Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter: Time to Read

At least, that's my hope. I always want to snuggle down in a blanket and read at this time of year. My memories of childhood Christmases (after the little-kid toy Christmases) are of everyone getting new books, and all of us in the family sitting around the house reading in quiet solitude. It didn't really matter if I was living in Arizona (not very cold) or California (not cold at all), I loved the long series of days with no obligations, being able to read for hours non-stop.

Of course, most of this time period I'm talking about was when I was in school or college, which meant part of my calendar was designated as vacation. My job of being a student was suspended while I enjoyed no structure in my days, no homework, etc.

Today I have a toddler, from which there is no vacation. I keep trying to remember to instigate a "reading time" during the day, but we're just not people that do the same thing every day, much less at the same time every day. So maybe it will have to be occasional. But toddler needs to learn how to let Mommy read while she plays with toys or looks at her own books. She's at the age where she's just starting to play by herself sometimes, so maybe reading time for me is in sight. I hope so. There are so many books I want to read! And now there just keep being more all the time!

I've been looking at different reading lists on NPR and found a few I think I'll like. In one browser window I'm looking at the book list and reading the descriptions, and in another browser window I'm reserving books at my local library. And in another window I'm putting books on my wish list on Paperback Swap. And did I mention it's 6am? Everyone else is asleep, that's why I can successfully do this multi-tasking stuff.

So here's one of the lists I like, by Nancy Pearl, the famous librarian who has a librarian action figure modeled on her. She calls her list Under-the-Radar Books.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I'm Not Crazy (Again)

Really, I'm not! It's amazing how many times I have to rediscover this truth. I love the craft community. I was just reading this great article on Make and Meaning about the creative process, and it is so affirming that I feel a sudden burst of happiness and that calm you get when you feel like you're not weird, you're you, and all is right with the world. Ah.

I've read so many foofy blah blah articles and books about the creative process that don't really describe exactly what happens, but have this pie-in-the-sky language that I just can't relate to, which just makes me feel weird, and then here is this one with kooky descriptions that I totally GET. I really don't know how the writer did it, figured out how to express it, but it's fabulous. I feel a kindred spirit, and affirmation.

There's an overused, messed up word: affirmation. Remember the craze for affirmation books? I have several of them. For the inner child, the women who do too much, etc. And gosh darnit, people like me (Stuart Smalley reference--who is now our senator). Well, this noodling playful expression that comes from specific personal experience is exactly the kind of affirmation that works for me.

What affirms you and your creative process?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Just a quick update: my first craft fair, the Green Gifts Fair, went fabulously. I made over $100! That probably sounds like small potatoes to most of you craft fair experts. But I'm happy. And we had so many compliments from other vendors on our table, that it was "colorful and playful."

So in two days I have the Women's Art Festival and I'm sure it will be fun, esp. with my buddy Sue there again. But I just kinda want to get it over with so I can focus more on my family's Christmas. I have some Christmas shopping done, but I need to figure out the whole picture.

I've been sad lately because I miss my folks and sisters out in Seattle. I just saw them in September but it went by too fast.

I've decided to make my Mommy Blog public so everyone can read it. And I'm really going to try to update it more often (I haven't since April). I need it, it's like a journal and it helps me figure out where I am in the world.

Go Read This!

Hey! I just found this fun new craft blog that I immediately made my home page: Make & Meaning. Diane from CraftyPod is one of the founders, and it just looks delicious, like the newspaper I want to sit and read on a Sunday afternoon with a cuppa.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zentangle Time!

Here's one I did for a swap-bot swap. I'm trying to do fewer elements than I have in the past, that is, not cram everything but the kitchen sink into the space required. Like use some white space, and use only a few different patterns and repeat them. I really like the result, and I am planning to do a set with even fewer of these same elements. I'm in a swap for Fall-themed zentangles and I like the little trees with a few leaves on them for that theme. But even fewer leaves. And the dot-line pattern inside the long ribbon that cuts across the middle remind me of rain. It's hard to draw rain! So it's a happy accident that I drew something that turns out to look like rain.

On Time and Ready To Write Poetry?

So I'm off night owl hours, I got back into sleeping at night and waking during the day. I feel a lot better, but I miss being up late and the quiet! I'm at the last week of pain meds for this screwy month, so I think I'll make it without having to resort to the infusion clinic, which basically kills off a whole day for me, and that's if it works right.

The Green Gifts Fair is coming up in one week and I think I'm ready. Just a few things left I HAVE to do, and then of course I want to make more stuff. I'm toying with the idea of doing Instant Haiku at the fair. I don't know, I think I could do it, I just need to bring a few word books. I think it would be fun but I don't know if anyone would be into it. I was thinking I'd prep some playing cards or something ATC-sized ahead of time to use to write the haikus on. And here's what I came up with for a sign:

Auntie Ben's Haiku! done in 10 minutes or less
  • magnet, pin, or ornament
  • personalized
  • choice of style: heartwarming or funny
  • winter blue or Christmas green
  • $3 for 3 lines

What do you think? Would you go for it? Here's a haiku I wrote recently about my daughter:

Doughnuts, singing, church

bells ringing, Lily touching

hands, angel voice: "peace."

Recipe Swap Cards I Made

I've never done a recipe swap before but I thought it would be a fun change. I guess I only had to do one recipe but I did a whole meal, at least what I consider a whole meal: appetizer, entree, dessert. I really like how they came out. I would love to get a commission to make some for someone for a special occasion, like a wedding menu.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Better and Worse

Hi, I am busy making stuff for those fairs I'm doing in November and December. Cripes, it's November already! I love fall (that's why I now have yet another background, from HotDiggityBlog) but it is going by so fast! It's too cold to go play outside. At least for me it is. If it was in the 50's, ok, but the low 40's? Not so much.

I am trying to get back on a normal schedule, that is, not staying up all night, so I can a)stop eating late at night and gaining more weight, b)have less headaches, and c)be awake for Lily during the day.

It's hard, I like being a night owl and I've always been one. I love the quiet of late-night, and I can focus better on doing my art. I also like the privacy of late-night. No phone calls, no interruptions, no f-ing leaf blowers (that doofus next door has a super noisy one this year and I want to kill him. I think I'm justified, esp. when he illegally blows the leaves into the street!! What an ultramaroon), no Jehovas Witnesses at the door, just me.

And the TV, sometimes. Part of the problem. I'll get hooked on some old movie and just watch the whole thing until 3 in the morning. Sigh. I can't do this anymore for reasons stated above. Part of being a responsible parent, I guess. And I'm not in my 20's anymore, I can't stay up all night and not suffer for it.

Since I've been taking the latest preventive medication for my migraines, they've been better. Not as intense, they go away with less medication, and last month I didn't have to ration my pain pills at the end of the month. I was able to go 5 weeks instead of 4 on my monthly allottment! If you don't get migraines you'll think that's just such a pathetic little victory. But a lot of you out there will understand perfectly my huge feeling of victory.

