Wonders on the Way…

 

Confession:  Sometimes I drive to work.

It’s only a mile, so when I walk, that’s an easy two miles of exercise to add to the day.  But – when it’s cold, or rainy, or cold AND rainy, I can’t seem to walk past the car outside my door.

My creativity, though, is not fed by wending through traffic but by walking – taking in the surroundings which change each day with the tides, and noting what things remain more or less the same. On walks my wandering mind might be graced with a “haiku moment” or two.  All my senses are engaged.

When I walk to my studio, in the heart of downtown Beaufort, there’s always a wonder along the way.  This year I’ll share some of those here.  Maybe a picture will strike your fancy, offer a spark of inspiration, or simply give you something to ponder.

Like this:

Bay Street Treasures photo ©Robyn Hood Blackl

BAY STREET TREASURES photo ©Robyn Hood Black

Um, how could I not notice the clever use of an old typewriter?! It first caught my eye in the warmer months, and now it’s graced with bright pansies for winter.  This delightful gem welcomes visitors to Bay Street Treasures, a wonderful antique store at the corner of Bay and Charles Streets, across from the marina. It’s owned by Ginny & Allison DeBose and Barbara Marsh .  Ginny and Allison kindly granted me permission to share this bewitching garden art.

I’ve bought a gift or two at Bay Street Treasures, and my hubby spotted just the thing for when I set up on “First Friday” evenings – some vintage stacking metal shelves. display shelves outside narrow

 

Red.

Perfect.


From vintage jewelry to furniture to clever metal oddities in the garden, I’m always tempted in that shop!

 

 

Across the street is another little place you must duck in if you are vintage-inclined – Reflections Old & New.  Friendly proprietors will greet you there as well – Lynda and Doug Bransford  (and their parrot!).  You’ll find just the thing to class up your home or your closet with some elegant history.  I couldn’t resist these antique metal buttons:

BUTTONS FROM REFLECTIONS OLD & NEW photo ©Robyn Hood Black

BUTTONS FROM REFLECTIONS OLD & NEW photo ©Robyn Hood Black

Now, what will I use these for?  Oh, the creative wheels are turning.

Especially when I walk.

artsyletters is featured on The Nerdy Chicks Rule blog today!

 

Happy Friday!

nerdy chicks rule banner

Huge thanks to my friend and generous, talented children’s author Kami Kinard for featuring artsyletters on the Nerdy Chicks Rule blog today!  Click on over to find a bit of backstory on these items I love creating.

Warning:  If you are a lover of kidlit, you might not emerge from that amazing blog for a while… Kami and Sudipta know how to throw a blog party!

 

All Packed…. Ready-to-go Gift Sets for Readers, Writers, Teachers, & Creative Types!

 

Holiday Shopping Season is in Full Swing!

Wish you had some elves to help?

While I don’t have elves to hire out, I do have five ready-to-go gift ideas if you have any readers, writers, teachers, or crafty folks on your list.  (Click any image to learn more about each product.)

Here are two gift packs ($15 each) that made their way onto some sleighs last year:

First, for the Book Nerds in your life:

BOOK NERD Gift Pack by artsyletters®

BOOK NERD Gift Pack by artsyletters®

And the poets:

POETS Gift Pack by artsyletters®

POETS Gift Pack by artsyletters®

And here are three new gift packs!

First, for Teachers:

TEACHERS RULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

This “TEACHERS RULE” pack includes my apple and books notecards, a bookmark, large magnet, and – just for fun – a 6-inch ruler (made in the USA)!  These items come in a fun black gift bag with chalkboard-white designs.  I’m happy to personalize the bag with white chalkboard paint if desired. This gift set is $17.50

Next, for the Wordsmiths in your world:

WRITERS WRULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

WRITERS WRULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

This “WRITERS WRULE” pack includes my typewriter notecards, a bookmark, large magnet, and – again, just for fun – a 6-inch ruler. This gift set is $16.50.

Finally, for the artists, crafters, and creators in your sphere who have lots of ideas and inspirations to keep track of:

MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK by artsyletters®

MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK by artsyletters®

This (affordable!) “MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK” features a large magnet which reads, in chalk-inspired lettering, “A maker before there was a movement” – as well as a circular chalkboard-inspired “Make – Made do” magnet and a flat laminate “I make, therefore I am” magnet. These are tucked into recycled kraft shreds and presented in a shimmery mini organza gift bag. (Just $10.75)        Shop Small button

Thanks for taking a look, and may all your holiday shopping be wrapped up without a lot of stress!  And may you find or make the perfect gifts for your special someones.

