9/19/16

Wake Up



We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. 
-Henry David Thoreau

8/8/16

Music Monday - Mason Bates & blogger burnout


Hey there! How have you been? 

I've only just discovered Mason Bates today, so popping by to share. The Florida Orchestra will be performing The B-Sides next spring. Visiting youtube for a listen caught my attention. Then the video rolled into Stereo Is King ... and now I'm hooked.

Where has the time gone? I almost can't believe the last post was waaay back in April.  Over the last couple of years I've (mostly) lost my taste for blogging. Health, work, family and other life stuff left me with little extra time or energy. So, the blog got neglected. What I'm about to say next might sound weird, but I have felt guilty about this for a long time. Silly, right? It was like the blog was a pet I kept forgetting to feed and play with. Or a relationship that was burned out but still hanging on.

After many false re-starts, it was easier to just walk away. 2016 has been a time of pruning away unnecessary (& often self-induced) pressures. Most of the year has been simply about living life and recharging my batteries. For anyone who is curious, you can find me more often on Twitter @ArtsnarkTampa . I'm also still on instagram as Artsnark. I will definitely stop back here from time to time, but in a no obligation, random rambling sort of way.  Kind of like before - but without the guilt and apologies every third post.

The best thing since April's post has been the long overdue overhaul of the art/craft room. I'm still puttering and stashing too many mixed media supplies & books. But it is, at last, a comfortable and usable space. The new glass door & small patio have added some much needed natural light and doubled the space. It is the perfect setup for spray painting or ducking out for a quiet break. 

Time to run. If you've found your way to my tiny corner of the web, thanks for the visit! Please share what you are listening to. I'm always up for something new or revisiting a classic. 

4/29/16

IKEA restaurant refresh


Earlier this week the Tampa Bay Bloggers enjoyed a pre-party lunch at IKEA. Today is the start of IKEA's 3 day celebration of "fantastic food and family fun." 


You may have caught some of the stats in Tuesday's blog post. For more details on daily giveaways, dining specials (like Sunday's $9.99 All you can eat brunch), and family activities visit Ikea.com/us/en/store/tampa.


No time for a meal? Need a little pick-me-up while shopping? Pop by for Fika, essentially a coffee break - including a little something sweet like IKEA's classic cinnamon rolls (my family's fave) or the BAKELSE PRINSESS (pink cream cakes with marzipan). The pink cakes, TÅRTA BLÅBÄR (blueberry cake) and the TÅRTA MÖRK CHOKLAD (almond & dark chocolate cake) were very popular with the bloggers.  By the way, you can also find these in the frozen aisle in the Swedish Grocery section  for Fika at home.


Now, I know I sound like a commercial or something, but I really love this store. So much so that I'll go for one item and spend an extra hour browsing and taking photos just for fun. The rows of objects and assortment of colors and textures just beg to be captured! 



Full disclosure: Each blogger received,in addition to lunch, a swag tote filled with goodies. I'd barely finished taking this pic when my kid swooped in for the chocolate and husband "ooh"ed over the organic lingonberry jam. The bamboo tablet stand has already found a place in my craft room.


Talk about Eye Candy!

I'm not a candy fan but love the assorted shapes/colors of these sweeties. There's a whole wall of bulk Swedish candies in the grocery section. While far from a health food, at least they are made without high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats or gmos. (This true for most IKEA foods as they have to meet the European standards which are more health-conscious than the USDA ones.)


Off the topic of food, I had to share a quick snap of this fun display from the new GILTIG collection. The wacky vibe and vibrant colors are almost eye-popping. Actually, the eyeball bowl above is part of this group. 

So, hey, if you find yourself in Tampa this weekend (pre-Beyonce concert or for Riverfest or the Mac & Cheese Throwdown) pop on over to IKEA for some munchies and other celebratory stuff. Maybe I'll see you there!

