Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wreck This Journal: Intro & Coffee Stains

I found this great book on Amazon called Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. I’m having a bit of a creative crisis and needed something new to spark and spice things up a bit. The prompts in this book are great – really outside the box. Some of the things I have already finished include numbering all the pages and (gasp!) cracking the spine. Now it won’t lay flat, which is what my perfectionist mind really likes. I am stepping out of my comfort zone. I love books and tend to treat books well. Now I am forced to think differently about what is in front of me and of my art materials.

Wreck This Journal: Coffee Stains

This is my coffee page. The directions: “Pour, spill, drip, spit, fling your coffee here.” I followed each instruction. The spitting part was fun! The coffee soaked through at least 10 other pages. I have officially wrecked this journal!

The byline of the book is “To create is to destroy.” My mind has latched onto this idea. You have to destroy a perfectly blank piece of paper to make a drawing. You have to ruin a perfectly good tube of paint to make a painting. You have to shake things up now and again to stay fresh.

I decline to spoil the future fun by spilling the rest of the book’s activity secrets now. You’ll just have to keep reading to find out!!

So go out there today and create/destroy something!! Let me know what you did in the comments!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shipping Deadlines for Christmas 2008

There is still time to buy for yourself or loved ones in my Etsy shop. The Christmas shipping order deadline is 2 PM EST on Saturday, December 20th. Order by then and I will scurry to the Post Office. They tell me you will have your packages on time for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I think our plans include going to my mother’s for Christmas Eve to open gifts, then to my sister’s house for Christmas Day. My sister is making the traditional homemade pasta sauce with all the yummy meats cooked in it for a long time. So delicious! She is such a good cook because she learned from the best – my mom!

I hope your holiday plans include loved ones and friends. Have a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Etsy Artist Feature: The Midnight Orange

If you have been reading at all then you know how I just love paper. And I love paper crafters. So when I saw The Midnight Orange’s work at the Buffalo Indie Market on Sunday I knew I had to share her work with you!

Also known as Dana Truesdale, The Midnight Orange has a nice selection of objects de art in her shop. But what captured my attention most were her altered assemblages. She makes little match box dressers out of chipboard and paper. They are cute and useful at the same time! The legs are made of things you would not normally think of as legs. This one has seedpods for legs!

I asked Dana how she got started making the matchbox assemblages.

“We had a primitive childhood and lived out in the woods. Often we made our own things to play with because the store was just so far away! I had an entire dollhouse full of handmade miniatures, and I used matchboxes for anything in the home that had a drawer. The tables were the front-runners in terms of aesthetics, and I still continued to make them for fun as I grew up. Later on someone recommended I use chipboard to reinforce the top and bottom, and it really perfected the design.”

Her favorite source for inspiration:

“My kids. They are just like me when I was young, and it helps me stay true to my roots. I often will give them a few basic things to play with and just watch them use their imaginations to make it fun and functional.”

What she wants you to know:

“My work is very eclectic and the variety is diverse. My hope is that my browsers and buyers will see that the message transcends the medium and within my shop they will find whimsy, high emotion, and ordinary things turned extraordinary. My shop sections will allow people to experience my work with more consistency and help them target what they may be looking for. Lastly, I want to say that I am humbled. Just humbled beyond compare to be here and be doing this. It is a privilege to be able to feed people's art souls.”

Dana also makes something I believe is really great for healing or get well gifts... a spoonful of sugar!

Go check out her shop! She has more lovelies than I covered here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Buffalo Indie Market Review

We did it! We did our first craft show in Buffalo! And the drive was not so bad as I had the good company of my hunny and my dad!

The Buffalo Indie Market was held at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery, which is in a very old brick building in downtown Buffalo near the baseball stadium. I adore really old buildings. Over 40 craft show vendors were on hand. This show consisted of 100% handmade vendors, no resellers and no home party vendors. Live music was played throughout the day. Attendance was exceptional! I didn’t know what to expect this being our first time at this show. It was a much younger demographic than the craft shows in Rochester get. That made me happy as that is my target market.

The big sellers were the Scrabble tile pendants and altered domino ornaments. Maybe I should drop some other product lines and focus on making things that sell for $10 or less. The economy is affecting how people spend and I want to adapt to that to stay afloat until things get better.

All in all, I’m happy with how the show turned out and look forward to doing another one soon. This particular show is held on the second Sunday of each month so we will be going back again in 2009. I’ll keep you posted as to when!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I’m an Expert?

I love how Twitter is connecting me to really neat people and projects. Through Twitter I found out about


“Wishpot is a free social shopping service that makes it easy to save and share interesting things you find in stores and online. Items are easily collected online or from stores and organized using simple online lists. Lists and items can be kept private or shared with others. You can collect and discover products you like, recommend your favorite stuff, share and explore gift suggestions or ask for opinions and advice.”

