Friday, December 3, 2010

Sample Time Again

Kind Jane Shasky sent me some photos of my Evergreen designs that she saw in her local gift shop. I was very excited to see them! I get to see samples as they are introduced, of course, and I see the royalty statements, but other than those two (very important) things, I really don't know much about what happens to my work. So it is always very nice to see the pieces out in the real world!

Speaking of seeing samples, this is a new stained glass design that is available from Amia. I am always happy with how their pieces come out. Right now I am working very hard getting ready to go to the Gift show in Atlanta next month. I want to have all new work to knock the clients' socks off!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This is just a short blog post to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope today is filled with the people you love and lots of pumpkin pie! I'll be making my mother's special pumpkin chiffon pie recipe. I have modified it a bit, so it doesn't use raw eggs.

1 cup cream

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 envelope unflavored gelatin

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

powdered pastuerized egg white to equal 2 egg whites

1 pre-made graham cracker piecrust

In a double boiler, stir in cream and pumpkin. Add gelatin, mixed with 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Cook over boiling water, stirring constantly, until gelatin has dissolved and mixture is starting to thicken (about 8 min). Remove from heat and chill until cool, but not set. Mix up the egg white powder with water (as directed on package, to equal two egg whites) and beat until it holds soft peaks. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating until peaks are firm. Fold into pumpkin mixture, blending well. Pour into graham cracker crust and refrigerate until set.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Autumn Chill

Harvest time is wonderful, isn't it? We are finished bringing in everything from our garden. The tomatoes have all been made into sauce, the spinach is in the freezer, the squashes are lined up in a row in the garage, the honey has been extracted from the hives, and Mr Right has lots of hot peppers!
Today it got windy and stormy, so it was time for the March of the Tumbleweeds to begin in the fields behind our house. They wait until they are all dry and ready to snap off their bases, and then when the winds blow, they roll in a parade across the field! However, it did mean that I had to drive a bit of a slalom course down the road when I went to do the school run!

Soon it will be time for lots of visiting family and friends, so here are some samples of coasters that just arrived from Coasterstone! We want there to be lots of places for people to set down their drinks, don't we. This weekend we are hosting the annual Mead-making class, so I expect about 25 people to show up. Fortunately I have done lots of other coasters too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things are Golden in Golden

On Saturday, Ian and I decided to drive up to Golden, CO to take an art workshop at the Foothills Art Center. Golden is a very picturesque town and we did a lot of walking up and down hilly streets. The leaves are almost past their peak, as you can see in the photo, and I think our unseasonably warm weather might be over, so I'm glad we had one last warm sunny day to explore! After growing up in Florida, where the changing seasons don't really manifest themselves, I love watching the colors in the Fall. Do you have a favorite season?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

3,2,1, Blastoff!

Today is an exciting day for Margaret (she is the third from the left). Her school has a wonderful program called WAVE (Webber Aeronautical Ventures in Education). This is an astronaut and space science training program, and Margaret is heavily involved. There are only seven schools in the country that have this program, and it was set up by NASA. They have an actual space shuttle simulator. This year, Margaret was chosen as one of six astronauts. They do a lot of the same types of physical and simulator training that real astronauts do, and then they "fly" a mock mission. The launch was this morning, and they sleep in the shuttle tonight, so I won't see her again until tomorrow night.

Here is a picture of mission control, showing the launch. The pilot flew by hand, rather than autopilot, which is very hard to achieve, but he did it beautifully. Margaret is payload astronaut, so her job is to take care of the satellite that they will be retrieving. The teacher astronaut for this mission is Margaret's science teacher, who also happens to be the national liaison for teachers with NASA, so she is very knowledgeable and experienced. They are lucky to have her, and Margaret adores her. The launch was very well done, they all handled it very professionally. I might pop over again later-they have a camera feed to the inside of the shuttle, so we can see what the astronauts are doing. Ian says, "Mom, you know she's not a real astronaut, don't you?" but I can't help being excited!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

New Calendar

Hooray, my new calendar is here! This calendar is being produced by Current and is available for $6.99 from their catalog and website. Putting a calendar together is a lot of hard work, but I am proud of how this one came out.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Teacups and Tobies

Here is the china pattern for today: Waterlilies by Gladstone. This is another set from Mum; these were given to my grandmother for a wedding present. I included the sugar tongs just for fun, as the sugar basin is quite large and is obviously made for sugar cubes.

