Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Goodies!

Happy Saturday everyone! We have some really great new goodies in the shop! Victorian Halloween Cameo Ornaments that are beyond gorgeous, new Tim Holtz Stencils, fabulous Winged Skeletons, Charms, and more! The Ornate Cameo Frames are great for any  holiday, not just Halloween! I can't wait to play with them!

Inspiration By Diana Darden!

These super sweet Bird Cage Ornaments are by Diana Darden. Notice how wonderfully she combined her Inka Golds? Fantastic ornament inspiration Diana!

Inspiration By Luci Brito!

This project by Luci Brito is so fun! She used VerDay Paint and Patina on Paper Mache Boxes and plastic animals to create the look of aged metal. If you've not tried the VerDay, you're missing out. It's so easy to use and the results are phenomenal!

Inspiration By Anna Hedberg!

This stunning Victorian Mirror is by Anna Hedberg. I adore the sentiment inside the frame, and love the way she used our Mini Word Stencil. Anna used the Mirror with Clear Acrylic insert to create this fabulous look, however they are also available with a mirror insert! So lovely Anna!

Inspiration By Michelle Phillips!

How amazing is this Dress Form Doll by Michelle Phillips from Australia! The Steampunk Air Findings were certainly a great touch and the butterfly wings are perfect! There are so many fabulous details on this stunning piece. Thank you so much for sharing Michelle!

My Merfolk!

Last week we wrapped up our Merfolk swap, and this is the pair that decided to stay and live in the Retro Café Art Gallery studio. Merman by Deb Moon and Mermaid by 9 year old Zoe Matthews! As you can see, they are busy taking care of their Tiny Mermaid!
You can check out all of the Merfolk on Facebook or on Pinterest. So much inspiration in one place!

Studio Update!

I'm still having a blast in the new studio, and am continuing to organize and decorate. This past week I spent time emptying out the "nook", which you can see at the back of the photo above.

Initially I thought the space might hold inventory, but then I had a better idea. I realized it was he perfect size for a couch and TV. And perhaps a rug and small coffee table. I'm calling it my "nap nook" and I can't wait to use this space to relax and recharge. I'll be sitting here drinking coffee, looking at art magazines, and thinking up lots of creative ideas! I'll show you once the nap nook is complete! xo

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Fun Background Tutorial + New Goodies

New Goodies!

Happy Saturday everyone! We have some really cool new goodies in the shop. A fabulous new House Shrine Kit, a large Crab Shrine Kit (yay!), Vintage Sales Tax Tokens, more cool Molds, and more! All of the Clay and Clay Tools have their own section now too.

Fun Background Technique! 

This week we wrapped up our Merfolk Art Swap (AMAZING ART!), and I wanted to make a gift for everyone. Yep, I gave everyone crabs! LOL!
They came out so cute, and I had a few extras so you can find them in the shop. While supplies last!
The background was extra fun, and I'll share what I did below. I think this would look especially great on our new King Crab Shrine Kit! (He would also look smashing with Relique Powders!)
This technique would be great on any of our Masonite Kits and/or Chipboard Cut-Outs too.

My back is chipboard painted with black acrylic. And lots of random doodling with a White Sharpie Paint Marker.

I started by dry brushing on some acrylic paint. You can use any colors you please. I started with pink.

Then I added orange and yellow. I made sure to paint in different directions, using quick, bold strokes. I purposely let some of the chipboard show through.

Next I tore up strips of vintage book pages.

 I attached the strips with Matte Glue N Seal.

Once everything was dry, I added a bit of paint over the text trips and stamped randomly all over the piece with Sepia Archival Ink. I always like to heat set my ink, just to be sure it won't smear later.

I dry brushed some white acrylic paint over the piece and finished things off with Glamour Dust! The Glamour Dust is my favorite part. It's hard to capture in the photo (you can see a bit at the bottom), but the entire piece has a lovely shimmer. The paint in semi-transparent, so if you only put on one layer, you get the look you see above. The text picked up a bit of color, but just in a few areas which I love. You can build the paint up in layers if you want more color.

I had a few extra crabs, which you can find in the shop!

Inspiration By Gerri Herbst!

Design Team Member Gerri Herbst created this lovely frilly collage piece. She cleverly used the waste from the Small Gothic Windows and added a Medium Gothic Window on top. She also used Collage Sheet CV76, Aqua Fancy Scalloped Dresden, Stickles, Valentine Word Cut Outs, and Paper Flowers. So beautiful Gerri!

Inspiration By Tracy Delisle!

This fabulous Bird in Hand is by Tracy Delisle! The entire finish is stunning and I love the sweet Tiny Eggs she added at the bottom. So lovey Tracy!

Mold Inspiration!

We have some super fabulous new Molds and Clay in the shop, so here are a few pieces to inspire you. I know I can't wait to try the stuff myself! The doll faces are fantastic with several of our Art Doll Kits!

