John and I spent the weekend making little punk birds.
A week or two ago I made this sailboat from a kit we sell from Coffee Beak Design. Simple and satisfying.
John and I spent the weekend making little punk birds.
A week or two ago I made this sailboat from a kit we sell from Coffee Beak Design. Simple and satisfying.
The "Gales", Gayle Pritchard and Gail Crum swept into Small Studio today to teach "Enshrined" to a talented and enthusiastic group of students.
Thank you Gayle and Gail for a fun and inspiring day at Small Studio.
This is what we drove home in…another snow storm and it is almost April.
I carry quite a bit of the Coffee Break Design line. In fact I have always carried CBD stuff no matter where or what kind of store I have owned. Owner Kristen Hubick does a great job with this company, but it will always, always remind me of the original owner and very original guy, Mike Meador. So many of us still miss him and his humor and his friendship. It has been in the back of my mind to be more organized in how I present CBD kits. Here is what John and I came up with for Small Studio.
Now that samples and clearly designated kits are easy to see, I think you should come in and find some treasures to create for yourself. Tomorrow would be good for me. Saturday we are open 10-5 just for you.
While you are thinking about us, don't forget to sign up for our workshops. The first one this year is this month featuring our favorite journal maker, Ingrid Dijkers. You can read about our workshops here.
The Snowflakes for Sandy Hook have departed and were mailed to the White House at the beginning of the week.
The snowflakes looked so pretty all nestled in tissue in the box. I felt so important sending a box to the President. John took the package to the PO and when he returned I eagerly asked him if the postal clerk made any remarks. No, the postal clerk said nothing. I hope the president sees the snowflakes. Even if he does not, the good feelings of the participants was a great thing. We all felt like we were making something happen. Thanks again to all who created the snowflakes.
We have had some new arrivals this week at the store.
Stop by and have a browse. We have a handful of spaces available for our Journal Play morning on the 19th and it is not too late to sign up for the Zentangle classes on the 26th. Call the store 440-808-8599 or stop by
26113 Detroit Road
Westlake OH 44145
What a wonderful day I had today. First I had a lunch date with my Ohio son. We always say we will have a lunch date, but the time just slips away. I have three children and two bonus kids, but only one lives in Ohio. John was a bit jealous that I had this opportunity, but sent me off with a kiss. We had a lovely chat, catching up on each other's lives. Tim and I had Creative Block together for almost ten years, so it was fun to talk business together without having a lot of background to explain. Then I came home and played. I wanted to do a store sample of the Theater Shrine we sell from Coffee Break Design.
I love these kits. They are simple to construct and really fun to finish. I used Graphic 45's "Le Cirque" papers to complete and decorate this theater. It always feel so good to make things and I am a big fan of the quick and easy.
I have been trying to destash my house of all the odds and ends and excesses of my various endeavors, online and offline. Almost daily I add new stuff to my etsy shop. Usually I only add 3-5 items, but yesterday in a spurt of enthusiasm, I added all the rest of my vintage New York City subway train roll signs.
I have added about 15 of them. They are the last of these. Here is what we did with one of them. We framed it and hung it. This is the kitchen when we lived in CA a few years ago. The strips are 52" long, so they make quite a statement.
I have lots of other stuff in my etsy shop. I have all the wonderful Coffee Break Design stencils, kits and novelties. I still miss Mike (the late and great owner of CBD) so much.
One of my favorite items is the 12" high Masonite mannequins. The set comes in two sizes 5" and 12" (shown above) and includes one male, one female (two males shown above) and two sets of wings in case you want them to soar. They can be painted, stamped, drilled, collages, etc...you know what to do with them, of course.
I have a variety of other goodies besides the above.
Go on over and have a browse: Ginny's Small Studio
We went to an auction.
We went antiquing.
We added stuff to our antique mall room.
We attended a basketball playoff. Our grandson's team won!
We had breakfast out with my son and his family. Love that.
We did lots of mundane stuff.
I may not have blogged, but I did add some things to my Etsy shop.
Here is the question of the day:
What is your most memorable Valentine's Day?
Lately I have been receiving a number of real letters sent through the post office. I really love a real letter. I love unfolding it, seeing the personal and unique handwriting and reading the contents. Mail is still alive and well. I have always looked with anticipation into my mailbox to see what it holds for me. Real excitement is when the mail person, mine is named Cindy, rings the doorbell. That can only mean I got something too big for the box at the curb. Oh Happy Day!
