Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Show and tell...

For like a week or two I've been hearing about the new Somerset Life but I just couldn't seem to get my hands on a copy. My local Barnes & Noble and Borders both seem to be slow pokes with their magazine replenishment. I'd call each one and get a negative, and as a backup I asked Aaron to stop in both of 'em just to make sure...negative. Then after a week of hearing all about the issue and my article in it... and  all congrats from  my sweet friends...I finally got my hands on it. I just love all the stuff Somerset puts out so just being in their pages is a thrill. But what's even cooler for me is the whole concept and layout of the article. The text expresses my feelings about blogging but the photos do even more. Nearly every shot has a direct connection to a friend/fellow blogger/artist/collector. The cake crown I made for Holly now lives with her. Then to the right of that is my ultimate favorite ebay find...that doll faced bunny, but behind that, up on the shelves are miniature cakes made by the Amazing Grace. And in the same shot you can see a little bit of vintage ephemera which was a gift from Andrea. The following page features vintage ballerinas from Amanda poked into my cupcakes and in the background is a seriously awesome button bouquet from Jen Duncan. Then there's a fairy jar I made for a Melfie hosted swap...the little fairy now lives with Michelle. The photo next to that shows a panoply of pretties from Cerri. And finally, on the last page at the upper right corner is a close up of a bunch of stuff from Anna. Seeing the stuff from Anna is especially evocative for me. Anna happens to be the most dedicated snail mailer in the world. Not only is she frequent with her cards and post cards... she's skilled. She can cram a Flat Rate box like no one can!
  When I get fab stuff from fab people I love to post it on the blog asap. And now for some of that stuff to be printed in an awesome Somerset publication is just twice as nice. I just love this magazine...well..this and every single publication Somerset puts out! They RULE!!!
A couple blogs ago I raved about the newly launched site Peacoats and Party Hats. Well, I just had to place a little order. I wanted tons more stuff, but I don't exactly have the ability to shop til I drop all the time. Anyway, here's some of the stuff I got. All of it was so neatly packaged...and the little pig sticker Candice uses as a closure is the cutest thing ever. Love that girl!
Ellen of One Ripe Peach over on etsy, is my "go to gal" ! Season after season I will return to her for utmost in tags. You might remember her tags on my holiday packages...they MADE the packages. They're all hand sewn,adorned with trims, perfectly constructed etc... There is always something in her shop that is a must have. You gotta pop in and tell Ellen that Jenny said she is a MUST!
Analise had the genius idea for all us girls to show our buttons. No, she wasn't holding a casting call for girls gone wild...she meant literal buttons. Aaron joked that maybe I misunderstood and that it was actually "show your butt on sunday"...with a carefully misplaced space in the text. Yeah, sorry, I guess we're a randy bunch over here today. Anyway, buttons...the term eye candy is used a whole lot, but in the case of buttons there just is no better term to use. I can just stare and stare at pile of GOOD buttons.And they are meant for filling up candy dishes, jars, or even the way they sit on vintage button cards much like actual candy dots. Buttons truly are Eye Candy. I can never have enough.This is just a handful of my favorites, in my favorite colors! Pop over to Analise's blog for lnks to all the girls in blogland showing their's!
Just wanted to put up my current Flickr need to explain. Just let the stuff do the talking. Good stuff huh??
And finally I'll leave you with a pic of Carlos...all sleepy and chilly and bundled in blankets. This is him for like 8 hours a day at least. He is the definition of cuddle bum!
That's all for now...I'll be back soon because I'm looking at some stuff right now that needs to get photographed!
 xoxo, Jenny

Monday, March 24, 2008

Over already?

Easter came and went way too fast. We all find ourselves saying that about a lot of holidays but this time it's for real...the super early arrival of Easter this year was just absurd. How can it be within a few days of St. Patrick's Day?! I know, the phases of the moon and the equinox are factors, but jeeez, we should've all came to a consensus to ignore nature just a bit and put Easter in it's comfortable little spot in the month of April. I saw Easter candy going on clearance within a week of it's placement on store shelves. I saw St. Patrick's Day windows make the change to Easter before St. Patrick's Day even happened. It was just one big rush job. And the weather, sure it was pleasant here in Jersey, but it was cold! I want it to be at least a little Springy.
