Archive for September, 2008

Letters can be one of the most powerful and far-reaching influences in your life, if you let them be. – Lillian Eichler watson

So I sent my digitally-altered book off to be converted, and it is done! It is such a wonderful feeling to finish a project. Check it out – Standard Book of Letter Writing – and let me know what you think.

Of course there are a couple things I’m not entirely happy with – one of which is a glaring error that I could kick myself for. But over all I love it, and being the first time I’ve ever done anything of this sort, I think it turned out great.

And I entered my book into the contest at Artella. I think it’s pretty good – but we’ll see. The entries that won the first contest were amazing.

wish me luck!

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the way she paints the world, i want that in my life. – t.a.

So I recently bought several back issues of Beadwork magazine. I used to have a subscription, but let it lapse due to laziness and lack of money. Then I got notice of their back-issue sale and took advantage of it.

As I was paging through my “new” magazines, I felt that all-too-familiar feeling of love & hate.

Love – I adore my magazines for the beautiful projects, the inspiration, the new techniques, and the chance to see what other artists are making. I love checking out the websites and blogs of the various contributors. And I even love the advertisements – there are so many gorgeous, innovative, and way-cool products. I am thankful to have these resources at my fingertips.

Hate – These wonderful magazines serve as a constant reminder that I am nowhere in my art. No published articles, no book, practically no sales, no one reads my blog (except my faithful sister-in-law and a few other select relatives). I am jealous jealous jealous!

Especially with the beading magazines. I’ve been beading forever. I should be more accomplished by now. I feel so frustrated sometimes – I just don’t know what my problem is.

ok – enough complaining.

I’ve been working on an additional project for my mom’s birthday. I don’t want to say what it is, because it’s something I’ve never made before, and I know my mom reads my blog, so I don’t want to give it away. But I can say that I’ve made one mistake after another with it. Luckily they are mistakes that I can cover, and I have to say I’m very pleased with it so far, mistakes and all.

Happy new year to everyone (it being Rosh Hashanah)!

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Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

I have finally decided on a name for my new website and Etsy store. Once I have my Etsy store up and running I will divulge the new name. It’s a little overwhelming to have to learn these new things – I’m using a new website host, too. But I guess I’ll manage – I always seem to!

My digitally-altered book, called Standard Book of Letter Writing is now completed. Once the contest is announced on Artella I will send it off to be converted into a “real” book. It’s pretty cool – they (Artella) work their magic and put your book together so that it acts as a real book would – you use your mouse to turn the pages. Neato!

Another show I thought of that features people transforming into new and better selves is Clean House. It all about people clinging desparately to their possessions to the point where the possessions have taken over the house, and the people are forced to eat their dinner standing up because there’s no place to sit. And they have to order out all the time because the kitchen is filled with junk. I had no idea people could have such foolishness going on in their houses, but I feel so badly for them, trapped by all of their stuff. But Niecy and her gang get them back on track, the houses get cleaned out and redecorated, and the people get a new start on life. So of course I’m always happy for them in the end.

One batch of goodies has been received. I’m still waiting on the other. Don’t they know I have a birthday necklace to make?

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So I got my inchies last week from the latest Artella inchie swap. Here they are:

Aren’t they cute? My favorites are the ladybug, the cupcake, and the pot of gold. There is another inchie swap going on, but I have other things I need to work on right now, so more inchies will have to wait.

I have my digitally-altered book almost completed. I’m pretty happy with how it has turned out. I do think some of my letters are stereotypical, and not very original. But I’m doing this as a fun thing, and the letters are not meant to be taken very seriously. Here are a couple pages:

This book was so much fun to work on. I kept each page to a similar layout to make it easy on myself, and being a beginner in Photoshop I kept the techniques simple as well. I’m loving the transform function – it’s my favorite!

