creating illustrations with ooak…

let the children boogie art print 


Inspired by Bowie’s song – Starman, I created a digital art print with photographs of our one-of-a-kind ira starman the alien art doll, placed free floating, topsy-turvy, in outer space with a fellow starman.

With Jeff’s new art dolls, I believe I’m going to have to create more of these illustrations. It is just too much fun not to and I love all the possibilities.


 ira starman the alien art doll


This art print, in particular, is titled ‘let all the children boogie’ and was put in our shop today, just in time to be entered into the Nasa & Etsy Space Craft Contest---original, handmade artistic items inspired by NASA’s space exploration program.

I love the idea of this. When I think of our space exploration program, I like to believe that it is fueled by children’s imaginations from all over, and that the talented men and women at NASA were passionately drawn to their fields while very young and obsessively imagining all what lies beyond.


let the children boogie


While creating the illustration and deciding on a name, I came across this classic David Bowie music clip performing Starman. This is wonderfully nostalgic and tender sweet to myself, but no matter what era you spent your formative years in, there is no denying Mr. Bowie of being the original, wildly creative, and magical thinker that he is…



…there’s a starman waiting in the sky
he told us not to blow it
cause he knows it’s all worthwhile
he told me:
let the children use it
let the children loose it
let all the children boogie…
~david bowie


here’s wishing you a hazy cosmic day yourself,

when your art looks back at you

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We have been busy working on a collection that we are hoping to start showing this winter.

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Yes…we discovered a new canvas for jeff’s masking tape art technique

---gently used, abandoned dolls.

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Not sure why, but to me, winter seems like the perfect season to introduce these upcycled, homeless toys.

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Maybe they remind me of the toys from the Island of Misfit Toys etched into my psyche when I was little and watched Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer every year.

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I’ve certainly enjoyed them huddled around our studio these last couple of months,

…and taking photos of them.

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Their faces have a way of capturing my attention, and distracting me from my work.

Faces aren’t new to jeff’s work though.

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Here’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever told you about Jeff: he is a ‘people person’ like no one I’ve ever known. I believe the energy he receives from interacting with people feeds the core of his soul.

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I imagine that is why he likes to create faces so much

---the interaction you have with art that looks straight back at you is on a different level than any other.

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Perhaps that is why some of the most famous paintings are portraits--- like Mona Lisa, Girl with the Pearl Earring, or one of my favorites---The Helping Hand by Emile Renouf.


calli the butterfly art doll 
This little butterfly art doll hangs in our etsy shop now and is the first to be offered for sale from our new collection.

day of the dead skull upcycled art bottle

Our day of the dead art bottle has just been listed here, in time for the celebrated and beloved Mexican holiday, “Día de los Muertos”. Whenever I see it, I smile about as big as it’s smiling itself, right back at me. :-)

Another thing that makes me smile? …this animated short, I recently came across.

(¡Viva Calaca! Day of the Dead from Ritxi Ostáriz on Vimeo.
Created in 2008. ¡Viva Calaca! is an animation project by Ritxi Ostáriz ( based on the Mexican Day of the Dead. Direction, illustration and animation by Ritxi Ostáriz. Music by the American artist, Voltaire.)


However you intend to greet the end of October, I hope it is as celebratory and full of good times as this charming and creative video is.


creepy crawlies, super lens, making envelopes…

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Does the end of summer bring an end to the abundance of bugs? Not here in southwest Florida…but maybe a little fewer.


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During the summer, it seems that I’ve kept a photo log of all things creepy crawly that crossed my path.


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You see, I’ve been mesmerized with being able to view the tiniest little things through the lens of a darkroom enlarger, while it is strapped to my camera. (I use masking tape, no less.)




When I zoom in as much as possible and get about 4 inches away from my subjects, I see their minuscule world with a brand new knowledge.





Realizing that most bugs scare a good percentage of people, most of the time, and the fact that October is a breeze away---I recently collected five of my favorite macro bug shots and created some blank greeting cards with them to put up in our shop.


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Making the envelopes is pretty simple, and when you make your own, you can create any size card you want. I like cards that are 5 x 7 inches (approx. 13 x 18 cm); they can easily slide into a ready made frame for decorating with.

A 9 x 12 inch (approx. 23 x 30 cm) pad of drawing paper works perfectly for the envelopes.
Whichever size you choose, your paper for the envelope will need to be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) larger on all sides than your card is when it is opened up flat and placed in the middle of the piece of paper.


