Friday, July 31, 2009

scenes from my mom's house

here's a little taste of what dillon and i get to experience when we come to Bass Lake. you can see where i get my gardening and yard expertise from! mom's yard and garden are full of fun and whimsy. i'll introduce you to her little family. she's got 2 dogs, Blossom (2nd row, 3rd photo), Paddington (1st row, 1st picture). then there's the cats, all rescues: China (1st row, last picture), Sugarplum (4th row, 1st picture), Jingles, a "ragdoll cat" (last row, last picture). missing is Edith Ann, a orange and white kitty who declined to be photographed. she also has her darling little doves who make the cutest little cooing noises.

the picture with the flower and the bee is her Hollyhocks which are covered in bees right now. i just loved how the bees are covered in the pollen. guess they don't have allergies!


erika (my niece), her friend and my sister arrived yesterday. we went for a quick swim at Falls Beach and a nice dinner at Yolanda's. It's tradition to be initiated at Bass Lake by going down the falls. dill & erika have been going down the falls forever, but it was her friends first time. she was very brave and let dill hold her hand as they went together. notice the fools gold in the 3rd picture, first row, with my footsies dipping in the lake.


here's us stopping at the Pines Market to look at mom's card display (she sells cards of her photography). don't you love the girls in their matching dresses?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

do you like hummingbirds? i sure do

(hint: click on the photo for a larger image)

my mom gets hundreds of hummers at her feeders. she has 4 feeders and they are constantly feeding from them. She has to fill them at least once a day. (to read all about the do's & don't's of feeding hummingbirds, go to my mom's blog, Ageless Adventures here and here. mom volunteered at the hummingbird banding network for a few sessions and learned plenty.
the hummingbirds that come to her feeders are called, Anna's. they can be very terroritorial and love to duel (dillon's words!) while angling to get into the feeders. i stood on a chair while taking those pictures and i was there during happy hour - where bunches come in to feed before it gets dark. they were swarming around me head and i could feel their wings in my hair. it was cool. i stuck my finger on one of the perches and a few of the landed on my finger while snacking.
in other news, tuck is starting to feel better. his test for influenza A was negative (thank god). so now he just needs to mend from whatever nastiness he got. some neighbor friends are pitching in to do what little they can. i've had horrible dreams about him since being here, so hopefully they will go away now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

we are in california

dillon and i arrived in San Francisco yesterday around 10:30. after picking up our car, we drove to Fisherman's Wharf to get a bread bowl at Boudin's restaurant. then we headed out for our drive north east into the Sierras to Bass Lake to see my mom. Our "awesome" gps system took us on a prolonged route and both our cell phones died, but we arrived safe and sound. I'm very stressed out though, because tuck woke up sick yesterday. jeff had to take him to the doc after he spiked a temperature. he's now on steroids and antibotics. and yes, we had him swabbed again for swine flu. we will know immediately today if he tested positive for influenza A. what are the chances of tuck getting swine flu twice? not high, but you know what? we aren't lucky people, so i wouldn't be surprised...... i am a bundle of nerves and find it hard to be here and so far away. it is a lot to take care of tuck when he isn't ill and now for jeff to be there alone - it's unbearable to me not to be there to help and do my best to comfort tuck.

Monday, July 27, 2009

tie dyed vintage slips

these are the vintage slips that i tie dyed yesterday for me and my neice. hers might be a tad big for her, but i'll just pin it or something. i'll take pics of us in our "skirts".

Sunday, July 26, 2009


these are some pictures from when jeff and i went to Adamstown last month. after a lovely dinner, we went for a walk. it was getting stormy and there was a beautiful breeze. we decided to walk down a gravel road just to see where it would lead. (no where really as it turns out...) but as we were walking i saw this on the ground. i couldn't believe what a perfect heart shaped rock it was.

i went to grab it, but it wouldn't come out. so jeff decided he would give it a try. he grabbed at it and no go. so he started digging. then would grab at it and no go. this went on for about 20 minutes. i kept saying, "don't worry about it, let's just leave it", but he was determined to get it. finally he got it (thus the victorious picture). the rock turned out be almost 2 " long and was quite buried in it's little spot. now it has a new home next to all its other heart shaped siblings.

and this was a leaf i found on the way to dinner. i loved the contrast between the leaf and the road. tomorrow i'm going to take some pictures of the vintage slips i tie dyed for me and my niece. dillon and i are heading out to california on tues to visit my mom (she's turning 70!) and i'll get to see my sister, niece and brother-in-law. i thought a picture of us together in our semi matching skirts would be fun.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Art Opera 2010

