Friday, September 30, 2011

Moving on....AGAIN...

I've mentioned before, last year we (Phillip and I and three partners) purchased the original Medford Coca-Cola building. It has had many owners since the 50's, and it was literally a wreck! BUT, it had potential...

View to the Right

View to the Left

We have darned near re-habbed every inch of this place, except for maybe the original workshop floors.
 View to the Right
View to the Left


we are expanding into a new location, which means a new office..and let's not forget, my new adventure, the RUSTY MONKEY Vintage Marketplace (studio & workshops).

When we moved into the Coca-Cola building, I had pondered theming my office in Nightmare Before Christmas decor. But, I chose to go a bit vintage instead. My Grandmother's hutch, the Three
You-Nique Boys window, etc...

This go round, I'm going back to my original thoughts and jumping in with both feet. Nightmare Before Christmas it is! Plans are in the works. We have a freelance scenic painter in-house right now that is an A-list Disney and studio artist. OH YEAH!!! Now is the time to get it right!!!

So, off to the new office with paint and brushes and transparencies in hand....My new little, creepy, Jack filled world awaits....


You bet, I'll be posting in-progress photos you won't want to miss...he's that good!!!



Thursday, September 29, 2011

Black or White?

Is it possible to have a BEFORE and AFTER...AFTER?

Well, in this case, that is the case....

You see, I had the bright idea of using this old, METRIC, canvas tape measure as an accent on a white chair rail running around the main room of the Rusty Monkey Vintage Marketplace.


Well, yeah, but something was missing. It just layed there like a wet noodle with NO sauce.

It needed some seasoning.

First, I thought maybe a little black pin striping on the top edge of the wall??? Or maybe underneath???

Then, after a pow-wow with my SUPER creative husband...staring at it...and discussing it, he suggested painting the molding black.

Uuuuggh! Seriously? It's already installed!!!!

Nail bradded into the wall. Tape measure double-stick taped and bradded into the molding...


Option ONE: Taping off FOUR horizontal lines. Top & Bottom of the molding. Top & Bottom of the tape!!!

THE BETTER Option TWO: Remove the canvas tape, fortunately, the brads came out easily. YAY!!!

And then armed with my trusty beveled Purdy brush and can of my favorite Mann Brothers black acrylic paint, let the games begin.

Once dry, I used another roll of double-stick tape and the previous brad holes.

WOW! What a difference a color can make!

That's why I love that man of mine...well, there is a WHOLE long list that I add to daily, but that is just ...well, a story for another day....

Here's a shot of all the trim painted out black - pre-canvas tape install.

This is the FIRST time I've had black trim, but I really like it...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Wishes do come true!

To say I am excited to be part of the 2011-2012 Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin Creative Team would be an understatement. This year's team will be led by no other than the talented, Kristen Robinson... She truly inspires the jewelry and mixed media art world with some of the finest creations on the planet. Our team is gonna ROCK IT with her at the helm!!!

Since first being published in Somerset Home Vol. 5 last year, things have really opened up for me. I have made some fun new friends in the creative world and hope to continue down that path with the other Creative Team members. I think this next year of design ideas will be spectacular!!!

I have been asked if I will be creating jewelry samples for ICE Resin. Those who know me well, know that even though I LOVE the look and feel of beautiful jewelry, most of what I own serves as a unique collection inside my jewelry box or is appreciated as eye-candy in the various corners of my day-job office and studio.

As I am always working with a variety of materials and out treasure hunting in not-so-nice places, I tend to keep my personal bling to a diamond stud birthday earrings, my 10th anniversary ring, and my 20th anniversary wedding ring, cause after 26 years, it's worn-the-heck-out!!

My contributions on the Creative Team will be geared more toward using ICE Resin in mixed media assemblages and elements in new and exciting ways.

My head is swimming with ideas and I hope they will be well received in the creative circles I'm looking forward to getting to know and share ideas with.

Here's to a new adventure with a great group of creative minds!!

Lesley Fisher & Michael Putnam

Cat Kerr

Joanna Pierotti

Andrea Ring

Tina Schiefer

Take a peek at their blogs and watch for many new and amazing creations from this group of talented individuals. I promise great and amazing things are on the horizon!

Cheers and welcome to the world of ICE Resin.....


Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh, to be able to just sit and color.....

