Archive for December, 2008

Scary Ladies
I found that photo I mentioned a few posts back – the one with the “scary ladies” that I scanned specifically for the purpose of using in a Halloween-themed piece.

Family photo - Helen, Mary, and Viola.

Their names are Helen, Mary, and Viola, but I don’t know which is which. The woman on the left is not so scary looking. The woman in the middle looks pretty scary but also a little tired. And the woman on the right looks a tad bit crazy. I think they could make good witches. I’ll have to wait and see if inspiration agrees.

AlphaBetter Muse Workshop
Here is the next installment in my Alphabetter journal – the Cowgirl Muse, Defender Against Creative Intruders. As a woman living in America in the 21st century, I can certainly use such a muse, as can any woman today who desires a little “room of her own” time.

Cowgirl Muse journal page

Cowgirl Muse journal page

What are my creative intruders? The typical and rather mundane housework and childcare.

Housework – the constant battle between my perfectionist tendencies of wanting a perfectly neat, clean, and tidy house at all times and the realization of the utter futility of such a desire. My main goal is simply to keep the house reasonably clean but even that requires constant work.

And childcare – I certainly don’t mind caring for my daughter (my son, being 17 and a good kid, thankfully doesn’t require much looking after), but she is a mommy’s girl, which means she is glued to my side when we are together. And when I’m not at work I do dedicate almost all of my time to her, waiting until she’s napping or in bed for the night to get things done.

I have another intruder though – my own doubts, fears, and guilt as to the importance and worthiness of creating in the first place. These thoughts then lead to placing creativity last on my long long list of Things To Do.

One thing I’d really like is have a few more hours on the weekend to “play”. That would make me very happy. Now if only I can get my husband and my daughter to cooperate…

My idea of a vacation
I decided to take a week off from creating (after all that talk about creative intruders!). I need to catch up on some other stuff in my studio – like sorting through a container of wire I’ve had forever so I can post some of it on Artella and hopefully trade with someone for it, finish writing a book review for a book I finished months ago and now all the details are fuzzy, organizing my idea book into some sort of usable fashion, and a few other things.

And then next week I will throw myself into making some new stuff so I can finally get my etsy shop up and running.

Creatively yours ~

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I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and Hanukkah (for those who celebrate them, anyway). Mine were wonderful – I am blessed with a loving, fun, and generous family.

My husband gave me some very cool gourmet chocolates by MarieBelle. Each chocolate is handcrafted from the finest natural ingredients, and the top of each delectable treat offers an artistic rendition of a unique retro-inspired scene or design. Flavors range from the traditional (butter caramel and coconut) to the unusual (champagne – yummy! and gianduja – I don’t know what that is). These are fun chocolates – just ask my daughter.

Here are a few of them:
MarieBelle chocolates

I received my ATC’s from the Artella Holiday Memories swap a week ago but hadn’t had a chance to post them, so here they are:

Artella 2008 Holiday Memories ATC Swap

I love the variety. From top left clockwise the artists are: Jan’ice Rogers, Cheryl Richards, Karen Solliday, and Pamela Tucker.

For Christmas I made necklaces for my sister and sister-in-law. They are the same as the crystal pendant necklace I made for myself a couple months ago (mine was the test drive!).

The one for my sister:
Julie's Christmas gift 2008

And the one for my sister-in-law (this one is exactly the same as the one I made for myself):
Erin's Christmas gift 2008

And here is the collage I made for my Mom:
Mom's Christmas gift 2008

This was my grandmother’s older sister Charlotte, for whom my Mom is named. Charlotte was killed in a car accident a couple months after graduating high school. My grandmother was only seven at the time. She remembers Charlotte as being very sweet and calling her “my sugar cookie”. My mom spent a good deal of time last year researching the details of the accident because my grandmother’s memory was a bit hazy.

And then there were a bunch of photos of Charlotte in a box of old family photos my Mom lent to me, and I also found her commencement card and a thank-you note she had written to one of her aunts shortly before she died, thanking her for a graduation present. So looking at these photos and other items and knowing my Mom’s interest in her inspired me to create a collage in honor of her.