  I know I'm griping a bit too much, especially when you see all this pretty Easter stuff I've got to show. I mean, I guess good-stuff-wise, I'm sorta spoiled this year. But I've had no time to enjoy it all. And please comment me if any of you experience for yourselves what I'm about to say. Over here, me and Aar get this whole Beware the Ides of March vibe. Aaron especially. Back in 2003 his car accident was on March 18th and this time of year since then has been touched with melancholy and unease. We also have some friends and family that have similar eery feelings this time of year and I suspect that there are a number of you out there who can probably share your own tales. It's just a feeling I get. So please comment if you're on the same page...or comment and tell me I'm nuts. Also feel free to tell me if you have the opposite experience at this time of year. Positive stories are always welcome! 
This is my contribution to a very cool swap called The Itty Bitty Robins Egg Blue Book Swap. The name of the swap pretty much explains it all. In the end, all of our contributions will becompiled in itty bitty books, and we'll all receive one. I believe there were 32 of us in the swap so that means there will be 32 pages in each book. The only specifications were size and color. The rest was up to you. You just had to make 32 identical little pages. The pic shows the front and back. And those of you with an eye for detail will notice that the bottom edge isn't exactly nicely trimmed. I didn't notice it until after I snapped the photo. But it's ok now. I trimmed it before I sent it out. There's a Flickr group for this swap so you can go check out the other pages. I can't wait to get my itty bitty book. Stuff like that is just so heirloomy. I imagine in the future all these great group projects being sought after collectibles much like the handcrafts from the Victorian era.
Ok, since Easter is over, I can post the remaining Hippity Hop Easter swap stuff. I'd hoped to update all during the week but I just couldn't squeeze blog time into my schedule. I followed the rules and opened one each day but man oh man there were a lot of cheaters! It's so hilarious when grown ups act like overly anxious kids. 
Day 5  was Heather Bluhm (our fabulous hostess). I love those little pink chicks. I don't remember exactly when I saw those little cuties for the first time but I remember falling instantly in love with 'em. Heather made excellent use of them in this adorable little diorama. I love the vintage wallpaper inside. Heather you are the BEST!
Day 6 was Karin Aguirre. How awesome of her to make earrings. Jewelry is always always a welcome gift. And these are so nice, presentation and all! Perfect for Spring!
Day 7...Donna Layton. A really amazing collage! Tons and tons of detail work. It must've been hard hard work putting together ELEVEN of these! It's not my usual color palette but I would not change a thing about it. The colors are so bright and magical. This piece has a voice! I love it. (will you just look at the robin's egg blue bead up top...gorgeous!)
Day 8 was by this girl...Jenny Heid?  And I actually did make one for myself. There was a dozen of us in the group but we all mailed in eleven pieces because it would be a real waste of shipping, time, etc. to mail something that was just going to get mailed right back. I did a smaller, more vintage toned version of our Easter chick cake. It's mounted on an 8" x 10" canvas board and hangs by vintage seam binding.
Day 9... Debra Schoch. This super cute bunny girl ornament. I love this!! Especially her little aqua blue tights and those adorable little shoes. Debra always creates such whimsical pieces!!! Love her!
Day 10...Beth Quinn. How Cool!! This photo doesn't do it justice at all. It's really like she bottled up some Spring and corked it shut. I met Beth at Silver Bella. She was in our class and she was super super sweet so the super sweetness of this was to be expected. I will be displaying this all year round...far too fabulous to take out once a year!
Day 11 was Heather Kowalski. A gorgeous dreamy wreath with vintage millinery flowers! I love the dove! I hung this up right away. Dreamy really is the perfect word for it! I adore it!
Day 12... Cerri Campbell made this tiny little teacup with bird. The miniature size of it makes it all the more sweet. The aqua blue shred is so tiny, and the egg and little millinery flowers. It's so cute! Love it!
This was an amazing swap to be a part of. The variety of styles and subjects was dizzying. You'd think that if you took a group of artists with similar tastes to take part in a swap like this, that you might get very similar designs. Well that was so NOT the case here. Everybody did their own unique thing. And each reflected that individual's personal style. This was a fab way to kick off Spring! And I guess getting to open all this stuff this early in the season almost makes up for the premature Easter.
