Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite Friday

So on Fridays I'm instituting "Favorite Friday." It's on Friday because of the alliteration.

(Side story: One time in college my roommate called from the pantry, "Has anyone seen my big box of brownies?" and before anyone could answer she burst out laughing. We figured it was because the brownies were right in front of. But we still asked what was so funny. She comes out of the pantry and just repeats "Big box of brownies" between her laughter. We all looked at her like she was crazy because we kind of thought she was at that moment. And then she says, "Alliteration!" She was an English major. So now, every time I see or hear alliteration I think of that story and I chuckle.)

Every Friday I'll choose a favorite of mine from Etsy, either from my shop, my grandfather's shop, or just any shop that I come across on Etsy. Today, to provide more exposure to my grandfather, my favorite comes from his shop.


White Light House art print - 8 x 10


It's really a toss up between the one above and this one because the latter was given to me for my wedding present and it's absolutely gorgeous! (The one for sale on the Etsy shop is NOT my painting--my grandfather liked it so much he painted two of them.) They're both favorites. But today, I'll choose the White Light House. It's available as both an art print for $35 or the original for $275.

When I was younger I went to an art gallery with my grandparents and there was a painting of a white house. Just a plain front white house with a bare yard. And all three of us fell in love with it because it was such a beautiful and haunting picture. It told such a story. It looked abandoned, but at the same time, not. Like maybe the owners were just away for awhile. No matter what the real story behind the painting was, we all loved it and my grandparents bought it.

Because my grandfather is a painter they don't really need to ever buy watercolors because my grandfather has such a collection of his. This painting is not the one that we saw. It's one that I saw once when I came to visit--my grandfather had painted it recently. It's not the same setting at all and the house is a completely different architectural style, but it gives me that same feeling. I can look at it for hours and never get bored. The colors, the seemingly empty house and lighthouse, the grass blowing in the wind--they're all mesmerizing to me.

So today, this is my favorite painting. Because it sucks me in and I don't get tired of looking at it. Because it's done so beautifully and because it reminds me of when we all first discovered the white house painting, now hanging in my grandparent's bedroom. That painting and the memory of finding it has always made me happy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday Shop Feature: Pink Baby Mouse

Today while browsing Etsy (because I am addicted) I ran across the best pillow I have ever seen:

Blue Cone Dog pillow from pinkbabymouse
Everybody has their problems; whether you bite your nails or compulsively lick your own fur, let's celebrate our imperfections! You are still adorable, just like this dachshund who has to sport a cone around her neck. Felt applique on heavy canvas with a removable 16 x 16" pillow form insert.


Being an avid dog lover (I want to be a dog walker and a painter--got the "painter" part down, just need to get the dog walking going) I instantly fell in love with the pillow. And then! There were more! In multiple colors! Pink and yellow and orange! Oh my! Adorable Dachshund Heaven!

There there's this great "Jewish Gentleman" pillow:

Jewish Gentleman pillow by pinkbabymouse
This wise old soul will add character and inspire conversation in your home. He is entirely hand-made out of felt applique on heavy duty cotton broadcloth removable cover and he measures 16x16". Hand wash in cold water and air dry only.


She has to have some of the most creative pillows I've come across on Etsy. And she made the front page with her Blue Cone Dog pillow today on Etsy! Congratulations Pink Baby Mouse!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA: Did you Know?

**This is a blog post that many are posting today to help raise awareness of the new law and how it will affect everyone. Many people don't know about it yet. And those who do know about it, know it's very hard to understand. Even my local news last night didn't mention anything about the law besides that fact that thrift stores don't know what to do.**

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

The CPSIA requires very expensive testing for all products that will be used for children under 12--everything from sweaters to notebooks to toys to books. Even products not necessary meant for children under 12 but that can still be used by children under 12--like office supplies. They're not meant for children under 12, but legal pads are an affordable alternative to those Five Star binders and notebooks. Testing runs $70 per component for lead testing. Around $350 per component for phthalate testing. Which means a sweater with 2 colors of yarn, 3 colors of thread, buttons, and a felt applique (7 components in all) would cost $2,940 to test. Make the same sweater in a larger size--$2,940. Same sweater in a smaller size--$2,940. Imagine how much you'll be paying for sweaters now. Not that much ($2,940) because businesses will eat some of the cost, but don't be surprised if prices double.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12. This will likely raise your property taxes, as well, to cover the new public education costs.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.
Article from the American Library Association: Click Here



To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

Lovey from Pogo Shop on Etsy


To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

Landscape I Original Collage by Lindsay Brackeen on Etsy


To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.” Article from the Wall Street Journal: Click Here

Antique Toy Car Assemblage Necklace by Savage Salvage on Etsy


To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes.


And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law:
Click Here

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The ACEO of the Day matches my new coat!

Here's today's ACEO of the Day:


Spring - Click Here to Purchase


This ACEO is a watercolor wash of green and yellow--it's a really cheery reminder of Spring during this cold and snowy winter! And it matches my new coat (which I am in love with and can't wait to receive it in the mail!):



Just felt like I should point that out. And show off my best purchase as of late.

Remember, all proceeds from the ACEO of the Day series go to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation! The cause is so important to me because of my grandfather, who is also a painter and was diagnosed with MS in his mid-fifties.

There are new art prints available from Art By Jay, too! Go and check them out. It's a very affordable way to own one of my grandfather's watercolors. Each print is limited to 15 so get them while they're still available! http://artbyjay.etsy.com and http://artbyjay.artfire.com

Among the new art prints:

Click Here to Purchase Your Limited Edition Art Print


Art by Jay will be mentioned during an interview with Walt Curlee on the Such Cool Stuff! blog on February 11, 2009. I'll link to the interview on February 11, but in the meantime, go and check out that blog!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Best. Coat. Ever.

So today Jeremy and I had to go to Ikea (I say "had to" because it's Saturday and I try to avoid Ikea on Saturdays because it's a mad house) to get me a new chair to go with my new art studio as well as some storage for all of my supplies. We also stopped at Ann Taylor Loft because I love that store. I found this gem of a coat:


Love it!! I bought it online because it was 30% off online only--way to shop smart, Sara!! Plus, when I put it on, Jeremy looked like he fell in love with me all over again. He loves it as much as I do--apparently I am gorgeous in yellow.

Now this jacket is on my radar for Spring:


I loved that one, too. But it's still coat weather and that is NOT a warm jacket so I'm just going to keep my eye on it. If it goes on sale before spring/jacket weather I'll snap it up.

Our house is SO clean. It's fantastic! Except for my in-progress art studio. We have to get the new storage set up (We got a dresser for my supplies--sounds weird, but it will work great! And it matches my Ikea art desk!) and all that stuff that we stored under the bed that we gave away now needs a new home. So that room is a little cluttered. But the rest of the house--heaven!

Watching Iron Chef America. That is such a bad idea this late at night because it always makes me hungry.

Quick Post About my Great Purchases!

So, this is basically a repeat from my "Jeremy & Sara" blog (link is on the right, down a couple of sections under "Where You Can Find Me" or something like that), but I'm really jazzed about my purchases from morelle on Etsy this week. She was also my featured seller last Thursday (click here for that post). I bought two clutches. Fell in love with the purple suede Valkyrie clutch while waiting for a Truffle clutch to be listed. So I bought the Valkyrie clutch figuring I'd just get that one instead. But then a Truffle clutch was listed two or three days later!! And I love it. It's linen in variegated gray tones. So I snatched that one up, too. I'm very excited for them to arrive!!

Truffle Clutch

Valkyrie Clutch


Now it is most definitely time for bed. Jeremy and I DEEP cleaned the apartment tonight. 5 hours of cleaning. And we finally took down our Christmas decorations. (Late, I know.) My feet hurt. And my tooth still hurts. And I'm still dreading the dentist even though I want him to fix it so I have mixed feelings about whether I want Tuesday at 8 a.m. to actually arrive or to never arrive at all. But most of all right now, my entire body hurts from all the cleaning. BUT! I got a Swiffer Wet Jet tonight--totally changed my life! Everyone needs to go and get one right now if they don't already have one. Mopping has never been so cool.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Finally Getting My Studio Set Up!!

