Berkshire Seasons tote

Berkshire Seasons Tote

Happy New Year! December sure goes by in a whirlwind and this year was a bit different since for the first time I participated in my first festival: the Alchemy Initiative Handmade Holiday Festival in Pittsfield, MA.  The festival was the first weekend in December and it was two days.  I had fun meeting other vendors, chatting with people I have not bumped into for sometime, getting feedback from customers, and displaying my art and a few new products. Participating in this festival made me think about ways I could use my art for other products.  When I was thinking about this, I realized I had painted barns in all four seasons and came up with the “Berkshire Seasons” design.  I used my green barn that is on Holmes Road, Pittsfield MA for spring; Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, MA for summer; the Sugar Maple Farm on Dalton Division Road, Pittsfield, for fall; and the yellow barn on Bailey Road, Lanesborough, MA for winter.  Visitors to the festival seemed to love these tote bags since I sold out of all of the ones I brought!  Since everyone is trying to reduce the number of plastic bags used, reusable bags are a fit for everyone.

I love these tote bags, not only because my images are on them, but the tote bag is one I found out in Seattle, Washington.  A few summers ago, we were visiting Pike Place Market in Seattle and I bought a similar tote bag with a Pike Place Market design on it.  I found that I use this bag constantly because is really sturdy and light; holds lots of items, but not overwhelming.  The inside fabric is slick so it is easy to clean, it has really strong handles (in the picture they are tucked in) and there is a pocket on the inside for keys or such and a pocket on the outside for your phone, etc.  The bottom is wide so it can stand up by itself and doesn’t tip over like many other bags. I searched and searched to find the same tote bag for my design and finally found a supplier.  My images are printed on a stone colored tote and the image is permanent and is washable.  In honor of the New Year, I am offering free shipping for these Berkshire Seasons totes found on my website http://www.mjnicole.com under Whimsical Creations. Cheers!

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Tufted Titmouse

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When I first heard this name, it struck me as sort of odd or a bit funny. My sister Jeanette mentioned this bird when I just finished my Chickadee painting last year. She said, “You should paint a Tufted Titmouse; they are so cute.” To be honest, I don’t think I have ever seen this bird in the wild -have any of you?  I looked up a picture and these birds are indeed adorable with their tuft of hair at the top of their head and their chubby body – similar to the Chickadee which they are related to. Well, I kept this suggestion in mind and recently felt inspired to paint the Tufted Titmouse, the second bird in my bird series. (See the Chickadee at http://www.mjnicole.com).  I learned that the Tufted Titmouse has a call that sounds like “Peter, Peter” and I painted the words on my painting.  I again selected one of the many past holiday cards I have kept over the years and used it to make a few of the wild red berries capped with snow, a tail feather, and also parts of the arched branch. When you see this painting up close, I like how the card paper gives the scene depth. I hope this winter, I will see one in my backyard and call “Peter, Peter” to it.