starting the show season

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Hi everyone!  After a couple fairly decent weather days, we are back to snow again. Even I, who LOVES hibernating in the winter, am anxious for the warm breath of Spring.  Each warm, sunny day brings a burst of growth for my crocus and daffodils. I know I will have crocus, but who knows about the daffodils.  My neighbor tried to help me out by mowing down the leaves right after they bloomed. Sigh….

We have been working very hard lately trying to catch up on work after our sander died.  This was a very good sander …much better than the ones we used to get. We would burn up one of the old ones within 6 months with the amount of work we do—this one has lasted 6 years. Since we can’t get anything done without it, we were off and running looking for a replacement. Of course we couldn’t have even ONE YEAR without replacing a piece of equipment. Winking smile   We finally located one just as Al’s friend found our last sander in his storage building.  He replaced the motor on it, so once again, we are good to go!  Despite losing so much work time, we decided to take last Sunday off to spend the entire day with Brian. 

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After dropping off everything we took to prepare dinner, we took Brian shopping for a few things he was looking for.  Unfortunately, we found none of them in any of the stores we went in. So back to his place to start dinner. His apartment is really nice and bright and he had spruced up every inch of it. I s this the same guy, that as a teen, I would just sigh and close his door? We had a very nice time and he allowed me to get my fill of hugs.  Smile  It was so nice to enjoy dinner with him.

We have finally shipped off the batch of paintings intended for greeting cards.  The publisher emailed that they received them and like them, but that doesn’t mean they will use all of them.  I will be working on Fall greeting card paintings while I am at my first show of the year—which is coming up quickly. Today I will finish up product for it, then get on finishing orders that have been stacking up because of the sander.

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This is my favorite of all of them….we have to title each painting, date it, and then do a copyright search on each if they have a phrase on them.  This is titled “Silent Night”

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Al has stacks and STACKS of wood ready for me to paint…and I have hundreds of pieces ready to put hangers on…so I am pretty pleased how we stand at this point with product.  I’ll be ready early for my first show…that’s a first!!   But there are dozens of folk art waiting to be painted.   I have a few goals I want to accomplish this year as far as learning a few new techniques in my painting.   I tried one on a greeting card painting and loved the result…I try very hard to stretch myself in my work.

Well, I think my paint has dried, so back to work!!   I hope you have a creative day and come back soon to visit.  ——-Jan

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Some exciting news!

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Hi everyone!  Brrrr!  It’s still pretty cold in our neck of the woods, but the outlook is for a warming up…at least for a few days!  Spring is on the way-I know because my daffodils and crocus are trying as hard as they can to pop up.  It’s always hard to work when it is frigid, but Al has still managed to get way ahead of me …there are stacks of readied wood waiting and we are about to go after another load of wood.

I am getting some skates completed….like this one….it is a child double runner that is now in it’s new home in Virginia….usually I fill them, but this lady wanted it to hang on an old sled…

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A few days ago we stocked the store we sell in with signs….after our last show of the year, we take every sign we have left to the store. In the Spring we start all over…a very daunting task because we need everything. It’s a lot of work, but I like to keep my product fresh at shows. If you constantly pack and unpack product, you always end up scratching them.Sad smile

We were very surprised to see one of my paintings posted on Facebook by Kristine of A Primitive Place magazine.  The publisher of Country Register of Maine used one of my published paintings for the Jan./ Feb. cover. How exciting!  Gail, the publisher, was so kind to mail me a copy….how nice was that!?!  She wrote and thanked me for the use of the art and said her Facebook page exploded after it was posted. Smile  Thank you so much ,Kristine and Gail!

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Our folk art seems to be spreading…we just found it is being sold in a store in South Africa …I love that the prints are selling in more and more stores, but my goal is really to have the work licensed and applied to products like calendars. Last week the publisher emailed us…first asking how Brian is doing (we appreciate that! )  then asking if we would like to design a line of greeting cards for them.  Woo Hoo!!    YES!   They want  prim/country Christmas cards, Autumn, Halloween, and everyday.  So, I’m trying to hurry and get everything done for our first show so I can finish a group suitable for cards…they want some by the end of the month. Yikes! 

Otherwise, everything is somewhat quiet here.  The saws are all working  (knock on wood)   and we were lucky enough to avoid the terrible flu that was going around.  I hope you are all well and safe …especially if you are located in an area where the weather has been especially brutal.  Have a wonderful week!………..Jan

Beauty from the Emerald Isle….

Good morning everyone!!   This morning, our mail lady brought a special treat from the beautiful Emerald isle of Ireland.   Christine  (Preferably Prim) held a giveaway of one of her sweet penny rug candle mats….and I won!  It is a treasure….thick, plush, and beautifully stitched.    Thank you SOOOO much Christine!!!   I love it!   You MUST click on it to see how much stitching went into this……..

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And if that wasn’t enough, Christine included a calendar of beautiful Irish scenes.  So beautiful, so inspirational. Thank you.  Many of you know my mother was born in England in a village outside of Stoke-on-Trent.  I like to think that some of this scenery is similar to my mother’s homeland. Thank you Christine for the gifties…and for being a friend.—hugs, Jan   Smile

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Remember, you can click on the link on the right to visit Christine’s blog and see more of her beautiful work and crafty tutorials….those hands are never idle!  Winking smile

A Happy, Hoppy, little make over!

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Hi everyone!  First…welcome to my new followers. On word press, it can be difficult figuring out who is following….but I do want you to know I do appreciate you!  Of course, I want my long time followers to know I also appreciate you very much too, and LOVE to hear from you.  I’m still learning about this blogging thing and readily admit I’m not the best at computer stuff.  (I can actually hear my boys nodding right now, agreeing with that!)

