Saturday, May 30, 2009

Off to a Good Start...

Call me crazy, but I am soooooooo not one of those people who's happy just vegging on the weekends. Not at ALL.

I need to be doing something, feeling productive, making headway...and especially love it if something creative is involved!

Most of the morning was spent running - UPS, the grocery store, the art store, with a quick stop for a nonfat blackberry latte (yum!)...But then I settled in to paint my latest favorite piece - this huge Halloween platter. Read it all the way around - words to live by, yes?!

Soooooo much fun, this one, and I toyed with the idea of keeping it here for a few weeks to submit it to a national magazine (determined to do that this year!)....But I really should sell it, so it's listed on eBay with a "buy it now" option. I was also thinking maybe I'd reduce the "buy it now", or offer a partial refund if the buyer was willing to wait for shipment so I could still do the magazine thing. Is that a crazy idea? I'm thinking when people buy a piece they usually want it right away, but maybe if someone wasn't displaying it until Halloween anyway....something to think about.

After I finished painting we took Cadie and Cosmo out for a game of fetch in the backyard. Aren't they adorable?!

Their outdoor time has to be closely supervised, because we have a koi pond, and a three foot fence on one side, with a yard full of cats on the other side. Just a wee bit tempting for herding dogs! One of these days we'll extend the six foot fence all the way around the yard and they can go crazy without Mom and Dad watching their every move.

Well, that's about it for now....I'm off to have a VERY late supper. John is grilling, and then we're going to watch "Grey Gardens" - I've never seen it, but hear it's wonderful.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, all!! I'll be back tomorrow with a photo of whatever is in progress. :)

♥ Carolee

Friday, May 29, 2009

One New Piece, Another Progressing, a Caffeine Dilemma and Some New Tunes...

...not necessarily in that order. ;)

I should start by saying I don't "do" caffeine - haven't for years. Having hypertension, and a job that requires the steadiest of hands, it's just not a good idea. But mornings such as this, I'm soooooooo tempted to re-think!

Meet Cheetah.

Cheetah (also known as Cheetie, Cheetie-Sweetie, and Buttons) is our sixteen year old former feral rescue baby. She's very frail, weighs less than five pounds and has a heart condition. She also has the loudest wail you've ever heard. Seriously. When it comes to yowling, Cheetah could put the biggest, baddest Siamese to shame. Which was fine when she limited her vocalization to the waking hours. But lately she's taken to wailing whenever she wants to be picked up and petted, which usually occurs somewhere between 2 and 4 AM.

I'm remembering all too well what it was like to waken to the sound of an infant crying every night. The thing is, at 22 I had the energy for it. At 49, not so much. ;)

So.....caffeine? earplugs? (Can't lock her out - don't have the heart, and she's loud enough to waken the dead anyway, even through a closed door)...If anyone has any suggestions, please do share - we're turning into zombies here! :)

Okay, onto new work. I was feeling in a bit of a gypsy mood the other day, so painted this fortune telling sign on a vintage cabinet door. Varnish seemed too glossy a look, so I finished it with a beeswax cabinet maker's polish.

I think it gives it a nice finish without taking away from the distressed, antique look. It's listed now on eBay.

Next up is this HUGE platter (it's something like 18" in diameter). This is about halfway through the process, so stay tuned. I think something this large would look amazing on a wall or mantle, to be taken down occasionally for serving up a big batch of Halloween cupcakes!

Lots of other pieces waiting in the wings, including a few commissions and a truly wonderful storage bench, hand made from birch, with a hinged lid.

Oh! and I'm down to just three commissions now, which should be finished in the next couple of weeks, so if there's a special piece you have in mind, shoot me an email. I can't promise I'll have it in stock, or even that I can order it (have to place most orders in quantity) but I can let you know. Tavern/Innpeeper's signs and certain boxes are usually in stock, and I have a couple of large box type tables coming later this month (see the checkers game on my banner above)....I don't like to get to the point where I feel overwhelmed, so I'll accept about three more commissions, then the window will close again until later in the year.

