Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Fall--Time to Turn a New Leaf?

I have a secret: I am a closet fabric artist. If you could see my yarn stash, my eclectic collection of knitting and crochet needles, and my ever-growing sewing-book collection, you would agree. So I decided to do something about this desire. I made a necklace. Oh, alright, I made three necklaces. And a brooch. (I was on a roll.) And, besides, I'm tired of my angels and collage ladies getting to wear nests and birds and butterflies! I want to, too!

So I approached these necklaces like mixed-media, collage pieces. Vintage jewelry, buttons, crochet accents, feathers, felt--you name it. It was like painting but with fabric! Wearable art . . . maybe I just want to be able to take my art with me . . .
The above piece is "Flutter" made up of a butterfly and blooms. I am playing around with the theme of renewal and new life with these pieces.

The cross and blooms is "Renewed Creation." See, I'm even giving these necklaces titles like paintings. :-)

And, finally, the wee brooch--a little bird nesting with her eggs. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the model. She is my neighbor, the lovely Miss R who is well . . . simply lovely!!! I am going to be listing these necklaces on Etsy. I think I am going to keep these sample necklaces as examples and offer custom orders from their designs. I'm not sure what the response will be, but I am so excited to share them with you!

Carousels, Kitsch, and Baubles

Last week was a slow blog week. We had family in town the weekend before which provided a much-needed rest. Whenever things slow down, I try to soak it up. I know that inspiration lurks in unsuspecting places. Boog had a lovely time with grandparents and rode on her first carousel! She sat on a feisty cheetah and waved and waved. I wouldn't have been surprised if she had let out a "Xena" yell! (By the way, do you know how hard it is to take a photo while riding a rickety wooden lion? I need some props, people! :-)

And Hubby and I got to go out on the town and go junking. I found some lovely baubles for future projects . . .

. . . some sweet handmade charm with this kitty doorstop for Boog's room (It cost 71 cents at a thrift store--who comes up with these whacky prices?!) . . .

. . . and a touch of kool kitsch. Hubby has a not-so-secret love of anything mid-century to mid-'60's. If he could live on the Mad Men set, he would! And if '50's glassware was another woman, I'd be very afraid. :-)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Creativity. One Baby Step at a Time.

For years, my mom has had an old fiddle on a shelf in her living room. It was technically mine, but I don't think that I had ever actually held the thing. It had become a decorative piece and had sat there looking at me whenever I'd come home to visit. Over the summer I decided to take some initiative, so I took it to the music doctor and had the bridge and the strings replaced. I bought a bow. I bought rosin for the bow. And then it came home with me and sat on top of a cabinet in my living room, once again collecting dust. You see, I have a habit of starting things and not finishing them. Small things--a book left unread here, a knitting project coming unraveled there. So on Monday, I decided to take a small step with regard to my fiddle and my large pile of unfinished intentions. I would rosin the bow. Nothing else. Rosin the bow.

That seemed to open the door because on Tuesday, I met with a sweet friend who gave me my first official fiddle lesson! I now know how to hold the bow. (Can't do it yet--it's really hard to keep my thumb bent up like that!) And I learned the "A" scale! Can I play the "A" scale well? Heck, no! It sounds like a dying cat. But it is so much FUN!!! (Although, I am going to avoid bringing up the subject with my neighbors!) All this to say that I took a baby step on one of my zillion projects, and it really helped with my creativity. I painted this RED with more ease than I have had in a while.

While I don't think that it's a formula (playing "A" scale = heightened creativity!), I do think that I need to challenge myself to find inspiration outside of my art realm.

This RED is titled, "Red's Calling." I painted her for a lovely art patron from Australia--my first piece to travel down under! I'm a little bummed because I'm nearing the end of my vintage wolf images. I now have an excuse (not that I need one!) to go junking and find some more collage goodies. :-) From her expression, I think that she is perfectly able to handle her situation!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Is it it Etsy...or is it a little bit of both?

