Yummie Swedish Confections from Ikea...Dammsugare!

Ok, this blog post almost did not happen. Here's why: I almost ate it. Yep.
Years ago my coworker Joe, the awesome mind behind Boulevard Concepts, brought back some delish souvenirs from his trip to the newly opened Ikea store over in Stoughton, MA. They were tiny, dense, and incredibly sweet, with a liqueury finish and made me feel like I was getting away with having an after-dinner drink at work.

So, visiting the store for the second time myself last night...I crept over to the Ikea Marketplace, and there, beyond the gigundo bags of frozen meatballs, ta-da! I found out they were called "Dammsugare" in Sweden, which means "Dust Sucker", or "Vaccum Cleaner." So what the heck does that mean..? Well these little cookies resemble old retro vaccuum cleaners! The bright green ones with the dark ends. They are also called "Punsch-Rolls", (Swedish: punschrulle) named after Swedish Punsch, or the arrak liquor flavoring inside. It tastes very similar to amaretto.

I like the name because it reminds me of the slightly guilty feeling I have after scarfing them all down: "Damn, Sugar!" ...The flavors inside these yummie suckers are marzipan (egg white, sugar and bitter almond oil or extract), chocolate, and apricot (which you really can't taste too much, but they do contain some of the fruit.)
Fruit or not...look at those fat grams...yikes!

Here's a pretty cool recipe from the Caramella Cooks blog. 
And for your enjoyment, the last pics of the DammSugares before they met their untimely end.

County Fair Season!

Last weekend we went to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Rhode Island...unfortunately, it was windy and stormy right around the time the balloons were to go up. They did not even inflate! Oh well, I was looking forward to the pics, but they'll be back another time.

 Tomorrow I'm heading to the Barnstable County Fair on Cape Cod...I know the traffic will be ridiculous, but I'll bring along my Ipod for the two hour trip there. I'm looking forward to some cliche ferris wheel shots, some carnie food, and maybe a stuffed animal won after many rounds of shooting at balloons.

I'm not too keen on roller coasters either, but I suppose I could ride a yo-yo or two...back soon to share pics from my adventure...
Have a great weekend!

A lesson in Joy, from Maggie May the dog

I want to use my post today to bring attention to a cause dear to my heart- animals. I recently learned that a member of my online photography team, Joy, was struggling to pay some exorbitant vet bills for her beloved friend, companion, muse (and even model!) Maggie May.  There are not many among us who would not do everything they could for their companion animals- but their story is particularly special and more complex than a simple blog post could communicate.  
Above: A Day at the Beach", by Joy St. Claire
 In short, Maggie May is Joy’s best friend, going wherever she goes, intertwining her lovely doggie self into Joy’s gorgeous photography, and acting as her whole family.  In addition to her fame on the internet and on Joy’s Etsy shop of fine art photography, this free-spirited Lab/ Greyhound mix has been giving back to the community for years. She has been featured on animal calendars to raise money for rescue groups, and she was also a therapy dog, visiting local hospitals,  and helping heart patients recover from surgery and treatment. Despite being in two different homes and two animal shelters by the age of 1, Maggie has forgived and forgotten her tough start in life. Joy says that Maggie can be seen around Central Ohio "with her head hanging out the car window" on any given day.
Maggie May has been helping and lending her love to society; now it is time to help her back! After a bout of pancreantitis and complications, she is recovering and eating again and getting back to being her old,playful self. Joy has spared nothing in making sure her best buddy was saved. In the meantime, Joy is left with supporting her health care and recovery which involved hospital stays and lots of medication.  
Above: "Diva Dog", by Joy St. Claire
I recently read a great article about spending money on things that bring you joy, in the August issue of Oprah magazine. Author Martha Beck says, about spending $12,000 to give her beloved golden retriever Bjorn knee replacement surgery, "I paid [for them] without a second thought...Bjorn is to me what diamonds are to whoever wrote that song...a girl's best friend." 
 Above: "Party Girl", by Joy St. Claire
Says Joy, on her Etsy shop, "We love our pets. The quote by Anatole France sums it up perfectly: 'Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.' I like to say that Maggie and I rescued each other. We learned to trust together, we learned about gaining confidence together, and we learned that patience and love can conquer much."
Joy already donates portions of her sales from Etsy to aide the Gulf Coast oil spill recovery, but from now until the vet bills are paid all sales must go toward Maggie’s veterinary care.  Will you take a moment to reflect on the special partnership that our companion animals share with us, and visit Joy’s awesome photo shop to appreciate the beauty she sees in life? With every purchase you’ll be helping Joy and Maggie May recover- in health and finance.  And you’ll be adding  an original piece of beautiful, affordable art to your home that will have a very special meaning that you’ll remember every time you see it. There is nothing better. 