Color crayons.


the smell?

the feel?

the freedom?

the imagination?

the stay inside the lines?

the color outside the lines?

the shavings melted between waxxed paper with the old heavy iron?

the leftover pieces added to paraffin wax to make colored candles at Christmas?

the kid in class that ate them?

the store shelves full of them in the fall?

the crayon box in the desk?

the big fat ones?

the brand new box of 64?

the little box of 8?

the worn out nubs?

the brand new coned-shaped tips?

the built-in-the-box sharpener?

the peeling of the label to get more crayon?

the cornflower blue?

the Ziploc bags for all the leftover stubby pieces?

the melted crayon between the seats in the car?

the scribbling on the walls?

the scribbling under the kitchen table?

the rogue crayon that went through the dryer?

Oh, the simple memories of the crayon.

I love my crayons.

EVEN this little 4-pack from Milton Bradley....!

What memories do you have?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life's Little Surprises....

The day before yesterday I stayed home from work, in bed all-day, with a terrible head cold. I was exhausted and in between naps kept wondering who the heck got me sick!! Couldn't be just some random cold germ floating around out there, right? It had to be someone...

Used to be, with three little boys going off to school and coming home with a plethora of plague-like hitch hikers, I was used to fighting off some sort of bug...but, now? What gives?

Was it the guy in Wally World in front of me telling the checker how he was just getting over a bug?

Or was it the checker at the paint store that was hacking into a Kleenex saying how he was just getting over a bout with a bug?

Or was it one of my employees that was feeling a bit under-the-weather but still coming to work?

Whomever it was or wasn't, I was laid up at home on a beautiful, end-of-summer day while my sweet Phillip was at work. When he came home he told me I got a box of magazines from Stampington.

Well, since our shop is about 30 or so miles from home, I would have to wait to see what was in the box.

The next morning, yesterday, I saw the box sitting on the conference room table. "Oh, it's my wholesale order of Life" and then went about my day --- see yesterday's post....

Fast-forward to about 3 p.m.

Ginger and I took a break from over at the Rusty Monkey so we could eat lunch and I could get an E.B. (see day job) freight shipment out. While I was in my office completing a BOL (bill of lading) for the shipment, Ginger was sitting out at the conference table and apparently found the magazines.

She yells to me, "Hey! You didn't tell me you were in Life!"

"Um," I reply, "me neither. What's in there?"

Truly, I had NO idea what could possibly be in there. I am waiting to receive the Premier issue of Mingle - our 25th Anniversary Party is being featured - and I have NOT seen a sneak preview yet!!! Only the little teaser House Ads...and to make my antsy self even more antsier (that's a word, right?)
I've received some emails about how great the article looks....It's driving me crazy, but I SO love surprises!!!

So, back to Ginger...

She, in a most excited voice, yells..."and it's the first article! You're getting closer to the COVER!"

"What? What is?", says me.

"...and Kristen!", says she.

So, I go out there...

"OHHHH! It's the article and photoshoot Kristen and I did at Anahata's place, Papaya Living, over in Ashland!", I finally say.

So, friends, just goes to show, even when you do something and completely put it on the back burner, it can totally be a surprise!!!

***Thanks to Kristen Robinson for trusting me to do the photoshoot for your article.

***Thanks to Anahata for your know what I mean!!!

***Thanks to Stampington for another great publication.

***Thanks to Ginger for surprising me...I needed that!

***Thanks to my sweet Phillip for telling me about my magazines coming in...and SO much more!

***Thanks to whomever gave me my head cold....NOT!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rusty Monkey...a slooooowwwww reveal.....

As I've mentioned before, a couple friends and I are beginning a new adventure called
Rusty Monkey Vintage Marketplace and Workshop.

The primary location used to be a muffler and automotive repair shop. Fortunately, it doesn't have ANY smells of its previous tenants...oily or petroleum stink. If you've ever been in an unkempt automotive shop, you know exactly the smell I'm talking about.

So, the re-do has been fairly easy to accomplish. Ginger and I have spent her last two days off (not connected days) busy at work.

First, we decided to remove an interior window that had been drywalled up to open up the rooms. It worked!

I poked a few nail holes from the backside wall to mark the space on the front (the front was well textured and had no signs of a patch - the back side wasn't so nice and the shoddy tape lines were easy to follow).

We cut and removed the drywall. Fun, but messy. Drywall dust is!

Next up was the back wall in the little room you could now see through the "window".

