Friday, December 24, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I adopted me some kitty!

She looks a little cranky here, but I think it was just the camera phone. She's fun and playful and stuck her arms out of the cage to get my attention from among 150 cats at the no-kill Small Miracles Cat Rescue in Ellicott City.
Bridget (new name forthcoming) and her cage mate Jill were by far the most animated of the house full. President, owner and founder Moira Leskovic is a saint. Check the photo gallery on their Web site and help out another lucky kitty or adult cat or the shelter.
Bridge is six months old, born June 6, a spayed female, and a look-alike for my former Mookie, whom I had for 18 years. I'm picking up the new little one Dec. 29. She looks big here, but she's only a kitten of three or so pounds! I wish I could have adopted several.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm so excited! I finally 'did' some art.

I woke up just itching to paint...which is fantastic, since I've barely touched a brush in probably 10 months or more. Just haven't been motivated. But today I knew I would paint. Something big. And big-eyed.
At first, I thought I might paint a picture of a Blythe doll and started out with a face and eyes of that ilk. Then I remembered my Suzi Blu class and all the wonderful mermaids on her Web site. I had painted two 16 x 20 canvasses already from a class I took last winter: Marie Antoinette and also Rodeo Girl. And I had one empty spot next to them anyway. So I looked at some of the mermies in Suzi's group for inspiration and also a gorgeous Mermaid ATC I had received from Shonna Bucaroff of Twisted Figures. And then I was off!
I sketched; I mixed colors. I painted; I glittered. I smashed sea shells to attach along with a net-like piece of ribbon and little bottle (message in a) I had just gotten in a swap with my Zettilicious friend Jade Adams. I dug through cigar boxes for treasures and found a couple of gold 'things' for earrings and a hair ornament. I smudged with charcoal and graphite pencils. I sponged with punchinella and paint. I made bright circles for bubbles.
And then I made myself physically leave my property so I would quit touching it! Cannot wait to hang it up; I am happy. Happy to be making art again. And ideas are exploding in my head. Zentangles! Felt matroyshka ornies! Journal pages! A stitched journal cover! A china doll head with art canvas body! I am so ready.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Invasion of the Sock Monkeys

I played host to my niece Abby, 13, from Indiana Thursday through Sunday so she could go to a Blythe Meet with me and go to the Visionary Museum's Sock Monkey Saturday. We joined nearly 500 other folks who traveled to Baltimore to make sock monkeys. The free event provided patterns, instruction, needles, thread, yarn and stuffing as well as human helpers and a photobooth to capture our first moments with our sock friends.
Last year I attended but wandered in so late, I could only take the pattern home and make Gladys myself later. She's the bright blue one. This year Abby and I got there right when it started, and four hours later we were still stitching and stuffing away, having worked through lunch or even a stretch break. When we left at 3 p.m., Abby's Gary (the squid-like grey one), had only one arm and some other surgical needs. My Bob, in traditional sock monkey socks, needed some more work, too.
But we had more fun things to do, so we hurried through the museum and gift shop and back to Columbia, and then on to Triple A antiques to search for vintage vinyl. I was so proud of Abby's selections: The Carpenters, Carole King's Tapestry (a must-have, I told her), and The Doobie Brothers.
Besides all this, we made cupcakes and hosted nine guests for a doll collectors' meet, ate at a seafood buffet (Abby was not impressed), had cheeseburgers, onion rings and milkshakes from Cheeburger Cheeburger, watched movies Little Miss Sunshine and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, some cute television, like a Lindsay Lohan movie and a Miranda Cosgrove television special, and Abby went with me to a business lunch where she said all of us healthcare sales people were "talking in a foreign language."
And to top it off, she flew home to a big snow and a two-hour school delay....which was perfect since she still had homework waiting in Indiana. Auntie G went straight to bed to rest and recover from the whirlwind of a weekend.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Little Buddy

20 years ago today I was greatly relieved. Why? Because my two-week-overdue, estimated 10.5 pound bouncing baby boy finally came out 20 years ago yesterday, with surgical assistance, which was fine by me. I was pleading with anyone who would listen, including the bump in my abdomen, to pleeeeaseeeee come out!

