Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Latest and Greatest from Tim Holtz

I Got A Treat Today!

Manilla envelopes always signal a good mail day, and today was the long-awaited arrival of a swap card from the subject of much adoration, fellow ZNE-r Debrina Pratt. Debrina's artwork truly is like no other-she has a certain style all her own and is known for her lush layers, yummy pastels and attention to tiny details. Her ACEOs often sell on ebay for more than $20 each and her 3D assemblages and fairies in jars regularly start bidding wars. I am so lucky she offered to do a swap with me. I am so thrilled to not only own one of her cards but to be able to see one in person. The detail really is incredible. Keep in mind these little treasures are the size of baseball cards. Debrina's work can be found here*spark*your*imagination*/. It is the real deal eye candy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can't Wait To Start My New Assignment

I am so thrilled to accept an appointment to Gail Schmidt's Tennessee-based Shabby Cottage Studio's Design Team (see nifty little badge at right that will take you to the shop!). Gail and I became e-friends through ebay art groups first and then ZNE, and in the process we discovered she used to live in the town of Warsaw, near where I live now and where I also lived.

But those connections didn't get me in; we had to apply to be on the design team, and I am excited to be one of those selected. Our main function will be to make fabulous (hopefully) art using supplies from Gail's store at Projects will be posted to inspire and educate Shabby Cottage's customers. We will also brainstorm as a team for Gail and work with specific direction as well as on our own creations. Read all about the Design Team here:

Can't wait to get started. Gail has fabu-licious supplies on her site now, and you must head on over. Let's synchronize our watches. See you there!

An Award of (Un?)Questionable Magnitude

Today I returned from a two-day out-of-state road trip for work to learn the lovely and funny Laurie Blau-Marshall, a fellow ZNE-r of Loud Life fame, had awarded me the prestigious (dubious?) Creative Snit award. After reading points #2 and #4 below as well as the word "obsessive" in the definition, I felt I had no choice but to accept! Thanks (a lot) to Laurie who passed this on from another fellow ZNE-r, Lennea Truesdell, who shared the modified definition of snit to make it more acceptable, as follows:

"Unlike many other blogging awards, this award requires much thoughtful deliberation and strict adherence to the following CREATIVE SNIT AWARD criteria.
This award shall be presented only to worthy artists who have shown evidence of being in a creative snit.To help with the selection, we need a common frame of reference.
I found this definition of snit:
snit; noun; a state of agitated irritation; "he was in a snit"
However, I think a CREATIVE SNIT requires a somewhat different definition:
Creative Snit; noun; a state of creative chaos, creative frustration, or a state of obsessive creativity: 'she was in a creative snit'.

Therefore, worthy recipients of this prestigious award should demonstrate one or more of the following criteria:
1) photos of their chaotic creative studio spaces, 2) reports of staying up till the wee hours of the morning while consuming large amounts of coffee and or chocolate in order to finish a swap or prepare for a show, 3) documented frustration over the creative process, 4) evidence of a large quantity of art created over a small period of time.

I also have to thank Laurie for catching my typo in the Random Arts blog address, which has now been fixed in the post below.

Random Arts- The Love Continues

Imagine my surprise when I check in on my new favorite place- Random Arts in Saluda, NC (blogged about below) - to find that owner Jane Powell has mentioned me on her blog at "Mentioned" is the key word here, as Jane splashed my art in big beautiful photos and kind words all over the front of her blog! Thanks, Jane. Love, love, love that little town! And store! And e-commerce at go there. Now.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Good Candy Rumored Here; Love the Leaves Reflecting Off the Window & Witchypoo's Ring

Happy Fall Trick-or-Treaters!

So what do these three seemingly disparate images have in common? Well, atually nothing, except that I have so much to blog about, I thought I'd better lump them together or I might bore you all stiff.
You know how in high school when you liked a boy and you found out he liked you too- maybe he even sent you a mushy note or left something in your locker? And then you went and told your girlfriends (of course!) because you just couldn't help yourself, and then, poof! Cool boy runs for the hills.
Well, that's sort of how I feel writing this, because part of me feels I should just keep it to myself. But I just can't help it! I GOT AN EMAIL FROM THE ARTIST TEESHA MOORE! Oooh, maybe I should tone that down. I don't want her to know I went and blabbed- not that she would see my blog, mind you.
The email went like this:

"LOL! That piece of art is awesome! and inspiring! thanks for sharing.

