Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Off to Art & Soul PDX and Blog-land Friends

Yes, that is one grumpy cat. The suitcase has been perpetually out for weeks and weeks. In fact, one day last week I was in four states in one day. You can see here where Larry tried to go to A&S once already. Tomorrow, I head west, instead of my usual Midwest or east, to Art and Soul, Portland. This will be my second A&S this year, having already gone to Hampton, VA in May. Yes, I liked it so much, I wanted to go to another.
But the real attraction is not only Portland itself, which I have never seen, but my dear blog friend Michelle of Hold Dear whom I have also never seen! But will. Tomorrow. We've been blog friends for well over a year, having bonded over charms and mermaids and other common interests. I don't think we can even remember who contacted whom, but we've been emailing and speaking on the telephone and have decided we are like-minded enough that a brief co-habitation is not too scary!
So, Michelle graciously invited me to stay with her and her husband Glenn, and some other art girlies, specifically Cassondra and Julie of ArtNest, will also be there.
After my cross-country flight, we're planning lots of artsy shopping and acquainting me with the Portland art community. Friday, we both have classes with internationally-acclaimed instructors. I'm taking a jewelry and beading class to make a necklace called "The Beachcomber" with Beverly of Gilbert Designs and a collage and doodling class with Traci Bautista, whom I've met a couple times before, most notably at CHA where she signed her book for me. Traci also knows a couple of my Cali art friends, Miss Vicky and Shosh, both of whom will also be at A&S.
Since Michelle lives there, she is also taking classes Wednesday and Sunday, and I can't even keep up with all she is doing. I do know one class sounds great: Junk Drawer Metalsmithing. Can't wait to see what she does.
Friday night there will be a number of authors there for book-signings, including the charming Michael DeMeng and also Kelly Rae Roberts, whose new book I absolutely love: Taking Flight. Some ZNE friends will also be there, signing books and teaching, like Miss Sally Jean and Lisa Kaus. Saturday we are hitting more vintage and artsy spots before the nearly-famous A&S vendor night. One could drop mega-bucks...or just drool a lot. All-in-all it should be a very supportive, art-filled weekend before I hop a red-eye or should I say red-eye-all-day-and-night-long flight back into my own time zone. Can't wait to post pics from the event.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ike Demands Fair Time

The other little person in my world-although I don't get to see him much either, or his mom (!) is Ike. Doesn't he look like a perfect date for Gwen? He's a little older, about 10 months, so he's more mature, secure and can take care of her, I think. I can't believe Ike and Gwen are the same babies I crocheted such tiny baby hats for not very long ago. I'm glad their parents take lots of pictures. They'll enjoy these even more many years from now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another Post for the Cute Baby Gallery

My dear friend Jen and her hubby Andy recently moved from Indiana back to Pennsylvania where both sets of their parents live. So, of course they decided to take baby Gwen with them! For some reason, I couldn't convince them to leave her here for Auntie Gina to spoil. She's clearly full of personality at six months. I am sure all the relatives are glad to have this cutie close by!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My On-the-Scene Report from Colfax, CA: Check out Miss Vicky's Cut-It-Up

While in California recently for the first-ever ZNE Convenzione, I had the pleasure of staying with blog friend Miss Vicky of Cut-it-Up and scrapbooking fame. A published author and artist, Miss Vicky has an incredible shop in historic Colfax, CA. Check out my article on Vintage Indie. There's tons more pics, also. Thanks to Miss Vicky for the hospitality and to Vintage Indie publisher Gabreial Wyatt for running my random musings from time to time!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Arte du Blythe Fat Book Auction Live Now for A Place to Bark

The "Blythe and Friends" book, pictured above, contains 25 hand-made, front and back, 4" x 4" original mixed media art pages as well as handmade front and back covers, from artists in nine states and three countries. The book was created by the Arte du Blythe group on Yahoo, which was founded by Shoshanah Jennings of Hannah Grey Curiosities & Drygoods (http://www.hannahgrey.com/) and Heather Simpson-Bluhm of Bluhm Studios (http://www.bluhmstudios.com/), both based in California. The book was hosted by me, the group administrator, here in Indiana. It features work by well-known and published artists such as Vicky Breslin, Debbie Metti, Angela Hoffman, Chelise Stroud-Hery (founder of ZNE), Shelly Mundel, Maija Lepore, Heather Simpson-Bluhm, and Shoshanah Jennings. Artists from the United States, Canada, and Israel sent submissions.The book is a paper arts lover's dream or is perfect for a lover of Blythe, animals, dolls and/or good deeds.A Place to Bark and Meow is mixed media artist Bernie Berlin's no-kill animal rescue in Tennessee. Bernie Berlin's blog is http://aplacetobark.blogspot.com/. As she herself says, "I run a full-time dog rescue, taking in the dogs that have been abandoned, abused or police confiscated. I foster, retrain, transport & adopt. Cats are also welcome at my rescue. I am drawn to the unwanted, unloved and misunderstood. I am hoping to educate and effect change for the animals that do not have a voice of their own."
To bid, simply leave a comment at this link or click on the headline above.
Special thanks to Scrapbook Royalty and its head tiara, the darling Elena Etcheverry, Traveling Princess, for hosting this auction.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Me & Larry, Heading to Art & Soul, Except Larry's Not Really Going. Shhh! Don't Tell Him!

