Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Decorations in my House

Thought all of you might like to see some of the holiday decorations in my house. I have been collecting vintage holiday collectibles since 1980 at estate sales and flea markets. Most of the stuff in my house that is vintage I got before the prices soared upward. Also my mom was quite the saver and I have a lot of stuff that was her’s or my grandmother’s. I treasure those items and always put them out at Christmas.
Small tree in my dining room where I hang ornaments that I have designed and that have been produced. Unfortunately they are no longer in production.
Tabletop display in living room....I call these snowmen the Osmonds because I have so many of them and they all look alike. The snowmen are made of batted cotton from the 40’s. I paid a lot for my first one in 1988...$25.00 and then I kept finding them wherever I would go and each new one I found would be less money. The last couple were only $5.00 each. If I like something a lot, I will buy variations..I like to group collectibles in masses.
My fireplace mantel...this has some of my favorite items on it. I used an old small crib frame and put lights around gives me a place to hang my chenille Santas and wreaths. The bird artwork is by Gennine..I just love her work.
Old German Candy containers
Usually these shelves hold my collection of bird artwork and primitive bird art. But at Christmas I fill it with Santas and Snowmen. The vintage candles sat on my grandmother’s and mom’s mantel and the plastic Santas and Snowmen I collected over the years with my friend Sandy...we always had a big shopping day to buy new Christmas items after Sandy got her Christmas bonus.
Collection of Christmas gift boxes in my hall. My mom has given me quite a few...she used to put her extra lights, hooks, etc in them but because I liked them so much she has given them to me. Also when I go to estate sales a lot of times I will empty out a decorative box of its contents and just buy the box. The dealers look at me like I am nuts and sometimes give me the box cause they consider it trash.

Coming in the next couple of days...Christmas in my studio and bedroom.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy H-owlidays!

Hope all of my friends and readers have a great holiday and a wonderful new year.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Woodland Plushes are done, now they need their outfits

Even though I have been swamped the last couple of weeks I have managed to finish up my Woodland Plushes. I have tried making them outfits but I am not sure how to create a pattern that fits around the plushes now that they are stuffed. Luckily one of my best buddies Laurie has volunteered to help me make patterns during the holidays....her grandmother was a seamstress and she taught Laurie how to make patterns. So Laurie has signed on as the Woodland Plushes pattern maker...she thinks it will be just like making patterns for troll dolls...turns out both of us liked to make outfits for our trolls.
If anyone has an animal that they think should be added to the collection let me know....there has been a small clammering for a hedgehog or a porcupine.
Truman the Beaver...when Truman came to the cookie decorating party last weekend he loved this beaver so I decided to name it after him
Fabian the Skunk
Lizzie the Chipmunk...I got the face a little lopsided on this one...she looks a little off
Stanley the Possum

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finally back to Blogging

I have been very busy finishing up with my teaching for the semester and getting ready for Christmas. I also had a large job to do for Scholastic last week and it took most of my time to get it done. I will share it with you after I get it shot tomorrow by my wonderful photographer Curt Dennison.
Here is a pic from the last day in my Licensed Image class. Since moustaches are so hot right now...the image of moustaches seems to be on everything from pillows to mugs I had my students pose with moustaches on. I thought it was a fitting end to the class.
Gary and I had a cookie decorating party with some friends last weekend. Thought I would show you the photos so you can see that I decorate cookies just like I draw stuff. My friend Sandy Zub is a creative whiz when decorating cookies...she is an art director for Nestle Purina but I think she should be the next Martha Stewart and I could come on her show.
some of Sandy’s designs...note the hula dancer at left and the chicken for our friend Linda
my bird cookies
designs from Liz, Truman and Jef’s answer to a gingerbread man
the cookie participants...from the left...Truman, Liz Sullivan, Jef Ebers,Sandy Zub..on top me and Gary

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Art on Etsy

It is the end of the fall semester at school so I am behind in my blogging. There is always a lot to juggle at the end of the semester and with the holidays fast approaching, I am always a little behind.
I decided to do some new work for my Etsy site. As I noted after seeing the trends at the Renegade Craft Fair, woodland animals are in so I decided my Etsy site needed some foxes, rabbits and squirrels.
So here is my new work. First up is two squirrels in a tree I call Emma and Elliot See No Evil. Ititled it this because I realized that my niece Emma and my nephew Elliot act like these two squirrels. Elliot will be peacefully doing something like in this case eating an ear of corn and Emma is always trying to annoy him in some way like bonking him on the head with an acorn. And Elliot rarely sees trouble coming.
Okay another rabbit with glasses...Bunnie and Boris Tiptoe Through the Tulips
Foxes are hot hot hot Francine and Fabian
Hillary, Henry and Hattie, When Cousins are 3 of a Kind
Frieda and Frannie Gary”s favorite

Silvia and Sammy

Monday, November 29, 2010

Roscoe, Rosie and Max came to life this weekend

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving and are ready for the holiday season. Since I do not venture out to shop on Black Friday....even though I want a Wii....I thought I would sew on my woodland plushes and watch the SVU marathon on USA. Three more animals are ready for outfits.

