About Me

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Madison, WI, United States
A few roles I take on include artist, teacher and parent. I make art, and also love to craft in paper.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Unfortunately the picture quality isn't that great (I really need a camera that will take decent pictures even when it isn't a bright day outside)

Last night we finally had time to decorate our big beautiful Fraser Christmas tree! This is very exciting for us because for the past 4 years we have lived in little apartments, and have either had very little trees, or no tree at all. This year is different, now that we live in a place with a living room, dining room and separate kitchen (not to mention the upstairs with two bedrooms and a bathroom) we have the room for a big beautiful Fraser Christmas tree. We bought it last Sunday, after a long search for a "cut your own Christmas tree" place outside of Madison, only to find our that those trees were almost $40.00 more than the precut trees we looked at in Madison (and the place was teeming with people). No thank you.

When we lived in Viroqua there was a wonderful tree farm outside of town where the trees were reasonably priced, and after you went and cut your own tree, they would give you hot cocoa and cookies after wards. It was great and I was hoping to recreate the experience here with no luck. So we went to a place in town and bought a much better priced, large tree that takes up half our living room! It is so big actually, that it would not fit in our tree stand and I spent a few hours (with my bread knife, because we don't have a saw) cutting the tree to fit in the stand.

We have these great French doors in our living room, and that is where we put the tree. And last night, while listening to Christmas music, with all the lights off except the tree lights, Maya Nathaniel and I hung up the ornaments on our big beautiful Fraser Christmas tree.

I will post tomorrow with pictures of the enormous snow fall we had last night (no school today, woohoo!) and decorating cookies with the family.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I forgot to blog about what a wonderful time the Craftacular was! I made great sales, and met some really wonderful people. I think I had a smile on my face the whole day. Thank you Naomi from The Glitter Workshop, and Sachi and Laura from Anthology for putting together such a great event!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year for the first time. Nathaniel and I finally felt we had enough room after moving into the townhouse. It turned out so wonderful, our guests included a few friends, Nathaniel's family and Dave. It was a great match of people, the kids had a great time and the food was delicious (even if the turkey took 3 hours longer than I thought it was going to!)

My menu included:

Spice rubbed roast turkey
Homemade applesauce
Ginger cranberry sauce (and the canned stuff just in case)
Traditional bread stuffing with dried cranberries
Candied sweet potatoes
Gouda Mashed Potatoes (brought by my friend Monica)
Cheesy broccoli casserole (brought by Dave)
Apple chutney (made by my brother in law Gary)

And three kinds of pie:

Maple pumpkin
Apple blackberry

I am not sure what I loved more, it was all so good!

Peeling the apples for the pie

The apple blackberry pie (recipe courtesy Martha Stewart)

Candied Sweet Potatoes
(we used to have these in my high school for Thanksgiving,
and I loved them, so I had to make them)

Spice Rubbed Roast Turkey

The kid's table, Maya and Ollie (my nephew) had sparkling grape juice to compliment our champagne :)

The table setting. I made the runner the day before from scraps leftover from my dining room chairs, it turned out really nice!

I made place settings for everyone with little leaves attached.

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Please share some of the best parts!

photo's courtesy Gary Wahl, thanks, Gary!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Hello hello hello! I am happy to announce a huge sale in both my shops! I am offering 10% off storewide and worldwide shipping! Plus an extra 10% off that for my wonderful blog readers :) just mention code "blogsale" at checkout! http://artkitten.etsy.com and http://susanschaffer.etsy.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Craftacular

Tomorrow we have Thanksgiving at our house for the first time. I have refurnished the dining room chairs, made a table runner and bought all the fixings. Now to scramble and clean the house! I am very excited to have my in laws and good friends over to celebrate. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the annual Holiday Craftacular here in Madison and I am exited to partake again this year. If you happen to live in the Madison WI area, please stop by and see me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Commission

This was a bit of a rushed order; customer purchased on Tuesday and it went out on Thursday, but I think it turned out pretty good considering!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miniatures 2009: Portraits

Update: The show was a success! Check out pictures here.

I was invited awhile ago to partake in a Miniature Portrait Show, at The Art Studio - a gallery in Cutbank, Montana. The opening is this weekend and I wish I could go but can't really make the trip to Montana! Here are my two pieces for the show, they are 4" x 6" (maximum size for the show was 6" x 6").

I f you happen to live in Montana, please check out the show!

Sam - 2009

Lucy - 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween Party 2009

spooky mice and creepy cemetery

Passing out the "brains"/ Maya and her friends

Specimen jars

I know it has been a long time since I have posted anything (I meant to, really I did!) but I have been focusing most of my energies on substitute teaching this year hence not as many products in the shops and no blog posts. It is hard to juggle a job, family and everything else! But I did manage to have time to throw a Halloween party for Maya this year and probably spent more time on the decorations than I should have (but they turned out so cool, I won't take them down until Thanksgiving!) Here are a few examples of the decorations (most of the ideas I got from marthastewart.com) and Maya and her friends having fun at the party. It turned out great! I made ghoulish punch in my canning jar/cauldron (with frozen ice hands) and a yummy green spider web cake (I wished I would have gotten a good picture of the food table, it was so neat!). The kids (all 15 of them, yowza) played pin the teeth on the vampire (Maya's idea) freeze dance, and the old Halloween stand-by, guess the body part (you know, spaghetti brains and peeled grape eyes) and at the end I told a ghost story. The kids had a great time and were thoroughly sugared up to send back home to their parents. For decorations I made tons of bats which hung from the ceiling and walls, creepy mice silhouettes for the stairs and baseboards, spiderwebs and spiders, a creepy cemetery scene, and my favorite: specimen jars with cabbage as brains and floating eyeballs and spiders. I bet you can't guess which is my absolute favorite holiday ;)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Day

Maya had her first day of second grade today. She was so excited to go today, she would not stop grinning. She had her grandma, me and both daddies taking her to school, too!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Bees are Stupid"

Well yesterday didn't quite go how we planned.

