Sunday, June 22, 2014

I'm counting down!

When I was a little girl we would travel to Lancaster, PA to visit Amish Country.  I didn't really get it, or get them.  Why didn't they use electricity?  Why did they all dress the same?  And now over the past eight years I've been taking a much needed "mommy getaway" to Amish Country.

I started writing an Amish blog called Amish and English but haven't updated it in a while (a year to be exact) because there is just so much information out there and not enough time to write about it.

Here are a few photos I've taken during other trips:
At the quilt auction

At the horse auction

This is one way to keep cool (see the irony? They don't use automobiles)

A mom and her kids


A mom and her little baby boy

Innocent eyes

I know most people would be excited to vacation on an island in the water or in the mountains hiking or camping but me? I prefer Amish Country. 
So the countdown is on!! I leave in four days, YIPPEE!!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Featured Friday artist: ?? (he or she is even a mystery to me)

I would love to give credit to this artist, and I have searched for weeks to find a name, and although I haven't found the designer I really wanted to share these with you because I find them so interesting!

Last week I was at an antique mall in Virginia Beach, Barrett Street Antiques, and normally when I make it over there (about 1/2 hour drive) I go directly inside.  I have really been in my "creative mode" lately and I LOVE recycling old things.  When I pulled up this time I noticed that there were a lot of garden things outside.  Old statues laying around as well as life preservers and buoys, old wrought iron furniture and the like.  My kinda place! 
So I walk around out there for quite a while and discover these bird houses made out of recycled materials:
As I continued to look I found more and more of these gems!  I quickly went in and asked if I could take some pictures in the garden area, she looked at me like I had 3 heads but said yes I could take pictures.  Here are some more I found:

I found the #8 on a lot of the birdhouses, I wish I
could find the artist to ask him/her about it

After I took my pictures I went back inside to find out more about the artist. When I approached the desk I said "I'm interested in the birdhouses outside." She said "All of them?!" (Like I wanted to buy them all!  They were quite pricey.) I said "Oh no I'm interested in the artist, do you know who made them?"  Again a look of "Are you really interested in those old things??"  Then she gave a curt answer "... one of the sellers owns that part out there, he makes them and tries to sell them here".  She obviously wasn't going to give me any info and didn't want to help him out either. 

I am truly sorry for not giving this artist credit so if you're in the Virginia Beach area and can find out any more about this artist I will be sure to update this post.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Featured Friday Artist: Betsy Youngquist

I am a HUGE Pinterest person (you can find my page here).  I have a board called Art Dolls and Softees because not only do I design art dolls I LOVE looking at other peoples creative imaginations as well.  Be warned, on my Pinterest board I have pinned 579 pictures in this category alone! 

A few months ago I pinned this picture:
My first thought was "How did she do this?!"  I was intrigued by all of the beads and how they all just made sense, the colors, the placement, the sizes, everything.  Then in the winter issue of Where Women Create she is a featured artist!  I was so excited to learn more about this very talented lady, Betsy Youngquist. In the article her work is described as "Betsy's work reflects a fascination with the intersection of humans, animals and mythology.  Stemming from a  lifelong love of all creatures great and small, her work weaves together the human and animal spirit."

Here is a link to her website if you would like to find out more about this very talented artist: Betsy Youngquist.

And here are just a few more of her designs:

She also sells her work on Etsy at: Betsy Youngquist Beaded Mosiac Sculpture

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I've been trying to make my blog better, mainly by adding different types of content like "Featured Artists" and links to other blogs and artists that I like.  But when I sit down to type I just stare at my blog and then think "Hey I want to change the background" or I end up rearranging my gadgets.  I spend an hour playing around with the look of my blog without really adding any content.

I will be taking my yearly "mommy getaway" in two weeks.  Hopefully I'll be able to come up with lots of new content and links.  My main goal, however, is to figure out how to post pictures directly to my blog from my iPhone.  (I think that photos make a blog)  If I am able to do that I will be coming up with a new category of art called something like "How my brain works" because a lot of times I get asked "How did you come up with that idea?" so I will take you on one of my creative expeditions.

I will also be posting a lot of new things I'm working on for The Newport News Fall Festival.  Oh, by the way, I was accepted into the Newport News Fall Festival last week!!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Featured Friday Artist: Charley Harper

About a month ago I took my boys to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, VA.  We had a blast looking at all of the animals and feeling horseshoe crabs in the touch tank.  Towards the front of the museum they have a rotating exhibit area.  Since we had not been to the VLM in ages I had no idea what they were featuring so we took a look.  It was there that I was introduced to the artist named Charley Harper.  I didn't think my five and seven year old would be interested but the exhibit had a few "kids stations" where they could sit down and draw like Charley.  Of course my boys sat right down.

From Wikipedia:
Charley Harper (August 4, 1922 – June 10, 2007) was a Cincinnati-based American Modernist artist. He was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. Born in Frenchton, West Virginia in 1922, Harper's upbringing on his family farm influenced his work to his last days. He left his farm home to study art at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and won the academy’s first Stephen H. Wilder Traveling Scholarship.

(Taken at the VLM exhibit):

I absolutely love this mans work!  

During his career, Charley Harper illustrated numerous books, notably The Golden Book of Biology,

magazines such as Ford Times,

 as well as many prints, posters, and other works. As his subjects are mainly natural, with birds prominently featured, Charley often created works for many nature-based organizations, among them the National Park ServiceCincinnati Zoo; Cincinnati Nature Center; Hamilton County (Ohio) Park District; and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania. He also designed interpretive displays for Everglades National Park.

And here are some pictures that I took during the exhibit:

And this one wasn't part of the traveling show but I found it on the internet and it's my absolute favorite one, probably because it's a cat:

Here are a few more photos of his work from the internet:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Etsy Conversations

I have started listening to podcasts again.  For those of you out there that aren't familiar with podcasts it's like a recorded talk show that you subscribe to (free) and can listen whenever you want (and over and over again if you want).  I mainly listen to arts and crafts type podcasts but there are literally thousands and thousands out there from news to comedy, from learning to speak Spanish to baby care.

I recently stumbled upon one called Etsy Conversations and it is amazing!!
As some of you all know I have tried to sell on Etsy before with little success.  I'm not sure if I'll try to sell my stuff again on Etsy but if I do I will be taking a lot this podcasts advise.  There are definitely a few things I've learned:
1.  Do not assume that people will "find you" you have to get out there and market yourself every way imaginable.
2.  Social Media, use it!  Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.  Plug into everything and figure out what works for your business.
3.  Learn how to tag your merchandise.
4.  It takes a lot of hard work and determination.
5.  Make personal connections with your customers, write thank-you notes, if they aren't completely satisfied work to make it right.

Etsy Conversations is a bi-weekly podcast this interviews artists that sell on Etsy and their "secrets" for success.  So not only have I gotten a lot of useful information I have also been introduced to some great artists!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

New segment called: Featured Friday Artist

Beginning this Friday I will start a new segment called Featured Friday Artist.  These people will be living or dead, male or female, famous or not.  I would LOVE to interview some of my local artist friends and provide links to their work but to start with I will bring you more famous artists that I admire.  First up Charley Harper, whom I discovered about a month ago.