Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally! Got to paint again....

Oh, it felt so good to sit down and paint again! It's been at least 2 weeks, and I so needed to unwind with a paint brush in my hand. The fella on the right was finished before the holiday rush hit, but tonight I finished dressing up the one on the left. He still needs to be antiqued, but I'm very happy with the way his coat turned out. It's funny how you start with one thought on a piece and go in a totally different direction sometimes.
This fella above started out as a simple Santa with no frills, but when I started to paint him, the paint brush took over and before I knew it I was deep into a design that took much longer than I planned. Although the photo is less than stellar I hope you can see the detail. There are several layers of paints for each stripe. He was done with a Christmas ornament in mind, at least the colors are from one I have, but the different patterns were of my own choosing. So simple he ended up not being, but fun to paint in any case.
This Americana Santa has a bit different spin, but I really like the way he turned out. I can't wait to finish the antiquing and get him ready to send off. I still need to do a few more, but these are destined for Reasons to Believe.
It's time to hit the sack for the day, and I know I will have visions of Santa's and Mad Hatters and White Rabbits dancing in my dreams. I'm excited to see what the new year will bring, aren't you?

Celebrate 365 and Our AHA Artists

Another wonderful publication by Connie Porcher arrived in the mail! Yes, I'm a tad behind the 8 ball here, but the holiday rush took over and stampeded any hopes of sharing this sooner.
The line up of AHA artists featured in this issue include, besides me (blush):
Amelia Schaefer - www.sweetbfolkart.blogspot.com
Dawn Tubbs - www.boyhowdie.com
Johanna Parker - www.johannaparkerdesign.blogspot.com
Kathy Hunka - www.primsicalstudios.blogspot.com
Nancy Malay - www.nancymalay.com
Robin Seeber - www.outsidetheboxprimitives.com
Susan Verndoerhook - www.seasonalwhimsies.blogspot.com

There was an article featuring Susan and the Artistry of Poland piece she designed of which we are so proud. Yes, we do take part ownership as she is one of our group leaders and it's such a thrill to see one of our members succeed! If you haven't gotten a subscription to Celebrate 365 think about it as a New Year's resolution!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


After I finished reading scriptures this morning I sat looking at the lights blinking on the Christmas tree. I could hear the individual tinkle as each light that twinkles would go on and off. My husband is starting to find the lights annoying, but they are a part of my past, so I will cut down on the number of blinking lights in the future. I may have gone over board this year....lol.

It occurred to me that the tree is looking more and more like the one I grew up with than the one my children did.
Each year I search for ornaments that are like the ones we had on the tree when I was a child. I've found Italian indent ornaments with different scenes, though we only had one when I was growing up. I've purchased a snowman, an angel and others for my children's collections. The stencil ornaments like the Silent Night one you see above is one I want to incorporate into a design I have in mind, but we had several of those.
Oh sure, I still have a lot of the home made ornaments like the angel in the photo above, as well as the tin can lid punched heart ornament and the hand painted bird house. The counted cross stitch ornament below is another I made years ago, as well as the cinnamon star with snowman painted on him and the wooden soldier I made out of a tree branch and popcicle sticks. As my children have grown up though I have passed some of those along to them.
So why not ask my parents for some of the old ornaments? Well, after their divorce our living conditions dropped dramatically. At one point we lived in a tiny home that was pepto bismol pink with white trim. It seemed to be a favorite haven for earwigs, which are evil looking creatures that find their way into everything. It was so bad we had to shake our clothes out before putting them on as there might be one lurking in a pant leg. Ugghhh, I still get shivers thinking about it. The wood stove in the living room had a pipe that would separate sometimes so we would wake up smelling like we'd been camping. Not good for a teenager who liked to smell pretty so as to attract boys attention. The second summer we were there we had a grease fire when someone forgot to turn off the burner under the frying pan full of oil, or perhaps my little brother had turned the burner back on. Let me tell you it was a blessing in some ways. So we moved into a better place in a better location with no bugs but the occasional spider all homes seem to have. That Christmas though we discovered that our Christmas decorations were missing. They had been in the shed at the old place and were forgotten in all the turmoil going on then. We went back to find them, but they were gone. Oh, it was devastating indeed as we were so poor and surely couldn't afford to buy all new stuff! Our hearts were broken as we knew we would never be able to replace the different and what we thought were unique ornaments we had. And yes, some will never be replaced as we had done up some satin ball ornaments with sequins that turned out so pretty. Luckily for us Mom had some good friends who came to our rescue and bought us all gifts and had us over for dinner and such to help brighten our Christmas and try to make up for what we had lost. Their kindness has never been forgotten though they are long gone.

