Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Just a brief update on what's happening...

 Where does the time go?  How many times do you read a blog with an apology about someone not having the time to keep up with updating social media sites and blogs?  I suppose that I am now one of them...sorry about being absent for so long.

On a good note I have been really busy with work, therefore I come by a great excuse honestly.  I'm working with a few new companies so you will see several new products with my art early in 2015. I've also been doing some freelance work not to mention exhibiting at the weekend markets locally. It's been crazy busy!

My new schedule is posted below for the local Tampa Bay Markets, so if you happen to be in the area - please do stop by and say hello!


                                 I have also added a couple of fun Halloween items into my Etsy shop...



As I leave you with this brief update, I promise to keep you informed more frequently on the latest happenings of Karen Embry Designs. Because my work schedule has been so hectic lately, I would like to share with you a favorite quote of mine that currently seems appropriate:
"Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."  Newt Gingrich

How true is that?

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Finished! My new website   KarenEmbryDesigns.com   is up and running! ...WOO HOO! I feel a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that I accomplished this using the Adobe Muse program.

Muse, was released a few years back, but for me it was a NEW learning experience. Although technically it was relatively simple once I learned the tools, it was a somewhat time consuming project.   In the process, I learned way more that I wanted to about DNS servers, MX records, redirecting e-mail, etc. One bit of advice, don't shut down one hosting company before the other is completely active. (For those of you that may have made this mistake, you would totally understand).

My new website, is simple and to the point. Not a lot of fluff. You can find out the basics about me, my art, my studio and what I am up to currently... without having to read a book. Of course, it still needs a little tweaking, but the Muse program makes it SO easy. Hope you like my new website!

I would love to hear your comments... 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Outdoor Fresh Markets

It's nice living in Florida. I LOVE the weather. It's the perfect environment for these popular weekend markets that have popped up everywhere around here.

You can find beautiful produce, unique items and a community of artists selling their wares all in one venue.  It appears people enjoy venturing out to the "Fresh Markets" to shop and connect with local vendors. A nice switch from ordering on Amazon.


It's been a bazillion years since I participated in an outdoor show.  But alas, I did it again. These shows are a little different than the old traditional shows and most are held once a month. A community of regular visitors makes it a nice atmosphere.

I enjoy the face to face connection with customers.  The shows can also be a great test market for new product concept ideas for licensing. Definitely a good 
place to get feedback.

I'm pretty sure that this is only the beginning of my "Fresh Market" adventure.  Follow me on Facebook to keep current of my schedule of where I'll be exhibiting next. Hope to see you there!

If you aren't local to Tampa and want to purchase some of my items on line, you can visit my Etsy shop, where I'll be adding more new items shortly. 

Have a great day!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Studio Happenings at the Santaella Studios for the Arts - Karen Embry Designs

I can hardly believe it's been almost three years since I moved into the Santaella Studios. Initially it was to simply be a working studio, but I have been pleasantly surprised to see the changes since I arrived.

A big thanks to Kerry Vosler  http://kerryvoslerportraits.com/  for being the workhorse behind organizing the tenant artists to team up and put on the wonderful resident art shows in our building. Someone mentioned that trying to organize these events with such a large group of creative individuals was something like trying to herd cats. Sometimes it seems impossible, but Kerry always manages to accomplish it with the help of our artists.

                                         Our next big event is this November 8th, 2013. 

With more new artists than ever in our building, it will be our best show yet.  I'll also be coordinating the grand opening of my new studio in suite #314 for this event on November 8th. I have been working diligently on finalizing the studio d├ęcor as well as creating many new pieces that will debut at the show.

Our last building event was organized by a private group, The Krewe of St. Brigit. They held a wine tasting and social along with our a tour of our open studios. We have an awesome gallery in the building, the "J.D. Van Pelt Gallery", that can be rented for private events. This brings in a wonderful variety of guests.

This is the brochure from the Krewe of St. Brigit that listed the tenant studios that were open for the event. 

I had a chance to step out of my studio before this event began to visit with some of my third story neighbors and snap their photos in their creative spaces.  

                                       Rick Reeves  -  http://www.rickreevesstudio.com/
                                        and Sharon Dixon with a  "New Leaf Floral Designs"
                                        (sharon_dixon7@aol.com) are in studio #313


Lorrie Mason - Suite #300

Laszlo Horvath Suite #315

Marilyn Silverman

 Suite #305

And...here I am in my studio #312.  This is the last photo in my old studio...lots of new things happening in my new studio #314!!