Rosie...again a rabbit with glasses



Monday, November 22, 2010

Renegade Craft packed car

If you all remember back in September I told you all about my trip to the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago with my friend Joyce. Joyce finally sent me the pics of the packed car with our Renegade purchases, my IKEA frames and Joyce’s flat files.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Spy A Red Car

I just got this job done for Scholastic yesterday. It is a poster that will be hung in classrooms during Valentine’s Day 2011. You are getting a sneak preview! 
All of the trinkets and treasures in this piece of artwork I found in my stashes down in my basement...I did not have to buy a single item...scary thought huh one woman should have so much. (It certainly is to Gary)
One would think I was a hoarder but it is all organized in ziplock bags....dogs in one bag, cakes and sweets in another bag and so on and so on. I do not think hoarders feel the compulsion to organize their stuff...maybe instead I am OCD. But at least I can find my stuff in a day if I need it.
So here is the words that go in the middle of the heart. You need to find the following:
A pink star, a red car
A red clock, a pink sock
A pink bear, a red chair
A red hen, a pink pen
A pink book, a red hook
A red string, a pink ring
I trust you all will be able to find the stuff...this game is for  a 6-7 year old child.
As always the photography for this piece was shot by my trusty and immensely talented photographer, Curt Dennison. Here is his link... hire him for a job shoots great corn.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I am on Print and Pattern blogspot today

The Print and Pattern blog is my favorite is so wonderfully visual, showing and reviewing all kinds of gift, stationary, and home products especially those products which feature patterns on them. I love pattern, most any kind of pattern...a product is always better with a pattern on it.
When I started working as a licensed artist I knew I wanted my artwork to be featured on Print and Pattern’s was a real fantasy for me. And then one day my husband called me down to his studio, he had something to show me. And there on a Friday at the top of the blog post on Print and Pattern was my artwork. Dreams do come true I thought as I sat there with tears in my eyes.
Since then I have been on Print and Pattern again last May before the Surtex show in NYC. And to further sweeten the cake, I was one of the artists picked to be in the Print and Pattern book which came out earlier this year. 
Today my Love Crush bird art made it onto the blog. Today I feel will be a good day. You have to celebrate the little victories in life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Woodland Animal sketches are coming alive

Just thought I would give you an update on the woodland animals I showed you sketches of two weeks ago. Three of them are sewn they just need their outfits. I am thinking they are turning out so CUTE! They are Phoebe the bear, Madeline the fox and Scamp the squirrel. How do I pick the names? I just look at them and use whatever pops in my head.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Love Crush Art on my Etsy site

Last Valentine’s Day I participated in a fundraiser “Love Crush”sponsored by the St. Louis Chapter of the AIGA. About 30 artists were asked to submit a piece of artwork to be auctioned off in a silent auction with benefits going to the American Heart Fund. My piece got one of the highest bids.
I am now offering a print of the artwork for sale on my Etsy site

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sketchbook Time

New feature on my blog...sketchbook pages. 
Whenever I attend any kind of meeting or lecture I always bring along my sketchbook. I listen better when I am doodling. Sketching ideas keeps me awake. I always bring my sketchbook  to faculty meetings. These meetings occur in Steinberg Auditorium....the same auditoriun where I had Art History 101 when I went to school at Wash U long ago...I always fell asleep during class....class was at 8AM and the seats were so comfy.
A word about sketchbooks first. When I was a student at Wash U all the professors wanted us to keep sketchbooks. I hated keeping a sketchbook. I hated sitting in grocery stores sketching people buying tomatos. I thought a sketchbook needed to be filled with observation drawings. Guess what... when I started teaching I learned a sketchbook could be anything I wanted it to be. So I fill mine with ideas for products and plushes, I work out handmade lettering for my artwork and I love to just doodle flowers and animals.
Here are a series of sketches I did last week when I attended a class on marketing. I have been wanting to create a new line of plushes to sew at night when I watch TV. Here are the sketches. I then cleaned up my sketches so I could begin to make patterns for the plushes. Look back because I will be posting the plushes as I work on them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