I'm off to paint now, but before I go, I have to share this fabulous giveaway Johanna Parker is hosting on her blog! Not only is Johanna an incredible artist, but she's truly just the nicest person, and her blog is soooooo whimsical and fun! Here's what she's giving away - isn't it amazing?!

So run right over there and check it out (then cross your fingers along with the rest of us, hehe!)

Finally, there are some new tunes on the playlist (scroll down on the right)....I'm showing my age with some of these, but I like to think they're timeless. ;)

Back again soon!
♥ Carolee

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Magic in the Air, and Bit of a Scattered Post....

Remember the movie Chocolat, where the clever north wind blows magic into the little French village?

We awoke this morning to just such a wind - dark, bluish-grey clouds moving very quickly, interspersed with sunlight, and the loudest wooooosh through the trees.....

Merlin and Arthur were behaving the way cats do when something is afoot - running from window to window, wide eyed, and a little agitated.

Taking it as a sign, I descended the stairs, put the Chocolat soundtrack in the CD player, lit some candles, filled the tea kettle and set right to work sketching a new piece with a gypsy theme. More on that later...

I have to show you yesterday's project - a wine bottle holder and two hand painted glasses. I've listed it on eBay with an offer to personalize the glasses. How fun would this set be for an October wedding or anniversary!?

The wine shown here (not included) is a bottle of "Witch's Brew" a wonderful collector turned me onto last year when we were up in Michigan for the Ghoultide Gathering. I loved the bottle so much I had to grab a case on the way out of town, hehe....A wine connoisseur I'm definitely not, my method for choosing wine entirely based on the cool label and limited budget factors. ;)

Moving right along, the Fairy Tale Princess chest is listed again, with the reserve dropped to $300. A commission on this chest would run almost three times that, but I'm trying to think about the economy, and do need to sell it. I'm also offering personalization on this one, at the base of the chest. Soooooooo, if you know any real life fairy princesses...

Let's see....what else? Oh! My workspace is completely organized now! Thanks to Courtney, who was home for a weekend visit, and decided to brave years worth of accumulated art supplies (some purchased twice because I'd lost the first ones!), scraps of paper, paint, old hardware, glitter, wood, gourds, glue, material, ribbon, wire, varnish, brushes, canvas....well, you get the idea. I knew it was bad last summer when a friend visited and declared "It looks like Michaels threw up in here!". I knew she was right, but lacked the time to actually DO anything about it. Enter my darling daughter, who has amazing organizational skills (no CLUE where she gets that from) and presto-chango - CLEAN workspace!

YAY for great kids.

That's about it for today....I'm off to pour another cup of tea and work on that gypsy piece now - which I hope to share later. In the meantime, have a magical, creative day, all!

♥ Carolee

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ups and Downs

I'll start with the "ups". :)

When children grow up and move away, it's easy to forget what it was like to have them around....They leave for college, you settle into a new routine, and very quickly get used to this new found freedom, and a more relaxed schedule. At least that what it was like here. I have friends who went through the "empty nest" thing, fretting and worrying, and generally feeling a bit lost...But I have to be honest in saying I just never felt that.

Here's the thing. We raise them to be independent, to make thoughtful decisions, to be caring, compassionate people, to go out and make their way in the world, to spread their fly. If we've done our job in preparing them for these things, there's nothing at all to feel uneasy about. Sure, we miss them. But their leaving is as it should be.

And what a joy it is when they come back for a visit displaying all those qualities you tried to hard to impart...

I'm reflecting as I write this - and as Courtney is in the kitchen making a wonderful dinner for the three of us - having also (are you ready for this?!) spent the day organizing my studio space! Yep - she put together a large bookcase, went through endless boxes of supplies, reference materials, receipts, etc., and generally made my life a LOT easier. I've even promised to keep it that way - no small task for someone who's admittedly organizationally impaired.

But beyond the studio help, it was just good to see her, and spend some time together. She's absolutely my best creation. ;)

Another "up" was completing a new piece - this set of Halloween coasters, listed now on eBay...

Sooooooo much fun - like lots of little paintings! I'd hoped to get to a wine glass set too, but tomorrow is another day.