They recently opened up part of Wishpot to be exclusively for Indie (independent) artists and designers. This section features all handmade items, not that mass-produced junk you see all over. Real people make these things and make a real living doing so.

I was asked to become an Indie Expert at the Indie channel on! I’m not entirely sure I am an expert at anything, being such a jill-of-all-trades, but then I thought, “Why not me as an Indie Expert?” I know about the importance of buying handmade, the hard work of artists, how much work it takes to do it Indie style, and the power of social shopping sites and creating community between artists and buyers. So maybe I am an expert at something!

My goal is to share with you my recommendations of Indie artists and designers through my lists at and through the Wishpot Indie blog. I’ve met great people over the past year being on Etsy and Twitter. I’ve discovered lots of really neat art and crafts. And I love love love the go-get-‘em attitude of Indie artists!

Please check out my lists. I have something for everyone, even your hard-to-shop-for man!! Check back often as I am adding new recommendations all the time! And feel free to let me know of your favorite Indie artists and designers in the comments. I'll add them to my lists!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Featured at Bloomacious!

Silent Night Ornament - Altered Domino - Stocking Stuffer - Gift Decoration

My altered domino ornaments are featured on today!

Carrie Leber, Editorial Director of bloomacious, contacted me last week after seeing my dominos on flickr. She wanted to know what my inspiration was! Go check out the post to read more about it!

I’m so excited! Can you tell? So many wonderful things and connections with my online community have been happening this week. I feel so blessed to have my work validated in this way. After a couple lousy craft shows this year I have been asking myself “what am I doing wrong?” That’s when I decided to let go of my expectations for this business and just do what I love doing. What happened? Sales online increased, several great opportunities have come my way, and I’ve made many new friends online. Who knows what will happen next?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sock Monkey Slippers

These were too funny to leave at the store. Plus I needed new slippers as my old slippers caused me to slip and fall halfway down my stairs.

FYI: I sprained my right wrist, but not too badly. Custom orders are going to take me a bit longer to make. But rest assured that if you place your custom order by December 10th, they will be ready to ship for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Custom Domino Ornaments: Moose & Puppy

Moose Ornament - Custom Order

Black Lab Puppy Ornament - Custom Order

BellaTuJewelry from Etsy asked me to create two custom domino ornaments for her. She requested a moose and a black lab puppy. I love doing custom orders!

The moose was a bit tricky. Lots of antlers and little space to show them.

So you know… the deadline for all Christmas custom orders is December 10th. It’s approaching fast! Get your orders in now. The sooner the better!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Moonflower Handcrafted Gallery: New Shop Opening in East Rochester, NY

Recently I received a consignment offer from Moonflower Handcrafted Gallery. They are a local gallery featuring local handmade items. The Grand Opening is this Thursday, December 4th from 5 - 9 pm. The Gallery is located at 330 West Commercial Street in East Rochester, NY. I hope you can come help Brandi and her family celebrate all their hard work.

Among my soldered collage pendants, she will be carrying my felted items, Christmas cards, altered domino ornaments, Scrabble tile pendants, and glass tile magnets.

The shop, although not completely set up yet as of yesterday, looks great. It’s cozy and comfortable. The displays are creative. The few items I saw there were wonderful. I know this shop is going to be a success!

Other local artist they have work from: b.meg designs, Duck Harbor Design, The Lolly Shop, The Naughty Dog Boutique, Albina Rose, Carla Morris, and Ten Little Toes.

I'm looking forward to being part of such a creative group!

UPDATE: Shop hours are:
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday: closed
Wednesday 12 - 6 pm
Thursday 12 - 8 pm
Friday 12 - 6 pm
Saturday 12 - 5 pm

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm an Elf!!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It Went Well!

I’m really not one to toot my own horn very often, but we did the best we ever did at a craft show today. Mind you we’ve only done a handful of shows. So I’m all giddy.

The attendance at the Irondequoit High School was fantastic. As I drove around town this week I kept seeing signs they put up to advertise the show. It was in several papers, too. The promoters do a really good job of promoting. It helps that this show has been going on for 30+ years.

Our spot was by the front doors as I expected. Turns out that’s a great place to be set up. Everyone had to walk by our table to get to the rest of the show. I hope we can get the same spot for next year.

We sold half of the domino Christmas ornaments, half of the glass tile magnets, and half of the Scrabble tile pendants. My mother had to run home and get supplies so I could make more ribbon necklaces to go with the Scrabble tile pendants.

I’m really looking forward to the Buffalo Indie Market show on December 14th. I have inventory to stock up on so I better get busy. I’m meeting with a local shop for a consignment deal tomorrow. I might have more to catch up on than I think right now.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Your Weekend Plans Include Me!

