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

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time to start thinking about the kitchen...

When we moved into our house just about 2 years ago, many things were different. One of the first things we tackled was the landscaping in front. The front of the house was hidden by an unruly mob of bushes and tangly, overgrown flower beds. The house is older (1940's) cape cod style with lots of charm and possibilities. Just before we moved in we peeled off ridiculous amounts of wallpaper from nearly every room and then painted. We have lots of work to do and lots of ideas. It's hard when you like everything like I do-hahah! One of the key points in a class I took recently (shout out to BYW!) was about finding your niche. Though they were talking about it in a blogging sense, I think one could apply this philosophy to every aspect of life!

And so begins my search for what to do with the kitchen. I don't know what was going on in here before we moved in. I can't believe that any woman lived and/or cooked here! That's kind of mean right? I'm sorry-I'm an advocate for the ladies of the world-her man should've been in there doing SOMETHING! Seriously it was ghetto. Complete with old 1940's wallpaper (and not in a cool vintage way), 3 different kinds of cabinetry, dusty nasty fan with yellowy light, NO dishwasher, vinyl floor that was coming up, countertops you wouldn't believe and yes ladies- a camouflage "duck" phone attached to the wall. The guy was a real huntsman, I can't believe he didn't take that phone with him-he probably searched far and wide for that thing like I do for Bertoia chairs! lol.

Anyways-Some of those things are still the same I'm afraid to say. I've done what I could with paint and some slight demo and lots of cleaning. But now it's my turn. We are going to renovate our kitchen this winter and I'm on a real hunt for what I like. I've narrowed it down to a white on white-how can you go wrong-kitchen. I'm hung up on a couple things, like flooring. What are your thoughts about white kitchens and flooring. I've added my Houzz ideabook in the sidebar of some kitchens I love right now...

Check it out!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Jen's Art Additions...some sketches

Usually I post my artwork on Thursdays but yesterday was a little busy, so I figured Friday would be just fine. Actually I was working on a piece of Michigan art that was shaping up well and my program froze and I lost some unsaved changes. Unfortunately, I haven't been back to it yet. I know, I know-save button. Today is busy too. We are leaving to go out town in a few. Little guy #1 Ez has a doctors appointment with the University of Michigan today. :(  It might be surgery for him- we'll find out today. (Don't worry) it's a totally non-life threatening thing! So-Today I'm posting some sketches I did a while back of some cute little animals. I've been thinking about doing a collection of some sort but haven't really worked out what exactly that will look like. So, here's some pencil and ink sketches, a digital color preliminary version, and some art from Ezzie (age 5).

have a look...

ezzie art wih some digital editing

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Etsy artist finds....Snug studio

I really like this little shop called Snug. They have a cool, modern, simple aesthetic that really appeals to me. The little cutting boards are so fun-I like the cloud. You may recognize the little birdie mobile from my Monday Room Envy post. This shop is in Hannover, Germany-sound familiar? When I was searching for a bio on Snug I came across a post from Holly Becker (decor8) from last year about these artists. She lives there as well and says she has visited their workspace often. Click here for a link to that post. Snug was founded in 2010 by Kerstin Reilemann, an interior designer and Berit Luedecke, an architect. They say that "the greatest source of inspiration are their own childhood-memories of camping trips and things like their grandmother serving coffee. They mix natural materials such as wood and ceramic with a healthy dose of modern design and viola-snug-ly goodness!

Anyway, check out this cool Etsy shop, their Big Cartel store, website, and blog to see more designs!

Happy shopping....

Snug Studio-Etsy shop

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Family time with dad and the elk...

The boys love when Dad comes home. He works 3 weeks and then comes home for 3 weeks. Its much better than how it used to be when he would drive away not knowing when he would have time off again. Now it's a constant and Ezzie (our 5 year old) always makes plans for his "daddy time". He stores things up for us to do-it's cute. Sometimes daddy has his own plans though-hahaha and this time the boys were all about it. It involved finding a standing deer blind and some camouflage stuff. I grew up in the city so hunting isn't really my thing, but up north here it's a holiday. No really-the schools are actually closed on opening day of deer season! Isn't that funny? All the women go shopping out of town while the men head to camp. So, anyway I was on board for a little hunter/shopping adventure with my boys. They can drop me off at Hobby Lobby and I'll fritter away some time! We did have fun! Roo (almost 2) didn't like HL as much as I'd hoped. He started yelling for his "ganky" when we reached the paper section. Oh well. Emm and Ez picked us up and we spent about an hour at a Jay's sporting goods store. It had real animal heads all over the place which delighted the kids-but I was more concerned about the Keen's and North Face stuff. Next we headed over to the Elk Preserve to watch some animals and finished our family day at fun little Mexican restaurant. Then back to Alpena. These really are the best days of our lives.

here's a peek...

I want my Ganky!

cute fuzzy keen boots...

I ended up buying these Keen boots-much more lifestyle appropriate-thinking I can look kinda cute while shoveling 4 ft of snow.