I am excited to announce that the Jersey shore will be having it's own art retreat! that's right, you heard me correct. Lisa Kettell has been busy organizing this event to be held April 2010.
Art Opera 2010, which will be held at the exclusive Oyster Point Hotel on April 7, 8, 9 and 10 in Red Bank, NJ right on the Navesink River, a few miles of the beach and New Jersey shore line, with fabulous views and nestled within loads of antique stores, centers, and art trendy shops, Red Bank is known for their trendy and artsy stores, restaurants. Expect 10-15 teachers who teach everything from bookbinding, visual journaling, book arts, paper sculpting, assemblage art, metal making, jewelry, mixed media painting/illustration, vintage arts, dolls arts, sewing arts and creative inspiration. so far i know of two teachers: me and Jenny Heid!
there will be guest speakers, swaps and a vendor faire.
your airport destination would be Newark, NJ, which is about 25 minutes from Red Bank or you can fly into NYC (Kennedy or LaGuardia). There are trains (from NYC) into Red Bank and Olympic Shuttle also has a drop off location in Lincroft, NJ, which borders Red Bank. Personally, i would go with Newark. Keep an eye on Lisa's blog for more information, or email me with any questions to:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Round Robin necklace returns home

Well, after being away for almost 10 months, my round robin necklace has returned. it started off with me picking my theme and then creating the focal image. my theme was "renaissance woman". I soldered a 2x2 square with my image and also added some lace and a red bird feather. from there it was sent off to all the participants who would then add to it. i chose to rework the necklace (for balance) after it arrived home as their were so many pieces and most of them of the large side. i've made it so that the other pieces that aren't currently on the necklace can be changed as i want. i also added the keys and crown charms since i felt it needed more texture. the bottom charm was a charm that i really loved, but couldn't seem to get it to work anywhere up higher on the necklace, so i hung it on some tiny pearl chain and dangled it with the keys and i think it is perfect there. i wore it to work the other day and its definitely a show stopper. it makes a lovely jangly noise as i move about. thanks to all the Charmsters who participated.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Altered Couture summer 2009 issue

here are the pages from my article from Altered Couture's summer 2009 issue. in case you can't read my "tip" in the last picture at the bottom, it says "when in doubt, add polka dots". polka dots always have a way of saving the day.
p.s. those clogs are a size 2, so tiny and they are sooo cute! i know a few little girls that those would look adorable on.

Monday, July 20, 2009

typesetter drawer shadowbox

(hint: click on the picture for a nice close up view of the goodies inside the box)

for awhile i have been collecting the old typesetting drawers. why? i don't know, i just like them. i had come across a bunch that were very inexpensive, so we picked them up. they've been sitting on my front porch in the "wood shop" section just waiting to be played with. a few months ago, Lynn Perrella (see her inspiring piece, "Summer Sampling" here and then when you are done, look at her assemblages they are stunning!) did a type setting drawer art piece and then it was in Somerset Studio which is where i saw it. immediately i thought, so that's why i've been collecting those! the funny thing is though, as many of my friends have also been collecting these (before the article came out). it's interesting how my friends and i are drawn to very similar things. i keep wanting to coin a term for this type of girl that i am, but also that i see in my friends. i know jane has some of the drawers, kim has some, a new blog friend, beth has some. and it doesn't just stop with the drawers. i was amazed at the similarities that i found between Jill and i (i met up with her at Handmade Faire). even down to random personality quirks and the fact that we both grew up in the military. my friend jane and i are constantly buying the same things (separately unbeknownst to us), wear the same perfume, stuff like that........ i was thinking of calling us "modern prairie girls with old souls". anyway, kim, of art dog's life recently created a drawer, which made me think of doing some for the country living fair. i gesso'd a few and then have been waiting to get back to them. then i was reading new blog friend, beth, of gypsy fish journal and was amazed to see the drawer she just completed. they both are stunning. so last night i decided i would make the one that i have been envisioning in my mind. i titled it "Nature's Bounty" and it is all things from nature that i have been collecting for over the last year. i love how it turned out. i'll be metal stamping a faceplate for the front of as well. the projects are fun and easy to do. it's a matter of gathering and gluing. i'm going to go back to my source and see if he still has any more trays. if he does, i'll pick them up and sell them for anyone wanting to do a project on their own. i'll keep you posted on that or let me know if you'd be interested in a tray and i'll contact you later. i also have a HUGE one that i 'll be creating with next. finding stuff to fill it up will not be a problem. this one will be more along the lines of using flea market items, dolls, fabric, or whatever i deem worthy to go inside!

