Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bazaart Fun!

This blog is a bit longer than usual but think of it, not as a blog, but as a helpful guide to finishing your holiday shopping!

This past weekend the American Visionary Art Museum held their annual Bazaart Holiday Marketplace and my friend and fellow Etsian Melinda Byrd ( )was one of the vendors. When she asked if I could give her a hand I was all in. Not only would I be spending the day with Melinda but I would get to see the show I had heard so much about but never had been to before. I arrived early. Earlier than a lot of the vendors so I had the opportunity to peruse a little bit and chat with a couple of the artists as they started filtering in. I fell in love over and over again that morning with the many amazing things the 50 some vendors created.

One of the first artists I had the opportunity to chat with was a woman named Patti Backer ( Her work is awesome! It  became clear to me in that moment how wrong I was to start my holiday shopping early because I saw several of her pieces that I could have purchased for more than one person on my shopping list. On the back of her post card that I picked up it says simply, "whimsical art" and I can't think of a better word to describe her work. From owls to octopus Ms. Backer has covered it all but in her work its like these animals are in their own little dream worlds. One bird has little white teeth and long almost human like legs, the octopus is floating above a bird nest filled with eggs and a rabbit sits with a tiny owl on its head while carrots with wings fly by at night. But almost all of the animals have these very human like eyes, which makes you connect with them I think. Just do yourself a favor and go visit her shop!

Greenstar Studio's booth, which will be relaunching as MIGHT in January 2012 (, looked as warm and colorful as always! Danamarie Hosler is the artist behind these colorful, fun pieces. I had the pleasure of meeting Danamarie briefly at the Columbia Arts Festival this past summer and she is so sweet. Just like her work. She makes the most huggable little plush creatures and coloring books for kids (OK yes, I want them for myself) along with things like bobby pins, coffee collars and prints. I made a purchase for a friends child but I purchased one of the prints for myself. I love it! If you still have some shopping to do for a child or a big child give her store a visit for sure!

Art Head Studio creates amazing figurative sculptures from vintage tins and cans as well as other salvaged items. Each one has it's own personality, and being a person who gives emotions to inanimate objects, this was easy for me to spot!  They are super awesome and I can't wait to have one in my home. Visit or to check them out for yourself. Her work is really special!

Diane Koss who makes a whole collection of monsters. Plush cupcake monsters, monsters on mugs, onesies and t-shirts. But my favorite thing was her monster hoodies. Cutest thing ever! See and shop her work at

Fuzzy Mug!! Graphic designer Brooke Behnken has created so many items with beautiful items of beloved fuzzy faces. Digital images are printed onto shirts, towels, note cards and notebooks among other things in bright beautiful solid colors. My favorite item of Fuzzy Mug's is the doggie calling cards. Check out this great store! Fuzzy Mug does custom work too so you pet owners out there, keep that in mind!

The Littlest Bean was there with super fun colorful items. Jen Menkhaus is the artist behind The Littlest Bean. She works mainly in felt and yarn. I love, love, love her barrettes and headbands but she has so much more than that. Wreathes, necklaces, business card holders and pin cushions! She has something for anyone who loves color! Check her out at

All in all Bazaart was an incredible event. It was super busy from the time the show opened at 10am to 2 or 3 pm. The vendors were amazing but the shoppers were crazy cool. They were so much fun and so eager to hear about the artists' processes and to SHOP! I can say, a lot of folks out there will be getting some great hand crafted items this Christmas. There was an over all energy to this show, unlike any show I have been to. I have my fingers, toes, legs....everything crossed that next year I will be participating as a vendor.

I wish I could write about each and every talented vendor here but there were simply too many. But please, do yourself a favor and visit these stores' links. Especially if you didn't make it out for this crazy event. If you are still working on your holiday shopping, try keeping it local. I am sure I can speak on behalf of all the artists mentioned above when I saw we all appreciate it!

Now you've got my two cents on Bazaart, but read on for a brief interview I did with Melinda Byrd of Byrdcall Studio to hear the perspective of one of is outstanding vendors!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things I am thankful for.

It is the eve of Thanksgiving and I am sitting here, a slave to social media marketing and I decided to turn all that loathing into a list of all (OK just a handful...I am Thankful for a lot) that I am Thankful for. So here they no specific order. Some are huge, some are just the small things that make life a little sweeter.

