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Designer’s Connect! Lonesome Road Studio Giveaway Winner!

The lucky giveaway winner of these gorgeous silver earrings from Lonesome Road Studio is…..

Lonesome Road Studio

Frosty silver snowflake earrings, artisan pure silver

KIT! of Kit’s Creations!

Kit, please email your address to Nicole at chicagofinethreads@yahoo.com so that I may forward to Angie at Lonesome Road Studio.

Thank you again, Angie for your generosity!

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Designer’s Connect! Lonesome Road Studio

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Angie of Lonesome Road Studio.
Join us in Angie’s interview below to find out more about her multitude of talents!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

After recently reading an article on the American Craft website, it occurred to me that what I am is an “applied artist.” I started out wanting to be a fine artist and evolved into doing a little of that, plus wearable art accessories.
Basically, I like to create interesting art and apply it in different ways, sometimes for your wall, sometimes for you to wear.
As far as my medium goes, I work in markers and the occasional mixed-media piece.

Lonesome Road Studio

Esmeralda artisan silver and Pilot Mountain Nevada turquoise necklace $165.00

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

As a one-person show, a day in the studio can mean anything from actual artwork to marketing/promoting, photographing items, ordering supplies, packing/shipping orders, customer service and more.
A day spent working entirely on art is rare, especially as someone who sells primarily online.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

Yes, I’ve always been artistic. I went quickly from coloring books to doing my own artwork on big newsprint-paper type pads of drawing paper, hehe! I apprenticed at an international ad agency at age 16 and I’ve never, ever worked at a single job that wasn’t either graphic design-related or otherwise artistic/creative.

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

I really appreciate humor, and mine is a little twisted at times. I like the unexpected, like a cheeseburger belt buckle, and I think I convey that type of quirkiness.

One of the things that I enjoy most about doing shows is when someone chuckles at one of my pieces since I intentionally use art, quotes, or something offbeat to create something different – a new spin, a different point of view.

Lonesome Road Studio

Cheeseburger belt buckle
$39.00

2Sis: Is there a particular cultures jewelry that you especially appreciate?

I try to use American-made components as much as possible and partly for this reason I love Native American art and jewelry, particularly southwestern and Pacific northwestern. You know when you see a piece of vintage silver and turquoise Navajo jewelry, that they used materials from their own environment. From an esthetic standpoint, those are also the colors I love; warm colors like turquoise blue/green, red corals and earthtones.

2Sis: What is your favorite material to work with?  

My favorite thing to work with is my markers, and ArtClay silver (although the silver has become VERY expensive in the last couple of years).

The designs that I use in the silver are my own; I had stamps created with my own artwork so I could retain creative control over my designs and did not have to use commercial stamps and, one of my newest favorite materials is leather. I’ve been creating small original leather pieces like wristbands and will soon be adding belts and guitar straps to that list.

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

I have absolutely no problem with artists block! What I do have is not enough time to create all of the projects in my head. The only time I have a problem with “getting going” is when I have so many things to do that I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. That’s where my new skill of prioritizing has come in handy… sometimes.

Lonesome Road Studio

Sugar Skull Day of the Dead Original Spirit Buckle by Lonesome Road Studio
$95.00

2Sis: What fall fashion trends do you like this season?

I love the artsy bohemian styles and some of the southwestern looks I’ve been seeing – fringe, beadwork, etc. I just hope that it doesn’t become a generalized caricature, something like “The Village People go to Wisconsin Dells tourist gift shops!”

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

Definitely somewhere in the western U.S. … Jackson Hole, WY? Taos or Santa Fe, NM?

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

Buckles and pure silver: www.LonesomeRoadStudio.com

Buckles and fun art accessories: www.etsy.com/shop/LonesomeRoadStudio

Twitter: @LonesomeRoad

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LonesomeRoadStudio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lonesomerd/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/angie-cornelius-lonesome-road-studio/25/b65/ba3

Bite This! The Lonesome Road Studio Kitchen Blog: www.lonesomeroadstudio.blogspot.com/

Email: LonesomeRdStudio@aol.com

I’m also a member of the Ottawa Art League, show/sell at our gallery at Jeremiah Joe Coffee at 807 LaSalle St. in Ottawa, IL.I admin our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/OttawaArtLeague

Lonesome Road Studio was recently accepted at IllustrationAge.com and will begin selling applied art wearable and prints there as well!

