Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chocolate mountains

They exist! Yes, they do. I have finally found proof. And here. Today. I am sharing it with you. Yeah you. Here. Right now. If you haven't seen my listing on Etsy (shameless plug here, I know) for my Suchard Chocolate Mountains painting do that here first. Now....a little background. I was born in Belgium so I've had my share of awesome chocolate. You can taste it now can't you? hmmm...yeah, those fancy white chocolate pralines with the hazelnut creme inside and a little hazelnut to top it all off...hmmm... yeah, well, when I was a kid my favorite were actually the chocolate bars you could find in any grocery store. It wasn't the chocolate (although chocolate in any form was and still is pretty good don't get me wrong). But it was that soft lavender purple packaging that got me every time. It had a picture of a little pasture just below these huge mountains capped with snow. Cute little white and purple cows were standing around in the pasture.

Photo courtesy of and for sale at shutterstitch

But those mountains...those mountains were impressive. They were just so majestic. And their presence was so serene. I could see myself in the pastures just looking up at them. So that was what the packaging looked like, or did it? You know how sometimes your reality forms from several different memories all jumbled together in that wierd unconscious way? And you swear that things happened exactly as you think they did but someone else who was there saw it completely different? Or that a favorite something you remember as a kid looks exactly this or exactly that and then you run into one in some vintage shop somewhere and it actually looked somewhat different than you remember? I mean, I really can't be sure that the package was a soft purple, nor that there were cows in the pasture, but that's exactly what I imagine when I think of chocolate. And what about those majestic mountains? Were they just a figment of my imagination? I have always associated chocolate with those mountains and the name Suchard. It never really bothered me enough to do some research or anyhing. After all, our memories are sometimes better left "unresearched" so that they hold their magical surreal quality. There's a certain happiness in that. I mean, your childhood home never quite looks or feels the same way it did when you were a kid. The idea that you can never really go back to the way things were really holds some truth. I digress (as usual). Enter my "proof". I was shopping in a small antique shop in town and found this postcard:

Proof! Proof it wasn't just a figment of my imagination. So they are not cows. They're horses. And there's no pasture. And it's not lavender purple but I can fix THAT!


So maybe there aren't any cows or pastures. But those mountains...so majestic. So serene. So chocolaty. Well...um...maybe not, but check out this etsy seller who has the same love for chocolate mountains as I do: The Chocolate Mountain Candle Co.

Photo courtesy of and candles for sale at http://cmcc1.etsy.com/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Check this beauty out!

So a long, long time ago...in a land very far away...no, not really, it was about a year ago and I was on my computer in my house and probably in my pajamas...but I digress. I came upon one of the beautifulest. Stop here for a moment. Yes, I know beautifulest is not a word, but it's very apt. Trust me! Again, I digress...I came upon one of the beautifulest shops that I have ever seen on Etsy. Here's where I get mean. I am not telling you the shop's name. No! I won't. And the reason is that I really don't want you to go buy up all the stuff in it. That's right. I want it all to myself. So what if I am being selfish. Haven't you ever been selfish? Come on now...I won't believe. I CANNOT believe that some time in your life you haven't felt like being selfish was...well, justified!! YEAH! J-U-S-T-I-F-I-E-D!!! Justified. No? What about the time that you...mmmmmm....when you...*concentrating*...when. You know....*furrowing brows*...when you...well, ok. I guess you've nev...mmmm...*enter the confused look* ...really? ...ok, you're right. I guess I should share. Ok...here goes....there's this awesome shop called ....mmmm...can't remember how to do this...how do I position this awesome shop? I mean I can't very well tell you about everything that's in the shop that I like or I would have to blog for hours! My dog needs to eat for crying out loud. I can't just sit here for hours and just ignore everything else that goes on in my life. I mean not that I go out much or have much of a life or anything but well...I mean I have lots of friends and we go out a lot. I mean to dinner and stuff. Yeah, you know and there are some really cool restaurants around here. I mean, what do you like to eat? No, I am not the biggest fan of ....awwww shucks! I'll spill the beans....It's nestahome! NESTAHOME! NESTAHOME! NESTAHOME! Am I getting obnoxious yet? Seriously, check out her cool photographs and paintings and everything else in between! You'll love it there!! And check out the beautiful treasury she put me in with some super talented people the other day! I even got a a really cool comment on the treasury about my photographing skills. Oh and one more thing, have you SEEN the other talented people in the treasury with me? Here they are: theStarcraft, HelloCrafty, natuure (ahem...shameless plug), heatherjeany, BackThennishVintage, GetReadySetGO (repeat fellow treasury featured shop here folks! Because it's awesome!), kitsandcaboodles (you already know this is one of my VERY favorites), donina, ziazia, katsai, robynski, noemiah. Back to my photographing skills. I have always had trouble with getting my item photographs for my shop to turn out just right. I mean the light is always kind of wierd and I don't ever seem to be able to get my items positioned just so. Then, one day, I was checking out the forums and I checked out this post that talked about how to use...blah blah blah blah blah...