My artwork is in two openings tonight in StL

Tonight is a big night for me....I am going to be in two openings.
The first opening is at the Mad Art Gallery in Soulard. My former student, now great buddy Dan Zettwoch, ( puts together a show he calls Famous Fiction. Each artist Dan ask to submit needs to create two images within the theme Dan picks for the show. This year the theme was Famous Fictional characters, one from a verse and one from a song. 
I told my daughter Anna about the theme for this year and she said you have to do Little Bunny Foo was one of her favorite songs when she was young....I used to sing it all the time in the car with her when I drove her back and forth to school. Okay, so I had the song character picked now I needed the verse character. I knew what I really wanted to do was Here Comes Peter Cottontail but it was another song. But Peter Cottontail was perfect..both pieces would then contain rabbits and Here Comes Peter Cottontail was the song I sung with my Dad whenever we drove around in the car. It didn’t matter what time of the year it was....we sang Here Comes Peter Cottontail at Christmas. I asked Dan if Little Bunny Foo Foo could be my verse and he said yes.
Here is my artwork

I made the artwork reflect Anna’s and my personalities and taste....Little Bunny Foo Foo fits Anna...the verse is a little edgy and punny....humor she gets from her Dad, it has her colors black, red, blue purple.
Peter Cottontail is sweet and cute...I would love to pretend that I am above sappiness but no matter what I do, cuteness follows me. I have decided it is my cross to bear that I feel the need to fill the world with cuteness and whimsy.  The color palette is Linda to a T and I adore bunnies in glasses.
Here is the info on the Mad Art Show.
Opening 7-11

I am also in the Design Faculty Show at the Des Lee Gallery on Washington Street. This year the faculty show for WU faculty has been split into two for the design faculty and one for the studio faculty. The opening is tonight from 6-8. The departments featured in the show are my department, Communication Design, and Fashion Design. Heather Corcoran and John Hendrix have structured the show so you can learn about design while you view the show.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ATC cards

During the summer I had an intern, Kristen Powers, who worked for Gary and me. She was a fabulous intern, so fun to be with everyday. We did a lot of talking while we worked in my office. In fact sometimes we did more talking than we did working. Kristen is amazing at working very small. I am in the process of making a boatload of pattern designs so I can print out those patterns and use them in my cut paper illustrations. I will not longer need to worry about having any copyrighted paper in my artwork.

Since Kristen is so amazing working small she taught me how to crave erasers so I could make patterns using my own stamps. I was not the greatest at carving out the small details....I like to work fast and tiny details evade those of use who work fast.... so what we ended up doing was that I would work out designs in B&W on paper and then Kristen would carve them. We made a great team.

Kristen is working on a book about ATC cards and asked me to be in an ATC trade with 12 other women artists. I had never done an ATC trade but for Kristen I would do a series. Those of you who know me know I am great working with client’s directions but when I am doing artwork that are personal I tend to fudge the rules. So my ATC cards are not all the same size and they had frames around the artwork.

Here are my cards:

Kristen is a wonderful artist and is going to school at Maryville University.

You can see her artwork at her website: 

Kristen and me

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One of my favorite artists, Melinda Beck

One of the greatest things about working at Washington University is that each year the school brings in artists from all over the country to speak at our Visiting Artists lecture series. At one time I was involved in selecting and entertaining the artist who was brought in for my department, Communication Design. I love meeting, as I call them, the celebrity artists especially if they were one of my favorite artists. I would be as nervous as heck to meet them and tried not to swoon too much or get too tongue tied over them when they were at school.  About five years ago, Melinda Beck, illustrator most fabulous, was our department’s visiting artist. When I asked Melinda what she would like to do during the day before she spoke in the evening she said she would like to go junking and did I know any good spots in town....well duh this is a no I know junking spots....that is like asking a frat boy if he knows what beer tastes like. I meet Melinda at the airport and took her for a big day of junking...we had loads of fun...turns out she likes to buy the same kinds of stuff as me.....plastic letters, trinkets, sewing items, vintage books. Only she said she cannot buy too much because she has no room to store extra stuff because she lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn. Of course, my husband Gary would say our house has no room for extra stuff but does that ever stop me from bringing stuff way. You can barely walk in my basement or my garage without tripping over all the stuff I have bought home to make more stuff. You can never have enough treasures. My daughter Annie is looking forward to making a lot of money off my stuff when I am gone because there is no way she is keeping all of it. She can probably travel around the world on the money she will make.

Some of my favorites of Melinda’s work