Monday, April 28, 2008

Dreams of Printing Presses Danced in Her Head

7 rms, great view, no BRs, no BTs, piano room, nursery, indoor garden, nice roof, priceless. This lovely little abode, about 18" tall, is the creation of The Seven Shabby Sisters of Shabby Cottage Studio, of which I am one. A Shabby Sister, that is. See that nursery slash laundry room with the three little kittens on the right? That's my room. Hard to see, I know, but I am hoping a combination of pictures will be enticing enough for the publishers from Quarry Books to take a second look.
The house was created for an art call for collaborative efforts to be including in an upcoming book, organized by published artist L.K. Ludwig Our house was organized by SCS owner and shopkeeper and house-assembler Gail Schmidt Gail finished the overall house exterior, the intricately-shingled roof and the trims as well as cutting all our rooms to fit exactly after we mailed them to her. That required a lot of engineering. We will hold our collective breath regarding publication.
Meanwhile, my two recent Marie Antoinette pages are for the same book and another collaborative effort, that one organized by Lisa Kettell Tonight I got to "know" one of the other five contributors to that a little better by writing about her.
You can check out my interview with the cheery Ann-Denise Anderson over at ZNE Dollz and see her springy works there and on her blog Whimsical Fancy at Can't wait to see her Marie pages now that I've seen her work! Wish us luck on publication.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Queen Has Spoken, and she said Tres Bien

Well, actually, Queen Marie didn't say much; she just hung out. But I said 'very good' because not only am I done with my two 8 x 8 pages for Lisa Kettell's Marie Antoinette collaborative, but I am also pretty happy with how they turned out.
This is possibly the most involved project I have ever done. The pressure was on with outstanding artists among the six in the book, including Lisa, Debrina Pratt of spark*your*imagination and Sandy Camarda of Art is the Colour and Textures of your Imagination I do not know the other two artists, but I soon will. I should be naming them here.
Lisa will be submitting the project for publication to L.K. Ludwig, a published artist, who is doing a book about collaborative projects. If it doesn't fly for that, or maybe even if it does, Lisa can always include it in her second book, which is already on the table. Her first comes out later this year, and (eep) I may be in it!
My first Marie, le Bebe, can be found here The one above in this post is the teen queen in a dress with a caged skirt underneath, posing in front of some other dresses from her no doubt excessive collection.
I can't wait to see the finished 12 pp book. Lisa will be making covers for us, and copies of the book for everyone. Muy bien. Bellissimo. Tres good.

Look Who Just Popped In! Make that Out!

The sparrows who were just white-grey eggs Friday decided to hatch today. There was a flurry around the front door where they are parked. Three adult sparrows-two with red heads-so I am not sure what kind of menage-a-trois we have. In fact, I guess I am not even 100% sure they are sparrows. I know they are not robins. This nest is built (for the second year in a row), in the grapevine wreath I have hanging on the outside (obviously) of the front door. It is so funny, because there was already a nicely-done fake nest and fake eggs on the wreath. Hope these guys don't get confused when they start to fly.
We removed the nest last year after they all flew away because with five baby birds and their parents, there was quite a lot of poo on the door and wreath and nest-not really what you want people to see when they ring. I had no idea someone would build a nest this year. I really don't think it is the same bird; she looks too small. But who knows? Maybe we got a 5-star rating last year, and the news spread like wild bird seed.
It's going to be cold tonight-40s-and colder still next week. Now, I will have to be a worry-wart.


Originally uploaded by Gina2424
And now, just another silly Flickr play toy, the Warholizer, by Big Huge This is my self-portrait for the ZNE Artists and Poets fat book page swap which I am hosting and binding. This is a 4 x 4 inch doodle I created with Zentangle-style hair, using a Sharpie fine tip.

My Faves Today

My faves today
Originally uploaded by Gina2424
I haven't made a Flickr mosaic in awhile, and there are so many deserving photos! I guess you can tell I love color, and I love my wonderful art friends' and Blythe friends' photos. It really is a joy to visit Flickr-it's usually how I start my day. You should try it! Mosaic and other fun stuff by FD's Flickr Fun Toys and Big Huge Labs (not labradors).