Turns out he was only 9.25 pounds, a very nice size for a baby if I do say so. Nice and filled out and not so small that you worry you will break the baby. Or maybe it had something to do with Alex being baby no. 2. I was a little older and wiser.

Now Mr. Alex is a sophomore at Ball State University in Muncie, IN, majoring in hospitality and doing well in school. I am sure he is on the countdown for winter break though!

When Alex was about 2-3, we enjoyed reading the Little Critter books by Mercer Meyer. We didn't know what kind of critter Little Critter was, so for some reason I said it was a "ratfink." Alex repeated after me, "sink, mommy, sink." That soon turned into "woosink" instead of "ratfink," and somewhere along the way, Alex dubbed himself Buddy Woosink. I still call him that now and then, but Bud, Buddy and Little Buddy have all stuck, as well as Al and Big Al and AJ. Then there was his pre-school teacher who called him Alex P. Keaton Smith, as he was a lot like Michael J. Fox's character when he was about 4-5. Of course, 'Alex' always works, too.

Happy Birthday, Alex, my little buddy woosink.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And now a word about my nephew......

I often blog about my talented niece Abby, 13. But, now it's time to spread some love to her brother, my equally-talented and uber-cool nephew Josh, 17. Besides being an apparent ladies' man, if Facebook must be believed (and it must), he is charmer to young and old, and a fun-loving, normal high school senior. He's also a 'guitar-bud' to my son Alex, 20, his cousin.
Besides being musically-oriented and a former football player and cross country runner, Josh is incredibly artistic. He has taken ceramics, photography, digital art and more, but every time I go to their house, I am struck by his charcoal drawings.
Here are three, including a self-portrait. He has multiple ribbons from art shows and much other work, which I hope to feature here in the future. He definitely has a variety of career options, and right now is considering Geology as a major at Indiana University, where his dad works.
His artist-wannabe auntie admires him for many reasons; his drawing skill is only one.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Table art. Wall art. Art art

I changed my dining area table top from late summer harvest-y colors finally to something a little more holiday-ish. I went with gold, red, and black and white with black toile, and later that day I hung this newly-framed signed and numbered print called "Taksaka." It all matches beautifully. I call it my falliday table. I figured I can leave it until after Valentine's Day if I'm feeling particularly lazy in the decorating department. I used to change my tabletop monthly. This is my apartment in Columbia, not my house in Leesburg. Happy Fallidays!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finished project

Finished project
Originally uploaded by Gina2424
Here's a final shot of the Barbie Configurations box I made for a gift.

Barbie Collector's Treasure Box

Here's my weekend work: a gift for a doll group swap. I used a Tim Holtz Configurations box to add vintage Barbie memorabilia, including pages from a vintage package insert (pictures of 1960s Barbie fashions). I covered the various sections with scrapbook paper or Barbie pages, then embellished the heck out of it in Barbie style. I used some other Tim Holtz items on it, like the doorknob, button and ribbon collections. Unfortunately, you can't see the doorknob very well here, and I added a button and a felted heart after I took this pic last night, so more pics to come. Making one for myself, too! 'Tis better to give and receive both.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Now this IS art! Although not by me.

