Thursday, August 30, 2007

Farmer's Market bliss...

We went to the farmer's market today downtown Minneapolis. Everything looked so yummy! I am excited to go back next Thursday to get more gorgeous cut flowers for my vendor table. The colors of late summer are so warm and vibrant!
Love how the farmer's market wakes up your senses. The colors, textures and smells are irresistable. Enjoyed eating a cucumber right from the bucket.
Going to the farmer's market always reminds me of how important it is to eat locally grown foods whenever possible. Barbara Kingsolver has a new book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about her experiment doing this for a year. My undergraduate degree is in environmental studies. In college I was very involved with researching and getting involved with community gardens and local urban agriculture. This is near and dear to my heart. So glad to support these local farmers and you can't beat the taste of veggies that have never seen the inside of a refrigerator. Yum!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'd like to say a big welcome to all the new people visiting my blog from the JunkMarket site today. The big event is only a bit over a week away. I'm all stocked up and very excited. I have lots of goodies in store. If you go to the bonanza be sure and stop by my table and say hello.
Ok folks, the Sweet and Sinister Swap is now officially CLOSED!! Wow, what a response. This is going to be so much fun! All the partners have been assigned. Everyone who is in the comments of the original post up to 118 has a partner. Sorry I had to close the swap early, but I'm sure that you understand that over 100 people is a lot to keep a handle on:) If you did not get an email from me today with your partners name please contact me at I will be sending out invites to join the flickr group for the swap in a few days. The button image is on the post below, feel free to post it on your blog.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Junk Faeries and goth...

I made some Junk Faeries this weekend to grace my Junk Bonanza booth. What a fun bunch!
Wow, looks like there are a whole lot more sweet and sinister folks out there than I realized. Hehe! What fun this swap is going to be!! I'm going to close the swap when it reaches 75 participants. That's enough to handle. So I'll only take about 10 more. Please respond to this post if you want to join in. Here's a blog button that those of you participating can post on your blog if you'd like. It was created by Angelina.
I started making some Halloween decor and it reminded me of a conversation I had with Crystal. We're going from Chris Brown's alt-country to goth here on ArtsyMama's blog. You get a little bit of everything, I tell ya:) I showed some pictures of her new shop Gothic Rose Antiques in Placerville, California here. I even heard from her that one of you went into the shop after seeing it on my blog. Cool! I "sat down" with Crystal to get into her dark gothic head a bit and here's what she had to say.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get involved with collecting antiques/oddities?
I've been collecting for years, the more unusual and older the better. It is in my blood - my uncle, my mother and my grandmother all collected and lived with the unusual....

How would you describe your style? How has it evolved?
Gothic decor for the darkly inclined. Dark romance and glamour with an air of wickedness throughout......................macabre delights!
What/who are you inspired by?
This started way back when I saw my first Vincent Price movie, The Pit and the Pendulum. From then on I was hooked.
What's a typical day like for you?
I usually work on an art project or two in the mornings then off to the shop.....When I'm not at the shop, I go hunting.....
When did you start your web site and online business?
About 8 years ago.
What prompted you to start?
I couldn't find a site like mine so I started one.

What was your motivation?
Since there were few offerings of antiques like mine, I thought it was needed and people would like it.
You just opened up a store, how do you think that will change things?
The new store in Placerville, CA is my second store so now I am busier than ever.

Who/what are your major influences and inspirations in your design?
All old Vincent Price movies, Dark Shadows ( I have all the old tapes and still watch them), cemeteries with 19th century headstones, dark forests, blood red roses, carnivals, and my own dreams..............
Does your home look anything like your store?
My home is very dark and cozy with all things that look like they come alive at the stroke of midnight!
Where is your favorite place to find treasures?
My favorite way to find treasures is when someone calls me and has something I want that they are willing to part with, other than that, it is hit or miss, now and then, one piece here and one piece there that fits into my genre..........