****************

2Sis: WOW! How’s that for an interview! I love that you have created your own stamps and try to use American made components as much as possible. You cracked us up with the “The Village People go to Wisconsin Dells tourist gift shops!” comment and we can attest that you are indeed a gifted artist. Thank you Angie for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life!

Angie is generously offering a giveaway of these gorgeous silver earrings to one lucky winner.

Lonesome Road Studio

Frosty silver snowflake earrings, artisan pure silver

To enter follow and or like the links listed above. For each like or follow you will be entered into the giveaway.
Following the 2SistersAnytownUSA blog is required.

Be sure to post in the comments below all of your entries so we know how many times to enter your name into the giveaway.

Deadline is Sunday November 25. The winner to Angie’s giveaway will be announced here Monday November 26.
Good luck!

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

© Eiffel Flower Butterfly Arrangement

© Eiffel Flower Butterfly Arrangement

“The Earth Laughs in Flowers”
R.W. Emerson

On the topic of design, it never ceases to amaze me when I see a floral designer in action. My mother can take a bunch of your run of the mill, midwestern perennial blooms and create a beautiful arrangement. This is a lost art. So when I see my friends Michael and Denise working their magic for a wedding, house walk or party, I notice the magical outcome of excellent design principle paired with the earth’s bounty. Here is Michael’s top ten reasons to stop and smell the roses…

10. A bouquet of fresh flowers is a quick pick-me-up.

9. Flowers encourage creativity.

8. Flowers improve the quality of life.

7. Flowers possess many qualities our souls long for.

6. Flowers help ease the transition between seasons.

5. Flowers set the stage and create the mood.

4. Fresh flowers bring life into the home.

3. Flowers smell good, they are a gift to the senses.

2. Flowers make people happy – happy is good.

The number 1 reason to buy fresh flowers is – just because!

!Designer’s Connect! Gretchen Hind Designs

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Gretchen of Gretchen Hind Designs. Join us in Gretchen’s interview below to find out more about her stunning jewelry!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

I am the designer and owner of Gretchen Hind Designs. I create affordable, unique jewelry with a vintage, modern vibe – for women of all ages. I use a variety of metals, gemstones, vintage beads, and rocks in my designs.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

Well, my “studio” is my whole house. Ha! I have a five-year-old preschooler and so my working time is mainly while he is at school, in bed, or otherwise entertained. I tend to stay up *way* too late many nights. Next year when he goes to kindergarten, I hope to have a more regular work schedule. A typical day involves checking email, attending to my Etsy shop and all my social networking sites, photographing product, etc., and then I start making jewelry and sending out orders.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I guess I’ve always been rather strangely creative and analytically balanced. As a young kid I drew an entire blueprint house plan for my dream house (I think my parents still have it.) I’ve always been interested in design of many genres and I’ve dabbled in a number of form such as writing, photography (doesn’t every girl go through this stage?), fashion, interior design, and making lampshades – prior to starting my jewelry business.

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

Nature, history and color inspire me. I love creating signature pieces from scratch, using only simple tools and ideas. There is so much jewelry out there, that I hope to always stay unique. I started making jewelry by wire wrapping beach rocks that my little boy and I would find at a Lake Michigan beach near our home and it just took off from there.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: Is there a particular cultures jewelry that you especially appreciate?

I’m a huge mid-century modern fan of all art forms – from jewelry, to clothing, furniture, music, literature, and architecture. I believe that my jewelry reflects those passions.

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

A glass of wine always helps. J Sometimes I take a step back from orders and things I *have* to do and just spread out a note pad, some gems and wire options, and start making a new piece. This typically leads to additional ideas as well.

2Sis: What fall fashion trends do you like this season?

I’ve been seeing lots of gorgeous scarves and cool boots.

Gretchen Hind Designs

Gretchen Hind Designs

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be? Paris.

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

www.GretchenHindDesigns.etsy.com

www.Facebook.com/GretchenHindDesigns

www.Twitter.com/GH_designs

www.Pinterest.com/GretchenHind

www.Wanelo.com/GretchenHind

Gretchen is giving you all a chance to own a piece of her gorgeous jewelry by offering a one time use, 15% discount off your total purchase, for a limited time in her Etsy shop. Use Coupon Code 2SISTERSANYTOWNUSA15 at the check out!