Lately, Cindy has been a-ringing my bell.
Look at this lovely box.
Look at the straps that embrace it.
Look at the cool metal corners.
Look at all the cool mailing tags and labels.
Feel the sturdiness of the box itself.
Oh, and those straps...how cool are they?
At this point, John gently reminds me that perhaps there just might be something inside this very cool box. Yes, there was.
Mike Meador had won a large lot of vintage stamps off of ebay that came right after he passed away. He had told me about bidding on them and was really excited about getting them. His wife Chris divided them up among Mike's friends and sent them out. The larger stamp is about 8" high! I have never seen one so big. I love number and letter stamps. Mike always had little give-aways at his booth and Chris had a table full of them for guests at the service. She added some in my box. Thank you, Chris. I will think of both of you every time I use them. But, I am still marveling over the cool box......
Yesterday a big brown box was left at my door, I wasn't expecting anything and neither was John.
Inside was this pretty box:
And inside the pretty box was a very nice surprise from Lynne Perrella.
The cups are part of the "Toast & Marmalade" pattern from Emma Bridgewater (England). I have the basics in this pattern, but did not have these. Aren't they fun? How observant of Lynne and how sweet to send them to me.
I am a lucky girl!
Since I last posted life has been full of stuff.
My cousin Kathy from CA briefly visited us and we had a wonderful time. We had not seen each other in a very long time, but it didn't matter. The chatter began at the ring of the doorbell and didn't stop until she drove away. Years ago I had begun to research our family on my mom's side. It was slow going since letters had to be written and then responses waited for. Enter the computer age. Kathy took up where I left off and within a month or two had just about every living relative connected by FaceBook and she had completed the tree for 4 generations. She and I and John spent part of the evening going through a box of my mom's old photos. There were quite a few of her mom that she didn't have. Fun for both of us.
The only downside and actually, John and I got quite a thrill out of it, was that Kathy just doesn't get our art. She tried to be polite and say all the right things, but I am sure many of you have had the same experience with family and friends that just don't get you.
She didn't understand my Bratz-Doll-meets-camel-body-while-serving-up-a-platter-of-dragon-head. She was impressed that I had painted it all to look like wood. Thank you again Michael DeMeng for the great De-Mented Toys class in June here at Small Studio. And Kathy, I loved our visit. I loved your reactions.
We have had several days of high winds which have blown most of the Fall leaves onto the grass. Fall was so short this year that I got almost no photos for you West-Coasters of the Fall color. You will have to be satisfied with these:
Small Studio Emporium is temporarily closed for restocking and inventory. I am not sure when it will open. I am sorry for any inconvenience.
Small Studio Workshop featuring Lynne Perrella is now sold out.
Reports are in on Mike Meador's service on Monday. I think Chris and Andy made Mike smile down on everyone who attended. Old friends told of his childhood and adult pranks and jokes. Mention was made of his annual quirky Christmas card/gifts. We will miss those. Mike's musical oddities were remembered and Chris put out a table-full of little items to take that Mike used to give out at conventions and classes. Laughter and tears. Oh Mike, we will miss you so. In life, you made us laugh so hard we cried. Now we shed tears through the funny memories of you.
We voted today!
It is odd how we all are shocked and surprised at the death of a loved one. Birth, life and death are just a part of living and yet it always comes as a shock to lose someone who is close to you.
Our phone rang early this morning and when I heard the caller ID announce that it was from the Meadors, I answered with a joke as Mike and I always do. But it was Chris, not Mike, and she was crying. Our beloved Mike had passed away. They think it was his heart. They were together when he died. Chris and Mike are like bread and butter or salt and pepper. One always says their names together. They were devoted to each other, actively in love after decades together. Mike was a devoted father to his Andy and was so proud of him.
I heard the words Chris was saying, but I still cannot believe that Mike is gone from us. His departure will leave a big hole in my life. He was a good friend, making me laugh, making me think and helping me with my business. When Mike was your friend, you knew someone had your back. He was so generous and so good to me and all his other friends.
Some memories of Mike:
*Mike was always the Friday lunch speaker at Art Continuum. His talk was always funny, poignant and sometimes musical like the song to Keith Lo Bue he wrote about "NO Adhesives".
*When John and I finally got both of our families together after we got married, I told Mike I was making blank journals for everyone to keep during the week of our gathering. Mike made name stencils for all 21 of us.
*Often he would add a little surprise for John when he would ship me orders. Recently it was a kit to make a fly-powered plane with directions on how to make a harness for the fly.