So Nathaniel, Maya and I decided to take a hike through the woods behind our house yesterday morning. There are some beautiful trails and acres called the Eagle Heights Woods and a trail-head literally 10 feet from our new house, so we wanted to check it out. We were walking for about a half and hour when Maya stopped to look at a flower and then started screaming. A bee (or more likely a wasp) had stung her. As she was pretty upset we decided we would head back home. I started walking with Maya back and saw lots and lots of bees swarming and quickly turned around.

Nathaniel picked Maya up and we started walking away quickly when Maya screamed again, she had been stung again! We walked until we were far enough away that we could set Maya down and she started screaming again as she had been stung again and again! We took off her clothes and she had three bees inside of her pants and shirt. We rushed home (the whole time Maya telling us she hated the woods and that "bees are stupid" and by the time we got back Maya's whole body was red with little welts everywhere and she was itching like crazy.

So on to the Emergency room. Maya was shaking she was so freaked and upset and extremely scared she might have to get a shot. (The doctors were all very nice and gave her the meds by mouth since she was breathing fine) We were in the emergency room from noon until 5, when Maya's welts had finally disappeared.

We went out to eat at Tex Tubbs and when we got home almost all the welts had reappeared and she was itching all over again. Back to the hospital (the doctor's said if the rash reappeared we had to take her back to the ER). After long hours of sitting and waiting (I think they get paid hourly) we were allowed to go, and did not get home until 9:30, exhausted and haggard.

Maya was a trooper the whole time, poor girl, but she did get to watch tv and play video games all day.

But she is fine, and now we know what kind of reaction she will have if stung by bees. The same thing happens to me as well (I did get stung on the butt, too, but I didn't get hives this time).

poor Maya was so tired by the time it was all over

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gretchen - 8.17.09

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gretchen - 8.16.09

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gretchen 8.15.09

Monday, August 24, 2009


Back to Madison, yippee! I really feel that Madison is home now. It would be so great if Nathaniel could find a job here after school so we could stay (or maybe I should start grad school and postpone it for another two or so years, ah more student loan debt). I will post pictures of our new gorgeous apt. as soon as everything is unpacked and organized (or at least partly organized). . My weekend was spent unpacking (of course) but we did manage to take a trip to the comic book store and buy the latest Buffy comic and drink coffee and peruse the magazines at Border's. What did you do this weekend?

I need a few things for the new place, particularly lamps, since there is no overhead lighting in any room. The Swiss Lamp by http://jillrosenwald.etsy.com would be perfect!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gretchen 8.14.09

Friday, August 21, 2009

Gretchen 8.13.09

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gretchen 8.12.09

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gretchen 8.11.09

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gretchen 8.10.09


Maya and went last week to St. Paul to visit my best friend Gretchen for a few days. It was a wonderful break, especially since I never get to see her. She spoiled us rotten as well, taking us to the Como Zoo and all over the city. While I was there I painted her portrait a few times. I have painted Gretchen in the past and really find it inspiring, so much so that I have decided to do a series of her, painting or drawing her every day for a year. A challenge to me to make art everyday. I have posted these on my facebook fan page, and will start to post them here, but am undecided if I should put them for sale on Etsy as I would like to do a show of them. Maybe if they sell, I could get them on loan from the buyer for the show. Any advice out there, artists?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Today my husband and I both remembered at lunch today that it is our 2nd anniversary. You would think we would have noticed this, but we have both been under a lot of stress. Nathaniel is in the middle of an internship at the Public Defenders Office, in La Crosse and although he is enjoying it and loves his work it is very stressful, especially for someone starting out. For me, Maya is having one of her more difficult periods. And life just takes over sometimes. But we remembered, and shared a 3 minute moment, forgetting about work, books that need to be remade, and a child asking for something, always. And it was nice.

This picture was taken early in our relationship, in 2004, and it is one of my favorites. I love you, Nathaniel, happy anniversary.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


For those of you that don't know, I was a printmaking major and although I don't get to take advantage of this fact very often (due to the lack of a press and space) it is my true love of the artworld. I love to etch, make monotypes and woodcuts. I get very obsessive, unable to do anything else with my life until the piece is finished (kind of like reading a book). I admit that my least favorite part is everything that comes after carving and etching, the messy process of an acid bath, and inking and going back into the plate to get it just right and the multiple times you have to do this to get a perfect print. But I do like the fact that I can make many many prints from the same piece of art. I think art should be accessible to everyone and printmaking has always (way back to the days before Gutenberg) filled this role.

Anyway this is the linoleum cut I am currently working on for a custom guest book order. Linoleum isn't my favorite material to carve, but for a book cover it is inexpensive and quick to work in. The wedding this is for is going for a rustic theme and the cover will be an oak tree.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Maya turned 7 (oh my god, 7) on Monday and we had her party on Sunday at the park near our house. I think it was a success. Here are the pictures.

Grandpa and Maya

The two dads, Nathaniel (my husband) and Dave (with the funny face and ninja turtles shirt)

I found a great cupcake recipe here, for cherry limeade cupcakes, they were a hit with everyone but Maya, who thought they were too sour.

Making a wish