But I kind of screwed up this month because I pushed the envelope precisely because I felt better with the new pills. I suddenly felt some freedom! I feel so many limitations as it is because of the migraine's a good thing we live in a no-smoking state because we'd really never get to go out to eat if smoking was still allowed in restaurants here. I just can't even consider a smoking area, it's like instant headache, just add crabbiness. I can't be out in the sun too long or I'll get a headache. And the list goes on. So no wonder I went a little crazy when I suddenly felt better! But I'm paying for it now. I am already rationing the pain pills after a terrible week and I don't know if I'll make it. Darnit. So I have to forgive myself for that and move on. Next month will be better.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Mad Skill

Hey! Like my neato Halloweenie background? I got it from this fun lil' site called Blog-ology. My first experience with skins! It's such a freaky word that I have never used them before, but I stumbled on this by accident and learned how to change my background on my blog. Wheeeeee!

Boo Yah!

the front: bat cookie doughboy
the back: painted and stenciled

I made this silly postcard for my bud Chris at Prism Trail, because I knew she would love it, and cuz this box of bat cookies that I got at the store just cried out to me to upcycle it and send it out as mail. Isn't it silly cute? Sorry about the scribbled out address. I only have Microsoft Paint on this computer so I couldn't do a nice blur like they do to the perps on those Cops shows. But I still didn't want you stalking Chris. Okay, not YOU. But yeah, you, in the back. Chill out, will ya?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More Pics from Stairway to Heaven workshop

Michelle 'n' Me
The assembled triptych

The fabled stairway

More of my pages

The first half of the first day we just painted blank pages, and I can't tell you how fun that was. Not just learning new paint techniques, but also spending several hours painting and doing nothing else. No interruptions. And no big choices. Because I had only picked about five colors of paint to bring with me, I stuck to that palette and didn't have to stop and make more decisions about it. That made it more fun, to have a limited palette. And to have Michelle telling us "Just paint! Don't think too hard about it. Just paint!" was great reinforcement. Part of the joy of this workshop was what Michelle described as "making an appointment with creativity." It sounds cheesy but it's really true. It's a big committment to set aside money and time for two whole days to make art. And it's a good feeling. I enjoyed my appointment so much that I'm sold on taking a workshop at least once a year to feed my creativity. I used to look at all the workshops out there and convince myself that I could do it all at home, but now I see first-hand the value of making that committment and getting away to do it.

Workspace as Art

Yes, I saved these papers.

Michelle Ward Workshop at Valley Ridge Art Studio

This is a picture of stuff I was making at the Stairway to Heaven workshop that Michelle Ward taught a few weeks ago at Valley Ridge Art Studio. I like the jumble of parts and the colors. The workshop as a whole was wonderful. Michelle is an experienced teacher and very smart about knowing what things to focus on getting DONE during the workshop in order for the student to feel accomplished. I didn't expect to have a finished product when I left, so I wasn't stressing about that, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much progress I made and how I could actually see the progress. We made a triptych book and Michelle made sure we assembled it before we left. I can still take it apart again and rearrange it if I want, but assembling it and seeing it all come together really made me feel good. I also learned a lot of techniques hands-on that it just wouldn't have worked to read about. For insance, I really didn't get how to do dry brush painting and now I get it and really like what I can do with it. She also had tips on how to make the most of your tools (using them in more than one way) and that was very helpful. She's very old school, so not into buying fancy newfangled products when you can do just as well with old supplies, and I like that. She's very approachable as well, and funny. So if you're ever considering taking a class from Michelle, I highly recommend her as an instructor and a fun artist to hang out with for two days.

Jack O' Lanterns

Last weekend we got a bunch of pumpkins at our local nursery, and then we carved two of them. They're molding now but here's when they were first carved. I did the dog face one and I was thrilled with how it turned out. I just looked at a picture online and decided I could do it, then drew it freehand and carved it. Amazing what you can do when you have a little confidence. I haven't carved pumpkins in years but made a point of it this year because I knew my daughter would enjoy it, and it was really fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Get Your Art in a Traveling Library!

The Sketchbook Project. Because I don't have enough projects. NOT! No, but this looks too fun to pass up. My buddy Chris at Prism Trail told me about it, and I love the idea of having a book I filled up with art traveling around the world on exhibition for people to see. Same reason I want to do Art-O-Mat, so I can have the satisfaction of knowing people all over the place are enjoying my art.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

And This, Too!

I'm also on a link list for the vendors in the Green Gifts Fair on November 21st, put on by Do It Green Minnesota. If you scroll down about halfway on the Fair page, you'll see a list of vendor links, and I'm on there: Alterior Motives and Suzala's Sparklies. Suz is my art buddy and we're doing both of these fairs together. Should be fun. I think the Green Fair will probably be more affordable, but then I could be wrong. We'll see. I think I'll probably get fun ideas for more stuff to make!

I about ran myself into the ground in May when I did my first art fair, and I'm not going to do that this time. I still have most of my product left from then, since I did crap in sales, so I've already got a lot. I just need to make a bit more to focus on the green thing for that fair, like use thrift store fabrics to make zippies and coasters. But I'm not going to neglect myself or Lily to get ready for these fairs, I've got to be able to enjoy them. I'm not in this to make money, anyhow, I'm in it to have fun. If I make money, it's a bonus. I have that luxury.

Thank God these fairs are both indoors. I may never do an outdoor one again, it was so awful. The first day was hurricane force winds. Ok, perhaps I exaggerate a tad, but they were 35 mph gusts, all day. And cold! It was literally painful. So I'm happy to be indoors with heat and light and no wind!

I also applied to be in the No Coast Craftorama but we didn't get in. I'm not crushed. I'm glad I applied, and I'll try again next year. It's a hard one to get into, and I just started doing this. No Coast is even listed in craft books now as a major craft show nationally. So I don't feel bad.

I'm in a Gallery!

Okay, it's a slide show, but still! I'm excited. See, isn't it cool (mine are the ones labeled Carrie Mercer)? It's for an art fair I'm going to be in on December 12th. They used the 3 photos that I sent of my work and I'm really excited to be in such talented company, the other stuff looks fab. I'll probably end up spending more money than I make. ha! Just kidding, honey (if hubby is reading this). So if you're in Minnesota, mark your calendars for the Women's Art Festival on December 12th!! Come see me!

Good News?

I just joined this swap on Swap-bot that I think is worth spreading the word about, because I think it's a really great idea. It's called "Good News from Newspapers" and it requires you to collect stories from your paper and/or other papers that are good news stories. You have several months to do it, and you put them in a journal and send it to your partner.

