Sunday, May 29, 2011

Heritage Days Show Downtown

So we didn't know it was going on, but yesterday we hopped in the car and headed over to a little art show in downtown Rochester after Jon's dad called us to see if we were coming.  Ha!  We usually do go to all the things like that - but I didn't know about this one - he happened to be at a car show which was part of the same event and thought we might be coming.  Nope - but we're on our way!

It was pretty cool.  It was actually a few events rolled into one.  The car show, like I mentioned, a Harley Davidson something or other, and an art show.  The main attraction though was the Heritage Days part.  They had some reenactments going on, people walking around in period clothing doing demonstrations, lots of raffles/activities to raise money for local organizations like the historical society, etc.  Things like that.  Pretty neato.  Y'all know my love of all things past so I had fun.

They had an awesome dollhouse-type demonstration which was all rigged up to be powered by this one generator spin-y thing in one of the rooms.  (I'm so technically minded and knowledgeable about these things - can you tell?)  It was so cool.  All the little lights lit up and there were tiny little antique phones and tools...

And what was really cool was that the lights they had in one of the work rooms are exactly like the one Jon just bought at a show recently.  I think we might hang it in the dining room.  Do you see them?  The hangy green ones.

The art show was small but good.  I got some handmade soap and salsa.  Delicious!  (The salsa, not the soap.) ;)

I'd love to get some cool garden art this year.  I LOVED these grasshoppers. Aren't they cute!?
We also came home with these great tables.  Jon picked up a couple of gorgeous handmade wooden benches last year.  And these tables were the same kinda stuff.  So beautiful.  We got this one:

And the first one here, on the left.

A parting shot of my honey and his dad toting our treasures to the car. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Relay for Life Update

Just wanted to share with you guys the results of the Relay for Life event. My co-worker told me that the event as a whole raised over $47,000!  Isn't that great?!  (I did read an article that said the event raised over $134,000...but that might have been for multiple days/events or something.)  Either way - I think that's awesome.  Of that amount, her team alone raised $1,200!  And Jovalee was a part of that!  Isn't that cool!?

For their raffle, they had a gift basket, one of those presto-chango purses (you know the ones - where you can change the shell..?) which another co-worker donated, and they sold guesses for a "how-many-jelly-beans-are-in-the-jar" game.  And Jovalee, of course.  $1,200.  I was so happy for her and her cause.  And proud.  For them and her...and me. :)  I teared up when she was telling me all about it and how much fun and success they had last weekend.  Hoooray for good people doing good things!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Music I'm Diggin Right Now

So friggin good.  I love this song.  I'm not one of those MP3 player/IPod gals.  I don't buy CDs often or store music on my computer.  So I'm quite often discovering and re-discovering music.  Just remembered about this one. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

I had a great weekend.  (I hope you did too!)  I did some weeding around the front yard.  I love working in the soil.  On and for our land.  Then I headed out to a tiny little local library for an "antique and collectibles" sale. :)  It was very small, but cute.  I got a great bangle that the lady had bought in England.  I also got an awesome little paper sculpture and some lip balm made at a local farm.

The paper sculpture was made by a sweet elderly lady who makes each piece herself.  Isn't it super cool - and so intricate?!

Then on a whim, I shot over to our closest nursery - pretty much just to wander around.  I also kinda wanted to see if they had some nice Shasta daisies for my soon-to-be flower bed.  They didn't.  :(

But they did have a lot of other cool stuff!

They had a bunch of gorgeous dahlias.  Big, tall ones like these, and small ones too.

I absolutely can't be bothered with annuals.  I don't know how people have the energy for them.  But they are all quite beautiful.

And my very most favorite section of any greenhouse...

Gorgeous.  And the spoils of my trip...some adorable little poppies - three of them.  

And the coolest staghorn I've seen in a long time.  Look at his "antlers"!