P.S. Joy's photography shop page can be found here...prepare to be lost in dreamy light and the beauty of simple things.  

New Glass Tile Photo Pendants!

These are so much fun to make and wear! I use my original photography for my photography shop, www.maryvican.etsy.com.  and I also make and sell decoupage and vintage ephemera pieces on my jewelry site, www.badapplejewelry.etsy.com.
Here are some that I've assembled and hope to photograph and list them soon!

Clockwise from top: After the Rain, purple lily; Blackbird in Winter, original photography; Vintage Birds; Morpho Butterfly; Water droplets; Eye Chart; Rocky Shoreline, original photography; Owl Eyes, original photography.

In addition to these, I've also purchased some really awesome vintage postcards that have great colors and scenes on them- windmills, beach scenes, birds, butterflies, etc. I also like the weird and unusual jewelry pieces, so I started making some others such as Ouija boards (for sale now on my jewelry shop!), eye charts, and decoupaged things with words.

Hope you like! If anyone reading this is interested to see a tutorial on these, let me know, maybe I will document the process next time I make a batch. Have a great weekend,  I am going to the Hot Air Balloon festival tonight, tomorrow Block Island, and hopefully Sunday the Barnstable County Fair, where I'll be able to get some wonderful, summery, colorful carnival fun shots!  :)

New Prints Available! and one Maybe, Possibly.

Here are some new prints I've added to the shop. Everything in my shop is still buy one, get one free! Yay!

Nature's Bouquet, 8x10  $15.00

My Heart is at Sea, 8x8   $20.00

Sailboat in the Mist (part of the Essence of Maine series), set of 5 4x6 prints, $15.00

Dwell in Possibility, 8x10  $15.00

And I am thinking of adding this one, not sure yet...It's a version of my print "Pure" but much different in its feel and style, also in a different size. What do you think?:

Clarity, 8x10  $15.00

I'd love to know your thoughts! Thank you....:)


The Essence of a Woman...

We are pulled in so many directions throughout life....I'm constantly amazed and revitalized by the beautiful women in my life. I created this treasury montage with that feeling in mind....Please enjoy the wonderful work from the Female Photographers of Etsy.

Click here for the live Treasury and share your thoughts.

Front Page! and Jerry the Owl

My Monday morning was made a little brighter when I saw my "Picnic" on the front page of Etsy! Here 'tis:

Thank you so much to the lovely SisandBro all the way from Cyprus for creating this awesome picnic treasury! xo

Also, Mary of ArtTales let me know she featured my "Beach Calm" on her Managing Monday blog post (it's beautiful, I'm really adoring that raining lemonade)...Mary's line of recycled Stuffies with one eye recently was featured in the July issue of "Stuffed" published by Stampington. My fave Leftz stuffie is this one:

Meet Jerry,  a stuffed owl with one eye made of repurposed/ reclaimed materials (including stuffing made from old plastic bags!) According to the shop: "Jerry the Owl is a vegetarian. Mostly because his best friend is Hardy the rat. He enjoys eating fruit and carrot sticks."  You can shop Jerry and his friends on her shop here!

And here is a new blog, Let's See Etsy, which featured two of my Orchid prints taken at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida in a lush, tropical-inspired gallery.

In the next few days, I'll be posting some pics from Preeti's visit to Rhode Island! Preeti is on our team for the Female Photographers of Etsy and hails from New Jersey, she came to visit friends and we met up for a day in Newport! ;) Here is a preview:

Newport Bridge, from the Jamestown Windmill.

RaceyTay brings me back to "New York in Autumn"

I've been following Canadian Tracey's (aka RaceyTay's) photography for a while now. Her motto, "I brake for bokeh," pretty much says it all: she loves shallow depth of field and the soft, light blur of subjects in the background. (Bokeh, taken from the Japanese word meaning "blur", is the Americanized version of Boke, since most Americans mispronounced it as rhyming with "spoke", but it is pronounced like "BO-kah.")

