Saturday, April 13, 2019

New Funny "Easter Bunny" Magnet from Smirking Goddess™ Studio on ETSY

Before my husband and I owned House Rabbits, we didn't know that these furry companion-pets thumped when they sensed danger, or as discovered in our house, when annoyed. We also didn't know they performed high hops, the correct term "binks" under the influence of a full moon.

We didn't know that their digestive system looks like that of a horse or elephant, or that they could be litter-boxed trained, that too much lettuce could kill them and Alfafa Grass should only be served to "kittens' i.e. baby rabbits, too much protein in the mix for older ones.

We didn't know squat.

Pet rabbits fare better as indoor pets, but unfortunately many are relegated to a cold hutch where water bottles can freeze in the winter denying them water, and the outdoor pen makes them vulnerable to roving predators.

Every Easter live rabbits are purchased by ignorant people as a gift to some child's basket, later if the bunny survives, it will be dumped at a shelter or simply freed outdoors. This teaches a child that small pet animals can be treated like disposable stuff toys don't you think?

Nibbleface and Puma New Zealand Rabbits
Bunnies also chew electrical chord as I found out with Potter, my first rabbit I found hiding under a boat in a driveway. But they also serve as an alternative pet for children with allergies, can live to ten years and might be a better solution for those on a tighter budget. They still need to be neutered or spayed, and fed properly-Timothy hay and non-surgary veggies like brussel spouts, in short, they need care as these beautiful whimsically inspiring animals can live for a decade. And our last two did.

This magnet is a heartfelt nod to Potter, Pinky, Puma and Nibbleface, four beautiful animals who graced our lives, inspired my art and who's facebook pics found favor with many. In reverence to their memory, I implore all Easter shoppers to steer clear of buying a live rabbit if there's no intention of humane care. Instead, consider celebrating the Easter Bunny with donations to a local rabbit rescue, or online to the House Rabbit Society.

Now Thumper would bink to that.

This magnet (or pinback) is available for purchase here: SmirkingGoddessStudio

And my rabbit inspired art brooches here I offer free shipping to US collectors:

Happy Easter to all! Thank you for stopping by.

Suzanne U

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Bring Back Snail Mail A Funny Fridge Magnet that Packs a Powerful Message

smirking goddess funny typewriter magnet
Available for purchase:
I send holiday e-cards to friends and family. Hopefully, this gesture made their day and let them know I'm thinking of them. But when it comes to Sympathy Cards I go the Snail Mail route, I mean let's get real about sensitivity and decorum, and may sending solemn cards of THAT nature to be few and so, SO far between. Thank you and Get Well cards are a toss up depending on the circumstance.

But (as my magnet to the left suggests), in this day and age of digital communication, I wonder how many are weary of this emoji-addicted generation. Are Grandmothers receiving a thumbs up icon on their Facebook page as a Thank You for a gift from grandkids? Are caring people receiving a heartfelt written-Thank You for graciously offering their solicited expertise or a typed referral for a job? And are we, the gracious ones perceived as having a bee up our butts for feeling more than a little peeved when our invested money or time is dismissed with a cartoon icon? Or worse, silence?

One can't always expect a handwritten note, especially from those on a tight budget (like taxes, the price of stamps goes up and up and then finding that RIGHT card, oy! And add to that conundrum a stressful, cramped schedule.  I've written heartfelt emails due to the latter, and timely communication is a relief factor that I've quickly let the other party know they matter. But this past week my husband and I received a lovely handwritten Thank You note from my former college roommate, with a gift to boot. I forgot how far more emotionally connecting it feels to receive a nice snail mail note over a digital one. In fact. it felt, more–well, REAL. I heard her voice, as my eyes swept across her neat catholic school-trained cursive. I wondered what she was doing at that very moment, did she get a chance to plant the Sweet Potato Vine in the teal ceramic planter I gave her? Will she be able to stream the new PBS mystery series Shakespeare and Hathaway that my husband and I told her about on her laptop? I never experience mental musings like this when reading emails.

Regarding emails, have you been at that end of NOT even receiving a cartoon icon? Admittedly it stings, granted there's the SPAM folder blocker, or the non-communicator is dealing with an emergency. But as time wears on, a non-response offers me the impression that the offender has a misperceived image of themselves, is their station in life so elevated that it pardons them simple etiquette? I think not.