There was also much playing in the backyard with Cadie and Cosmo, who have been absolutely wilting in the heat, but are always up for a game of fetch. :)

So all in all, a good weekend.

Just one "down" really - one of the best pieces I've ever done, and one of the closest to my heart (the fairy tale chest shown a few posts down) failed to sell. I'm torn between re-listing it, listing it on Etsy, or just hanging on to it for a while. I know I'll end up selling it because I must...but it's upsetting to think about letting something so special go for not much more than the price of materials. It also makes the coming week absolutely crazy, as I scramble to make up for five days work with nothing to show for it. Some VERY long nights ahead....

Speaking of which, I should be off to bed now...the dogs wake us at 6AM like clockwork, and I can't go back to sleep once I've seen daylight. ;)

Wishing everyone in the U.S. a relaxing Memorial Day! I'll be painting like mad, and will hopefully have a few new creations to show you very soon. :)

♥ Carolee

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's Never Too Early For a Little Halloween Magic!

Okay, sing along with me now...

"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" tra-la-la...

Okay, now that I've successfully planted that song in your head for the day, hehe, I'll start with yesterday's project - a wicked cool treasure chest called "Fly by Night":

I was in a vintage kind of mood, so added some of these fun papers, giving all the ladies inside the box witches' hats. If you click these pictures they'll enlarge, showing the detail.

I love the curved top on this piece, and I'm thinking it could be used for so many things: as a sewing box, a jewelry box, a treasure or keepsake box, a stationery box....the possibilities are endless. I hope to list this one tomorrow (Saturday) night around 9PM eastern. :) *UPDATE* - SOLD

More Halloween goodies are in the works for eBay and Etsy this week, but that's not all....

Coming up VERY soon is Jack-o-lantern June at the PFATT Marketplace! Sooooo many wonderful folk artists there, and I'm excited just to be in their company....No idea what I'll be offering this month, but it will most definitely be HALLOWEEN, and may even be a little sparkly.

I'll be working all weekend again, and want to let everyone know I'll be adding a "buy it now" option to my auctions just for the next few days. I usually prefer to let the auctions play out, but unexpected car repairs and dental work this month have inspired me to cut to the chase on at least a couple of pieces. ;)

I'm also hoping to paint a few friends for the little tortoiseshell cat in my Etsy store...he's still lonely over there.

That's about it for today. I'm taking a quick dog-walking and fish-feeding break, then it's back to the drawing board (or painting table, actually)....

Wishing everyone in the US a Happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

♥ Carolee

Thursday, May 21, 2009


There's sooooooo much magic afoot, I hardy know where to begin.....

First, it's SUCH a perfect day here in southwestern Pennsylvania - the sky is the most incredible shade of blue, the birdsongs sound like a symphony, the yellow water irises in the pond are in full bloom and the neighborhood children are still in school, which means no skateboards or minibikes - yet, haha. I'm enjoying it while I can. ;)

Magic is afoot in the studio too - have to share the latest piece with you (although it sold almost instantly)...I LOVE these ornament chests, but only have a couple left now, and I'm hoarding them, hehe....

Excitement is also beginning to build for the wicked cool Ghoultide Gathering Show, up in Northville, Michigan. If you're on my mailing list and within a day's drive, look for a postcard this summer! I can't tell you how incredible this show is...basically it's Halloween eye candy everywhere you look...SUCH a good time, and of course, the best part is meeting collectors in person!

There's web magic afoot as well, with the fabulous Vanessa Valencia's Mad Tea Party approaching! I just may have to paint a super whimsical tea pot or tea box for this one...

And finally, there's the Enchanted Revelry of Tristan Robin Blakeman - quilt artist and blogger extraordinaire, whose kind words about my work on his blog this week absolutely made my day!! If you haven't seen Tristan's blog and his incredible work, DO run over there - You'll instantly get why it's called "Enchanted Revelry" - truly, truly magical!

And now I'm off to put some tunes in the CD player, open the skylight over my work table, and see what further magic the day brings....a set of Halloween coasters? A raven totem piece? Some sculpting? We'll see....

In the meantime, however you spend it, I hope your day is filled with enchantment!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• ~ Carolee

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Once Upon a Time....

