Sunday, August 31, 2008

ZNE Does NOT Rhyme with Halloween

I don't know which is crazier: that I am still blogging about the ZNE Convention (that's 'Z,' 'N,' 'E," not 'zeen') or that I am already blogging about Halloween.
The darling house canvas says 'Home is where the heart is' (so true) and 'There's no place like home' (true too). I bought it from Cindy DeLuz of in California. Her work just makes me swoon. I love the colors and the richness and the messages. We really hit it off. Anyone who knows me knows I like the whimsy style anyway, but Cindy is so sweet you can't help but adore her. Check out her Web site for more of her work. I can hardly wait to receive the canvas she is sending me in exchange for one of my bracelets from etsy I definitely got the best end of the deal, but of course I hope she feels otherwise! Don't worry, I'll be blogging more about her art.
The Halloween pages are 25 five-inch by five-inch double-sided pages I made last night for The Faerie Zine Halloween Opera fat book page swap. How great it will be to get this finished book back with pages from 24 other artists and an amazing cover from Lisa Kettell As it is, I cannot wait to get my circus, bird and dollhouse books back from her. She's crazy; she hosted all of those swaps.
I got the Halloween crepe paper at American Harvest in Pleasanton, CA. The entire store was jam-packed with Halloween stuff during the ZNE convention. I'm already making plans to attend next year, which will be April 29-May 3. The instructor lineup is incredible and includes both new and old art friends. I'll get to meet Lisa Kettell in person there if not before.
The orange Halloween ribbon with pumpkin faces is vintage, and I got it at the ZNE vendor fair "Pleasantries and Paperie" from a booth that sold nothing but vintage ephemera. Some of the other collage images I used are from Lisa's Altered Art (different Lisa), Teesha Moore, Retro Cafe Art, Paper Relics via Hannah Grey and Artchix Studio Nothing like plugging people and virtual places I love!
Speaking of plugging, with all the ZNE love going around, I was excited to find that I was mentioned on three fantabulous blogs: Dawn DeVries Sokol, editor of 1000 Artist Journal Pages, gave me a mention at, and Kris Hubick pictured 'us' here Also, the very talented Mica of Garboodles, who will be teaching at ZNE in 2009 blogged about the china head/paper doll box I swapped with her here, and it looks like she has pictured what she is sending me. I may just have to tackle the mail person; it is adorable. Artists really are good people.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Seeing Stars at ZNE

I am sort of ho-hum impressed by 'famous' people (read: celebrities), but show me a published artist or author, and I go ga-ga. So the ZNE book signings at Convenzione 2008 were quite a thrill. I purchased the book Crowns and Tiaras so I could have Pam Garrison sign it for me, which she did, top right, with Lisa Kaus, top left, who was also signing her feature in Lynne Perella's new book, along with JoAnnA Pierroti or 'Mossy' of Moss Hill Studios Although I didn't take my hardcover copy of that because I was flying, I was lucky enough to get to know Lisa a little bit and have her sign her "Birdy" canvas I bought. She's just as sweet as she looks, and so is Pam. I also got my 1000 Artists' Journals signed by editor Dawn DeVries Sokol and Pretty Little Things, signed by author Sally Jean Alexander.
Sweetness, or maybe cuteness is the proper term, certainly is evident in the second photo, with the Traveling Princess of Scrapbook Royalty, Elena Etcheverry,, left, and the inimitable Miss Vicky Breslin, right. Elena is just so cute one could eat her up, what with her adorable outfits, tiaras and equally adorable aprons. I kept waiting for Elena and Diva Danielle of Diva Craft Lounge to get into a tiara tussle, but apparently there is plenty of fabulousness to go around. Everyone really likes each other. Miss Vicky, a scrapping veteran, still retains her excitement about crafting and is so generous and nurturing of all artists in her midst.
And finally, just a teeny tiny bit of fame for moi. In the bottom photo you can see my framed mixed media collage "Let Them Eat Crow" being shown in the Worthington Gallery West in Pleasanton, CA, where it will be part of a month-long ZNE mixed media installation, which opened Aug. 22, 2008. So, I'm "gallery hung!" Off to update the resume!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What's a Convenzione without a little Shopping and Swapping and Selling?

