Stuff I like on Etsy

| is a collection of the most intriguing, useful, colorful, artistic, and humorous items that are individually handcrafted by talented indie artisans from all over the world. I'm very proud to be a part of the Etsy community. Here, I showcase some of my recent favorite picks. Enjoy!

Dogs Playing Poker

I love springtime! I love witnessing the emergence of green leaves and colorful flowers, the warming of the air, the singing and nest building of birds, the buzzing of bees, and the appearance of peoples stuff gathered in their yards on the weekends. Yes, it's finally Yard Sale time in West Virginia and I'm so excited to plow through peoples things to purchase and collect lots of stuff I don't really need, but must have at that moment. It's true instant gratification. I take garage sales seriously. Armed with my newspaper, my map, my boyfriend Eric (if he's game that day) a full tank of gas, my dog sPoT!, and a pocket wad full of cash I set off.

Last weekend we drove across the Potomac and stopped at a few places in the Sharpsburg area.
We didn't find anything worth having and were ready to call it a day when we ran across a couple with all their items lined up along the narrow sidewalk in front of their pre-1900 colonial home. Eric reached for 3 framed prints "Here, we'll take these!" I took a look and there were 3 small prints of dogs playing poker by Collidge in wood frames for $2.00 each. "Yep, I said".

Cassius Coolidge painted 16 anthropormorphized dog paintings in 1903 for an advertising firm in St. Paul, MN. Nine of those prints were dogs playing poker. The 3 prints I got are called Pinched with 4 Aces, Waterloo, and His Station and 4 Aces. In 2005, two of Coolidge's original paintings (A Bold Bluff, and Waterloo Two) sold for $590,000 to a private art collector.

A quick look on Ebay for dogs playing poker yielded hundreds of knock-off, reproductions, and kitchy poker dog items such as posters, shirts, tin signs, playing cards, totebags, neckties, poker chips, trays, figurines, mousepads (yeah, that's mine in the pic) curtains and clocks. There's even a movie called Four Dogs Playing Poker.

My new fun kitchy prints will grace our fake wood-paneled den along with my tiki mug collection, and assorted tiki art such as my giant print of Tikis Playing Poker originally created by Slacks Ferret.

The Mess

I woke up yesterday morning, wandered into my studio, GASPED, shook my head, swung myself around, and made a bee-line back upstairs to the kitchen to make a steaming hot strong carafe of Yerba Mate. "I just can't work in there" I told sPoT!, the dog. It's time to take serious action and reorganize that awful disgusting mess. Empty boxes, dog toys, paper bits, wadded up tape, design books, shoes and socks, bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts, tools, CDs, beads, old books and maps, moldy tea mugs, and dirty beer glasses, photos, paint, drill bits, chocolate wrappers, colored pencils, piles of credit card junk mail, exacto knives, Sharpie pens, and about 20 pairs of scissors (and it never seems that I can't find a pair) were strewn everywhere. Not to mention that damn exercise ball that always gets in my way. "Hey! There's my bra!!!"

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It's day 2 and Oh, what a feeling it is to sit in my studio again! Luckily, I found an old usable small drafting table in the garbage pile behind the big town church. I think that was the only time I've been dumpster diving and felt like I was committing a sin. But, I always wanted a tilting table to draw on.

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Another highlight was the moment I shredded that last page of old documents from my last job and that felt terrific....ah, closure!! Was it worth 3 hours of shredding?? YES IT WAS! Why was I keeping all that stuff? Like I was really going to need that February timesheet from 2003, or that approved travel voucher from 2004! It's all gone! And now I have closet space for my creations!

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sPot! wasn't amused at all with the whole situation as I neglected his walk, or shall I say his sniff and poop at the park.

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