Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It is New Year's Eve here in Rhode Island. Just read that it is already the new year in Australia...hope it's going well down under!! It started snowing about two hours ago. Midge and Al are in Florida pulling their new house together. Yesterday afternoon Al said "I hate to tell you that it is perfect!" Good for them enjoying the sunshine!!!
Sue and I have been sending out orders, cleaning out the factory and studio for the new year. We've been doing a bit of painting in the kitchen, and bath...just to freshen things up a bit. We are loving our pellet new glasses yesterday after loosing my long time fav's somewhere before Christmas...also let go of my so called "secret stash" and got a new camera!! Looking forward to a quiet, warm evening.

Prepping for our Class...Jan 17th...after doing a bit of organizing in the studio, I gathered materials to come up with new samples. It has been great to actually be working on something. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am looking forward to getting back to it. Also working on preparing it for an online class!

We worked on our veggie seed order for this spring and summer. Exciting and a bit overwhelming, but looking forward to it very much. Our chickens started laying eggs December 10th and have been popping them out since then !!! That is very exciting and heartwarming.

My next step is to set up a 20% Super Duper Sale on our website. It will run from Jan1 through Jan 8. I'm sure that it will be a piece of cake!

Friday, December 05, 2008

I can hardly believe that we are 5 dayz into December! We are trying to remain upright and focused!! The Foundry Show opened last night. It is always a relief to get the Artgirlz corner set up with little felt snow people and Christmas trees. It was fun to see those folks that we only see there! And we love seeing our fellow craftspeople putting their hearts and souls out into the world. I know how hard they all work to get their goods to the table. I hope all of the artisans in the world have a great season!!!

Looking forward to watering the plants, regrouping a bit here in the studio, trying to stay in the moment, and relaxing this evening with my girl. Tomorrow we have serious focusing to do for a two day business meeting that starts Sunday evening. We are up to it I'm sure!!!

Oh, we have a new addition to the Artgirlz family...Beth,one of the Alaska sisters has a new grand baby. Little Miss Ivy! This looks like an immediate landing on earth photo!

I picked up a little shirt and overalls and added a little Artgirl treatment. I stuck the shirt into some pink dye to give it a girlie color and machine embroidered her name on the bib. Allison added a few flowers with embroidery floss. Now the next step is to get it into the mail before she's too big for her hip artgirlz outfit!!!

I hope all of you are staying calm and having fun preparing for the festivities ahead...what ever they may be!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I think that I already mentioned that our new shopping cart is up and running and I am very happy that it is still going very smoothly! For your creative pleasure, we are offering two Artgirlz Special Bundles of goodies at The first collection, The Hope Bundle, includes rubber stamps, accordion book, papers, fibers, wings and charms. Secondly, we have beautiful goodies for crown making. It is fun, easy and a great group project!!! To make it even easier, we have a page of Artgirl suggestions that can be downloaded! I mean how much fun are these girlz having!!

Speaking of fun, Midge and Al are still in sunny but I understand cool Florida. They seem to be enjoying the family, the sunshine, and their private condo getaway! Back here at World Headquarters, the troops are busy putting things together, sending out orders, making up new things, slinging ideas around, and generally moving things forward. I am very grateful to them all!!

Hope, Yes Hope!!!! Here is the Hope sign to replace the ripped off Obama sign and my always able and willing sidekick Sue. It was rather drizzly when we hiked around the fence to put it up, but it is still on the fence and that is good news!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Whew, the new shopping cart went live last night and I am hoping that the transition is smooth!
So far, so good! It has taken many hours of tweaking photos, making new graphics, going over and over to make sure everything is hooked up properly. Time will tell! Thanks N.B. for guiding us along! So, check out the new Artgirlz look...

Midge and Al left for Florida early this morning and will be relaxing and celebrating Midge's dad's 90th B'day!!! We'll see if they return...

Sue and I are here holding down the fort with the support of our loyal workers! I can say how much I appreciate the work that everyone does around here to keep us going! Speaking of workers, we've had a new crew of pin makers come in this week and learn the ins and outs of our "Weird Sisters", "Menopausal Mavens" etc. Linda is the Boss of the Pins and she did a fine job leading everyone through the paces. It is good to have a group of lovelies helping to spread Artgirlz energy!

