Friday, July 31, 2009

Let's Play Charades - August

It's time for the Charades game for the month of August.

How it works: I post art from various Etsy shops and each photo represents one word in the title, in the correct order. In most cases (but not all) I will ignore short prepositions (a, an, the).

The prize: A drawing will be held from all comments submitted for a free gift with free shipping from my shop. For this feature, your prize will be the last image shown here, from my series "Thoughts on Handmade Paper."

Also: The first person to submit the correct answer, in addition to being in the drawing, will receive another small gift from my shop, perhaps a gift card or an ACEO or some other surprise.

Want to increase your odds? You can be entered in the drawing up to three times: (1) Take your guess, (2) Tell us your favorite from one or more of these shops, (3) sign up to follow my blog. Winner will be selected by random number generator.

HINT: I strongly suggest that you visit each shop, because your clue may be in the title of the work, the tags, the shop name or anything else that might be included in that listing. And the artists can all use a little love!


What is it:

Time frame: Current

Good luck!

While you're here, remember you can still enter the July drawing. Since I started it late I'm running it til August 13. Stop by here and leave a comment or two.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three things ...

I was out of town for a few days so I'm a little late posting this, but wanted you to know one of my handmade paper pieces is in a treasury: Every Star has been Wished Upon.
It was created by: MyFavoriteShop, where you'll find some cute felted items. It expires in 9 hours so hurry on over!

And both of these contests are expiring soon:
My "Let's Play Charades" contest. The prize is a free print of my "In the Light of the Moon" digital print. Also, I'm Giveaway #3 for the Design Style Guide team. The drawing is for a $20 gift certificate and free shipping for anything in my shop. Go here to enter: Design Style

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Seven Things About Me

My blogger friend Cindi from has awarded me the Premio MeMe award. Neither of us are quite sure what “premio meme” means, but we’ll take the award anyway. To accept the award I have to list seven things about me, and pass the award to seven other bloggers.

So, MeMe first, in no particular order of importance:

1. I’m the quintessential middle child - four older siblings, four younger. I don’t think I fit all the characteristics of a middle child, but I do fit a few: I felt lost in the shuffle (there were 9 of us!) and I am independent, generous, and creative.
2. I was born in April, a true Aries. I’m a little skeptical about astrology but admit some of it hits close to home. For instance, Aries rules the head, and Aries people are supposed to be sensitive about their heads. In truth, I have never been able to tolerate hats, masks, or anything on my face or head. And even though I have worn glasses for years, they are a daily annoyance.
3. I enrolled in college at the ripe old age of 30, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Michigan State University. A dream fulfilled.
4. I call myself the bionic woman. Thanks to an S-curve scoliosis, I have undergone 4 spinal fusions since 2000, and have two rods and a bunch of screws and hooks in my back, from my shoulders to my butt.
5. I lived in San Francisco for a few years in my 20s. Reluctantly I moved back to Michigan, but SF remains my favorite city ever. Each visit back is bittersweet for me. (Why I left is a long, complicated story for another time.)
6. The older I get the more weepy I get. It doesn’t take much to get me misty-eyed – a sweet thing someone does for me or I do for someone else, a touching book or movie, sudden thoughts of loved ones I have lost and, yes, even Hallmark commercials.
7. I’m a “hopeful” gardener. I have a small enclosed garden at my townhouse condo and I love flowers (as you can see by the photographs and artwork in my shop). But I plant the way I cook – throw in a little of this and a little of that and “hope” it all works in the end.

And now for 7 favorite bloggers: Maureen is in the middle of an artist challenge: create something every day for 100 days. She’s an inspiring writer/poet as well. Amanda, daughter of Aquamaureen and also doing the 100 days. Like mother, like daughter – an excellent writer/poet and artist. Curated by Beatrice and Violet. These two ladies are VERY funny as they post about favorite Etsy artists. Jen-Jen is a great mom dealing with some emotional family issues with compassion and beautiful writing. Not only does Jodi create beautiful jewelry, she writes with insight into the entire creative process. Natasha, a writer/artist with passion and sensitivity, no matter the topic. Kelly is an artist, living historian, medical technologist living year round on Mackinac Island, MI. How’s that for intriguing blog topics?

Visit them all; you’ll love them!

And while you're here, don't forget to post a comment for the "Let's Play Charades" contest here to get in the running for a free print from my shop.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Don't forget to post a comment in my "Let's Play Charades" contest. The prize is a free print of my "In the Light of the Moon" digital print.

Also, I'm Giveaway #3 for the Design Style Guide team. The drawing is for a $20 gift certificate and free shipping for anything in my shop. Go here to enter: Design Style

I'm in a new treasury this morning: INNOCENCE Created by: Crocheted4Kids. If you have little kiddos or little kiddo relatives and friends, you'll love that shop! Very cute!

Chosen was my "White Rose" ACEO from my Language of the Flowers series. The white rose signifies innocence.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Treasury

I'm in another treasury with my "In the Light of the Moon" digital print:

My print is sold unframed, but here's an idea of what it would look like framed and hung in your own home.

The "Beautiful shades of ...." treasury was curated by dkpottery. Stop by her shop to see some really great pottery:

You can take a chance on winning this print:

And be sure to check out the Design Style Guide team giveaway:
Go to to post a comment about your favorite in my shop and enter the contest.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Design Style Guide Giveaway!

I am so honored that my shop has been chosen for a Design Style Guide giveaway! The winner will receive a $20 credit and free shipping for your choice from my shop. The contest runs until August 5. The team has prepared the video below to feature my work - how cool is that??

Go to to post a comment about your favorite in my shop and enter the contest.

The Etsy DSG team markets its member artisans to interior designers and decorators as an easily accessible way for them to provide their clients with unique handmade art at an affordable price.

The DSG team is a great team to belong to for additional exposure. If you are an Etsy artist and your work qualifies as home decor, consider joining. They're very active in the Etsy community with a lot of talented and knowledgeable members. I have learned a lot since becoming a member.

Stop by and show some love to DSG and me!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rainbows and Treasures

Rainbows apologize for angry skies.
-Sylvia Voirol

The weather yesterday was up, down, iffy all day, not what you want during an outdoor graduation party. But we were rewarded at the end of the day with this double rainbow. Gorgeous! That quote is a perfect description.

My personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was being included for three different Etsy treasuries. It’s always an honor to be chosen, considering how many wonderful artists are on Etsy.

Alas, I must have used up all my good luck yesterday; this entire post disappeared after I had written it and tried to publish. Aaarrgghhh! I had to start all over again. As a result I’m late posting this and all three will expire tonight. So take a quick look at the great artists featured. Here they are:

Tangerine Delight! Created by: owlonthesill
If you love earrings and bags, owlonthesill is the place for you!

This treasury features my work, “Hope for a new beginning.”

The next treasury is:
angels arrested Created by: emmarts
Emmarts has a wonderfully eclectic shop full of beautiful creations. She also has a section devoted to donating a portion of the sales to a charity. Take a look – there’s some great stuff there.
The art chosen from my shop is “Winter Branches”

This piece is currently included in my Christmas in July sale.

And finally, check out the mouth watering colors in this treasury:
Mellow Yellow Lovely shades of yellow from Design Style Guide team
Created by: MysticSilks

You must visit Mystic Silks’ shop. Klaire creates artwork on silk – either an original painting, pillows or scarves – a technically challenging medium that results in the most stunning work I have seen in a long time.
Mystic chose my “Morning Butterfly Fairy” which is also part of the Christmas in July sale along with its companion piece, “Evening Butterfly Fairy.”

As I said, I’m late posting these, so hurry on over!

A final note: Stop by my blog contest, “Let’s Play Charades.” Check out the artists featured and post a comment to be entered into the drawing for the first print shown, my “In the Light of the Moon.”

You will also enjoy this “In the Studio” conversation with Natasha, creator of Thursday Sweet Treat.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

In the Studio - A Sweet Treat

“The difference between an audience and a community is which direction the chairs are pointing.” - Chris Brogan

I came across that quote in a blog I follow, and it seems particularly appropriate for this post today. As a working artist, of course I need an audience, and preferably a buying audience. But as an online artist I never thought much about needing a “community.” About 6 months ago I came across a blog with an intriguing name: Creative Nachos, and its sister site, Thursday Sweet Treat - both blogs the creation of Natasha Reilly. Thus began my participation in what is now my online community: a group of artists who – thanks to Natasha’s clever posted themes – share their newest creations weekly, support each other, and provide what I call “a warm blanket” - an accepting environment where we are free to explore, experiment and grow our art. Natasha is not only an incredibly talented writer and artist, but her unfailing support, generous nature, and always cheerful demeanor make her a very special person indeed. I wanted to know more about her. So … let me present my conversation with Natasha!

Shop name:


FK: Natasha, I always wanted to know how you came up with that title “creative nachos.”

Sitting in the middle of an incredible Mexican restaurant in NYC with a few friends one night, staring at the most delectable appetizer, Creative Nachos was born. For a little while I wanted to be a Nacho chip, scooping up colorful fabrics, words, people, ideas, paints, photos, etc., without any worries or time constraints. I wanted to soak up as much creativity and fun as possible. So, I created a playground where, for as little or as long as you like, you can cover yourself in inspiration, laughter, thoughtfulness, ideas, stories, anything you want. AND you can share too!
Yes, Nachos are 100% a favorite food!!

FK: Tell me about your family and your Etsy shop. You sell cards and notes in your shop.

My husband is a very funny, very lovable man who keeps me sane. Honestly, he helps to keep me grounded and laughing in tough times. He’s my rock. Our daughter is a two-year-old little singer, dancer and all-around entertainer. She loves A,B,C’s and coloring.

My shop is currently being re-vamped. I am REALLY into creating blank and fun-filled activity journals. I LOVE it…so I am changing up my shop. I will still have some cards but many journals. Any ideas on how to market them?? I’m learning.

FK: Journals will take advantage of two of your talents: art and writing. Which do you prefer?

I can’t choose. I love the combination of writing and art, for sure!

FK: How did Thursday Sweet Treat come about? It’s a comfortable environment and there’s some incredible art being shared there …

The TST began after a conversation with several folks including Janet Davies (who I like to call the Aunt of the TST) about feeling a lack of motivation. It takes so much time to promote yourself that often it can leave you with little energy to create new things at the end of the day. That was December 2008. In January 2009, I reached out to those folks I had been chatting with in the forums – total of 10 people including me – and asked them if they wanted to play. I grabbed a Blogger spot and started. The rest is history. I never, ever expected the response I got that’s for sure.

The TST place is warm because of people like you. There are so many thoughtful souls who come to visit and all they want to do is share, laugh and create. The people who submit and cheer and hang out at the TST – they are the reason it’s such an amazing place. They created the warm, welcoming, non-critical environment.

I feel amazing each time I read a comment or see a new piece from an artist. I demand A LOT from myself so I often worry that I’ve let someone down, not done enough, not responded to something. The site has taken me forever but that’s because I’ve been trying to build several things – a new business (PR, marketing), revamping my shop (Doodlestar) and the TST. It gets overwhelming at times but they are all about art and people – the things I love. I worry that people will get bored so I keep thinking of new ideas. Basically, I beat myself up about it but I love the TST… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

FK: TST has been a little quieter lately … summertime?

Yes, the submissions have slacked off and initially I was responsible for some of that. I stopped promoting as hard for a little bit because I got lost. I had no idea what I was building. I was afraid of letting people down and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I needed some time to think, re-evaluate and figure out where I wanted to go. This summer has been a great time for that. This summer has also been crazy busy for lots of folks. I get emails all the time from folks just checking in and telling me they miss it but they are swamped. I understand – the summer is a tough time.

In the Fall, I’d like to make a major push. With the new site and renewed energy and focus I plan to promote the hell out of the TST. I’d love for folks to go into the forums and talk about it like they did before or Twitter about it - in the Fall. I think when people slow down and have more time it would be great…I’d really appreciate it. Gosh, I hope people still want the TST then….see I worry ALL the time!!!!

FK: It’s not your fault, Natasha. You are always so positive and upbeat …

LOL…no I am FAR from positive all the time. I BELIEVE with ALL my
heart in the artists that submit to the TST. The work is amazing and when someone’s work touches me and inspires me … I have to say it. I have to celebrate it. I’m like that online and off. I’m known for my laughter and I’ve got some decent comedic timing as well. However, I’m also riddled with insecurities. There have been some very difficult times in my life when I questioned whether or not I was something good in life…because honestly I felt like nothing more than a mistake or burden to people. I have come to see that I’m ok and as I raise my little girl I want her to celebrate herself. I want her to be proud of who she is…to love herself despite what anyone says. Obviously that requires teaching by example so I work hard at believing in myself, sharing that with others and being positive. But believe me I have my angry, crying, sad, Calgon take me away days just like everyone else.

FK: You mentioned that you started a new business …

Yes, I have launched my own PR and marketing company. I have some stellar new clients that I LOVE working with! I have worked in many fields ranging from publishing (book, magazine and web) to fashion and education. Over the course of that time, I have had an opportunity to work in the areas of marketing, PR, fundraising and communications (both corporate and nonprofit). What I have found is that it is the "story" that inspires people to make a purchase, believe in a cause, move to action and spread the word to their friends. That is what I am basing my business upon. I think it is about more than simply branding; it's about good, honest storytelling. So, that's the mission - if you will - behind my work. Based upon the needs of the company, I can provide a number of services which include, but are not limited to: copywriting, creation of artist biography, blog writing, editing, development or update of business plans, generation of articles, newsletters, assistance with speech writing, original web content, writing of press releases, contacting targeted media (print and online), and more. I’m working with artists, small businesses and nonprofits right now. If people are interested they can contact me at

FK: When do you sleep, girl??

LOL…I do sleep from time to time! LOL….I don’t really know how things get done…I have a ton of energy and when I am passionate about something there is NO stopping me! But I also have days where I am exhausted and need to do absolutely nothing. I always plan for one day during the week to be like that…there is always one day when I need to play, sleep and be outside because I can’t focus. That’s when my brain says - enough. It lets me recharge a bit.

FK: Good for your smart brain! Finally, do you have any questions for me and for my readers?

I think I just want to know if people are still into the TST…ah, worry and insecurity unveiled! LOL

And thank you from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity. I cannot tell you what an honor it is to be interviewed by someone I so admire.

FK: The honor is all mine, Natasha!! And I can assure you that we TST’ers aren’t going away anytime soon.

So all you artists out there - what do you think? Tell us why you enjoy participating in TST. Does it feel like a community to you?

If you’re not already playing, check out the theme for the week on Fridays and come back to play with Natasha and the rest of us on Thursdays:

And while you are here, pop over to my "Let's Play Charades!!" contest. Take a look at the artists shown, leave a comment, and you'll be entered in the drawing for my digital collage print, In the Light of the Moon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It's a lucky week for me - I'm in two treasuries!

In case you're not familiar with treasuries, they are curated by artists themselves, who select a theme and then search for artists' work that fits that theme. The treasuries are only posted for a few days and there's a LOT of them, so it's a great way to spend some time with many talented artists.