Lovely things I just need to get framed. The top one is a large piece, like 18" x 18" and is marked Andrew Li, 2001, Creativity Explored. The squares are shiny and bright, like markers on glossy paper and the have been sewing machine-stitched to the larger background. It will be quite a statement piece when framed or matted and framed.
I got it at the American Visionary Art Museum recently, where I belong and also volunteer. It's a national museum, 15 years old, and internationally known for being dedicated to outsider, altered, intuitive art.
I picked up the piece of original art and put it back; someone else picked it up and carried it around, and then I was sad. Then I saw they had put it back, and knew I had to have it.
The same colors attracted me to this smaller piece on corrugated cardboard. It is marked Adam Elias Hines, April 2010, Project Onward. It appears to be student work. He had several pieces like this in the museum gift shop, Sideshow. It is about 9" x 12".
The bottom piece (2 pics) was a gift, also found at Sideshow and is a signed and numbered print by Kahler called Taksara. No idea about he/she/it. Must look into. It is 4.5" x 24".
Lastly, the Barbie sketches are by Robert Best, actually a fairly young man and Mattel designer, but his style has become iconic with Barbie in the last 10 years, since he created and brought to life the Barbie Fashion Model Collection (BFMC) and Silkstones, which celebrate their 10th anniversary this fall. The line art is so reminiscent of the early Barbie package inserts from 1959-65ish. The sketches are also about 9" x 12" and were exclusive gifts at a past national Barbie convention.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Morning, Starshine

sunrise 10.21.10
Originally uploaded by Gina2424
More vacation photo art from my unskilled hands and inexpensive camera. Taken about 6:45 am from the porch on North Myrtle Beach, SC, Atlantic coast.

Happy Halloween!

Pint size costume expertly crafted by Pistachio Libby of Etsy fame.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is This (Vacation) Art?

Sunrise. Sunrise. Sunset. Sunset. Sunset. Swiftly flow the years. One season following another.....
Just playing around with my photo editing settings on vacation at North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Is This Art?

Gotta be. Had to wait almost half a century for my first-ever bumper sticker.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is This Art?

Yep. I think it IS art. Beautiful art. Just not my art which, sadly, seems to be on hiatus. But before I wail about artist's block, I should report I am having a great, creative time over on my other blog. My vintage doll play is taking up my free time of late, and seriously cutting into my reading, painting, jewelry-making and everything else-time.
However, I did have time to finally get bitten by the Troll bead bug--probably the last person on the planet to experience that, or so it feels.
It started a month or so ago with the three glass beads in the middle of the brown bracelet. There are a couple silver Troll fillers there also. Actually, it started earlier that same week when I discovered a bead store at my local mall which sells lampwork Troll knock-offs on the cheap. I didn't plan to go All Troll when I bought them; I planned to make something with them. But, as a victim of a classic successful cross-over retail strategy, I happened on to authentic Troll beads and chains and clasps at my local greenhouse, when I went in for crossover Vera Bradley.

Like a sensible (crazy?) shopper, I left the Vera there and came home with the start of my first Troll bracelet. While at the greenhouse, I discovered they also had already-strung Troll knock-off bracelets, too. Knowing I could cut that bracelet apart with my jewelry tools at home. I bought a brown knock-off to fill up the brown bracelet I had just (seconds ago) started. It is in the top photo.

Since I still had knock-off beads and parts leftover, and came across some more imposters at the local Jo-Ann's, I now had the beginnings of both a pink and a beach-y themed bracelet. Conveniently, said smart greenhouse was having a Troll bead trunk show, and there I got one turquoise with lime dots Troll bead as well as a silver crab, and another knock-off (beach-y theme) bracelet to take apart.

Throw in a trip to Brighton in the mall, where their beads are just as cute and some definitely cuter and cheaper, and here I am with my mini-collection of three very different Troll bracelets. I wear one nearly everyday. Do you have a Troll bracelet? Or Pandora, Camellia (sp?), Brighton or? Is it a work of art?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Is This Art?