With Art & Soul Portland http://www.artandsoulretreat.com/ just 15 days away, I knew I needed to get some swaps made. Trading little bits of art is a wonderful tradition at art retreats. I don't ever want to go empty-handed because the goodies made by other artists are such fun to receive. Some people make little bags of ephemera or supplies; some make artist trading cards (ATCs) or other small-scale art. When I went to Art & Soul Hampton in May, I took both charms and ATCs, and with A&S PDX looming so soon, I resorted to making the very same charms again. I call them Ballerina Moons. It's not hard to see why, although it is hard to see in these pictures. But after several hours to make 28 charms and already putting them in their tiny bags with Moo cards from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/lillysoflondonish, I couldn't see unbagging them all just for a photo-opp. Hopefully, I will get some cards made as well, and I still need to get some class supplies. I am making a 'Beachcomber' necklace with Gilbert Designs http://www.gilbertdesigns.net/ and am taking a collage class with Traci Bautista, author of Collage Unleashed. You can buy her book on Amazon here http://www.amazon.com/Collage-Unleashed-Traci-Bautista/dp/1581808453/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221365456&sr=8-1. I'm also looking forward to staying with Dear Michelle of Hold Dear http://michellegeller.typepad.com/, my firstest and bestest blog friend, who is going to show me around Portland. Looking forward to seeing Maria of Collage on Alberta http://collageonalberta.typepad.com/ again, and I just found out tonight that Shosh and Mike from Hannah Grey http://www.hannahgrey.com/ will be there, too. And, some of my new ZNE art friends, like Lisa Kaus http://lisakaus.blogspot.com/, will also be in town, especially easy since Lisa lives in Oregon. All in all, it should be like old-home art week. Fetch my umbrella. Can't wait!

Larry the Cat looks really excited, too. But, I have bad news for him. Unlike the charms, he is going to get unpacked, and soon.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Check out my Project of the Month and Interview on Mind Wide Open

As a member of the design team for Shabby Cottage Studio http://www.shabbycottage%20studio.com/ and owner Gail Schmidt http://shabbycottagestudio.blogspot.com/, I created the "Haunted Mirror" tutorial for the September Project of the Month, over on Gail's interactive and challenge blog, Mind Wide Open http://mind-wideopen.blogspot.com/. You can find the entire project here http://mind-wideopen.blogspot.com/2008/09/tutorial-by-lilys-of-londonish-gina.html.
I am also the featured interview subject on the blog this month. Fellow design team member Sherry Smyth http://www.espritdart.blogspot.com/ interviewed me to go along with the tutorial. As a writer and former reporter and a behind-the-scenes artist, it is kind of fun to have the tables turned every once in awhile. You can read my interview here: http://mind-wideopen.blogspot.com/2008/09/interview-with-gina-m-smith-lillys-of.html.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

It IS Better to Give than Receive, But Receiving is Pretty Great in this Case!

