Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gay Birds and Butterflies

The other day I was looking through my stash of vintage scrapbooks and when I came upon this project from Family Circle I almost fell off of my chair. These were the very same ornaments that my mother made for our tree back in the 60's. Every year I get them out and ceremoniously hang them on my tree.

My mom made every decoration that we had in our house no mater what the holiday or event. When the sequins, glue, felt (and on occasion, the plaster of Paris) came out I knew to stand back and watch the magic happen.

If I'm not mistaken, she made all of the different designs. I have the butterfly (with burnt match antenna), the owl and partridge.

It just doesn't get any better than the baby birds in the Brillo Pad nest.

I can remember her drawing out the grid and drawing the pattern to scale.

These are two of the ones that she made. I'm so glad that I still have them. Maybe this week I'll make a few of my own to give as gifts.

Ornament Winner

Donna Perkins won the Cozy Cottage ornament. Congratulations Donna!
Monday there will be a new ornament give away so stay tuned!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ornament Giveaway-WOO HOO

Ok everybody-here's a chance to win one of the Cozy Cottage felt ornaments that I have for sale on my blog.

All you have to do is follow my blog and leave a comment.


Share a link to my blog on your Facebook page and/or Twitter page and/or your own blog.

That's it!

On Friday a random winner will be selected and the ornament will be mailed to you.

Good Luck!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LA Part 2-Fun Stuff

Before our trip to LA we promised each other that we would just relax once we got there. We had both been working like crazy and needed a break. It started out nice and slow but soon shifted into full speed ahead.

Our first stop was The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Two pretty terrific photography exhibits were on display while we were there; Engaged Observers: Documentary Photography Since the Sixties and In Focus:Still Life . Although I consider myself a hack when it comes to photography, it was my major in college. I have always admired documentary photographers for being able to put themselves in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations and at the same time be able to capture a split second that describes what words cannot.

The stunning grounds of the Getty.


Our friends from Atlanta, Nick and Renee, suggested that we visit The Adamson House in Malibu. Renee said it was her absolute favorite thing that she did when she was in LA. That was good enough for us. If you haven't been, you must go, it is pretty darn spectacular.

The home was built on the beach in 1930 and is decked out in Malibu tile. The bathrooms had at least 5 different patterns of tile each and the kitchen was, well, amazing. Like I said-it's a must see.

The front of the house.

A tile on the patio, there were zillions of these covering the outside surfaces.

Stairs to the second floor.

Tile "rug"- love the fringe.

Kitchen (photo courtesy The Adamson House)

Pool stairs.


Jody, another Atlanta friend, suggested Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino. We took about 1000 photos but I thought I would share just a few of our favorites.

This is the faux bois trellis that follows an extensive walkway. It had sustained water damage over the years and was under restoration. The artisan was there making repairs that were going to take several months.
Detail of the original cement work.

In addition to the 120 landscaped acres that are open to the public the gardens also have some pretty interesting displays. I loved the look of these vintage light bulbs.

The Huntington has 14 beautifully themed gardens. We made it to 5 and we were there for several hours. This meticulous pebble "shoreline" led to the pond in the Japanese Garden.

We were told not to miss the Desert Garden and it was indeed a must see. I have never seen such a beautiful display of cactus and succulents-EVER!

On the way out, Tom and I noticed this hedge and we were fascinated. The leaves were so tiny from years and years of pruning that we had to investigate further. It's not like we've never seen pruned shrubbery before but we couldn't stop touching and patting it. Just when I was sure that people were beginning to wonder; several more curious observers also started patting and photographing the shrub.

The little world under the leaves.

Well, that's it for part 2- sorry for going on and on but I really did restrain myself-I promise.
Next up will cover studio tours and our trip to the fabulous Roger's Gardens.

Monday, November 22, 2010

LA Part 1-Tom's show

Last week Tom and I flew to California for his LA debut. We had both been burning the candle at both ends for some time and we kept saying that we were just going to take it easy and relax when we got there-it was not to be. We did so much and had such a great time that I am going to have to cover the trip in several posts.
We stayed with our friends Oscar and Chris of Made Goods, their 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 year old boys, Oscar's mama and papa who were visiting from Spain, Juan Carlos (also visiting from Spain), Tata, the nanny, and dogs Ruby and Nano. It was a house full of fun and love to say the least.
Oscar's mama and papa really enjoyed cooking and Tom and I really enjoyed eating what they cooked.

Tom and Oscar in the kitchen.

Roasted eggplant and red peppers and some sort of delicious salad.

Most of us around the dinner table.


Saturday night was the big event. Obsolete Gallery hosted an artist reception for Tom, and I can't begin to tell you how proud I was of him. He worked for almost a year to get 14 pieces completed for the show and they were pretty impressive pieces (if I do say so myself). Ray and his amazing staff put together a truly memorable night and took great care of the two of us-thanks guys!
The front window.

Front windows.

Interior of the gallery looking out. A movie of the pieces in the show was running. I thought it looked pretty cool from inside the gallery.

Tom and his beautiful fans.

Tom, Stella Ritter, Amy Yasbek and me. Dang that Amy for making me laugh so hard that my eyes are all squinty. I'll get you my pretty..........

Like I said it was a great evening filled with family, friends and sales. I think I laughed the entire night-what more could a girl want?

