Tuesday, December 20, 2011

last minute handmade gift idea...

If you are a crafty person you probably are used to making handmade treasures for your friends and family for the holidays. These are always special because you thought about the person and then spent your time and talents creating a unique, one of kind gift. At least that's what I tell myself! lol Anyways I've been super busy this year creating custom holiday things for my family, some cannot be revealed because then the gig would be up. But, I thought I'd share a quick idea that literally ANYONE can do in a jif.

Can you trace? Then you can create custom glassware with glass paint! Painted glasses can be kind of expensive and in my opinion somewhat cheesy. However, with the right pattern you can pull off a custom creation your "person" will love! There are different kinds of glass paint and I've used several. Personally I like the kind you bake in the oven because then they are done. The Perm enamel kind has a 21 day dry time. What I mean by that is it will be 21 days before you can wash and use (but they will be dry to the touch in an hour or so after painting) If you use this kind (which is widely available and cheaper) just let your person know how to care for them. You can put them in the dishwasher on the top rack or hand wash so everyday use is an option. I created some glasses for the sports fans in our family-they were a hit.

To make them I just went online, found the image I needed (in this case it was the Detroit D, Lions logo and the University of Arkansas Razorback logo) I copied them into a program to manipulate the image a bit, but you could print the target by right clicking and telling your printer which size (a print option in Google's Picasa). Then I lightly taped the image facing outward on the inside of the glass so I could trace the outline. If you are going to do some color, I suggest tracing first with an outline color-I used black, then waiting until it's dry to the touch and doing the fill-in colors. You can always freehand too like I did with the ceramic mugs. Follow the instructions for pre-prep on the glasses and then either air dry or bake as instructed. Then you're done! Easy right?

Vitrea 160 at Blick     Perm Enamel available at craft stores like Joann and Hobby Lobby

Well folks, AF is going on holiday so I'll see you all after the New Year! Have a lovely, crafty, handmade special holiday!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kindle Cases on Etsy...

So you think Santa might bring you something hot this year, like maybe...a Kindle Fire? Well you are going to need to a case for that thing right? Before you buy a $40 one from Staples, check out these Etsy shops with some real cuties to cozy your Kindle (or other devices). There is definitely something for everyone one on ETSY! Support Handmade!

PSST-Can you keep a secret? I made a couple of purchases from Berties Closet (#2) (I LOVE them!)

***2-Berties Closet-$23 (I have personal experience with this shop! Great Workmanship!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Inspirations..can't go wrong with scandinavian style

Many artists maintain blogs in addition to their shops and websites to help promote their artwork. Usually their blogs go hand in hand with their products. I'm still working on that-lol. Seriously, one of my faves on Etsy is a shop called Handz ReStyle maintained by artist Jan Skacelik from the Czech Republic. His art prints feature mid century modern home design themes with some Scandinavian flare! I've featured his work before, but today I'm talking about his blog- Design Attractor. If you love all things Scandinavian you'll like this too. I found these gorgeous pics there and had to share! Hope your holiday plans are coming together nicely! I'm headed out of town again-this time to lovely Traverse City to finish my Christmas shopping and have a little date night with my husband-yay!

Here's a look at some pretty scandinavian rooms...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jen's Art Additions...more window paintings

Wow, I've really been slacking on my blog this week! I, like most others, have been preparing for Christmas and running around like a crazy person it seems! haha. I did have a nice weekend in Detroit-those 2 things don't seem to go together-lol-but seriously I went to my nephews birthday party and did some shopping-hit the IKEA on my way out of town-it was good. My kids are beat and getting the sniffles, we just need to bum around this weekend with some popcorn and holiday flicks! Anyways-I promised last week I would post some windows I painted at my son's school so I figured I would at least do something on AF this week!

Congrats to all the winners of the contests last week-your goodies are all in the mail! Hope they brighten your holiday spirits! I'll probably do another print contest in January when the world slows down a bit, so look for that...xo

Have a look...