*"Free" was his middle name. He was so generous with samples, extra stuff and odd little gifts, not just to me, but to all of his friends.
*Dueling Demos at the Creative Block: Mike and MaryJo McGraw would battle it out year after year at our Artful April event. Mary Jo was diligent, but Mike was always surprising and hilarious.
I will miss our weekly talks on the phone. I will miss his off- beat humor. I will miss his friendship, but my heart and my mind will always be full of memories of what a huge part of my life he was.
Chris and Andy, our hearts go out to you.
I always know when there is a surprise for me in my PO Box. The mail people are smiley. Today there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me from Ingrid Dijkers. Ingrid spent a long weekend last month with John and I while she taught her part of the Small Studio Workshop Series. I had not met her before, but we got along better than great. I love her work.
Above is the front of the oversize postcard and below is the back. All along the edge Ingrid has wired small black beads. They make the most wonderful sound when the postcard is handled. She made the card with punched holes so that it will fit into the book I made in her class. It is altogether very colorful and classy. Thank you so much, Ingrid!
Now, have you seen these on my Etsy shop?
Today I received photographs from my customer Ranae of Stella Ranae Vintage. Isn't this the best?
Thank you so much for taking the time to send me photos.
At the stamp convention this weekend several people commented to me that with some people time can go by without any contact, but you see each other and it feels as no time has passed. That is just how these big, old conventions go. It was wonderful to see old friends with whom I have been a vendor many times at many conventions over the years.
And, of course, Tim (can't remember his last name, oh yeah...Holtz) is always in a good mood and fun to see again. Also good to see Mario and Ted and so many others that I have not seen in awhile since we have dropped out of the convention circuit.
Connie Williams and I go back a couple of decades. Connie puts on a wonderful convention. It is always well attended, well organized and fun. Thanks Connie, for letting us participate. We had a great time all around. Thanks too, to all the shoppers that came and spent time with us in our booth. It was so much fun to chat and laugh and reminisce with all of you.
We had a good space at the show. Following are a few pics of our booth:
It is good to be home.
Just a couple of reminders:
We are still taking sign ups for the rest of the Small Studio Workshops.
Small Studio Emporium and my Etsy shop will re-open later this week.
I went to Indianapolis to the Coffee Break Design warehouse sale this weekend. It is about 5 to 6 hours by car from here. John was not with me. He was in a Golf Channel tournament which he won! So, I was alone. It was an easy drive, but lonesome without him to chat.
The sale was wonderful with lots of goodies and very cheap prices. When Mike has a sale it is a S A L E. There were shoppers shoulder to shoulder. I loved seeing some old friends such as Gaye Medbury, Connie Newbanks, Marilyn Werst and Pat Pleacher (see her blog link on left). We laughed, we talked, we shopped.
One of my favorite purchases was this pointing hand.
While I was driving back home I passed miles of parked railroad cars on a sidetrack. Climbing up through the cars were vines and weeds.
Obviously they had not been used in a very long time. There were several types of railroad cars, empty and waiting for their next call to duty. I was thinking that with all the natural disasters of late, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes, that these cars could be used for temporary housing somehow. I have seen articles about turning them into offices and art studios. Why not housing? They are sturdy and easy to transport. They would need some modification, but....
Michael deMeng arrives in a few days for his workshops. John and I have been pulling together our supplies and looking forward to sitting and playing with the other students.
Life is sometimes just a circus.
This is one of those times.
We are amazed.
We go in circles.
Yes, life is just sometimes a circus.
And we are the clowns.
I pride myself on being pretty organized and in charge of making sure the chaos is held to a minimum. Somehow it has all piled up on me. It has piled up all at once.
Memorial weekend was filled with family BBQs, kids baseball and a run to the airport to pick up John's daughter, Kate, who has just left after visiting for a few days. It was a great weekend and has been a really nice visit with Kate. Kate just completed her second masters program. We are all very proud of her.
Tomorrow I leave for a few days in Indiana while John holds down the fort here. Coffee break Design is having their annual warehouse sale Saturday morning (1227 Indy Way, Indianapolis). It is always a great bargain hunt. Come and join in.
Michael deMeng arrives mid-week for his workshops here. We can add a few more if you want to come be inspired and play with us.
Right after Michael leaves John and I begin our new endeavor. We have rented a small room in an antique mall. We will be moving in the third week of June. More details and photos then. I am really excited about this.
