Oct 31 2012

china & product development

my days here in china have been quickly passing by.
i had thought i’d have more time for blogging but i guess i was wrong.
or should i say, i’ve spent that time doing other things…
i’ll try to do some catch up here over the next few days.

a new allen designs piece in the works.
currently LOVING these colors.
i feel like i’ve spent a lot of time drinking tea.
which then in turn means many times to the beloved hard-to-pee-in-ceramic-hole-in-the-ground! oy!

remember this beautiful girl?
my, how she’s grown.

little resin foxes- will eventually be made in to pins.
they’d be cute as magnets…hmmm.
with all the stainless does anyone still buy magnets?

the hello sketch now a sculpt.

i have spent a little time in my art journal.
trying to get my painting groove back.
funny how it’s like running- you take time off and you lose fitness.
when you decide to start back up again it seems to require:

patience that you will probably have some bad runs
confidence that you will once again achieve fitness
perseverance/will power that will push you past the discomfort & frustration. 

 don’t you agree?
…or maybe it’s just me.

Oct 27 2012

hello from china

i made it here to shenzhen, china safe & sound.
i’m looking forward to a productive week in the factory developing our 2013 allen designs winter line.

as usual the travel time was long and tedious.
about 16 hours total flight time + a little over an hour by bus.

penguin heads for soap spitters

coming here a few times a year gives me the opportunity-
not only to be hands on in the sculpting & painting process of the newest lines-
as well as the chance to check quality & go over any issues that may have come up.
i also think it’s been really important for the factory to know that they will be seeing me face to face a few times a year.

my first meal here included this delicious dish made up of beans, eggplant… and bitter melon.
did you know bitter melon is actually a fruit and is highly nutritious?
unfortunately i haven’t developed much of a taste for it yet.

my second meal was probably not the healthiest but oh-so-yummers.
these sticky rice dumplings with sweet sesame seed filling are one of my favorite treats here.
i just found this recipe and can’t wait to attempt making them for my family.
or probably… just save myself a lot of frustration and work and buy them from a local asian market.
ya, that sounds like the better plan.

Oct 25 2012

hacker senior pics & goodbye

my oldest is a senior this year and you know what that means…
senior pictures! -of which she didn’t want ANYTHING to do with.
it was a small fight & a few tears to get her to put something on besides a t-shirt.

i was nervous as well.
not sure i was going to be able to capture her personality in the pictures.
not sure how i should have her pose, backgrounds, settings etc.

we ended up at a school nearby which had a lot of options for simple back drops with character.

for the posing… i just tried to make her laugh a lot.
looked at the shots as i was taking them and made small changes to her posture etc.

they’re not perfect.
but i do think they portray her and her lovely personality well.
(i just love this girl. god really blessed me with this one.)
it was SO worth the fight and she will be glad later.

now- i’m off to china.
so you know what that means…
more china blog posts!!!


Oct 18 2012

recycled rose

just getting ready to head to the mountain for an allen designs / close2myart staff getaway.
we’re in need of some time to recharge before our busy holiday season begins.
thankfully, a season that we at the studio, all LOVE.

 i made this rose from a vintage melon ball scoop, a water handle thingy and a rose from an old S&P shaker.

okay— off for some fun. yay!!!
see you in a few days. xoxo-m

Oct 14 2012

photo cards

with the holiday season right around the corner,
i figured i should remind you of what you can do with all those photo christmas cards this year.
this is a great DIY way to organize and keep memories of those families you want to remember year to year.

all you need is a hole punch and some rings.
punch some holes (the same width apart), and put them together!

last year i took the pretty top off another christmas card and used it as my cover.

i bring them out every year and they’re always getting looked at by us and by our guests.
this whole thing literally took me about 10 minutes.

and- no, i’m not a hoarder 

Oct 9 2012

the best pumpkin pancakes ev-eh!

until a few days ago i had never made nor had pumpkin pancakes.
i didn’t realize what i was missing!

i found this recipe from annie’s eats -and it is delish.
(her recipe didn’t call for allspice but i didn’t have the ground ginger or cloves. not really sure if allspice covers those but it sounded good.)

i doubled the recipe and it made enough to feed 5 big eaters with a few left over.
and i did end up having to add some water just cause the batter was so thick.

my kids said they were the best pancakes they’ve ever had.
crazy huh.

have you had them?
am i the last to know about these things?

Oct 8 2012

yummy pumpkin acorn cupcakes

 i was inspired by my last post about the fall cupcakes i made a few years ago.
wanting to see what they’d look like a little more… um, less blue.

i wrangled my oldest into helping me, since she is a much better baker than i.
bake it pretty cupcake liners

she found this recipe from mini baker for the pumpkin cupcake portion, and it is AWESOME!

cream cheese frosting.

for the acorns i heated the little caramels up in the microwave just enough to make them pliable.
then hand formed them into somewhat-acorn shapes.
dipped the cap part in some melted chocolate and then rolled them in the chocolate sprinkles.
simple and relatively quick.

i think i like the white frosting a little better than the slightly toxic blue.
maybe i’m just finally growing up?
well… probably not.

Oct 5 2012

fall treats and acorn cupcakes

i’m getting the baking itch with the cozy weather moving in.
these acorn cupcakes are something i made a few years ago.

i’ve been perusing pinterest for inspiration for this years treats.
i think i’m going to go with a pumpkin theme.

have you tried this combo yet?
peanuts & candy corn

Oct 4 2012

art studio tour part 2

i didn’t get all the pictures of my art studio  done today that i had wanted to, so there’s going to have to be a “part 3”.

i really love this little area of my studio.
slowly over the past couple of weeks i’ve been cleaning out and getting rid of a lot of the knick knacky stuff.
you probably can’t tell…  can you imagine what it was like before!

the one thing i don’t like about this corner is the reminder of all the un-done projects/paintings!
like the dresser that’s partially painted and still sporting the holes from the previous handles.
and the squirrel painting… still not done.

this metal cabinet is a total catch all for art supplies and the uglier side of things.
some of my favorite artists are displayed here…
cori dantini, pam garrison, karla dornacher (my mom), elizabeth and jennifer davis.

the corner of possibilites!

i found this wooden drawer chest a few years back at a garage sale.
it’s perfect for hiding and organizing little things along with having the tools easy to grab on the bottom shelf.

the drinking octopus… another unfinished painting.
having this comfy chair means my family will actually come up and visit me sometimes.

i know most of you have already seen this pic- but i’m just so happy to have it done i had to add it to the tour.

i’ve been collecting some of these vintage pendants but i have not a clue what i’m going to actually do with them!
any ideas?

i’m hoping to be back tomorrow with the last of my art studio tour.
thanks for visiting with me!

Oct 3 2012

art studio tour part 1

i figured i’d start of my home art studio tour with some instagram (close2myart) shots.

notice how well i take care of my brushes???
there are probably 20 of them just sitting in that water there.
the really bad part- they are still there 2 days later!

quite the eclectic collection of pieces here.
i’m a sucker for other people’s junk.

i’ll be back tomorrow with my art studio tour -part 2.
hope you are well  my friend.