Thursday, May 28, 2009

Collage Class Parts in Process

Claudine Hellmuth tweeted on Twitter that she was offering a low cost online class for several mixed media processes. I am a hard-core fan of her work and books. I jumped at the chance to take a class from her!

The class was mostly mixed media resist techniques. The good this was that I already had most everything I needed for the class right here in my studio. I did have to order her Sticky Back Canvas and it was totally worth it. This stuff is the bomb. You can put it through your inkjet printer!! Canvas through a printer!! Did you hear that? That’s the sound my heart makes when it contains so much joy! As an added bonus it’s sticky on the back! Stick it to other canvas, stick it to itself, or paper, cardstock, the wall, anything!! The surface does not have a full coat of primer so it will absorb tea staining and glazing.

In this class, I learned how to make embossing powder resist the applied paint, how to make toner image transfers, gesso resist painting, and altering scrapbook paper to the color you want it to be. We also did some watercolor and used text from an old book.

It’s all in parts like this because it will be transformed in to a house shape when put together. And I’ll show you that when I get them all done and connected!!

(Don’t you love the suspense I’m creating here with my work? Ha!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: A Cagey Bee

I like the creative name for this Etsy shop. The artist is Kris G. Brownlee – or KGB = A Cagey Bee! Very clever!

“I'm a painter, so my first love is creating the actual paintings - from sketching to swirling the paint around my canvas. But because I know a lot of us can't afford to buy original work, I try to offer a variety of lower cost reproductions: prints, notecards, and even little pendants with my characters!

I want my customers to know how much heart and soul and pure joy is poured into my work. I think most of my customers *do* know this, but it's not always easy to get a sense of who someone is via the internet. I was a very quiet, shy child and spent years creating elaborate stories for my imaginary friends. It's really no wonder that I've started to bring some of them to life in my paintings. The idea that I get to share that with my customers? That new friends from all over the world look at my girls and smile? I couldn't have dreamed up a better possibility for my life. :)”

What inspires you to create? “Everything! Favorite storybooks, movies, lyrics to songs, interesting characters I meet in real life... my biggest fear is that I'll never have enough time to paint all of the things I want to paint. If I ever run out of ideas, I can just walk out my front door and almost always see *something* interesting. There's this one woman in my neighborhood that I see every so often who I've been itching to paint since the first time I laid eyes on her. She walks this pack of 6 or 7 dogs - those giant long haired Afghan hounds! It looks like a scene straight out of a cartoon with their hair swishing and bouncing and swirling along!”

What are your Twitter tricks of the trade? “My newest favorite Twitter trick is installing Friendbar. It adds a toolbar to your browser so you don't have to load the Twitter page to tweet plus it makes it really easy to just click 1 button & tweet about the page you're currently viewing, including an already shortened URL. You can set it to update your Facebook status too. Very handy!”

Read her blog at
Follow her at Twitter:

As a special thank you to her Twitter pals, all prints in her shop are 2 for the price of 1 this week. Buy one print and simply enter the name of the second print you'd like in the notes to seller box. Double the cuteness!

Etsy: Your place to buy
& sell all things handmade

All photos copyright to Kris Brownlee/A Cagey Bee

Reposted from my original post at: Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: A Cagey Bee

A Work In Progress

More work was completed on my art journal page that I shared with you recently. I painted a woman with flowing red hair. I don’t do a lot of painting so this face was kind of hard to do. Not sure I’m 100% happy with the results, but that’s what an art journal is for – to learn and try new things.

I like how the texture of the paper I collaged with gel medium creates visual interest in an otherwise boring portrait. Here's a close up view.

She still needs a body but I thought you might like to see my process. Not sure when I’ll have time to finish her body. I took a class, which I will share with you soon, so I’m swirling with thoughts from new technique information. I want to experiment with some of those things first. This whole new-to-me-painting thing has me full of ideas, too.

On another note, I had a lovely Memorial Day. Spent it hanging out with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. They're only in town for part of the week so we're squeezing in as much family time as we can. They live in Atlanta.

My mom has been so funny having all her children here. She even cried tears of joy a few times. We all miss my brother and his family very very much. I hope to get to see them before they go, but I know they have other folks in town to see as well. I need my computer genius brother to come over and fix my router so it allows access to the web for my iPod. And I want him to see our new house! And my studio! So they better squeeze in a trip over here some day this week.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Beginning An Art Journal Page

I have not been working in my art journal like I had hoped to be working on it. Life gets busy. Running the Etsy Twitter Team gets busy. But I found myself with some spare time last week to work on a page.

I started out with a rough idea of what I wanted. Lately all my work is created this way – not knowing where I’m really going. Ha! So I began working with torn book pages and Golden regular (matte) gel medium. This technique creates gorgeous texture. All you have to do is tear up some pages with text and slap them down onto your paper.

This is what it looks like with a little bit of gesso painted over it.
Collage Book Page Start

Then I grabbed my favorite green and brown paints – Eucalyptus craft paint and Raw Umber Golden fluid acrylic paint. Watering it down a little makes a really nice glaze effect. This is what it looks like painted.

Art Journal Page Painted

Here’s a close up of the great texture the gel medium and paper creates.

Close Up of Collaged Art Journal Page

Soon I’ll show you what else I painted onto this background. It’s better than I thought it was going to be because I really don’t know how to paint and I just make it up as I go along. My art journal is turning into my own self-taught painting class.


Don’t forget that today is the last day for the Etsy Twitter Team Sidewalk Sale!! Get some great deals on handmade – free shipping to 30% off some shops!! It’s definitely worth a look! My sale is 15% off all items (not including shipping and sales tax). Use code "Etsy Twitter Team Sidewalk Sale" in the comments at checkout!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It’s All Green, Baby

Spring is springing here in lovely Rochester and where I am in Irondequoit. The trees have filled back up with leaves. Hostas are sprouting. Lilacs are blooming!

Plants are making their way up in my flowerbed in the backyard. This is our first spring in our first house so I have no idea what is “plant” and what is “weed” just yet. I’m letting it grow wild until I figure it out. Never really had anywhere to do any weeding or planting so I’m actually looking forward to getting dirty out there. Mr. M says his duty is the grass and I should tend to the other plants outside. Fair deal.

Mr. M bought me the tomato plants I asked for. And he got me surprise strawberry plants. I must find a way to keep the voracious and abundant squirrels here away from them so I get to eat the fruits of my labor.

The raspberries I told you about last year are also coming up. There are more plants this year on our side of the fence! Yay!! Our neighbor who owns the plants has Crohn’s so he cannot eat them anyway due to the little seeds. The berries won’t be out until July I think.

I adore this time of year here. Life is retuning to abundance instead of cold scarcity. My soul thrives on the green lushness around me. We got so lucky to have tall trees in our neighborhood so they can surround me. I love trees. They’re magical! I’m known to literally hug trees.

Now I need to convince Mr. M that I need a laptop so I can work on the patio and enjoy my lovely weather and deciduous companions!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm In A Treasury

One of my Etsy Twitter Team members made this treasury to promote our team! I'm honored to be included in such great company! Thanks!

Click on the image below to visit the Treasury. When you're there please leave a comment! Also it helps us move up the "hot" rating if you click on each item. Happy browsing!

Created by
expires May 21st

Original post at: Etsy Twitter Team: Team Treasuries

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Tamdoll (SILVER Mountain Originals)

Tammy Gross, of, also known as SILVER Mountain Originals, creates “an eclectic mix of unique fabric jewelry, the occasional art doll (and a couple of original sewing patterns for those), purses, totes and wallets – many of those 'upcycled' from repurposed fabrics.” She also has a few woven ribbons for sale that are quite unique.

“Everything I make comes from a creative burst of energy and is one-of-a-kind. If I’m inspired enough to make a handful of items that are similar, no two will ever really be the same. Sometimes I wish I could be more consistent, but that hasn’t happened yet and I’ve been creating art for 20 years. I love to try new things and experiment – not everything comes out as planned and it’s back to the drawing board until I get it right, which can sometimes mean weeks until I get things just the way I want them to be.

Why ‘Tamdoll’? In the 90’s, when I learned to sew, I started making fantasy art dolls - – and did that for quite a while selling them in local boutiques. Beading dragon wings led me to experiment with beading and jewelry making, but my passion was with the fabric and soon enough, I figured out how to blend the two into fabric jewelry!”

What inspires you to create? “So many things inspire me to create - a color, a scrap of fabric, a funny story even - there isn’t anything that doesn’t inspire me, my brain never rests, and I can’t predict what I’ll come up with next. Seriously, sometimes it’s almost a disadvantage. I have scribbled ideas EVERYWHERE. My purse is filled with ideas written on scraps of paper along with the notepad that I always carry. My desk has piles of half-filled notebooks. Even when my mind is winding down, right before I fall asleep... I’ll see a color combination or shape in my mind and remember it for the next day. The problem begins when I start all these projects. I start so many, get inspired again and begin another before the first is finished. The excitement of something new keeps me going and going. And keeps my workroom a mess. This explains also, why my shop is updated with new, completed, items so sporadically!”