Stay tuned for Huntington Gardens, Adamson House, studio visits with Eric Cortina and Aaron Kraemer and a trip to Roger's Garden's. I told you we did a lot!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Down on the Farm

Last weekend's Artist gathering at my talented friend Dan DiPaolo's farm was a truly special event. I saw old friends and met some new ones-all amazing creative, talented and sharing people.
About 20 of us met at Verinico's Restaurant in Burlington, WI for dinner on Friday night. I was pretty excited to finally meet Ned Young, who recently won a prestigious children's book illustration award for his book Zoomer.

The next day we met and showed our portfolio's to Legacy Publishing and Sunset Vista. I can't say for sure but I think there's a Cupcake Calendar in my future.

Robin and I stayed at the farm with Dan, Jamey and a menagerie of animals. Thanks to Robin for the flannel PJ's and Ruthie the dog for sleeping with me and keeping me warm.

Jamey feeding Eddie Spaghetti out of his hand. This rooster was rescued from a petting zoo and is pretty happy to have the run of the place.

Robin and I attempting to ride a two seater. We never did master turning.

Had I driven; this kitty and his brother would have come home with me.

Turkeys who are probably in someone's freezer by now.

Ruthie, my little bed heater.

This weekend I am in LA for my husband Tom's show at Obsolete Gallery in Venice. If you're in the area please come by!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Artist Meeting

Friday I head to my friend Dan DiPaolo's farm to meet with a group of artist friends. While I'm looking forward to spending time with people (and Ruthie the dog) that I love I'm not looking forward to the chilly weather. I will have to pack my flannel pj's for sure.

I will be showing my portfolio to a calendar company and hopefully selling them on the idea of resurrecting the "Girlfriends" calendars and Family Activity Planners . Thanks to all of you who have left comments regarding the calendars. Part of my master plan is printing out and sharing these in the meeting.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Problem Solving

When my art director emailed and asked for patterned/stitched/fabric pieces for a children's line I was excited. I had a huge stash of unpublished applique pieces and thought how great it would be to wrap them up and send them off without so much as a quick pressing. After more discussion it was determined that there would be problems with the some of the copyrighted patterns (drat!). We weren't sure how to proceed and then I came up with a brilliant (her words not mine) idea. I would paint patterns and stitch them like fabric. It's been a lot of fun creating these and I'm thinking fabric design is next.
I have eight of these lovelies to do so I better get back to work!
Enjoy! xop

I had to brush up on my basic embroidery skills for this image.

The gingham is not copyrighted so I used real fabric. I like the mix.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whipple Workshop

The Mixed Media Workshop with Lynn and John Whipple has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.
We're hoping for early spring so keep your fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Super Secret Art Club Meeting


The Super Secret Art Club met in my studio this past Tuesday. We caught up with each others creative lives while noshing on homemade scones and jam and drinking lots of coffee.

A couple of weeks ago I caught Traci Bautista on an episode of Canadian HGTV's She's Crafty. Traci was demonstrating her drips and drizzles monotype technique. I was impressed by the seemingly randomness of the technique. It is very much like playing with paint and anything else you can get your hands on and, to a degree, the outcome is relatively out of your hands. It's an exercise that makes you let go and just let it happen. Since we are a pretty anal group when it comes to our work I thought this would be a perfect demo for me to give.

It went something like this (in a nutshell).
Drizzle paint on paper.
Lay another piece of paper on the paint paper and lightly press to make a print.
Repeat a couple of times,
Let dry and add stencils, stamps, draw, paint more whatever.
Cut it up and randomly glue pieces to another piece of paper.
Draw more, add tissue paper or stitch on the final project.

Traci uses hers as journal covers. I think we are going to cut ours apart again and sew them together to make one large piece.

I was going on the memory of a show from two weeks ago so my demo was no where near Traci's but we still had fun and we were happy with our results. Everyone agreed that we should do things like this more often.

Traci's demo isn't online but I think you can purchase a dvd on her website. (I am not being paid to say that). I also couldn't find the HGTV episode online. If you find it please let me know. I would love to see it again.

Pass Around Project

I received three panels held together by chain.
This piece had been worked on by two others before coming to me. My initial reaction was that it was disjointed, too black and that the circles were too harsh.

I sanded away some of the black to reveal some texture and made a stamp that mimicked the pattern in the decoupage circles. Since there was some gold leaf on the piece already I used gold paint and stamped the pattern throughout the piece to break up the black and to soften the circle edges. The same pattern was stamped here and there in black as well. I also added a little blue to the background for more depth and painted the city scene with a light wash of pink and orange to carry that throughout the painting.

This is what I passed on to the next person.

At our next meeting we will reveal all of the projects and have a critique. We will also decide if anything else needs to be done to finish the pieces.
This has been a really great exercise. It's very difficult to work on something that is far far away from what I usually do. For example; I have never picked up a bottle of gold paint in all my years of painting. It has also been a great exercise in restraint. Handing off a piece that isn't "finished" or pretty is tough.
I highly recommend it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mixed Media Workshop with Lynn and John Whipple

John and Lynn Whipple will be presenting two workshops in my Atlanta studio on Saturday October 23 and Sunday October 24th. The previous post contains the class descriptions. You can take one or both but space is limited and you must pay by October 14th to reserve your spot.
This promises to be a super fun and creative event. Along with the workshop you will get to tour my husband Tom's studio and our living space. Heck, we'll even through in some snacks.

Saturday evening there will be a trunk show with work by John and Lynn as well as Chad Barrett, Jeanne Flint, Janet Zack and myself. You'll also get a special sneak peek at Tom's new automata created for his upcoming show in LA.

For payment please pay through PayPal or contact me at for other options.

Hope to see you there! (well here really)

Workshop photo's----this could be YOU!