Finally, on Sunday we celebrated Jon's birthday.  We had a great dinner with the family - steaks (I had chicken) with onion and mushrooms, rolls, potatoes, a big fat salad and a glooooorious cake with ice cream for desert. :)

OH!  And I almost forgot!!  Guess what?! really Chompette!  She has three babies that we saw out for the first time today.  Isn't that cool?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Music I'm Diggin Right Now

You may recognize this song from the new Heineken commercial.  That's where I first heard these guys anyway.  I'm really diggin their sound.  Love her accent and I really like her voice.  She's so cute and this group seems so cool and mellow.  Jam on.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jody Lew - An Artisan Interview

I'm so happy to introduce you to this artist.  I love her work.  If you remember, a little while back she and I actually did a little swap-a-roo of goods.  She got Josephine and I got Aaron (who is just awesome!).  My favorite stuff is, of course, her art dolls.  But I also really like her art work and illustrations.  She's so talented and unique in her vision!  After you check out the interview, make sure to head over to her page:  She also has a shop on Etsy:  

Q: Paint us a picture of your happy spot. Where do you create and what are a few items you keep close either out of necessity or to inspire you?

A: When I’m working I’m usually at my desk surrounded by my watercolors and pens, a sketchbook, sewing machine and the fabrics I’m using if I’m creating a doll. I keep a stash of fabric with lots of textures and colors. My art supply bin that I use to hold brushes and supplies is always close by. My Mom minored in art in college and she saved all her art supplies, paints and tools. I’m always using the stuff that she saved!

Q: Do you remember a pivotal moment in your life that really influenced you as an artist?

A: I was looking at art schools during my senior year of high school. I remember seeing this installation by Jenny Holzer and thought the whole thing was pretty amazing. Whether it’s a classroom or my home studio, or a museum- if I have a space to create art and think about things, it’s a huge influence on me.

Q: Your Etsy profile mentions you moved from Maine to Arizona - that’s a pretty big move - both in distance and probably in culture too! Which part of the country do you enjoy more and for what reasons?

A: I love this question! My family moved to a small town in Maine from Southern California. My two  brothers and I were fairly young and the culture shock didn’t even phase us. We were so excited to see snow! I moved to Arizona a few years ago to be close to family and to escape the winter. Arizona is much wider, perhaps more diverse culturally, but I do miss the fall in Maine- the colonial architecture-everything has a history.

Q: I always love learning about other plushie/art doll peoples’ creative processes - it’s so interesting to me. And I’m generally nosy when it comes to these things. :) How do you create? Is it a pretty structured process? Do you “wing it”? What inspires you to start something new?

A: I usually start with a sketch. If I have free time or I’m waiting for something, say at an airport or something, I’ll keep a sketchbook with me. It seems so old fashioned, but if I can get a few sketches in, it helps to keep the ideas going. I usually have to sit myself down and tell myself it’s time to work when I’m at home because there are so many distractions. Every time I think I have an hour to myself, I’ll tell myself that’s an hour to start something new. Sometimes another artist’s work will inspire me or a piece of fabric or a combination of colors.

Oh boy do I know about distractions and trying to be a good, strict boss to yourself.  I'm not very good at it yet...

Q: Your use of color in your paintings is so beautiful! Same basic question for your art work - Do you see a work in its entirety in your head? Do you plan a piece step by step? Fill us in.

A: I usually don’t really see a finished painting in my head. If I’m working from a photograph or from life I draw the composition firsthand onto whatever surface I’m working on. I decide what I like about the photograph or object and I try to emphasize what will make it come together visually. If things get frustrating I try to remember what my color palate looks like. If it’s turning into gray mud I know I have to step back, clean it off and start over.

Ha!  I fall into the "gray mud rut" too sometimes!

Q: I also really like your illustration style. Have you been in any publications you’d like to share with us?

A: I recently helped a writer friend with a blog entry for WorkAwesome.

It was a series of desk stretches and she needed some illustrations to go with each stretch. I’m also helping her with her wedding guest invitations. I created a small portrait illustration of each of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearer to be included on the invitation so guests can view who’s going to be
in the wedding.

Q: Do you create as a full time job?

A: Right now, I’m freelancing and creating as much as I can before I have to find part time work to support myself. I sing and play violin in a band.

I have a few of my dolls in a vegan cafĂ© in Phoenix that also showcases crafts and art from local artists. Last week I set up a table at the First Friday art walk. Basically, I try to fill up my time with as much creativity as I can. If it doesn’t pay financially, it’s definitely worth it to me for peace of mind.