I started with the outlines, then filled the color...

A look from inside...

A look from outside...

All Saints School-window paintings-nativity scene

Some Christmas fun...

Friday, December 2, 2011

2012 Contest winners and some holiday windows...

Hello friends! I feel like I haven't blogged as much as usual this week. I have a bunch of home organization, cleaning, and decorating to do-and I've been enjoying that! I've been experimenting with some new wall colors around the house and my yellow runner for the stairs finally came in. I really am almost finished with that stairway project-jeez I only started it last spring-yay! I'll update you once it's finished. To catch up on what I was doing click here.

 It's hard to believe that Christmas is so close. I start thinking in terms of weekends-ok this weekend Detroit, next weekend Traverse City, after that Kalamazoo and then OH-it's Christmas! It's such a busy time of year! I didn't post any artwork as I normally do on Thursdays, but I have been busy with some things! I'm designing a new ABC for an Etsy customer-Washington Nationals baseball team. I like doing little custom things it gives me focus.

Also I've been painting the windows for Christmas over at my son's school-heading there again today. I've been bringing the baby with me all week. The first day he was great, I pacified him with snacks and trucks. But by day 2 the gig was up and window painting was not so fun for big baby! lol I was in the midst of painting a big Christmas tree when someone stopped to talk to me. They were admiring the paintings and I was like-blah, blah, blah-and then I looked down to see Roo doing some window painting of his own. He had both hands on the bottom of the wet Christmas tree and was "waving" back and forth and back and forth! ACK! lol! Um, needless to say, I had to erase that part. Today I'm happy to say they are going to aunt Roxy's! I do love taking the boys and letting them be a part of that. I like them to see me working on artistic things because I feel like I'm fostering a love of the arts in them. But enough is enough I gotta get some work done! :) I'm posting a couple of window paintings I did here at home the other day and then I'll take some pics at the school later today and post those.

Hope your holiday decorating is going as planned. If you've never painted windows you should try it! I use regular acrylic (cheaper craft kind). Then to get rid of it, I spray with Windex and scrape (invest in a real window scraper they are only $5 or so). Clean-up can be messy, but the kids do love it!

Congrats to all the winners from my 2012 calendar giveaway and Love print on FB contest. I decided to send everybody that entered a little something! Happy Holidays! Remember to email me your addresses so I can send those out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Etsy artist finds...wooden toys

These simple and cute wooden toys from Armadillo Dreams are so sweet! I think I like them just sitting on my bookshelf or kitchen window sill. They are made to order so if you think you like them for a Christmas gift-better order some up today. Speaking of Christmas I don't even have my tree up! Guess I'd better get crackin' too...

BTW-you still have today and tomorrow to enter my 2012 Calendar and Love print contest!

Happy Shopping...

Monday, November 28, 2011


I figured Cyber Monday was a great day for a giveaway and to tell you about my Etsy shop promo! From now until December 31st get a free 2012 calendar when you purchase anything in my Etsy shop. Calendars make great gifts right?! If you you'd like to win one then leave a comment giveaway ends Thursday! PLUS-go to my facebook page and like Area Fare for a chance to win my flowered "LOVE" print!

Hope your weekend was relaxing and fun! My 2 little guys are so worn out from all the playing! Chasing the big boys around is a lot of work. All of their older cousins are football fanatics so they both were trying to get in on the that action! They pretty much just ran around and fell down in between the other kids. I was sure one of them was going to get taken out but everyone was very mindful of the them, giving Ezzie the occasional toss and "good job buddy!" It was cute and they had the best time ever! :)

Well, I'm off to get some cyber Monday shopping done-I don't mess with Black Friday. How about you? Did you brave the BF hoard? Find anything good-really good?