Obviously it would be nice to have a whole journal full of good news stories to read. I'm planning to make two journals so I can keep one. But what fascinates me is that I think it gets more complicated--What is good news? I mean, what would you look for? I'm looking in the local section. So far I've found a story about a humble man who lived frugally and left 3 million dollars to charity. And the other one is a dog story. Ok, that's easy, I mean, any dog story is going to be good news to me. But really, what are people going to look for? I see stories about politics and my eyes glaze over. I could care less. I mean, of course I care. But I don't find that happy reading. And the economy? Boring. But what if there was a story about a new grant for local artists? That would be good news to me but would anyone not living here give a rip? So it's tricky. But I think it's worth a shot, just to see what happens. I wish more people would join the swap, so far there's only 9.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Some Halloween Stuff

I love Halloween. My favorite holiday. It's hard to decide between Halloween and Christmas. Anyhoo, here's a couple Halloween-themed thingamajigs I've made in the last week. The top one is a robot exchange I did with my local artsters today at our monthly meeting. Mine is the bigger paper doll one, the sort of Pumpkin Scissorhands Robot. Then the bottom pic is of an ATC I made for a Halloween Zetti swap on Swap-bot. I made a few extra to trade. I call him Cranky Zetti Frankie.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's my birthday! It's my birthday! Yeah yeah yeah! I already celebrated with my family last week but today I celebrated first by myself by going out to some of my favorite places, and then with my hubby and toddler by having dinner and cake. GF cake at that!! Betty Crocker makes gluten-free cake mix now, did you know that? It's yummy, I'm a witness.

So I went first to the new storefront for I Like You, which is fabulous, I was in there over an hour looking at stuff. I bought some fun hair barrettes for myself, one set with big fabric buttons and one set with Japanese folded fabric flowers. And I walked around looking at things and getting ideas of stuff I want to try to make. One idea is a felt collage. Someone had done a bunch of framed collages of different scenes, using all felt. They were appropriate for kids' bedrooms, although I would put one up anywhere because I have the heart of a kid. So one was trees in a meadow, a couple were sheep in a meadow, and I forget what else. They were somewhat crude in detail, if you know what I mean, and that's what I liked about them. There really has to be a better word than crude to describe a childlike style. But I can't think of one. Anyway. Another thing I liked was a dice necklace. The artist simply put a small screw hook into the dice and voila, necklace pendant! I have a ton of dice so that might be fun to do.

Okay, so that was the first place I went. Next was MCBA at Open Book. They had a gallery show I hadn't seen yet that was all about mail art and self-published art and it was really neato. And they had part of the "None of the Above" exhibit up, which reminded me that I still have time to join in on the fun for this great assemblage. I just need to go to a print shop. So I wandered around the exhibit, and then spent a long time in their gift shop picking out a few things. What I ended up getting: a few fine line black pens for my doodling/drawing; some needles on a stick for bookbinding, several different colors of waxed linen thread for bookbinding, and a "BIY" kit for a different kind of bookbinding than I've done before (that would anything else besides pamphlet stitch).

And last, I went to Big Brain Comics ( I know, that's a really lame link). I slipped in five minutes before closing time so I tried to hurry, and even then I got a 3-issue series of The Muppet Show comics and an anthology of weird fiction that includes pieces from Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snickett, and I forget who else. I also grabbed a couple promotional posters for the movie 9, which I really want to see but haven't had the chance to yet.

There was a book at the MCBA shop that I didn't buy but I want, it's called Re-Bound and it looks really fun. Anybody out there have it yet?

Friday, September 18, 2009


Huzzah! Mr. Rogers has enough to finish his film! Good Neighbors!

I'm also happy because I'm on vacation. Yippee! Seeing my family and spending time playing with Lily and bringing her new places. Tomorrow we're going to the zoo. Then Sunday we're going to the aquarium. Or the playground. We'll see. And I have oodles of art stuff with me to read and enjoy. I went to Borders last week and uh... saved so much money! Yeah, I saved like $16 and spent $100. That worked out well for them. But I got fun stuff!

I got the first issue of a new magazine from Stampington, Art Quilting Studio. And a book called Good Mail Day, about making mail art. I haven't read the new magazine yet but it looks yummy. I've read most of the book and it's really fun. Although it doesn't have any technique ideas that I don't know about, I really enjoy the way it's presented. It's not overwhelming with complicated designs, and the authors are really skilled at motivating you to get going making art without thinking about it too hard, and focus on having fun. I put together a mail art kit with suggestions from the book, and I'm going to try to make some mail art postcards while I'm on vacation. I'm not used to just working with a few tools, so I think it should be fun. It'll definitely be a stark contrast to the Valley Ridge Art Studio class I'm taking in a few weeks. My God, the supplies list is as long as my arm! Good thing I'm not flying there, I'd have to pay extra for another bag with my supplies in it.

OMG, I couldn't believe that I had to pay $15 for my ONE checked bag on the airplane today! Jeez! It's not enough to gouge me for the ticket. But I have to say, we flew Alaska Airlines instead of the usual Northwest, and it was soooooo much nicer than Northwest. The seats were more comfortable, there was more leg room, and the bathrooms even had full doors. Like, not foldy camper play doors. I hate those.

The sun was out when we flew in and so Lily got to look out and see the mountains and trees and then the people and buldings geting bigger as we came in for a landing. The landing was a little bouncy for my taste, but the captain was fun, he actually got on the horn several times during the flight and talked about what we were flying over. I didn't know anybody did that anymore. I liked it because it made me think about the pilot as a real person, that he must be a pilot because he really loves looking out that big window in the front of the plane and seeing the beautiful landscape below him. He obviously enjoys his job and sharing his love of the landscape with all the passengers. I like that. You get some pilots who are like, don't make me talk to the people on the other side of my little door. They sound like their boss forced them to get on the intercom and at least say hello. Say hello to the nice people. Who paid extra for their frackin' luggage.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Starting now (BING!), this is my favorite time of year. There's my birthday this month, and fall, which is my favorite season. I love it when the leaves turn. And this weekend we went to the Minnesota State Fair, my favorite Minnesota event of the year. Our toddler is old enough now to enjoy it and she had a great time petting animals and going on rides and all sorts of stuff. It was fun to focus on making it a good time for her.

OOh, and there's Halloween and Day of the Dead and--oh wait, before that there's my vacation to go see my family and then in early October I'm going to Valley Ridge Art Studio to take a class from Michelle Ward. The supply list is as long as my arm and it's a bit spendy, but I'm sort of glad we were pressed into making a decision about making it a vacation weekend when I forgot to cancel it. We need more vacation. We're going to stay at this place called Life O' Riley, an old farmhouse and we'll stay in what used to be a schoolhouse.

And then there's Christmas, and I've already been stockpiling gifts for my tot. It's too fun to buy toys, I tell you. And now Woot has Kids Woot! I've already bought about five things from them, including a train set, which I can hardly wait to play with. She loves trains. And cars. That's my girl, no Barbies.

