Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

"Dream Girl"
11" x 14" Acrylic

Hope so far everyone is having a great Halloween!

I created my first spider artwork about a month ago, specifically for a Halloween art exhibit at Gallerie 13. Since it was for a Halloween show, the artwork was meant to be somewhat ominous and have a spooky atmosphere. That seemed appropriate not only for Halloween, but because most people (including myself most of the time) feel that way about spiders: That they are SCARY.

But I've said many times that I really enjoy showcasing the beauty of bugs (insects, arachnids and the like) and helping people appreciate them.... even if maybe they don't necessarily like them in real life!

So I created Dream Girl.
The name is significant for a few reasons.
The first is that the idea for the painting came to me in a dream. The background was the same as this, bright and simple, but the spider was black and white, and was showing its belly rather than its back. The position of the spider was the same as the other spider drawing I did, and I wanted this to be different. As I researched some spiders, I discovered these and thought they were so beautiful that I had to paint one. It most closely resembles a Wasp Spider- not exactly as I took some creative liberties, but close.

The other reason for the name was that I was trying to make a spider that was beautiful and appealing, so I wanted it to have a name that fit that description.
Part of that name came from a funny song by "The Lonely Island" called "Dreamgirl." It's about a Dream Girl who isn't much of a dream girl by most standards... sort of like Spiders to most people.
I invite you to have a listen here:

Hope you enjoy, and this artwork will be for sale soon- still need to get an image capture and seal the painting. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Clyde Peeling's Reptiland, part 2

As I promised, here are a couple more pictures from Reptiland!
These are two of the lizards we saw. Stay tuned for my pics of frogs, snakes, and butterflies! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Next Art Show...

On Sunday, November 8th, I'll be at Harrisburg Area Comminity College with members of the Jewelry Goddesses for a high-end art show and sale. I'll have some originals, some framed prints, and unframed prints too. I also hope to have some bug-boxes and other new items there, so come have a look! :)

Here's my newest bug box:

Hope to see you on Sunday the 8th!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Clyde Peeling's Reptiland, part 1

As part of my birthday present, yesterday my wonderful, fabulous, knows-me-oh-so-well husband took me to Clyde Peeling's REPTILAND!!
(No... we didn't participate in their birthday party package but we did see them setting one up and it looked pretty cool, hehe.)

Reptiland was awesome. One thing that I enjoyed most about it was that it was big enough to see lots of different animals, yet not so overwhelmingly huuuuge that you felt like you had to rush if you wanted to get to see EVERYTHING. I liked that we could stay at an exhibit for as long as we wanted and just take everything in.

When we arrived, we got a quick bite to eat at the Crocodile Creek Deli and then headed out to see the outdoor exhibits. The first things we saw were turtles:


I feel like this composition is just screaming to be
created into a drawing or painting!

Last but not least, check it out. Turtle snuggling, or probably the closest thing to snuggling that turtles do. Can you say, Awwwwwwww?

I'm sure some of these will become drawings or paintings in the relatively near future.... Reptile and amphibian fans, stay tuned!
I got lots of fantastic pictures that I'd like to share, but will create several Reptiland posts for them so as not to make one post too overwhelming.

If you're going to be in PA and you'd like to plan a trip to Reptiland yourself, go here:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday to Weird Al!

Today is a very special day...
The birthday of Weird Al!!
(I wonder if he's sick of people calling him up and playing him his own Birthday anthem?)

Weird Al is one of my absolute favorite people in the world. I've loved him since I was a kid, and thought he was a total complete genius for making a career out of writing funny songs and hilarious song parodies. Changing the lyrics of songs has always been a favorite past time of mine, too.... if I had the equipment, I'd probably be releasing my own parodies to the world wide internets. Sometimes I think maybe I missed my true calling. Oh well!

Not only is Weird Al hysterical (and laughter is the best medicine!), but he's a great role model.
Here are some things we can all learn from the wonderful Weird Al Yankovic:

1. Don't take yourself too seriously!
....Check out the "White & Nerdy" video... bwahahhahaa!
2. Don't grow out of potty humor.
.....Listen carefully to the background noises in "Another One Rides the Bus"
3. Embrace silliness.
.....and when isn't a fat suit funny? Check out "FAT!"
4. Be yourself! can "Dare To Be Stupid!!"
5. Adapt, but also
6. find a way to do what you truly enjoy.
....In other words, make sure you do "Whatever You Like"!
7. Try to maintain good relationships.
... which means sometimes you might have to apologize for something, even if everything was just a big misunderstanding.
8. Don't forget to LAUGH!