The ZNE Convenzione last weekend had so much eye candy that I don't think my glasses fit anymore! Naturally, I had to come home with a "few" treasures. Few is a relative term when your suitcase gets weighed. In the top photo is a little nestie I got at Miss Vicky's Cut-it-Up store in Colfax, CA. It is by blog friend Karyn Gartel, so that is even cooler. The batty girl is by Lori Mitchell, and I got it at American Harvest, an unbelievable store in Pleasanton, CA., where you can buy works from Lisa Kaus, Ingrid Pomeroy, Iva Wilcox, Colleen Moody, Sally Jean Alexander and many more artists from our little circle. The dolly box is by Iva, and I got it at the ZNE vendor fair. The bracelet is by Miss Vicky herself-talk about eye candy-her bracelets are good enough to eat. More about her store later. The birdy is a Lisa Kaus original and is a 6 x 6 chunky canvas, which she signed for me.
Next up are darling ATCs I got in our swaps. Pictured are cards by Gina Gabriell, Nadine Johnson, Gina Halle, Jackie Baxted, and Lani Kent. The cards I made are here Finally, we also did a chunky or 'zaftig' book swap. I made the cake pages here and in return, received this book chock-full of 4 x 4 pages by other artists. The cover is by Donna Cook, but each book was entirely different. It was fun to get a page by Nadine Johnson that nearly matched the ATC she gave me! It was also fun to see pages from friends who were not there like Mary Ann and her sister Jo Extra books were sold as a fundraiser by ZNE We Care Coordinator Elena Etcheverry of Scrapbook Royalty and proceeds benefitted Bernie Berlin's A Place to Bark and the Pink Sky project

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sugar and spice and everything nice!

Yep, that's what all these little girls are made of, including the instructor and students. Especially the instructor. And her girls. I had the privilege of learning how to make one of these adorable paper clay music box figurines at the ZNE Convenzione last weekend in Pleasanton, CA. My class was taught by the so-sweet Gina Gabriell in her newly-renovated and soon-to-be-opened shop Tangerine in Dublin, CA. Gina is such a kind, supportive and generous instructor. Within eight hours every student had a darling girl all done, and each and every one was unique and sweet and well done, as demonstrated in the second photo. There's a lot of sweetness in the student photo too, and thanks to Deena, aka scrappydeena and roomie, for the finger tiara for me!
The next photo are our little girls, formed out of paper clay and styrofoam, drying in the heat box while we went out for Chinese at lunch. The last photo, immediately above, is of Gina Gabriell's materpieces, which she had out on Sunday at the ZNE vendor fair. Gina also had mixed media packets, ATCs, other dolls and the book "Pink Sky," which she wrote and illustrated and of which copies are being donated by ZNE to children's hospitals and hospices around the country. You can read more about Gina and another classmate, Pink Sky graphic artist and watercolorist Iva Wilcox and the book here
The class was just a charmed day and a perfect gathering of like-minded souls that doesn't happen all that often. There was a lot of love in the room on Saturday.
I posted a picture of one of Gina's girls in the post below this one to announce I was heading off to class, and now that I look at my girl above, I know I learned something I will use again. I am pretty proud of my music box (though don't ask about all our striped stockings), and I definitely love her and hope to play with paper clay again soon.
ZNE Convenzione was almost a once-in-a-lifetime event since it was the first-ever convention. But since it will be offered again in 2009, everyone gets a second chance. I highly recommend it, and I will be posting more pics soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

On the ZNE Convenzione Countdown

Since I need to wake up before 4 a.m. Thursday to drive myself to the airport for the ZNE Convenzione, my internal clock must have been practicing this morning when I woke up at 2 a.m. After 90 minutes of tossing and turning and feeding the cat and getting a drink and all the usual stuff, I finally gave up at 3:30 and started making artist trading cards to take to California.