The eclectic mix of artists makes the "Santaella Studios for the Arts" a unique venue in Tampa, Florida.  I hope you can make it to our next show!

Do what you love, love what you do!!!!!!!!!

To stay current on on all of my creative activity you may also follow me on:



Saturday, June 8, 2013

HERE WE GO AGAIN... but change is always good!

Almost three years ago I moved into a really cool art studio. It was in a renovated cigar factory that was over 100 years old. I put a lot of work into my studio, making it just perfect. The only problem seemed to be that I was outgrowing my space. What I had intended to be just a working studio had evolved into a gallery as well. So when the space next door opened up (which was more than twice the size of my original space), I jumped at the opportunity.   
I spend so much time at my studio it's sort of a "home away from home". I am working toward designing an environment that is welcoming as well as an inspiring place to create. Here's the studio progress so far. 
           Here is what it looked like when I first acquired the space (looking in from the entry door). 
This is now.

                                                      Facing the entry door...

                                   A little brighter and happier...don't you think?

It's a little messy and I am not anywhere near finished organizing the space or with this project. I still have the old studio next door and I am very tempted to just make a doorway through to connect them. I am not sure yet if it will be cost effective to maintain both spaces. For now I'll see how it goes for the coming months as I try to get this new place organized and keep up with my licensing work.

Yes, "CHANGE" is always good. It's what keeps life interesting and keeps this artist motivated.  I think Winston Churchill said it best, - "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often".

What do you think about change?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I recently found a couple of my first drawing and craft books my parents gave me as a child. I loved these books. I drew every animal and made almost every project in them. As you can see by the $1.00 price on the "Drawing Animals" book that dinosaurs had probably just finished roaming the earth...well maybe not that far back but who can remember when any drawing book was only a $1.00??? 

As a child, I was always encouraged to draw and create. Having a father that was (and still is) an artist certainly had its benefits as a kid. He was an art director and commercial artist for an advertising agency. He designed the newspaper ads and produced television commercials. Occasionally my sister and I were extras in commercials.  My father's skills still amaze me to this day. I am still learning from him... and I continue to draw animals....

Just a few weeks ago I mentioned to my dad that I was working on drawing three dimensional animals (dogs and cats). Since most of my designs are whimsical, the images don't require exact realistic anatomy, but they have to  portray an accurate representation of the the subject.  My father always said this about drawing, "you have to know the rules before you can break them". If I am going to draw a whimsical dog, then I need to know the realistic anatomy and form of the animal.  Drawing from the front perspective is generally simple but sometimes designing the dimensional animal/characters is a bit more challenging.

This past Sunday when I visited my parents house for a family dinner, I was surprised by some new things my dad was designing and working on in his studio. How cool are these?????????????????

Three dimensional prototype models of a dog and cat! 

They are still a work in progress and you can see from the sketches below that dad has it all planned out. 

These are great perspective models showing different angles for sketching dogs and cats. The dog's nose is attached with a magnet and comes off to show how it can be viewed from different sides.  He designed these for me so that drawing different perspectives of dogs and cats would be simpler. These started out as just round paper mache balls. He's added all of the details (eyes, cheeks, noses) and elements.  AMAZING!

There are always amazing things when I look around my dad's studio.

 Funny sketches...he draws on anything. 
Artwork by Gene Howell

Lobsters with personality too!
Artwork by Gene Howell

And this guy has been around longer than I have...

Oh and this is really cool. Not sure where he is going with this but it's made from copper and epoxy - unusual, but I wonder what it will look like when finished?

A couple of his paintings around the house...
Painting by Gene Howell

Painting by Gene Howell

I am lucky to have grown up in this creative home. I would have probably learned a little more had I not been a bit stubborn growing up. On the other hand, I believe that with the artistic talent, I also inherited the stubbornness. My dad and I still laugh about it - like father - like daughter?  

I am lucky...thanks DAD! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Be Careful What you Wish For...

I've heard the saying, "be careful what you wish for", as there is always the possibility that it might come true. I can only be happy that my wishes have been coming true and I have been blessed to be so busy doing what I love to do ... design, create and paint (and getting paid for it).

Here's a little about what I've been up to lately...

Here are a couple of new pieces I designed for a client.  Her name is Robin and it was very nice of her to send me photos of my finished art on display in her living room.   It kind of looks like a picture from a magazine. Robin has some great decorating skills!
I guess you can notice that the theme of these paintings is "birds" which is probably my favorite thing to include in my most recent designs. Robin had first seen a painting similar to these displayed in my studio and asked me to create some to match her decor. If you look closely on the painting on the left (near the bottom) you will see a "Robin" painted in with the other colorful birds. This of course was by design and requested by the client which adds a personal touch to the designs.