The Boog is sick. Nothing heinous, but enough to throw her off her game of foraging and digging through Mom and Dad's things. (The kid really isn't that interested in toys. How boring. She wants whatever you have, preferably paper.) When one of us is sick, the house implodes.
It's like Thing One and Thing Two have been given the run of the place, but there is no magic box that I can cram them back into! So, amidst this chaos, I am trying to establish order somewhere. I think I am going to start with my whole eBay/Etsy conundrum. You didn't think that I would start by cleaning the kitchen, did you? :-) So here it is: How do I manage both eBay and Etsy? I know that there are many, many talented artists/biz gals who do a fab job of it. So how do they do it? How do you do it?

I would love to hear your strategy! Do I list originals on eBay and prints on Etsy? How many listings should I have in my Etsy shop at one time? How do I keep traffic going to both my eBay and Etsy shops? I do think that I will try to keep some originals on eBay (like this angel painting--I listed her last night, complete with fun, dimensional flowers!) and try one on Etsy every now and then. Prints on eBay seem to be . . . unpredictable. Time and energy are of the essence, and it seems to me that knowing where to put your focus is key. Well, I didn't answer my question; but I feel much better putting it out there!

Oh, I did come across a site on the Etsy forums for getting your art more exposure. It's and it looks promising. (But please don't blame me for the hours you'll spend gawking!)

Well, I'm off to wiping Boog's over-active nose and working on drawings for future paintings. That's the extent of my multi-tasking. I'll leave the crazy house for later!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So What Exactly is IN That???

It is no secret to my friends and neighbors (Actually, my neighbors are my friends! The Boog, The Hubby, and I live in student housing, so we are a rather close lot!) that I'm rather OCD about what goes into products. Without going into the gory details, most of the lovely-smelling products (for hair/skin--you name it) break me out horribly. I've come to view this sad development as God saving me from a massive product-buying addiction!!!

Since The Boog's arrival, I've been even more concerned about what is in things, especially food. We watched a show over the summer where one of the characters remarked that the fast-food chicken they were about to devour would cause her daughter to grow (cover your eyes if you have delicate sensibilities) a third nipple! Well, I don't know about you, but TWO are quite enough, thank you!

So we are trying to be more mindful about what we eat, and I've started making my own products. I can't claim these recipes as my own (I'm not that clever!), but here a few starter recipes, if you are so inclined:

Baby powder: equal parts baking soda and corn starch with a few drops of essential oil (either lavender or sweet orange). If baby bums and rashes are no longer on your radar (you lucky duck, you!) this recipe can double as a wonderful deodorant, or add some white clay or bentonite for a dusting powder and then go ahead and luxuriate!

Face serum (This one is such fun to make! Oh--keep it in the fridge.): 2/3 cup aloe vera, 2 tablespoons pure vegetable glycerin, 3 drops essential oil of rose or lavender. I chose lavender and added a couple drop of German chamomile for its healing properties. Love it!!! And the chilly serum is really fun to apply. :-)

Bug Spray: 1/4 ounce witch hazel, 3 drops thyme essential oil, 6 drops lemongrass eo, 4 drops peppermint eo. Fill a small spray bottle with the ingredients and then top it off with water. No chemicals. No DEET. And no third nipple. And you smell sweet, too!

If you would like more recipes, let me know. The above recipes were found in "Well Being" by Barbara Close and "Easy Green Living" by Renee Loux.

Little Birds

So I thought that she was finished. Well, she morphed into something completely different! I just had this sense that she wasn't quite complete. So . . .

I added script in the background inspired from sentences from my trusty vintage school primer. (This primer is truly a treasure. It has the sweetest sentences about little birds and nests and children. I love it!)

And, finally, I collaged butterflies and actual practice sentences from the primer onto the piece. With a new look and a new title, she has made her second debut--if that's even possible!
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