Thank you Gretchen for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life! Be sure to check out Gretchen’s Etsy shop for your holiday gift giving.

Working the Green Room with Chess Squares

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

Sockers FC U12B MDL Champions

By: Jen

Once again my youth sports experience has tickled my right brain thinking!

Some years ago, I met a local mom who cheerfully presented the very best scones to sleep deprived parents along the bleachers during warm-ups for our first season of tournament team baseball. These delectable treats were a lovely offering. I made a mental note as I watched the summer unfold with our sons team. This gesture brought everyone together.

The days that lead up to a sports tournament supply you with the long laundry list (literally) of items and tasks that need to be completed before our teams hit the field, pitch, court, whatever the venue. It takes a lot of effort to get to your destination and sometimes you forget to eat.

I brought Chess Squares to the “green room” during our latest Nike Classic Cup 2012 soccer tournament. It’s really the awards area for the winning teams. Your volunteer task is to shuttle dozens of teams through the awards process. The volunteering adults, our tournament director, photographer and the very enthusiastic Jeff from Ford Motor Company loved this recipe. It brought this unlikely group of personalities together and the men want the recipe! Who would think that five ingredients could bring such happiness? Our director says that every bakery in St. Louis has this bar cookie. So here it is! Simple and successful.

Chess Squares

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 300°.
Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan with butter or non-stick canola oil spray.
In a large bowl, blend the cake mix with the melted butter and one egg.
Press this dough into the bottom of the pan.

In another bowl, blend the eggs and cream cheese and carefully add the powdered sugar. When it reaches a smooth consistency, pour over the top of the crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top layer is golden brown.

Bake these squares in a 9” x 13” disposable aluminum pan if you will be traveling with these. It works like a charm!

Lastly, a shout out to Jeff from Ford Motor Company who emceed our event. You really had the crowd going! I wish you safe travels and a little R & R to indulge in your culinary creations. It was great meeting everyone!

!Designer’s Connect! – Megan’s Beaded Designs

In today’s Connect with the Designer, we are delighted to introduce you to Megan of Megan’s Beaded Designs . Join us in Megan’s interview below to find out more about her amazing designs!

2Sis: Tell us about your art; what is your talent?

Megan: I design and create beaded hair accessories and jewelry. I’ve done a lot of other avenues in the past as well, but for now my beadwork is my main focus.

Sparkling Beaded Black and Silver Crystal Rhinestone Hair Clip

Megan’s Beaded Designs – Sparkling Beaded Black and Silver Crystal Rhinestone Hair Clip

2Sis: What is a day in the studio like for you?

Megan: I have a day job (that I love!), so obviously the majority of my day is spent in the office. I do, however, always bring my work with me to plug away at on my lunch break. I also make sure to check up on my shops via smart phone during that time to. (Hooray for modern technology!) Overall though, this does limit my time to work on my Etsy shops for the evening and weekend hours. As a result, I have to manage my time as effectively as I can, so my customers and followers can’t tell the difference.

2Sis: Did you always know you were an artist? Were there flashes of brilliance for you as a child? Teenager?

Megan: I have always been the “creative type.” I’ve been beading since I was 5 or so. My grandfather was into the native beadweaving and dream catcher making, and he got me into it very early on. I even started selling my work as an early age, attending barter fairs and craft fairs before middle school. Besides beading, I’ve also loved to draw and paint, and write fiction.

Glass Dome Covered Digital Image of Watch Gears in Silver Plated Cuff Links

Steampunk Dream – Steampunk Cuff Links – Glass Dome Covered Digital Image of Watch Gears in Silver Plated Cuff Links

2Sis: What inspires you, what do you believe in that you convey in your art?

Megan: I’m all about originality. What’s the fun in dressing and looking like everyone else? What I stress the most about my pieces is their unique nature. As a result of being completely hand beaded, no two items are ever exactly alike. I don’t make JUST a hair clip, or JUST a necklace, but a piece of art that you can wear!

2Sis: How do you get past “artists block”? Do you have a method for “getting going”?

