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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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


...we were in Florida for a week. A vacation from the everyday never seems long enough...and yet, it was wonderful to come Home.

We make the 17 hour drive to Florida twice a year. A pilgrimage we've made for as long as I can recall. First, I went as a kid in the back of my parents' car to visit my GrandMa and Aunties.
Now, with my own kids, we drive.
I love the ride through the night, the desolate road, the dim lights from wayside towns and even the indulgent snacks we treat ourselves to on the long ride...Yes, getting there takes time, but the road-trip is a part of the adventure and it works its magic on all of us.

Here we are at the Florida "Welcome Center" on I-95
...the kids love the free juice and a stretch of their legs!
We love that they are such hearty little travellers.

This image tells you how I spent the trip (actually any trip we take...)... chasing Aidan, asking Rory to "grab shell" (that's cool turtle momma speak for you NEMO fans and means, " "hold my hand") and of course, asking Charlotte to catch up.

Rory loves juice,

Char says, "It tastes like Florida".

And, Aidan says, "Cheers".

...the sun, the sand, the surf, the sea...
The vacation gave me such a re-charge! I am working with renewed energy...and it's a good thing too! In the next few weeks I have to ready the gallery for the BIG event, finish the move into the secret lab for the impending "Song of the Seas" cocktail party, and prep for a photo shoot with Jo Packham for the next "Where Women Create"...
What a "to do" list!
My gal pal Kathy is coming over tomorrow to help once again...I will be sure to take some pictures with her and share them so you can see the "Before" and the "After" in the new space we've built.
xxoo Jen

Monday, April 28, 2008

Thanks Romantic Homes

Thanks to "Romantic Homes" magazine for the mention of our upcoming 7th Annual Spring Soiree celebrating the "Song of the Sea"...

The editors of this super magazine -- based in Orange County, CA -- saw fit to mention our gallery event in Orange County, NY...and even better, were right there on the page with another h-o-t New York event...
MOMA's color exhibit!

Thanks to Jacqueline and Jickie!
...and do hope you get a chance to read their May issue celebrating Spring and Mother's Day. I do love the aprons they're featuring.
xxoo Jen O'Connor

Friday, April 25, 2008

Bulk Pick-Up

It was “bulk pick-up” here in Warwick last week. This is a twice a year fest for the junk lover, the optimist and the most sentimental of creatures whose love of the old, the broken down and the worn enslaves them.
Here is my haul! A pair of corbels, an enamel stove and a wonderfully clean suitcase…with the key! They make an inspiring pile.
I have many merry treasures from the trash. Shamelessly, I mix them in with my folk art and more valuable antiques and collections. But these “finds” add the texture and “memento” factor I truly love.

This 1930s kitchen chair holds two of my favorite Nicol Sayre dolls. Its mate flanks the server and sits under the other window in my dining room. They establish symmetry and style with their worn pink paint and familiar silhouettes.

My folks found this cabinet in Queens when they were out walking with the grandbabies. They got their exercise carrying it to my house 6 blocks away! Now it holds my collection of British ceramic art...(hmmm...I will have to Blog about Devon art pottery soon.)

This wonderfully odd horse head lamp with its toile shade was destined for the junk pile…but I think it looks much better on my hutch. This is clearly a love/hate lamp, and it fits in perfectly with my flourishing collection of weird lamps
(Kathy, we really should count them sometime please!)

Ahhh…perhaps my most treasured find from McEwen Street one fall... and old child’s high chair. It has served us well and seems a better choice than those HUGE plastic modern high-chairs.

I suppose this is when I should be spring cleaning, but I just cannot control myself. This is an old town, with old houses…such great stuff to be found! Just wait til the garage sales start!

Happy hunting,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

One Month and a Day from Today!

Mark your calendar! Save the date!

...for our next Gallery Reception and Show of Original Art

We hope those of you who have visited us before can once again join us. And to those of you who are considering making the time, the trip or the adventure...please do!
Art and friendship abound in good energy and good fun.

...20 artists will attend to present their original work and to meet and mingle with collectors, art enthusiasts and other creative souls...

