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Non-toxic Fixative Find

by abby on June 29, 2012 | Comment

children's illustration

One week till Corn Hill Arts Festival! Whoo-ooo! My to-do list is finally getting smaller and the excitement is growing.

One of the last major projects was to mount my original gouache mixed media paintings to “ready to hang” wood panels. It was a little stressful, but thankfully the gluing and trimming went well. I had to do some experimenting and research on how to protect the art on the panel. I found a fantastic non-toxic fixative. It’s called SpextraFix. It’s a casein-based fixative that uses milk proteins and grain alcohol to provide a workable, all natural, archival fixative. Apparently, this is the material Degas used to protect his own pastel drawings!

I thought this product was great. It’s odor free, so you actually can use it indoors too. It dries within a couple of minutes to a matte finish without dulling the pigments. I coated my paintings with several layers of SpectraFix without any problems. I even tried to smear a painting with paper towels and it was kept intact! I will be recommending this product to my illustration students come this Fall.

Have you ever tried SpectraFix before?

Daily Monster Fix

by abby on June 26, 2012 | Comment

Stefan Bucher

This morning I came across designer/illustrator, Stefan Bucher’s, new app for your iphone or ipad—The DAILY MONSTER Monster Maker. It’s a spin off on his own personal Daily Monster project. Now you get to create your very own monsters using exclusive inkblots and eyeballs and other monster parts Bucher has specifically created for this app.

stefan bucher illustration

Monster Maker App

But wait there’s more! Your monsters can speak their minds with custom speech bubbles or pose for photos and it all the results can be posted to Facebook and Twitter. Or if your monsters are real divas, you can have them printed on t-shirts with the new Zazzle button.

What would your monster look like? I found my very own monster in the backyard over the weekend.
abbydora design illustration

This handy monster helped me with a Corn Hill Arts Festival preparation. He made FABULOUS tent weights! The Corn Hill Arts Festival is next weekend—July 7th and 8th. (It’s finally here!) I hope you can attend!

Little Free Libraries

by abby on June 22, 2012 | Comment

build your own

I am totally in love with Little Free Libraries! Aren’t they so adorable? I want one in my front yard too. Happily, this fantastic organization has been getting some due props this week from the Etsy blog team and from artist, Jessica Swift.

Todd Bol

Essentially, it’s an organization that supports sharing of books: “Take a book, return a book” now appears on each and every recorded Little Free Library. The idea started in 2009 by Todd Bol, to honor his mother, June. He built a schoolhouse structure, filled it with books, and mounted in on a pole. Voila—a little free library!

take a book, return a book

share books

From the start of one, there are now more than 1,500 Little Free Libraries in more than 40 states and 20 countries. Interested in creating your own? The Little Free Libraries website offers fully built structures or directions for creating your very own one-of-a-kind design. There are all sorts of libraries—bird feeders, British phone booths, cute cottages, and barns. Some even have elaborate painted exteriors too! But above all, these structures are easily to use with a plexiglass door so about 20-50 books can be seen.

picture books
(all images from Little Free Library website)

Each new library can be registered with the Little Free Library organization and get an official number and be added to a Google map where interested book lovers can search for nearby little free libraries. I looked in Rochester, New York and there aren’t any here. Maybe D and I can be the first to build one! Little Free Libraries are great community builders. Neighbors can meet neighbors as books are browsed/returned or their curiosity draws them out. They simply make people smile. Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?

Natural Art

by abby on June 19, 2012 | Comment

Nature Photograph

Over the weekend D and I traveled to Pennsylvania for a family party to celebrate my grandparents 65th Wedding Anniversary. We stayed at a restored turn of the century healing springs hotel that still had a natural spring bathing pool. The hotel was situated at the bottom of 2 ridges and offered several hiking trails around the grounds. On one of our hikes I spotted this beautiful shadow on our path. Mother nature is quite the artist! It was so cool and comfortable walking in the woods. I’m missing that cool breeze now as Rochester is going through a 90 degrees heat wave. Stay cool!

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

by abby on June 12, 2012 | Comment

creativity quote

Running my own company has been an amazing experience. In my 2 years I’ve learned so much about myself, my art, and how to run a business. AbbyDora Design is a one woman show. I’m the Creative Director, Chief Financial Officer, IT tech, and Head Paper Cutter. In my art and in business each decision is made by me. I’ll admit that at times I don’t have all the answers, but I do what I can to find them and make the best decisions I can and then move on.

I’m taking Edwin Land’s advice to heart with all my preparations for the Corn Hill Festival. I’ve made several new pieces of art and created new products to sell. I’ve made hundreds of decisions for this summer art festival and hope they all come together to create an amazing showcase for AbbyDora Design!
Are you planning on attending the Corn Hill Arts Festival?

Personalized Baby Name Prints

by abby on June 8, 2012 | Comment

purple butterfly art
One month to go until the Corn Hill Art Festival and I’m making headway each day. My list to do is still longer than I’d like, but yesterday I completed matting and packaging all my prints—all 102 of them! Phew!

One of the new prints that I will be offering starting today in my Etsy store and at the Corn Hill Arts Festival are Custom Cute Bug Name Prints! These prints are perfect as a shower gift for a mother-to-be or for decorating the bedroom of your own little one. You have 4 choices of artwork:

FIREFLY
navy blue bug

LADYBUG
ladybug print

BUTTERFLY
girl name plate

HONEY BEE
custom name art

Ordering your print is simple. During check out at my Etsy shop just add a note mentioning which bug you’d like and the first name to appear on the print. Voila! Your personal print will be on its way.

Porch Color

by abby on June 5, 2012 | Comment

porch design

This summer D and I decided our second story porch needed more color—especially after our rental house was painted a very non-inspiring medium brown. I was determined to add touches of bright yellows, reds, and apple greens!

Armed with our to-go coffee mugs we took on the nurseries of Rochester. Although it took most of Saturday we found just the right splashes of color.

I found our red in a vibrant pair of Geraniums. And I even potted them in a gorgeous indigo blue ceramic pot.

A large fern in a hanging basket adds a great splash of bright green. Herbs in orange ceramic pots dot our railings for more color.
hanging plant
porch landscape

Finally, we have a wonderful corner of yellow and purple!
yellow coronis

Now when we sit on our porch there is color at every glance and let me tell you it feels so good! I know D and I will be enjoying our porch even more this summer.
How have you decorated your porch or patio?

Monkey Panel Art

by abby on June 1, 2012 | Comment

animal artwork

It’s June 1st and that means I’m in full production mode to prepare for the Corn Hill Festival happening on July 7th & 8th. The AbbyDora Design booth will have handmade greeting cards, stationery sets, art prints, and original artwork perfect for a child’s room or classroom.

The new item that I will be selling this year are 6″ x 6″ digital prints mounted to wood panels. Last week, I prepared a sample mounted panel with my monkey artwork and it turned out great!
children's art

The square digital prints are mounted to archival wood panels that are ready to hang with a nail slot already formatted into the back of each panel. Simply hook the nail into the slot and the artwork is on the wall!
ready to hang artwork

Since these prints don’t need to be framed, they are a very affordable way to decorate your home! Beginning at the Corn Hill Festival in Rochester, New York the entire farm animal and wild animal collection will be available on wood panels.