Meet Jen! founder & owner

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...jen o'connor's...Artful Adventures & Daily Inspirations

I Love Art, Adore the Handmade and Treasure the Vintage. I am the Fun Mom, the Silly Friend and the Writer who wants to make more room for beauty in the everyday.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

BIG NEWS - Gallery Events


We are thrilled to announce the launch of Earth Angels' "Gallery Events" to celebrate our favorite artists and their contemporary American Folk Art...


We've just made arrangements with "The Country Life Gallery" in downtown Warwick, New York to host three events. This fabulous gallery space is owned by our friends Ken and Debbie Kroslak. I want to thank them for this amazing opportunity to showcase our artists and wish them the very best as the open their store...

For some time, I have felt strongly that the artists with whom we do business, and have celebrated in the posts to this blog, should receive serious attention for their work. Folk art has surely blurred the line between fine art and craft. It celebrates what we love, our homes and our memories, and it breathes a fresh energy into decor. As my pal Debbee Thibault said back in May when she addressed the guests at our Spring Soiree, it will emerge triumphant, as the art of our age.

So without further ado, let me say that we hope you can join us at our upcoming events to celebrate the art we love! Please save the dates...


2PM – 7PM Open to the Public


Celebrating the art of Jennifer Lanne and Jill Wiener
A showing of Jennifer Lanne’s original paintings complimented with a showcase of “EarthGirl Pottery” by Jill Wiener

“The Country Life Gallery”
40 Main Street, Warwick, NY


“Mud-Cakes and small stories studios”

SATURDAY, November 3rd

Noon- 2pm
Private Showing for Earth Angels’ Customer Friends
Reservations Required
2PM – 7PM
Open to the Public

Celebrating the art of Laurie Meseroll
A showing of Laurie’s “Mud-Cakes” paintings and collages complimented
with a showcase of mixed media and paper art by Cheryl Kuhn of “small stories studios”

“The Country Life Gallery”
40 Main Street, Warwick, NY

"heART of Winter"
February 2-3, 2008

An Artists Trunk Show
...details to the date...

“The Country Life Gallery”
40 Main Street, Warwick, NY

Of course these events will have all the signature style of our Earth Angels parties....plenty of good cheer, yummy food, fabulous friends and wonderful art to appreciate and to perhaps take home...


....feel free to call or email with any questions. We have directions and overnight accommodation info 8am-8pm NY time (845) 986-8720
AND ...special HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes to RO!
We hope to see you there!
xxoo Jen O’Connor
Earth Angels Toys

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Momentos of our trip

If I ever run away from home, look no further than Stacey's. I could while away the hours playing with her treasures, riffling through stacks of books, and running my hands over sumptuous piles of fabric in her studio. Her dining room is one of my favorite rooms on the planet, with wide plank floors, stone walls and the flow blue that is original to the house. Never mind the buttons, all those buttons, and the dollies, the collections...and Stacey herself.
Truly, my weekend at Stacey's each summer is better medicine for hyper busy me than any spa vacation. Time with her and my gal pals is delicious, as with any great friends. I am at ease, stilled and ensconced in an orb or acceptance that impatient, sassy and oh so idiosyncratic me, should never undervalue!
Like her friendship, I treasure her work. If you've been to my home you can see it is all about me. (Please read what I wrote about Stacey back in April when I dedicated one of my earlier blog posts to her.) Her pieces are as meaningful as good memories; they are Momentos, soulful and inspiring.
Thanks to Stacey for her kindness, her wonderful hospitality and for the talent she shares in her awesome creations. She sent me home from my jaunt to York filled with new ideas for decorating, plans for outings with the kids and my gal pals, and some thoughts on ways to grill pizza!
I am totally thrilled to share her latest work with you; I hope it gives you a glimmer of that wonderfully fresh feeling of inspiration. Some of her jewelry has just been posted, and the new larger pieces will be up this weekend. We should add, the website will be moved to a new host this and you will note, a GREAT INCREASE in SPEED!!
Thanks to you Stacey for the Momentos of a wonderful trip.
xxoo Jen

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Treasure Trip

...this is post 1 of 2 on our annual antiquing trip to York and our visit to gal pal Stacey Bear, artist extraordinaire, and creator of Momentos...