Linda O'Connor has been creating some fabulous faces, and she is largely the inspiration behind the new stock. The gorgeous art above and below is by Linda and you can see more on her wonderful blog.

These mermaids by Sara Vukson are another beautiful example using molded Clay faces!

Merfolk Art Swap!

The Merfolk were due this week, and all of the return boxes have been shipped. We had 27 artists participate with 80 Merfolk! WOW! And each one was so different and incredibly special. Everyone who played did an amazing job and I'm always thrilled to receive the art! AWESOME JOB everyone!
You can check them all out on Facebook or on Pinterest. You don't want to miss it!
The stunning creatures above are by Luci Brito!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

TINY Mermaid Art Doll Kits + a Fun Personal Announcement‏

New Goodies!

Happy Saturday everyone!
We have some great new goodies in the shop including TINY (and I mean itty bitty) Articulated Merfolk, Sugar Skull Collage Sheets, awesome Molds and Mold Making Supplies, Stamps, and much more!

Art Time!

These adorable, TINY, Merfolk are by the talented Deb Moon. Deb sent these itty bitty folk as part of her swap. She made them out shrink plastic, using the Medium Merfolk as a template. I immediately fell in love with them and knew they had to be a kit. Deb was actually going to ask me to make them, and was thrilled when I told her!!!

I've been wanting to make a Dia De Los Muertos Mermaid for quite some time, so this was the perfect opportunity! Since they are so small, the project was really fast!
1. Paint pieces with Gesso. I used a few coats on both sides.
2. Zentangle your pieces. The Signo pen was a DREAM on he Gesso. I've used lots of pens on Gesso, and some get clogged rather quickly. The Signo wrote beautifully the entire time!
3. Fussy cute Sugar Skull and attach to head. Attach pieces together with Tiny Brads.

Inspiration By Gena Boone-Curtis!

Gena Bone-Curtis did a bee-utiful job on this Queen Bee Art Doll. I especially love her Honeycomb Stencil work and the gorgeous finish on her wings. The beads and charm at the bottom are also a sweet touch! Lovely Gena!

Inspiration by Diana Darden!

This stunning Frida Shrine is by Diana Darden. The quote is fantastic, and of course I love all of the bright happy colors. You definitely honor Frida Diana! Beautifully done!

Inspiration By Tracy Delisle!
Tracy Delisle was definitely using her head with this fantastic piece! They way she used the Phrenology Head Shrine, painting parts of the Paper Cut is just so unique and awesome. And if you need Light Bulb Cut Outs, we have those too. Thanks for the bright ideas Tracy!

Inspiration By Linda O'Connor!
Linda O'Connor created these delightfully unique Steampunk Fairies. The detail on them is absolutely incredible. I really love the faces, and am dying to try my hand at our new Art Doll Molds. They would be perfect for the Fairies and several of our other Art Dolls! You find more photos and info on Linda's Blog here. Check out their backsides!

Announcement - We've Moved!

Hi everyone, I have some exciting personal news to share. We moved!!! The process started WAY back in January. We had been leisurely looking at homes for a few years. It was obvious we needed a larger space, and our (my) goal was to find one with the perfect dream studio. A place for myself and Retro Café Art Gallery, with room to grow. Chris was doubtful, and as we looked we discussed other options. But as fate would have it, in January we found THE perfect home, and even better, it was just three minutes from our current home at the time. Now my plan from day one was to keep this a secret project until it was completed. I was bursting at the seams wanting to spill the news, but I also knew this: We have the BEST, most considerate customers around and I was worried that folks might not want to place orders, concerned that I would be too busy. I mentioned this to a customer and her response was "Yeah, I would have waited until you were settled." See! Well frankly, moving aint cheap and I knew this was going to be a long process so "business as usual" was my ultimate goal. Chris doubted my vision, but I was determined, and by golly we pulled it off. We moved the studio on a Saturday and by that next day I was packing orders again. During the months prior, we were having renovations done, cleaning both homes, and sneaking in packing when we could.

As seamless as everything was, it was a ton of work and planning, and I'm not sure if I could do it again. But I don't have to! We adore our new home and plan to stay there for a long long time. And feel free to place those orders! The hard work is all over. And I only flipped out and cried once, and I think that's pretty good!

We love the entire home, but the thing that sold it for me was definitely the studio. The entire studio space is over 1400 sq. feet. What you can't see in the photos below is a large storage room, perfect for boxes, material, and extra inventory. There is an adorable full bathroom. A walkout area with double doors and a small brick patio area (perfect for a little table for tea and coffee breaks). And there are tons of daylight windows. I wanted the space to be happy and bright. We added lots of can lights and get this, they are all on dimmers which is a super cool feature. I had no idea this even existed. Our electrician rocked and added the dimmer switches for free! We also replaced all of the flooring and repaired and painted all the walls. The floor is seriously the coolest! The home is 10 years old, but it's practically like new again. Chris also has a fabulous office, a large bonus room above the garage. We're both happy. He no longer has to look at bins of "creepy doll heads", and I won't have to trip over his Legos and have a dining table room covered in computers.

