So long, Asheville!

I have done more than I ever could have imagined I would during my time in Asheville. It has been a whirlwind of life experience that I will come away from even more empowered and with a stronger sense of who I am. I went there just to see and experience a different place, with intentions of living in a new community. It was no time before I felt I could call Asheville home, as it fit like a glove and I cannot wait to return! I have met so many wonderful friends and have truly had the best time. Thank you Cheyenne for being such an amazing friend and for giving me such a cool place to stay! Goodbye to all of the friends I have made; we will cross paths with very soon and I will be back! :o)
This morning I am leaving to head back to New Hampshire, but will be in transit for a few days with stops in D.C., New Jersey, Connecticut and more . My friend Jim is driving back with me--should be a fun roadtrip to say the least! I'll try to blog from the road, but if not, I'll see y'all when I get back!
So long, Asheville!



And they're up! Ta-da! Here are the three panels I painted for Beans and Berries on Merrimon Avenue here in Asheville. It was raining when I took this pic, but they sure are bright and visible from the road!


Montford Fest

What a gorgeous day in the sunshine last Saturday was! One of the many, many things I am going to miss about Asheville is the abundance of festivals and events; seems like every weekend there is something new and exciting going on that celebrates creativity and draws in a fun crowd.

Montford Fest was a free street affair of all day music (ranging from blue grass to reggae!), dancing, hula hooping, arts and craft vendors and delicious homemade food.

Snake Oil Medicine Show was one of my favorite bands that played--they were very reggae meets bluegrass meets rockabilly. Very dancable! Good stuff!

But, I finally got to meet the MelMackPink: Asheville's best hooper! She performs downtown on Tuesday nights in Pritchard Park, starting in June. You can check her out at http://www.ashevillehoops.com/ She's great!


Yay! Hoops!


On my way to where the air is sweet...

It is no secret that I believe Jim Henson to be the greatest artist of all time. He was a brilliant man who we lost too soon, but were lucky enough to catch what I believe to be only a glimpse of what he was capable of contributing to the world. So when I saw a poster on a walk down Lexington Ave. saying that Jim Henson's daughter was going to be speaking at the Asheville Puppetry Center's tenth birthday celebration, I had to go. (And bonus: Telly Monster from Sesame Street Talk was going to be there with puppeteer Marty Robinson) Talk about the universe lining up for you! So I bought a ticket and got all gussied up for the gala last weekend; what a FABULOUS event it was! (One of the best parts: the "adult" Sesame Street blooper reel! That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness!)
This is Jim Henson's youngest daughter, Heather. What an honor it was to meet her! I expressed how dear her father's work has been to me since I was young and she told me all about working with her father on puppets, sets, and being surrounded by such creativity. We talked about what kind of tools Jim used to cut out the sets on the Muppet Show. I was shaking with excitement by this point in the conversation.
And then I got to meet Marty and Telly (this was one of the originals, who is not in production anymore)...
Marty Robinson (such a fun guy!) also has played Mr. Snuffleupagus, Slimey the Worm, Buster the Horse, Oscar the Grouch's neice and mother. He also played the Farmer in (one of my all-time favorites) The Tale of the Bunny Picnic and the face of Leonardo in the original movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
I know Telly is just fake fur and ping pong ball eyes. But he really does come to life in a way that made me want to talk to him. Marty is such a brilliant puppeteer (you should see his "puppet muscles")! And when I saw this tag...well, I had an actual momentary loss of breath.


Mini Fashionistas :o)

A while back, I designed this blog banner for a bargain hunting momma and I thought I would share! She's a great mom and a fun designer, who has lots of creativity up her sleeves when it comes to her kids' style, birthday parties and more! She frequently posts ideas on where to find bargains, gifts, decorations and such for all things kiddo-related. Just wanted to give Mini Fashionista a shout-out...she's just getting started on this new venture, so check her out @http://www.minifashionistas.blogspot.com/.


Check this out!

Sometimes I find it overwhelming how beautifully the pieces of this crazy univeral puzzle fit together. And it really is the small things in life that matter.
It's no secret that I have been spending my days in Asheville preparing for my shoppe opening in New Hampshire in June. And boy am I excited! I have been scouring yard sales and thrift stores for all of the fixtures I needed to find (more on that later...just WAIT 'til you see the finds I have to show you!). I have been collecting vintage clothes, sewing skirts, painting signs, making hula hoops and trying to organize all of the paperwork from 1,000 miles away. And while I am known to most as an absent-minded and sometimes flighty artist, I would consider myself to be right down the middle: both right and left brained. I love to be creative, but excel at keeping things orderly (I'm not saying I DO THAT all the time...I am just good at it). I like to get messy, but I like organizational office supplies (a quality my mom and I both share we realized one day, as she was flipping through a Staples catalog and I could not wait for her to pass it to me).
So in my ridiculous organization, I made a list of everything that I was searching for in my Asheville travels for my shoppe. It was very specific, from a metal vintage clothing rack to scrolly plastic frames to maroon velour fabrics. One thing I wanted to find was a small rack to display my mom's gorgeous bracelets that she is going to be selling at Veggie Art Girl (ones that I wear and receive compliments on daily!) So I set out to the Salvation Army. They are having a green dot half price sale. I walk in, pick up this (used to be mug holder), think "wow, that would be perfect," see the green dot, pay $.50 and go on my merry way (oh, I also found a great pair of boots for $3.00 while I was there!) I hop in Janis and look at my new treasure, wondering what color I am going to paint it. Then I flip it over: Lucas Co. Manufacturing. This is a sign from the universe, right? Well, my jaw dropped over it!


