Monthly Archives: December 2006



About two yeaartomatrs ago, I was surfing the web and came upon the website for the Art-O-Mat. This is a very interesting project wherein former cigarette machines are transformed into art vending machines. The idea originated in Winston-Salem, NC, and now there are about 75 in the USA – 1 in Surrey, England.

Since reading that article, I have revisited the idea of contributing. I read an interesting entry by Teresa Villegas wherein she took part in the San Antonio art school Art-o-Mat machine. The vending machine is decorated with images from her Loteria installation. It looks like fun, but it also is a bit restrictive. There are very specific dimensions and instructions on what to submit and how. It has to be the exact size of a retro-pack of cigarettes. If you submit “flat” art, it has to be attached to a wooden block of those precise dimensions. They sell the boxes and the blocks, of course, but I think that it would be nice to print my own boxes on the laser printer. The blocks or boxes have to be wrapped in acetate and contain no balloons, peanuts, or magnets.

In preparation for embarking on this project, I finally visited the only Art-O-Mat in Atlanta. It is located right next to the exit door of the Whole Foods Market on Briarcliff and LaVista. After browsing the store and tasting cheeses and candies, I bought some bread and some lovely smoked trout and cream cheese spread. Then, I had to go to Customer Service and buy tokens for the machine. When I called on the phone to inquire as to whether or not the machine still existed, I was encouraged by the fact that the employee knew about it.

I went to the machine, and tried my best to survey the contents, all the while dodging exiting shoppers with their carts (this is NOT an ideal place to put a vending machine!). I was disappointed that some of the slots were sold out – I really wanted to check out a self-published booklet, but there were no more. I finally decided upon one product packaged in a box, and one piece of art attached to a wooden block.styrogami

My first piece was a work of Styrogami (registered trademark) by J. Jules Vitali. It is entitled “Tree House” and is inscribed and signed in tiny tiny letters by the artist. A strip of paper inside of the box says that, if I contact him and let him know which piece I have acquired, that he will title a piece with my name to be sold in an Art-O-Mat somewhere. Cool, huh? And this guy has been exhibited, which leads to my big question of the year:

Why don’t I have an exhibit? 😉 Where is MY exhibit!!!???

My second piece of art was a lame crayon and ink rendering of a palm tree beach sunset. The back of the piece is signed “designs by donna”. No contact info. I guess you can’t win them all! I should have gone for the animal collage guy! At any rate, I did receive the block of wood, which is scored to act as an easel for the piece.

All of that, for $10.00! The artist gets $2.50 of the $5.00 sale price. But that, of course, does not include investment in boxes, wood blocks, and your time. Still, I think that it is a brilliant promotional gimmick! And I will eventually have to take part!

Oh, the trout dip was yummy, too.


Merry Christmas!


I have been off for Christmas holidays since Friday, and have not done much. I had most of my shopping done, relying heavily on my CafePress Store for t-shirt gifts, as well as calendars. I currently have three calendars for sale on my site – one of my collages, one large scale calendar with my Quilt Loteria, and last year’s Loteria calendar.I made mention in a previous entry about folding toys, and included an illustration of The Toymaker’s folding angel retablo. Recently, I have been playing around with that concept, creating a couple of mini folding shrines of my own. I have one for sale at my CafePress store, under the new category: Folding Shrines, but I have ordered copies of each to see if they come together correctly.

I have eight more days of vacation, and I am going to try and take it one day at a time. I have not done that much celebrating, having gone to my mom’s place on Christmas eve to exchange gifts, then to my brother in law’s house for Christmas brunch. Last night, we went to an open house hosted by a dear friend. She is definitely of the “old school” of entertaining, being in her 80’s, and we committed a little faux pas by taking the “open house” appelation literally and arriving an hour and a half late. Now we know that the time that the “open house” begins is the time that we should show up.

Since it ended at 8PM, my husband and I decided, along with half the people on our side of town, to go and see a movie. I don’t know what we were thinking. We did not use Fandango, so we had to stand in a long line to buy tickets. The good news is that the movie my husband wanted to see – Eragon – hardly had any people in the theatre. The bad news was that I HAD to have popcorn (my motivation for going to see Eragon), and spent 20 minutes or so in line at the concession stand. Lucky for me, I made it just in time for the opening credits.

