Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tweedlepox in Denver's Frugal Examiner

A friend of mine, Marilyn, has an examiner.com page, Denver Frugal Living, and recently featured some of my artwork that's on Etsy. I didn't even know it was there until I decided to see what new articles she had posted.

She concentrates on short simple ideas for living on a budget. As a mother of 5 (hers are all grown now) she's had a lot of experience stretching a dollar to care for a large family and many of her articles give tips on how to do that. She discusses growing your own produce and making your own pizza as well as other tips and local entertainments too.

She spoke of Etsy as one way stay home moms (like me :) can contribute monetarily to the household while being able to continue to stay and be the mom. As she mentioned, for those of us with a large family, the amount we'd make elsewhere doesn't even cover the cost of childcare. Etsy is a great place for any artist, full or part time, to market their wares as literally thousands of people shop Etsy everyday.

Marilyn even included a link to my Tweedlepox store so I guess I should get more stuff out there. I have been waiting for Gabe to teach me how to do the pictures on the computer but his schedule has been packed this month so it has gone undone. It was my intent to get new products up each week. Well, we all know that many good intentions get thwarted in life but that's no excuse to stop trying.

I think I'll work on it this weekend. And maybe we'll have some pizza too.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Changes Afoot?

I'm considering revamping my logo. I still like certain elements of it, namely the Tweedle "D" and the rattle "P", though Gabe says the "O" personifies the Tweedle and the pox. I even very briefly considered changing the name entirely.

While trying to think of names we decided that it needed to be something fanciful that caught your attention. We came up with many that were OK, but...then I said maybe it should be totally silly. Gabe said "Tweedpox" and I changed it to "Tweedlepox" as I am an Alice in Wonderland fan and that is the name we kept going back to.

I decided, for now, not to change the name because for one thing, its too much work and for another, I can't think of anything that would fit me. So I stick with Tweedlepox and its expression of fanciful, silly, whimsicalness while trying to be perfectly proper. But I consider changing the font or style of it.

This is what I doodled the other day and I rather like it. What do you think?

Paintings of a Friend

A friend of mine married this weekend and as a gift I painted some pictures for her. I wasn't too sure how I felt about them but they did turn out OK. And she liked them too! That's quite a compliment since she's an accomplished artist herself. (Another friend made this beautiful, scrumptious cake. Art comes in all forms, I think.)

There were some challenges in making these pictures. When I went to take a photo of her (she didn't know why of course) I had forgotten my camera so I used my phone. I had only tiny pictures to look at, I may have been able to move them to my computer but I didn't have time to mess with it.

I tried to start on Monday and the wedding was on Saturday. I was not able to work on the paintings all of Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or half of Friday because of forgotten errands, pop-ins, a school function, a Drs appointment and more pop-ins. That turned my 5 1/2 days to work into 2, minus all the school and kids and nursing and nagging-that gave me about 3 hours to draw and paint 3 pictures and create a keepable wedding card to boot. (which I forgot to photograph)

My friend is quite a ham, so in all the pictures I had of her she was making faces. That's OK, it fits her perfectly.

I only have minimal, inexpensive equipment, which I am determined to make work for me. I believe great art can be made with modest tools, its not the fancy materials that makes it art.

This is the first time I've watercolored/painted skin. I have colored people with chalk and pencil but usually when I paint its nature not people. The paintings turned out pretty good despite my inexperience.

I've never really considered myself good at sketching, especially people, but I was happy to find that my pictures do basically look like my friend.

I tried something different with the color this time as I only have an eight pack of watercolors. I was wanting to find just the right mix of colors for my friends rich skin tone so I took my chalks and used them with the watercolors. I tried wetting the brush and touching the chalk but in most cases it was way too light. I also have a blender pen to give the chalk a watercolor look but I didn't want to pen such a large surface. So instead I used a file to grate the chalk, even combining the colors of chalk and the watercolor paint to get the right shade.

