Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Website

Hello friends!
The youngest daughter/sister of Things With Wings here...
I wanted to let you all know that I have a new website/blog that I would love for y'all to check out.

Explore a bit and learn more about me, listen to some great music by my friends and read about my ministry at the Austin Stone Community Church.
My prayer for this website is that you are blessed and that it can be a resource of encouragement to you. Would love any feedback from you and would love for you to share this with those who will be blessed by what God is doing through me and my ministry.  So thankful for all of your support.
You are loved!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Last Weekend's Riverssance

We had quite the gloomy weather - cold and rainy - last weekend for Davenport Riverssance.  It actually didn't hardly rain at all during the actual show hours, but it looked like it was going to any minute, and unfortunately that was enough to keep the usually huge crowds away both days.  Even though we didn't do quite as much business as we have in years previous, we always manage to have a good time!  I guess we can't have perfect weather for EVERY show!  And there were quite a few brave souls who came to visit us who we were so happy to see!  Our addition off the back of our tent using one of our side panels was a life saver while we got ready in the mornings in the rain!  We were able to stay dry without having to crowd into the customer space.

Another real life saver?  This unassuming little stool.  Do not underestimate its power.  Because Green Girl's husband was in Ethiopia over this week,  she was not able to come for the whole show.  We're also used to having a tall husband around, but that just wasn't practical to bring 3 boys along and an extra car too.  This left me and Mamma Winger to handle things on our own.  This meant we were in charge of getting two of our sides panels, our makeshift rain canopy in the back, and a small canopy off the front set up each morning.  All this work was above my head (literally, not intellectually, and I AM the shortest Thing With Winger there is) so I decided to bring this guy along:

 Thank you step stool!  You made my life soooo much easier!  I promise to bring you along on some future TWW adventures!

There was this cute gal who came back several times to buy more of Mama Winger's hair pins.  So i had to take a picture of how cute they looked in her hair! 

 We decided that now was as good a time as any to start grooming the future generation of TWW, so Green Girl's youngest joined us on Sunday.   Her and Grandma Winger had fun coloring.  (Take note of how each scallop on her house is a different color?  We're training her well. )     

Notice the Twinkle Toes.  I guess they're THE thing right now.  I wouldn't know.  But I'll take a pair in 8 1/2 please for myself.  Do they make them in big girl sizes? 

 Grandma Winger had fun checking out the kids' art tent with her bestest (and only) grand girl.  They were both in their element and came back with lots of treasures.

Eva the puppy came along too and got pushed in the swing - there was a playground RIGHT behind our booth! - All. Day. Long.

 Saturday afternoon a customer discovered that many of our pieces are created on reclaimed scrap wood.   She told us her and her husband remodel houses, and there's a dumpster outside their current project with similar pieces of wood in it.  We joked around about going to check it out, and then we realized we seriously would!  We're not too proud - we've been known to go dumpster diving a time or two!  The house was not too far away, so we swung by on our way out of town.  Unfortunately, we didn't find anything worthwhile, but you never know unless you look and it makes for a good story!  If anyone local is ever wanting to get rid of scrap wood in good condition, please keep us in mind!  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Considering The Thrift Store Frame

One of the best things about thrift store shopping is finding unique frames to facelift.  For you artists out there who are looking for unique ways to display your work, we highly recommend the sad, oft-overlooked thrift store frame.  What?  "Oft" is a word - I use it oft.  Anyway, the thrift store frame has much more potential than you think and it won't be sad once you're done with it!   In our area, this means we are regular shoppers at our local Goodwills, as well as a few locally owned one-of-a-kinders.  With THREE of us Thing With Wingers living in the same area, scavenging sometimes becomes a friendly competition, so I've actually found it best to go ALONE.... :-)  Here's what we look for when we go scouting for frames:

No Glass - no glass usually means a cheaper frame. And we're all about cheap - in the best possible meaning of the word.  Most people WANT frames with glass, which makes them more desirable and usually more expensive. Well WE'RE not most people. :-)  Choosing frames with no glass means we don't have to figure out how to dispose of it, since we're not going to use it anyway.

