Saturday, July 28, 2007

A 55th post Giveaway and Never enough...


Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes. I love the sense of escape that a good book will offer. For novels and short stories, my tastes run the gamut from the classics (Henry James, Austen, Bronte...both of them), to American novelists both classic and contemporary (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stienbeck, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison) to the guilty pleasures of modern day "chic lit"(Jennifer Wiener, Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella) ,and finally to those that I can't quite fit into a "literary" category, but whose books I reread again and again (Elizabeth Berg, Maeve Binchy, Jacqueline Mitchard).

Of course, novels aren't the only books that offer respite and escape. Decorating, craft and how to books, as well as vintage treasures richly illustrated can provide you just the 5 minute holiday you long for. Below... some of my favorites....
Ahhhhh, home decor books. Why can't I just slip into this book and live here....( From English Country Style)
or here would be just fine too......(From Cottage Style)and breakfast here.... (From Kitchen Junk)

I am mostly a self taught artist, but have adapted many of my sculpting and doll making techniques from books like these...Open a page or two for a dose of inspiration.... (From the fabulous "how to" tale... Toys, Whirligigs and Whatachamacalits)
or some magic... (The sweetest "DIY" fairy book ever...Felt Wee Folks)
Even technique! Below, three different dolls artists Katherine Dewey , Maureen Carlson, and James Carrington show you how to create miniature hands.... (From Friends and Family in Polymer Clay, 1/12 Scale Character Figures and Creating Life Like Figures in Polymer Clay)
For overcoming creative block and creating whimsical vintage style....Inspiration from the past can be found here... (from More Halloween Collectibles)

and here (From Mostly Happy Clip Art of the Thirties and Forties)And one can adapt these drawing techniques to use in sculpting characters with a retro flair. Imagine the shapes below in clay..... (from the vintage art book Fun with a Pencil, How Everyone Can Easily Learn to Draw)
I think everyone likes fairy tales and nursery rhymes. And you can't deny the charm of the gorgeously illustrated vintage treasures below...Little Boo Peep (From Mother Goose)

And if you ever get tired of vacationing in your favorite home decor book, learning to make dolls, or reading fairy tales, you can always learn a new craft, thanks to books like these below...
Long before I ever picked up a package of paper clay, I was learning how to sculpt basic figures with good ole' fashioned salt dough... (From Decorative Dough Craft, one of the first craft books I ever purchased)

The book below has an endless array of ideas for festooning your holiday house with vintage style. A page below shows you how to antique a mirror (From Vintage Christmas Crafts)
New to sculpting??? How about creating a card with polymer clay???? (From Polymer Clay Greeting Cards)
Finally, in celebration of all things paper, and my 55th blog entry( and for putting up with such a long post today!!!!) , I'd like to offer the beautiful book below as a giveaway. Just leave me a comment and if you'd please, share what your favorite book is ..fiction or non-fiction, inspirational, escapist.. whatever you like!)

A lovely pillow project from Layer by Layer ....My favorite project from Layer by Layer below... Imagine it adapted to another decorating theme....
Be sure to leave your comment by Wednesday night and I will randomly draw a name and send the book off to the lucky winner. :-) Happy reading everyone!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Random thoughts...and I am this muppet

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. I have been cleaning my house and am thoroughly enjoying the process of shining up old wood and getting rid of lots of clutter. We are having the home appraised on Monday, so that we can refinance our crazy mortgage. I hope to take some pictures of the house to post here too, since I haven't done that since January. But just like when you have friends over, you want your house to be spic and span before you show them in for a cup of tea!!!.

Do you ever find that the strangest things give you a sense of contentment, or lift your mood a bit in the midst of tension and angst. I don't know why but I often find myself discovering glimpses of delight at the oddest moments. For example, whenever I am driving alone at night, I am charmed by the glow from the radio, or comforted from seeing the lights in a home from the highway. Certain songs, especially ones I remember from the mid 1970's and early 80's when I was a little girl, songs like Elton John's Benny and the Jets and almost anything by the Eagles or Billy Joel always put me in a better frame of mind. Re-reading books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and just about anything from the Little House on the Prairie series also lend an odd relief from the stress and strain of my everyday job. There is so much comfort in process of kneading dough, or the way a wooden spoon feels in my hand as I stir marinara sauce in the pot. We have a lovely old silver maple tree in the front yard that I am in love with. I have a fondness for laying on the grass under that tree and just watching her branches play in the breeze while the finches dance about. I can't imagine that a massage at a Day Spa could anything more than that tree does to relax me. And when all else fails, there is nothing like a goofy t.v. show or movie to take your mind off of your troubles. Almost every American kid I know that grew up in the 70's and early 80's remembers spending Sunday night parked in front of the television to catch an episode of The Muppet Show. Having graduated from the pre-school antics of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show definitely had a cooler vibe for the grade school set. In fact, I think Kermit the Frog was my first crush!

