Friday, November 16, 2007

Today's artist - Jennifer Cortese

In keeping with our seasonal rearranging of the store (as opposed to the seasonal hanging of the greens!) we have moved Jennifer's lovely stone necklaces up front. Jennifer uses sterling silver, gold vermeil findings and the most lovely, substantial semi-precious stones to make her jewelry. Quartz, Tiger Eye, Turquoise and Jade are among the jewels adorning one of Lani's "feather" trees.

I had a whirlwind morning. Went to visit my vivacious friend Maria and her lovely mama at Tiara Day in Kensington. (What's with the name you ask? Well, according to Maria, "Every day should be a Tiara Day!") My envy over Maria's shop was one of the factors I used to decide to sign the lease here at Stifel and Capra. I had been reading Julia Cameron's classic "The Artist's Way" and in it she urged the reader to pay attention to the green eyed monster, jealousy, and use it to propel you to action.... But I digress! Maria is having her annual holiday open house this weekend and the store looks great! I bought some great pieces to make into pillows and a loopy little off-white chenille Chritmas tree because I couldn't resist adding it to my creamy living room!

Then it was off to my daughter's Elementary school to partake in the annual Parents-Invited-Thanksgiving -Day-Lunch-Special. Boy do those green beans take you back to cafeteria days! At least they didn't have mushroom soup and the little crunchy things on them (with apologies to those of you that actually LIKE green bean casserole). Of course my darling daughter didn't "invite" me until Wednesday to this fabulous feast so I COMPLETELY wasn't thinking I wouldn't be in the store so when my friend Amy came to call at EXACTLY the same time I was pulling into the parking lot. Ashleigh got to make excuses for me. *sigh* (I am SO sorry Amy! Would you believe me when I say you would beat out jelly cranberry sauce and soggy beans any day??! "But Moooommm, YOU ALWAYS come on Thanksgiving...." Duty called.)

Had a fun afternoon at the store however. Got lots of new merchandise in and we are as ready as we are going to be for the holidays. So come by! I will be at the shop Saturday morning from 9:30 to 12:30. Hope to see you then!
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Elizabeth Geers Loftis- Oil Pastel & Mixed Media

Artist of the Day - Beth Loftis!
"I'm inspired by patterns and primitive works. I love using oil pastels because it puts me close to my work- I'm happiest when my hands are dirty." Beth begins with a pencil sketch and then layers on the color! She favors earthy, ethnic combinations that refer back to her international travels while her husband was in the Foreign Service. After Beth is happy with her colors she applies a layer of watercolor to provide a nuetral base for her composition. Beth has both framed and unframed pieces in the shop and can be tapped to do custom pieces as well!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pat Swinsky - Porcelain Ornaments

Local artist Pat Swinsky lives in Fairfax, Virginia. I am a BIG fan of Pat's from way back. I first met her at the local Northern Virginia Handcrafter's Guild Craft Shows and begged her to put some her work in the store. Each of her dozens of designs are signed originals painted freehand by Pat. The raised designs are tectured glazes that are applied with a tool that resembles a hypodermic syringe. The ornaments are then kiln fired. The porcelain is lovely. It has a matte finish reminicent of Wedgewood.

We have gotten more of our "Custom Creations" online as requested so you can now order personalized items direct from the web.

Bob got the good (?) news back that he does NOT have bone chip floating around in his hip. On one hand no surgery to fix THAT but that means they still don't know what is causing the sharp pain in his hip. On to the hip specialist...
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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Characters of Mary Ann Graham

Hope everyone enjoyed their Veteran's Day and remembered to say "thank you" to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines both past and present. If you haven't- It's not too late! Do it today!

I met Mary Ann Graham at the Northern Virginia Handcrafter's Guild when I joined years back. She makes wonderful, whimsical paper mache' and paperboard ornaments with loads of handpainted details. We have a tree loaded with quite the assortment. Tell me which is your favorite? (I am partial to the bald Santa, myself!).

Speaking of characters, one of husband Bob's FAVORITE CHaracters, Bill Mac Donald got married this weekend to his lovely bride Jenna. We traveled to lovely Ridgway , PA sans kids (thanks Grandma & Grandpa!) to attend. The town really is beautiful, nestled in the hills, lots of nifty architecture , NO McMansions and lots of personality. The wedding was a CRUSH. The bride and groom have 80 something first cousins between them so it was a huge event; we felt honored to be invited. Bob noted that half the groomen were from his firm (PPC) and was tickled that such lasting friendships are too be had at the company. As the groom constantly calls me "Mrs. Stifel" I just felt old!

Bob is off to the Orthopaedic surgeon this morning to get his latest MRI read. Keep your fingers crossed that there IS something that the medical community can do for his arthritis. It is difficult to watch Bob in so much pain. And the cold weather work exactly help....