4/27/16

IKEA afternoon of food, fun and photos


IKEAs everywhere are rolling out their newly remodeled restaurants & cafes. This weekend Tampa is celebrating this global refresh with a 3 day blowout bash... and you are invited! 


The party starts Friday April 29th at the North 22nd St. store, with lots of yummy food and cheerful decor. Plus the first 100 people lined up at the restaurant's designated area at 5 pm will receive a "mystery envelope" containing "food and gift card prizes up to $100."


In fact, each day of the event there will be an additional 100 mystery envelope winners, as well as goody bag giveaways (Saturday) and Twitter contests (Sunday). 


Click here for details on these events and more, including face painting, food demonstrations and an ergonomics workshop. Or call 888-888-4532.


Yesterday I enjoyed lunch with several Tampa Bay Bloggers. Great food and interesting info was provided by IKEA staff in exchange for sharing our thoughts, tweets and pics. *


Pop back here before the party starts Friday afternoon for some foodie facts and photos. I'll give you a hint - it is more than just meatballs!


After the preview party my playtime continued with some shopping and lots of picture taking.  I can wander around this store for hours just enjoying all the eye candy. 


The rooms showcase and encourage day dreaming and even the basic display areas feature fab contrasting textures and colors. Plus there are loads of lively lines and an almost endless repetition of complimentary objects...so much fun to photograph!


Have you been to IKEA? Are you a browser/dreamer like me or more of a get it & get out type? Have you visited their restaurant, cafe or grocery sections? What are your faves? I'll share some of yesterday's greatest hits in the next blog post. 

*We also each received a goody bag of IKEA treats. For a look at yesterday's preview party search twitter and instagram using #IKEArefresh #TampaBayTuesday  and #TampaBayBloggers.


4/21/16

In Fieri = "In the course of execution; a thing commenced but not completed"


plaster head

Hey there! How have you been? 

An old facebook friend asked me this recently. While I answered with the expected family/work/ life update, my first thought was "In Fieri"- a Latin phrase for something "in the process of being done". I first came across the phrase while seeking a title for an ouroborus & nude drawing a few years back

prismatic shatter

My life has been at a low simmer for a long while now. Sometimes barely moving; sometimes boiling over. While work and family have been fairly constant - health, art and,yes, blogging...erm...not so much.

tear down the wall

So, what's up? 1st step has been the reclaiming of my creative space. Over the years my craft room became the box room ..became junk room! Not at all conducive to getting creative.


Gutting the mess has me (slowly) making the space what I have always wanted it to be. At around 10'x 14'  the room is a wee bit tight for a mixed media junkie who lives within walking distance of a Michaels Craft store. Earlier this month we blew out a window/wall and added a glass door. Now the space opens onto a long unused narrow side yard consisting of dirt and ferns. This will soon be a paved patio with oodles of plein air & picnic potential. I am super psyched and will share more pics soon.

Well, I'm kind of rambling at this point. If you are still with me - thanks for your patience. While I can't promise I'll be blogging as regularly (or as deeply) as "back in the day," (hell...I know I won't), I am still here and will tune in now and again.  Until the next random act of blogging, be well and keep creating!

3/3/16

We have a winner!


Woo Hoo! It is that time again! 

It is time to announce the latest Thursday Giveaway Winner! Today's prize is a collection of handmade soaps and lotion from Sweet Harvest Farms. 

And today's lucky random winner (picked using random.org) is...


Jenny Hodges from MetamorFit.org!

Congratulations, Jenny! I will contact you for your shipping info.

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to enter! Be sure to pop back soon for a new prize announcement. 

And a hearty thank you to S.H. Farms for sharing your fabulous creations! For more info about this Tampa, FL company visit any of the links below.

SweetHarvestFarms.com has interesting "about" and "press" pages, as well as product info and a list of places to find them.

West Elm Hyde Park Village sells a selection of items

SweetHarvestFarms.Etsy.com has only a potpourri listing as of this writing.