Ah, it's good. And my new meds for migraines seem to actually be helping. I didn't have to take pain pills this weekend, the first weekend in months I haven't had to do that. And I got to go to church with J. and L., which I've missed so much this summer--mass is my calming happy place, at least at our church. And they even sang one of my favorite hymns, There Is A Balm In Gilead , which always reminds me of this wonderful movie we saw eons ago at the Sundance Film Festival, with Ashley Judd in it. I can't find it now in any movie database, but I remember it had something about "at the xx cafe" in the title. And when I say she sings, it's not like it's a musical. It's just this scene where she's outside walking and thinking and not even facing the camera, and she just starts humming and singing this hymn. She doesn't even know all the words. It's very realistic, and sweet. And I guess it reminds me of myself, because I love to sing, and I don't know all the words.

The first film I ever saw Ashley Judd in was Ruby in Paradise (1993), which inspired me to start writing a zine and really get out there as a writer. Ruby won a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival (we saw it there) and this other film was the second film I saw her in and I think it also won some audience prize. I'm not making this up. Anyway, her characters in the two films are very similar, extremely vulnerable and trying so hard to pick up the pieces of her life and start over. At the time I saw them I was doing the same thing, trying to start a new life, and it was hard. I was trying to get a divorce from a crazy person who I was also trying to hide from, I was alienated from my family, and I'd just moved out of state away from everyone I knew to follow a sweet man I'd unexpectedly fallen in love with. That was almost 20 years ago. And I think of that singing so often now.

I married the sweet man and now we have a sweet baby and a good life. Some balm has made the wounded whole. I feel brave again. Today I applied to be in two art shows. They're unjuried, so I know Im in, but it still feels like a big accomplishment that I got it done, all the paperwork and photos and fees. Okay, then! Something to talk about tomorrow, the art fairs I'll be in this fall. Now I gotta go to bed.

Oh, and look at Mr. Rogers! He might just make it, the last I checked, he was 81% funded! Hooray for Mr. Rogers' good neighbors, way to go, people!

Mr. Rogers: A Little Help From His Friends

All right, I know, I know, I haven't posted in years. Well, at least it seems like it. And it seems like longer to me than to you, because my GUILT from not updating my blog and from not writing in general (thus calling into question my status as a "writer") increases exponentially each day that passes without a new entry here.

But today is a good day. I have a laptop!! I've never had one before. I just got this one a few days ago and it's beautiful. Thank you Woot. It's wide and so it has a full-size keyboard and a gorgeous wide screen and I just love it. I can hardly believe I have it, it's so much fun!! Now I can update my blog late at night, which is the only time I usually have to do it, which I haven't been doing because my desktop computer is in baby's room and I don't want to wake her up once we get her to sleep.

Anyways, let's talk about this Mr. Rogers thing, which I somehow found by accident while playing on swap-bot. You know who Fred Rogers is, right? He's the real deal. I grew up watching his TV show (along with Sesame Street--oh, btw, I watched Elmo in Grouchland the other day with my 2-yr. old and I no longer despise Elmo. He's okay. And it's a fun movie. Mandy Patinkin rocks as the villian who takes everyone's toys because "it's mine!" But I digress) and he was Good. So these people made an independent film about him called Mister Rogers and Me but they don't have enough funding to finish making it. They're 10K short. This often happens with wonderful independent films. Don't let this one die! You can help out by pledging your support in any amount from $5 up, but it has to be by September 18th!! And the way it works is that they don't actually charge your credit card until they know if they raised the 10K they need. If they don't make it to 10K, which would be a horrifying shame, they don't charge you. I pledged $20 today and they were up to $7725, which is great. Please give if you can. King Friday thanks you, loyal subjects.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Making Butterflies

Have you heard of The Butterfly Project? It's one of those community art projects that bring people together in order to remember something really important, in this case the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. The Holocaust Museum is asking for people to make 1.5 million butterflies. There are guidelines on the website if you're interested in participating, and someone has created a swap of sorts on Swap-bot to promote it and enable swappers to share the experience with someone else (you send your partner a photo and description of your butterfly). Want an idea of what other folks are making? Here are some made by kids. I think this is a popular class project. What a great idea, to make beauty in response to horror, to give children some way to respond.

I really like this idea and think I'll do it. It's not a huge committment, but it is an important gesture and it may help me to get back to making art again. I am just so burnt out since that art fair, and I want to get back to the feeling of making art because I love making art, not because someone might buy it.

My computer is slowly being rebuilt after its untimely death a couple months ago. Hence the lack of postings here. I miss it, I have felt so cut off from the world! Hope to post again soon, have some new doodle ATC's to show off.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Abandonment Issues

Do you feel abandoned? I'm sorry. I am finally getting a chance to let you know that my computer died. I'm using hubby's work one to at least let you know. It will probably be a week or two (ugh) before we get a new hard drive and everything reinstalled. Groan. I feel so cut off from the world! Say a little computer prayer for me. Until technology is straightened out here, I will miss you!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Selling Myself

Well, what I mean is, really being proud of my work and saying why I think it's of superior quality. So I just put this statement in my store description on Etsy. I'm afraid people will think I'm being too pushy or snobby, but I don't know. Comments?

**NOTE: I know a lot of artists make the quilted coasters but I feel mine are superior because 1)I use felt for batting so it's flatter for cups to stand on, and 2)Instead of just doing a topstitch and leaving it at that, I take great care in my quilting on each coaster, making it a work of art, following the lines of a motif on the fabric and making each one unique; and finally, 3)I make the price quite reasonable compared to the typical price out there for a 4-coaster set.**

I mean, look at my lovely detail in cupcake coaster photo. Isn't it just yummy? Okay, that's all I wanted to say.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Doodle for a Square Clock

Here's my latest doodle I've finished that's for a square clock face. I love it. I used a Christmas ad circular cover for Macy's or some big store that I'd saved for inspiration. And I tried to throw in a teency bit of Frank Lloyd Wright. Now I get to color it!

Nice to be Noticed

Chrisy at Sophism Press blog just plugged one of my Etsy items by using the image of the item and linking to my Etsy listing. Nice! And it's the Amelia Earhart piece that I love so much. Chrisy's blog entry is all about flight, first about how wonderful it is to have dreams of flying, and then about women who fought the good fight and broke down barriers, doing things women had never done before, like fly airplanes. Quite fun. And I love some of the other items she's linked to, like the clay fly pendant. Go look, it's neato.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

There's still time! Until June 6th!

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "What? Why didn't you tell me sooner, you hoser?" Well, sorry. It's just that I've had issues. With my own health. But I try to do this ride each year to support my Mom (who has diabetes) and some other people I love who struggle with this disease. I didn't do it last year because I was too worn out from being a new Mom. And baby was too small to go on it. But this year she's big enough, in fact she's an avid cyclist with Daddy in her little sidecar. If you go to my TourdeCure page, you'll see a picture of us together before a ride from last September, when she was big enough to go on a ride, and you can sponsor me there, too, for any amount. Anyhoo, if you can support me at all, please do. You'll be supporting a cure for diabetes. Just a few dollars helps. I have to raise at least $150 in a week, because it's next weekend. I know, I know, I really waited until the last minute. Sorry. Bad blogger. But it's a good cause.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pause for Poetry

And now I would like to share a poem, because I used to read a lot of poetry and haven't done in a while, and sometimes my toddler pulls books out of Mommy and Daddy's bookcases, and I am reminded of some really good reading I have.