Looking for something to do this Saturday, November 29th? Join me at the Irondequoit High School Arts & Crafts Show from 10 am to 4 pm! The school is located at 260 Cooper Road in West Irondequoit, NY, just north of Rochester.

Our booth will be set up in the common area, which I am told is by the front doors to the school. This is a very well attended show and has been going on for many years. It’s a fundraiser for the Irondequoit High School baseball team. I know a few other crafters who will be at the show so I can assure you of high quality items at good prices.

Come on down and support your local economy and local artists!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving ATC

I hope each and every one of you has a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving!!

As for me, I will be at my mom’s place eating things with lots of butter in them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Etsy Artist Feature: Beadwork by Amanda Preske

I met a marvelous artist at the Community Nursery School of Irondequoit Craft Show today by the name of Amanda Preske. She makes the most striking, intricate beaded jewelry.

In addition to being an avid jeweler, she is a chemistry student at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her work reminds me of complex molecular structures, almost like she is weaving atoms together. I find it interesting how artists’ lives play out in their work and always enjoy when the two marry so well, as in Amanda’s instance. This piece especially makes me think of long, crystalline chains of atoms.

Her work has been awarded a silver key in a scholastic art competition in the jewelry division. She is a member of the Etsy BeadWeavers Team.

A free pair of earrings accompanies every purchase from her Etsy shop. How nice! Specify what colors you want when you check out. If you find something in her shop you like but want a different color, just ask. She’s open to custom orders.

Amanda offers jewelry parties in your home with some really great deals. Hostesses receive 20% off purchases at the party and an additional 5% off for every $100 in sales. Everyone who attends receives a free gift. I’m sure you and your friends will enjoy her work. More information is available here.

Her website has a page of some of her creations that are not yet offered in her shop but are incredibly nice. They are worth a look-see!

Visit her site for a 20% off coupon good at a craft show or mention this offer in a message if you purchase an item from Etsy.

Amanda, I wish you much joy and success in all your endeavors! I’m looking forward to seeing you again at the craft show at Irondequoit High School on November 29th!

Images used with permission from the artist, Amanda Preske.

Craft Show Today!!

My Etsy shop is closed down because I’m bringing my entire inventory to the Community Nursery School of Irondequoit’s Craft & Bake Sale fundraiser.

Date: Sunday, November 23rd – TODAY!!

Time: 12 noon to 5 pm

Location: Irondequoit United Church of Christ, 644 Titus Ave, West Irondequoit 14617

Details: “Please come join us from 12pm to 5pm at the United Church of Christ on Titus Ave in West Irondequoit for the CNSI Craft and Bake Sale to support our preschool.

We have vendors and crafters showing and selling for all your gift giving needs. Please come sample some tasty treats from our bake sale as you shop.

We are also having Door Prizes for you to win! All proceeds go to funding the preschool for this year.

Plenty of parking! **FREE admission!**”

So you can see why I’m excited! My sister helped organize this event and I’m proud to have been invited to participate. Now I just have to control myself around all those baked goodies all day!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Photo Studio

Right now my photo studio for my art is my dining room table. Not a great place for this but it was the only clean table I had at the time. (Note to self: clean the studio.) This is what it looks like when I’m taking pictures of domino ornaments.

Photographing Ornaments

The lights are two shop lamps with regular household light bulbs. My hunny made the wood bases for me to clamp my lights on. What you cannot see is my camera and tripod set up as I was using it to take this photo. I assure you, I do use a tripod.

In order to get the best color I recommend using the custom white balance setting on your camera if you have one. Hold up a piece of white paper in front of your camera in your studio lighting and set the custom white balance. This tells your camera what is “white” in this particular lighting. I had to do very little lighting or color corrections to my photos thanks to this trick. Editing these pictures took no time at all as I just had to crop and resize them for the web.

I’m giving away all my secrets here, people. Take notes.

I would prefer to take my pictures with natural sunlight, but here in Rochester I’ll be waiting forever for the sun to cooperate. The nice thing about my set up is that it is portable… for when I get a spot in my studio to take pictures. Plus it’s not hard to break down when we want to have dinner in our dining room.

Domino Ornament Collage

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shuffle Off to Buffalo…

… for the Buffalo Indie Market on Sunday, December 14th from 12 pm to 5 pm!! I’ll be there at the Pearl Street Grill and Brewery with my wares!

I’ve already blogged about how great the Buffalo Indie Market is at promoting indie craftsters like me. The show has been gaining popularity in its short run as a monthly handmade arts and crafts show. The organizer, Mary Stephens McGinnis, seems to work tirelessly at promoting and offering the artists in her area a chance to advertise and be part of something big! So that’s why I’m going to drive 1.5 hours to celebrate the holidays with the Buffalo Indie Market. Won’t you join me? Included in this fun day are live music performances and artist workshops and demos!