11am - 4pm
Warwick, NY

See the Work and Meet Feature Artists:
Bonnie Taylor Talbot
Cheryl Kuhn
Jennifer Lanne and
Dara DiMagno

See the Work and Meet Showcase Artists:
Debbee Thibault
Pat Murphy
Julie Arkell
Kitty Babendreier
Laurie Meseroll
Deirdre Friebely
Nicole Bowen
Stacey Bear
Debbie Hartwick
Lori Ann Corelis
Letty Worley
Heidi Steiner
Jody Battaglia
Earth Girl
Leslie McCabe
Nicol Sayre

This is a wonderful event, free and open to the public. Earth Angels will host this event The Gallery at The Country Life at 40 Main Street in downtown Warwick.

For more info, contact me by e-mail or call 845-986-8720 from 8-8 NY time

ALSO....Please consider attending...
Breakfast with the Artists
Sunday, May 18th - 9-10:30 am

Enjoy a gourmet breakfast with our featured artists Cheryl Kuhn, Bonnie Taylor Talbot, Jennifer Lanne and Dara DiMagno at the lovely "Charlotte's Tea Room". Share one-on-one time with the artists and learn more about their inspirations. Reservations required and space is limited to 20 enthusiasts.

We hope you can join us and if you'd like a snail mail copy of the invite..
just e-mail us your address.
xxoo Jen

Monday, April 14, 2008

Laurie Goes Mod

Were you a little girl in the 60s? Do you remember playing with sweet Liddle Kiddles, blinking Blythe, and Dawn dolls?

If you were, and if you do, then this post is for you...child of the mod, weaned on Keane prints, plastic slipcovers, TV and Tang.

Laurie Meseroll salutes her girlie youth and the starry eyed, big-headed babes of that era in a new group of work.
This was a fun exploration of reminiscence for her…she had talked about painting something like this series since we visited Ro's house with Debbee Thibault last summer. are Laurie’s big eyed, big-headed and oh so “mod” little girls.

And here are some Kolorful Kiddles (thanks Ro for these image)….a few of these cuties are familiar to me too…I had Suki Skediddle, and Sleeping Biddle. So sweet, so tiny; they fit right in your hand and were a world of darling play.

Ro, among many wonderful accumulations and collections, is an avid “Kollector of Kiddles”. When that cabinet door opened Laurie went crazy! She had to smell them, loved the colors, talked about how she and her sister had played with them for days on end in the late 60s…She went on and on…the Kologne Kiddles, the Kola Kiddles…ohhh ahhh.

This work has a sassy, swingy palette and hair colors that are from a galaxy beyond... And so, Laurie Meseroll has revealed her passion for the MOD! While Margaret Keane’s large-eyed waifs might live again today in the brassy “Powder Puff Girls”, I prefer Laurie’s iteration of this brand of ingĂ©nue. Her new paintings capture the sweet doe-eyed dolls and playthings so many of us loved as children of that era.

Incidentally, it was just announced in February that Kate Hudson will play Margaret Keane in the movie “Big Eyes”. Filming will begin late 2008. Laurie, you style-setter you… always just one step ahead of the power curve!

Jen O’Connor
Earth Angels

Friday, April 11, 2008

Box Alert!


When Kitty B came to visit last week she brought with her armloads of her latest creations...
There always seems to be at least one or two among them that send me! They tickle, cajole, prod or poke at the funny bone, the wish bone or some memory. Kitty excels and ensnaring sentiment.

Here Earth Girl Jill raids the pile of Kitty's latest creations...

Kitty's assemblage shadowboxes are stuffed with vintage goodies and a cacophony of textures. She collects odd bits of yesterday and marries them with color and story.

They wield their mood from bright and cheery, to winsome and pensive. They delight.

We'll be sending two "E-Mail Brian" Newsletters to share complete images of these goodies (....and I should let you know, Kitty's made a gesture with special pricing on these new pieces...thanks Kitty!)...or feel free to email for a sneak peek.
And thanks to Kitty for the constant inspiration...her boxes hang in every, well yes, indeed, every room of my home.
Enjoy your day
xxoo Jen

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tea Vote

We drink an awful lot of tea in this family. Tea pots abound, tea tins accumulate and tea parties are de rigoeur.
I would argue that our preferred beverage can be as complex as wine in taste, as companionable as a good friend and certainly worthy of consumption each day.

But ever the question, "Which tea shall we have?"
Which fits the mood, our palette, the accompaniments.

With my nephew and tea enthusiast here for the day, we decided to have a taste test. The kids became the experts (after all, Auntie Jo does own a tea room!) agreeing to sample three varieties from our favorite tea company "Harney & Sons".

Logan voted first and on "Paris"...a black tea with a wisp of caramel and citrus...