These pictures are a few weeks old, so things are falling more into place now. But I'm not in a huge hurry. I'm taking my time, enjoying the process, and getting even more organized. I have lots of great inventory I've been hoarding too, so stay tuned for that! I've had lots of requests for more photos, and I have posted several on my personal Facebook page if you're interested. I'm not sure why we love seeing photos of other peoples' homes, but I'm the same way! When we were looking at houses with our realtor, I loved going in homes, even if we weren't really interested. We looked at a few interesting houses just for fun, even though they were out of our price range.

One of my favorite studio features is this lighted art case. Some of the work might look familiar! I have so many treasured pieces of art that have been sent to me over the years and I'm thrilled that they will receive the display justice that they deserve! As you can see I have lots more room. I may keep a few shelves free as a swap art holding area.

Some of my most prized possessions!

This is how I look most days in the studio. Comfy pajama clothes are a must!

Growing up we didn't have much money. I didn't get senior photos, or go to prom. Those things cost money. I started working when I was 14 detasseling corn and then moved on to working in a nursing home when I was 15. I put myself through college, completing a Masters level. I've always worked for what I have and I will continue to do so. I'm not complaining at all, and I know many of you have a similar story. Because of this I can tell you I appreciate every bit of what I have. For the first time in my life I have a dresser, a refrigerator with a water dispenser in the door, and space to just breathe. It may sound silly, but these things to me feel like a dream, and I feel truly blessed! I feel incredibly fancy every time I get crushed ice from the fridge door! Our new home isn't a mansion, but it feels like one to me!

When I started Retro Café Art Gallery back in 2003, selling a few of my Collage Sheets on Ebay, I had an ultimate goal and dream. I've been working extremely hard toward that goal ever since, and I'm elated and proud that the dream has come true! (and of course now I have more dreams and goals). A few of you on Facebook already have me teaching classes and hosting art retreats. You never know! If you have any ideas or suggestions for the studio space, reply to this newsletter. I'm all ears.

So what does this mean for you? Well, it means the continued growth and longevity of Retro Café Art Gallery. It means our awesome art swaps will continue.  Great customer service will continue.  And it means there will be an extra happy goodie designer and order packer behind it all! It's entirely possible I'll be dancing while packing your orders, just because I can. Truthfully, it's already happened.

Thank you, dear customers, from the bottom of my heart, for joining me in this artful ride with your continuous support and encouragement. Here's to many many more years of creativity for us all! XOXO Kristin

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Time to make some ART - literally - and a SALE‏

New Goodies!

Hi Everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful holiday weekend. I found some time to make a bit of art, so mine has been great so far! I was itching to do a FUN collage, and what could be more fun than an ART collage! Literally! We also have several other fun goodies in the shop.

ART Time! 

Well now, this is most definitely some ART time. I had a BLAST playing with our new Jumbo Art Word Cut Outs. They have lots of area to alter, which satisfied my desire to do a fun layered collage. Of course you can go several routes with these letters! I'll share my steps below!

First, I brushed on some acrylic paint. I didn't worry too much about covering the entire thing. I went for fast and a bit messy! I used Orange, Hot Pink, and Aqua.

 Next, I tore up bits of vintage book pages and attached randomly using my Glue N Seal.

To clean my edges, I used the Basic Grey File Set. This set is the absolute BOMB! It comes with several small files for getting in those tight spaces. And of course a few larger files too. I'll never use sand paper again! Next I added some rubber stamping.

I fussy cut several collage images and tore a few others. I attached them with Glue N Seal and filed my edges with my new file set!

Using my Large Fish Scale stencil, I added some White acrylic paint in certain areas.

To finish things off, I added the word "ARTIST" using our new stencil and a black gel pen.

Your ART is ready to display. You have several options! 

I think I like my ART best in the window sill!

Inspiration By Gerri Herbst!

Design Team Member Gerri Herbst created this SWEET Mermaid Garland using our Glitter Mermaids Collage Sheet and Mirror Cut Outs. So magical Gerri!

Mermaid Inspiration By Diana Darden!

This fabulous Personal Shrine is by Diana Darden! I just love the playful nature of this piece. Beautiful Diana!

Mermaid Inspiration By Carolyn Huber!

Carolyn Huber's Mermaids will be sailing in style in their very own Sailboat! Awesome job Carolyn!

Inspiration By Linda Cain!

This stunning Gothic Arch Triptych is by Team Member Linda Cain! You can view more photos and learn about the entire process on Linda's blog HERE. Thanks for all the great tips Linda!

Merfolk Art Swap!

Just a reminder, Merfolk are due July 14th. You can read the full information HERE!
The Merfolk have begun to arrive. You can check them out on Facebook or on Pinterest.
The fabulous folk below are by Deb Moon!