There lived an artist.

She grew up in a world of her own, and while other children spent their time playing and watching television, she could be found drawing and daydreaming, or reading fantastical tales about mythical lands.

"You're like a blankety-blank butterfly!" her father, the king would shout in exasperation.

She took it as a compliment. ;)

For she was the only butterfly in a family of worker bees. She was different. She was colorful. She could make magic happen with her pencils and paintbrushes.

The worker bees went on to achieve great things in a land called Business. They lived comfortable lives, in beautiful homes, filled with expensive things, and shook their heads at the artist-butterfly, not understanding at all how she could live such a precarious life, flitting from one place to the next, one creation to the next, her spirit free but her future uncertain.

And to tell you a little secret, sometimes the artist would wonder herself about the path she'd taken. Times when she struggled. Times when she wished things were easier.

Then, she would pick up her pencils and paintbrushes. And it was like magic. It was the closest thing to Sacred she'd ever felt, almost like a prayer.

And she wished everyone could feel like this. :)

~ The End ~

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Just a Little Peek....

Just at the basecoating and decoupage stage now, but already soooooooo much fun....

Tommorrow - more detailed painting!

♥ Carolee

A Magical Sort of Day...

Have you ever had a day that seemed almost charmed? As though everything were filled with magic and wonder? A day when you just feel more in tune with the universe, when the creative juices are flowing so freely it's almost dizzying?

I LOVE this kind of day!

We awoke much later than usual this morning - almost 6:30, which meant the sun was already shining. And I'm not sure what's up with the birds today - it's a regular symphony out there. And they're BOLD too! Several have spent the morning splashing around the pond's waterfall, completely oblivious to the neighbor's cats (who are also mercifully oblivious).

And this little guy seems to want in the house:

He's appeared on the dining room windowsill twice in the last hour, pecking at the glass like a woodpecker. Merlin and Arthur are quite excited, thinking he looks like lunch. (Oh, and pardon the dingy windows, hehe....Given the choice between window washing and creating, well - there really IS no choice.) ;)

So I'm taking advantage of the magic today - immersing myself in a fairy tale princess coach...sketching dragons and frog princes, painting starry skies and lush green forests....

Photos of the piece in progress coming soon. In the meantime, I hope your day immersed in magic too!

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• ~ Carolee

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Blessed Bee"

Just have to share this one - kind of labor intensive, but truly a blessing to paint a tribute to these magical creatures! It listed now on eBay, and I do hope it inspires some bee-friendly planting this season. :) *UPDATE* - SOLD

Other cool bee stuff:

An amazing, magical book.

Some info on colony collapse disorder and what you can do to help, from the wonderful people at Burt's Bees.

Bee friendly gardening.

The National Honey Board, where you'll find almost 1500 honey recipes.

Oh - and I know I'm just a wee bit late with this, the day being almost over and everything, but I want to wish all the Moms (including those with fur-children) a very Happy Mother's Day!!

Back again very soon with photos of the current work in progress....

♥ Carolee

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Beautiful Day!

The sun is shining for the second morning in a row here, after what feels like a very long monsoon season. (I know, we don't have monsoons here in southeastern Pennsylvania, but this was pretty close, and thunderstorms too)....

So yes - it's absolutely GORGEOUS here, and despite this week's challenges (which have included very little sleep, deadlines, and a bad headcold) I'm in a place of true contentment, and feeling as though all is right with the world. :)

Last night found me burning the midnight oil in an effort to complete a piece for this month's PFATT Marketplace. The new piece is a tea box painted with a tuxedo cat and a ginger tabby, topped with teacup and saucer - and a tiny visitor inside the cup! As you can see, Merlin approves. ;)

I actually spent many hours trying to sculpt the teacup and saucer, but paperclay just didn't seem to hold it's shape - my poor teacups kept collapsing! Then I had one of those "aha!" moments, and remembered my daughter's old, childhood, china tea service....tucked away on the highest kitchen shelf, gathering dust for nearly 25 years now.

After briefly wondering if I should save it for future generations (possibly, but in the end, creating something new always wins out!) I swiped a teacup and saucer, got out the enamel paints and went to town.