It is in reference to Zetti Preschool pictured here, which I have shown before. I was ordering from her website, and got all ballsy and sent it to her. For those of you who don't know, Teesha Moore is possibly one of the most famous artists in the outsider art world, altered arts, the crazy collage arts movement. She started about 25 years ago on the west coast and has an amazing following for her art and her rubber stamp company, Zettiology. She even has a Flickr group of wannabees dedicated to her art. She was also recently featured in "Mixed Media Collage" by Holly Harrison. Teesha publishes her own zines and hosts ArtFest and Art FiberFest every year in WA. Her art truly got me started on this current path. Thank you, Teesha!
The Haunted House scene, also shown before, just came in second place in the ARTchix Holiday Art show, as voted by my fellow members, and I am so thrilled to have won a gift certificate to
And the tree. Well, the tree was just showing off today. All the neighbors still have green leaves, and we have this beauty.
By the way, my new blog banner (and more to come) are by Kris L. Hurst at Blissfull (sic) Elements. I love it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

More Pics from Saluda and Random Arts

A Little Side Trip to Saluda

Although I am back home in Indiana from South Carolina, if it were up to me, I'd still be in Saluda, NC. What a wonderful town! Made the stop off I-26 per an article I read in Cloth, Paper, Scissors about a wonderful shop called Random Arts. Wonderful it was! The entire town is an artists' colony, similar to Nashville, IN for those who can picture that equally hilly town.

I could have spent hours in Random Arts. Owner Jane Powell was so nice! We swapped ATCs, took pictures of each other's art and she showed me the latest and greatest. I came home with so many goodies...and left so many behind! She was packed with "stuff." Even all her ribbons were each on vintage bobbins. A bin held tiny pieces of vintage wooden rulers.

And the art! Oh, glorious samples. Incredible drawings and paintings by Jane. Beautiful altered books. Examples of past classes by well-known, published artists. Just a fabulous store!

We had lunch at the Purple Onion. Just missed jazz night by one day. Hit a few other shops and Wildflour Bakery. The hardware in town was something right out of 1950. There were bed and breakfasts all around, and the hills, mountains and foilage were gorgeous. They kept whispering, "stay, stay." All I could say was, "I'll be back."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paper Box Has a Bad Hair Day

It doesn't really go together, but this paper whimsy box was created with background inspiration from ABC's "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money." I think Tim Daly, Donald Sutherland and Peter Krause were my muses tonight. Such serious eye candy on mindless TV.

The box is a paper-covered wood box with two different sizes of aged rose florals. The face is courtesy of Sandra Evertson's book, Fanciful Paper Projects. I decoupaged the face to a wood ball that I had painted dark pink. Thinking I would make a hat or hair, I spent about an hour curling tiny strips of paper, only to end up with frills that look like they belong on turkey legs, or feet, or whatever it is that sticks up.

So, then I tried to make a cone hat, which of course made her look like a Conehead. So I started to draw on black pincurls but stopped myself from going black by using a gold marker, thinking I could always go darker later. Not sure I am happy yet, but I sprayed on some gold glitter for good measure and will study it in the a.m.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No Doppler. No Radar. Just Weather.

My Beautiful Day turned all Marilyn Manson (that would be ugly, sorry MM) on me in a flash, literally, with a big ol' thunderstorm, angry ocean and the whole War of the Worlds sky. I only wish I could have captured it better, but the rain was blowing in. Now, it's just the perfect time for a nap! If only the thunder were louder.

A U2 Day

It is absolutely gorgeous here at the beach. The Weather Channel has been wrong every day, and even though I had a dream about Marshall Seese the other night, I may have to change my allegiance. In fact, it is so hot and humid my camera keeps fogging up. I had to wipe between photos, and I don't like to touch my lens. The weather makes one think it is going to storm every night, but something about the shore and the tides and the shape of the coast and the phase of the moon seems to keep it at bay. Gobs of seaweed were washed up last night, which is the first time this week, so something was different.

