Sunday, August 29, 2010


Great quote.  "Know thine opportunity." - Pittacus. 
{sometimes seen as "Know THY opportunity."}

In case you're asking "Who was Pittacus?", you can check that out right here:
Or, if you like, here's a quick rundown: (c. 640-568 BC) Pittacus was the son of Hyrradius and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. He was a native of Mytilene and the Mytilenaean general who, with his army, was victorious in the battle against the Athenians and their commander Phrynon.

One of our grandchildren knew HER opportunity yesterday and made it her reality.

Cara and Kaia and I were on our way to see my nephew and his family at the beach.  Along the way, I wanted to stop in at MERMAID MERCANTILE {hosted the last weekend of each month at OUT OF THE BLUE {  }, a cute little shop in Solana Beach}.  

 I was seeking vintage ... pajamas, or a nightie, or something ... for the PJ Party at THE CREATIVE CONNECTION  {  }

So there's the "story":

We're wandering about, each of us lost in our own little fantasy worlds ... 'oh, if only $$ were no object' ... 'i love this, i can't live without it, but what would i DO with it' ... those kinds of thoughts.   And a whole lot of 'why, isn't that clever?'.

Cara sidles over to me ... "Kaia is in love with a chair."

Huh?  A chair?

"You have to come see it.  She's crazy about this chair."

What artsy / interior designer / wanting-to-encourage-creativity-in-the-grandchildren woman WOULDN'T wander over to see just what kind of chair would capture the heart of a 10 1/2 year old ???

     OH. MY. GOSH.   It was darling.  It was vintage.  It had been re-upholstered in PINK SUEDE.  It had BLACK & WHITE (on the bias, of course) double piping all the way round.  It had tufting - with matching BLACK & WHITE buttons.  It was from the 50's.  It was going to appear in a magazine next month.

"No wonder she loves it,", I said.  "Wow."

"Mom, you don't understand.  She WANTS that chair."

Oh my.  Now what?

So Cara asks how much the chair is.  Kaia had some money from her grandfather, a gift for her entering the sixth grade.  Not for school supplies or school clothes.  Just. A. Gift.   Kaia could do whatever she wanted with it, including deposit it in her savings account.

"The chair is $275."

You could hear us all exhale, I swear.  We all appeared, I am sure, crestfallen. 

"That's a lot of money, honey, for a chair.  Even one so darling as that one."

We wandered around some more.  I made my (small) purchases.  Kaia could NOT stop thinking about that chair.  She went back for another (and another) peek at it.  She had it bad.

As we're headed to the car, Kaia says "Mom, do you remember how much is left in my savings account? ".  
Ohmygosh, this kid was SERIOUS.

We drove away, and I swear, Kaia took a last look back.  We all three felt the pain of leaving that chair behind.

We bought lunch to take to the beach party.  Kaia's still doing the math.

"Mom, can we stop at our bank to just SEE what I have in there? ".   Thanks to modern technology, Cara could look it up on her Blackberry - and there just happened to be a branch 5 minutes away.   Apparently, the beach could wait.

In they went.  Out they came.  All I could see was a HUGE smile and a "thumbs up" from Kaia.  SHE DID IT.  She had enough.  Ohmygosh.  That means she WITHDREW her savings.  I had a brief sinking feeling.

But then, guess what happened?  My joy on her behalf took over.   I was so proud that my 10 1/2 year old grandchild LIKED vintage furniture.  I was so happy that my grandchild LIKED flea market / thrift store / treasure trove kinds of places.   I was so proud that she MADE.THIS.HAPPEN. for herself.

Cara quick called the lady with the chair.  "Remember us? My daughter is the one that wants to buy that darling chair.  She just withdrew all but $5 of her savings to buy it.".

And do you know what that lovely lady did?  She took $25 off the chair (which just about covered the sales tax).   We went back, Kaia paid for HER chair, got her receipt (see photo),

and we agreed to return on Sunday to pick it up.

I'm sure you've guessed it.  The girls went home, Kaia cleared out her old stuffed animals that took up THE PERFECT CORNER of her bedroom, they vacuumed and dusted and made it READY for today.  And today, Sunday, Kaia woke up at just about the crack of dawn - envisioning, I am quite certain, THE CORNER with THE CHAIR that she will GO TO SLEEP to ... tonight.

Blissfully your ...
Princess Magpie

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Everything's Coming Up ... MIXED MEDIA !!!