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Lay your card, folded, in the middle of your paper.


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Fold over the sides. (I use a spoon for good creases)


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Fold the bottom edge over.


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And, fold the top edge over.


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Open your paper, and remove the card.


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You’ll be cutting out the four rectangles that you’ll see in each corner. I’ve marked these rectangles with a sharpie.


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Then, to make the envelope look a little more polished, it’s best to trim off a bit from the corners of each flap. Just a smidgen does the trick.


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Once you’re done, fold the side flaps back down and bring up the bottom flap. Take note of where the bottom flap covers the side flaps; you’ll apply a bit of glue to the side flaps where the bottom flaps will be covering them.


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That’s it. When you’re ready to send of your card, you can glue down the top flap with a glue stick. One trick to ensure a really good seal is to rub over the flap with a spoon, in a back and forth motion, after you’ve sealed it. I think the friction creates some heat and helps to set the adhesive.

For mine, I found a recipe for envelope adhesive that doesn’t seal until it’s moistened (just like store bought), and I’ll be sharing that process in another post.


Or…if all this seems like too much work (and I can whole heartedly understand where you are coming from) you might enjoy this blog post over at the Angry Chicken blog as much as I did.
It’s called --- homemade envelopes - lazy style and comes with a video tutorial.

I came across this post while thoroughly examining another one at the Always Chrysti blog ---100+ ways to creatively reuse old magazines.
Now who can resist that title?


happy october, everyone,

the art of the shadow box…

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Or, perhaps a better name for this post should be---when a collection of shadow boxes is the art.


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With an empty wall over our stairs, Jeff and I came up with the idea of displaying our photos in a grouping of shadow boxes. As soon as we had scrap wood on hand, Jeff was on to making them.


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With plywood and a nail gun he made shallow boxes to fit some old picture frames we had. For a couple of the boxes, he made simple frames from some of our bamboo.


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And for a few others, he actually used the railings from an old baby crib for the sides and back. He found it years ago, on the side of the road, and we have slowly been using the railings for all sorts of projects.


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He carved some of the frames with his Dremel tool.


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Then I applied some paint, to seep into the carved designs, and we sanded them so that the color only showed in the carvings.


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I painted the outer sides of the box---white, to match our walls. Then I lined the inside with paper, pages from an old dictionary and nautical maps.

So, here they are…



And now they just have to go up there.



Deciding what to put in them, and in what manner, has brought our little art installation to a halt.

I’ve noticed a theme of ‘un-decidedness’ in my posts and am beginning to think that this blog’s tagline should read: “the ambivalence born within the house of ocasio”---because that would be fitting.

I have completed one of them. It is filled with a collection of macro shot (meaning, really, really close-up) photos of the tiniest blossoms that bloom on a beauty berry bush.


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After printing the photos, I decided that I wanted them displayed in the box at varying levels. After all, it’s a shadow box, with depth, and you should make use of it, right?


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I figured paper boxes would be the easiest.


There are a lot of tutorials on how to make paper boxes. I needed my boxes to be 3 by 3 inches, and I found this video tutorial that teaches you how to make a 3x3 box from cardstock paper. (perfect!)

----I don’t have the fancy scoring pad, although I kind of wish I had one, I just used a ruler and butter knife. And, I used a glue stick instead of double sided tape.


But, I also came across these instructions for making boxes that deserve to be shared:

Here is a tutorial from Sister Diane on her CraftyPod blog---How to make a gift box from an old greeting card!
As always, it’s simple to follow and the outcome is too cute and ingenious.

Then, I found these beautiful origami gift boxes made from wallpaper scraps with a video tutorial by Lorajean on her blog, Lorajean’s Magazine. Only folding required---no cutting. (I like that, a lot.)


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The shadow boxes sit by our dining table. We usually have a couple out, on the table, and will play around with different photos and small objects, to see if any inspiration happens. I’m beginning to think that we should just put them up on the wall as is---as our shadow box collection. :-)


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I remember the day we made these. It was just like many days Jeff opens the door to his shed, under our carport, and begins to make things---things that we’ve talked about, dreamed about, sketched out to show the other (‘cause we don’t always comprehend what the other is trying to say), and things get made.

I remember it being a very good day.