We seem to have an abundance of red roving, so Linda, Jo and I are trying to come up with some exciting projects for the world stay tuned! And just wanted to share this pair of snow people that were made at Quilt Market by a talented couple visiting from Europe. Love to watch folks work!

Made a new sign to put up on the fence..."HOPE". Sue thinks it will get ripped down again. I will get photos when we get it in place! Keep on keepin on!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

We are all very happy around here since the election of our new president!! Will get a new sign up to replace the stolen Obama masterpiece! Still chewing around ideas for the special word...
Al and I went to Quilt Market for a couple of days to help Brewer Quilting and Sewing Supplies....They are carrying most of our Product so we were support services in the Artgirlz section. They made beautiful signs for us and gave us an A+ spot on the main isle! We saw some of our old buddies like Tina Givens ,who by the way always looks so beautifully put together as is her work(pictured on the left with Al)!

Then who walked into our area but Mr. Jay McCarroll of Project Runway fame and fortune! (See photo above with Miss Al) Jay has a new line of fabric with Westminister and the women were just wild for autographs and photo ops! His lovely sisters seemed to have the big job of being his handlers!!

We had a great "School House". It was basically and infomercial for shop owners for our goods. It was there that we met Andree (L)and Wendy (R), representing Happiness is Quilting in McKinney, Texas! We were all gleeful to meet each other and hope to head that way sometime to teach! Hi Girlz...
The weather was lovely in Houston as was the completed park right outside of the Convention Center. I missed being at Festival this year, but heard it was wonderful as usual!

We came home to the news that our first chicken became hawk food and the rest turned out to be roosters.
We now have a whole new chicken family. Check out The Green Girlz Blog for farming updates...they aren't done yet!

Holiday Ideas!
We are gearing up with samples and suggestions to inspire hands and minds as the Holiday Season approaches. Above is a garland that Linda put together for us. It has a family of snow people threaded onto mixed yarns and further embellished with yarn and ripped strips of cloth!
I put up a new slide show on this site this morning on the upper right hand side of this page. If you click on any of the slide shows in the side bar, it will take you to a page with larger images... Pictured below is one of our 3.5cm beads that has rolled onto an embossing pad and sprinkled with embossing glitter. I hit it with a heat gun to melt the glitter and added a bit of ribbon on the top. With an additional ribbon or thread, they could be hung on the tree or mantle. Smaller versions would top off a beautiful package! Have fun with them and experiment with the goodies in your own stash!!!

Midge and Al are off to sell Artgirlz goodies at a quilt show this weekend in Hartsdale, NY. If you are in the area stop by and check it out!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thanks to an invitation from Cate Coulacos Prato, features editor at Quilting Arts/Cloth Paper Scissors, we became part of a great book that has just been released by Interweave, "Mixed-Media Self Portraits". All of the women listed below have contributed their images and many "how to's" to the book!

Donna Anderson
Ricki Arno
Kathie Briggs
Juliana Coles
Debbi Crane
Larissa Davis
Susan Else
Karen Fricke
Janet Ghio
Chrysti Hydeck
Carol Kemp
Katie Kendrick
Jane LaFazio
Sylvia Luna
Loretta Marvel
Jenn Mason
Karen Michel
Kimberly Montagnese
Kelli Perkins
Yvonne Porcella
Cheryl Prater
Lesley Riley
Kelly Rae Roberts
Mary Beth Schwartzenberger
Beryl Taylor
K. Wayne Thornley
Elin Waterston
Linda Edkins Wyatt

Al and I both started without knowing it, with a self portrait that we had done in a class. After scanning and printing it out, we started the projects. I printed mine onto transfer paper and then to cloth. Al continued hers by coloring in the printed image and then translating it into cloth. We both struggled in our own special ways with time constraints being the main issue. Running Artgirlz takes up more time than ever imagined, and I still always feel about 3 weeks behind. Having a project like this forced us to focus on pencils, chalks, fabrics and paints for at least a little while.

It was great going through all of our boxes of Stuff looking for just the right thing to go into my box...I loved finding those special scraps of fabric to help send the message...