Seems like I am asking that question a lot lately. Is this art? I am feeling creative and inspired and am busy, but unless I have paint on my hands or charcoal on my wrists or glue in my hair or paper scraps on the floor, or spilled beads, I feel guilty somehow. It feels like I am neglecting my art and my art blog. Actually, I guess it would be more accurate to say it feels like I am neglecting my traditional art forms--if altered art can now be called "traditional!"
But, I'm busy! Busy appreciating the mod art of vintage doll fashions from the 1960s and 1970s. And no one did it better than the exquisite mod Mattel fashions, made with dressmaker details including beautiful finishing, for the one and only Barbie and her friends.
So I've been occupied with sorting, washing (carefully!), pressing, fixing or having fixed, looking up, cataloging and just generally reliving my first childhood. "First childhood" would be an oxymoron, except that I am, most decidedly, in my second childhood.
I can paint when I'm all grown up...again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Art: Inspiration

It's not like I've made any actual art lately. But I was missing my art blog, so I thought I'd post a few pics of inspiration I've found lately. I went to two thrift shops operated by Humane Society groups-one large and one small. I also went to a Goodwill (I can stay in there for an hour or more when the gettin' is good).
The (ugly) gold Pyrex bowls aren't exactly inspiration and that is not my pic, because mine are still in the trunk, but Pyrex sets from the 1970s are hot, hot, hot. I got this set for $10, and I'll probably upcycle (sell) them on Ebay. Similar sets are going for $50, and the older primary color sets are $75-$100. I used to have a ton of different Pyrex and Corning Ware accessories from my first 'grown-up' kitchen in 1980. And my mother had the classic white with cornflower blue motif as well as some of the rose/pink and white pieces. Honestly, how did avocado, gold, mustard, and coppertone ever become so popular in the 70s? What were we thinking?!
The lamp shade was $3.50, and I latched on to it for the gorgeous needlework. Is it crewel or embroidery, or is that the same? Anyway, I've been told this is a retired and highly-sought-after shade formerly sold by IKEA. I was thinking of cutting it up for a sampler and maybe some dolly clothes, but don't know if I can do that.
The big felt flower pin might be old or new; I can't tell. But I just like it, and will probably wear it. It would be better on a hat, if only I did hats. Maybe a purse or coat.
Lastly, the plastic necklace, cut up, will make some great pull rings for Blythe dolls: the two hearts and the peace sign. Everything else will just get sorted into my bead box.
I don't think I'm in an art funk. I've been SO busy lately--on vacation, playing with my niece, playing with my Blythes and Barbies, cooking up a storm, reading mags, staring at the computer (yes, busy, I said). And, isn't painting doll faces, making eye chips (eyeballs), and rerooting doll hair a form of art? I think so. For a peek at what's been consuming my time, visit my Blythe blog, Blythe-O-Mania Untamed. It may have to be renamed or have an addendum for Barbie Mania.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