Mmmm...Craggie goodness.

When you get invited to an underground beer sampling in Asheville...you go. :o) I met co-owner of Craggie Brewing at a party a couple of weeks ago, and got an invite to this all day event of beer tasting. The company is just getting underway, and will have their signage up (they are located on Hillard Ave. in downtown Asheville) for the Bele Chere Fest in July. But for now, they just invited people to come in and sample and help spread the word. The pours ranged from dark to light and it was all tasty, and I am just doing my part to help spread the word! Check them out at: http://www.craggiebrewingco.com/

Mmmm...White Squirrel Ale.



I have been working long days and night, getting ready for all that is to come. But this weekend, I am going to take it all in, enjoy friends, say goodbyes, share laughs and absorb every last drop of Asheville I can before I depart next week. I'm sad to go, but excited for the future!


Paws in the Park

I'm going to be honest with you: I have never been a dog person. I think I was actually taught when I was younger to fear dogs, and grew up in a petless household (My dad finally broke when I was nearly 16 and I finally got a cat!). But living in Asheville has changed me in that regard; it is such a dog-friendly city. There are pooches everywhere you go, and I have enjoyed being around so many of them. Buttttt....I especially love my roommate's dog Fred. We're such pals...I never thought I could dig a dog this much.

Last Saturday I took my buddy Fred to the Paws in the Park event in Fletcher, NC. It was a gathering of pups for some socialization time--we got to play with other doggies, take an obedience test (ummm....we didn't quite pass that one), try free samples, win prizes, and there was a parade of dressed up doggies. Fred didn't want to do that, but look how handsome he was in his bandana! And check out the pics of the new friends he made!

Here's Fred, riding in Janis, wondering where the heck I was going to take him.

Some of the costume winner from the parade
This little pooper's name was Cash. A mini Fred!

This is Lydia's puppy, Roxy (above)


Karma Balm :o)

I have been doing the package design for Karma Balm for over a year now, working with the wonderful and talented owner or the company, Corey Calaio. (You may also know her from Peace of Infinity Holistics in Bethlehem, NH). I want to give a little shout-out to her and her company, both of which are doing great things in the world. Corey is a wonderful healer, and has recently branched out her healing by making some of her Karma Balm products available to the public on her website and various shops in New England (and she is going to be one of the featured artists at Veggie Art Girl on Squam!)

This stuff is amazing-- the Seriously Big Lip Balm is a ginormous tube of lemony goodness that not only lasts forever but heals the most chapped of lips! And I cannot speak highly enough about the Boo-Boo Balm—two nights ago I burned my finger with an industrial glue gun (oh, it was a bad one!), slapped on some Boo-Boo Balm, and two days later I'm band-aid-less it's as if this thing has been healing for 2 weeks!

Below are the new designs I created for her two latest products: Booty Balm and Tired Piggy Balm. Check out Corey's Karma Balm goodness at http://www.karmabalm.org/!

And look what came in the mail! A fun thank you note from Corey, with a package of her goddess lotions and potions. It's my new signature (kind of a romantic nag champa) smell and I love it! Thanks Corey!


Bread and Puppet

I have never been exposed to so much randomess; Asheville is not only alive with creativity, but it tends to pop up when you least expect it. Like a Bread and Puppet show in the River Arts District, for instance. Word on the street was that they were here for a celebration of Asheville Center for Puppetry's tenth anniversary: The Bread and Puppet Circus, all the way from my old stompin' ground in Glover, VT. Back in the day, my friends and I would camp out in Vermont for a day of festivities and watch the shows. Now they have weekly summer shows in Glover and apparently tour about when they can. It was a gorgeous day and a hilariously beautiful show for the young and old. And it looks like they are going to be touring for the rest of the spring, so if you have the chance, check them out! http://www.breadandpuppet.org/


Adventures of Blink, Part II

Here are the rest of the pics I gathered from Horseshoe's camera (aka 'Blink') before he went wandering back off into the woods in Tennesee. I just talked to him and he is doing well, hiking along and enjoying every moment of it. (His best day: 38 miles in ONE day! Phew!) If you are interested in following Blink's travels, he is recording his journeys on Twitter @jasonrand. Enjoy!


A berry sneaky peak. :o)

This is part of a three panel mural installation I am painting for Beans & Berries, the new smoothie & deli joint on Merrimon Ave here in Asheville. The concept is to create three large graphic panels that will all together create a tryptic, each full of vibrant color and lots of swirly motion. I painted all Sunday this past weekend trying to get them done (the weather has not been cooperating lately!) and came away with one finished panel...and a terrible sunburn on my back. When I have finished the other two panels and they are installed on the building, I will be sure to post more pics!


Adventures of Blink, Part I

My buddy Horseshoe (Trail name: 'Blink') asked me to share these with the world. Here is a small sampling of the gorgeous photos he has been taking on his hiking adventures. If you are interested in following Blink's travels, he's on twitter: @jasonrand (ahhh...the power of technology!) More to follow...keep checking in!