lancaster's Habitat for Humanity ReStore
IKEA fabric plus around eight other fabrics
2 place mats
lacey cotton trim
a coat
a sweater I felted
a cotton sweater
a polar fleece shirt
two belts
ball fringe
a pair of pants
part of a handbag
(all of the clothes are from the Lancaster Goodwill bins on Rte 30)

and here are two I made also this weekend, to get an idea what I was going to do for the big one.
these are all for the Indie girls show we are doing at Square One Coffee in Lancaster benefiting Habitat for Humanity. This is an especially neat event for me to create art for, since I use salvaged materials from the ReStore on a regular basis. half of the money we raise selling our art will go back to Habitat here in Lancaster.


so these are the spring rolls that Brian's wife makes...Brian being the owner the Dogstar bookshop on Chestnut St. in Lancaster. I had them first in July for our Indie art show there. I ordered them last month for a holiday party, and this weekend- so I could eat them all weekend. They come with peanut sauce, and the spring rolls are spicy! so you can breathe really good after eating them:-). They are so full of color, I feel very healthy devouring them.

So I'm going to start including on my blog pictures from my house. I'm doing this because other bloggers do, and I LOVE seeing other people places, and how they have things, and what their house looks like. This is my dresser. The jelewry box was my Grandma's and I always loved looking at it in her room, and one day she gave it to me. A few things in this pic are from etsy artists, but at 2:05am I am too tired to list who they are made by. You probably recognize a few of the things from the pics I've posted. I don't have a lot of funky etsy things, but I wear what I have ALL the time, and basically any time I leave the house:-)

I was up til 3:30 last night painting, and making a mixed media collage, of little houses, and then I stood about 10 hours today doing the same thing. But I'm good now:-) just finishing up touches, and now I'll have some really fun things to bring to the Indie show in February at Square One Coffee, benefiting Habitat for Humanity.

I am sourly out of so many supplies, so I need 1. money, and 2. about half hour alone in AC Moore.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Inspired by a special book...

I had a special thing happen the last couple days when I realized that a beautiful book I had been given by a stranger was a rare children's book by an amazing female artist, "Dahlov Ipcar"...the book is "Bug City." My copy is the best one on the market right now, and is valued at over $230!

Even more interesting is the amazing life and childhood of this Maine artist. For a wonderful essay she wrote see:

I hope to meet this artist sometime in the next couple of years. At age 91 her paintings are brighter and more intricate than ever. I have included here photos of the book for you to see how stunning her work is.

I love to meet people who inspire me, and who I can look up too. There are many things about this artist that I can relate too:

she lives in Maine, and I have spent lots and lots of time in Maine, having had a boyfriend on the coast there for seven years. She even painted a mural in his library in the children's area! also, my sister has a house in Maine, and they are not far from one another.

when I became a nanny and originally approached the CT agency, I asked for "an artist family in Greenwich village" and that was the situation she grew up with.

she does collaborative shows with women artists in Maine, like me and the Indie Arts girls do here-

her childhood home was painted yellow inside with bright art everywhere and her mom painted in the living room (check check check...this is how I live now).

and on it goes.

My favorite parts so far from her essay are her childhood descriptions of the families Greenwich Village apt, and her description of her mother sewing large bright flowers on their clothes (and this was in the 1920's and 30's!,):

"My childhood has always been important to me, for it was in many ways an unusual childhood. My parents, William and Marguerite Zorach, were both artists. I grew up in Greenwich Village in New York City, in a home full of modern art, of Fauvism and Cubism, in a creative atmosphere, where everything in our home was exciting and different from other peoples' homes. From the beginning, art seemed a natural part of life. My father would be carving in one large room of our apartment, wood chips all over the floor, with his finished carved figures standing about like members of the family. His oil paintings --marvelous, mysterious, semi-cubistic, and colorful -- hung on the walls. My mother would be painting in the adjoining room, which was both studio and living room. I could not have imagined a life without paintings on the walls, and color everywhere. Our walls were canary yellow; Adam and Eve were painted on one wall, with the snake winding down the tree. The floors were bright vermilion, and covered with rugs that my mother designed and hooked herself. She created large batik hangings and bedspreads, and every piece of furniture was decorated, each chair rung a different color."