3/2/16

Last chance to enter Sweet Harvest Farms random drawing - ends 3/3/16

Leave a comment before 1 a.m. (EST) on March 3, 2016 to enter this random drawing. Winner will be announced tomorrow. Ships free to lucky winner! (Very few entries due to my lack of promo & blogging, so the odds are pretty good). For additional info, check out the repost from 2/11/16 below:



We've got some goodies to share today! 

Love all-natural bath and beauty products? Winter weather drying you out? Do you like supporting independent businesses and enjoy handmade items? If you say "yes", then this is the place for you!

I first encountered Sweet Harvest Farms fragrant soaps at local (Tampa, Florida) shows and weekend markets. I bought a few bars and loved the creamy, texture. Their soaps not only smell great, they also leave you feeling clean, without that sticky film some other handmade soaps leave behind. When I found out that the owner, CJ, is also a fellow member of the Tampa Bay Etsy Crew, I knew it was time to share the love. 


From the S.H.Farms online shop:

Welcome to Sweet Harvest Farms where we offer all natural and organic Handmade SoapBody LotionAll Natural DeodorantTooth Powder and more. C.J., of Sweet Harvest Farms, has formulated her own unique bath & body recipes that are both luxurious for your skin & kind to the earth.

A small, but thriving cottage start-up, Sweet Harvest Farms creates cold processed soaps that are made entirely by hand, in small batches, to ensure quality control. Using only the highest quality organic oils, clays and herbs on the market, C.J.'s products have become highly sought after by health conscience individuals. Sweet Harvest Farms also has a line of all natural/organic dog soapFlea Powder and ointment for your dog as well.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Visit SweetHarvestFarms.com for additional info on this cool company and its wares. There are also a few more links at the bottom of this post. 

So what is the new Thursday Giveaway? On 3/3 one lucky reader will take home 2 luscious bars of S.H. Farms soap (1 lavender & 1 oatmeal, milk and honey) plus 1 lavender body silk lotion. See top photo.

How To Enter? Simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on Thursday March 3rd. (By the way, please leave an email address if there is no contact info in your profile, so that I can notify you if you win.) The randomly selected winner will be announced later that day. This prize ships free worldwide.

Want to learn more about Sweet Harvest Farms? 

SweetHarvestFarms.com has interesting "about" and "press" pages, as well as product info and a list of places to find them.

West Elm Hyde Park Village sells a selection of items

SweetHarvestFarms.Etsy.com has only a potpourri listing as of this writing.



2/14/16

Free Printable Space Travel Posters from NASA and JPL Studios


Mars - JPL Travel Poster

This Is Awesome!

Venus - JPL Travel Poster

Do you dream of interplanetary travel?


Europa - JPL Travel Poster

Feed your galactic wanderlust with these FREE printable travel posters from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's "Visions of the future" series. Click Here to make the (space) jump.

Posters

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By the way, any comments left on the blog before 3/3/16 get you an entry in a random drawing for handmade bath and beauty products from Sweet Harvest farm. Click here for photo of prize and details.

--

2/11/16

Enter to win handmade soaps and lotion from S.H. Farms - ends 3/3/16


We've got some goodies to share today! 

Love all-natural bath and beauty products? Winter weather drying you out? Do you like supporting independent businesses and enjoy handmade items? If you say "yes", then this is the place for you!

I first encountered Sweet Harvest Farms fragrant soaps at local (Tampa, Florida) shows and weekend markets. I bought a few bars and loved the creamy, texture. Their soaps not only smell great, they also leave you feeling clean, without that sticky film some other handmade soaps leave behind. When I found out that the owner, CJ, is also a fellow member of the Tampa Bay Etsy Crew, I knew it was time to share the love. 