So fast forward to today, with ebay and yard sales and second hand stores as well as antique stores. I have been searching and finding some to replace the ones lost. No, most aren't in very good shape but I still hope against hope that I will be able to find nice ones that can be passed on.
Why go through all the trouble you may be thinking. There is always an air of excitement when the decorations are pulled out and we gather to dress up the tree. I remember as a child having my favorites, and yes, we did argue about who could hang what each year until Mom decided to have us take turns. She always seemed to know from year to year, who hung what the year before. My children had their own as each has a themed ornament collection so that wasn't a problem. When the tree is done we can all sit back and enjoy our efforts together. My grandson brought it home to me last week as he came over for a visit and had me sit with him on the floor as we looked up at the tree. He tucked his tiny hand in mine and made little comments on the different ornaments and we just enjoyed the twinkling lights and the time together. I want my children and grandchildren to have a piece of the past to carry forward, and I want them to feel the same pleasure we did as we dressed up the tree and then sat and enjoyed the light show on the walls and listened for the twinkling lights. I want them to have a glimpse of what it was like for us before our world came apart, and I want them to build the same memories with their children. Time is so precious, so sharing peaceful, quiet, reflective times help strengthen bonds. Sure we could do that with any ornaments on the tree, but since my children never knew my mom, I want to find ways to share a part of her in all our family gatherings. This is just one way I can do that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

This lovely gingerbread home was created by me years ago when we lived in North Pole, Alaska. The Fairbanks Daily Newsminer would have a gingerbread house contest every year which was a fun challenge for me. I'd learned how to create on when we were stationed on Adak, out on the Aleutian chain. The first year the Newsminer had their contest I was grand champion, and went on to win 2 more grand champion ribbons and a first place before life slowed me down. This home is entirely of ginger bread, with gum drop lights, stick candy light posts and porch columns, sugar wafer cookie shutters and flower boxes, melted Life Saver candy windows, chocolate Non-pariel wafer roof tiles, rock candy chimney, Red Vines "bricks" and loads of red hots for lights around the roof eaves as well as the trim on the windows and as embellishments on the roof. The tree is made from a sugar cone and spearmint leaves. The fence and white fancy trim on the house was made using royal icing. As I look at this house the memories flood back, of the hours of work, the tons of candy we consumed as I created these, the fun the kids had in tearing these apart on New Years day. We all entered houses one year as a family, each of the kids did their own, and they all got ribbons.
I would love to do another one for fun, but we don't have a place for it right now. So I will wait until we move to Oregon, but perhaps Emmett and I can make a little out of graham crackers. I do miss the selection of candy I could find back then. Anyway, if you have plans to put one together here's a couple of tips to keep you from going nuts. First, as you are baking the pieces as you pull them out of the oven immediately put the patterns back over the pieces and trim them with a sharp knife. Your pieces will grow as all cookies do in the oven so in order for your house to fit together you need to trim. If they get crunchy before you have a chance to trim all of them put them back in the oven to warm them up and they should soften up enough to cut. Second, make sure you bake them well. If they stay too soft, they will not hold up,especially in damp climates. The gingerbread house we made in Sitka started to sag in the middle of the roof because of the high humidity there. Third, and my last tip, melt sugar in the largest frying pan you have. You will use this for the glue to hold the pieces together. Just dip each house edge you want to attach to another in the melted sugar, place carefully and press together. It hardens almost immediately and holds all things well. Any drips you make using this will be covered with frosting so don't worry if you get a little messy. You will get better with practice.
If you do make a gingerbread house I would love to see pictures!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Featured Artist in at American Holiday Artists & Etsy Treasury

This little fella has been featured at American Holiday Artists and in an in an Etsy treasury: http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=99444. Thank you to Becca of seasonsart1031 !

