Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cow Art and More September e-news

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Want to know what's going on the gallery this month? Be sure to check out the Cow Art and More September e-news. Get some art tips, a do-it-yourself art project and find the link to our survey to help us serve you better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cow art pictures from Pennsylvania

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I'm FINALLY sharing more pictures of the Cow Art and More booth from the Pennsylvania All American Dairy show. My apologies for not having these up sooner, but last week was just NUTTY! Seriously. I don't know how people travel all the time and keep up with a business and family life. there are!

We had more of the puzzles with two of the paintings by Robert Duncan. These 1000 piece puzzles are the perfect gift. You can also see some of the Holstein card sets by Robin Pedrero and the iPhone cases by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson.

We also had an assortment of bookmark magnets by Palmetto Cat Designs. In addition to the Holstein bookmarks, we had flowers, flags and chickens.

The nightlights by Spotlight Designs were also a big hit. It's funny to see them be popular with all age groups. Apparently, you're never too old to have a nightlight.

We showed off the stained glass box trophies we did for this year's Red and White Holstein show along with an example of a black and white Holstein piece with colored glass.

Of course we couldn't go to the show without bringing along our favorite accessory: bags! We had tote bags by Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson and Valerie D'Ortona. These bags are perfect for the beach or trip to the grocery store.

Of course the weekend wouldn't be complete without some art prints. At left is "Holstein" by Jo Lynch.

Cow Art and More also had prints of the popular "Grazing Beneath a Garnet Sky" by Robin Maria Pedrero.

We had a great weekend and we so excited to meet our many fans! Thank you for the hospitality!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PA All American Dairy show

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Thanks Pennsylvania for showing us some great hospitality. In case you couldn't make it this weekend, here's a few pictures:

We had another 10 foot by 10 foot booth. An eight foot table and my shipping crate (foreground) were waiting for me.

Unfortunately, my kids weren't with me to see the forklift move it. They refer to ALL forklifts now as "Guido", from the movie Cars.

Display and art made it safely to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This was my first time shipping something by freight, so a big Phew! was in order.

Look familiar? The wood grain foam floor tiles made another impression on attendees. People loved how they looked and loved that they were easy to stand on. (They were good for me too. Standing on concrete for hours wears on me too.)

Voila! Another display of cow art, this time at the Pennsylvania All American Dairy show. The booth came together beautifully and I am grateful to both of my sisters who helped me during the weekend.

This is Morgan who was kind enough to let me photograph her excitement over getting a Buttercup no. 1 iPhone case. After I saw these cases, I want an iPhone now too. (My Blackberry is threatening never to speak to me again now.)

I'm also happy to report that Bessie the cow has a new home. She said she might miss the Florida sunshine, but is excited to see snow.

By the way, we will NOT be at World Dairy Expo this year. While the show management has been great to work with, they were not able to fit us in for the third year in a row. Thanks to all our fans who have asked and maybe you can put in a good word for us to show management when you're in Madison, Wisconsin in a couple of weeks!

Many thanks to all our old and new fans that made the Pennsylvania trip a great time!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday's agricultural website - Food Dialogues #FoodD

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Today's agriculture website to share is for the Food Dialogues town hall meeting that will be occurring later this week. Americans have a lot of questions about how food is raised, the impact on their health and the health of the planet. In an effort organized by the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, the Food Dialogues will be this Thursday, September 22, beginning at 11:30am EDT. This is a part of a new effort by the alliance to bring together different viewpoints on farming and ranching and the future of food to solve our most challenging problems. People can participate by watching the conversations through a webcast on or by using the Facebook application.

(Full disclosure: I will be attending the town hall meeting in Washington, D.C. live and will be tweeting about the talk Thursday. Follow the #FoodD tag on twitter.)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shipping cow art to the PA All American Dairy Show

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So this all sounds familiar right? Pack a vehicle, travel north. Well, this time I'm doing it a bit differently. I packed the majority of what I will need for the PA All American Dairy show (art, display materials, etc.) and shipped it via a packing crate.

Bessie the metal cow will be making an appearance at the show again. She was a hit, especially with those kids that were on her level.

The art display pedestals and their tops are on their way again. They pack nice and flat, but are a bit wide (24 inches). The size of these pedestals are the reason why I got the size crate I did.