As is tradition at art workshops and conventions, attendees bring small pieces of art, such as ATCs or charms, or little packets of goodies and supplies to trade. I had been procrastinating, thinking I just wouldn't mess with it. But, I woke up thinking how much I love to get other people's stuff, so I figured I'd better do my part. New stuff is always inspiration for new art.

Since I will be meeting Kris Hubick of Retro Cafe Art for the first time and since she bought my very first ever ATC "Free Bird," I was inspired to go all retro (by a year) on myself and make some cards with my own bird and cat doodles on Bingo card backgrounds. Even though Kris is in my state, it has taken us more than a year and 2,000 miles to actually meet! She is one of the ZNE original moderators. I guess that makes me a ZNE un-original moderator!

Kris was one of the first people tabbed, and rightly so, by ZNE creator and founder Chelise Stroud-Hery, the smiling face above with the famous ZNE tattoo. It couldn't be more perfect that this HUGE first-ever ZNE Convenzione falls on Chel's birthday week. She has worked tirelessly to grow ZNE for more than three years, and now she is not only bringing the convention to culmination with artists and instructors from around the country, but is also working on the 2009 convention!

Now that my trades are done, all I have to do is pack and get myself there. Chel, meanwhile, will probably have to have several small cows between now and Friday. Hopefully, she will be flying high from Tuesday's birthday celebration. I'll be flying high, for real, on Thursday to get picked up by Miss Vicky and become a Cali girl for a few days. I'm taking a class by the talented California artist Gina Gabriell Gina is opening a studio called Tangerine in Pleasanton, and we will have our class in her studio space and lunch outside at her home. We are making darling paper clay music boxes. I hope mine looks half as cute as hers (shown at top) when I'm done. Glue gun is packed.

Marie & Door Knobs an Etsy Treasury Make

Thanks to NeatoIncognito for choosing one of my Marie Antoinette art dolls for her Etsy Treasury! Hey, so what if the theme is door knobs? It's still a Treasury, and to be selected is tres cool! Here's the Marie she chose (view from the back), but be sure to check out this entire Treasury before it expires on Wednesday!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And the winners are.....

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my Blog-aversary post below! What a whirlwind and life-changing year this has been! Every single blog visitor-and I have to pinch myself that my counter says 14,218 right now-has a wonderful blog themselves. Please click on their links in my comments or in my faves on the right and go check them out!

Meanwhile, in a random drawing overseen by family members and Lester the Cat, the three winners of goody bags of art and/or supplies and surprises are: Joanne Thieme Huffman of Ad Libitum and a fellow "Altered Diva", Rebecca Ramsey, a tres chic and tres francaise blogger at Wonders Never Cease and Karen of Whatever Strikes Mrs. Kwitty I wish I could send everyone a hug and a prize. Email me, gals, with your mailing addy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Too Early for Halloween? Never!

It might be too early for YOU to think about Halloween, but it's never too early for a Halloween-lover or a crafter, or the subscriber's to Kari Ramstrom's private Sweet and Sinister blog. Kari was swamped with requests to join her second-annual Sweet and Sinister swap and/or to subscribe to her project/idea blog- so much so, that she had to create two blogs!
I was thrilled when she contacted me to ask me to be a guest designer for this blog and swap. So, natch, I made some haunted houses, one of my favorites from last year, too. I love getting the plain cardboard house forms and dressing them up for any holiday. Priscilla and I swapped winter houses last year.
Anyway, I can't give you my step-by-step instructions or more pics for my houses. You'll just have to watch for Kari's swap next year and hope to get in! I'm giving away one of my houses this year on her private blog, but check below for a give-away in honor of my blog-aversay here (until Aug. 15).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Happy Blog Anniversary To Me! And Thanks to Some Great Swappers, Bloggers and Readers!

It seems like whenever I am a little behind in posting, my latest post invariably becomes a hodge podge as is this one. I don't know how anyone could miss their own one-year Blog Anniversary, but I did! August 2nd was the date, and 288 posts later, here I am. So, leave a comment on this post, and I'll draw some names out of a hat (let's say 3) for some very special art and goody gifts. Deadline is 6 pm EST Sunday, August 17, 2008.

