Saturday, November 28, 2009

"Little Dog, a holiday story"

Today i granted a Christmas wish.

I met a little doggie this summer at the flea market. he came home with me in a bag of "stuff". He went to live on a shelf i have over my kitchen sink. I started calling him Little Dog. I'd come wash my hands and say, "how ya doing little dog"? he was pretty quiet for awhile, as it turns out that he is shy. then one day he answered me and told me that he was "doing quite well, thank you very much". after that, we became good friends. he just needed to build up his trust in me.

Early this fall, during one of our many conversations at the kitchen sink, he told me of a wish he had. I was honored that he trusted me so much to share something so important with me. He told me that when he grew up, he wanted to be a reindeer. he wanted to fly with the other reindeer and help Santa pull his sleigh. after thinking for a minute, i said, "so what's stopping you"? he was quiet and said, "i don't know".

a few weeks later, we talked about it again. this time, he surprised me and said, " i am ready to be a reindeer, but i need your help". it was hard for Little Dog to ask me for help and i was proud that he worked up the courage to do so. So i said, "let's get to work". We worked hard over the next few weeks, getting him gear ready, practicing flying, fashioning his antlers, etc. I began to see Little Dog come alive in front of my eyes as his dream became a reality.

Sometimes we have dreams and if all it takes is a little help, that shouldn't stop us from trying to get there!

This story is symbolic of my growth as an artist: taking baby steps, recovering from a devastating, life altering event and venturing out into the world on my own terms.

So i am proud to present to you, Little Dog the reindeer, making his world debut Christmas eve Dec. 24, 2010.

Little Dog in all his glory

the flying lessons have been going really well!

here's Little Dog relaxing with some of his new friends; a supportive, nuturing and caring group.

wish him luck!

a little Marie for you

here's a Marie doll i did; altering a cloth rag doll i picked up. i changed her hair and added all these fabulous old doll clothes. her skirt is so fluffy i can barely sit her down. she's very elegant in her royal jewelry and vintage tiara. i'm going to try and make my own rag doll from scratch as i think this would be a fun class to teach.

off for more holiday open house at Summerhouse!

Friday, November 27, 2009

black friday continued!

Today was black friday open house at Summerhouse. it was a fun day. lots of festive wares to look at, yummy red velvet cupcakes, hot apple cider and more. weather wise, the day started off pretty nice. then later, it turned a bitter cold with a nasty wind whipping through the town. Brrrrrr! But Santa stopped by for the tree lighting ceremony, we saw elves and fairies, a beautiful horse pulling a lighted buggy and lots of participants wearing Santa hats. My girlfriend Jane, her daughter Claudia and sister stopped by for a hello and some shopping. Also my friend, Marlene, came in, good to see her again. Thanks for the support ladies!

I want to dress like this manikin.

Jane, Claudia and I

Marlene and I

Joanna, Kathe and I

button bracelets

snowman bottles and one of my collages

glass tiles necklaces

more button bracelets

in other news, if you missed the post about my blog giveaway, you can read about it here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

black friday!

i'll be leaving early in the morning and heading over to Summerhouse for black friday. just wanted to post these pictures of my soldered holiday ornaments that i made using vintage images off of holiday cards found at the flea market this year. there's one i really love, so might not be able to sell it! hope you had a lovely day and looking forward to hearing what you did (if anything) on black friday!

happy Thanksgiving to all!

have a wonderful day of eating lots of yummy food, being with friends and family, relaxing and doing whatever it is that makes you happy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

what are you doing this weekend?

(Summerhouse shoppe photos of yumminess)

This weekend is the big shopping weekend - Black Friday! If you aren't sure where to go and you are looking for vintage, unusual or handmade - come on over to Pt. Pleasant, where Summerhouse is hosting an open house at their store this weekend. Santa is coming too! I've been graciously invited to sell some things at their open house (thank you girls), so i hope you can come on down. I'll be selling some vintage holiday ornaments made from old bottle caps and vintage light reflectors, vintage button bracelets, some beautiful old bottles adorned with very old seashells and more! Joanna also makes these, to die for, holiday wreaths with vintage glass balls/ornaments. they are alone are worth your time to feast your eyes on! and you've got to check out the miles of paper chain garland they created and strung all over the store. absolutely delightful! Summerhouse is just one of many great stores to be found in the darling little shore town of Pt. Pleasant. hope to see you there!