This is by Louis Jenkins, and he only writes prose poems, which means they're like compact little stories crammed into one paragraph and sometimes have lots of run-on sentences. From his book The Winter Road, here is


Out on the great plains, where I was born, the wind blows constantly. When I was a kid I'd get 35 cents and run as hard as I could to the Lotta-Burger or the movie theater only to find it had blown away. Going home was no better. Sometimes it would take a couple of days to find my house. Under these conditions it was impossible to get acquainted with the neighbors. It was a shock to open the front door and be faced with the county jail, the Pentecostal Church or Aunt Erma carrying two large suitcases. Trash from all over the state caught and piled up at the edge of town and during the windiest times of spring sometimes whole days blew away in a cloud of dust. I feel my natural lifespan may have been shortened by the experience. Still, it was a great place to grow up. As the old boy said, "You can have those big cities, people all jammed together. Give me some wide-open spaces." In the morning out on the plains, you have a couple of cups of coffee, get all wound up and go like hell across an open field, try to bounce, clear both ditches and the highway so you don't get caught in the barbed wire, fly from one fenced-in nothing to another, hit the ground and keep on rolling.

Jenkins is from Minnesota and he has a great sense of humor about the Midwest. I like how it starts out normal and quickly goes off where you didn't expect it to. And yet you still know what he means, it's not that abstract. It's just a funny kind of lens to look at life through. I've seen him read once and he has a very quiet, deliberate delivery. It's kind of a thrill to watch. Which I can't say about a lot of writers. Some of them should never leave the house. Anyway, I guess part of why I thought of this poem right now is that it's been such a windy spring here. Very windy. Oh, yeah, like the first art fair day, with 36 mph gusts all day. Okay, maybe I am still having issues about that experience. But still. It's a great poem, idn't it?

Goin' On a Journey

An artist's journey, that is. I feel like I should start singing the theme song from the Beverly Hillbillies. But then I watched too much TV as a child and it warped my brain.

Anyhoo, on Monday I'm going to start methodically going through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron with a couple other women from my local art group. I wouldn't have done it by myself, although I tried to several years ago, but it was too lonely. I'm hoping the interaction with the other artists will really give me a boost. I just still feel so let down and blah since that art fair. I feel like I shouldn't, but there it is. I do. Maybe it's not the art fair. It may be my medications, they're in flux right now and so I feel depressed for no apparent reason sometimes. Oy.

So I ordered the book (cuz I don't have it anymore) from Amazon Marketplace and had it shipped "expedited" and it's all screwy. Amazon says expedited means 1-6 business days from shipping date. Then when you go to pay, it says 2-6 business days. Then I get an email from the Marketplace vendor saying it will be here in 3-7 days. Uh, what? I asked the vendor and she said she was saying 3-7 "to be safe." Well, so what did I pay for, so you could pad your estimate and then look good if it comes earlier than you said? Kind of irks me. Irk. Irk.

New Artfire Item! Doodle Discs

So here's my newest doodle collection for you to color. Only this time I didn't do a little book of them, I made them round and spray-mounted them to old CD's that were sitting around waiting to be upcycled.

Right now I have these eight different designs, and each disc is $1. I love making these things, they are so fun. I named each design, and my favorite name is "Spaghetti and Fuzzballs," which is the one on the far right on the blue board. They are in two separate listings, the blue and the red boards, and you just specify in an email to me which ones you want.

Personally, I thought this was a great use of old CD's. I didn't want a door curtain of CD's. And I think that's about the only thing I've seen them used for, besides making them into sets for altered books.

Friday, May 29, 2009

New Artfire Item! Altered Clock

I'm starting to get a bunch of stuff listed in my Artfire shop, especially all the stuff I had ready for the disappointing Johnstock fair. So here's one of my favorite altered clocks that I did. I thought it would be boring to just list them by color so I'm naming them. I know, I'm nuts. Meet Holly Sue.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When Does the Guilt Stop?

I was reading my friend Tammy's blog about the art journaling prompt "diamonds," and thought she asked a really interesting question.

I do hope the history of my diamond does not include exploitation, murder, human
rights abuses, conflict, and war in Africa. Does anything we enjoy
and take for granted in our lives not have such a history? Isn't that our

The emphasis is mine, and it just really made me realize how I constantly think about that. Today I was at the thrift store and I bought a CD rack that was originally from Pier 1 Imports, and it was made in some 3rd world country and I just instantly thought "exploitation," and then wondered if I was any better of a person to be buying it in the thrift store than the person who bought it directly from Pier 1. Maybe that's not the way to frame it. I just mean, am I less guilty of exploiting 3rd world workers, buying this item second hand, than the person who bought it for full exploitative-big-corporation price? And I didn't think about this for ten minutes. It just went through my mind in about a second, like an unconscious response.

So, I don't know, I don't have the answer. But it's a good question to think about. Even if you don't like diamonds (I don't happen to).

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Good Karma

Well, I must have earned some good karma points, because on Friday morning, I stopped by a garage sale near my house, just on a whim, and I got this 1972 Fisher Price Garage,complete with cars, people and even the separate lift, all for $5. $5!!!! This is the one I had when I was a kid. And Lily LOVES it. She has been playing with it non-stop since I got it. It's in really good shape. The paper on the top had some water damage and was peeling off, but I just got my Mod Podge out and fixed that right up. Score! I love finding toys for her.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More Pics of our art fair booth

These are dolls Sue made from fleece and other scraps she found at thrift stores. This was one of those items we were in disbelief about that no one bought. They were like $12. And so colorful and cute! I wanted one. The only reason I didn't get one is that Lily would probably take it and pull the button eyes off. Aren't those cool buttons? She said that was the only thing she bought new, from JoAnn's. I can never find cool buttons like that at JoAnn. Sue also does jewel-encrusted mirrors, jewelry boxes, and even magnets. She sold a lot of magnets.
Here you can see the trays full of Sue's magnets, alongside her golden birdhouses. That's Sue, sitting behind the table, trying to warm her hands on a cuppa. The other half of the table is mine, with my zine, zippies, coasters, stamp tray (this is day 1 so the set up is different).

And here's Jen's stuff, Tiki!!! She's very into Tiki, and wildly talented at it. She does Art-o-Mat with some of her small tiki paintings, and I bought one. We all bought some of each other's stuff, and that was fun. We also bought some of the other artist's wares, which weren't overpriced and there were some really creative items. I got a bracelet made from an old belt. It has a movie poster on it about "What all women know" or something like that, and she's in the arms of a cad. Very 50's. And what I really love is that it has the place it was playing--Encino at 11p.m. Encino. Ah, California, how I miss ya. I'll have to go get the artist's card so I can plug her stuff. She had a funny motto, too.