Most of you know that my mixed media journey began in 2007, when my dear friend Ann Deakers forwarded the blog address of artist KELLY RAE ROBERTS.

From there, I was off and running; albeit confused many times over by words and phrases like "gesso", "image transfer", and "polymer medium". 

The first mixed media book
I acquired was Kelly Rae's 

Shortly after, while visiting the then-brand-new PAPER SOURCE right here in the 'hood, I picked up VINTAGE COLLAGE WORKS by Maryjo and Sunny Koch ...  this was where I first came across the word "scumbling" .. oh my, so much to learn.  {Paper Source Carlsbad: }

I loved collage as a child.  But way back then, I used glue and water, and when I got really sophisticated, Mod Podge.  {funny, now I can't stand the smell of Mod Podge ...}

You probably already know that the first mixed media art class I took(a 6-week series, actually) was taught by local artist Jane LaFazio, and I was in love from the first minute with ... mixed media with paper and cloth, as Jane's series was called.   I loved it so much, in fact, that when that session ended .. I signed up for another 6-week session, right away.  What a great start to 2009 !! 

And then .. and then .. there was the 'introduction' to Chris Cozen, working artist for Golden (acrylic products extraordinaire) and her many techniqus for working with all the different acrylic products, gel mediums, tar gel, beaded glass gel, etc ... and most especially, her IMAGE TRANSFER techniques.   The fun had just begun !! Chris now teaches amazing on-line workshops with another California artist, Julie Prichard ... find out more right here:

Throughout 2009, I took classes from Linda Blinn, Althea Brimm, Suzi Blu and Lisa Bebi, and more from Jane LaFazio and Chris Cozen.  Suzi Blu, by the way, teaches not only IN PERSON workshops, but incredible ONLINE workshops -- check her out here:

Soon, I began to see Kelly Rae published all over the place ... the Stampington publications, in an article in The Ligourian Press (a Catholic publication), and in a local guide to some lovely city in - Kentucky, was it?  Kelly even began having her work turned into wall art, magnets, stationery, calendars, etc.

But it all came 'round full circle in February 2010, when Ann (the friend who first directed me to Kelly Rae's blog) and I attended AN ARTFUL JOURNEY (Feb 2010)- a three day retreat in Los Gatos, CA ... which I never did blog about here on "I Am Princess Magpie" ... oh my, so much to catch up on.  {FYI, An Artful Journey is happening again, February 17-21, 2011 - visit their website right here: } and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  FABULOUS event.

We took a 3-day workshop with Kelly Rae Roberts (who was just barely pregnant at the time) and Mati Rose McDonough.  What a treat that was!

Shortly after the workshop this February, Kelly had some of her art turned into 3-D "dolls".  I now have one, and she resides in my kitchen, right at the sink - right near a rosary, a crucifix, and a beautiful Christmas card from the late, great Celeste Rast.   They all make me smile each time I'm at the sink, and they all keep me grounded.

But then - while on holiday this month in Montana, Mark and I walked into one of my favorite little shopping spots up there - The Barn, just outside Bigfork - and what should I see but a beautiful display of Kelly Rae items !!! 

They were all tucked into a vintage shabby cabinet, filled with old quilts, bits of lace, frames, old photographs, pressed glass, etc etc etc.   What a perfect setting for Kelly's "GIRLS" !!!

Upon my return home from AN ARTFUL JOURNEY, I opened up my Etsy shop {although it still has empty 'shelves', I have intentions to fill them}.  I also signed up for an on-line workshop with artist Jane Davila ... "Jump Start Your Art Career". 

Then later this spring, I signed up for Kelly Rae's on-line workshop, "Flying Lessons: Tips + Tricks to Help Your Creative Biz Soar" {which you can now order as an E-book course from Kelly here: }

In late July (2010) it was a distinct pleasure and a real treat to spend a day in (Colorado artist) K.C. Willis' "Collage Bootcamp", a full day where we created a piece, start to finish.  I shared this special day with Ann, and with Sally, Diane, and Jen - amongst other lovely ladies - learning all kinds of new ways to put fabric and paper and a photograph ... together. Find otu more about KC right here:

{more on collage bootcamp with KC to come ... and a link to her upcoming workshops right back here in So Cal in early 2011!}

And while I have moved on to appreciating other artist's styles of mixed media art, and have taken mixed media workshops from some of the great contemporary mixed media artists ... I will always consider my mixed media "roots" to be those fostered by Kelly Rae Roberts.

 -- Davielle