You may not know this but here at In My Head Studios, I make much more than just collage pendants, domino ornaments, and greeting cards. At this show I will have felted bags, bowls, necklaces, bracelets, and pins, a few pieces of fine art and collage, some ACEOs, and handmade glass tile magnets. There may be few more surprises as well!

1. Heart and Family Altered Domino Christmas Tree Ornament - Live Laugh Love, 2. Dove Altered Domino Ornament, 3. Fly Away Home Pendant :: Front, 4. Queen of Hats ATC, 5. Blue Sparkly Felt Bead Necklace, 6. "Coffee Lover" Double Sided Art Collage Pendant :: Front, 7. Bird's Nest : Felted ATC, 8. Weaved Felted Bead Necklace :: Close Up, 9. Pink Sherbet & Classic Beige Felted Wristlet Bags

If you can’t make this show then I will also be at the Irondequoit High School on Saturday, November 29th from 10 am to 4 pm.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Product Launch – Altered Domino Christmas Ornaments

I’m so excited to be rolling out a new product line today! Aren’t you excited, too?! I can feel that you are!

Heart and Family Altered Domino Christmas Tree Ornament - Live Laugh Love

Fancy Tree Altered Domino Christmas Tree Ornament

Ta Da! Altered domino Christmas tree ornaments!

Several years ago I mentioned to my eternally-garage-sale-going grandmother that I needed some dominos to make art with. She promptly found about 700. What to do? Make lots of things with dominos.

Some of them are very very old. The wood ones are all vintage antiques. The bigger dominos are the plastic kind.

I’ve really enjoyed making these. I was hoping my canvas would be expanding from 1” x 1” to something bigger. But these are still about the same size only a slightly different orientation. For some reason I gravitate towards making things that are really small with tiny bits of paper. My eyesight isn’t going to tolerate this much longer!

I have about 20 of these made so keep watching my shop for new additions!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembrance ATC

Remembrance ATC

The MAMMA flickr group theme last week was “remembrance”. Preparations for my craft show took precedence, and I did not get my entry done in time for the swap. But I thought the theme was worth spending some time on.

My mom has all these great photo albums of my relatives, lots of neat antique photos. Looking through them reminds me of where I’ve come from. Both my maternal great grandparents came off the boat from Sicily. I hope someday to visit the place of my ancestors.

This photo of my mom’s parents reminds me of how much they loved each other. They were together for 64 years when my grandfather passed a few years ago. I miss both of them greatly. I like to do things to honor their memories. I made a big shadowbox collage about my maternal grandmother I’ll show you someday.

The background was made a few months ago with gel medium and acrylic paint. Then I stitched the border on my sewing machine in brown thread. The lace was a gift from my grandmother. I have a box of old buttons I like to draw from for my ATCs. The metallic element that says “parents” came from my hunt at the Dollar Store for collage items. Nice score, I think.

I’m not sure when this photo of my Grandma Ann and Grandpa Chris was taken. Maybe when he was on leave from Korea or just returning home or right before he left. Aren’t these two just beautiful?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Craft Show News

Craft Show Table at Casa Larga

The Holiday Arts & Crafts Show went well for a Thursday show. I’m thinking it maybe just was not my crowd. I need to find shows that cater to a younger group. But the people were super friendly. The organization was great. The scenery was to die for. And the altered domino Christmas ornaments were a hit. (Pictures coming soon.)

Casa Large Winery is one of the highest points in Monroe County. The view was fabulous of the splendid fall colors.

I had met Stephanie Tadio of Pinetree Designs online a few weeks ago. So it was a blast getting to meet her in person. I love meeting “online” friends in the real world. She was so kind and friendly, and I hope we see more of each other. Her work is great! I love people who do things with tiny pieces of paper!

Very funny story for this show: It was my first with these organizers. I’ll admit I am short and look young for my age, very young, like teenager young. The organizer came over and told me how wonderful my table display and artwork was, and that folks had been telling her how impressed they were by the “very young woman” at my booth. I confessed to being 33 years old. I thought she was going to fall down. People thought that I was maybe 17, tops.

Was it my lack of make up, my Converse sneakers, or that both my parents were there and they don’t look their age either? I don’t know, but this keeps happening and it’s sort of freaking me out at this point. Should I ask my hairdresser sister to make my gray streak bigger? Should I make myself a pendant that says “33 year old” in it and wear that at shows? My mother used to get this all the time, too, as she never looked her age. At 40 she was accosted by my 7th grade vice-principal for having her sunglasses on in the school building, a no-no at the time. The vice-principal thought she was no more than an 8th grader!