 Anyway, how lucky was I to learn that after entering in her super popular online contest, I won a free print from her? The only hard part was choosing! I finally decided on this piece:

I adore the dreamy bokeh of sunlight and fence post in this piece! And the colors are classic and creamy. I can't wait to hang this on my wall!  I'll be reminded of the place my sister lives every time I look at it.

Besides gorgeous fences ("fenceh", as she likes to say) Tracey also works her unique magic on everyday sightings like bicycles, ferris wheels, and birds- her bird photography is downright amazing on its own, but check out this incredible capture of a "Greedy Blue Jay" available in her shop, and you'll get a sense of her humor and personality as well!:

Tracey's online shop is well worth visiting! You'll soon see why her work is so popular. And even cooler, she creates her own- FREE- presets and actions for use in Lightroom and Photoshop, so that we can all have fun glowifying our photos! Check her blog for those free goodies!

Front Page, yay!

I'd almost (almost) forgotten about the stark, dark days of winter...I mean, it is 95 degrees here...but then this lovely treasury brought one of my photos, and that season, back to me.  It made Etsy's front page sometime this past weekend, and I'm thrilled with the resulting exposure and sales in both of my shops!
Anyway, I took this piece "Snow Tree", standing in a field of pure, white snow against a gray sky in early February- and I don't normally get excited about winter but this past one was made tolerable for me because of my camera, Elsie. When I'm with her I see everything in a new light, including the dark days of winter which seem so long ago!  Here is a screen shot of the front pager: (bottom row, third photo.)

Many thanks to DawnCorrespondence for creating this serene and peaceful treasury.
Now, back to summer!

Featured on...

When I first started sharing my work online I got so excited when someone said anything nice or re-posted my website on their blog- and I still do! I try to follow any of my online mentionings, they make me so happy. Here are some recent sighting from some of my favorite people...

Caitlin Brookes, of The Paper Butterfly, featured me in the first of many mini-interviews entitled "Where you Live". She administrates this article on the Female Photographers of Etsy blog, where you can read more about each photographer, where they live in the world, how their environment inspires them- and how it relates to their pictures. Read my interview here!

Jan at Poppytalk is running the beautifully themed "Summer Colors Week" on her awesome blog featuring beautiful art, decor and handmade items. She featured my "Allium" photograph in this gorgeous green mosaic of work (above, bottom row, 5th pic.)

She also showed my "Summer Savoy" print, for sale in my Etsy shop, in her Green Preview.

Vicki Dvorak, of Simply Hue - Artist Spotlights blog, has started a flickr pool for her weekly Creative Challenge. Last week's challenge was "Simple"- the simple pleasures of summer. She picked one of my photos for her lovely website! I'd been following her work for ages- she was even featured in the latest magazine issue of Artful Blogging, one of my fave reads!  Below, the featured pic.  Note: some people might notice that this pic was used in my latest blog banner- the original photograph had two cherry stems sticking out of the basket with no cherries attached. That's because I ate them. Seriously. Anyway, I used the clone stamp tool in Photoshop, as well as the healing brush, to erase out the empty stems and blend them with the green blurry background. This was my first time using the clone stamp and healing brush, and I loved it! The specific area I edited was at the edge of the basket where the furthest to the right cherry sits.
Can you even tell I erased or changed anything? 

Every Monday our team blog posts a new themed Mosaic featuring the work of our over 250 photographers. Here are some recent mosaics I was honored to be seen in:

Beautiful Butterfly mosaic- featuring "Resting Place", bottom center.

Summer Seaside Dreams mosaic, featuring "Dennisport", top, center.

Finally, here are some gorgeous Etsy Treasuries I'm featured in, curated by the lovely Etsians listed below!

I'll Meet You There, curated by Prairie Primitives - muted, haunting beach scenes

The Only Thing Better Than Chocolate, curated by Ceejay60 - seaside dreams...

She Sells Sea Shells, curated by jennyndesign - seashell themed ties, jewelry, cards, and more

Seaside with Etsy, curated by BucktoothedBunny - Coastal finds, pics, jewelry, home decor and more

Minimalism: T-challenge, curated by DawnCorrespondence - serene minimalist decor items