From the S.H.Farms online shop:

Welcome to Sweet Harvest Farms where we offer all natural and organic Handmade SoapBody LotionAll Natural DeodorantTooth Powder and more. C.J., of Sweet Harvest Farms, has formulated her own unique bath & body recipes that are both luxurious for your skin & kind to the earth.

A small, but thriving cottage start-up, Sweet Harvest Farms creates cold processed soaps that are made entirely by hand, in small batches, to ensure quality control. Using only the highest quality organic oils, clays and herbs on the market, C.J.'s products have become highly sought after by health conscience individuals. Sweet Harvest Farms also has a line of all natural/organic dog soapFlea Powder and ointment for your dog as well.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Visit SweetHarvestFarms.com for additional info on this cool company and its wares. There are also a few more links at the bottom of this post. 


So what is the new Thursday Giveaway? On 3/3 one lucky reader will take home 2 luscious bars of S.H. Farms soap (1 lavender & 1 oatmeal, milk and honey) plus 1 lavender body silk lotion. See top photo.

How To Enter? Simply leave a comment on my blog before 1 a.m. (EST) on Thursday March 3rd. (By the way, please leave an email address if there is no contact info in your profile, so that I can notify you if you win.) The randomly selected winner will be announced later that day. This prize ships free worldwide.

Want to learn more about Sweet Harvest Farms? 

SweetHarvestFarms.com has interesting "about" and "press" pages, as well as product info and a list of places to find them.

West Elm Hyde Park Village sells a selection of items

SweetHarvestFarms.Etsy.com has only a potpourri listing as of this writing.





2/5/16

Illustration Friday - Mystery


Red Handed
Sharing an oldie for today's Illustration Friday prompt - Mystery. Back in '09 my charcoal drawing, scanned hand print and a fingerprint were combined for an Artarazzi challenge. The fingerprint was provided by Artarazzi (who, sadly, doesn't seem to exist anymore - a shame as they always had intriguing art contests). Click here if you'd like to visit the original post

Feeling inspired? Upload your "mystery" piece to your favorite platform before 2/12 and then link it up over at IllustrationFriday.com

Maybe you just need a bit more mystery in your life? Visit the IF link and check out all the interesting takes on the prompt.

1/28/16

Once Upon A Time

ACEO Red's winter walk - Red riding hood, wolf & snow print of original art
Red's Winter Walk



Once upon a time there was a Winner!

The lucky person was randomly selected (using Random.org) from those who left a comment on this blog between January 16th and 1 a.m. (EST) this morning.

Prizes include a matted print of my piece, Red's Winter Walk and a copy of the classic book Perrault's Fairy Tales.


(Who was Perrault? He is considered by many to be the "Father of fairy tales". Curious? Click here for more info.) Now back to today's story:

Today's Lucky Winner is.....

Digital Misfit

Congratulations! I will email you for your shipping info. Thanks for playing along!

And hearty thank you's to all who took a few minutes to support my blog's resurrection with their comments. Be sure to pop back again soon. The new giveaway prize will be announced Thursday Feb. 11th and it is one you don't want to miss.

I'll be back before then with some random chatter and pictures. Until we "meet" again, wishing you a very Happily Ever After!

1/22/16

What's going on? Studio redo (at last)


Finally turning the box room back into an art room. 


Painting is almost done. Next come shelves and storage.


Then the hard part, deciding which items get to return. Right now this space's former contents are spread haphazardly over 3 other rooms - eek!


Check out that yucky fan light! 

I can't wait to replace and have been saving my pennies. Now the decision: practical or pretty? I'm kind of fixated on Restoration Hardware's chandeliers - they are so much fun to photograph! But I'm letting my obsession simmer in case it is just a phase... plus their light fixtures can be huge (in size and price).


As things slowly evolve here there will be more photos to come. By the way, if you want to see some before pics, click here.

Do you have a space you want to spruce up? Or other DIYs on your to do list? Please share - I'd love to see what you're up to or have planned.