Overall I guess it was a good experience, and now I can say I've done my first art fair. But what a let-down to sell almost nothing. I just have really mixed feelings about it. Has anyone else out there had a simliar experience at their first art fair? Or have you already blotted it out of your memory?

Me at the Art Fair

Sorry no posts lately, I've been recovering from working my butt off for the art fair, and kind of licking my wounds. I sold NOTHING the first day and about 4 things the second day. I feel like I shouldn't even admit that, that people who previously liked my art will now think, oh, nobody bought her stuff, she must be a LOSER.

Jen, one of the two other women who I did the booth with, said you just never know how it's going to go at art fairs. Even so, I have to admit it was a big let-down for me. Saturday it was horrible weather--cold and wind gusts of 36 mph all day long. We could not get warm. We couldn't put up the walls of our tent (we tried) because it just turned the tent into a giant sail. People all around us had card racks that I was sure we were going to be impaled by on the next gust.

This picture is of me on the second day, when it was nice and sunny with no wind. I'm still wearing three layers and long underwear. I'm standing in back of some of my stuff--some clocks, some zippies, coaster sets in baskets facing sideways to the camera, and doodle discs, a new creation I came up with about 2 days before the fair: I made some CD-sized doodles, then made a bunch of copies and spray-mounted them onto old CD's that have waiting for some craft project. You can color the doodle yourself, send it as a postcard, stick something on the back to hang it from the wall as art, whatever. I thought it was brilliant. I don't think people understood it. Maybe it will sell better on my online store. That's the next big project, getting pictures of everything and putting them all up for sale on Etsy and Artfire. At least I don't have a deadline on that.

So I'm kind of recovering still, plus this is a big headache week, and with Spring finally here, I'm having loads of allergies. So I just haven't done much. Caught up on TV shows. Finished a book I've been reading forever and wasn't impressed. Today I did finally finish a project for my daughter, putting up these alphabet cards in the upstairs hallway. They're about 8x10 in size and have a big letter on each, along with original art of lots of things starting with that letter, like hedgehog for H, etc. For months I only had it up to F. Now all the letters are up. It took a while as I nailed them in rather than use any tape.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Monday Giveaway this week

Too busy with art fair. It shall return soon.

Done Stuff for the Art Fair in 4 days

This clock turned out really nice.
I made one of my stamp trays, just on a whim. Mixed up a blue color I liked and painted it, then chose a bunch of interesting stamps with lots of blue in them. I love making these but I don't think I'll have time for another before the show.

After. It's an old GE electric clock and I think it still needs a little something, maybe a row of yellow split peas glued along the top...

Before. Well, sort of. I didn't take a before pic of the above clock but I have this one, too and it's the same exact model. Only this one is a piece of crap. I don't trust Savers anymore. I got the other one at Value Village and it works great. This one was more expensive and when you plug it in it sounds like it's going to explode. I thought, well, maybe the noise will go away after it warms up or something. After 30 minutes I wanted to rip my hair out. It actually sounds like old sci-fi sound effects from a radio show. You know, like a rocket taking off. Only it never stops!! The other jewel I got from Savers that same day had the price sticker covering the fact that one of the knobs on the back of that clock was missing. Now come on, that's not fair. Plus I can't get their stupid sticker glue off. Grrrrr. Savers bad.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Clock That Ate My Brain

Actually, it just took a lot longer than I thought it would to color. It's a 9-inch diameter face and you can see why it needs a new face. I mean, nothing against Hannah Montana, but it needs to be arted up. So, as I was coloring I learned a lot.
WARNING! Extremely boring pen discussion ahead! Only read if you're into coloring and obsessed with pens like I am. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I decided that after this clock, I needed to have a full set of Staedtler triplus fineliner color pens, made in Germany. Because I liked that one the best of the three pens I was using, and out of anything I've tried so far. I'm using three different types of pens here, just because I liked their colors, and I'm finding that the red Staedtler gives the richest color, shows up really smoothly when you're coloring large blocks, and doesn't smear the black ink of the Prismacolor pens that I used to outline the design. Triplus just means the pen barrel is triangular-shaped, which does make it comfortable to hold. I don't know what kind of magic ink they use in these pens, but they have this "dry-safe" feature that means you can be a dope and lose the cap for days and the pen won't dry out. I don't remember how much I paid for the individual red pen. Probably less than $2. I just bought the full set of 20 for $26. I might have gotten it cheaper online, but instead I supported my local art store that I love, Wet Paint.

The purple pen is a Le Pen Marvy from Japan, and I only got it because I liked the shade so much. Most purples are too too dark or too pastel-ish for what I was looking for (actually this shade is called Amethyst. Whatever. Thank God it's not Lavender.). It doesn't smear, but I don't like how it shows the lines when you color large blocks. I think it's better for writing letters and such. Just not coloring so much. It does have a really solid point, which is nice. Also cheap, less than $2 each.

And finally, the yellow (I like using only 3 colors in one piece, at least if it's abstract), a ZIG Millenium, which I was the most disappointed with, as it smeared the black outlines really easily, so I had to color really carefully near the lines, which was difficult in some detailed areas. I guess because it's pigment ink it's going to smear everything. Annoying. Well, it's meant for scrapbooking, not coloring, I guess. And spendy, about $3 each.

A note about the black outliners I used: I've used the Pigma Microns, and they're okay, but I find I like the Prismacolor Premier Fine Line Markers (sizes 08 and 01) better because they are smoother. I can draw a long flowing wavy line across the page and the tip doesn't catch like the Microns sometimes do. And I don't have to go over it, the ink flows perfectly smoothly out of it.

So, anyway, that's what I learnt. I hope some of you got some useful info here, I know I am always baffled when I try to choose pens for a project. It's like choosing a breakfast cereal. You just stand in the aisle and gape. Oh! One more thing, as I was looking for links for the pens in this post, I found a fun-looking pen blog, called, of all things, Good Pens! Check it out.

Gettin' Ready

Here's my studio in a semi-cleaned up state, with my pieces for zippies and coasters somewhat organized. Ahh....

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Monday's Giveaway!

PRICKLY BLOGGER ALERT!!! there, I warned you.

Update: HEY! What is it with you guys? Am I making my commenting requirements too hard or what? Why am I suddenly only getting one person commenting on my giveaways? What, are you busy with your LIVES or something? Do you think this is a piece of crap? Sorry, I woke up with a headache so I'm crabby. But seriously, why are you all ignoring me? I'm in the middle of a mad scramble to get ready for my first art show and I'm still taking the time to do the giveaway and only my best buddy Chris is following me? Or maybe you're just not into doodles. I don't know. But you're making me very depressed. This might have to go under "Things I want to punch in the face," when my giveaways get ignored.