Char went for "Bangkok", but I am guessing it was the tin color more than the green tea laced with coconut and lemon grass.

Rory, green light sabre omnipresent, loves the decaf "Vanilla Commoro" with as much milk as tea!

Who knew, I was to the the tie-breaker...
The kids were on pins and needles.....
...and with my vote...."Paris" it is!

We enjoy these at our favorite spot "Charlotte's Tea Room".
I take home my weekly tin of 20 tea sachets on Wednesdays or Fridays when I stop in for a scone and a pot....
xxoo Jen

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Texture Meets Color

paints with wool and thread. Her hooked rugs and petite punch needle designs quench my appetite for texture and add color to several rooms in my home. I would willingly build more walls to have more of her art around me!

Images emerge from in whirls of floss, loops of recycled textiles and her imagination. She is inspired by her grandchildren, her dogs, her love of the sea and shore and her time living in Ireland.

Strong, happy and bright... her pieces show skill and savvy...

 does the artist herself!

is ever the teacher. Here she is at our recent gathering of artists for "the heART of winter". She shares her love for textile arts and know-how with patient grace. I'd venture a bet that she has taught more crafters to punch needle or rug hook than just about anyone in the States.

Michelle was captured by Leslie's project.
The artist's hands were ever busy as she demonstrated "how to hook" to so many during our event.

Here she turns her granddaughter's Olivia's drawing into a rug. Skill and style emerge with every loop.

Art to go! Felted and over-dyed wool is at the ready in a tote she brings with her as she travels. She plucks strands as her design progresses. She makes it appear effortless....telling those of us watching her that we could do this.

"Here, you try." she offers.

 is the self-portrait made into forever decor!

Zayla and Leslie became fast friends at their B&B. Zayla and her mom Kimberly travelled from Arizona to attend the event and took home one of Leslie's framed rugs for their lake cottage.

Leslie's sense of color and balance are divine, this with her skills enable her to illustrates a story or scene in texture and hue.

I adore her work, and the artist herself even more. So I simply cannot wait to have her visit again for our 7th Annual Spring Soiree. Leslie will be among the 20 guest artists at our next gallery event the "Song of the Sea".

Bravo and thanks go to Leslie for her talent, for sharing and for her inspiration to create!
xxoo Jen

Friday, April 4, 2008

Red tops my "Color Chart"

Red, wonderful red. Apples and barns and skies before storms. This is red. It has the taste of fall's harvest, the glint of Christmas, and the succulent warmth of summer's cherries. It emblazons each season with its hot brand.
It's cheery red toenails peeking from sandals and lips dressed for their evening out. It's every pair of shoes I've ever loved.

Red is bold in its hunger for acknowledgement, eager to prove, confident and decidedly happy about it. It makes people dance and others cower. It's vibrant, strong and brave. It is most welcome in my home and I dash it about almost recklessly among textures and patterns.
As a color-aholic, I wonder what does this addiction to red mean?
"Color Chart" is the title of a wonderful exhibit at MOMA that is up through May12th. It explores the use of color and color trends from the 1950s through the present day. The exhibit begs the questions, "Did you once cook on an avocado-colored stove?", "Did you embrace beige?", "Did you ever own neon colored socks to coordinate with your Madonna-esque rubber bracelets?" (Actually, I asked that last one...)
The Museum of Modern Art exhibit explored artists' works and their color stories and how color entered the mainstream and impacted the new age of commercialism that was born with TV and weaned on POP culture, breakfast cereal, and the exploration of space.
"Midway through the twentieth century, long-held convictions regarding the spiritual truth or scientific validity of particular colors gave way to an excitement about color as a mass-produced and standardized commercial product."
The exhibit explores how some artists abandoned the use of developing their own pigments and reached for cans of pre-fab paint, and what resulted.
Look, at Ro and red, it practically belongs to her... do you remember this red letter day Robin and Heidi?

's Theresa, another red friend, in a sweater to match our cheer, and my Bakelite bracelets... (I admit they are, yet another, addiction!)

Ahhh, yummy red, brave red, intense's pink's bossy big sister and everywhere in my home. Can you paint the town red? Do redheads have more fun (we'll need to ask Dawn about that!)? Do you love it? Does it have to be in small doses? Do tell the truth and shame that red devil!
How can I help myself from loving it and its hues, from tomato to wine and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates..
And, here's a link to the exhibit on-line...think and dream in your colors!
xxoo Jen O'Connor

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