Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Craftin'

Well I don't know if it's happened to you yet but the Christmas rush has taken over and I've virtually had no time to work in the studio or create blog posts. This is a very busy time for me because we make so many gifts for our family and friends and I enjoy all of it.

Today I thought I'd post a bunch of the projects we worked on to give as gifts. Each project gives us ideas to try out the following year. So much fun!
First up is Snowflake Crayons which we made with recycled crayons. Martha Stewart has the how-to on this one. I did mine in a silicone cake pan and an electric fry pan which worked out fine. No one really like the fumes that the melting crayons made though. Keep a window open.
I think they turned out pretty neat. : )

Next are a couple seed gifts that we made. Both were very easy to do and I really like the idea of encouraging people to garden, especially kids.
Seed Bombs are an idea I saw on the internet and I think the concept is fantastic. If you search it on YouTube there are great videos about making and using them. 

Bunny Tails are such a fun decorative grass and the kids love them. They've even done some crafts with them dried.

Marbled Glass ornaments have been on my Christmas "try" list for a while now and I've really enjoyed trying to figure out the best way to create them. Note* when it says to use craft paints know that it can't be tempra paints. I will be working on these some more.

 It's been such fun posting my projects but I think I'm going to take an online break and enjoy some relaxing time with my family and stuff myself silly with treats. I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and I hope the New Year brings you nothing but joy. See you all again in January : )

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why giving is the best gift

I really love this time of year for several reasons and not all of them involve eating way too many treats. I love this time of year because it gives me the perfect excuse to indulge in my favorite things. I love to bake, so everyone gets cookies and candies that are too rich for the rest of the year. I love to create with my hands, so everyone gets some sort of craft I've been dying to try out. I love to take pictures of my kids, so everyone (family mostly)get calendars or photo ornaments of my girls. But what I think makes this holiday so appealing for people is the permission to spend money on gifts and show our affection to our loved ones. Unfortunately  I do think the "obligation gifts" that have no real meaning to the recipient or the giver has left many people with the sense that Christmas is just about keeping the economy going by buying next year's garbage. "It looked good on T.V." "Mommy, I want that!". "Maybe my aunt could use a SlapChop".

Last year I did a post about different ways in gift giving and I still think those are great ways to create some meaning for the season. This year I'm putting my money where my mouth is and giving to a couple of organizations that can help make a difference in someone  else's life. I truly believe that there's no better way to feel a sense of abundance than giving to others. I've chosen to buy a Literacy Package through World Vision and provide a small loan through Kiva which does micro-financing. Although I've given a small amount to each, I know that the amounts will have a greater impact within those countries in need.
And for any of you who are a bit skeptical about your money being used up mostly by administration costs of the charity, Will and Jada Smith claim 100% of your donation will be used to fund clean drinking water through Charity:Water. The gift of clean drinking water would always be appreciated.

Are there any charities that you give to regularly during Christmas? Do you believe giving should be part of your entire year? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, December 3, 2010

How the show went

As we are now fully into the craft show season, I thought I'd tell you about my first craft show experience in more than twelve years. Last Saturday, Nov. 27, I participated in the Steveston Christmas Craft Show.  This juried show is a popular event in the community and I would attend whenever I could. This year I thought I'd try and make my art presence a little more known locally and snag a table. I'm an avid reader of the Etsy Storque, Handmadeology, and HandmadeSpark articles and I've gleaned a lot of tips from them about doing craft shows. I REALLY wanted this show to go well and I prepared for it as much as I could. I looked at other peoples set-ups like on Flickr's ShowMe Your Booth, I watched videos like this one by Linty Fresh, and I tried to mentally prepare myself for any slumps in the sale day. My attitude during the show was my biggest concern because I knew that the more upbeat I was the more sales I would attract. Because the work I do is important to me and is an expression of who I am, I tend to get upset when my work is passed over. I realize that everyone has their own taste but when someone says they don't really like my art it's like they're saying they don't like ME. Silly, I know, and something I'm getting better at dealing with, but it's still true.

So my tactic for staying positive was to bring a funny book and my sketchbook. My husband had bought me "Sh*t my Dad says" and I have to say that it made me laugh out loud so many times that I was looking a little crazy. Put a smile on my face though. For the other times I took a pencil to paper and did some drawing. I'm currently working on some rabbit images and I felt like I created a couple that I can work with. There's nothing better than creating to make me feel good.

All in all, this show was a fantastic learning experience for me and because it was such a success to me, I'm thinking about how else I can branch out locally. Have you got any tips about shows? Would love to hear them.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Steveston Christmas Craft Fair

For those of you in the lower mainland, I would like to invite you all to the Steveston Christmas Craft Fair being held tomorrow, Nov. 27 10-4. This ever popular show will be held in the net shed behind the Steveston Community Center. With over 150 tables there will sure to be something there for someone on your Christmas list.
Come visit me at my table where I'll be selling original paintings and prints, magnets, ornaments, cards and calendars. This year give handmade.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Celebrating with a store-wide sale

Hello everyone! Guess what? This coming Monday is my birthday. I'm now at an age where I would rather skip my birthday altogether than put on a party hat but I thought I would hold a store-wide sale in my shop to "celebrate another year".