Here you can see the maker's mark on the bottom of the cup. This mark was used between 1924-1942, but I haven't been able to find anything else out about the pattern.

The last time I wrote about Toby jugs, there seemed to be a lot of interest, so I thought I would post some more. These are from Mum. The handsome fellow in the middle is the one that started it all, as he belonged to my mother's mother. He isn't a proper Toby, as he doesn't have legs, but isn't he lovely?

This photo shows Mum's only Japanese Toby, the pink fellow on the left. You can see the difference in art styles. The Japanese started making these for export in the 1930's. This one is stamped "Occupied Japan". Japanese jugs in general are worth much less than English ones. I'll post more Tobies on future teacup tuesdays, but I think this is enough for now, don't you? As always, thanks to Artful Affirmations and Martha's Favorites for hosting!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guess What Day It Is?

That's right, it's Teacup Tuesday! I have neglected it for the past few weeks, what with one thing and another. Since I have just come back from visiting my mother, I decided I would showcase some of her beautiful china for a couple of weeks. This cup is made from glass and gilded. The photo doesn't really do justice to the lovely teal green of the glass. The spoon is gilded to match.
My parents bought this set in the south of France early in their marriage (this was long before they emigrated to the States).

As you can see from the shape of the pot, it is actually a coffee service, but I like it very much. When I was a little girl I thought it was the most glamorous thing I could imagine! The set is handpainted; Mum says they bought it from the artisan who made it. She said it cost more on the duty to bring it from France to England than the actual set cost!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I'm Back!

I'm back! I just had a wonderful vacation in Austin, staying at my mother's house. When you are tired and stressed, there is nothing so refreshing as a little TLC from mom! We stayed pretty close to home, making short trips to neighboring towns. My favorite was Salado, which is full of little galleries and boutiques in historic buildings. Everywhere had nice fall displays, like this pretty window.

I love Fall, and the weather in Texas turned very mild when I got there, thank goodness! Most of the time when I visit there I just melt! We went to great restaurants, and I visited my niece at UT, which has a lovely campus.

One of the best things was visiting my sister. She has been rather unwell, unfortunately. Do you see the missing "E" from the drug store sign? And see how big it is compared to the people below? Well, one very windy day, that E blew off the wall and frisbeed right into my sister, who was in the parking lot! It crashed right into her leg. She is very bruised and sore, but is gradually healing.
Now I am home and refreshed and ready to get back to my paint!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Hooray, new samples are here! It is always so much fun to see how a product with my art looks when it is finished. Sometimes it takes so long that I have completely forgotten about it, and then when the samples show up at the door it is a lovely surprise.

Here is a new apron and kitchen towel that will be just perfect for Christmas parties. I especially like how the apron came out. It's my first one! Thanks Pacific Enterprises!

Next we have some new cards. Most of these are from Legacy, but the cute Christmas puppy is from Leanin' Tree. They always make such nice boxed Christmas cards with me, and I love sending them out. I have several out this year, so it will be hard to chose!

Here is a product I have never done before: light switch covers! There are so many of them!

Finally, we have a new rug for Autumn from Evergreen Enterprises. There is also a matching garden flag, but the photo didn't come out for that one. As you can see, last week was like Christmas around here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Teacup Tuesday Celebration

A while ago, the thrift store near us needed to clear out some space, so they offered everything in the whole store for 50% off. I got this set of Royal Albert "Celebration" china for a pittance, and was delighted when I came home and found out that just one teacup goes for more than I paid for the whole set! However, I have no intention of selling, as I think the set is so pretty. I think I will save it until my daughter is grown up and has a house of her own.

Here is a close-up of the pretty teacup. This pattern dates back to 1969, so it is not an antique, but it does have a nice, vintage look.

This is the creamer and sugar basin. I think I will have to keep my eye out for the teapot next! It is always fun to have something to look for.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hooray for Books!

Yesterday we went to the Rist Canyon Richard Schmid Art Festival. We had a lovely time, and of course the art was all gorgeous. The show and auction is a benefit for the canyon fire department, and Richard has generously donated work every year. Local artists submit work to be juried into the show. I have never tried, but always intended to "someday". Well, Richard announced that this year would be his last, as he is getting older and his eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. It is really a great pity, as he is so talented, and I really looked forward to it every year. Hopefully the show will continue.