July Teesha and Tracy Moore will be here for their workshops and then in August we welcome Ingrid Dijkers and we will also have a booth at Stampaway in Cincinnati. And on it goes.
This is all going to be great fun and a lot of work and a lot of excitement. We hope all of our friends will join us at these different events and venues. That means you, of course.
I have been extremely busy lately...almost too busy. John and I are working on a big project and as soon as it is done, I will share with you. In the meantime, my webgirl has finally had time to upload quite a few new items onto Small Studio's Website. Just click on Emporium when you get there.
Here are a few of the items. First we got a huge order of that wonderful tape I have been selling on my Etsy shop. Now it is available on my web. We have so many new tapes we have created a new category: Great Tapes!
Wooden Gears from Mr. Coffee:
A cute Clown Theater:
Cool labels for collage or envelopes:
Come on over and have a browse and all the other goodies we have for you.
So there we were having a leisurely breakfast at the hotel this weekend, with Mike and Chris of Coffee Break Design (no blog!). We thought we were having a good time, just the four of us. And we were.
Where do you get all these old labels, we asked and Gaye, in her very melodic Southern accent related a great story about recently going to an estate sale where she came upon a room filled with designer clothes and a very overwhelmed seller. Gaye asked if she could have some labels and he said yes! She said she spent several hours methodically ripping out labels like Escada from stacks of clothes. Laughing at the mental picture she painted of this adventure, I asked if she always travels with a seam ripper.
Gaye said she went back a few times and each time the estate seller encouraged her to take more and she did. It was a great story, shortened here, and one of those once in a lifetime scores for Gaye. Fun!
There was quite a bit of excitement and interest over the Small Studio Workshop Series this past weekend, so if yoiu have been hesitating to sign up, I would encourage you to do it now before classes sell out. Michael deMeng's workshop is coming up fast in June. Sign up now!
I love Mike Meador. He makes the coolest stuff and he treats his friends so well. Today in the mail I received a custom stencil that Mike made for us.
Stenciling is so fast, so easy and nary a mess in the procedure. These are the display cases for our show booth. You are looking at the backs of the cases. Tomorrow I start filling them with product for the Artiscape show in Columbus. We have been busy packaging product, making product, shopping for product and generally trying to anticipate your wants and "needs".
We will have lots of interesting things both new and vintage. Yes, we sacrificed so much time just for YOU shopping at all of our favorite vintage shops. Plus we have been making art to offer at the art show there on Sunday. I hope you will all come and say hello to John and to me. Mike of Coffee Break Design also has tons of new fun things for their booth at Artiscape. Tell him Ginny sent you.
Mike also sent us these cool new gears, laser cut out of Masonite, and so much fun to play with.
My webgirl, Amy, has promised to have our new product up by the end of the weekend.
Just a reminder that we are expecting you at at least one of the Small Studio Workshops here in Avon Lake OH, on the shores of Lake Erie, this summer and Fall. Sign up soon.
My friend Mike of Coffee Break Design, often includes a little gift with my orders for Small Studio. Sometimes it is a cartoon or an extra item for me to make a sample. Sometimes it is some old ephemera that is quirky and makes us smile and shake our heads. Sometimes it is some cool tiny gadget for John.
Last week it was really something very special. I think I actually shouted when I opened it. I was so intent on opening it that I did not take a photo of the cool Coffee themed wrappings. Such perfect wrappings from Mr and Mrs "Coffee" themselves.
Last summer I wrote a post about this very one of a kind dresser that had drawers carved into letters.
And the drawers open...
My little dresser is the size of a cigar box instead of room size, but it is huge on ingenuity and pizazz. I am so happy to have this little gem. Thank you, thank you, Mike. You are always so good to me and such a great friend. Thank you.
I have had several questions about Small Studio Workshop Series. I will try to answer them as they come in both privately and on this blog if I think others may have the same questions.
1. When is registration? Registration is on-going for each class from now until that class is sold out.
2. Can we take the workshops online? NO! This is a hands-on, in-person series of workshops. I like online classes, but there is nothing like having the instructor right there helping you along. There is also so much to learn from the other students when you are all doing the techniques or projects together. One of the special things that happens is the camaraderie that occurs during a day or weekend of workshops. Sometimes life-long friendships are forged.
3. Can I sign up for one class now and others later? Yes, as long as there is room still in that workshop. Just fill out a new registration form for the added class(es).
If you have any questions you can ask in the comments or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a link in the upper left of this blog for the Workshop site. Instructors web sites are in the upper right of this blog.