In the end, a pardon of sorts, IS issued and not in writing. As a friend of mine once brought up the old adage with someone that she's reach out twice to– "If you ignore someone long enough, THEY WILL GO AWAY",  happily her spot-on comment to the directed person derived results. But be ye forewarned oh habitual non-communicator as eventually you'll be pardoned indefinitely as we get up, set our sites elsewhere and  simply go away. And for those thankless Grandkids? Maybe next time Nana will send you a beautifully wrapped gift of underwear with a follow up text sporting the thumbs up.

To buy this new Snail Mail magnet or others from Smirking Goddess™ Studio please visit my #Etsyshop: Smirking Goddess Studio

Thank you.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Spring Yard Art and My Newest Handpainted Brooch Full Throttle Creativity this Month

I never liked February much, despite Valentine's Day being smack dab in the middle, and it being a short month. February is a soggy, dreary, icy, month in Connecticut. My mother passed away in this cold month, a few decades ago, and far too soon in my book as she deserved to embrace the golden years that were stacking up for her to enjoy. But March I like and then finally April. ..

Despite April being tax month, crocuses and snowdrops poke their heads up through wet Connecticut soil, and I, an avid gardener and Yardart enthusiast am propelled to create art for my garden along with painting pieces for my ETSY shop or writing new copy for the other shop. The surge of creative 'doing' momentum spills over with the promise of longer sunshiny days.

I discovered YardArt on Pinterest a few years ago. I'd been offering my services to weed and design some area Windsor Resident's yards. I suffered for my efforts, bee stings, poison ivy, but loved working with women who were open to my design ideas, and I made some new friends. I also tired of the constant maintenance in my own yard, "when will this end?" thought I as I pulled away at tough weeds that refused to give up the ghost. That's when YardArt came to the rescue, no more seeing a gorgeous shrub die on me, or forking out money for tons of annuals to pop in color. I still love to buy, plant and even start seedlings, but Yardart helps keep needless backbreaking work at bay, AND it offers an interesting view to the passerbyer that an artist resides in this antique house.

I have a friend who once placed her TV on a pile of old suitcases, I marveled at her swift move to design a vignette that worked utility-wise and really added a visual punch to her living room. Carla shared that she felt there were two kinds of artists in this world. Those that created beauty strictly on the canvas in front of them, ignoring the interior space around them; and those, like her, and me, who's artistic sense encompassed the immediate space around them as well.

Seed Bomb made from recycled paper scraps
Enter Pinterest with it's realm of garden boards, and I even created this one–Cool and Exciting Ideas for the Garden as a visual resource to refer to. I started making glass plate flowers, shutter snowmen and now I'm investigating shutter angels and am finishing up a pair of fan-blade dragonflies for my backyard. And I'm even making seedbombs dotted with Milkweed seed to attract Monarchs to my butterfly habitat in back. In one town artist Deborah Triplette started YardArt day and I'd love to adopt this concept here in Windsor.

The only problem with YardArt and Gardening for me, is creating a balance between outdoor work and indoor studio work, a real #WIP (Work in Progress) for me so I don't neglect one for the other. This is my year to truly discover creative balance. So far, so good, but it is trying, it means going in the studio when I want to be outside, or vice a versa.

Behold, my newest #handpainted brooch that arrived in the Eclectic Halloween Artist Emporium last night. EHAG artists, a juried group of talented professionals who celebrate all things whimsically halloween for avid collectors who love Hallow's Eve. We artists love to combine holidays and this month's challenge brought me to paint a white rabbit stealing away someone's Halloween pumpkin. Just the right kind of whimsical statement brooch for the happy collector to wear on one's lapel this Spring. To view visit here:

Wishing you all a Spring full of colorful surprises, and very little Poison Ivy. Oh! And here's how to make those Seedbombs

Saturday, March 9, 2019

When a WIP Takes Up too Much of Your Time Put it Aside.

My Bear Sachet Design ©Suzanne Urban
The hardest part of being an illustrator who sells on ETSY is finding time to develop new creative products. Some artists seem to do this with dexterous aplomb, not so me, or I just am unaware of all the piles of discarded ideas other artists have in their studios. And some stick to just a singular product. I have a drawer with files of "WIP"projects started and then abandoned when I hit a mental block or technical road block, like the chef ornaments that would sport chef hats made from champagne corks, I couldn't find illustration board to back the printed happy chefs with that would be easy to cut out. Surfing around for a tool that could cut out thick board smoothly made this odyssey more confusing and frustrating. There's the cookie cutters I designed on a 3-D printer from my own illustrations to make Salt Dough cookie ornaments, after over a year of testing recipes and all kinds of flours, I finally realized it wouldn't be a viable product for my ETSY store as one has to bake them for like FIVE hours to get the salt dough to throughly dry out, also cookies fell apart, or the plastic cutter wasn't sharp enough for a nice cut.