Happy Birthday, Al! It's your 50th, I hope you have a great one!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New- Featured Item!

Featured Item:

"Passiflora" Colored Pencil Drawing
8"x10" double matted & framed in an 11"x14" frame.
Buy it HERE!

I tend to showcase my original drawings and paintings at art shows, or the few pieces I've got over at Gallerie 13 in Mechanicsburg PA. Otherwise, the original work is kept packed away so it doesn't get damaged, or I hang it up so that I know exactly where each piece is and I can find it when I need it. I realized recently that those pieces aren't doing anyone any good just sitting around like that, now are they? So I've decided to start promoting my originals a little more with.... Featured Items. I'll list the item in my Etsy shop and offer free shipping on it... until I decide to feature a different item.

If you'd like to buy one of my featured items but you don't have an Etsy account, it's free and simple to set one up!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oyster Festival Fun!

Learn all about the Oyster Festival, the Shucking Contest, and how to shuck an oyster too!!

Also in this clip, at about 1:28 (and a few more times) you can briefly see my poster artwork on the Oyster Festival Program! My art was on TV.... How exciting!!!

A few weeks ago, I found out that I won the poster contest for the festival and I was so flattered and excited! Yesterday I was able to get down to the festival for the first day and sign and sell a bunch of the posters. Since it was about 40 degrees and raining all day, we had a table with the St. Mary's County tourism display inside one of the buildings. Much to my delight, we were in the same building as the National Oyster cook-off! That meant we got to smell and more importantly SAMPLE a bunch of the winning recipes.... A. MAZ. ING. I tried "Beach House Oysters with Sherry Sauce" by Chef Brandon Cahill that was... seriously... like a little bite of heaven.

You can view pictures from the event on my Facebook page even if you don't have an account!
But if you do have a Facebook account, you're more than welcome to become a fan of my page! Just click "Become a Fan" up at the top. :)

Here are the news clips about the show too! Meet the Oyster King! (He's fantastic!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Etsy Promotion! Today & This weekend...

FREE SHIPPING on my "Baltimore Checkerspot & Black Eyed Susan" 8"x10" print on Etsy!
Today and this weekend!

I'm back in Maryland for the weekend on a mini-vacation, so I thought I'd celebrate and promote some local subject matter!....
This is the official State Butterfly of Maryland. Did you know that some states have designated state butterflies? Some don't, but most at least have a designated state insect! This colorful butterfly is sipping nectar from the Maryland State Flower, a Black Eyed Susan.
Enjoy, and happy shopping :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Featured Etsy Shop... SturmDM!

Since I'm part of the handmade community over at Etsy, every now and then I like to spotlight an extra special shop...

This time I've decided to feature "Honeybee Crochet", the shop of a dear friend of mine, Doris. Like me, Doris is a friend to the bees!... Which is how we became acquainted. Her shop is full of many functional handmade items such as afghans, pillows, kitchen items, shawls and other wearables.
But my favorite things in her shop are her bees!

Is this patriotic bee not one of the most cute and creative things you've ever seen!?

She crochets them all by hand from patterns that she has created herself, so all of the bees are one of a kind! She truly has a creative gift, to make all these wonderful and adorable bees!.. Here are some of my favorites:

Little Bees with Big Hearts!
(Great for Valentine's day, Christmas, Anniversary, or any other occasion for someone you love who loves bees!)

Doris donates some of her proceeds from sales in her Etsy shop to Honeybee Research. Check her Etsy Profile for more info.

You can find Doris on Etsy at:

And read about her life of bees, Gizzy, crochet, and Georgia here:
She's always got something interesting to blog about, and she's currently got a pet costume contest going on! But if you're going to enter, hurry, because there is only 1 week left for submissions! (Entry deadline to submit your pets' pictures is Oct. 21st!)

In addition to having a wonderful creative gift, Doris also has a big heart and is one of the nicest people ever. Please go visit her blog and her shop and show her a little love :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Little Bug Boxes!

I'll keep this short and sweet since I'm recovering from a cold and want to take advantage of a grey, cloudy day, some cold medicine, and a snuggly kitty for some napping.

I've been thinking it would be fun to create some art that is not only bright and colorful and fun but also functional....
Behold the tiny Bug Box!

So far it's only got one clear coat on the top of it- I'm going to apply more and sand them down for a smooth finish. This is the first experimental piece- the guinea pig, er caterpillar, if you will. I've got a couple of different sized boxes to play around with techniques and designs. I think the combination I've got here of decoupage and hand-painting works well, but some of the boxes may be all hand painted. However, to put a significant amount of detail into them, I'd have to spend a fairly large chunk of time though- which would make them get expensive quickly. This is why I like the idea of decoupaging my existing art onto a piece and then hand painting some simple colorful touches too.