A few months back I found this funny little quiz on TK Angels' blog. Based upon your answers you will discover what your “Muppet” personality is...My results didn't surprise me one bit!!!

You Are Fozzie Bear

"Wocka! Wocka!"
You're the life of the party, and you love making people crack up.
If only your routine didn't always bomb!
You may find more groans than laughs, but always keep the jokes coming.
Any odd things make you happy? Have you taken the Muppet Personalty test? Which furry puppet do you resemble?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back! And ... whew! Much better

Ahhhh....the life of a traveling worker bee. I have always considered myself very blessed to have a job that allows me experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon State up close. Eating out for breakfast, lunch ,and dinner, rental cars, sleeping in hotel rooms....sounds very glamorous? The consequences of which, at least last week, led to a marathon style yucky-ness fest when I finally came home Friday afternoon. Yes, I am talking about food poisoning. And thus I spent most of my weekend hoping to keep saltine crackers and 7up down long enough to catch a smidgen of rest.
Today is the 1st day I am feeling close to my old self, and I love to share some pics of mail that totally brightened my week.
I have a fantastically wonderful neighbor named Tracey who is the type of person everyone wishes lived next door. Inside of her late Victorian home, her walls are decorated with gorgeous Waverly papers,vintage botanical prints and original watercolors. One can seat themself so comfortably on the faded chintz cushions, Country Living magazines strewn about waiting for a nice long read. When you pop in for a visit, depending on the time of day, Tracey will greet you with tea and shortbread, or homemade chips and salsa. The salsa is made from tomatoes, peppers and herbs that Tracey grows in the garden next to her pottery studio, where she whips up the most colorful, whimsical pottery imaginable. With her permission, I'll take lots of pics of her home and studio and share them in the coming weeks.
To give you an example of her kindness... when she found out that I was under the weather this weekend, within an hour, her sweet 14 year old son arrived on our front porch with a home made dinner for my family, and soup for me. I didn't know that they made neighbors like this anymore!
For all her sweetness, I try to pick up little tokens of gratitude for Tracey when I am on my travels. Knowing she is a lover of collage, I contacted the amazingly talented Melissa Lobdell "Little Melfie" to commission a piece especially for Tracey. The package arrived last week, sweetly wrapped and tagged, and even with a special extra for me.

When I delivered the collage to Tracey yesterday, she was practically in tears. She absolutely loved it. She enthused over every detail, the Italian sheet music, the sweet bird, the vintage millinery flowers!
What a wonderful experience to be able to give a handmade treasure such as this. It made me decide to commit to purchase all of the gifts I give to friends and coworkers for the forthcoming year only from other artists and from my blogging friends that sell vintage wares. Not only is it a great way to support the art and small business community, but the products you purchase have so much more to offer your recipient. True treasures that will last for generations, and memories that endure even longer.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Update on Angel Auction

(Angel with Lute by Melozzo da ForlĂ­)
Hi everyone! Just checking in to make sure you are all aware that while the Angel's for Brianna site had some technical difficulties, it looks like they have gotten them all ironed out. Also, the email for sending in your bids is now . The auction ends on Saturday, 6:30 PST. At the end of the auction they will post final bids and leave them there.
Thanks to everyone who has placed a bid on any of the lovely items available, or who has made a donation. Have a wonderful weekend!!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Christmas in July!!!Available on PFATT, July 10

As part of the Christmas in July celebration at Pfatt, the Polka Dot Pixie creations pictured below will be available for sale. In the spirit of the holidays, I am offering 25% off to my blog friends this month only!!! And, as usual, shipping is FREE for all. When you place your order, please let me know that you are blog reader so that I can apply the discount.

These guys (I like to call them Ho, Ho and Ho) were sculpted from paper clay (over foam and a recycled plastic Easter egg) and attached to clothespins so that they can be clipped to a Christmas tree. When I made a few of these last year they flew off the shelf. I had fun making these ones just yesterday and I hope they find a good home to hang out in!!!
The Santa pictured below was made last year and placed on the website. I found that I didn't have the heart to part with him, so I marked him as sold (sold to me that is). He's tired of living in my studio now, so I think he's ready to come off the sold list, at least for this month!

Finally, this goofy little "workshop" Santa seems to be saying "Well, hellllooooo". Like his brothers, he was hand-sculpted from paper clay and painted with acrylics.