So for the past couple of months (specifically since I opened my store and have been painting more often on the living room floor on garbage bags) I have said that we need to get rid of our guest bedroom. My mother stays in it once a year and while I love my mother, I need an art studio more than she needs a bed in my two bedroom apartment (I really need a house--I'm going crazy. Mostly because the apartment is a DISASTER area right now, but we're deep cleaning tonight. Yay for Friday Night Cleaning!). So today we're giving our nice beautiful extra bed frame to Jeremy's sister. They're picking it up this afternoon while I'm at work. They're picking Jeremy up from work so they can get in to get it. It's kind of good that they're picking it up while I'm not there because I really liked that bed and I'm sad to see it go. But it's just not practical at the moment to have it. And we have a much better bed now for ourselves. And I love redecorating so this will give me the chance to buy a cute guest bed from Ikea or somewhere when it's time to have a guest room again. But, moving on.

I get to set up my studio in there this weekend!! We already have some Ikea desks collapsed in one of our closets so we'll just pull one of those back out for me. I will be painting a lot more when I actually have a place to paint where I don't have to re-clean the entire room when I'm done because it's the living room! So excited about that! So tomorrow, before going to our California party (Yes, Ann, I will feel better because I will not miss it!) to celebrate our family's love of all things California (specifically Laguna Beach, Knott's Berry Farm chicken, and Disneyland) we're going to the Apple Store because I bought Jeremy a new iPod touch last week and then it promptly became "unresponsive"--luckily it was after it was registered and warrantied so they'll just swap it for us. And THEN, we're going to Ikea to get me a good "art" chair and some cabinetry for my art supplies because I want my closet back. Very excited about this! Kind of wondering how we'll get cabinetry into our new Mini, though. It's pretty small. Roomy, but small.

I have so many ideas for things but haven't had the motivation to pull everything out, paint on the floor, and put everything away again. I need a more permanent place. This will be a good weekend.

Now, here's my ACEO of the Day! Remember, all proceeds go to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation! The background is shiny gold--doesn't translate well in photos.


ACEO of the Day - Golden Tree - Click Here to Purchase


Oh! And I signed up to be a verified artisan at ArtFire. Haven't uploaded anything, but I have the coolest URL ever - http://artsafire.artfire.com. How perfect is that? Will be uploading things soon. Despite ArtFire having less hits than Etsy, it's still really cheap with that "$7 for life" deal and according to Google Analytics for my grandfather's artfire shop (http://artbyjay.artfire.com), it has a much lower bounce rate and longer browsing time than Etsy usually has. The smallness of ArtFire at this point is not too shabby.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sara is Sick. But here's an ACEO.

I'm sick today. I stayed home from work yesterday thinking I'd be better today. So wrong. Worse today. Everything hurts. Especially my head.

Here's the ACEO of the Day, though.

It was an experiment with watercolors (my grandfather is the watercolorist, not me--speaking of which, new painting from ArtByJay today or tomorrow, depending upon how I'm feeling and whether I'm up to tackling the photography today). I just did a blue wash and then sprinkled rock salt over it--the rock salt pulled some of the color out giving it that mottled look in places. I was pretty fond of it when I was done so I thought I'd add it to the ACEO of the Day series.


Blue - 2.5" x 3.5" - Click Here to Purchase

All proceeds from the ACEO of the Day series will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ACEO of the Day - Fall Tree

Today's ACEO of the Day is up. Tomorrow's will be up earlier than 10:00 p.m. Promise. This one was done on watercolor paper with ink and Prismacolor art markers.


Fall Tree ACEO - 2.5" x 3.5" - Click here to Purchase


All proceeds for the ACEO of the Day series will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Foundation!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Treasuries!

My grandfather and I are in the new VickiDiane Artists of Etsy exposed treasury! My grandfather is definitely the star!!