store info:


715 Arnold Ave.

Point Pleasant Beach

N.J. 08742


and in other news, if you missed the post, i am hosting a blog giveaway. you can find details here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

childhood memories

how cute are these? i was going through some old stuff the other day and found these little drawings i did when i was 6 years old. it is my younger sister, kristi (note at age 6, i spelled it as "khis"), me in the middle and then my twin brother, kent. sadly, i've seen to have lost the portrait that i did of my older sister, kim. i just love the innocence and sweetness of these drawings. i doubt i was criticizing myself as i drew them. i also love how free they are. i wasn't worried about making them realistic or having perfect hands or fingers! they are just fun. now we just to apply those lessons to our adult art!

in other news, if you missed the post, i am having a holiday blog giveaway. see details here.

*i didn't seem fair that there wasn't a picture of my sister, kim, so i drew one up for her (complete with misspelled name as requested!)

Monday, November 23, 2009

tucker's finches have been busy!

Well, it didn't take long after putting a nest into their cage for this little egg to show up. i found it on the bottom of their cage when i was cleaning it the other day. it's so tiny!

in other news, if you missed my last post, i am hosting a blog giveaway, so visit here if you'd like to play along.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

blog giveaway!

I've been feeling a little lonely on my blog lately as i've noticed the comments dropping off considerably. supposedly there are 181 readers blog readers out there and i want to hear from you! i know many of you like to stay quiet and just read, but once in awhile, it is nice to know if someone is paying attention to what i am saying! I've decided to give back and am hosting a blog giveaway starting tonight until Friday, Dec. 11th. you will win a pendant similar to the one in the picture below (that comes on a chain), only using the initials of your choice. you can give this as a gift or keep for yourself - it is up to you. i will create it in enough time to get it to you in case you want to give it as a gift.
what do you have to do? just leave me a comment. let me know that you are here and keeping up with me! i thought it'd be fun to talk about our Christmas wish lists. what is on your wish list this year? it can be ridiculous, silly, practical, wishful thinking - whatever! i just want to hear from you. my only other rule is that you have to comment here, on my blog, not on my facebook page when the feed shows up on my wall!

So what is on my christmas wish list this year? I would love a gift certificate to dick blick and then walk into their store and buy anything i wanted without worrying about the final tally! my fantasy Christmas wish would be to go to Spain with a group of artsy girls who also have the same desire to go there. i also have a secret Christmas wish that i will keep to myself as it is a wish just for me. feel free to pass this blog giveaway along in the spirit of giving.

And to my regular commenters, i just want to say thank you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

winter issue of Belle Amoire Jewelry

I am excited to share with you that i am in the winter issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry (page 36 to be exact!). it's fun because my friends, Barbe Saint John and Shari Replogle are also in it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

holiday soldered ornament

there are 2 spots left in my holiday ornament class on learning how to solder. here is an ornament that i made the other day using items from my Christmas stash. the class ornament will be a little different (no bow tie and a 2x3 square), but we will have fun using vintage fabrics, old Holiday greeting cards, learning how to attach bulbs to the bottom, etc. email me for details if you are interested at class is sunday dec. 13th from 1:00-4:30/5:00. you need to put down a deposit to reserve your seat.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall 2009

here's what Fall typically looks like around our house - one word: LEAVES! we are surrounded by 40 foot oak trees in front, on each side and in the back yard. we have piles and piles of leaves and then there are leaves on those piles! right now they are all wet and many leaves came down after our last storm (but trust me, there are many more yet to come down!) my neighbors tend to blow their leaves everyday where as jeff likes to wait til they are almost all down and do them in one day. they get blown to the street, where the township comes by and sucks them up and then turns them into mulch.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

suze, margot and sallianne

So on Sunday, i had a few minutes to spare and i had heard via the grape vine that there was some cool art happening in my neck of the woods - so i stopped by Suze's studio to see what was going down. i got to see a flock of art chicks surrounded by art supplies and working on a super fab necklace being taught to them by none other than Margot, the impatient crafter! Margot is a facebook buddy and we've yet to meet face to face, so it was nice to surprise her by stopping in for a quick hello! i was also pleasantly surprised to see Sallianne of, Art-is-you, sitting amongst the happy art girlies getting their art on! and of course, as always, it was fun to see Suze!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The importance of being Earnest