*shut me up please - I can't hear myself think!*

All photos courtesy of and for sale at nestahome. Please also check out her other shop at nestausa.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Treasury time!


YAY! YAY! YAY! Made another treasury! I looooove treasuries. I seem to be drawn to a lot of the monochromatic ones myself. And I've always been a fan of the black and white theme. So thank you Rachel at secrethistory for including me in yours!

Incidentally, dear readers, if you haven't seen Rachel's shop you must do so now! She's one of those talented photographers that can turn something everyday and ordinary into something amazingly beautiful, serene and poignant at the same time. I mean, seriously...it's a chair. But have you seen anything more beautiful? I think not. Have you ever felt what you feel when you see the way the light hits the room just so. Casting the shadow of that chair onto the wall ever so slightly visible. And that large patch of light on the ground inviting you in. And the white of those curtains mingling with the white of the banister but petulantly ignoring the white on the wall behind it. Striking, isn't it, what Rachael can do with a camera? I rest my case (of books).

Ok now, check out the great treasury she put together. Dark, edgy, yet peaceful in a way. What a great showcase of extremely talented etsians. Don't forget to check out their shops!



etceteramedia
KeysandMemories
ara133photography
ThePeachTree
nestahome
natuure : )
PixiePrints
Xenotees
stephaniegibson
f2images
purposedesign
Earmark





Top two photos courtesy of and prints for sale at secrethistory. Thanks for hanging out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

For the love of paper!

If you haven't yet noticed, I love paper. Any kind of paper. From the kind one can find at a specialty art store to the kind I would find in your recycling bin. From new to old. From colorful to bland. From dictionnary pages to magazines to cereal boxes to junk mail...well, you get the picture. And there are a lot of Etsians who love it too. Believe me.

One of my very favorites is a lovely gal by the name of Mollie whose shop royalbuffet is a paper lover's dream! You should really check out her stuff even if you're not a paper enthusiast like myself. Because you will be, after you check out her shop and see what paper is all about. You really really really should check out her stuff if you DO like paper. C'mon! You can never have enough of it! Especially the way she uses it...the paper just comes alive! She has an amazing sense of composition that she uses in putting together every garland and every mobile that she works on. The vintage french magazines will have you speaking french the minute you take home one of her lovely decorations. Go on...have yourself a meal (of paper) fit for a queen* at the royal buffet. Let them eat cake!

*For the record in case you've read my earlier post - I know that the expression is actually "a meal fit for a king". I learned that one once when I exclaimed: "Wow! That was a king's meal" after having an especially delicious and very filling meal. Someone was of course, nice enough to correct me. And below you will see a beautiful wreath made by Mollie that unfortunately I would pronounce reath as in breath. Oh for the love of all things that are holly! I mean holy...*blush*


All photos courtesy of and items for sale at royalbuffett

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

1984


Photo courtesy of and T-shirt for sale at nodemo

1984 is the year my life started. Well, not really. I am not THAT young. But it IS the year that starts my consciousness of the world in which I live in today. No, this isn't a reference to some kind of "zen" thing. It's just that before 1984 I lived in a culture completely different from the one I live in today. I moved to the United States in 1984 not knowing a word of english besides "yes", "please", "thank you" and "sun." (Don't ask me why I specifically retained that last word from all of the other words I was made to learn in my English class in elementary school, but I did).
Now, imagine walking into your first day of 7th grade in some foreign land where people don't speak a lick of what you speak, don't wear one item of clothing that is in any way similar to what you're wearing (frilly dresses that in this culture kids stop wearing at age 4), and people eat some wierd concoctions that you couldn't even think of putting together on the same plate let alone on a sandwich, Peenah baddaah jalleee (photo courtesy of and note cards for sale at exquisiteimage). And all eyes are on YOU! Oh come on, it's not that bad is it? No, it's not. The worst comes later. When you're 32 and you can't for the life of you remember that darn expression people use for not caring about a certain incident. Uh...water over the bridge...ice under the bridge...ice under the water over the bridge over the ice in the water? And you don't have an accent when you speak english so when the person you're talking to turns to you with a raised eyebrow wondering what is wrong with you, you shudder to think what their thoughts are on your mental acuity or lack thereof. You just look stupid.

Then you join a water cooler meeting in progress in your office where people discuss the finer points of that super popular show from before your time that everyone knows everything about everytime it is mentioned. You know, that show everyone loves to remember from when they were kids (photo courtesy of and stickers for sale at samann1121). Remember when so and so did this? And so and so said that? Blah, blah, blah. You try to pretend you know, but inevitably you end up making some faux pas and mixing up trivia from different shows trying to pass off like you know something. And all eyes are on YOU and you're just lookin' stupid.