Before I explain the photos above, I just have to say blogging, more than anything else art-related, has really turned my world around in the past year. Or, I guess since my world was already spinning on its axis, blogging was like the little kid saying, "faster, faster!"

So many exciting things have happened since starting this blog: I have met some truly wonderful, wonderful human beings, both on-line and in person. I've exchanged a lot of art, and emails and Moo cards and more. I've joined some terrific on-line communities. I've actually taken over responsibilities for a couple of them. I've started writing for three other Web sites. I've been encouraged to submit art and writing for publication. My photography might have gotten a wee bit better. I've met famous and published art peeps! I've learned a lot more computer lingo. I filled a void in my life. I even started a second blog for Blythe collecting in December 2007 and have 74 posts there. I'm just so thankful for this supportive, creative, communicative community. Thank you all.

Even more thanks go out to Mary Ann of mainer_at_heart on and Not only did I receive the fabulous Marie Antoinette doll above from her in a 1:1 swap, but we have become art/blog/phone and more friends, and I have contributed to her upcoming zine. I also have the privilege of knowing her talented sister, too. Together, they feed my interest in all things Marie as well as in fat books. In fact, I forgot to photograph the "itty bitty" fat book I received Saturday from Mary Ann's group, so more to come on that. And sister Jo is hosting a Marie itty bitty-so tres fab!

The pin cushion in a tea cup is from Jillian Haupt in a 1:1 swap in Vivian's pinkeep swap. See more pinkeeps at I sent Jillian a pink velvet baby shoe in exchange. You can see its 'partner' in my etsy shop at or in the shop preview at right.

The dolly box in red, white and blue bandana style is one I recently made after another 1:1 swap with Mica of and etsy and ZNE. I went nuts over one of her 'frozen Charlotte' doll figures and dolly boxes. She agreed to a swap, so I sent her one I posted earlier. The good news is I still have one coming from her-can't wait! Not sure where this little gal is headed, maybe etsy, maybe a gift, who knows? maybe a blog anniversary prize! She has such a sweet face and is only about one inch big. I'm not the happiest with the paper clay body I made and painted, but I guess she's so cute otherwise, it will do.

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, hence the 'hodge podge,' this book: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, came free inside my copy of Marie Claire, British edition. (I also highly recommend the Marie Claire Ideas, French edition). Anyway, while trying to pass some time and practice the very foreign-to-me concept of "patience," I decided to try this book. It was a bit of a slow start, because I couldn't figure out where we were headed. But the pace suddenly started careening around corners without braking. It is a genius book in my opinion. The language and age barriers of the subjects are hysterical, and the underlying subject matters-while poignant, are treated equally hysterically. But, it just seems so right. I highly recommend this book, even if you can't get it for free. Hmmm, maybe a blog prize....

Thanks for a wonderful first year!

Friday, August 1, 2008

American Teen is a Smash! Filmed at my kids' high in school in Warsaw, Indiana

(Note: to play trailer, first hit the 'stop' button on my playlist at bottom, to 'stop the music.')

This is pretty surreal to see, and I am sure even more surreal for the kids who are in it, and their parents. My son, who will be a senior this fall, grew up with all these kids- went to the baby sitter with one of the stars, dated extensively one of the others. I worked as PR Director for this school system for five years, so I'm pretty partial to it for a lot of reasons. It is just incredibly exciting that this documentary won the Sundance Film Festival documentary award, and having opened nationwide July 25, the film is getting rave reviews. It IS the next "Breakfast Club." I saw comments on YouTube when I grabbed this trailer that speculated this was all acting or "fake." Well, I can guarantee you, dear reader, it is all unscripted. We, as parents, received letters and permission slips about it, and at the time, which was about two years ago, never dreamed anything would come of it except a "scientific study" of teenagers. It is still that, for sure, but it is much more. You simply must see it! Nanette Burstein is the genius behind this.