1. I am thankful for hair dye. Being a red head is part of my identity but the sad truth is, I am not one. I am boring brown at best with a whole lot of grey happening up there, however they grey I am actually thankful for. Perhaps this seems strange but I feel it reminds me I've done some living, I've seen some things, I've been broken and I have healed and I am not as young as so many people think I am.

2. I am thankful for coffee. Strong coffee. No narrative needed here.

3. Spell check...for I have already used it 100 times today. I'm sure I still have managed to spell something wrong along the way. Perhaps I will next be thankful for you kindly ignoring my errors.

4. Romance Novels about highlanders. They are trashy lady porn and I love them!

5. Music. The way hearing a song can take you back to a time, a place or even a person is breathtaking.

6. Laughter...causing it and giving it. Both are beautiful.

7. Jane Austin, I swear reading her books has caused me to value things in my life differently and I am better for it.

8. For the years of my life I spent dancing. I may still move a bit when I am alone but it is not the same as the freedom, the company and mentors I found while being in school for it. It has shaped me. I miss it every day but am eternally thankful for the time I had and I will never forget what it felt like to claim space in that way.

9. Every friend that I have. Each one so special. Each one offering something so different to the world. They give me gifts I hope to God I can begin repay over time.

10. My husband. He is supportive. He mows the grass. He does the laundry and more importantly he deals with my crazy day after day and still comes back home.

11. My mother. Who would I be with out you letting me grow into my own person? Who would I be with out every lesson you ever taught me about...well everything? I am thankful. More thankful than I can say for everything you are and everything you have ever done.

12. My whole crazy, freaky, weird, funny, loving family. Each and everyone of them are beyond amazing. I am thankful I have you all and I am very thankful we all actually like one another. That seems to be quite rare in this world.

13. The March of Dimes and the amazing staff and University of Maryland Medical Center. Without them two very important members of my family would not be here. Jayden and Gage my nephews, born 4 months early are miracles and touch everyone they meet with their drive, will and determination to be here and LIVE!

14. Calendars and address know the kinds filled with paper that you write on with pens and pencils. Remember those? Well I love them. I love actually writing stuff down. I am thankful that companies still make these simple things in our digital world. I feel like a minority but I don't care. I love the act of writing.

15. The postal service....the one that handles mail, not the band, though I am thankful for them too. I love to send letters. I love getting letters. I am thankful that someone, still does the work in between.

OK....I could keep going but if you made it this far, surely you are bored to tears. But maybe you will be thinking of the things, both big and small that you are thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Upcoming Events

As the holidays near, my schedule is filling up with some very exciting events. A few of them are right around the corner. First up is The American Visionary Art Museum's annual BazaArt on Saturday November 26th from 10am-5pm ( ) I will be there supporting an amazing artist and great friend Melinda Byrd. Her work is incredible, ranging from oil paintings, to Framed woodcut prints, to amazing hand printed t-shirts. Her mediums may vary but her subject matter remains mainly nature with few other joyous images mixed in. I have purchased her shirts for friends in the past and they have been well loved. Check out her etsy store at and her website at Melinda is such a talented artist! So come down to BazaArt and check her out along many other amazing artists! Admission is free too :-)

Next up on the calendar comes Cyber Monday! I'm diving right into this American Shopping Tradition and giving you all a coupon code to SAVE 30% by entering Nov28 at checkout. Yeah you read that correctly. For 24 hours save 30%! Merry Christmas to you from me! All week I will be posting new pieces many of them are one of a kinds so be sure to check back often.

After that comes the very exciting Carroll County Artists Tour December 3-4th 10am-5pm. I will be at the home/studios of Sarah Abel-DeLuca and Stephen DeLuca, two artists with crazy talent. They both will be exhibiting and selling work throughout their beautiful home and were so kind to ask me to come and participate. I will be there both days with my a lot of my NEW pieces that I have been working on as well as writing about. For more information on this fabulous weekend long show check out If you are making a point to check out the studio tour (which you should) go to visit Melinda too, who is also participating in this great event. More information for her stop can be found at

Well folks I think that is enough to keep you all busy for the next couple of weeks so I hope to see you all around. Please remember that handcrafted items are treasured forever. What better way to make the holidays brighter than supporting local art and local businesses.