I've also been buried in deadlines creating new designs for my licensing partners. Sometimes I'm not sure where one day ends and the other begins.  I have been working with some very nice clients which really helps me survive in this crazy business. Lots of new stuff coming to market in 2013! Woo Hoo!

Things at the studio have been going well too!  Our big grand-opening show last February was a huge success so we, (the resident artists), are planning our second big OPEN HOUSE AND ART SALE of the year. Our fall show is scheduled for Friday, November 9th, 2012 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. with a $5.00 entry fee that includes one drink ticket.


We'll also have Cork and Olive Wine Bar at our event as well as live music and endless art fthat fills the halls and studios. If you live in Tampa or the surrounding areas, it's a night you won't want to miss! 

Here's a  little video of our last event:

So mark it on your calendar and be sure to stop by studio #312 and say hello!

Oh, by the way, be sure to "LIKE" our facebook page to keep up to date with all the happenings at the Santaella Studios:  https://www.facebook.com/karen.embry#!/pages/Santaella-Studios-for-the-Arts/279568738732594


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Give Your Imagination Wings

      I've always been a fan of the saying "Give Your Imagination Wings". The wings of your imagination can take you just about anywhere if you leave yourself open to the possibilities of your dreams. Imagination helps you visualize what could be, and make it real. 

   I am happy to share with you part of my new collection "Seize The Moment" recently released from Evergreen Enterprises. The tumbler features my art with a nice reminder to remember to "Give Your Imagination Wings". More new pieces debuting soon... 
Insulated Cup w/Straw 17oz, Seize the Moment


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


It's hard to believe how quickly time passes. I have been absent from my blog for a bit but that's only because there has been quite a buzz around my studio lately. I have been working and painting like crazy on all sorts of wonderful new product designs! So I promise that you will be pleasantly pleased to see all sorts of wonderful new items that will be available soon with my art on them.  So far this year I have been to Atlanta's Gift Mart, the CHA (Craft and Hobby Association) show in Anaheim and later this week I will be attending the Surtex Show/National Stationery Show (NSS) in New York. It's been amazing! I look forward to connecting with my creative peeps and checking out the trends in the NSS. Have a great day! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


                   It's a day for HAPPY HEARTS to celebrate LOVE!


According to Wikipedia:  Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It was first established by Pope Gelsasius in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the German Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

        Wishing you and your loved ones a day of love, health and  happiness!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Hi Resolution - A New Year's Studio Meet and Greet" - Welcome to the Studio of "KAREN EMBRY DESIGNS"

I am thrilled that you have stopped by to see my studio!  I've been working on it for a little over a year now. For most of the people that know me, I have been promising that I would have a "show and tell viewing" of my new (well not so new anymore) studio for a while now and it's finally ready! In a sense I suppose that it will always be new in a way, in that it's always a work in progress and I am changing the decor on a regular basis. It simply never seems to be the same day in and day out and that's just what I LOVE about it! It's my studio and it can be whatever I want it to be! I am an artist, designer, author and I love to create! My main focus is licensing my art for product surfaces in the gift, home decor and craft industries. My design studio is where the process all begins...  

This building is actually a really cool place! My studio is on the third floor inside the historic Santaella Cigar Factory. The building itself is over 100 years old has several interesting tales that go along with it.

Would you have guessed that The Santaella Cigar Factory Building used to be one of Babe Ruth's favorite places to visit when he was in town??? The big "Bambino" would pop in and pick up a few boxes of his favorite cigars.Then there are also claims that the old building is haunted. In 2006, Tampa Ghost Watchers studied this building, but they never came to any specific conclusions. Maybe they know the "Ghost Busters"? Anyway, there are those that still say that there is the ghost of an old general that visits the halls from time to time. Occasionally we hear noises and wonder if it is just the sounds of a creaky old building or something else...???

You may ask how I came upon this intriguing place. I was an an art show last fall and overheard an artist talking about her studio space. I was all ears! She was nice enough to tell me about the old Santaella Cigar Factory in West Tampa that was home to an office supply business on the first floor, but the top two floors were studios rented to artists, photographers, architects and all sorts of other creative individuals. I headed over the same day to check it out.

Upon entering the building these are the first floor stairs welcoming visitors to the upper levels.  By the way...there is only one freight elevator in this building... and it is pretty old. So it is only used when absolutely necessary. You will definitely get your workout heading up the sets of steep stairs everyday! The brick on the wall is original from when the building was built in 1904. So cool!