This one is called "Art Gallery" - the colors just pop - and it features a few of the many fine artists on Etsy. Click here to see it up close. Visit the artists' shops - you'll see some wonderful work. The treasury was curated by Elizabeth Graf, an incredible oil painter with a very distinct and detailed style. Stop in to see her shop - you won't be disappointed.

My dragonfly print is in this "Christmas in July - the Softer Side" treasury. Many Etsy artists, including myself, are having a Christmas in July sale. My dragonfly is a two for one offer - buy the dragonfly print and choose another print from my shop. This treasury - in my favorite colors, I might add - was curated by Analiese. You'll love her jewelry - her pendants are to die for!

Thanks, Elizabeth and Analiese!

P.S. Don't forget to comment on my "Let's Play Charades" contest/giveaway. Even though the answer is already posted, you can visit the artists depicted, then come back and comment on your faves, and you'll be entered in the drawing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Gee, did I make this too tough for you?? OK, here's two hints. I mentioned that you should look at the artwork's title, keywords, etc., for clues. One of the titles has the exact words that you need for part of the answer. It's not the most well-known movie he did, but the actor/director is a two-time Oscar winner as a director.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Welcome to the first of what will be a monthly feature – “Let’s Play Charades!”

Here's how it works.

It may be a movie:
a book: a TV program:
a song title:
or a quotation:
I will post art from various Etsy shops and each photo will represent one word in the title, in the correct order. In most cases (but not all) I will ignore short prepositions (a, an, the).

The prize: A free gift with free shipping from my shop! For this feature, your prize will be a digital collage print of the first image shown on here. It's in my shop at

Want to increase your odds? You can be entered in the drawing for up to three chances: (1) Take your guess, (2) Tell us your favorite from one or more of these shops, (3) sign up to follow my blog. Winner will be selected by random number generator.

Since I’m late getting started this month, I will let this game run through August 13, but the next game will be posted the first week of August.

HINT: I STRONGLY suggest that you do visit each shop, because the answer may be in the title of the work, the tags, the shop name or anything else that might be included in that listing. (I can’t make this too easy!)


What is it (both):
Time frame: Early/Late 1990s

Good luck!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I'm crazy-busy right now, and when that happens I think of this cartoon I've had for years:

Hope you have a chance to connect with the simple joys this weekend. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wow - I made it into another Etsy treasury:

with my Dragonfly print. This print is also part of my Christmas in July 2 for 1 sale.

The treasury was put together by KarlaKraft. Stop in to her shop; she does beautiful beaded jewelry. Thanks, KarlaKraft!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michigan, my beautiful, artistic Michigan

I'm a member of the Design Style Guide team on Etsy. The DSG team members create handmade decor items, and the team advertises the DSG online store to professional interior designers. I would like to introduce you to some fantastic Etsy artists from the Michigan DSG team.

TROPICAL PUNCH QUILT (30x40) by Kathy at Quiltswithheart. I love all things quilted, although I don't seem to have the patience to make them myself. You must stop in to see Kathy's beautiful work.

Earth Print in Color. When I saw Andie's shop, JavaJane, I thought "why didn't I think of that?" She creates artwork from architectural details that resemble letters of the alphabet. Andie is on vacation for a few weeks, but you can visit her shop and view her sold items and sign up to be notified when she returns.

Sitting Pretty by Jorjia . Jorjia has simply breathtaking nature and outdoor photography. Definitely worth your time to visit.
Egg Sprouts, Set of 2 Porcelain Egg Shells plus a packet of Wheatgrass Seeds, by Michelle at Revisions. Michele produces the most delightfully unique porcelain planters and pots, as well as jewelry, ceramics, and a variety of other items.

Footed Display Bowl of Cebil Wood by RonH
. I love the look and feel of beautiful wood, and Ron's love is evident as well in all of his handcarved wood bowls and trays. Simply elegant.

Squirrel with Nut Pendant Necklace by Ann at Suchprettycolors. Ann has a wonderful variety of items in her shop from artwork to jewelry to a large supply of lovely patchwork items.