Another thing they have at the festival is a big book tent. This was my favorite find of the day: a vintage Winnie-the -Pooh cookbook (for only fifty cents)! I love the original Winnie-the-Pooh books, and have the original editions that we had in my family for years.

I think it is ok to show this inside spread for the purpose of this review. The recipes involved mostly involve honey, of course, which is great for us as we will be extracting the honey from our hives in a couple of weeks' time. I thought this Apricot Honey Bread sounded yummy! Some of the recipes are much too dated, of course, like the honey egg nog recipe that requires raw eggs in the drink. I know in the old days people thought that raw egg was good for you, but these days we are much more careful. One of my favorites was the "Recipe For Getting Thin" which was a blank page! I don't think that is a diet that I'd be able to stick to.

Monday, August 30, 2010


The use of templates to format your art for licensing has become a bit of a controversial issue. Some manufacturors say they are tired of seeing mediocre art slapped onto a template for a presentation, but I think the real issue there is the "mediocre" art! The fact is, some clients need you to format your work in this way. They have a set group of products that they need you to illustrate, and these cannot deviate in size or shape, due to the manufacturing process. You will gradually accumulate specific templates from your clients, and general ones can be purchased (check out Phyllis Dobbs' blog for this).
However, some clients aren't constrained by specific product shapes, and that is where product design comes in. I am just starting to try product design, and boy, is it fun! You have to have a certain knowledge of the manufacturing process, so you know which shapes are easy to reproduce (here's a hint: rounded shapes are easier than sharp, cut-in angles). Other than that, the sky, and your imagination, is the limit! Research your client's current line. You want to propose both versions of products they already make, and offer brand new ones that they haven't thought of yet. So now I'd better quit blogging and get back to the drawing board. Hooray!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


It is another Teacup Tuesday, and today is cool and cloudy, just right for a nice, hot cuppa. The cup I picked for today is German and has a picture of dear little birds on it. Isn't the handle an impractical shape, though? I got this very cheaply at a flea market a while back. The stamp on the bottom is unreadable, so I can only tell you that it is from Germany. From the style of the decoration, I would date it to about 1910.

I thought I'd also show a few more of my favorite milk jugs (I actually have more jugs than cups! Maybe we should start "Milk Jug Monday".) These are all mottoware from Torquay. I have decided to focus my mottoware collecting on seaside themes, which are a bit more rare than the cottage scenes. I may live in a landlocked area, but I just love the coast!

As usual, for more teacup fun, head over to Artful Affirmations or Martha's Favorites; links are at the right.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taking a Hike

Monday is our 24th wedding anniversary, so Mr Right and I decided to take some time off over the weekend and go for a nice hike and then out to dinner. There is a new park in the mountains called Hermit Park, and I hadn't been there yet. It used to be owned by Hewlett Packard as a recreational place for their employees only, but they sold it to the county and now anyone can go. The wildflowers were gorgeous. The photo doesn't really do them justice.

We saw lots of critters, including these bighorn sheep. Mr Right saw a bear up at Hermit Park once, but I was pretty happy to stick with things like birds and chipmunks!

Here is a view from the trail looking back over the town of Estes Park. If you look very closely, you can see the large white building which is the famous Stanley Hotel, where Steven King got snowed in and wrote The Shining. If you've ever watched "Ghost Hunters" on television, you'd know that it is a very haunted building! After we were done with our hike, we went into the town and had dinner at one of our fave resturants, a Mexican place called Casa Grande. We like it because they have a patio where you can sit by the river while you eat (the food is good too. I had a seafood quesadilla, yum! Mr Right had Carne Asada). I meant to take a picture, but we ate it all up too quickly!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Colors, colors, colors! How I love them. I've been spending so much time designing on the computer lately that it feels so great to get back to painting, drawing, playing with art supplies. I usually use my beloved watercolors, but sometimes it is fun to play with mixed media. I like the chalks that they make for scrapbookers. They can add a nice, soft blush of color.
And look at these lovely new paints that Plaid sent me. I can't wait to play with them. I used to write books for Plaid and like their products, so they still send me boxes of new products to try. It is always so nice to get a surprise package in the mail!
And the best color combinations are found in nature. Complimentary colors like yellow and purple, swallowtails and goldfinches on purple flowers... Later today I'm going to take some more flower photos in some of the display gardens at the University. Sounds like a perfect day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Is It Tuesday Already?