The next show I’m doing is on Saturday, November 29th at the Irondequoit High School at 260 Cooper Road from 10 am to 4 pm. Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Double the Fun

I got a treasury on Etsy today. Please check out the cool collage artists! I love vintage photos. Do you need some new ancestors?

Need Some New Ancestors?
Click HERE to visit the treasury!

ginamstudio put my Fairy collage pendant in a Twitter treasury! I’m so honored! Thank you!!

twitter treasury
Click HERE to visit the treasury!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Holiday Arts & Crafts Show at Casa Larga Winery

Christmas Domino Ornaments
Altered Domino Christmas Ornaments

Yoo hoo to the local peeps in Rochester, New York! I’ll be at the Holiday Arts & Crafts Show at Casa Larga Winery on Thursday, November 6th from 10 am to 7 pm.

There will be wine tastings and a local food drive for the Perinton Food Shelf, Advent House and Pittsford Women’s Club. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will also be there! That’s classy! There’s no admission fee, and there is a door prize of a $25 gas card!!

Won’t you join me? Get your holiday shopping started early!

2008 Election Results

Obama won! So did other people I voted for locally. I’m happy. I’m scared.

I’m not one for political blogging. But I’m afraid of where our country is headed, Obama or not. We have to get our acts together and take care of our children’s futures. We have to shore up health care for all who need it. We have to fix Social Security or it won’t be there when I “retire”. Something has to be done about the economy, but do not ask me what. That whole thing confuses me. Mr. M tries explaining the nitty gritties and my eyes glaze over. But it needs to be fixed somehow soon. People are going to starve. Small business like this one might cave. (Don’t worry. We are not going anywhere.) So many other things need fixing that my head just spins.

So to all who won an election race yesterday, God speed. And to those who lost, I hope you find solace that we are all in this together, and there is still more work to be done.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finding Words in Books for Collage: A Tutorial

I like to use words in my collages, but was having trouble finding the ones I wanted. The only way to find them was to read, read, read until I found what I was looking for or gave up. Then I remembered Google book search.

You can search the contents of a book by the words you want. So now all I have to do is go to the site (, find a copy of the book I’m cutting words from, and type in what I’m trying to find. Easy peasy.

For example, I have a copy of Winter Wheat by Mildred Walker I’m using to chop up for collage words. I search for that book at When I find it, I type in the box on the right side of the page for what I am searching for. It gives me the page number and the sentence the word is in. Voila!

You may not find an exact copy of the book you have in your hands, so the page numbers may be a bit off in your copy. But at least you have a place to start.

This saved my sanity and might save yours as well. Not that I’m implying anything. ☺

Now go sacrifice a book to your muse!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Queen of Bling ATC

Bling Queen

The MAMMA theme for the week: BLING! If you know me at all, you know I am not of bling. I am bland when it comes to girly things like jewelry and makeup. Makeup is something I maybe put on once or twice a year. Most of the jewelry I wear is something I made. The bling theme stumped me until I located a picture from the collage image group on flickr. I found this heavily adorned woman image that screamed “BLING ME!” I pulled out old costume jewelry and all the rhinestones I could find. She needed to be over-the-top! I kept going until there was nowhere left to add more bling. Glitter did not come into play, and I may have to do something about that post haste.

My decision to keep this one is selfish, I know. I really like her and want to hang her on my wall. If I had time I would make another for the swap but the list for partners will be posted soon. Plus I don’t have time this week to deal with a swap as I have my first craft show of the season on November 6th. So busy making things for the booth. More about the show soon!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Vintage Tag ATC Swap

photo by nayski - used with permission

I received my vintage tag artist trading card (ATC) swap from nayski on Saturday. Isn’t it lovely? So sweet, so vintage, so pink! The butterfly is such a nice touch. I’m a sucker for paper lace, and this one has some at the bottom. Now I really need to string my line up to display my cards! This one is too wonderful to just leave sitting on my desk.

I should note for all you ATC traders out there: please put your cards in a plastic bag or sleeve when you mail them. My mail got soaked from a bad rainstorm, and this card would have been ruined were it not for the plastic bag in which it was shipped. I just ordered some ATC sleeves that seal up for this reason.

Nayski included some extra goodies for me as well. She sent printed paper, little playing cards, a ticket, ribbon, and some words that are little brads. Joy! Thank you, nayski!!

The rest of nayski’s flickr photostream has some amazing artwork. Her paining style is unique, and I love it.

Dreamer by nayski

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Take This Little Witch Home

Halloween is fast approaching. Get this little sweetie in time with a fabulous deal to boot. I am offering free USPS Priority shipping today only plus $5.00 off the purchase price. How cool is that?!

Halloween Collage Art Pendant on Etsy

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time Flies ATC

The MAMMA theme this week is “black and white”. When I read it I thought, “There’s just no way I can nix color!!” But I did my best, and here is the result.