"My mother designed and made all her own clothes, and ours too. My brother and I went to school in clothes embroidered with fantastic flowers. The principal once called my mother in and tried to tell her that she shouldn't send us to school in such fancy clothes. My mother said, "I can't afford to buy ordinary clothes, and if I'm going to make something it has to be something beautiful." The clothes were beautiful and certainly strange to others' eyes, very exotic. I'm sure to most people we looked like gypsies. "Bohemians" was the word used then. My father said that he started wearing more conventional clothes when he realized that people were more interested in his clothes than in his art. My parents had a vision of a new pastoral world where people would wear beautifully designed clothes or no clothes at all. On my mother's travels to India as a young woman, she did not see the primitive misery; she saw an amazing world of beauty and vivid colors which inspired her to change everything about her life."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Good day

Spoke with Wendy and Rachel-Marie today from the Lancaster Yarn Shop about painting a knitting chair to offer for sale in the shop! I'm so excited! I love new chairs!!!
I took lots of photos today of my newest stuff...the stuff that isn't at Building Character. I like how they turned out, although I don't know if it's "not cool" to have black backgrounds on Etsy? I love the bright colors against black!
I'm eating healthier this month. Here's my big snack today...oatmeal with strawberries and sugar!
It's getting much colder here in Pennsylvania suddenly. Max and I were very cold at the park today, so this was tasty and nice afterwards. Tomorrow I have a few fun errands to do.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Holy Elfness!

I was checking out Goodwill tonight for finds for my Maggie French Home shop on Etsy, and I came across this!!!! FOR $3.99!!!!!! All the parts were still all packaged up!!!! not opened!!!!
This came out in Sept 2008, by Schleich, and retails for $70.00.
We currently have made it a home for the Madagascar animals, a troll, and some Handy Manny guys. The cave part goes WaY back, and Woody from Toy Story is hiding in there.
this is really really fun to play with. just what I wanted for Max, open ended tree-fort play-

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Momma is happy

cuz her living room looks CLEANER! thanks to this WONDERFUL storage ottoman/bench/coffee table from Target. It was a little bit of a stretch for us to buy this, but I just LOVE it.
in seconds I can throw all Max's toys in there. (Before I had an IKEA coffee table lined up against the wall, with a laundry basket underneath it full of toys.)
it looks grown-up. Now I want more "grown-up" things.
Not funky enough for some? No worries, I found this on the side of the road today. Perfect for my stand, and puzzles til the next show:

"Central Market" Chair at the Hotel Brunswick

So Friday was the Building Character event. That day or the day before, I found out that I would be able to display a chair in the window of the Hotel Brunswick!
This hotel is right downtown, on the corner of Queen and Chestnut. Currently they are displaying art from local artists. The Obama headquarters has moved out so the space is empty and currently for rent.
So since I was bringing two chairs to Building Character, I decided to make a new chair for this occasion, and I had three days to do it. I decided on another red chair since the hotel window background is black. I have been reading the Central Market Cookbook lately, (the descriptions of the downtown market at the turn of the century are just wonderful to me...something like, "the carriages drive down the city streets under the street lamps, with shutters closed...bleary eyed children help their parents unload fruits, eggs)...having driven down the streets to Eastern Market in the early morning to set up my stand, this was just really sweet for me to read.
So here's the chair at home, and set up in the hotel window (drop off was today). Thank you to Hollis for offering me this neat opportunity.
As I was painting this chair, I realized that I am developing an open bright folk art-y style. I know that I was really really influenced by the Niederhoffer house, as I spent so time there, surrounded by so much folk art it was unreal. When you see that much folk art at once, over a period of time, you see honesty and whimsy, but not forced whimsy. I know my letters often are not centered or styled in a certain font, but it is my own thinking, my own writing, and that is why I say I'm a folk artist.
I hope that the chair inspires people as they walk past the Hotel Brunswick. The chair celebrates the Lancaster, so I hope it makes people smile and be proud of Lancaster.
The edge of the seat says all kinds of things you can get at market. my favorite part is the front of the seat where I put, "Friends, Flowers, Fassnachts, Fish" it continues around to say, "cheese, gorp, fruit, chocolate, etc etc.
Available for sale for $240

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Building Character last night

Last night at Building Character was fun....I am trying not to think of the torquise antique shutters sitting on the floor in the store, perfectly distressed and everything:-)
Thanks to Tony and Marty for having me, and offering me the opportunity to have this setup in the store.
The store is open seven days a week:, if you are looking for these chairs of mine, and want to see them firsthand, check them out here. and if you are looking for architectural salvage for your building project/restaurant interior, etc, this is the place. Eight church pews from the store are "now at the foot of the Empire State Building in New York at the new Rattle and Hum Bar." Lancaster is not far from NYC, it's really worth the trip here, and there are great restaurants within walking distance from this store including Rachel's Creperie, on the same block of Queen.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Digs!

The artMarket at Building Character! I met with Tony today and I'll have space there now. Come see me tonight, I'm so happy about this.
Check out this pic from another First Friday in the artMarket. pretty cool,eh?
My booth will be behind the people here, along the white wall with windows.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!

I'm an official Lancaster city artist as of right now!!!!....more on that tomorrow.
Find me at Building Character downtown ( tomorrow night
for First Friday.
in other news...
Max was listening to the Dixie Chicks with me today as I was painting, and "Cowboy Take Me Away" came on, and he says, "what a beautiful song."
isn't that sweet?
And then....he was watching TV last night and he says.......
"What the hell is this show?"
Happy New Year!