Such trials are a blow to my ego as I start out with what I think is a unique and creative idea, bursting with enthusiasm I draw up a design, and then the medium presents too many technical conundrums to the point my brilliant product idea gets abandoned. And I mourn the lost time when I could've created something safer, something more familiar like a print or painting.

Sometimes the issue is more with the illustration. Last week Spoonflower ran a FREE SHIPPING proposal, I've wanted to create some cute character sachets filled with lavendar grown in my own garden. But I hadn't drawn something up that I liked enough to get printed up, until now, but I was unsure how I wanted to execute the drawing–ink? ink and intense pencil? Acrylic and white ink? I didn't come up with a satisfactory solution, so I missed the deadline. Hopefully Spoonflower will come up with the enticing promo again, because by then, I should have the finished designs ready to send off, as I do like the two drawings I came up with, I just need to experiment a little more when I have the time and I need to know when to shelve an idea, rather than plow through and through ad nauseum, until I'm ready to freshly re-visit it.

Please comment below if you can relate to a drawer full of Works In Progress, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Mr. Pumpkinhead Guy, My Recent Release in SuzanneUrbanArt Etsy Shop

Available at: SuzanneUrbanArt
Today I finished another handpainted wood slice brooch, this one featuring a grinning Jack O' Lantern a.k.a Pumpkinhead  guy flying through the skies grasping a large Corn Candy. I love the Pumpkinhead character that first emerged in early American postcards. He embodies whimsical fun and humor and thus figures in many a contemporary folk-art Halloween artist's work. In fact even famed artist Jamie Wyeth painted a startling self-portrait aptly titled: "Pumpkinhead". 

For me this big, bright orange member of the gourd family also symbolizes prosperity, it's seeds easily grow more pumpkins even if tossed in a compose heap, it's pulp offers up enriched delights from pie, to breads to smoothies and it's empty shell with a glowing candle within provides a guiding light for Trick or Treaters, and oh! Don't forget the most popular Fall flavor in a Starbuck's latte.

The fun for me in creating this fat headed creature lies in the pure delight that he can be a she, dressed or undressed, scary or happy, whatever my imagination dreams up, goes, restrictions don't apply. As a self-professed holiday freak, his presence is welcome all year long in my home.

Vintage postcards featuring Pumpkinhead guy is a sought-after treasure for Halloween, ephemera and early Americana collectors, although prices vary, still just one card can demand a decent amount of cash to be forked over.

Have you ever drawn the Pumpkinhead guy? I look forward to your rendition, just post in comments section below!

To learn more about the history of Jack-O-Lanterns click here:

Saturday, March 2, 2019

I Believe Pigs can Fly, My Newest Artful Brooch to Welcome Spring

This handpainted brooch as you can clearly see is hot off the presses, but then artists seldom have clean hands.

I've always wondered who was the first to coin the phrase "when Pigs fly" as flying pigs often pop up in my sketchbook. Well, turns out the phrase has Scottish roots, and since I've got a bit of Scot in me, it seems fitting. Herewith more on the history of a phrase that's infiltrated so many conversations over the years:

This brooch is now in my ETSY shop, colorful and fun, it adds a bit of wit and whimsy to one's Spring jacket lapel:

Friday, March 1, 2019

My Newest Handpainted Brooch on the EHAG Emporium

Handpainted Brooch by SuzanneUrbanArt
I've been a member of the EHAG (Eclectic Halloween Artists Guild) since it's inception on eBay over ten years ago. EHAG is a juried group of artists who love all Halloween. This group of inspired talent do not offer gore-horror art, but rather the beautifully decorated and inspired creations to enhance your outfit, or home décor. Some have gone on to become champions in the illustrative field of decorative painting. I am proud to be counted among this original group of seriously talented creatives. Oft times the group's moniker has been hijacked by other people, but consistency and solid skill always wins out as seen in the monthly postings on Ehag's Emporium blog. Please visit to see some of the work presented today to find out why so many Halloween collectors clamor to buy a piece of authentically made work: