Friday, December 29, 2006

Birthdays and Christmas came and went quickly and in a fairly smooth manner. The girlz hosted a lovely Christmas Eve gathering with a mix of our kids, a former husband, grandchildren, parents enjoying each other and tasty treats!
Don surprised Sue and I with the gift of Victor! Victor, sculpted from marble, is keeping everything in order in the winter garden. We will be preparing a proper place for him this spring! There was a slight snag on Christmas Day when one of the parental units went flying down the cellar stairs. It was one of those things that made your stomach flip flop and sink! Three hours later, we were all sitting with the family, including the patient (bruised and stitched above the eye) a bit subdued, but enjoying good food and gifts.

I did receive a video camera for my birthday, and we are dreaming about Artgirlz mini movies...I haven't had the time to look at the instruction booklet yet, so it might be a while before our first masterpiece is released...

Above, are images of our second group of rubber stamps. They are being produced right now, and should be here next week. We have samples in the house so I hope to stamp a bit this weekend!

Al and I are trying to stay somewhat calm with the huge piles of work that are sitting in front and around us. CHA is just around the corner followed by some work and play in England right after our return from California...Looking forward to seeing London and Mr. and Mrs. PaperArtsy and children!

Better go to work!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It is sunny and 25 much for our fake spring here in New England! Had a very nice Artgirlz Holiday Party! Relaxing and delicious! Now it is preparing for the festive weekend. We are having an Artgirlz Play Day tomorrow with our loyal workers...looking forward to having some fun myself...

Wanted to share the image of Lady Chatelaine • Scissors Holder • Pincushion...made and sent to us by Doll Makers Journey...She is seeing the world thru an Artgirlz Girl Face...Thanks Mary Ann!

We would like to thank everyone that has supported us this year...those of you that have shopped, sent wonderful pictures and encouraging messages. We are looking forward to an exciting '07 ...building Artgirlz Nation...

Stay calm and enjoy the next couple of weeks!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I have to say that we have been so excited seeing the things that our Artgirl sisters are making around the world!! Since we can't seem to find the time to make much these days, it is gratifying and inspiring to see the creativity flowing all over the place. With heart, humor and skill we have seen paper, metal, wood, paint, stamps, found objects put together in wildly different shapes and styles!!

The mini beads have been ordered! We had so many orders, that we are out of them already. Hope to have them back up right after Christmas!!

Just sent our second set of rubber stamps to be produced! Just sent class proposals off for the 2007 Houston Quilt Festival. Artgirlz Holiday Party on Saturday! Got to go and get to work on the new catalog.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Greetings from Artgirlz Nation. It is very cold and windy, but it is Fun Friday again...last night as we drove home from the Foundry opening, we were going over the long list of "little" things we need to do today before we get to the fun portion of the program. The goal for today prior to the real fun is to get our newsletter out. Many details to get in order before getting it out, but I think we are there. I am about to do the deed!

We want to introduce Artgirlz Rubber Stamps and the Doll Backs that were created to make little dolls. We will have directions, but in the mean time, here are some pictures to guide you along the way.

The image above is the end product of the visual steps that follow. I worked up five different combos of stamped dresses and the doll backs. Depending on the shape of the dress, the backs will need to be trimmed a bit.

Once you have your dress and back decorated, make two holes at the bottom of the back for the legs. We are very lucky to have a Japanese Screw Punch that makes quick work of hole making. Attach the legs with brads...also refered to as paper fasteners..
Place dress on top of doll back, line them up and trim as needed. Make sure that you have "shoulder" space on both pieces, for this is where they will be held together with the arms and brads.

With the two layers together, make holes at the shoulder for the arms. Attach the arms with the brads...put brad through the arm and the two layers of paper. Open the brads in the back to secure. Glue the head onto the "neck" section of the back! Enjoy! Make another one. Send one to a friend. Put them on your tree...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Well, it is the Monday morning after Thanksgiving weekend. We had a lovely time with family, food, garden, football...I am happy to say that the weather has been beautiful and that we haven't been able to make a real snowman. My sis made this little cutie with our felt beads!
Now it's back to work. Going thru my list...