The movie was not that bad, really. But I made a quick calculation: $9.50 a ticket times two = $19.00, then my medium Diet Coke and medium buttered popcorn was $9.75. Grand total for a movie night for two: $28.75 – $30.75 if we had taken advantage of Fandango. That is too much, and Eragon was not worth that much… And the popcorn was really not that great. When will I learn to insist that we wait for the Venture Cinema, which is only $2.00 per person, and to bring a big purse with snacks and drinks…

New Calendar


A couple of months ago – maybe even last year – I uploaded my collages to I planned on selling prints on demand, just as I have done with all of my other designs. I love the variety of products available there, and I do not have to buy a large amount of stock to sell. If someone wants a t-shirt, or poster, or cards, he or she can just order one, and I get a mark-up amount. Business has grown, especially since I stacollage calendarrted promoting my shop through The Sampler.

Last year, I also had a great time designing a calendar with my Loteria Celeste cards. I went to great trouble to accommodate the sizes needed for the calendar format, and learned a lot about Adobe PhotoShop. Then, I started to adapt my collages to make another calendar. I ran out of steam until this week, when I finally finished the Maison Celeste Collage Calendar! Yay for me! I have ordered 5 of them to give as gifts.

The cover is an homage to my dog, Connolly, who passed away a year ago January 11th. I had been playing around with pictures of tin nichos that I found online. I also had a great picture of Connolly when we used to visit Hard Labor Creek State Park, which I altered for an impressionist effect. The background is a quilt design, and it was great how the colors all fell together. I ended up having to lighten the cross, though, because it was a little too much of a good thing. Next up, a Loteria Quilt Calendar.

I have to admit to being pretty lazy in my writing right now. I am not even keeping a paper journal. I was originally going to participate in NaNoWriMo this November, but realized that I already had too many things on my plate, and that this was probably just a distraction. Maybe next year!

I am getting together “home-made” things to give as gifts for Christmas this year. I have ordered t-shirts from my CafePress shop for my nieces and nephews. For McKenzie, I have chosen La Paloma – I was going to choose La Bailarina, but she is taking a dance break right now. For Robert, I chose La Calavera with black sleeves – he’s going through a kind of Goth phase. For Aidan, the youngest, I chose El Diablito – because that is what he is!!! I have new little niece on my husband’s side, and she’s getting a little pink La Rosa t-shirt.

It’s late, and I want to go to sleep – I still have to re-sheet the bed. This afternoon, while I was zealously digging up canna lilies and throwing them on the other side of the fence, my dog, Lupita, was wandering around the neighborhood. Our subdivision is surrounded by a fence, but I have noticed that the pooch is wandering farther afield. This time, she returned with a black container in her mouth. Powder was cascading out of it, and she dropped it. I was able to nab it without the usual game of “keep away” only to find that it was an old container of Fire Ant Killer.


My other dog, Connolly, was no stranger to poisons – having visited the emergency room three times in her 14 years. The first was for eating rat poison at camp – I am totally sure she ingested poison, and had to drive her to Arden, NC to have her treated. The other two times, I was not at all sure that she had ingested poison – one was in Mobile when I returned from dinner to find that she had rounded up all of the roach baits in my motel room. The second time was an ant bait situation. I still brought her to the vet, because it is better to be safe than sorry.

After a half an hour of debate and internet inquiry, I decided that Lupita had to go to Banfield. This is so much fun, as she growls at the vet assistants when they try to take her “temperature” and even when they wield the stethoscope. In addition to that, my vet was a man – Lupita does not like men (of course, except for my husband and next-door neighbor), so she growled at him. When he suggested that he take the leash, I said that it would probably be better if I held her.

Even though she was showing no ill effects, the decision (a $156 decision) was made to induce vomiting and to treat with activated charcoal. I wandered around the PetsMart and read a book about adopted dogs while they tried to get her to vomit. So now, we are at home, chilling out. I will have to control my desire to let her run around from now on. Darn.

Time for bed – I have a crock pot concoction simmering away: chicken thighs with onions and mushrooms. I have topped that with a can of chicken noodle soup that I pureed and added pisco to, as well as lavendar and Herbes de Provence, celery seed, and thyme. Don’t make a face – I am sure it will be great!!!