ATC Mini Marathon Ends at 25

It all started with the water softener. So, when it went off at 3:30 a.m. a couple days ago and with Larry the cat bugging me to get up and do something-feed me! play! turn on lights! get up, mommy! anything!- I decided not to fight them (Larry & the w.s.) and started making Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) to take to Art and Soul, Hampton, for swaps.
I already made 39 charms to swap, but after reading everyone's blogs, I realized I'd probably need about 100 items. First I thought I would punch inchies and make bags of those. I went and bought a one-inch punch. Any idea how many inchies it takes to fill a teeny tiny baggy? Gazillions. I tried to enlist family members to punch. No dice.
So when I woke up early, the ATC light bulb went off and I set about systematically making cards. I say systematically because I usually make one at a time. This time, however, I began by gathering the collage images and background papers I wanted to use. Some of the places I got my images: for Paper Relics and other sheets,,, Lisa's Altered Art on ebay,, and First I sorted, then I did backgrounds, then I cut and pasted, then I embellished with gel pens, then I did all my glittering at once, applied all my labels at one time and bagged them all. I hope they are well received for swaps. I'm pretty happy with how colorful they are-even if the did cause me three nights in a row of little or no sleep!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Spring Fellow Weirdos!

I was tagged by the lovely Michelle of Hold Dear to tell seven weird/unusual/funny things about myself. So, in the interest of my reader(s?) I am going to steal/use Michelle's because hers ARE funny:

1. I used to be able to put my legs behind my head. Not anymore. True dat on both counts.
2. My very first job was as a newspaper correspondent. I got paid 30 cents an inch. I had to be wordy to eat.
3. I HATE snakes. Michelle seems to like them.
4. I dislike rats. I won't say hate. Michelle seems to like those, too.
5. When I was in high school, my dream car was my beat-up but once beautiful 1964 Skylark black and white convertible with black leather bucket seats.
6. After I kissed a boy for the first time, I called him a weirdo. He never kissed me again (I was in third grade).
7. I once drove a plow/disker/farm implement-type thingy...for about 10 seconds! :-)

8. This is the laziest post I have ever done! Now I get to tag some more blog friends, so I say: Sandy, Angela, Melanie, Kris and Yvonne!

Happy Spring! I am on the countdown to Art & Soul-I leave in five days! I am giddy! I have been saving packing for last because it will be so fun- I get to pack art supplies! a Blythe! funky clothes and jewelry! Yippee! Hampton or bust! New blog fodder ahead!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Art & Blogging Award: Pass it On

Recently I received this beautiful award from two very talented ladies, Laurie-Blau Marshall and Heidi Eberle, both ZNE sistas and members of Artists and Poets. The award "Arte y Pico" was created to be given to bloggers who inspire with their writings and artwork. It is a special honor, and it is to be passed on to at least five others. There's more info at I'm not just saying this, but both Laurie and Heidi are two I would have thought of immediately, so I procrastined a little in posting this and making my selections.
But both Lisa Kettell and Debrina Pratt, fellow ZNE and Faerie Zine members I mentioned two posts below are both quite deserving. Lisa has boundless energy and keeps us all active and on track in The Faerine Group on Flickr, and Debrina has a certain style that cannot (and should not) be replicated. It is like viewing beautiful confections. Debrina gets a bonus point for being new to the world of blogging and jumping in with both feet!
I would also like to send a shout out to Vivian Neroni of I love visiting her blog to see what she has made. Her tiny bears are just the tip of her sewing talents, and I am very envious of anyone with sewing skills. Her photo arrangements and sneak peeks of her vignettes are very enjoyable.
Gabreial Wyatt, another one with apparently boundless energy, runs a website I write for as well as her own two etsy stores and a gathering place for vintage etsy folks (no, that is not old people). I single her out here because I love visiting her site and all its variety: travel articles, guest writers (besides me), DIY stuff, features on vintage lines and most of all: well-written stuff. Hooray for good grammar and spelling!
And finally, where would I be without Angela and Michelle? Still trying to figure out what "blog" means, probably. Michelle took me under her wing early on; I'm not even sure how or why. But, we've gotten to be great blogging buds, and are scheming to meet at an art retreat. I mention her blog also because of excellent writing (turns out she writes for work, as well) and because of all the eye candy photos - from her studio, her travels, her fun friends and husband (gotta love a DH who leaves blog comments) and of course, her artwork.
Angela is a true Gemini with one foot firmly in the art world and the other in the Blythe world. We started out blogging over art- she's a famous designer for Dream Street Papers and now we correspond constantly over our growing Blythe collections. 'Auntie Angela' is another talented sewer (I must have totally missed junior high home ec) and is making some clothes for my girls as a trade. We are meeting soon- ironicly enough- once for art at the ZNE Castle in the Meadow event and once for Blythe, at the TIB and Blythe Network Midwest Meet-Up at her house.
I know I have forgotten many, but many of those also received awards from Laurie or Heidi on more in our "art circle," which truly is a circle around the world.