By the time I approached the third floor, I knew this place was going to be just awesome!  Those are original hardwood floors...if they could only talk - what would they say about the history of this place?

Speaking of history...I found this great photo that shares the history of the Santaella building with it's workers rolling cigars in the early 1900's. Cigar Factories were a significant part of Tampa's history. Actually, my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother both worked in the cigar factories. Not his particular one, but back in the day there weren't a lot of work opportunities for women in other industries in this area.  

OK, this is the room and what I saw at first glance.  I agree, not much to look at.  My imagination kicked into high gear thinking of so many possibilities!  The more I looked at the entire area I began to feel that this would be the new home to Karen Embry Designs, all of my art supplies and so much of the other STUFF that creative people own - which includes a wide variety of "YOU NAME IT" odds and ends.

This studio is the only and smallest space that was left in the building for rent. I didn't need a huge area and besides if you give me TOO MUCH room I will fill  lit with TOO MUCH stuff. High ceilings give it good possibilities for storage space. Lots of work to be done! 

I was ready to transform this place! I brought in my ladder and paint supplies... and my portable heaters! In winter this building gets really cold. Not much insulation and of course there are no heating systems, so each artist is on their own to supply heat and air conditioning for their own individual units.

I primed and painted, and primed and painted... there was quite a bit of old paint in there that I was worried it might have lead in it, so everything needed to be covered with primer first.  The ceiling was a whole other story. There were tiny crevices in between the bead board that needed caulking...and I caulked every nook and cranny! My oh my, did my shoulders and back ache!! 

Once finished painting, what was I to do with these ugly floors? These were the original wood floors to, but the hallway original floors were in much better condition. These floors were a bit drafty too. My first thought was to paint them with outdoor porch paint. That should be durable enough for now... wait, on second thought...what about a carpet remnant?  Off to the flooring store!


Yes, I know - this is some pretty wild carpet, huh? The sales representative at the carpet showroom said they had some problems getting rid of this unusual pattern. Most people would not select something like this for their home, so I got a really SWEET deal on it. I LOVE IT!!! Funky and FUN!!! The studio is on its way to looking much better now.

Now it's time to find the furnishings. I had already scavenged a few pieces of vintage furniture that I found out in the halls when one of the other tenants was disposing of it. It was a couple of pieces of old furniture - a dresser and desk and I had some ideas of how to revamp it a bit and add personality to them. 



You can see now that the room is being transformed. Adding in my personal effects and equipment is making this more like a studio home.

A collection of my art on the walls and samples of my licensed art add some interest to the room. 

This is the creative space that includes my desk and supply of necessary creative tools. (I told you I had lots of STUFF!)  The cabinet on the left was donated by friends - I also changed the knobs on this piece of furniture and added some check stripes to the top edge. FUN!

This is the view as you enter my studio...I wish it was always this neat! I only have the one window, but I have a nice view of the Tampa skyline that includes Tampa Stadium and downtown Tampa - plus my studio is only about a fifteen minute drive from home.

I found this corner shelf at the thrift store - it was only $19.00! Can you believe it? It was perfect for this space! I covered the inside shelves with some old scrapbook papers to make it look a little more vintage. I think I have found a way to combine whimsical and vintage. It's a little unusual, but I just LOVE the look!! I guess I could call it "whimtage"???? 

And of course what studio would be complete without a chandelier? It was a rescue piece and came from the Webster flea market. It used to be just plain white and no frills. I painted it bright gold then added the strung pearls, beads and hanging glass charms that I found at a yard sale. My daughter added the finishing touches with hand-made lace roses and lime green tulle. Pretty!!!!

 Buttons and beads...

 Glitter and flowers...

 Magazines ...

Vintage tin with collected baubles...

   My handmade jewelry designs and mosaics too!




and Books.

Ah yes, every studio needs a studio cat...

Thank you for visiting the studio of Karen Embry Designs. I have had so much enjoyment in creating an environment that is truly an inspirational place to create and design from my heart. I hope you enjoyed the studio tour and journey. It was really quite a progress from start to finish and I wanted to share it all with you.

I wish you the best for the NEW YEAR to come...much health, happiness, love and all of the good things in life!

Thanks also for following our "Hi Resolution - A New Year's Studio Meet and Greet" artist/designers blog hop.    

Hop over and visit my talented friends as they welcome in the New Year with a Studio Tour-

To go back to the last artist studio you visited click the Hop Backward arrow below:

To go ahead and visit the studio of the next blog click the Hop Forward arrow below: