Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween Isn't Over Yet

Seems like the holidays whizz by faster every year.  Halloween isn't even over yet and candy is on sale, getting ready to move over for Christmas ornaments.  Well, I still have a scary movie or two to watch and a party to go to before Halloween is said and done for me.  Heck- I don't even know what I'm dressing up as yet!
Here are some cool Etsy finds to help you get in a Halloweenie mood!  

Two Targets Skull by Skullhouse is super cool! 

As some of you may know, I have a fondness for retro holiday decorations.  This one from Grandmother's Attic would look spooktacular on my door.  

I'd honestly rather watch scary movies than dress up on Halloween, but I think I would look pretty cute in this Little Red Riding Hood costume by Lover Dovers Clothing

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday Trainspotting

Sunday Trainspotting

Trains capture our romantic imagination, like all modes of transportation, because we associate them with freedom and travel.  They also are a culturally significant relic that still exists, while being deemed an outdated technology.  Fountain pens or tobacco pipes are iconic of the past in the same respect.  They exist along more modern technologies like Bic pens and cigarettes, yet have retained their functionality.  

Nearly a year ago my family and I moved to the East End of Oneonta.  Our house overlooks the train tracks and when the leaves fall from the trees we can clearly see the trains go by.  This Sunday, the train stopped for a little while so I ran outside to take some photos.  My neighbors probably thought me a bit strange, but I'm still in love with hearing the whistles of the train and watching the different kinds of train cars travel by.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EtsyVeg Spooktacular Event! October 24th-31st

Halloween Spooktacular Event Oct 26-Nov 2nd etsyveg event 

The Etsyveg team is offering up some great giveaways in celebration of Halloween! Some great items have been donated by these artists: Palafoxstudio 23 ,  Aktie9 ,  JF Illustrations and Blackbird and Peacock paper things (me & Joe).

Check out these shops for awesome promotions: Silent Lotus , MagglePie , Au Clair de la Lune , Lalu Jewelry , Gardenias Garb , and more!

More details available at the EtsyVeg blog- this link will take you there- etsyveg blog

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Musings on Deep Space Explorations

What I've been up to?  Traversing the universe with a lonely Astronaut who might be losing his grip on reality.  

Recently I finished writing 2 poems to accompany Joe's Deep Space Exploration photo series.  This collaboration will eventually turn into a book and interactive art piece.  Right now I've been adding photographs from the series online for sale.  Really enjoying writing the descriptions for these pieces.  Maybe there's an astronaut lost in space inside my head.  

Dear John,
So many strange and wondrous things to see. Don't know if I'm becoming delusional, having flashbacks of going to the arcade, or if there really is an 8 Bit universe. Wish you could find me to write back. 
your brother,
the Astronaut

Dear Marie, 
I'm lost somewhere in the Galaga Universe. Be home as soon as possible. Miss you and Spot. 
your favorite Astronaut

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eco-friendly card making supplies!

Mix it up this holiday season and make your own cards!  I've already gotten a head start, but there is still plenty of time.  So far, we have a few colors to choose from: holiday red, natural white, and olive.  All envelopes and cards are made with recycled paper!  blackbird and peacock- click here!                                              


shop link

card making tutorial

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Joe Von Stengel featured in the O-town Scene

Check out Joseph Von Stengel as featured artist in this week's edition of Oneonta's arts and entertainment publication, the O-town Scene!  the article

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DIY Gifting: Part 2, Making Soap with Dorothy Wisnewski

There's something tiresome about shopping for presents.  Not because I don't like to give, but basically because a) I hate shopping and b) it's hard to find meaningful gifts at the mall.  Since I've been making cookies every year for family, I have been hooked on the idea that giving presents doesn't have to be a consumerist act.  When you receive something handmade it is precious, there is only one of its' kind.  The birthday card my son made for me is a piece of him- his imagination, talents, and time.  
Since I have this DIY mentality when it comes to holidays and gifts, I was curious to learn what other people craft as gifts.  Knowing that my friend, Dorothy Wisnewski, is a craftsy lady I asked her to add to this thread.  Dorothy is a woman of many talents- she knits, bakes bread, speaks Spanish fluently, and is a full-time mom.  Lately she's been making soap.  Really cool soap- especially the soda bottle molded soaps!  Here's what Dorothy had to say about her adventures in soap making:  

I have been using pre-made blocks of natural vegan soap that I've been getting from a gardening company, and experimenting with different ingredients (mostly what I already have in my kitchen) to add to small batches. I cut off a chunk, melt it in a bowl in the microwave, wait until it's cool enough, add stuff, then pour into molds. Not exactly in the artisan soapmaking tradition of doing it all precisely and from scratch, but I've been having fun with it-- and avoiding the preservatives in other soaps that had been starting to really bother my skin. 