It's A Beautiful Day! Cue Up U2

Which scene do you like best? I will take either one! But, it is always good to see the blooms on my Dwarf Japanese Cherry Blossom come back each year, since it started life like a sickly preemie. Hallllo tree.
I've been trying to take a picture of it in every season. Two down; two to go. No rush on my part! We've barely had any spring in the Midwest this year. I wanted to get a picture before the wind or rain blow the pretty pinkish white blossoms off!
I always worry about this tree, but I guess I should have been more worried about the skinny 20' maple in the front yard. It split straight up the trunk over the winter. The nursery person said, "uh, I dunno what ya do." They should be closed down by the Tree Authority or something. The local Extension Office (does the entire US have extension offices? If not, I should explain what that is.) said, "Do nothing. Watch and wait. Too late to wrap it back together." But, they did say filling the crack with tar is a myth, a very bad myth. So we shall see. Yes, I am a tree hugger.

If Idle Hands are Bad, I'm Looking Good

It was another one of those weeks that just would not end. Having an overnight meeting in the middle of the week just makes five days last forever. I could not wait for Friday night to get home and organize my studio. A week of mail and art supplies had piled up, as well as a bunch of stuff from vacation. I can't work with a mess about me, so the first order of business was putting everything away (so I could get it back out. I know, I know.)
My first batch of supplies from Hannah Grey had arrived, and I was ready to see what I could make with the stash. As a Design Team member I have 35 days to make something with each of the materials I receive. So, I used the HG blank tag book, collage sheets, Paris charms and ephemera to make this circa 1947 notebook from Paris Fashion Week. I imagined what kind of notes a young ingenue interning with Mlle. Coco Chanel might be taking, along with fabric swatches and sketches she might be keeping. The good news is you can buy all these supplies and more at
I was hoping to work on my 28 original pages for the Arte du Blythe fat book I am hosting. I am 1/7th done, which is not much! I have some supplies and art gathered but realized with other deadlines looming, I needed to move on to something else.
As one of six artists asked to be in a Marie Antoinette 8 x 8 round robin, I realized I only had a few days left before I needed to mail my pages due to leaving for Art & Soul April 30. I'd had this wire dress from from Stampington sitting around and knew I wanted to use it. Thankfully, the muse kicked in and one of my pages is done, which is 50%, a lot better than 1/7th!
The multi-talented Lisa Kettell is hosting the Marie book with plans to either submit it for publication to L.K. Ludwig for her book on collaborations or for Lisa's own second book. Either way, the pressure was and is on. Every artist is so talented, and without slighting anyone, least of all Lisa, I must say that Debrina Pratt's artwork makes me crazy with excitement! Knowing my Marie pages would be alongside hers was very intimidating. Debrina's style is just one in a million. I love her colors, her characters, even her use of fonts. See what I mean? I'm just crazy about her. But, baby Marie came out all right, so on to page two and the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Could I Be Any More Charming? Probably.

I began to wonder if my pliers would break somewhere in the middle of 71 charms for Art & Soul I made a batch of 32 and then 39 of these little Mermaid Moon Ballerinas. Hard to believe something less than two inches long has at least nine different parts. They ae strung on a two-inch eye pin with a silver spacer at bottom, then a wire-wrapped large bead for the skirt, a square bead for the body and a small round or oval bead for the collar. This is followed by the moon bead. The pin is then cut and wire-wrapped by hand-not my strongest suit. Some blood was shed during this project as well as a few verbal inhibitions. To the wire-wrapped loop I added a jump ring and then a split ring so these can be safely attached on the 32 different charm bracelets they will get swapped out for. I'll receive my finished bracelet of 32 all different charms on May 1 in Hampton, VA. Happy May Day to me!
The second batch- 39- will be taken in individual baggies with Moo cards for random swapping during A&S. I am also taking either artist trading cards (ATCs) or fiber packs. I am told fellow artists stop and swap everywhere~ in class, in the halls, in the bathroom, in taxis, at dinner, etc., and that "about 50-100" random swap packs are needed if one wants to be fully prepared. So I am about halfway there with about 16 days to go. Can't wait!
I can be more charming, though, as approximately 36 more charms are needed for June 8 at the Castle in the Meadow event in Detroit, MI at the Dodge mansion for ZNE, VariaZioNE, a mixed media artists' group whose Midwest meeting and charm swap I will attend then and whose national convention I will attend in August Yay! Check it out.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thinking About Home

I am not at all sure what kind of wacky person "works" during vacation, but then again, I don't consider my art "work" - even though I have deadlines. So, it was with great pleasure bordering on wild abandon (okay maybe that's a tidge overstated) that I spread out all my art supplies that I had packed and set about making my dozen houses for Jeri's House Row Swap. Once I got going, it was a lot of fun, and I couldn't stop, didn't stop, until about 3 a.m. yesterday, today, whatever that is. I even packed them up and mailed them off from here, so I wouldn't have to drag them home. Some of my houses are titled "Green House," "Blue Beach House," "Secret Memories" and "Indian Fun House." I am satisfied with them and can't wait to see the swap returns. Ms. Laurie Blau-Marshall posted an exquisite one on her blog Living Out Loud I'm telephathically requesting it in my swap package. Laurie also paid me a very nice compliment, as did Heidi which I need to post and pass on soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Something Old, Something New