I also want to point out that I have just started putting the note above on my blog because there seems to be a certain person that thinks they have the same rights to my artwork as I do. SO not true. This artwork is our sole income  and is protected by copyright…I have dealt with this problem before…and won……BIG!   Now I also have my publisher’s legal department behind me .  Soooo, please feel free to pin recipes and home pics without my artwork…do not pin my artwork.  This truly is directed towards a very few people who are probably not even in our blogging community.

Sorry, but that really needed to be said.

Now, as to the make over…years ago, I started doing very small shows locally.   After several years, we wanted to broaden our horizons so we started doing some larger hotel shows in Pittsburgh.  They were very nice, one day Sunday shows, with some very nice quality vendors. After a new promoter started up some huge shows in the area, the hotel shows died off. Sad smile  Sadly, the big show promoter has now filled his shows with imports….I refuse to do junk shows like that. One of the vendors at the hotel shows made dolls…very nicely made dolls….and sold TONS of them. This was the one I bought. Very pretty, but not very prim for nowadays.  In fact, I had her put away in a box destined for Goodwill.

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A week or so  ago, I pulled her out, and decided to try and prim her up to fit into my growing prim décor.  I pulled off her dress, the burlap sack and bunch of carrots, and the bow on her head. I’d love to know what kind of glue that crafter used, because after 20 years it was still holding on like a bear!  Because her face was painted on, I needle sculpted a new face, then  painted her body entirely with a brown paint. I let her dry overnight, then sanded her, especially on the seams,face, and ears.

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I then painted her again with an instant coffee,vanilla, and water mixture. A slightly warm oven dried her quickly (always keep an eye on the oven drying…we don’t want a fire here! ). At the same time, I dipped her dress and the carrot bunch in the coffee mix. I lay all the pieces on sheets of foil to dry. Needing a new apron for her, I cut an 8 inch edge off an old embroidered pillowcase from a flea market and also coffee dyed it.     

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And here she is…..a little more prim….and a little better fit for my home. Very easy to do…so don’t pass up those cutesy dolls you see ….you can turn them into prim babies!

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At flea markets, when I’m out looking for antiques to paint, I see dolls all the time. So you don’t really need to know how to sew…just do a make over!

Have a wonderful day, and thanks so much for visiting!  Smile   —-Jan      

Wearing out the paintbrushes!

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Hi everyone!  My, I’ve been busy!  It’s been so cold here, I like to think if I paint fast enough it will somehow warm me up.  I don’t know if it really works that way though. Winking smile  Every year I tell myself that I need to work harder in the first few months to get stock built up for my shows that start up in March.  Every year I don’t.  This year I am determined to do it and so far, I am doing pretty well. . I did take some time for my hallway make over and when I did that, I also painted my pantry doors. When we built this house, I had them make me a large pantry that takes up one wall of the kitchen . That, and my fireplace , are my favorite spots in the house.  The doors were boring cream like our front door before the make over. Now…

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When we moved in, everything fit in the pantry except our dishes….now everything is full!  I guess that’s the way it goes!  Mostly, I’ve been busy painting product….or parts of product……like carrot noses for snowmen.  I paint batches like this all year long and keep throwing them in a box after they are totally finished, to be used later in the year. We use a LOT of them and it is so nice to have a big box full of them ready to nail on.

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Speaking of snowmen….I marked these out in late October, but never had the time to paint them. Too bad….they sell very well and I didn’t have ANY for my late shows. Sad smile This is a Terrye French pattern….started….

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and finished…LOVE this design!!

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Then I started pumping out the folk art….I never have enough and need a big selection for the shows…the horizontal ones  have been doing well…

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Sigh….I have been buying up skates for a long time but haven’t been able to get many done.  They are absolutely the hardest, most time consuming things I paint. It is very hard to make sure of the straight lines of the houses when the skate is rounded, curved, and dimpled.  Each side is basecoated 2-3 times  after priming them with gray primer. Then they have to dry thoroughly to harden the paint before painting the design. It has to be totally freehand because tape can pull the paint off.

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Fifteen skates drying….see the two small skates middle front? They are double runner child skates I bought off an Amish lady.  So cute!!

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Finally finished with the painting. Now they have to be stained (a nightmare! ) , laced, fitted with styrofoam , and filled with greens , berries , and ice branches.

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Painting on an old wash basin…..

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I love painting old small luggage pieces….reversible…..winter…

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and summer……

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Starting a batch of smaller folk art……before….

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and after………..

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These pieces, a 4 season set, were painted at a summer show.  Prints are being sold by my publisher….the originals are now in their new home with a lady that watched me paint them at the show.

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Some new large paintings….some of these are going to the publisher soon…All of the folk art shown still has to be stained…it has been too, too cold to go out there to stain!!

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So that’s what I’ve been up to! I was also VERY tickled when Kristine Berg Doss of A Primitive Place magazine posted a pic of the cover of The Country Register of Maine on Facebook…it was one of my paintings!!  How cool!  Totally surprised by that!  Next project???   Well, a little one for myself…actually a challenge….can I turn this sweet, very well made (not by me), cutesy bunny girl into a prim bunny?   Hmmmm…we shall see……….

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Thank you so much for visiting my blog…..I’m really going to try to keep up better with it and post more before and after projects.  I have a doozie of a project coming up if I can get up the courage to start!  Smile     Have a wonderful and cozy/warm weekend!!————Jan