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recently i was invited to do a solstice ornament swap and it was so much fun to create the piece i made that i’ve started to create some more.  they are tiny little alicia-style assemblages that can be hung on a tree for the holidays or a wall year-round.  i started by making several boxes of varying sizes, collaging and painting them and taking it from there.  so far, i have six in varying degrees of completion from just started to totally complete.  i’ve been working on at least one a day (plus two paintings and some art journalling) for art every day month (#aedm).  loving it all!

i shouldn’t show the whole ornie i did for the swap just in case the unknowing recipient happens to see this, but i’ll cross my fingers, hope no one sees and show a quick peek here anyway:

assemblage, ornament, frozen charlotte

here is another frozen charlotte mini assemblage ornament creation.  the crystal is an antique, or at least i was told so when it was given to me as a gift last solstice (i love that — full circle!).  the photo kind of sucks, but this is nothing new.  out of 60 shots, this is (sadly) the best.  there is a ton more detail in person.

frozen charlotte assemblage ornament

available in my shop >>

while i was creating these and starting a few others, my little bug asked me if i would make him a skull ornament for solstice — he loves skulls.  every year our family swaps hand-made solstice gifts so of course i made him one!  i had a few of these carved bone skull beads that he’d been eying for a long time and thought it would be perfect for his little ornament.  can you tell his favorite colors are red and black?

a skull ornament for my son

i hope he likes it, but i do suspect he will.  all the little silver (and black) metal bits in these ornaments are vintage and antique nails.  fun, fun!  and this is actually square — i’m a crap photographer as most of you already know.

to deviate a bit (but not really)… the other day we received a heifer international catalog.  pretty much every year we buy something in the names of some of our family members during the holidays — those people who have everything and appreciate the gesture of giving to others less fortunate.  we’ve purchased a goat in the past and a few flocks of chicks.  this year has been sooooo very difficult for us financially and it broke my heart to realize that we couldn’t even afford a $20 flock of birds for a family worse off than us.  it’s extremely  embarrassing to admit, really, but sometimes it only takes one or two “little” things for a family to go from comfortable to hungry (in our case, work injuries and illness/hospitalization).  that is us this year during certain parts of the month, though i’m honestly not complaining.  my point is that imagining a family going through this every day just breaks my heart — hunger is evil and unnecessary in a world with such abundance.  our misfortune will be short-lived, i’m sure of it.  theirs?  who knows.  but a nice flock of 10-50 chicks could certainly help to get some protein-filled eggs into some kiddo’s bellies, and generate some income for the family through the sale of eggs and offspring.  every little bit helps.   soooo, i created this belly dancer ornament with more of the chain, coins and sari silk i’ve been using a lot of lately.  i am listing it in my shop for $20 and that $20 (minus the part paypal will keep but i’ll cover that) is going to purchase a flock of chicks for a family less fortunate than mine.  i may not have the money to buy the flock right this second, but i have the ability to make something to sell to get the money to buy the flock.  i will put this gift in the names of both myself and the buyer.  you can read more about this here.

mixed media, ornament, belly dancer, assemblage

available in my shop >>



oooh, what a magnificent week!  2012 is turning out to be quite a special year indeed!  my prediction: the best ever!  what do you think?

the week started out by me registering “little bug studio” as an official domestic non-profit corporation.  after many, many minutes on hold with the IRS (57 of them, to be precise), i discovered that filing my  501(c)(3) for official tax exempt status costs roughly $5-700.  that wasn’t part of “the good part”.  however, with my EIN (which i’m getting next week) i can accept tax-deductible donations AND there is a 27 month grace period for having to file the paperwork for 501(c)(3) status.  woots!  buying time is my kind of process indeed!

little bug studio

i recently purchased both and and will soon (depending upon your definition of the word “soon”) have websites up for each.  then back to creating more art with the kiddos for fun and fund raising to finish their brand spankin’ new studio.  even if we have to keep arting it up at our 1960s diner restaurant booth though, i’ll be happy because having 2-3 kids over every week is WAY better than zero.  my dear and wonderful friend katie cahill did a blog post about little bug studio which you should check out here: Call to All My Handy, Arty, and Bighearted Friends!  katie and i have been friends for almost 20 years (practically fresh from the womb — we are very, very young!)  😉 she gives a little peek into my life as the mama of an aspie boy, my plans for the kids’ art studio, and even posted the most precious shot of my little man’s bug-fingers from the last time we were out to breakfast.

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

from her post, wonderful things have happened… the best being my introduction to my new friend, mixed media artist susan lobb-porter. check out susan’s website, oo la la! living the arty life.  susan is a wildly creative lady with an enormous heart.  she works at a non-profit art center called neighborhood center for the arts (in grass valley, california) where she teaches art to adults with developmental disabilities.  every day, up to 50 artists between the ages of 21 and 75 attend their studio and create paintings, weavings, ceramics, drawings, woodwork and computer arts.  many of the artists have had their works exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including european galleries.  i’ve seen photos of the amazing work they are doing (you can too — check out the above-linked website) and you must check it out now too!  i am in love!

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

while perusing susan’s blog, i read the most magnificent post and implore you to read it (actually two posts).  please go read them both, then come back and finish mine as it will make sense.  PLEASE MAKE SURE TO WATCH THE VIDEO. i cried.  but in a good way.  soooo very touching!

artside out:

yellow bird:

lalalalala.  <— this depicts a jaunty tune, like “hold music” but actually good.

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

okay, so as you read, susan is trying to raise funds for an iPad for her students, such as the one she wrote of.  what an amazing gift!  i’m going to help because that is just the kind of girl i am.  some time in the next week or so, i’m going to list a new digital collage sheet and 100% of the sales of that sheet will go towards her cause.  i have lots of ideas for her but because today has been a day chock full of utter insanity, errands and unexpected fiascoes, i haven’t gotten to tell her yet (and this post was supposed to be up yesterday which proves that i’m miss slow motion this week).  (this is where my ADD kicks in and says “even though you’ve been typing this post for 36 hours, you should stop and email susan your ideas)…

i am super-crossing my fingers that they will be able to raise the funds for a new iPad so these amazing moments of transformation, expression and creativity will continue.  no, they WILL raise the funds.  this is 2012.  people are good.  art saves lives and those of us who are smart know it.

AND, please read her latest blog post (she so graciously wrote about my bug and me, and our wonderful art group):


another magnificent and magically kind and big-hearted event that has transpired is that TWO gorgeous and lovely friends have contacted me wishing to provide donations for the mum and finn etsy shop (100% of all proceeds go to little bug studio).  what a wonderful and kind gift!  jo archer has donated several of her wonderful wooden brooches.  these are $5 each and she has even offered free shipping!  go snatch them up — we are the proud owners of two ourselves and these rock!  (i have a doll head and finn has a robot)  all five of the bucks go to our art group charity.

joanne archer brooches for asperger's charity

you can also check out jo’s etsy shop here, with more wooden brooches and gorgeous art.


and now for the winner of my drawing for vintage foreign book pages…

(random number generator picked #22)

AJ’s Art Journaling:

congrats!  email me your mailing address and i shall have this out to you this week.

have a fantastic week, my friends, and check back soon for more books and giveaways.

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