You saw Beth Quinn's vial full of Spring up 10. Well I did some shopping at her Etsy shop, Blissful Provisions...(when you finish visiting with me...stop over there  and tell Beth that Jenny sent ya!). Look at all these pretty trims n' things. She puts things together so nicely and the colorsand textures are just so soothing. The aged tags, the pretty buttons.I love the tiny vintage alphabet cards. You will certainly see this stuff sneaking into some future projects of mine. And hey, look again at the photo...natural lighting for a change. The light looked good on the windowsill so I figured I'd take advantage and capture this stuff in the soft light it deserves..can you see what a difference it makes?
I think I caught the "itty bitty" bug after doing the itty bitty swap. These itty bitty boxes just called out to me and I went to work on them like a whirling dervish.  I used tiny prints of our artwork as well as some of my very own family photos ( my Grandma is on one)...and some good looking strangers too! I mixed new papers and old and gave them all an aged patina. I did 6, and I'm just putting them up for sale as I do them. I might repeat some designs or I might not. I'm just doing them as they come to me. I did 6 to start and as I write this there are 3 still available. I hope to do another batch this upcoming week. I like them as boxes for a special gift of jewelry or some other tiny object. They're also cool as tiny crafting supply boxes for your desktop. And they are tiny...just 2" x 2" . I have them over on Etsy if your interested.
Also...We're having a sale over on ebay  ...15% off everything in our store!! So take advantage now...maybe for that personalized piece you've been wanting...or a baby shower gift...this time of year is full of those. Also a good time to get a group of Art Squared pieces. So hurry over...there's a few days left!!
Since this is the last of the Easter stuff I should be posting I figured I'd give you some parting eye candy. It just hit me again that Easter is's so strange. There was no lead up. It just sorta happened out of the blue!
  Check out in the center of the one pic the Kewpie doll wand. It was a completely unexpected gift from my friend Jenelle. A totally awesome surprise! So so nice of her! I LOVE it!!
  And the little girl doll head was a gift from Cerri (day 12 in the hippity hop). Thanks so much've got my number alright! She is too cute!
 Ok, that's all for now. This was a lengthy post and you probably forgot all about paragraphs one and two where I spoke of the weird Ides of March feeling we get every year. I'm really curious to know if any of you get it please comment if you can. Thanks a bunch, happy spring!
xoxo, Jenny

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Day 4..and a brand new place to shop!

Day 4!  How pretty pretty pretty is this collage? It is just perfect! Like sunshine and cupcakes! Handmade/sewn by Jeanne. I truly gasped when I peeled away the paper! (which by the way is much prettier than this photo shows) Every single detail is just right. The colors, the patterns, the photo pocket...which allows for a personal photo to be added. I truly adore this piece! It will be hanging in the studio well past Easter. What an amazing group this is!! :)
I was just popping in for a quick hello, and to show you today's gift...but I couldn't possibly go without posting about the Grand Opening of Candice Carpenter's brand new and oh so cheerful site.. Peacoats and Party Hats !! Is that the greatest name evvvvver? Love it!! I was lucky enough to have met Candice  and her super sweet mom at Silver Bella, what a treat. Not only is Candice super nice, but her kits totally knock socks off!! I so wish I had pics of Candice's set up on vendor night! It was the pinkest, most sweet and glittery, eye candy filled table ever! I was thrilled to walk away with one of her super fab Silver Bella album kits. I really could go on an on here. I am a BIG Candice Carpenter fan, and her site really is a perfectly executed extension of her red, pink, and polka dotted world. (designed by none other than the TOO DARN TALENTED Hope Wallace of Paper Relics fame) Get over there fast! Things are flying out the door. I am hoping to get my hands on one of her Easter kits before they are all gone. I'll let you know if I do! :)
Ok...that's all for now. See ya tomorrow with Day 5!
xoxo Jenny

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hippity Hop

If I was sitting down with my therapist aka "my lady" (everyone has one right?) and she asked me: "Well, what do you do for you? Besides your work, what do you do?" ...I'd probably be able to name a few things, like: hanging out with my brothers...going to junkshops...buying crafting supplies, (really, I love supplies, even though I have so few!).  But I'd probably forget to mention the one thing that I do most regularly outside of work. And I'd forget it because it kinda goes hand in hand with work. And that's : Swaps. I always like to be in a swap. I think in the past year there has not been a single time when I didn't have a swap deadline on my horizon. Doing a swap is just so rewarding. Whether it's a handmade swap or one that involves hunting and shopping for the perfect stuff. You have to put in some effort, but in the end there's a payoff. I just love the concept of trading talents. It feels so old world. Instead of trading money for goods or services, You're trading goods and services for goods and services. And handmade swaps are great for working artists because the swap will force you to work outside of your comfort zone. For instance, this sweet little nest swap I just took part in. I was lucky enough to be partnered up with the swap hostess herself...the lovely and so so nice Heather. Now there is no way that me and Aar could incorporate nest making into our artistic offerings. And I just know that even though I'd love to make a little springtime bird's nest for myself I'd never ever take the time to do it. But if I sign up for a swap and know that I'm making one for someone and they're making one for me...then I'm gonna stay up late a few nights and make a little magical bird's nest. It's so fun to put a little bit of me in there while always keeping Heather in mind, and thinking of what she'd like. And by the looks of the fabulous little number she sent me,  I think she really had me in mind while she put this together. I love that this nest belongs to a bunny! As I type this, if I were to swivel my head in any direction, if I looked anywhere but at my monitor, my eyes would fall upon a bunny of some sort. Bunny's rule my shelves, table tops, walls, windowsills. And she got the color scheme oh so right. And of course, she sent a ton of happy extras along with the nest "just because". A flocked bunny bank and friend, velvet pastel ribbon, and some other crafty goodies. I love it all so much. This was a top swap for me.
The next pic is the nest I sent. I decided to go sorta natural. Well, I had in mind the idea of setting out supplies for the birds and letting them weave your stuff into their nests. At the nest making time of year you can go in your backyard and put out ribbons, tinsel, fabric scraps, yarn, etc...and wait for the birds to take them away and maybe beautify their nests with the stuff. Although I love the idea of this, I've never actually put it into practice. So in lieu of the real thing I added some mini pom pom trim, tinsel, vintage paper shreds, a pastel feather, and mini faux blossoms, to my own little nest. The finishing touch for me was the addition of one of my favorite little mercury glass Christmas balls. I also threw in some extra springtime might recognize the bird ornament. He's made from our original painting, he's the same little guy from our kit.
And now onto another swap. The Hippity Hop Easter Swap. This one required a bit more effort. You have to put your production line skills to work. The concept is to match up groups of twelve people and each one person makes eleven of their own original Easter creation. Eleven of the same exact thing, because each person represents one of the twelve days 'til Easter.( I was day number 8). So once you make your eleven identical items you mail them to a central location and at that central location there lives the (out-of -her-mind----I-myself-could-never-ever-take-on-that-much-responsibility!) swap hostess (God bless Heather ), who sorts, packs, and ships back to you a variety box full of 11 different Easter creations which you get to open one by one during the 12 days leading up to Easter. The theory is to open only one each day but lots of gals break the rules. Holly admitted unapologetically that she'd tear into each one just as soon as they arrived on her doorstep! I'm a rule follower myself. Anyway, I was in the Pink Group. This was a big swap and the dozen girls in my group only represent a fraction of the whole. Since I'm day#8 and my day has not yet arrived I'm showing here a picture of my eleven pieces all wrapped up. I like the look of random, primitive style, hand painted polka dots. So I got a roll of Kraft paper, moved some furniture aside, and rolled out about 15 feet across my dining room, and went to work with a big brush and some pink paint. Carlos the chihuahua was just aching to walk all over it. I had to have Aaron speed up the process with a blow dryer.
First there's the group shot of all the stuff I'm gonna open. Two items aren't pictured because two girls missed the deadline by a bit and are shipping theirs directly to each of us. And since I'm playing catch up I've got three days of opened up goodies to show so far.
Ok, day one is Holly. I so love that instead of a number 1 she wrote "me first"! It's just such a cheery little pink bag. And wow! what a sweet little nest...the millinery flowers, the tiny eggs! LOVE IT!!!