Kris Cashmere Cream Pillow 57
by Christine at tallulahssatchels. Christine has pillows, scarves, wraps. She's also having a 30% off sale with free domestic shipping, so run on over to take advantage of the discount.

Tan/Grey/Blue/Slate Stoneware Birdbath with Solid Copper Chains and Iridescent Amber Marble Prisms by Michele at tapestryarabianfarm. She creates unique items for indoors and outdoors out of copper, steel, glass and stone. My garden is crying out for this gorgeous birdbath!

Small Butterfly Canvas Wall Art
by tracey at traceygarciadesigns. Tracey says she'll paint anything, and the unique and repurposed items in her shop reflect that. I love this little butterfly!

Lazy Afternoon an acrylic painting by Scott at TrilliumStudios. Many of Scott's paintings reflect Michigan landscapes and landmarks, and they make me appreciate my state's beauty even more.

Turnadaisy Woods 4 Recycled lazy susan style display for Bonsai Orchid or any special plant
by Suz and Mark at Turnadaisy. Turntables and lazy susans have been raised to high art in this shop. You just have to visit and see what they have done with what is usually an ordinary utilitarian item.

That's Michigan, my Michigan. A beautiful state, and beautiful artists!

Sunrise-Sunset Treasury and Christmas in July

My Comes the Dawn digital collage print is featured in an absolutely beautiful treasury labeled "Sunrise-Sunset" by GlassnWood - a very interesting shop with some beautiful stained glass and carved wood items. Stop in to see their shop and pop over to see the Treasury also. It's gorgeous!

I have also posted some special sales for the Christmas in July promotion running on Etsy from July 8 through July 22. I'll be listing a few more in the next few days. Stop in for some discounts and 2 for 1 sales.

Friday, July 3, 2009

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!
- Daniel Webster


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is the first in an occasional series of featured tutorials by artists. Like myself, I think most people like to watch an artist do what they do. It's fascinating to watch a piece of art take shape before your eyes - it's almost magical.

So I'll start things off with a brief tutorial on my latest passion, digital collage. I started seriously studying Photoshop when I went through several long recuperations from back surgery. I plopped my laptop on a bed table and began to try to get my head around the unlimited possibilities in Photoshop. In no way do I pretend to be an expert; I'm constantly amazed at how much I can do - or more correctly, CAN'T do, since I just can't get some techniques through my head.
So here's a very simple creation with just two layers. (Some of my pieces will have as much as a dozen layers or partial layers in the final image.)
I recently took some photos of blue iris. By happy accident, some of the closeups were over-exposed so they looked something like this. I was fascinated - the petals were almost transluscent, with the veins very prominent. I decided to try to do something with them.

Here's the first step. Each image opens on its own layer. Photoshop puts all the applications in working palettes - see to the left and right of the image.
I then brought in a brightly colored painterly image from my clip art collection.
The next step was to drag the iris image on top of the painted image. At first, all you see is the original iris image, because it's sitting on top. Using two palettes - Hue/Saturation/Lightness, and the Layers palette, I can now begin to manipulate the images. The layers palette has a drop-down slider for opaqueness. Making sure I'm on the top layer, I begin to adjust the iris layer to allow the image underneath to show through. Notice that because of the overlay the layers change colors in some absolutely wonderful ways!
If I choose to, I can then use the Hue palette along with the opaqueness to adjust the colors and the image even more.

That's basically it. If any of you know Photoshop, you know this is a pretty basic application, but with some delightful results. For me, being able to create something in a relatively short amount a time makes up for those hours upon hours I spend on those 12-layer creations!

Here are some examples from my "Iris Series." I am evaluating several to decide which ones I want to list in my Etsy shop. I would appreciate any feedback.

Also, if you are an artist and would like to share a tutorial on my blog, please email me: and let me know. I would love to have you come and play!

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