Enter the huge, old dictionary I had found a couple years ago for $2.00. Remove the duct tape that was holding the binding together. Unscrew the big ol' barrel bolts. Cut off the 3-hole margins. Ready to apply to the wall using good ol' liquid starch.

Many hours and 10, no, 20 sticky, gooey fingers later, the wall was covered. It looks kind of funny in photos, due to the random-ness of the margins (narrow and wide), but it looks REALLY cool in person. It will be clear-coated to seal and possibly even get a glazing treatment...we'll see.

The window opening got a good squaring up and trimmed out. We still need to fill the brad nail holes and paint, but I think we are on the home stretch!

We've re-painted the gray 1/2 walls with plans to put up chair rail at the existing lines.

However, the three window walls have windows that are not at the same lower plane. So, we decided to raise all the moulding and will add more Natural Linen paint to the bottom-most part of the chair rail.

A couple weekends ago, Janice and I went to the Jacksonville city-wide yard sale...OH, WHAT FUN THAT WAS...(another post!). I found a vintage canvas tape measure for $1.00. Yep, $1.00!!! Funny thing is it's METRIC! The foot marks are spot-on, but it doesn't have 12 marks in between - only 10. Well, I had the bright idea of using it to embellish the moulding. So with a bit of double stick tape and a few little black brad nails my idea came to fruition. Fun. Easy. Cool!

The rusty orange wall will also get a mocha glaze and this queen-size box spring frame will go up. Our sign, a rusty piece of corrugated metal (the match to my Home Is...sign) will be layered on top of it. Stay tuned....

We've still got a ways to go, but I'm gonna take my recent fortune to heart!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Good Morning, Gourd Jess....

I just realized from reading a few of my past posts, that I never did do a Good Morning, Gourd Jess reveal.

She was featured in the Autumn issue of Art Doll Quarterly as part of their gourd doll challenge.

On one of my trips to Stampington to pick up a few of my pieces, Jana, the editor of Art Doll Quarterly gave me the 10-cent tour and introduced me to the whole publishing team...from copy editors, to the photographers, to the graphic layout girls. It was a fun to get a peek behind the "curtain".

At the end of the tour, there were a few fold up tables chock full of goodies - props from previous photo shoots, art cast-offs, etc... Jana offered to let me rummage through the goods...

In one of the boxes, was this little 4" brown gourd. I commented to her what a cute little Halloween ghost it would make. It was then she challenged me to make her a gourd doll for the upcoming Fall issue...

The rest is history....

For those of you that ask, "How do you get your art published?" Here is a little sample of my submittal document...UN-EDITED, of course. The actual article was much more personally re-written by Jana herself. Thanks, Jana!

Somerset Art Doll Quarterly  

Attn: Jana Holstein
22992 Mill Creek, Suite B
Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Submittal Title: Good Morning, Gourd Jess

Inspiration and  Description

On a recent trip to California, I “acquired” a 4” dried gourd with the challenge to create an art doll. Admittedly, I had never created a doll from a gourd, or for that matter, any doll from scratch. Sure, I’ve dressed up dolls before, but making one from scratch, using a gourd, was intriguing.

On the long ride home, I closed my eyes, and let my mind wander. Of course, the play on words “gourdgeous” came fast and that soon evolved to designing a doll that epitomizes what the stereo-typical woman goes through to stay that way – a peek into her glamorous morning routine.

 Good Morning, Gourd Jess was born.


Beginning with the mottled, brown gourd, I added a dried, sculpted paper clay nose using Mod Podge. Knowing my girl would be more stylized than a perfect-porcelain, I did not stress over adding dimensional cheek bones, brow or chin. Once dry, the entire gourd was coated with peach paint. Using a fine tip mechanical pencil, I sketched her eyes, brows and lips; then painted in those details. Her avocado facial mask was next. I applied the first base coat, then built-up the thickness using heavier coats to give it the illusion of smooshed avocado.

Using a standard red plastic drinking straw, I cut ½” sections for the rollers.  Using a tiny line of low-temp hot glue (to not melt the straw) and 3” sections of yarn (to ease handling) I wrapped and glued each roller; then trimmed excess yarn and glued them to her head, including the rogue roller that is “falling-out”. 

The mug was sculpted using a ball of paper clay shaped over the end of an empty, large diameter ball point pen. The handle was added using a “snake” of clay. Once that was air dried, it was base painted pink, then brown polka-dots and the word “bean” was added. I chose “bean” over coffee, joe, or java, since my husband, Phillip, doesn’t drink coffee and when offered, replies, “I don’t do bean!”