Time Flies ATC

The clock face with wings was stamped on white cardstock with clear Versamark ink and then embossed clear over it. I colored in the image with a black marker to create the inverse effect. The rest of the card is lace, more stamping, eyelets, a bow, and words printed on my printer. Not too complicated, but on the whole I am happy with the overall effect.

Off to the MAMMA photo pool it goes and gets assigned a swap partner on Saturday!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Swap Arrival!

My first Artist Trading Card (ATC) swap arrived today from the United Kingdom. shadfan66 created this card. I really like it! The theme was “home sweet home”. This swap was part of the Maggie’s Monday Musings (MAMMA) flickr group.

I was really honored today to discover that Maggie had given my vintage tag ATC an award! All of the entries this week were out of this world. The members of this group really shined.

I’m sending my vintage tag ATC to nayski. I already peeked at her photos to see the card I am going to get from her, but she entered two. I don’t know which one I’ll be getting. Looking up my swap partner’s card is killing the surprise for me, and I’m going to stop doing it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Queen of Hats ATC

Queen of Hats ATC

This is my MAMMA artist trading card (ATC) entry for this week’s theme of vintage tags.

I created the background with book pages torn and collaged with gel medium. Some rusty brown paints added “age” to it. The woman is from some flickr collage image group, if my memory serves me. Her hat is festooned with a lock of fancy yarn. Vintage lace and buttons adorn the bottom. A brass grommet holds the opening for all the frilly lace and ribbons at the top. The words were stamped using brown dye ink and steel letter punches.

I have not made a tag ATC before this one. The fluffy bits at the top make me happy. It makes the card seem more full.

I’m almost tempted to not trade this one, as I would really like to hang it in my studio. Maybe I’ll make myself one, too. I should just start making these in batches of two, one for me and one for the swap!

The Joy of Toys and Photographs Thereof

toy joy

A few weeks ago I received a flickr-mail from someone who was interested in using one of my photos for inclusion on a website about a store in Austin, Texas, called Toy Joy. And today I got another flickr-mail from the same person telling me they are using my photo. Yay! I’ll be famous!

The website is called Schmap and the link to my photo is here. Hover your cursor over “Toy Joy” until you see my name, Victoria Porter, come up under one of the photos in the upper right corner. If you click it you will be sent hurtling to my flickr photostream under the guise of monkey123, my non-business flickr account.

I’m really excited about this. I guess it does not take much right now.

You may be asking yourself, “Hey, this chick lives in Rochester, NY. What was she doing taking pictures of toy stores in Austin, Texas?!” And to that I answer that I was visiting my best friend, Joolie, in Austin and she took me to the best toy store I’ve ever set foot in, Toy Joy. It truly is a place of joy. Toys are all over from floor to ceiling. No space in the place is wasted. They have some really cool things and very obscure items. They have so much to choose from that I cannot make up my mind what to buy and end up leaving empty handed or with just a few small trinkets. Then later I rue that I could not decide and I curse myself. It’s nice to know that Joolie is amenable to taking me there every time I visit!

Thanks, Schmap, for making my day!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Potential Value of Status Updates

Thanks to an Etsy forum post by redpandajewelry, I learned more about twitter and how to use it. Basically it’s just a whole lot of Facebook status updates, which I really enjoy already. You can post up to 140 characters. It’s kind of like little mini-blog posts for those of us who may not have a lot to say.

Redpandajewelry says she has gotten quite a few sales with some smart marketing strategies on twitter. For example, she sells chainmaille jewelry. On twitter she searched the word “chainmaille” and followed everyone who had made any mention of chainmaille. In this way she exposed potential customers to her Etsy shop. I’m not sure how this strategy might work for my particular product yet, but I am on my way to figuring it out. Plus it’s good to be socializing with other artists.

My feelings are “Oh, great. Something new to have to constantly update.” But it if helps my struggling business get its feet under it, then so be it. It only costs time, and I’m usually parked in front of my computer for much of the day anyway.

If you join you can find me at

Friday, October 10, 2008

Home Sweet Home ATC

On flickr I happened upon a group called Maggie’s Monday Musings (MAMMA). Maggie posts a theme for the week and the group members answer the call in Artist Trading Card (ATC) format. Here’s my entry for the “home sweet home” challenge.

home sweet home ATC

Maggie posted a house template on her blog and I really liked the proportions of it so I used it for my ATC. I collaged scrapbook paper for the house background. Then I added some paper lace, a print of a bird and a nest, and some words from a vintage book. On my sewing machine I stitched the red thread border around the house. The blue sky background was collaged from book paper and gel medium. Then I painted the sky blue.