Q: Where would you like to see your creative self in five years?

A: I hope to gain a better feel for the art scene here in Phoenix. I’d like to see myself working independently as a local artist, within the community, even if that means having a day job on the side. I’ve met some really talented people on the east coast and here in Arizona. Things are starting to settle down. After moving around so much, I’m just realizing being a part of a local community is such a necessity for an artist.

Sending much bliss your way, Jody!  I know what it's like to live like a quasi-vagabond.  And also what it feels like to think you've finally found a spot you'd like to settle down in for a while.  I wish you tons of luck in your creative endeavors.  I'm very glad to have "met" you and I look forward to following your work in the future!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Relay for Life Beaver - Done!

I'm proud of me!  I've been getting some serious stuff done around here lately.  Granted, some of it is just housework - but that needs to be done too!  And it's always satisfying to keep on top of the domestic stuff.  I've also been back on track with my blog postings lately and creatively, I've been pretty busy as well.  I got some work done on my nephew's dragon, and even got a couple things posted in the shop.

But right now, I'm most excited that I finished my donation for the Relay for Life event that's happening locally this weekend!  A co-worker of mine is very passionate about the cause and she'll be participating with her team on Saturday.  A little while ago, she mentioned that they also have a raffle and I was very excited to be able to participate myself in this small way.

Presenting: Jovalee!

She was made with very much love.  And a lot of reflection on the purpose and influence of the Relay for Life event.  It's the American Cancer Society's key event used for fundraising.  I'm very proud to be participating, even in a very little way, in this great cause.  Sadly, cancer is such a prevalent part of our society.  I think pretty much anyone could tell you they know someone or of someone who has been effected by it.  All we can do is try to live healthier lives (give me a second and I'll talk your ear off about eating organic, chemicals in the makeup you might use everyday and how to pick out a good, non-aluminum deodorant) and support those who research ways to fight back against this sickness.

Sorry, I didn't mean for this post to be kind of a bummer.  But like I said, a lot of love and reflection went into Jovalee's creation and I just wanted to share her with you.  I hope that whomever she goes home with this weekend will be very happy and that she brings much joy wherever she goes.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Right Snap Atcha!

We are heroes!  Protectors of creatures great and small!  Masters and good stewards of our habitat!  Doot-da-DOOOO!

Jon came home tonight, walked in and said there was a snapping turtle in the middle of the road!

"A snapping turtle!?", said I.

"Yeah, he's trying to cross the road.  He's probably gonna get hit.", all nonchalante, says he.


So up I jumped in my sweatpants and super sexy hair and ran to the garage, hollering the whole time to my other half to move his butt - we had a rescue mission on our hands.  We grabbed a couple shovels, because I'm fond of my fingers - even more so than that snapper might have been - and hopped in the car (it's raining, raining, raining here) and barreled down the road toward our critter in distress!

THERE HE IS!  He almost made it too.  But he was moving so slowly.  And he was right in the road.  And driving up to him, he looked just like a pile of mud and rock.  Clever little camouflager.  :)  But not too clever for a roadside jaunt, buddy.

When we pulled up, we saw that he was actually staring straight at our car (not the right direction for proper road crossing).  So he wasn't too concerned about getting his scaly buns off the road and out of the way of danger.  Just kinda meandering down the side of the road.  It was immediately apparent that our critter-saving skills were desperately needed. ;)

Apparent to Mr. Snapper?  Not so much.  He was not too excited about the idea of a shovel ride to safety.

It's for your own good!  Come on now.  Ha!  You should've heard Jon using his "sweetie" voice with the turtle.  "Comeon little guy.  Comeon little turtle.  Get on the shovel.  Let's get out of the road now."  Heehee.

That last one's a little blurry because I caught him at the end of a "snap".  They really are pretty quick.  And they can lunge a lot farther than you think.  They tuck all inside their shell, and their necks are relatively long, so when they snap all the way out - it's a pretty far stretch.  Jon wouldn't even let me nudge his bum onto the shovel with my foot because he said he'd flip around and snap me in the shin.  Ok, I'll leave it to you then.  