BLACK FRIDAY/SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY/CYBER MONDAY! Artsyletters Coupon…

 

Good through Monday, December 1!

Good through Monday, December 1!

Happy Holidays!!!

Hope your Thanksgiving brought to mind many things to be grateful for. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to create through artsyletters, and to have the support of customers, family, and friends.

If you’d like to do any holiday shopping in my Etsy shop, please click on the coupon image above and be sure to enter “Dickens” in the checkout lane!                         (Coupon is for 10 percent off and is good the entire weekend, through Monday, Dec. 1.)

I’ll still be adding new items in coming days, including tiny Writer Mouse/found poem ornaments.

Click on the image below to see my writer blog post about these fun little projects-in-progress!

©Robyn Hood Black

©Robyn Hood Black

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Happy Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday!

[ Wishing everyone a day of rest on Sunday… ;0) ]

Take a Letter…

 

mini framed rustic letters gift wrap with c

Brrr…!  There’s a nip in the November air these days.  Must mean the holidays are just around the corner.  Have you made your gift list yet?

Need a fun, affordable, and personal idea for your favorite guy or gal, friend or teacher?  I’m adding several “initial” options in my Etsy shop.  Here’s a sampling:

screen shot crop mini framed rustic letters

You get the idea! These are small (1 1/2-inch) metal letters, made by an artisan out West, presented on vintage 1930 miniature dictionary pages (with corresponding letter). An antique gold resin Kate Aspen tabletop frame surrounds the mini mixed media collage. The frame measures 4 1/2 inches by 3 3/4 inches.

Theyr’e rustic and classy at the same time!  And affordable.  At $12.75 each, they will come gift-wrapped in simple fleur-de-lis tissue and a sheer black ribbon.  (If I’ve sold out of a letter you need, feel free to convo me through Etsy.  Stash-willing, I’m happy to make one up for you.)

I’m also making a larger version of the metal letter/dictionary page combo, like these:

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

 

©Robyn Hood Black. All rights reserved.

They are double-matted to 5 inches by 7 inches, featuring a 3-inch rustic metal letter on a vintage dictionary page. I add a slight wash/gloss to the page, and leave an illustration unwashed for interest. Will be listing these soon! Or convo me if you have a special request.

These are $17.50 and ready to frame.  (Happy to gift-wrap, too.)

 

What about stocking stuffers or thoughtful tokens?

I’ve got upcycled Scrabble tile magnets with handpainted backgrounds in every letter.  (Will finish getting these listed ASAP!  They are $4.95 each.)  A strong ceramic disc magnet will keep that list of checked-out library books secured to the fridge! scrabble magnet E wrap cAgain, give me a holler with any special letter requests if you don’t find what you need.

 

scrabble A magnet on metal 2014 c

 

 

Check soon in my “Hold it! – Magnets” section in my Etsy shop.

For the metal letter/dictionary page items, plus some other framed or matted letters, click on my Take A Letter section in my shop.

Thanks for strolling through the alphabet with me.  Happy almost-Holidays!

First Friday Fun in Downtown Beaufort

 

artsyletters sandwich board sign first friday 11 2014

I might have still been rushing around at 5:00 trying to package cards and bookmarks, but I’m so glad I opened my studio door (for the first time!) for Beaufort’s First Friday last night.  Thanks to everyone who came by to visit, have some cider or cookies, and do a little art shopping.  Special thanks to my hubby Jeff and to friend Barb Ettl, who did all the heavy lifting (literally) as I slowly get back into the swing of work and fun events like this.

Somehow I only managed to get a few pictures, but here’s a peek into the evening:

Hubby Jeff welcomes folks with a small display down at street level on Bay Street.

Hubby Jeff welcomes folks with a small display down at street level on Bay Street.

 

Lots of friends dropped by!  Here I am with Cyndi Allison (aka neuromuscular massage therapist/miracle worker.....)

Lots of friends dropped by! Here I am with Cyndi Allison (aka neuromuscular massage therapist/miracle worker…..)

And friends brought friends! Cyndi came with her beautiful friend, Takiya.

I enjoyed sharing my space with familiar and new faces.  Everyone loved the Modern Jewelers building, which has such historical character.

display shelves outside

framed letters etc.See you in December, when First Friday is on steroids, for Beaufort’s NIGHT ON THE TOWN on Dec. 5!

AD-vantages…

Lowcountry Weekly cover crop sm

 

Just a fun little share today…

 

My shop is one of the featured ones this week in Fordham Market’s LOWCOUNTRY WEEKLY ad.