You have until Thursday Dec 1st to enter the 2012 Calendar Contest and the FB Like "LOVE" print contest! Good Luck!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jen's Art print

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick one today-I'm supposed to be putting together my pirogi casserole-it's gonna be so yummy! We are having a big T-day this year at a hall. I know it sounds so-uncomfortable right? But, actually it was so fun last year! The "hall" is situated on Lake Huron and has a big stone hearth. We had karaoke for the kids and a crafting area, ping pong table and "hang out" spot for the older, cooler kids-lol and everyone brings a dish to pass! Then all the younger women pitch in to clean up while the men watch football and older folks play cards! We invite everyone-related or not-I think we are at about 60+ people this year! I can't wait-the boys have a ball playing and then pass out early just in time for momma to have a glass of wine and relax!

Anyways-I made this print for myself because I just LOVE (love) art prints. I showed it around a bit and  found that other people really liked it too, so I put it in my Etsy shop today (click here).

Hope your holiday is lovely!

Have a look...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Etsy Artist Finds....2012 Calendars

I love calendars. I think I get this from my mom who is a real calendar nut as well! There is just something about them, it's probably the artwork for me. Perhaps it's the anticipation of a new year or a new month. You flip the page and it's a fresh start! I don't know-is that silly? I'm working on a little 2012 calendar too, but I'm planning to give them away as extras to people who purchase things from my Etsy shop this holiday season. I wanted to have it finished already but I've been swamped with other stuff and I've been completing some home projects that needed attention and fresh coats of paint! Anyways my "promotion" will start on Monday so look for that.

Last year we bought my mother-in-law a calendar from Snapfish that had all the birthdays in the appropriate days and pics of all the grandkids and adults-she loved it. Calendars are just so useful-I like useful gifts don't you? They are also little enjoyable works of art that make you smile! Here are some Etsy calendars that make me smile....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

holiday shopping is fun...

One of the places we visited on our short trip to Gaylord was a shop called The Old Spud Warehouse. It's a very unique place filled with lots of things. It's one of those stores that has so much stuff that you have to walk around twice and you'll see something else you hadn't spotted the first time. While not everything is my taste exactly,( I tend toward the modern), I had a blast finding tons of unique things. They have great jewelry pieces for reasonable prices, purses, sculptural elements, furniture, artwork, clothing you name it. Everything is presented in little artful vignettes with a backdrop of colorful walls and time worn floors.  
<> The Old Spud Warehouse lives in a circa 1900 former farmers co-op building used by local potato growers as a railroad shipping point to get their harvests to market.<>
The bones of the building have been maintained, with the slatted walls that promoted circulation to prevent rotting still intact. The metal walled engine repair room and the 12 foot high basement (because potatoes crush under their own weight at 11 feet) are now used for shopping. Check it out next time your passing through!

I loved this piece-what you can't see is that it was coated in a glossy resin-very cool

Yumminess from Jen's Kitchen...
I have a sandwich mantra,"It's all about the bread." If you start off with some really good bread-you'll be that much more excited about your sandwich and inadvertently you'll become a gourmand. This in turn will propel you to fill your sandwich with yummy, fresh, more healthful things-or at least balance some of the good with the (bad)-but-it-tastes-so-good stuff!
I made this simple sandwich last week and it was so yummy! Remember to grab some "good" bread for your Turk leftovers when you're out shopping! :)

whole grain garlic "good" bread
sliced ham/turkey
1 slice of sharp cheddar
1 slice of hot capicola
mixed greens
thin sliced honey crisp apple
lt mayo mixed with horseradish to taste
olive oil drizzle

drizzle, then grill or toast the bread with the cheese (open faced)
  I used the toaster oven. Just until warm and slightly crisp-remove and top with your other "stuff"  YUM!

Monday, November 21, 2011

shopping at Fab....