These beauties were made by Jenny Crossley an artist from Australia...She got in touch with us a couple of weeks ago to see if she could buy charms from us. Needless to say, we were thrilled to see her work! Check out her new blog...I believe that she is making kits combining her goodies with our pewter charms! It is very exciting for us to see what other artists are doing with our charms. We received another beauty the other day. Thanks Cat.

Back to work...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We have been home from Houston Quilt Festival, since Monday night recovering. It was exhausting and exciting. We met so many new people. Saw some old buddies...sold a pile of Artgirlz goodies and continued to spread the word. At the top of this page is Annaliza Benner all decked out in her new Artgirlz hat and I am guessing in her new butterfly shirt! We had great classes and students. Make and Takes organized by Cloth Paper Scissors, were a busy and successful spot right behind our booth.

We were very busy and could not have done it without JoAnn, Janet and Sue. My sis was her usual competent retail self (a job that makes me so nervous) and I did my first demo gig. Famous visitors showed up every now and then. Lesley Riley, Christine Adams and Traci Bautisita (check out her new book) were all on the scene at the same time. We were showing how to use our new rubber stamps, doll backs and charms to make these lovely little creatures. Our instructors and comrads from Ranger U would have been proud!

The International Quilt Festival was a very huge, well organized, inspiring event. It was constant over stimulation of the senses...color and texture...hairdo's and outfits...creativity and excitment was was bouncing off of the walls! The quilts were beyond words. We were planning next year before the show was over. My sis had a lovely interaction with the charming young woman pictured below. She was shopping with her mother and aggreed to have her picture taken. Al and I were both ready to head to Japan for some fashion lessons after last years show! This year was not dissapointing! We, like many people, spent months preparing for the show...we learned alot, were very inspiried, exhausted and ready to head back next year. Thanks to all of those who supported our efforts! When the party is over, it is always a relief to get the boxes packed up!


On another very interesting note, I received the following photo's that confirm the fact that the first gathering of the very secrect, underground "Scary Baby Gathering" took place recently at an undisclosed location. It has come to my attention that there will be a Second Annual Scary Baby Gathering next year...details to be shared thru secret codes. There is a strong feeling that the gathering will grow now that the word is out. The excitement is growing!!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Well one hour to go before we take off. The work table is actually cleaned up. Well, actually it just got shoved into a couple of suitcases. If there is something we've forgotten, we will have to be very creative... So Happy Halloween...

and on another note, we won't be home until the day before voting day...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fun Friday again, and we are still getting things together but feeling a bit relaxed...took a photo of the bracelet pile that will be going to Houston with us. As I ate bonbons every night, Al was making product! I'm going to stick with her.

We wanted to share this picture of Al's 4 year old grand daughter Aiden. During her last visit she announced in her special way that she wanted to make a paper doll. I'm sure that she had no idea that there was such a wealth of materials for her dream project. The results can be seen below. Apparently the source of the Power Ranger Salute is unknown. It was impossible to get a photo without it!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Well, at this time next week we will be in Houston. We are still pulling things together, making piles, lists, outfits, hairdo's, models, pins, etc...Above is a pile of houses and samples for our all day class. We have been working on a couple of pairs of embellished jeans...going over directions and details of class directions...It will be a relief to get there and dive into the non-stop list of activities! Just doing the the next thing and the next thing after that...

We have been working on models made from our products and came up with this little tree topper made out of one of our wool felt cones. We turned it into a festive holiday creature. Her body is embellished with felt shapes, arms built with small felt beads, head wrapped with yarn, star charms hanging from wire, paper wings are decorated with paint, hand made paper and glitter...

Better get back to my product development job...
Still a few dayz left to whip up goodies!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Happy Birthday to my second born...Having a family extravaganza this evening for birthdays, weddings and visiting cousins! It was a busy week putting Houston stuff together and packing it up...making backing cards, checking out advertising prices, sending out our second newsletter, shipping, making samples , etc. etc....

Wanted to share the pics of the Artgirl Halloween cupcakes that we made for supreme employee Matt's birthday! Fun with gum drops! Inspired by M. Stewart...