I have several spots in my home and studio where I display art from friends: art that I've bought, swapped for, received as a gift, won, you name it. It is so inspiring to look at these treasures every day. And although the hutch over my art desk is only one spot, I wanted to show it off for now, because there's some pretty fantastic stuff right there. The "Artist" canvas I received Saturday in a swap with Cindy DeLuz http://apurpledaisy.com/. I blogged about meeting her at ZNE 2008 here http://lillysoflondonish.blogspot.com/2008/08/zne-does-not-rhyme-with-halloween.html. We worked out a swap, but she worked overtime! Not only did I receive her painting, but she sent me a darling necklace and notecards to match. She is as sweet in person as this gesture, and she wrote me a very special card and message on the back of the painting. I think I'll only have to remember what she said to find my muse.
The darling poppet box with the pointy hat is by Mica Garbarino of Garboodles Soup http://garboodles.blogspot.com/. She used a tiny porcelain doll head, which she is practically famous for, and the box she sent me says "through the open door." I think I'll go. You can find her work on etsy, and she has a totally separate store for incredible Sock Monkeys, too. She'll also be teaching how to make these darling boxes, including sewn crepe paper skirt, at the ZNE Convenzione 2009 in April-May http://www.znecon.com/, so I'll get to meet her then. The box I sent her is here http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_hmNQtEt6sZw/SIwMPByek0I/AAAAAAAACnM/Z3TVD4gObEE/s1600-h/moremariesmica+001.jpg.
The black and white box by Iva Wilcox http://www.ivascreations.com/ I have posted before, but in the dolly-headed-box theme spirit, I just wanted to show it again by itself because it is so darling. Iva and Gina Gabriell http://www.elevenmorning.com/ will be selling their wares Sept. 13 at a fantastic show at Tinsel and Treasures in Danville, CA. If you're on that side of the world, GO!
The bottom picture is the view over my art desk in my basement studio. I have more work from friends upstairs in my "real" office, where I have not one, but two more desks! If you look closely in the picture, you'll find artwork from Debrina Pratt http://whimsicalworldoffairies.blogspot.com/, Carla Naron http://www.collagecat.typepad.com/, Elaine Thomas http://artful-spirit.blogspot.com/, Sally Jean Alexander http://www.sallyjean.typepad.com/and more, along with my newest goodies in their new home spot. For now. I like to rearrange, too, for more inspiration!
The top photos are some paper clay figures/sculptures I made this weekend, trying to use the skills I thought I'd learned in Gina Gabriell's class at ZNECon last month. It's a lot easier to make something when someone is telling you what to do each step of the way. And while these might not look too bad in pictures, I can't decide how I feel about them in real life! I know how much glue and goop I used to hold everything together. I know I tried to rush the drying and put them in the oven, forgetting that styrofoam melts, expands and will eventually explode...but apparently that takes longer than 30 minutes, thank goodness! I've already blown out my oven element once this year! Dishwasher has been out 16 days now, but that's another story.
But I digress. These paperclay peeps were fun to imagine and create, but I think I do better at decorating their papier mache or balsa wood box bases. The Halloween witch might be my favorite. I used a very old porcelain head from my new dear IRL friends Shoshannah Jennings and her husband Mike who run Hannah Grey http://www.hannahgrey.com/. They have tons of cool old doll parts, dug up from factories in Germany. Email them if you don't see the parts on their Web site. I "work" for Shosh and Mike as a member of the Hannah Grey Design Team and was lucky enough to meet them in person recently, along with a darling team member, Julee Herman. She's so pretty you want to claw her eyes out, after you find a way to steal her gorgeous hair. That's supposed to be humorous, dear reader (and Julee), because she's a doll.
These might be gifties going to fellow art friends in some upcoming swaps. You know who you are, so don't look too closely, and skip over the part where I said these might not be 100% perfect. Handmade is supposed to be heart-made, right?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fat Books, Skinny Books, Books that, oh! Never mind! You get the idea!

Although tiny is not my favorite format in which to work (the bigger the better is generally my motto in most everything!), these "itty bitty" pages from the Flickr Itty Bitty Book Swap Group http://www.flickr.com/groups/ittybittybookclub sure do make for cute books when they're all assembled. Founder Mary Ann http://firstborn.wordpress.com/ and her sister and partner-in-crime Jo http://labouroflovex3.blogspot.com/ started with a robin's egg blue theme and from there the group went wild with ideas and have since produced a house book, vintage prom dress book and now underway are books on Marie Antoinette, Breast Cancer Awareness, Halloween and Christmas.
Since we all know Marie Antoinette is one of my fave themes, that book was a no brainer, using images by Sandra Evertson http://sandraevertson.blogspot.com/ for Stampington http://www.stampington.com/. I embellished them with hair poufs on the front and feathers on the back side. One completed book will be sent to Stampington for their 2009 art call which will lead to a special Marie Antoinette magazine.
The second book I am doing is the breast cancer awareness "pink" book, and extra copies will be given to those in need and/or auctioned for charity. This one was also a quickie because I already have a published "stamp" on the Artchix Studios http://www.artchixstudio.com/pink faux postage sheet that is for sale on their site. You can buy those stamps, including my "P-I-N-K" one right here http://www.artchixstudio.com/mall/p319.asp. So I used some of those stamps, faux post from other art friends, and some actual cancelled pink stamps to make my "Cancel Cancer" page. If only we could cancel all types of cancers, and soon.