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P.S. Be sure to leave a comment. Everyone who leaves a note before 1 a.m. (EST) on 1/28 will be entered in a random drawing for a book of Fairy Tales plus a Red Riding Hood matted print. Click here for details and photos of prizes.

1/12/16

Celebrate the "Father of Fairy Tales" b-day with a giveaway! Enter to win book and print on 1/28

Charles Perrault’s 388th Birthday Doodle
Charles Perrault’s 388th Birthday Doodle

Today's Google Doodle commemorates the 388th birthday of Charles Perrault with 3 illustrations by Sophie Diao (above). An academic and author, Perrault was a member of Louix XIV's court and influenced the design /construction of the Louvre and the famous fountains of Versailles, among other things.

ChPerrault.jpg
close up of Perrault by  Philippe Lallemand

His most interesting claim to fame, though, is as "The father of the modern fairy tale." Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Bluebeard and others were already spoken of in oral folk tales, shared with children to teach them lessons on morality and act as warnings. 

Perrault, however, wrote them down. He gave these memorable characters (& more) life on the page, writing the tales in a way which entertained the upper class which he belonged to. His stories went on to influence the Grimm Brother's and others. For more info on Perrault and his stories, including where to read some online, check out the links at the end of this post.

Now, let's get this party started! 

On January 28th, one lucky winner will be selected from everyone who comments on my blog between now and then. This winner will receive an English translation of Perrault's Fairy Tales (Dover Children's Classics).


Plus a matted print of Red's Winter Walk. 

ACEO Red's winter walk - Red riding hood, wolf & snow print of original art
Red's Winter Walk by Stacey Merrill

To Enter The Random Drawing: Simply leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. EST on 1/28.  It is that easy! If your contact info is not in your profile, please leave an email address so that I can reach you if you are the winner

The winner will be announced at noon (EST) on 1/28/16. This drawing is open to all. The prizes have free world-wide shipping.

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Looking for more info about Charles Perrault and his stories? There is a lot to be found online. Here are a few links to get  you started:




1/11/16

David Bowie "Fuckin' with the fabric of time.."

Life On Mars 

While every generation loses its immortals, there are always a few that still come as a surprise. 

Rock 'n' Roll Suicide

We know that they are old or ill

John, I'm Only Dancing

or simply haven't shared their latest wisdom (or whimsy) for a while.

Under Pressure (Queen & Bowie)

But, it seemed that they had "always been there"
... and always would be.

Lazarus from Bowie's

Keep listening and they will.


David Bowie's animated interview (above) where he discusses his classic Ziggy Stardust persona provided the title to this post.

1/6/16

Sunny days ahead

Sunflower

Hey there! Long time, no see. How have you all been?  I hope you are off to a promising 2016! 

Life has been in a kind of stasis for a while, which has been reaaally boring, so I'm jumping on the New Year/New You bandwagon. There's always room for 1 more, right? Tackling overdue projects, loads of decluttering and returning to pleasures missed are on the top of January's (& probably Feb/March's) to-do list. Plus this lonely blog has been calling to me for a while. It's good to be back! 

Reflecting on the past year, I missed too many simple moments. I forgot to find joy in the littlest things. Basically I spent a lot of 2015 stuck in my head.  When this happened a couple of years ago, I shook out the cobwebs by capturing them (& other natural wonders) in a fun 365 Days in a Garden instagram project. The series started as a whim, but I ended the year with increased awareness of my surroundings and learned to find something magical in every day.

I don't know about you, but I am overdue for a little magic. My new phone came in tonight (yeah)! The camera in my last one has been faulty forever. Even thinking of taking pics was depressing as, they would almost always come out blurry and poorly lit. Now that I have my new lifeline, I'm thinking about starting up another 365 days in photos gig.

Any thoughts? Gardens again? Or general eye candy? 

Care to join me? Could be fun. When you REALLY open your eyes, you might be surprised by what is right in front of you!