I took a couple of pictures of our rescue-ee safely in the happy little ditch where he was headed, but they didn't turn out.  Like I said, it was all rainy and Jon was buggin me to get back in the car so he could get back and have dinner.  So I was kinda rushed and they were all blurry. 

This whole thing reminded me of when I was little, we lived in Connecticut on quite a bit of land.  We had a private driveway a quarter mile long, and at the end of it, there was a two lane road.  For some reason, there was this massive snapping turtle who, during the summer, frequently insisted on getting in the middle of that road at the T where our driveway was.  So we would all have to load in the car with a shovel and my dad and we'd would go down to get this guy and dump him in our lake so he didn't get smooshed.

Cool, huh?! :)  Do you have any critter rescue stories?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Battle Alley Arcade Antiques

This place is amazing.  Not only did they have a ton of super cool stuff (like these figural measuring tapes....

...I might feel another collection coming on - don't tell Jon!), the space itself was unlike anything I've ever seen.

Okay, granted I don't get out a whole lot.  But still.

The floor in the main "drag" of the building is made of slices of pine from a local farm.  Then they had a tar guy come in and lay them all in and seal it up.  They did that in 1970ish, I think she said, when they converted the building to what it is today - a super-cool antique mall.

Eeeeeeekkk!  Do you see how many buttons there are here?!  And all sorted by type and material!  One jar (see it in the front?) is even rainbow-ized!

I have a ridiculous amount of vintage buttons already.  Otherwise I would've brought some home.  Actually, if they had a jar of wooden buttons - it would have been mine.  But the closest they had was bone.

The architectural elements in this place are just beyond cool.  Coupled with the fact that this was the same day we found that awesome estate sale, and then we went to the big antique shop I shared with you yesterday, I mighta been kinda antiqued-out for the day.  Because, honestly - I was more interested in the structure and history of this place by the time we got inside.  I'll be going back for sure.

Seriously, how cool is this place?  Next time, I'll have to spend a bit more time on the actual antiques!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Water Tower Antiques

We had such a nice weekend (so far).  We checked out an estate sale Saturday morning.  It ended up being a really great one.  The home belonged to a couple who were "swap meeters" in the 60s and 70s.  I won't share all that here, but I will be listing things over the next few days in the shop.

After we unloaded all our goodies from the estate sale, we headed out again to a couple of antique shops in Holly, MI which we had never been to before.  Today I'm just stopping in real quick to share with you our trip to the first one, Water Tower Antiques.

No, that's not the building.  I forgot to get a picture of the place itself.  This ^ is an awesome "dollhouse-esque" model that I saw immediately when we walked in.  It was very, very cool.  And I don't know if you can see in the picture, but there was a creepy man peeking out of the window too.  Kinda weird.

A tiny peek at the menagerie of andirons and cast iron figures they had.  I've been kinda drawn to that stuff lately.  Especially the little figures - dogs, houses, donkeys. :)

A fascinating collection of fishing lures and stuff...lookit how big some of those suckers are!

I am in love with this guy.  I like his cool texture.  His masculine, boxy shape.  His stoic blue-eyed gaze. Ha!  I don't know, I just thought he was cool.  Unfortunately, his price tag was not so cool. :(

I always like discovering new kinds of old lanterns (is that an oxymoron?).  We have a few around the house - the plan is to eventually wire them up to be functional and mount them here and there wherever a little dash of light and nostalgia might be needed.  

There was this awesome, massive piggy bank!  I have one kinda like this guy - but it's a heck of a lot smaller.

This was a cute booth.  They had a lot of neat kitcheny stuff.  The little dress you see hanging is actually a clothespin pouch!  Isn't that super cute?

They just don't make stuff like they used to, huh?  I think it woulda been so neat to live during that time.  Hmmm...which decade would you choose?  When I was younger I always thought I should've been a hippie in the 60s.  Now, I'd say I'm absolutely smitten with the 50s.  The clothes, the simplicity, the gadgets, the colors, the clothes. :)

I'll be back soon to post pics of the second shop.  It was such an interesting place.  So unique.  I've never seen anything like it.  I can't wait to go back!