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sweet and Sinister Swap

This time of year, that's exactly how I feel. A bit of the sweet is still left from the pastels and yummy eye candy of the spring and summer palette. However my sinister, yet playful side creeps in as thoughts of fall and Halloween begin to trickle in. Then I received this gorgeous, huge ArtsyMama Originals sign to grace my vendor booth at Junk Bonanza made by the amazingly talented Cari Kraft. My whole world turned black and white. I have this adorning my studio space and I can't stop staring at it. The black with the aged shades of cream is just brilliant. Last year, after getting a funny little black t-shirt at Target that has glitter writing that says Sweet and Sinister my mind starting churning with ideas for a Halloween party in all black and white. Serving up treats in huge apothecary jars, have an old fashioned candy shop atmosphere with a sinister slant. The idea never truly left my head. So then it was decided this year would be the year of a sweet and sinister Halloween.Which leads me to my invitation to all of YOU in my
Sweet and Sinister Swap!
*****This swap is now closed- it has reached capacity!!*****
I will take sign-ups until Sept. 1st. Partners will be assigned shortly after and packages need to be mailed by Oct. 1st. Your package for your partner should contain something a little sweet, something a bit sinister and almost everything needs to be black or white or both (can be any shade of white/cream/antique white, etc.) A splash of orange in there is ok. It should also include a handcrafted item, and a home decor item. You and your partner can exchange information about what style you prefer. Swap items can be Halloween oriented, but they don't need to be. Leave a comment here to join in the swap. Please make sure to include your email address.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

{Chris Brown} Junk...what Junk?

Today is full of mist and fog here in Minnesota. Feels more like spring than late August. Our state fair starts today, which marks the official end of summer. As we head into fall and a new cycle of the year, I feel like things are changing here in my art world as well. I'm heavily gearing up for my first vendor experience at Junk Bonanza, two weeks from today. I thought my blog could use a little seasonal perk-up as well. Check out my new blog banner by the amazing Kris Hurst. Such dreamy colors and love how she incorporated a picture of the gorgeous new sign that Cari made me for my booth. More on that later. I was tickled to do an interview with the one and only Chris Brown recently. This guy just oozes creativity, fun and grit. I am so pleased that he is the guest speaker at Silver Bella in November. Sit back and enjoy this little chat with the king of "forgotten treasures."
What's a typical day like for you? I’m not really sure if there is a typical day around here. There are certain things I do everyday though. I’m usually the first up in the morning and the last to go to bed. I kiss my wife first thing every morning and both my daughters as well then head for my studio/office. I’ll check and answer emails first, and then see what is up for the day. Urban Prairie encompasses a great deal of things – Interior design, graphic design, photo styling, writing, collecting, so there is always a project, if not three, at any given time.

How do you define creativity? What does it look like in your life? I live & breathe creativity. All of my waking moments, and most of my dreams are about design. I create, design and style everything around me. What allows you to be most creative? Quiet. I need very calm, quiet surroundings while coming up with new ideas. This could be my office during the day when everyone is gone, our back patio during early morning or late afternoon, or in the deep woods of the many forest we have here in Texas. Once ideas or projects are in motion that’s when the loud music comes on. I’ve been listening to a ton of alternative/roots/Americana country lately. That style of music has the grainy, rusty quality that is so prevalent in my work.
When did you start blogging? Your web site? What prompted you to start? What was your motivation? I started Urban Prairie REFUELED my personal blog, in January of this year. It was a way for me to get information out to Urban Prairie fans on a quick, daily basis. I had no idea at the time that it was going to turn into this massive, cult type thing. The same goes for my website Urban Prairie. The site was started as a showcase for my design/style/collecting works. It has since turned into a movement of sorts – which I love.
How has your online presence influenced your evolution as an artist/designer? I don’t think it has. I’m still doing what I’ve been doing my whole life – designing this little world around me and my family – and for anyone else that wants to come along for this odd ride.
I hear you’re thinking about starting a ‘zine…tell me more about that. I really enjoy the process of developing and designing within a magazine setting, but at the same time pushing that boundary to another level. Some of you may remember the music publication RAYGUN. It was designed/art directed by David Carson. When it came out it really spoke to me in a way that no other magazine had. They were doing with a magazine that I was doing with everything in my life. Seeing things in a different light and trying to inspiring others with their vision. It’s within that realm that I want to create an online ‘zine that presents everything I love about found objects, collecting them and how you can design a life around them.
Who/what are your major influences and inspirations in your art/design? There are many people whom works I find really cool – David Butler of Art of the Midwest, D’Ette Cole from Etta Industry, David Carson, to mention a few. I share a lot in common with these folks, but we all have a little bit different take on things – which is what keeps things so interesting, right? I find inspiration everywhere.

What style was your home décor when you were growing up? What have your influences been in finding your own style? I wish my parents still had the home décor from when I was growing up – it is all so hip again. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, so you can imagine some of the cool sofas we had. It’s that style of decor I now design my home with, with maybe a little cleaner, modern lines. Our home is a mix of modern, alt-country and industrial. Sounds strange, but somehow it all really works. I sum it up for folks as what else, Urban Prairie.