Dillon's play was this past weekend. he played the role of Jack/Earnest, in "The Importance of being Earnest". it was so good and all the actors did an amazing job. i have to say the costumes for the girls were gorgeous! it is so cool to get to watch your child on stage. i was glowing in pride. what made it even funner was that my sister and niece were here to see it with us. Erika, who is also in theater, gave Dillon a bouquet after the show. Next up for the drama club, "The Wizard of Oz"; with tryouts coming up soon. i think dill is going for the part of the Scarecrow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

family is gone

Well, the girls have gone. i took them to the airport yesterday morning (4:30am - ick!) we had such a nice time and packed a lot of fun in a short amount of time. the day before they left, we spent the day driving around, running errands, etc. we went to Marshall's to check out their Christmas section, ran to Petsmart to get a bigger cage for Tuck's finches. i also got them a nest for inside the cage, but so far they haven't figured out that they can go inside of it!
i also took them down to the Asbury Park boardwalk. i've lived in NJ for 12 years and every time my sister has come, i have taken her down there to look around. it's been awhile since she has been here, so there were a lot of new changes. they are in the midst of a revitalization and it is going quite well. new buildings, new stores, new restaurants, new condos, etc. i took them by this one store called "Bodega Shoppe" (website is currently under production). I've been in there a few times and just loved it; but was happy to learn from my Country Living Fair trip with the *Summerhouse girls, Kathe and Joanna*, that they are good friends with the store owner, Michael. (did you get all that?) So when i was in there, i made a point to introduce myself to Michael, who i found to be super charming, pleasant and friendly. he has amazing style and we were oohing and aahing over much of the store. lots of Parisian influence (Marie Antoinette action figures with removable heads for god's sake!), a delicious line of Scandinavian holiday gifts and so much more. his theme this year was, Swans, stemming from Asbury Park's boardwalk heyday, when they had actual swan boats. i never saw the swan boats, but have seen pictures and would love to see them come out of storage and make a come back. anyway, i was just loving the swan idea given its historical sentiment. i bought one of his bigger swans and immediately put it on the top of one of my Christmas trees, now dubbed "the peacock tree".

*the Summerhouse girls, as of yet don't have a blog or website (it's in the works), but you can read Jenny Heid's visit to their store on her blog which is linked in their name.

p.s. i'm having a blog giveaway soon, so stayed tuned!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

happy birthday, Tucker!

sent tuck off to school with much fanfare and singing. we will have a little pizza party tonight with a few friends and family over to celebrate.

Monday, November 9, 2009

goings on - monday 11/09/09

ran Grace to the vet this morning. fully expected a Lyme's disease diagnosis, but instead found out that Gracie had fractured one of her toenails and was in quite a lot of pain. poor little bugger. the nail was hidden under her fur, so when we were palpating her paw, we weren't really see it under all the fur. she's on meds and is to take it easy for a few days.

So tomorrow is Tucker's birthday. for those of you who don't know, Tucker is special needs. He was a victim of medical malpractice at the age of 16 months old and due to negligence was left severely brain injured. it is difficult to talk about, so i often skim over it as if telling a story that happened to someone else, not me. i try not to let this tragedy dictate my life and work hard to find peace with the hand i have been dealt. so my sweet boy is turning 20 tomorrow and i wanted to give him a gift that had meaning and purpose. i thought long and hard and discussed my idea with Dillon (my younger son), who whole heartedly approved my idea. tucker is classified as cortically blind, which is a yet another side affect of a brain injury. so he does not see well. but his auditory skills are absolutely amazing. so my idea was to give him some little birds who make enough noise and chatter to amuse and delight him, but not enough to overwhelm him after awhile. dillon and i picked out these 2 zebra finches and will be picking them up tomorrow while tuck is in school. i let dillon name them, so i chose to call them "Gambit and Rogue" after some X-men characters.


in other news, this BEAUTIFUL ring arrived in the mail today. it was from my friend, Barbe St. John. We both realized that each of us had an article in the Dec. issue of Belle Amoire Jewelry, so we emailed each other our article proofs and i just adored the ring she made. sure looks pretty on my hand! i am quite lucky to have such thoughtful and generous friends.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Company is here!