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There are always flowers for those who want to see them. – Henri Matisse

I bought the new issue of Somerset Studio – the Halloween issue – and alas, my Two Little Girls on All Hallow’s Eve was not chosen to be a part of the Readers’ Expressions.

Two Little Girls on All Hallow's Eve

I am disappointed, but upon viewing the pieces that were chosen, I’m not sure that my work is good enough yet. The stuff in there is pretty fabulous.

I’m going to continue trying though. There is the upcoming paper dolls theme which hopefully I will have time to do, and the Marie Antoinette publication (still waiting for inspiration to hit on that one).

One of these days, my work will be in Somerset Studio.

I ordered some bits and bobs to make my mom’s necklace. I always love getting goodies in the mail!

I bought a great new book, Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories by Lisa Bluhm. Read all about it on my new book review page, The Librarian.

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Wednesday’s online class – Digitally Altered Books Revealed, Part 2 – was fun, inspiring, and helpful. Having the opportunity to watch someone actually alter a digital book was the best part – Marney added photos, resized embellishments, changed the colors, and used layers to full effect. I now feel better equipped to make my own book. Marney worked in Photoshop, so I have now decided that I too must work in Photoshop. It was the transform function that did it for me (there’s that word again). I want that! I’ve been working in Photoshop Elements, but I think I’ve gotten all I can from that. It’s time to move up.

I did start to work on my own book on Saturday night. It was a bit difficult, being a new medium and then I’m certainly no Photoshop expert. But it was so enjoyable, and easy in the sense that there’s no mess. You don’t like something, you just delete it. Self-contained art. There’s something to be said for that, although I’ve always been a proponent of the art-is-supposed-to-be-messy school of thought. Luckily there’s always room for new thoughts.

The digital book I chose was a how-to on writing letters. I decided to use that as my inspiration. I myself happen to have an old book on writing letters, so I am now creating my own guidebook to letter-writing, borrowing heavily from the book I own, while adding my own twist to the letters. I’m also incorporating old family photos, to serve as the letter writers, the letter adressees, or the subjects of the letters. Here are a few:

I feel very lucky and priveleged to have these photographs. I love them and use them, hopefully respectfully, in my work. I may poke fun at times, but I do see these people as human beings, who once lived and had adventures and dreams and thoughts of their own. I most definitely find myself intrigued by them.

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I’ve been watching Tabitha’s Salon Takeover on Bravo. And I was thinking about why I enjoy shows like these – I also love Kitchen Nightmares and Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style – and I realized that I am fascinated and inspired by stories of transformation (yes, I know it’s in my blog header. I’m a little slow sometimes.).

The shows follow a general pattern: the person in distress needs to change and asks for help from an expert, then spends most of the episode resisting every change suggested even though it’s obvious to all – viewer included – that the change is necessary. The person in distress and the expert eventually have a heart-to-heart, the person in distress finally accepts, and embraces, the necessary changes, and everyone lives happily ever after.

The moment when the person in distress is finally able to break through her or his old way of thinking and step into new, and scary, territory, always makes me teary. Their very identities are at stake – they are their salon, their restaurant, their clothes. To have someone come along and tell them everything they are doing is wrong is a condemnation of their very selves.

I’m always so happy for them when they find the courage and strength to change their ways, and their way of thinking.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to do the necklace for my mom. I don’t usually work with large lampwork beads, because I never know what to do with them. I don’t want to take attention away from the bead, but I don’t want just a simple necklace either.

I was going to look through my magazines for some ideas, but then I thought – you know what? I’m more than capable of creating my own design. I’ve been beading for a long time – I know what I’m doing! I should just trust myself and my creativity.

And sure enough, inspiration did come. thank you!

Tomorrow I’m doing an online class with Marney from Artella. This is the second part of the Digitally Altered Books class. It was originally scheduled for some months ago, but Marney had to postpone it. I’m looking forward to it – it’s so much fun to do these online classes. Especially since I can enjoy a glass of wine while learning!

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