I would love to say I could take you there, but with Stacey driving and my mind on the next great find, I am clueless to the back roads and byways we travelled. I can tell you the collection of antique shops, malls and vintage marvels we encountered is not to be surpassed. Even better, the company of good friends on our shared mission will long be remembered.

Let's see...the journey started at 4:30 am when Lisa and I roused ourselves and set off to pick up Ro in New Jersey. Our first stop was Adamstown, PA to hit the Sheds at Black Angus (not unlike a religious pilgrimage I try to make a few times each year...)

I should mention that I almost got us thrown out of the Quickie Mart on Route 222 shortly after 7 am ... I just could not fathom why I had to enter my breakfast order on a touch pad doo-dad when there was actually a human standing behind the counter with whom I could converse. Besides a general loathing for techno stuff (I do not even own a hair dryer), I doubted there was some magic button to order a toasted sesame bagel with Swiss and hot peppers. Thanks to Ro we made it out alive, and with our breakfast! (...I digress, but keeping four ladies fueled up on food and caffeine was a big part of the weekend...After all, having fun is serious business and surely burns those carbs!)

The Black Angus in Adamstown yielded 1950s pink-painted kiddie kitchen furniture for my Charlotte, some fabulous chippy benches for Ro and a few beloved old toy doggies for Lisa. I also bought an incredible half size dress form...the one I've been waiting to find since I fell in love with old textiles and dolls as a teenager (...the only other one I've seen like it belongs to Nicol Sayre, and she bought hers from the same dealer a few years back!). From there we headed west to meet Stacey in an obscure parking lot off Route 76. I confess, I did get us briefly lost somewhere near the famous "Star Barn"...but we did find Stacey....and all this by 10am!
Next, we motored up to Lemoyne's Antique Marketplace...and that's when it goes all fuzzy. We were awake now and in full was antiquing heaven. A thin haze of lust had set in, with us peering around the aisles for something undiscovered and wondrous, gasping at some booths' price tags and chuckling at the bargains in others. I unearthed some divine green furniture buried in a booth so dusty it was akin to an archaeological dig. Stacey hit a tidy jackpot of old trays and Lisa kept herding all the chalkware, ceramic and stuffed doggies she could find. Did I mention that Ro actually got the most amazing pair of chairs for two bucks apiece?
The next day the merriment of the hunt continued with a jaunt to Columbia and parts of Lancaster. If you find yourself there, don't miss the Burning Bridge Antiques Mall. Oh, and can you read the historical marker for me...When did the bridge burn? I am sure I was supposed to take note, but I needed coffee! In between shops we found the best of burgers near the now, un-burnt bridge. By the end of the day there was a splurge, the folk art ferris wheel you see in my arms above, and some steals and deals, including yummy brown transfer ware and a kitschy Statue of Liberty.

Stacey was the perfect hostess and tour guide...ever patient with our incessant wanderings, up and down...all over...back and forth. Thanks Stacey for a wonderful gal pal weekend. You totally spoiled us and I love you even more for it!
I am hoping if I am a good girl she'll take me again next year, and I will carefully note the routes and roads on my own treasure map!
xxoo Jen O'Connor
Earth Angels ps for my next post on Wednesday...I'll be giving you a peek inside Stacey's amazing home and studio....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

pottery play date

Have you had the perfect summer day? ....The one where time feels as frozen and immobile as when you were a child.... Those long, sweet childhood days were longer than any I now know.
I remember when time was suspended and there was no agenda, no plan, no "to-do" list. The hours slipped by with no quantifiable measures of moments, they just were. That was when life was on "play" instead of "fast forward". Summer is a fabulous time to find a few days like that once again...and it might just be possible if you know Jill Wiener!
We just had one of those days at her Earth Girl Pottery Studio. Jill gave my kids lessons on her wheel and I strolled about while Laurie Meseroll arrived with her teenagers (reluctant to come and then long to leave the party). We sat drinking coffee and watched our children paint pots with Jill's help. We played on the dock, counted tadpoles and paddled a red canoe across the pond. Divine!
Jill Wiener lives in a her own paradise of old barns and well tended cutting gardens 12 miles from the nearest chain store. Her wonderful home and studio are in the middle of the prettiest nowhere I have ever been. It's the perfect spot for the ultimate playdate... (Sigh... I write this with good memories of a day well contented with a constant feast of friendship and fun....)
Beg, borrow or steal the time to play...even just a little... this summer.
xxoo Jen
...August 25-26, Pottery Studio Tour & Gallery Breakfast

Plans are in the works to bring 20 collectors and enthusiasts to Jill's studio On August 25th for a POTTERY PLAYDATE! If you are interested in joining us, please e-mail me for details as space is limited. We'll also celebrate with a breakfast on Sunday, August 26 to launch our gallery showing of work by Jennifer Lanne and Jill Wiener in downtown Warwick, New York!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Angels For Brianna - SPECIAL POST

…Angels for Brianna Auction… Earth Angels Participates along with …Angel Artists ...Laurie Meseroll, Nicol Sayre, Christine Crocker, Cheryl Kuhn, and Ulla Norup Milbrath...