My work schedule requires me to be "on the road again" starting tommorrow until the end of the week, but I hope to check in with you all whenever I can from my laptop in the hotel room. In anticipation of filling in orders and preparing for a busy holiday season ahead, I will be packing my sculpting tools and clay so that I can get a little bit of pixie- making done too!

Finally, don't forget to stop by The Angel's for Brianna Angel Art Auction and get some early holiday shopping done! I think we all know at least one angel collector. I have already placed several bids on more than a few gorgeous items. Amazing art from some of the most talented, generous and kind folk artists in the country available!!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Angels for Brianna

This is my 50th entry, and I had planned on posting about my favorite books and then offering one up as a giveaway. I have decided to reserve that idea for my 55th post so that I can let you know about a very special auction that is taking place this Sunday night. The auction start time is Sunday, July 8 at 10 am pst. The end time is Saturday, July 14 at 6:30 pm pst. You can visit the auction site here: Angels For Brianna.

Here are the details...

Angels for Brianna Benefit Auction

Artists from several facets of the art community have come together to donate angel themed artwork that will be auctioned off as part of a silent auction starting on Sunday July 8th and ending on Saturday July 14th. This auction is being held to honor the memory of a lovely girl named Brianna, whose life was cut short from a disease called MDS. Brianna was diagnosed with MDS in October of 2006, and fought the battle of her life for 8 short months. Unfortunately, Brianna lost the battle on June 15th 2007, but her spirit lives on, and she is a reminder to us all to cherish each day that life brings, and to love those closest to us with all of our hearts.

Iva Wilcox, Brianna’s mom, is a talented part of the art community, and this is how we’ve all come to know and love Brianna….through Iva’s beautiful stories and photographs of her daughter. The money collected from the auction will be used to help cover the funeral and medical expenses incurred by the family, and to fund a wonderful program that Brianna started at her high school called the National Art Honor Society. This group, whose primary focus is to promote artists and their work at the high school level, was something that Brianna was passionate about, and she had so many plans for the group that she wasn’t able to put in place due to her illness. Our hope is that the proceeds will help get the group off to a wonderful start this fall, and that she will be an inspiration to other young artists to pursue their talent, and realize their dreams.

I hope you will join us in bidding on an angel or two of your choice, and bidding high to help raise some much needed money for this family, and to honor Brianna’s memory. All of the angel artwork you’ll see is completely handmade by each artist, signed and dated, and will come with a special tag as a reminder of this event. We, as artists, were moved by Brianna’s story and all of us felt compelled to do something to help her family in their time of need, in a way that Brianna would have loved. This is why the auction was formed, and we want her memory to live on, as she does now with the angels above.
~How bidding will work
If someone is interested in bidding on an item they will email their bid with the item number in the subject line. WE WILL TRACK ALL BIDS BY ITEM NUMBER. Bids will be silent. We will not post who has the high bid or who the winner is. The bidder will know if they are the high bidder when they receive a confirmation email back.

~Forms of payment
Winning bidders will be able to pay by check, money order or paypal.

~End of auction and shipping information
When the auction ends we will be sending out emails to all the winning bidders. They will have one week to submit payment. The artist will then ship to the winning bidder directly.

To read more about Brianna please visit Iva's blog here.

For this very special event I will be auctioning off a piece created especially for the auction. Allow me to introduce you to the Peace Angel.
Peace Angel

Peace Angel is a one of a kind miniature dollhouse scale doll. She was hand-sculpted from paper clay and hand-painted with acrylic washes, then gently antiqued to give her the appearance of a vintage doll. Her skirt was crafted from paper and sugared with glass glitter for a sweet sparkle. Her halo was created from tinsel chenille stem. Peace Angels wings were cut from sheet music ( a lovely Buddy Holly song) and finished with silvery glitter. Peace Angel will arrive accompanied by a glittery paper star wand in a painted and antiqued gift box, collaged with polka dotted paper, more sheet music, and adorned with silvery letters spelling out the word "Peace".
I'd be happy to email out more pictures of this miniature doll if anyone is interested. Please let me know.
Whether or not you decide to bid on the Peace Angel, please stop by the Angel Auction and make a purchase from one of the many talented artists donating to this event.

100% of the proceeds from this auction will be given to Brianna's family.
Please pass along the info about Brianna's auction to all of your friends, family, and angel collectors that you know.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Ho Ho Ho!!!! Hmmmmmm....I wonder what Santa has up his sleeve for the PFATT Marketplace Christmas in July??????.... check back in on Saturday night to find out!!!!

In the meanwhile! Mr. Liberty Man and

Mr. Sassy Sam say....

A very Merry Independence Day to you all ( yep, we're a a wee bit early.)