Al spent a lot of time painting the inside of her box...putting on color, scraping and sanding it off...applying it again...She then stitched a version of the paper self, placed them together and into her box!

I searched, cut, stitched and glued things together. Using mat medium, I collaged the inside walls of the box with words and images, added a paint wash on the outside.

Then that day comes that you just have to send the project off and then it's on to the next thing. We have had the book for a week or so and it is very inspiring to see all of the different approaches to oneself.

Check it out and give it a try. You can use any materials, any size, any part of yourself. The hardest part for me is turning off that pesky judge and just enjoying the process!

Take some time to wander through the sites listed above...always a twist here and there! Have at it and have fun trying something new!

Always...well, mostly trying...

Friday, October 17, 2008

We have unpacked from Art - Is in Connecticut! We had a group of at least 40 women making paper crowns on Saturday. It seemed like everyone had a great time, cutting, stamping, gluing,
coloring their crowns and all took on quite a royal posture!! Looking forward to spending more time there next year. Will keep everyone posted!

Al got hit with a nasty cold and is finally feeling a bit better. Midge is off to LA for a few days to see her daughter Beth. Sue and I are packing up again and heading across the bridges and the Sea and Stars Quilt Show in Portsmouth, RI. Looking forward to sharing our wares with local stitchers!!

Then Al and I will head to Houston for a couple of dayz at Quilt Market. We will be supporting
Brewer and their sales staff, helping to get Artgirlz out there in the world. We will be doing a School House Presentation Friday afternoon. We will be in the Brewer Booth on Sat from 2-4 and Sun from 10-12 doing demos and photo ops with Artgirlz props!

Somewhat in denial about my own cold situation....

Keep encouraging folks to vote....did we tell you that our Obama sign was ripped off! Eekkkk...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Trying to get a post in before another month flies by...I am so behind in my social networking!!
About three weeks ago we took Artgirlz on the road locally, and did the Farmers Market at Casey Farms and the Peace Festival in Peacedale, RI. We sold some goodies and mostly had paper, glue and scissors set up so that the kidz could do their thing!! And they did!! We all love watching the kidz get into it...concentrating, looking for just the right thing, and explaining the story behind their decisions!!
This week we are pulling it together for the Art-Is gathering in Cromwell Ct. I think that all of the class kits are together, so it is the rest of the tasks that go into preparing for a show! It should be fun, and I think that we have about 50 folks signed up to to a Saturday Night Extravaganza with the Artgirlz!!

We have had lots of tasks around the yard, and we decided to do a second blog, TheGreengirlz on which to put our farming stories. That will leave this site for Artgirlz business and creative updates!!

I also wanted to say that we will not be in Houston for Festival this year. It was a very hard decision, based on the financials involved with the whole event. Al and I will be at Market for a couple of days but will miss seeing all of our buddies at the Festival!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Working with our web person, we are putting a new shopping cart together and hope to have it up in a couple of weeks! That is very exciting for us! In the mean time, our Holiday Goodies are available from our current store. New Halloween Kits for your fall creative times! If you go to the "What's New" page of the website, you will find directions for downloading...Spiders, Pumpkins, Witches and Ghosts...

We are having a pin making extravaganza day here at Artgirlz. The good news is that we have so many orders and so few pins! So it's an all out push with sewing machines and needles and thread!

We are also dealing with our dead printer that has put a large damper on things since last week. We thought Xerox was going to approve us for their "free machine, you buy all of your ink directly from us" program. Now it seems like too many managers have to talk to their managers which is now seeming like a way to blow us off...Heading to Providence to work on that!

And finally, I worked on the defaced Obama sign and am ready to put it back up!
It is getting more interesting!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

In the midst of attending to many tasks around Artgirlz Nation, we harvested of our honey. Midge and Al did a masterful job last spring getting our very first honey. Sue and I were on an emergency vacation in St. Augustine when we received a phone call from the girlz saying that they were up to their eyeballs in the kitchen. Using foil tents over the stove, they managed to harvest a nice crop.

This time we had a lot of honey and borrowed a honey extractor from the Rhode Island Bee Keepers and spun out over 100 pounds of honey. Our little bees have been very very busy!!! We gathered glass jars, cleaned them up and got them ready for the goods.

