chipping away & ranting and raving.

We never ever have the luxury of completing a painting in a single sitting...or in a series of consecutive sittings. There are always orders to go out, lettering to paint, boards to be cut and primed. So we work on new paintings bit by bit. Sometimes tiny bit by tiny bit. And it's frustrating to see the finished product in your mind but you know it may be weeks until it's realized on the canvas. Every once in a while during the workday we'll go pick up the work-in-progress and say to one another " I can't wait 'til we finish this!"
  Well, this is the latest in completed paintings. And I have to say that this one benefited from the bit by bit method. This was so very near completion and I kept staring at that striped back wall and thought something was lacking. And then I thought "well, we hang up paintings of Charlotte-esque dolls in our real world...wouldn't it make sense that Charlotte would hang up photographs of real people in her make believe world?"...a sort of flipside of our reality. So we then made itty bitty prints of a couple of vintage cabinet cards (I showed you a few posts ago) and handpainted some frames around them. Right then I knew the painting was complete. We named this one The Recital. And regardless of how seriously little Charlotte takes her piano playing, we're much more interested in the way she's decorated her little conservatory. So much in the painting is modeled from elements around our apartment. The chandelier, toy piano, our kitchen floor and walls...though we changed the scale so they'd all make sense in the vignette. I really love the way this new one adds to the collection. The Well Read Raven, Charlotte, and Cupcake Girls are all close up shots whereas this one pulls back so more of the little world is revealed.
  If you're interested, we've now got it listed on Ebay and Etsy in two sizes: 11" x 14"  and 5 1/2" x 7",
Oh, and I decide to snap a pic of the stuff that keeps us from doing new paintings all the time. This photo represents a typical shipping day of stuff. Which isn't a truckload but keep in mind that all of that lettering is hand painted. We had it all lined up on a bench waiting to be boxed up and shipped out when I noticed how predominantly pink the scene was. And it's my fault. I mean, there are a lot of pink fans out there, but I have to ease up a bit with it and go towards my aqua, turquoise, and pale green tastes. Maybe I'll awaken a bunch of would-be customers! : ) It's shocking how many people out there are NOT fans of the color pink. I'll read somebody's likes and dislikes in a swap and they'll say "send me anything except pink...I despise pink!"  But that's what's awesome about swaps...a lot of times you gotta step out of your comfort zone. But I'm cool with all you pink haters out there because if you're a hater of a specific color then that means that you've probably got a definitive design identity. And that's always admirable.
 And speaking of design identity...I recently have had a handful of design stealers cross my path. And I don't mean emulation or inspiration...I mean straight up photocopies of our stuff for sale! Every once in a while I'll do random searches for stuff (ebay). Not like a detective, just curious searching I guess. And a few times now I've found our stuff...actually printed off, glued to plaques, photocopied and framed, etc...
  And I'm never ever mildly amused. I have to admit...I go nuts! And it's got nothing to do with feeling threatened or even slighted. It's more about integrity. I get really really mad when I think of somebody just pointing, clicking, and printing and saying "yup, this is mine now...and I'm gonna sell it." I mean, how crazy do you have to be?! What parts of your brain are in dysfunction?! What school taught you that?! It's just plain wacky.
  Anybody that does something like that knows that it is just plain wrong but they go and do it anyway. And like I said, I don't necessarily feel threatened or robbed. I just feel crummy about humanity at that very moment...and then I get mad at the person who made me have to feel that way. My heart rate immediately shoots through the roof. Aaron has to talk me down and tell me it's nobig deal...some people are less than desirable and we can't let them ruin our day. Eventually I come down off my furious horse and we deal with the situation accordingly...and aim for a positive outcome.
  And one more thing since it's on a sorta similar subject. The double edged sword of popularity. Recently Emily from The Black Apple was on Martha Stewart and I'm sure it was a thrill to do and a milestone business achievement for her. But it also opened her up to a much larger world than she's accustomed to. For thick skinned austere business types the experience would be a cakewalk. But Emily is like all of us tiny crafty gals. She's a sweetheart and comes from a real place of creative purity and honesty. There are no tricks up her sleeve. She does what she does because she loves it. The popularity just happens to follow. Anyway, after going on Martha she was inundated with comments on her blog...a lot of them sweet, encouraging and congratulatory. But then the nay sayers  came out of the woodwork with their buzzsaw tongues looking to cut down the popular girl. Some of the comments were just so spiteful and jealous. Mostly people sitting at home saying "I could do what you do if I wanted's no big're not original." And then a lot were saying that Emily shouldn't be so protective of her Copyrights...that all us little people should be allowed to make dolls just like hers if we want to. One even had the gall to say "you can afford to spread the wealth." This last comment was of course was prompted by Martha singing Emily's praises and marveling at her yearly sales numbers on etsy.
  Well all of it just got me so sad. Because I know what it must've done to Emily. A totally cool experience like doing the Martha Stewart show had to be sullied by jealous jerks. And us crafty girls aren't like football players. We don't laugh in the face of nay sayers. We don't defy the odds and overcome massive adversity in the face of the media. We get sad and question our own motivations. We say "is this even worth it?....should I just get a day job and simply craft for myself?"
  The world of handcrafts shouldnot have a negative fringe...but it does. They're out there and they're gonna find us wherever we go. We just gotta stand shoulder to shoulder and fend them off. We gotta flood the do gooders with so many positive comments that the negative jerks and their spiteful words are rendered impotent. Ok, that's it with my ranting.
 I finished another project using some of my Hannah Grey Design Team stuff. The Charlotte, "Queen for a Day" plaque was the first thing I wanted to tackle, but this little 3-D paperboard house was singing to me from day one. I started my gathering right away and chipped away at this over the past week. The starting point was that darling vintage photo on the front...the happy couple in front of their first home. That's the theme...the little love nest. And what love nest is complete without a little kitchen housewifery...The domestically decadent chocolate cake to crown the house warming. Check out the pic of the house beforehand. It's such a simple little product but the possibilities areendless. This would make and amazing girls night project. Pretty much just paper and glue and a scant few three dimensional elements. No painting, no sanding, no glue guns. A little paper and scissor project. I loved doing this. I'd love to make a lil neighborhood!. Pop over to Hannah Grey and get crafty!! They come in a set of two!! ..for only 3.95!!! Fun huh?
  Alrighty roo. Gotta go. Thanks for stopping by again. Warm as a bathtub here in Jersey. We might go out for a ride later on with the windows down. Or maybe we'll stay in and chip away at a new painting. ; ) 
xoxo, Jenny