I swam in the ocean yesterday. It was so fun to just let the big waves knock me over. It's been a few years since I've done that, and I quite forgot the water is salty! I hated to come out. It's such an easy way to get sun and so relaxing! I don't like it unless it is extra-warm, which it was. Something slinky went past my leg; it was either a shark or a leaf. Something big and black was leaping way out; either a shark or a dolphin. My foot got sucked into a mucky hole and went thrwap thrwap when I pulled it out; either a killer crab or muck. As you can see, I am a wee scaredy when it comes to ocean creatures, another reason I don't swim too often. A nest of water mocassins by our pier when I was about 15 scarred and scared me for life. But, hey, this is the Ocean.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

So What IS it About Myrtle Beach?

So just what it is about Myrtle Beach, S.C., North Myrtle Beach to be exact, that would bring a 40-something here nearly 40 times in the last 22 years? Uncrowded and wildly pretty beaches? Dolphin sightings? Pre-Civil War history? Low country food? Outlet shopping? I do love it all and think Myrtle Beach and South Carolina in general have long taken a back seat to Florida when it comes to southern vacations.

However, MB has enjoyed steady traffic since post-WWII as northerners came straight down I-95 for fun in the sun. Canadians made the trek, too, as evidenced by MB's salute to them annually in March called Can-Am Days. In fact, in the 1940s-1960s The Grand Strand had its heyday, with teens piling in cars to drive across several states to come to The Pavillion - an amusement park on the ocean's edge. That landmark was just torn down this year and the site remains vacant with no current plans.

I can remember coming to Myrtle Beach in the mid-1980s when one could not drive down Ocean Avenue in the late spring for all the foot traffic, cruising cars and general mayhem. Not long before that, Myrtle Beach was home to the now-famous band Alabama (who would have followed a band named South Carolina?), who in their early days played spots like The Bowery and The Spanish Galleon and provided accompaniment for couples dancing The Shag. Thankfully, I am too young to know what that is, but it was created and made famous on the Grand Strand. Alabama paid homage to their MB roots by opening The Alabama Theatre and playing here several times a year. At one point they also opened an Alabama restaurant, but that has since become a Nascar Cafe, complete with driving experience, go-carts, big-name cars on site and bungee jumping (not sure of the tie-in? death, maybe?).

But, I don't come for any of these things. In fact, I've never been to any of the attractions I just mentioned. I do love the history. It's not hard to imagine shipping captains stopping here for the white sand beaches, and from there it's a short leap to thoughts of pirates, mermaids and all sorts of ghost legends, which run rampant here.

South Carolina in general also has plenty of Revolutionary and Civil War history, and although I haven't done it, I would love to visit some really old cemeteries. It's also not hard to see how South Carolina could have gone the way of the Confederacy and become it's own little country. The really old folks seem to recall those days fondly. The roadside shacks, although today a sign of severe poverty here, seem to harken back to those renegade times.

One place I have visited on several occasions is Brookgreen Gardens, one of the largest American sculpture gardens if not the largest US collection. Brookgreen Gardens was founded by sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband and their former summer home/mansion can be seen at Hutington Beach State Park. At Brookgreen, which I last saw in March, I particularly enjoyed Frog Baby, whose Baby cousin (I guess) is a famous statue full of lore at my alma mater, Ball State University. I also really liked AHH's huge aluminum sculpture of Don Quixote, which appealed to the Spanish major in me, having read that a time or two and doing a couple papers on Miguel de Cervantes' hero/anti-hero.

Shelling is not the best here, at least not anymore. Twenty-five years ago we could find whole, large sand dollars and starfish, best found after a storm and more likely up the coast in North Carolina, at Sunset Beach or Holden Beach. It has been so long since I have found a whole shell bigger than one inch! Certainly, shelling is better in Florida, at places like Sanibel, Bradenton and others.