I don't know where the days go. Remember when summer days used to be endless? Now it seems like they go by at the speed of light. School starts next week and we are starting to look forward to Autumn.

Yes, it is way to early to be decorating with cornucopias, but I have been playing with some still life ideas. In my business, you have to think a season ahead, so I spend the summer painting Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas ideas, and in the winter I paint flowers! No wonder I am so confused! I thought for Teacup Tuesday I would use this teacup, which has an Autumnal feel, and is one of my favorites.

This cup is made by Myott Meakin. Years ago, when I was an illustrator at Hallmark Cards, there was a department store across the street called Halls (yes, it was owned by the same family). My friends and I would spend happy lunch hours there, taking advantage of the employee discount. One day I saw this set of dishes in the china department, and liked them so much I just had to buy them. I should look at the Replacements site, because this set has been well used, and some of the plates and things are broken.

Thanks again to Martha's Favorites and Artful Affirmations for hosting! Their links are on the right side of the page.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Just a Quickie

This week's Teacup Tuesday post will have to be a fairly quick one, as I have a very busy day today. These are actually some more pictures from the Atlanta Gift Show. I have been enjoying designing teasets for a company called Thornberry Creek, and the first two sets debuted at the show. We wanted to have the Peaches design ready in time, since the show is in Georgia!

I also did a design with violets. I think the teapot and cup have a nice shape. There is also a taller, thinner teapot, but I didn't get a photo of that. Can't wait to drink tea out of these pretty sets! My friend Cherish Flieder designed the packages, which turned out well. The art world sure is a small one! Better go and get back to painting, but many thanks to Terri and Martha for hosting, as usual. Their blogs are at the right side of this page.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Teacups!

Here is something exciting for Teacup Tuesday: when I got home from Atlanta a great big package from Evergreen Enterprises was waiting for me. Inside, among other things, were these wonderful stacking cups in my Aeropostale design. Evergreen calls them expresso cups, but for me they are just right for tea. I got a kick out of using them to offer tea to a friend at dinner the other night.

Here is a closeup of the goldfinch cup. There is a goldfinch, chickadee, wren, and titmouse. Thanks for letting me share them with you! If you want to see more pretty cups, head over to Artful Affirmations or Martha's Favorites, our lovely hostesses (links at the right).

Friday, July 23, 2010

Atlanta Gift Show

Did you miss me? I have been in Atlanta for work and play. It was time for the summer Atlanta Gift Show. The summer show isn't as big as the winter one, but it was still a very busy time. People were certainly in the mood to buy, which gives me hope for the continued upswing of the economy, and I had many positive meetings with clients.

Highland has manufactured several sets of coasters with my designs. I really liked how they came out and the display stands look good too. I'm going to have enough coasters to last for the rest of my life once the samples arrive! I was especially pleased to see the Sweet Inspirations line pictured in "Gifts and Decorative Accessories" magazine.

And here is my line "Aeropostale" in the Evergreen Enterprises showroom. They have added new pieces to it since the January show. I'm very proud of it. (I am drinking my tea out of one of the cups right now. I'll show them on Teacup Tuesday).

After a long busy day a group of us met for drinks. I enjoyed seeing everyone so much, and meeting some of my "internet friends" for the first time was great. Back row from left to right:
Pudgy little me, Terri Conrad, Martha Collins, Joyce Shelton, Phyllis Dobbs, Sue Zipkin. Front row: BJ Lantz and Carol Eldridge. Kathy Weller, Tammy Browning Smith, and Janet Wecker Frisch were also there, but unfortunately didn't make it into the photo. Getting together was the highlight of the day!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Tuesday Bonus

One of the benefits of Teacup Tuesday is that I get to play with my camera and try to set up a nice still life with the teacup. Someday some of these pictures might even turn into paintings! Isn't this teacup pretty? It is English, by Roy Kirkham. I got it at the discount store a couple of weeks ago. It is rather too big for tea, actually, but it is good for hot chocolate! I have placed it with some of my seaside souvenirs; a sea urchin from Maine, starfish and sea sponges from Florida....

Here are a few more Kirkham cups. As you can see, I have the mug that matches the teacup. I have a weakness for things with pictures of birds! The tray in the background is from my Aeropostale collection from Evergreen Enterprises.
Thanks again to Artful Affirmations and Martha's Favorites for hosting! Their blog links are on the right side of this page.