 

fordham market ad oct 2014 cropInside back cover, bottom corner!  Here’s a better pic of the featured cards – that Raven & Cauldron design does work for this time of year.

copyright cauldron 2

 

These are available in my Etsy shop here.

 

I’m on the mend enough to be spending lots of time in the studio – :0) –  so I’ll share new items soon!

I’ll be adding fun artsy creations from now through the holidays, so thanks for checking in.  I’m also looking forward to opening my studio doors for FIRST FRIDAY in November and December in  downtown Beaufort.

 

Best-Laid Plans… and Messy Studio Tables!

 

messy studio table - artsyletters

I’ll explain this messy table in just a minute.  But first, a quick catch-up:

My plans last month were:  Travel to help oldest (daughter) get set up her brand new third-grade classroom, return home, travel with hubby to get youngest (son) settled in to his second year of college, return home, and work like a crazy person in my downtown studio, creating at a record pace to fill my Etsy shop and my local display at Fordham Market for the busy fall season.

Reality was:  The very night of the college move-in, what I thought was an annoying pulled muscle in the back of my shoulder (that I’d ignored for weeks) suddenly morphed into something excruciating.  Pain not only engulfed my shoulder, but my entire arm and hand as well. So began my adventure with entrapped nerves – the ones that exit  the vertebrae in the neck and pass through the Scalene muscles (the three muscles in the side of the neck).

I am beyond thankful to have found a neuromuscular massage therapist with a masters in physical therapy.  (Think part relief/part torture.)  She is slowly putting me to rights, but it’s a long healing process.  Still don’t have complete feeling in my last two fingers or full strength in my right hand; still packing myself in ice several times a day to chill in the recliner we ended up buying.  (This condition does not lend itself to much actual sleep!) Note to my artist and writer friends:  years of hunching over drawing tables and keyboards contributes to the possibility of this!  So, take frequent breaks.  Watch that posture.  Breathe.

Anyway, my therapist recently “allowed” me to work an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon, if I rest with ice in between.

She even made my buy two timers – one for the studio, one for the computer. two timers

 

 

 

I’ve been SO happy to be able to make some art, and make a mess, even if it’s for short periods!  Just so happens I was trying out a technique I’d recently seen in a video by the talented and generous Seth Apter.  He had demonstrated a way to use textured wallpaper samples and gesso when working on mixed media surfaces.  This necessitated, of course, that I find a really cool book of Italian wallpaper samples on eBay and purchase it.  Yes, I did.

I’d been trying out this technique the last couple of days in my brief studio visits.  Then late today I stumbled on a Twitter link to a fun round-up Seth is doing on his blog, The Altered Page.  He’s invited artists to submit links to their own blog posts featuring their messy studio tables!  Kind of a come-as-you-are-party, rather than the polished and perfect studio pictures we all drool over in magazines.

I figured since my current project – making backgrounds for some small mixed media pieces (pix of those soon – promise!  My idea is actually turning out…), I had to knock at the blog party door even if I’m a little late today.  So there’s my messy studio table up there, and here are a couple more pictures:

working on mixed media substrates, with the help of some Italian wallpaper...!

working on mixed media substrates, with the help of some Italian wallpaper…!

Love me some gesso....

Love me some gesso….

I have plans for these....

I have plans for these….

and I can’t wait to spend LOTS of time in here, making more messes!

messy table studio vertical 2

If you love sneak peeks into working studios, be sure to check out all the great links artists have submitted to The Altered Page.  That will keep me busy in my recliner for quite a while.  And if you’d like to see more of my own studio, I posted a little “tour” a few weeks ago, here.  Thanks for coming by!

Sweet Summertime… Beach Themed Note cards!

beach notecards with c

Just like a sunset, summer is beginning to slip on the horizon.  Are those school bells I hear in the distance?

No, waves.  And gulls.  At least for a few more days – or if you’re lucky, a few more weeks.

If you’d like to send along a bit of the beach with your summertime correspondence, I have a couple of new designs for you!  These are new note cards, but the original pen and ink drawings were actually penned long ago.  I hope they stand the test of time – and sand!

The images are black and white with a background color of something akin to light olive.  These are printed on premium cardstock from environmentally sustainable forests with gloss coating on the outside.

Thanks for taking a look!

Click here to see these in my Etsy shop.

Click here to see these in my Etsy shop.

Click here to see these in my Etsy shop.

Click here to see these in my Etsy shop.

Wishing you and yours a relaxing rest of the summer….