Here's the result:

Well, the Tuxedo cat side anyway. The ginger Tabby is on the other side. I'd show you, but I should really save something for the Marketplace debut (tomorrow at midnight!). UPDATE - SOLD. :)

So many other projects in the works right now, including the fairy tale chest in the post below, a couple of signs, and possibly a set of wicked cool Halloween coasters, because it's never too early to start thinking "Halloween Party!", is it?

That's about it for today - I'm off to the market now, the back here to paint...

Oh! Almost forgot... This little guy was feeling very lonely in the Etsy shop all by himself (his companions having moved to new homes already!) - so I dropped the price by $10.00. You can almost steal him now, hehe. :)

Wishing everyone a beautiful, sunny Mother's Day weekend!!

♥ Carolee

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wicked Good Recipes

In response to several requests, I thought I'd pop in and leave you the recipe for those Swedish pancakes I mentioned....

But first, I have to share this recipe box, listed now on eBay.

A bit of painting, a bit of decoupage, and a bit of antique hardware....

SUCH fun, this one!

Now here's that recipe as promised. It's traditionally served with lingonberry butter, but lingonberries being just a wee bit thin here in Pennsylvania, we substitute strawberries or mixed berries and roll these up like thick crepes. If you try these, do let me know you liked them!

Swedish Pancakes

2 large eggs
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of baking powder

Pam, or other non-stick spray

fresh berries
strawberry or boysenberry flavored syrup

Whisk the eggs and milk together vigorously until well combined. Add the flour, sugar and baking powder and whisk some more. Lightly coat a non-stick skillet (I use a crepe pan) with Pam and preheat for two to three minutes over medium heat. Pour enough batter into the pan for one pancake. These will be a little thicker than a crepe, but much thinner than a regular pancake. Cook the pancake intil golden brown on the underside and almost set on top. Flip over using a large spatula and cook the opposite side for a few seconds. Turn onto a plate, roll up with berries in the center, drizzle with berry flavored syrup and enjoy. :)

♥ Carolee

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just LOVE beginnings....

Choosing a new piece, and seeing all that possibility....imagining where it will lead, what direction it will take, what it will become....

A beautiful, hand made wooden chest. Birch. Sturdy and smooth.

Paint, of course.

But something else inside, something to give it an otherworldly feel. Perhaps not Halloween this time, perhaps something equally magical in it's own way.

Something fit for a a Fairy Princess.

Something to keep her treasures safe...

Aren't these papers beautiful? I'm seeing them decoupaged on the interior, and perhaps a bit on the outside edges. I may need to add some crystals and jewels too...

This one is going to be quite a project, but I'll show you photos as it progresses.

In the meantime, there's a recipe box and a tea box calling my name. One for eBay, and one for the upcoming PFATT Marketplace. Stay tuned. :)

Right now I'm off to take care of some mundane household things like sweeping floors and washing dishes (Cinderella, Cinderella, *sigh*)... Then a bit of packing and shipping to do. Then I can finally sit down to paint! John has kindly volunteered to cook dinner tonight so I can keep creating - isn't that nice? Time was he only knew how to cook things on the grill, but he's evolved. ;)
I'll be back tomorrow with finished goodies to share. If you haven't already, don't forget to stop by the EHAG Art blog to join the Skeleton Key Hunt - one lucky winner will take home a whole bunch of goodies!

Until next time,

¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• ~ Carolee

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I'll be making Mexican food for dinner, and watching the end of "Frida" tonight (try as I may, I never seem to carve out enough time to watch a movie in one sitting!)

Hmmmmmmmmm.....perhaps a Frida inspired piece is in order soon?

Stay tuned....

♥ Carolee

Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Work, Old Hardware and an Altogether Productive Day

Just have to share this one with you....

I was going for a kind of magical feel with the black cat and sparkly dragonflies, and hope I succeeded. Actually, I think ALL cats are magical, but black cats are especially good luck - and I read somewhere that in ancient Japanese culture dragonflies represented good fortune and protection....the perfect combination of magical creatures, yes?