  1. Wow! What a great new painting! I just love seeing Charlotte's dress and piano room. You both have done it again. Your house is very sweet too. What a darling photo.
    And so, so sorry to read about the outright thievery of your work. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but stealing is STEALING, and there is no justification for doing the wrong thing. The internet and its illusion of anonymity causes people to just lose their moral compass. I hope things will be resolved promptly and like you, I wish everyone would just sing their OWN song. Mary

  2. Oh my Jenny I'm in love with your new painting it is so very sweet and fabulous, yes I agree, giving Charlotte real people relatives was a fab idea to make this painting even more whimsical and interesting!

    I can so feel with you regarding the peeps that just go and copy your art and sell it, that is just plain rude and I hope they'll feel as bad about it as they should do! Good thing that you have Aaron to calm you down, at the end of the day they are not even worth your anger.

    I don't know your friend Emily but I will have a look into your link list if I can find her their and leave her a nice comment. How sad that som jerks spoil her the joy over her tv appearance. Gotta have a look at Martha's online site too, if they show the vid there.

    That paperboard house you you have created is so so gorgeous! I'd be all up for a Home sweet Home swap, sounds like a fantastic idea! I have a paperboard house (originally made to make a ginger bread house off it)  a lil bit different but not to much that I could use for it, I think it has the right size too.

    Have a great Sunday!

    Hugs and best wishes from Germany sends you

    Carol xoxo

  3. Hi Jenny,
    I absolutely love the new painting. It's totally engrossing. You and Aaron amaze me. Do you guys paint together?? Pushing each other out of the way?? LOL. Also love the house and I think a swap would be a totally fun idea. I bet Shosh could MAKE SURE she has enough houses.
    Now, let me say how keyed up I am over this Emily thing. I was not aware of all this business and it makes me sick and sad. I also cannot believe that people copy your stuff, not even your style, but your ACTUAL work and sell it. OMG....I'd be livid too. If people are not capable of original ideas they should not be selling arts and crafts. Make things for your own pleasure but DO NOT steal the original work of others. I cannot wrap my brain around doing such a thing. And stealing your stuff??? Talk about a totally distinctive style....gees, could it be more obvious?? These people must be retarded.
    Regarding all the pink love.....I love pink too. In fact I don't think I ever met a color I didn't like. Certain shades of yellow don't work for me, but deeper buttery shades do. I would LOVE to see you take on a deep or bright palette....with red as the dominant. Yeah, that would be fun to see. Gees...sorry for the looooong comment. xoxoxo

  4. so so many cute things today!!!!
    girl i hope you can come to my toy party! i just know you had fab toys as a child.
    let me know,
    i would love to add ya to the list.

  5. Jenny- you know sometimes we just have to get good and mad! I have had work copied and sold too- it's a BAD feeling, like someone came into your workroom and took what they wanted. I also feel for Emily, I hope all the good comments she got will outshine the rest.

    You kind of summed up all of us crafty kids in this entry- good choice of words. I do have a day job and I know that you (and Emily and everyone else who is trying to craft for a living) shouldn't question that it's worth it- IT IS- you're doing it and winning!

    You keep smiling- ok? You are one of a kind and your talent combined with Aaron's is priceless- it's all yours.

    Brenda (the little books)

  6. I love this...How adorable is that!  

  7. Hi Jenny!! Love your Charlotte painting and those pictures on her wall are just perfect!!  It's awful people are actually copying and selling your artwork! How pathetic! I would be going nuts, too, if someone did that to me.  So sorry to hear that.  And the people who were mean to Emily- that is awful.  Just awful.  I'm with you- let's stand shoulder to shoulder against those meanies- they can't take us down! :D
    Michelle xoxo

  8. Sorry to hear about your freind's troubles with the meanies and your Ebay rip offs. I seem to be finding that copyright problem theme everywhere I go tonight in blogland.  