With Super Sculpey clay, her hands and slippers were sculpted over thick wire arm and leg (with knobby knees!) armatures that were painted as well. Her slippers would be no other than the fuzzy-pink-slippers every woman wears…wink! Once dry, darker pink socks, with white polka dots and white lace trim were added. The flowers were cut from trim with a touch of white painted detailing.

Her traditional white terry robe and bathmat were sewn from a dollar-store microfiber wash cloth. Random splotches of pink & white paint were added to the mat; then it was trimmed with a strand of mini-pom poms. Openings were cut into the mat and divots cut into the base of the slippers to allow the adhesive to bond to the book base. The book page edges and the printed text were Mod Podge sealed.

Tools & Materials

4” dried gourd
Acrylic paint
Microfiber cloth
Matte Mod Podge
Paper clay
Super Sculpey
Pom pom trim
Fabric flower trim
Red plastic straws
Multi-color yarn
12-ga wire
Printed paper text
Low-temp hot glue
Glue gun
Devcon 2-part adhesive
Mechanical pencil
Sewing needle, white thread
Paint brushes

End Lines
Tina Schiefer lives in Grants Pass, Oregon and enjoys creating mixed media art using found objects and cast-offs. She has previously been published in various Stampington & Co. publications.

Tina welcomes emails at or visit her blog at to learn more about her hopes, dreams, and reality. 


Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Little Before...

The main room of the Rusty Monkey Vintage Marketplace and Workshop.

We've begun the painting. Bye Bye gray 1/2 walls. They are now a nice and clean Natural Linen color.
The top section will remain white. The black trim, which we are NOT inclined to re-paint using 14 coats of white paint, will remain black and receive just a bit of distressing with our trusty sanding block. The "chair rail" will clean up the white and cream separation lines.

The focal wall (behind us) has been base coated in rust, but since the floors won't be stained, the focal wall will. A little bit of added gray will tie it in with the gray, for now....

The original plan was to pull up the gray office carpet and stain the concrete all sorts of beautiful rustic colors. Well, the best laid plans....

Under that carpet is a wonderful layer of office tile...glued down with a vengeance...SO, the gray office carpet will get professionally steamed clean on Tuesday, and will remain in place for the first few months, because we just practiced pulling up a load of glued-down office carpet and scraped up glued-down tiles in our Coca-Cola building last year...until our fingers bled, our backs ached, and our knees were about to fall off....SO, I'm not in any hurry to give up valuable creative time to make my body ache...I have a completely DIY attitude, but I'm trying to look at the big picture right now....Besides, the more I think about it, the more I think I'd like to pull up the carpet and lay down wonderfully aged wood those in an old general store...hmmmm....

The steel and wood rack you see through the doorway will be moved and with a bunch of shoe-box totes added it will be an awesome place to store all sorts of bits and bobs for creating. YAY!

This is out in the bay. This will be the heart of the workshop. The blue 1/2 walls are now painted the same rust color as the focal wall. It completely changed the look in here. I love it!!!

This area will also serve as the sales floor for the "big", garden, home decor, etc...

We'll be adding a false ceiling, but not a drop ceiling, like in the entry room photo above...I don't like drop ceilings, but at least it's clean and basic for now. Less $$ that has to be spent in there...

I hope to add open, wood trusses up there and cap them with rusty, old corrugated metal (see my Home Is sign a few posts down). With the open space strung with the clear twinkling lights...OH YEAH!!! That will definitely set the tone.

Here is the rest of the bay....moving to the left...Phillip claimed the workbench. I claimed the steel and wood rack in the "little" room. It will be moved out here and get a coat of paint.

The "little" room will become our feature room....Holiday, Baby, Kitchen, etc... I'm in search of a little chandelier for the ceiling in there. Two of the walls are going to be covered with some liquid starch and the pages of a HUGE dictionary I bought, just for the cause....actually I bought it two years ago...but, just goes to show, if you have an idea and you find the supplies, buy them....a time and a place will arrive someday.... :-)

I'll keep posting the in-progresses....and mark your calendars...November will be here soon.....


Monday, September 5, 2011

Beauty is in the EYE of the BEHOLDER...

I truly believe that!

I see beauty in all things rusty, grungy, and just plain cast-off. This illusion is always further enhanced through the lens of a camera - even if it's only my iphone point-and-shoot fixed lens!