I’m looking forward to participating in my first ATC swap through this group. When I get my swap I’ll let you see it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pardon My Dust

We're doing a little cosmetic updating here. Please pardon a few loading problems and lackluster formatting. It is just temporary! Thanks!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Art Journal: 10-4-08

Art Journal: 10-4-08

rAnDoM aCtS

This page is an experiment in a larger format of something I was working with in a smaller format. I wanted to see if I could make a big one. It was easier than I thought it would be to create. Some new clear stamps made it home with me from the craft store (how did that happen again?!) so I wanted to incorporate them into the collage. I’m working on another one for a framed piece for an upcoming craft show.

As I had hoped, working in my art journal is giving me ideas for other pieces to do outside of the journal. It’s nice to be working like this again. Getting a page a week done right now is really hard as some things are going on that prevent me from working when I wish to be in the studio. But I consider getting anything done right now to be a major victory!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Little Witchy

Halloween Collage Art Pendant on Etsy

Halloween will soon be upon us. Don’t leave your neck out of the fun of holiday decorations! This little witch is so cute she’s almost scary! BOO!

Available for sale in my Etsy shop!

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Queendom for Some Homosote

I have this project I’ve wanted to do for months, since before our move. But I’ve needed a special kind of board to do it on. It’s called homosote, a heat proof pressed fiber board. I need it to do some soldering on for some three inch by three inch panels I want to make.

So employing my “shop local” philosophy I went down to the local stained glass supply shop. They were out of homosote again. The last time I went there for this purchase they were out and did not expect a shipment for a month. So I waited, I guess a bit too long because they were sold out again. So to heck with my ethics. I ordered some online and gritted my teeth all the way through it. I’m trying, people.

It arrived today in about ten times as much packing material as was necessary. The box measures 18” x 24” x 6.5” for a piece of board that measures 16” x 24” x 0.5”. Inside was also twenty feet or so of that brown kraft paper wrapping. At least it’s all recyclable.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Road Trip, Anyone?

I was invited to join a group on flickr called Altered Dominos & Other Altered Game Pieces. This group has some very talented people involved, and group forum discussions are lively and helpful. To be totally honest I had not altered a domino yet when I joined. The invitation to join was based on my bingo collage pendant, as it is an altered bingo card.

One of the group discussions was that of a swap for an altered domino keychain. The theme for the swap was “travel”. I signed up because I had yet to participate in a swap of any kind and have really wanted to connect with other artists like this for a while. I guess I jumped into this group with both feet being new to both domino altering and swaps. But I needed a challenge so I went for it.

My grandmother gave me about 700 very old black wood dominos to work with as well as some plastic white dominos. But they have collected dust in my studio for years. Now I had a reason to bust them out and get to work!

When I think of travel I think “road trip”. My parents had this huge old station wagon when I was growing up and we would take road trips all over the place in it. I practically grew up in the back of “Old Blue”. So my travel domino needed a car image.

Road Trip Domino Keychain

I found a clip art piece I really liked and colored it in using Photoshop. The words came from an old book. The back of the domino has a map collage. The Route 66 charm is actually a button I’ve been hoping to use in my art for some time. It was just waiting for this project! I ordered the little license plate charm from theginghamgirl on Etsy as well as the keychain part from SimplyCrafting, whose shop has since closed. The domino is sealed with Mod Podge first then a generous coating of clear acrylic spray sealer. The blue on the domino is made with alcohol inks.

Off into the mail it went yesterday to takeabreak, the organizer of the group on flickr. I hope she likes it as much as I had fun creating it! I have signed up for more swaps in the future so I’ll have more dominos to share!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Art Journal: 9-24-08

Art Journal: 9-24-08
(click to see bigger over at flickr!)

This page was created with real puzzle pieces. I put part of a puzzle together and painted the pieces. The background is torn paper covered with gel medium and gesso. It was then painted in red, yellow and teal. The words were written with a Sharpie thin marker. Twine attempts to hold my pieces together.

I wish I had done this on better paper than in my art journal.

Felted Artist Trading Cards

I got this idea from a magazine that I now cannot remember the name of or I would link to it here. This woman made the loveliest Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) from felt and wool roving. So I decided to try it out as some of my work has leaned me toward fiber arts and felting. The ATC biz is something I’ve been interested in as well.

Flowers : Felted ATC

Pink Flowers

This is the first one I made. Needle felted simple round flowers with French knot details and embroidery on a purple felt base. “Hey,” I’m thinking to myself. “This isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be!” 

House : Felted ATC


Needle felted onto black craft felt. Embroidered with glass beads. I added the little bird because the house looked lonely.

Bird Nest : Felted ATC

Bird’s Nest

I got a little wild with this one. The brown roving nest needle felted onto the cream was boring to my eye. My mother gave me some brown sparkly eyelash yarn from a project she had done. I wasn’t sure if it would stick, but I tried it anyway. I’m really pleased with the results. The green leaves and other beads just makes this one pop. It’s my favorite so far. 