    On a happier note, your painting is wonderful.

    By the way, I don't think there could ever be too much pink!

  9. Hi Jenny,
    I was just stopping by to see your new gorgeous artwork.  I love that painting, and this house is just too wonderful.  I love what you wrote about your friend who was on Martha Stewart.  It is a shame that they naysayers are always there to steal our joy.  Your friend's things are gorgeous, I had a peek and I love the knitter.  hmmm sounds like it might be a perfect birthday present for my sister who loves to knit.  Well, I am busy creating things and I hope to create something wonderful with the kit I bought from you with Spring flowers, and lovely birds.  Have a wonderful week.  karen

  10. Oh Jenny, you certainly struck a chord with me, girl. You know how I feel about mean people and copycats! I just wrote a blog post a couple of days ago about someone that was constantly harassing me on my blog with negative comments and finally--I just had to show everyone what they were saying to me anonymously and privately.
    Ugly, sinful deeds like that love to be done in darkness and when we bring them to light, hopefully that person will get convicted in their heart and turn from that kind of ugly behavior.
    As for the copycats--GRRR
    They are breed all to their own. Nothing can make them see the harm in what they do!
    It's so not flattering and I hate it.
    I love you Jenny!
    ~Sadie Lou

  11. Oh Jenny, I too was appalled at the comments Emily received about her dolls! And the comment about being able to afford to share the wealth really got me. But worse than that, was the comment (I think by the same person) saying "please tell me where to find these copied dolls as yours sell out in 2 minutes" All that pissed me off so much so that I ranted and raved to my whole family. (who has had to listen to me about being copied many times too) LOL
    I am very sorry and offended to know that some one would have the audacity to photo copy your work and try to sell it! I hope you were able to have that stopped!?
    Your work is recognizeable anywhere. I would know your work at a glance, so hopefully most of the world does too, and would not buy a copy of it!
    Much love sweetie!
    ~Cerri xoxo

  12. You know, I just read this post~and I am appauled!!! I can't believe that someone would stoop so low as to copy your artwork like that! Actually it freeks me out~ as a fellow crafter I know how excited I get to make something original and brand new and to think that someone would blatantly steal ~ that is so aggravating!
    I Love Emily too and was so excited to hear that she was going to be on Martha, I DVR'ed it and everything~ to tell you the truth I was sorta put off by Martha's comments about Emily's etsy earnings~ I mean coming from the Queen of etiquette and manners~ I thought that was kind of tacky and left Emily feeling a bit uncomfortable. But then for people to be negative about her appearance is just gross. Gosh, once in awhile I will get a negative comment on my blog and it hurts my feelings, I can't imagine what that was like for her.
    I wish the best for my fellow crafters and I LOVE when I pick up Somerset or tune into Martha and see Craftyy bloggers and artists that I follow thru blogland ~ to think that these successes could invite such negativitiy is just terrible.
    I really admire that you brought this subject up and that you wrote so honestly about it~ this is something that really should be talked about more often.
    sleepy hollow craft company

  13. Hi Jenny......Rant away.....I can't even wrap my brain around the fact that someone would actually copy your images and sell them as your own.....Unbelievable.   You know....the difference between a real artist and a fake wanna be is that the real one forges his/her own path.  And that's alot of work.  It takes time, patience, energy, tears and perseverence to claim the design path as our own.  And when someone comes behind you skipping along your newly cleared path claiming it as their own to's heartbreaking.  And, I know no matter how many "NO TRESPASSING" signs you put up there will be the lowlifes who won't heed the warning.   But everyone who knows there can be one "Holiday" path and that's Jenny and Aaron's.  You both have put your heart and soul in your designs and that's something no wanna be can ever do.   There needs to be some sort of revolt on copiers....something....hmmmmm...let me think about it....

    And although I haven't heard about the Emily backlash, it never stopped me from spouting my opinion before....... arrrrgggg.... losers!  I HATE when people spout off "I could do that"  Well, guess what.  If you could do that, you would be rubbing elbows with Martha instead of Emily.   And your not.  You are just sitting there saying you could do while all the time not doing anything.   Sometimes its all about being the first to think of something and having the wherewithall to implement it........"Pet Rock" anyone....uh yeah I could have done that...but I didn' I'm not a millionaire like him.... Anyway, I'm just rambling here because I feel your pain.  Don't let them get you down.....   Talk to you later.....

    Karin @ Creative Chaos

  14. That birdhouse is great!
    Vintage Lily

  15. Jenny, you are so right on about the good and the bad of blogging, crafting, selling your hard-earned work, the negative and the positive of this whole world.  I hope you know you are a joy in my life and I'm glad you and all the other good and happy people keep on truckin, even when you're copied.  I'm so sorry for Emily having to deal with such ugliness.  So sad.  You're right, we have to overwhlem folks with kindness so the meanies are drowned out! xo

  16. Forgot to say... I LOOOOOVE the new painting and all the paintings in this series.  I basically love everything you do, sweet Jenny!


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