An Art Retreat- Staycation Style

Finally, something resembling art to talk about for this blog! With many glorious days of vacation ahead of me, I made a list of all the art projects I want to do, gathered my supplies, and gathered my niece Abby, 12 (13 in a couple weeks), and we started creating.
I had not had time to enjoy Carla Sonheim's new Drawing Lab book, and since the class I took from her a few years ago at Art & Soul is still one of all-time favorites, I decided to do some of the exercises with Abby. We tried single-line drawing, vine charcoal, faces, and we used a ceramic poodle and ceramic cat for our animal drawings. We did the Picasso pets and Modigliani faces.
We forgot to try drawing each other with the wrong hand! I still have my portrait someone did of me in class. The person whose face I drew with my wrong hand and without looking, left class early, shortly after receiving her sketch from me! LOL. But seriously, if you want to have a lot of fun with easy-to-follow exercises while learning to draw or improving and expanding your drawing skills, get Carla's book!
We painted watercolor backgrounds, talked about Artist Trading Cards and Zentangles, and like hunter-gatherers, cut out magazine stuff and collected trinkets for collage. We then wore ourselves out and had to watch five straight episodes of I-Carly while lounging. I have always loved Miranda Cosgrove since School of Rock is one of my favorite movies. As I had driven 13 straight hours Friday, and about seven Sunday to an out-of-state Blythe meet, with another seven hours coming two days after 'Art Day,' you could say I was worn out.
But, not too worn out for a huge antique mall, of course! I took Abby to North Webster, IN, scene of so many summers during my childhood and her father's. Abby is really my great-niece, but that makes me sound old. Her dad is my nephew. When we were kids in the 1960s and early 1970s, we always went "up north" to the lakes in Kosciusko County, riding from our homes in central Indiana. But I digress.
The North Webster Antique Mall is HUGE and is in a former favorite dimestore of mine called Rinker's. Rinker's hadthe best selection of water toys around, plus clothing, candy, gifts, etc. The Rinker name is still well-known via Rinker Boats, and the Rinkers were from my hometown of Anderson, so they, too, were just "lakers" once upon a time.
I saved my favorite booth for last, which is full of Shabby Chic goodies. I always save it for last. Before we got to it, I was carrying plenty of strange stuff, and Abby had a great, old, small Samsonite hard suitcase in mint condition. If I had know how much she would have liked the SC booth, we would have gone there first! Abby found a second case, a large, square, Tiffany-blue satin train case, also in excellent condition. And with two suitcases, as Abby told me, now she has a collection! Poor girl doesn't stand a chance coming from a collecting family--dolls, model cars, Fiestaware, Coca-Cola items, granite ware, kitchen advertising/tins, stamps, coins, jewelry--her great-grandmother, grandfather, aunt, great-uncles, great-aunt (me) have been collectors most of our lives.
We trotted off with our goodies to a re-sale shop, another antique shop, and then, being practical, off to the spa for some pampering. I got a long-awaited hi-lite with 'my girl,' and Abby got her toes and fingers painted an nice Twilight-like shade, called Lincoln Park After Dark.
After that we joined my daughter, Adrienne, 27 in a week, for some more retail therapy. I knew I could bribe Ade to drive with the offer to fill up her gas hog. We hit Fazoli's first, a favorite of all three of us, and inhaled our food as Adrienne had taken over the "whistle and clipboard" from me, and was hurrying us along so we could get to Glenbrook Mall.
Abby and I made a bee-line for the bookstore. The darling smarty-pants was volunatrily reading Hamlet in the car, and then bought Romeo & Juliet. Ade, of course, went to Abercrombie & Fitch. Then we all hit Trade Secret's 50% off going-out-of-business sale, where Abby was able to get a bottle of her new polish color, and Ade and I stocked up on hair products. Sad they are going out of business, but great sale! Maybe it is just this mall location? Or an uninformed clerk?
We then hit a few stores trying to stock Abby up a little for back-to-school, including Forever 21 (I was the only one who bought anything. How appropriate!), American Eagle, and we pretty much closed down the mall. Too tired to hit Border's after.
And we knew we'd be getting up early for Day Four: a trip to The Indianapolis Children's Museum to see the Barbie retrospective. And added surprise: Rock Stars, Guitars & Cars, which I also enjoyed. At the museum we met my Blythe friend from Cincinnati, Libby Sherman, and her daughter Phoebe, same age/same grade. Libby and Phoebe looked like Living Barbie Dolls, and were just as sweet. A good time was had by all (I think). Abby and I were a little worn out, and I was grumpy about not looking like a Living Barbie. Hey, what if YOU had once been Miss Beaver Dam? We got some clever Blythe pictures, and shopped until we dropped in the gift shop.
Then it was time to drive Abby to her home, south of Indianapolis, where I got to see my very talented great-nephew, her brother Josh, for a few minutes. Josh and one of his bands were contacted after a You Tube video and offered some free studio time! Very exciting.
Before I left, Abby and I dug out her massive 1990s Barbie collection, and I helped her find shoes and clothes that would fit her new Blythe doll I gave her. We also found a few little Kelly trinkets to fit my Wonder Frog, and a Barbie sheepdog that looked just like my late mother's dog named Bonkers.
All in all, the four days whizzed by, and while I felt a little Bonkers with all the driving, we had a great time, and I was excited to hear about Abby's plans for her suitcases, art and Blythe. You go, girl. And she will, be going, that is, to one of my fave places, Portland and Seattle, missing the first three days of school to go to a conference with her dad. But well worth it and quite manageable for this excellent student. So proud of you, Miss Abby!