Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kindred Spirit: Amariah Rauscher

Am and I met through CafeMom. I admire her illustrations. She is technically a very talented and exacting draftsperson and yet her work is very whimsical. I love her compositions. There are many artists who don't grasp the concept of composition, Am embraces it! I could go on and on about her work but I would prefer you to meet her, in her own words. So without further ado here is Amariah Rauscher:

I live in a small town in central Illinois with my fabulous husband and four great kids. I love my camera, punctuality, cartoons, chocolate ice cream, riding my bike, and Project Runway. I hate shopping, naps, Danielle Steel novels, cleaning, cooking, coffee, hot weather, waking up early, and the television series House. I also hate office buildings, and cough syrup. I've had around 40 jobs in the last twelve years, every morning I drink a cup of green tea, I have a hard time falling asleep at night, I could eat spaghetti every day, my favorite movie is Lord of the Rings, I'm in a bowling league, I go to the gym several times a week, I have a dry sense of humor, and I'm afraid of heights.

My Etsy shop ( was started in April 2009. I sell original art and prints. In addition to that, I do a lot of custom portraits. Most of my work is charcoal, or charcoal and pastel. Recently, I’ve started making more full color illustrations. Being able to do portraits has been a definite help to me- I would say that portraits make up about 75% of the work I get.

I’ve always considered myself a portrait artist first. For many years, I drew/painted only traditional portraits in traditional mediums. About a year ago I became bored with drawing strictly realistic people- I really wanted to start making things that were different. So I began thinking about how to draw people realistically, but in a more imaginative way. This is my first attempt at that:

Unlike my previous work, this drawing was made with charcoal and pastel – rather than just pastel or just charcoal. I was very happy with the results and everything took off from there.

*If you could invite any 5 people (alive or dead, it is a theoretical question :o) to your place for dinner, who would you invite and what would you serve?

My husband J

J.R.R. Tolkien

Sophie Scholl

Gregory Maguire (author of Wicked)

Vigo Mortenson

I would serve my guests spaghetti :)

I hope you have enjoyed getting to know Am as much as I have. You can see and find out more about Amariah's work at The Extent of Silence or
her blog. (and yes I am eyeballing the "It's a Small World "print above!:o)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Coming Soon!

I've been feeling a bit under the weather these past few days, some sort of icky bug that appears to have bitten both myself and the little one. Nonetheless, I had to post something, it's much too easy to put it off indefinitely and I don't want to get into a complacency trap this early in the year (just because I've posted a few weeks in a row doesn't mean that will continue if I don't hold myself accountable!). Therefore, I have decided to let you know a little about what's in the works. I mostly post this info as it happens on my Facebook Page but why not here?

On deck, a how-to book for the felt candy ornaments: I have started writing and illustrating the directions for each of the felt candy ornaments. It will be self published through Lulu and I will let you know when it is finished. The prefab candy ornament kits will also make it to my etsy shop around the same time. They will come with just about everything you need to make them at home with the most tedious steps finished for you. Basically sew, stuff and sew some more and *voila!* an ornament.

Magic Santa Keys: A wonderful artist gave me this idea, she was using some old skeleton keys she had laying around and adding skulls and jack o lantern heads to them. I had these skeleton keys laying around so that I could make magic Santa keys(you know, the key Santa uses to get into your house when you don't have a chimney) I never knew how I was going to approach the project so it had been on hold until Joyce had such a fabulous idea.

I hope to sculpt elf heads out of paperclay and adorn them with elf hats and all sorts of festive things. The first head is nearly completed now I just need to adorn it.

New play dough collections! I added a mermaid collection to my etsy shop and will soon add a Pirate! Collection. Play dough really has become my mainstay during the year and I love coming up with the different collections. My little quality control elf has been having great fun taste testing (ICK!) and playing with the new play dough. He highly recommends them all!;O)

Lastly, a feather tree for my show table. Another creative soul came up with this design and since it was so darn inexpensive(less than $10!) I thought I would give it a try! Here is a link to the original blogpost.

I've also been trying to write. I'm up to three books that need to be penned (2 children's and 1 adult novel) I have already lined up more Kindreds for my artist feature. I'm so excited to share these folks with you, there are truly some amazingly creative folks out there!

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kindred Spirit: Stephanie Smith Brannock of Two Kazoos

I love Steph! We met on Cafe Mom but became better(albeit virtual) friends on Facebook. She and I seem to be always coming up with new crafty ideas at about the same frenetic pace(although her completion rate is way higher, I blame it on my 2 year old but know it's more likely her efficient organization ;o) The cement on our friendship was the fact that we are both CRAZY hockey fans! So without further ado, here is Miss Stephanie of Two Kazoos, in her own words!

