I thought I’d share a book that was given to the kids by their grandmother some time ago, and I’ve since fallen in love with it.  The Secret Seahorse, by Stella Blackstone.  It’s a cute little story that has an added element of a hidden seahorse in each full-page spread.  Even though the boys have read it enough times that the little seahorse’s secret is out, they don’t grow tired of it.  Neither do I.

  More than the story, however, I find that the pictures are what keep me coming back time and time again.  As a child, I wasn’t much for reading, but I loved getting lost in intricate illustrations of sea life, forest life, anything nature-oriented.  I guess not much has changed! 

All of the illustrations are done in felt and vintage fabrics, buttons, trims, and stitched by hand.  The bright colors, the rich layouts, and the intricate detail are just fascinating to me.  I guess being an artist who also fell in love with fabric, this is something that I find wildly inspiring.   

The artist, Clare Beaton, clearly has some skills.  Not only is it obvious the woman can draw, but her stitching is impeccable.  Her work, to me, is the perfect marriage of the two mediums.

If you check it out, I hope you find it as charming as I do.  I’m curious… what’s inspiring you lately (doesn’t have to be a book)?


Printable Portrait Frame

Max came home from school the other week with a cute little project that I thought I would adapt & share.  It’s easy and versatile- I basically just scanned a fancy picture frame that can be printed out & filled in by little (or big) budding Picasso’s and Kahlo’s:


Or, if you prefer, some oval fussiness:

You can either print them out onto white paper, then let your little (or big) person draw their masterpiece within the frame, or, go a little further and print it on a color paper of your choice, cut out the middle, & frame around an existing drawing. 

Just click on the above images to open them in a new window & print- I tried to get them the right size for printing, but you may have to resize beforehand- I would recommend doing a “print preview” to see if it needs adjusting, which you should be able to do from the preview screen.  Let me know if you need help, & I’ll give it my best college try.  Feel free to make several copies to give art projects a little added flair.   This is Max’s self-portrait:

I was also thinking these frames might be cute for other paper projects, such as collages, silhouettes, etc.  Have fun.

*** Update ***

You’ll have to resize the images from your print preview screen to at least 150%, but no larger than 167% for the rectangle, or 187% for the oval to get the most out of your 8½” x 11″ sheet of paper.  Sorry for the confusion!

Jenkintown Library Craft Show

Thanks to everyone who came to the craft show this weekend.   We had great weather, and sales were better than I expected, which is always a nice surprise.  The falling leaves were a nice backdrop, even though I did have to keep picking them off my display.  My little houses seem to be striking the right chord with people… now I just have to figure out a better way to display them!  I was happy to send this little guy, among others, off to a good home:



Next up is a home show on the 18th, and then back to Doylestown on November 7th & 8th for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s holiday show.  Busy, busy, busy!  I know I’ve been a bit slow in getting things loaded into the Etsy shop, but if anyone is interested in any of my products, please do not hesitate to contact me through the comments section or email.  Thanks & happy fall!

Doylestown Art Festival

One of the reasons I’ve been so absent from the blog this summer is that every spare moment of my time has been spent preparing for the Doylestown Art Festival.  I did some smaller craft shows last season, but it’s been a while since I’ve done  an exhibit of this magnitude. 

Unfortunately, Saturday got rained out, but Sunday’s weather was fantastic, and the crowds did not disappoint.  It’s funny, over the years I had forgotten what it’s like to do an outdoor craft show: the set up, working through my outdoor display issues, hearing other vendors work through their outdoor display issues, cursing about outdoor display issues, trying to maneuver a van through a sea of artisans setting up, port-a-johns, booth sitting, live music, sore feet, funnel cake and general camraderie. 

A shot of my booth:




Thanks to all of the friends/family/neighbors that came out to show your support, and of course, to everyone who bought something.  I can’t possibly describe it, but it’s such an amazing feeling to make something, and someone out there appreciates it enough to spend their hard-earned money on it… I’m so grateful and blessed, really.