The crate just fit into the back of my vet truck. My kids were excited to see this big box in the back of my truck.

I ended up using UPS freight to ship my crate to Pennsylvania. In order to get the best shipping price, I had to take it directly to the shipping depot in Ocala, which is about an hour away. (My business doesn't have a loading dock or a forklift, so it was going to cost a lot more to have a truck come directly to the office.)

Notice the tailgate of my girly girl vet truck doesn't come even with the loading dock? This will become important in a minute.

The first attempt to get the box off my truck with a forklift (or as my kids say "Guido" -- a tribute from the Cars movie) didn't work. It just couldn't reach the pallet to scoop it up.

Go to Plan B.

The UPS freight guys were super nice and used a hoist and the forklift to get it up on the dock. Now we're cooking.

And here is its home -- for a couple of days anyway. Actually, as I write this, the crate is already there. I shipped it last Friday. The process actually went a little easier than I was expecting.

Now, to shove everything else in two suitcases. Yeah, that's not going to be as easy as I thought.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday's agriculture website - Hay drive for Southern farmers

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Meet Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie). I first met Carrie a few weeks ago at the Agchat Foundation conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Carrie has organized a hay drive to allow farmers in her area of Wisconsin and the midwest to send hay to those farms in Oklahoma and Texas affected by the severe drought this summer. Carrie recently wrote a guest blog post about it for the blog of Janice Person (@JPLovesCotton). Read here about what Carrie is doing to send hay to drought affected areas.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's art article - How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry With Baking Soda

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While sterling silver jewelry is beautiful to look at and affordable to have, unfortunately it will eventually tarnish. My first choice for cleaning jewelry, is to use the Sunshine polishing cloths. They work on a variety of metals and can last a very long time if stored in an air tight bag. However, the cloths sometimes can't get into crevices or hard to reach places and a Plan B is needed. This is a short, two minute video showing how to clean silver jewelry using aluminum foil and baking soda for such times. (As a personal note on this video, I have never used this technique on silver plated pieces, only pure sterling silver. It works great for cleaning silver flatware and tea services.) By the way, the girl in the video mentions "tin foil". (She must be from the South.) Aluminum foil is actually what you want to use. (Can you even get tin foil anymore??)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Getting ready to travel north

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Getting ready for our second live event in two months has surprisingly been a bit easier this time. I've got one show under my belt and the booth is essentially built and ready to go. So what could be different this time? Since the show is at the Pennsylvania All American Dairy show this time, and our headquarters in Gainesville, Florida is a good 1000 miles or so away, getting there will be the challenge this time.

In decided when and how I would get there came down to a few things:

  1. Getting the art there. In order to drive up with the art, I would need to rent a cargo van or a large mini van. (Is there such a thing?) Otherwise, I could ship everything there ahead of time.
  2. The time involved with getting there. To drive, it would be two days up and two days back driving. Flying would be faster, but more expensive?
Here's how it worked out:

I couldn't find a van large enough with unlimited mileage. By the time I rented the van, paid for the gas, and spent four days traveling (as opposed to two if I was driving), it was more cost effective to fly. Since I'm flying, I needed to find a way to get the art there.

That's where this thing comes in: I'm packing all the materials in a shipping crate and having them freighted up there ahead of time. Believe it or not, freighting the booth materials and art up and back PLUS a plane ticket is cheaper than driving.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pastel artist included in exhibit

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Cow Art and More pastel artist, John Plishka will be exhibiting three paintings in the American Academy of Equine Art Fall Open Juried Exhibition. The Exhibition runs Sept. 2nd to October 16th at the Arts and Cultural Center in Georgetown, Kentucky. The artist reception is September 16th from 6pm until 9pm.

John is a graduate of the University of Illinois School of Veterinary Medicine and is a full-time veterinarian in Antioch, Illinois. Recently he has rekindled his passion for painting. As you would expect, the subjects he most often portrays are animals. “Being a veterinarian has helped me tremendously in my art. Having been through detailed anatomy of many species has been a huge advantage.” Horses are his favorite animal to paint by far. He also enjoys painting birds, especially raptors.