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Ho Ho Christmas Time!

We have a new term around our home, "Ho Ho Christmas". My oldest grandson ( I actually have 2 now) calls everything related to Christmas "Ho Ho Christmas". When we play with play dough he asks me to make a Ho Ho Christmas tree for him and so it goes. Aaaah, the joy of having him
close! I wish the other grandchildren were closer as well, but I will take what I can get for now.
Do you think perhaps the reason Emmett came up with "Ho Ho Christmas" has to do with all
the Santa figures that keep popping up around my home? No..... it couldn't be that.........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Victorian Style Santa Make-do

Mrs. Claus has been so busy trying to get Santa's new suit made, she's behind on the cookies, but now that she's finished she can get baking. He's a handsome one if I do say so myself. Take a peek at him on Ebay

Saturday, November 14, 2009

How am I doing so far? WIP

This is getting exciting! I've never quite made a Santa this way before, and so far I'm really having fun! The beard is done, and now on to the mustache and eyebrows. Then the hat...

EVolution: Coming Soon...

EVolution: Coming Soon...

Friday, November 13, 2009

To antique or not to antique, that is the question...

I often wonder as I get to the finish of projects whether I should antique or not. What are your feelings about this? Do you feel it adds or can it detract from a piece. The head with no hair is destined to be a make do Santa on a vintage milk glass lamp base. I've been waiting to use the base for a long time, and have wanted to create a Santa doll as well. This is a start. So what do you think, should I or shouldn't I antique? I would love your opinion!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Conventional....or Not?

I was coloring with my grandson the other day when it occurred to me that I'm a conventional artist. Even as a small child, when Mom would get on the floor and color with me, I was very particular about staying within the lines. I don't know if that idea came from her, or I was already there mentally. I know she encouraged me to stay within the defining lines on my color book pages, but she also taught me how to shade, where to put the shadows, and what colors I could use. Even that was fairly well defined, for instance if I was coloring a flower yellow, the shading color was a gold, or if red, I would use a crimson for shadows.
I find that as I am learning to paint, I have discovered that purple is a great shading color for red in my still life paintings. There are more that I can't think of right now, but it has opened a whole new world to see that I don't necessarily always have to go with a similar color to get the results I want. In fact, I should be looking for the true shadow color. Snow scenes are fun as the shadows can be purples, blues, peach or pink, grays, a myriad of color depending on the sunlight, and the mood you are trying to create.
With sculpting I still tend to be conventional in that I really like the old world look and have a hard time with whimsy. My favorite children's books have classic illustrations, even though there are a few illustrators such as Suzanne Urban of Smirking Goddess Studio that I would love to see create a children's story book with their delightful, whimsical, unique creations.
What sort of artist are you? Conventional, whimsical, abstract?
For a look at more of my Santa's created for this season stop by Reasons to Believe

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

PFATT Offerings for November

A snowman ACEO with a lot of charm. He comes with an easel or I can attach a hanger.
Vintage Style snowman ornament.
Gourd Snowman with sled. Hand sculpted as all my pieces are.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Antique Vintage Hand Pieced quilt block Variety

For any of you doll makers or Primitive artists, here's a wonderful deal! Go to my Simply Sheryl's
link on ebay and I have starting at 99 cents, some wonderful antique quilt blocks. I can see some real possibilities here so don't delay!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New WIPs and a Mother's Dream tradition

Each year I work on new Christmas card designs, primarily to send to friends and family, but this year I'm looking into some licensing venues thanks to some very dear friends. The design on the right is finished, the one on the left needs the finishing touches. How am I doing so far? One of my collectors asked for snowmen so I got inspired and busy. Hope you like them.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sharing and sharing again!