Megan: Honestly I usually have the opposite problem: too many ideas and not enough daylight. I’ve already had to force myself to focus on one craft so I’m not scattered all over the place. For me, the challenge is honing in on what I’m lacking in inventory. Keeping a proper stock of certain times means I don’t always get to make what I feel like making. Perhaps I’m in the mood to make a necklace, but I need to make more bracelets, and so on.

Beaded Lace Collar Necklace

Megan’s Beaded Designs – Citron Yellow Necklace – Beaded Lace Collar Necklace

2Sis: Do you collaborate with anyone on your work?

Megan: I’m pretty much a one-woman show. I do like the feedback I get when I enter pieces into team challenges, it’s always productive to hear what fellow beaders have to say about my goodies!

2Sis: If you could travel anywhere tomorrow where would it be?

Megan: I freak LOVE traveling – but unfortunately haven’t gotten to do very much of it: YET. My wish list currently has New York City and ALL of Europe on it. Someday…

2Sis: Where can we find you? Please list your links.

Megan’s Etsy Shops:
http://MegansBeadedDesigns.etsy.com
http://Glamour365.etsy.com
http://SteampunkDream.etsy.com
http://MegansCreativeDesign.etsy.com

Megan’s Blog:
http://megansbeadeddesigns.wordpress.com

Megan’s Facebook:
http://facebook.com/megansbeadeddesigns

M’s Twitter:
http://twitter.com/Glamour365

M’s Pinterest:
http://pinterest.com/glamour365

M’s Wanelo:
http://wanelo.com/megansbeadeddesigns

Thank you Megan for giving us a behind the scenes peek into your creative life! Be sure to check out Megan’s Etsy shops for your holiday gift giving.

Halloween’s Month

Author: Jen Schmidt

Green and gold collide
One is the victor
The other one dies

Bright sun descending it’s light
The crow feather reflecting blue and black
Bonfire takes flight

Top ten reasons to buy original art

flower ©Tadson Bussey

flower ©Tadson Bussey

1. It peeks dialogue
What a great opportunity to start an engaging conversation at that fabulous party you are throwing. Sure beats discussing that youth soccer game score AGAIN!

2. It adds texture, interest and clarity to your life story
You will never forget the memory of where you were or how you came upon the art you purchased. No one can take that away from you. The experience and connection that you have to the art illustrates your own personal life story.

3. It forces you to slow down
Really think about what you are doing. Do you want to cast your “dollar vote” on a mass produced item coming out of a cargo container from China?

4. It gets you out of your comfort zone
Do you want to lump yourself with every other weekend shopping-drone-consumer choosing slight variations of the same thing? Haven’t we had enough of “Live, Laugh, Love” and “Keep Calm And Carry On”?

5. It supports the individual
You’re paying it forward to the society gods. You’re putting food on the table of the artist. The more energy they have, the more quality art they will produce and spread across the world.

6. It’s provenance speaks volumes
We met Leigh and Leslie Keno at the Merchandise Mart on a sunny autumn morning. Their back story is interesting and engaging. For goodness sake, as children they started selling antiques which included old iron work from barns and stoneware. There is value in original work. These brothers now race vintage Ferrari’s. Need we say more?

7. It affords you to “lead by example” for your children
Children love art and want to create art. When you buy original art, it gives you an opportunity to discuss the process that led you to love a piece so much, that you had to buy it and display it in your home.

8. It looks great on your resume
Being an art collector sets you apart from the pack.

9. It extinguishes the “I could do that” mentality
The more you discover about the artistic process, the more you realize that the artist is someone who has a great ability to harness “the moment” and expose their vision. THAT is a very gutsy way to put yourself out in the world.

10. It helps you avoid the trap
I recently pinned a photo of a street sign stating “Don’t grow up, it’s a trap”. Surrounding yourself with creativity brings a sense of joy to the everyday. Art keeps childlike wonder in your soul.

There are so many more reasons to buy original art in every genre within the creative community. Care to expand on this list? We would love to hear from you!

Go the Distance Playoff Cookies

By: Jen

After a long fruitful baseball season complete with team building and success, I make Playoff Cookies! I started making these for every game as my son’s team advanced in the city playoffs. I had visions of jinxes– my memory traveling back to the classic 1988 film Bull Durham. If I didn’t make the cookies would the team lose? If I didn’t bring them in the same container would they lose? The voices in my head would get me nowhere except maybe into a corn field in Iowa looking for those Chicago Black Sox players.

