Our Fair States: New Work



Just a quiet little reminder that I am accepting commissions for any state or region you would like!

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The Longest Bathroom Renovation Ever

We must be able to claim this title. When – in the history of the universe – has an 8′x10′ space taken almost two years to demo and rebuild? I think never. Oh, and we’re not actually done two years in. Best not to think about that right now. We’re done enough to make it work.

IMG_0549It began after football season ended in 2012. There wasn’t much else to do on cold, Sunday afternoons so it was a perfect time to start demo.

*Please note: in any applicable instance we tried to salvage as much as possible. The tile that we could save went to a friend who collects vintage tile. The crazy wall-mounted toilet (see below) went to a man in FLORIDA whose father started a plumbing company here in Pittsburgh and he wanted to display it in his shop down there. The fixtures that we didn’t want to reuse went on Craigslist for new homes. I hate to waste ESPECIALLY cool, old stuff.*


IMG_0748Yum. Asbestos tile.


IMG_0551Here is the super great toilet that moved to Florida. The coolest part about it is that Pittsburgh went through a period where it was robbed of its final “h” (in 1891) but Pittsburghers don’t like change that’s forced upon them and lobbied  - successfully – to get its H back (in 1911). So this toilet is from the period when it didn’t have its H. So it’s oooooold.




No “h”


IMG_2125This kid is becoming so pro. I joke that when he grows up he’s going to buy a new-construction condo in a hot climate to get back at us for living in a cold place and constantly renovating houses.

In the background you can see a bit of what went on here. We had a bathroom next to a huge closet that was too little to be a room and too large to remain a closet. So we took out most of the wall between the two spaces in order to reconfigure the floor plan and build an alcove for the new tub. See below for da Vinci-like rendering:

bath reno sketchBoom.



Do you wonder what your walls look like under that plaster? This. That is my wonderful friend who spent a weekend with us JUST TO DEMO.

The craziest thing that happened during demo was this: do you see those charming little light fixtures on either side of the opening where the medicine cabinet used to live? Shortly after this picture was taken Steve shut off the power and disconnected the first light (I think it was the one on the left). As he pulled out the set screw that held the light to the wall a fizzing sound and natural gas smell took over the room. The light was still attached to a LIVE gas line from 76 million years ago when these homes used gas-powered lights.

Cue call to the Columbia Gas 24hr Emergency Line. Nice guy comes out and kills the line. We counted our lucky stars and got back to demo.

IMG_0929This is about when it got real sexy. This is the area under the old tub.


IMG_2145At this point we had everything pretty much out. We had to break up the solid concrete floor that was under most of the floor. After this was removed the wall between the bath and closet and then our contractor started putting it all back together.


IMG_3009I want to learn to drywall. Sometime.


IMG_4322This is one of my favorite parts of the new room. We salvaged all of the lathe that was behind the plaster. Steve designed this wall-o-lathe and we cut and sanded everything to create the wainscoting. It’s gorgeous.

The floor tile is 6″ slate that I love and is easy to work with and budget-friendly.

The medicine cabinet is the original one which I started to strip except I got it to this layer and loved it. Sanded, sealed and done.

The light fixtures came from an odd shop in Lititz, PA. We have a few other light fixtures from them in other parts of the house.


IMG_5609Here is where we are today. The sink was a Craigslist find which I had powder-coated to match a Pantone swatch. The toilet was upgraded to one that doesn’t use 84 gallons of water per flush. The “vanity” is a table that I have carted around since I lived in Charleston, SC in 1996. The antique dental molds also traveled with me from Charleston where I found them in an abandoned building. Lastly the poster is by Paul Mastriani at Lure Design.

What remains? We need to paint the trim, put window film on the little window in the tub/shower and put a threshold down in the main doorway. I’ve given us one more year to finish.



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Our Fair States: Florida


I am so excited to announce that you will soon be able to find pieces from the Our Fair States series in Florida. I’m creating a small collection of Floridas to sell at the Lure Design SHOP. They will be available Feb 1 at the shop along with mind-blowingly great posters, funny cards and other paper goods created by the amazing designers at Lure.


Shop hours are M-F 8:30-5:30 – 1009 Virginia Drive, 32803.

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My map found a home!



I received this picture from the woman who bought my tin map. Her original intention was to gift it to someone but it turned out she couldn’t part with it. I couldn’t be happier to see it here and to know that someone loved it too much to lose it. What’s better than hearing that about something you made?

Pretty stoked about 2014.


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Great big ol’ USA – process

My husband inspired me to do something big with the tin art I’ve been making so I used the Our Fair States idea and went 48 times bigger – I made a map of the contiguous states. It’s about 26″ wide and 20″ tall on two pieces of wormy chestnut.

I started by printing out a map of the states.


Then I traced and cut out each state separately:


I then cut each state out of my stock of biscuit tins. I got lucky with some (NC and VA for example) and others were chosen simply for color or pattern.

I began assembling at Washington state, moved down and across, down to FL and upwards to New England, tacking and cutting and placing as I went.


After every state was tacked well into place I filled up a barrel of wine and set myself  up for hours of tacking in hundreds of tiny nails (I use 19 gauge, 1/2″ nails for anyone that’s interested). When that was done I had a hot soak in epsom salts and slept like a baby. And dreamt of putting nails into metal. (“What could that MEAN?”)



I will have the piece on display TOMORROW at Handmade Arcade along with a batch of new tin pieces for the holidays. I will have some new 2C prints and my wooden panel pieces, as well. AND tasty Peppermint Bark to give away with purchases. If you brave the wintry weather that is predicted please stop by my booth and say hey.


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Our Fair States: Pennsylvania

Our Fair States: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has my whole heart.

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Autumn news

P1010011Welcome to the world, Baby Harris! I don’t know you but I made you a sign. Best wishes on your path through this world. 

Upcoming events:

TOMORROW! Posted at Townhouse in East Liberty. I created a series of three prints that feature my illustrations of jars with various keepsakes in them. Stop by the opening party from 6-9PM.

Craftin’ Outlaws  – Saturday, November 16 in Columbus, Ohio. I LOVE this show and am so glad to be a part of it again this year.

Handmade Arcade - Saturday, December 7 in Pittsburgh. This show is packed with talent and I’m thankful to be included.


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Tin signs for all!

I’m so excited to be making these signs and I feel like people are starting to notice them more (at least I HOPE that’s what is going on!). I’m about to start a new commission for the largest one yet. It’s for a Tenth Anniversary gift. The buyer reminded me that tin is the traditional gift for 10 years. I love that this is how she’s choosing to honor that tradition. I will post a picture here once her big day has passed.

I just delivered the piece below to the most wonderful home I think I’ve ever been in. If you didn’t see the previous post about it they were featured here.




I love making these and I love the kind feedback I’m getting about them. Feeling happy and hopeful.


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