My sister, niece and brother-in-law arrived this morning after taking the red eye in from California. they weren't here an hour before we were leaving and heading to the flea market. jeff slipped my niece $20 to spend there and she made it go far. she had a great time and found some wonderful purchases. i usually don't go on Sundays as i have found the Sunday crowd to be "not to my liking". but today was different, there were tons of vendors and great stuff was out. everyone seemed like they wanted to sell and make deals. i only saw one case of someone "not to my liking". (who is the person that i do not like? it is the parents that drag their children to these things and then proceed to yell at them and treat them like crap. for the most part as well, these poor kids are usually improperly dressed. i don't understand these parents that speak to their children in this way. (now mind you, i am not referring to the misbehaving child that needs to be scolded. this is just downright wrong and mean). i just find it upsetting. Okay, enough of that. so we hit the flea running and it turned out to be a gorgeous day. it got so warm and i am so glad i had them bundle up, as i swore up and down the wind would be in high gear and we'd be freezing. NOT! we couldn't peel off our layers fast enough.
then we came home, got something to eat, grabbed dillon and then headed into the back field on a nest hunt. it was fun. we ended up finding 4 nests; although 3 of them were a few seasons old. (meaning they were falling apart). not sure what is on the agenda tomorrow. have some silly errands to run (bank, post office) and then need to get Gracie to the vet as she's not feeling well again - i'm making the call now that she's got that darn Lymes disease again (and yes, we have them on tick meds).

and check out that awesome bug that showed up on my porch today (am thinking it is a katydid....) i was going crazy taking pictures of it when it jumped onto my camera and then flew at me. talk about a wuss - i SCREAMED so loud! i didn't even know i could scream that loud. it was hilarious!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

whatcha doin in August?

This summer i have been invited to Charleston, Maine to teach at Art-in-the-Rough. "Art in the rough" is the brainchild of my friend, Taryn Reece, of Naval Jelly Studios. It is 2 days of classes. The retreat is held on their property and is a camping retreat. Do not fear, though, you will be provided unique & elegant amenities. It's successful debut last year earned a new nickname of "glamping" (glamour camping!) here's what to expect:

"imagine bunking in a large tent house, snuggling into an oversized, comfy cot with crisp linens and warm blankets. You will be surrounded by special, luxurious touches including a
complimentary welcome basket brimming with goodies, fresh towels & sundries" - I'm sold!

the minute i read about this retreat, i wanted to go. it reminded me of my sweet childhood memories of girl scout camp. I was so lucky to be a girl scout when i lived in Guam (yes, Guam!) and have the fondest memories of camping out with girlfriends and wonderful women full of encouragement and leadership. here is the other reasons i want to go:
facilities: private hot water outdoor showers, wash up stations, changing areas and bathrooms, accented with cool decorative touches & funky- junk! surrounded by picturesque gardens and breathtaking views of the mountains woods & fields. Be prepared for the treat of taking at shower outdoors! you can go on a nature walk or lounge by the pool. there is an art barn open 24 hours and campfire, twinkling lights and lanterns complete the magical setting.

go check out this page to see the fun lineup of how we will be spending our time. seriously, i just can't wait!

here is where you can see the workshop line up. it 'll be me, Taryn and Robin Betterley. Now i have just have to figure out how to be in 3 places at one time, since i really want to take both Taryn and Robin's classes! the dates are August 13- 16th. seating is limited, so be sure and register early! feel free to email me at or taryn at if you have any questions. hope to see you there!

Friday, November 6, 2009

it's a beautiful fall day, let's go to the flea market!