Tis the season and I've been doing my fair share of shopping, how are you coming along? We spent all day on Friday in a little city not for from here called Gaylord. They have a cute downtown area we browsed and of course a couple of big box retailers. Mostly though it was a girls getaway of sorts. Shopping, lunch, coffee, conversation-how can you go wrong right? I still have lots to do and  I'm always game for a good sale. That's why I like's pop-up-flash sales. They have cool modern things and right now, some great gift ideas.

Here's a few things going on today...

(1) ipad andiphone accessories from: Valentine Goods  (2) handmade paintings from MarzJr  (3) pop culture art as stationary from Pinkghost  (4) vintage sari scarves from Middleblue

Be sure and check out Fab's 100 Best Design Gifts Under $100!

100 best gifts under $100 from

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jen's Art Additions...Boston Red Sox ABC

This week was slow in the art department but I managed to create a couple of things. Mostly though I wrote in my art journal. Yes, I keep an art journal and I've found it too be not only handy, but necessary. I write all kinds of things in it. I keep track of colors, things that I see that inspire me, fonts on projects-sometimes images pop up in my brain while I'm doing dishes or laundry and I'll run and get it and just do a quick sketch. In the past I would have scraps of paper all over the place and it would get to be a mess-so I make sure to have a dedicated journal for such things now, so I know where to find something if I need to.

This week I had someone convo me in my Etsy shop to say that they loved my NY Yankees ABC print, except that it was the Yankees-lol-she was from Boston! So I did a little redesign and you can pick that up in my shop here. Gotta get moving. Ezzie has a turkey dinner luncheon at school today and the whole family is going-haha what can I say we're close knit! Daddy won't be home for Thanksgiving so I guess this is the next best thing!

Have a great weekend-I am Christmas shopping out of town tomorrow-yay!

Have a look at the Boston Red Socks ABC...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Etsy Artist Finds...things I'd like in my kitchen!

This time of year people start asking the question,"What do you want for Christmas?" and of course my token response is usually something like "oh, I don't know, don't care, doesn't matter, nothing really, whatever you find I'll love...." or something like that right? Well, this year is going to be different. I'm going to start directing people to my blog- "um-yeah-go ahead and check out Wed Nov/16/Etsy or this day, this day, and this day...." and so on. haha. I figured what the heck-they are going to get you something regardless-so speak up and not only will you get something you wanted but it'll take the stress out of it for the person who's shopping for you! Just a thought!

Anyway-if any family members are reading this today-ANY of these cute kitchen linens are just great for me! I'm loving the simple designs, mostly white, some gray, linen looking, pops of color from these Etsians!

Don't forget about Etsy when you are doing you Christmas shopping-you don't even have to leave the house!

Happy shopping...

1. Shop Amy Sullivan
2. Sweet Nature Designs
3. Erin Dollar
4. Madder Root

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Concrete countertops...hmmm

If you are a budget conscious person considering a kitchen remodel-don't overlook concrete as an option. Well, don't overlook it if you have a handy husband, father, father-in-law, friend that will work for free-etc etc. My cousin has them in her kitchen and they are actually very pretty and sophisticated looking. It's alot of work and a huge mess, but it can save you thousands of dollars. I'm looking at white countertops-I love the Caesarstone Quartz in blizzard white or Silestone White Zeus-but it's getting pretty expensive when I start adding everything up-and I really want nice stainless appliances. One of the largest surface areas in our kitchen will be the bar/counter area. I'm thinking of doing that in concrete. I think it will add a bit of that industrial look I like without going over the top and definitely save some $$$.

here's a couple of links to a crash course in "How to" DIY concrete countertops...

DIY network concrete countertops
Imperfectly Polished blog...

Here are a few pics of "real life" concrete countertops I found on flickr...

several of these countertops came from..decorative accents of virginia..they have a good "real world" gallery of homes they've worked in check it out...

Here's a peek at what I've got going on absolutely love it!

little Roo (aka Big Baby) coloring on the chalkboard in our kitchen-beware parents-- this one draws on all the walls in our house I think he thinks it's all one big chalkboard-something to consider-hahaha