Here it is, the Zendala! I know, it's not mounted on black cardstock yet. It will be. I'll update the picture.

Sorry it's bad lighting, I took this late at night, because I'm working frantically trying to sew like the wind to get ready for Johnstock, which is less than two weeks away now. Eep!

Anyway, for this giveaway, let's have comments on doodling. Do you have a favorite book or artist that is doodly? I like the children's author Maira Kalman . She is a very doodly person. The endpapers in her picture books are full of line art doodles, of dogs, people, and everyday objects. I mean, look at these. And Doodlage just turned me on to Yellena. I could study one of her drawings for hours. So hook me up to some doodly stuff! Ready, go! This giveaway will be open 'til Wednesday-ish midnite.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Crop Art Dominoes

What do you think? The camera flash washed them out a little, but you get the idea. I did these after taking a fun workshop called "Nature Kitsch" and I personally love crop/seed art, so I combined my love of seeds with my huge stash of postage stamps. The pears have red pepper flakes around them. The hummingbird has dill seeds, which look like tiny sunflower seeds, and pasta letters that spell "birdie." Hee hee. And the sunflowers have mustard seed and dill seed surrounding them. Oh, and the top super cheesy one has brown rice all lined up on the bottom, dill seed on the sides, and one line of mustard seeds on the top. I basically used oodles of mod podge as glue, and I got some glitter mod podge, which is soooooo fun, it makes the pepper flakes really sparkle.

Johnstock 411

This is going to be so fun. It's a little art fair, only 40 vendors. Look at this schedule. Very kid-friendly and they're showing The Muppet Movie outdoors the first night. How cute is that??

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We're IN!!!

I can't believe it! I just checked my email real quick before I was going to go to bed, and there it was, the generic email sent to everyone who was accepted to be in the Johnstock art fair!!! Yay!!!! Just had to share that before I went to bed.

Zendalas, or Round Doodlies

Aren't these fun? They're 3 inches in diameter and I glued them onto 3.5 inch black cardstock. All drawn freehand, with one thick pen and one thin pen. They're very similar but they're all going to different people, so it doesn't matter. I love working on those shell shapes right now. I'm working on a 9-inch diameter one that's for a clock face and have just started coloring it. It's going to take a while, but I love coloring! And it's only 3 colors. I've found that works really well for some reason, to choose only three colors to use. Then I don't get overkill in rainbow colors. It hangs together better or something. There's probably some color theory reason, but don't tell me what it is, because my eyes will glaze over and you'll give me a migraine. Sometimes it's better not to know these things. Especially when it's not broke. Oh, I guess technically there's a fourth color, white. Sometimes I leaves spaces white for contrast.

So, next week, I've decided I'll give away a 3-inch zendala like you see here. I'll mount the black cardstock on pasteboard so it will be sturdy. Then you can either frame it or just set it against a wall on a shelf or something. Or make a tiny hanger on the back and hang it on the wall. Anyway, that's your preview of next week's giveaway. Aren't you excited? I like the idea of giving away stuff I've made, so I'm going to try to do more of that.

Monday??? Giveaway

Er, yeah, guess who won this one? The ONE person who commented. And I do love the look of those pendants, Chris, even if the picture is only a sneak peek. So what you gonna do with this fabric, huh? So I guess I threw everyone off doing a Monday giveaway on Wednesday. But Chris gets the benefit of being able to follow my confusing life, so she's a winner! The WINNAH! I love saying that.

Yes, well, I know it's almost Wednesday, and you're all like, hey, where are you? My brain went away on vacation Monday, mostly because I was anxious about finding out whether or not I was getting into that craft fair. Then I kept trying to find my calendar to see what I was supposed to do Monday and by the time I found it, I forgot why I wanted it so I didn't look at Monday's schedule and I missed a doc's appt. I was supposed to go to. It was also the first day of single Mom week, as hubby left for a work conference that morning very early.

And I still don't know if I'm in the art fair or not! I feel like those little alien dudes in the grabber machine in Toy Story...waiting to be chosen. My hopes are waning. I called the people in charge again about 6pm on Monday night, and this time they said I should hear "by Tuesday...or May 1st at the latest." Oh, fer Chrissake! The fair is May 16th. Could you cut it any closer?

My friend Jen, who is in on this with me, lamented,"Welcome to the wonderful world of juried art fairs." Wow, suck. I guess I'm going to have to not invest so much in this mentally. And I have a bunch of stuff I've made that I don't have in my Artfire or Etsy shops because I was sort of "saving" them for this art fair. Now I'm thinking that's pointless. I should just put that stuff up for sale and then pull it at the last minute if I get into a fair.

Well, anyway, HERE'S THE GIVEAWAY, FINALLY: about a half yard of some cotton print fabric. It's butterflies and they have stars on their wings, so they're sort of firework-y or something. Maybe they would be good for something subdued for the 4th of July. So what I'd like to request in your comment, instead of begging for the fabric, is either 1)a helpful tip about your experience-if you have any-selling at or even getting into an art fair, OR 2)a link to something you made (in your store or on your blog or whatever) that you're selling that you think is really fabulous and if only other people could see it they would snap it up!! I will look at all these links. Of course my choice for my thing is my Amelia Earhart shrine, which is exhorbitantly expensive, so I understand if you don't buy it, but there must be someone out there who is an Earhart nut and MUST have it! OR 3)If you don't have a store yet, but you're secretly harboring thoughts of selling your work, link to a picture of something you think maybe you'd like to sell, so we can all tell you that of course the world needs you to sell it!
This giveaway will be open through Friday midnite. Have fun playing!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nice People

Did anyone notice that after I talked about Kathy Cano-Murillo, the Crafty Chica, when I was trying to figure out what my style was, she left me a long comment with advice on how to figure that out and how to describe it to others? How nice was that? She didn't have to do that. I don't even know how she found out I linked to her. Anyway, I loved her idea of describing my art in terms of pop culture. It's brilliant, because I'm already a pop culture junkie. So I'm going to follow her advice. I'm going to sit down and just brainstorm words, adjectives, thingies, that are in my art. Then I think I'll ask a couple friends to tell me what they see, how they would describe it. Then I'll put it all together into a Brady Bunch episode. Ha!

Oh, and about this art fair, Johnstock, that I applied to 2 weeks ago, I called this afternoon because the thing is in only a few weeks and I need to know at what speed I should be producing, and for that matter, what things to work on. Well, they said I should be getting an email either tonight or tomorrow. He should have just said tomorrow because now I'm checking my stupid email every ten minutes only to find another Meetup reminder from Twin Cities moms about Choo-Choo Bob's or an alluring (NOT) message from MyLife (formerly and just as annoying) about how 3 white males searched for my name this week. BAH!!