We'll see where it goes, but I soon hope to have some of these in my Etsy shop!

If you've got ideas that you'd like to see on a Bug Box, let me know! Just leave a comment- I'd love to hear!

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Dragonflies drawing!

"The Dragonfly Meeting"

8"x10" colored pencil & ink drawing

Currently $120 as it is not framed

$145 when I have it framed.

I recently finished this drawing but hadn't gotten a chance to post it on ye olde bloge yet... so here it is!

If you're interested in buying the original, you can email me at I haven't bought a frame for it yet, but would be happy to ship it to you unframed in a plastic sleeve and you can pick out a frame. I have a blue frame in mind at a local frame shop... just need to take the picture and compare colors to make sure it won't clash!

For prints of this drawing, just click the image or go to my new online gallery here:

I don't think this will be the last of my dragonfly artwork. At various art shows I've been asked countless times if I have any dragonflies, so this is the first full size drawing. Lately I've been doing a lot of smaller artwork- I can produce it quickly and sell it for less than a big ginormous painting that takes months and months. Because of this, I'll probably be doing some series (3-4 pieces) of different bugs since I'm used to having one subject matter in mind for months at a time. For instance, I'm already working on another spider... I hope to eventually have 4 of them as well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I ♥ Staples... and you might, too!

Since I started shopping at Staples and became a Staples Rewards member, I've saved a lot of money- and I want to share with you how perhaps you can, too.
(BTW, I don't work for Staples or have any affiliation with them!)
First, you have to be a Staples Rewards member. Becoming a member is super easy and you can even do it online- and if it wasn't super easy, I wouldn't've bothered... trust me.
Here's more info:

To get your quarterly rewards certificates, you must earn at least $10 in rewards each quarter... but that's really easy to do. Just keep these things in mind (this info is valid as of October 2009. Rules and promotions may fluctuate slightly from time to time).

The simplest way you can earn some money if you do a lot of printing (like MEEEEE!) is by recycling your ink cartridges. Not only is this great for the environment, but your wallet as well! Staples will give you $3 in store credit (money you can spend at Staples) for each cartridge you bring in. (Note: You can't grab a whole huge purse full of ink cartridges and bring it in to cash in the mother load... They've got a maximum of 10 cartridges per calendar month. But that's $30 in rewards you can earn each month! )

You also earn 10% back on all ink/toner, case and ream paper, and copy & print services. So if you spend $100 on ink (not at all hard to do if you print as much as I do!), you'll get $10.00 in rewards. Staples will often run additional promotions on top of this... my personal favorite being 50% rewards back on copy & print services. So keep your eye on your local Staples' promotions!

I've ordered my greeting cards from several different companies. So far, and Staples are my favorites. When I get cards printed at Staples the fee is the same for 1 or 100 of a design. Staples charges $1.00 per 8.5" x 11" print. They have cardstock you can print on, but I prefer my Neenah Environment ecofriendly recycled stock. I purchase the paper and bring it into Staples for them to print my cards. (I do the folding, cutting, and buy envelopes.) If you choose to bring in your own paper, be sure you bring some information about the paper so Staples copy center can make sure it will be safe for their machines.
Another note- Staples ranked #20 in Newsweek's Top Green US Companies!

Let's add up some more savings! (Always fun, right?) If Staples is running their wonderful 50% Rewards back on copies and prints, and I have 50 greeting cards made, it costs me $50.00 at $1.00 per print. I get 50% of that back- $25.00! I can take that $25.00 and go get more cards made, or whatever else***(see below) I may want from the store.

A while back I thought about purchasing my own color laser jet just so I could print greeting cards. It would be a big expense up front, but might pay off in the long run as long as I'm making and selling cards. However, with Staples offering such great printing promotions, and me not mass printing my cards yet, I've decided it's cheaper to have them do the printing because I know for a fact color toner is NOT cheap! I wouldn't look forward to having to replace it (even with my 10% rewards back, hehe.)

As a rewards member, you also get some pretty great deals via email. They'll send you their weekly ad, and once in a while you'll get a $5 off a $50 purchase, for example. They also often offer buy 1 get 1 free paper promotions. There are tons of ways to save- so if you do a lot of printing or frequently need color laser prints, I hope you'll find some of this information helpful! :)

***Coffee break...
Staples carries my absolute favorite coffee: Paul Newman's organic coffees. And no, it doesn't have a hellacious mark-up :) It costs the same there as everywhere else I've found it!
Rewards = FREE COFFEE. Score!