I am a 41 year old stay home mom, I have a 5 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. I have a BA in Graphic Design and do some freelance. I am a kit artist for The Red Porch digital scrap booking and those items are also available on Scrapblog. I’ve lived in Oklahoma most of my life, am there now, but consider Austin my home and can’t wait to move back.

I started making felt clippies in 2007 and opened an Etsy shop as a way to make a little extra money. I added embellishments and French barrettes upon requests from friends and it took off from there with bracelets, tote/gift bags, clip holders, wall hangings, ornaments and travel tic tac toe games. I currently sell the tic tac toe games, banners, magnets, bookmarks, tag ornaments, play food and embellishments. My favorite thing to make are the tic tac toe games. I’d like to start making simple dolls, bags, more play food and embellishment kits this year along with several advent calendars.

I’ve been a graphic designer for over 10 years. It’s not my passion although I groove on all things design related. My passion is being creative. I have so many ideas and I pull from every source I can. I have notebooks and binders full of inspiration and concepts.

*If you could invite any 5 people (alive or dead, it is a theoretical question, LOL) to your place for dinner, who would you invite and what would you serve?

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Gordie Howe, Leonardo DaVinci, Bill Hicks, Anita Shreve

I’d make empanadas and (husband) Scott would make his salsa, queso and jalapeno soup.
There would be plenty of beer, paper and writing implements!

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Steph as much as I have and will visit her shop and fan page! You never know, you may just find something you can't live without. (She made me a fabulous winter themed tic tac toe game that I absolutely love!)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Things I Love: Beatrice

I had this idea of sharing some of the things that I love. Now, I'm not the most nostalgic person in the world. I cherish my memories and the friends who have touched my life but generally I'm not that attached to 'objects'. There are a few things though that I lug around with me from house to house and places I visit over and over just so I can see my old 'friend'. I hope to post something I love on a regular basis, it may not be weekly as I hope but hopefully no less than monthly. So without further ado, meet Beatrice.

Beatrice is my mom's German doll. She was made in the 1800's and is porcelain with a composite body. She has her original hair and clothes (although they are not in the best shape) My mom was given Beatrice by a dear friend she worked with at Manner's Restaurant (although the whole story I do not remember.) I do remember her presence in our house. She sat on my mom's dresser and I would visit her on a regular basis as a child. Obviously, I wasn't allowed to play with her but with the vivid imagination that I had, that didn't stop me from creating all sorts of scenarios in my mind's eye. For a while, my mom collected my hair so that she could have another wig made for Beatrice but that never came to fruition. It in no way lessens my appreciation for B. I love her and the connection that I have to my childhood through her.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

my metal moose sculpture has some snow to work with!

I'm sorry kids but I love the snow and cold! I do. I know it's cold and I know that snow stinks if you are driving in it(mostly because of everyone else around you) but I love it. I can bundle up and stay warm but in the hot of summer there are only so many clothes you can take off and trust me, you wouldn't want to be around to see that! Plus, you have all your hot beverages(tea, coffee, hot chocolate) and I love fall and winter clothes; sweaters, boots, fun socks, hats scarves, marshmallow puff coats! Playing in the snow is great fun. I took my son out on the sled today. As I trudged through a good 10 inches of snow I realized what a great workout it is and *bonus* even when you sweat, you don't feel overheated! The only thing that made me sad today was I tried to show the weetot how to make a snow angel and realized how old and broken I truly am! Not only do I have arthritic joints that ache when I try to move my arms and legs through the snow (mainly my right shoulder from an old soccer injury) but trying to get myself up from 10 inches of snow with nothing to grab onto or use as support...well let's just say it was a wee bit embarrassing! I know that everyday I'm not as broken as I am today, my arthritis has been flaring for the past 5 days or so, but it was one of those moments when I wished I could have been a young parent. I now fully realize how my dad must have felt when we were little as he was diagnosed with RA around his 40th birthday. Regardless, my pain won't keep me down and I do believe if I get out there and move more instead of less it can't hurt but help in the long term(it'll hurt like hell in the short term but, eh, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?)

Well now I have to focus on taking down some Christmas decor. Already today I've listed a new play dough kit in my etsy store, played blocks, made lunch and played outside in the snow. Must get a start on dismantling the tree (et al) while the little one sleeps. He is going to be so heartbroken to see everything go away for the year.:o(

Have a great day, stay warm and try to find something you love about the cold winter months!!