Click here for Artists of Etsy Exposed!


And I was including in a pointillism/stippling treasury, too!

Click here to see the Great Point/Stippling Artists!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Mini Painting Greetings

Here's my newest idea to add lower price points to my store: Mini Painting Greetings. (Catchier name to follow.)

I'll paint mini paintings (3x3 or 4x4 canvas boards) and send them with a cute little greeting to whomever you would like to help brighten their day! Good idea? Bad idea? Just an idea? I'll post samples here later. Just came up with it.

Also, ACEO of the day starts on Monday. Proceeds will go to the Multiple Sclerosis foundation!

I'm also working on some really big projects for my shop at higher price points. So, if anyone has $700 laying around that they're dying to spend: stay tuned! :) Feel free to spend it on my larger pieces in the works. I'll post pictures of the process here, too. Then you can see how I paint on the living room floor and why I really need to get that bed out of the guest bedroom so I can set up my desks again.

Almost time for the long weekend. And it's coming just in time. I feel like crap. Plans for tonight: Snuggle up with husband and watch Phantom of the Opera. Gerard Butler is oh-so attractive.

P.S.: Be sure to check out the "I want some enchanted hairclips!" post below for a little chuckle.

I want some enchanted hair clips!

I have to repost this from my personal blog because it's just too funny. And so completely unfair that my husband gets all the good dreams.

-----------------------------------------------

Jeremy had a dream last night that I had enchanted hair clips that knew how to transport us to any place in the world thanks to the wonder of the extensive Google maps, which they had downloaded or studied or something.

So we went to Disneyland Paris and I took him to all of the big art historical sites because I'm an art historian and given the chance those are the first places I'd go with enchanted hair clips.

So, in honor of the enchanted hair clips, here's the item of the day:

So pretty they just might be enchanted hair clips. Coffee Bean Chrysanthemum Silver Plated Hairpin Set by Ben & Oliver - Click here to purchase

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Featured Seller: Morelle

My husband said, "For one of your presents you get to pick out a Coach purse from the Park City store for Christmas this year." And I said, "Actually, I'd like a morelle. From Etsy." This made him really excited because he, for some reason, is really excited about me buying handmade. I love buying handmade so I understand my preference for it. Still not really sure about his reaction.

I have been following morelle's Etsy shop (http://morelle.etsy.com) for quite awhile now, admiring her "truffle" purses. Morelle is a small, one-woman business based in Amsterdam. Of her designs, she says:
"All the designs are made by me, Katie. I create whatever comes to mind... I usually get an idea and quickly draw it down! I get inspiration from the city I live in and from everyday situations around me. I like color and I like the idea of a bright, pretty bag standing out in the middle of a busy city."

She was featured on Etsy as the featured seller back in November. To read her interview, click here.

Distressed Leather Truffle Purse


Valkyrie Wristlet


Morchella

I have yet to purchase my morelle purse. I'm currently holding out for either the Morchella purse or one of the Truffle clutches (seen below). She's currently sold out so I'm waiting and watching, ready to pounce.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Art by Jay Art Prints open on Artfire!

The Art By Jay shop is open on Artfire! You can find him at http://artbyjay.artfire.com

Lighthouse art print - 8 x 10 - Click Here to Purchase


The Artfire shop is currently dedicated to the prints of his original paintings, which will soon be available on Etsy, too.

You can buy them in three sizes: 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 18 x 24 (the size of the originals) at much lower price points than the original paintings! It's an easy and affordable way to get a beautiful painting for you home!

Go and check it out!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sold another painting!

I sold another painting tonight!! It's a small abstract piece. One that I started and had no idea where I was going with it--I was completely confused until it was done! But it turned out well and now it's been purchased and has a lovely new home! When I first finished it I wasn't going to list it on Etsy because I didn't quite know how I felt about it. That's a problem I have--over thinking my art and therefore being too critical of my "happy accidents." But then overnight it really grew on me (one of my resolutions is to stop second guessing my art) and it's been one of my favorites lately because it's simple but still really pretty on the wall.