From Nov. 22-30 I'm offering 20% off anything in my shop. You'll find a large variety of prices that will surely fit into your Christmas shopping budget. If you're thinking of getting something truly special and unique, I'm happy to point out that my monotypes will be reduced by at least  $60 and free shipping and insurance is still included. (!)

So let's start the online shopping season off right and enjoy the savings of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Happy dances all around everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Blogs to inspire

For part my Pikaland Bootcamp course we were asked to research blogs that we enjoy and really look at what it is that is attracting us to them so that we could possibly apply the same principles to our own blogs. Well I have to admit that my blog reading list is quite huge and I don't get to regularly visit as many as I would like. The ones I end up visiting the most are the ones I get through my email and the ones I see on my Facebook stream. There's one lesson right there: get email subscribers and be part of NetworkedBlogs on Facebook.

So I thought I'd share with you some of the blogs that I find inspiring and thoroughly enjoy reading.

Image coyrighted to Lisa Evans

Lisa Evans-Firefluff
 I really enjoy how she shows the process of her work through photos. Most of the computer stuff is over my head but she does break it down into components.

I just LOVE the color of her work.
 She has a HUGE list of illustrators and people she's inspired by with their links.  Lots to click on for me.

How about Orange
Jammed-packed with tutorials and downloads. I could spend a whole weekend on here.

Louise- Art and Ghosts
Love the imagery and how it's simply presented with large photographs.

Amy Earles- Wool&Water
I get to see her artwork in progress. She has short and clear posts which is great for someone like me who scans most pages.

You know there are many more that I could tell you about but I just don't have the room to talk about them all. I've put a list on my side bar that you can click to see more. I'm sure that list will get very long, very quickly. Happy reading.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

So Inspiring

For today's post I thought I 'd share with you a couple of artists that inspire me with their work. There really are so many that do but today I'm picking Jennifer Davis and Adam Rex as the people who make me want to paint and express myself via the canvas.

I'm not sure where I first saw Jennifer Davis's work but it blew me away. I've clicked all around her shop and blog trying to choose one piece that I can put on my ThisNext wish list.  A very hard task indeed. I find Jennifer's work so beautiful in the most unconventional way. Each piece is unique and has some unusual and peculiar narrative going on. Most fantastic.

The other artist, Adam Rex, I found when I went to the library to choose some children's books for the kids. We always get a pile of books for bedtime and then I choose some just for myself to look at. Because I've had this long range goal of illustrating a children's book one day, I always enjoy absorbing the images and techniques of other children's book illustrators.

Adam Rex's work reminds me of Daniel Adel's in its painterly fashion and I'm enthralled by each brushstroke. Adam paints the way I wish I could. Expressive yet controlled and filled with the textural beauty of the paint. I recently ordered "Frankenstein makes a Sandwich" through my daughter's school fundraiser just so I could add another of his books to my children's book collection. Not only can Adam paint, but can also write a humorous and engaging story. How inspiring is that? I wonder if I'll ever be able to afford on of his originals. Hmmmm....

Tell me which artists inspire you. Are they online, are they historic, is it your own mother? Would love to hear about it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A peek into the studio

A while back I showed you the inside of my studio and the mess it had become. Well....not much has changed since then. I had hoped to get another set of print drawers to hold my increasing collection but I haven't found any that I can afford. I did find some drawers at Ikea that I think I might adapt to hold my smaller pieces. It's on my Christmas wish list if you're interested in donating to the cause.
Right now my studio is particularly messing because I'm trying to work on so many projects at the same time. I'm a visual person and I need to "see" what needs to done for me to work on it. So I've got the Pikaland Bootcamp assignments, a Christmas boutique to create inventory for, a one-day Christmas show and sale and all the Christmas gifts I make for the family every year. You'd think that I'd have a break by Christmas  to clean up but I have to create a collection of new work for a show in the new year. I love creating all this of course so I'm not really complaining. I do have to share my space with my husband though and I  feel guilty when my mess creeps closer and closer to his easel.

My work space. What a mess.

A pile of projects on the press. An in-progress painting, calendars waiting to be cut and tin magnets.

Tin magnets waiting to be delivered to the Christmas Boutique

My new mini-magnets 

My sketchbook with a painting I've been itching to do in encaustic.

What does your space look like? How do I get my space to look as tidy as some of those on Etsy Open Studios? I swear the "Organized and Clean" studio is on my New Year's resolution list.