I have to share a wonderful give away prize I won after I had wandered over to TDIPT and got my name in for a give away they were having. Ivonne of The Crackling Crows Designed the gorgeous banner I received. She has some wonderful holiday banners so run on over to the link above and see what she and all the other talented artisans at TDIPT have to offer.

New snowman art on ebay.

Monday, November 2, 2009


NO NO NO....these aren't the winners, Cathy Darling of Pure Art Studios is! She gets to choose from either one of these. Thanks to all who participated. I will have to think up something fun for Thanksgiving. Have a great week all!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Favorite Halloween Movies - Giveaway

If you haven't seen this one, rent it this week! It's tradition for us to watch this every year just before Halloween.
Can you guess who the murderers are?
What's in the window seat boys?
The best tag line for this photo will win you a free Halloween ornament. No, it doesn't have to be from the movie. Be creative! I can't wait to see what you come up with. I will pick a winner on Sunday, or let Hubby do it, and send out your "treat" on Monday if I get your mailing address by then. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Primitive Victorian Retro Vintage Christmas?

Christmas is the icing on the cake as we slowly slide into winter. We've put the gardens to bed, the harvest is lined up in gleaming rows of jars in the pantry or frosty bags of goodies in the freezer. We've shared a Thanksgiving feast with loved ones, celebrating the good things we've been blessed with this year. Now all the trimmings are up in the house, evoking a sense of warmth and childlike delight as we anticipate the gift giving season.

As an artist who has created Santa figures and ornaments for years, I have tried many styles, and love them all. My collection of decorations that I've either purchased or created spans the gamut of many styles, with the exception of western or northwoods, even though I haven't left that out on purpose. I do love the rustic woodsy style that's found in many a northern home, and I am toying with the idea of a western themed Santa or two for fun.

What is your style? Do you have a strict theme or color scheme, or are you more eclectic, gathering decorations or collectibles that catch your eye?

My original one of a kind hand sculpted ornament above can be found here:http://www.pfattmarketplace.com/mothersdreamartworks.html

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, Monday.....

Not so good to me at the start, with fussy twins, and an even fussier grandson. The creeping gumboo has been going around our town and everyone is not at their best. We are coming out the other side of this though, and things are looking up.
The twins are napping, such sweet little darlings! Grandson is home now, so grandma is listing items on ebay and etsy. Check out my links to see what's new, and what's ready to end. Hope you are having a wonderful Monday.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Quick Dash in to Share

My newest creation on etsy. Click on my link to the right to learn more.
And a little someone I just put up on ebay.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blaaah...Blaaah....I want to.....

Okay.....we won't go there....but here are my latest ebay listings. This fiendish fellow was found hiding in my veggie patch. I captured him, and turned him into something useful. Be careful if you still have a garden to put to bed as Bunnicula is out to spread the fun.....
And lest we forget the upcoming Christmas season, which most of the stores are already putting up by now....sheesh.... I know it seems inconsistent doesn't it? But really now, I want to see Autumn decor in the stores until after Thanksgiving and then they can go Christmas crazy. As for creating Christmas stuff to sell? Well folks are buying so I'm selling! :-) both these pieces can be found by clicking on my ebay button to the left.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

PFATT Unveiled!

Just a few of the offerings I have at PFATT this month. The cat candlestick/candy dish is a funky and fun creation.
My Man in the Moon mixed media art piece is a one of a kind original.
The snowman print comes with a hand painted frame.
My hubby's personal favorite is the gourdeous gourd fella above.
A gathering of Santas, 2 gourd ornaments and one driftwood fella, all can be bought together for a slight break, or purchased separately. These all make wonderful gifts so get your shopping done early! I've already sold the crock you will see on PFATT but the rest are available.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


A sneaky peek at at least two of my gatherings for PFATT this month. There will be several Halloween pieces to choose from, 3 Santas and a gathering of snowmen that I am finishing up as I write....oh yes! I'm multitasking!