in other fun news, my advanced copy of Altered Couture has arrived with my new article in it. it will hit the stands late July at Barnes & Nobles, Borders. my article is on page 125, 126 & 127. i'll scan pics of it later today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Handmade faire goodies

here are a few of the things that i picked up yesterday at the Handmade Faire. The purse with the beautiful barkcloth and the rosette were made by beth @ gypsy fish. the earrings and necklace were made by Jill @ gypsy flea market. if you look at the picture with the purse, around the manikin's neck is a scarf. the scarf was made by another bud, Doreen @ Seahorse Designs. the scarf is really unique. it is 3 knitted strands of leaves that you wrap around your neck. then she knitted a rose that you tie around the leaves and center around your neck. so it ends up almost being a piece of neck jewelry. i just love it. i also picked up 2 shirts; a tank made by Abbie that has great graphics about recycling. at the bottom of the t-shirt it says "it's easy being green". the other t-shirt has a pirate cupcake on it. i put them in the wash, so wasn't able to take pics of them.


isn't this cool? dillon's girlfriend, Adrianne, took this picture for me. . i think she used a flashlight, but not sure exactly how she did it. i'm going to find out how she did it so that i can share the technique.

i suppose you've notice the appearance change. i guess like myself, things change and my blog will reflect that. there's some things i want to do with photos that i couldn't do with my other template as i was locked in with the fonts and colors and it wouldn't allow me to change anything. so i'm going with a very simplied template so that i can do what i please. like my banner? i created it myself.


also in the news, i have yet ANOTHER blog. (that makes 3). this blog is called Jersey Jypsies and is more of in state blog where i will be announcing classes and other plans that i have in the works (like a pending jersey jypsy retreat maybe....) stop by and take a peek. and you don't have to be from Jersey to enjoy it!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

doing better

hey all - thanks for all your well wishes! my finger is feeling much better today. not much swelling or bruising. just sore around the joint. i think my arm hurts more -where i got the tetanus shot!

today i went to the Handmade Faire and spent the day with friends who were selling. i brought a chair and ended up sitting with new blog bff, jill harris, of gypsy flea market. we tossed some business ideas around, which hopefully, when they pan out, i'll share with you later! i'm also hoping that she'll be able to tag along with me for the country living fair. i got a couple of cool things (i'll take pics tomorrow, too late and dark now). now i am off to lay down, cuz i am tired!

you can view pictures from the "Handmade faire" here at fleamarket junkture.

in other news, i'll be offering another soldering class on thurs. aug. 20th from 11:00-2:30/3:00. class has to be prepaid to save your seat. email me at for details if interested.

Friday, July 17, 2009

squeamish alert

i had a little studio accident this morning. (kind of freaky, really). i was finishing up a pair of earrings for a client and i was trying to remove some dried resin from around the little port where i would connect the earring hook to the charm. i was using a very tiny embroidery hook and well..... i ended up impaling it through my finger. how gross is that? my hands were a little slippery and i held the piece up in the air to see the port better..... it all happened so quickly. it went through my finger and almost out the other side. no one was home and my car wasn't here. i took a look at it and said to myself "uh-oh, this isn't good". i considered pulling it out, but then remembered the hook at the other end and thought better of it. thank goodness there was no blood - but the pain - oh yeah...... i called my neighbor/doctor, but he was out. so i called his office and they said come right down. called jeff and said, come home, i've had a slight accident (he was just down the road). i was a little peek-ed at that point, no color, sweating, nauseaous, etc. of course, i had the druthers to snap a picture of it though!

everyone at the office wanted to know how i did it. i finally started saying i was drunk as it sounded better than, "oh, i carelessly rammed it through my finger".... workers kept coming in to get a peek, which wasn't making me happy. i finally said, "oh come on, this is getting embarrassing". the doc gathered up his tools, gave me some numbing shots (OUCH!!!) - snipped off the long end of the hook, then slit a small incision on the other side (because he could feel the hook right there) and then pushed it through. i think jeff was taking pictures on his camera phone. i also had an xray taken and it looked good. no bone was hit, no foreign matter and just some tissue swelling.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mother Machree