But tomorrow I'll know. And then I can panic anew! But in a good way. I think we have a good shot. I'm just such an impatient person. Okay, moving on.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bib Attempt #2

Well, it's done. And it snaps. And I love the wind-up robot fabric. But I tried to use felt for a layer inside and it was too thick. Plus then I sandwiched it wrong and so the felt is one the back, not in the middle. Which isn't so bad, it's red so it matches fine. But I learned you gotta really trim the seam allowance where the snaps are going to go, otherwise there will be too much fabric to push through. Also, hammer the pearl top part of the snap on a soft surface, like I did here on folded up felt, so you won't crack the pretty top.

So! Third time should be a charm, eh?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday's Giveaway Day!

This giveaway is now CLOSED. Thanks for playing, everyone, except the person who spammed me. And the winner is...lilbabypug! She forgot to give me a book recommendation but when I asked she came up with The Saggy Baggy Elephant, a classic Golden Book. We already have it, but it's nice to hear someone else loves the old ones as much as I do.

Other recommendations: So many people loved Where the Wild Things Are. We actually have it but haven't read it much yet. I think it's a little over her head. But we have Sendak's Nutshell Kids series, and my daughter loves One Was Johnny: A Counting Book. And I love to sing it to her, a la the Really Rosie musical from the seventies. Alligators All Around is the only alphabet I know that has "Having Headaches" for the letter "H" and I can soooo relate to that. Freight Train was another book mentioned that I've heard of but not tried, and since it's a train book, I figure I better check it out. Many of the others we already have, but there were a couple I'd never heard of, so thanks again to you all for sharing!

Today, kids, we have one of my handmade ATC's with Mr. Seahorse, my carved rubber stamps, in 3-D. I call this one "Seahorse Architecture. So what should I ask you to leave a comment about today? How about this: If you have kids, or remember being a child, what was a favorite picture book? I'm always looking for new ones for my almost 2-yr. old. And don't say "all the Dr. Suess books," because that's just cheating. So I'll tell you, one of my current faves and my daughter's is one called And the Train Goes... by William Bee. The illustrations are fabulous and have many levels, like once she gets a little older, she'll start to notice there are certain items that show up on every spread, so she can hunt those down as well as listen to the fun story and sounds. Okay, I gotta run. Leave your comments until close of day (midnite) Wednesday and thanks for playing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baby in Jammies? Pixie Doll?

I sewed this in the last few days. Made up the pattern myself from a drawing I did from another drawing I liked. Lily calls it a baby. She gave it some of her milk today.
It's a good first effort, I think. I want to make more and make the face smaller and the middle fatter. And sew it wrong side out and flip it. The blanket stitch is cute but not so great on the points, which I glued to keep pointy.
I have oodles of felt now, between thrift store buys lately and the annual Textile Center Garage Sale yesterday, which I forgot about until 3pm, which was probably good, because then it was bag sale time, everything you can stuff in a grocery bag for $1. I spent $3. I had 25 minutes and just raced around grabbing things that looked good. I only ended up with one weird little bag of scraps that smells like cat...otherwise everything looked in good shape and when I went through it I could think of lots of uses for stuff.

Pig 'n' Chick House

No, it isn't a new restaurant. It's a cute thing I made with one of those wood knick knack holders, along with some farm animals I got at Target a while ago. And I made up a poem for them. And it goes like this:

The piggies and the chicks
moved in that day
they liked the big house
so decided to stay

"Oink! We like yellow," said some of the pigs
"Cheep!" said some chicks "Well, we like pink!"
So they ran all around
and they shared all the rooms,
and the neighbors came for tea
exactly at noon.

And as you can see, I've glued piggies and chicks all over the house. I like it. This is actually the first poem I've written in a while. The last one was about Lily eating Strawberries for the June Moon calendar page. This was fun. Except for the part when the animals wouldn't stick. Hot glue just didn't do it. Lily would come over and pluck them right off. Bah! A good test, though. So I found Weldbond, a much stronger glue, and non-toxic and dries clear. Good stuff.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fun Food

For Totoro fans, you'll recognize this little cream puff as a very good likeness to a beloved Japanese anime character. Isn't he cute? I wouldn't want to eat him, though. All that dairy makes my tummy burbly. So I'd just let him sit on the window sill or a shelf on my desk. Perhaps I could spray him with acrylic sealer.

You want to know how to make your own? Go to Anna the Red's Bento Factory and learn.

Still haven't heard about the Johnstock craft fair. la la la.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Zippies Galore!

So, I mentioned I made those clocks for a craft fair coming up. I also made all this goodness. The coasters were already done, of course, and in my Arf shop, but I made all the zippies. They are basically two different sizes. Small change purse size, and bigger ones long enough to hold pens and pencils and even small drawing pads or ATC cards to doodle on. Oh, and one needle book that I did finally list in Arf. I will be listing these zippies soon on Arf. That's my Artfire shop, for those of you unfamiliar with my typing quirk (whenever I try to type "Artfire" it comes out "Arf").

I've gotten the application in for the craft fair, called Johnstock, which was stressful, probably why I ended up going into the hospital for a migraine last week... (and I don't know when we hear back if we got in--it's juried, and they're deciding AS applications come in, not at the end of the acceptance period for application time. But at least it's out of my hands now.) But it's no wonder I got stressed. I had to sort of define myself (and two other people who are doing it with me) as an artist. It was like doing a resume, which everyone loves. Ugh. Describing my wares was easy. But describing myself and my business was difficult. I don't feel like I've developed a signature style yet, and I feel like it's even harder because I don't do just one type of craft or art (and don't have any desire to limit myself to such). Which made me have a think. I was looking at the posting in Arf today about how they want columnists for their different departments and here I am, a writer, an "artisan," (it's still hard to say that without quotes, even though I know it's wrong, it's a completely wrong use of quotation marks, besides being a chicken way of claiming my talent), and I think, yeah, that would be fun. But I don't like any of their departments. They say you can propose a new department to be a columnist for, and I'm thinking about doing just that. Here's my department:

How do you grow into yourself as an artist? It's a deceptively simple question. But who am I as an artist? I'm not the Crafty Chica. She has a definitely recognizable style. That's what I mean, how do you develop a recognizable style? Is it a deliberate process? Is this too ethereal of a subject? Or is it just plain and simple branding? What do you think? It's just that when they do the "Featured Artisan" articles, I always feel left out, like I'm not there yet, and when do I get to be a grown-up artist? I think I'm talented now, it's not that, it's just, well, is it even important for people to look at a piece and say "Oh, that's an Alterior Motives piece"? I don't know. Hmmm. Columnworthy?

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's Always Art Time!

I mean, does anybody really care what time it is? I made these over the last week amidst a frenzy of activity getting ready to apply for a spot in a craft fair (my first) and I really like how they turned out. I upcycled these clocks. But Google keeps screwing up today and eating this post. This will be the fourth attempt. I go nap now.