Al, Sue and Midge brought the frames from the hives to the porch. After lifting a frame out of the hive, they used a soft brush to remove the bees. The walk from the hives to the porch put a bit more space between the bees and their goods. I then stacked them in plastic bins.

I think that Midge was the only one that avoided getting a sting or two.

We had two plastic containers filled with frames for our first round of spinning.
After combing over the tops of the frames with a fork to break up the wax, the frames were put into the extractor, two at a time.

Spinning the frames forces the honey to the sides of the container and down through the spout,

into the first strainer and into the bucket!

The very first drops!

After a second straining the honey through a finer sieve, we bottled it up.

We learned this weekend that we probably should have waited a couple of days to jar it up. The time allows the little air bubbles to rise to the top. For the most part we are all very pleased with our project. We have learned many tricks and have so much more to learn.
We are grateful to all of the local bee people that have guided us along!

and all of the while a whole gang of babies was gathering by the pond and were drying off after a rain storm!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our Obama Sign was defaced last night....
going out to fix it up and put it back up!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Whew, trying to get pics up from last weeks farmers market before we go back this morning! It is tasting day in Charlestown, with vendors offering tid bits for the shoppers. Although it is hard to believe, it is also Labor Day Weekend. How did that happen??? Sue and I went to check out the market at Casey Farm in Saunderstown, RI on Saturday. Known as the Coastal Growers Market, we will be there with our goodies next week providing glue, paper and crayons for the kiddies!!

We worked very hard here at the Artgirlz Farm! Sue and Al checked the bees. We will be harvesting honey soon! We pulled down so many bull briars, removed poison ivy, scrubby brush and tiny trees to help keep the mosquitoes down, and open up the back! Midge worked on the chicken coop, making a safe and healthy little yard! They are growing so quickly and getting used to all of their mothers!

As mentioned, I made a big Obama sign to put on the fence and have been reprimanded by the Building Inspector. Haven't had time to take it down.......or cut it into 4ft sections...

We have decided to get a new Shopping Cart for our online store, so there will be a new look to that portion of the website very soon!!! so it's off to get some chow, head to the farmers market and do some Artgirlz Brainstorming!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Freedom of Speech?

It is quiet at Artgirlz Nation at the moment. Things will start moving more quickly as the minutes tick by. I have been prepping images this week for the next post. We worked our butts off last weekend pulling poison ivy, prickery vines that grow up through trees, cutting brush, tweaking the chicken coop, etc. I also took a used drop cloth, house paint from the cupboard and made a big Obama sign for our very long fence that faces the road.

So who shows up yesterday at lunch time but the building inspector telling me that I have to take the sign down because it is too big. I questioned the private property issue and that didn't work.
It seems that you can only have political signs up for 60 days prior to the election and that they can be no bigger than 16 sq ft.

So we are sitting tight for the moment...
in the mean time, take every opportunity to express your self!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

We had the nicest time last Friday at the Charlestown Farmers Market. Midge had talked with a couple of folks about setting up a table and doing arty things with the kids! We were right next to our buddies George and Cathy Hill of Indigo Farm. The weather was a bit iffy at the start, but it turned into a wonderful morning for all that attended! The girlz had packed up Artgirlz goodies, glue sticks, scissors, felt pieces and some official product. We set up a little table with the supplies and Midge started recruiting the kiddies! It was an amazing feeding frenzy with glue sticks flying around, paper and felt stuck in just the right place, words and shapes applied with love!

Cathy Hill, mentioned above, is not only a most wonderful grower, but an inspiring yoga teacher and member of the dance group "Ladies of the Rolling Pin". The Ladies and their families were hosting the British version of themselves, "The Wreckers". They all danced at the Market and added a festive international flair! They went on to entertain folks all over the state!

Having the community Farmer's Market a half mile from our house is an amazing gift! It has a wonderful warm feeling and has been a place to meet local farmers, bee keepers, mushroom growers, purveyors of sea food, interesting neighbors and new friends! We never leave without a couple of bags filled to the brim with beautiful goods to add to our CSA! By showing up and sharing our glue sticks, we were invited to the Coastal Growers Market, Peacedale Peace Festival, and The Alternative Food Cooperative.