Cocoa and cinnamon seemed like a winning combo, given that I've had them in so many coffee drinks. I like that lots of potential add-ins (e.g. cocoa powder, coffee, etc.) smell fantastic and also are nice exfoliants, or good for your skin in some other way. As for the shape, I was rinsing out bottles to recycle one day when I looked at the bottom of a soda bottle, noticed the wild rose shape, and realized I could cut off the bottom and use it as a mold. And my latest "Frankenstein's soap monster" was born. Actually, I had the thought that it would be fun to make gross soaps for Halloween, like anatomically correct brains, hearts, etc.... but don't have that kind of mold. I may have to learn to make them myself, too!

DIY Gifting: Part 1, Making Cards with Recycled Materials

If you've read any of the former posts, you know that making cards has become one of my favorite hobbies over the past few months.  I consider myself a writer rather than an artist, although I love art, so this is a wonderful hands-on outlet for me.
I'm creating this tutorial just to give you a few ideas.  Usually I incorporate stamping into the process, but wasn't as inspired today as I've been doing a ton of stamping lately.

First on the list- get something to drink.  I can't get started without chai in the morning.

Then, set up your work area.  Think about what utensils you will need.  For this project I used: scrap paper, card stock, scissors, bone folder, vintage cards, x-acto blades (make sure it is sharp), ruler and cutting mat. 


My husband was nice enough to cut some card stock for me (he's more meticulous than I am).  I buy recycled card stock and envelopes.  You can also buy pre-folded cards.   
Next, look over the materials you have and choose things that catch your eye.  Last week I found some vintage cards at an antique shop that was having a mega-sale.  Cruise garage sales or flea markets- they often have paper that is very inexpensive for crafting.  

I cut out designs, words or pictures that I think would work well.  If I have everything pre-cut and ready to go, then I find it easier to decide what elements I'm going to bring together next.
I have a fondness for retro Christmas decorations and cards, but you may not.  Choose something that suits your style.

Choose your card.  I like to decide what color card I'm going to use before I start putting the pieces together, so I have an idea of what colors work together.  Fold your card (make sure you crease it several times) with the bone folder or back side of a butter knife, if your cards aren't pre-folded.

Place all of the images/text you want to use on the paper (pre-glued) to figure out placement.  Then, get your glue stick!  Be sure to cover back of paper completely.

One of the cards I created today.  For this card, I tore two of the piecesof paper to give the card a more textured look.  The paper with text was cut with scissors from a vintage Christmas card.

My kitty loves kneading and laying on the scrap paper bag.  Every time I get it out he declares it as his own:)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Nostalgia and Cassettes

There's something beautiful about vinyl albums.  There is an audible warmth that CD's never had.  You could experience the cover art- it is a photograph in your hands.  And big.  Everything bigger is more precious, right?  The process is there too.  Open the stereo lid.  Carefully remove the record and lay it on the turntable.  Gently apply the needle.  Effort was involved.  Senses were engaged.
Cassettes are a different matter.  The era of boom boxes, the walkman, and mixed tapes.  Music is suddenly portable and easy to use.  Not that it ever took a rocket scientist to operate a record player, but it did require a certain amount of finesse.  Even the 8 track wasn't as easily transportable.  The walkman fits in your hand.  You can even jog and listen to music with one!
Every now and then I buy a cassette at a yard sale.  Where did all of my tapes go?  I found Blondie tucked into the buffet at Grandma's house this summer.  Anyway, my car has a cassette and CD player, so it they are still functional.  Although the sound drives me a little kooky after a while and I switch back to CD.
cassette tape #2 by Joseph Von Stengel
Can't tell you how much I regret giving away all of the mixed tapes that friends and ex-boyfriends gave me.  It recorded an era of time, a moment of who they were with me.  That's more important than sound quality.
cassette tape #3 by Joseph Von Stengel

Monday, October 4, 2010

Prints Now Available in Culturerecycling

Finally- Joseph Von Stengel's prints can easily be purchased online!   culturerecycling
Started adding prints over the weekend and will continue doing so over the next month, so keep checking in.  
Train no. 1