All of these still need a backing sewed onto them with my information for an ATC swap I might try. I just cannot decide what fabric to sew onto them. Plus getting out my sewing machine is hard when my studio is such a mess.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Art Journal: 8-28-08 :: “Circles”

Art Journal: 8-28-08 :: “Circles”
(click image to see bigger over at flickr!)

This page started without any real direction or thought out plan for the finished page. In my stash I have this great polka-dotted blue tissue paper that I’ve been looking for something to do with.

I employed Golden Regular Gel Medium (matte) to secure the tissue to the page, and let that dry overnight as I decided on how I wanted to use the page.

Lately, some health problems have been plaguing me, and I feel like I’m getting nowhere quickly. I get a little better, and then it gets worse again. Up. Down. Up. down. Round and round. Can I get off the merry-go-round now, pretty please?

The circles were filled with images that struck me at the time. The clenched fist image represents me holding on for dear life, as well as a symbol of my strength. Some images were rubber-stamped and some were stenciled. The words “REVEAL”, “SHARE”, and “GAIN” reflect the purpose of this art journal. There is no exploration or learning unless I reveal myself to myself and share it in order to gain.

Creating this page reminded me that I am not truly just going in circles. It just feels that way sometimes when I am frustrated. In truth, I am much better than I was just six months ago, and I continue to do better everyday. My situation is possibly more akin to an upward spiral where I get close to where I started as I come around again but I’m not at the start.

So, I’m just on page two here and I’m already gaining some insight into my art imagery and myself. Thanks, art journal!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Art Journal: 8-27-08

the beginning: 8-27-08
(click to see bigger over at flickr!)

I honestly didn’t know where else to start but at the beginning. This page is kind of an introduction to my project. A welcoming, if you will, to the pages behind this one.

Pieces of torn old book pages were collaged with gel medium. Then I panted it with gesso and some brown and green paints. A fancy rubber stamp was impressed randomly about the page in dye-based green ink. The typewriter keys lettering was stamped and embossed onto vintage Sear’s catalog pages and cut out. I hand stitched around the border of some funky Basic Grey paper, and then glued on the letters. White pigment ink was used to stamp the same fancy stamp I used for the background along the edges of the lettering background.

The same book page collage technique was used to make a smaller journaling piece and was painted the same way. I edged it with dark brown and olive green pigment ink that I then heat set. Another strip of different Basic Grey paper was added down the side along with some very vintage lace my grandmother gave me.

I’m rather happy with the result of my first art journal page. This work produced some nice ideas for other work I want to get finished for my next craft show in November.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Wedding Gift

OK, I’m going to bear a little shame publicly today. My best friend of over 20 years, Joolie, got married this year in March. I could not decide what to get her or what to make her. So I waited until my brain gave me an answer to take care of this. But it never did and months have passed. But do not worry for our friendship. We’re the types who get around to sending Christmas gifts in May with no hard feelings. It’s becoming comical at this point.

So I finally figured out what to send when I saw Patricia Hecker’s TattooDreams shop on Etsy. Her work fits my friends’ artistic aesthetics very well. The boxes seem so personal and yet so “made for anyone” at the same time. They talk to you and allow you to have your own dialogue with them. Plus Patricia’s eye for composition and layout is impeccable. I’ll let her pictures speak for themselves.

(images © Patricia Hecker)

More about Patricia: “I've made art since I was a child. I know I was born to be one! Making art has provided me with a career for the last 21 years, but it's more than that. It's what makes me complete. I travel the country with my husband of 23 years selling my work at juried fine art shows.

I've been selling on Etsy less than a year and am beginning to see repeat collectors buying my work. I find this exciting as the holidays approach. I've met wonderful people here on Etsy and really love having this marketplace to sell my TattooDreams body of work. The work I show here on Etsy is not what has funded my life, but a separate body of work that lets me play and explore. Both necessary ingredients to any artist.

I believe the imagery I use in my Tattoo Dream work to be translations from our dream state. The lasting visuals and fragments of thoughts and images are facets of our everyday life. These resonate into what we dream and they frolic in our subconscious. They are then born into the sharp contrast of black on wood.

To surround oneself with objects that are handmade is to surround oneself with the energy of the artist who made them.”

She also has a fine art line of work that she has done for the last 24 years, which can be found on her website: You should also check out her blog.

Here is the card I made for Joolie and Eric.

(image and design © In My Head Studios)

If you are interested in a card, I can customize it with any color to match the wedding colors of your bride and groom! They’re just $5.00 plus shipping.

So since my gift was about six months late it also served as a six-month anniversary gift, too! Double bonus!

Thank you to Paticia Hecker for allowing me to reproduce her copyrighted material and to promote her shop.