Where’s your favorite place to buy junk? Junk? What junk? I collect forgotten treasures. I collect the coolest things that for some reason people think is junk. But it is those same people who give something to me because they see it as trash then view it in my home in a different context and then want it back. I love to take things people don’t see as beautiful and somehow make it beautiful. My hunting grounds? There are several places I really dig right here in the Lone Star state. In Austin there is Uncommon Objects. With the tagline, “Raw Materials for Creative Living” who wouldn’t love this store? But without question, my favorite place to hunt my odd finds is the antique show in Warrenton, Texas. A very small town that grows to thousands twice a year for a week. It is such a great place to recharge your creative battery. This Fall I’ll be shooting footage there that I’ll be turning into a short film called Highway 290, a name from which the town is located off of. It will be out early 2008. It will be shot and edited by myself, in the true Urban Prairie form. Its style will have Chris Brown written all over it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Moving forward...

Still have a few tricks up my sleeve for JunkBonanza. I've been having fun making these houses out of the wonderful Bingo cards I got with the August kit from Jenni Bowlin.
Also been starting to change around my home decor to give it a warm fall feeling. Totally changing my color palette. Really inspired by this picture (above). Love everything about it.

As part of my countdown to JunkMarket Junk Bonanza I plan to have some fun things going on here on my blog over the next few weeks. Hard to believe the big event is just a bit over 2 weeks away! For those that cannot attend...and those than can...I'll have some special guests and other celebrations in the name of junk. I'm super excited to interview junk enthusiast and designer Chris Brown of Urban Prairie and have him as a guest blogger here very soon. I am also thrilled to say that my blog is now listed on the JunkMarket web site as a vendor. I'm getting more excited by the day! Stay tuned...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The life of an estate saler....

I thought I'd share with you all a little behind-the-scenes action, since many times on the weekend I post pictures of my estate sale finds. I just wanted to show that the pretty pictures of my treasured finds definitely don't tell the whole story. When going to estate sales, you never know what you're going to find! It all starts mid-week. I usually scope out what sales I'd like to go to on Saturday from the Thursday classifieds. I also always check a local site online that posts pictures of their sales coming up. That way I can decide if I'm interested enough to trek on out and check out their sale. Saturday morning from 9-11 am is my sweet window of estate sale bliss!
This is a warehouse not too far from my house that has a sale most weekends. As you can see, today was a grey, rainy day. I have to admit, estate sales that take place in the owners home are more interesting. I like to see things in the environment in which it has "lived" for so many years. However, this warehouse usually has some fun stuff and many times have bag sales on the second day.
Here's just a few photos to show the tables of stuff you will find. Lots of old mixed with newer items. The sales today weren't all that great, but I did manage to find a few things.

Then sometimes you find sales that are just scary! This one was in a home with an older man still cleaning things out. There were dirty boxes of junk everywhere, nothing marked and I didn't even dare to dig. Look at the old cast that was in the basement. Ewwww..... I didn't stay long!

I gather all my treasures and go home and pretty much immediately decide where they will be displayed. I found these three cuties today and have them in my studio. At $1 each, I couldn't pass them up.
I especially like this one. If you like dollies like these, you MUST check out Jenny and Aaron's new line of paintings. Absolutely stunning! Must resist starting a new collection:)

This crown was a fun find.
Hope you enjoyed the little tour inside the estate saleing world of ArtsyMama!
P.S. I noticed that the Artful Blogger party post rolled off the end of this page. I added a permanent link to it on my sidebar to the right (blow my flickr box) so it's there to refer to in the future if you want to follow the wonderful links that people posted.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Life is art...

I have been quite busy lately making bunches and bunches of collages and dresses and lots of other goodies for my Junk Bonanza booth. It's just 3 weeks away! Many of you have asked about the adorable vintage looking wire hangers that I'm using for them. They can be found here at Character Constructions. Catherine has so much fabulous stuff. Definitely worth a peruse.
Last night at the library I found the book The Accidental Masterpiece : On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman. I love discovering new books that seem to be just perfect for where my life is right now. This book seems to fit the bill. I read the first page and just started devouring it. I already have a slew of quotes that have me ruminating....
To live intensely is one of the basic human desires and an artistic necessity.

A life lived with art in mind might itself be a kind of art.

Art provides us with clues about how to live our lives more fully.

Creating, collecting and even just appreciating art can make living a daily masterpiece.