I have been working on models for Houston using our new felt cone shapes...they have been very fun to work on...came up with a witch, tree topper and a couple of regular Artgirl beauties! The cones are called egg warmers in Nepal, but I thought that they would be great bases for little sculptures. She is embellished with felt shapes, embroidery, our little felt beads make the arms with mix and match hand charms...topped off with a variety of fibers!

Will share the others as time goes by...also have some great little felt bags that will fit femmy young girlz, your cell phone, wallet, secret codes, favorite beads etc... More backing cards to make up...bye bye now...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

These are the very first tests of our new rubber stamps on the closest file folder!

Friday, September 29, 2006

It is already Mandatory Make Things Day...trying to get our second newsletter and complimentary blog page together by Monday and then order product for Houston and then make stuff. We are trying to get samples made for Quilt Festival...

The piece shown above, was made with our new little wool felt squares, small felt beads and some charms. It was all stitched together by hand with metallic thread.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

We wanted to share some ideas for using our wool felt beads and charms for making decorations for a Christmas tree, decorating packages and cards. It's not too early to get supplies and start stitching as the nights grow longer and colder...well where we live anyway.


Sewing through the wool beads is very simple. I prefer using millinery needles with Coats and Clark metalic thread. You will need 15 - 20 little buttons. The smallest used in this project is about 1/4 inch across. To add these little buttons, knot the end of a double thread, hide the knot behind a button, and sew right through from one button to another.

Attach a dot heart charm with the same thread. That will be the bottom of the ornament.

Create a loop with a 6 inch piece of silk ribbon. Fold in half and make a knot in the middle... Stitch the loop onto the top of the bead at the knot.

To finish off the thread, just stitch through a loop of thread to make a knot an pull thread through the lenght of the bead and cut thread.


The bead on the left was embellished with embroidery thread, silk ribbon and a variety of beads.

Thread the silk ribbon through a needle and pull the ribbon down through the middle of the bead leaving the end on the inside the bead. Go back through the top and continue to add the ribbon around the bead.

Thread two strands of embroidery floss through a needle and stitch around the bead to hold the silk ribbon in place. Add French knots in a contrasting color.

To create the "dangle" at the bottom of your decorated bead, string a variety of beads onto
your embroidery thread. To secure the string of beads, loop back up through the string skipping the bottom bead. Take a couple of stitches at the top the string to secure the thread.

Additional goodies can be added such as more beads, sequins, little bits of colorful felt, metalic threads, more ribbon, family faces hanging off the end, meaningful words or images...

Have Fun and Keep checking Back for Fresh Ideas!

Friday, September 22, 2006

With classes and the Quilt Festival speeding our way, "Fun Friday",
a concept that we have had in our hearts for two years but never get to,
has suddenly become
"MANDATORY Fun Friday"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Mid week already and we are moving along here at Artgirlz Nation...Got our box from Nepal yesterday with our felt and had a couple of surprises. Our new pocketbooks for embellishment came fully embellished...that kind of thing. I have to remind myself that if that is my biggest problem of the day, I am a lucky girl.

I managed to get the images of our new charms together and we are very excited about them. Have to get going on the next group.

We had a visit last night from Pete and Karen and our friend MT Silvia. MT (Smartgirl Productions), a big shot at Pixar, is making a film about her mothers' experience with atom bomb testing. We were lucky to see the sample piece that has been put together to help nail down some production cash. Her first film was a wonderful look at Christmas in a neighborhood near her home in California. It is a big project and I hope that it all comes together!

Have to get on the bulb situation in the garden. I haven't spent my usual amount of time dreaming and studying the daffy bulbs!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

September is flying by...Sue and I worked in the garden last weekend...pulling weeds, moving plants, planting shrubs, edging. Sue spied a praying mantis in a tree we had just dug up...there is an amazing face!

Speaking of faces, we finally having our new face charm has taken a while to get this one the way we liked it. Will be ready to ship next week as will the jester hat! We are waiting to receive our wing models. Should be any moment!

We talked with a smart energetic woman this week who is going to work with us to help boost sales! Yea...thanks Jes for sending sis is a bit worried about having another "J" name...Jes, JoAnn, Janet. JoAnn and Mat are returning today after a break for family hospital another Artgirlz Birthday Lunch for Jo...

