Gingerbread Addition…

We left Chicago on Sunday afternoon and headed up to rural Warrens, WI to visit my Mom & her husband Bill for Christmas….the road conditions were pretty treacherous, our usual 4 hour drive took six and a half hours. We awoke on Monday morning in their retreat-like log home nestled in the woodsPicture_31_2
surrounded by snow covered trees and more Blue Jays then I’ve seen in a long time. After a good morning work out of shoveling snow we headed inside for breakfast and our 3rd bi-Annual Gingerbread House Project (note to Carl that is the infamous Blue Shovel).

It’s been 2 years since we did this and I didn’t have time to get any supplies – Mom said not to worry, she had everything we needed as she presented me with the pre-fab house kit that she bought at the store. It was already baked and stuck together! I said "we have to build something, they took all the fun out of it". I then realized we could use this little pre-made cabin portion as a base and create an addition! We made templates out of cardboard and Bill (a retired home builder of many years) consulted. Picture_14

I traced and cut the walls from the gingerbread dough then baked them. Picture_30They got a little warped and some were thicker than others, we knew early on we might have some structural issues.Picture_19
Our first batch of icing was too thin, this also contributed to the problems. As you can see it took many hands to put this together. Picture_23
Mom did a beautiful job decorating the front, I was distracted by falling walls and only managed to get half a coconut roof, and the backside done. Picture_26
Bill ran down to his shop and cut us a little piece of wood to help support the roof…we should have stopped while we were ahead: our roof was falling in. Picture_40
We raced to get a photo before the crash. Picture_28Picture_29
Now we know how to do it next time…(we will use a drill and use bamboo skewered beams). It still was great fun and as many art teachers have told me, sometimes it’s more about the process and the journey than the end product. We laughed a lot and had a good time, I was impressed that it worked up to the point that it did.
We went on to have a lovely Christmas Eve with more family and 3 crazy dogs running around.Picture_9


As Seen on The ispot…

I did it! I am now represented on the ispot Illustration Portfolio Website. Of course I do not know if I chose the right images but I can change and edit them at any time. I’m still on the fence regarding getting a rep (this is one of the reasons I was holding off on putting my work up, I didn’t want to do it without getting a rep first). Almost every illustrator I spoke with said, you can do it on your own…I reply that I have a hard time asking for $ and worry about contractual issues. Guess I’ll have to wing it…!

p r o c r a s t i n a t i o n . . .

I’m so close to being done with my holiday commissions (5 already shipped)….it would really only be what? maybe one or two more hours of work and I would be done. (this photo was from yesterday, can’t show you the piece with the name just in case) These last 2 are not being picked up until next week. But how can I truly relax and enjoy the holiday if I know I’m not really done? I’m so tired, burnt out I guess – Rich reminded me that I have not had clay class or any other non-commission related creative outlet so yeah, really unbalanced at this point. Looking forward to making gingerbread houses with my Mom on Christmas Eve Day, our every other year tradition when we spend Christmas together…these will be houses 5 & 6, we get better every year. Next year I would like to design and bake my own house, we use the prefab kits but add our own decorations. The other thing I’m not doing that I should…and must! get my images up on the ispot illustration website. I signed up and paid for this almost a year ago and if I do not get my images uploaded I forfeit my money and page! How could I have waited this long? well..give me a deadline and you will see. 

Okay, I went back down and ‘finished’ the painting, took the photo to email to my customer and just as I was turning out the light to come upstairs I glanced at the sketch and realized I did not do the  bone pattern border! argh?! so that’s it for tonight, I’m going to make myself a little drink and relax with my sweeties. Bone pattern tomorrow…

Terrific Trades…Continued

Picture_4This is the piece that I received in trade from my talented friend Kerry Rolewicz who now lives in Lincoln, Illinois where she and her husband are raising their 3 adorable young boys. We rarely see one another but she came up to do the One of a Kind Sale this year. She works with mixed media, charcoal and oil pastel – it looks fantastic on my Peacock Blue walls!

Picture_5_2 This necklace was created by my favorite jewelery artists and wonderful couple all around Sarah Stanton and Jay Kukor. We have been trading art for years and I have acquired some of the most unique and beautiful rings, bracelets and necklaces that I have ever seen. They use vintage buttons, typewriter keys and other interesting objects in their pieces. Below is another photo of their work: be sure to visit the website: Picture_12

Open Studio Becomes Winter Wonderland

We had a busy day here yesterday…as usual, I forgot to take pictures while people were here! The weather was clear at the start but by the evening we were having a little snow storm – so beautiful…! We’ll see how today goes it’s very sunny and bright outside but the 6+ inches of snow we received over night will probably keep many folks in for the day. Either way, yesterday’s sales made it more than worth the effort, and it was fun to hang out with customers, family & friends, my Dad & his wife are here visiting from Wisconsin. We had an excellent dinner at Buona Terra last night and take out from Friendship Restaurant on Friday – our new asian favorite – found on YELP.