Why DO we use frames with no glass anyway?
-glass makes our pieces heavy and breakable - two things we try to avoid when we have to pack up items for shows.
-people love to and are encouraged to touch our work, which has dimension and texture.  That experience gets lost under glass.

*Depending on the type of artwork YOU do, you'll have to decide if glass enhances and protects your work, or if it creates more distance from your customer and more harm and hassle than good.

Unique Qualities That Make A Frame One of a Kind - like shape, patterns, grooves, and dimension. Something that catches our eye and will stand out once painted and stained. 

 Sometimes we're looking for surfaces on which we can paint borders, scallops, stripes etc.

We also tend to look for bolder, chunkier, wider frames as it just creates a nice balance, and adds soooo much interest. We consider our frames to be just as much a part of our artwork as what we put in them.  The right frame makes or breaks it, so we don't ignore it's impact and pick skinny, wimpy, boring frames! We go all out!

Green Girl scored this mammoth, funky frame:

We also use wood plaques (we don't like that word, but what else do you call them?)  They come in a variety of unique shapes and nice sizes:

A Frame with a Paintable Surface - wood that has been varnished very smooth and shiny will chip once painted unless it's sanded first and who has the time to do that?! So we generally pass on anything that looks all lacquered up and look for duller (in sheen, not in personality) wood frames that we know will hold paint well.  They're not always the prettiest, and may be scuffed or dinged up, but they'll look totally different once we get our hands on them.  

Look at you, pretty girl!  All gussied up and two-toned!

Plastic frames are generally not paintable, but don't immediately discount them! Older plastic frames with an interesting design that are already in a desirable color can look awesome! Take Green Girl's "love for the great state of Iowa" art for example. Those little plastic frames are just plain cute! We avoid frames that have a border of metallic looking plastic on the inside edge as it's not usually paintable, and they're plain tacky in our opinion.  Same goes for any type of fuzzy, velour-like fabric glued in a strip around some frames....shudder. We've actually been known to remove such fuzz because sometimes the surface underneath is workable, and if it still has hardened glue or bits of fuzz, it can sometimes be covered with paper. Other frames have a middle border of a canvas-y type material. This is not necessarily a reason to pass this guy by! As long as it's still uniformly attached, it's usually paintable, (although you probably would not want to write or paint anything too detailed on it,) and it actually adds some nice texture, like this one:

A Sturdily Constructed Frame: We give it the wiggle test. if any of the miters (angled corner joints) are loose, and move when you wiggle it, that's a good reason to pass it by. They're probably fixable, but again, who has time for that?! There are so many more frames waiting for us just around the corner!

Things that DON'T deter us, and you shouldn't let it deter you either if you're a smart and resourceful artist:

Minor Knicks, Dents and Chips: In our line of artwork, this usually only enhances the frame and the artwork!  The more character the better. We give our pieces an aged, textural look anyway, so brushstrokes and any other type of indentations or markings just add to the beauty!

Goofy Colors: The color of a wood frame is SO easily changeable with acrylic paint, (FolkArt craft paint works great) so it should never be a deterrent! And who says wood frames have to be wood colored anyway? Bor---ing.  Sealing your newly painted frame with something like mod podge will make it more durable and give it a nice finish.

Odd Shapes:  Unique shapes never deter us - they are interesting, eye catching and we consider it a challenge!

Missing Hardware:  Never a good reason to pass up a cool frame.   We always have a supply of sawtooth picture hangers in a variety of sizes and heavy duty d-rings for heavier pieces.  We own frame guns so we can easily mount our work securely to the frame.  

Tacky Art Still in the Frame:

Some people can't get past it and see the potential. We're looking for the 'good bones' of a frame here people, so who cares if it contains a mass-produced 'painting' of a watermill or scary clown? So what if other shoppers look in our cart and question our taste in 'art?' (term used loosely.) We may have to check our pride at the door, but we come away with some treasures that are often overlooked.  Hey, and before we chuck that faux painting of a horse with mane blowing in the breeze, we use it as a template for the size of the new art that we will be creating, or sometimes build our artwork right on top of it!