Some new items that I debuted this year were my pillows, of which I only sold two, but one of them was my all time favorite, would’ve totally kept it for myself, and of course I didn’t take a picture of it, bunny pillow.  If you look closely, you can see it in the picture, it’s the blue one with the white/orange polka dot fabric on the side.  You can’t see the bunny, but it’s in the lower left corner.

Anyway, some other new things I’ve been working on are these little wooden tiles shaped like houses:




You can hang them on your wall, or set them on a ledge.  People seemed to like them.  They are a combination of recycled wood, paint, fabric, vintage storybooks, paper, and reproductions of my own artwork.  Each one is one of a kind and tells its own story.  So here I am, back to painting and wood working.  I guess it’s in my DNA somewhere.  I’ve found that collage really works for me, because I have such A.D.D. when it comes to art/craft.  And the small format has always called to me, it’s so much more intimate somehow, like you have to get up close to it to really appreciate it.   I’ll be listing these in the Etsy Shop starting tomorrow.

And hey, now that some of the kidlets are back to school, I might even find the time to post to my blog again this week!  Shocker!

Philly Makes!

So, with the failure of my commitment to Thing-A-Day in February (will I ever stop talking about this?) I mentioned that I would be participating in the more manageable/reasonable Thing-A-Week, via the Philly Makeswebsite.  Basically, this is a group of Philadelphia area artists & crafters that have committed to posting a weekly project that they’ve either made or are in the process of making.

The beauty of it is, you can check back for daily inspirations, because everyone posts on a different day.  It just so happens that my day is today- Tuesday!  So check out Philly Makes  daily to see what we’re all up to, and to maybe get some great ideas!

Art Is Everywhere

While making the boys breakfast this morning, I noticed this grape which had been slightly dug into by a critter. Pretty cool.  There’s some really talented bug/worm crawling around somewhere… or perhaps it was a collaborative effort.  Maybe some wanna be caterpillars longing for spring?





Have an inspired day.



Proud Mama

Being an artist, I have always tried to instill creativity in my kids. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know how one does that, other than exposure to different things, and maybe asking some thought-provoking questions about what they observe. I try to remain open as much as possible to their desire to make a mess for the sake of creating, but often, my efforts have fallen short.

Up until now, Max’s interest in drawing has been limited to a few scribbles on a page, completed in about 4.2 seconds, and then on to something else. He likes to write his name, which I’m thrilled about, and every time I would pick him up from preschool last year he would have at least one scribble drawing with his very well written name on top. I would always open up his backpack to see what he made that day, excited to see if he’d had any breakthroughs, but with genuine overall interest.  Always scribbles.

Sometimes I would catch one of the other kids showing their mom what they drew, and actually feel a little envious.  I know… it’s ridiculous.  I remember one little girl drew her whole family, complete with arms, legs, hands… the whole shebang. It was then that I finally decided his talents must just lie elsewhere. And I accepted that.

Then, almost out of the blue, about 2-3 weeks ago, an explosion happened in this house.  A creative explosion.  It involved chalk.  And crayons.  And markers.  All of a sudden, it all must’ve clicked for my little budding artist, because he’s been a madman with the sidewalk chalk, etc. ever since.  More than anything, I love to hear about his thought process.  “Mom, I’m going to draw you at the hobspittal having the baby”.  A few minutes later, he shows me his representation of a building with a face looking out one of the windows. 

“Is that me?”  I said. 


“Is it the baby?”


“Well, who is it?”

“It’s me looking out the window, telling daddy it’s getting dark out”.


Here are some of his earlier works, in his self-portrait period: 



Yes, he may be wearing a skirt and a belly shirt in this one, but check out those manly shoulders (or boobs?)



Next, the Max train (I had to photograph it upside down & flip it, since it was too close to the house):



Two more to complete our sidewalk chalk series:




Uni-brow Octopus

Uni-brow Octopus



And finally, my favorite to date- He’s big. He’s fierce.  He’s vegetarian.  Behold… the ginormous tree-eating monster:




I couldn’t be more proud! (Sniff, sniff)