More than 70 artists and crafters have donated angel-themed creations to a silent auction currently underway. The auction is in memory of Brianna, a 17 year old whose life ended in June after battling the disease MDS. Brianna was a lover of the arts and was the founder of the National Art Honor Society at her High School.

Proceeds from the auction will be used to fund this group and provide financial relief to her family for medical and burial expenses.

Earth Angels has just donated a piece in conjunction with Laurie Meseroll to this auction and we invite you to view it and the other items available.

The auction ends on Saturday, July 14th. Please view this link for full details.
Thank you for your kind support of this effort and please bid generously.
Jen O’Connor

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

textures and color fantasies

Dreamy piles of yummy fabrics just waiting to be married under a tidy needle and thread. Texture and color fantasies; the anticipation of the combinations is titillating...felt and wool, gingham and organdy, my beloved Swiss dot and cashmere...
How fabulous that Valerie Weberpal can unite them forever with a stylish aplomb for cheer. She creates colorful and, oh so textural, dolls, pillow creatures, purses, mittens, throws and more sewn folk art goodies. Her craft as a seamstress is exceptional, and her imagination for fanciful adornment is perhaps unmatched!

...I fantasize about actually being able to sew. If I could, I would want to concoct something with just once ounce of the merriness Valerie imparts upon her creations. No creature is safe from her festive interpretation. Bugs and black cats, parades of bunnies and the rogue pumpkin fall prey to her needleworking charms. They emerge from her Harvest Moon Studio dressed in dashing tailcoats and sweet scalloped-edged skirts. They giggle at themselves, all asunder in top-heavy proportions. Marabou boas wrap shamelessly over schoolgirl cardigans, and spindly striped legs barely prop up cylindrically pillow-like bodies. They are darling, incongruous and perfectly matched!

This is happy stuff from a happy heart. Valerie's days are full juggling her wonderfully talented and active kids, a part time job at an old-time confectionary shop and her creative drive. She is the Mary Poppins of my daily e-mail correspondents, always cheerful, sure and steady, but up for any adventure. Her work forever reminds me of candy; it's the spoonful of folk art that, well, helps the rest of the day go down... Valerie is a joy, as are her dollies, critters and veggie folk that are sprinkled about my home. I catch myself in a grin each time my eyes fall upon the couches and chairs they inhabit.

Valerie sells her fabulous creations at the Kane County Fairgrounds show, and she will be at From Our Hands in Columbus this keep an eye out for her colorful booth, but be quick! Laurie Meseroll is known to snatch up the cutest things (see Laurie in my dining room grabbing two cuties!) and watch out for Lisa Kaus, she loves Valerie's work too! We are so very lucky to be able to offer her creations here at Earth Angels. Please join me in toasting Valerie and her talents!

...and now to thank you all...
...for your frequent comments on the blog and your fabulous emails. Your good thoughts take us together around the wheel of friendship. I revel in the camaraderie of our shared love for beautiful things. The artists have also told me how much they appreciate your connection to their keep the comments coming, as well as the requests for peeks into our artists' studios. And if you haven't yet signed up for our "feed", please do (see feedblitz box at the top of the BLOG).
Keep cool and as I constantly remind art, eat cake and have fun....xxoo Jen
What's coming up each Wednesday and Saturday Posts...
...a Gal Pal Trek to York, Pennsylvania with Stacey Bear on our search for the perfect vintage find...a day trip with the kids to the Earth Girl Pottery studio and some fun with the clay....and posts saluting some wonderful artist friends! I'll also blog soon about the renovations underway here at Earth Angels...chain saws and nail guns are the constant tune these hot days of summer as we build a new outbuilding with studio space and add a bedroom for the boys and laundry room (yes, the "cookies anyone...?" mural in the mud room will soon be gone forever...)
more xxoo Jen

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Kitty's Favorite Things

The raw edge of kitschy coolness in Kitty B's work makes it great fun. And if you ever lucky enough to meet her, it takes about three seconds to understand she is as festive and unabashedly honest as her work. She is full of stories and thoughtful comments she offers in a lilting and breathy voice. She lends a sincerity to passionate discussions that bespeaks of her joy for the moment at hand, and a reverence for the past.