"Stained Glass Grass" - Original 12 x 12 acrylic on deep profile canvas

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Art By Jay on Etsy Front Page!

One of my grandfather's watercolors made it to the front page of Etsy on January 9th!



Here is the specific painting:

The River - 18 x 24 Original Watercolor - Click Here to Purchase


As promised there will be greeting cards and calendars and prints available soon. With all the craziness of the past couple of weeks we haven't gotten it started yet, but it's definitely still in the works.

Look for another painting from Art By Jay tomorrow as well as a new ACEO on ArtsAfire!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My First Newsletter!

My first newsletter was sent out this morning! The lucky winner of the free monthly painting was Pauline. If you'd like to be entered into the drawing for next month, sign up right there on the top right of this page. :) I don't spam. I'll never send anything but the monthly newsletter. (Which also includes a monthly coupon!)

Here are the updates and things to look for that I included in the "Coming Soon" part of the Newsletter:

Coming Next Week:
- Look for my ACEO (Art Card Edition Original) of the Day! For 30 days starting next week I will list one new affordable ACEO on my Etsy shop, http://artsafire.etsy.com

- Look for more smaller sets of paintings at my shop, as well as some higher end, large scale works to follow

- I will feature a new Etsy artist on my blog (http://artsafire.blogspot.com) every Thursday, starting next week. If you're looking for great gift ideas or just looking to find some fabulous handmade products you should definitely check it out!

Ideas In the Works:
- Weekly scavenger hunt for "free shipping" item in my store

- Charitable Series - Items from which all proceeds go to the Multiple Sclerosis foundation (if you have been to my grandfather's store at http://artbyjay.etsy.com and read his profile, you'll understand why this is such an important cause to me) - I'll probably make the ACEO of the Day cards part of this charitable series


My Favorite Painting from My Grandpa's Shop Today:


Mountain Valley - Click Here to Purchase

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another treasury and a blog mention! And a NEW CAR!!

My grandfather and I have been kind of MIA on Etsy lately because 1) I was on vacation over the holidays at Disneyland, and 2) we totaled our beautiful Cobra Mustang the day we got back into town--very depressing. So I've been dealing with that. But starting this weekend, there will be new additions to the stores! I'm going to get my house clean, get my art studio set up (No more painting on the living room floor and not being able to move after I'm finally done!), and get to work.

We picked up our new 2009 Mini Cooper S last night! I don't have pictures yet because it was really dark by the time we got to the dealer (Insert grumbling about winter and cold and dark here) but I will have pictures very soon! Hopefully tonight. It's pepper white with a black top and black fold-in mirrors--It's so pretty. And it's really fun to drive! It has a very different clutch from what we're used to with the Cobra, but we'll get used to it--we haven't stalled it (yet), we're just kind of slow to get started sometimes. It has leatherette seats which are heated--very nice. The Cobra had leather seats that would stay cold forever, so even if the heater was melting you, you were too cold if you turned it off because of the cold seeping through your clothes from the seats.

My grandfather and I were mentioned on a blog by a fellow Etsy seller, Artisanne. I highly recommend checking out her shop--she has gorgeous Scottish sea glass creations! I have my eyes on a couple of her necklaces! And I'd really like to purchase one of her keychains for my new Mini key! (Has anyone ever seen one? It's not a key! It's just a round disk that you push into a slot on the dash and then press the "Start" button!)

And, I was put into another treasury by jolijoli (love her shop name). It's gorgeous! Everyone should check it out.
Please Be Mine Treasury


I will be sending out my newsletter tomorrow with the winner of the free monthly painting!

My favorite item from my shop today:

Trio of Pointillism Flowers, Limited Edition of 10

Monday, January 5, 2009

Treasury!

I was put into a very pretty treasury by jolijoli!

Click Here to See It!


I will be sending out my first newsletter this week with this month's free painting winner. If you haven't signed up you've still got 1 or 2 days to do so and to be entered into the drawing! Just sign up to the right of this blog entry!