I get so much feedback on my blog when i go to the flea market. i hear from you that your flea markets are non existent, sparse, lame, too expensive or plundered. so i think vicariously, it is fun to see what i find at my flea markets. not being a Jersey native, i often complain about living in this state, but i have to secretly confess, that if i were to move out of NJ, i would miss my flea markets! so come along with me today as we go to my favorite junky flea market, Collingswood. to visually get a picture of Collingswood, I like to quote my friend, Steve, a vendor, who told me that he only likes to sell at Collingswood in complete desperation or (you'll love this), when he needs to "flush the toilet". it's kind of gritty, dirty and has some seriously interesting characters. it took me awhile to get comfortable coming here. i made my husband go with me for the longest time as the men tended to creep me out. Now that i am getting to know some of them and am a more recognizable face, i will go alone and not have a thought about it. sit back and enjoy as i decided to post individual pictures in stead of the collage format.

here's some of the things i look at every time i drive to the flea market.

this lovely row of trees. it has been fun to watch them grow and change with the seasons.

one of many corn fields in my area. they are drying up now, their summer jobs of supplying delicious "jersey corn" to us has come to an end. for now they will feed the birds until the first frost comes.


our local fresh farmer's market; a dying breed.

the Canadian geese flying around. they are noisy and annoying; yet when you see them flying like this in their vast numbers, honking away, it takes my breath away. i wonder if they are psyched to be heading to a warmer climate or what?


the infamous sign for Collingswood. this is the new and improved sign. not sure the image of the gentleman got any better. he looks like a cross between farmer john an an alien with a potatoe face.


let's talk about "flea market attire" during winter hours. it is COLD and WINDY at Collingswood! got your checklist?

here's my stay warm uniform: sensible shoes, warm socks and leg warmers, check!

cute shopping cart to hold wares, check! got this one at Marshall's for $19.99. (give up the notion that you can carry it all, because you never know what you will find and it helps prevent constants trips back and forth to the car. (record set this summer of making my husband cart stuff to the car - 6 times!)

warm pair of gloves, check! the hands don't work well doling out cash when they are frozen!


cool hat, very long scarf to wrap around neck and face, over sized sunglasses, chapstick and cute coat (from Daffy's, NYC!) under coat, yet another lightweight zippered nylon jacket, check! (attitude byob!) also, carry a purse that you can wear across your chest -easier access to the $ and keeps your hand free.


get to know your vendors, check! this is Phillip - he knows i like working with costume jewelry, so he'll bring out stuff for me to see. he also plays Irish music and tells really bad jokes, but we love him. there is a hierarchy to these guys selling at the flea market. Phillip is on the higher end of the spectrum and i love going through his stuff. other characters a bit lower on the chain include: Dependable Don, Vinnie & John, Vic and a few of the other junk guys that i haven't quite wanted to ask their names yet (but jeff and i have nicknames for)!


Collingswood wares


LOVE these!

Oh, look who i spy? it's Joanna (Summerhouse girls from Country Living Fair and one of her sons). Naively i think maybe her mom, Kathe, isn't there and i ask, "where is your mom?"

Oh there she is! she immediately pulls out a cool find, which she knows i will appreciate (we are kindred souls) - old doll body parts!

down what i call, "Junk Alley" - Dependable Don's terrority..... this is a "digger's delight". be prepared to scrounge through disgusting boxes which are sometimes really wet from sitting out in the rain. (gross). sometimes he has a helper named "Mikey" who jeff and i have nicknamed, "Kid Rock" (strong resemblance!). recently i found that Kid and i both collect Fedora hats. who knew we'd have so much in common. sadly, Kid was off today because a pic of it him would have been cool with his rockin 80's glasses and stringy, long, blonde hair!

as seen around Collingswood - an oversized Gumby doll - i got that "look" from the vendor when i asked her if i could take this picture.... 'nuf said about her!


remember my empty shopping cart when i began? well, i scored big in Dependable Don's section with a bunch of vintage Christmas stuff (and some vintage Easter) i love that stuff and am buying it all up. what for? not sure yet! wait tell i tell you what he charged me for all that stuff.

this was what i got from Phillip

loot of vintage Christmas, Easter and super cool vintage, NEVER USED cosmetic case - wait for it, wait for it, wait for it - $5! (and i didn't even post all the pictures!)

and how about these? are they absolutely the bomb? vintage dance/costume attire for a little girl -so sweet. the detail and materials used are unbelievable. how much were these beauties? now don't be mad, but i took them from the FREE table.

slide show!