South Carolina also seems to have a more specific "menu" than the melting pot that is Florida. Low country cuisine includes very certain things and preparation styles. When I'm here, I say, bring on the cold boiled shrimp, the hush puppies and honey butter and those with a stronger constitution will add the collard greens, fried green tomatoes, crawfish, sweet tea and key lime pie (also a Florida specialty). Dining in MB is so popular there are caution lights and warning signs for driving on "Restaurant Row" during the dinner hour. Now, there is every possible chain restaurant and fewer and fewer famous local spots. Ella's in Calabash, NC, "just up the road" remains open for glorious fried seafood.

Sitting on the beach is of course a favorite and famous past-time here, made more enjoyable by the fact that the beaches are usually not too crowded, except during high season of June-August. Even then, it is not as elbow-to-elbow as Hilton Head, four hours to the south, or anywhere in Florida for that matter. But, in spring or fall, my favorites here and at home, one can sit on the beach, lie in the sun all day and not be bothered by anyone near. There are relatively few boats, fishermen, no motorized traffic allowed, no vendors hawking anything and only the occasional airplane with an advertising banner trailing after.

When I first came here, I used to think Myrtle Beach was only for "old" people. Now that it appears I may be one of "them," I see the last 22 years have taught me a lot about this favorite second home, and it is also much easier to see MB offers a lot for young people, children, adults, seniors and even late-night bloggers and artist wannabees. Something for everyone.

Shadow Boxing and Absurd Theatre

All my little beach treasures and mermaid paraphernalia got put to good use tonight- in my beach shadowbox and my Mermaid Theatre: What Arial and Flounder Did Next. I had such fun using my beach finds: rocks, shells, sand, feathers, driftwood and some purchased goodies, like vintage postcards, beads and pieces of net. The theatre box I painted with Liquitex Baltic Green and Pearl Ex Duo Green-Yellow as well as Gesso. Inside I added vintage clip art, green micro beads, pieces of bamboo, sponge, driftwood, a 3-D Mermaid with tatas enhanced by beads and "diamond"-tipped head pins. There's also a tiny message in a bottle (inserted by me) caught on an old fishing hook which is caught in an old net, that also wrangled up some driftwood and shells.

So what does one do with a Mermaid Theatre, you ask? I've planned all along to send both pieces off for hopeful publication in one of my favorite art mags, and when they return, I am sure there's a little girl somewhere who would like it. The shadow box is for my office, unless I cave in and give it for a gift. There are a lot of beach-loving Smiths.

Monday, October 22, 2007

WIPS and What Was I Thinking?

I Need 5 Days with No Sleep!

Today at the beach is full cloudshine, so I thought I'd work on a 'few' things. Although now that I have everything out, I am a bit overwhelmed. Really. Did I really pack all this stuff? Am I really going to read all these books? I even brought my sewing machine. I think I may have lost my mind. Hopefully, it is still back in Indiana. My WIPs are a couple of beachy shadowboxes. One I am going to take outside to paint and distress any minute. I also bought Pearl Ex pigments, which I have never used before, to give it an oceanic glow. Some of the mess I actually did buy here, as I scored a seahorse and some driftwood as well as some felted wool flowers at A. C. Moore and more curly feathered birds at Michael's. Something tells me packing is not going to be fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

On My Vacation Part 1, Curly Birds

Doesn't everyone make glittery bird thingies on vacation? I saw this curly-feathered bird at Michael's and couldn't resist making a bird princess like I saw by Cerri at She sells these at Glitter and Grunge and on Etsy. While reading her blog and looking at her Flickr photos, I was also inspired to join the "Pink Ornament Swap," which should come in handy since my white tree will be fuschia and silver this year, after a couple of years as turquoise and brown.

With a bunch of glitter, porcelain roses, ribbon, pearls on eyepins, moss, rhinestones and a crown as well as netting and a grapevine nest, I whipped this up last night. Not to worry, I've been on the beach today (in case anyone thinks I am a 'nerd,' I do plan to have some real vacation). But, it is such a treat to have all day to do whatever I want, and what I want to do is make stuff. In fact, I'm headed out later for more curly birdies.

Speaking of last year's tree, here it is on a particularly bad day. Yes, some people are already thinking of Christmas. I don't like to shop early, but I like to think about my decorating.

Saturday, October 20, 2007