Day 2. Martha. A fun fun fun handmade/sewn pin featuring one of my favorite things. An image of an antique bisque doll. Lots of fun cool. Def gonna put her on a denim jacket this spring!! LOVE IT!!
Day 3. Shosh. The sweetest blown glass blue tiny and delicate. And an altered walnut shell made into a miniature bunny home. This is Shosh of Hannah Grey fame...super fab site. And I'm honored to be able to report that I am one of the newest members of the New Hannah Grey design team. I'm really looking forward to thinking outside the box and doing some new things with some new stuff! So some new creations and ideas outta me will be forthcoming! Hannah Grey is such a great place to shop. By all means, stop by there for a visit and tell Shosh that Jenny sent you!!
I'll try my best to get on here and post the rest of the dozen days as they roll out. I'll definitely be posting the goods over on Flickr so be sure to check out the Hippity Hop Easter Swap Flickr pool!
I love simpatico collections of usable stuff. This is a pack of springtime collage elements I picked up from Lilia at Flea Market Studio. She has a golden eye for what's good and what goes together. Her packs feel like a great designer's inspiration board. Everything is so carefully chosen and she spoils you with a great price. Especially when you thinkof all the hunting and gathering you won't have to do.
I made some new online friends and I couldn't be more excited!! First, Miss Holly over at Pink Grapefruit Designs. This gal is a ray of sunshine!! Sometimes somebody picks a name for their business and it's just perfect. This is the case with Holly and her Pink Grapefruit Designs Etsy shop. Everything she offers is just so colorful, cheerful, happy. Her whole vibe and style is so fresh! She has all sorts of crafty supplies. I nearly died when I found these vintage pink and aqua pipe cleaners! Like are you kidding me?! Why on earth do they only sell these in like kelly green, red, silver, and gold now? Bring back the old colors Mr. pipe cleaner manufacturer. And these teeny 'lil vintage crepe paper nutcups! They are just edible! And these are just a few of the amazing candy colored buttons I picked up. All of this is just the yummiest stuff ever! Definitely a brand new favorite. And now I've gone and shot myself in the foot again by giving away my newest best kept secret, (kept secret for all of a week!). So let the feeding frenzy begin. But when you go over there and buy up all the stuff be sure to tell Holly that Jenny sent you. Maybe she'll be cool and give me a sneak peek before she lists! kidding...well sort of ; )
And the other new friend,Dara ! Such style, such an eye for detail! I saw this incredible creation over on Ning in the Etsy cottage style group. I nearly was just so pretty. And wouldn't you know it that this sweetheart offered to swap with me! I was toooo excited. When I opened the box and took this piece in my hands it just got ten times better. I'm sure you're loving what the pics of this look like but if you can even's wayyy better in person. It's heavier than you'd's base is very old wood coated in very oldwhite chipping paint. The detail is endless. The crepe paper ruffle is so dense! There is probably ninety feet of crepe if you unruffled it. It's a modern twist on a Victorian keepsake. A real work of art! I so look forward to owning more of Dara's work!!
I've been so spotty with my posting that I forgot to post one of my giveaway wins from the wonderful One World One Heart event. This sweet little book and bookmark are from Nan at Pandora's Artbox. (Thank you!!) So bright and springy. As I scroll up and look up at all the photos I've posted you'd never ever know that it's a cold, gray, and rainy night where I live. I've obviously made up my mind that Punxsutawney Phil was wrong. 
Well, I just had to post all this stuff. There is a mountain of work waiting for me but I'm trying to strike a balance of business and pleasure. Sometimes me and Aar get in the "time to make the donuts" mode, just filling orders, filling orders, filling orders. It's a little hard to keep up sometimes when we have to do a lot of the same things and we always worry about being late with shipping to all the wonderful people who've connected with our art. We're not ever really bothered by all work and no play. We just get full of nerves when we think of letting people down time wise. And that also goes for this blog. You guys are gracious enough to stop by all the time...least I can do is give you some fresh eye candy! Well, it's either bedtime or movie time, not sure yet. I'll be sure to follow up with the rest of the Hippity Hop Easter swap goodies over the remaining days 'til Easter.
xoxo, Jenny