What are your Twitter tricks of the trade? "I joined Twitter to connect with other crafters – and for a while I tried to stick with just keeping things all ‘business’. But I just couldn’t. Connecting with the people that are behind the avatars is so much more rewarding than just announcing when I have a new item listed, or a new blog post – I certainly don’t want to follow someone impersonal like that! I love to chime in on interesting Twitter topics and tweet when I find something unique or useful that other creative people may enjoy. (Ok, when I’m up at 3am you may find a silly tweet or two.) It’s pretty satisfying to hear ‘Where do you find this stuff?’ – then you get known as a resource for creativity. Oh, and Twitter would be useless for me without TweetDeck. With following so many, I’m able to categorize my interests and see updates clearly.”

She shares many of her works-in-progress on her blog and at and invites everyone to stop by and say hello. Follow her at Twitter @tamdoll!

Special for the Week: Free domestic shipping on non-ribbon items. You will receive a PayPal refund for items not already specially marked as part of the sale. There are some items sprinkled about the shop that have SALE in the title and are specially priced through the springtime.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

All photos copyright to Tamdoll/Tammy Gross and are used with permission

Reposted from my original post at: Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Tamdoll (SILVER Mountain Originals)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team: Sidewalk Sale!!

The Etsy Team I run, the Etsy Twitter Team, is having a Sidewalk Sale to celebrate the spring weather and to get outside a bit! Virtually! So please take a stroll down our sidewalk of shop listings. Each shop is having a different sale so check them all out. There are some extremely great deals going on this week!!

The sales run from Sunday, May 17th to Saturday, May 23rd.
20% off – discount applied in pricing
FREE card with purchase of any 3 items! Exquisite floral, original photos and detailed embroidered cards will be given free (choice of free card by prettycheap). Just ask for your free card at check out (please purchase 3 items in one transaction).
Free shipping worldwide shipping all week. Please contact her before buying, She will cancel shipments or mention "Etsy Twitter Team" in the message to seller at checkout.
Offering free worldwide shipping for both of her shops that will be already marked with $0 shipping

15% off items (not including shipping or NY state sales tax if applicable). Add the comment "Etsy Twitter Sidewalk Sale" during checkout. Discount given via PayPal refund.
Every order will get a free sampler pack of 4 postcards included in their shipment! In the note to seller box, please mention "Sidewalk Sale" to get your free postcards.
Free Shipping
All necklaces $5.00 off! After payment, $5.00 will be refunded to the buyer’s PayPal account for each necklace purchased.
Free Shipping - After payment, shipping will be refunded via PayPal
30% off all purchases that total $20 or more. PayPal refund given for discount.
20% off all items in my shop: To participate type "May" in the message to buyer. Discount will be refunded via PayPal after purchase
All earrings $5 or less per pair. Prices already marked down.
15% off, + Plus free worldwide shipping. Also $5 gift certificate included for future purchases (limit one per customer). Redeemed with code "Sidewalk TW Sale" in message to seller box, then you will receive a prompt PayPal refund
20% discount using PayPal refund to everyone mentioning "Sidewalk Sale" in message to seller box
Free shipping worldwide.
10% off list price - Leave message to seller saying “sidewalk”. She will do a revised invoice or if you have already paid via PayPal she will do a refund.
all baby and kid items are marked 50% off in special shop section
Free Lavender Spearmint Lip Balm with purchase of $10 or more. Add the comment "Etsy Twitter Sidewalk Sale" during checkout.
Free shipping within the US only (via USPS First Class) with any purchase. Add to message to seller box "sidewalk sale" and you will get a refund through PayPal for the shipping amount.
free shipping to anyone in the USA and a flat rate of $5 to all other countries on her list for items over $20 and $3 for items under $20. Discount given via PayPal refund
With any purchase, get a FREE single card of your choosing from any of the card sets in the Stationary section of her shop. Just include which card you'd like in the Message to Seller box, or contact her soon after purchase.
Free USA shipping or Half Price international shipping when you spend $20.00 or more in her Etsy shop. Plus she will be tossing a free little "thank you" present into each package! Just put "EtsyTwitter Rocks" in the note to seller and she will refund the shipping discount back to your PayPal account.
Free Shipping! Use code “SIDEWALK” in the notes to the seller, and she will refund the shipping after the order is paid for through PayPal
Most items are already on sale but you can get and additional 10% off on orders of $15.00 or more by entering the words "Sidewalk Sale" in notes to seller. The 10% will be refunded through PayPal.
20% off purchases over $5. Buyers need to use the Promo Code "Sidewalk" and she will refund the discount via PayPal. Free shipping for orders over $30.
Free domestic shipping on non-ribbon items. Will automatically give a PayPal refund for items not already specially marked as part of the sale.
Free Shipping on every item in the shop! To redeem this great deal, enter “MAYSIDEWALK” into the message to the seller upon check out. You will be reimbursed through PayPal for the cost of shipping.
Free shipping! Type "Sidewalk Sale" in Notes to seller to receive a refund via PayPal.
15% off items $20 or more. "Sidewalk" in message to seller to get discount. Wait to pay for revised invoice
20% off all items*! Please write "May Sidewalk Sale" in notes to seller when checking out and wait for a revised invoice or pay and you will be refunded via PayPal. *discount valid for items only, does not include shipping or taxes if applicable.