One of a Kind Wrap Up…The Goods

Picture_12Good help is hard to find…I found it! This is Kate…she helped me out for a few days at the show and I needed it, I moved from my location last year and our sales and traffic doubled.Thanks to her wonderful assistance, for the first time I was able to actually go see some of the show without risking missing customers. I also made some great connections with other artists, not to mention brokering some great trades with them! Here are 2 from Minnesota artists (ironically), I’ll share the others later this week. Below…from Fiber Artist Susan Hinckley, this beautiful piece is titled "Let it go". Picture_15_2
It was a hard choice, but this one really spoke to me because I feel like I have made a conscious effort recently to let go of so many things I was trying to control and make happen in my business and suddenly those very opportunities are finding me. I have loved her work since first seeing it a few years back at One Of a Kind.

This painting is by Brian Jensen, a wonderful painter and illustrator whom I met for the first time at the show. This beautiful piece was painted on pine, I love how he allowed the natural wood to become part of the composition. His display was great – like a huge puzzle yet each piece could stand alone. This was one of 4 in a set, I’m regretting that I did not also get the one that goes below it.

Okay…off to bed, I have so much to do  tomorrow! Picture_14

My (very edited!) CLTV Interview…

I’m almost embarrassed to post this…but hey you can’t knock free press. I was briefly interviewed at the One of a Kind Show & Sale today by CLTV/Metromix Chicago. The link to watch it is here – the video clip is on the right hand side, under Chicago Designers @ The One of a Kind Show. I was nervous…I speak without thinking first…and say too much – so they edited a lot. My mission is to make people happy with my art? well yes, but I somehow didn’t get the whole dog adoption awareness message in there. Next time! (I really should do some interview practice because I’m never happy with the results…add that to the "to do" list!) Picture_22_3

The show really is spectacular this year, enormous and many wonderful talented people in one place. It’s been great fun to see so many of my artist friends from out of town and to connect with many of the customers whom I’ve met at this show over the last 7 years of exhibiting. I’ve also got some good artist trades for artwork coming on Sunday…check back, I’ll be posting all my new eye candy!

A Sneak Peek…One of a Kind 2007


Yesterday was a long day, but my booth is hung (at the Merchandise Mart), and after last night’s beautiful snowfall I’m glad we did it a day early! That’s our beautiful Linden Tree, I was so sad when the leaves finally dropped 2 weeks ago, but now it’s branches are sporting a lovely layer of snowflakes.Picture_9_2

I’ll spend today designing signage and tags and finishing sketches for all my pet portrait orders, then the next 4 very long, but exciting days at the One of a Kind Sale. So I’m in "Super Anne" mode from here on out, finishing all those portraits by Christmas and whipping my studio into shape for my sale the weekend of the 15th-16th. It’s crazy but the more I have to do the better I perform, even though in my head I’m
in a bit of a panic. Repeating my Mother’s mantra … "I have more time than I’ll ever need"…thanks Mom!

Buster! and the Wonders of Reflexology…


I recently completed this Commissioned Portrait of Buster – this sweet furry little guy belongs to Nourhy of Now Studio in Bucktown. Nourhy is a very talented and intuituve Reflexologist and Massage Therapist. I feel very fortunate to have received her wonderful reflexology treatments in trade for this portrait. In addition to making me feel better I have learned a lot from her, and highly recommend her services! (Ironically I lived just blocks from her studio for many years…but did not find my way there until moving out of the neighborhood.) And I should mention the photo of Buster was taken by David Sutton.

Neon Matisse – In my Bathroom


This is my favorite new piece of art, it’s called "Have a Nice Day". I purchased it on Ebay from amazing Canadian folk artist, Helene Lacelle (Neon Matisse is her ebay seller name).  I finally framed it the other day (thank you Target – I just mounted it right on top of the mat that was cut for an 8×10) and hung it in the bathroom, which is all tile from floor to ceiling, not easy to nail into but I worked a few into the grout line. It has transformed the room for me, thank so much Helene! Be sure to check out her auctions and website, just promise not to bid against me!