His award winning artwork has been on the cover of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and was featured in the American Academy of Equine Art 2009 Calendar. He won an honorable mention at the New Jersey Equine Artists’ Association: 2010 “The Art of the Horse” National Juried Exhibition. This year he exhibited in the 24th Annual International Exhibition on Animals in Art in Baton Rouge, La. He also stays busy with commissions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Cow Art and More

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Wow! I can't believe it has been 3 years that we have "officially" been in business. Cow Art and More launched online on September 1, 2008. While I wrote a business plan when preparing to open our doors, I don't think I could have guessed three years ago where we would be today (in a good way!). Just a few of our accomplishments I am most proud of:

  1. We have shipped art to 4 continents. (Watch out penguins on Antarctica, we're coming for you next!)
  2. While Cow Art and More included the art made by only half a dozen artists when it started, there is well made and handcrafted two and three dimensional art from over 25 artists today.
  3. Our press coverage has been humbling to say the least. It means a lot when both magazines within the agriculture industry, as well as the mainstream, find our art something to talk about.
  4. We had our first live event this year. While it took a little doing to pull it together, it was well worth it on many levels.
But, without a doubt, the thing that I am most proud of is the continued comments from our fans and customers that we have done everything to exceed your expectations. You have commended us on our art quality and excellent customer service. That means so much. Thank you. It is my promise that we will do everything in our power to continue to be the best place "where art and agriculture meet".

Monday, September 5, 2011

Thank you farmers - you deserve Labor Day off

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I normally post an agricultural website of interest to blog readers every Monday, but today, Labor Day, I wanted to thank the farming community for tending to their crops and animals every day. I know many of you will try to squeeze in a barbecue, or a maybe a long lunch while the kids are off from school today, but I have often thought that the people who truly deserve the day off still have to work on the Labor Day holiday. Your communities and your nation depend on you. Thank you for working on what is supposed to be your holiday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

How To Buy An Engagement Ring

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In case you didn't get enough information about buying diamond engagement rings last week, this video does a great job of summing everything up from start to finish.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cow Art and More - as reported by our intern

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*This is a guest post written by our summer intern, M. Valentina Escobar-Gonzalez. Valentina has been our intern for the last 3 months and was asked to write a post about why she wanted to be our summer intern and what she has learned.*

How I Met Kathy

I had been following Kathy's tweets for several months and really enjoy her fun tweets on agriculture (AG), running her business "Cow Art and More", and social media (SM).
She is a spectacular woman since she is a Dairy veterinarian, gallery owner, jewelry artist, mother to three small toddlers, and she still manages to have an happy-go-lucky personality. In the end of spring, I tweeted to her about offering to do an (informal) internship where I could do social media marketing, press releases, and business consultation with the incentive give her more time to be with her boys and less on the computer doing SM. I have a hard time working for individuals who I don't respect or I'm not loyal to, but with a background and personality like Kathy's who can't be respectful and loyal to this amazing woman?

Her business was of particular interest to me since it involved AG, beautiful hand-made jewelry, and AG-related art. Art is not being my biggest strength but I enjoy challenges! She blogs often about art, so I have learned a bit about the subject since I have started. In addition, doing an internship with her seems to make sense since she lives nearby and in my old college town. A visit to meet with her is a perfect excuse to also enjoy my favorite pancakes near my Alma-Mater. I thought it was a good deal and so did she, yes!!! During our first in person meeting, I did some modeling for her resin collection and took videos of her office and product line. I really enjoyed spending time with her young boys, boy oh boy, they were a handful but very sweet. I didn't know little kids enjoyed the Food Network channel as much as I do. We were all glued to the TV watching Rachael Ray between takes.

What I've Learned

I have been very blessed and lucky to work with Kathy. I'm so glad she has opened her doors to me and has implemented some of my ideas to her company. I was surprised to learn my SM suggestions sometimes are pretty unique and often don't always get approval but I'm fortunate that I have her confidence and that she knows that I'm doing it with my best interest at heart. I learned that all of the time invested in SM does have a ROI, blogging adds credibility for her brand, and it is worth the hours invested and sacrificed weekly not spent with her sons.

I often wonder how she is able to sleep and still do it all? I have learned she is able to handle it all due to her love, dedication to the industry, endless amounts of coffee, and rock n'roll music obsession.

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