I used watercolor brushes(cheap) for some application but I also used a wetted Qtip dipped in the wet color. I really liked how the Qtip gave some of the softest lines. (I didn't think to use it until half way through the second picture) And I was able to blend the colors so much easier than with a brush.

I seem to do most of my best work as gifts for other people. Maybe art as a token of love is the best art a person can make. That's why it's important to only make what you love yourself.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Secret Garden in a Local Greenhouse

As promised, here are the pictures of the greenhouse I visited last Saturday. I find it all very inspirational in a couple of ways.

1. It makes me want to learn to garden (I am attempting my first square foot garden this summer, very excited to have fresh veggies this season..)

2. It makes me want to create. I could sit in there and paint what I see, I could use bits of nature to make anything from jewelry to home decorating and anything in between, draw, craft, and generally be inspired...

It's like a jungle in here.
The picture at the right smacks of an actual greenhouse with a long table filled with plants. But the plants have taken over.

All of the trees have decided to stay and burst out of their pots and into the ground.

Even pots of other plants have been left to their own devises.

There were so many more awesome pictures, too many to put in one post. This greenhouse has a sad story (because of the huge amount of money lost on these trees due to competition from the big money people) but it is such a beautiful, inspiring place and I will definitely be visiting again.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Studio Mascot

I'm in the process of getting pictures of an awesome greenhouse I visited set up to share with you, but in the meantime I'd like to share this.

My fat old cat Locutis has had the honor of being included in the Your Studio Mascot blog by EC Stewart of ECStewart Designs, Inc.. She has some amazing calligraphy style artwork that I just love, and she is an animal lover. We are very excited to be included in her special blog for our special family members.
Check it out at the green YSM link above.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


(This tiny post is just a prelude to the real post which will be featured tomorrow. As it is much too late to be "featuring" anything right now)

I find that it takes so much time to create nowadays. I don't get down to my desk very often and when I do its a mad rush to make something in the few moments I have before the kids find out where I am. Then when I'm done, my desk looks like this..

That reminds me, I have a wedding card to make.

(To be continued....)

Continued..a short history through cards

I find that it takes so much time to create nowadays. I don't get down to my desk very often and when I do its a mad rush to make something in the few moments I have before the kids find out where I am. Then when I'm done, my desk looks like this..

That reminds me, I have a wedding card to make.

I decided to share some of the cards I have created in the past. You will see how my skills have improved though the amount of time I have to do it in has reduced.

This is the first major card project I did, the birth announcement for my oldest daughter. I made about 40 of these, mostly at 2am.

As you can see, I was fairly new to the whole stamping thing and the stamps I had were pretty cheesy little foam backed things. The little blue flap on the front opens up to reveal the (handwritten) baby stats. This was 11 years ago.

The second time around, I wanted something simple (so it would be easy to repeat). A short time before this I had discovered Stampin' Up! stamps and became a demonstrator. I used their paper, ink, and stamp image for this card 8 years ago.

Just one stamp and a pretty ribbon.

Daughter #3's card was only slightly more complicated. I was no longer a Stampin' Up! demonstrator (5 years ago) due to lack of sales and mostly time, but I still like their products and used some for this card as well.

I used their papers and a cute baby feet stamp in Versamark ink to give a watermark look on each color block.

Now comes our 10 year anniversary. Gabe and I got married in a court house with just a few close friends and family. There was 12 of us crammed into a tiny office as the justice of the peace preformed our ceremony. We had a get together with more family a couple weeks later but it was not planned by us and not what we would have done.

We weren't really expecting anyone to do anything for us for the big 1-0 so we decided to throw it ourselves. We had a very small gathering with just about 20 people and we threw ourselves a fancy tea party. Gabe even rented a tux. We made most of the food ourselves, with a little help from friends, and bought 12 teapots for the tea. (Gabe got them on sale here, along with some wonderful tea blends). I made these invitations for the party.