Have to add, I'm having sooooooo much fun sculpting these paperclay accents, and have another very special black cat piece in the works too. I won't give away too much of the surprise, but the little sculpt on it will be a mouse!

Today was one of those incredbibly productive days - made Swedish pancakes with fresh berries for breakfast (one of John's favorites), finished the treasure box shown above, ran to the architectural salvage place for skeleton keys and assorted antique hardware, picked up some wire (which I have to add to the sculpted kitty as whiskers - completely forgot before I took the photos!), stopped at the grocery store, and made it home in time to throw together a pretty great salad for dinner - penne, arugula, sun dried tomatoes and roasted pine nuts - yum! (If anyone is interested in the recipes, let me know). :)

Oh - can't forget this! Please click here to check out the EHAG Art blog Skeleton Key Hunt and blog giveaway...

The fun begins tomorrow!

And for another fun giveaway, click here to check the PFATT blog!

Back again soon...

♥ Carolee

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

A cyber gift of flowers; some lilacs for you from the tree in our backyard...

Today is a holiday I dearly wish were celebrated more widely....

I'm probably dating myself here, but when we were children, the first of May was a very big deal. It was a celebration of spring - a day of flower gathering, dancing and kindness to our elderly neighbors.

We lived in an old house, on a very tiny, dead end street, and our little neighborhood was bordered by woods at the back and a small field at one end - lots of room to gather flowers without having to raid anyone's garden. :)

We had two elderly neighbors, both widows, but with complete opposite temperaments. Mrs. Degleman occupied a little white house to our left, and we called her the neighborhood witch - not in a fun, Halloween kind of way, but in a scary, grouchy, "get off my property" and "I'll make you cut down that treehouse" kind of way. We were told to just leave her alone, and for the most part we did.

In the little grey cape cod to our right lived Mrs. Schroder. Well into her eighties when I was just ten, she would take every opportunity to invite us in for a glass of lemonade, and show us pieces of her past...carefully taking out an old photo album with photos of her late husband, who fought in World War I, faded wedding pictures showing a handsome gentleman and his beautiful young bride. She also had a parakeet named Petey whom she doted on, and a middle aged son who appeared only when the grass out front needed cutting. Every surface of her house was covered in tatted doilies and it smelled of must and lavender.

On the eve of May Day, my Mother would help us make baskets from plastic strawberry containers and construction paper, and the next morning we would awaken very early, sneak out of the house and pick flowers, to be brought home to our Mother (who always pretended to be surprised), and placed in the baskets, to be left on our neighbors' doorsteps, including these two widows.

Mrs. Schroder was always delighted with the flowers, and said so. Mrs Degleman never said a word.

But I like to think we brightened her day just a little, that maybe she didn't think we were all THAT bad. :)

If it was a school day, more celebrations followed. The girls wore their best dresses (this would have been just a year or two before girls were alowed to wear slacks to school - didn't think I was that old, did you?)...and lessons would be put on hold for a couple of hours as everyone gathered in the playground for a maypole dance. The maypole was actually a tetherball pole (do kids still play tetherball?) which was decorated with flowers and crepe paper. Different girls were chosen each year to dance around the maypole, weaving the crepe paper into a beautiful pattern. The one year I was chosen I remember practicing endlessly in the school gymnasium - which was fine because it was better than math. Here's a wonderful photo of a Maypole dance somewhere in the UK:

Many years later, when my daughter was little, May Day was also a big day at school, honoring Mary with a procession through the streets, ending in the school courtyard and crowning her statue with flowers. They would choose one second grader to place the crown atop her head, and I remember Courtney was soooooo excited when she was chosen...

Wonderful memories, these....and I'm a little sorry some of these traditions have fallen by the wayside. But perhaps those of us who remember can keep them alive? Craft some beautiful baskets, give some flowers to our neighbors....Maybe even create some beautiful May Day art?!

I'm suddenly feeling the need to do some Maypole sketches....and perhaps some kind of blog event next year?

In the meantime, I wish you all a very Happy May Day, and a Blessed Beltane to those who celebrate it! I'm off to put some fairie-like tunes in the CD player and begin painting....

Until next time,
♥ Carolee