Well, i have finished my manikin. Her name is Mother Machree (from the piece of sheet music i added to the front of her). so the first picture (below) shows how she started. i'm going to tell you how i did it, in case you want to make your own.
she was a wire form manikin that i found at Home Goods. her arms are something i got at a flea market. it is one piece and looks like it might be a part/piece of some sort of tool. my husband drilled a hole in the center of the wood piece/arms for the rolling pin to sit in. i collaged the rolling pin (her head) and then glued it into the middle of the wood piece. there was an opening on each through the arm arm area and i just slid the piece through. then i wired the rolling pin from the back and under each arm to make sure the pin didn't roll forwarded.
for the body, i tore up strips of newspaper and dipped them in wallpaper paste and the secured all around the form. even though i was going to paper mache her, i did this because there were big gaps in the body where the wire was. this would help give the paper mache more to grab onto. i let that dry and then proceeded to paper mache it. i use the paper mache strips that you cut and dip in water. then i let that dry overnight.
So then last night, i collaged her body with vintage sheet music. after that was completely dry, i started accessorizing. i had the vintage slip/crinoline in my stash of stuff and put it on the body. then i glued crocheted flowers that i harvested off a doily. i wrapped the rolling pin with some tulle and added a little screw at the top to hold her hat.
So she is a multi talented gal. she can hold a hat, wear necklaces around her neck and hang jewelry off her arms.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


here is a manikin i am making to sell at the Country Living Fair. she's as assemblage of sorts and this is her beginning phase. she will have a layer of paper mache, then collage of vintage text, a skirt and more!

funny kid alert - as soon as this little guy saw my camera, he started hamming it up.

here is what i made in my last soldering class

here's dillon's girlfriend, Adrianne, who attended the class. she made this cool, funky pendant (how cute is she?). unfortunately i forgot to get pictures of Carol and Mary's pieces -sorry!

here was a new table at the Collingswood flea market that i like to hit on Friday's. i didn't buy much from her as her prices were a little high for me, but she had really great stuff. very old pieces, unique and rare. she really knew her stuff too and was really interesting to talk to.

Friday, July 10, 2009

fun news to share!

I will be teaching 2 classes at Artnsoul, Portland 2009. Another jewelry artist had to withdraw from teaching, so i'm pitching in to fill the need. it will be a quick turn and burn since i am teaching the following weekend at Art-is-You, but i am excited and really looking forward to it.


the first class is called "Memory Evoking Spoons". you can find all the information about the class by clicking the link.


my second class is called "My heart beats for thee".


Thursday, July 9, 2009

flea market finds

after weeks of rained out flea markets, i was finally able to get to one last week. the weather was overcast and it did look like it would rain any minute, but it eventually cleared up and ended up being a nice day, which made everyone at the flea market quite happy.

vintage cake decorating tips
a couple new hats, an awesome spool of lace (which has since been coffee stained and looks ever better!) a doll with a beautiful dress, some odd metal flower thing (i plan on harvesting the flowers) and some vintage Easter decor

a really cool frame and wonderful fabrics (my "guy", Phillip, had 4 HUGE tables full of fabric. he told me it all came out of one lady's attic). i couldn't help think that maybe one day, some flea market vendor would be called to my house to drag out all this stuff and he'd be telling people, "it all came out of a house belonging to an artist"!

more awesome fabrics

there were a bunch of these growth charts. i took them to harvest the appliques. and how 'bout that darling little yo-yo doll? please don't call it the "C" word (clown!) i know too many people who do not like clowns. yo-yo doll is safer.

vintage slips to tie dye

some old milk jars from a NJ dairy, some lace, a metal stamp holder and a lovely purse

and how great is this find? i always wanted one of these. i couldn't believe i found her the day after Farrah passed away. kind of strange in a way.
i'd love to show you what i am working on (for the Country Living Fair), but i think for now i'll keep them under wraps. but let me tell you, they are pretty cool and just know, i am working my butt off to create inventory! there are a couple of other girls from this area also in the show, kathe and joanna, who i met at their fabulous store, Summerhouse. so we are going to try and ride to the show together. it will be nice for me not to go it alone, since i tend to get sleepy 1/2 hour into a road trip! they did the show last year, so it's nice to get a prespective on what to expect, how things work, the shopping, the people, etc. i've gone from overwhelmed to looking forward to it.

slide show!