Feb 6, 2016

Ready to Work

On my walk to my studio/sweatshop this morning I had this brilliant idea to actual document my making routines. I've been taking a buisness for artist class at MICA and it's making me focus on the buisness side of jennyjen42, so that I can grow this to a full time career that I love! Mind you, I do love teaching, but in this day and age, I am losing steam and enthusiasm for a fast pace, let's just try this, put more and more on the teacher strategies that , let's face it , I'm getting too old for as well as out of that generation of thinking. I'll have my 30 years in before I know it and will be able to retire with benefits at the age of 54! Retire to my full time jennyjen gig. You know I like to travel, and eat well, and drink good wine periodically. I still want to do that! So here goes, I've learned that people want to hear your story. They want to know what inspires you, in hopes that it inspires them to buy from you and continue to support you .

Sweatshop story today is a simple photo documentary of my sweatshop routine in the winter time. I stole this from Mr. Rogers : 

Jan 10, 2016

Wiltshire, the Middle of our Trip

Our trip was amazing. We rented a car and drove down to Chippenham to stay at a pretty awesome Airbnb that was a converted stable from an old Georgian style mansion. It was perfect for traveling around Wiltshire where we could see a couple of White Horses, Avery Circle and Stonehenge. What a magical land, even in the rain. I highly recommend the trip. 

There is a new visitor center and route to see Stonehenge. Not just stopping off on the highway anymore. We got off the bus and walked up after visiting the burrows   We actually got to catch the morning sun as well. 

This was the first white horse we saw that was a bit disappointing since it was actually concreted over. I guess the upkeep on chalk engravings is a bit daunting. 

Avery Circle and Sidbury Hill are very close to each other and be walked to, through and around. It's part of a lovely village that thankfully has a lovely pub to escape to from the rain. 

Loading up the Shop

This weekends goal has been cleaning and organizing my sweatshop and listing new items in my shop. Did you not get what you wanted for Xmas? Need a little pick me up for the dreading winter blues? Well stop on by the shop! Use coupon code FREESHIPPING for just that!!! www.jennyjen42.etsy.com 

Dec 27, 2015

Walking tour of Bungay

      It's been a very lazy day. Spending most of the day finding the wifi password at my mum-in-law's place and catching up with the rest of the world as well as waiting for the rain to end. We ventured out to find some good photo shots and perhaps a pint or two. We shot first then found a good pub to drink and edit our photos. Got to love snapseed and modern technology for letting us do this at our finger tips. Here it is, our photo tour of Bungay on a late rainy afternoon. 

Happy Holidays from the UK

We arrived after a red-eyed flight on British Air, to a cloudy Chritmas Eve in London. Just enough time to do a little more Chritmas shopping before taking the train to Diss from Liverpool station. My mum-in-law lives in Ditchenham,  just a stone's throw away from Bungay. We spent most of Chritmas with family drinking plenty of champagne and mulled wine, and ate amazing food untill we screamed Uncle. We had A nice walk through the mud and an afternoon attempting to solve some tricky 3D wooden puzzles. 

     Today begins our third day of resting, eating and walking through this beautiful countryside and drinking in pubs. 

Tomorrow we travel to Norwich for my first Norwich Canary game in real life! Followed by a stay in Norwich until we pick up our car to travel to Chippenham. Will post more as our travels continue. Hoping everyone had a pleasant Xmas and time with their love ones . cheers! 

Dec 21, 2015

Thanks for The Best Season Ever!

Happy is the crafter who gets to watch her handmade items go into the happy hands of the faithful customers! Happy is the maker who gets to see her clients multiply each year!  Happy is the anxious salesperson seeing people remembering her products and wanting to buy more! I was the happy one this year. This holiday season I had tons of complements and very good sales beginning with two Clover  Markets along with a fall Art Star craft bazaar in a very special race car museum. 

The holiday season started off with "All Craft Considered" in the NPR building in Washington,DC. which was an amazing start! Then "Bazaart" at the American Visionary Museum and lastly "Holiday Heap" Charm City's Craft Mafia which had early bird tickets for the first hour. That first hour almost sold me out! 

An incredible season thanks to my incredible fans!! Thanks Again! I'm going to take a couple of weeks off to visit Family in England for the Holidays! Will post pictures when I get there! 

Dec 19, 2015

Latest Bird Portraits ....my latest favorites

Perhaps the effects of teaching high school kids all day  before going to my sweatshop during the week, invade my psyche and produce a certain flair when I draw my birds. I was very thrille with the attention these got during my recent holiday shows, with many comments about the personalities each bird had. I am not that conscience of the personality when I make them, except when I choose which bird I want to draw. Which bird photo speaks to me at that moment, the look on their face, their stance, their attitude that I am drawn to at the time. I draw the contour of the bird portrait with a fabric marker that disappears when I wash it out with warm water . And then I put my machine on this free stitch mode and precede sewing...drawing with my machine. I mainly follow the contour of the bird to get the proportions and specific details as accurate as I can. I add the shading as I sew , loving the quality of the sewn line.  I have always loved following the line! I used to use an overhead projector when I painted. Projected wallpaper patterns and drawings that I had created or appropriate. There is a meditative calmness that happens and my mind is allowed to wonder when I'm tracing , which I pretty much what I am doing.  The additional shading and details are allowed to happen with confidence.  Here are some of my latest pictured here. These are 3" and 4" hoop drawings. Some are listed in my shop. I love doing custom portraits of your favorite birds as well. Give a convo in my shop if interested. My shop is here.