Last year, while we were remodeling the building we are currently in, I found beauty in a group of mold growing behind this old, wet, wall of drywall.

To the naked eye, it was a gross mess, but through the lens of a camera, it became a grouping of trees against a dark, starry, Winter night. Can't you just feel the chill in the air?

Here are a few other shots from the same wall....

Same goes for an area of rust stained concrete in our shop, which was the original Coca-Cola bottling plant of Medford back in the early 50's. I like to think the discoloration is from an old, steel cistern or tank that had years of use. I love the colors.

This is the floor in its dry, natural state.

This is the floor (same angle) wet from a mop.

I'm hoping to re-create this look for the floor of the
RUSTY MONKEY Vintage Marketplace and Workshop. 

Maybe even this focal wall that is now based-out in rusty orange colored paint. I'm thinking the plain, one color rust may be a bit boring...??? Although, it will be broken up once my sign - made from vintage corrugated steel - is hung up.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

You can tell them a little bird told you...

It's been quite some time since I blogged.

I see that same sentence a lot throughout blogland lately. Must only be the die-hard bloggers that find the time to blog every day! Certainly not me. Oh well....

Just because I haven't found the time, doesn't mean I've been sitting around on my laurels watching t.v. and eating the proverbial bon bons...Does anyone eat bon bons anymore? Hmmm.

The GREAT news of late, well, actually there's a lot I could say here, but the thing I want to share today, is this....drum roll.....

We are in the midst of purchasing a commercial property in a great location with two buildings. Yep. TWO. And the frontage portion of the smaller of the two will house my new adventure...

RUSTY MONKEY Vintage Marketplace and Workshop

Now I'll be able to come to work everyday and do my daily routine for E.B. and fill in all that "dream" time creating art, repurposing goods, and just plain having a ton of fun in my own little space.

Actually, the space will be the biggest space I've ever had - THREE rooms.

Lots of natural light. A roll-up bay door.

All decorated in Rusty, Industrial goodness.

Lots of metal.

Lots of wood.

Lots of texture.

And just a touch of softness.

The additional bonus here, is all those totes, boxes, shelves, etc. that are at home will be moving out and be readily accessible at a moments notice!!! YAY!!!

The Rusty Monkey will be open for sales the 2nd, 3-day weekend of every two back-to-back months. At least that's the plan right now. For example, Fri/Sat/Sun - Nov/Dec, Mar/April, July/Aug, etc...

Art Workshops will be held there too. But, that probably won't happen until next Spring. Even though I'll be busy during that "dream" time, there is still a whole lot of "dreaming" to do....

Needless to say, I am beyond excited, excited!!! Finally, a REAL place where I can set up shop, leave it set up, and play to my hearts content - all during the regular work week - while I'm already at work anyway!!!

The other exciting part is, I will be joined by a handful of my closest friends in the workshop. They will be able to set up their own workplace and then sell their creations too!

Each will have a tag # but unlike a traditional rental booth space, we won't have designated spaces, the overhead will be quite low, so all their (and mine) hardwork doesn't go to the "house".

It's a dream come true and I have my wonderful husband to thank!!!

When we first walked through the buildings, he was the one to say,

"...And Honey, this space would be perfect for you!"

Whatta Guy! He works SO hard and yet he puts me in the forefront of his mind....I love you, BABY!!!

There's a lot to do, but because we are Pre-Close Leasing, I began the process of painting the focal wall behind the check-out counter a beautiful shade of rust, of course, right? The other walls will be painted a subtle shade of cream linen. The old gray carpet is going bye-bye and the underlying concrete floor will be stained muted shades of rust, black, cream....The trim is already painted black and will promptly be distressed. Interior doors will be removed to ease traffic flow. A walled up partition window will be opened back up and galvanized trimmed shelves will be added. I can see some rustic garden fencing over the windows with a touch of burlap.

Out in the bay, exposed wood trusses will be capped with old, rusty, nail-hole-ridden galvanized sheets. The clear twinkle lights will be woven overhead. The little back room...well, here's where a soft touch lands. An overhead chandelier. Too cute. I'm loving it all!!!

Yeah, lots of "dream" time, but I can see it in my minds eye.

Sorry for the long, no-photo, post, but I promise there will be photos soon!!! Times a tickin!!!


Those were the words on the first art piece I had published....

Those are GOOD words!!


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