This card had two Stampin' Up! images, one in Versamark and one stamped into paperclay.

The image was stamped in paperclay and dried. Then I painted it with acrylics and "aged" it with antiquing gel.

It was an accordion style card with collage images stamped on the pages and it included a quote, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love." by Mother Teresa.

At the tea we included cards at each table with instructions to help make it run more smoothly.
This image was a variation of the cupid picture we had on the windows during our wedding reception. Our only contribution to it, we felt it fit perfectly. I'm not sure where the image is from, but we made copies for these simple cards, backed with rust colored card stock and tied off with pretty ribbon.

And last but not least, the "announcements" for my son. We decide to call them "introductions" since he was announced 7 months ago and we still have about half of the cards to send out. (Sorry guys, at least I got them made before he could talk!) I had to make about 40. (By the way, I did start it before he was born, but we also moved 3 times, never mind your normal pregnant 30something tired.)

For these cards I didn't want the usual cutesy baby blue, or little cars, or footballs, or any other traditional boy thing. (If he's anything like his papa, he'll be more into juggling and hat tricks than sports and cars.)

I found a nice paisley that wasn't girly and had some blue in it (I'm not completely against it) and paired it with a nice brown with a subtle argyle pattern on it, then mounted them on cream card stock. Copper colored eyelets add a nice accent as opposed to the ribbon used for the girls.

I got my husband, who is a artist in his own right though he wont admit it (he did these when he was about 17 or 18), to sculpt the D for me. The background is paperclay stamped with a lace image and antiqued. Then Gabe sculpted a master D and made a mold out of it. All the D's were then "cast" in paperclay, painted in a blue to match the paper, and antiqued before mounting them to the lace. Then the whole thing was mounted to the card itself.

I think Gabe did a great job and I wish we could work together on projects more often. (I have lots of ideas that incorporate sculpted pieces but its by far not my best area, where he is great at it). I may be able to talk him into more, I just have to be patient as he is a last minute kinda guy.

I think my skills have improved, and I really enjoy making cards, maybe I should do it more often. What do you think?


P.S. The site for Faces Past was also designed by Gabe (when he was still learning web design). It happens to be my mother-in-law, Michelle Mastel's, site. She is an accomplished porcelain doll sculptor. Her civil war bride is a beautiful piece of art and an all around favorite.

Friday, April 3, 2009


In the future I hope to get more organized with my posts. Though I have seen that I'm not the only one that's not. I have also seen others consistently share great stuff. I think I'm in between.

That said, I wanted to share some pictures of a piece I made a while ago. It has since been sold, so I'm afraid you wont be seeing it in Tweedlepox's Etsy store. (Which I opened pretty much on schedule. Amazing!)

Toadily Beautiful is a favorite that I created while working a booth at a craft fair.

The fabulous toad bead is by Green Girl Studios. He reminds me of the Frog and Toad stories that were my favorites when I was little.

Another item that is not for sale, and I did not make. (Maybe I made him fat.) I found this in my photo booth after taking a few shots.

Also, the dress that I spoke of is almost finished. It is taking far longer than I tend to think it should, but seeing as sewing is not my best skill, and my machine repeatedly binds up when I'm almost done, I should be happy that I have anything to show for it.

The skirt half is a white satiny material with a ribbon of toile along the bottom. Very cute.

I am so ridiculously close to being finished with the entire thing, that my sewing machine is sure to spontaneously combust. I'm sure i just need to get it tuned up, but unfortunately that will have to wait.

I haven't had any revelations recently (they come and go) so I'm afraid I don't have anything really fabulous to say. I can't be fabulous everyday. I have decided to be more proactive in my efforts to discipline (as in "to teach") my children as opposed to yelling. I discussed this with them this morning and they seemed to agree with the plan. We shall see if they continue to agree once I lay the empathy on them after they learn they wont be joining me for a movie later. If I keep a positive attitude about the whole thing, it promises to be amusing. For me.