It takes less time to understand Kitty loves the leftover bits of yesterday that are worn and loved and seemingly useless...some would call it old junk. She seeks it out and hordes it with abandon. Calico & Buttons are her two very favorite things, so she’s named her assemblage pieces and framed collages in their celebration. They hang everywhere in my home.

Kitty Babendreier is the mistress of assemblage, carefully curating her odd boxes of whimsy by freezing bits of everyday life for inspection. In her art, Kitty elevates castoff tools, misfit toys and broken tidbits in her celebration of whimsy, selecting and then surrounding them in their own little world of paper and glitter, whimsy and mirth.

I am completely intoxicated with Kitty and her work. I've collected it feverishly for years. When we first met in 2003, I would drive 3 hours in February snows and the muggy heat of August to see her at a show she used to do down in Pennsylvania. I would make piles of boxes, arranging them on the floor in vignettes, moving them about endlessly. Then I would decide I had to have all of them...or at least as many as I could carry in my two arms (I had to establish some type of control or I would have had every last one!)

I am no less than overjoyed that she is now among my "Angel" artists! Thanks Kitty for all the fabulous mixed media boxes, kitsch-laden collages and bits of magic brew you have sent this way....30 new pieces are here at Earth Angels. E-mail if you'd like us to add you to the list to receive images via email newsletter.

You can also see some of Kitty's work at my sister-in-law Joanne's shop and restaurant, Charlotte's Tea Room. It's well worth an afternoon visit. Have a pot of my favorite "Paris Tea" on the deck overlooking the creek or inside the cozy tea room where chintz and white wrought iron chairs nestle with ironstone teapots in cozy nooks. Tell Mary, the best waitress in the world, that I sent you. And if they have their famous toffee scones that day, ring me and I will be right down to join you.

xxoo Jen O'Connor

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

a star spangled day

There are those days that are better remembered because they are shared. In a place, for a time, family and those that are in our hearts, give and take conversation over food and drink to make a day their own forever.

Sun and then long shadows on the back meadow, the cool evening, old fashioned games, hand made salads, steak hot off the grill, grass under bare feet, laughter heard at a distance, the saffron glow of the tent lights after dark, old stories, cousins, kids under tables nodding off...

Family...the O'Connors, tons of Graneys, all those Sullivans, three generations of Magees, the McEldowney-McNallys from Colorado, the Maryland Voelkers, the Metzgers, the Harris family, the Boyles, the Walsh, Hvisch and O'Donnell crews, the Schmalz family, the Sheehans (thanks Chris & Jess for the pulled pork sandwiches!!! the Cotters and the soon to be three generations of Mihalicks...

Friends that are like Family... the McCabes, the Gibbons Gang, Patty Monahan, the Gallos, the Intocis, Ro, Rex and his outrageous "Crunch", the Hofmans, Laurie Meseroll & Co, the Babendreiers, Jill Wiener and her Rich....

Wonderful Friends, the old and the new ...Samborski, Tai, Nuttall, Domasek, Schaechinger, Knebel, Mueller, Durland, Ferguson, Dorsey, Kroslak, Lambert, Baird, Wadeson, Snedaker, Dubrowin, Roome, Collins, McGuinness, McInnis, Woo, Abalogu, Domasek, Page... who have I forgotten???

200+ folks, 100+ Hawaiian shirts, tons of food, sun and a cool breeze, a perfect day...

HOORAY for the red, white and blue and the chance to celebrate together.

I have just finished the last of the dishes from the bash on Saturday...I am off to Manhattan tomorrow with Laurie Meseroll on an adventure....we'll be up at Jill Wiener's EarthGirl Pottery Studio on Friday and me and Lisa, and Ro are down to York, PA to antique with Stacey Bear this weekend...I sure will keep you posted on these summer adventures...then it's back to some artist dedications next week... the meantime...HAPPY 4th and xxoo to all of America
xxoo Jen

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