I’m happy with how it turned out. I did a bit of sewing on this one, which I love to do. And I didn’t use any glitter glue – I wanted the collage to be more serious, and not glitzy. The buttons represent history and the connections that female family members have to each other. I’ve read many a blog entry or magazine article where the author mentions how she treasures a button box given to her by her mother or grandmother.

I suspect not many people would recognize the evocative power of a button.

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Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve made a terrible mistake. Whatever was I thinking? I’ve opened Pandora’s box.

I bought my first issue – Autumn 2008 – of Somerset Life.

Somerset Life, Autumn 2008

I hate this magazine! Page after page of gorgeous arts and crafts, beautiful objects for the home, fabulous photos, inspiring text – all taunting me.

Why aren’t your paperclips decorated with buttons and ribbon?

Why aren’t you nibbling homemade whole-wheat cranberry scones topped with lavender honey you gathered yourself, while doing crafts with your daughter?

Why aren’t your Christmas gifts not each individually wrapped in it’s own carefully chosen, hand-stamped bit of vintage wrapping paper and tied with antique ribbon that your great-great-grandmother brought over on the boat from Ireland?

ok, I exaggerate. But only very slightly.

Paper clips, page 87, by Sandra Evertson
Somerset Life, Autumn 2008, p87

I love this magazine (of course). It is an inspiring feast for the eyes and mind and soul, encouraging us to bring beauty, creativity, thoughtfulness, and purposefulness into everything we do, little and great.

Advent calendar, page 110, by Dawn Edmonson
Somerset Life, Autumn 2008, p110

It reminds me of the article featuring Julie Pearson in the September/October 2007 issue of Somerset Studio, where she said to “make your whole life your art.” Which I aspire to do, but haven’t quite figured out how. But perhaps Somerset Life can help me out.

Kit, page 46, by Louise Wheeler
Somerset Life, Autumn 2008, p46

I also love the paper doll necklace by Lisa Guerin, and the painted pumpkins by Carla Buchanan are fabulous. I want to do some next year!

I’m going to remind myself to, and try to make time for, adding more artistic and beautiful touches to my everyday life. Life is too short not to make it as beautiful as possible!

A lovely package from Joggles arrived today, bearing my leafing pens, craft sheet, and two Stickles glitter glues. Tim Holtz and Suze Weinberg both have their own Stickles colors now, so I bought one from each.

From Tim Holtz I bought the Milled Lavender. It is surprisingly subtle (if glitter can ever be called subtle) and really lovely.

From Suze Weinberg I bought Ruby Slippers (me being a Wizard of Oz fan, I couldn’t pass that one up). It is pure ruby-red glittery deliciousness. Every woman needs a little ruby sparkle in her life, in my opinion.

I also bought the two other punches I wanted, so I am set to start working on some polyshrink jewelry…after Christmas, at least. I have too many other things to do until then. Like finish my mom’s Christmas gift!

The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life. – Frank Lloyd Wright

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I have no idea why, but Savoy Truffle has been flitting in and out of my head for several weeks now.

Anyway, I bought some cute rubber stamps at Joann’s on Saturday. I had intended to buy a new magazine, but they were on sale 10% off (why even bother having a sale if it’s only 10%?) so I couldn’t use my 50% off coupon. So I bought these instead:

Birds Galore, by Inkadinkado
Inkadinkado - Birds Galore

I’ve had my eye on them for a while. I can see using a couple of them in my polyshrink jewelry, and they’d all be great to use on greeting cards and tags.

I think I’m slowly starting to have a desire to use birds in my art. It must the Somerset Studio influence – so many of the artists use birds. Plus time spent with Lily watching birds in our backyard. We get a surprising variety, considering our suburban setting.

The punches I ordered from Scrapbook.com arrived last week. I ordered a couple Krylon leafing pens and a heat mat from Joggles. The heat mat will come in handy not only for the polyshrink but also for when I start using beeswax (which will be any year now!). The leafing pens are for coloring the edges of the polyshrink pieces. It gives a nice finished touch.

Then I just need a 1/8″ hole punch and I thought I’d get a large circle punch to make pendants for necklaces too. Good thing I have another 50% off coupon.

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The most wonderful news! My two Marie Antoinette canvases have been selected to appear in Stampington’s special MA publication! I’m very happy and excited. So that $20 it cost to send them overnight has turned out to be money well-spent. The publication is due to come out on April 1.

On the Christmas gift-making front, I have an additional gift completed. I have pictures to post but not until Christmas! I also started working on a gift for my mom. I hope she likes it. It’s not jewelry, for once.

In other exciting news, for the first time in two-and-a-half years I am caught up on my magazine reading. I’m not quite sure how that happened. But I recently finished the December 2008 issue of Bead & Button, and I’m almost done the November/December 2008 issue of Somerset Studio. I have one Artful Blogging and one old issue of Somerset Studio left. Whatever will I do? Buy more magazines, of course! There are new issues of Sew Somerset, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and I think Somerset Workshop. Plus there’s Stuffed coming out in January. Thank goodness. I’d be lost without my magazines. They help keep me sane!

This is the cover of the current Somerset Studio. I just love this star by Rachel Killpack – it’s beautiful.

Somerset Studio Nov/Dec 2008

And here are Hearts, by Sharon Martin. I adore these!

Somerset Studio, Nov/Dec 2008, p103

Also in this issue – notice of the April 15 submission deadline for next year’s Vintage Halloween issue. I’m planning on making two pieces – one with the same photo I used last time, and something else. I’ll have to look through my old family photos. I think I scanned one of some scary-looking women specifically for use in a Halloween creation.

I’m not sure what I’m going to make yet. I’m not actively thinking about it, just keeping it in the back of my mind.

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Today marks the one-year anniversary (birthday?) of What if I’m a Mermaid?.

When I first thought about starting a blog I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up with it, what with three children to look after (I count my husband in there), as well as a full-time job, a part-time obsession, a house to take care of, etc. But I think I’ve done well, and writing my entries is something I very much enjoy. I just wish it didn’t take me so long!

I thought I would take a moment to review my initial goals in starting a blog. Here they are:

1. Mark my artistic creations, endeavors, hopes, dreams, failures, and accomplishments.
2. Share with other women the struggle to maintain a “room of one’s own” when one has so many other responsibilities to tend to.
3. Share my art with others.
4. Put myself and my work out into the world.
5. Challenge my creativity.
6. Meet new people.
7. Allow those interested in my work an opportunity to learn more about my processes of thought and creativity.

1, 3, 4, 5, and 7 I have definitely met. I think I could work on 2 and 6 a bit more. But I think these are good goals, and they shall remain the goals of my little blog.

You may have noticed the Artella pictures/links over there on the side. I decided to become an Artella affiliate, which means that I’ll have some handy links on my blog for those who want to check it out, and hopefully will earn some commissions on sales generated through my links (I’m always looking for ways to support my creative habits).

I only support and promote companies that I believe in and that have shown themselves to have integrity and have something positive to offer the world. I have bought or received many Artella products myself, including workshops, their magazine, and digital collage stuff. Check out the digitally-altered book I created – the photos were mine and everything else came from Artella.

If you’re not familiar with Artella you can download a free copy of Stunning and Simple Seasonal Salutations, an e-book featuring nine (the book says ten, but I only counted nine) handmade cards, complete with photos and basic instructions, showcasing a variety of techniques such as rubber stamping and collage. Copy and paste this link if you’d like to take a look (there are some ads in the book, just to let you know, as well as some coupons that are good through December 31st) – http://www.artellaland.com/affiliates/jrox.php?id=1174_1_eaid_5

I have other free items that I will be offering here and there, but I thought I would do this one first in case anyone wanted to try making some holiday cards. I wish I had time to make some myself!

So if you’re interested in digital art, e-courses, or e-books take a look. There are also forums, blogs, and galleries, and everyone there is truly friendly and supportive. It really is an artistic community.

And yes, I do post in the forums – I go by Lilyrose.

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Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little. – Edna Ferber

I found this great book, Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry in Joann’s a few weeks ago, and within ten seconds of skimming through it knew I absolutely had to have it. It wasn’t in my budget at the time, but as soon as I got paid again I ordered it from Amazon.

This book will be my organizational bible, and as soon as January rolls around, I will be on my way to a more organized way of being. Since having my daughter I have learned that being organized and planning ahead is the only way to stay sane. Read more about it on my Librarian page (you just have to scroll down a bit).

I finished one Christmas gift last night – yay! I’m feeling confident, time-wise, with regard to finishing the others. But I’m well aware of how time flies, too.

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