Here's the same "plaque" as pictured above, now finished:

Look at it this way:  we're doing the world a favor.  We're doing our part to recycle and we're putting some really bad "art" out of its misery, turning those frames into something beautiful!  Our work is enhanced and truly one of a kind when we transform thrift store frames.  The world is overall a better place.  You're welcome.   :-)

More oft-overlooked frame details:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Weber Library

Thank you, Judith Dickson, for letting us add a little 'Things With Wings' to your library walls!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nice Owls.

One of the things I really love about art shows is meeting people and hearing stories. Yesterday, a lady came into our booth and said, "I like your owls, but I have to tell you this story." She then proceeded to tell us this incredible story about how her little pomeranian was scooped up by an owl and was found 3 miles away from her house. The reason she knows this is because a woman literally saw a little dog fall from the sky right in front of her (oh. my. word.) She went over to the dog and this huge owl came swooping at them trying to scoop up the dog again. The lady grabbed the dog and beat the owl off with her purse. She was able to find the dog's owner (the lady in our booth) and return the little dog. The pom was fine except for a broken tail (ouchie!) Isn't that an INCREDIBLE story??? The reason I wanted to tell you all this is because I want you to know that all of my owls are nice owls. They would NEVER do something like that.
The End.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Riverssance 2010

Join us this weekend!

Saturday September 18, 10-5
Sunday September 19, 10-4

Lindsay Park
Village of East Davenport - Davenport, Iowa

This festival of fine art is the premier fine arts festival of the Quad Cities, showcasing 100 of the top artists from throughout North America. The artwork will be complimented by regional entertainment on stage, children's art tent, quality food court, and much more.

Clicking on the graphic above will take you to more info about this event!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Here are some pictures from our day in Cedar Falls yesterday:
This was our first time at this show and we can't wait to go back next year!
The festival organizers did a great job of taking care of their artists. Providing us with big 10x20 spaces, a sack breakfast, a box lunch, and a trail mix afternoon snack. Our set up was a new challenge as this show has one row of booths down the middle of the street- and you should try to set up so that customers can access you from either side of the street. I think we came up with a unique layout that allowed people to walk around our racks rather than creating solid walls.
The morning was chilly and windy - WIND - always a challenging situation. We witnessed the tent next to us blowing over onto ours, and a bunch of pottery breaking. We are WAY overly cautious with weighting everything down and minimizing our wind resistance because we once had the same thing happen to us, (to this day windy shows send me into a panic) so we survived the wind just fine!

We were swamped with customers all day and the afternoon warmed up nicely!

We enjoyed the atmosphere alot. There was a free jukebox crankin' out classic tunes right behind us, and an instrument petting zoo across from us, hence all of the background noise in our video tour:

By the way, I am NOT a stinker. I'm just......
well, maybe I am a little.
Green Girl was a reluctant participant of the video tour, although she had no trouble laughing at us from off camera. Oh! And pay no attention to the shot of the $900 boob art in the booth next to us, 'kay?

Oh houses, and birds. Will we ever get tired of you? I think not. Not yet.
What's not to love about a box full of Green Girls' birds?

Can you believe that these three goofballs won The Merchants Award? We got this fancy ribbon, our picture taken and a check!
Down the street they had chalkboard painted an entire car! Anyone could add to it.
So of course I did. There may or may not have been a long arrow pointing in our general direction.
Here's a new little birdie design of mom's, made from recycled fabrics. I LOVE their floppy back feathers so much that I...I... I'm speechless.
These bird blocks of Green Girls' were a big hit. They make me happy. They just do.
So does this big house. I want to live in a house with circles on the roof:
So it was a good day! We went home happy and tired and excited to come back next year!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Time to Palooza our Art!

It's tomorrow, folks!
9am-4pm, September 11
Main Street, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The weather's going to be GREAT, so come join us!