Dec 17, 2015

New Totes

This was an amazing year in the jennyjen land with new products, new wholesale accounts , another year of being a Finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Contest, and the best holiday season EVER! I'm so in love with the line quality of my sewing machine and my confidence of drawing with it has me smiling more than ever as I hover over my machine. I finally figured out what to do with those curtains I had from living in the CopyCat Building with my new up cycle totes. Here's a little preview on my new little loves: 

Dec 15, 2015

Messenger Bags upgrade



My newest version of my messenger bags have freehand machine stitched birds instead of the felt appliqué birds, for durability and a no pull effect. I love seeing my products out there in the world, but cringe every time I see a bird bird covered in pulled felt. The freehand birds are appliqué on and then sewn around the edges for extra strength. Closures are now all stainless magnets, saying good-bye to Velcro! All straps are adjustable with stainless steel hardware. A zipper pocket, and numerous accessory pockets fill the interior.  These guys are on sale for $125.00 in my Etsy shop!



Dec 14, 2015

How I draw with my machine!

Check this out!!!! Thanks to my awesome buddy and Photo guru Ryan Twentey for filming and editing this video teaser for me!

A word or two from the sweatshop

Hiya from the sweatshop! I know, I know, I need to get this blog posting, web page making a happening thing! I have updated my technology with a new iMac and iPhone 6 hoping to up the quality and efficiency of my posts, photos in a hopefully consistent pattern. I am in my 28th year of teaching! Can't believe that one and my business of making has been growing and making some very good steps towards doing it full time! I am still hanging on to my teaching gig, not just for the benefits and pensions, but yeah, for the love of teaching art! Now that I am quickly approaching my last years, I am teaching at the top of my game and truly loving the act of teaching the way I want and seeing the benefits of showing up to work with a smile on my face. 

 Sweatshop talk: I bought a sweet 1950's era Singer Industrial Sewing Machine that I absolutely love the look of and am intimidated as heck to use it. I need to get some stronger industrial thread and go at it once my holiday making is over. 

The past month has afforded my three new wholesale accounts, the most sales of any holiday shows I have done and a some new products that I really am proud of ( and have been selling like hotcakes!). Putting the felt appliqué on the back burning and embracing the freehand machine stitched method of drawing with my sewing machine. My bird portraits have come to life and are filling up my sketchbook with so many ideas.  I am planning on posting my new products and my latest loves! Thanks for sticking by me and coming back to visit here every once in a while! 

Jul 1, 2015

How far we Have Come!

Little did I know that our weekend in DC would be so celebrated when I booked our stay! We came to celebrate my turning 52, and our marriage of 2 years! How glorious that the Supreme came through and made it possible for all  To get married no matter what sex or gender they may be! We missed seeing the White House in its rainbow glory. Hoping it will stay rain bowed for us to catch it tonight!

Jun 26, 2015

New Cosmetic Bags!

I love having time in my studio to play around and make new products. I heard my audience and have updated my zipper pouches to larger and wider cosmetic bags ! I played with my remnants of decor and barkcloth fabrics to create patchwork durable shells, added fleece and cotton linings to make it more padded and protected. Then adorned with felted birdie birds and rick rack! Look for them at Artscape this year! 

School Year Hangover

I think this photo tells it all.  Last Friday, I completed my 28th. year of teaching art in Baltimore County!  Which means I am staring retirement in its face! I have 2 and a half years, ( that half year is thanks to teaching four days a week for one of those 28 years). It's amazing how fast life can go as well as how slow it can also be. We said good-bye to Paul Pavik,  who retired at the end of his 33 year of teaching. We welcomed David Woodward this year as our new ceramics teacher.  We completed a crazy year of snow delays, riot aftermath and a very energetic ninth grade class that could use some time sitting on the reflection chair!   Oh well, time to regroup, work on my business and have fun in my sweatshop, travel and enjoy my summer. Which is down to two months now!!! Happy Summer!!

Mar 22, 2015

Watch me Draw!

  Click to see this amazing video Ryan Twentey did of me drawing with my sewing machine!

Feb 21, 2015

Stitched Bird Series...My one a day...otherwise what I did for the month of January 2015

This is my second year participating in the fun-a-day project  in which you work on project or art series for the entire month of January, specifically every day. Last year I did self-portraits which lead in to a very deep month of exploration of emotions since my Dad was in the hospital for most of the month until his death on the 29th of the month. This year, I'm going a bit more towards strengthening my drawing on my sewing machine and bird theme. So I drew with my sewing machine, freehand, a new bird everyday and appliqued it on a patterned background. All birds are then mod podged onto a 5" square wooden canvas. Today, I made labels that will be glued on the back that will have the name and a photograph of the bird . Once again, neglecting my blog, I am going to revived it with posting my birdies. The exhibit is not until the first Thursday of March.