Many thanks to for creating our sale graphic!! I could not have hoped for something better!! Thank you!!

Reposted from my post at: Etsy Twitter Team: Sidewalk Sale!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Spot Coffee Craft Show

I set up. I waited. Not many people showed up to buy. So I had 12 sales for all three days total. But I am not complaining because that’s 12 more than I would have had if I were just sitting at home on my sofa eating bons bons, which now that I think about it has just become my To Do List for tonight. The other crafters were awesome! So much fun meeting craft show people – especially the younger indie crafters.

The work of Jen Born, of P.S. Enjoy Your Life, really caught my eye. Our work is similar in style and I just love her business name. She makes these great mixed media collages on blocks of wood and seals them with bright shiny resin. She also makes bottle cap fridge magnets from tiny bits of paper and collages them under resin. I wanted to buy out her whole booth!! You know how much I love tiny bits of paper!

Casey Wright, of Peaches Products, creates tiny wonderful needle felted animals. Her unusual set up was really cool. She has copper wire coils attached to tree branches so it looked like all the little owls, birds, and chickens were roosting in the trees. I bought a little blue tweety Twitter bird from her. This little guy makes me really happy!!

Sunday, my friend Stefani Tadio from Pine Tree Designs came to set up shop. Her work is so perfect! She embroiders paper and embellishes Post-It note pads in ways that would make a well dressed woman look bad. Seriously! Her stuff is amazing!!! She also carries cards and paper brooches.

I scheduled myself a spot again in June. I think repeat exposure will bring more sales. So we will see about this show then. I think it’s too early to decide if we should opt out. The show is just getting started and this town is always slow to embrace new things to do. Plus the parking there is tricky for non-city folks to navigate. The patrons are more my demographic than usual craft shows so I really want this show to work out well. I have a hunch it is going to catch on. It’s just going to take some time.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Bellflower Textiles

I love bright cheerful colors. Always have and always will. So when I opened up Megan Zalkan’s shop, Bellflower Textiles, my eyes popped open and I felt happy! So much color and cuteness everywhere!!

Megan makes bright and cheerful fabric products for you, your home, and your children. She combines quilting techniques and a love of vibrant color to create modern and quirky children’s tees, crayon and pencil rolls, reusable coffee sleeves, tooth fairy pillows, and hair accessories. She works out of her home in Seattle, Washington, where she also tends to her two year-old daughter. Selling on Etsy since August 2008 has garnered her close to 300 sales.

“Each of my products is lovingly hand created by me, in a smoke free environment, and packaged with great care. Unless otherwise listed, everything in my shop is pre-made and will ship immediately. Oh, and I LOVE custom orders. See something you like but want in a different color or size? Please convo me – I’d love to talk with you! [Editor’s note: Convos or conversations are the way you send private messages on]

I’m inspired by everything around me, but most especially by my two year-old daughter and her friends, and by the natural world. I try to include a botanical element in each item I create, whether that’s a flower, a butterfly, or even just a lovely piece of fabric the exact shade of a leaf I just saw. And of course, I love love LOVE fabric! I have a huge collection of fabric built up over years of quilting, and there’s nothing I love more than to dig through a pile of gorgeous cottons and mix and match patterns to see what pops. Lately I’m loving linen and ribbon too… my collection just grows and grows!”

About her Twitter habits: “I’m a Twitter addict! I try to spend time every morning and evening on Twitter, and often find myself back at other points in the day, too. I’ve recently discovered TweetDeck, which is making a huge difference for me in keeping up with more of my followers’ tweets, and I love the ability to create and follow specific groups of people whose comments I don’t want to miss! I try to just talk and connect about 90% of the time with an occasional link to my shop or a new product.”

Bellflower Textiles ships internationally.

Read her blog at Growing Notes and follow her on Twitter @megzseattle.

Special for the Week: Free Shipping!! Mention “Twitter” in your Notes to Seller and she will send an updated invoice with free shipping or refund your shipping price if you’ve already paid. 

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

All photos copyright to Megan Zalkan/Bellflower Textiles

Reposted from my post at the Etsy Twitter Team: Shop of the Week: Bellflower Textiles