North Myrtle Beach sort of looks the same, I guess. Or maybe I should say my pictures always look the same. New on the scene, though, is the Hard Rock Amusement park, opening April 15 with The Eagles' Life in the Fast Lane Coaster, Led Zeppellin gift shop and more. The Eagles and The Moody Blues (are they even alive?) will play for the grand opening. We will miss both, but I did learn there is now a free "backstage tour" offered at the new theme park. So, why not? There is even a "paying" hard hat tour. Not sure that will be necessary. Too many other things to do. Like shop. Sunbathe. Eat shrimp until I grow a tail. Will not be posting photos of any of these things.
On the art front, as opposed to ocean-front, I completed my first of 12 houses for Jeri Aaron's House Row Swap. I needed to make a haunted house anyway for an ARTchix contest and Stampington & Co is seeking vintage Halloween images until April 15 for publication, so I decided to do triple duty. My house is pictured here. That's handmade holey paper standing in for cobwebs in case you're wondering. Some of the elements used were required for the ARTchix part. I was thrilled that Jeri not only asked me to be in this swap but also in a "side deal," she cut my houses for me in trade for some ephemera. The houses are mat board, which is pretty heavy, and I usually can draw blood just using an ink pen. So I was appreciative of her cutting efforts! If you want to see some really cool finished houses, check out Kathy Wasilewski's at They are really great!
And it is such a small art world, really. My dear new Blythe friend Angela, herself an accomplished and published artist, invited me to join Altered Art Divas Reliquary on Yahoo, which I promptly did, and ran in to Jeri there! I have yet to look up 'reliquary' to remind myself what it means, but I'm pretty sure it means "bunch of broads with one foot in grave doing art." Don't tell Angela I said that. But our Blythes keep us young. Or, maybe it is just the scouring of vintage stores for valuable doll clothes that keeps us that way.
Back to art.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

First Day in North Myrtle Beach

Fifteen hours of driving were rewarded with lots of clouds and rain, so after a brief nap and laying in of supplies, we decided to venture out to see what has changed in six months. The Hard Rock Amusement Park is supposed to open in May, but it hardly looks ready. The park is located behind the now-defunct Waccamaw Park Outlet Mall, which was my first haunt 23 years ago. The mall featured two buildings and a third was built in the late 80's/early 90s. Now, it still stands in front of this new mammoth park. So one assumes it will soon be torn down.
Opening today, however, is the Market Commons- upscale shopping and dining- another amazing addition, considering Myrtle Beach just welcomed the state's largest indoor mall only about three or so years ago. Market Commons looks a lot like the outdoor mega-malls I see in the Midwest like Easton Town Square in Columbus, OH or Clay Terrace in Indianapolis, IN. I believe Charleston, SC also has one of these just two hours up the road. PF Chang's is calling my name for this week, for sure.
Tonight, however, was a pizza-in night, in light of the weather, driving and Final Four. I did manage to squeeze in a couple of art supply stores today: AC Moore ( a big box store), Artful Legacy, a great rubber stamp and altered arts store I saw for the first time, and Moonstone Beads, in the same plaza as Artful Legacy. How convenient is that? I hope to head there again later in the week.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Yay! Off to My Beach.....Again

Return visitors may be excused for yawning about now. You may recall my excessive posting of last October: that was my first time in 23 years at North Myrtle Beach after starting this blog, acquiring my first digital camera and also discovering free wireless in our condo. So post I did. Waves? Check. Sun? Check. Seagulls? Check. Thunderstorm? Check? Pretty much anything that moved? Check.
So, I promise to be a little more discriminating this year, and I believe I have learned more about my camera, also a plus. I'm just so crazy excited to get out of the Midwest and to see some blues and greens and pinks and purples. This has been an extremely long winter in varying shades of gray, and I need a color infusion, STAT.
I'm looking forward to the little respite. I've packed all the things I've been wanting to do, like making charms for Art & Soul and Castle in the Meadow (see blog badges at right), a couple hard-backs: John Grisham and Tim Dorsey, the latest magazines, one Blythe with props and a tote of art supplies. Last year I overpacked so much that one large laundry basket filled to the brim with art supplies was just the tip of the iceberg. Not smart. But I learned. This year, only a relative dab, so I can really spend some time relaxing.
I am looking forward to getting re-charged! Jimmy Buffett may call his beach "my beach" because likely he owns the frontage, but I'm calling North Myrtle "my beach"- squatters' rights.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008