That's when you try to to find someone in the water cooler gang to help you recuperate your "cool" status and you say: "Remember in 1982 when so and so won Eurovision?" And all eyes are on YOU and that's when you know stupid is not quite the word you were looking for to describe yourself. You're just plain, well...what's that expression? One fry short of a combo #5? Ok, but at least I recycle.


Photo courtesy of and tote for sale at andyeatsonlycandy

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Honored

I will be posting again later today with a regular post, but I was just featured in a Treasury and I had to share. Royalbuffet (more on her lovely shop in a future post) was so sweet in picking one of my Edgar Allan Poe playing card paper dolls! I feel so honored to be featured in a treasury with such talented individuals!! Check out their great shops




Saturday, October 11, 2008

Leap

Photo courtesy of Rozart

So, I have this day job. Yeah...everyone knows how hard it is to make a living as an artist/crafter so I have sold my soul to devil that is capitalism and I have a 9-5 job like many other Etsians I know. It's actually a great job. I work with really awesome people in an environment that is nurturing to my goals and dreams. My job allows me to use my degree while helping others at the same time. I am able to make a difference and enrich peoples' lives. Literally. It's fun, it's exciting, it's challenging...and it's $%@#$% stressful!! You guessed it. I work in the finance industry. That's all I will say about except that with what's happening to our economy now I think I may need to see either a priest, a psychiatrist or a fortune teller before the year is over. Yeah. It's that stressful right now. But it pays the bills and pays for my art supplies which afford me the luxury of making stuff which in turn helps me deal with my stress which is caused by the fact that I have to work to support my art. Hmmm...sounds like a catch 22.
Photo courtesy of and painting for sale at Rozart
Anyways, so everyone has stress right. So how does one deal with it if they aren't artists themselves or maybe they are artists, but don't do that kind of art. Or maybe they do do that kind of art, but not like that! Well, then they should buy art. Buy that piece that speaks to you. That piece that makes you feel good about life, about yourself, about the message embedded in its beauty or maybe just because you like it. That's how I feel about this piece by Rozart. The freedom of "letting it all go" depicted in this painting is palpable. My stress dissipates as I feel myself soaring through this beautiful thing we call life. There's no way I could paint THAT! Now, if I could just make more money at my etsy job to support my art buying habit...I'd be golden! (and certainly much less blue)
Photo courtesy of and painting for sale at Rozart

**A special thank you to Suzanne at Bliss Soybean Candles for featuring a great artist named LoriMirabelli on her blog (that I've been following for a while now). Lori turned me onto Rozart's beautiful art as well as her own. Check Lori's art out here. And here's one of my favorites of hers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Love is...monkeys

Photo courtesy of and for sale at brookeanndove

Now I am no literary genius or anything...I mean, I read. I read A LOT. But I can't sit here and purport that I am some kind of highly intellectual individual with some radical literary acuity. I mean...if you were to ask me what biblical allusion or Judeo-Christian reference or what is allegorical about something in a story that I might be reading, well...I wouldn't know my head from my...But...I DO like words. Thus, I read. Did I say that I read A LOT?

So where does that take me? Oh, the point of my ramble is this. There's this cute (that's a technical literary term) little story that I just reread in Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House that I really enjoyed. It's about a computer (EPICAC) that falls in love with a mortal. Some of my favorite lines in the book are those in a poem EPICAC wrote titled "The Kiss" after he learned what a kiss was:
Love is a hawk with velvet claws;
Love is a rock with heart and veins;
Love is a lion with sating jaws;
Love is a storm with silken reins....

What's the moral of the story? There isn't one. Or if there is, I don't know what the allegorical allusion is metaphorically about. I just like words. Kurt would be so proud. Oh, and the monkeys really aren't here allude to anything either. I just love monkeys. Who knew?
*Rushes away to get the Thesaurus back on the shelf*

Photo courtesy of and monkey for sale at sarubiz

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kindred spirits

Have you ever stumbled upon an Etsy or other online store and you swear you KNOW the person who is running it? I don't mean that you actually know them, know them. I mean that the store is such a reflection of you, your feelings, your favorite colors, your favorite style, your favorite everything? I mean, in a different life you might have even owned and operated this store yourself! Well...introducing Kits & Caboodles, my alter ego.

It's no secret I love paper. I mean have you checked out my stores lately? (natuure, coffeemonkey, twoangelsinparis, monkeymind) I mean, I just couldn't possibly LIVE without paper in my life! But Kits & Caboodles takes paper to a whole different level for me. Andrea's beautiful handmade paper flowers make my heart beat faster. Her scrap packs are (unbelievably) chock-full of paper that I have never seen before. And that's saying a lot for a paper enthusiast like myself. Even her business cards and packaging are works of art! I am so drawn by the simplicity and beauty of her designs that I can't wait to check out her shop almost every day (it's not stalking - it's shopping). I can't help it. In her shop, I feel at home. See for yourself! And you can read Andrea's blog at The whole kit and caboodle.