I think that our first plate of rubber stamps are ready for production. I was hoping to have them for Houston, but it will be very tight! It is coming at us very quickly.
Off to get some work done...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We had an unexpected and spirited call from Tim Holtz the other night. After chewing over who's doing what where, Tim shared that he too had a collection of "scary babies" in his studio. Living out in the garden, our scary baby tribe occasionally has work to do. Clearly these boys had been relaxing on a nice summer day and must have sprung into action to save us from some unsavory individuals...

It seems like we have done so many things since the last post. Al and I traveled to Macon, GA for a family wedding. It was fun to see cousins Kevin and Scott, sister Beth and family, my former husband Ed and son Don, as we wove in and out of festivities. Don and Ed were in the neighborhood trying to catch the space lauch that was postponed. Here we are sporting our Artgirlz jewels...

I saw a very interesting Pulic Television program about a gathering of forward thinking individuals. Check out Learned about Architecture for Humanity with a book "Design Like You Give a Damn". It was very inspiring to see so many people doing such amazing work!!

Last week we had to say good-by to one of our workers Danielle. She turned 18 and is now off to Pace College. We had an Artgirlz Birthday-Going Off To College Lunch. Here is Danielle with boyfriend, Artgirlz worker, and drummer rock star Mat. It is very quiet without her!

I can hardly believe that it is September...I didn't finish half of the projects that were on the docket, but that probably has more to do with me dishing out more than I can we will continue to take care of the piles on our desks, the lists on our (painted on the) wall sized chalk boards. We have an interesting business call this afternoon and an interview with a potential new helper. We are looking forward to both events!

Sending lots of love to JoAnn and Mat!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I am having trouble posting a message today...keep getting a html error message...I hate that!!
So I am going to keep it simple because I have things to do...pack for trip to Macon GA, do my hair, and on and on for Artgirlz!

We had some lovely messages from customers this week and we appreciate it very much...I was trying to share them here, but I don't know if that was part of my problem. The picture below was sent to us by Teri Velazquez and this character is hanging from the rear view mirror of Teri's car!

I also want to add one of Robin Beams necklaces featuring Artgirlz charmz and wool felt beads!
You rock Robin!!

Will report when we return to the studio from the wedding festivities in Macon!

Friday, August 11, 2006

...the essence of craft, as a very delicate, tentative, and maybe even private activity, involving preparedness to fail, and try again, and experiment, and tolerate not knowing what the outcome of this process may be "useful" for.
Radical Craft...The Second Art Center Design Conference...By Janet Abrams

I found this quote in an article yesterday as I looked for guidelines for a design team. I didn't have much luck finding guidelines, but did have a couple of people wish me good luck! I loved the "preparedness to fail", and the ability to "tolerate not knowing the outcome"...I don't like the day to day feeling of it, but I would like more serenity around it...

Was in software hell yesterday and am happy to say that a quick run of a disc utility seems to have fixed the problem...we will see as the day goes on...I really want to have a "fun Friday"...the idea being that we would actually play with materials...what a concept. I talked with a couple of business owners this week and we were all talking about how busy we are with no time for creating...maybe something today...

How about passion flowers...we finally pulled some weeds this week. There are many more to go, and I am hoping that we will have a nice downpour in the next couple of days...not looking good in that area...might actually have to water. There is a distinct feeling of fall today. Just last week everyone was melting from the heat. My sisters in Alaska both had run ins with moose in their gardens. One had her vegetable garden consumed, and the other had all of her flowers gobbled up. I had a very funny conversation with a store owner and day lily collector who told me that rabbits are her biggest headache..."nothing a thirty cent bullet won't take care of..." Miss Never Held a Gun had a good laugh. I have a very clear picture of another peaceful, creative person sitting on her deck with a bb gun aimed at the critters sneaking into her veggie garden...

We will be heading back to the "house on the rocks" off of Jamestown, RI this week end for Ed's 60th birthday party. He is working on a recycled cooking oil venture... The photo on the left is the birthday boy...father of my lovely children and his very generous sister Janet...Jan is the hostess of the year!

And here is a grand photo of the group lovingly known as "the girlz" and generally the "we" in this adventure...
Sue, Midge, Allison, and me...