These are huge confections, not your typical chocolate chip cookie variety. Playoff Cookies are chewy and soft with a little bit of crunch. The mixture of quality chocolate chips along with HEATH toffee bits and butterscotch, make these a huge hit with both young and old. MLB playoffs start on October 5th for the wild card games. For a full list of dates check out the end of this post.

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Playoff Cookies

3 1/4 C. flour
1 1/2 tspn. baking soda
1 1/2 tspn. salt
2 sticks butter at room temp.

1 1/4 C. dark brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tspn. vanilla

1/2 C. HEATH BITS’O BRICKLE Toffee Bits
1 C. 60% Ghiradelli Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1 C. Nestlé Butterscotch Morsels

Preheat oven to 375°

Mix together: flour, baking soda and salt and set aside. Cream butter with both sugars until light and fluffy (2 minutes in a stand mixer). Add eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture until just incorporated. Hand stir in the bits and chips. Set dough in the fridge to firm up.

Use two cookie sheets. Use two racks in the oven. Line each sheet with parchment paper. You can skip this step if you don’t have the parchment. I use a 1/4 c. scoop. Place six scoops onto each cookie sheet with plenty of space in between. Mash the dough down so that the height of the dough is approximately 1/2” high.

Place each sheet into the oven and set your timer for 6-7 minutes. Pull sheets after this time, turn trays around and move each sheet to the opposite rack. Bake for 6-7 minutes more. You should get a large golden brown cookie! Using a large spatula move the cookies to a cooling rack. If you are using a convection oven, I suggest watching the cookies during the second round of baking as these will brown very quickly.

Playoff Cookies pack well for taking to games and picnics. The kids love the size and the parents love the taste. Better yet, make ice cream sandwiches with Edy’s Slow Churn Light Ice Cream. This ice cream has no sugar added with 1/3 fewer calories and 1/2 the fat. The mild flavor of this ice cream blends well with the more intense flavor of the cookie. I soften the ice cream a bit and then spoon it onto the bottom of the cookie in about 3/4” thickness. Place the top onto the sandwich and then run a demitasse spoon around the edges to smooth out the sides. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the freezer for an after school treat!

MLB Playoffs

October 5 Wildcard

October 6-12 American and National League Division Series

October 13-21 American League Championship Series

October 14-22 National League Championship Series

October 24-November 1 World Series

Who’s going all the way this year? Do you believe in baseball jinxes?

The finality of summer… comforted by a maple bacon muffin in Union Pier, MI

By: Jen

Our truck is packed with all the sand, bags and unopened wine known to mankind. We must say goodbye to the beach… In a desperate attempt to soothe our souls we go for one last walk with the family and our beloved mutt. Of course it couldn’t end there. Our dog was bitten in the ear by one of its kind. Nothing like a slight medical emergency to end the holiday. The silver lining to the story is that my usually very calm husband was realizing that our last day at the beach would need to be cut short, in order to care for our dog. We needed to get home.

“Well I’m stopping at that new Nani’s Café on the way out of town!” he proclaimed…

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I sat in the overpacked truck. He brought the menu out for me. Feeling so flustered I just ordered the Chicago Style Dog. He chose the BLT Dog. My brother-in-law picked The Mexican Dog. They brought me a maple bacon muffin– just for kicks. I took a bite of the muffin. I never got out of the truck so fast! Forget that our dog had my fashion scarf wrapped around her head to alleviate an injured ear. I had to get into Nani’s to talk to whomever made this most unbelievable muffin! Who made these extremely tasty hotdogs?

I met Nessa and Reyna– the proprietors of the new Nani’s Café located in Union Pier, Michigan. Their coffee was excellent. The muffin was decadent. The dogs were what dogs should be! The bun was buttered, the dog was kosher and the toppings were a new twist on familiar ingredients. Peppery fresh arugula complimented the BLT Dog! When we arrived home and after unpacking all the memories, my husband shared…

“You know, I’m still thinking about that hotdog.”
Oh yeah? I’m still thinking about that muffin!

Why not take a step back in time and go get a frosty mug of rootbeer this Labor Day weekend. That should take the edge off of this great summer coming to a close. Happy Labor Day to all!

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